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By Ronald Wright

Whenever heritage repeats itself, the fee is going up. the 20th century—a time of remarkable progress—has produced a major pressure at the very parts that include existence itself: This increases the most important query of the twenty-first century: How for much longer can this pass on? With wit and erudition, Ronald Wright lays out a-convincing case that historical past has regularly supplied a solution, no matter if we care to note or no longer. From Neanderthal guy to the Sumerians to the Roman Empire, a quick background of development dissects the cyclical nature of humanity's improvement and death, the 10,000-year previous scan that we've unleashed yet haven't begun to manage. it truly is Wright's competition that basically through realizing and finally breaking from the styles of development and catastrophe that humanity has repeated world wide because the Stone Age will we keep away from the onset of a brand new darkish Age. Wright illustrates how quite a few cultures all through background have actually synthetic their very own finish through generating an overabundance of innovation and stripping naked the very parts that allowed them to at first develop. Wright's booklet is fabulous; a desirable rumination at the hubris on the center of human improvement and the pitfalls we nonetheless could have time to prevent.

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Extra resources for A Short History of Progress

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During the Second World War, for example, the Japanese were described as ‘pathologically clean’ by their enemies in the United States. It is thus interesting to look at the early training of children in a particular society to try and identify important categories being imparted to them. An understanding of these categories can pave the way for a deeper understanding of relations in later life, and headings found in this chapter cover aspects of Japanese interpersonal relations which are also described elsewhere for adult behaviour.

The following chapters should make much clearer the extent to which features of Japanese society are shared, and, conversely, the variety which it encompasses. NOTES 1. (Nakane 1974:64–5). For a more detailed discussion of the cultural origins of the Japanese people, and the various arguments involved, see Befu (1971) and Aikens and Higuchi (1982). Edward Kidder (1985) also provides illustrated descriptions in English of ancient Japan, as does Colcutt, Jansen and Kamakura (1988). Barnes (1993) places Japan in an East Asian context.

There were two successful forays with China and Russia around the turn of the century, which probably helped to inspire the extraordinary self-confidence which was eventually to lead to Japan’s own first experience of foreign occupation. Sources of Japanese identity 17 The build-up of extreme nationalism which preceded Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 drew on all the resources for national identity which Japan had at her disposal. The Shinto mythological foundations of the nation in the sixth century BC were taught as history in schools during this period, and the people were encouraged to think of themselves as ultimately related through their ancestors to the imperial family.

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