A description of the lives of Polynesian islanders in Melville’s book “Typee” shows that the inhumanities of capitalism visible today and constantly attacked by Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges were plainly recognized in American literature of the mid-19th century.
After Roman legions invaded Egypt, during one of the battles waged by Julius Caesar against the brother of Cleopatra, fire devoured most of the thousands upon thousands of papyrus scrolls in the Library of Alexandria. A pair of millennia later, during George W. Bush’s crusade against an imaginary enemy in Iraq, most of the books in the Library of Baghdad were reduced to ashes.
The mounting distortions of climate change and the rapid depletion of natural resources have done little to blunt the self-destructive notion of ceaseless expansion. The road we are on points toward human extinction.
Sure, it behooved our Neolithic ancestors to band together and form proto-civilizations for many reasons, but one main motivation, according to archaeologist Patrick McGovern—who works, and we kid you not, at the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health—was the time-honored pursuit of alcoholic intoxication.