Wednesday, April 14, 2021

916: The Prehistoric Legacy..........

The biggest change that has ever occurred in humanity's history has undoubtedly been the transition from a food collecting into a food-producing culture. 


After having led a nomadic existence for 2.5 million years, people went to a sedentary life almost anywhere in the world. 


This transformation was at lightning speed on a macro-historical scale around 10,000 BC.

 Man has started producing food, including wheat, barley and peas, in the area known as the Fertile Crescent, a continuous area in the Middle East 


that includes Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey. 


Everywhere a peasant culture was established, the hunters-gatherers came in the tribulation. 


Around 7000 BC agriculture and cattle breeding have scattered from Anatolia to Palestine and Iran. 


Around the same time, a farmer's existence with corn as the oldest grown crop emerges also in Central America (approx. 7500 BC) independently. 


Around 3500 BC we find agriculture and cattle breeding virtually anywhere in the world. 


A radical other society emerges, where people settled in villages and live in houses. 


Man himself becomes 'domesticated' and becomes part of a hierarchical society with greater social inequality.


This whole historical process can be attributed to the ability to recognize patterns. As I mentioned in a previous lecture, this is not a. unique ability of homo sapiens. 


Most animals rely on the same ability, but only homo sapiens added the ability to generalize to pattern recognition, He was able to formulate principles.


Another interesting observation is, that this process occurred independently from each other in several places on earth.


Of course, this wasn't a transformation that took place in a period of 10 years, for instance. It took a tenth of thousands of years. 


For some reason, this specific ability of homo sapiens almost inevitably has led to this transition all over the world.


However, it is not a law of nature. It didn't happen everywhere. In the Amazone tribes were found who lived in the same way as our prehistoric ancestors.


You could ask the question: WHY did those tribes through the ages never move on to an agricultural existence?


And WHY did other members of the species homo sapiens did settle in villages and settled farming?


And most important this transition introduced one of the biggest problems of our time: INEQUALITY.


The gap between poor and rich, between the one who owns all the cattle and the one who has only one cow.

And what I forgot to add to this last statement......with this transition man discovered private property.


If you imagine that the problem of a fair distribution of wealth and resources among the people on this world has its roots in the Stone Age.......


Thank you for your attention......



MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Rens Bod: "Een Wereld vol Patronen".  2019

The Discussion

[13:20] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman

[13:20] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): so man has never changes I guess

[13:21] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and I suppose never will be

[13:21] herman Bergson: In fact you are right

[13:22] herman Bergson: In a way man has tried with communism to abolish private wasn't a success

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nope

[13:23] herman Bergson: but it is interesting to see how the nomad changed into a farmer

[13:23] herman Bergson: and thus created his own land and property

[13:24] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): maybe it was by accident

[13:24] CB Axel: I read a book about why some cultures changed and some didn't.

[13:24] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): someone saw the crop grow and thought,, hey....that's funny

[13:24] CB Axel: I can't find the book now, but it was very interesting.

[13:24] herman Bergson: I think it is because of our ability to see patterns....

[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess

[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that might just so be

[13:25] herman Bergson: yes plant a seed grows ..bears harvest.....seed again and so on....

[13:25] CB Axel: Different South Pacific cultures

[13:25] CB Axel: were studied

[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and then they said...Mien...make a bread for me

[13:26] herman Bergson: The point didn't happen with all I said....the tribes in the Amazone.....

[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and brew me some BEEEEER!

[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yum!

[13:26] herman Bergson: But imagine....

[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hahhaa

[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:27] herman Bergson: You live in a contains an abundance of food all days of the year....

[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): so no need to have farmers

[13:27] herman Bergson: why becoming a farmer there?

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ask Bolsonaro

[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i think is was a huge mistake to become a farmer

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): now im no rainforest expert but i eat loads of tropical fruit

[13:28] herman Bergson: caused a lot of problems indeed....especially health problems

[13:29] herman Bergson: Living together in houses in closed spaces together with animals

[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): asking for problems

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm

[13:29] herman Bergson: Like COVID in those days also a lot of diseases were transferred from animal  on humans

[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and those people lived together in one big room with the animals

[13:30] herman Bergson: But it is a slow process....

[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): inhaling the smell of pig shit, YUM!

[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (shudders)

[13:30] herman Bergson: you start producing food......this makes the population you have to produce more food and so on....

[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): that is not too bad:)

[13:30] herman Bergson: homo sapiens was trapped

[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): a fire in the house is fresh air

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm

[13:32] herman Bergson: those prehistoric people were heavy smokers indeed Beertje :-)

[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): oh yes

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): COUGH COUGH!

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (shudders again)

[13:33] herman Bergson: And what was the case with those South Pacific cultures CB?

[13:35] CB Axel: Whether they were hunter/gathers or farmers depended on the resources available and the threats they had to deal with.

[13:35] CB Axel: Mostly threats from other cultures

[13:36] CB Axel: I can't remember a lot of details, and I can't find the book now.

[13:36] herman Bergson: So, that people became farmers was mainly caused by the circumstances....I guess

[13:36] CB Axel: I don't even remember if it's a physical book or if it's on my tablet.

[13:36] CB Axel nods

[13:36] herman Bergson: It is in style with Darwinian evolution.......

[13:37] herman Bergson: the direction evolution takes is just random

[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): no pattern?

[13:37] herman Bergson: and our culture is the result of these random changes

[13:38] herman Bergson: ahh...evolution has a pattern Beertje....

[13:38] herman Bergson: driven by the principle of survival

[13:38] CB Axel: But the actual changes in DNA are random.

[13:39] CB Axel: Just the useful changes survive.

[13:39] herman Bergson: But why A survives and B doesn't is  randomly dependent on the circumstances

[13:39] herman Bergson: indeed CB

[13:39] herman Bergson: and that could depend on changes in the environment, for instance

[13:41] CB Axel: Maybe man will evolve into bodies with long legs for wading through rising water levels. :)

[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:41] herman Bergson: or it can be an interaction between the environment and our ability of pattern recognition

[13:42] herman Bergson: I think man will choose for boats CB :-)

[13:42] herman Bergson: A world turned into a Venetia :-)

[13:42] herman Bergson: Venice

[13:43] CB Axel: Venice isn't even Venice any more. It's becoming Atlantis.

[13:43] herman Bergson: ^_^

[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hahah

[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well its on its way

[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): New Atlantis

[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hope it don't turn out that way

[13:44] herman Bergson: Well tie to move on in history :-)

[13:45] herman Bergson: Let's see what the farmers did after this :-))

[13:45] herman Bergson: Thank you all again for your participation :-)

[13:45] herman Bergson: Class dismissed....

[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman

[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :)))

[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:46] bergfrau Apfelbaum: as always, very interesting! thanks Herman and class

[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nice again

[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:46] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman and class. :) 

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