Above us, Only Sky

Politics, Philosophy, Science, and Everything Else.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

In praise of Jared Diamond

I'm working my way through Collapse, a book by Jared Diamond. There is a lot of doom and gloom in this book- he relates the storeis of several human societies that have gone from a heyday when anyone within the society would likely have thought it would last forever to a total collapse leaving most of the people dead or adrift. I'm not far enough to know what he says about our own society, but I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and guess that we're not immune to collapse ourselves. All our technology and culture and yadda yadda just shifts the burden of all the crap we're doing into the future. Not that I'm expecting doomsday, but our leadership doesn't seem to have anything on the guys who ran all those others civs into the ground.

Anyway, I highly reccomend Collapse, as well as Diamond's earlier work 'Guns, Germs and Steel'. I haven't linked these names to a book store because I figure people should support their local independant booksellers. Ok, that's pretentious, really I'm just too lazy to go out and find them, but seriously, google the names and you'll find a dozen place's that will sell them to you.

My favorite part about 'Guns Germs, and Steel' is that it shows the old stupid white-person assumption that our current dominance has something to do with natural superiority to be total crock. See, ignorant yahoos look at the world and see that people of a certain hue are more likely to be in charge of big countries and corporations, and they make tribalistic assuptions (from those of similar hue) that that hue is indicative of a positive set of qualities), or (from those equally ignorant types of other hues) that there is a big conspiracy going on. It has nothing to do with race, you morons, it's a historical quirk. The sole advantage (not a negigible one, admittedly) is that the natural tribalism of people will cause those already in power to promote the power of those like themselves, rather than basing their favor on things like ability and need. Race is an empty concept- it has no meaning beyond what is created by those who believe in the concept itself.

Arg. Book reccomendation turns into rant. Sorry. Ignorance pisses me off.

So, anyway, beat back the stupid by reading smart books. Read Diamond's two books.


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