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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]
    #26794314 - 06/30/20 11:11 AM (1 month, 14 days ago)

Indeed, ecologies were different all over. But what people don't seem to realize is the major fault with the "nasty, brutish and short" logic: If life were so unbearable for a given tribe, it would have dissolved and ceased to exist. Given that there were thousands, some say tens of thousands, individual cultures living from pole to pole and mountains to sea during the Paleolithic and Neolithic, life must not have been that terrible.

If it was indeed such a hell, it's hard to understand how the supposedly poor reproductive success of early societies has led to 8 billion humans in 2020 AD. But that's only when you resort to logic.


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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
    #26794386 - 06/30/20 11:50 AM (1 month, 14 days ago)

My understanding from reading articles over the years is that whatever the circumstances may be, human population bumps along just under what the environment can support. Both pre and post agriculture this would be true so famine would have always been a factor, which would lead to war as an alternative to starvation.

Irrigation, food storage and domestication of animals were means of avoiding the effects of short term famine, but these mitigating factors increase population and expound the problem. In total numbers there are more people at risk of starvation today. As a percentage I will guess that technology has lessened the number of people who die of starvation or war.

But we don't really know enough about life before the written word to make educated guesses. Perhaps some tribes were strong enough and smart enough to ward other humans off land they didn't need, so that if famine arose there would be pristine hunting and foraging grounds to exploit. Such tactics are arguably no less homicidal in intent, but it could potentially reduce the number killed by both war and famine if humans were to use less than was available. Somehow I don't think it generally played out that way. I suspect we've never been much different that rabbits until the advent of contraception.


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“Everyone's path is different, and that is fine. We either sit or walk.”


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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] * 2
    #26794561 - 06/30/20 01:26 PM (1 month, 14 days ago)

Good points. Yes, carrying capacity was always such an important variable, until about 1830 or so when modern technology took off. The intensification that has occurred due to the Industrial Revolution, and developments in the twentieth century, make it so that, at least for now, we can feed a population of twelve billion people if we have to. The latest estimates I have seen indicate that the ballooning of population will top out at about ten billion or so, but I am not familiar with how they estimate this. Years ago it was thought to be twelve.

Now, eventually we might get to the point that there is no more starvation or malnutrition. However, in a world of ten billion people, if everyone is living the same way, the standard of living will be much poorer than it is for Americans today. Of course everyone is not living the same way, so we have comparatively rich populations, but if you go from say, here in the states, a thousand miles south to Guatemala, people are living very differently and with much more difficulty.

But when carrying capacity was a thing, hunter-gatherers are known to have been very careful about number of children to the point that infanticide was extremely common in most places. They knew how many people the tribe could support, and just didn't go above it. I would say that an end to infanticide, and many, many more things make civilization very attractive, but then, the way we are arbitrarily giving the environment steroids, with billions and billions of humans walking around, probably will not end too well.

If, for example, some weird ecological effect happened that rendered all of the soils worthless, civilization would collapse and billions would die. We feel like we're invincible, but we are certainly not. Clearly, looking at it from a perspective of sustainability, physical and psychological damage and overall suffering, civilization has an extremely poor track record. On the other hand, being a hunter-gatherer and needing a root canal cannot have been pleasant.

The point for those who haven't considered all this (as you obviously have, Rahz), is that it is not obvious, when you start looking into it a little, that being in a civilized society makes one healthier and happier than being in one without stratification. But this is pretty abstract for people.


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Invisiblelaughingdog
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: DividedQuantum] * 1
    #26794684 - 06/30/20 02:27 PM (1 month, 14 days ago)

Quote:

DividedQuantum said:
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.




We are stuck with what we've got. I wear glasses, I would not have survived pre civilization. I am just one example. Much of humanity is now myopic. Dozens of other examples. The reality is that most people on the planet are hooked, just like an addict.

Sure in an ideal world, when heady with the energy and bloom of youth, who wouldn't enjoy the fantasy, of being a plains indian galloping across the vast prairies, with the wind, blowing thru one's hair?

Or being a shaman in central america, taking plant medicine and becoming one with the jaguar.

But we humans have poisoned the world and we can't go back.

And Elon Musk is too clever, but has no wisdom - going to Mars will not be any sort of solution.
He is a symptom of what is wrong, not a solution for what is wrong.

As you know IMO we are stuck with what we've got, & as all empires fail, & this time around, all are globally interconnected, the only rational expectation is for a dystopian future.
However as in the movie "Titanic" we have a choice, we can be like the assholes shoving women and children out of life boats, or like the music band members who stayed on board, playing their music as the ship sank.
Death need not be an occasion for generating emotional panic.
Many die with a smile of relief at being finally able to let go, of everything.


--------------------
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” or  “Science advances one funeral at a time.”
― Max Planck

"The situation is hopeless, but not serious."

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend,
inside of a dog its too dark to read."


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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: laughingdog]
    #26794727 - 06/30/20 02:38 PM (1 month, 14 days ago)

Spoiled & poisoned, it would be hard to kick the scales from our eyes and live so very differently.


--------------------
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Offlinegreenladel
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: DividedQuantum]
    #26794757 - 06/30/20 02:50 PM (1 month, 14 days ago)

i agree, the natural world is far more beautiful, healthy, happy and better in almost every way.
people like convenience though. they think they cant live without their phones and fast food. the more generations we get through the worse it gets. everything gets normalised and people cant image a world any different.

it is going to get much much worse before it gets any better. you can thank capitalism


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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: greenladel]
    #26794935 - 06/30/20 04:16 PM (1 month, 14 days ago)

The Borg are even more ruthless.
they assimilate rather than kill excessive population.

I don't like the reasonableness of either group.


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Invisiblelaughingdog
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: greenladel] * 1
    #26794960 - 06/30/20 04:24 PM (1 month, 14 days ago)

There is no one identifiable cause. All empires fail & fall. Who said it was meant to be any different?

Very few want to take even a few steps away from the norms they are used to. Pretty much only those who have serious health issues, are even willing to consider that processed foods may be harmful.
That is why I say, even those think about this issue, are almost guaranteed to be hooked on civilization themselves. Maybe they just like to read or use computers...hooked...or use a car...or take a hot shower....or....


--------------------
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” or  “Science advances one funeral at a time.”
― Max Planck

"The situation is hopeless, but not serious."

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend,
inside of a dog its too dark to read."


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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] * 2
    #26794962 - 06/30/20 04:25 PM (1 month, 14 days ago)

Good points. I think the "standard of living" has gone up, if not compared to pre-agricultural society, to pre-industrial society. Trade offs include pollution among others, but the salient point is that humans cause their own problems now, and happiness is still a transient state for most, as it probably always has been.

Thinking otherwise seems romantic to me. The value of such dreams perhaps is to stave off reality. I wrote a song when I was young that seems relevant to this self made condition. I'll provide the lyrics for those who don't care to listen through my attempt. It is clearly coming from the mind of someone who was acutely depressed, but I think minus the depression people still entertain fantasies and their corresponding doubts. And I say that because if the human mind wasn't what it is, we could have it made, relatively speaking... as close to utopia as possible... and yet the idea of such a condition does seem to be the fantasy, and the reality something that we don't easily or ever admit, depending on the person. So it becomes a yellow brick road. Perhaps some reach the end but for humanity as a whole it's a never ending road. The reference to Toto, a desire not to walk down that endless road... perhaps also a fantasy... or a way out?



Yellow-

You're growing up and you're growing old
You're looking back on your yellow brick road
You hide the shame and you hide the guilt
Living with the little bit of mind that you built

Nothing ever seems to turn out right
You spit on the ground at your oversight
You wallow in pity and you drown in despair
But you really don't mind cause you just don't care

We can clear it up with a fantasy
A picture in your head of who you want to be
On your yellow brick road

You say you're working hard and you try and relax
But the stress is still there you're avoiding the facts
You find some comfort in your misery
You revel in the catastrophe

Spend your time thinking about yesterday
Hoping that you'll find an easier way
You're walking around in a cynical hate
Then you wonder why you can't relate

You stand and stare like you gave up a long time ago
On your yellow brick road
Say hello to Toto for me


--------------------
rahz

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“Everyone's path is different, and that is fine. We either sit or walk.”


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Invisiblelaughingdog
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: Rahz] * 1
    #26795024 - 06/30/20 05:01 PM (1 month, 14 days ago)

.  What is in my face, day to day, is the romantic dream that getting married, educated, having a career, and then kids, will inevitably lead to happiness. This seems to be an almost world wide fantasy. I doubt the statistics support this notion.

.    However once a person is enmeshed in this dream, seeing the world into which they have brought their children, accurately, would seem to be something they would rather avoid if possible. A little wine after dinner, then a movie, then sex, then fall asleep, wake up, get the kids ready for school, go to work, come home, make dinner, put the kids to bed, a little wine after dinner, ... and ... repeat ... no time to think too much.

.  As a teenager, one may have a pause, before getting on the treadmill, which allows one a moment of freedom, and some perspective, to write a song, or make some art. Very few see the path of the renunciate as an escape, especially when puberty is raising its head at the same time.

.  So the human world, continues in a fairly predictable pattern, which a time machine might show, fast enough to see the vast cycles.

.  Seems the only difference this time around, is that the world population and degree of interconnectedness is so great that, when disintgration begins, all the dominoes may go at once.


--------------------
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” or  “Science advances one funeral at a time.”
― Max Planck

"The situation is hopeless, but not serious."

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend,
inside of a dog its too dark to read."


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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: Rahz] * 1
    #26795029 - 06/30/20 05:04 PM (1 month, 14 days ago)

I liked the song.:rockon:


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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: laughingdog] * 1
    #26795220 - 06/30/20 06:43 PM (1 month, 14 days ago)

Quote:

laughingdog said:
We are stuck with what we've got. I wear glasses, I would not have survived pre civilization. I am just one example. Much of humanity is now myopic. Dozens of other examples. The reality is that most people on the planet are hooked, just like an addict.

Sure in an ideal world, when heady with the energy and bloom of youth, who wouldn't enjoy the fantasy, of being a plains indian galloping across the vast prairies, with the wind, blowing thru one's hair?

Or being a shaman in central america, taking plant medicine and becoming one with the jaguar.

But we humans have poisoned the world and we can't go back.

And Elon Musk is too clever, but has no wisdom - going to Mars will not be any sort of solution.
He is a symptom of what is wrong, not a solution for what is wrong.

As you know IMO we are stuck with what we've got, & as all empires fail, & this time around, all are globally interconnected, the only rational expectation is for a dystopian future.
However as in the movie "Titanic" we have a choice, we can be like the assholes shoving women and children out of life boats, or like the music band members who stayed on board, playing their music as the ship sank.
Death need not be an occasion for generating emotional panic.
Many die with a smile of relief at being finally able to let go, of everything.





Oh, indeed. Our task, if we can take it seriously, is to do civilization as well as we can. There is no going back, there will be no radical change, and this is the system we've got and are going to have, irrespective of whatever cosmetic changes we institute. The only way we could "go back" to a less complex situation is if we depopulated the planet by about 7.5 billion people. Not a practical solution.

You mention addiction, and that is a perfect analogy, or maybe it's not even an analogy. Another way I like to think of it as being "spoiled." Hunter-gatherers were able to be so tough and live that way because they were not spoiled by alternative technologies and ways of life. Now we know that when civilization encroaches on areas where hunter-gatherers live, the lures of civilization can be very strong, they get spoiled and never go back.

Another element of this line of thinking is simply surviving outdoors. Even just two hundred years ago, many more people could survive outside with no special tools than nowadays. We are so dependent on what are really fragile technologies that we are spoiled and soft -- and addicted.

Elon Musk is a goonball. He is not a visionary, or a hero, or anything special at all. He's an eccentric billionaire, who is not happy, looking for a holy grail. And he won't find it on Mars. He is very much a symptom and not a solution.

As far as empires falling, yes it is a historical cyclical rule, and how. And now America is done. How long our dark age will last, and what we will transform into, is a mystery. But we are indeed transforming, and it isn't pretty. We are very much stuck with what we've got.


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Offlinegreenladel
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: laughingdog]
    #26796172 - 07/01/20 03:40 AM (1 month, 14 days ago)

Quote:

laughingdog said:
There is no one identifiable cause. All empires fail & fall. Who said it was meant to be any different?

Very few want to take even a few steps away from the norms they are used to. Pretty much only those who have serious health issues, are even willing to consider that processed foods may be harmful.
That is why I say, even those think about this issue, are almost guaranteed to be hooked on civilization themselves. Maybe they just like to read or use computers...hooked...or use a car...or take a hot shower....or....




yea i completely agree. i am a good example and i definitely can speak for myself haha. i love the idea of a raw and pure world, but yet i am here, using technology to converse with people around the world, and i LOVE that i can talk to people around the world, it has done a lot of good for humanity (as well as a lot of bad).
as much as i try to keep my life as 'corruption free' as possible i am still part of the problem and still directly responsible for the destruction of the planet. i am working on my ways, but it is difficult to break free from ways that you have never known to be different.


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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: laughingdog]
    #26798257 - 07/02/20 01:28 AM (1 month, 13 days ago)

Quote:

laughingdog said:

We are stuck with what we've got. I wear glasses, I would not have survived pre civilization. I am just one example. Much of humanity is now myopic. Dozens of other examples. The reality is that most people on the planet are hooked, just like an addict.




I think it's a big stretch to assume you would have died pre-civilization . . .

Are you trying to make the case you are addicted to eye glasses?!


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OfflineRJ Tubs 202
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: DividedQuantum] * 3
    #26808091 - 07/06/20 10:59 PM (1 month, 8 days ago)

Civilization has eliminated the natural (highly integrated) community. My town of 60,000 calls itself a "community", but it's not one, by social primate standards. Once every few months I run into someone I know at the grocery store. It's highly unnatural to live with 60,000 people you don't know. It has massive repercussions.   

For most of our history we lived in small groups, were everyone knew everyone, to some degree. Every birth was a celebration and every death was a time for people to bond and solidify trust and love. We are so far away from our natural way of living we can't imagine what it would be to live in a natural community, as social primates do. Social primates in small communities spend a huge amount of time grooming and playing and caring for one another.

Some primates spend their first 5 years attached in close contact with the mother. Attached as in clinging. This deep intimate contact cements trust and is critical for emotional childhood development. I read recently some primates spend upwards of 2 hours a day grooming each other. This type of behavior builds social bonds. It's critical for emotional health and developing the ability to form strong relationships. 

And we wonder why the #1 cause of misery is loneliness. In addition to depression, rage, and anxiety. And drug abuse. We are living like animals isolated in cages - like the animals in the zoo. It's exactly the same. It's one reason many people join mass movements - it feels like community.


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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: RJ Tubs 202]
    #26808115 - 07/06/20 11:47 PM (1 month, 8 days ago)

This is an interesting topic for sure. Whatever DQ means by state of nature, there are problems in both civilization in modern times and that period. Hunter gatherers had their own causes of death but their life must have been much simpler and structured too than what an individuals life can possibly be today. The differences in lives are so staggering that comparing these two periods in the lifetime of our species is almost insane, but we find these hunter gatherer tribes still in some places today. I too have thought about our modern lives compared to those sometimes and to me it seems that the less advanced technologically are happier. Indeed what RJ Tubs points out about alienation from community is a big problem in modern adulthood. Many if not most are also working much harder than simple hunter gatherer and basic agricultural communities.
I think the logical step for people to take is to take the best of both worlds. After experiencing our technology who really wants to discard it from their lives. A community of people would benefit from modern technology and knowledge even more than a single person.


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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: RJ Tubs 202]
    #26808206 - 07/07/20 02:02 AM (1 month, 8 days ago)

Quote:

RJ Tubs 202 said:
Civilization has eliminated the natural (highly integrated) community. My town of 60,000 calls itself a "community", but it's not one, by social primate standards. Once every few months I run into someone I know at the grocery store. It's highly unnatural to live with 60,000 people you don't know. It has massive repercussions.   

For most of our history we lived in small groups, were everyone knew everyone, to some degree. Every birth was a celebration and every death was a time for people to bond and solidify trust and love. We are so far away from our natural way of living we can't imagine what it would be to live in a natural community, as social primates do. Social primates in small communities spend a huge amount of time grooming and playing and caring for one another.

Some primates spend their first 5 years attached in close contact with the mother. Attached as in clinging. This deep intimate contact cements trust and is critical for emotional childhood development. I read recently some primates spend upwards of 2 hours a day grooming each other. This type of behavior builds social bonds. It's critical for emotional health and developing the ability to form strong relationships. 

And we wonder why the #1 cause of misery is loneliness. In addition to depression, rage, and anxiety. And drug abuse. We are living like animals isolated in cages - like the animals in the zoo. It's exactly the same. It's one reason many people join mass movements - it feels like community.




Thanks for that.
Made my evenings conversations interesting.


--------------------
Just a fool on the hill.


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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: RJ Tubs 202]
    #26808701 - 07/07/20 10:06 AM (1 month, 7 days ago)

Quote:

RJ Tubs 202 said:
Civilization has eliminated the natural (highly integrated) community. My town of 60,000 calls itself a "community", but it's not one, by social primate standards. Once every few months I run into someone I know at the grocery store. It's highly unnatural to live with 60,000 people you don't know. It has massive repercussions.   

For most of our history we lived in small groups, were everyone knew everyone, to some degree. Every birth was a celebration and every death was a time for people to bond and solidify trust and love. We are so far away from our natural way of living we can't imagine what it would be to live in a natural community, as social primates do. Social primates in small communities spend a huge amount of time grooming and playing and caring for one another.

Some primates spend their first 5 years attached in close contact with the mother. Attached as in clinging. This deep intimate contact cements trust and is critical for emotional childhood development. I read recently some primates spend upwards of 2 hours a day grooming each other. This type of behavior builds social bonds. It's critical for emotional health and developing the ability to form strong relationships. 

And we wonder why the #1 cause of misery is loneliness. In addition to depression, rage, and anxiety. And drug abuse. We are living like animals isolated in cages - like the animals in the zoo. It's exactly the same. It's one reason many people join mass movements - it feels like community.





Outstanding and completely accurate point. :thumbup:


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OfflineDarwin23
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: DividedQuantum]
    #26809771 - 07/07/20 07:35 PM (1 month, 7 days ago)

Quote:

DividedQuantum said:
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.




I think, people who don't have a lot of knowledge on some perspectives take their own beliefs and with that lack of insight try to paint their beliefs as more insightful than they are. I don't mean to be insulting, you're very intelligent OP, but I do believe your perspective is lacking some insight here. "How on Earth could we know that?" You asked. Well, by talking to people who knew no civilization until recently.



This documentary follows an Amazonian tribe after their first contact with modern civilization which happened only quite recently. Some others who spoke similar languages learned Portuguese and can translate and now researchers speak their language as well. They speak at length about the hardships of life before. It was a life of struggle and perpetual insecurity. The young man who is the leader of the tribe appears to be in his early 20's if not his late-teens as all of the other adults had died.

I think the case can be made that we have moved too far from nature, but the idea that civilization in and of itself is negative for humanity, I think is not a great argument.


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OfflineBrendanFlock
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Re: On what grounds is civilization a better way of life than a state of nature? [Re: Darwin23]
    #26809846 - 07/07/20 08:17 PM (1 month, 7 days ago)

How would we post on the internet if there was no society.. no technology, no economy?


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