Raven Blackwell said:
I disagree- the needs of war have produced nearly every form of technology we use from modern medicene to computers.
Quite a strong statement that many researchers would disagree with, yet you give no backing to the statement. I have read cultural history as a minor in university and know what you say is not true. I could give you hundreds of examples, here are a few to start with:
- It is impossible to say for sure how many early technologies were invented. However it seems unlikely that the invention of fire, pottery, alphabet etc. would have been driven by military purposes.
- Mathematics in Greece developed because too many clever men had too much time to spend thinking about abstract things during long periods of peace. They didn't have any military use at the time beign, allthough they have many now.
- Penicilin (and antibiotics) was invented in the period between World Wars and was first used to cure civilians.
- The early computers were developed in universities. The fact that they were used a lot by the military during the 2nd World War does not mean that they were developed by or for the military.
Raven Blackwell said:
Progress actually slows in times of ease as people turn to more frivolous pursuits like the current era and squander resources in excessive levels of recreation. Need, pain and suffering are the best teachers but it's few who will embrace them willingly. Too mnay 'good' years like America has had and a civilization will rot out from its own ennui. Something Howard instintively knew. Barbarian are only more endurant than civilized people because they are not safely insulated from all the harsh challenges that slay the weak and strengthen those that are not- nothing more esoteric than that.
In history we have many examples where by warfare some civilizations "advanced" their technology by conquering more advanced civilizations and stealing their knowledge. A couple of examples (warring civilization->advanced civilization): Romans->Greeks, Arabians->Persians, Mongols->Chinese. Thus the technology and culture flourished between the times of war and during that time the civilization softened. Now the more barbaric tribes could easily conquer these older more advanced civilizations, often even with inferior weapons. Conflicts did seldom advance technologies since lots of knowledge was lost during them. What you see as advancement like with romans was normally just copying/stealing of existing ideas.