[permaculture] RE: Major histocompatibility complex (MHC)

Toby Hemenway hemenway at jeffnet.org
Tue Mar 18 23:53:05 EST 2003


On Tuesday, March 18, 2003, at 06:01 AM, Marimike6 at cs.com wrote:

> The Chinese in the Pacific Rim and Latin America, the Indians in East 
> Africa and the Greeks and Syrian-Lebanese all over the world are other 
> examples of weeds that readily transplant and thrive. This is due to 
> their cultural, not gross racial, characteristics. They tend to 
> dominate economically.

To this list you might add the Maori and their conquering of many 
peoples who lived on neighboring (and some not so neighboring) islands, 
like the Moriori; the Polynesians and their 2000+ year spread across 
the Pacific from near New Guinea across the whole South Pacific up to 
Hawai'i; countless waves of Native Americans from the Chinook to the 
Inca and further south who pushed out or conquered earlier inhabitants; 
the Bantu, who overran much of central and south Africa sometime before 
500 CE, shoving aside the Khoisa and other groups; the often violent 
spread of Islam from Palestine across India to Indonesia, and on and on 
and on. In other words, I don't think the trait of wiping out or 
assimilating other cultures can be ascribed to any particular group of 
humanity. It seems to be a fundamental human characteristic. We 
(people) seem to do it whenever we can, given the technology, food 
supply, population pressure, ideological drive, or just about any 
excuse. (Pardon my Darwinism; generally I like to look for examples of 
cooperation rather than competition.)

We don't necessarily assimilate other cultures only by violence. It's 
done by merging cultural ideas until one group no longer differs from 
the other, or via ideological dominance, or by overwhelming another 
group with new technologies that they hurry to adopt until they lose 
the heart of their own culture. Cultures, from a long-term perspective, 
seem pretty fluid.

Toby
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