The general behavior of a people that arises from the topography of their homeland

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August 21, 2021

The Influence of Nature

David Hume explained, in “National Characters”, that the natural environment of a society plays are role in its behavior. If a person were shaped by nature and nurture, then a society’s character is likewise shaped by its natural environment and the social cycles that nurture it.

Lord Bacon observed that the inhabitants of the warm south are generally more ingenious than those of the cold north. But where the native of a cold climate has genius, he rises to a higher pitch than can be reached by the southern wits.

The characteristics that are generally associated with a certain environment or topography:

Inca landscape

Name Examples Character Description
Hill tribes Romans, Inca, Macedonians, Persians Conquerors Being on hills make them see lowlands very easily. This gives them a mentality of dominance
Valley tribes China, Egypt Culturalists These usually do not conquer nor colonize. The valley protects them from foreigners and typhoons, allowing them to evolve in isolation with their own culture. The protection of valleys make them not want to go out
Island tribes Greece, Britain, United States, Japan Colonizers These have to go out of their island if their population increases, making them natural colonists
Archipelago tribes Greece, Indonesia, Philippines Natural democracies Small-islands allow freedom which makes the people prefer democracy over empires
River tribes Babylonians, Indians Producers They have a lot of water and flat plain to produce things, making them natural producers
Desert tribes Arabs, Mongols Raiders These have to roam around for resources
Rainforest tribes Amazon and Indonesian tribes (Orang asli, Negritos) Backward The forest limits their production and forces them to be dependent on nature

Mischief reef

This categorization of societies is useful in predicting or understanding the current behavior of certain societies. For example, these shed light on:

  • why China has invaded only Tibet and not Mongolia, Laos, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Nepal
  • why Afghanistan fell to the Taliban despite being close to the Soviet Union and Iran
  • why the culture of Arab-Egyptians is not as strong as the ancient Egyptians

Moreover, these can be used by future human explorers on other planets when they encounter different intelligent civilizations. In this way, they can have a basic model to guide their policies towards intelligent aliens.

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