Previously we covered the first three steps toward building a civilization: 1. Establish founding principles 2. Limit government power 3. Support families Just as a disclaimer, this series of posts should not be used as a "How to" guide for building a civilization. Perceiving how popular my blog posts have become, I've noticed that if I give people the wrong idea they may write their own manifestos on their ideas regarding political philosophy -- which may then lead to marches on Washington and other anarchist behavior of various sorts, which I do not intend. With that understood, the next two steps toward building a civilization have to do with the life of the people. Every people has a lifestyle, and sometimes we get so caught up in our ideals that we forget how powerful that lifestyle can be when it comes to building something great. Step 4: Encourage culture Culture is all about establishing a strong, meaningful identity. Just as a family has a surname, a civilization must have customs, traditions and a culture that give it a face. In Medieval Europe, many surnames had a coat of arms. All over the world the flor-de-lis marks French influence. The Irish are affiliated with the harp, the shamrock, emeralds and the island’s forty shades of green. Israel was associated with Judaism and the Star of David long before the modern nation of Israel was established. In fact, if it weren’t for the distinct identity and culture of the Jews, they would have died out in the Diaspora of the Middle Ages. The same principle is true for all civilizations, so be sure to identify with the lifestyle of the people. Often the most lifelike portrait of a nation is found in the religion of its people, so encourage all religion and your people will naturally flock to the one that best fits them as they discover its deep communal power. Don’t try to draw an artificial face because it will reek of falsity. Do not in any way coercively promote a political system, philosophy or ideology. Let the country’s profile flow naturally from the lifestyles of the merchants, peasants, craftsmen, artists, professors, barons and noblemen. Don’t minimize the high culture by thinking they’re just rich snobs. Don’t downplay the subcultures by thinking they’re just products of impoverished haters. Embrace it all and the mosaic that comes of such colorful cultural expression will be revered and envied throughout the world.
Step 5: Plan your cities well A deeper sense of identity will also spring from a centralization of urban and cultural activity. Ancient and medieval civilizations had the same common layout for all of their cities, which created a sense of identity and familiarity for the people. Greek and Roman cities were built around forums, temples and baths; while medieval cities were built around churches and guilds. Even modern American cities developed around the iconic downtown area.
Your cities must make sense. A foreigner should be able to visit them and understand exactly how to get around, how to access necessities and how to get out. Your urban centers will say much about the humanity of your people; whether that humanity is good or bad is for you and them to decide. Not even the most closely monitored, most pristine city will be utopia, but a city can be ideal in the sense that it embodies your nation’s ideologies. Its centralization of activity makes cause and effect more apparent. Keep in mind that every city is interdependent upon a countryside and -- in today’s age -- a suburbia. Take these regions as a whole and you can get a snapshot of your country. See which cities are thriving, which ones are falling apart. If the ones that are thriving are still built upon your nation’s principles and identity, then you’re in good shape. Hopefully the ones falling apart have just lost sight of their roots. Otherwise you must not have followed my instructions and your civilization is doomed to fail, which is okay because--like I said in the beginning of part one--all civilizations are bound to fall apart eventually anyway.