Arnold Toynbee Excerpt Essay Research Paper In

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Arnold Toynbee Excerpt Essay, Research Paper In “Menschheit und Mutter Erde”, the author, Arnold Toynbee, describes his point of view concerning man’s relationship and interaction with the earth’s biosphere and also gives an insight on a future development of both. Tonybee begins with a clear definition of the term biosphere. The biosphere is defined as being the layer of the earth’s crust, water and air, which surrounds our planet. After this definition, he points out that our biosphere is very small compared to the diameter of the earth or other dimensions in our solar system or the universe. Up to now, it is the only habitable place for humans in this solar system, but over the past centuries man has played the most important role in the pollution and destruction

of it. Therefore the search for other suitable biospheres in our solar system or in other solar systems has become of an increasing importance, but by today’s scientific knowledge, it seems like this is the only biosphere in this solar system. Assuming that there are other habitable biospheres in the nearby solar systems or even in this one, the planets are too far away to be reached within the lifespan of a human being. And it is practically impossible to provide a ship with enough food for several generations in order to reach these planets. Therefore our possibilities to solve this problem are limited to this biosphere. Mankind has the ability to destroy our biosphere and will inevitably do so within a certain period of time if the exploitation does not stop. But man cannot

stop the natural process of decay that is due to the fact that the biosphere is not autarkic. The biosphere’s source of energy, the sun, is known to change and will eventually vanish some day as well. Therefore man has no influence on the natural process itself. Toynbee then summarizes the three elements of the biosphere and their relationship to each other. The biosphere consists of matter that did not come to life by adopting any organic structures, living organic matter, and non-living matter that had once been alive and organic and still contains organic characteristics. The biosphere is younger than the planet itself, and life and consciousness in the biosphere can never exist as long as the matter with which it had been combined. Former organic parts make up the biggest

group of all three of the above, and is know to having provided man with some of the most important means for the maintenance of life. The fact that such a large amount of the earth’s matter had in fact been organic at some point, leads Toynbee to the aspects of evolution. The diversity and variety of species and individuals had been essential for the development of life. The natural selection is therefore the natural result of this development. And in many cases the extinction of one species had been the result of an indirect fight for survival, because one species did not simply extinct another by feeding on it, but by taking up most of the essential sources of nourishment. It is also a given fact that a fight for water, food or a female between members of one species usually

ends with the loser begging for mercy and the winner granting it as a response to the capitulation. Human beings are the only life-forms who fight each other to death. Thus, the development of life was at best parasitic and at worst predator-like. Over the time, man became man’s own prey, which sometimes developed into extreme forms, such as slavery and cannibalism. Even though murder is being prosecuted in every country today, most sovereign countries have fought, or still fight, against each other in war. They expect their soldiers to kill the enemy soldiers and to risk being killed themselves. Even today, this sacrifice, the death for one’s country, is considered to be an honourable thing. Here Toynbee asks the question whether the progress of life justifies the pain and