I was reminded tonight of the Gaia hypothesis. It was quite a thing in the 1970s.
The Gaia hypothesis, named after the ancient Greek goddess of Earth, posits that Earth and its biological systems behave
as a huge single entity. This entity has closely controlled self-regulatory negative feedback loops that keep the conditions
on the planet within boundaries that are favorable to life. Introduced in the early 1970s, the idea was conceived by chemist
and inventor James E. Lovelock and biologist Lynn Margulis.
This had a natural appeal in the early days of the environmental movement. I was skeptical back then, thinking of it as new age wishful thinking,
and impossible to test. I was wrong: Its origins are far darker. Here is the abstract of Gas
Guzzling Gaia, or: A Prehistory of Climate Change Denialism:
Back in High School (1964-68) I read a lot of science fiction by Mack Reynolds. His
Joe Mauser series is set in a world where the cold war continues into
the 21st century, but, to avoid catastrophe, the West and the “Sov-world” have agreed to restrict all military forces to pre-1900 technology. There
is still lots of fighting going on at that level.
Recently I was reading about the decades old border dispute between between China and India
countries, which actually led to war in 1962. The conflict still simmers on, but a
agreement states that
Neither side shall open fire, cause bio-degradation, use hazardous chemicals, conduct blast operations or hunt with
guns or explosives within two kilometers from the line of actual control.
Neither side wants to get the blame for starting a shooting war, so both sides are following the letter of the agreement. However, nobody is backing
down. There have been reports
that “Chinese troops have used improvised edged weapons, such as nail-studded clubs, in … skirmishes with Indian forces.” and both sides
have martial artists in their border forces.
It seems that the Chinese are escalating.
We now have Chinese soldiers armed with new devices for hand-to-hand combat with Indians in Tibet.
Actually the “new device”, the guan dao, is quite old. It similar to a a western medieval halberd. It will be interesting to see how Indian army responds.
They have a rich tradition of edged weapons to draw upon.