It was dry as was the once-mighty mayacivilisationen on the case. New research shows that the amount of rain that fell the civilisation in the territories of Central america more than halved and that this caused food production to collapse. The news came during the summer of last year, while a near-apocalyptic view emerged before us. Our söndertorkade pastures low in the fore – yellowish-brown, dead and deserted. The animals we had been forced to move to other areas where we had access to the undergrowth which grew in a stream bed. In the background, around the country, stood in the forests in the fire. Every day passed the aircraft over the us in search of new fires.
In most of the country half the rainfall compared with the normal. In some locations, the reduction was up to 90 per cent. When such extreme weather becomes the new normal we can expect that our society does mayacivilisationen company.
which is under threat, has become something that often is expressed in the warnings for what a warmer world will mean. ”Climate change from reaching its ’endgame’... what is at stake is the very survival of our civilization.” It is Hans Joachim Schellnhuber who says it, one of the world's leading climate scientists and an adviser to, among others, German chancellor Angela Merkel, the EU and the pope. The quote is from a recent report which describes how the scientific community has underestimated the risks of climate change.
What makes it all can easily feel a bit hopeless is that the greatest threat to civilization is civilization itself. Its constant search for new resources to fuel komplexitetens machinery is what is behind not only climate change but also the rest of the raddan of organic systemic crises. Civilization has a clear tendency to självdestruktion. If this testifies not only mayaimperiet, but also the rest of the history of all collapsed civilizations.
That so many still care about the civilization that samhällsform probably can in some extent be explained by a deep legacy in the conception of the development of humanity where civilization is regarded as the crowning. The type of society that we have always strived for, and that we will always strive for.
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All performances are doing well, however, to be reconsidered, and it also applies to the story of how we humans have ended up where we are going and roughly goes like this:
a very long time the people lived like savages. Roving in small groups, hunting and gathering, constantly an unsuccessful chase from hunger. A life as a 1600-century German philosopher Thomas Hobbes described as ”solitary, poor, tiresome, beastly, and short”.
Then there was a revolution, the neolithic. Humans learned to cultivate grain and domesticate animals, and, therefore, could settle down in one place, build houses and avoid having to hunt around so much. This meant that the first communities could emerge, which became states, which was to the magnificent civilizations to which people were drawn like wasps to the juice. All wanted to get part of the wealth that civilization offered. And so it rolled on, until the development has taken us to a stage where we could take the flight to New York city over the weekend to eat at a new fine dining restaurant, serverandes stenålderskost.
perhaps The most striking as I read the book is that people, contrary to the prevailing opinion, in general, not at all wanted to become sedentary farmers.
Roughly, so let it also when James C Scott, author and political scientist with a focus on agricultural history, taught at Yale university in the united states. Until he began to realize that the important part of what he taught did not correspond with reality. That during the last tens of years, seeped into a lot of new discoveries about the development of humanity which, taken together, meant that the old story needed to be written about in the essential elements. James C Scott sat in the desk itself, djupdök in forskningshavet and came up with a new book: ”Against the grain. A deep history of the earliest states” (Yale).
perhaps The most striking as I read the book is that people, contrary to the prevailing opinion, in general, not at all wanted to become sedentary farmers. They wanted particularly not incorporated in the first civilizations that arose in the Middle east. On the contrary, they did what ever they could to avoid this. The knowledge of how to grow cereals had hunter-gatherer had in at least 4,000 years before the first traces of rural communities. To a small extent were also this, but to hunt and collect wild plants seems to have been far exceeded to devote himself wholeheartedly to farming.
to become farmers are the driving forces behind the first states to have been others. One is the ecological changes – including as a result of a changed climate that made hunter-gathers-existence in the region of the Middle east which is often described as the cradle of civilization. Another driving force – and this is one of Scott's huvudpoänger – are they good opportunities for taxation as is provided in an agrarian society. To grow grain means a very hard work for the one who stands for the labour input, but for society's elite, it is mumma. Cereals are harvested at a given time: when the corn is ripe. It was, therefore, only to send out the tax collector as soon as the harvest was harvested. And since cereals, moreover, is relatively easy to move and to store was the value that people created the accumulate in the state's granaries.
By the emerging states in this way, the effective cut for themselves, of other people's production could increasingly larger investments to be made in the type of complexity that we associate with civilizations: hierarchies, towns, bureaucracy, specialization of work and advanced infrastructure.
It brought benefits and prosperity for society's privileged layer, but for most it meant the most, a hell of a slog, poor health and shortened life expectancy. So roughly, as Thomas Hobbes described it, non-civilized life.
started farming and in addition carry out large infrastructure projects required huge amounts of energy and the main source of power was during this time that people. Slavery was also in hunter-gather cultures, but in the state's direction were scaled up and became institutionalised. Scott argues that slavery and other non-free work, always have been, and in many ways still is, a prerequisite for complex societies.
He describes the first states that ”befolkningsmaskiner”, where the goal was to maximize the number of bodies of the state service. In the wars that raged between humankind's first states was one of the main krigsbytena slaves, especially children and women. Both in order to get more workers and for increased barnproduktion. States also made raids among the peoples of the civilization outskirts of the city in order to replenish the workforce.
No wonder that civilization was something that the common people during this time shunned. As Scott puts it in the book, the walls were built as much to keep intruders out as to keep taxpayers inside. It meant that these societies, how great they behaved, was the right fragile creations. They were plagued by more or less constant epidemics, internal conflicts and wars. They were always prone to collapse.
Which was a problem for those who constituted the society's centre. The collapse meant that they no longer had access to a device to rake in the surplus from the work of others. For people in general, however, it was less of a problem. For them could collapse, writes Scott, ”to be experienced as a liberation”. They moved out to the smaller communities, reduced its dependence on agriculture, eluded skattepålagorna, epidemics and tvångsvärvningarna to the constant wars.
to the stateless life that Hobbes had nightmares about could be enough so painfully and violently. But the collapse can also be a form of deliverance is at least a little consolation for us who are not convinced that today's civilization will be forever. For even if it is unique in many ways rests it – just like the first spannmålsstaterna – on a system where the majority are toiling hard to maintain a minority privileges. Its complexity is also based on large amounts of energy constantly supplied to the system, not so much in the form of human slaves, fossil energislavar. Which probably, and hopefully, will not be with us very long to.
With this in mind, it is a little comforting to read James C. Scott's low-key correction of the history of the development of humanity. It may, namely, the civilization's crown slipping badly on a slant. Thus also opens the possibility to think in new ways. If we don't have out of the gisslangrepp that civilization has on us, it also becomes possible to strive for a society of a different nature, one with less self-destructive tendencies.