The Indian Shrimp Market 2019: Projected to Reach a Volume of 1.
The Indian Shrimp Market 2019: Projected to Reach a Volume of 1.
DUBLIN –(BUSINESS WIRE) The “Indian Shrimp Market: Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2019-2024” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.
The Indian shrimp market reached a volume of 0.67 Million Tons in 2018. Looking forward, the publisher expects the market to reach a volume of 1.13 Million Tons by 2024, exhibiting a CAGR of around 9% during 2019-2024.
Easy availability of shrimp and their high nutritional content represent the major growth-inducing factors. They form an important part of various cuisines being one of the most traded seafood species. With the rise in demand for disease-free and healthy shrimps, India has become one of the largest shrimp exporters to the US and the European Union.
One of the key trends witnessed in the Indian market is the expansion of the food industry owing to the rising demand for ready-to-eat food products. This is supported by forces such as rapid urbanization, changing lifestyles, hectic work schedules and increasing working women population. As a result, the shrimp market in India is witnessing a healthy growth.
In addition to this, a rising demand for shrimp worldwide has positively influenced shrimp imports from India. Moreover, increasing health consciousness amongst consumers, escalating disposable incomes and improving standards of living remain some of the other major factors which are further augmenting the demand for shrimps.
Key Topics Covered
2 Scope and Methodology
2.1 Objectives of the Study
2.3 Data Sources
2.4 Market Estimation
2.5 Forecasting Methodology
3 Executive Summary
4.2 Key Industry Trends
5 Global Shrimp Industry
5.1 Market Overview
5.2 Market Performance
5.3 Wild Shrimp Vs Farmed Shrimp
5.4 Market Forecast
6 Global Wild Shrimp Industry
6.1 Market Overview
6.2 Market Performance
6.3 Market Forecast
7 Global Farmed Shrimp Industry
7.1 Market Overview
7.2 Market Performance
7.3 Major Shrimp Producing Countries
7.4 Major Shrimp Consuming Countries
7.5 Market Breakup by Species
7.6 Market Breakup by Shrimp Size
7.8 Market Forecast
8 Indian Shrimp Industry: Market Insights
8.1 Evolution of the Indian Shrimp Industry
8.2 India’s Position in the Global Shrimp Industry
8.3 India’s Shrimp Product Portfolio
8.4 Regional Insights
8.5 India’s Shrimp Exports
9 Indian Shrimp Industry: Value Chain
9.1 Broodstock Sourcing
9.2 Indian Shrimp Feed Industry
9.3 Shrimp Farming
9.4 Shrimp Processing
9.5 Shrimp Processing: Competitive Landscape
9.6 India’s Competitiveness with Other Countries
9.7 Government Support and Subsidies
9.8 Potential of India as a Market for Processed Shrimps
9.9 SWOT Analysis
9.10 Market Outlook
9.11 Key Market Drivers and Success Factors
10 Market for Value Added Shrimp Products
10.1 Types of Value-Added Products
10.2 Processing Requirements
10.3 Infrastructure and Skill Requirements
10.4 Domestic Demand
10.5 Export Market
10.6 Market Outlook
11 Indian Shrimp Industry: Key Players
11.1 Capacities of Key Players
11.2 Profiles of Key Players
11.2.1 Nekkanti Seafoods
11.2.2 Avanti Frozen Foods Private Limited
11.2.3 Devi Sea Foods Limited
11.2.4 Falcon Marine Exports Ltd.
11.2.5 BMR Group
11.2.6 Baby Marine Eastern Exports
11.2.7 Sandhya Marines
11.2.8 Apex Frozen Foods Limited
11.2.9 Ananda Aqua Exports Private Limited
11.2.10 Crystal Sea Foods Private Limited
11.2.11 Citrus Alpha Marine LLP
11.2.12 Jaya Lakshmi Sea Foods Private Limited
11.2.13 Ifb Agro Industries Limited
11.2.14 S.S.F Limited
11.2.16 JRJ Sea Foods India Private Limited
11.2.17 Anjaneya Sea Foods
11.2.18 Kings Infra Ventures Limited
11.2.19 Kadalkanny Frozen Foods
11.2.20 The Waterbase Limited
11.2.21 Geo Sea Foods
11.2.22 Abad Fisheries Private Limited
11.2.23 K V Marine Exports
11.2.24 Liberty Group of Seafood Companies
11.2.25 Zeal Aqua Limited
11.2.26 Frontline Exports Private Limited
11.2.27 Jude Foods India Private Limited
For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/w0c4za
Laura Wood, Senior Press Manager
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Related Topics: Fish and Seafood
Quick And Easy Chicken Chop Suey
Image by kakyusei via Pixabay.com 8 oz boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces 1 tbsp corn starch paste (equal parts cornflour and water) 3 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp brown sugar (optional) 1 tsp mirin (rice wine) Vegetables 1 bell pepper, sliced or diced 1 onion, sliced 2 tbsp ginger, finely shredded 4 oz bean sprouts 3 baby carrots, thinly sliced lengthwise Miscellaneous 1 tsp sesame seed oil Rice 4 cups white or brown rice – others are optional 8 cups water Preparation: Place your chicken in a bowl, pour the mirin, soy sauce, and brown sugar over it, and stir well. This mixture is your marinade. We like to add a little sweetness to our dish to offset the saltiness of the soy sauce and other ingredients. However, you don’t have to have sugar. Allow the chicken to marinate for about 20 minutes. Heat your wok to about 400 degrees, the optimal temperature for doing any kind of stir fry dish because it’s hot enough to cook vegetables quickly without making them mushy. If you can’t get an exact temperature, put the stove on high. Once the pan or wok is hot enough, pour in the oil and let it get warm. Next, drop your onions and peppers into the wok, stirring them frequently and turning them, so they cook evenly throughout. Pay close attention and carefully poke at the vegetables with tongs or something similar to make sure they’re firm to the touch. Wait for about one minute. These vegetables are the thickest and take longest to cook. Next, you’ll add smaller vegetables like the green onions, bean sprouts, and carrots and allow them to cook for one minute. This provides the same amount of cooking for the smaller, thinner slices, so they’re at the same level of doneness as the larger pieces. Image by schaedlich via Pixabay.com After your vegetables are cooked, remove them from the wok and set them aside for now. Put your cornstarch into the chicken marinade mixture. This helps to thicken the otherwise-runny sauce, so it doesn’t turn into soup. Part of the appeal of chop suey is its simplicity and relative cleanliness, from which a soupy consistency would detract Pour the chicken marinade into the wok and heat until the mixture starts to boil. At this point, the chicken should be cooked through, but you should always check. If you can see any pink inside the meat, it’s not done and needs to cook more. Uncooked poultry carries harmful bacteria like salmonella and E. coli even more than other types of meat. The cooking process for the chicken should take about 6 minutes at high heat. At this point, you can return the vegetables to the wok, and add the cornstarch mixture. Heat the wok and stir the mixture until it’s fully combined and boiling. Add sesame oil for flavor. While you’re cooking the chicken chop suey main portion, you can also work on the white or brown rice. It depends on your taste. Brown rice is arguably healthier, but white rice is more filling. Take a large pot (at least 4 quarts), and pour the water into it. Heat it to a rolling boil and add the rice. Stir frequently so the rice doesn’t stick. You can add butter or oil for flavor, but you should also add a pinch of salt and pepper. The salt helps water boil faster, as well as absorb into the rice. Continue stirring. Then, turn the stove eye to a simmer setting and cover the pot. The steam from the boiling water, provided you have a secure cover, has the same effect as using a dedicated rice cooker that you’d find in a Chinese restaurant. Image by Hans via Pixabay.com If you want your rice to be a little crispier, you can fry it instead. Here’s how to make a good pan of fried rice. Just as a note, it’s better to use brown rice for this part of the dish, but you can use white long-grained rice so it holds its shape better. After cooking the rice, wait for it to become cool to the touch. Put about 2 tablespoons of oil into your rice skillet and heat. Drop the rice into the container and whisk until it is lightly browned all the way through. You can add other vegetables like peas or sprouts, but you don’t have to. Vegetables are already part of the main dish of chicken chop suey, and you don’t want to overpower the meat. After you have your rice, chicken, and vegetables cooked, combine them. You can then serve the chicken chop suey course over a bed of rice. If you’ve prepared everything according to the recipe, the dish should need no further seasoning. However, some palates require different flavors, and you can add more soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, or even hot sauce. Tips for Safety and Efficiency Image by JESHOOTS-com via Pixabay.com Keep all your ingredients on hand and measured out before you start cooking. Nothing can ruin a dinner plan faster than starting a recipe and realizing you’ve forgotten a critical ingredient. Keep your work area clean and use different utensils for cutting different foods. You don’t want to cut your vegetables with the same knife you use to cut chicken. Not only do you need a different blade, but you also run the risk of cross-contamination. Even after cooking, if you aren’t careful, you can transfer bacteria into your food with improperly-cleaned utensils or vessels. Speaking of knives, keep your knives sharp. It doesn’t take much force to cut chicken and vegetables. A dull knife, though, is far more dangerous to you than a sharp one because a dull knife requires more force to use. More force means less control and more chance of cutting yourself. Learn to multitask. The best way to make a meal quickly is to have multiple courses cooking at the same time. While your rice is boiling, for example, make preparations on your vegetables, or vice versa. Don’t wait for one part of your meal to get done before starting the next. This wastes time and lets your food get cold or mushy. Keeping Healthy Image by stevepb via Pixabay.com The two biggest changes you can make to the recipe for health are to use low-sodium soy sauce and to switch to olive oil instead of vegetable oil . Olive oil has a high enough smoke point, as well as containing many critical vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C is chief among these. Just make sure that you’re not using extra-virgin olive oil because its smoke point isn’t high enough to use for stir fry. The smoke point is the temperature at which oil starts to burn. When cooking oil breaks down, it can produce chemicals that are harmful to you when ingested. Facts About Chop Suey Chop suey isn’t an authentic Chinese dish. It was supposedly created by Chinese-American immigrants who used the ingredients and materials they had available. At least, this is one account. Some people claim it’s a traditional dish dating to the Qing dynasty, or simply that it was a dish thrown together from leftover ingredients in California mining camps. Final Thoughts If you make chop suey, don’t feel like you have to confine yourself to the ingredients listed here. If you want to add other vegetables or take some out, it’s your decision. Just remember to start cooking thicker vegetables first, then add smaller ones. Rice can similarly vary. You could even add a flair of Indian cuisine to the dish by using saffron rice and spices. The beauty of chop suey is its versatility. All you need are meat, vegetables, and an optional base of grain, and you have a meal fit for the whole family.
Marriott International attracts more guests to 250 properties in 29 countries across ME and Africa
Marriott International attracts more guests to 250 properties in 29 countries across ME and Africa Published on : Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Marriott International has unveiled an enticing offer across 250 hotels and 21 brands in 29 countries across Middle East and Africa. As more and more travellers are increasingly seeking out enriching local experiences, Marriott International is inviting guests to explore spectacular destinations and experiences across the region and save 25% until 30th September 2019. And yes, non-members can join for free and enjoy the benefits!
Whether escaping to cooler climates, seeking summer sun or traveling for business, the region’s boundless experiences tick every travelers bucket list. From culinary getaways, a couple’s retreat, family fun, a relaxing solo-moon, an ultimate golf package, honeymoon bliss, a cultural discovery, to a historical journey, there is a destination and experience to suit every passion and purpose of trip at Marriott International properties across the region.
“Travellers today want more than just a holiday; they are looking to make lasting memories through unique and enriching experiences, an active and meaningful immersion in the destination, its history, people, culture and food. In the Middle East and Africa, we are fortunate to have a diverse portfolio of brands across exciting destinations that are waiting to be explored. From the bright lights of Dubai to historic insights of Cairo, from the natural wonders of Jordan to the tropical paradise of Mauritius, traveling within the region has never been more appealing. This is an ideal opportunity for our loyal members and guests to travel and experience more this season”, said Neal Jones, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Marriott International Middle East & Africa.
Some of the enriching experiences that can be enjoyed across Marriott International’s Middle East and Africa portfolio in the region include:
History enthusiasts wanting to discover the majesty of Egypt’s Pyramids can expect an unparalleled location with Marriott Mena House, Cairo. This legendary hotel, which has welcomed numerous heads of state, allows travelers to bask in its storied past.
Discover the cultural heritage of the Bedouin way of life in the magical Wadi Rum and relive the fantasy of Lawrence of Arabia. Explore the historic site of Petra and stay at the Petra Marriott Hotel or simply float in the famed Dead Sea. The Dead Sea Marriott Resort and Spa is your haven to unlock the mystery of Jordan.
Hit Escape and head to the newly opened W Dubai – The Palm, a design dream, where traditional is juxtaposed with modern, organic meets manmade and order challenges chaos. From the hotel’s iconic “W” sign patterned to resemble an evaporated desert river bed, to the modern graffiti adorning the walls of every room, there is a detail to be discovered in every corner.
Sample the flavors of the world at 10 different restaurants and lounges at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, including Japanese, Italian, Indian and Thai cuisine. What’s more, with the properties’ prime location in the heart of Downtown Dubai housing the iconic Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and Dubai Opera, a multitude of culinary destinations are at your fingertips.
Cape Town’s urban oasis-inspired 15 on Orange, Autograph Collection, is situated close to the city’s central park and heritage site, the Company’s Garden, and one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Table Mountain National Park. Guests can discover the city and then retreat to the hotel’s botanical inspired oasis.
An authentic desert experience awaits at Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Dubai. This resort oasis is nestled among the lush palm groves, emerald canopies and iconic sand dunes of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.
Connected to the world-renowned Mall of the Emirates, Sheraton Mall of The Emirates is a short distance from downtown Dubai. Shop till you drop and when you are done, head to the 24th floor rooftop infinity pool and soak in the in breathtaking city views.
Experiences do not come more romantic or Insta-worthy than a beach resort. Edging the Arabian Gulf, The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach offers sumptuous seclusion along shimmering azure waters and pristine white sands. This breathtaking coastal haven is where fresh discoveries become lifelong memories. Or escape to an island getaway and retreat to a stunning beachfront setting surrounded by a tranquil turquoise lagoon overlooking the Indian Ocean at The St. Regis Mauritius Resort. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Le Morne Peninsula, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this resort is ideal to rediscover love and live exquisite.
Embraced by the gently swaying sugar cane fields and the warm turquoise water of the Indian Ocean, The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa Mauritius invites you to experience the magic of Mauritian hospitality in a truly idyllic setting. Set adjacent to a protected marine park, families can explore idyllic Turtle Bay, historic Port Louis and lively Grand Bay or simply enjoy the many activities offered at the resort through the Family program.
In the mood for some adventure? Take a trip to East Africa. Make Four Points by Sheraton Arusha, The Arusha Hotel your home and scale the heights of Kilimanjaro or chase the Great Wildbeest Migration in The Serengeti. Stay at the Kigali Marriott Hotel and go mountain Gorilla watching in Rwanda or explore the tribal way of life as you follow the Maasai with a stay at Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport, overlooking the Nairobi National Park or the recently rebranded Sankara Nairobi, Autograph Collection for an authentic sense of locale.
Marriott Bonvoy members enjoy a 25% off on the best available rate with complimentary breakfast, while non- members can get a 15% off excluding breakfast. Book between 18 April to 25 September 2019 for stays between 18 April and 30 September 2019. For more information on participating hotels, experiences and specific deals. Non- members can join Marriott Bonvoy free-of-charge and enjoy the benefits of this amazing offer.
Africa , Marriott International , Middle East , W Dubai
The origins of popular dishes around the world
Home Food and drink The origins of popular dishes around the world The origins of popular dishes around the world May 2, 2019 Jack Food and drink , Local Flavours 0
Cultural appropriation is one of the buzz terms pinging about social media at the moment. It has its origins in something worthy and important, but it’s been bandied around recklessly to the point casual accusations of it often distract from serious cases of, well, cultural appropriation. This seems especially common when it comes to gastronomy.
A number of chefs have found themselves in the cultural appropriation firing line. You have to be extremely knowledgeable about gastronomy to jump into a culinary arena and fling cultural appropriation accusations around. Either extremely knowledgeable… or completely ignorant about food. Sushi in a Portuguese restaurant. Why not? Especially when many Japanese restaurants serve…
Recipes change and evolve from chef to chef, cook to cook, frying pan-wielding granny (or grandpa) to frying pan-wielding granny; everyone adding their own take, even in a small way. Expand that to an international level and you discover a veritable smorgasbord of influences to be found in some popular traditional dishes.
Take tempura , the famous Japanese dish of seafood and vegetables which have been lightly battered and deep fried. It’s not Japanese at all. It was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in the 16th century. … Tempura, which was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese.
I’ve just finished reading a fascinating book called The First Global Village – How Portugal Changed the World . A couple of pages relating to the exchange of cooking techniques and the movement of ingredients from one country to another got me thinking about how trying to pinpoint ‘ownership’ of specific dishes can be a minefield.
According to the book, the Portuguese picked up the method of wrapping light pastry around a savoury filling from North Africa, took it to India and hey presto, the samosa came into being. The Portuguese then brought this little snack with them to their homeland. Now you can buy chamuças as a snack in cafes and kiosks all over Portugal. Samosas, Portuguese style.
The Portuguese also took chillies from Brazil to Asia, contributing to a radical transformation in the cuisine there. Even that post-pub pain threshold tester, vindaloo is down to the Portuguese. It seems obvious when pointed out, but it means garlic wine ( vinho de alho ) – a reference to the Portuguese method of marinating meat in barrels filled with wine and chillies.
Near where we stay in Portugal are the remains of Roman garum ‘factories’. Garum , a fermented fish sauce which was highly sought after in the age of the Roman Empire, is said to be the forerunner of the pungent shrimp paste used extensively in Southeast Asian cuisine. Remains of a Roman garum factory at Troia, Portugal.
The book goes on to list a range of fruit, vegetables, spices, and cooking methods whizzing back and forward between various countries across the globe. We were introduced to sarapatel , a savoury and slightly spicy meat and offal Portuguese dish, in Alentejo. It’s a dish which is popular in parts of Brazil and Goa in India.
Staying on an Indian theme, historians claim that some of the sauces we know as ‘curries’ were created for British during the days of the Raj. Just to highlight how confusing the whole thing can be, it’s said Chicken tikka masala was invented by a Pakistani chef in an Indian restaurant in Glasgow. Try unravelling cultural appropriation out of that spicy little nugget. Curry at an Indian club in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife.
A few years ago I read a satirical article in a Spanish magazine which suggested all the Italian restaurants on the island of Fuerteventura were run by Argentinians pretending to be Italian. A relatively common dish on the Canary Islands is arroz a la Cubana , which allegedly doesn’t come from Cuba at all but was created by the Spanish. It’s also popular in the Philippines. Ropa vieja , one of Cuba’s national dishes, originated in the Canary Islands.
In the Caribbean, much of the cuisine owes its existence to influences from Africa, Asia and Europe – sofrito from Spain; callaloo and ackee from West Africa; salt fish from Europe and North America. I’ve even seen one suggestion that Jamaican patties have their origins in Cornish pasties. Salt fish popular across the world; from the Caribbean to southern Europe and from Africa to Southeast Asia.
Trying to figure out who has ‘ownership’ of what is bewildering, and also rather pointless. Tracking the journey of dishes is, however, fascinating.
One of Britain’s favourite meals, fish and chips, may have been introduced by Italian or Jewish immigrants. The Scotch egg came from India or North Africa. Pizza began life as flatbreads with toppings in Greece. Pasta was brought to Italy from China. And on and on it goes. A Scotch egg in a bar in Lisbon.
Any map showing the historical movement of food products and dishes across the globe is like a spaghetti junction of tracks which mirror exploration and trading routes, with culinary influences spreading to and fro in all directions.
The joy of travel and trying the cuisine of different cultures often involves shared experiences. As a lover of good food and trying new things, I’m eternally grateful so many ingredients, techniques and dishes have been ‘shared’ between cultures and nations in the past. Without this exchange the World would be a much poorer and far blander tasting place.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
https://www.nateliason.com/notes/sapiens-yuval-noah-harari Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari: Summary, Notes, & Lessons – Nat Eliason Fantastic history of humankind! Read it! Very interesting, you’ll learn about history, psychology, economics, it’s many lessons roll… www.nateliason.com
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Rating : 10/10
Read More on Amazon Get My Searchable Collection of 200+ Book Notes
Fantastic history of humankind! Read it! Very interesting, you’ll learn about history, psychology, economics, it’s many lessons rolled into one compelling narrative.
Click here to listen to a podcast based on these book notes
An Animal of No Significance
Three important revolutions shaped the course of history: the Cognitive Revolution kick-started history about 70,000 years ago. The Agricultural Revolution sped it up about 12,000 years ago. The Scientific Revolution, which got under way only 500 years ago, may well end history and start something completely different. This book tells the story of how these three revolutions have affected humans and their fellow organisms.
The most important thing to know about prehistoric humans is that they were insignificant animals with no more impact on their environment than gorillas, fireflies or jellyfish.
Just 6 million years ago, a single female ape had two daughters. One became the ancestor of all chimpanzees, the other is our own grandmother.
Over the generations, the people of Flores became dwarves. This unique species, known by scientists as Homo floresiensis, reached a maximum height of only 3.5 feet and weighed no more than fifty-five pounds. They were nevertheless able to produce stone tools, and even managed occasionally to hunt down some of the island’s elephants – though, to be fair, the elephants were a dwarf species as well.
Today there are many species of foxes, bears and pigs. The earth of a hundred millennia ago was walked by at least six different species of man . It’s our current exclusivity, not that multi-species past, that is peculiar – and perhaps incriminating.
Mammals weighing 130 pounds have an average brain size of 12 cubic inches. The earliest men and women, 2.5 million years ago, had brains of about 36 cubic inches. Modern Sapiens sport a brain averaging 73–85 cubic inches. Neanderthal brains were even bigger .
In Homo sapiens, the brain accounts for about 2–3 per cent of total body weight, but it consumes 25 per cent of the body’s energy when the body is at rest.
Archaic humans paid for their large brains in two ways. Firstly, they spent more time in search of food. Secondly, their muscles atrophied.
An upright gait required narrower hips, constricting the birth canal – and this just when babies’ heads were getting bigger and bigger. Death in childbirth became a major hazard for human females. Women who gave birth earlier, when the infant’s brain and head were still relatively small and supple, fared better and lived to have more children. Natural selection consequently favoured earlier births. And, indeed, compared to other animals, humans are born prematurely, when many of their vital systems are still under-developed. A colt can trot shortly after birth; a kitten leaves its mother to forage on its own when it is just a few weeks old. Human babies are helpless, dependent for many years on their elders for sustenance, protection and education.
One of the most common uses of early stone tools was to crack open bones in order to get to the marrow. Some researchers believe this was our original niche.
… humankind ascended to the top so quickly that the ecosystem was not given time to adjust .
Since long intestines and large brains are both massive energy consumers, it’s hard to have both. By shortening the intestines and decreasing their energy consumption, cooking inadvertently opened the way to the jumbo brains of Neanderthals and Sapiens .
When Homo sapiens landed in Arabia, most of Eurasia was already settled by other humans. What happened to them? There are two conflicting theories. The ‘Interbreeding Theory’ tells a story of attraction, sex and mingling. As the African immigrants spread around the world, they bred with other human populations, and people today are the outcome of this interbreeding.
The opposing view, called the ‘Replacement Theory’ tells a very different story – one of incompatibility, revulsion, and perhaps even genocide.
Tolerance is not a Sapiens trademark. In modern times, a small difference in skin colour, dialect or religion has been enough to prompt one group of Sapiens to set about exterminating another group. Would ancient Sapiens have been more tolerant towards an entirely different human species? It may well be that when Sapiens encountered Neanderthals, the result was the first and most significant ethnic-cleansing campaign in history.
The Tree of Knowledge
The appearance of new ways of thinking and communicating, between 70,000 and 30,000 years ago, constitutes the Cognitive Revolution .
But the most important information that needed to be conveyed was about humans, not about lions and bison. Our language evolved as a way of gossiping . According to this theory Homo sapiens is primarily a social animal. Social cooperation is our key for survival and reproduction.
As far as we know, only Sapiens can talk about entire kinds of entities that they have never seen, touched or smelled.
But fiction has enabled us not merely to imagine things, but to do so collectively.
Such myths give Sapiens the unprecedented ability to cooperate flexibly in large numbers.
Sapiens can cooperate in extremely flexible ways with countless numbers of strangers . That’s why Sapiens rule the world, whereas ants eat our leftovers and chimps are locked up in zoos and research laboratories.
Sociological research has shown that the maximum ‘natural’ size of a group bonded by gossip is about 150 individuals . Most people can neither intimately know, nor gossip effectively about, more than 150 human beings.
Any large-scale human cooperation – whether a modern state, a medieval church, an ancient city or an archaic tribe – is rooted in common myths that exist only in people’s collective imagination.
Two Catholics who have never met can nevertheless go together on crusade or pool funds to build a hospital because they both believe that God was incarnated in human flesh and allowed Himself to be crucified to redeem our sins. States are rooted in common national myths. Two Serbs who have never met might risk their lives to save one another because both believe in the existence of the Serbian nation, the Serbian homeland and the Serbian flag. Judicial systems are rooted in common legal myths. Two lawyers who have never met can nevertheless combine efforts to defend a complete stranger because they both believe in the existence of laws, justice, human rights – and the money paid out in fees.
There are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws, and no justice outside the common imagination of human beings .
Unlike lying, an imagined reality is something that everyone believes in, and as long as this communal belief persists, the imagined reality exerts force in the world.
No one was lying when, in 2011, the UN demanded that the Libyan government respect the human rights of its citizens, even though the UN, Libya and human rights are all figments of our fertile imaginations
The real difference between us and chimpanzees is the mythical glue that binds together large numbers of individuals, families and groups. This glue has made us the masters of creation.
A Day in the Life of Adam and Eve
Our eating habits, our conflicts and our sexuality are all the result of the way our hunter-gatherer minds interact with our current post-industrial environment, with its mega-cities, aeroplanes, telephones and computers. This environment gives us more material resources and longer lives than those enjoyed by any previous generation, but it often makes us feel alienated, depressed and pressured. To understand why, evolutionary psychologists argue, we need to delve into the hunter-gatherer world that shaped us, the world that we subconsciously still inhabit.
There are even a number of present-day human cultures in which collective fatherhood is practised, as for example among the Barí Indians. According to the beliefs of such societies, a child is not born from the sperm of a single man, but from the accumulation of sperm in a woman’s womb. A good mother will make a point of having sex with several different men, especially when she is pregnant, so that her child will enjoy the qualities (and paternal care) not merely of the best hunter, but also of the best storyteller, the strongest warrior and the most considerate lover. If this sounds silly, bear in mind that before the development of modern embryological studies, people had no solid evidence that babies are always sired by a single father rather than by many.
Many scholars vehemently reject this theory, insisting that both monogamy and the forming of nuclear families are core human behaviours. Though ancient hunter-gatherer societies tended to be more communal and egalitarian than modern societies, these researchers argue, they were nevertheless comprised of separate cells, each containing a jealous couple and the children they held in common.
The Stone Age should more accurately be called the Wood Age , because most of the tools used by ancient hunter-gatherers were made of wood.
The heated debates about Homo sapiens’ ‘natural way of life’ miss the main point. Ever since the Cognitive Revolution, there hasn’t been a single natural way of life for Sapiens . There are only cultural choices, from among a bewildering palette of possibilities.
There is some evidence that the size of the average Sapiens brain has actually decreased since the age of foraging. Survival in that era required superb mental abilities from everyone. When agriculture and industry came along people could increasingly rely on the skills of others for survival, and new ‘niches for imbeciles’ were opened up . You could survive and pass your unremarkable genes to the next generation by working as a water carrier or an assembly-line worker.
Average life expectancy was apparently just thirty to forty years, but this was due largely to the high incidence of child mortality. Children who made it through the perilous first years had a good chance of reaching the age of sixty, and some even made it to their eighties . Among modern foragers, forty-five-year-old women can expect to live another twenty years, and about 5–8 per cent of the population is over sixty.
Ancient foragers also suffered less from infectious diseases . Most of the infectious diseases that have plagued agricultural and industrial societies (such as smallpox, measles and tuberculosis) originated in domesticated animals and were transferred to humans only after the Agricultural Revolution.
As they pushed on, they encountered a strange universe of unknown creatures that included a 450-pound, six-foot kangaroo, and a marsupial lion, as massive as a modern tiger, that was the continent’s largest predator. Koalas far too big to be cuddly and cute rustled in the trees and flightless birds twice the size of ostriches sprinted on the plains. Dragon-like lizards and snakes seven feet long slithered through the undergrowth. The giant diprotodon, a two-and-a-half-ton wombat, roamed the forests.
Of the twenty-four Australian animal species weighing 100 pounds or more, twenty-three became extinct .
Around 14,000 BC, the chase took some of them from north-eastern Siberia to Alaska. Of course, they didn’t know they were discovering a new world. For mammoth and man alike, Alaska was a mere extension of Siberia.
However, around 12,000 BC global warming melted the ice and opened an easier passage. Making use of the new corridor, people moved south en masse, spreading over the entire continent.
By 10,000 BC, humans already inhabited the most southern point in America, the island of Tierra del Fuego at the continent’s southern tip.
But no longer. Within 2,000 years of the Sapiens arrival, most of these unique species were gone. According to current estimates, within that short interval, North America lost thirty-four out of its forty-seven genera of large mammals. South America lost fifty out of sixty.
Perhaps if more people were aware of the First Wave and Second Wave extinctions, they’d be less nonchalant about the Third Wave they are part of. If we knew how many species we’ve already eradicated, we might be more motivated to protect those that still survive.
History’s Greatest Fraud
The transition to agriculture began around 9500–8500 BC in the hill country of south-eastern Turkey, western Iran, and the Levant.
Wheat and goats were domesticated by approximately 9000 BC; peas and lentils around 8000 BC; olive trees by 5000 BC; horses by 4000 BC; and grapevines in 3500 BC .
No noteworthy plant or animal has been domesticated in the last 2,000 years . If our minds are those of hunter-gatherers, our cuisine is that of ancient farmers.
Sapiens could dig up delicious truffles and hunt down woolly mammoths, but domesticating either species was out of the question.
Rather than heralding a new era of easy living, the Agricultural Revolution left farmers with lives generally more difficult and less satisfying than those of foragers . Hunter-gatherers spent their time in more stimulating and varied ways, and were less in danger of starvation and disease . The Agricultural Revolution certainly enlarged the sum total of food at the disposal of humankind, but the extra food did not translate into a better diet or more leisure. Rather, it translated into population explosions and pampered elites. The average farmer worked harder than the average forager, and got a worse diet in return. The Agricultural Revolution was history’s biggest fraud .
The culprits were a handful of plant species, including wheat, rice and potatoes. These plants domesticated Homo sapiens, rather than vice versa.
According to the basic evolutionary criteria of survival and reproduction, wheat has become one of the most successful plants in the history of the earth.
the new agricultural tasks demanded so much time that people were forced to settle permanently next to their wheat fields. This completely changed their way of life. We did not domesticate wheat. It domesticated us.
The life of a peasant is less secure than that of a hunter-gatherer.
Cultivating wheat provided much more food per unit of territory, and thereby enabled Homo sapiens to multiply exponentially.
This is the essence of the Agricultural Revolution: the ability to keep more people alive under worse conditions.
Humans, like many mammals, have hormonal and genetic mechanisms that help control procreation. In good times females reach puberty earlier, and their chances of getting pregnant are a bit higher. In bad times puberty is late and fertility decreases.
People tried to space their children three to four years apart. Women did so by nursing their children around the clock and until a late age (around-the-clock suckling significantly decreases the chances of getting pregnant).
But by the time they reach that age, they have large mortgages, children to school, houses in the suburbs that necessitate at least two cars per family, and a sense that life is not worth living without really good wine and expensive holidays abroad. What are they supposed to do, go back to digging up roots? No, they double their efforts and keep slaving away .
One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations. Once people get used to a certain luxury, they take it for granted. Then they begin to count on it. Finally they reach a point where they can’t live without it.
This discrepancy between evolutionary success and individual suffering is perhaps the most important lesson we can draw from the Agricultural Revolution.
The Agricultural Revolution made the future far more important than it had ever been before. Farmers must always keep the future in mind and must work in its service.
Until the late modern era, more than 90 percent of humans were peasants who rose each morning to till the land by the sweat of their brows. The extra they produced fed the tiny minority of elites – kings, government officials, soldiers, priests, artists and thinkers – who fill the history books. History is something that very few people have been doing while everyone else was ploughing fields and carrying water buckets.
People today spend a great deal of money on holidays abroad because they are true believers in the myths of romantic consumerism.
Romanticism tells us that in order to make the most of our human potential we must have as many different experiences as we can. We must open ourselves to a wide spectrum of emotions; we must sample various kinds of relationships; we must try different cuisines; we must learn to appreciate different styles of music .
Romanticism, which encourages variety, meshes perfectly with consumerism. Their marriage has given birth to the infinite ‘market of experiences’, on which the modern tourism industry is founded. The tourism industry does not sell flight tickets and hotel bedrooms. It sells experiences.
Like the elite of ancient Egypt, most people in most cultures dedicate their lives to building pyramids . Only the names, shapes and sizes of these pyramids change from one culture to the other. They may take the form, for example, of a suburban cottage with a swimming pool and an evergreen lawn, or a gleaming penthouse with an enviable view. Few question the myths that cause us to desire the pyramid in the first place.
The inter-subjective is something that exists within the communication network linking the subjective consciousness of many individuals. If a single individual changes his or her beliefs, or even dies, it is of little importance. However, if most individuals in the network die or change their beliefs, the inter-subjective phenomenon will mutate or disappear.
Between the years 3500 BC and 3000 BC, some unknown Sumerian geniuses invented a system for storing and processing information outside their brains, one that was custom-built to handle large amounts of mathematical data. The Sumerians thereby released their social order from the limitations of the human brain, opening the way for the appearance of cities, kingdoms and empires. The data-processing system invented by the Sumerians is called ‘writing’.
(The Sumerians used a combination of base-6 and base-10 numeral systems. Their base-6 system bestowed on us several important legacies, such as the division of the day into twenty-four hours and of the circle into 360 degrees.)
the first texts of history contain no philosophical insights, no poetry, legends, laws, or even royal triumphs. They are humdrum economic documents, recording the payment of taxes, the accumulation of debts and the ownership of property.
Writing was born as the maidservant of human consciousness, but is increasingly becoming its master. Our computers have trouble understanding how Homo sapiens talks, feels and dreams. So we are teaching Homo sapiens to talk, feel and dream in the language of numbers, which can be understood by computers.
There is No Justice in History
According to a famous Hindu creation myth, the gods fashioned the world out of the body of a primeval being, the Purusa. The sun was created from the Purusa’s eye, the moon from the Purusa’s brain, the Brahmins (priests) from its mouth, the Kshatriyas (warriors) from its arms, the Vaishyas (peasants and merchants) from its thighs, and the Shudras (servants) from its legs.
‘Look,’ said the average white citizen, ‘blacks have been free for generations, yet there are almost no black professors, lawyers, doctors or even bank tellers. Isn’t that proof that blacks are simply less intelligent and hard-working?’ Trapped in this vicious circle, blacks were not hired for white-collar jobs because they were deemed unintelligent, and the proof of their inferiority was the paucity of blacks in white-collar jobs.
Such vicious circles can go on for centuries and even millennia, perpetuating an imagined hierarchy that sprang from a chance historical occurrence. Unjust discrimination often gets worse, not better, with time. Money comes to money, and poverty to poverty . Education comes to education, and ignorance to ignorance. Those once victimised by history are likely to be victimised yet again. And those whom history has privileged are more likely to be privileged again.
Culture tends to argue that it forbids only that which is unnatural. But from a biological perspective, nothing is unnatural. Whatever is possible is by definition also natural. A truly unnatural behaviour, one that goes against the laws of nature, simply cannot exist, so it would need no prohibition. No culture has ever bothered to forbid men to photosynthesise, women to run faster than the speed of light, or negatively charged electrons to be attracted to each other.
Since myths, rather than biology, define the roles, rights and duties of men and women, the meaning of ‘manhood’ and ‘womanhood’ have varied immensely from one society to another.
The most common theory points to the fact that men are stronger than women, and that they have used their greater physical power to force women into submission
First, the statement that ‘men are stronger than women’ is true only on average, and only with regard to certain types of strength. Women are generally more resistant to hunger, disease and fatigue than men. There are also many women who can run faster and lift heavier weights than many men.
women have, throughout history, been excluded mainly from jobs that require little physical effort (such as the priesthood, law and politics), while engaging in hard manual labour in the fields, in crafts and in the household. If social power were divided in direct relation to physical strength or stamina, women should have got far more of it.
there simply is no direct relation between physical strength and social power among humans. People in their sixties usually exercise power over people in their twenties, even though twentysomethings are much stronger than their elders.
Another theory explains that masculine dominance results not from strength but from aggression. Millions of years of evolution have made men far more violent than women. Women can match men as far as hatred, greed and abuse are concerned, but when push comes to shove, the theory goes, men are more willing to engage in raw physical violence. This is why throughout history warfare has been a masculine prerogative.
As men competed against each other for the opportunity to impregnate fertile women, an individual’s chances of reproduction depended above all on his ability to outperform and defeat other men. As time went by, the masculine genes that made it to the next generation were those belonging to the most ambitious, aggressive and competitive men.
In order to ensure her own survival and the survival of her children, the woman had little choice but to agree to whatever conditions the man stipulated so that he would stick around and share some of the burden. As time went by, the feminine genes that made it to the next generation belonged to women who were submissive caretakers.
Particularly problematic is the assumption that women’s dependence on external help made them dependent on men, rather than on other women, and that male competitiveness made men socially dominant.
Bonobo and elephant societies are controlled by strong networks of cooperative females, while the self-centred and uncooperative males are pushed to the sidelines.
The Arrow of History
Democrats want a more equitable society, even if it means raising taxes to fund programmes to help the poor, elderly and infirm. But that infringes on the freedom of individuals to spend their money as they wish. Why should the government force me to buy health insurance if I prefer using the money to put my kids through college?
Republicans, on the other hand, want to maximise individual freedom, even if it means that the income gap between rich and poor will grow wider and that many Americans will not be able to afford health care.
If tensions, conflicts and irresolvable dilemmas are the spice of every culture, a human being who belongs to any particular culture must hold contradictory beliefs and be riven by incompatible values. It’s such an essential feature of any culture that it even has a name: cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is often considered a failure of the human psyche. In fact, it is a vital asset. Had people been unable to hold contradictory beliefs and values, it would probably have been impossible to establish and maintain any human culture.
Today, we are used to thinking about the whole planet as a single unit, but for most of history, earth was in fact an entire galaxy of isolated human worlds.
One of the most interesting examples of this globalisation is ‘ethnic’ cuisine. In an Italian restaurant we expect to find spaghetti in tomato sauce; in Polish and Irish restaurants lots of potatoes; in an Argentinian restaurant we can choose between dozens of kinds of beefsteaks; in an Indian restaurant hot chillies are incorporated into just about everything; and the highlight at any Swiss café is thick hot chocolate under an alp of whipped cream. But none of these foods is native to those nations. Tomatoes, chilli peppers and cocoa are all Mexican in origin; they reached Europe and Asia only after the Spaniards conquered Mexico. Julius Caesar and Dante Alighieri never twirled tomato-drenched spaghetti on their forks (even forks hadn’t been invented yet), William Tell never tasted chocolate, and Buddha never spiced up his food with chilli. Potatoes reached Poland and Ireland no more than 400 years ago. The only steak you could obtain in Argentina in 1492 was from a llama .
Merchants, conquerors and prophets were the first people who managed to transcend the binary evolutionary division, ‘us vs them’, and to foresee the potential unity of humankind. For the merchants, the entire world was a single market and all humans were potential customers. They tried to establish an economic order that would apply to all, everywhere. For the conquerors, the entire world was a single empire and all humans were potential subjects, and for the prophets, the entire world held a single truth and all humans were potential believers. They too tried to establish an order that would be applicable for everyone everywhere.
The Scent of Money
In a barter economy, every day the shoemaker and the apple grower will have to learn anew the relative prices of dozens of commodities. If one hundred different commodities are traded in the market, then buyers and sellers will have to know 4,950 different exchange rates. And if 1,000 different commodities are traded, buyers and sellers must juggle 499,500 different exchange rates! How do you figure it out? ( Current problem in the crypto space.)
Some societies tried to solve the problem by establishing a central barter system that collected products from specialist growers and manufacturers and distributed them to those who needed them. The largest and most famous such experiment was conducted in the Soviet Union, and it failed miserably. ‘Everyone would work according to their abilities, and receive according to their needs’ turned out in practice into ‘everyone would work as little as they can get away with, and receive as much as they could grab’. More moderate and more successful experiments were made on other occasions, for example in the Inca Empire. Yet most societies found a more easy way to connect large numbers of experts – they developed money.
Money is not coins and banknotes. Money is anything that people are willing to use in order to represent systematically the value of other things for the purpose of exchanging goods and services.
The sum total of money in the world is about $60 trillion, yet the sum total of coins and banknotes is less than $6 trillion. More than 90 percent of all money – more than $50 trillion appearing in our accounts – exists only on computer servers.
When a wealthy farmer sold his possessions for a sack of cowry shells and travelled with them to another province, he trusted that upon reaching his destination other people would be willing to sell him rice, houses and fields in exchange for the shells. Money is accordingly a system of mutual trust, and not just any system of mutual trust: money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised.
The silver shekel was not a coin, but rather 0.3 ounces of silver . When Hammurabi’s Code declared that a superior man who killed a slave woman must pay her owner twenty silver shekels, it meant that he had to pay 6 ounces of silver, not twenty coins.
Counterfeiting is not just cheating – it’s a breach of sovereignty, an act of subversion against the power, privileges and person of the king. The legal term is lese-majesty (violating majesty), and was typically punished by torture and death.
The Indians had such a strong confidence in the denarius and the image of the emperor that when local rulers struck coins of their own they closely imitated the denarius, down to the portrait of the Roman emperor! The name ‘denarius’ became a generic name for coins. Muslim caliphs Arabicised this name and issued ‘dinars’. The dinar is still the official name of the currency in Jordan, Iraq, Serbia, Macedonia, Tunisia and several other countries.
First, to qualify for that designation you have to rule over a significant number of distinct peoples, each possessing a different cultural identity and a separate territory .
Second, empires are characterised by flexible borders and a potentially unlimited appetite . They can swallow and digest more and more nations and territories without altering their basic structure or identity. The British state of today has fairly clear borders that cannot be exceeded without altering the fundamental structure and identity of the state. A century ago almost any place on earth could have become part of the British Empire.
Evolution has made Homo sapiens, like other social mammals, a xenophobic creature. Sapiens instinctively divide humanity into two parts, ‘we’ and ‘they’.
In the language of the Dinka people of the Sudan, ‘Dinka’ simply means ‘people’. People who are not Dinka are not people. The Dinka’s bitter enemies are the Nuer. What does the word Nuer mean in Nuer language? It means ‘original people’.
The sun never set on the British mission to spread the twin gospels of liberalism and free trade. The Soviets felt duty-bound to facilitate the inexorable historical march from capitalism towards the utopian dictatorship of the proletariat. Many Americans nowadays maintain that their government has a moral imperative to bring Third World countries the benefits of democracy and human rights, even if these goods are delivered by cruise missiles and F-16s.
Commercial tea farming did not exist in India until the mid-nineteenth century, when it was introduced by the British East India Company. It was the snobbish British sahibs who spread the custom of tea drinking throughout the subcontinent.
The Law of Religion
Religion can thus be defined as a system of human norms and values that is founded on a belief in a superhuman order. This involves two distinct criteria:
Animists thought that humans were just one of many creatures inhabiting the world. Polytheists, on the other hand, increasingly saw the world as a reflection of the relationship between gods and humans.
In fact, most polytheist and even animist religions recognised such a supreme power that stands behind all the different gods, demons and holy rocks. In classical Greek polytheism, Zeus, Hera, Apollo and their colleagues were subject to an omnipotent and all-encompassing power – Fate (Moira, Ananke).
The fundamental insight of polytheism, which distinguishes it from monotheism, is that the supreme power governing the world is devoid of interests and biases , and therefore it is unconcerned with the mundane desires, cares and worries of humans.
The Greeks did not waste any sacrifices on Fate, and Hindus built no temples to Atman.
There are necessarily many of these smaller powers, since once you start dividing up the all-encompassing power of a supreme principle, you’ll inevitably end up with more than one deity. Hence the plurality of gods.
The insight of polytheism is conducive to far-reaching religious tolerance. Since polytheists believe, on the one hand, in one supreme and completely disinterested power, and on the other hand in many partial and biased powers, there is no difficulty for the devotees of one god to accept the existence and efficacy of other gods. Polytheism is inherently open-minded, and rarely persecutes ‘heretics’ and ‘infidels’.
In many cases the imperial elite itself adopted the gods and rituals of subject people. The Romans happily added the Asian goddess Cybele and the Egyptian goddess Isis to their pantheon.
The only god that the Romans long refused to tolerate was the monotheistic and evangelising god of the Christians. The Roman Empire did not require the Christians to give up their beliefs and rituals, but it did expect them to pay respect to the empire’s protector gods and to the divinity of the emperor. This was seen as a declaration of political loyalty. When the Christians vehemently refused to do so, and went on to reject all attempts at compromise, the Romans reacted by persecuting what they understood to be a politically subversive faction. And even this was done half-heartedly.
Still, if we combine all the victims of all these persecutions, it turns out that in these three centuries, the polytheistic Romans killed no more than a few thousand Christians. In contrast, over the course of the next 1,500 years, Christians slaughtered Christians by the millions to defend slightly different interpretations of the religion of love and compassion.
The Christian saints did not merely resemble the old polytheistic gods. Often they were these very same gods in disguise. For example, the chief goddess of Celtic Ireland prior to the coming of Christianity was Brigid. When Ireland was Christianised, Brigid too was baptised. She became St Brigit, who to this day is the most revered saint in Catholic Ireland.
Zoroastrians saw the world as a cosmic battle between the good god Ahura Mazda and the evil god Angra Mainyu.
Gautama found that there was a way to exit this vicious circle. If, when the mind experiences something pleasant or unpleasant, it simply understands things as they are, then there is no suffering. If you experience sadness without craving that the sadness go away, you continue to feel sadness but you do not suffer from it. There can actually be richness in the sadness. If you experience joy without craving that the joy linger and intensify, you continue to feel joy without losing your peace of mind.
He encapsulated his teachings in a single law: suffering arises from craving; the only way to be fully liberated from suffering is to be fully liberated from craving; and the only way to be liberated from craving is to train the mind to experience reality as it is.
The modern age has witnessed the rise of a number of new natural-law religions, such as liberalism, Communism, capitalism, nationalism and Nazism.
If a religion is a system of human norms and values that is founded on belief in a superhuman order, then Soviet Communism was no less a religion than Islam.
Scientists studying the inner workings of the human organism have found no soul there. They increasingly argue that human behaviour is determined by hormones, genes and synapses, rather than by free will – the same forces that determine the behaviour of chimpanzees, wolves, and ants. Our judicial and political systems largely try to sweep such inconvenient discoveries under the carpet. But in all frankness, how long can we maintain the wall separating the department of biology from the departments of law and political science?
The Secret of Success
This is one of the distinguishing marks of history as an academic discipline – the better you know a particular historical period, the harder it becomes to explain why things happened one way and not another.
Level two chaos is chaos that reacts to predictions about it, and therefore can never be predicted accurately. Markets, for example, are a level two chaotic system.
Most scholars in the humanities disdain memetics, seeing it as an amateurish attempt to explain cultural processes with crude biological analogies. But many of these same scholars adhere to memetics’ twin sister – postmodernism. Postmodernist thinkers speak about discourses rather than memes as the building blocks of culture. Yet they too see cultures as propagating themselves with little regard for the benefit of humankind .
The Discovery of Ignorance
But the single most remarkable and defining moment of the past 500 years came at 05:29:45 on 16 July 1945. At that precise second, American scientists detonated the first atomic bomb at Alamogordo, New Mexico. From that point onward, humankind had the capability not only to change the course of history, but to end it.
Throughout history, societies have suffered from two kinds of poverty: social poverty, which withholds from some people the opportunities available to others; and biological poverty, which puts the very lives of individuals at risk due to lack of food and shelter. Perhaps social poverty can never be eradicated, but in many countries around the world biological poverty is a thing of the past .
The Marriage of Science and Empire
Astronomers predicted that the next Venus transits would occur in 1761 and 1769. So expeditions were sent from Europe to the four corners of the world in order to observe the transits from as many distant points as possible. In 1761 scientists observed the transit from Siberia, North America, Madagascar and South Africa.
Many cultures drew world maps long before the modern age. Obviously, none of them really knew the whole of the world. No Afro-Asian culture knew about America, and no American culture knew about Afro-Asia. But unfamiliar areas were simply left out, or filled with imaginary monsters and wonders. These maps had no empty spaces. They gave the impression of a familiarity with the entire world.
During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Europeans began to draw world maps with lots of empty spaces – one indication of the development of the scientific mindset, as well as of the European imperial drive. The empty maps were a psychological and ideological breakthrough, a clear admission that Europeans were ignorant of large parts of the world.
The discovery of America was the foundational event of the Scientific Revolution. It not only taught Europeans to favour present observations over past traditions, but the desire to conquer America also obliged Europeans to search for new knowledge at breakneck speed.
The Aztec Empire was an extremely centralised polity, and this unprecedented situation paralysed it. Montezuma continued to behave as if he ruled the empire, and the Aztec elite continued to obey him, which meant they obeyed Cortés. This situation lasted for several months, during which time Cortés interrogated Montezuma and his attendants, trained translators in a variety of local languages, and sent small Spanish expeditions in all directions to become familiar with the Aztec Empire and the various tribes, peoples and cities that it ruled.
The Capitalist Creed
Banks are allowed to loan $10 for every dollar they actually possess, which means that 90 percent of all the money in our bank accounts is not covered by actual coins and notes.
Because credit was limited, people had trouble financing new businesses. Because there were few new businesses, the economy did not grow. Because it did not grow, people assumed it never would, and those who had capital were wary of extending credit. The expectation of stagnation fulfilled itself.
Today, there is so much credit in the world that governments, business corporations and private individuals easily obtain large, long-term and low-interest loans that far exceed current income.
Smith made the following novel argument: when a landlord, a weaver, or a shoemaker has greater profits than he needs to maintain his own family, he uses the surplus to employ more assistants, in order to further increase his profits. The more profits he has, the more assistants he can employ. It follows that an increase in the profits of private entrepreneurs is the basis for the increase in collective wealth and prosperity.
All this depends, however, on the rich using their profits to open new factories and hire new employees, rather than wasting them on non-productive activities. Smith therefore repeated like a mantra the maxim that ‘When profits increase, the landlord or weaver will employ more assistants’ and not ‘When profits increase, Scrooge will hoard his money in a chest and take it out only to count his coins.’
In order to control trade on the important Hudson River, WIC built a settlement called New Amsterdam on an island at the river’s mouth. The colony was threatened by Indians and repeatedly attacked by the British, who eventually captured it in 1664. The British changed its name to New York. The remains of the wall built by WIC to defend its colony against Indians and British are today paved over by the world’s most famous street – Wall Street .
In the late 1830s the Chinese government issued a ban on drug trafficking, but British drug merchants simply ignored the law. Chinese authorities began to confiscate and destroy drug cargos. The drug cartels had close connections in Westminster and Downing Street – many MPs and Cabinet ministers in fact held stock in the drug companies – so they pressured the government to take action.
In 1840 Britain duly declared war on China in the name of ‘free trade’. It was a walkover. The overconfident Chinese were no match for Britain’s new wonder weapons – steamboats, heavy artillery, rockets and rapid-fire rifles. Under the subsequent peace treaty, China agreed not to constrain the activities of British drug merchants and to compensate them for damages inflicted by the Chinese police. Furthermore, the British demanded and received control of Hong Kong, which they proceeded to use as a secure base for drug trafficking (Hong Kong remained in British hands until 1997). In the late nineteenth century, about 40 million Chinese, a tenth of the country’s population, were opium addicts.
This is the fly in the ointment of free-market capitalism. It cannot ensure that profits are gained in a fair way, or distributed in a fair manner. On the contrary, the craving to increase profits and production blinds people to anything that might stand in the way. When growth becomes a supreme good, unrestricted by any other ethical considerations, it can easily lead to catastrophe. Some religions, such as Christianity and Nazism, have killed millions out of burning hatred. Capitalism has killed millions out of cold indifference coupled with greed. The Atlantic slave trade did not stem from racist hatred towards Africans. The individuals who bought the shares, the brokers who sold them, and the managers of the slave-trade companies rarely thought about the Africans. Nor did the owners of the sugar plantations. Many owners lived far from their plantations, and the only information they demanded were neat ledgers of profits and losses.
The Wheels of Industry
At first, the idea of using gunpowder to propel projectiles was so counter-intuitive that for centuries gunpowder was used primarily to produce fire bombs. But eventually – perhaps after some bomb expert ground gunpowder in a mortar only to have the pestle shoot out with force – guns made their appearance. About 600 years passed between the invention of gunpowder and the development of effective artillery.
separating the metal from its ore was extremely difficult and costly. For decades, aluminium was much more expensive than gold. In the 1860s, Emperor Napoleon III of France commissioned aluminium cutlery to be laid out for his most distinguished guests. Less important visitors had to make do with the gold knives and forks.
Two thousand years ago, when people in the Mediterranean basin suffered from dry skin they smeared olive oil on their hands .
To Harlow’s surprise, the infant monkeys showed a marked preference for the cloth mother, spending most of their time with her. When the two mothers were placed in close proximity, the infants held on to the cloth mother even while they reached over to suck milk from the metal mother.
carelessly on extravagant luxuries, whereas peasants lived frugally, minding every penny. Today, the tables have turned. The rich take great care managing their assets and investments, while the less well heeled go into debt buying cars and televisions they don’t really need.
A Permanent Revolution
The Industrial Revolution turned the timetable and the assembly line into a template for almost all human activities. Shortly after factories imposed their time frames on human behaviour, schools too adopted precise timetables, followed by hospitals, government offices and grocery stores . Even in places devoid of assembly lines and machines, the timetable became king. If the shift at the factory ends at 5 P.M., the local pub had better be open for business by 5:02.
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the daily life of most humans ran its course within three ancient frames: the nuclear family, the extended family and the local intimate community.* Most people worked in the family business – the family farm or the family workshop, for example – or they worked in their neighbours’ family businesses. The family was also the welfare system, the health system, the education system, the construction industry, the trade union, the pension fund, the insurance company, the radio, the television, the newspapers, the bank and even the police.
Yet throughout history, such imagined communities played second fiddle to intimate communities of several dozen people who knew each other well. The intimate communities fulfilled the emotional needs of their members and were essential for everyone’s survival and welfare. In the last two centuries, the intimate communities have withered, leaving imagined communities to fill in the emotional vacuum .
The two most important examples for the rise of such imagined communities are the nation and the consumer tribe.
In recent decades, national communities have been increasingly eclipsed by tribes of customers who do not know one another intimately but share the same consumption habits and interests, and therefore feel part of the same consumer tribe – and define themselves as such. This sounds very strange, but we are surrounded by examples. Madonna fans, for example, constitute a consumer tribe. They define themselves largely by shopping. They buy Madonna concert tickets, CDs, posters, shirts and ring tones, and thereby define who they are.
In the year 2000, wars caused the deaths of 310,000 individuals, and violent crime killed another 520,000. Each and every victim is a world destroyed, a family ruined, friends and relatives scarred for life. Yet from a macro perspective these 830,000 victims comprised only 1.5 per cent of the 56 million people who died in 2000. That year 1.26 million people died in car accidents (2.25 per cent of total mortality) and 815,000 people committed suicide (1.45 per cent).
In 1964 a military dictatorship was established in Brazil. It ruled the country until 1985. During these twenty years, several thousand Brazilians were murdered by the regime. Thousands more were imprisoned and tortured. Yet even in the worst years, the average Brazilian in Rio de Janeiro was far less likely to die at human hands than the average Waorani, Arawete or Yanomamo are, indigenous people who live in the depths of the Amazon forest, without army, police or prisons. Anthropological studies have indicated that between a quarter and a half of their menfolk die sooner or later in violent conflicts over property, women or prestige.8
Yet the Soviet elite, and the Communist regimes through most of eastern Europe (Romania and Serbia were the exceptions), chose not to use even a tiny fraction of this military power. When its members realised that Communism was bankrupt, they renounced force, admitted their failure, packed their suitcases and went home. Gorbachev and his colleagues gave up without a struggle not only the Soviet conquests of World War Two, but also the much older tsarist conquests in the Baltic, the Ukraine, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It is chilling to contemplate what might have happened if Gorbachev had behaved like the Serbian leadership – or like the French in Algeria.
For real peace is not the mere absence of war. Real peace is the implausibility of war. There has never been real peace in the world. Between 1871 and 1914, a European war remained a plausible eventuality, and the expectation of war dominated the thinking of armies, politicians and ordinary citizens alike .
Today humankind has broken the law of the jungle. There is at last real peace, and not just absence of war. For most polities, there is no plausible scenario leading to full-scale conflict within one year. What could lead to war between Germany and France next year?
The Nobel Peace Prize to end all peace prizes should have been given to Robert Oppenheimer and his fellow architects of the atomic bomb. Nuclear weapons have turned war between superpowers into collective suicide, and made it impossible to seek world domination by force of arms.
For most of history, polities could enrich themselves by looting or annexing enemy territories. Most wealth consisted of material things like fields, cattle, slaves and gold, so it was easy to loot it or occupy it. Today, wealth consists mainly of human capital and organizational know-how. Consequently it is difficult to carry it off or conquer it by military force .
What would happen if the Chinese were to mount an armed invasion of California, land a million soldiers on the beaches of San Francisco and storm inland? They would gain little. There are no silicon mines in Silicon Valley. The wealth resides in the minds of Google engineers and Hollywood script doctors , directors and special-effects wizards, who would be on the first plane to Bangalore or Mumbai long before the Chinese tanks rolled into Sunset Boulevard.
It is not coincidental that the few full-scale international wars that still take place in the world, such as the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, occur in places where wealth is old-fashioned material wealth. The Kuwaiti sheikhs could flee abroad, but the oil fields stayed put and were occupied.
And They Lived Happily Ever After
though the last few decades have been an unprecedented golden age for humanity, it is too early to know whether this represents a fundamental shift in the currents of history or an ephemeral eddy of good fortune.
But the most important finding of all is that happiness does not really depend on objective conditions of either wealth, health or even community. Rather, it depends on the correlation between objective conditions and subjective expectations . If you want a bullock-cart and get a bullock-cart, you are content. If you want a brand-new Ferrari and get only a second-hand Fiat you feel deprived.
This is why winning the lottery has, over time, the same impact on people’s happiness as a debilitating car accident. When things improve, expectations balloon, and consequently even dramatic improvements in objective conditions can leave us dissatisfied.
After all, our chimpanzee cousins seldom wash and never change their clothes. Nor are we disgusted by the fact that our pet dogs and cats don’t shower or change their coats daily. We pat, hug and kiss them all the same.
If happiness is determined by expectations, then two pillars of our society – mass media and the advertising industry – may unwittingly be depleting the globe’s reservoirs of contentment .
Suppose science comes up with cures for all diseases, effective anti-ageing therapies and regenerative treatments that keep people indefinitely young. In all likelihood, the immediate result will be an unprecedented epidemic of anger and anxiety.
Some scholars compare human biochemistry to an air-conditioning system that keeps the temperature constant, come heatwave or snowstorm. Events might momentarily change the temperature, but the air-conditioning system always returns the temperature to the same set point.
Take the work involved in raising a child. Kahneman found that when counting moments of joy and moments of drudgery, bringing up a child turns out to be a rather unpleasant affair. It consists largely of changing nappies, washing dishes and dealing with temper tantrums, which nobody likes to do. Yet most parents declare that their children are their chief source of happiness. Does it mean that people don’t really know what’s good for them?
That’s one option. Another is that the findings demonstrate that happiness is not the surplus of pleasant over unpleasant moments. Rather, happiness consists in seeing one’s life in its entirety as meaningful and worthwhile.
The scientist who says her life is meaningful because she increases the store of human knowledge, the soldier who declares that his life is meaningful because he fights to defend his homeland, and the entrepreneur who finds meaning in building a new company are no less delusional than their medieval counterparts who found meaning in reading scriptures, going on a crusade or building a new cathedral.
As long as my personal narrative is in line with the narratives of the people around me, I can convince myself that my life is meaningful, and find happiness in that conviction.
What is so important about obtaining such ephemeral prizes? Why struggle so hard to achieve something that disappears almost as soon as it arises? According to Buddhism, the root of suffering is neither the feeling of pain nor of sadness nor even of meaninglessness. Rather, the real root of suffering is this never-ending and pointless pursuit of ephemeral feelings, which causes us to be in a constant state of tension, restlessness and dissatisfaction.
The End of Homo Sapiens
What would happen, for example, if we developed a cure for Alzheimer’s disease that, as a side benefit, could dramatically improve the memories of healthy people? Would anyone be able to halt the relevant research? And when the cure is developed, could any law enforcement agency limit it to Alzheimer’s patients and prevent healthy people from using it to acquire super-memories?
Imagine another possibility – suppose you could back up your brain to a portable hard drive and then run it on your laptop. Would your laptop be able to think and feel just like a Sapiens? If so, would it be you or someone else? What if computer programmers could create an entirely new but digital mind, composed of computer code, complete with a sense of self, consciousness and memory? If you ran the program on your computer, would it be a person? If you deleted it could you be charged with murder?
When the nuclear age erupted in the 1940s, many forecasts were made about the future nuclear world of the year 2000. When sputnik and Apollo II fired the imagination of the world, everyone began predicting that by the end of the century, people would be living in space colonies on Mars and Pluto. Few of these forecasts came true. On the other hand, nobody foresaw the Internet.
The only thing we can try to do is to influence the direction scientists are taking. But since we might soon be able to engineer our desires too, the real question facing us is not ‘What do we want to become?’, but ‘What do we want to want?’ Those who are not spooked by this question probably haven’t given it enough thought.
The Animal that Became a God
Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want?
You might also like my notes on…
The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant
The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant
The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley
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1 Bedroom Apartment / Flat for sale in Mulund West, Mumbai
PropertyWala.com 1 Bedroom Apartment / Flat for sale in Mulund West, Mumbai 60 lacs – 1 crore 1 Bhk at Mulund West Near to station Near to stn, Mulund West, Mumbai (Maharashtra) Area: 314 SqFeet Total Floors: More than 20 Transaction: New Property Age Of Construction: Under Construction Possession: Within 3 Years Near to Mulund West Station 7 mins walking distance from stn Amenities
When you contact, don’t forget to mention that you found this ad on PropertyWala.com. Features Price Trends Mulund West, Mumbai Apartments / Flats for sale in Mulund West, Mumbai This property is priced approximately same as the average for an Apartments / Flats for sale in Mulund West, Mumbai (Rs.19953/SqFeet) * Disclaimer: Data may be approximate. Locality Reviews Mulund West, Mumbai Mulund is green belt of Mumbai main population of Mulund west is Gujrati then sindhi & PunjabiIn Mulund east mostly Marathi, Mulund is full of all brand of restaurantYou get more variety of Gujrati food in Mulund temperature of mulund is also low then Mumbai Pros: Mar 2 by Arjun Khanchandani Mulund West is planned layout with each plot faces well maintained roads . There is no water shortage. Thousands of trees across roads make Mulund West a free city. Well mannered and cultured residents has contributed a lot in development of present Mulund West. Residents are peace loving people and hence preferred area in central suburbs. It is queen of central suburbs. Pros: Well planned and well maintained roads Cons: Jan 14 by Arvind kumar Mulund West is a well planned city which has a lot of free neet and patal kel road. It’s highly impossible for a person to get lost. Well connected to western, south, north, and Navi Mumbai . One can call it a center point. Pros: All points above are good Posted: Apr 28, 2017 by Nitin Deshpande Very well developed place of mumbai , less crowded, luxurious places and very good locality . The best friendly locality of mumbai . Many good construction works sre csrried out here with spacious rooms ans good view. Pros: Mar 21, 2017 by Kamal Narwani Good location, near Mumbai , has very good facilities. School, collages and offices are located very near, Pros: Good location in living as well as investment Posted: Jul 15, 2014 by Anil Mulund west is very popular Residential locality of central Mumbai suburbs, surrounded by posh residential developments such as Nirmal lifestyle, City of joy, Runwal tower and many more.It is a prime locality from where all places of Mumbai can be reached easily, and enjoys excellent connectivity with EE Highway, WE Highway, Powai , Vikhroli, Kanjurmarg etc. Pros: Mumbai ‘s best suburb, located on foothills with lots of greenery & serene surroundings, blend in vicinity of commercial, industrial & residential surroundings. Friendly people & everything available easily nearby. Clean & healthy environ. Pros: No water or electricity problems Good road network, well connected with entire Mumbai Serenity, nature & brisk activity perfectly blended Cons: by Ashok Gangwani (Property King Dehradun) Mulund is the earliest planned suburb of Mumbai city, which extends from present day Mulund station to Paanch Rasta junction in Mulund (West). Mulund comes under the Central line of railway. If you go through any Central line Mulund has the hottest property to live in. Mulund was a home to a cosmopolitan mix of large number of educated middle class residents and several industrial factories along present day L.B.S. road.Mulund today has become more densely populated than what it used to be, it still remains one of the greenest and safest places to live in Mumbai. The pleasant living conditions and easy access to different parts of the city and its outskirts, have attracted many new residents.Also Mulund is a well connected suburb in all directions. Mulund has several educational institutes in both English and Regional language mediums. Mulund has two large shopping malls on LBS Marg , Nirmal Lifestyles and R-Mall. and really one of the few suburbs of Mumbai to boast of a vibrant night life. The center of it all lies within Nirmal Lifestyles mall, near Nahur . Several western cuisine restaurants, along with some Indian restaurants are located within the mall, and it also has two nightclubs. Overall, the night life in Mulund has a sober and peaceful feel to it, except for some people who have too much to drink.Real Estate prices are hiked day by day in Mulund according to the demand. Safe for residential purpose all the time as compared to other suburbs.Panchrasta, Tambe Nagar, Sarvodaya Nagar , Aasha Nagar, Yogi Hill, Vardhaman Nagar, Veena Nagar , Vaishali Nagar , Model Towen, Swapna Nagari, Kalpa Nagari, Yogi Hill, Mulund Colony are few important places. Mulund is one of the posh built-up areas in North-East part of Mumbai. There is an easy access to Eastern Express Highway and Navi Mumbai through Mulund-Airoli Bridge. Pros: Mulund is perfect location for Residential purpose as compared to other suburbs. The biggest shopping mall in India, that is Nirmal LifeStyle, is located in Mulund. As people over there worship God, Allah, Bhagwan, so there are many Temples, Churches and Mosques. Posted:
The aesthetic case for fake meat Eating vegan meat substitutes is more than the ethical choice, it’s the delicious one. Tom Whyman MAY—07—2019 09:38AM EST
There is a familiar complaint about vegetarianism, that I’m sure most people who are, or have been, vegetarian or vegan will have had put to them while trying to eat at some point. This is the complaint from the sort of carnivore, who insists they have no problem with vegetarianism per se , but who doesn’t see why if you want to be a vegetarian, you can’t just stick to vegetables. Vegetables are great! they’ll say. So why do you need to eat fake sausages or burgers? You should stick to salads . Uh-huh, you nod along, while swallowing a bite of your seitan dog.
I am the exact opposite of this variety of carnivore. I hardly ever eat meat — which of course can be justified ethically in all sorts of ways, relative to the well-being of animals or relative to the continued existence of the planet. But if I’m honest, in my heart of hearts (and stomach of stomachs) my everyday refusal to eat meat comes naturally only because I prefer vegetarian meat substitutes to a significant extent. Sausages are great — so why would anyone want them to be made out of anything other than rehydrated textured soy protein?
But for me, vegetarian meat feels and tastes like adulthood: I specifically associate it with a sense of wonder, the joys the world seemed to contain at the moment when I began to be mature enough to both explore and appreciate it. My first girlfriend, who I dated in my late teens and early 20s, had been raised vegetarian, and all of our first dates were in places that served vegan and vegetarian food. It was in these restaurants that I first discovered the simply pleasures of Quorn sausages, soft tubes of chewy stodge; the sweet-and-sour bite of bacon rashers made from tempeh; the doughy, crunchy, waxy warmth of halloumi fish and chips.
From there, I was gradually brought to realize that tofu was nothing like the punchline food from the dad jokes I heard in my youth; that vegetarian black pudding and haggis could not only exist, but tasted basically the same as the versions full of blood and offal; that deli ham was pretty much the same regardless of whether it started life as an actual pig; that you can get spookily convincing seitan duck out of a can. These are the imitation versions of food that have sustained my life, for as long as it has felt like real life.
Before I met my first girlfriend, a “meal” for me had been half a loaf of bread filled with fried bacon and eggs, or maybe coronation chicken (I’m not sure if this food exists anywhere other than the U.K., but it’s basically cold roast chicken and raisins covered in curry powder and mayonnaise). The only exception had been a week in my first year of university when I’d tried to “rationalize” my diet by eating only pomegranates and plain yogurt — a now ridiculous-seeming experiment that I had to put a stop to after I almost passed out on the bus. If nothing else, it was a relief for my body to finally consume food that didn’t make it feel sick. I’ve never really been “fully” vegetarian; I’m not the sort of person who likes to make a fuss, so in any awkward situation I know I’d always cave, and I’ve never felt at all inclined to give up fish. But what I do have is a very definite and lasting preference for the fake stuff, not the real.
SAUSAGES ARE GREAT — SO WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT THEM TO BE MADE OUT OF ANYTHING OTHER THAN REHYDRATED TEXTURED SOY PROTEIN?
Increasingly, I am hardly alone in my preference for veggie meat. By the end of the year, every Burger King in the U.S. will sell an authentically “bleeding” vegan burger called the Impossible Whopper ; Del Taco recently partnered with a company called Beyond Meat in order to offer meatless tacos . At the start of this year in the U.K., the bakery chain Greggs, which exists in the British political imagination as a by-word for a sort of cheap-and-cheerful authenticity (“Nationalize Greggs!” has become a meme on the Labour left), kick-started some of the weirdest few days in our ongoing culture war when it launched, to the outraged horror of commentators such as Piers Morgan, a vegan sausage roll . There is every reason to suggest that these changes are, more than anything else, just good business .
But this of course makes the leftist case for vegetarian meat substitutes look a lot more shaky. Veggie meat is being appropriated by capitalism — as Outline editors Drew Millard argued in a recent exchange with (the right, justly and correctly pro-veggie meat substitutes) Brandy Jensen for this publication , there is every reason to suggest that fake meat is being favored by fast food chains as a way of lowering production costs, thus increasing their profit margins; moreover, we have little real knowledge of the long-term health risks associated with eating mass-produced fake meat (that said, it’s not like fast food chains are currently highly unprofitable businesses which draw what small turnover they do from selling food that keeps us healthy).
Our society’s current appetite for meat is obviously disastrous from a climate perspective — but is the problem really the raising of livestock as such ? Might the “right” amount of meat to farm just be a much smaller amount, not none at all? Capitalism and the meat industry obviously go together — but of them, the former is the one that’s ultimately to blame.
So perhaps it’s time for vegetarian meat enthusiasts to stop relying so much on the ethical case for fake meat, and start making an aesthetic case for it as well. This might say more about me and where I live/choose to eat than anything else, but almost all of the best meals I’ve had in the past year have been vegan and vegetarian junk food: from fake McRib-style sandwiches; to vegan chilli corn dogs; to battered “fish” made from banana blossom . This food is delicious in a very gleeful, obvious way: it is fatty, and nourishing, and anyone whose soul still works would want to devour it in seconds (it is, after all, junk food). But it also achieves a subtlety of flavor that all but the very best non-vegetarian junk food typically lacks; plus you typically feel a lot better, in comparison to the meat stuff, just sort of in yourself and in your body, after consuming it.
THE ART OF VEGETARIAN MEAT IS THAT OF MAKING SOMETHING THAT LOOKS, FEELS, AND TASTES CONVINCINGLY LIKE SOMETHING IT IS NOT.
But flavor’s not the only thing that matters here. Vegetarian meat substitutes also exemplify something that “real” meat simply doesn’t: the aesthetic virtue of imitation. The art of vegetarian meat is that of making something that looks, feels, and tastes convincingly like something it is not.
Imitation is a bit of an odd virtue: in some artistic contexts, such as that of representational painting, it’s usually taken for granted that the “good” artist will be the one who makes something that looks convincingly like the “real” object being represented. But equally, perhaps the earliest Western theory of art is founded on a certain suspiciousness towards imitation. Notoriously, Plato’s Socrates would expel the poets from his ideal Republic: “All poets from Homer downward,” he tells us, “have no grasp of truth but merely produce a superficial likeness of any subject they treat, including human excellence.” Imitation is always in tension with authenticity — while it might be considered impressive for representational artists to imitate reality effectively, the convincing imitation of their imitations can have you fined or thrown in jail.
A concern with authenticity also seems paramount in Western cuisine. Eastern cooking tends to bring together ingredients with complex, contrasting flavors; whereas Western cuisine tends to focus on a narrower range of flavors, intensifying the existing flavors of, for instance, meat . On this theory, the point of cooking is not to alter, disguise, or invent a particular flavor — but to draw flavor out, to make ingredients taste as much as possible like themselves. Indeed, the carnivore whose objection to vegetarianism I voiced at the start of this article seems precisely to be driven by a concern with authenticity: he wants real vegetarianism, not fake meat-eating (and then he wants you to do it, not him — but hey).
Obviously a lot of fake meat has its roots in Asian cooking, with products such as tofu, seitan, and tempeh enjoying a long history well before vegetarianism caught on en masse in the West. But Western cooking did not always place a taboo on imitation. In the Middle Ages, the Catholic church prohibited the consumption of animal products of Fridays, which led to cooks inventing things like fake eggs made from discarded eggshells filled with almond jelly, and “bacon” made from salmon rolled with pike roe .
As often today, dietary prohibitions obliged chefs of yore to practice the virtue of imitation (Middle Ages cooking in general was based around clashing sweet-and-sour flavours, much like Indian cuisine) — although in contrast to contemporary fake meat, the emphasis seems to have been on producing a visual illusion, more than a gustatory one. All of this changed, of course, with the emergence of Protestantism and the loosening of dietary restrictions — and the development of modern Western cuisine is very much associated with societal changes that accompanied a nascent capitalism and imperialism, forces alongside Protestantism emerged.
It would be hard to construct an argument to the effect that inauthenticity is always good and authenticity always bad. I’ve already noted the association of authenticity with intellectual property — but that’s not the only way the notion might stand as the marker of an important right. The invocation of authenticity can often be the last recourse non-western people have against the incursions of celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay, who are otherwise rich and powerful enough to simply decide, as if on a whim, to adopt their cuisine . Certainly the likes of Jamie Oliver don’t seem to pay authenticity too much heed when producing, for instance, knock-off versions of “jerk” rice that do not contain actual Jamaican jerk spices . In this sense inauthenticity and soulless profiteering go hand-in-hand.
But perhaps fake meat can be a sort of remedy to this. Fake meat exemplifies what is good about imitation and inauthenticity: the creation, through imitation, of a unique product with a value all of its own (in a sense this is much like what is produced through original representational art — which helps explain why originals are different from copies). Our imitative instincts should be focused not on making bad, bastardized versions of the culinary products of other cultures, but rather on delicious bastardizations of whatever meat products we might imagine. Share this:
Top 10 Things to See and Do in Bengaluru, India
May 6, 2019 0
On the Deccan Plateau in southern India is the cosmopolitan city of Bengaluru , formerly known as Bangalore. The city, whose roots date back to the age of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1537, is the capital of the state of Karnataka. Since its founding, it has blossomed into a megacity of over ten million, making it the third-most populous city in India after Mumbai and Delhi. Because of its size, history, and multicultural atmosphere, there are tons of things to see and do in Bengaluru for all types of travelers.
If you’re a foodie, you’re in luck; Bengaluru is home to some of the best restaurants and street food vendors I’ve ever had in southern India. History lovers will delight in the opportunity to dive deep into the origins of the city and its surrounding area. And those looking to experience a little bit of everything will never find a shortage of places to visit. These are the top 10 things to see and do in Bengaluru, India. Have a Southern Indian Breakfast
When you visit a city in the southern part of India like Bengaluru, something you must do is experience an authentic southern Indian breakfast. Two of the best spots in the city to have one are Central Tiffin Room (more commonly known as CTR) and Vidyarthi Bhavan .
I was surprised to learn that people come from as far as 50 kilometers away to have breakfast at CTR, a legendary breakfast spot in the city. After tasting their food for myself, I understand why it’s one of the top things to see and do in Bengaluru. The place will likely be jam-packed when you visit, but wait patiently because the offerings here are worth it.
The main event at CTR are the dosas, which are buttery and crispy in some spots and spongy in others. It creates a wonderful mixture of textures whether you eat it plain with ghee or with aloo masala (a mashed potato dish with chilies, curry leaves, and shallots) like I did. Try it with their coconut chutney! It’s thinner than others I’ve had, but still packs a wonderful coconut flavor I couldn’t get enough of.
Another great option at CTR is their chow chow bath, which consists of two contrasting dishes: the spicy khara bath and the sweet kesari bath. The cloves and raisins of the kesari bath balance out the chilies of the khara bath perfectly.
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This polenta-like dish is best eaten with CTR’s outstanding coconut chutney. Finish off your meal with an outstanding Karnataka filtered coffee. It’s rich and sweet, with a slight bitterness. If it’s too hot for you, pour it back and forth between your cup and the metal bowl that’s provided. It does the trick!
The other popular breakfast place you must visit is Vidyarthi Bhavan, a 75-year-old eatery where the waits are also long but worth it. Breakfast here is quite a spectacle. The waiters here carry towering stacks of plated dosas up their arms and somehow manage to weave between customers and not drop anything!
Despite the spices and peppers in their potato curry, it’s not spicy at all, so it’s perfect for those who like more mild food. Try it with the puri and if you want a spicier kick, dip it in the coconut chutney. Their vada, a crispy and savory doughnut, arrives soaking in sambar and is bursting with tomato flavor. Like the puri, it’s even better with the coconut chutney. The idli and chow chow bath are also fantastic.
But as with CTR, the dosa is the star of the show at Vidyarthi Bhavan. They are coated in delicious ghee, a type of clarified butter that is popular in Indian cuisine. Despite the amount of ghee, the dosa is crispy and flaky. Eat it with the potato filling it comes with and dip it into the sambar and coconut chutney for an added flavor explosion in your mouth! It’s one of the best dosas I’ve ever had!
End your meal at Vidyarthi Bhavan with a Karnataka filtered coffee. As you pour it back and forth to cool it off, it becomes frothy and extra delicious. It’s reminiscent of a cortadito, a type of Cuban coffee that’s popular in my hometown of Miami! Visit Church Street
If you’re looking to do some shopping or people watching during your time in Bengaluru, Church Street is the place to do it. The 750-meter-long stretch is located between Brigade Road and St. Mark’s Road in the Central Business District. It leads straight to St. Mark’s Cathedral, which is how it got its name.
Church Street is a tourist hotspot and one of the city’s biggest revenue-producing areas. I recommend visiting the Entertainment Store for a major pop culture fix. At the time I visited, hype was growing steadily for the release of the first Avengers: Endgame trailer, so the store was filled with Marvel merchandise, including T-shirts, character figurines, and props like Thor’s hammer Mjolnir. There, you can also find T-shirts dedicated to musical bands like Nirvana.
After leaving the store, I also recommend making a stop at Indian Coffee House. While the air was thick with the heavenly aromas of masala and chai, I suggest going with a cool drink like a cold coffee. Bengaluru’s location in southern India means it’s sweltering most of the time and you’ll need a cold drink to help you beat the heat! Street Food in Frazer Town
Frazer Town is an important historical and cultural area in Bengaluru. This residential and commercial suburb is in the northeastern part of town and is known for its harmonious atmosphere. Here, Hindus, Muslims, and Christians live together peacefully. It’s also one of the best places to find flavorful non-veg food in the city!
Stop by Shahi Kabab for their Sheek Sambo Rolls, which consists of six spicy beef kebabs and lots of onions rolled up in a roti. It’s hearty, tasty, and extremely inexpensive for the amount of food you get. Meanwhile, at Empire Restaurant, you can find a rich and creamy butter chicken, spicy grilled chicken, and some refreshing mosambi juice. I also recommend the chicken shawarma with vegetables and a creamy yogurt sauce in a slightly charred pita. The flavor combination is out of this world.
Don’t overlook the stall known as Taj Tea House; there, you can find an ultra-sweet and potent lemon chai, which reminded me of teas I’d had in Morocco and Jordan.
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If you still have room in your belly, grab some Death by Chocolate at Corner House for dessert. This decadent sundae contains vanilla ice cream, chocolate cake, cream, honey, chocolate sauce, peanuts, and cherries. It is sweet and rich beyond belief and is the perfect way to cap off a night of meaty street foods. Just look out for the cherry pits! Visit Cubbon Park
As I mentioned earlier, Bengaluru experiences extremely hot weather, so be prepared to sweat a lot as you explore. One of the best places to cool off and just chill out is Sri Chamarajendra Park, better known as Cubbon Park .
The park is located very close to the Airbnb I stayed at and contains lots of greenery. There are many tall trees, which keep much of the park in the shade. The shade makes the temperature in the park much cooler than the rest of the city.
You’ll find a cool military jet at the park’s entrance, and inside are vendors selling chaats, coconuts, ice cream, and other snacks. The park seemed pretty popular when I visited. There were lots of locals there, especially families enjoying a nice, relaxing Sunday. It’s a wonderful spot to relax, cool off, and enjoy a snack in-between your adventures! Banana Leaf Southern Indian Thali at Nagarjuna Restaurant
One of my favorite things about traveling through India is the amount of diversity in the food. Nowhere is that more apparent in Bengaluru, and to taste some of that amazing diversity, head over to Nagarjuna Restaurant . This restaurant has been serving Andhra-style food since 1984 and eating there is easily one of the best things to see and do in Bengaluru.
My recommendation is to go with the southern Indian thali. It’s served on a large banana leaf and is meant to be mixed and eaten with your hands. Don’t be afraid to get messy! Ease your way in with some chicken Nagarjuna. It’s not spicy at first, but it will creep up on you as you eat!
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Try mixing a bit of peppery spice called gun powder into your ghee rice. Mix it thoroughly with your fingertips and enjoy! Other highlights of the meal there include the dal with spinach and the palya, a refreshing vegetable dish that contains carrots and chickpeas.
Also try your ghee rice and gun powder with their peanut chutney, which is so flavorful it’s almost like peanut butter, and their light and soupy sambar. You can also try your rice with curd, and don’t forget to try everything with the thin and crispy papadum as well. Order the rice pudding-like payasam for dessert. Trust me, it’s fantastic. Eat Street Food on VV Puram Food Street
Another hotspot for street food in Bengaluru is VV Puram Food Street , which is located in the Basavanagudi locality. This food street is lined with at least twenty stalls selling a variety of extreme and exceptional foods. This place is a foodie paradise!
I suggest starting off with the thatte idli, a dense rice and lentil cake that is easily two or three times the size of a regular idli. It’s soft and fluffy, with a very mild and almost bland flavor. Combine it with the coconut and tomato chutneys it’s served with and you’ve got a proper flavor explosion that will make your taste buds dance!
Along VV Puram Food Street, you’ll also find my all-time favorite Indian food, pani puri. The variation here is called floating pani puri, and consists of the slightly spicy and loaded puris floating in a plate of jaljeera water. Crunching into these little delights is like heaven in your mouth!
Other treats you must try include fried cauliflower with a tomato-based sauce, the crispy potato twisters, the spicy roasted chili corn, and the doughy and saccharine sweet roti. The nitrogen biscuits, which are doused in liquid nitrogen and make you look like you’re breathing smoke, are also a fun treat. But the main spectacle here is the fire paan.
Fire paan is a flaming version of the palate cleanser and stimulant called paan. The regular version consists of an areca nut, seeds, dried fruit, and other ingredients that are rolled up in a betel leaf, which you then chew for its benefits. But with fire pan, the mixture is lit on fire and shoved straight into your mouth by the vendor! It may sound scary, but it’s actually more exhilarating than anything.
The fire paan has a minty and smoky flavor and is easily one of the top things to see and do in Bengaluru. It’s a wild experience you will remember for the rest of your life! Visit Bangalore Fort
History enthusiasts visiting Bengaluru should take the time to explore Bangalore Fort , a former mud fort that is now made of granite and dates back to 1537. The mud fort was built by Kempe Gowda I during the Vijayanagara Empire .
In 1761, Hyder Ali, the sultan and ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, replaced it with the current stone fort, which played a role in the Third Mysore War. Today, the fort’s Delhi gate and two bastions still remain, and a marble plaque commemorates the spot where the British breached the fort’s wall.
Inside the massive, foot-thick gates is a temple and a little statue of Nandi, a gate-guardian deity usually depicted as a bull. There are also lots of beautiful carvings of different animals around a tiny doorway.
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Throughout the fort are massive walls built with giant blocks of stone. Inside, you can also find a beautiful garden. Unlike many other Indian forts, Bangalore Fort is free to visit, so make sure to pay it a visit! It’s easily one of the most amazing things to see and do in Bengaluru. Eat Spicy Non-Veg Food at Shivaji Military Hotel
Traveling foodies looking for some of Bengaluru’s finest non-veg food should make the trip to Shivaji Military Hotel . Like many other popular restaurants in Bengaluru, it will likely be packed when you arrive, so be prepared to wait.
Unlike some other restaurants, you and your party can wait inside and take a table as soon as a patron finishes their meal. It can be a bit hectic, but as is commonly the case in Bengaluru, the food is more than worth it.
At Shivaji Military Hotel, everyone eats their meal off banana leaves, which you rinse with water before you place your food on it. As is customary in southern India, the meal is meant to be eaten with your hands, so wash them well before you start!
It’s hard to go wrong with anything on Shivaji Military Hotel’s menu, but I highly recommend the flavorful mutton biryani and the buttery and tender liver, which comes in a minty and earthy gravy. Even if you think you don’t like liver, you have to try this one. It is exceptional. The mutton dry’s texture is every bit as divine as its flavor, and the fiery spices in the chicken fry will open up your sinuses!
Another dish with a real kick to it is the chili chicken, which along with the other meats, pairs extremely well with the ghee rice. If your mouth gets too hot, try the milky cucumber salad. It helps calm down the heat on your tongue and in your throat! Visit Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace
While sightseeing at Bangalore Fort, be sure to stop by an incredible site within the old fort area, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace . The palace was built in 1791 and is a beautiful example of Indo-Islamic architecture.
Check out 10 Indian Street Food Dishes You Must Eat in Jaipur, India
It was the summer residence of Tipu Sultan, a Mysorean ruler who died during the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War. The palace is built entirely of teak and boasts many stunning pillars, arches, and balconies.
Inside the palace is a huge terrace with balconies and walkways branching off of it, as well as multiple rooms below and a garden outside. The palace is gorgeous, but be forewarned: the entry fee for foreigners is 300 rupees, while locals only pay 25 rupees.
A note for photographers: when you visit Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, bring a lens that can capture in low light so you get the best results. Visit KR Market
When you visit Bengaluru, one of the things you must do is visit KR Market . This colorful local market puts out fresh flowers, fruits, and vegetables early in the morning and is particularly active during the festive season. A lot of the flowers at this particular market come from the outskirts of Bengaluru.
Visiting local flower markets in India gives a lot of insight into elements of local life. Many people in Bengaluru use flowers for worship and significant events like weddings. For example, there is a custom where white, red, and green garlands of flowers are put around one another during marriages. Here, you can watch local women make these garlands.
As I watched one woman craft her garland, I estimated that it must take her about an hour to complete just one. It’s painstaking work, but the end result is gorgeous. It’s always a beautifully human experience to watch locals do the work they’re so proud of. Because of the people and their amazing craftmanship, visiting any flower market in the city is one of the top things to see and do in Bengaluru.
Whether you go to Bengaluru looking to explore historical sites, try unique street food, or eat traditional southern Indian cuisine in some of the city’s best restaurants, you won’t be disappointed by what you find. Everything offered there is at the highest of high standards and the people are quite friendly as well. Book your trip to Bengaluru today to see for yourself!
NOTE: Whenever you travel, I suggest you purchase travel insurance to protect yourself in case any emergency situations come up. In my opinion, AXA Travel Insurance is the very best because it covers a wide array of issues. Buy your AXA Travel Insurance protection plan here ! Related
I have visited London a number of times during my travels. Whenever I go there, I always have sought out “Pakistani” restaurants. I found it difficult to identify when searching for Pakistani restaurants, because they always carry the tag line, “Indian Cusine, or Authentic Indian Cusine”. Upon inquiring at one of the restaurants, I found out the food was Pakistani, the owner of the restaurants were Pakistani, the staff was Pakistani, yet the restaurant board outside said indian cuisine. When I asked the owner, he said, well title it because everyone else does it. So I asked a question (rhetorical), that if everyone jumped into the english channel, would he do the same? He had no answer. I even told him that I had almost not entered his restaurant because it said indian cuisine. Because I was looking to eat food which is Pakistani, and if wanted indian food, I would’ve gone to an indian restaurant (as if). And I have to say, this one of the most disgusting attitudes or approach I have come across my travels in London. No where else in the world have Pakistanis done this, not in Malaysia, not in America, not in Turkey, or anywhere else I have visited. I hope that Pakistanis living in this tiny island country of britain, show that they are Muslim first, as a consequence of which, a Pakistani and after which, you can add whatever the heck their britishness means. Don’t you ever forget who you are, a MUSLIM FIRST, due which you are PAKISTANI. Everything else, has little to no consequence or meaning for you. No matter which part of the world you may live in or undertake business ventures.
What’s the fuss about European Ayurveda®?
What’s the fuss about European Ayurveda®?
What’s the fuss about European Ayurveda®? Liked the Story? It is perfectly attuned to Western requirements
Off the peg is out and made-to-measure is in – especially when it comes to health, nutrition and exercise. European Ayurveda® provides just that and is perfectly attuned to Western requirements: healing herbs and foods grown on home soil at the European Ayurveda Resort Sonnhof’s farm, Lindhof; Ayurvedic therapies and treatments combined with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), conventional medicine and the latest scientific findings to tackle lifestyle diseases. Highly innovative, holistic and handed down over the millennia, the Sonnhof also offers Panchakarma combined with Shamanic coaching.
Day after day, we risk the most valuable thing we own: our health. While stress, lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet have a dire impact, Ayurveda provides effective solutions that work with life as it is, not as we wish it was. Tried and tested for over 5,000 years, it is a recognised medical teaching and philosophy of life. Now European Ayurveda® has adapted it to the demands of our Western way of life. Why travel long-haul when the best is so much closer? European Ayurveda® – tailor-made for the individual 1. The wisdom of low food miles
We all love exotic ingredients and flavours, but they can be a digestive challenge. Ayurveda teaches that we should aspire to eat food that has been grown in – and on – the soil on which we were raised too. The body absorbs and processes locally-grown food more easily and at a faster rate. Furthermore, many of our local herbs can replace traditional Ayurvedic healing herbs.
Thanks to the Lindhof European Ayurveda farm , the Sonnhof has an ideal source of regional, organic, healing foods that suit Western digestive systems. Their 11 hectares provide nature’s treasures grown using traditional methods of cultivation. From vegetables, fruit and herbs to beef, chicken, goose, eggs and honey, all produce is used in the Sonnhof’s European Ayurveda Signature cuisine to make wholesome and delicious Ayurvedic dishes better suited to European digestive systems than the Indian originals. 2. The region’s best – for your skin Regional, organic and prepared with the utmost care: this also applies to the remedies and oils used in European Ayurveda® massages and treatments. Plants and herbs with which our body is familiar work much faster and are more effective. This is why the European Ayurveda® Resort Sonnhof’s recipes for oils, teas and herb and spice mixes have been developed by the resort’s own physicians. Using only the highest quality ingredients and tailored to suit specific constitutional types and treatments, they are carefully produced, packed and bottled by selected pharmacists and partners. 3. Holistic Yoga, meditation, detoxing body & mind Change starts in the mind. Accordingly, Yoga, Mind Detox coaching and meditation are essential pillars of European Ayurveda®. These practices and methods offset the mental overload and health issues caused by our fast-paced, modern lifestyle. Learning to let go is central to Mind Detox coaching and coach Elisabeth Mauracher believes a fulfilled, successful life is predicated on the ability to let go of the things that hold us back: e.g. blame, negativity and unhelpful beliefs. ‘There is a moment when the client is freed from years or even decades of negative beliefs, and that’s when their life changes.’ Liberating the mind and learning greater mindfulness are supported by distinctive forms of Yoga developed at the European Ayurveda® Resort Sonnhof. ‘Pranayama and being in the here and now in Yoga practice give us balance and clear the mind – things to which we Europeans tend to pay too little attention.
Over long periods, the emotional toxicity of negative feelings turns into physical toxins. That’s why European Ayurveda® includes spiritual practices, guided meditations and special Yoga programmes such as Vata-Pitta-Kapha Yoga to balance the Doshas.’ 4. Ayurveda PLUS: the best of two worlds of medicine
Ayurveda PLUS at the European Ayurveda Resort Sonnhof adds Western medicine, TCM and kinesiology to Ayurvedic practice. The Ayurveda PLUS treatments were developed by conventional GP and naturopath Dr Alaettin Sinop. Drawing on different schools of healing, he combines them into effective treatment methods exclusive to the European Ayurveda® Resort Sonnhof and specially devised to target western lifestyle ailments. Ayurveda PLUS Intensive is particularly effective for back and joint problems. 5. Less stress for your biorhythms Long-distance travel plays havoc with the body, potentially neutralising all the positive effects of a stay at an Ayurveda retreat. To activate our self-healing powers and achieve positive change in ourselves we require steady and consistent inner balance. Alpine-based European Ayurveda® is closer in more than just physical terms. 6. New Shamanic Energy Healing Retreat The Mauracher family have joined forces with leading Shamanic coach and acting star Gabrielle Scharnitzky. The result is a brand new retreat. Coming to the European Ayurveda® Resort Sonnhof for the first time in 2019, Gabrielle Scharnitzky’s ‘Happy – No Matter What’ Shamanic Healing Retreat paves the way for self-reflection, mindfulness, inner peace, gratitude and happiness. She applies Native American wisdom to allow her clients’ receptivity to metaphysical realities unfold before helping them to recognise and name their mental, spiritual and emotional energy blocks to release pressure, old traumas and belief systems.