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View Diary: Let's Get Real-The Basics: Extreme Religion Stops a Thinking Brain and Kills Women and Teenage Girls (246 comments)

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  •  Not exactly picky, but... (0+ / 0-)

    I agree on the language part, but as for religion, I don't think the hunter/gatherer (H/G for short) model had room for religion.

    In the H/G model, every individual was primarily concerned with survival (thus all the hunting and gathering), both of the self and of the small(er) H/G grouping. As we got better and better at the civilization game (which is largely concerned with "socializing" the question of survival, removing the necessity for each individual to contribute materially and directly to the survival of themselves and their group.

    Once survival (in this case, food and shelter) was less tenuous and dependent on every individual pulling their weight (so to speak), individuals (much more so than in the H/G model) were free to explore other matters. Reproduction, for instance (which IMHO is one reason why rich, industrialized nations tend to be a little more - shall we say - sexually adventurous than the third world).

    But they were also free to turn inward, to question the nature of existence with greater focus. Religion (again, IMHO) is a clumsy, unwieldy, childish first attempt to explain existence, the whats and wherefores and whos. And boy oh boy, did they ever muff that one. Nevertheless, while you correctly (I believe) assert that no human society (I would say loosely structured grouping, in the case of the H/G model) was without language, I believe it took the urbanization of humans to produce religion as we know it.

    Just my .02.

    The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

    by lotusmaglite on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 01:14:23 AM PDT

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    •  Oops, that should have read: (0+ / 0-)
      As we got better and better at the civilization game (which is largely concerned with "socializing" the question of survival, removing the necessity for each individual to contribute materially and directly to the survival of themselves and their group,
      ...the primary focus shifted.

      This is what happens when you have as many tangential parenthetical remarks as I do

      The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

      by lotusmaglite on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 01:18:01 AM PDT

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    •  Well, this is getting a little off topic. . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rick B, lotusmaglite

      As I understand it, the typical hunter-gatherer works significantly fewer hours per week that people living in most other forms of society. The introduction of agriculture increased the number of hours per week people had to work. Furthermore, there's no real evidence that the hunter-gatherers had a significantly more tenuous life than agricultural people before the era of modern medicine. Early accounts of Europeans in North America indicate that the natives lived fairly well by the standards of the European peasant, though not the European aristocracy.

      The main advantage to agriculture is that it allows for a greater density of the population.

      I don't know why modern people are more sexually adventurous. My only guess was that it had to do with privacy. Most hunter-gatherers, in fact all that I can think of off the top of my head, live in compartively small dwellings. But that's just pure speculation on my part.

      The notion that North America and other regions that the Europeans wanted to conquer was filled with pathetic, savages that needed to be saved by European civilization is a convenient colonial myth.

      Hunter-gatherer societies do have what most people would call religious beliefs. Many follow a pattern that is called a shamanic form a belief in which a charismatic individual who is seen as being somehow more in touch with the spiritual world directs the religious rituals.

      Like you, I see that as a fumbling attempt to make sense of the world, but then I don't believe in any gods or spirits.

      •  Reminds me of Auel books. Man learned of his (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rick B

        part in contraception. Women as "shamans", they weren't called shamens then!, were downgraded as males rose to be the top dogs.

        My personal computer is limited, can't post without tagging on. Community computer better. Pardon tagging to comments, spelling, please.

        by CuriousBoston on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 09:01:05 AM PDT

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      •  I suppose I should have been more specific (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FourthOfJulyAsburyPark

        You are, of course, quite right. I suppose I should have referred instead to the "modern", monolithic religions of today rather than religion in general. My bad.

        This:

        The notion that North America and other regions that the Europeans wanted to conquer was filled with pathetic, savages that needed to be saved by European civilization is a convenient colonial myth.
        ...has always pissed me off, because it hold true today, in the forms of ethnocentrism and exceptionalism, if not out-and-out imperialism. It's further complicated when part of a different culture involves the oppression of certain classes (usually women, often ethnic or religious a minority). The line gets awfully blurry then.

        What I call the "civilization game", I refer to with a touch of sarcasm. The "game" hides all manner of greed and misanthropy, whereas the H/G model has little room for it. Not that it could never happen, but I imagine it's pretty evident and dealt with quickly. We should be so wise.

        Pardon the straying even further off topic. :)

        The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

        by lotusmaglite on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 03:00:08 PM PDT

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    •  It's probably a severe oversimplification (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotusmaglite

      but my understanding is that tribal groups almost invariably had a shaman or storyteller responsible for keeping the history and passing it on, while separately there was a war leader selected for military reputation.

      Before agriculture and the resulting towns, those two functions were socially granted to whoever had the necessary talent. Neither were normally institutionalized, and neither were social roles to which any individual had a heritable property right. [Yes. It is really a great deal more complicated than that. The shift to institutionalization of both religion and government is not nearly that simple. But this is a blog comment. ]

      When towns were first organized I am assuming that the shaman morphed into the religious leader and created his institution, while the war band leader morphed into the local 'king' who was responsible for protecting the town and the crops - and for raiding the neighbors.

      The US Supreme Court has by its actions and rhetoric has ceased to be legitimate. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - over

      by Rick B on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 10:59:52 AM PDT

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