Much of human history has consisted of unequal conflicts between the haves and the have-nots.
Not until the beginning of the 20th century did Europe's urban populations finally become self-sustaining: before then, constant immigration of healthy peasants from the countryside was necessary to make up for the constant deaths of city dwellers from crowd diseases.
One way to explain the complexity and unpredictability of historical systems, despite their ultimate determinacy, is to note that long chains of causation may separate final effects from ultimate causes lying outside the domain of that field of science.
Rhino-mounted Bantu shock troops could have overthrown the Roman Empire. It never happened.
The history of interactions among disparate peoples is what shaped the modern world through conquest, epidemics and genocide. Those collisions created reverberations that have still not died down after many centuries, and that are actively continuing in some of the world's most troubled areas.
When you have seen the errors in which you live, you will understand the good that we have done you by coming to your land by order of his Majesty the King of Spain. Our Lord permitted that your pride should be brought low and that no Indian should be able to offend a Christian.
With the rise of chiefdoms around 7,500 years ago, people had to learn, for the first time in history, how to encounter strangers regularly without attempting to kill them.
If one of those friendly societies itself runs into environmental problems and collapses for environmental reasons, that collapse may then drag down their trade partners.
The main thing that gives me hope is the media. We have radio, TV, magazines, and books, so we have the possibility of learning from societies that are remote from us, like Somalia. We turn on the TV and see what blew up in Iraq or we see conditions in Afghanistan.
Population densities of farmers and herders are typically 10 to 100 times greater than those of huntergatherers. That fact alone explains why farmers and herders everywhere in the world have been able to push huntergatherers out of land suitable for farmi
Until the end of the last Ice Age around 11,000 B. C., all humans on all continents were still living as Stone Age huntergatherers.
Tasmanians actually abandoned some technologies that they brought with them from Australia and that persisted on the Australian mainland. For example, bone tools and the practice of fishing were both present in Tasmania at the time that the land bridge was severed, and both disappeared from Tasmania by around 1500 B. C.
I personally am not conscious of my accent.
I read that a false alarm of a tsunami in Hawaii would cost about 68 million.
If you gave me 10 million dollars, I wouldn't live any differently. Although nowadays I guess you'd have to raise that to 20 million to mean anything.
AIDS and malaria and TB are national security issues. A worldwide program to get a start on dealing with these issues would cost about $25 billion... It's, what, a few months in Iraq.
We study the injustices of history for the same reason that we study genocide, and for the same reason that psychologists study the minds of murderers and rapists... to understand how those evil things came about.
Technology has to be invented or adopted.
Tasmania lies 130 miles southeast of Australia. When it was first visited by Europeans in 1642, Tasmania was occupied by 4,000 hunter-gatherers related to mainland Australians, but with the simplest technology of any recent people on Earth. Unlike mainland Aboriginal Australians, Tasmanians couldn't start a fire.
Tasmanian history is a study of human isolation unprecedented except in science fiction - namely, complete isolation from other humans for 10,000 years.
With the MacArthur grant, I realized that people have high expectations of me, that they were placing me in this group of achievers. I compared what I'd actually achieved in my life with what I would like to achieve and what other people have achieved, and I found that comparison depressing.
Guns, Germs, and Steel The Fates of Human Societies.
Humans have been evolving for millions of years longer in Africa than in Europe, and even anatomically modern Homo sapiens may have reached Europe from Africa only within the last 50,000 years. If time were a critical factor in the development of human societies, Africa should have enjoyed an enormous head start and advantage over Europe.
Livestock adopted in Africa were Eurasian species that came in from the north. Africa's long axis, like that of the Americas, is northsouth rather than eastwest. Those Eurasian domestic mammals spread southward very slowly in Africa, because they had to adapt to different climate zones and different animal diseases.
The metaphor is so obvious. Easter Island, isolated in the Pacific Ocean once the island got into trouble, there was no way they could get free. There was no other people from whom they could get help. In the same way that we on Planet Earth, if we ruin
Domesticated plants and animals yield far more calories per acre than do wild habitats, in which most species are inedible to humans.
I'd rather spend my leisure time doing what some people call my work and I call my fun.
Measles and TB evolved from diseases of our cattle, influenza from a disease of pigs, and smallpox possibly from a disease of camels. The Americas had very few native domesticated animal species from which humans could acquire such diseases.
Eurasia ended up with the most domesticated animal species in part because it's the world's largest land mass and offered the most wild species to begin with.
The United States has long thought of itself as the land of infinite plenty, and historically we did have abundant resources. But now we are gradually exhausting our fisheries, our topsoil, our water. On top of that, we're coming to the end of world resources.
More Jared Diamond Quotations (Based on Topics)
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More Jared Diamond Quotations (By Book Titles)
- Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Napolean Hill - Marcel Proust - George Orwell - F. Scott Fitzgerald - C. S. Lewis - Tertullian - Robert Fulghum - Mary Wollstonecraft Shelle - Lewis Carroll - Ian Fleming