I have a question about Guns, Germs, and Steel?

For the discussion of philosophical books.

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Post Reply
happy9z
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:35 am

I have a question about Guns, Germs, and Steel?

Post by happy9z » Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:37 am

Do you think that?
Does history and culture follow different courses for different peoples because of differences among those peoples’ environments, or because of differences among those peoples themselves? In other words, is a people’s behavior determined more by beliefs and values, or more by environment?

Impenitent
Posts: 1841
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: I have a question about Guns, Germs, and Steel?

Post by Impenitent » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:45 pm

language is the trick

-Imp

User avatar
chasw
Posts: 65
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:21 pm
Location: Seattle USA
Contact:

Re: I have a question about Guns, Germs, and Steel?

Post by chasw » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:32 pm

happy9z wrote:Do you think that?
Does history and culture follow different courses for different peoples because of differences among those peoples’ environments, or because of differences among those peoples themselves? In other words, is a people’s behavior determined more by beliefs and values, or more by environment?
happy: Diamond's book is a fascinating history of the human race, covering some of the same ground as the early posts in my blog "onhumanaffairs". His account is mostly about germs, very little about guns and steel. In any event, I'm convinced all Homo sapiens have essentially the same instincts and innate capabilities, regardless of where and when they lived. I accept Diamond's claim that the differences in how much individual population have achieved is largely due to their environments, with some luck thrown in. I tend to see the world through the eyes of an anthropologist. - CW

User avatar
Arising_uk
Posts: 11154
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:31 am

Re: I have a question about Guns, Germs, and Steel?

Post by Arising_uk » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:38 pm

If you want the Guns and Steel part then you could do worse than complement Diamond's book with John Keegan's "A History of Warfare".

User avatar
chasw
Posts: 65
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:21 pm
Location: Seattle USA
Contact:

Re: I have a question about Guns, Germs, and Steel?

Post by chasw » Sat Sep 07, 2013 1:18 pm

Another good book along the lines of guns and steel is "Conquest" by Hugh Thomas, a highly recommended account of the invasion of Mexico by Hernan Cortes and his small army of mostly Spaniards.

Thomas points out that one of the more important factors that gave the Spaniards an advantage was their fine steel swords and armor from Toledo. Against these - and the Spanish war dogs, horses and cannon - the Mexicans with their stone tipped clubs were no match, in spite of their vastly superior numbers. Also, the Mexicans were accustomed to a form of battle that was partially ritual, involving tribute and captives for slaughter, while the Spaniards were accustomed to fighting for territorial conquest of Al Andalus (Moorish Iberia).

Interestingly, Cortes' front line fighters included a few women and free Africans. In those days, slaves serving the Spanish in the New World were readily available native Americans rather than expensive imported Africans. - CW

EchoesOfTheHorizon
Posts: 375
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:08 am

Re: I have a question about Guns, Germs, and Steel?

Post by EchoesOfTheHorizon » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:40 am

I accept the idea of environment only to a extent. We have monolithic building societies in the pacific islands, Mayan and Aztec jungles, in the deserts of the Middle East, Persia, and Gobi Desert, and warm easy Italy and Greece. We seem to be committed to very generic goals across humanity once you throw a little hierarchy and economy of any complexity into the mix beyond the mere tribe or village.

I think we are pushed more by a confrontation of limitations that we are consciously aware of, such as the Roman emulation of Etruscan, Carthegianian and Greek societies, the need to build and farm on their scale.... without the man power.... turning to a ever more expanded concept of slavery as a basis of the oeconomia of the red publica. They brought it far, far past what Athens could with it's Slave Mines, or what Syracuse could pull off. Same goes for how they sought to aquaire wealth beyond the rustic, traditional agricultural mode, turning to trade like Carthage did despite prohibitions against aristocrats doing such things. They had a acute awareness of limitations, and compensated for them. We we are aware of them, we can do anything, even go to the moon. It is a abstract awareness of a solution to a need, one that other societies would just abandon and go nomad, or migrant to another state.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest