Guns, Germs, and Steel Questions and Answers
by Jared Diamond

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What is the importance of a writing system to a civilization according to Guns, Germs, and Steel?

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Writing systems are vital to the development of civilization. Most cultures only began to truly develop and adapt once they achieved some form of writing. This is because transcription and record keeping have extremely important roles in human history. Writing acts to preserve the past and tell the stories of history so that we can learn lessons and grow. But more importantly, it allows us to record important information.

The first forms of writing were used to give instructions on building structures and cities, to create calendars so that humans had a better understanding of weather and harvests, and to instate laws and decrees for civilization. Without a written document, many of these things would have failed to be achieved, leaving civilization without much to build upon.

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The invention of and widespread use of writing by civilizations was integral to the concentration of hierarchy and state power. While writing certainly became a beautiful way to record artistic creation and the...

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