Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why does the Garden of Eden Suck and the Glacier of Eden Not Suck?

Why does the Garden of Eden Suck and the Glacier of Eden Not Suck?

By "Garden of Eden" I mean any tropical or sub-tropical culture. The less industrialized or literate of tropical cultures the more they rate as "Garden of Eden".

By "Glacier of Eden" I mean the cultures that reside on land that has at some point had glaciation on it. Not all of the United States has had glaciation on it, so the USA is divided into both Garden and Glacial Edens.

"Glacial of Eden" does not equal G8, or industrialized countries, necessarily. The indigenous people of northernmost North America, Greenland, Iceland, Europe and Asia are included. To the south, Chile and New Zealand. The Han Chinese are especially included due to their early origins as the world's first polar culture (predating their migration into China).

The criteria is not industrialization, or literacy. I am not agitprop-ing for Aryan supremacy at all here. It is about places that suck, and do not suck, in 2008. That map of suckness seems to cooperate very well with the ice versus tropics map.

White prejudice, enslavement and military power are usually a cornerstone of most narratives seeking the cause of cultural misery. Why the success of native peoples in Alaska and Greenland? By success I mean they have worked with the global power and monetary system, leveraging/establishing their land rights effectively to both keep their homes and homeland while renting access to oil, mining, fishing, and timber harvesting. ( I have lived with and been close friends with people fitting this description in Akutan Alaska ) So why the relative misery in Africa versus Alaskan indigenous success?

Where I am agitprop-ing is in the realm of reverence. The "Gardens of Eden" seem to hardcoded into mainstream dialogue as a desirable place, a natural place, the place "being human" defaults to by the origin stories in the Bible and secular anthropology. This reverence is misplaced. We should be looking further towards the poles of the earth when seeking anything worth revering, we ( especially those in the Garden ) should be looking at the cold places as the places that are the gems of "being human".

I have a nebulous and unfinished guess as to why glaciers generate less miserable cultures. It is a little about technology, but please don't think of trains. planes, phones, and computers. It is more technology in form of clothes and maybe food storage. Warm places do not demand very technical clothes, cold places do. Warm places have food more ready to serve right on the vine or tree. I believe Glacier of Edens make the human mind work with more contingency. Above that, I think the entire culture that emerges is a Contingent Culture. While all cultures have minefields of political/familial contingency to challenge the mind with, the glacial cultures had a load of cognitive challenge more ever present and demanding. The ice was an evolutionary filter, thinning from the population those that got their empiricism wrong. Glacial Edens are a place where the question "is it it better to be right or happy?" [link] is answered with survivors who all answered with "Being right". Garden of Edens, for millennia, answered with "being happy".

Millennia of breeding people who answer "being happy" has, ironically, produced people more miserable in today's world.

( Written the morning after the Dec 20th snow storm in Seattle, the photo is my own taken in Seattle )

1 comment:

BFGalbraith said...

My sister majored in Canadian Studies, and I used her as a reference for a paper I wrote on Canadian culture. Canadian culture seems to "work together" more consistently than USA, while simultaneously having more tolerance for ethnic diversity. This seems consistent with your post here.