Friday, November 05, 2021

A differing view ...

Every once in a while, one finds an essay both transformative and kind, a nuanced view of reality differing from, in this case, the status quo of how civilization "actually" evolved. The piece, Ancient History Shows How We Can Create a More Equal Worldwritten by David Graeber and David Wengrow, depicts, in indirect fashion, a possible, positive future for man if we have the vision and daring to make it so. 

Most of human history is irreparably lost to us. Our species, Homo sapiens, has existed for at least 200,000 years, but we have next to no idea what was happening for the majority of that time. In northern Spain, for instance, at the cave of Altamira, paintings and engravings were created over a period of at least 10,000 years, between around 25,000 and 15,000 B.C. Presumably, a lot of dramatic events occurred during that period. We have no way of knowing what most of them were. This is of little consequence to most people, since most people rarely think about the broad sweep of human history anyway. They don’t have much reason to. Insofar as the question comes up at all, it’s usually when reflecting on why the world seems to be in such a mess and why human beings so often treat each other badly — the reasons for war, greed, exploitation and indifference to others’ suffering. Were we always like that, or did something, at some point, go terribly wrong?

A differing view without question.

We want to offer an entirely different account of human history. We believe that much of what has been discovered in the last few decades, by archaeologists and others in kindred disciplines, cuts against the conventional wisdom propounded by modern “big history” writers. ​​What this new evidence shows is that a surprising number of the world’s earliest cities were organized along robustly egalitarian lines. In some regions, we now know, urban populations governed themselves for centuries without any indication of the temples and palaces that would later emerge; in others, temples and palaces never emerged at all, and there is simply no evidence of a class of administrators or any other sort of ruling stratum. It would seem that the mere fact of urban life does not, necessarily, imply any particular form of political organization, and never did. Far from resigning us to inequality, the new picture that is now emerging of humanity’s deep past may open our eyes to egalitarian possibilities we otherwise would have never considered.

As per BRT ... In The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, Graeber and Wengrow make no assumptions but rather "listened" to what the sites were telling them instead of espousing preconceived notions of how history "does" unfold in the ongoing evolution of mankind.

The passage of time ... R. E. Moran

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