Sunday, February 4, 2007

Quick Comment on Hughes

Just a quick comment on something Professor Tantillo said...

"Even though he pointed out some environmental problems faced by these ancient societies, the overwhelming impression that Hughes left was that these people loved and respected nature and had a oneness unlike that experienced in later civilizations. I would have imagined that a group of people more exposed to the harshness of life without the comforts of civilizations would have had some contempt for the difficulties posed by nature intermingled with their love."

Not that I necessarily disagree with the comment above, I just want to expand on it. Whatever oneness and respect the people of the neolithic and paleolithic age had for nature was probably more of byproduct of the fact that they had to bend to nature's will rather than an innate feature of their civilization. They did not have the technology to control nature like we do today, and so they had to adapt themselves as best as possible to what nature gave them. In today's world we can ignore nature for the most part. We may complain about the cold in Ithaca, but by and large, weather, wild animals, whether or not we can find medicinal plants or food to eat, do not alter our daily routines as those things would have for the people of these time periods. Yes, they probably had a deeper respect for and oneness with nature, but I do not think their mentality was all that different from subsequent civilizations. It was out of necessity that they appear to have been highly integrated with nature. I'm probably being a bit presumptuous. I guess we have no way of knowing what they were really thinking.

Go Colts!


Max L said...

I'm flattered that you think Jim made that post, but it was actually me!

You make an interesting distinction that is certainly possible. Like you say, in the end it's extremely difficult (bordering on impossible) to paint a picture of what was going throught the minds of those in ancient civilizations. Only by consulting the texts can we see the dominant ideologies of a given time period, but even this method is subject to limitations due to what has been preserved. But it makes for good academic debate nonetheless.


Chris Jennelle said...

You make some very interesting points Kara. To what extent though, do you believe we have control over nature today?

I would like to add that by necessity all societies and cultures that have ever existed are integrated and tied to nature, although some (and maybe an increasing proportion of) members of communities may be (have been) more removed from that reality for a variety of reasons. I am thinking that the degree of human integration with nature is what has changed most over time. What do you think?