History in Two Pages When we survived by hunting and gathering we had to know our environment intimately.

We knew every sign, every clue, every whim, color and mood of plants, animals, rocks, the air and the water of the world we were part of. We knew the world around us, as we knew our skin; it was our skin. When food was harder to come by, or winter came, we moved on. Our way of life was predicated on leaving the environment as we found it: a hunter-gatherer learns early that he must not destroy, nor change his world; his life and the life of his children depends on finding the same world again next year and the year after. The aborigines I knew did not feel there was a boundary between them and the trees, the animals, the sky, the rain, the sun. Today, that oneness is but a racial memory for modern man. Those of us who try to re-capture that feeling of oneness, call it mystical and declare that we have no words to describe the experience. No words because our memories of that oneness date from before we had words. Being one with nature worked for 100,000 (or more) years: we survived and multiplied a little. —— 00 —— 00 —— Then, only a few thousand years ago probably, we moved a giant step up the ladder of evolution: humans learned how to control the environment. We invented what we now call agriculture. We developed grains and other crops. We domesticated some animals. No longer one, we learned I and other. Surviving became toil and hard work ‘by the sweat of our brow’. Wresting the products we needed from a limited environment —using only a small piece of the landscape, but using it intensively —made nature the adversary. Wind, rain and sun became enemies, to be cajoled, begged, guided, used and forced to do our will. We learned to defend ‘our’ territory from ‘weeds’, unwanted animals and humans. Our new way of being-in-the-world required the eradication of competing species. We discovered specialization, creating hierarchical societies with bosses, soldiers, farmers, men who do some things, women other things. Varying degrees of wisdom developed internalized controls. We found ways to live together without coercion: more effective to control with ‘culture’, the all-pervasive network of habits, customs and values, that—for a while, at least —maintained a stable society at a level of comfort and health (and close to zero growth) for sometimes hundreds of years. This too ‘worked’: we had more food, more things, and first gradually more of us. However, a life style of ‘more’ inevitably leads to depletion, desertification and ultimately the destruction of our environment: we waste our world. —— 00 —— 00 ——

robert wolff 1996 . When everyone is everyone’s enemy. across the earth: migrations on a scale never before known. 'Change' became the goal. We rely on ever more oppressive governments to control us. or were moved. and virtually no knowledge of the consequences of the changes we so vehemently demanded.2009 . We compete rather than cooperate. invading every last bastion of privacy. As a result of modernization and urbanization millions of people moved. none of them were able to survive the latest big step up in evolution: the sudden explosion of ideas and values that occurred when in the last few centuries Man thought himself the ‘owner’. no longer the means—although we had scant knowledge of the direction in which we should change. We got drunk on the technology that allowed us to change the very earth to our whims. We demand—and get— armies of enforcers of the laws we ourselves made. We learned to kill each other with easily available super weapons. law and politics.Although some cultures were more successful than others in maintaining environments. resulting in the destruction of fragile cultures. —— 00 —— 00 —— Then perhaps earth can heal herself again as she has done so many times before. while throwing away a growing number of our fellows who we lock behind bars. we may well eradicate ourselves. —— 00 —— 00 —— Today we have indeed changed: instead of culture we have entertainment.

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