Saturday 19 December 2020

Our Civilisation –I


 Our Civilisation –I

At first sight, it might seem that modern human beings are very lazy. They get almost all their work done by machines. In fact, machines are man’s extra limbs. Man has made these limbs to work for himself. Cranes and lifts are extra arms to do the job of lifting.

Trains and motor cars are extra legs to do the job of walking and running.

However, it is difficult to imagine that man took all the bother of inventing machines to save himself the trouble of having to work. It is difficult to imagine that he made extra limbs for himself because of being too lazy to work. In fact, man is not lazy at all. He is the most restless and energetic of all living creatures.

Why then has man taken the trouble of inventing so many devices that save him the labour of lifting, carrying, walking, running and remembering? The only answer seems to be that these things bore him. They are not the things man really wants to do. So he gets machines to do these things for him. Thus he can have more time and energy for things that he really wants to do. But what things?

I cannot answer this question without pointing out the bad parts of our civilisation. However, that would not be fair to do without talking of the good parts first. We must praise our civilisation for its good parts. What are they?

First and foremost, we have order and safety. If today I have a quarrel with another man, I don’t get beaten simply because I am physically weaker and he can knock me down. I go to law, and the law will decide as fairly as it can between the two of us. Thus in disputes, right has taken the place of might. Moreover, law protects me from robbery and violence. Nobody can come and break into my house.

Nobody can steal my goods or run off with my children. Of course

There are burglars, of course, but the law punishes them whenever it catches them.

It is difficult for us to realise how much this safety means.

Without safety those higher activities of mankind which make up civilization could not go on. The inventor could not invent; the scientist could not find out; and the artist could not make beautiful things. Thus order and safety, though not civilization in themselves, are things without which civilization would be impossible. They are as necessary to our civilization as the air we breathe is to us. We have grown so used to them that we do not notice them any more than we notice the air.

We are also largely free from the fear of pain. People still fall ill, but illness is no longer the terrible thing it used to be. Now we have anesthetics to kill the pain of operations. People still fall ill, but much less often. To be healthy is not to be civilized, but unless we have good health, we cannot enjoy anything or achieve anything. No doubt, there have been great men who were invalids. They did all their good work in spite of their ill-health. But their work would have been still better if they had been in good health. Today, men and women not only enjoy better health, they live longer than they ever before.

Thirdly, our civilization is more secure than any of the previous civilisations. This is because it is far more widely spread. Most of the previous civilisations came to an end because they were surrounded by uncivilized people who broke in upon them and destroyed them.

That was the fate of Babylon and Assyria. That was the fate of Greece and Rome. The same thing happened over and over again in India and China.

Now, whatever the dangers which threaten our civilisation (and there are many), it seems likely to escape this one. Previous civilisations were like an oasis in a surrounding desert of savagery. Sooner or later the desert closed in and the oasis was no more. But today it is the oasis which is spreading over the desert.

The world has now for the first time a chance of becoming a single whole, a unity. So far as buying and selling and the exchange of goods are concerned, it is already a unity. The things lying in a grocer’s shop, for example, have come from several countries.

There are oranges from Brazil, dates from Africa, rice from India, and tea from China. No king, not even Solomon in all his glory, could draw on such rich stores of varied produce as the modern housewife who can does all her shopping at the grocer’s.

The fact that these things come to us from all over the world makes one thing very clear. It shows that, for the first time, the world has become a single place. It is no longer a lot of separate places shut off from one another.

New Words / Phrases and their Use

1. extra (more than usual) – Take extra care when you are among strangers.

2. invent (to make something new) – Graham Bell invented the telephone.

3. limbs (parts of body) – Machines are man’s extra limbs.

4. dispute (quarrel) – We have no dispute with our neighbour.

5. robbery (act of stealing by force) – There was a big robbery here yesterday.

6. violence (causing hurt or injury) – Gandhiji did not believe in violence.

7. anaesthetics (drugs causing sleep or numbness) – Anaesthetics save us from the

pain of operations.

8. invalid (unable to take care of oneself) – The accident left him an invalid.

9. secure (safe) – I feel myself secure with my parents.

11. savagery (cruelty) – Beating the child like that was an act of savagery.

12. previous (before the present) – He has no previous experience of this job.

13. several (many) – He has written several books on cookery.

14. sooner or later (at some time in the future) – Sooner or later you will have to

make a decision.

15. no longer (not now) – She no longer lives here.

16. separate (not joined to another) – The school has a separate building for

the primary section.


Textual Comprehension

I. Tick () the correct option to complete each sentence:

a. The modern man......

1. does all the work with his own hands.

2. has machines to do almost all his work.

3. has no time to take the help of machines.

b. Man invented machines......

1. to serve as his extra limbs.

2. to use his spare time and energy.

3. to make for him things of art and beauty.

c. Civilisation would be impossible without......

1. machines.

2. order and safety.

3. scientists and inventors.

d. Modern civilisation is like ......

1. an oasis surrounded by a desert.

2. an oasis spreading over a desert.

3. a desert spreading over an oasis.

II. Put a tick () or a cross () for each statement:

1. Man is lazy, so he invented machines.

2. Man in olden days enjoyed better health.

3. We have now the rule of ‘Might is Right’.

4. Order and safety are very essential for civilization.

5. The world has now almost become a single whole.

6. Previous civilizations were like an oasis in a desert.

7. The labour of lifting, carrying and walking bores us.

8. Anybody can break into our house without any fear of law.

9. Our civilization is not so secure as previous civilisations were.

10. Modern civilisation is in the fear of being destroyed very soon.


III. Answer each question briefly:

1. Why do modern human beings seem very lazy?

2. Is man really very lazy ?How can you say that?

3. Why do you think man has invented machines?

4. How can you say our modern civilisation has order and safety?

5. What does the law do when there is a burglary?

6. How are order and safety important for us?

7. What has made it possible to kill the pain of operations?

8. How is our civilisation more secure than any previous civilization?

9. How can you say that the world has become a single place?

Vocabulary Enrichment

I. Rewrite the misspelt words correctly:

(Not all the words are spelt wrongly.)

1. single 9. modren

2. truble 10. shoping

3. enargy 11. machine

4. scintist 12. opration

5. seprate 13. physicaly

6. creatur 14. houswife

7. terrible 15. srounding

8. happen 16. necessarey

II. Complete each sentence with the correct form of the given word:

1. Cranes do for us the job of . (lift)

2. Artists make things for us. (beauty)

3. To be is not to be civilized. (health)

4. Man is the most of all creatures. (energy)

5. Machines increase the of goods. (produce)

6. They are not the things man wants to do. (real)

7. We must praise our for its good parts. (civilize)


Grammar in Use

I. Choose the right word to fill in the blanks:

• past –– can’t be used as a verb.

We can use it as a noun, adjective, preposition or adverb.

• passed –– is a verb. It is the Vform of pass.

1. We cannot change the .

2. She me in the street.

3. He his hand across his forehead.

4. It was midnight when we got home.

5. He hurried me without stopping.

6. We through Ambala on our way to Delhi.

• fewer –– used for numbers.

• less –– used for quantity.

1. Today there were cars on the road.

2. I received money than my brother.

3. There were people in the park today.

4. We have to worry than our parents.

5. I read much now than I used to.

6. than twenty students passed the test this time.

II. Study the rules and then rewrite each sentence correctly:

• reason –– it is followed by that (not because).

• hardly –– not used with negatives.

• either and neither –– take singular verbs.

• double negatives –– never used in English.

1. She can’t never tell lies.

2. He did not do nothing wrong.

3. The reason was because I was late.

4. I can’t hardly tolerate such a thing.

5. Neither of the boys were able to do it.

6. We have two solutions; either are possible.

7. This is the reason because you fail every time.

8. The old man couldn’t hardly stand on his legs.


Pronunciation Practice

Rule : If a one-syllable word has two vowels, the first vowel usually

has a long sound, and the second vowel is silent. And if the first

vowel is i, in that case the word has the long sound; as ––


Underline the word in each pair that has the long vowel sound:

1. kit 2. ride 3. pine 4. rip 5. bit 6. fir

kite rid pin ripe bite fire

7. twin 8. pile 9. dime 10. sit 11. fine 12. slide

twine pill dim site fin slid

Composition Writing

Complete the following proverbs:

1. As you sow

2. Barking dogs

3. Coming events

4. Slow and steady

5. A bad workman

6. God helps those

7. United we stand,

8. Where there is a will


Prose Lesson :

In democratic countries, all are equal before the law. All have a

voice in deciding who shall govern them and how. But the sharing

out of money is still very unfair. The sharing out of money means

the sharing out of food and clothing, the sharing out of houses and

books, and of other such things. While some few live a life of luxury,

many have not even enough to eat and drink. They don’t have enough

to wear.

Even in the finest cities of the world, there are thousands living

in dreadful surroundings. There are many families of five or six

persons living in a single room. In this one room, they sleep and dress,

wash and bathe, cook and eat their meals. In this one room, they are

born, and in this one room they die. And in this one room, they live

not for fun, but for being too poor to have another one.

A still greater danger comes from war. You might say there have

been wars all through history and mankind has survived in spite of

those wars. That is true, but unfortunately in the course of his