Tuesday, June 7

Guns, Germs, and Steel

Documentaries are so fascinating, and Guns, Germs, and Steel is a wonderful example of such. Adapted from Jared Diamond's best-selling book in 1997, this film discusses the professor's theory as to why cultures around the world differ so much, and why some have evolved the way that they have.

Keeping an open mind about the theories, one can learn a lot from watching this movie. Especially how we can all individually extract different lessons from it. So much in fact, that I wonder why we aren't exposed to these subjects at a younger age. Studying past cultures can be captivating, but sad because history can be cruel. Perhaps this would help teach love, equality, and compassion. Learning from the mistakes that people have made in the past. I myself have never understood conquest - it's something to be ashamed of.

Here's the documentary, which can be found on Netflix as well:
Guns, Germs, and Steel 
(An 18 part series)  

Guns, Germs, and Steel Website

Happy movie watching.


  1. "Especially how we can all individually extract different lessons from it" I never thought of the video like that, but I think you are right. For me it reinforces the materialist philosophy of Marx and Engels that matter is primary and thought secondary. After all, guns, germs and steel all all material entities, as were wheat, and the 13 domesticated animals found in the fertile crescent. Though geography played an important role, placed more importance on the material aspect.

    I don't think Jared Diamonds thesis is entirely new, as Engels in his book, Origin Of The Family, Private Property and Species, put forward a very similar thesis, In addition Engels, explains, that being able to produce a surplus of food beyond ones individual needs, was what made slavery possible, and or the first class divided society. That is something, missing from Jared's thesis. I don't really know, why Jared makes no mention of Origin. I can only guess, he might have had a hard time publishing his book or having his video produced.

    What I like about the video, is that it updates Engels book, with recent archeological finds and other new info. I also like that it points out that it takes more intelligence to survive on meager resources than when one has an abundance.

    The scene that stands out the most in my mind, is when Athualpa is taken prisoner. Pizzarro promises him his life, if he only brings him all his gold and disarms his warriors. Pizzarro had learned well from the conquest of the Aztecs, once you had the leader, the rest was easy. I think, todays rulers also learned that lesson well, and refined that. If they take a leader, they keep him alive, so he can serve the rulers from prison. Such is the case when the leader of the Kurdistan Peoples Party was taken prisoner by the Turkish govt. Right away, he ordered his followers to disarm.

    There is so much more in the video. to comment about. One has to watch it to appreciate it. I recommend it and promote it every chance I get. I never thought about using my blog until this year. I am glad you liked it for as you say: "Especially how we can all individually extract different lessons from it"

    1. Hi there Frank. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it. You make some very interesting points indeed. Yes, the documentary has a lot to appreciate.

      Oh wonderful. I'm glad to hear about your blog. That's great!
      Also, if you like Jared Diamond, he has a TED Talk as well:



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