RE: Why Europe is so Contrary

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Sun 08 Dec 2002 - 17:11:47 GMT

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    >From: Jeremy Bradley <>
    >Subject: RE: Why Europe is so Contrary
    >Date: Sun, 08 Dec 2002 20:31:55 +1100
    > >> > Snip......Grant:
    > >> >> for example, seems to mark the begining and end of the dynosaurs.
    > >> >> Mitocondrial eve marks the beginning of mankind. This way of
    > >> >> looking at the universe seems so engrained in our nature that it
    > >> >> must occupy some deeper place in our makeup than a cultural meme.
    > >> >>
    > >> >> Grant
    > >> >>
    > >> > I don't think so Grant cos some cultures, mostly ones that we have
    > >> > defeated, had achieved stability and sustainability within their
    > >> > environments. These folk view 'development' as undesirable or bad.
    > >> > For them harmony with the nature that they found themselves in was
    > >> > the primary goal of existence. In all cases that I have found, such
    > >> > cultures have narrative patterning and content which predicates this
    > >> > cultural 'norm'. That's the short answer. Jeremy
    > >>
    > >> Not many cultures that I am aware of have achieved this stability with
    > >> their environment, unless you include the possibility of 'die back'
    > >> when things are scarce. Most cultures expand to the extent of their
    > >> resources. If Hitler was not aware of this we would have been spared
    > >> WWII.
    > >>
    > >Other examples of enviromnetally suicidal indigenous tribes are the
    > >ancient Easter Islanders and the Anasazi indians of the American
    > >southwest. It is a meme and a myth, kinda like the old 'noble savage',
    > >'ancient sage' saw, that older cultures were always wiser.
    > >>
    >Look Joe, I know that I am a devout environmentalist but the only culture
    >that I am aware of which could be described as "environmentally suicidal"
    >is our modern industrial one. Just to touch the edges, if the 'developing
    >nations' were to 'develop' to the stage that the affluent West has it would
    >cost us another three planets worth of resources, and the pollution would
    >have killed us long before that anyway.
    >Peace, simplicity, and environmental care are what we need for
    >sustainability. If we could achieve those goals I would say that we had
    >reached a highly evolved state.
    >Only low animals foul their surroundings and waste their resources Joe. I
    >am not saying, "older cultures were always wiser". What I am saying is that
    >it is a meme and a myth that newer cultures are always wiser.
    Isn't there some sort of underlying theme of "cornucopia" (aka "horn of plenty") at play? People are deluded into thinking there's some beneficient force that ensures Providence and so we need not worry about resources. We should go forth and multiply and utilize nature to its fullest extent. As an example, a patch of unused woods is an eyesore and must be developed and thus become economically viable and fulfil the aesthetic ideal of having been shaped by human hands. Non-grass species of wildflower are "weeds" to be eradicated by some chemical spray or hoe. All non-ornamental species of plant are "inferior" and must be destroyed.

    Changing gears a little, the laissez faire attitude in economics probably relates (ala Smith's invisible hand) to some sort of Providential cornucopia. That's why economic conservatives probably believe in the
    "revenue fairy" who sprinkles pixie dust every time taxes are cut so the economy magically "grows", revenues increase and all is well with *our* world.

    Am I viewing cornucopia and providence in the correct manner?

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