The Flawed Culture of Civilization, Cities, Empire and Agriculture!

This is a long video, and sometimes drags on a point, and rambles at time. But it raises many interesting questions :

  • Perhaps our current destructive behaviour is rooted in settling down/agriculture, where we started to say “this is our food, on this land, and nobody else should touch this”. Its superiority over “letting nature grow it” and hunting/gathering is assumed – but questionable, truly. And there’s some evidence too, at least enough to raise questions. Inequity, war, growing populations and the vicious cycle of need for “more” may be traceable back to this. (Watch from 00:57:00 or so)
  • The idea of cities as the coming together of human beings that surpasses the carrying capacity of the land, and inevitably needing to import resources from other places, people, species. There’s less left for others, and none for other species. Human superiority and entitlement are assumed.
  • Technology and science started with helping understanding natural systems, but without tools/an understanding of how to use them, helped us merely “use nature” instead. Techn-fixes have helped push out reality, and assume it’ll get fixed, despite the continuously divergent path. (watch it from 1:08:00)
  • We have lived inside this dominant culture for 10,000 years, ignoring millions of years of existence before that. We see this as the only possibility, the only truth. To add to this, our instinct developed around the immediate danger – fight/flight – and we cannot get worked up about anything even a little in the future.
  • We’ve gotten disconnected, through our social/economic/political systems – with nature, and cannot feel/think for it. There have been older cultures – e.g. some Native American ones – which considered the impact of any action on the 7th generation before taking it – but we’ve lost that by now. We have an abusive relationship with nature, and even society around us. Its built upon power, exploitation, looking at everything as a “resource” – not upon neutrality, need, empathy.
  • We’re largely addicted, distracted, and unlikely to stop easily. Even if you see it, you feel trapped/helpless – “so might as well enjoy it while it lasts”. If we buy/consume more, we’ll feel better. Denial comes naturally, easily.  We’re unable to accept/see clearly where we are, and unable to have a clear idea of where we want to go. So lets do what we’re doing, as long as we can. (Read about resource availability that talk about “forseeable future” of a 100 years!!)
  • “Civilization” has taken away our capability to think. We cannot but act in a herd. The fact that this culture has multiplied and taken over the planet is not reason enough to believe that this is better than the many others, more long lived ones before this one.
  • We have to question and drop economic growth, corporation controlled everything, consumption. And a lot more that each of us grew up learning to be true. Its tough (especially since we’ve let it come to this), but the alternative might just be much much worse.

I’m that narrator, I guess, minus the melodramatic music and commentary. I do believe in the “somehow”. And will keep looking for it. Maybe even act to create it in a small way. The small band-aids will not solve things – fundamental shifts will. I can only hope those will happen, one way or the other. What else can I do? I have my descendants to answer….

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3 comments

  1. Sagar

    Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs and Steel – one of the finest popular reading books on human civilization) for one says that agriculture was, all this equal, one of the worst things to happen to the planet, and covers a lot of aspects that you have touched upon here.

    There has to be a fundamental shift if we have to last the next 100, 200 years as ourselves – one can imagine androids and machines surviving and if that is a viable choice for many so be it – starting with moving away from this notion that nature owes us our survival and so we can do with it as we please and that we are entitled to a dominion on all that we see. Quoting from above, “We have an abusive relationship with nature, and even society around us. Its built upon power, exploitation, looking at everything as a “resource” – not upon neutrality, need, empathy.” I think this sums up everything quite well.

    Many will take a “oh that’s so communist” view on such statements but then they are truly missing the forest for the trees.

  2. sameershisodia

    Yeah – people tend to use tags and jargon without trying to understand the underlying truths and behaviour. Socialist/communist are very different thoughts – and distinct from each other too. Its not about what we’re doing amongst ourselves as human beings, and which ism is better than the other. Its about the humility to accept that we’re governed by natural laws, and finding our place within that context – Isms and language be damned.

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