Sunday, 17 April 2016

Nature And Humanity

"The wrangling...went on interminably. Everard glared out the window, into the prehuman night, and wondered if the sabretooths weren't doing a better job after all than their simian successors."
-Poul Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006), p. 221)

"Earth was a planet fit for gods, unbelievable, before civilization mucked it up."
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), p. 100.

"'Are you telling me, gentlemen, that there is nothing we can do to rid our world of these murderous vermin?'"
-Jerry Pournelle and SM Stirling, The Prince (New York, 2002), p. 875.

Crown Prince Alexander asks this on a rainy spring day when the breeze brings odors of wet vegetation from the gardens and a damp salty odor from the nearby Aegean Sea (on Sparta, not on Earth).

Some Spartans would be able to appreciate the spring, the gardens and the sea without being troubled by politics - or they might be killed in a terrorist attack. How can humanity combine appreciation of natural beauty with resolution of social conflicts?

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

The question you asked, about how appreciation of natural beauty can be joined with resolving social conflicts is a good one. I believe there will never be a simple or single answer. I also believe the Anglo/American tradition of the LIMITED state, respect for civil rights, belief in a natural law (derived from both Judaism/Christianity and Classical philosophy), a free enterprise economy, are the chief factors leading to tolerable societies. And I believe this complex combination of factors will not always combine in just the right way to lead to what we saw in the UK and US (and pre-1914 Europe).