English Argumentative Essay Paper on Civilization


            Civilization is the unification and the management of a group of people to create harmony within the society. A civil society operates in a certain way and has a set of processes that individuals within that society must follow in carrying out their daily activities. Civilization brings about social stratification and the separation of humanity from the natural environment. In a civilized society, a hierarchical structure exists to guide people on their daily operations and to prevent barbaric activities that arise because of lack of leadership. In other words, civilization leads to a centralized mode of operations where the special, economic and the political aspects of life in the society have a central source of authority (Ferguson 57). The idea began many years ago with the intent of giving humanity the ability to rule the natural environment and self-rule. However, civilization changes as time goes by to accommodate the new changes and the expectations of the world.

            Although the idea of civilization was coined to bring a peaceful coexistence in the world, different people have raised many concerns about the idea. Some view civilization as a colonial act that limits people by brainwashing them and deciding what is best for the whole world. On the other hand, proponents of civilization see it as a way to establish leadership and control over life issues that might otherwise degrade the value of life in the world. The novel ‘into the wild’ presents a story of a young person who exhibited a high level of contempt for civilization. As narrated by Krakeuer, Chris did not hold to value the kind of life that his parents had provided to him. Although he grew up in the upper middle class society, Chris felt trapped and needed to find more of himself, a quest that led him to the wilderness. In the story, he despises material possessions as depicted by his lifestyle while in college. Further, before he left home in the wilderness, Chris donated all his possessions to charity and burned the rest of his money an act that has received a lot of scrutiny from many authors (Krakauer 64). At his death, however, he appreciates the need for civilization, a lifestyle that he so much once despised. Therefore, this paper will present the two sides of the theme of civilization and later give a position that supports the need for civilization in the world.

            Chris and those of similar mindset view civilization as an interference that prevents people from discovering their potentials. Once a person is born, they are limited by the social stratification and the cultural activities of people within their class. Civilization encourages people to determine the worth of a person by their wealthy. As such, people end up committing different kinds of evils to achieve a certain level of wealth to fit in a certain social status in the world. Chris describes wealth as corrupt, shameful and as a source of evil. Consequently, material possession blinds people from seeing the true value of life and the relationship between humanity and the natural environment. Chris saw civilization as a barrier for humanity to connect with the natural environment, hence his rebellious nature towards such lifestyles (Krakauer 71).

            In the wilderness, Chris did not have to follow the rule of law and the societal approach of life that created a demarcation between the natural world and humanity. In fact, Chris refused to carry anything that would have helped him on his journey and chose to depend on the nature entirely. Civilization puts unnecessary baggage on people and confines a person’s view of life. Chris throws away his possession to make it easy for him to enjoy nature and learn without expectations. The journey into the wilderness presented Chris with an opportunity to understand himself better and to relate with the natural environment free of interference. Although he dies at the end of his journey, he was a happy young man because the freedom from civilization allowed him to understand his abilities (Krakauer 308). According to Chris and his like-minded friends, civilization prevents happiness and it does not give room for people to learn from their daily activities.

            On the other hand, civilization provides the much-needed order in the world, without which people and the natural environment cannot co-exists. The hierarchical structure of the civilized world ensures that resources are distributed equally depending on a person’s effort. Without the hierarchy, people would misuse the available resources and end of dead of starvation as is the case with Chris. The young man dies of hunger after trying all the available resources at his disposal. The tragedy is a clear indication that the natural environment is in much need of the human leadership to ensure the continuity of both animals and the environment. Additionally, Chris’s dependence on hunting and vegetables in the wilderness degraded the natural environment. Without the rule of law and the hierarchy of structure provided by the civilized society, the natural environment would be extinct. Consequently, civilization encourages people to work hard and become responsible. A civilized society rewards good and punishes evil, thus propelling people towards good deeds. The lack of civilization promotes barbaric acts and irresponsible behavior among young people (Ferguson 142). Chris uses a language that would not be correct for a person of his age in the civilized society. As such, civilization is presented as a mechanism that controls behavior by instilling morality in the society.

            Both sides of the civilization argument are valid, but the vitality of the idea of civilization in the current world outweighs its negativities. A civil society creates opportunities for people to achieve their dreams by making use of the available resources. Suffering and torture is not the basis of hard work. People can still achieve their dreams with the help of the society in a civilized manner. For instance, Chris would have not died of hunger if he had family of people around him. Civilization creates the need for unity and coexistence among people. In the end, Chris appreciates the modern way of living and indicates that true happiness is only experienced in the midst of the society.

The overlap of the idea of civilization in the novel indicates that there is need for the society to allow people to exploit their potential. The desire for Chris to fit into the lower class and to support the needy shows the vitality of social stratification in the society. Civilization can be used to serve the needs of different people in the society (Ferguson 69). Chris could have used his position in the society to interact with the needy rather than dismissing his position. Generally, civilization places people in different positions in life for a reason and finding one’s purpose yields happiness and peaceful coexistence.

Works Cited

Ferguson, Niall. Civilization: the six killer apps of western power. London: Penguin Books, 2012. Print.

Krakauer, Jon. Into the wild. New York: Anchor Books, 2011. Print.