Decline of cultures LO28227

From: Don Dwiggins (
Date: 04/14/02

Replying to LO28032 --

Jan Lelie writes in LO28032:
> Culture, i've been told, is a set of behaviour, ways and means to survive
> in a situation. Imagine a culture starting in a niche. As the culture
> develops, is succesful, it grows out of its niche and becomes apparant, it
> can be labeled. I would like to compare a culture with a species: the best
> adapted culture (best adapted to the situation) will survive. Then tragedy
> cuts in: the situation has changed, the environment, the niche is no
> longer a niche. The culture becomes hyper-critical: a small - or not so
> small - event can make it tumbling down. Avalanche. A wise culture should
> have controlled demolition now and then.

This resonates strongly with Thomas Jefferson's comment of 1787: "I hold
it that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as
necessary in the political world as storms are in the physical.
Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on
the rights of the people, which have produced them. An observation of
this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their
punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is
medicine necessary for the sound health of government."

(A good discussion of the context of this quote, and a later mellowing of
Jefferson's views, is given in )

Best to all,


Don Dwiggins "The truth will make you free, but first it will make you miserable" -- Tom DeMarco

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