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A short history of progress de Ronald Wright
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A short history of progress (edició 2005)

de Ronald Wright

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,0322614,735 (3.91)14
"A Short History of Progress is nothing less than a concise history of the world since Neanderthal times, elegantly written, brilliantly conceived, and stunningly clear in its warning to us now. Wright shows how human beings have a way of walking into "progress traps," beginning with the worldwide slaughter of big game in the Stone Age. The same pattern of overconsumption then took a new from, as many of the world's most creative civilizations - Mesopotamia, the Maya, the Roman Empire - fell victim to their own success."--BOOK JACKET.… (més)
Membre:steppenwolf_a_558
Títol:A short history of progress
Autors:Ronald Wright
Informació:Edinburgh : Canongate, 2005.
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:History

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A Short History of Progress de Ronald Wright

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"Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?"

Ronald Wright attempts to answer the last question in this eye-opening exposition. The first two questions are to some extent already answered; evolution splintered us from the ape family and thousands of years later we became homo-sapiens.

Wright explains that the ruins that were left behind from past civilizations tell a story. Just like the black box of a downed plane, we should study and learn why these empires fell. This is where the concept of "progress traps" comes in. These traps are pitfalls that early humans fell victim to which lead to their eventual downfall. One example is the perfecting of hunting which lead to the extinction of many animals. Over-cultivating the land is another. If we overkill a population of animal or we continually farm the land over and over until it becomes an arid wasteland (like ancient Sumer in present day Iraq) then we are doomed. No more meat to eat and no land to grow crops on.

Are we currently in a progress trap? Nuclear weapons are still a threat. Deforestation is still happening throughout our planet. Pollution via the burning of fossil fuels and other noxious gases continues to harm the biosphere. The earth will repair itself despite our repeated mistakes however the human race will be but a memory.

"There is still hope; though not for us" ( )
  ProfessorEX | Apr 15, 2021 |
Os primeiros capítulos están bastante aceptables, supoño que pola formación arqueolóxica do autor. Do resto véñenlle todas as críticas negativas que podes atopar por acó, algunhas con bastante fundamento. O feito de que as notas nesta edición estean na parte posterior é bastante molesto. Non é mal libro, porque é curtiño, pero logo de ler a Jared Diamond (Colapso, Armas, gérmenes y acero) é bastante prescindible. Hai que recoñecer, con todo, que non escribe mal. ( )
  MRMP | Jan 9, 2021 |
Os primeiros capítulos están bastante aceptables, supoño que pola formación arqueolóxica do autor. Do resto véñenlle todas as críticas negativas que podes atopar por acó, algunhas con bastante fundamento. O feito de que as notas nesta edición estean na parte posterior é bastante molesto. Non é mal libro, porque é curtiño, pero logo de ler a Jared Diamond (Colapso, Armas, gérmenes y acero) é bastante prescindible. Hai que recoñecer, con todo, que non escribe mal. ( )
  MRMP | Jan 9, 2021 |
Way back in 2004, Ronald Wright delivered five lectures for the Massey Lectures series. Together they took as their theme a short history of progress. With the framing device of Paul Gauguin’s questions — Where did we come from? Who are we? Where are we going? — Wright examines civilizations of the past and identifies the factors that caused them to collapse, then highlights the parallels between those civilizations and our current one. The message: history is repeating itself, and the price will be catastrophic if we don’t do anything about it.

The edition I read was the 15th anniversary edition, with a new introduction by the author. The introduction notes that the situation has not improved in the intervening period; in fact, it’s become worse. We are continuing, as a society, to put off long-term solutions in favour of short-term convenience, and the window of opportunity to preserve some form of this society is closing rapidly. And the parallels with past civilizations are compelling, particularly those where wealth is concentrated at the top and the rich therefore have a vested interest in preserving the status quo.

The lectures overlap and repeat themselves to a degree; because the lectures are given as a series over several days, this repetition is likely intentional, in case a listener tunes in for the second and has missed the first lecture, for example. The repetition also reinforces the author’s key messages. For the text reader, the lectures are extensively (and visibly!) endnoted.

I would recommend this book in addition to more current ones about the environment and the state of the world. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jan 19, 2020 |
Ronald Wright is archeoloog van opleiding en dat is ook te merken aan de uitstekende hoofdstukken over de vroegste menselijke geschiedenis, met de laatste stand van de wetenschap (ca 2005). Maar daarna slaat hij helemaal op hol en volgt een ketting van rampen die de mensheid zijn overkomen, te beginnen bij de landbouwrevolutie, 10.000 jaar geleden. Wright stelt de vooruitgang die de mensheid heeft doorsparteld gelijk met een neerwaartse spiraal naar de ondergang. Zijn aanpak, - bestuderen wat de vroegere beschavingen verkeerd deden om er lessen uit te trekken voor onze belaagde wereld van vandaag -, is uiteraard een nobele doelstelling. En zeker bij de eerste cases (Paaseiland, Soemerië) doet hij dat nog met de nodige nuance, maar daarna (vooral vanaf het deel over het Maya-rijk) doet hij dat zo clichématig en tendentieus dat het ronduit pamflettair wordt (bijzonder vreemd vind ik zijn stelling dat de Amerikaanse kolonisten de democratische principes overnamen van de Cherokee-indianen). Wright zit opgesloten in een perfecte cirkelredenering: zijn premisse (“het huidige systeem is een zelfmoordmachine”) is meteen onvermijdelijk ook zijn conclusie; bovendien voegt hij daar op het einde erg populistische anti-kapitalistische retoriek aan toe. Ik ben absoluut een voorstander van een kritische kijk op de dingen, en ik deel voor 100% Wrights bekommernis om het voortbestaan van onze planeet, maar dit is zo van de pot gerukt oer-pessimisme, dat het niet meer mooi is. Dit boek is de perfectie illustratie van hoe doemdenken de hersencellen kan doen blokkeren en tot de meest aberrante conclusies kan leiden. ( )
  bookomaniac | Jan 14, 2016 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 26 (següent | mostra-les totes)
...a brief, trenchant essay.
afegit per GYKM | editaMontreal Gazette, Bryan Demchinsky (Jan 15, 2005)
 
What really needs some psychological excavation is Ronald Wright's mind, which carries a set of inflated, emotionally based moralistic assumptions derived from the structure of his primitive ignorance about markets and economics.
afegit per GYKM | editaNational Post, Peter Foster (Dec 1, 2004)
 
...an elegant and learned discussion
afegit per GYKM | editaMaclean's, Brian Bethune (Nov 22, 2004)
 
... the most important use of printed word and post-consumer recycled fibres I have seen since Jérôme Deshusses's Délivrez Prométhée, 25 years ago.... You feel you've read volumes, though, not just because of the density of Wright's thoughts, but due to the crushing weight of the burden they carry. In prose that is balefully evocative and irreducibly precise...
 
...remarkably gifted wordsmith whose talent makes turgid facts not only digestible, but also generates a hunger for more... A Short History of Progress is an important, well-crafted book, however, I can't promise that it will change your life.
afegit per GYKM | editaSkeptic, Diane Barlee
 

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Long ago ...
No one tore the ground with ploughshares
or parcelled out the land
or swept the sea with dipping oars --
the shore was the world's end.
Clever human nature, victim of your inventions,
disastrously creative,
why cordon cities with towered walls?
Why arm for war?

-- Ovid, Amores, Book 3
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For my mother,
Shirley Phyllis Wright
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The French painter and writer Paul Gauguin -- by most accounts mad, bad, and dangerous to know -- suffered acutely from cosmological vertigo induced by the work of Darwin and other Victorian scientists.
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"A Short History of Progress is nothing less than a concise history of the world since Neanderthal times, elegantly written, brilliantly conceived, and stunningly clear in its warning to us now. Wright shows how human beings have a way of walking into "progress traps," beginning with the worldwide slaughter of big game in the Stone Age. The same pattern of overconsumption then took a new from, as many of the world's most creative civilizations - Mesopotamia, the Maya, the Roman Empire - fell victim to their own success."--BOOK JACKET.

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