Thursday, December 20, 2007
A short history of humanity:
- First, tribes: tough life.
- The defaults beyond the intimate tribe were violence, aversion to difference, and slavery. Superstition: everywhere.
- Culture overcomes them partially.
- Rainfall agriculture, which allows loners.
- Irrigation agriculture, which favors community.
- Division of labor plus exchange in trade bring mutual cooperation, even outside the tribe.
- The impulse is always there, though: "Kill or enslave the outsider."
- Gradual science from Athens' compact with reason.
- Division of labor, trade, the mastery of knowledge, plus time brought surplus, sometimes a peaceful extended order and, rules diversely evolved and, the cooperation of strangers - always warring against the fierce defaults of tribalism, violence, and ignorance.
- No one who teaches you knows what will happen.
George H. Walker Endowed Term Professor of History
University of Pennsylvania
School of Arts and Sciences
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