Friday, 16 August 2013

The worst mistake in the history of the human race

That's Jared Diamond description of the shift from hunter-gatherer to agricultural society. This is an interesting article which muses on that idea in the context of the Göbekli Tepe megaliths (about which, I have to admit, I knew nothing). I think a bit of shortening would have done the article no harm, but it's got some good bits, e.g. on the Adam and Eve story as a parable for that mistake. I also liked this comment on archaeology: "Without any imagination, this is all a pile of rubbish", and this too:

"I saw one woman so pious that her burka didn’t even have an opening for her eyes. She was leaving a cell-phone store, accompanied by a teen-age boy wearing a T-shirt that said “relax, man,” over a picture of an ice-cream cone playing an electric guitar. ... I was reminded of Schmidt’s hypothesis that hybrid creatures and monsters, unknown to Neolithic man, are particular to highly developed cultures—cultures which have achieved distance from and fear of nature. If archeologists of the future found this T-shirt, they would know ours had been a civilization of great refinement."

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