Despite the history of humanity being the rise then fall of civilisations, humanity has been unable to define what a civilisation is; as humanity has also been unable to define what the Human Condition is. However, by defining civilisation it has become possible to also define the Human Condition.
A civilisation is a dominant society. A society is a shared understanding won by shared beliefs about right and wrong, which is the society's religion, that bestows common purpose, hence unity and energy. Thus, the moment the religion stops being passed from parents to children, the shared understanding is lost, along with common purpose, energy and unity and the society collapses. Hence:
Civilisation is the Blossoming then Shrivelling of the shared understanding known as 'society'
expressed in a unique language and founded upon a unique religion
manifested as the rise then fall of a dominant society.[✱]
A civilisation is the greatest achievement of humanity as it is the most powerful creature on the planet: its understanding, strength and senses are unlimited by biology so its potential for achievement is limitless, until it goes senile.
A civilisation has a life-span decided by the length of time it can maintain its founding religion, because every understanding is permanently founded upon its beliefs about right and wrong. Hence, these must be passed by society from generation to generation. This process is not perfect so every new generation has a number of disbelievers who in time become a majority, whereupon the shared understanding is lost and the society becomes senile. That is, common purpose is lost along with social order as the civilisation discards its traditions so changing from a disciplined citizenry into a mob. A process that corrupts its institutions and replaces science with superstition, so sinking the civilisation into chaos, delusion, poverty and impotence.
Hence the understanding blossoms when citizens revere a shared religion, so winning wealth, order, knowledge, security, clear identity and sensible purpose. But shrivells when citizens no longer revere a shared religion, so winning the opposite. A rise and fall revealed in its use of language, because the use of words is the exercise of understanding.
This theory is the result of the study of the changes overtaking the Australian community circa 2000, see A Study of Our Decline.
It improves our understanding of ourselves by explaining:
You can test the theory by visiting Toastmasters and judge my claims yourself.