— Samuel P. Huntington
, Context: At least at a basic “thin” morality level, some commonalities exist between Asia and the West. In addition, as many have pointed out, whatever the degree to which they divided humankind, the world’s major religions — Western Christianity, Orthodoxy, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism — also share key values in common. If humans are ever to develop a universal civilization, it will emerge gradually through the exploration and expansion of these commonalities. Thus, in addition to the abstention rule and the joint mediation rule, the third rule for peace in a multicivilizational world is the commonalities rule: peoples in all civilizations should search for and attempt to expand the values, institutions, and practices they have in common with peoples of other civilizations.
This effort would contribute not only to limiting the clash of civilizations but also to strengthening Civilization in the singular (hereafter capitalized for clarity). The singular Civilization presumably refers to a complex mix of higher levels of morality, religion, learning, art, philosophy, technology, material well-being, and probably other things. These obviously do not necessarily vary together. Yet scholars easily identify highpoints and lowpoints in the level of Civilization in the histories of civilizations. … When civilizations first emerge, their people are usually vigorous, dynamic, brutal, mobile, and expansionist. They are relatively uncivilized. As the civilization evolves it becomes more settled and develops the techniques and skills that make it more Civilized. As the competition among its constituent elements tapers off and a universal state emerges, the civilization reaches its highest level of Civilization, its “golden age,” with a flowering of morality, art, literature, philosophy, technology, and martial, economic, and political competence. As it goes into decay as a civilization, its level of Civilization also declines until it disappears under the onslaught of a different surging civilization with a lower level of Civilization.
Ch. 12 : The West, Civilizations, and Civilization, § 2 : The Commonalities Of Civilization, p. 320