With the transition from a hunter-gatherer to a sedentary, more industrious lifestyle, man created more complex technology, more extensive tools of survival, and more entailed artifacts. Technological and industrial breakthroughs haven't simply driven the market, but have changed our individual behavior and cultural paradigms. In short, it unpredictably changed our history. I'll deal with these one at a time, then we'll move forward.
*In regard to complex technology, Timothy Taylor argues in The Artificial Ape: How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution, that the baby sling is one of humankind's most basic forms of technology because it allowed the females to move around within the camp with hands available for practical application. Having a baby on the hip restricts movement and functionality, so having both hands free allows females to perform vital tasks with the infant attached. This very simple technology paved the way for more complex technology because it allowed both of humanity's genders to engage their environment, at that time improving the quality, productivity and efficiency of their lives. Controlling fire is of course another form of technology, and the sedentary lifestyle has facilitated cooking, blacksmithing, and smelting metals for commercial use. Technology thus was enabled to become more complex when humankind embraced a sedentary lifestyle because the limitation of moving it was lifted.
*Sedentary humans created more complex forms of survival because weatherproof shelters allowed humans to venture and colonize further away from the equator. Many aren't aware of our species' battle for the equator, and how it was only alleviated by the advent of agriculture and architecture, which required observation, planning, and trade in all new ways. A permanent shelter hoarded heat and food much better than a collapsible, mobile one.
*Lastly, sedentary humans created more entailed forms of artifacts due to the flexibility of research and development allowed by a sedentary workshop. (Modern day, we call them labs.) As a hunter-gathering tribesman, you had to streamline every tool because you were hauling it to the next location in a short amount of time. Native American tools embody this: spoons, bowls, arrows, hammers, slings, even their tee pees could be packed up and carried away on horseback. Modern society has made things more entailed, larger, but not necessarily more useful because we can just stow it when it's not in use. The Natives didn't have that luxury; if it didn't have a consistent use or function, it was fat that was trimmed.
The hunter-gatherer lifestyle surely had its drawbacks--there was always a risk of conflict, hunger, and dehydration--but what it didn't have was modern sedentary civilization's affinity for ideals. That sounds extremely vague, so I'll quote a passage out of Derrick Jensen's Culture of Make Believe to clarify: "In common with indigenous peoples the world over, feuds or wars were never fought for ideological reasons, but over tangible and/or personal insults. Among the Dani [tribe in New Guinea], if the conflict was not resolved through simple withdrawal, the next step was mediation and restitution. If the two sides were still aggrieved, yet were within the same social unit, involving aguni juma-mege, or 'people from here,' the conflict may have escalated to actual violence yet very rarely did so, and even then the violence was short-lived. If, on the other hand, the enemy was aguni dimege, or 'the foreigners,' the conflict could escalate into a war that could last a half a generation, a war in which the ghosts of those slain often demanded vengeance." (178-179) We see that war was an option, and further reading will show that the Dani were often at war with their neighbors, but the real question is why? Jensen brings out that even though the Dani had a deep distinction between us and them, conflicts were precipitated due to stolen items or personal insults, not ideological differences. The indigenous, nature-loving people, knew specifically that only concrete actions or events could produce altercations. Modern civilization's affinity for ideals produces different standards for action; we can create conflicts simply by valuing differently.
Nationalism in any form is an ideal, as is gender identity, sexual identity, race, prejudice, purpose, destiny, superstition, religion, prophecy, ego, progress, heritage, and human centrism. Indigenous peoples thus fought each other over practical matters, rather than a belief system or network of ideals that they lived by. This isn't to say they didn't have ideals, the certainly did, especially in the form of balancing themselves with nature, however they didn't go to war with other tribes over their particular version. What would be the point, anyway? It wouldn't produce resources and progeny, it'd actually destroyed them. Modern civilization has--for some reason--developed an affinity for ideals that either require aggressive manifestations, or assume that other peoples are plotting aggressive manifestations against them. How did we develop this neurosis?
Technology isn't inherently destructive, it's simply the product of a creative process designed to specify and streamline tools. Something happens within man when he becomes sedentary and acquires these artifacts though. Historically, it's been demonstrated that he becomes paranoid that others are going to take them away from him. Indigenous cultures opposite; they're notorious sharers. They even shared lovers and communally raised children. Was it being constantly surrounded by nature that brought this out, or did the lack of complex technology allow them to think and appreciate on a more interdependent level? I find it scary that as human civilization has pressed along, our us-them distinctions have gotten both stronger and more sensitive, creating different ways of separating us via our distinct identity or purpose. To quote John Gray's Straw Dogs, "We do not speak of a time when whales or gorillas will be masters of their destinies. Why then humans?"
Orwell highlights the bearing this ideal had on the 20'th century. He mentions how although the world had shrunk due to capability of travel and the accessibility of radio, nationalistic tendencies had gotten stronger from WWII. "Then trend towards economic self-sufficiency ("autarchy") which has been going on since about 1930 and has been intensified by the war, may or may not be reversible. The industrialisation of countries like India and South America increases their purchasing power and therefore ought, in theory, to help world trade. But what is not grasped by those who say cheerfully that 'all parts of the world are interdependent,' is that they don't any longer have to be interdependent." (p.600) So industrialization allows countries to produce somewhat sufficiently, cutting out other countries, developing a competitive self-sufficiency and thereby less of an actual need to engage other countries. Now, economics teaches us that international trade and commerce boosts the market power because it increases the size of the market (the larger the market, the sturdier, due to the plethora of channels of fluidity), however we're not talking about the economics that drives the market, we're talking about countries becoming more independent, less interdependent, and the behavioral repercussions of this industry-driven move.
What Orwell saw in WWII was how international relations was severely affected by industrialization--despite the commoners' view that although we can now fly anywhere and listen to any radio station--because our ideals of national identity and feverish us-them distinctions have restricted travel and censored many international and intercultural mediums. In short, civilization is learning to more quietly propagandize itself, which is simply a network of self-affirming ideals completely absent from indigenous people's worldwide.
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