Sunday, November 19, 2006

SIX SIMPLE QUESTIONS

I once thought to write a story about what the United Stated might have become had Columbus waded ashore in Hispanola and asked the natives what they called their home and to teach him and his men to learn to live as they did in their land. I was halted by imagining the backstory of western civilization that would have enabled such a radical departure from reality. Rather than that story…

Interviewer: Sir, what do you think about western civilization.
Ghandi: Sounds like a good idea.

I've got some questions I’d like to throw out into the blogosphere since no research I have done has found any information on the various cultural assumptions I have never heard questioned.

1. Has there ever been a record of any of western culture’s great voyages during the much touted age of discovery, exploration, exploitation and missionary evangelism the world over of finding starving, disease ridden, overpopulated indigenous native cultures when meeting white men for the first time?

If you can refer me to such answers I would be disappointedly surprised but grudgingly grateful because you may have made the rest of this post incompletely informed drivel. If you have never heard of such records, you are still in the same boat I expect to be in for however long it takes to produce a positively genuine such record, as we navigate this exercise in free thinking — and we are off to the next question.

2. Barring western civilization’s unwarranted hubris in assuming the entirety of the rest of earth is its god given resource to do with as it might, is their any reason to believe any of these first contact cultures were impoverished or so inept at life that they would have become extinct without white man’s help just in the nick of time?

I must further qualify the unlikely yes answers by requiring that passionate native curiosity about new things from beads to navigation sextants to whiskey does not qualify as a sign of impoverishment or inability to enjoy their own life. Neither does the nomadic lifestyle choice of following seasonal food supplies like plains animals indicate more than a culture severely different than western.

If you can link me to such information I would feel somewhat disgruntled appreciation for the likely discontinuance of this line of thinking I am on. If you have never noted records of the existence of poverty prior to meeting western culture and the automatic comparison of cultural values, then we are off to the next question.

3. Were any of these brave, curious, adventurous, noble explorations not financed by wealthy speculators in planetary sprawl and naive new native markets for anything from faithful followers to laborers to land to be occupied by the lie of manifest destiny, imminent domain and extermination?


I must disqualify evidence that Scandinavians came and went because they have hardly ever typified western culture, and I do appreciate them leaving it as they found it with the slightest of foot prints. My little pet side theory on them is that they have yet to thaw out from the last ice age — if they move, it’s to Minnesota for Christ’s sake. I also question the direction popularly assumed to be taken by the migration across the Aleutian Straits between Asia and the Americas during the same ice age. I guess, if one holds to the theory of dispersal of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, the Fertile Crescent, the only possible direction for that diaspora would be from Asia to America, since the Ra never quite proved they came from Africa across the Atlantic. We’ll have to leave that one stand the test of future findings, but I can’t assume it’s proven any more than the Sherwin-Williams hypothesis.

What, you’ve never heard of the observation made at the early part of the 20th century that all peninsulas extend to the south of its mainland; Florida,Korea, the tapering ends of India, Africa, South America, etc. It’s called the Continental Drip Theory … anyway … back to my other hair brained theory.

If you have information about totally benevolent, altruistic voyages to undiscovered lands, I must say, you are the only one and I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t want to share it. If you do want to offer it in evidence against this slowly developing logical progression I am on, and it proves credible I thank you from the bottom of my most gratefully enlightened attitude toward Western Civilization. Barring the unlikely case of our having met with refutation of the greedy motive behind each exploration of the world during this Age of discovery, if you are still with me, we move on. If not, the rest of us move on. If not, I move on, alone as I began.

4. Is there any phase of an individual’s relationship to the rest of individuals in the body of which it is a part, the environment, that is not dealt with fully by the Golden Rule?

Despite the plethora of rules and laws in place and enacted by legislators world over every day to the contrary, I cannot but come to the notion that the answer is no. If there is any interrelationship not more than covered by the Golden Rule, please surprise me. All other laws are to more specifically enumerate the ways in which it can be violated by the enactor, the ignorer and the enforcer, as if it alone were not enough of a guide for all. There is also the case of assuming, without looking at the interaction from the standpoint of the other's culture, that what is done for them is what one would want done for themselves if ever found in such (fill in the xenophobic adjective) conditions, which is in complete ignorance of the Golden Rule and an obvious excuse for intrusive meddling for ones own purposes down through history.

5. Is there any country discovered by the exploratory voyages from Europe whose indigenous population was not subject to conversion to Christianity as an exemption from being considered worthless, enslaved, partitioned in their own land and/or exterminated? I must disqualify lands whose populations had a nationwide religion prior to their discovery, although many of them too became servants to the colonizers.

I guess there may be enough no’s to all the foregoing questions to still have a readership or maybe the yeses are sticking around just to see what I’m up to. Just one more.

6. Has Western Civilization, from circa 600 ad, the approximate time of the arrival of the final first edition of the “Unalterable Word of God,” the Bible and Mohammed's twenty-three year dictation of the Qur'an, to the present day ever been satisfied to live within its own borders, to no matter what expanse they have assumed the right to fight to draw them?


Okay. My point. I just wanted people interested enough to read this far to experience a serious consideration of the questions I am asking in more or less the order I asked them to begin a discussion of them. To elicit serious attempts to say yes to any of them. Despite my feeling that there are no valid ones, I genuinely would appreciate learning of evidence to the positive side of any or all. Whether the serious consideration you experienced was mine alone or both of us I appreciate being able to get these questions out there. There may be a second part to this, depending on the reception of this part.


My mother died of lung cancer in 1968, I have since learned what its cells can do to the healthy cells in the rest of the body of which it is a part. Go in peace and heal the world, hand in spiritual hand with Sonshine.

2 comments:

Pisces Iscariot said...

Great post Todd. Rhetorical questions of course. :]

mullet said...

yes - great post and if that's not enough, our own cells turn against us.