Tribal Thinking

One of Andrew Sullivan’s readers retells a great story about some remote islanders who were removed to England in the 19th Century. The idea was to allow them to sample the benefits of civilisation and then share them with their peers back on the island.

It didn’t turn out the way the English expected, and it came as a terrible shock.

Apart from anything else I think it’s a good example – on both sides – that our thinking is more tribal than is sometimes given credit.

1 thought on “Tribal Thinking

  1. Antonio Dias

    The “new” car that Andrew Sullivan considers “an irresistible choice” may have been so for those of us conditioned to progress, but by any measure I think we’re past that. I think we’re about five years past the point when a new car had anything to offer over a previous model. Take the VW Jetta as an example. My ‘05.5 model Diesel gets between 48 and 65 miles per gallon and is like new after 200,000 miles. The “new” Jetta has been improved into a cheap simulacra and is still harder to afford – even if priced lower, and with zero down/zero interest. Electric cars are battery fetishes that add weight and complication without “solving” where the power is going to come from while adding cost, weight, new complication, and a new waste to the stream. – I could go on…

    Looking down at ways of life that were successful for tens of thousands of years by those in a culture that’s burning itself out after a few hundred has been one of the mechanisms leading to this collapse. It took brutal “conditioning” to get us to accept civilization whether that was in England, North America or Australia. The damaged psyches that have resulted can only see “poverty” in what was left behind and destroyed at every turn. True poverty, the kind we’re all getting more familiar with every day, results from the destruction of these cultures and the natural world that supports them.

    Grubs and rats may be hard on our palates, but we ay get a chance to get re-accustomed… If we’re lucky.


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