Psychogeographical determinism + other post-triptofan thawts on Diamond's Guns, Germs + Steel


11/27/2020> The footnote to our jerked Turkey dance:

We thawt this bird wood be our last but ends up we discovered a frozen chicken in our icebox from back before the election, when we stockpiled sum provisions in case the world went to hell in a handbasket, which still might happen December 14th, we'll see...

Finally finished Guns, Germs + Steel by Jared Diamond... took us months not just cuz it's long but it's quite involved + ambitious... "A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years" is not far off the mark (tho strangely it seems he (or his publisher) has since changed the subtitle to "The Fates of Human Societies"). Can't imagine how long it took the dude to write it since it crosses so menny disciplines in both history + sighence (Diamond hisself is an ornithologist... what does that say about bird-watchers yo!). The fact-checking alone must of been quite a feet (we caught 1 error on page 397 where he says "The southernmost Bantu people, the Xhosa, stopped at the Fish River on South Africa's south coast, 500 miles east of Cape Town"... the Fish River is 500 miles due north from Cape Town (we only know this cuz a few years ago when we was driving north from Cape Town to Namibia the Fish River was quite the formidable canyon that took us hours out of our way to get around). If the Xhosa stopped 500 miles east of Cape Town they would have reached the southernmost tip!)

The book is basickly about why assholes suckseed... a geographanthropologic treatise on why certain humun sillivizations did better than others (i.e. how they wiped out the competition). Even tho it's not riflected in the title (guess it just wouldn't of had a nice ring to it if so) but language + agriculture are the 2 main drivers of "success" (in terms of world domination) + it's intresting how the evolution of landgauge + agriculture are intertwined (specially for us since our primary interest is language/art + our bedder-½'s primary interest is agriculture/food).

Diamond doesn't really take the Lord of the Flies effect into account tho (he touches upon it briefly in the "idiosyncratic individuals" passage twards the very end but these are more what-if scenarios, i.e. what if Hitler died in 1930). Diamond thinks of groups of people + not so much about their beachmaster leaders who are the assholes that usually control the fates of peoples. Granted it's indicative of a population the leaders it lets take the reigns, which is what is so disheartening about the current state of America—not the fascist clown in charge, but that masses of Amerikins that voted for him.

Diamond skirts a dicey line in some of his button-pushing claims. In order to be politically correct he often does this thing where he'll say stuff like that he thinks Papua New Guineans are smarter than Europeans + while this is a feel-good affirmative-action sorta gesture to compensate for all the racist European-dominated rhetoric in the past it is racist nonetheless. It is silly to think of any population as "smarter-on-average," some people + peoples are just better adapted to their environments. This comment in particular struck us as fundamentally racist/flawed in its thinking:

I expect that if the populations of Aboriginal Australia and Eurasia could have been interchanged during the Late Pleistocene, the original Aboriginal Australians would now be the the ones occupying most of the Americas and Australia, as well as Eurasia, while the original Aboriginal Eurasians would be the ones now reduced to downtrodden populations fragments in Australia.

It's absurd to think along such lines... if "Aboriginal Eurasians" evolved in Australia, they'd be Aboriginal Australians. It's like saying "if an orange was an apple it would grow better in Washington" or "if an apple was an orange then it would grow better in Florida," but if an apple was an orange, then we'd call it an orange + the "orange" wrapped in apple packaging would be an apple. Humun populations are directly tethered to the landscape they evolved in, it's pointless (not to menshun racist) to think of a pre-existing race as if it existed separate from the landscape. Such a scenario sounds like something a biblical scholar might say, not a sighingtist. Perhaps in the Anthropocene or Holocene (current era) w/ all it's displaced peoples socio-political sighingtists can consider such stupid thought experiments, but the Late Pleistocene (11,700 —129,00 years ago) is when these populations were establishing themselves as to what they became. Diamond certainly knows all this (that populations are products of their landscape) but his thinking strikes us as humun centric... for eggsample saying "Australia's 17,085,400 people thought so highly of sheep that they kept 161,600,00 of them" seems backwoods in its logic. To us (an anonymous posthumun), this is testimony as to the effectiveness of sheep to manipulate humuns for their continued survival + evolution.

We of course ruminate on all this thru the lens of the selfish machine theory we're developing in thriver meme, the new project we've embarked on which is by no means sighingtific but hides uner the veil of artistic liberty. We don't just think about how geography has shaped humuns, but all the other parasitic/reciprocal "reevolvers" as we call them (technological + agricultural antecedents, viruses, language, etc.) that have co-opted humuns for their continued propagation (+ humun proliferation is an unfortunate by-product). Humuns are so self-consumed in their own history that they overlook the fact that we are mere pawns in a bigger picture. Diamond talks about "geographical determinism," a term we've never heard of + that evidently he subscribes too. He defensively says the label geographical determinism "gives people the idea that humans are passive robots helplessly programmed by climate, fauna, and flora." Our sentiments exactly.

815 <(current)> 817> Living @ 1% to circumnavigate (but not summit) Cloud Peak + sleep @ West Ten Sleep Lake
[  (ɔ)om.Postd 2020  anon I'm us  |  calamari archive   ]