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Description of Five Epochs of Civilization
Five Epochs of Civilization tells the story of humanity in terms of five civilizations that have appeared successively since the formation of Egyptian and Mesopotamian city-states in the 4th millennium B.C. It is also a discussion of how world history might be coherently arranged to describe humanity's collective experience.
Behind this scheme is the idea that civilizations change with the introduction of new cultural (or communication) technologies. Writing in an ideographic form accompanied the beginning of civilization itself. Then, two millennia later, the invention of alphabetic writing brought a turning point in human societies, associated with great philosophers and religious prophets. In the 15th century A.D., the direction of society changed once again when printing was introduced in western Europe. Then, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, several inventions related to electronic communication brought an age of mass entertainment which is with us to this day. Another civilization is now on the horizon inspired by the development of computers and computer networks.
While other histories have also noted the importance of writing, printing, and other media in human culture, Five Epochs of Civilization explains their impact upon the structure of society. For, modern society is evolving into an ever more complex and pluralistic set of institutions. World history reflects that process. The type of monolithic political empire found in imperial Rome or Han China tends not to last in the modern age. World religion, commerce, secular education, and popular culture also help run society as separate power centers. Each institution is related to a cultural technology that appeared at a certain point in time. So world history describes how the world of human society came to be.
Five Epochs of Civilization aspires to be a universal history - a history suitable for all peoples, free of ethnocentric bias. It treats western ascendancy in the economic, cultural, and political life of the world, apparent at the end of the 19th century, as a phenomenon of the third civilization. The story of this civilization includes not only the initial thrust of European expansion in the 16th century but the late 20th century reaction to this.
Besides illuminating the past, this kind of history also suggests scenarios for the future. Civilizations are societal and cultural entities that experience life cycles. Each rises and falls in a predictable pattern. Knowing what happened to past civilizations at a similar stage in their life cycle will therefore help to anticipate the course of today's society as it develops further. 

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