After having just rewatched “Fiddler On the Roof” for the first time in quite a few years, but having viewed it countless times as a youth, as discussed in my last post…I’m left with a few thoughts that just sprang out of that. Got my imagination churning.
That seems to be the problem with an imbalance in power. If any group gains an advantage, whether through technology and wealth or superior brute force, those unable to defend themselves will always lose out. And that’s what’s happened again and again and again and again, all across the world and up through the ages. In most recent times modern, overly-developed civilizations have managed to pretty much wipe out or at least severely threaten and actively undermine the livelihoods of nearly all indigenous peoples to where NONE remain untouched and unaffected by Western influence. Papau New Guinea was the last hold-out thanks to its tropical diseases warding most off until quite recently. One anthropologist got in to live with and study them in I believe the 1970s, and then shortly after that the penetration occurred.
Looking to South America we see indigenous populations being impacted right and left. There’s a documentary titled “Crude” that explains how big oil companies have jeopardized the well-being of peoples in Ecuador, particularly their rain forest-dwelling groups, basically “the last of the Mohicans” so far as we’re concerned.
Can’t ever forget that the United States was founded on lands that had previously been populated by numerous tribes, most of which have been wiped out and reduced to dependence on casinos and federal aid since then. That’s a travesty, considering what’s replaced them are a bunch of willfully lazy idiots. I said it, and I think I mean it, including myself here too. Amazing what a few generations of soft living does to folks.
When people imagine small communities I think they also tend to think of opposing groups with greater power imposing their will onto them, as in the movie I just watched, and that’s understandable. That’s the concern, as it always has been, hence why we’re in the position we’re in now. This harks back to Jared Diamond’s books and his explanation of the importance natural resources played in aiding development and the rise of civilizations. Apparently once we achieve this we then turn to wanting that. Which makes sense to me, seeing as how we people tend to be. Most of us are fairly simple, and perhaps all of us are on some levels at least. It can’t be helped apparently. All the education in the world can’t overcome this, though we can be aided in reaching our full potential, which I’ll argue American society today actively works against. But anyway, when it comes to one side possessing greater technologies, as in swords or guns plus horses, and the other side has little, the latter proves to be sitting ducks unless they react with innovative strategies or win out by sheer numbers (as typically still didn’t work when comparably poorly armed).
And now we live in the age of Science and Technology to where weaponry has been elevated to astounding new heights. We’re in the age of drones now. Holy cow. Another major game-changer on the scene.
Now, think about what traditions really mean anymore in this new world. Religions of old are being increasingly replaced with secular ideologies that will wind up turned just as dogmatic if given enough time, this I believe to be true. Why? Because that’s the way we people are. We’re religious by nature, even in the absence of religion.
I got to thinking earlier today how we like to think because we’re all out here today appearing to be floating in our own orbits—disconnected and relatively anonymous—that we’re individualists as a result. Yet nothing appears to be farther from the truth. Instead what I see are atomized individuals, set off in orbit whether they want it or not, then perhaps we accept or even relish it, but how many of us then, in order to feel some sense of connection, wind up subscribing to “movements” or ideologies (whether gender-related or following new-age “spiritual gurus” or political affiliations or what have you)? So individuals actually wind up taking in and attempting to embrace collectivist ideas rather than seeking their own source for their own selves, which would be the thoroughly individualist approach.
And what’s the problem in this? On the surface there is none since humans are both individuals and members of wider collectives, that being the paradox we’re staring down in most-modern times. But when you scratch deep enough to see what these ideologies consist of and realize it for the attemptive power-grab that they typically become, it becomes tricky to maintain a non-defensive frame of mind if you don’t wish to be dragged along into this nonsense. Very frustrating.
How do we break outside of this? When I talk about the diffusion of power, this is where it’s important. But now technology has eclipsed us and limited what can reasonably be accessed and controlled by the common human. We are being rendered at the mercy of the future unfolding before us. Isn’t exactly what I’d wish to see, but it’s become unavoidable as time rolls on, and our fate indeed appears to have been sealed decades before I was born. Is this a defeatist attitude? Not necessarily. When people realize their backs are against the wall, they can get creative, and what all technologies are at our disposal are pretty amazing. I can’t pretend to have a clue how life will unfold from here on out, but I do know we aren’t insignificant in terms of how we manage our own existence. And maybe it’s not all about the survival of our species — maybe other concerns actually can and should eclipse that right about now.
But that’s a topic to be unraveled some other night.