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InvisibleDividedQuantumM
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On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? * 3
    #26791974 - 06/29/20 12:23 PM (1 month, 15 days ago)

I am not sure how we justify the unthinking meme that a state of civilization is far superior to a state of nature. Is there less suffering in civilization for the majority? Hell no, there’s more per capita, a lot more. Is the diet better? For over 99%, historically, the civilized diet has been less balanced than hunter-gatherer or nomad natural diets. And then we say, well, there is a lot more killing in nature than in civilization. How on Earth does anyone figure that? With wars and famines and poverty and back-breaking labor it seems the vast majority of humans are no safer this way, historically.

I think there is some sort of implicit belief that in civilization we are safer from dying than we are in a state of nature, and I just don’t get that. Every creature has to die. Civilization has not been able to change that! How ridiculous! Everyone dies, who really cares when or how. The only conclusion one can reach is that this is an artificial cultural meme that is not universal, and not really true. I think it is clear that this is the case, for a number of historical reasons.

I am interested in reactions to this. Seems an interesting question to me.


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InvisibleRahz
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: DividedQuantum] * 1
    #26792046 - 06/29/20 01:01 PM (1 month, 15 days ago)

Air conditioning?


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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: Rahz]
    #26792063 - 06/29/20 01:11 PM (1 month, 15 days ago)

what are you comparing to what?

Utopia to 2020 America?


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InvisibleJokeshopbeardM
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: DividedQuantum]
    #26792074 - 06/29/20 01:19 PM (1 month, 15 days ago)

Quote:

DividedQuantum said:
I think there is some sort of implicit belief that in civilization we are safer from dying than we are in a state of nature



That's how I've seen it put, and what resonates with me as to why hunter gatherers could be convinced to switch to agriculture; nature has droughts, and times of famine inherent, and in those times the young and the old and the weak die off.

Agriculture (civilization) is able to mitigate and avoid those deaths. It provides a way to save people we love and care about.

I can see how that would have been an attractive prospect, at the start. Perhaps, had the people converted from that style of living to this one also been shown the eventuality of this path, they wouldn't have been so quick to switch.

Alas, the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Sure looks like we're on the highway to hell to me right now.


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Let it be seen that you are nothing. And in knowing that you are nothing... there is nothing to lose, there is nothing to gain. What can happen to you? Something can happen to the body, but it will either heal or it won't. What's the big deal? Let life knock you to bits. Let life take you apart. Let life destroy you. It will only destroy what you are not.
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InvisibleDividedQuantumM
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: Jokeshopbeard] * 1
    #26792468 - 06/29/20 03:36 PM (1 month, 15 days ago)

Quote:

Jokeshopbeard said:
Quote:

DividedQuantum said:
I think there is some sort of implicit belief that in civilization we are safer from dying than we are in a state of nature




That's how I've seen it put, and what resonates with me as to why hunter gatherers could be convinced to switch to agriculture; nature has droughts, and times of famine inherent, and in those times the young and the old and the weak die off.

Agriculture (civilization) is able to mitigate and avoid those deaths. It provides a way to save people we love and care about.

I can see how that would have been an attractive prospect, at the start. Perhaps, had the people converted from that style of living to this one also been shown the eventuality of this path, they wouldn't have been so quick to switch.

Alas, the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Sure looks like we're on the highway to hell to me right now.





It's important to realize, though, that the switch to agriculture was not a decision so much as it was an evolution of various stages over a long period of time. Indeed, people living in the present in Mesopotamia in 5000 BC probably did not know what was really going on, as far as how their territory would become a dictatorship and then collapse a thousand years later. The unfolding of the evolution of culture takes many more than one lifetime, and is usually not the product of conscious decisions.

That said, nature definitely does have droughts and unstable conditions, natural disasters, what have you. Agriculture can stand up to a lot as far as that goes. But then, war didn't really exist until agriculture did (and there was an awful lot of that), and the work was much harder and longer for less food of poorer quality, prisons and slavery became a thing, one had to have permission for everything, etc. Not to mention the fact that something like over 95% of people who ever lived did so as peasants or servile laborers. So it seems agriculture wasn't perhaps that comfortable after all.

As you and I both pointed out, early agriculturalists could certainly never have imagined the global situation in 2020 AD, and if they could have they probably would have gone crazy. But the evolution of culture marches on despite hopes, intentions and wishes, and I just think it's too bad that most people don't care to contemplate the dynamics of these phenomena. Of course, the average citizen doesn't care to contemplate the dynamics of basic American civics, so we can't hope for too much.


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InvisibleDividedQuantumM
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: Rahz]
    #26792474 - 06/29/20 03:37 PM (1 month, 15 days ago)

Quote:

Rahz said:
Air conditioning?





Dentistry?


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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: DividedQuantum]
    #26792866 - 06/29/20 06:17 PM (1 month, 15 days ago)

Hypothetically better.  If you like Chocolate ice cream cake then a relatively complex society is your bet.  But if you don’t like heart disease then maybe not.  I guess exercise goes both ways.  :shrug:

On second thought I suppose complexity itself is the hypothetical.  If you like complexity then we have the society for you with the good and the bad.  :cool:


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OfflineCountHTML
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: DividedQuantum] * 1
    #26792896 - 06/29/20 06:28 PM (1 month, 15 days ago)

I think civilization makes life better for a percentage of the population. For another percentage it makes life worse. The issue, in my opinion, is less so the state of nature and more the unchecked state of human nature.

I think human beings are adapted to exist as small bands of hunter-gatherers, socially bonded; but these intuitions break down in nation states like what we have today. If these states were to crumble, I’d expect chaos and perhaps annihilation.

A well-constructed civilization could be superior to the state of nature, just as a poorly constructed and starkly unequal one, extractive and exploitative in nature, would be worse.

I think we exist at a moment of opportunity in our current civilization but most of our leaders, commentariat and the world financial and political elites are largely short-sighted, self-serving dickheads. But could it have turned out any other way?


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Invisiblepineninja
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: Jokeshopbeard] * 1
    #26792996 - 06/29/20 07:23 PM (1 month, 15 days ago)

Quote:

Jokeshopbeard said:
Quote:

DividedQuantum said:
I think there is some sort of implicit belief that in civilization we are safer from dying than we are in a state of nature



That's how I've seen it put, and what resonates with me as to why hunter gatherers could be convinced to switch to agriculture; nature has droughts, and times of famine inherent, and in those times the young and the old and the weak die off.

Agriculture (civilization) is able to mitigate and avoid those deaths. It provides a way to save people we love and care about.

I can see how that would have been an attractive prospect, at the start. Perhaps, had the people converted from that style of living to this one also been shown the eventuality of this path, they wouldn't have been so quick to switch.

Alas, the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Sure looks like we're on the highway to hell to me right now.




Hunter gatherers were very careful to not allow their populations to swell above what the natural resources provided for...also allowing for fire flood and so on.
Their need for war and competition were far lower.

The food security and abundance that agriculture brought allowed populations to swell like never before.
This was great until the inevitable bad season came.
Now you have 3 times more mouths to feed and you know your neighbours just reaped their field...what happens?


I would argue that the safety was in staying closer to the natural order.

*I type this with false teeth in a temperature controlled room on a computer.


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Invisiblepineninja
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: pineninja] * 1
    #26793003 - 06/29/20 07:25 PM (1 month, 15 days ago)

"On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature?"


On who's terms are you measuring?

We are winning.....isn't it obvious.:yess:


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InvisibleDividedQuantumM
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: pineninja] * 1
    #26793022 - 06/29/20 07:31 PM (1 month, 15 days ago)

Great points. :thumbup:

That's right -- as soon as you have crops that are stored, and administrators and all the rest, two things begin to happen: Imbalances form, leading to a lot of fighting, and population explodes. Imbalance, poverty, war and soaring populations have come down to us today, for about the last ten thousand years, pretty much unbroken. In the previous three hundred thousand years of homo sapiens, to our knowledge none of this was a factor.

So to pineninja's point, staying closer to the natural order would definitely have been safer. But questions of what was inevitable are very murky and essentially impossible to answer.


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OnlineThe Blind Ass
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: pineninja] * 1
    #26793023 - 06/29/20 07:31 PM (1 month, 15 days ago)

50 seconds in...Relevant ...



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Invisiblepineninja
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: DividedQuantum]
    #26793038 - 06/29/20 07:37 PM (1 month, 15 days ago)

There been a big push here in recent years to "prove"  that aboriginals here had forms of agriculture.
Which is obtuse to the historical teaching that they were a wholly hunter gatherer society.

It is an agenda seemingly driven by a few indigenous peoples to show that they were "more advanced" than white man gives them credit for.

The very thought of balance is seen now as such an idiocy people are trying to erase, even the possibility that it happened.


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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: DividedQuantum] * 1
    #26793178 - 06/29/20 08:27 PM (1 month, 15 days ago)

Nature is red in tooth and claw. I think you're idealizing nature a bit. Natural is absolutely brutal, cruel, uncaring, unforgiving. It is worse in every way compared to modern civilization.

In a state of nature, whoever is bigger and stronger will take over and kill everyone who opposes him along with anyone he doesn't like. He will go around taking whatever he wants, killing whoever he wants, and raping whoever he wants. He will do whatever he wants to and no one will be able to stop him. You will live like a slave serving him while he kills the people you care about and rapes the women you love. Is that how you want to live?

There is less death from war now than there has been at any other time in human history. Same with disease. We live in a virtual utopia compared to people living in nature. Nature kills for no reason at all. A minor injury in nature can end your life, if you're lucky, but most death in nature is absolutely brutal. Being torn apart and eaten alive by some animal. Bears, for example, don't kill their prey before they eat it. Even if you live, you would be perpetually infested with parasites, regularly fighting off diseases, always starving, always too hot or too cold. Nature is awful. If you think civilization is bad, nature is 100x worse.

If it were up to me, we'd get rid of nature entirely except for some carefully preserved parks for hiking and camping and stuff like that. Civilization has stuff like modern medicine, education, plentiful food, AC, computers, music, fun things to do and places to go and things to see. Drugs. We live in a utopian playground compared to nature.


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Invisiblepineninja
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: nooneman] * 1
    #26793189 - 06/29/20 08:33 PM (1 month, 15 days ago)

Where you see total war I see symbiosis.

The cocophany of nature isn't bombs and gunshots.

We fear what we don't understand and especially that which we are no longer comparable with.


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InvisibleDividedQuantumM
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: nooneman] * 1
    #26793214 - 06/29/20 08:43 PM (1 month, 15 days ago)

Quote:

nooneman said:
Nature is red in tooth and claw. I think you're idealizing nature a bit. Natural is absolutely brutal, cruel, uncaring, unforgiving. It is worse in every way compared to modern civilization.

In a state of nature, whoever is bigger and stronger will take over and kill everyone who opposes him along with anyone he doesn't like. He will go around taking whatever he wants, killing whoever he wants, and raping whoever he wants. He will do whatever he wants to and no one will be able to stop him. You will live like a slave serving him while he kills the people you care about and rapes the women you love. Is that how you want to live?

There is less death from war now than there has been at any other time in human history. Same with disease. We live in a virtual utopia compared to people living in nature. Nature kills for no reason at all. A minor injury in nature can end your life, if you're lucky, but most death in nature is absolutely brutal. Being torn apart and eaten alive by some animal. Bears, for example, don't kill their prey before they eat it. Even if you live, you would be perpetually infested with parasites, regularly fighting off diseases, always starving, always too hot or too cold. Nature is awful. If you think civilization is bad, nature is 100x worse.

If it were up to me, we'd get rid of nature entirely except for some carefully preserved parks for hiking and camping and stuff like that. Civilization has stuff like modern medicine, education, plentiful food, AC, computers, music, fun things to do and places to go and things to see. Drugs. We live in a utopian playground compared to nature.





That is the philosophical stance of Thomas Hobbes, and it has been debunked completely. I don't want to go off on a huge tangent, but most of your post is factually inaccurate. It would take too long and be OT to get into it. That said, our species lived naturally for hundreds of thousands of years before civilizations were founded, and by your logic we would all have been dead eons ago.


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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: DividedQuantum] * 1
    #26793727 - 06/30/20 05:17 AM (1 month, 15 days ago)

how does his post create that logic?

people seem to be writing without reading, and questions are not being answered, so my take is this is not a discussion.

what the hell is meant by "a state of nature"


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InvisibleDividedQuantumM
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: redgreenvines]
    #26794067 - 06/30/20 09:13 AM (1 month, 14 days ago)

Thomas Hobbes famously said that life in a state of nature is "nasty, brutish, and short." Archaeological evidence over the last fifty years has proven that this was not the case, very generally -- hunter-gatherers were quite well taken care of, and not in constant fear.

A "state of nature" just means any society that does not exist within the structures of civilization -- hunter-gatherers, nomads, small-scale agriculturalists would be examples. The Sioux were an example of people living in a state of nature. The pyramid-building Egyptian old kingdom was not.


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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: DividedQuantum]
    #26794260 - 06/30/20 10:48 AM (1 month, 14 days ago)



This was my camping spot at Lake Mead yesterday. Notice how I am living in harmony with my well-camouflaged reptile brethren.


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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: DividedQuantum]
    #26794295 - 06/30/20 11:02 AM (1 month, 14 days ago)

Quote:

DividedQuantum said:
Thomas Hobbes famously said that life in a state of nature is "nasty, brutish, and short." Archaeological evidence over the last fifty years has proven that this was not the case, very generally -- hunter-gatherers were quite well taken care of, and not in constant fear.

A "state of nature" just means any society that does not exist within the structures of civilization -- hunter-gatherers, nomads, small-scale agriculturalists would be examples. The Sioux were an example of people living in a state of nature. The pyramid-building Egyptian old kingdom was not.




I would love to read a novel series that really was up to date with all the findings from archaeology spun up into a realistic multigenerational saga, or maybe several sagas, since life was very different in the arctic and near the equator, in the mountains and at the sea.


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