Two Types of Civilizations
If you look back over the long history of human civilizations you’ll find two basic types of civilizations that have popped up over time. The first and most common type the most people think about is the agriculturally based civilizations.
These had these cities and these empires that were built around this large areas of farmland that was capable of producing enough food that could support all of the people that lived in these empires.
Because these empires were dependent upon this continuous source of food they were fixed in a certain area, a certain geographical area.
Reasons for Nomads
The other form of civilization that popped up is that of the nomad. Most famous for the various nomads of the Eurasian Steppe and they were nomads because the soil of the Eurasian Steppe was incapable of growing enough food to support these large stable societies.
Another interesting point in history was the Bronze Age Collapse which happened around 1200 BC. Leading up to the Bronze Age Collapse there was all these huge societies the ancient societies before the Greeks.
All these huge societies were growing and inventing all their stuff and coming up with all these ideas for essentially the first time in human history but then something happened.
Food Goes Away – People Go Away
There was a long period of time where these large societies started to not be able to get as much food as they could before. This of course caused a lot of strife and chaos and for long period of time. There was a lot of warfare and battles and confrontations over food. This led to a collapse of all of the large societies that existed before then.
If you look back through all of the societies of history you’ll see that there is always a very very large number of variables that all need to be in a very very very delicate equilibrium with one another.
The people, the population, the amount of food they can get, the amount of trade that happens between people, the amount of ideas that the people can share, the type of government whether it’s not too oppressive or whether it’s not strong enough.
Delicate Balance of Variables
These are all kinds of variables and once you start to realize that your variables are starting to get out of equilibrium then you have to put your variables back into equilibrium. It’s almost always impossible to correct variables that are out of equilibrium.
It’s much easier to pay attention to your all your variables and keep them in equilibrium. It’s much easier to keep them in equilibrium ahead of time than it is to wait until they fall out of equilibrium and try to correct them. Once any kind of variables in a large complex system start to fall out of equilibrium it’s it’s almost guaranteed that anything you try to do to correct those variables and force them back into equilibrium is almost guaranteed to do more damage.
It’s much much better to pay attention to all of your variables. To find out what variables are in balance what variables are important and do whatever you can to maintain all of your variables in a very stable balance.
Once of Prevention
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and this is very very appropriate when it comes to a system that has a whole lot of variables. It’s much better to spend an ounce of prevention on a periodic basis that it is to ignore the system, wait till it’s out of balance and then try to fix it. If you wait until is out of balance and try to fix it is almost guaranteed to be too late.
One of the ways that historians describe the Bronze Age collapse is world war zero because that’s kind of the first time in human history where you had all these different civilizations that were fighting against each other because of the rapidly depleting resources.
Another interesting description of this time period was this might be what was later referred to as the Trojan War.
Lucky It Rained So Much
One of the interesting things about Genghis Khan that made it so easy for him to conquer such a large area, there was of course a lot of variables. He was a very skilled military strategist, he invented a lot of fighting techniques, he had a very well organized Calvary.
One of the things is often overlooked is the of time before he rose to power there is a lot of unseasonably wet rains and this led to a lot more grass on the Eurasian Steppe than the normal amount of grass. This, of course, provided Genghis Khan’s Army with a lot more fuel than he otherwise had.
This is probably one of the most important things that led Genghis Khan to take over the entire Eurasian continent. One of the underappreciated reasons for these nomadic tribes of the steppe is without these nomadic tribes of the steppe there never would have been any of the Silk Roads.
Rise Of The Silk Roads
The silk Roads are these ideas that popped up a few times over history that allowed for people in China to buy and sell stuff that would eventually come and make its way to Europe.
It wouldn’t have been likely that the societies in China would send people to Europe specifically to trade with. Because all of these kind of large empires from China to Europe had these nomadic tribes in between them this allowed for these Silk Road trade routes to organically develop over time.
We tend to think of history as something that is done by us humans. That these historical events are a result of human thinking and human decision-making. According to a lot of historians a lot of history is really shaped much more by geography.
Dirt Makes A Big Difference
Ultimately the only difference between these empires type civilizations and the nomadic type civilizations was the type of soil. The type of soil that allowed for a lot of different agriculture supported these huge empires.
The type of soil that only supported grass led to these nomadic peoples. The interplay between these nomadic peoples and Empire peoples led to essentially human history but ultimately it was based upon the type of dirt upon which these civilizations were founded.
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