Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Geographical determinism - Mexico

I have just come back from Mexico. It was my first trip there I could have been blogging daily from there, sharing every miniscule detail and observations regarding Mexico, its land and inhabitans. However, I didn't do it, chiefly because I have grown to be quite afraid of sliding into mawkish extolment.
And yet, this post is on the most banal thing of all - the Mexican climate. We used to sneer at the late 19th century environmental determinists for their 'naive' attemtps to explain 'culture' through geography. Growing up in frosty Russia, I was also quite aversed to the idea that the climate determines human behavior - the most striking example to refute such a claim would be to compare Canada and Russia.
However, in Mexico I realized that it might not be entirely false - when it's +25 all year round and the ground never freezes it doesn't necessarily perpetuate laziness, as many Anglo-Saxon authors have been fond of pointing out, but makes one's soul more gentle.
The northern summer can be quite rewarding but you are so acutely aware that it will pass. On the other hand, it is a deeply profound feeling to enjoy the dusk sun (between 4 and 6) in December knowing that it's not going anywhere and the cold times will never come.


At 11:23 AM, Anonymous ScummyD said...

So which mountain, river, or micro-climate do you attribute the poverty and dearth of opportunity on the Mexican side of the border in, say, Ciudad Juarez and the wealth on the El Paso side of the border merely hundreds of yards apart???


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