For those of us who study what has gone wrong in the West, the question of civilization and The Human Problem — what keeps destroying our best efforts at functional societies — go hand-in-hand. As one of those, you may be familiar with the Our Civilisation site run by Philip Atkinson.
He sends the following analysis of the reason civilization is important, how it goes wrong, and a hint at how we can restore it:
A civilization is a dominant society.
And a society is a shared understanding, expressed in a shared language, which makes our species so powerful.
And this understanding’s strength is won by shared beliefs about right and wrong that bestow common purpose, energy and unity, which is the society’s religion.
Hence 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.