Human History Gets a Rewrite

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Human History Gets a Rewrite

William Deresiewicz


Quote:A brilliant new account upends bedrock assumptions about 30,000 years of change.

Quote:Eventually, cities emerged, and with them, civilization—literacy, philosophy, astronomy; hierarchies of wealth, status, and power; the first kingdoms and empires. Flash forward a few thousand years, and with science, capitalism, and the Industrial Revolution, we witness the creation of the modern bureaucratic state. The story is linear (the stages are followed in order, with no going back), uniform (they are followed the same way everywhere), progressive (the stages are “stages” in the first place, leading from lower to higher, more primitive to more sophisticated), deterministic (development is driven by technology, not human choice), and teleological (the process culminates in us).

It is also, according to Graeber and Wengrow, completely wrong.

Drawing on a wealth of recent archaeological discoveries that span the globe, as well as deep reading in often neglected historical sources (their bibliography runs to 63 pages), the two dismantle not only every element of the received account but also the assumptions that it rests on. Yes, we’ve had bands, tribes, cities, and states; agriculture, inequality, and bureaucracy, but what each of these were, how they developed, and how we got from one to the next—all this and more, the authors comprehensively rewrite.

More important, they demolish the idea that human beings are passive objects of material forces, moving helplessly along a technological conveyor belt that takes us from the Serengeti to the DMV.

We’ve had choices, they show, and we’ve made them. Graeber and Wengrow offer a history of the past 30,000 years that is not only wildly different from anything we’re used to, but also far more interesting: textured, surprising, paradoxical, inspiring.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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The book is described as having strong anarchist values - "...antiauthoritarianism, participatory democracy, and small-c communism — are everywhere implicit in it."

Quote:"“How did we get stuck?” the authors ask — stuck, that is, in a world of “war, greed, exploitation [and] systematic indifference to others’ suffering”? It’s a pretty good question. “If something did go terribly wrong in human history,” they write, “then perhaps it began to go wrong precisely when people started losing that freedom to imagine and enact other forms of social existence.” It isn’t clear to me how many possibilities are left us now, in a world of polities whose populations number in the tens or hundreds of millions. But stuck we certainly are."

I think this view of and rescripting of history is quite fascinating, but it seems not to recognize that modern civilization consists of huge groups of very many hundreds of millions of people living in dense population clusters supported by critical and vulnerable high technology systems for farming, manufacture, distribution, medicine, etc. that could not exist without strong nation-states coordinating and to various extents controlling and regulating the very complex systems that enable such a large number of people to live together in relative comfort with a high standard of living. Spread-out rural low-density lifestyles with no central absolute authority might seem attractive, but it is not clear how such large populations could be maintained in the comfortable long-lived lifestyle the West has become accustomed to. On top of this, and as the authors apparently state, we're stuck anyway. Just imagine, envision, the problems that would ensue if, for example, the US government were to be abolished. Anarchy and almost certainly a massive general decline in lifespan and standard of living. Of course this would be exacerbated by the fact that our population has more and more come to be polarized in many ways, politically, culturally, socially, intellectually, religiously, it goes on. There would be no polite "participitory democracy".
(This post was last modified: 2021-12-09, 03:11 PM by nbtruthman.)
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(2021-12-08, 10:37 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: The book is described as having strong anarchist values - "...antiauthoritarianism, participatory democracy, and small-c communism — are everywhere implicit in it."

Yeah I was less interested in the politics than the challenge to the mechanistic view of nature/humanity.

That said it does amusingly recall a museum curator in (IIRC) Illinois who'd end the human history tour with,

"From the Stone Age till now...my God what a decline!"
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2021-12-08, 10:37 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: The book is described as having strong anarchist values - "...antiauthoritarianism, participatory democracy, and small-c communism — are everywhere implicit in it."


I think this view of and rescripting of history is quite fascinating, but it seems not to recognize that modern civilization consists of huge groups of very many hundreds of millions of people living in dense population clusters supported by critical and vulnerable high technology systems for farming, manufacture, distribution, medicine, etc. that could not exist without strong nation-states coordinating and to various extents controlling and regulating the very complex systems that enable such a large number of people to live together in relative comfort with a high standard of living. Spread-out rural low-density lifestyles with no central absolute authority might seem attractive, but it is not clear how such large populations could be maintained in the comfortable long-lived lifestyle the West has become accustomed to. On top of this, and as the authors apparently state, we're stuck anyway. Just imagine, envision, the problems that would ensue if, for example, the US government were to be abolished. Anarchy and almost certainly a massive general decline in lifespan and standard of living. Of course this would be exacerbated by the fact that our population has more and more come to be polarized in many ways, politically, culturally, socially, intellectually, religiously, it goes on. There would be no polite "participitory democracy".


I personally think that the politics and physics are incredibly closely linked. I didn't in the past but it seems more and more likely now. The dystopian world forming around us straight up could not happen if people understood the science on reincarnation, NDE's, remote viewing, psychokinesis, etc.

As much as it would be true that chaos would ensue if any current government suddenly collapsed, that is not in any way proof or evidence that people require government anymore than throwing someone out a plane with a parachute but having had no training on how to use it proves that all people who jump out of planes die. I deal with a lot of anarchistic people and they are easily the most productive and amazing people I've ever met. Far better than those who believe they need mommy and daddy government to tell them how to live. Why? Because the anarchists know that they are personally responsible for their life, they are nice to those around them because they understand the value of relationships and community.

But these are also people who've been practising this for years already, homeschooling their kids, building their own businesses, creating innovative technologies and so on. What it turns out to be is that an ecosystem is better than a barbed cage. People will fill whatever niche on their own and figure things out just fine. The phenomena of "spotaneous order" whic can happen during natural disasters is one such example.

When you start studying history and realize the enormous amount of resources that have been and are being spent on centralizing everything into teh hands of incredibly few people while also trying to stamp out resistance to that as covertly as possible you realize that no, government is easily the most inefficient way to do things there's ever been, and most of the history that goes counter to that is almost certainly purposefully not taught in schools.

I mean, if you want to know what absolute central control is leading to, just listen to the first 46 seconds of this video: https://open.lbry.com/@TLAVagabond:5/Cat...-12-8-21:7

There it is right from one of the central bankers themselves, total control over your economics. The rest of the interview is worthwhile as well, full citations linked as always. So here's the question, how could you get people to go along with all this if they knew that very likely there were such things as afterlives or that they might reincarnate? Where would the irrational fear come from that has driven all of this forward for so long? How would people be so willing to acquiesce to the dystopia and believe that they are helpless victims that need external and expensive pills and such to save them from anything going wrong in their life or body if they knew about the effectiveness of self healing, meditation, or remote healing methods like what William Bengston studies? Not that all modern medicine is bad or anything, but its been pointed out for a long time how broken the system is and how it pretty much only exists to make money on peoples sickness. The whole system would crash if people realized how capable they really are and how much influence they have over themselves, can't have that so it doesn't get funded, talked about, or taught.

The great irony is that these people haven't really hid what they're doing, they talk about it pretty openly in their own publications and meetings and such. Its sad that what is considered crazy conspiracy theory is other people reading or listening to what these people say, repeating or showing it with full citation, and then pointing out that these people are doing what they said they wanted to do when they said they wanted to do it. Alas that is the state of things at the moment.
"The cure for bad information is more information."
(This post was last modified: 2021-12-10, 07:53 PM by Mediochre. Edit Reason: The clip is 46 seconds long, not 56 )
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