Cultural Diffusion

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"People change their ways mainly because some kind of stranger has brought a new thing to their attention." – William McNeill

In A History of the Human Community, William McNeill explains the creation of many civilizations through the ideas of cultural diffusion. Cultural diffusion is the exchanging and adaptation of ideas amongst people of the world. It is a constant force that allows us to accept and modify an idea to mold into our own world. Throughout great civilizations of history, the idea of cultural diffusion has spread and continues to spread in present time. This idea usually enforces contact between neighboring strangers. McNeill addresses the specific issue of how cultural diffusion came to shape new civilizations and how new ideas have spread to others.

McNeill's thesis of cultural diffusion strengthens our knowledge of how civilizations were created. People of the world could take these ideas and be able to build upon it. Brand new ideas can be created from ones that are adapted. We can clearly see today that whenever a new option is presented to us, we change ourselves to adapt. In the Neolithic era, civilization utilized the source of fire to preserve food so that they could extend the length of its expiration and use it for leftovers. Another strength is knowing that people could trade their resources to one another having two different terrains or lands. It is another form of expansion.

However, there are many questions or weaknesses on exchanging ideas. We do not know where the center of creativity of a civilization has come about. How does an idea begin? How did the idea of producing food arise and how did they learn to farm? A big weakness is always that question of "how" arising from all civilizations and are these ideas being spread the same from Mesopotamia to America?

Our theme of Conflict, Growth and Change can be indirectly related to the cultural diffusion of societies. After the defeat of war at Salamis,...
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