Comment by a reader: “It is so nice to see mindless screeds from people with an ax to grind: ‘mass misery – activity at center stage in human activity.’”
“Mass misery like contagious diseases, toothaches, burying at least 1/2 of your children, starvation, getting eaten by other animals, parasites. No doubt there were a few ancient communities that lead idyllic lives, but most anthropological evidence indicates that ancient people had much higher rates of death by violence, and died much younger, in less pleasant ways than the vast majority of todays humans”
My reply: “You miss the topic of the post: it’s about changes to human behavior due to Agriculture / Urbanization. The death rate remains steady at 100%. Hope you have a ‘pleasant’ death. LOL”
The post that the comment refers to:
Before civilization, there were no Neurotypicals
Modern social humans are a product of the agricultural and industrial revolutions
Neurotypicals think that the manmade Social Pyramid is real, in the same way that mountains, rivers, and buildings are real, and that the those who sit at the top of the pyramid have a supernatural right to dominate the rest of mankind. It’s no surprise that the elite in each culture, and now a corporate and global gang of Pharaohs, despots, and Top Males, routinely hoard the Earth’s resources and wealth, and deny men, women, and children in all regions of the planet what they need: clean water, food, shelter, work and self-determination. Much of this deprivation is achieved by simply destroying and polluting environments that used to support life. What a noble goal. This predator – prey, human-on-human social structure is made possible by the domestication of modern humans.
Contrary to what psychologists, anthropologists, politicians and other so-called experts insist, mankind was not always like us: it is incorrect to project modern hyper social culture and behavior onto ancestral humans. Homo sapiens were not always extreme and destructive self-defined supernatural beings. A deep history of human evolution and development occurred over millions of years before civilization arose; before agriculture, before urban confinement, before mass religions; before war, before political oppression. These are the social tools that create mass misery – activity at center stage in human activity.
Humans existed in natural, not manmade environments; environments in which survival was a moment-to-moment affair and success depended on the individual and a mere handful of allies. No 911 emergency calls, rescue squad or police force. No farms or grocery stores. No hospitals, emergency rooms, surgery or antibiotics. No guns or long-distance weapons. Life was eye-to-eye, and on the ground, with little protection from predators. Humans were not the top of the food chain, but were prey – a source of protein on the carnivore buffet.
The rise of humans to predator status has left a strange legacy: Human on human predation, with the social pyramid an arbiter of which humans are predators, and which remain prey: the majority of human beings are prey animals.
I have no intention of refuting misrepresentation of general opinion as fact, except to say that contagious diseases become common only after AG/Urb brings humans into close contact with each other and with (domesticated) animals.
“Toothaches (might as well include all types of infections), burying at least 1/2 of your children, starvation, getting eaten by other animals, parasites” are “ways of dying” but we don’t know actual numbers or what percentage of human deaths these specific “types of death” have accounted for over the previous 100,000 years or so. We do know that each and every human being dies due to “something” – the question is, why does the “cause of death” take center stage in the comment-writers thinking? (Which I would note is a common modern concern, especially for insurance and medical industries.) I would also note that “toothaches / infections and the rest still account for many deaths, depending on where one lives on planet earth today: but importantly, many more “ways of dying” HAVE BEEN ADDED to the list of life’s endings.
It is also obvious that “not dying young” (via medical intervention) has led to a long period of life now being lived as an “old person” who is vulnerable to years of degenerative diseases and conditions that are not at all “pleasant” – add to that the radical interventions of modern medicine, which may extend the mechanics of “life”, for some individuals, but which can result in a horror of social disasters: families, communities and entire nations being drained of resources that are needed for healthy growth and continuation. As for the individual, I doubt that being “parked” in a nursing facility for months or even years, is a desirable end of life in the best of circumstances.
This question of “quality of life” affects young people also: there is a great deal of emphasis placed on “saving” the body, without any consideration of ethical questions. It is the individual who must bear the consequences; where are all the “cheerleaders” for “life at any cost” when years later, that individual is abandoned to the random care of institutional facilities, including jails and prisons?
The comment also claims that “most anthropological evidence indicates that ancient people had much higher rates of death by violence, and died much younger, in less pleasant ways than the vast majority of todays humans”. I won’t argue with that, because it’s a safe assumption that before “civilization” one could not die from “modern social causes”. It begs the question, What constitutes “death by violence”? And what exactly is a “pleasant death”? And do the “vast majority” of humans today die “pleasant deaths”?
And, in my opinion, the hierarchical system that judges “human value”, and which is involved in “summing up” human (and all) evolution by a solitary measure, is a peculiar illusion; “avoidance” or postponement of the inevitability of death does not ‘compensate” for an unhappy life.
If the “measure of success” for modern societies is “a statistic” – the age at which people die, then what is the value of individual lives that are lived? Again we see the “neurotypical dilemma”: the judgements that are made as to who counts, who deserves “attention” and who gets the resources necessary to experience a “good life” and ignores the real consequences of this selective distribution of “well-being” that consigns human beings to levels on a pyramid of value. That the evolution of life boils down to “a few” (or even a “vast majority”) of contemporary Homo sapiens having “pleasant deaths” is obscene and dismisses the existence of the history of life forms, (and all non-human life) as “mere steps” in our inevitable glorious ascension.