Currently viewing the tag: "civilization"

Civilization existed before money, but probably wouldn’t have gotten very far without it. Ancient humans’ invention of money was a revolutionary milestone. It helped to drive the development of civilization, by making it easier not just to buy and sell goods, but to pay workers in an increasing number of specialized trades—craftsmen, artists, merchants, and soldiers, to name a few. It also helped connect the world, by enabling traders to roam across continents and oceans to buy and sell goods, and investors to amass wealth…

In the centuries that followed, trade routes forged more cultural connections between nations and regions. Besides exchanging money and goods, traders also spread religious beliefs, knowledge and new inventions, creating cross-pollination among far-flung cultures. –The Journey of Humankind: How Money Made Us Modern By Patrick J. Kiger

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story that shows how money spreads between cultures.

Journaling Prompt: How does money exchange feel to you? 

Art Prompt: Spread of civilization

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a story of how trade and money created today’s world.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Chard  on Flickr

Le Jour ni l’Heure 0452 : William Hole, 1846-1917, Arrivée, 1068, de Marguerite de Wessex, future reine d'Écosse et sainte Marguerite, 1898, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Édimbourg, samedi 14 avril 2012,12:43:56

Men deprived of female company quickly became fearsome creatures, and Trevor believed you could argue that civilization was in fact the invention of women, or at least the invention of the men who wanted to please them. If it were not for the ladies, Trevor often proclaimed, especially after a few beers, humanity would doubtlessly still be roaming the forests in animal skins. –City of Darkness by Kim Wright

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story, poem or haiku about an all-male civilization gone bad.

Journaling Prompt: Who creates the civilization in your family?

Art Prompt: Men as Fearsome Creatures or Women as Creators of Civilization

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a humorous story about men gone wild

Photo Credit: Renaud Camus on Flickr


Thermal imaging technology might one day be to identify drunks before they become a nuisance in bars, airports or other public spaces. Georgia Koukiou and Vassilis Anastassopoulos of the Electronics Laboratory, at University of Patras, Greece, are developing software that can objectively determine whether a person has consumed an excessive amount of alcohol based solely on the relative temperature of different parts of the person’s face. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write about a future where people are routinely scanned for blood alcohol level.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel that society should handle public drunkenness?

Art Prompt: Are you drunk?

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the line between civil liberties and the public right to safety.

Photo Credit: paukrus on Flickr

city of seattle

As any urban dweller can tell you, the one thing that’s constant in city life is change. Buildings rise up and are torn down; parks bloom out of old train tracks; swimming pools become ice rinks that become arcades and then turn into Whole Foods. For this reason, urban historian Spiro Kostof calls the city a “process.” Cities change with the peoples that live in them, but they are also a repository of history. Even as we relentlessly build new structures, we prefer to remain in these old places where we can live in what’s left of cities and cultures that are hundreds or even thousands of years gone. –Annalee Newitz

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story with the city as your protagonist.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the changes you’ve witnessed in the city where you live (or your home town).

Art Prompt: The City

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell the story of your home town and how it has changed over time.

Photo Credit: Ron Henry Photography on Flickr


Edifices, either standing or ruined, are the chief records of an illiterate nation. -Samuel Johnson, Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene or story that revolves around the ruins of an ancient civilization.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the feelings you had when visiting a ruin or ghost town.

Art Prompt: Ruins

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the lessons we can learn through studying the ruins of ancient civilizations.

Photo Credit: James Whitesmith on Flickr
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…an advanced civilization must grow faster than the frequency of life-threatening catastrophes. Since large meteor and comet impacts take place once every few thousand to million years, a Type I civilization must master space travel to deflect space debris within that time, which should not be much of a problem. Ice ages may take place on a time scale of tens of thousands of years, and so a Type I civilization must learn to modify the weather within that period. –The Daily Galaxy

Writing Prompt: Write a story about a technology that modifies the weather or protects the planet from space debris.

Journaling Prompt: What do you believe about global warming? Do you believe that there is anything you can do to affect it?

Art Prompt: Advanced Civilization

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience why you believe scientific research and progress is so important.

Photo Credit: Thomas Tolkien on Flickr

Macaque - Monkey Cave Temple - Thailand

What does it mean for a civilization to be a million years old? We have had radio telescopes and spaceships for a few decades; our technical civilization is a few hundred years old … an advanced civilization millions of years old is as much beyond us as we are beyond a bushbaby or a macaque. -Carl Sagan

Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, or poem about a civilization that is millions of years old.

Journaling Prompt: Write about what you believe our world will be like in 50 years.

Art Prompt: Ancient civilization

Photo Credit: Pavel Sigarteu on Flickr
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The plague microbe had developed no special traits that allowed it to emerge with regularity and unhindered in Europe for five centuries. Crowded cities, poverty, misinformation, and perhaps too much faith in a powerless clergy and medical profession made the plague into the scourge that changed history. These same factors, more or less, exist today. –Anne Maczulak, Allies and Enemies: How the World Depends on Bacteria

Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene about a modern day plague.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about sensationalistic reporting of diseases like the bird flu? How do you distinguish between fear mongering and facts?

Art Prompt: Plague

Photo Credit: otisarchives2 on Flickr

NBP Gold

What would happen if something rare, and therefore valuable, all of the sudden became common?

A lovely world indeed is Galgala the golden, where myriads of auriferous microorganisms excrete atoms of gold as metabolic waste. It is everywhere on this planet, the lustrous pretty metal. It turns the rivers and streams to streaks of yellow flame and the seas to shimmering golden mirrors. Huge filters are deployed at the intake valve of Galgala’s reservoirs to strain the silt of dissolved gold from the water supply. The plants of Galgala are turgid in every tissue, leaf and stem and root, with aureous particles. Gold dust, held in suspension in the air, transforms the clouds to golden fleece.

Therefore the once-precious stuff has grievously lost value throughout the galaxy since Galgala was discovered, and on Galgala itself a pound of gold is worth less than a pound of soap. But I understand very little about these economic matters and care even less. Only a miser could fail to rejoice in Galgala’s luminous beauty. We have been here six weeks; we have awakened each morning to the tinkle of golden chimes, we have bathed in the golden rivers and come forth shining, we have wrapped our bodies round with delicate golden chains. -Robert Silverberg, The Travelers

Writing Prompt: Create a story about a valuable commodity that suddenly becomes common. What happens to your world?

Journaling Prompt: What beautiful and/or rare item do you wish were common and why?

Art Prompt: Gold

Photo Credit: miong on Flickr


Life is about relationships. What happens when people are rejected and locked out of relationship with others?

…belonging to a group was probably helpful to our ancestors. We have weak claws, little fur, and long childhoods; living in a group helped early humans survive harsh environments. Because of that, being part of a group still helps people feel safe and protected, even when walls and clothing have made it easier for one man to be an island entire of himself.

But acceptance has an evil twin: rejection. Being rejected is bad for your health… They don’t sleep well, their immune systems sputter, and they even tend to die sooner than people who are surrounded by others who care about them.

Being excluded is also associated with poor mental health, and exclusion and mental health problems can join together in a destructive loop. People with depression may face exclusion more often because of the symptoms of their disorder — and being rejected makes them more depressed… People with social anxiety navigate their world constantly worried about being socially rejected. A feeling of exclusion can also contribute to suicide.

Exclusion isn’t just a problem for the person who suffers it, either; it can disrupt society at large… People who have been excluded often lash out against others. In experiments, they give people much more hot sauce than they can stand, blast strangers with intense noise, and give destructive evaluations of prospective job candidates. Rejection can even contribute to violence. An analysis of 15 school shooters found that all but two had been socially rejected. –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write about a character dealing with rejection.

Journaling Prompt: When have you felt rejected? How did you act? How did it affect you?

Art Prompt: Rejection

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write about the problem of exclusion and rejection in our culture.

Photo Credit: Annie Wu on Flickr