Gravity's Rainbow

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Cultural destruction

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The Spaniards did all in their power to crush the religious spirit of the Inca. In a manual published early in the seventeenth century as a guide for missionaries, Pablo José de Arriaga offered simple advice for priests confronting idolatry. “Everything that is inflammable is burned at once,” the priest wrote, “and the rest broken into pieces.” Arriaga himself spent a year and a half in Peru during which time he alone was responsible for the destruction of 603 huacas, 3,418 household shrines, 617 ancestral mummies, and 189 field shrines.

From One River, by Wade Davis.

You are right to be disgusted with Arriaga’s actions, but the US is not so different. Because of the war we started, Iraq’s cultural heritage is quickly disappearing.

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One Comment

  1. the conquistadors were also fond of destroying the incan quipus:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quipu

    hundreds of years before the europeans hit upon the same idea (and developed it into computers) the inca were using textiles to encode information.

    who knows where computation would be today were it not for rank stupidity?

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