Reply To: 3rd November: Joseph Tainter

Author Replies # Posted on November 14, 2014 at 11:41

Reply on Marcus by Ellen 2014-11-14

Marcus, yours and my reflection are quite similar I think, only expressed in different ways. I also regard “Human nature” a social construction which differs from time to time. You problematize on what a civilization is. Maybe a certain “human nature” often occurs within the conditions of civilization that will say if civilization is the same in time and space. I agree in your attempt towards a definition of the concept civilization: the reasoning on center and peripheries, power relations and spatial as well as psychological division amongst people, human and nature. Still in the distance, there are networks of interdependence within the organization of a civilization but often hierarchical.

In the past and in the present (as you also mention Marcus) there are many examples of humans not living in civilizations and cities. Much depends on focus, interests and physical findings. In the Libby Robin seminar we talked about history as non-linear. This is something to keep in mind when discussing civilization: we, human beings can go in and out of different systems, cultures and social organization. Nothing is set. This is an inspiring thought. I don´t view civilization as an agent which can be moral or not, but we humans within it are moral agents. We can change path for the civilization trough it´s systems such as politics. Therefor I choose to share your positive outlook of what a civilization can be. I also wrote in my text that we can call human stupid, but today we have something we never have had before in the past and that is intelligent technology which can help us to estimate the future, this trough research such as Tainters. We have the possibility to count on different future scenarios and alter the future we are heading, but we have to do it together with a shared goal. This is maybe also what you mean when you write we have no options right now but to live in civilization due to the highly populated earth and environmental load? We have to do it together and not as separated unities.