Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Worst Mistake Never Made (NEW LINK!)

as a follow up to the previous Jarred Diamond essay, here is a chapter of a cultural anthropology series focusing on the Dobe Ju/'hoansi bands of South Africa. one real living example among a number of other currently functioning micro societies which retain a form of social organization that most likely the vast majority of our ancestors utilized, for the vast majority of pre-history (a period of 300,000 to 3 million years, depending on who you ask -- but science keeps extending it).

a few main characteristics of Dobe Society:

• gather 70 percent of their food (roots, nuts, fruits, etc.)
• no hierarchy and no authority, only "temporary leaders"
• no private property
• work 20 hour weeks with only division of labour being between sexes
• does not distinquish between work and play
• zero starvation: 100% of population fed compared to 30% starving in the "civilized" world
• superb health

studying them has lead one sociologist to conclude that "scarcity is a myth", because the Dobe live in abundance 365 days a year. yet another has coined the term "Original Affluence" to describe Gatherer/Hunter lifestyle -- that is, if one measures affluence not by material possessions but free time.

here is the Gatherers and Hunters (not the other way around) chapter for your pleasure/scrutiny:

14 MB on Mediafire

this prof actually goes further than me the crazy, in conjecturing that the advent of agriculture and hierarchy and all that was actually the result of power itself and the evolution of human society, and not out of need which came with the resources reduction of the last "little ice-age" and/or population growth.


koyaanisqatsi said...

this is just one example of an evolved culture. shit works.

i absolutely disagree with the view that agriculture and hierarchy and so on were a natural evolution. basing life on them was a radical break with human living.

zhao said...

well said.