it’s a book i’m reading for a class. i’ve been trying to read it since last year but never could throw myself into it. around chapter 3 it kicks into high gear and begins to feel more relevant and pull itself together.

the whole idea of the book is to explain the history of the last 13,000 years. more than that…it is meant to answer why some countries/areas have and other have not. and how do you do that?

he gets into plant and animal domestication, the rise of urban areas and with it the rise of infectious disease, the inception of written language and the technology that follows. along the way he talks about human nature in varying circumstances from roaming bands that morphed into bigger tribes, still bigger chiefdoms and eventually the “states” that we all live under.

it seems all the more relevant now…as i watch the rubble and dust of lebanon…the smoldering fires where lives dwelled just a month earlier…grumbling about the price of vegetables or the nasty thing someone said to them…all the things that i grumble about here and at home…everyday ordinary grumblings…that for lebanon gave way to explodind bombs and muted voices of shock and death.

and i realize that we haven’t really come as far as we pride ourselves. we are no different than the spainards destrying the incas…the small pox infected blankets for native americans…the “civilizing” of aborginal children in australia.

we still build things up only to watch them topple at our own hand. we still create lives only to destroy those we see as competition or threat to our own…

people in bands and tribes killed each other for lack of centralized government to help reconcile disputes. chiefdoms killed to conquer and absorb other tribes. and states kill…well we kill now to move an imaginary line to a new imaginary place…we kill to “stay safe”.

all the things working against us…natural disasters and epedimic diseases and we can’t help ourselves…we must aid the destruction of ourselves. like a pack of antelopes – an animal unsuited for domestication because when frightened they run…and run…even if a fence is in the way. they will run themselves bloody…run themselves to death out of fear…

we have evolved no further…we run scared and run to death just the same.

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1 Comment on guns germs and steel

  1. Daniel T says:

    Just seeing the rubble left behind is pretty sad. I agree, as much work as it takes to build up a place, it is just that easy to take it down.

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