Wednesday, July 2, 2014

We live in a stupid age.

There will come a moment in the future where they will call us what we are: a raving hoard of idiots committing thermocide – death of the climatological moment which made our system possible, and perhaps the destabilization of what makes settled agriculture, of any kind, possible.

Before settled agriculture was possible, humans would live in bases, such as caves, which were near enough to supplies of food and water to make semi-permanent occupation possible. These very early settlements are, from the genetic evidence, before the domestication of almost all grains with the possible exception of Rye, before all animals other than the dog – and this expressly includes the animals we eat – before domestication of any trees that we can determine. This may mean that they had access to wild types that they sowed or planted, but it is before what we term, "the neo-lithic revolution," that combination of advanced stone tools, domestication, social structures, basket weaving, markings, and in some cases pottery and fermentation, that dramatically changed the face of human life.

The old narrative of an "Agricultural" or "Neo-Lithic" – in this case for the last phase of the stone tool era, not for a revival – was modeled after the idea of "the Industrial Revolution." This concept, which first appears in France under Napoleon, is seen as the economic phase of the French Revolution – which was projected by many of its adherents to be a wide ranging change, not just in the government, but in every aspect of society. In particular, the reach of rationality into social organization, which included: the Metric System, the Code Napoleon, attempts at Atheism as the state norm, universal rights, and modern meritocratic bureaucracy. The economic challenge was to bring the changes that had transfigured England's economy, to France. This concept became the narrative of the Industrial Revolution, not as a phase of some other revolution, but as a process in itself, one that lead to the modern age and its advanced standards of living.

One can call this the "Whig Narrative" of progress – long slow application.

However, both narratives, and the meta-narrative behind them have taken a beating in the face of research in the last 30 years.