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Old 05-05-06, 12:36 PM
Jack Burns
llegitimi Non Carborundum
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Originally Posted by adgrant
Ownership of land has always been about wealth and power dating back to long before the feudal system of government in Europe (one notable example of this is William I of England and his "Doomsday Book"). It is in no way new nor is it limited to "our society". Life is for most people (and animals) a competition for resources.

The U.S. lifestyle probably is unsustainable for economic reason if nothing else. Unfortunately, China is waiting to take our place.
That is a true statement. However, my concern is with the present society.

But you are not entirely correct about "competition for resources," and I would add that humans are animals, which is another problem in our society. Many (most) people (anthropocentrism) see themselves as somehow separate or superior to other animals, and they are not.

In the current orthodoxy, the term struggle is endowed with Hobbesian and Social-Darwinian meanings: struggle is the war against all and the survival of the fittest in a regime of continual, mutual aggression. This notion was not Darwin's, and it is not only ideologically distorted, but in my opinion, factually wrong. By no means do all creatures behave in this way. In fact, no creature, not even the "king of the jungle," endures wholly through predation. Look at the simplist creatures, microscopic cellular beings on which the entire biosphere rests.

The British palaeontologist Richard Fortey points out, the first "sustainable" systems, the mat creatures or stromatolites whose lineage goes 3 billion years back to the Precambian period (roughly 2.4 billion years before the emergence of more complex multicellular organisms), and that still endure in certain protected locales, are composed of layers of prokaryotic bacteria, the topmost, doing photosynthesis, the lower layers breaking down the waste products of the upper by fermentation, the whole given structure and nutrient by trapped grains of minerals. It's a sustainable system in miniature, one where existence at base can be thought of as reciprocal rather than competitive.

And there are other example, as well, in pre-contact and post-contact societies.
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