Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains:
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Civilization /
As a kid I loved civilization. I loved the city. I loved crowds. I loved what comes with big populations: Broadway, Times Square, Coney Island … museums, jazz clubs … Yankee Stadium. I loved fresh-hardened asphalt and new municipal street lights.
That didn’t stop me from my childhood default position of wanting to be a cave man: no school, no fire drills, no air raids, no practice for nuclear attack … no authority.
As an adult, reading science by the great teachers, the great synthesizers — Asimov, Sagan, Calder — my position changed radically. I wasn’t copying any position of theirs, I was forming my own (though no matter what position one forms, expect it to resemble in some respects some long-rejected heresy of the past: very handy for one’s enemies, if their will to misunderstand is strong enough). We’re large social predators: pack hunters. Sentient, intelligent, we make a nice accent on the green earth, provided there aren’t too many of us. We want to see vast grasslands, thousands of antelope, and a lion or two; not vast urban blight billions of humans, and not grass or an antelope in sight.
Basically I’ve been agreeing with English science journalist Nigel Calder who led me out of love with agriculture.
Now, greatly complicating the situation, comes a theory from Climate scientist Nick Brooks:
|“Civilization did not arise as the result of a benign environment which allowed humanity to indulge a preference for living in complex, urban civilized societies,” he told the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
“On the contrary, what we tend to think of today as civilization was an accidental by-product of unplanned adaptation to catastrophic climate change. Civilization was a last resort,” he added.