Monday, April 16, 2012

Response: The Ends of the Worlds as We Know Them.

I liked the way in which Jared Diamond laid out his points in his article “The Ends of the Worlds as We Know Them” and compared many different cultures that have failed and used them for his examples. I really enjoyed reading this piece, it flowed well and I felt engaged with it the entire time I was reading. Most research articles seem to be rife with quotations and scientific data. Maybe it was the lack of all the statistics and concrete facts and citations that made Diamond’s article more interesting and readable for me, compared to some of the other research articles we have read.
 Also, in contrast to some of the other articles we have been reading lately, this one did not directly cite other people’s research to back up what the author was saying. However, considering the brief bio at the beginning of his article he is well educated and he must have had to do a lot of research for all the books he has written, so I think the reader can give him the benefit of the doubt in this case and we can trust most of what he has to say.

His article could have been construed as preachy, but I think it is a genuine plea to the rest of humanity to realize the mistakes of our forebears and be able to learn from them. In this way I think it is similar to the Pollan article we read, “What’s Eating America” because Michael Pollan  seemed to also impress upon readers the impact which humans have upon the planet and the  importance of finding ways to live more sustainably, ways which will not jeopardize the future of our society. Both authors talk about earth’s “finite resources,” as Diamond puts it. Compared to Pollan’s article, however, I think the title Diamond chose for his piece was much more fitting and gave the reader a better idea about what to expect when they were reading it.

In this article the author is asking many things of the reader, right from the beginning he talks about reflecting on humanity and being able to learn from our collective previous mistakes. He pushes his audience to think very hard and ask themselves difficult questions, sometimes about things that we don’t like to think about that much because often the answer we land on is an unpleasant one.

One interesting thing that Diamond pointed out is that because of globalization, nearly everyone in the entire world is connected. This was probably the part of the article that I dwelt on the most after I finished reading it. This fact of modern-day global interconnection means that we risk not just one culture dying through human error, but a near total global collapse, on a scale never seen before.

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