The 12-volume work contains more than 3 million words and about 7,000 pages, plus 412 pages of indices. He argues that civilizations continue to grow only when they meet one challenge only to be met by another, in a continuous cycle of “Challenge and Response”. He argues that civilizations a study of history arnold toynbee pdf in different ways due to their different environments and different approaches to the challenges they face.
Creative minorities find solutions to the challenges a civilization faces, while the great mass follow these solutions by imitation, solutions they otherwise would be incapable of discovering on their own. Toynbee does not see the breakdown of civilizations as caused by loss of control over the physical environment, by loss of control over the human environment, or by attacks from outside. Rather, it comes from the deterioration of the “Creative Minority”, which eventually ceases to be creative and degenerates into merely a “Dominant Minority”. He argues that creative minorities deteriorate due to a worship of their “former self,” by which they become prideful and fail adequately to address the next challenge they face.