Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id UAA12742 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Sat, 8 Sep 2001 20:59:24 +0100 Message-ID: <001401c138a6$40349900$c406bed4@default> From: "Kenneth Van Oost" <Kenneth.Van.Oost@village.uunet.be> To: "memetics" <email@example.com> References: <F92mrvoGdKO8FNpyLAP00002957@hotmail.com> <002301c0d1b2$1464ad20$9d05bed4@default> Subject: Geographic Determinism Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2001 22:37:43 +0200 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit X-Priority: 3 X-MSMail-Priority: Normal X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2314.1300 X-MIMEOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.00.2314.1300 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
Vincent wrote on August 30,
" As I was typing about cichlids in isolated pools, I started thinking
about tribes isolated by mountain ranges, or large rivers, or whatever,
and the resultant changes in language, belief systems etc.
The following I wrote a time ago, but I never got round to post it.
Now it seems the time is ripe,
We all find it self- evident that the sea, the cities and the
country- side are infecting our individual behavior.
But does these areas also have an influence upon the political life and
upon the decisions which have to be taken !?
As an example we take mountainous terrain and we ask ourselves the
question_ does a geographic determinism exists !?
If we put the major mountain ranges out upon a map and we put the
the wars which are in progress at the moment on that map we distinguich
a remarkable resemblance.
Wars, like in Afghanistan, Chiapas, Kurdistan and Kashmir are all located
in mountainous terrain.
So, could mountains forfill another function than plains, cities and
Could they attract in a sense war !?
In order to determine this we have to examine which functions the moun-
If we draw upon our map also the major rivers of the world we see that
almost all rise in the mountains and that they throw themselves afterwards
Thus, the first function of mountain ranges is to sort out the watersupply
for the industry, irrigation and consumption and therefor they acts as
social and cultural but above all they act as possible political conflicts
If we draw now the real physical bounderies of the countries and nations
upon our map, we see that those rivers traverse many others and do
supply those with all kinds of fertilization and do make in that way a
connection between the mountains and the plains.
If we take a concrete example.
Asia, the plateau of Tibet gives rise to several rivers.
One is the Yangri Jaing which cuts through China and throws itself even-
tually in the Chinese Sea. But the same plateau gives also rise to the
Mekong river, which cuts through countries like Laos, Thailiand, Birma
and Cambodia and finally Vietman where she flows into sea.
China, by the way where the Mekong river is best know by the name of
the Yunnan, has thus an enormous potential to control the other coun-
tries which are mentioned earlier.
But, if that is the case, China is than also responsible for the huge
amount of air-, sole- and riverpolution and amounts to the economical
Africa, Egypt is for nearly 90 % dependent on the Nile for its water-
supply for its industry, agriculture and in a way for its nurture.
Egypt is dependable of other countries like Burundi and Ethiopia for
the flow of the Blue Nile, but also of Ugunda and Soudan where the
Nile cuts through.
Thus Egypt is very dependable on how it relates water to diplomacy.
In fact both are linked.
Because water has another function, namely energy.
Energy is important because most of the hydro- electric power
stations are built high up the mountains for their excellent position.
So mountains do have as functions;- providing energy and providing
enough water to substain industry and agriculture.
But they also provide a lot of minerals, that due geological reasons.
It is of course very clear that many industries will profit of this and
for that reason they will setlle themselves into the mountains.
Like in Chili, for copper, New- Guinea for gold and on the peninsula
of Kola for nickel.
Such enterprises do have an enormous direct influence upon the en-
vironment:- disafforestation and polution.
Also, most of the profits don 't seem to help the local residents of
This of course is the direct motive for political tensions and this gives
sometimes rise to armed conflicts, generally bloody suppressed by
the army which does defend the interests of the great industries.
In other words, mountains do obtain also another function, that
of excellent hiding- place for starting guerilla warfare.
Mountains provide thus excellent places to hide from colonists and
from the central control of the state.
Such a function fulfil the mountains for the Kurds, for the Afghans
in the Hindu Kuch and of course the plateau of Tibet where rebels
could resist for a long the Chinese occupation.
Mountains, forests and plains are those elements which do make
how long a war would or could last.
Mountains can thus, in a way protect the cultural and ethnical heritage
of a whole people; can in fact protect a certain way of life, but are also
reasons for a kind of economical discrimination.
If we look at statistics we do notice_ sometimes in the same country,
enormous differences in life expectancy and life quality between people
living cities and people living in mountainous areas.
In India, the provence of Himachet Pradech it gross income is only 1/2
of that of the whole of India. The difference in gross income between
Manilla and the Mindanoa- area is also 1/2.
Also, Nepal, Laos and Birma are mountainous countries and their
gross income is serious lower than average and they stand economical
If there is than none political system which share out what little of
food they can harvest tensions will built up. To escape from poverty
extremes are than possible.
A coincidence, but one that is in fact none, will that the almost com-
plete production of heroin and cocaine occurs in mountainous areas_
Peru, Columbia, Bolivia, Laos, Cambodia,Thailand, Pakistan.
Why this coincidence ?
There exist a conjunction between the soil and the climate but also the
socio- cultural influences are playing their part.
Misery, poverty, suppression and economical arrears are making that
drugs and thus the traffic in drugs are one way to get an income.
It seems of course very evident that the mountains themselves are not
to blaim, but rightly the low standard of life.
It must be also very evident that the political system of those countries
play its part, but also the culture, the social and political environment of
those countries which do import the drugs are playing an important role.
We can also assume examples which do work the other way round, like
Chili and Argentina, but Austria and France too where the mountains
do provide an income for their residents due to their touristic appeal.
The mountains do give tourism thus a push in the right direction, but
tourism itself helps the mountains and the people to develop themselves
There is thus no strict geographic determinism, but there is well a certain
specialization, with its low profits, its sparse population, thus almost
none infrastructure, thus the people are kept from the central decision
making processes and from development aid programs and thus are
in fact marginalised.
Governments do have the tendency to look at people living in moun-
tainous terrain as those who do not want to express their willingness
to work for the general/ regional interest.
They don 't want to become modern, they say !!
In myths and legends the sea is often compared with openness, with
having a view upon eternity and the world.
Mountains were often compared with being enclosed upon themselves,
with having a view directed to the skies.
(This is adpated from a TV- show)
Now the questions,
Is there a specific memetic development for such areas thinkable !?
Highly probable there is, so can we derive a Memetic Determinism
from this !?
And if so, do there exist other areas and/ of specific scientific/ social/
political/ cultural distinctions which can hide a Memetic Determinsm!?
How would we define Memetic Determinism !?
Is there a Memetic Determinism for cities like London and Milan ( fashion),
New York ( theatre/ the stock exchange), Washington ( The White House),
Moscow ( Kremlin), Peking ( capital city of the yellow danger) or
Brussels ( capital of the European decision making process) !?
Can we determine a Memetic Determinism for countries like the USA,
Russia, China, Cuba or England, and if so out what consist this !?
Can we indeed determine a Memetic Determinism for people like
Bush, Putin or Fidel or Kennedy ( I am a Berliner) or for Luther King
( I have a dream) !?
Can we in fact determine a Memetic Determinism for technologies,
ideas, fashions, habits, traits, definitions !?
Is there a Memetic Determinism involved in cases like suicide, murder!?
Is there a Memetic Determinism involved in things like ethics and morality!?
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