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The dawn of civilization
#1
The dawn of civilization
People need to just chill out. Fear, anger, aggression. The path to the dark side are they
Im changing my approach cos the fear and paranoia is contagious in here and spreads like wildfire.

So instead of starting from modern times I’ll start from ancient times.
Many things define civilization but im taking written language as the major component in this case as it tells us the history…
What are the facts. What do we know

The oldest documented civilizations  date back to around 6,000BC and they all started with 2 major changes; agriculture and religion. After this the rest follows. Written language, mathematics, money, trading, taxes and all the other things that make up society. Scientific theory tells us that modern man has walked the earth for 200,000 years.

I’m interested in how humans started civilization? How did they live before this agricultural era? What caused this huge shift from being hunter/gatherers to farming people? Why it took so long for mankind to start building societies? And why do we always see some kind of religion? Its worth noting that many eastern religions don’t have a god.

I have a thought or 2. But that’s all they are, thoughts. That’s all anyone has. There are a few theories out there, easy to find.
But before I tell my theory I want to hear what people here think. These are just speculative thoughts wer making here
If we suppose religion is a man made construct then we have to ask why? Why do all these ancient civilizations from across the globe have these different religions?



[Image: 02718.jpg][Image: 42-28276333_1024x1024.jpeg?v=1451661324][Image: caveman.jpg][Image: CavemanHunting-1160x683.jpg]

                                    A sobering insight into live before civilization
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#2
RE: The dawn of civilization
The "Old bastard telling tall tales around a camel-dung campfire" works perfectly well.
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#3
RE: The dawn of civilization
(December 13, 2018 at 12:19 pm)Agnostico Wrote: What caused this huge shift from being hunter/gatherers to farming people?
There's no single reason, and ag started independently all over the world at different moments in time.  In truth a long drawn out series of moments that began with wild harvest and herding and lead, eventually, to domestication and settlement.  

Quote:Why it took so long for mankind to start building societies?

I'm guessing you mean villages or civilizations.  Any group of human beings have a society.  I can point to a couple of factors, pursuant to the above, but this won't be exhaustive.  Firstly, there could be no farming settlements until the climate favored the growth of annuals.  Adding to this, not only was the late stone age climate change a requirement, there had to be significant densities of wild cultivars conveniently located to water and wild game..and enough people to work them...with sticks.  There were no plows, no recognizable farming implements and no animals to pull them or harnesses to attach them.  The earliest indications we have of ag are, instead, milling stones.  These had probably been around for awhile (wild harvest processing).  Secondly, it takes time to breed a wild cultivar into a useful crop.  The things we eat today have been breed well beyond recognition.  Thirdly, some understanding of agricultural methods needs to be possessed and employed for any settlement of an appreciable size...one that we might happen across someday in the archaeological record.  Things like irrigation, tillage, fertilization, pest management, processing, storage.  

When we understand all of those difficulties we only begin to appreciate the bar for forming a village.  There are still plenty of other things to consider when any large number of people stay in one spot.  The early agriculturalists actually didn't do very well.  Set aside contemporaneous hunter gatherers they were commonly malnourished, and they never really stopped being hunter gatherers themselves.  Essentially, it was another (set of) tool(s) added to the kit - not a switch.   Seems like the ladies loved em, though.....and I suppose I can see why.  It's nice to have food in the dead of winter.  

Quote:And why do we always see some kind of religion? 

We don't.  What you're thinking of when you say religion is thousands of years younger than agriculture and commonly employs agriculturalist themes.  What we see, going back 50k years or so, are things that one one day become a part of religious traditions..not religious traditions themselves.  We see burials, we see proto-mythic representation in art.  The earliest evidence we have of some form of organized worship would be megaliths...which largely post-date agriculture and agricultural settlement, though is some cases that's not so.  In some cases, the people who built and gathered at megalithic sites were explicitly nomadic hunter gatherers. If those megalithic sites were religious, we have no idea what that looked like beyond the procurement of the stones. We can only make inferences...because it isn't until history begins with the written word that we have certain indication both of religion and the nature of a religious system....and that's even younger still.
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a battle to commence then KPLOW, I hit em with the illness of my quill, Im endowed..with certain unalienable skills....  

-ERB


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#4
RE: The dawn of civilization
Humans are the same the world over. Humans are intelligent creatures. With that intelligence comes arrogance. They think they are special. Their smugness and vanity coupled with ancient cave dwellers misinterpretation of natural sciences is the perfect Petri dish to culture magic wish granting sky daddies.
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#5
RE: The dawn of civilization
(December 13, 2018 at 12:19 pm)Agnostico Wrote: If we suppose religion is a man made construct then we have to ask why? Why do all these ancient civilizations from across the globe have these different religions?

Because the universe was a wholly inexplicable place due to their lack of scientific understanding, so they anthropomorphised the chaotic, inexplicable universe by imaging it has agency as it is controlled by higher powers.
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#6
RE: The dawn of civilization
At work.

You should check out Professor Lyn Kelly's book 'The Memory Code'.

Her work on how early peoples recorded/stored knowledge as it pertains to the rough time period as hunter-gartheres settled into agrarian settings is quite a good read.
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#7
RE: The dawn of civilization
It's hard to overstate the place of supplication for people who had very little control over so much as the daily circumstances of their lives.  Whether a person prays to a god or asks the rain to fall the success rate is the same, and the same as it is now..but it doesn't hurt to ask and it may at least comfort the afflicted.

It's entirely unlikely that the earliest forms of supernatural observance had much in the way of negative connotation that they do now..for simple lack of a context. For example, we can see that a trend of ethnocentrism cropped up by the early ancient era....but proto agriculturalists would likely have had no Other™ with which to compare themselves. They may have considered themselves The People, and perhaps even The Chosen People (by sheer virtue of their existence, lol)....but it would take contact and conflict with others to contextualize both of those relatively innocuous beginnings into religious xenophobia.
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a battle to commence then KPLOW, I hit em with the illness of my quill, Im endowed..with certain unalienable skills....  

-ERB


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#8
RE: The dawn of civilization
(December 13, 2018 at 12:19 pm)Agnostico Wrote: If we suppose religion is a man made construct then we have to ask why? Why do all these ancient civilizations from across the globe have these different religions?

At first comfort, then group/tribe identity, control and manipulation.
God(s) and religions are man made and the bane of humanity. 

Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most. Ozzy or Twain/take your pick
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#9
RE: The dawn of civilization
There's a lot of evidence for religion, supernaturalism, and similar things, including the rituals, being an aspect of neurological and psychological mechanisms which evolved for other reasons, for example our dependence upon social behaviors as a species. Such things as agent detection, attribution, and projection, which are fundamental to a social species, and especially one with language, quite naturally give rise to concepts like ghosts, spirits, an afterlife, and gods. There are also neurological and psychological mechanisms related to religious behaviors, such as singing, dancing, raising one's hands to the sky, and even the effects of simple human touch (e.g. communal embrace, laying on of hands, etc.).

So religion and similar ideas have likely been with us for as long as we've been thinking, social animals. I'll let Gae handle the farming side, as he knows that and I don't.

Other than that, I'm not sure what needs to be explained.
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#10
RE: The dawn of civilization
It's certainly clear that the basic thematic elements of religious thought predate history, and the manner in which they're expressed in the early ancient period gives us some indication of how that panned out.  The proto semetic mythos is, for example, a conflict between agriculturalists and pastoralists that predates the written word, proceeds through the pheonicion incursion,  and extends all the way up to assyrian transportation. Culturally, the pastoralists were clear winners, even though they were forced to broadly assume the agriculturalists methodology as a matter of practical and political necessity.

Some of the most memorable lines from the OT express this relationship as it developed to it's final terminus. Even more interesting, is the manner in which the inciting events have been garbled by the effect of time and propagandists. It's also the explanation for some of the most absurd (and commonly derided) bits of leviticus. While some cannot help but be incredulous and others see advice far more forward thinking than would be warranted in one's wildest dreams.....placed in their actual context they became almost "Oh...that? Well, yeah sure, no shit, now I see it" kind of things.

Cain and Abel, for example..not proper names. They're descriptors. The story understood for it's origins and linguistics should read, "there was once a farmer and a shepherd". The line about beating swords into plowshares was legit, but in the reverse, concerning a conquering agriculturalist prohibition against metalworking by pastoralists for fear of insurrection, and the prohibition against poly blend cloth and specific threads in conjunction a remnant of that same. Just as a few of my favorite examples.

It wasn't actually clear, until well into history....which side would ultimately prevail (and particularly when that dispute become cultural rather than practical) - yet another reason for the slow uptake of agriculture. Despite it's crushing dominance today, it wasn't always such an easy call to make.

-and don't even get me started on the proto-european mythos.........those poor bastards had it rough, lol. The only place we can look to see cultural and practical disputes resolved in pre-history is mesoamerica. In their context, all historic instances of religious observance center around a monoculture. Hi, I'm corn..I'm -still- in everything! There's a rough rule of early ancient religious and cultural norms that you can separate by latitudinal bands - with some notable exceptions generally due to unique circumstances of the society involved, either the isolation...or the harshness or suitability of some local environment with respect to their contemporaries.

FWIW, nothing says "Chosen of the Gods" quite like watching all those non-human psuedo people starving. Wink
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a battle to commence then KPLOW, I hit em with the illness of my quill, Im endowed..with certain unalienable skills....  

-ERB


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