This is my third stab at the elusive concept of civilization, and I will keep on stabbing at it until I penetrate its hard skin and its soft belly. It is quite similar to the concept of families, of which it consists. Both concepts are untouchable, intangible, elusive and pervasive.
It is easier to say what it is not, than what it is. To describe something by what it is not is, is futile and accurate, but it will get us nowhere. Sometimes it is accurately described as the fabric of life - thin, it tears easily and it is full of wrinkles. It does not even fit at the seams and collapses if pushed into a corner - much like an infinite continuous function collapses in some of its finite solutions.