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Building an Open Future [This Network is not currently active and cannot accept new posts] | | Topics
Do societies choose to fail? Is that what we are doing?Views: 243
Jun 25, 2009 2:05 pm re: Do societies choose to fail? Is that what we are doing?

Ken Hilving
Perhaps it is our concept of society and its role that needs to be looked at differently.

Diamond considers his societies as individual units. In this context, they rise and fall, they live and die, they begin and end. It is a convenient approach to examining human interaction, but is it the most useful approach?

In my yard there are a number of trees. The species is not important, but they are all the same. In 1970, the first one was planted. By 1989 it had reached its full growth. Disease, insects, and weather began taking a toll on it. Over the next 15 years, major limbs died or were snapped off by storms. In 2005, it seemed to be totally lost. I removed all the remaining growth, leaving only a large diameter stump several inches above the ground. The stump and roots were too large to easily remove, and I planned to let "nature" reduce this for another year or two before tackling that job. The following year, the first of the new trees sprouted across a large area. The second year, the a dozen new trunks rose up from the decaying trunk. This year, the new growth is again flowering.

Now it doesn't matter whether all this new growth is from seedlings or if it is from the original root system. Either way, the tree species is still in business. Whatever "killed" the initial tree failed to eliminate it. It may very well be that this new growth has changed enough, has adapted, has evolved to deal with whatever did the damage. It may be that the life cycle of this species includes an ongoing growth and decline element.

Isolated pockets of humanity have failed completely. Like the limbs first lost from that tree, they disappeared completely. Yet humanity continues on. In many more cases, the interaction of people changed, evolved, and continues.

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