Friday 21 October 2011

History Ancient And Modern

As our media tends to deal with only one or two main stories at a time, to avoid confusing the viewers and having them switch channels to the detriment of the viewing indexes, it is an interesting question of whether there is anything in common with the current stories of Dale Farm and Libya.

The recent residents at Dale Farm are largely persons who do not share the same ideas about civil society as their neighbours and have also not bothered too much about the issues of local democracy and governance.

As for Libya, given the history of that territory over the centuries it is a debatable question of whether it is has ever been a “nation” in terms of most of our modern ideas about nationality are and will function on a different basis, perhaps mainly according to the religious beliefs of the locals.

Just what sort of “nation” it might turn out to be is something I think will tax the resources of the local population and possibly all those who have made it their business to intervene and involve themselves.

To add to that there is the issue of whether or not we should have a referendum on the subject of EU membership, if only on the grounds that we now have two generations of citizens whose opinion has never been sought.

For those who were old enough to vote there are many of us who resent finding out that out the time we were fed a diet of lies about what was intended and what the future of a large European trade area might be. Now more of the truth is out we might want to change our opinion.

In all the debates and conflict there is something in common and probably few understand the mindsets and basis of thinking involved. What is a “nation”, how it is made up, what sort of civil society it is and how it relates to other parts of the world and other societies are fully realized.

For example, the link below is about a young man who lived many thousands of years ago in the far north. Just what did he and others like him around the world think about how his immediate and wider population grouping was organized. It is unlikely to be anything remotely the same as our modern thinking.

Then in western Scotland we have the Ardnamurchan Viking burial. In some reports he is described as an “invader”. It looks to me more like someone who was well settled there so where was the boat built? What kind of family/group/wider system of polity did he think he belonged to?

Despite all our recent myth making and imposition of modern ideas on the past I think it might have been substantially removed from our ideas of nationhood.

Staying with long ago history one question that has always fascinated me is why didn’t the Roman’s with all their technology, capability and command of man power ever get round to making use of coal as a major energy source?

The reason may have been that as they were already committed to other forms of energy source with a major social and financial investment in it when that society and its financial resources came under severe strain they were unable to put into place the new economic and government systems that would have enabled it.

Which is why an article like this one below, taken from an Oil Drum link should have us all worried. If the Romans could not make the changes because they could not summon up the political will or financial power, can we do any better in making the changes that we need to make?

Our current political structures and world business are based on present and very recent energy sources. This means all our so-called “nations” and various entities that have arisen either as world wide bodies or continent wide, such as the EU.

Moreover all our thinking is underpinned by this as well as our myths and forms of propaganda.

So will we revert to the social organizations more familiar to the Viking or more radically to those of Stone Age Man?

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