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November 8, 2010

Burying Things

Filed under: Culture And Society — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 5:31 pm

What is it about our species and its obsession to bury things – both physically and metaphysically?

Did it begin when we were hunter gathers and got into a habit of just leaving things lying around because they naturally decayed. Then, when we started using materials that didn’t break down, like masonry, we had to bury them so that our environment didn’t become an eyesore. A progression from a nomadic to a settled lifestyle maybe?

Or are we just genetically lazy? i.e. After building something, using something and abandoning something – instead of cleaning up after ourselves, reusing materials or recycling, we cover them up with soil, pretend they never existed and build more on top of that soil! Just look at our oldest cities – places like Rome. New York, etc., now sit tens of metres higher than when they were first settled.

Whatever the reason, it has two far reaching consequences:
1 – Our refuse and rubble has allowed us to study our past, which has to be a good thing in terms of learning from our mistakes.
2 – It is not sustainable. No other creature, leaves behind (buries) the amount of waste we do. It isn’t natural and if it was, the planet would already be covered by a billion years of concrete!

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

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