No Noble Savage

IceAgeTemperature
A number of readers have scolded me for romanticizing gatherer-hunter cultures.

In response to that, I guess I would have to start by saying “romanticizing compared to what”? It would be hard to outdo modern, civilized humans for sheer, unbridled savagery. What kind of species could tolerate, and sometimes even celebrate:

  • Genocide, including taking the skins of victims as trophies of triumph
  • Keeping other humans, and animals, imprisoned and tortured so cruelly and for so long that they go mad, abusing themselves and trying desperately to commit suicide, as ‘enemies of the state’, or for their hair, eggs or meat
  • Hacking off the limbs of children and leaving them alive as ‘warnings’ to other ‘enemies’
  • Skinning, bleeding or performing repeated surgeries on animals without anaesthetic while they are still alive, strictly for ritual, or profit
  • Years of relentless physical, sexual and psychological abuse of as many as one in three children and female spouses in the interest of parental ‘rights’, religious freedom, or the right to privacy
  • Showing films of animals tortured or burned alive as ‘entertainment’
  • Abandoning, murdering or imprisoning in destitute circumstances until they die of hunger or disease millions of young girls because “we wanted a boy”
  • Subjecting animals to endless, excruciating pain to test human sensitivity to household chemicals and cosmetics because it’s cheaper than cruelty-free testing
  • The sexual abuse of young girls and boys imprisoned for life by pimps and sold by the hour for the perverse pleasure of visiting rich psychopaths
  • The enslavement or ruthless subjugation of large proportions of our own people as convenient forced labour, either because of the colour of their skin, their language, their religion or their political or philosophical beliefs
  • Crippling animals for body parts or extracts wanted by ‘the market’ as quack medical cures
  • The ritual genital mutilation of hundreds of millions of girls
  • The murder of street urchins to extract and sell their body parts to rich buyers
  • The bombing of helpless civilians that embeds metal in their bodies so that they bleed to death, that rips parts from their bodies, or that burns them alive with heat or chemicals, and whose after-effects cause untold misery and deformities to future generations for decades or even centuries
  • The exploitation of children and the poor as slave labour, chained every waking hour to sewing machines and looms so that the product can be sold in richer nations for five hundred times what the labourers are paid
  • The gassing, burning and burying alive of millions of birds, as you read this, out of fear that our ‘civilized’ process of keeping them penned in horrific concentrations in tiny cages has allowed a new disease that might just spread in significant numbers to our own overcrowded species
  • The use of raw power by tyrants to uproot, terrorize, torture, injure, violate, steal from, and kill those who lack such power, to keep them oppressed and suppressed so they will not challenge the tyrant’s authority
  • The daily, hopeless suffering of billions of humans, dying of malnutrition, exposure, easily-preventable diseases, thirst, assault, abuse, unbearable heat or cold; and the daily, hopeless suffering of hundreds of billions of other sentient animals imprisoned to feed civilization’s insatiable and horrifically inequitable maw

Quite a piece of work we are, we ‘civilized’ humans. Do I think gatherer-hunter cultures were/are capable of this kind of atrocity? Most certainly. Do I think they actually committed such atrocities? I doubt it.

Those who rail against the depiction of gatherer-hunters as less savage than we will focus quickly on the fact that genetically, biologically, we are the same. And to the extent we are a product of our genes they are right. But humans, more than any other creature, are products not only of our genetic hardware but of our cultural software. Culture has allowed our behaviour to change much more quickly than our DNA, and that is a principal reason why we survived the many natural disasters, notably the ice ages that had much of Earth utterly uninhabitable as recently as 10,000 years ago (see chart above; see also this amazing site for a time-series of glaciation and plant cover in North America from deep ice age a mere 21,000 years ago to today). We have adapted to survive in unnaturally huge numbers in unnatural concentrations and in places our bodies were not meant to inhabit, by cultural rather than biological evolution. It is our culture, not our genetic makeup, that has enabled and allowed us to commit the litany of atrocities listed above.

So when I hear that tribal cultures performed animal blood sacrifices, mutilated the sexual organs of women, and enslaved and tortured their enemies, I am somewhat skeptical but willing to allow the possibility that their culture taught them this. But why? Gatherer-hunter humans lived in well-spaced-out communities, its women only had one child every five or six years so overpopulation and crowding into the neighbouring tribe’s homeland was rarely a problem, and they lived, for the most part, comfortable, leisurely lives (gathering and hunting an average of only an hour a day). So why, amid such abundance and ease, would they have cause to commit any of these heinous crimes? Out of boredom? I think not.

In A Language Older Than Words, Derrick Jensen writes:

What do you do, how tired do you get, when each day you struggle against an entire culture based on the normalization of trauma-inducing behaviour? There is no sanctuary.

And in Straw Dogs, John Gray writes:

For much of their history and all of prehistory, humans did not see themselves as being any different from the other animals among which they lived. Hunter-gatherers saw their prey as equals, if not superiors, and animals were worshipped as divinities in many traditional cultures. The humanist sense of a gulf between ourselves and other animals is an aberration. Feeble as it is today, the feeling of sharing a common destiny with other living things is embedded in the human psyche. Those who struggle to conserve what is left of the natural environment are moved by the love of living things, biophilia, the frail bond of feeling that ties humankind to the Earth.

The mass of mankind is ruled not by its own intermittent moral sensations, still less by self-interest, but by the needs of the moment. It seems fated to wreck the balance of life on Earth — and thereby to be the agent of its own destruction. What could be more hopeless than placing the Earth in the charge of this exceptionally destructive species? It is not of becoming the planet’s wise stewards that Earth-lovers dream, but of a time when humans have ceased to matter.

Humans use what they know to meet their most urgent needs — even if the result is ruin. When times are desperate they act to protect their offspring, to revenge themselves on enemies, or simply to give vent to their feelings. These are not flaws that can be remedied. Science cannot be used to reshape humankind in a more rational mould. The upshot of scientific inquiry is that humans cannot be other than irrational.

We commit the 17 types of atrocities catalogued above (and others even worse and more depressing I am not inclined to list) because it is in our nature and because our culture tolerates and even encourages it. That culture has overwritten our innate biophilia with an endless succession of new messages and imperatives. It has brainwashed us, or, more precisely, we have brainwashed ourselves to believe what we thought, with the best of intentions, we needed to believe to survive.

Unlike nature, we’re kind of new and inexperienced at programming behaviour, so in 30,000 years of this new civilization we somehow managed to brainwash most humans to believe that the whole planet was created by some guy who looks kinda like us, for our species’ exclusive use and benefit. And that there is only one correct way to behave and one set of valid beliefs and those that don’t accept them need to be conquered, suppressed, reprogrammed and/or exterminated. And that it is possible and advantageous to increase our human numbers and our per-capita consumption of resources indefinitely, because we’re so smart that by the time we run out of resources we’ll have invented new ones, that even defy our recently-discovered laws of thermodynamics, and that by the time we run out of space we’ll have invented ways to inhabit new worlds, by defying what we now know about gravity, time, and planetary habitability. And of course we’ll be immortal, like our imaginary deities, so we’ll have lots of time to figure all this out anyway, if those evil other guys will just stay in line and do what we tell them.

We all wanted to do the right thing. None of us is really happy about the 17 atrocities in the list above (though better they happen to those evil guys, who at least deserve what they get, than us good, righteous folks). Funny how they just don’t see it that way — they’ve really fooled themselves into thinking we’re evil and they’re good. We’d better bomb them some more and steal their weapons and their vital resources so they don’t get uppity. Besides, we need their cheap labour and cheap materials for our stuff.

Problem is, no one is really in control, and we don’t have the faintest idea what we’re doing. We’ve probably already exterminated the cures for most of the diseases that will ravage us in this century when we burned most of the rainforest down. The fact that species are disappearing and temperature is changing, thanks to us, at a rate much faster than any time period on the chart above is probably not a good sign. We’ve probably messed up the atmosphere enough that the incredibly long period of atmospheric and climatic stability we’ve benefited from over the last few thousand years, which is affected more by CO2 concentrations than any other factor, is likely to end quite suddenly and unpredictably in massive whipsaw swings that could make the time-series chart I referred to above look almost like it’s happening in real time.

Hey, why aren’t the guys in charge doing something about this? Whaddya mean there’s no one in charge? Why didn’t someone tell us about this? I bet it’s all those evil guys‘ fault. Good thing the Rapture is coming, huh?

.

So, yeah, there were no ‘noble savages’. The gatherer-hunters had it in themselves, when they had to to survive, to become us, and they did. In the process, they/we forgot how to live as part of the whole community of life on Earth, in balance, forgot that all-life-on-Earth is sacred for a reason that is rational, emotional, intuitive and evolutionary — it is our home, and until the day we know better than nature we cannot live without it, and cannot steward it ourselves. And that day will never come.

(to answer the frequent question from new or occasional readers: here’s what we should do about all this: technology needs, creating wilderness, creating a new economy, building communities, enabling communities, learning grace, other personal actions )

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17 Responses to No Noble Savage

  1. Naadir Jeewa says:

    I’ve just read Slavoj Zizek’s “Welcome to the Desert of the Real”, and there seems to be a common thread between what you say and what he writes.He shows that strategic planning of bomb raids is ethically worse than terorrists who blow themselves up in order to attack the enemy, and perhaps more importantly, that the worst atrocity of the twentieth century, The Holocaust was the result of the excesses of liberal democracy.So, all in all, well said!

  2. Raging Bee says:

    Of all the “modern, civilized humans” currently alive on Earth, how many of us actually practice, knowingly support, or condone ANY of the horrible things you cite? And why is this bigoted screed against “modern, civilized humans” in general more worthy of respect than a similar screed against blacks or Jews in general?Naadir: you’re kidding, right? That bit about Nazi Germany being a “liberal democracy” is an old joke, and it wasn’t funny when Pope Palpadict told it either.

  3. Chris Ball says:

    “Do I think gatherer-hunter cultures were/are capable of this kind of atrocity? Most certainly. Do I think they actually committed such atrocities? I doubt it.”I think you have it completely backwards. I think the only reason hunter/gatherer societies did not commit such atrocities on a large scale was not because they didn’t “want” to, but because they lacked the technological and organizational structures to do so. If you actually examine historical records, or if you look at the primitive societies that still exist in some parts of the world today, you find that murder rates DECREASE almost monotonically with the level of development. So more developed societies are less violent. The only caveat is that due to superior technology and organization, when highly civilized societies do commit violence, they do so very effectively–wars between developed countries are very rare, but when they happen they are very deadly and large in scale. Let’s forget all this utopian idealism about hunter/gatherer societies though, because they are a complete lie.Oh, and as a side note, you forgot to mention the ritual (or not) genital mutilation of hundreds of millions of BOYS, which is permitted in almost all societies, including the most developed ones.

  4. feithy says:

    In A Language Older Than Words, Derrick Jensen writes:What do you do, how tired do you get, when each day you struggle against an entire culture based on the normalization of trauma-inducing behaviour? There is no sanctuary.As a parent, I needed to read this today. As a mom, I’m struggling to raise sons who are influenced by an entire culture based on the normalization of trauma-inducing behaviour. Give me hunter-gatherer society any day. This culture *sucks the life out of me*. And it’s killing childhood.Thanks for this post. It hit the spot.Feith

  5. Raging Bee says:

    Would you care to be a little more specific as to what “trauma-inducing behaviour” you’re having to protect your kids from?Also, how much of a childhood did hunter-gatherer kids have to begin with?Oh, and…if civilized life is so hideous, why have you not run off (with your kids, of course) to join, or form, a hunter-gatherer tribe? Same question to you, Dave.

  6. Jonathan Schell (i think) in The Unconquerable World, a history of war and peace movements, notes that no democratically elected government (leaving aside questions of semantics, like is the US *really* a democracy now) has ever launched an attack on another democracy. Seems like some small progress.

  7. Sonielem says:

    It’s easy to feel moral and sensitive by being appalled at bad things that happen. But it doesn’t move the ball down the field. It isn’t “civilization” that’s causing those bad things.A more accurate diagnosis would make a more powerful response more likely.

  8. Martin-Eric says:

    I admire the list of attrocities you gave at the start of the article. I would really appreciate it if it weren’t so focused on the fate of women and children and on mistreatment of animals. That might lead one to conclude that men are not victims of their circumstances too, which is patently false as, in most societies, men are treated as nothing more that canon flesh by the state and as purveyors by their family.

  9. Matt says:

    The Ohlone Way by Malcolm Margolin provides very readable socialogical view of the communities of hunter gathers that flourished in the Bay Area before the arrival of the Spanish. While they did practice occasional violence, it was largely unecessary and quite circumscribed because of the fecund abudance of the landscape.

  10. medaille says:

    Raging Bee, I don’t know if this is considered trauma, but this is some of the crappiness that modern civilization brings.If you want to start out with school children, we can easily start out with upbringing of a child into a world designed to make their self-esteem as low as possible, so they’ll buy as much as possible (anorexia, bulemia, overuse of plastic surgery, dependence on drugs or alcohol, the concept that money buys happiness, the idealization of the hollywood lifestyle, peer pressure and all its related topics, people getting married prematurely only to realize later on that they were clinging on to the first person they found to fill the happiness they were lacking and then getting divorced and leaving their kids to figure stuff out on their own, etc.). How about a school system that instead of giving kids self-confidence and independence instead promotes dependence on external objects (institutions) to fill that role (see Ivan Illich or John Taylor Gatto). Wage-Slavery. Unnecessarily long work days that leave no time for personal development. How about the notion that most people in life will not be given the opportunity to fullfill a need of the community in a way that makes them happy? The chance that they won’t even figure out their purpose in life. How about the idea that no matter what gender you are, you’re being pushed into gender roles that are not natural to the human species. You have the two-income trap. The incredible guilt trip associated with being a sexual entity in a world designed to both promote and denounce sexuality (both in the obvious media vs religion way, but also in the feelings of sluttiness or adultry/denial of natural sexual release innate to our monogomous relationship ideals). The feeling of being a failure for being who you are that’s associated with forced competitiveness inherant in our societal structure that keeps us competing with each other in an effort to hold each other down so that those at the topof the pyramid don’t have to. We also have a media and political system that benefits by keeping us scared, afraid, and docile.And that’s only for those of us lucky enough to be born in Western society. Over hear, we don’t have mass poverty that’s not our choice. We don’t have our skin clinging to our ribs. We aren’t in a civil war. Bombs aren’t blowing up family members at the market down the street. Aids isn’t marching through our population. When people get shot with assault rifles here, its actually news.Do I need to go on?

  11. AnotherDave says:

    Reading your list of atrocities in this world, I was astounded – knowing of nearly all the ones you cited – how little all this seems to show up in my life. It’s so easy to forget that all this happens, when you’re not actually confronted with it. As if it happened on another planet or not at all.

  12. AnotherDave says:

    On a philosophical side note, I am not sure if I would condone your use of the word unnatural, like in this sentence:We have adapted to survive in unnaturally huge numbers in unnatural concentrationsAfter all, we are animals with brains a little more capable for abstraction than other animals, so isn’t anything we do by extension natural? Also, you are implicitly judging the object of your assertion when you call it unnatural, or a crime, like here:So why, amid such abundance and ease, would they have cause to commit any of these heinous crimes?Both words allude to an ethical standard that allows you and others to evaluate something for its morality. Sometimes, disagreement in discussion can be solved if these moral standards were explored.So for example, even butchers might agree that it was immoral to kill an animal if it had feelings like humans have. In my dreams at least, convincing people not to kill animals would not stop at the point where a butcher would just disagree at the moment when you declare killing animals as immoral. On the other hand, I can see the effectiveness of judgemental adjectives, as a semantic shortcut. They might convince people, regardless of whether I consider them as appropriate in a discussion.

  13. Raging Bee says:

    “A world designed to make their self-esteem as low as possible, so they’ll buy as much as possible?” “A school system that instead of giving kids self-confidence and independence instead promotes dependence on external objects (institutions) to fill that role?” Those are pretty broad generalizations — so broad, in fact, that they manage, beneath the bombast, to say absolutely nothing useful. A school “system,” for example, does not “promote dependence;” kids, being kids and not adults, are dependent by nature because they’re not yet capable of functioning independently. The adult who keeps a toddler from bravely venturing forth onto a busy street is not “promoting dependence;” he’s keeping the kid alive so he’ll have enough time to grow into an independent adult.My parents didn’t waste a lot of time bitching about how “the world” was “designed” to crush their darling child; they did what they thought was right, day after day, year after year, to protect me from the worst, and teach me how to protect myself — including how to distinguish the good parts of “the world” from the bad.If you want to blame “institutions” for this or that evil, you should at least try to specify WHICH “institutions” you’re talking about; otherwise it’s nothing but empty paranoid raving.

  14. medaille says:

    Raging Bee, I’ll grant that I’m not the greatest explainer in the world but I’ll try my best to explain it. It would be better to learn from great teachers though.I’ll start with the self-esteem one. Please note that in that sentence, world does not mean the earthly natural world, but instead the world we’re immersed in, meaning society. The human brain has evolved as a pattern recognizing machine (machine, for lack of a better word). It accepts sensory information as patterns of electrical impulses. If its the eyes, then each of the rods and cones send its own pattern of electrical impulses. This is true for all senses. The brain combines these abstract patterns into more useful patterns like objects or concepts. Meaning a person is an object that looks this certain way, acts this certain way, makes noise arranged in a certain manner. The brain can then use these objects (in pattern form always) and blend them with other patterns to create new patterns. For example, if you are watching TV and you see a lady, exercising happily using someones product and they are skinny, your brain will make an association that skinny = happy = exercising = Brand X’s product. Originally it was used more like this: food = pleasure = happy or Big, angry animal = bad, etc. Here’s the deal, your brain is bombarded with millions of associations like that every day, and as complex and refined as the brain is, that is still way too many patterns/associations to be stored in the brain for a long time. What the brain does to provide the maximum chance of survival, is that it creates a means of reinforcing patterns that are useful in the now (as Dave put it, urgent needs). The way I visualize it is that there is big list of all your associations that can be actively used. At the top of the list is the stuff that’s more recent or more important to survival in the present. At the bottom is stuff that hasn’t been used in a while, meaning the person hasn’t encountered something in life to bring that pattern back to the top of the list, which is a way of saying it’s not relevant to the persons present life even if it was important in the past. The patterns get reinforced as they are repeated. I like to think that the neural pathways are getting stronger somehow, although I’m not really well read on neurology or neural-science, I have read that you can’t increase the number of nerve cells, but you can increase the quality of connection between them. Patterns that are repeated a lot tend to have a lot of gravity or importance to the brain (since they’re most relevant to survival in the present) and thus they fall down the list slower, whereas patterns that have been observed maybe once or only a couple of times tend to fall down the list faster. When you get to a certain point on the list, the brain stops trying very hard to keep those patterns available to the brain in real time. I think this is because it would take too long to run through all the patterns top to bottom and you wouldn’t be able to make any decisions in a reasonable time. I would guess that the smarter the person, the faster than process the patterns and thus the more patterns they can compare new patterns to in real time.Ok, great you say, how is this important?Its important because of what culture is. Obviously, humans don’t live in a complete vacuum as far as their mind is concerned. We learn things from other people about how to be more successful at surviving. Like, don’t eat this plant because people who’ve eaten it in the past have died. If we had to learn those things for ourselves, we would certainly be much more likely to die. Your brain processed the patterns so that it recognised the object (sensory wise) and it created an internal model of it so that it could recognize it again by comparing new sensory patterns to the stored model. It also associated the plant = whatever its name is = poisonous = death = bad, or whatever else is relevant to know about it. What is culturethen? Culture is the human mind picking up patterns unconsciously and making associations by observing the world around us. In the example above, it was skinny = happy = exercising = Brand X’s product. Why would the mind want to do that? Because it enhances survival. People survive better by working together. Can you imagine what it would be like if we didn’t have culture? It’s kind of like a culture shock, you know all of a sudden the patterns in each persons brain aren’t very similar. This results in such feelings as foreigners being stupid even though you know they are just as intelligent as you. Culture results in common patterns existing between people that allows for them to have a common base of knowledge that is useful to the community as a whole. The brain cannot differentiate between patterns that are useful and constructive, nonuseful but significant like speech patterns or greeting rituals, or destructive patterns like poor self-esteem. Self-esteem is lowered by bombarding the brain with patterns that suggest that. If I’m constantly bombarded with the pattern skinny = happy and compartively scarcely with skinny = sad then my brain is going to realize that I’m not as skinny as the person that’s skinny and I’m not always happy, but the skinny person is always happy. It will conclude that in order to be happy, I must get skinny. In a competitive system, the only source of reward (happiness) that is provided by the system is that of “winning.” That means that in a competitive system, happiness must be manufactured by the self, whereas in a society that rewards people on their individual contribution happiness is provided by both the self and the system. In our modern world, the self-esteem lack comes mostly from being bombarded with advertisements that show an impossible ideal upon which we all pale in comparison with. It also bombards us with patterns that show happiness only being associated with certain attributes like aesthetic appearance, or the appearance of wealth, orbeing famous, or by consuming alcohol, etc. You don’t see in advertisements people being happy by reading a book, engaging in philosophical discussion, bettering themselves through hard work. These are not patterns that are conducive to having you buy things. People who sell things want to reduce the obstacles between your money and their pocket. While this may not be true with every seller, it is certainly true with every corporation which sells to an unknown person, and unknown face.If you have any inkling of a desire to try to understand what I am saying about schools, you would be far better served to listen to a John Gatto speech. He does a great job in bridging common experiences into viewpoints which I’m currently not good at. I’m not certain how to post links exactly. but here’s the web address which you can copy and paste into your browser. It’s an audio file, so you can listen to it without even having to read anything, so you can do it at work.http://www.altruists.org/f614The Seven-lesson Schoolteacherwhich can be found on this website and is labeled as “The Seven-lesson Schoolteacher”A school “system,” for example, does not “promote dependence;” kids, being kids and not adults, are dependent by nature because they’re not yet capable of functioning independently. You are taking a little bit of truth and wrapping a whole lot of lies into that belief. While it is certainly true that infants aren’t capable of being completely independent and that adults should be capable of being mostly independent and that there is a growing/learning phase inbetween those two points, there is a common misconception that children are relatively helpless in the world. Adults, especially adults who are heavily dependent on others, tend to do for the child, what they could do for themselves, and thus prevent the child from learning for themselves. And since they are constantly being reinforced with the pattern to “let mommy do this for you” they imbed the pattern that mommy will do everything for them, thus becoming dependent. The more patterns they have of letting someone else do something for them in comparison to the patterns of them doing that same thing for themselves, the more dependent they’ll become without even realizing it. Only in modern society has childhood even existed, where the child needs to be protected from adulthood for a certain number of years. In most past societies, people were people, and children where young people. They developed into adults by gradually taking on more and more responsibility starting at a very early age.If I had to guess, and probability is on my side here, your parents probably weren’t aware of or even considered the stuff I mentioned above. Most parents don’t. We all do what we think is right. Trying to do what’s right is not what makes good people. Doing what’s right is what makes good people and doing what’s right either requires luck or knowledge and action. Currently, our society is set up in a way that reinforces bad patterns which parents have to overcome in order to produce good people. If for some reason, society magically changed to produce good patterns, parents would be much less necessary to produce good people. There still needs to be a way to get the child necessities like food, water, shelter, love, proper social bonding, etc. but the community and/or the parents could help provide that instead of only the parent. Do you see where I’m going? Bad community organization means harder parenting. Good community organization means easier parenting and on average better people. I’m not blaming institutions as an excuse to not have to do the work needed to produce good offspring. I am saying that to ignore the dramatic impact of culture on a child is ridiculous and most likely harmful. I’m saying that making changes now to society will make it easier foryour childrens children to grow up in, and to live meaningful lives, and to have high self worth.Which institutions? Open your eyes? Pay attention to what kind of patterns you are recieving from them. Do they do the work for you? -> then you are recieving a pattern making you more dependent. Do they do the thinking for you? -> again dependent. Do you exchange money for a service without knowing exactly what’s happening? -> Then you are being changed into a consumer. Are you constantly being submissive to the institution and never dominating as opposed to a natural give and take relationship? How many institutions make their relationship to you as them being the authority? The company is always the authority. Law promotes them to be the authorityand you to be the submissive.What is paranoia? Paranoia is nothing. It is a worthless concept. Paranoia is just a means for one person to tell another person that their idea is crap without having to prove it crap themselves. Paranoia is me saying to you that you are dumb because you haven’t completely proven you concept when I myself haven’t proven it false. In all your concepts you have done nothing to prove anything, you have not made any arguements that are based on areas that can be well defined and analyzed. You are stating the conclusions that you have come to without stating how you came to them. Provide me with some common ground so that I can be convinced of where you are coming from and why I should believe you.

  15. krishnan says:

    It is sad to know that you think it is in our nature to indulge ourselves in the 17 acts listed by you. In all probability our genetic makeup is the same as those of the Gatherers-hunters. So then is it not the result of other influence of the 2 forces – Good and Evil. I think in this Universe nothing can be influenced by anything other than the eternal struggles of the 2 antient forces – Good and Evil. Unfortunately our world and its people today are more influenced by Evil.

  16. Dave Pollard says:

    Naadir, Feith, Michael H, Matt, (the very prolific) Medaille, AnotherDave — thank for the comments and additional references.Martin-Eric: Good point, the list could have been more balanced (though I believe on the whole women suffer more than men)Krishnan: I’m not sure it’s as simple as good & evil. I think we’re all born caring about and loving all life on earth — it’s the stress of our overcrowded world that perverts us and makes us do these insane things.

  17. Paris says:

    When 2 human beings are competing for survival, it’s either the stronger, or the least honest who survive. This might explain why happily naive hunter gatherer were soon won over by better armed, tricky farmers.In human population, IQ distribution is even, but higher IQ people can either use their intelligence to become a saint (no children, vanished by next generation) or a bloody tyrant doing the 17 atrocities above and leaving 100 children (thanks to mass rapes) behind to help perpetuate this sort of things.I don’t believe we have the same gene pool as hunter gatherers, I think it has been titled towards cruelty and lack of empathy over many generation. That’s why I feel so alien among human beings who largely believe their comfort is more important than anyone else’s life.

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