Author Topic: Angkor and the Death of an Empire  (Read 32 times)

Offline Shiranu

Angkor and the Death of an Empire
« on: July 15, 2018, 01:46:50 AM »

On a less serious note... that scene near the end? I want to visit Angkor in the rain now. That is absolutely beautiful.

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So in short, if you are in that golden age there are a couple of things you are going to want to watch out for... don't use your resources to the max, don't vote in bad administrators for no reason, don't fall behind in technology and don't get into so many resource wars. And perhaps most of all... keep an eye on the climate.

There are two things in this video that I feel hit the nail on the head for me...

Simplicity. Angkor's greatest fault, and this is true of so many great cultures (the Chacoan, Cahokian, Incan, Mayan, Easter Islanders, Egyptians, etc. etc.) is that the lived beyond their means, both from a economic standpoint but also from a climate standpoint. While humanities' desire to become more and more complex is admirable, and so much good has come out of it, it is also a self-destroying system... and the more complex the system is, the harder the fall is when it crumbles.

The American Golden Age is nearly over, and we must learn what post-Golden Age life will mean as a society and as a nation. Some countries have thrived (England, China off-and-on, Japan with much help from the West) while others have crumbled or struggled (Russia, Turkiye, Iran, Mexico and Latin America).

I don't think American superiority can be restored at this point, not without the type of leader that global history books will still idolize 250, 500 years from now. But we can at least try to soften the fall from power... but as it stands, we aren't even doing that. And that is being optimistic... if America's economy crumbles, so too does the global economy, on a scale that perhaps never seen before in human history because of just how interconnected the global community has become.

I still don't believe in isolationism, and a global community is still the goal all of humanity should strive for, but self-reliance should still be a concern from city level to nations... and that is something that has been almost entirely ignored. Which again goes back to my first point, and a concept I have mulled over for a year or two now... simplicity.

Can a global society also be a simple society? I don't know.
I've Got Love, Fuck Your Money.

"Intellectualization creates a gap or lack of rapport between you and your life. You may think about things so much that you get into the state where you are eating the menu instead of the dinner." -Alan Watts

Offline Baruch

Re: Angkor and the Death of an Empire
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2018, 09:40:49 AM »
Tropical locations in particular, have water problems, ironically.  Perpetually dry soil is bad for agriculture, perpetually wet soil is bad for agriculture.  In agricultural wet societies (Egypt etc) ... you have to have massive manpower to do the irrigation work every planting season.  They had no machines.  I wouldn't discount, in Egypt or elsewhere, the peasants simply giving up after many generations of back breaking labor done under a divine authority.

And tropical soils ironically are nutrient poor.  Otherwise the Amazon would have fed the world.  Cambodia has the Mekong, and the Monsoon.

Angkor is an interesting case though, of an early SE Asian people adopting Hinduism and Sanskrit peacefully.  It is thought that this came from Hindu traders ... just as later, Muslim traders converted Indonesia, also peacefully.

Collapes, by Jared Diamond deals with the same issues.   To summarize him, we all need food.  A large population needs a lot of food.  When there is a major shift of climate, or a major degradation of the farming ecology because of human activity (Classic Maya had both problems) then the food system fails.  In the West right now, we only have 3 days of food.  If anything happens to disrupt that, then we will have mega-death in about 1 week.

Here is a longer documentary ....

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« Last Edit: July 15, 2018, 09:48:32 AM by Baruch »


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