I'll try and help to answer some of these criticisms in the meantime. But I must warn you; I personally am an anarcho-primitivist in every sense of the word, and when it comes to civilization, I do in fact think that it deserves nothing less than a brutal murder.
To everyone else:
If you are going to argue that civilization is great or whatever, or at least better than the alternatives, please do some research before you make your points. Criticizing civilization is not just some new, amateur occupation with little research behind it. There are tons of authors out there that have written about it to death, arguing against civilization from many different points. And while most of the substantial literature has come about in recent decades, there is evidence that criticism goes back as far as civ's very beginning (check out the recent excavation of Gobekli Tepe.) As a starting point, try searching for terms such as 'anti-civilization' (or 'anti-civ'), 'Daniel Quinn", 'Derrick Jensen', 'John Zerzan', 'anarcho-primitivism', 'primitivism'; and less so 'permaculture', 'bioregionalism', and of course the hippie movement of the '60s.
Also, it is apparent that most of you know next to nothing about tribes and indigenous peoples, and if you are going to argue against them, then it is quite unfair to them to do so acting like you do know something about them. As there now exists hundreds of them, and in the past many more, you'd be smart to do some research.
I don't mean through entertainment, or a system of food production, I mean a time where the only goal of civilization as a whole was to make sure every individual was happy (psychologically healthy) and physically healthy.
An impossible standard, at no point in the history of humanity has any civilization, society, or social group worked to maximize the personal happiness of their members.
You have to show me some evidence for this, because all the evidence I have says that among many tribes (not all tribes, mind you), they in fact did and do try to maximize the personal happiness of its members. And how is this an 'impossible standard'? All you are saying is that a society has got to maximize
happiness, not provide perfect
TheStranger wrote:Are you sure? Would it rather be that a tribe, due to it's small size, does not have a great deal of experience with mental illnesses... which are fairly rare... and thus do not have the knowledge needed to diagnose them (and treat them)?
I am not sure how "small size" implies a lack of experience. I would instead argue that the stability of a tribe over long periods of time (some even longer than civilization itself) gives them plenty of experience in dealing with mental illness. That is, if mental illness were a problem at all. GoodRudeFun points out correctly that among tribes, mental illness is virtually unheard of and many times completely
unheard of, not necessarily because they have no mental illness, but in the way they view it. Case in point:
The author Robert Wolff, in his book Original Wisdom
, relates to us a story of the Malay tribe when asked why they did not use the mental health centers that were set up for them by the surrounding civilization. In Malay culture, there are really only two behaviors that could be considered "mental illness": one involves a man suddenly running around with knife in hand, slashing at everyone and everything for a short amount of time; while the other is pretty much standard kleptomania. When asked about the former case, why they did not send him away or lock him up for his behavior, one woman piped up: "He is just not seeing clearly at the moment. Why would we lock him up for being blind?" The kleptomaniac got the same treatment: that's just what he does, he's the "town thief", it's not like he's hurting us or himself at all.
TheStranger wrote:A good number of people have access to basic medical care in the developed world... and it would be reasonable to state that one of the goals of Civilization (if it could be said to have goals) would be to bring the entire world to developed standards.
That's the "John Stossel" argument, as I like to call it, and it fails for two big reasons: the developed world is necessarily supported by massive exploitation in the undeveloped world; and as one author has said (unfortunately I cannot recall who it was), if the rest of the world were brought up to our standards, we would require at least three earths to procure all the necessary resources.
TheStranger wrote:How is a tribal society, which would have little experience mental illness (and little in the ability to treat it), be better able to treat the psychological needs of it's members? A tribe, taken as a small number of people living off the land, is much closer to collapsing then a Civilization (and thus leaving it's members stranded). One bad season to destroy the food source, one nasty germ to kill off most of them,, and the tribe is extinct.
For one, a tribe does not live in isolation from every other tribe surrounding it, nor does it stay in one place (at least among nomadic tribes, which were the norm before civilization). Even if a tribe collapsed, there were always other tribes to go to, and in some cases, there was a tangible support network set up by some tribes in case this would happen (the Iroquois nation was like this, to give one example.) Also, because of the nomadic nature of the tribe and the strength of healthy pre-civ ecosystems, a food source going dry was hardly a worry. Contrast this to civilization, which breaks almost every ecological "law" known to man: they are sedentary, they grow monocultures of crops (which require lots and lots of work to maintain, very susceptible to collapse, and destroy the very land they grow on; this is why Africa is in such bad shape nowadays), and they literally destroy the health of the ecosystem by spreading poisonous pesticides and herbicides. There's much more to this argument than what I've listed here. Of course you can try the standard Silent Spring
by Rachel Carson for evidence against our current agricultural system. As for tribal ways and food sources, like I said before, there's plenty of research out there.
GoodRudeFun wrote: It is not in any way necessary to man kinds survival, as the record clearly shows we've lived without it for quite some time.
You are completely wrong in saying this. The reason being: There are certain problems, even entire classes of problems, which cannot be solved without the resources available to a civilization being put to them. And just because they haven't happened yet (to us) does not mean that they won't. An extra-terrestrial impactor, for instance, would be far beyond the reach of a tribal society. A modern, technologically advanced society, however, can do something about it...and potentially prevent the extinction of humanity.
No, I'd say GoodRudeFun is completely right in saying this. Funny, you argue that he/she is not seeing the problem from the evolutionary standpoint in the next paragraph, but aren't you making the same mistake here? Extinction is a natural part of evolution, and personally, I'd rather go extinct because of some extraterrestrial object than be saved by a group of men I utterly hate and who are doing their best currently to drive humanity and half the species on the planet to extinction anyway
SabreKGB wrote:You also fail to look at it from an evolutionary standpoint. Civilization is just too powerful a development not to have. It is a ridiculously useful tool, that not only improves on average the lives of the people that compose it, but also makes those people stronger than people who don't adopt civilization. You'll notice a trend of civilizations tending to wipe out tribal societies...
Since this is the Serious Business forum, I can't swear uncontrollably at you, so I'll just be content to say that this is a very sick interpretation. How dare you insult tribal societies like this. First of all, evolution is not eugenics. And second, I think it was David Hume who said: "Thou shalt not derive an ought
from an is
Ok, so I'm stopping here for now.