Behind Civilization ISBN: 9780980856620, 2nd (English) Edition, copyright and written by Gavin Huang.
The author offers a list of seemingly well-qualified individuals as a group of translators who “partially contributed to the translation of this edition” and mentions the fact that the books first print was December 2015. He then provides 18 chapters of prose. In the first 16, or slightly over half of the book, he sets forth his understanding of civilization per se – what it is; the driving force behind it; its direction; how it is disseminated; elements required for its accelerated advance; importance of society’s orderly functioning with respect to social output; the forces controlling individual behavior to insure an orderly society; how society manipulates social output; the position of various “internal and external controlling forces” as they function to maintain social order; logical thinking; “concepts and the objective existences”; the fundamental interrelationships of nature; body and social systems as “parallel expressions of energy in the universe”; the nature and rules of technological development; “the mechanism of social evolution and the impacts of the information revolution and the biological revolution”; “Beauty and interrelationships”. Chapters 17 and 18 comprise the last half of the book and present material supporting his understanding of the mechanisms behind the rise of Western Civilization and that of China with much discussion and comparisons of differences among similar and/or inter-relative factors. Some references are included.
Discussion: The author has attempted to offer a total evaluation of modern civilization.. Literally, he attempts to cover every possible internal and external modifying factor and the many interrelationships that exist. Included are mental factors from basic needs to those psychologically and/or sociologically dictated; physical considerations ranging from minutia with regard to blood elements and immunology to construction of a building; numerous additional facets of social activity and societal mores; economics including features offered by wealth, population distribution, and more. The chapters comprising the last half of the book, also ‘ramble’ a bit, but do provide an interesting comparison of the direction of development of the two cultures and the causative factors that dictated each of their directions.
Conclusion: In this reader’s opinion, the author in attempting to be all-inclusive and provide easily understood interrelationships in the first 16 chapters regrettably has presented simply a mass of material in a rather simplistic manner. The approach may prove to be of interest to some readers, but others may find it to be difficult to accept. The last half of the book (Chapters 17 and 18) set forth pertinent observations, albeit in somewhat of a ‘rambling’ fashion, but nevertheless intriguing.
3* Dichotomously; 4* for the second half; 2* for the first half.