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03 JANUARY 2013

The Value of Culture: Two Cultures

"Melvyn Bragg considers the 150–year history of the Two Cultures debate. In 1959 the novelist C.P. Snow delivered a lecture in Cambridge suggesting that intellectual life had become divided into two separate cultures: the arts and the humanities. The lecture is still celebrated for the furore it provoked – but Snow was returning to a battleground almost a century old. Melvyn Bragg visits the old Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, scene of many of modern science's greatest triumphs, to put the Two Cultures debate in its historical context – and Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, reveals the influence the Two Cultures debate had on his development as a scientist."

(Melvyn Bragg, 2013)

"The Value of Culture: Two Cultures", Radio broadcast, Episode 3 of 5, Duration: 42 minutes, First broadcast: Wednesday 02 January 2013, Presenter/Melvyn Bragg, Producer/Thomas Morris for the BBC Radio 4, UK.

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TAGS

1959 • all matters which most concern us • American education • American schools • artistic intellectuals • arts and humanitiesarts education • British education • C P Snow • Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge • Charles Percy Snow • civilisationClassicalclassicscommerce • cultural agenda • cultural high ground • cultureCulture and Anarchydisciplinary protectionism • editorial control • education system • elites • experimental teachingF R Leavis • free thought • German education • German schools • GreekH G Wellshabitshigh culture • illiteracy of scientists • intellectual life • John Tyndall • knowledgeLatin • literary intellectuals • manufacturingmaterialismMatthew ArnoldMelvyn Braggmodern sciencemodern society • Paul Nurse • quality of education • Rede Lecture • reliable official knowledge • Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts Manufactures and Commerce • RSA • schoolingsciencesciences and humanitiesscientific age • scientific culture • scientific education • scientific naturalism • scientific revolution • scientific teaching • scientists • Second Law of Thermodynamics • shared languagesocial class • speaking the same language • stock notions • study of perfection • technological culture • technology • the best which has been thought and said in the world • the classics • The Value of Culture (radio) • Thomas Huxley • traditional culturetwin pillarstwo cultures • Two Cultures debate • two separate cultures

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
01 JANUARY 2013

The Value of Culture: Culture and the Anthropologists

"Melvyn Bragg continues his exploration of the idea of culture by considering its use in the discipline of anthropology. In 1871 the anthropologist Edward Tylor published Primitive Culture, an enormously influential work which for the first time placed culture at the centre of the study of humanity. His definition of culture as the 'capabilities and habits acquired by man' ensured that later generations saw culture as common to all humans, and not simply as the preserve of writers and philosophers."

(Melvyn Bragg, 2013)

"The Value of Culture: Culture and the Anthropologists", Radio broadcast, Episode 2 of 5, Duration: 42 minutes, First broadcast: Monday 01 January 2013, Presenter/Melvyn Bragg, Producer/Thomas Morris for the BBC Radio 4, UK.

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TAGS

187119th centuryanima • animism • anthropologist • anthropologybelief systemsbeliefsborrowing • borrowings • capabilities and habits • Charles Lyell • civilisation • complex societies • cultural characteristics • cultural evolutionism • cultural relativismcultureculturescustoms • development of religions • early cultures • Edward Tylor • ethnographersethnographic study • evolution of culture • faith • force of habit • habithabitshistoricismhistoricist • human behaviours • human culture • human customs • human customs and behaviours • humanity • idea of culture • Indigenousleisure timematerial cultureMelvyn Bragg • Pitt Rivers • prehistory • Primitive Culture (book) • primitive cultures • religion • religious belief • science • scientific study • social anthropologysocietysoul • study of humanity • survivals • symbolic behaviourThe Value of Culture (radio)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
28 NOVEMBER 2012

The Dark Ages were a time of great artistic achievement

"The Dark Ages have been misunderstood. History has identified the period following the fall of the Roman Empire with a descent into barbarism – a terrible time when civilisation stopped.

Waldemar Januszczak disagrees. In this four–part series he argues that the Dark Ages were a time of great artistic achievement, with new ideas and religions provoking new artistic adventures. He embarks on a fascinating trip across Europe, Africa and Asia, visits the world's most famous collections and discovers hidden artistic gems, all to prove that the Dark Ages were actually an 'Age of Light'.

In the first episode he looks at how Christianity emerged into the Roman Empire as an artistic force in the third and fourth centuries. But with no description of Jesus in the Bible, how were Christians to represent their God? Waldemar explores how Christian artists drew on images of ancient gods for inspiration and developed new forms of architecture to contain their art."

(BBC Four)

"The Dark Ages: An Age of Light" first broadcast BBC Four, 9:00PM Tue, 27 Nov 2012, duration 60 minutes.

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TAGS

3rd century • 4th century • age of light • alpha • ancient Gods • androgynous • androgynyart history • artistic achievement • artistic adventures • artistic force • barbarian • barbarism • BBC FourBible • catacombs • Christian art • Christian artists • Christianity • Christians • church architecturecivilisation • cross-shape • cryptic marker • cryptic symbols • dark ages • dogmatic • Early Christian • godshistoryJesus Christmosaic • new forms of architecture • new ideas • omega • pagan • pagan religion • pagan tradition • paganism • palindrome • paternosterreligion • representations of God • representations of Jesus • Roman Empire • SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS • television series • Waldemar Januszczak • Xmas

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
29 JANUARY 2012

The Empathic Civilisation: our (collective) empathetic consciousness

"Never has the world seemed so completely united–in the form of communication, commerce, and culture–and so savagely torn apart–in the form of war, financial meltdown, global warming, and even the migration of diseases. ...

The human–made environment is rapidly morphing into a global space, yet our existing modes of consciousness are structured for earlier eras of history, which are just as quickly fading away. Humanity, Rifkin argues, finds itself on the cusp of its greatest experiment to date: refashioning human consciousness so that human beings can mutually live and flourish in the new globalizing society…

As the forces of globalization accelerate, deepen, and become ever more complex, the older faith–based and rational forms of consciousness are likely to become stressed, and even dangerous, as they attempt to navigate a world increasingly beyond their reach and control. Indeed, the emergence of this empathetic consciousness has implications for the future that will likely be as profound and far–reaching as when Enlightenment philosophers upended faith–based consciousness with the canon of reason."

(Jeremy Rifkin)

[A noble effort to explain the consequences of post–traditional society framed through a biological deterministic lens.]

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biological determinism • blood-ties • civilisationcollective consciousness • collective resources • earlier eras • empathetic consciousness • empathic sociability • empathy • emphatic development • European Enlightenmentevolutionary determinism • evolutionary psychology • evolutionary theoryexistentialismfaith • faith-based consciousness • globalisationglobalising society • globalising world • glocalhuman beingshuman consciousnesshuman narrative • human race • human-made environment • humanity • Jeremy Rifkin • man made • modes of consciousness • narcissismpost-traditionalpost-traditional society • rational forms of consciousness • reductionismreductionist perspectiveRSA Animateselfhoodsocialisationthe past • think globally and act locally

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
11 AUGUST 2011

The Republic: justice is a necessity and a requirement for civil society (in spite of the selfish potential of individual gain)

"Now that those who practise justice do so involuntarily and because they have not the power to be unjust will best appear if we imagine something of this kind: having given both to the just and the unjust power to do what they will, let us watch and see whither desire will lead them; then we shall discover in the very act the just and unjust man to be proceeding along the same road, following their interest, which all natures deem to be their good, and are only diverted into the path of justice by the force of law. The liberty which we are supposing may be most completely given to them in the form of such a power as is said to have been possessed by Gyges the ancestor of Croesus the Lydian. According to the tradition, Gyges was a shepherd in the service of the king of Lydia; there was a great storm, and an earthquake made an opening in the earth at the place where he was feeding his flock. Amazed at the sight, he descended into the opening, where, among other marvels, he beheld a hollow brazen horse, having doors, at which he stooping and looking in saw a dead body of stature, as appeared to him, more than human, and having nothing on but a gold ring; this he took from the finger of the dead and reascended. Now the shepherds met together, according to custom, that they might send their monthly report about the flocks to the king; into their assembly he came having the ring on his finger, and as he was sitting among them he chanced to turn the collet of the ring inside his hand, when instantly he became invisible to the rest of the company and they began to speak of him as if he were no longer present. He was astonished at this, and again touching the ring he turned the collet outwards and reappeared; he made several trials of the ring, and always with the same result–when he turned the collet inwards he became invisible, when outwards he reappeared. Whereupon he contrived to be chosen one of the messengers who were sent to the court; where as soon as he arrived he seduced the queen, and with her help conspired against the king and slew him, and took the kingdom. Suppose now that there were two such magic rings, and the just put on one of them and the unjust the other;,no man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand fast in justice. No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a God among men. Then the actions of the just would be as the actions of the unjust; they would both come at last to the same point. And this we may truly affirm to be a great proof that a man is just, not willingly or because he thinks that justice is any good to him individually, but of necessity, for wherever any one thinks that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust. For all men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than justice, and he who argues as I have been supposing, will say that they are right. If you could imagine any one obtaining this power of becoming invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was another's, he would be thought by the lookers–on to be a most wretched idiot, although they would praise him to one another's faces, and keep up appearances with one another from a fear that they too might suffer injustice."

(The Republic, Plato, Internet Classics Archive)

[Plato describes a situation which I think is best understood in terms of the choice between individual and collective benefit. Where it serves our individual interests (as members and custodians of our society) to strive towards a collective ambition. In this way the recent mugging in London shows what happens when this ambition is inverted.]

TAGS

2011becoming invisiblechaoschoicecivil disobediencecivil societycivilisation • collet • fearforce of lawfree will • gold ring • Gyges • human actionhuman naturehuman willindividual gainindividualityinjusticeinvisibilityinvisible • involuntary acts • justice • keeping up appearances • lawlegallibertymagic • magic ring • moral dilemmamoralityopportunityownershipparablephilosophypiracyPlatopowerpower corrupts • ring • self-controlselfishness • shepherd • social responsibilitysuffering injusticeThe Republictheftunjustunjust power • virtue

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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