Archives for: September 2008, 23
This bad cold was more than just a cold, it was pneumonia, and I'm currently still recovering from it. I didn't feel that bad, but it was just weird enough that I went into the doctor. I wouldn't take the first antibiotic of choice (levaquin), due to it's side effects that it seemed were beginning to affect me with some tendon pain. So I'm taking something weaker, and getting better a bit more slowly because of it. What good is it to get better faster if my tendons won't let me be active? My lungs have cleared quite a bit, and I'm getting a bit stir crazy.
It's been odd to find time to read, as I don't usually read much with 2 small children, but I've been able to do some reading lately, by finally reading Guns, Germs, and Steel.
I've only made it through the first couple chapters, but was interested to see how the switch to agriculture was made. It's looking to me like it wasn't a conscious choice for the betterment of society so much as it was a compromise to avoid starvation. With fairly rapid population growth and spread, most the large animals that were easy to catch and good eating were actually wiped out in extinction. In many areas that meant that changes had to be made. Those changes didn't bring about better health, but did make population growth, civilization (with all its good and bad), and avoiding starvation all possible. The few catchable animals that weren't pushed to extinction were those that were domesticated...which was a better fate for them than extinction, in addition to providing humans with needed nutrition. Odd to think that much of the meat we eat owes its continued existance to being spared by our ancestors for the purpose of growing food.
The switch from running for our food to sitting on it waiting for it to grow, has resulted in technological advances and longer lifespans, but not all humans have adapted to the health challenges that come along with it. I'm one of those humans, and benefit from adding alternative foods into my diet (the closest thing to the wild foods that the hunter/gatherers ate), while eliminating many foods that are cultivated to feed the masses of population growth. Most even in the gatherer genotype have adapted a bit better than I, as they can have some gluten and dairy.
The book also brings to mind many other questions. Beginning to learn how the environment and food sources changed the course of history, I wonder what changes our current environment is leading to. Will our technological advancements make up for our environmental challenges (or lack thereof). Will modern medicine save us from the sedentary zoo-like lives we've chosen to live? It would be better from a health perspective, as well as a financial one, to cut back and opt out of some of the perks of civilization, and get back to the basics. Not by being hunter-gatherers, that boat has passed, but by consuming less of our civilization's "cargo". We've gone beyond being agrarian, to living in a zoo of our own creation, and I fear that is not sustainable...as I type on my computer and my son plays x-box. We've got to get out more, once I'm well.