Before about 3500 BC, there were cultures, but not civilizations. Prehistoric men and women created societies, constructed houses, lived in villages, hunted and fished, farmed, made pottery, wove cloth, and created languages. But unlike more advanced peoples, they did not build cities, read, or write. Cities are the cornerstone of civilized life because with them came other civilizing elements, including differentiation of classes and employment, sophisticated religious and political systems, monumental architecture, and the formation of states and empires.
Historians usually begin the story, of civilization with accounts of the world's first great writers and city-builders, the Sumerians. Because the Sumerians recorded ideas and sagas and listed the names of their rulers, we know more about them than about prehistoric about prehistoric peoples who left their legacy in stones, bones, and pottery.
With the ability to build cities and record thought came the ability to communicate ideas and innovations over vast reaches of time and space. Human beings—who had formerly taken hundreds of thousands of years to learn that a stone ax sharpened on both sides is more useful than an ax sharpened on one side—progressed rapidly from foot travel to horse drawn carts, and later, from railroads to airplanes. With these and thousands of other innovations, people came to live Longer, more comfortable lives.
Civilization also brought new ills to humanity. In the 20th century, it brought nuclear carfare global warming, and ozone depletion. More subtly, civilization removed human beings from regular encounters with the wonders of the natural world. Unlike people of modem civilizations primitive people lived close to the sounds and smells of forest and grasslands. They locked at fire and the stars with awe and reverence. Civilization involves the ability to create a new political and cultural world. In the 19th century, the American writer, philosopher, and naturalist Henry David Thoreau noted that this artificial sphere separates humanity from primitive virtue. "Most of the luxuries, he argued, "and many of the so-called comforts, of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevations of mankind." Thoreau believed that men and women should simplify their lives.
Even those ancient pioneers of civilization, the Greeks, mourned the lost innocence. They expressed this sense of regret in the story, of Prometheus and Pandora. Contrary, to the wishes of other Gods, Prometheus brought to humanity the gifts of fire, art, and science. The jealous gods were unwilling to allow men and women to enjoy, such blessings without cost, and so they sent Pandora to the world with a box containing disease, sorrow, and other evils.
Thus, human beings have viewed civilization as a mixed blessing. Civilized people have waged brutal wars, destroyed majestic forests, and persecuted religious minorities. But civilizations have also achieved wonders.
46. Which of the following represents civilization of people?
A) They build houses. B) They have societies.
C) They live in a group. D) They can write.
47. "Sumerians" in the second paragraph refers to ______.
A) a person B) a group of people
C) human beings D) prehistoric people
48. In paragraph 4, there is a sentence given by Henry. Thoreau, "Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts, of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevations of mankind." This sentence means ______.
A) Most luxuries and comforts are important and can improve the quality, of people's life.
B) Most luxuries rind comforts are not so important for they cannot improve the quality of people's life