pros and cons

by Andrea Elizabeth

Is civilization a necessary evil? Or has it become so only when it comes within arms’ reach?

What comes to mind is that Russian family that escaped the communists by living in a very remote region of Siberia. They survived 40 years on barley until they were found. Shortly after, two of them died of pneumonia, that I assume was gotten from exposure to “civilization”. Then there was the Scottish island shepherds who around the same time abandoned their ancient ways of life to seek medicine after tourists brought disease to their community.

Today I also caved by taking my daughter to a high tech wound care center after trying to treat her shin wound at home for 3 weeks. We kept it free from infection with Epsom salt soaks and over the counter wound ointment, but the center wouldn’t heal over some traumatized tissue that had died. The doctor debrided it with a scalpel after numbing it with lidocaine gel. Back in the day, they did have stitches and knives and bigger scars, but I’m not willing to do that by myself. I suppose I could if civilization wasn’t within reach. I also get my teeth cleaned by similar methods so that they don’t fall out like people’s used to. I just saw a documentary on Texas National Parks that included Fort Davis which has one of the best preserved old forts in the nation. They showed the hospital ward where many young soldiers died from things they wouldn’t have died from today.

But nature is so much more peaceful and beautiful than cities. Until something goes wrong. Then people leave to get help. The Indians were able to develop natural remedies that didn’t destroy nature. I really like Native Americans. I find them less savage than civilized people’s assault on nature. I wish I’d known a toothless medicine man who could have treated her wound better than I did.