RE: vanished civilizations

From: Jordan Dimov (
Date: Tue Jun 26 2001 - 08:41:22 MDT

Right, right... Obviously.

Ignore technology for a moment. How is it that civilisations last and
flourish for thousands and thousands of years and then disappear in an
instant? True, shit happens. Asteroids, and earthquakes, and floods, and
what-have-you... But actually that's never really been much of a
problem. Rome didn't go down in a flood, Egypt wasn't hit by an asteroid,
and the Aztecs didn't all die in a huge earthquake. In virtually all
cases of civilizations' downfall, the driving forces were largely social
and very much unpredictable. Of course you can always discount this as an
artifact of the cultural evolutionary processes on our planet, but that
doesn't explain anything. Might there be a maximum sustainable degree of
complexity intrinsic to any social structure, beyond which a society can't
help but disintegrate?

Okay, I feel very much off-topic now, so I'll stop.

On Tue, 26 Jun 2001, Ben Goertzel wrote:

> The last sentence of this quote reveals a remarkable ignorance of the nature
> of technology. Technology allows us to use resources from off Earth, and to
> use substances that weren't previously identified as useful resources, and
> to use substances previously identified as resources much more efficiently.
> Technology basically meaning "matter organized in special ways according to
> our intelligence." Technology of course may ultimately allow us to leave
> our human bodies behind as well.
> The analogy between societies like Easter Island and ours is pretty darn
> forced. Yes, they had tech too, but they didn't have the accelerating curve
> of tech development that we have now. They were on a very different point
> in the overall tech development curve of intelligent races.

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