So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Are you civilized or are you a barbarian?
Lately I've been thinking about the fall of the Roman Empire. Maybe it's because I follow the news. Knowing how empires fall might be useful information.
Most barbarian invasions were not looking to topple Rome. They wanted what Rome had: good land, civilized goods, food, and wealth of all kinds. Often barbarian invasions were stopped by giving them loot so they'd go away.
Most barbarians were forced into contact with the empire. Sometimes they were fleeing other barbarians. (who may have been fleeing even tougher tribes themselves). At times bad climate conditions moved large groups of people off land that could no longer sustain them. Then there's the winter of 406 that was unusually cold allowing the barbarians to cross the frozen Rhine River.
Over the years many barbarians became Romanized. They adopted the dress, laws, language, and even the religion of the Romans. The most dangerous barbarians were those who lived in the empire, learned of its ways, yet never lost their barbarian roots. They took what they could use and turned it against the Romans.
These days we basically have a world wide civilization. Only tiny isolated pockets of humans cling to isolation and independence. These are the people who shoot arrows at helicopters. For all practical purposes, we've all become “Romanized.” We live in the world of global commerce and communication.
Some of us still cling to our barbarian sensibilities. We recognized the power and dominance of the world wide civilization. We may even be quite successful in that civilization. In our hearts we are still outsiders, taking what civilization has to offer, but not buying into its myths. We look at the global civilization the same way barbarians looked at the last days of the Roman Empire. There's some cool stuff, but don't get too invested in a dying system. Don't trust the promises as the empire won't be able to deliver.
So are you a barbarian or are you civilized? Barbarians survive the fall of empire. Civilized people . . . not so much.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.