Time Magazine: Man of the Millennium

Maynard Handley handleym at ricochet.net
Mon Sep 21 13:54:37 EST 1998


In article <36035DDB.9AB94789 at OntheNet.com.au>, tonyg at OntheNet.com.au wrote:

> Warrl kyree Tale'sedrin wrote:
> > 
> > Peter da Silva wrote in alt.memetics:
> > 
> > >Leonardo da Vinci is the most likely MotM, politically and socially.
> 
> Hmmm...  Not sure L da V had much impact on the political _or_ social
> environment of his time, or even later.  Even his science was cloaked in
> secrecy and didn't do much to spur others to advance at a greater rate.
> 
> For me, the one act by a single person that had greatest influence on the
> nature of this millennium was the burning of the Chinese fleet and the
> turning of the Chinese empire for outward looking to an enclosed "universe"
> oblivious and contemptous of the rest of the world.  This occurred at a time
> when the plague (bubonic?) was sweeping through Europe and the nation states,
> if you could call them that, were really constantly changing alliances of
> ducal fiefdoms.  The Europeans were afraid of sailing beyond the sight of
> land for fear of falling off the 'edge' at a time when Chinese trading ships
> were sailing all the way to the west coast of Africa and the Persian gulf.
> 
> Given the start in technology that China enjoyed at the time, and the power
> of a highly organised and well administered state with a VERY LARGE (for the
> time, I believe about 300 million is the estimate!) population, the Chinese
> empire could EASILY have expanded west and cleaned up, much as the Mongols
> under the Khans had done a few hundred years earlier.

Well that's one theory. 
Another theory is that it was precisely their 
>highly organised and well administered state
that doomed them, that if one guy at the top said "stop the clocks" it
happened. Meanwhile European states were engaged in a Darwinian struggle
for survival and those that were stupid enough to attempt to stop the
clock were soon eaten up.

Maynard

-- 
My opinion only



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