Monday, July 04, 2005

This is interesting. I read Guns, Germs and Steel a few years ago, have re-read it a couple times since, and found it very persuasive within certain boundaries (post-hunter-gatherer and pre-state; after that Victor Hanson's theories of how societies evolved make far more sense when all the facts are considered, before that Jared tends to romanticize just how awfully brutal and pointless hunter-gatherer life must have been).

Jared's a great writer and scientist, but he's definitely succumbed to a bit of Luddite madness. What a shame.

Sigh. Two great authors shatter my illusions about them in one week.

(h/t to the indispensable Pixy Misa)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, at least he's an interesting loony. I really, really wonder about people who extol behaviors they know little or nothing about. This Rousseauian BS about "noble savages" got old long ago.

I am especially incensed by those who go to "live" with non-modern societies, basically as tourists. They bring in food and medicines and supplies and who knows what. Then they get shepherded around by the youngest possible society member to keep the out of trouble and out of the other members' hair.

What a waste.

10:23 AM  
Blogger TallDave said...

You know, it's funny. In GG&S Jared goes on about how if anything modern hunter-gatherers are more intelligent than us because they have to be to survive in their harsher environment, and also points out they tend to kill each other with astonishing frequency. To then say "Gee, too bad we didn't all decide to keep living that way" is pretty hard to reconcile.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Roger Fraley said...

I liked GG&S but little of it stayed with me. I received the new one about how culturs fall apart as a Christmas gift, but it has received some bad reviews. So I don't know when it will come out of the 'to read' stack and actually be read.

2:50 PM  

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