Sunday, July 26, 2009

Harmony in Nature

I had a mind-boggling experience today. I visited an Anasazi site in Aztec New Mexico (google Aztec Ruins New Mexico). It was mistakenly thought that the pueblo was Aztec, but it ain't. It was inhabited 1000-1200 by people that are called 'ancestral pueblo' by the Park Service, since Anasazi is a Navajo term that can be translated as "invaders."
Anyway, the question always comes up, 'Why did they leave?" And the answer can be found in Jared Diamond's book Collapse. They outbred and outpopulated their ability to sustain themselves, stripping the land for miles around them.
I mention this because of my belief that the Anasazi were pretty much the way we are. People are people, in all times and all places. If we wonder why such and such a society did something, we need only ask, "What would we do in a similar situation?"
I mention this because there are people who simply will not accept the explanation that the Anasazi ruined their environment, because they were a non-industrial people, and, living in harmony with Mother nature, couldn't possibly have done bad things to Mom. I have news for those people: They could have and did. Living in harmony with nature means being hungry, diseased, and probably eaten. The "Harmony with nature" philosophy that you hear from Native Americans is probably a modern romanticism about their ancestors, who only wanted to live a little while longer, and probably paid as much attention to their religion as we do to ours. Which is to say, almost none.


Jacqui Binford-Bell said...

You wandered down into wannabee land. So many of the trustfund babies that have moved here believe the "native Americans" had it right. And they refuse to hear anything negative about the various cultures which occurred here among peoples that migrated from Asia and we now know Europe.

What the inhabitants of the Aztec Ruins, the conquering Spanish, the invading Texans and the current populations ignore are the fluctuations in weather patterns here. The Spanish overgrazed the land and overpopulated it with sheep based on the experience of wet years and failed to cut back sheep populations in dry years.

We are doing that with the earth as we chat here. It cannot support the current population upon its surface should crops fail or a volcano explodes bringing a volcanic winter.

Our common ground with those that inhabited the Aztec ruins or Chaco is we are not paying attention to the earth around us.

bekkieann said...

We are doing it again only on a global scale this time. So, while there are people around now who can dig up the artifacts and postulate on the reasons for the disappearance of the Anasazi, the destruction we ultimately cause could be the end of our species altogether.

On both your houses said...

I agree with both of you. But I am more sanguine about it. The earth is not in peril. Gaia could not care less whether her atmosphere is oxygen or methane; whether the beings on it are human or some yet-to-come adaptation. She we will survive. If we destroy ourselves, so be it. We deserve it.