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    The Boiling Frog (Is Us): Signs of Distress from 5000 B.C.E. to Today

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    mudra

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    The Boiling Frog (Is Us): Signs of Distress from 5000 B.C.E. to Today

    Post  mudra on Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:12 pm

    The following is an excerpt from Daniel Quinn's novel " The story of B " which gives a highly interesting point of view on our human history. 
    To me this makes a lot of sense.

    Enjoy :)




    The Boiling Frog (Is Us): Signs of Distress from 5000 B.C.E. to Today





    Systems thinkers have given us a useful metaphor for a certain kind of human behavior in the phenomenon of the boiled frog.

    The phenomenon is this. If you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will of course frantically try to clamber out. But if you place it gently in a pot of tepid water and turn the heat on low, it will float there quite placidly. As the water gradually heats up, the frog will sink into a tranquil stupor, exactly like one of us in a hot bath, and before long, with a smile on its face, it will unresistingly allow itself to be boiled to death.

    We all know stories of frogs being tossed into boiling water — for example, a young couple being plunged into catastrophic debt by an unforeseen medical emergency. A contrary example, an example of the smiling boiled frog, is that of a young couple who gradually use their good credit to buy and borrow themselves into catastrophic debt. Cultural examples exist as well. About six thousand years ago the goddess-worshipping societies of Old Europe were engulfed in a boiling up of our culture that Marija Gimbutas called Kurgan Wave Number One; they struggled to clamber out but eventually succumbed. The Plains Indians of North America, who were engulfed in another boiling up of our culture in the 1870s, constitute another example; they struggled to clamber out over the next two decades, but they too finally succumbed.

    A contrary example, an example of the smiling-boiled-frog phenomenon, is provided by our own culture. When we slipped into the cauldron, the water was a perfect temperature, not too hot, not too cold. Can anyone tell me when that was? Anyone?

    Blank faces.

    I’ve already told you, but I’ll ask again, a different way. When did we become we? Where and when did the thing called us begin? Remember: East and West, twins of a common birth. Where? And when?

    Well, of course: in the Near East, about ten thousand years ago. That’s where our peculiar, defining form of agriculture was born, and we began to be we. That was our cultural birthplace. That was where and when we slipped into that beautifully pleasant water: the Near East, ten thousand years ago.

    As the water in the cauldron slowly heats, the frog feels nothing but a pleasant warmth, and indeed that’s all there is to feel. A long time has to pass before the water begins to be dangerously hot, and our own history demonstrates this. For fully half our history, the first five thousand years, signs of distress are almost nonexistent. The technological innovations of this period bespeak a quiet life, centered around hearth and village — sun-dried brick, kiln-fired pottery, woven cloth, the potter’s wheel, and so on. But gradually, imperceptibly, signs of distress begin to appear, like tiny bubbles at the bottom of a pot.

    What shall we look for, as signs of distress? Mass suicides? Revolution? Terrorism? No, of course not. Those come much later, when the water is scalding hot. Five thousand years ago it was just getting warm. Folks mopping their brows were grinning at each other and saying, “Isn’t it great?”

    You’ll know where to find the signs of distress if you identify the fire that was burning under the cauldron. It was burning there in the beginning, was still burning after five thousand years… and is still burning today in exactly the same way. It was and is the great heating element of our revolution. It’s the essential. It’s the sine qua non of our success if success is what it is.

    Speak! Someone tell me what I’m talking about!

    “Agriculture!” Agriculture, this gentleman tells me.

    No. Not agriculture. One particular style of agriculture. One particular style that has been the basis of our culture from its beginnings ten thousand years ago to the present moment — the basis of our culture and found in no other. It’s ours, it’s what makes us us. For its complete ruthlessness toward all other life-forms on this planet and for it’s unyielding determination to convert every square meter on this planet to the production of human food, I’ve called it totalitarian agriculture.

    Ethnologists, students of animal behavior, and a few philosophers who have considered the matter know that there is a form of ethics practiced in the community of life on this planet — apart from us, that is. This is a very practical (you might say Darwinian) sort of ethics, since it serves to safeguard and promote biological diversity within the community. According to this ethics, followed by every sort of creature within the community of life, sharks as well as sheep, killer bees as well as butterflies, you may compete to the full extent of your capabilities, but you may not hunt down your competitors or destroy their food or deny them access to food. In other words, you may compete but you may not wage war. This ethics is violated at every point by practitioners of totalitarian agriculture. We hunt down our competitors, we destroy their food, and we deny them access to food. That indeed is the whole purpose and point of totalitarian agriculture. Totalitarian agriculture is based on the premise that all the food in the world belongs to us, and there is no limit whatever to what we may take for ourselves and deny to all others.

    Totalitarian agriculture was not adopted in our culture out of sheer meanness. It was adopted because, by its very nature, it’s more productive than any other style (and there are many other styles). Totalitarian agriculture represents productivity to the max, as Americans like to say. It represents productivity in a form that literally cannot be exceeded.

    Many styles of agriculture (not all, but many) produce food surpluses. But, not surprisingly, totalitarian agriculture produces larger surpluses than any other style. It produces surpluses to the max. You simply can’t out produce a system designed to convert all the food in the world into human food.

    Totalitarian agriculture is the fire under our cauldron. Totalitarian agriculture is what has kept us “on the boil” here for ten thousands years.
     
    read on:http://www.filmsforaction.org/news/the_boiling_frog/

    The novel "The Story of B " an adventure of the mind and spirit the excerpt above is taken from can be read here: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/11803389/daniel-quinn-the-story-of-bpdf-get-a-free-blog


    Love Always
    mudra




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