Ethnocide- A Homogenous World?

An Except by Wade Davis Genocide, the physical extermination of a people, is universally condemned. Ethnocide, the destruction of a people’s way of life, is in many quarters sanctioned and endorsed as appropriate development policy. Modernity provides the rationale for disenfranchisement, with the real goal too often being the extraction of natural resources on an industrial scale from territories occupied for generations by indigenous peoples whose ongoing presence on the land proves to be an inconvenience. Before she died, anthropologist Margaret Mead spoke of her singular fear that, as we drift toward a more homogenous world, we are laying the foundations of a blandly amorphous and singularly generic modern culture that will have no rivals. The entire imagination of humanity, she feared, might be confined within the limits of a single intellectual and spiritual modality. Her nightmare was the possibility that we might wake up one day and not even remember what had been lost. Our species has been around for some 200,000 years. The Neolithic Revolution, which gave us agriculture, and with it surplus, hierarchy, specialization, and sedentary life, occurred only ten to twelve thousand years ago. coque iphone pas cher Modern industrial society as we know it is scarcely 300 years old. This shallow history should not suggest to any of us that we have all the answers for all of the challenges that will confront us as a species in the coming millennia. The goal of anthropology is not to freeze people in time. One cannot make a rainforest park of the mind. coque iphone pas cher Cultures are not museum pieces; they are communities of real people with real needs. The question is not the traditional versus the modern, but the right of free peoples to choose the components of their lives. The point is not to deny access, but rather to ensure that all peoples are able to benefit from the genius of modernity on their own terms, and without that engagement demanding the death of their ethnicity. Our way of life, inspired in so many ways, is not the paragon of humanity’s potential. We do not represent some absolute wave of history but merely a world view, and that modernity — whether you identify it by the monikers westernization, globalization, capitalism, democracy, or free trade — is but an expression of our cultural values. coque iphone 2019 It is not some objective force removed from the constraints of culture. And it is certainly not the true and only pulse of history. It is merely a constellation of beliefs, convictions, economic paradigms that represent one way of doing things, of going about the complex process of organizing human activities. coque iphone xs max Our achievements to be sure have been stunning, our technological innovations dazzling. The development within the last century of a modern, scientific system of medicine alone represents one of the greatest episodes in human endeavor. Sever a limb in a car accident and you won’t want to be taken to an herbalist. But these accomplishments do not make the Western paradigm exceptional or suggest in any way that it has or ought to have a monopoly on the path to the future. An anthropologist from a distant planet landing in the United States would see many wondrous things. But he or she or it would also encounter a culture that reveres marriage, yet allows half of its marriages to end in divorce; that admires its elderly, yet has grandparents living with grandchildren in only 6 percent of its house- holds; that loves its children, yet embraces a slogan — “twenty-four/seven” — that implies total devotion to the workplace at the expense of family. By the age of eighteen, the average American youth has spent two years watching television. soldes coque iphone pas cher One in five Americans is clinically obese and 60 percent are overweight, in part because 20 percent of all meals are consumed in automobiles and a third of children eat fast food every day. The country manufactures 200 million tons of industrial chemicals each year, while its people consume two-thirds of the world’s production of antidepressant drugs. The nation spends more money on armaments and war than the collective military budgets of its seventeen closest rivals. The state of California spends more money on prisons than on universities. Technological wizardry is balanced by the embrace of an economic model of production and consumption that compromises the life supports of the planet. Extreme would be one word for a civilization that contaminates with its waste the air, water, and soil; that drives plants and animals to extinction on a scale not seen on earth since the disappearance of the dinosaurs; that dams the rivers, tears down the ancient forests, empties the seas of fish, and does little to curtail industrial processes that threaten to transform the chemistry and physics of the atmosphere. There are today some 7000 languages spoken on Earth. More than just words or grammatical expressions, each is a flash of the human spirit, the means by which the soul of a culture comes into the world. Every language is an old growth forest of the mind, a watershed of thought, an ecosystem of social and spiritual possibilities. Each represents a different way of being, an unique vision of life itself. Why do these voices matter? There are scores of reasons, but two words will do. Climate change. There is no serious scientist alive who questions the severity and implications of this crisis, or the factors, decisions, and priorities that caused it to occur. It has come about because of the consequences of a particular world view. We have for three centuries now, as Thom Hartmann has written, consumed the ancient sunlight of the world. Our economic models are projections and arrows when they should be circles. To define perpetual growth on a finite planet as the sole measure of economic well-being is to engage in a form of slow collective suicide. To deny or exclude from the calculus of governance and economy the costs of violating the biological support systems of life is the logic of delusion. These voices matter because they can still be heard to remind us that there are indeed alternatives, other ways of orienting human beings in social, spiritual, and ecological space. coque iphone x This is not to suggest naively that we abandon everything and attempt to mimic the ways of non-industrial societies, or that any culture be asked to forfeit its right to benefit from the genius of technology. It is rather to draw inspiration and comfort from the fact that the path we have taken is not the only one available, that our destiny therefore is not indelibly written in a set of choices that demonstrably and scientifically have proven not to be wise. By their very existence the diverse cultures of the world bear witness to the folly of those who say that we cannot change, as we all know we must, the fundamental manner in which we inhabit this planet. A climbing friend of mine once told me that the most amazing thing about summiting Everest was the realization that there was a place on earth where you could get up in the morning, tie on your boots, and under your own power walk in a single day into a zone where the air was so thin that humans could not survive.