June 29th, 2010

breaking bad

New Model Army

Human development, once the business of sustaining life is dealt with, is driven by the development of the means of war. As soon as a culture develops, either as a sub-culture of ours, or in some other part of the world, which is better at the business of war than ours is, then it will overrun and destroy us. Or convert us to itself, which comes to the same thing. And when a dominant culture becomes expert at a particular form of war - let us say chariot-warfare - then it is in the interests of its rivals to find another form of war (as let us say the Roman Empire did). My poem Lunt Fort is about that process. Just as each person will pass away, and so we should be calm in the face of mortality, so new forms of war will arise and pass away, and so we should accept that process of passing away.

Furthermore, I think it is clear how a new culture, into which we may pass gently or traumatically, could be superior to our own. Our culture wastes its main resource - human ability - with massive profligacy, like flushing oil into the sea. Any talented person (unless very lucky) is constantly battling to be allowed to do what they do best. This is not a characteristic of the universe, but a characteristic of social organisation. A social system which harnesses its resources just a little better (as the horse collar for example, allowed the better exploitation of horse power) will kick our arses.

Adam Roberts' novel New Model Army is a dramatisation of this process: firstly the harnessing, secondly the arse-kicking. Collapse )
breaking bad

Lunt Fort

Can't find where I posted my poem Lunt Fort previously on this blog, so here it is again, just because it is about the New Model Army.

Lunt Fort
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