> I was most struck by the connectedness people felt toward the land
> and history that we don't really have in a country like the US
> which has such a relatively short history. This is illustrated
> nicely by the passage:
> "I was aware too, quite suddenly, of what it was that attracted me
> to Europe and most of all to France; it was the sense of continuity
> and the permanence of small but eternal things, ...
> The permanence, the continuity of France was not born of weariness
> and economic defeat, but was a living thing, anchored to the soil,
> to the very earth itself..."
I was struck by this too. It got me thinking about the long-term history of
humans, and how the current transitions might be characterized (not that I
am necessarily endorsing the transitions).
Agriculture is apparently a fairly recent invention. Over millions of
years, hunter-gatherers were at the mercy of environmental whims. They
roamed all over the world, colonizing it. Then, just 10,000 years ago,
agriculture took root here and there, extended families further extended,
and from all this grew the great civilizations. One of these was (is)
Western European sedentary farming. This supported local kings and later
popular governments. Back at the height of this age, almost everyone was
tied to the land (they had no choice).
Now, very few people are tied to the land. Global culture, communication
and travel are rapidly emerging. People are subject to the whims of global
culture (operating as it were, like acts of God). They roam, going where
they can to get jobs and gather resources. Local bands such as corporations
and denominations provide ad-hoc community. This is becoming virtualized
and delocalized. In effect, community is no longer tied to the land either.
Are you sure that European-style sedentary agriculture is more desirable or
more natural than hunting and roaming in the global environment? What next?
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