An Examination Of Guns, Germs, And Steel By Jared Diamond

1137 words - 5 pages

An Examination of Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Yali posed an interesting question. Why did Europe come to dominate
the rest of the world after 1500? Jared Diamond, in his book Guns,
Germs, and Steel, concludes that geography is the defining factor in
all of human history. While some people may disagree with his
conclusion, that is only because it might not seem to take individual
choice into consideration, which makes a person feel uncomfortable to
say the least. Why would a person be inclined, even before they learn
the facts, to disagree with his theory? What are the other theories,
and why would people choose to believe them over this one? And
finally, what makes this theory more accurate? Rest easy, the answers
will come.

Humans, especially in America, respect individuality. Why then,
should they believe a theory that seems to discard every individual
choice, and dare to say that where your great-great-grandfather was
born has more to do with your success than your disposition, dreams,
or dealings? People are repelled by a theory that does not glorify
human endeavor. It is true that Jared Diamond says outright that
geography has everything to do with the success of a society, but he
does not delve into the personal aspect. This is because a society is
really just an average of all the individual views of its population.
Thus, while a single person may be inspiring to a certain group of
people, it is unlikely that it will affect state policy unless it is
in the better interest of the state, where Jared Diamond says is
innate. So, every culture is, possibly subconsciously, striving for
success. This is where the geographic determinism comes into play on
a large scale. When two cultures meet, the one with better technology
and germs, and not necessarily the one with better ideas, will be
victorious. This may be hard to swallow as of yet, but the
examination continues.

A popular conflicting belief is called the “Big Man Theory,” in which
they state that history is driven and decided by a few “Big Men” with
big ideas. Surely Columbus was part of history, but wouldn’t the
Americas be discovered eventually anyway? Here lies the logical
fallacy of the “Big Man Theory.” It is impossible to go back in time
and find out how history would be different without certain
individuals, but is it not true that someone probably would have
filled the vacuum had Columbus been killed before his journey? And
so, the historical geocentrics, and Jared Diamond is one of many, have
come to believe that the great men do make choices, and that great men
do take power, but that there are great men in every culture, just
waiting to be recognized and have their views expressed such...

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