You are not what you eat but what you GROW to eat

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phinds
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In a recent thread someone posted the old saw "you are what you eat" and it reminded me of a wonderful article that I read a couple of years ago in, I think it was, The Economist. I have long been interested in the differences between the mindsets of Asian peoples and Western peoples and this article gave a marvelous insight.

The title of the article was "You are what you eat. Well, not really what you eat but what you grow to eat".

It's thesis was this: In early days of agriculture there was a great difference. In Asia, the staple was rice, in the West, wheat. Now rice can be planted / harvested more than once a year and has no hard and fast sowing/reaping timing requirements whereas wheat has to be planted once a year and harvested similarly.

SO ... in Asian cultures, there evolved a communal mentality base on everyone going to one person's rice field and planting and then moving on to the next and by the time they got to the last one it was time to go back to the first one for the harvest. So all the planting and harvesting was done by all together and thus the evolution of the communal mentality.

In the West, it was not that people were less community minded but everyone had to plant at the same time and harvest at the same time, so it was every man for himself, thus the evolution of the individual mentality.

Very interesting, I thought (and still think)
 

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I’ve not heard of it before but while it sounds plausible I’m sure there’s some hidden gotchas in th theory. As an example, the mongols were more into herding as were the Tibetans. Other asian groups were into fishing... and yet they appear more communal than western folks.

I would suspect that warfare was substantially different leaving people in Asia to stay with their agricultural roots no matter who won whereas in Europe the battles were against migrating tribal groups and the Roman Empire and others encroaching on European land.

Also in Chinese history it seemed that while some group would conquer, the Han people would win the peace with the conquerors becoming more Chinese.
 
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phinds
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I’ve not heard of it before but while it sounds plausible I’m sure there’s some hidden gotchas in th theory. As an example, the mongols were more into herding as were the Tibetans. Other asian groups were into fishing... and yet they appear more communal than western folks.

I would suspect that warfare was substantially different leaving people in Asia to stay with their agricultural roots no matter who won whereas in Europe the battles were against migrating tribal groups and the Roman Empire and others encroaching on European land.

Also in Chinese history it seemed that while some group would conquer, the Han people would win the peace with the conquerors becoming more Chinese.
Yes, I agree that it seems to be a very simplistic model, lacking nuance. But I think fundamentally it's sound, it just omits discussion of outlying situations.
 

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