3The Great Historical Transitions of Climate Cultures

3.1. Historical human cultures, between fiction and knowledge of natural risks

The trophic model formalizes environmental changes: the total biomass, or natural product, underwent recessive phases, called cold or dry weathering. Geologists have defined the Quaternary (the last 1.7 million years) on the basis of this double abrasive action, either by cold and glaciers or by aridity and desertification. However, the trophic model or other utilitarian approaches remain powerless to explain the emergence of human cultures and the arts: they fully emerged during the 17th glaciation, and therefore after a large number of climate changes producing cold and dry weathering.

Changes in the environment encouraged knowledge as part of cultural adaptation. Faced with the inadequacy of utilitarian models, it was necessary to define a spiritual model of production and access to knowledge, according to Georges Bataille’s book on Lascaux [BAT 55]. However, this model requires a revision, which Michel Foucault began working on. A new spiritual model can be defined based on Michel Foucault’s book on The Hermeneutics of the Subject [FOU 01b]. The spiritualized process of knowledge is found in two main forms, Eros and Askêsis, mystical and ascetic. Aristotle was the only philosopher to detach himself from a spiritualized process of accessing the truth. He did this by using logical methods of comparison. In the list of major cultural transformations ...

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