The process by which our culture evolved from tribal villages to early hierarchical states occurred over many hundreds of years, by gradual degrees, not in a single generation. At each stage what was done seemed to make perfect sense, just as in the last two centuries it seemed to make sense to build ever more hungry petroleum-fueled machines that would eventually pollute the air, the land, and the sea.

At no point did it occur to everyone to sit down in a big circle and say, “Does what we’re doing make sense? Is going to be good for people in a thousand years?”—any more than it occurs to everyone to do that today.

ID: 703
updated: 27 Aug 2004