Jared_Diamond_Collapse_Essay - Class 134 Professor Rusten...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Class 134 Professor Rusten Jared Diamond’s Collapse 4/18/08 The sub heading of the title of Jared Diamond’s book Collapse , “How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed”, seems to imply that through the course of his book, Diamond will try to show his reader(s) the ways in which civilizations were the causes of their ability to fail or succeed. In his sections on the civilizations of Easter Island and the Medieval Norse in Greenland Diamond makes pretty solid arguments as to why each respective civilizations caused its own demise. On the whole, he cites both civilizations’ poor political relations with competing groups (the Inuit in the case of the Norse, internal conflict in the case of the Easter Island natives) and their destructive behavior toward their environment. However, Diamond then proceeds, toward the end of each section, in taking a step back and concluding that the reason for these civilizations’ failure may be due in fact to factors outside of their own doing, mainly environmental. Through all of his arguments Diamond seems to be making the assertion that the environment, and our interaction with it, is largely influential on the success of our societies as humans. In both the Norse and Easter Island sections Diamond discusses both civilizations’ political interactions. In the case of Easter Island, Diamond cites the interrelations between the natives’ tribes as a major source of their decline. The Island was divided, by region, into many different tribes, each with its own leader and political identity. The leaders of these tribes, who “justified their elite status by claiming relationship to the gods” 1 , competed with one another for 1  Diamond, 109
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
status. One of the leading methods of competition was the construction of the huge stone heads which have made Easter Island so famous. Diamond explains that, at first “the clans competed peacefully by seeking to outdo each other in building platforms and statues, but eventually their competition took the form of ferocious fighting.” 2 The intensity of this fighting was exacerbated by the lack of adequate natural resources which compelled competing tribes to fight for said resources. This lack of resources was due to, in part, the period of peaceful competition between
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This essay was uploaded on 02/01/2009 for the course CLASS 134 taught by Professor Jeffreyrusten during the Fall '08 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

Page1 / 5

Jared_Diamond_Collapse_Essay - Class 134 Professor Rusten...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online