Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization
In The Journey of Man, renowned geneticist and anthropologist Spencer Wells traced human evolution back to our earliest ancestors, creating a remarkable and readable map of our distant past. Now, in his thrilling new book, he examines our cultural inheritance in order to find the turning point... show more
In The Journey of Man, renowned geneticist and anthropologist Spencer Wells traced human evolution back to our earliest ancestors, creating a remarkable and readable map of our distant past. Now, in his thrilling new book, he examines our cultural inheritance in order to find the turning point that led us to the path we are on today, one he believes we must veer from in order to survive.Pandora’s Seed takes us on a powerful and provocative globe-trotting tour of human history, back to a seminal event roughly ten thousand years ago, when our species made a radical shift in its way of life: We became farmers rather than hunter-gatherers, setting in motion a momentous chain of events that could not have been foreseen at the time.Although this decision to control our own food supply is what propelled us into the modern world, Wells demonstrates—using the latest genetic and anthropological data—that such a dramatic shift in lifestyle had a downside that we’re only now beginning to recognize. Growing grain crops ultimately made humans more sedentary and unhealthy and made the planet more crowded. The expanding population and the need to apportion limited resources such as water created hierarchies and inequalities. The desire to control—and no longer cooperate with—nature altered the concept of religion, making deities fewer and more influential, foreshadowing today’s fanaticisms. The proximity of humans and animals bred diseases that metastasized over time. Freedom of movement and choice were replaced by a pressure to work that is the forebear of the anxiety and depression millions feel today. Wells offers a hopeful prescription for altering a life to which we were always ill suited, recommending that we change our priorities and self-destructive appetites before it’s too late.A riveting and accessible scientific detective story, Pandora’s Seed is an eye-opening book for anyone fascinated by the past and concerned about the future.
Publish date: June 8th 2010
Publisher: Random House, Inc.
Pages no: 256
Edition language: English
I would give this 2.5 stars. Some new stuff, lots of old stuff and rather a lot of vagueness. I still have no clue why the hunter-gatherer hold the key to our survival.Edit: Grandma like this book a lot.
After reading Wells’ The Journey of Man and loving it, I couldn’t wait to dig into Pandora’s Seed, which promised to illuminate how “advanced” the hunter-gatherer societies were and what modern man can learn from these times for sustainability. Where there were a plethora of interesting ideas and fa...
This is very different from what I've been reading. This is the first non-fiction book I've read in a while. The start of it made me feel like I was in a biology class and the topic of the day is genetics. Sorry, but I knew all of it. I'm sure not everyone who's read this book would know all of it, ...
Spencer Wells argues in Pandora’s Seed that there are two critical events in humanity’s (relatively) recent past that have pushed us onto the path leading to modern civilization. Two cusps that have led to the marvels we enjoy today, as well as the horrors (which explains the book’s subtitle: “The U...
Updated - 7/28/13 - see link at bottomIn a 2006 interview with Conservation Biology, geneticist, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, and head of NatGeo’s Genographic Project, Spencer Wells said that in various ways people todayare mismatched with the culture we’ve created in the last 10,000 y...