RE: vanished civilizations

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Tue Jun 26 2001 - 08:52:41 MDT

> 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.

I understand the idea, but I feel that "singularity-approaching tech
civilizations" are in a very different sociodynamical regime than these
other civilizations that you mention, so that generalizations from one
regime to the other perhaps aren't worth much.... Of course this is just my
intuition, none of us has any hard science about topics like this.


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