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Is Civilization Really a Good Thing?

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    CorehealerCorehealer The Apothecary The softer edge of the universe.Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I watched a video on TED where there have been studies on happiness / quality of life, that concluded it is apparently quite irrelevant to what life you lead, how many breaks you got, bad fortune, where after a few months the human brain adapts to its new surroundings, achieves a chemical balance, and regardless of your status or condition we return to the same baseline level of happiness. The example they gave was of the parapalegic and the lottery winner.

    I think its a winning characteristic of our brains to do this, and It is a extremely common theme in our 1st word lives, where no matter what you gain its never enough and the quest only continues with futility.

    So would we be happier in H/G society? No. Are we missing out on some experiences? I have no doubt. We live in a large world and if one cares enough it is still possible to live the H/G life style in some quieter corners of the planet. It would be something special if a stable nation was devoted entirely to this process, a place where one could journey and travel the land for a part of thier life before returning to society.

    Everything he just wrote. We don't need to abolish society, we need to make something more akin to this. Something more adapted to our inherent nature as human beings.

    Corehealer on
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    Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against Russian warships) Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Fartacus wrote: »
    No, it's just that, appropriately enough, you're talking straight out of your ass. You obviously have no actual experience with 'old asian women' from one thing, so you'd better take a moment to think before attempting to speak for them. Squat toilets are well on their way out.

    My direct experience is in Japan, where it's a rather popular topic in the 'traditional vs modern way of doing things' debates. Aside from the difficulty and discomfort of using them for the elderly (modern hospitals and elderly care facilities are going for exclusively sit down toilets with railings), when offered the choice, most people prefer western style.

    Case in point, when I was looking at office space in Japan, locations that were otherwise identical in every other feature had significantly lower monthly rent if the bathrooms had squat toilets.

    Choice bias though. Just because people think they prefer something doesn't mean they actually do!

    I know I seem like I'm being a pedant here, but I think this is actually important stuff. People are really, really bad at knowing what makes them happy, and even worse at predicting it or comparing things separated temporally.

    The squatting position is actually better for.....erm.....flow. And for people that are used to them it's not a big deal (at least that's what I've seen in India) to squat.

    But no, if you're handicapped you have to use a western toilet. But that's not really a problem overall, since you'd have to have a special bathroom for that either way, Western or not.

    Unless there is no special bathroom. I don't know about India, but in China and Japan you can't rely on everywhere being handicapped accessible. Having to wrestle strollers up and down stairways at train stations that lacked elevators was irritating enough - I'd hate to imagine what someone in a wheel chair would have to go through.

    If you're healthy and fully functioning, then toilet style is purely a matter of preference, and whether or not you like being able to read your morning paper without worrying about losing your balance. But if you've got any range of motion problems, going to the bathroom on a squat toilet immediately becomes vastly more complicated.

    Gabriel_Pitt on
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    Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    edited September 2010
    Speaker wrote: »
    I read a book by Derrick Jenson that was basically anti-civilization.

    The gaping hole seems to be that civilization is inevitable because there is no force to check its growth. I couldn't get around that problem in his writing.

    but but utopian countercultures and academics!

    Irond Will on
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    SpeakerSpeaker Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Speaker wrote: »
    I read a book by Derrick Jenson that was basically anti-civilization.

    The gaping hole seems to be that civilization is inevitable because there is no force to check its growth. I couldn't get around that problem in his writing.

    but but utopian countercultures and academics!

    There's not a lot you can do with anarcho-syndicalists.

    Have you ever picked up any of his books by the by?

    Speaker on
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    Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    edited September 2010
    Speaker wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Speaker wrote: »
    I read a book by Derrick Jenson that was basically anti-civilization.

    The gaping hole seems to be that civilization is inevitable because there is no force to check its growth. I couldn't get around that problem in his writing.

    but but utopian countercultures and academics!

    There's not a lot you can do with anarcho-syndicalists.

    Have you ever picked up any of his books by the by?

    i have not. are they worth a read?

    i guess i'm all for insightful criticism of modern society/ the social milieu or whatever, but a lot of those kinds of criticisms yield kind of a "blow everything up" mentality.

    Irond Will on
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    SpeakerSpeaker Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    No, not worth reading.

    Speaker on
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    Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    The comfort, safety, and sanitation benefits clearly gained by flush toilets far outweigh any potential outlier negatives.

    Go tell an 80-year old woman to squat over a hole. Then, five minutes later, go and call the ambulance to get her off the floor after she fell in the shit-hole and broke her hip.
    go to asia and tell and 80 year old woman to use a western toilet. She'll be like "wtf is this? give me back my squat toilet"

    What's your point, sir?

    That the western style toilets aren't really such a marvelous creation as people think, it just seems that way because it's what you're used to.
    No, it's just that, appropriately enough, you're talking straight out of your ass. Squat toilets are well on their way out.

    My direct experience is in Japan, where it's a rather popular topic in the 'traditional vs modern way of doing things' debates. Aside from the difficulty and discomfort of using them for the elderly (modern hospitals and elderly care facilities are going for exclusively sit down toilets with railings), when offered the choice, most people prefer western style.

    Case in point, when I was looking at office space in Japan, locations that were otherwise identical in every other feature had significantly lower monthly rent if the bathrooms had squat toilets.

    most people there who are under 60 grew up with western style toilets. He claimed that people over 80 wouldn't be able to use anythign else, and I'm saying that old people there have no problem using squat toilets because it's what they're used to.

    Pi-r8 on
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    SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    This is kind of a weird discussion, because 'civilization' encompasses just about everything humans have ever done, and most of our entire known history and knowledge about ourselves. Are we talking just about hunter/gatherers versus modern american society? What about pre/post renaissance? Industrial revolution?

    What about the cultural differences that were brought up, including over all of history? Are we talking just western modern civs, or are we including ancient china? Japan? native american? equatorial africa? south america?

    Are we talking about whether it's better for humanity as a whole, or for each of us individually? Because while a hunter/gatherer survival of the fittest would have been great for supreme physical specimens, it would suck for the rest of us. Lebron James and Husain Bolt would do great, but you and I would probably be dead.

    This thread is the forum equivalent of 'someone should do something about all the problems'.

    SageinaRage on
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    SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    There's also the question of whether civilization is just inevitable due to the nature of humans and progress. It's not like hunter/gatherers just got together and decided 'time to form civilization'. It sprang up out of necessity, and very gradually. Isn't it kind of schizophrenic for us to debate whether it's good, then?

    SageinaRage on
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    tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    A question for the Pro-H/g crowd. Have you ever actually hunted? I go deer hunting ever year with most of the male half of my extended family. For 10 days we sit/walk around the woods with rifles able to kill a deer from hundreds of yards away, in a state that actually has more deer now than during pre-columbus(go go agriculture), and yet every few years we come up completely blank. Lucky for us we can go back to a cabin, and drink whiskey from Tennessee and steaks from Montana, rather than go back and starve.

    tinwhiskers on
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    RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    My favorite theory of civilization is that agriculture developed to give us more beer.

    So yeah, if civilization did indeed arise for beer, then civilization is second only to beer in awesome things.

    Robman on
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    RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    A question for the Pro-H/g crowd. Have you ever actually hunted? I go deer hunting ever year with most of the male half of my extended family. For 10 days we sit/walk around the woods with rifles able to kill a deer from hundreds of yards away, in a state that actually has more deer now than during pre-columbus(go go agriculture), and yet every few years we come up completely blank. Lucky for us we can go back to a cabin, and drink whiskey from Tennessee and steaks from Montana, rather than go back and starve.

    It's different when you know the migration patterns, have the skills to read gametrails and other hunting skills that some weekend hunters wouldn't have that a hunting society would instill by the time you were 10.

    Robman on
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    BubbaTBubbaT Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Duffel wrote: »
    It's not as though a decent standard of living is some sort of global phenomenon even today. Infant mortality rates in favelas and other 3rd world slums are still atrociously high, I doubt much better than your average hunter-gatherer or semi-nomadic pastoral group. It's not like they have access to medical care or anything like that, either. And a huge chunk of the world population still lives like this. It is gradually getting better, at least as of right now, but it still an enormous problem.

    So the former best-case scenario for humanity is now the current worst-case scenario, and the current best-case scenario is miles beyond anything cavemen could have dreamed. How is it anything but undisputably better? It's like asking which number range is higher: 0-4 or 4-100?
    Not to mention the destruction we've wreaked on the natural environment.

    Non-civilization humanity would have been devastated when some asteroid hits Earth, along with every other living thing. That's pretty bad for the environment. Civilization gives us the chance to avoid the extinction of every species on the planet by getting out of here before that asteroid arrives. It's far better for the environment in the long run, even if it means acid rain and oil spills in getting there.

    Civilization is the only hope for the survival of the natural environment.

    PantsB wrote: »
    You had to shit on the ground and had nothing with which to wipe your ass. Equality at the sustenance level isn't prosperity. You really have to be out of touch to think that just struggling to survive every minute of every day is good thing.

    If you see a starving man, don't help him because it will just make all the other starving men jealous and they will isolate the man you fed, leading him to become depressed.

    Just sit there and watch them all die, equally. If you can't save them all, you shouldn't save any.

    BubbaT on
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    CabezoneCabezone Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I think penicillin is pretty sweet.

    Cabezone on
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    tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Cabezone wrote: »
    I think penicillin is pretty sweet.

    Amoxicillian is sweeter.
    Cause of the awesome bubble-gum flavor

    tinwhiskers on
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    FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2010
    I'm still thinking about squat toilets because, man, I really wish I had one.

    I'm pretty regular (1-2 poops a day), but even so I take freakishly gigantic poops, and there's a lot more straining involved than I would prefer. Think I might have a hemorrhoid, honestly. In your 20s I feel like that is just not OK.

    And I remember trying to poop squatting once (on an American toilet. It was...precarious), and it was great. Truly phenomenal.

    And it seems like the main argument against it is handicapped people? But that's like, a problem of ableism and equal access, not a problem of toilets.

    edit: speaking of, I think my afternoon coffee is starting to kick in

    Fartacus on
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    SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Yeah, just because not everyone can do something doesn't mean it's not the best option. I mean, I think we can all agree that riding a bike or walking is better for you than driving, but that doesn't mean everyone can do that.

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    Mild ConfusionMild Confusion Smash All Things Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Interstingly, I was thinking about the meteor thing too reading this thread. Extinction level events or other massive natural disasters are pretty inevitable from a historic view. I just don't mean asteroids either. Humanity is going to have plenty going on here on Earth to compete with not even counting the cosmic events that can fuck us up.

    There is some evidence that our magnetic poles might be in a state of reversal, an event that happens throughout history. While that by itself won't wipe out humanity, it will let in more UV rays than normal and we would be more viable to a solar flare which could fuck up large regions.

    In space there are things such as gamma ray bursts, meteors, comets, the eventual freezing of our planets core and they dying of our the Sun.

    Civilization has not only given us the scientific progress to even recognize that these threats to survival even exists, but perhaps one day escape Earth and survive in different star systems. So civilization is a matter of survival as a species.

    As a whole, we are pretty vulnerable being contained in one body in space, exploration is a matter of human existence.

    (I know some of those things won't happen for millions of years, but point still stands withou progression)

    Mild Confusion on
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    Edith_Bagot-DixEdith_Bagot-Dix Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Fartacus wrote: »
    I'm still thinking about squat toilets because, man, I really wish I had one.

    I'm pretty regular (1-2 poops a day), but even so I take freakishly gigantic poops, and there's a lot more straining involved than I would prefer. Think I might have a hemorrhoid, honestly. In your 20s I feel like that is just not OK.

    And I remember trying to poop squatting once (on an American toilet. It was...precarious), and it was great. Truly phenomenal.

    And it seems like the main argument against it is handicapped people? But that's like, a problem of ableism and equal access, not a problem of toilets.

    edit: speaking of, I think my afternoon coffee is starting to kick in

    You could probably make a stool (ha ha!) that would let you refashion a western toilet for this kind of use. Or you could always get a chamber pot and dump it in the toilet yourself.

    This isn't strictly a march of technology thing, though. People in the West had outhouses, where they defecated in a seating position, before there were flush toilets. The toilets in medieval castles were of the sit down variety, and wealthy citizens in towns built little outcroppings on their houses where they could sit while defecating as well. Less well off people used pots or buckets, though.

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    jammujammu 2020 is now. Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Cabezone wrote: »
    I think penicillin is pretty sweet.
    That's just your addiction speaking.
    Addiction to survival.

    jammu on
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    GungHoGungHo Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    Were people better-off in a simpler time? What positive features do civilizations possess that make-up for their faults?
    Air conditioning and indoor plumbing.
    CasedOut wrote: »
    Civilization was perhaps better for the plantation owners, but I doubt anyone would argue it was better for the slaves.
    You're welcome to turn off your computer, turn off the lights, and go live in a tent in the Congo at any time if that assuages your guilt. Don't touch my shit, though.
    Duffel wrote: »
    I also think it's kind of funny that people keep bringing up the whole toilet paper/evacuation thing, when there's a pretty good body of evidence now that modern western-style sit-down toilets are actually pretty terrible for your bowels and stuff, while squat toilets, though not nearly as convenient, are healthier.
    Unfortunately, if you decided to "fix" this problem, you're probably going to end up with a bunch of people with shit all over their legs 'cause we don't know how to aim so well. The hook/hose also takes a bit of getting used to if you've ever tried this in Central/Western Asia. It seems like it's more clean to wash your ass with water than with paper, but you don't know where that hose has been. Especially in a Iraqi mosque. Fuck. PTSD kicking in now.
    Fartacus wrote: »
    I'm still thinking about squat toilets because, man, I really wish I had one.
    You can get them installed. With a porcelain "receptacle" and everything. They flush and all that. You may have to find a plumber who knows how to install it, because to do it in western house, you'd have to either build a dais (All Hail the Emperor!) or have them go into the foundation. I suggest, however, that you reconfigure your bathroom to be fully tiled and to have a drain in the middle of it so you can hose everything down if you have a boo-boo.

    GungHo on
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    Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Fartacus wrote: »
    I'm pretty regular (1-2 poops a day), but even so I take freakishly gigantic poops, and there's a lot more straining involved than I would prefer. Think I might have a hemorrhoid, honestly. In your 20s I feel like that is just not OK.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Modern Man on
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    FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2010
    GungHo wrote: »
    You can get them installed. With a porcelain "receptacle" and everything. They flush and all that. You may have to find a plumber who knows how to install it, because to do it in western house, you'd have to either build a dais (All Hail the Emperor!) or have them go into the foundation. I suggest, however, that you reconfigure your bathroom to be fully tiled and to have a drain in the middle of it so you can hose everything down if you have a boo-boo.

    Good to know! Unfortunately I'll probably have to wait a few years before I'm in a position to be modifying the plumbing of the place I'm living, but i will keep it in mind.

    I do also find myself compelled by the siren song of the bidet, though.

    I guess my fantasy pooper situation is a seat-warming smart bidet that can tell me all about my poo composition and stuff, and right next to it some kind of gilded squat toilet on a dias, maybe a laurel wreath I can wear while I drop my deuces. Pick one or the other depending on my mood.

    God that sounds fantastic.

    Fartacus on
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    Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. normal (not weird)Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Internet pron, civilization wins Round 1 KO

    Styrofoam Sammich on
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    Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    The popular conception of hunter-gatherer societies is that their members were savages who faced the threat of starvation on a daily basis or the risk of being mauled by the animals they were hunting.

    From what I've learned recently in my Cultural Anthropology class, though, apparently life before civilization was nowhere near as bad as people believe. Hunter-gatherers were nomadic people who obtained much of their dietary needs from plants and lived in small, tight-knit communities. They could not carry many personal possessions with them as they traveled, and everyone had to contribute in the act of gathering food and tending to the needs of the community. As a result, there was little in the way of social stratification. Infectious diseases were also rare, as there were not populations of humans large enough for them to easily spread, and it is believed that the average hunter-gatherer lived a healthy life.

    In light of this view of hunter-gatherer civilizations I've come to question whether modern civilization is indeed superior. Civilization breeds social stratification as man-made systems emerge that allow certain individuals to become much wealthier than others. Civilization gives individuals a way to easily take care of themselves, reducing the need for close-knit relationships. There is also evidence that people in developed countries are more likely to feel stressed and unhappy. Civilization enables infectious diseases, and some fear that such diseases will eventually become resistant enough to overcome our efforts to prevent and treat them. Pollution is another cause for disease. Take into account as well that people in modern societies often don't get the exercise they need, as they do not need to expend much effort to survive in the age of air conditioned homes and supermarkets.

    So, is civilization really such a great thing? Were people better-off in a simpler time? What positive features do civilizations possess that make-up for their faults?

    I think that a curve showing the average quality of life throughout human existence would probably look like a U, but with the leftmost arm--early humanity--about half or a quarter as short as the rightmost one, and the rightmost one being mush steeper than the left.

    Early human life was simply better on average than in authoritarian agricultural societies. Those conditions were hellish. The problems of hunter gatherers have been listed already (though I don't recall anyone mentioning here the ridiculously high murder rate that has been observed in more recent hunter gatherer societies), but in agricultural societies, you had mass death due to disease and genocide, active oppression by elites, and frequent war and banditry.

    Modern society has its problems, but for large chunks of the world, quality of life is very high and getting better, in the developing world, increases in quality of life are going even faster.

    Loren Michael on
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    YougottawannaYougottawanna Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I first read this thread title as "Is Civilization really a good game?" and showed up to angrily defend it. Inside I found people talking about poop.

    And then Loren Michael stole the point I wanted to make: the quality of life for a serf in the middle ages was probably lower than that of a hunter-gatherer, but now I'd say the bulk of humanity is benefiting from civilization rather than suffering from it. Civilization now is an aggregate net positive, but that might not have always been the case.

    Yougottawanna on
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    GungHoGungHo Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I first read this thread title as "Is Civilization really a good game?" and showed up to angrily defend it. Inside I found people talking about poop.
    To be fair, a lot of civic achievements over the centuries have revolved around dealing with poop.

    GungHo on
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    override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    There is some evidence that our magnetic poles might be in a state of reversal, an event that happens throughout history. While that by itself won't wipe out humanity, it will let in more UV rays than normal and we would be more viable to a solar flare which could fuck up large regions.

    It's not some evidence, the poles are going to begin reversing in 2012, but it takes something like 50,000 years for that to occur, they don't just flip
    GungHo wrote: »
    I first read this thread title as "Is Civilization really a good game?" and showed up to angrily defend it. Inside I found people talking about poop.
    To be fair, a lot of civic achievements over the centuries have revolved around dealing with poop.

    Green faces are the bane of many a civilization in Civ 4

    override367 on
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    ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Modern Man wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    +1. The anonymity and formality of the welfare state and society-wide market is alienating, but for a lot of people, what they are being alienated from is not pretty. So, still an improvement.
    Up until recently, in most parts of the world the idea of a person having an individual identity outside of their tribe/clan/family would have been puzzling for most people.

    During most of human history, the only reliable support network was your family. In more highly organized states, that might extend to the patron/client relationship in places like Rome. But for things like financial support, protection from crime and the like, the only group you could rely on was your clan.

    The flip side of this protection was that everyone but the patriarch had very limited rights in terms of things like marriage and property ownership. In some cases, your patriarch literally held the power of life and death over you. Women were, typically, little better than property, to be married and traded for the benefit of the group.

    If we're talking Roman Empire era... societies even outside the empire had already advanced to the point of religion-wide 'clans', aided by internal judicial systems and formal expulsion methods. The invention of writing helps a lot here. You could move from city to city knowing that your reputation in your old city can be independently verified by people you meet in the new city.

    This system is still pretty crappy, since you need a good reputation to be trusted enough so you can gain a good reputation, etc. Catch-22. So a lot of good opportunities go untaken because you and your network don't know anybody from that other guy's network, and there is no almighty State that can reach in and enforce via formal contract as a substitute for trust.

    Oddly enough, this system is reappearing in an odd form... credit scores, anyone? Credit scores exist because formal ways to enforce debt collection are poor. And thus we see all the old problems - impossibility of appealing bad credit assigned by mistake, catch-22s in acquiring a good credit score, etc.

    ronya on
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    NoughtNought Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    ronya wrote: »
    Oddly enough, this system is reappearing in an odd form... credit scores, anyone? Credit scores exist because formal ways to enforce debt collection are poor. And thus we see all the old problems - impossibility of appealing bad credit assigned by mistake, catch-22s in acquiring a good credit score, etc.

    Some international firms and a few Danish banks have been trying to implement credit scores in Denmark. Haven't really been very successful since Danish law have this weird thing about protecting the consumer rather then businesses.

    Sorry about going off topic.

    To go on topic I would like to ask why h/g'ers became farmers if it is really true that h/g'ing was so much better and easier?

    I really think that people that idolise living like h/g have some problem in their own lives that didn't exist then, and think they have found the solution. I don't really buy that family and religion is the only way to happiness. Happiness comes from interacting with others and a feeling of worth. While family can supply this I really think the margin of error is too great.
    The beauty of modern communications is that it allows us to connect with people that we share interests with in a very easy and effortless way.
    Family isn't a bad thing, but I personally find the idea of most of my interactions being with family (close or extended) really sad and limited.

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    Psycho Internet HawkPsycho Internet Hawk Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Early human life was simply better on average than in authoritarian agricultural societies. Those conditions were hellish. The problems of hunter gatherers have been listed already (though I don't recall anyone mentioning here the ridiculously high murder rate that has been observed in more recent hunter gatherer societies), but in agricultural societies, you had mass death due to disease and genocide, active oppression by elites, and frequent war and banditry.

    Yeah this. The reason wars were not as common in hunter-gatherer societies was that people simply hadn't figured out how to properly fuck each other over en masse yet.

    They certainly were not any less violent. People just killed their fellow tribesman/villagers instead of other tribes/villages.

    Psycho Internet Hawk on
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    FirstComradeStalinFirstComradeStalin Registered User regular
    edited September 2010

    Early human life was simply better on average than in authoritarian agricultural societies. Those conditions were hellish. The problems of hunter gatherers have been listed already (though I don't recall anyone mentioning here the ridiculously high murder rate that has been observed in more recent hunter gatherer societies), but in agricultural societies, you had mass death due to disease and genocide, active oppression by elites, and frequent war and banditry.

    I keep seeing this argument throughout the thread and I'm still entirely unconvinced of it's validity. It's not like once you choose to become a farmer that's what your people are locked into. There are rare instances, such as in Papua New Guinea, where agrarian societies reverted back to hunter-gatherers because it was most expedient in the highlands. But those instances are rare because overall (excluding instances of famine, which were actually rarer in early societies that diversified crops rather than later societies which focused on specific ones), agrarian societies provided consistency.

    HG tribes were constantly on the move, meaning once you couldn't keep up with the others due to old age or injury you'd be left behind. There was competition with other apex predators. In areas such as northern Africa rapidly changing climate conditions could leave tribes stranded. And while epidemics were rare, diseases were still common (most human diseases originated from interaction with animals) and much more untreatable.

    So yes, if you managed to survive the gauntlet of challenges being a hunter-gatherer would bring, you would probably live a better quality life than an early farmer. But the early farmer had a much better survival rate, and that's pretty much the most important thing in my book.

    And who said HG tribes aren't violent? Try telling that to the Neanderthals or whatever various subspecies we've driven to extinction...

    FirstComradeStalin on
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    Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    As someone who was born dead and remained so for a minute afterwards before being revived with modern medical science, it would be very hard to convince me, personally, that civilization has more detriments than advantages.

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    Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. normal (not weird)Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Raiden333 wrote: »
    As someone who was born dead and remained so for a minute afterwards before being revived with modern medical science, it would be very hard to convince me, personally, that civilization has more detriments than advantages.

    can you kill people with your mind or see ghosts now?

    Styrofoam Sammich on
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    Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Raiden333 wrote: »
    As someone who was born dead and remained so for a minute afterwards before being revived with modern medical science, it would be very hard to convince me, personally, that civilization has more detriments than advantages.

    can you kill people with your mind or see ghosts now?

    I try to only use my powers for good.

    Raiden333 on
    There was a steam sig here. It's gone now.
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    Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. normal (not weird)Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Raiden333 wrote: »
    Raiden333 wrote: »
    As someone who was born dead and remained so for a minute afterwards before being revived with modern medical science, it would be very hard to convince me, personally, that civilization has more detriments than advantages.

    can you kill people with your mind or see ghosts now?

    I try to only use my powers for good.

    What if I gave you a lot of money first?

    Styrofoam Sammich on
    wq09t4opzrlc.jpg
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    emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Internet pron, civilization wins Round 1 KO

    Man, if you wanted a woman back in the stone age days, all you had to do was club one over the head and drag her back to your cave. That's how Fred Flinstone met Wilma.

    emnmnme on
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    Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. normal (not weird)Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Internet pron, civilization wins Round 1 KO

    Man, if you wanted a woman back in the stone age days, all you had to do was club one over the head and drag her back to your cave. That's how Fred Flinstone met Wilma.

    Ever been with a woman who doesn't shave?

    Styrofoam Sammich on
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    Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited September 2010

    Early human life was simply better on average than in authoritarian agricultural societies. Those conditions were hellish. The problems of hunter gatherers have been listed already (though I don't recall anyone mentioning here the ridiculously high murder rate that has been observed in more recent hunter gatherer societies), but in agricultural societies, you had mass death due to disease and genocide, active oppression by elites, and frequent war and banditry.

    I keep seeing this argument throughout the thread and I'm still entirely unconvinced of it's validity. It's not like once you choose to become a farmer that's what your people are locked into. There are rare instances, such as in Papua New Guinea, where agrarian societies reverted back to hunter-gatherers because it was most expedient in the highlands. But those instances are rare because overall (excluding instances of famine, which were actually rarer in early societies that diversified crops rather than later societies which focused on specific ones), agrarian societies provided consistency.

    HG tribes were constantly on the move, meaning once you couldn't keep up with the others due to old age or injury you'd be left behind. There was competition with other apex predators. In areas such as northern Africa rapidly changing climate conditions could leave tribes stranded. And while epidemics were rare, diseases were still common (most human diseases originated from interaction with animals) and much more untreatable.

    So yes, if you managed to survive the gauntlet of challenges being a hunter-gatherer would bring, you would probably live a better quality life than an early farmer. But the early farmer had a much better survival rate, and that's pretty much the most important thing in my book.

    And who said HG tribes aren't violent? Try telling that to the Neanderthals or whatever various subspecies we've driven to extinction...

    I don't get your specific critique FCS. Could you elaborate a little?

    Most human diseases, IIRC, resulted in close proximity of humans to the animals that they kept and the waste they created. That is, it was kept livestock, not hunting dogs.

    Loren Michael on
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    emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Internet pron, civilization wins Round 1 KO

    Man, if you wanted a woman back in the stone age days, all you had to do was club one over the head and drag her back to your cave. That's how Fred Flinstone met Wilma.

    Ever been with a woman who doesn't shave?

    No, but I've seen vintage 70s pr0n. Point taken.

    emnmnme on
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