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Guns, Germs, And Steel - A Discussion 
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Post Guns, Germs, And Steel - A Discussion
Let the discussion begin...

As I delve deeper into this text I'm left to wonder what Jared Diamond will eventually conclude about the value of preserving the various primitive or hunter-gatherer societies that still exist throughout this world. I posted an article written by the author of The Wizard of Oz yesterday in our "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" forum where Mr. Baum clearly advocated exterminating the few remaining Native Americans shortly after Wounded Knee wiped out the final remaining proud leader Sitting Bull. If you haven't read the article I strongly recommend it as a total eye-opener about the prevalent mentality of the American people back in the early days of our "great" nation. My stomach still hurts from reading this authors words, as yours may too.

So is there any intrinsic value in the Aboriginal Australians society? What about the remaining Native Americans living at sub-poverty in American reservations? Are they to be considered failed peoples as Frank Baum suggests, or should we do all that we can to keep them from going extinct? Should we be diligent in preserving the multitude of languages and dialects still spoken today? Or should our efforts be to artificially select for a small handful of languages in an attempt to bring the various peoples of the world closer to being the ideal of "one" people.

Once extinct forever extinct. Whether it be a people, language, aquatic plant or species of owl...once gone forever gone. I have yet to get deep enough into this book to hear what Professor Diamond has to say about this dilema, but I have a feeling this will be one of the best books I will have ever read. These issues matter. They effect us all. We are the conquerers and we have the responsibilities to behave compassionately, morally, etc... Then again...is conquering a people or society ever the right thing to do? One could argue that if we didn't wipe out the Indians another technologically advanced European people would have. So better us then them, right?

Chris

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,
for there you have been, and there you will always want to be."

-- Leonardo da Vinci

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 6/4/05 5:19 pm



Sat Sep 07, 2002 1:51 pm
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Post Re: Guns, Germs, And Steel - A Discussion
I have not yet read Baum's words, though I shall do so shortly.

With regards to maintaining cultures etc, Its a tough line. I certainly think that those hunter-gather societies deserve to be left alone, and not incorporated into our melange of cultures, only to have them lose their identity and become the poorest of poor. Language, skills, living habits, and parts of their culture that we may consider barbaric, we should leave untouched. Its not our place to meddle.

However, in already industrialized nations, where regular interaction for trade and technology is the norm, I think we should push for one solid language to unite us. As Sagan pointed out numerous times in his writing (not in Demon..although I suppose this could be some sort of unity of what we've read...), we as a species will never reach any great distance of space without unifying as a people of the Earth. One language is the only way I really see that as feasible. Languages preserve cultural identity, but, in today's industrialized world, there really is precious little cultural identity left. Language at this point is only a factor holding us back.

This above all: to thine own self be true,And it must follow, as the night the day,Thou canst not then be false to any man.--William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Edited by: ZachSylvanus at: 9/7/02 2:24:41 pm



Sat Sep 07, 2002 2:10 pm
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Post Re: Guns, Germs, And Steel - A Discussion
Of particular note to me so far was a part I read this morning on Francisco Pizarro's subjugation of the Incas. It made me nauseous, not only because of the horrible slaughter wrought by the spaniards, but by how eager they were to do so.

And in the name of God, no less.

This above all: to thine own self be true,And it must follow, as the night the day,Thou canst not then be false to any man.--William Shakespeare, Hamlet




Mon Sep 09, 2002 11:58 pm
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Post Re: Guns, Germs, And Steel - A Discussion
Zach,

Yeah, that's the part that I have trouble with too. I can understand that war and killing will exist as humans, like other species, compete for land and resources. But why do so many humans enjoy killing? It almost seems as if there is a hunger driving some people to kill. Why is this? I've watched people die. I've watched animals die. I don't see anything pleasant about it. But some people get a thrill out if it. They hunt for sport. They feel good and triumphant about killing their enemies. If I were ever responsible for taking someone's life, I can't imagine feeling the least bit good about it, even if the situation was unavoidable.

Cheryl




Wed Sep 11, 2002 10:47 am
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Post Re: Guns, Germs, And Steel - A Discussion
The thing about killing someone in the name of religion is, you raise victims of the other side to Martyr status, for the other side to rally around, and the battles get out of hand fast. I think this is something smarter, more successful societies figure out, and stop....as an illustrative point, when was the last time a westernized nation went to war for religion, and when is the last time say, a middle eastern nation supported killing in the name of religion.

Now, with the notable exception of Israel, who's technology was supported to them in part by their allies, and in part because their citizens came from westernized nations, compare the technology and humanitarian levels of those nations that still use religious war, versus those that do not.

This above all: to thine own self be true,And it must follow, as the night the day,Thou canst not then be false to any man.--William Shakespeare, Hamlet




Wed Sep 11, 2002 1:32 pm
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Post Re: Guns, Germs, And Steel - A Discussion
Even though I haven't read this month's selection, I hope you don't mind if I step in, guys.

As far as the remaining primitive societies that exist within industrialized societies, I think the only moral choice is to allow them to thrive as best they can. We may even need to assist them in some ways. The Native Americans, for example, have had more to contend with in the past then their adherence to primitive methods and beliefs. The reservations we have placed them in were often barren lands fit for neither farming nor industrial use. That is one reason we gave them these lands. Cruel, to say the least.

Furthermore, we have only just recently been making attempts to clean up the hazardous wastes our federal government has been dumping on these selfsame reservations for years. Talk about guilt.

But a good point is brought up...certainly there can be an argument that they are a conquered people. To the victor belong the spoils, as the term goes. This is the way the world is. Populations thrive, resources run low in overpopulated areas, and the ambitious seek opportunity in conquest. Be that as it may....conquest inevitably leads to horrible crimes against humanity.

So, while we cannot repair the harms of the past, there must come a time when conquest can no longer be allowed. It seems that this time is now. As a whole world, we need to establish boundaries that will never again be broken. While conquest may have been the way of the past, it seems that...to evolve morally...to move forward as a species...we have to leave conquest in the past. We also, as much as possible, need to address the conquered. Easier said than done, to be sure.

Edited by: Thurkon17 at: 9/16/02 7:56:30 am



Mon Sep 16, 2002 7:54 am
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