Tuesday, January 24, 2006

East Of Eden

Daniel Quinn's Ishmael is one of the most over-rated things that I have ever read!

Blaming technology, industry, Modernity and the Enlightment aren't enough for this author. The real problem seems to be that we developed agriculture.

In recent years, I've noticed an increasing number of people make the same statement. I've noticed it because it is a big departure from the model that I am more familiar with - that agriculture made it possible to free ourselves from having to always hunt and gather. The stability it afforded was regarded as a good thing.

Now, more and more, I keep encountering the opinion that hunting and gathering were idyllic and that it was agriculture that created stresses.

While the debate still goes on over the extent to which agriculture spread through conquest, I think that it is important to remember that these are all only models and opinions.

There is no such thing as an objective historian and I think that fact alone is enough to arouse anyone's suspicions when the subject is pre-history.

We look into the past to find our roots but we cannot help but drag the present along with us as we do so.

All that being said, what is one to make of a book that maintains that our species biggest mistake was adopting agriculture?

Oh....did I mention that, in this novel, this "truth" is revealed by a gorilla?

Okey dokey.

Well, at least Oprah loved it.

In the end, isn't that all that really matters?