Consider this, optimists. All the societies in the world can collapse simultaneously. It has happened before.
In the 12th century BCE the great Bronze Age civilizations of the Mediterranean—all of them—suddenly fell apart. Their empires evaporated, their cities emptied out, their technologies disappeared, and famine ruled. Mycenae, Minos, Assyria, Hittites, Canaan, Cyprus—all gone. Even Egypt fell into a steep decline. The Bronze Age was over.
The event should live in history as one of the great cautionary tales, but it hasn’t because its causes were considered a mystery. How can we know what to be cautious of? Eric Cline has taken on on the mystery. An archaeologist-historian at George Washington University, he is the author of “1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed.” The failure, he suggests, was systemic. The highly complex, richly interconnected system of the world tipped all at once into chaos.
“1177 B.C.: When Civilization Collapsed” was given on January 11, 02016 as part of Long Now’s Seminar series. The series was started in 02003 to build a compelling body of ideas about long-term thinking from some of the world’s leading thinkers. The Seminars take place in San Francisco and are curated and hosted by Stewart Brand. To follow the talks, you can: