Thursday, June 21, 2012
I Should Write a Book
This week I was looking at these amazing graphs about the impact of the Industrial Revolution over at the Atlantic. Basically they show the creation of wealth since the 1800's and how rapidly things changed during this time. Within the article there is a book that is plugged Guns, Germs and Steel. I didn't read the book and don't know the extent of his argument, but one aspect of his book is that Europe came to dominate the world partly because of the geography.* This is a theory that I developed on my own years ago. I should have written this book!
For me the argument goes like this. In Northern Europe (and later the American Northeast) it is cold and yet a lot of people live there. So you have a lot of ideas being passed around with the advent of the printing press. You also have a lot of people with a lot of time on their hands to think. Especially in the winter when you are stuck inside for month and month. In Southern and tropical climates it's so beautiful that you are outside all the time its easy to get distracted, you don't have as much time to process things before you go out again. Also because life is so "good" you also don't have as much incentive to improve on life as we know it.
I fear that today we may be falling into the same kind of lull since we can so easily fill our reflective time with angry birds or TV or whatever your pet interests are that the necessity and opportunity to create are lessened.
In this line of thought there is also a line of thinking that relates to faith. In Scripture, observing creation is designed to point us to the creator. Over and over again the Psalms (8, 19, 29 etc) emphasize how the created world inspires and reinforces belief in God. Observing creation shows us how majestic this world really is and we confront the brilliance in it. The design. Until recently we all came into contact with God's created world every day. Today, to escape the city and its confines is a choice. Some don't choose to escape, others can't afford that choice. Creation as a reminder of God's power is often missed. Today as we are distracted, not by the beauty of God's creation (as in warm climes) but by our own creations, we observe the growth in Atheism. We see people no longer awed by God's handiwork, but by their own. This is something to contemplate.
I should write this book!
Or maybe watch another episode of Mad Men...
*(His thrust however is that the lower classes died off due to disease and the poor living conditions and the upper classes with education and a greater stress on integrity and character were the perfect blend for the burgeoning increase in productivity.)