Civilization is basically a mental state; not just infrastructural exhibitions, designs, and provisions. This fact is best illustrated by Ralph Waldo Emerson, when in his work Society and Solitude he charged: “The true test of civilization is not the census, nor the size of cities, nor the crops –no, but the kind of man the country turns out.
When we talk about civilization and the modern man, we should talk of what kind of people we are, not what kind of inventions and discoveries we have made. When we try to characterize or assess a civilized man, we should question: Is he humane, kind, and passionate? Is he gentle, intelligent, generous, and creative?
Is he internationalist, color-blind, and philanthropic? Is he peace-loving, philosophical, and humble? Is he mystically inclined, curiously exploring the potentialities of the inner self that could be developed and used for the benefit of society?
Is he an adept in his profession? Is he a Universalist committed to a worldly religion and philosophy as opposed to a fanatic proselytizing for a sectarian fundamentalist movement that espouses an extreme concept of God?
Show me a person or society with these positive qualities, and I will you a civilized individual or community. In fact, a nation, society, race, community, organization, class, or individual with these qualities is indeed civilized.
The fundamental issue now is where on earth can one find such individuals or groups with these remarkable qualifications? That is why when we call an individual or a society civilized; we need to be careful in our definition. The concept is so highly abstract that we must specify in what aspect we express or define it when we use it to evaluate individuals or group.
I have come across some civilized beings and organizations, but they are few. Civilization is a model and goal, and modern man, despite all obstacles, is striving to attain it.