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Essay/Term paper: All things are relative

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Definition Essays

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All Things are Relative

The dictionary defines civilized as "advanced in social customs, art, and
science". The keyword here is social customs. A persons idea of what is
civilized is relative to his culture. Through out the history of man, one can
see many changes in customs, and customs is what defines our idea of what
is civilized. The word civilized is one of the most relative concepts.

Time and distance are what have shaped our customs for thousands of
years. If we look back throughout history we can see many customs that
may seem odd, or even barbaric, to us but were everyday events to these
ancient people. For example, the Aztec conducted sacrifices, to their Gods,
in which they torn out their victims heart with a knife, and their priests and
warriors proceeded to eat the victims flesh. Yet, the Aztec were considered
to be one of the most civilized group of Indians in the western hemisphere.
The Anasazi, commonly called cave-dwellers, who from birth, used wood
and bindings to elongate the head. Even today in Japan, tradition says that
women are supposed to walk ten feet behind their husbands. This may seem
like demeaning women to us but who are we to judge when the United
States has had a long history of racial and ethnic discrimination and only
now are we changing.

The society in Brave New World has not lost their values but has simple
changed their idea of what is right and wrong. After all, how much have we
changed in the past 600 years. Six-hundred years ago in England, we killed
people for conducting scientific experiments and believed this was against
the teachings of the church. The society in Brave New World is a mirror to
our own when we view the past. If a person from the present were to see
the sacrifices and eating of the human flesh by the Aztec Indians, that person
would see it as barbaric in contrast to his own culture. Isn't it true that what
we view as barbaric or uncivilized is always in comparison to own. Doesn't
it stand to reason that in a society without families, they would view
monogamy as uncivilized? This society has been shaped by hundreds of
years and will continue to change in the years to come.

Many of the civilized behaviors for the society of Brave New World are
very different from our own. The main concern was to keep everyone
happy. Two efforts to do this were to teach them to be selfish and take
soma. The reason for taking soma was to induce happiness through
euphoria in much the same way alcohol and marijuana behave. Also when
are people the happiest? When they're pleased, so this brings about the act
of being selfish with the thought that you must do what you have to in order
to be happy all the time. They also believed in not having families which
stemmed from the fact that the Hatchery Centre produced all the babies and
when you have no families, their is little reason to get married ;therefore,
sexual promiscuities come into play. Finally, they were also conditioned to
believe that you should never be alone, for being alone used up little
production and the use of little production has an effect on the factories that
could possible shut them down. If the factories in an area were to shut
down, a significant amount of jobs would be lost and people would not be
able to support themselves. This would cause homelessness and poverty
which were not allowed in this culture.

With time and distance people's cultures diverge. This has been true for
a millennia past and a millennia to come. It should be apparent, that when
comparing past civilizations with our own, that the word civilization is
relative.
 

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