Civilization a Disease

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: / Teaching / Society / Civilization /
@ K. 2008 09 04

Loren Eisley told the fable: astronauts look at the earth from space. At one distance it’s beautiful swirls of white against blue with lots of green. Quite a bit closer some gray blotches appear. Closer still, more gray blotches are apparent. Yet closer, threads of gray connect the blotches. Closer and closer, more and more is gray. With horror the astronauts realize that the blotches are cities, the threads suburbs and roadways … The astronauts are forced to ask the question: Is mankind a planetary disease?

thanx prairiefirenewspaper

Architect and planner Ian McHarg repeated Eisley’s fable at the beginning of his great book, Design With Nature, which is where I first saw it. Since then I’ve repeated the point with various phrasings: Is man a disease? Is civilization a disease? Routinely I hint that the correct answer is at least partly a big Yes. Oh, I don’t mean that that’s the right social answer; I mean that it has to be in large part true.

But talk even by philosophers in a natural language is rough. Today I refine it a bit:

Civilization isn’t a disease. Overpopulation is the disease. Civilization … churches, governments, schools .. are merely symptoms of the disease.


About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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