Static Culture

The fantasies of Wells and Huxley were based on the same idea, that a species adapting itself too perfectly to a static ecological niche is doomed to stagnation and ultimate extinction. Their nightmares describe a possible future for our species, if we succeed in building around ourselves a protective cocoon that shields us from the winds of change while our mental faculties dwindle. A future of senile dementia is as possible for the species as it is for the individual.

And yet, when I compare these visions of a static and immobile humanity with the actual turbulence of human history, I am tempted to exclaim with Winston Churchill, "What kind of people do they think we are?" Churchill was addressing this remark to the people of England in 1 940, when Hitler was generously inviting us to make peace with him after he had conquered France. The same remark applies equally well to the human species as a whole, when learned experts pronounce us doomed to a future of stagnation or impoverishment. The human species has a deeply ingrained tendency to prove the experts wrong. Only ten years ago, the experts were proclaiming the Soviet Union to be a stable and conservative society. Now, ten years later, for better or for worse, the Soviet Union is gone with the wind and the experts are still trying to explain how it could have happened.


Folksonomies: culture cultural change

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World War II (0.979234): dbpedia | freebase | yago
British Empire (0.857863): dbpedia | freebase
Soviet Union (0.772640): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Winston Churchill (0.730339): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Russian Civil War (0.719727): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Iron Curtain (0.672184): geo | website | dbpedia | freebase | yago
End of World War II in Europe (0.661306): dbpedia
Major depressive disorder (0.631600): dbpedia | freebase

 Imagined Worlds
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Dyson , Freeman (1997), Imagined Worlds, Retrieved on 2015-05-31
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: science science fiction