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Anonymous

Hunter Gatherer Societies
    #1511636 - 05/01/03 04:27 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

in hunter gatherer societies, did people initiate force upon eachother, or did everyone just live in peace and harmony?


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Offlinewingnutx
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Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: ]
    #1511642 - 05/01/03 04:29 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

They were human, so of course they initiated force upon each other. They just had less complex rules as befit their lifestyle.


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InvisibleInnvertigo
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Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: ]
    #1511659 - 05/01/03 04:33 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

there were never JUST hunters and gatherers. There were also warriors and heirarchy. A good example would be the indians. The tribe was lead by a chief and so on.


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: ]
    #1511746 - 05/01/03 05:12 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

Two comments:

1. One thing that would have prevented these "hunter-gatherers" from being less peaceful than the average modern society was the ratio of people to space/resources. Besides the occasional kidnapped princess, that's what most wars are about.

2. I highly recommend a book called "Mutant Message from Down Under." The agnostic in me doesn't let me take it literally like the author--Marlow Morgan--claims, but whether it's a true account or just a really good metaphor for getting an important point across, it's a hellava book.

hongomutant


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OfflineAzmodeus
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Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: Innvertigo]
    #1511756 - 05/01/03 05:15 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

It varies with the times. In times of bountiful harvest and good hunting, war was quite rare and trade often prospered. Such networks eventually would collapse due to famine, natural disaster, or power hungry leaders. But it was more, raid your neigbours so that you have food to feed your children, than any other reason of conquest or power.



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OfflineMadtowntripper
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Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: Azmodeus]
    #1512248 - 05/01/03 07:56 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

Indeed, I think that the opinion of these times as "Peaceful, communal" ones, is inherently false. I'm sure it was a time of much more violence, brutality, and hardship than any utopian would like to admit.


--------------------
After one comes, through contact with it's administrators, no longer to cherish greatly the law as a remedy in abuses, then the bottle becomes a sovereign means of direct action.  If you cannot throw it at least you can always drink out of it.  - Ernest Hemingway

If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it.  In the law courts, in business, in government.  There is nothing occurring in the streets. Nothing but a dumbshow composed of the helpless and the impotent.    -Cormac MacCarthy

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.  - Aeschylus


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Anonymous

Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: ]
    #1512584 - 05/01/03 09:23 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

here's an article i found about this:

Chapter 5: War, What is it Good For?

If we think how many things besides frontiers of states the wars of history have decided, we must feel some respectful awe, in spite of all the horrors. Our actual civilization, good and bad alike, has had past wars for its determining condition. --William James



Ah, Tahiti. The lush island whose carefree natives the painter Paul Gauguin used as icons of primitive bliss. The serene culture which Jean-Jacques Rousseau considered evidence that humans had been "noble savages," peaceful and benign, before their corruption by civilization. Unfortunately, as the anthropologist Lawrence Keeley has noted, Rousseau relied for this conclusion on reports of Tahiti that omitted relevant parts of its history. For example: the custom in which a victorious warrior would "pound his vanquished foe's corpse flat with his heavy war club, cut a slit through the well-crushed victim, and don him as a trophy poncho."

Time and again there have been reports of a truly peaceful primitive people. Almost always, the reports have not worn well. Remember the "gentle Tasaday," the isolated band of hunter-gatherers discovered in the Philippines in the early 1970s--the people who had no word for "war"? Their authenticity fell into doubt along with the credibility of their discoverer, Manuel Elizalde. As the New York Times would later note, "It did not help when members of a neighboring tribe said Mr. Elizalde had paid them to take off their clothes and pose as Tasadays for visiting journalists."

To be sure, there are hunter-gatherer societies that don't exhibit the elaborately organized violence denoted by the term "war." But often what turns out to be lacking is the organization, not the violence. The warless !Kung San were billed in the title of one book as The Harmless People, yet during the 1950s and 1960s, their homicide rate was between 20 and 80 times as high as that found in industrialized nations. Eskimos, to judge by popular accounts, are all cuddliness and generosity. Yet early this century, after westerners first made contact with a fifteen-family Eskimo village, they found that every adult male had been involved in a homicide.

One reason the !Kung and most Eskimo haven't waged war is their habitat. With population sparse, friction is low. But when densely settled along fertile ground, hunter-gatherers have warred lavishly. The Ainu of Japan built hilltop fortresses and, when raiding a neighboring village, wore leather armor and carried hardwood clubs. The main purpose of the raids?to kill men, steal women, and settle grievances, real or imagined?is a time-honored goal of primitive warfare. Even today it is part of life among the Yanomamo of South America.

The behavior of observed Stone Age peoples is hardly the only evidence that the Stone Age was a bloody time. In a cave in Germany, clusters of skulls more than 5,000 years old were found arrayed, as one observer put it, "like eggs in a basket." Most of the thirty-four victims had been knocked in the head with stone axes before decapitation.

Anyone hoping that cultural evolution always translates into moral improvement will be disappointed to hear that such evidence of violent death is especially common among remains of the more complex hunter-gatherer societies. And in the yet-more-complex agrarian societies on the ethnographic record, things are similarly grim. In south Asia, a young Naga warrior was not considered marriageable until he had brought home a scalp or a skull. In Borneo, a Dayak hero returning from war would be seated in a place of honor and surrounded by singing women, with the head of one his victims placed nearby on a decorative brass tray. The, warriors of Fiji gave their favorite weapons terms of endearment; one war club was called "Damaging beyond hope," and a spear was dubbed "The priest is too late."

All of this forces us to confront the fact that, as Keeley has put it, "what transpired before the evolution of civilized states was often unpleasantly bellicose." Human violence has been around a long time, and often it has been not man against man, but group against group. Ever since the early stages of cultural evolution?the era of hunter-gatherer societies?that evolution has been shaped by armed conflict.

This would seem to throw a wrench into the analytical works. So far this book has mainly stressed the forces of human cooperation, the win-win situations. The thesis has been that the direction of history results largely from the playing of non-zero-sum games. But, presumably, once someone has decided that he wants to use your corpse as a poncho, the two of you are playing a zero-sum-game; his gain is your loss. So too with warring villages. When men from one village raid the other, kill the men and abduct the women, the air is rife with zero-sumness. And so on, up the ladder of cultural evolution: whether the contestants are villages, city-states, whatever?war is hardly nonzero-sumness incarnate.

Still, war isn't nonstop zero-sumness, either. One big reason is that, even as war is inserting zero-sum dynamics between two groups, within the groups things are quite different. If your village is beset by axe-wielding men bent on slaughter, your relations with fellow villagers can pivot quickly toward the non-zero-sum; acting in concert you may fend off the assault, but divided you will likely fall.

Much the same interdependence exists among the axe-wielding slaughterers; in unison lies their best hope for victory. So, whatever side you're on, you and your fellow villagers are to some extent in the same boat; your fate is partly shared. That, actually, is a good rough-and-ready index of non-zero-sumness: the extent to which fates are shared. War, by making fates more shared, by manufacturing nonzero-sumness, accelerates the evolution of culture toward deeper and vaster social complexity."

This was a constant refrain of one early cultural evolutionist, the sociologist Herbert Spencer. He overdid it ("Only by imperative need for combination in war were primitive men led into cooperation"), but he was on to something.

Consider again the Northwest Coast Indians. We've already seen how their evolving technology of sustenance raised social complexity. Division of labor and capital investment grew, and leadership emerged in the form of the "Big Man," who handled the logistics and helped keep social life in harmony. But all of this heartwarming cooperation to harvest nature's bounty was not the only social cement, nor the only cause for the Big Man's authority?

[SNIP]

An excerpt from Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, By Robert Wright, published by Pantheon Books. Copyright 2000 by Robert Wright. www.nonzero.org


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: Azmodeus]
    #1513712 - 05/02/03 02:33 AM (13 years, 9 months ago)

In times of bountiful harvest

By definition, hunter gatherer societies didn't plant crops. There was no "harvest".

raid your neigbours

By definition, Hunter gatherer societies follow herds. You cannot have many possessions when you have to move all the time. "Raids on your neighbours" (what neighbours?) would be utterly pointless and with the risk of injury and death to your own group, ensure your rapid extinction.


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: Azmodeus]
    #1513738 - 05/02/03 02:51 AM (13 years, 9 months ago)

Ten thousand years ago the first information culture perished along with the woolly mammoth, the giant bison, the mastodon, and the saber tooth tiger. It had been the dominant way of life for many millennia. It was, in comparison to all but the most recent standards, a global culture.

I call it an information based culture because, if the people of the time were like recent hunter/gatherers, they got their living by knowing not owning -- they were secure because they knew where the animals would be and when the plants would be ready to gather. The world they perceived was a world of plenty -- there was enough to go around. An individual's status was based on the stories, songs and knowledge rather than on what he or she owned (Turnbull, 1967, Lee & Devore, 1982). Since anyone regardless of gender or family are likely to have good stories or songs it was a relatively egalitarian society. There was no war amongst hunter/gatherers since:

1. it is not possible to take away a person's knowledge through force
2. they own very little, and
3. what they do own they share.


http://www.well.com/user/elin/cain-a.htm


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
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Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: Xlea321]
    #1513958 - 05/02/03 05:53 AM (13 years, 9 months ago)

You don't have to "plant", to harvest.

har?vest ( P ) Pronunciation Key (h?rvst)
n.
The act or process of gathering a crop.

The crop that ripens or is gathered in a season.
The amount or measure of the crop gathered in a season.
The time or season of such gathering.
The result or consequence of an activity.

v. har?vest?ed, har?vest?ing, har?vests
v. tr.

To gather (a crop).
To take or kill (fish or deer, for example) for food, sport, or population control.
To extract from a culture or a living or recently deceased body, especially for transplantation: harvested bone marrow.
To gather a crop from.
To receive (the benefits or consequences of an action). See Synonyms at reap.


But I suspect you knew that.


--------------------
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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OfflineMadtowntripper
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Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #1514250 - 05/02/03 10:17 AM (13 years, 9 months ago)

Oooh. Semantics it is now? Just teasing. Your right, of course.


--------------------
After one comes, through contact with it's administrators, no longer to cherish greatly the law as a remedy in abuses, then the bottle becomes a sovereign means of direct action.  If you cannot throw it at least you can always drink out of it.  - Ernest Hemingway

If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it.  In the law courts, in business, in government.  There is nothing occurring in the streets. Nothing but a dumbshow composed of the helpless and the impotent.    -Cormac MacCarthy

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.  - Aeschylus


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Anonymous

Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: Xlea321]
    #1514351 - 05/02/03 11:14 AM (13 years, 9 months ago)

what that article goes on to explain right after you cut it off is how war is a response to scarcity of resources, and how the extinction of the megafauna and the resulting scarcity of food drove humans to different social patters, including warfare.


Scarcity - The End of Eden
The extinction of the large herd herbivores suddenly made the perceived world of plenty into a perceived world of scarcity. There were massive famines (Whitney-Smith, 1995, contra Martin & Klein, 1989). It wasn't enough to know where something grew or where animals would pass, it became necessary to own, to control, and to restrict resources. Hunting and gathering became a marginalized life style practiced by only a few. People started to create cultures based on owning material goods not on sharing information. The strong who could take away things from others gained more status. Eden was no more.

The Invention of WAR - Cain and Abel
In the new perceptual world - the world of scarcity - security was based on owning material goods. People used their knowledge of gathering to make crops grow where they wanted them - agriculture. Others used their knowledge of animals to gather together and domesticate animals - pastoralism. Cain and Abel. In both of these life ways people take their identity from their group and are secure because they are members of a group. The paradigm is group membership.
War is a response to scarcity. The forms reflect the kind of scarcity each group experienced.

Nomads (Abel) experienced periodic scarcity became raiders. They used their knowledge of how to kill and how to herd and break up groups to kill and scatter their opponents. Since the scarcity the experienced was irregular and since they did not plant they did not have an attachment to owning geography. Their form of war was brutal and brief.

Agriculturists (Cain) settled and planted. As the populations grew they experienced a scarcity of land and expanded outward to take over more and more land. They developed war based on standing and defending a piece of geography first they built walled settlements, perhaps against the raiders and then with the rise of a new information technology - writing - cities and empires. Their attachment was to geography since wealth came from land. They developed defensive wars and then wars of imperialism.


according to her theory, there was a shift from "informational society" to "material society", and it was in response to ecological conditions.


Edited by Anonymous (05/02/03 11:34 AM)


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Anonymous

Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: Xlea321]
    #1514370 - 05/02/03 11:27 AM (13 years, 9 months ago)

and although Dr. Whitney-Smith's theory sounds good and all, i'm afraid that the archeaological evidense does not support it. she has spent much of her career espousing this theory, and it is not one shared by many anthropologists.

the essay we have both cited sums up her ideas about human social evolution. it is based on theoretical hypotheses contradicted by archealogical evidence, and a review of her source material will confirm that no authority of pre-historic anthropology was consulted in the writing of the paper.

additionally, she is not an anthropologist but actually recieved her doctorate in Engineering Management. She is also an outspoken marxist. i do not think that her writings are an accurate source of information for discussion of this topic.


Edited by Anonymous (05/02/03 12:38 PM)


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: ]
    #1514856 - 05/02/03 02:54 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

i'm afraid that the archeaological evidense does not support it.

Hang on mush, 36 hours ago you'd never even heard of any of this. Don't be in such a hurry to write it off because I mentioned it and you don't like me. Have an open mind. I didn't originate any of this.

I've been following the research for around 10 years, inspired by Mckennas "Food of the Gods" and reading articles in various scientific mags and documentaries. The last documentary I saw about 6 months ago had a whole host of archeologists stating the latest research was that peaceful co-existence was by far the most likely and sucessful way hunter gatherer societies would live.


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Don't worry, B. Caapi


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Anonymous

Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: Xlea321]
    #1514886 - 05/02/03 03:05 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

it doesn't sound like a bad theory, but the archealogical evidence does not support it. 36 hours ago, i had heard of hunter gatherer societies. i had actually taken several courses in which i learned about them. the whole idea of them peacefully living together is a myth. i've read mckenna's food of the gods and though it makes interesting reading, many of his theories do not hold water.

since none of us have actually been back 20,000 years ago, and there is no written record, the best we can do is hypothesize based on archealogical evidence. the archealogical record suggests that violence and strife were very much a part of hunter gatherer societies.

during my freshman year at university, my major was anthropology. i can tell you with certainty that the archealogical evidence we currently have does not support the hunter gatherer 'eden' model and that this theory is regarded by most respected anthropologists as a myth.

mckenna has an agenda. so does whitney-smith. there are many anthropologists with much more objective veiwpoints that disagree with their 'eden' theory.

i am not saying that the 'eden' theory is necessarily 'wrong', just that it contradicts the archealogical evidence we currently have.


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: ]
    #1514893 - 05/02/03 03:09 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

The few hunter-gatherer communities that have been studied in depth reveal that these most primitive types of human society were probably the most civilised to date in terms of cooperation, social justice and democracy. The available evidence indicates that although hunter-gatherer communities did not fully resonate the advanced potentialities of love, compassion and intelligence, they were very peaceful, cooperative and democratic. They just lived in natural communion with each other and the Natural-World. Natural communion is basically the process of living in tune with the natural flow of life. For human beings in a hunter-gatherer context, this means being at one with the community, but at the same time being connected with the Natural-world.

http://www.compassion-in-business.co.uk/fellowship/excerpts/firehaze.htm


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Anonymous

Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: Xlea321]
    #1514915 - 05/02/03 03:16 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

on a theoretical level, if violence was not present in pre-agricultural societies, why do you think this was so?


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Anonymous

Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: Xlea321]
    #1514940 - 05/02/03 03:23 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

and that article was written by Peter English, who is not an anthropologist, but who actually holds a bachelor's degree in liberal arts. the excerpt is from a site called, "compassion in business".


you need to find more authoritative, less biased sources, and preferably ones that can cite actual archealogical data, not merely repeat the same 'eden' theory they read somewhere.

i can find many sources to argue that men did not land on the moon.


Edited by Anonymous (05/02/03 03:30 PM)


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: ]
    #1515052 - 05/02/03 03:59 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

edit: this is a response to your post about Tahiti, just to avoid confusion.

Yep. Some historians even theorize that Hawaiian culture was formed by two different waves of immigration hundreds of years apart. The second wave came from Tahiti, and it was then that the many of the more brutal aspects of ancient Hawaiian culture--canibalism, human sacrifice, etc--arrived.

I don't know how reliable the theory is, and in fairness I find Tahitians to be pretty damn cool people. And unlike the average Frenchman, they not only don't cringe if you try your limited French on them, they actually welcome it.

hongomon


Edited by hongomon (05/02/03 04:04 PM)


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Anonymous

Re: Hunter Gatherer Societies [Re: hongomon]
    #1515111 - 05/02/03 04:08 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

in all fairness, most americans are pretty intolerant of immigrants and foreigners that don't speak english great as well.


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