Worldview clashes

May 7, 2009 at 9:51 am | Posted in Blackpowder | Leave a comment

As I was reading more of Biringuccio today, I was struck by the contrast in worldviews between his time (mid sixteenth century) and our own. I’ve come to expect differences in outlooks dealing with equality, gender, and other very social constructs. I was somehow surprised, however, by the stark differences in ecological outlook. I guess I forget that the “save the planet” movement is barely as old as I am, never mind an issue for people living five hundred years ago.

Biringuccio is discussing fire and charcoal when he comments about the abundance of trees:

“…very great forests are found which make one think that the ages of man would never consume them in such uses, especially since Nature, so very liberal, produces new ones every day. Are not the mountains to be seen covered in trees, the valleys full, and the plains occupied? Do not wild trees outnumber even the leaves of domesticated ones, and the areas occupied by trees exceed perhaps those that are free?”

What a change in both the actual physical reality and the mental worldview when it comes to trees, eh?

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