Blog Archives

Early Human Savagery Is a Patriarchal Myth Rationalizing Our Descent Into Civilization: We Once Had the Run of the Forest and the “Original Affluent Society”

vision_quest__99529_zoom1

Out of Eden, Part Two — Agrarian Revolution … or Devolution? The Adoption of Agriculture Brought Drudgery for Humans … And So We Cast Ourselves Out of the Garden

civilization-conformity-repression

A Fall from Grace?

The Switch from Hunter-Gatherer to Horticultural Lifeways

Turning now from the individual, the microcosm, to that of society, the macrocosm, the obvious historical corollary to the Fall from Grace in Eden is the switch from the hunter-gatherer way of life to the horticultural. For most of our time on this planet, our species has lived as hunter-gatherers. But the switch to the harnessing of Nature and the less mobile agricultural way of life brought with it a correspondingly different worldview.

Thomas_Cole_The_Garden_of_Eden_de

We Once Had the Run of the Forest

There were specific economic factors that came into play here.  The hunter-gatherer culture has been called “the original affluent society” — with the amount of daily work required for survival being estimated at only four hours (Sahlins, 1972; Bird-David, 1992). 

sunleth_waterscape_400af_time_gate_0

With the run of the forest, so to speak, and so much spare time for personal, creative, or playful pursuits, it is easy to imagine hunter-gatherers having more congenial attitudes toward each other.

pyADFAFDAFAgmy

The Agrarian Revolution Brought Drudgery for Humans

With the beginnings of agriculture and the domestication of animals, the so-called “agrarian revolution,” repression and oppression begin to rear their ugly heads. (See The Great Reveal)

Being truly a “fall from grace,” agriculture, along with the seeming advantage of control of Nature, brings with it a significant increase in work time required — especially at certain seasonal times.

And Large Families, Child Labor

So here we have also the beginnings of large families (free labor) and child labor. Children are born into families where they feel themselves invisible and unspecial and are forced into drudgery at an early age. This is, of course, contrary to an individual child’s needs and desires; so authoritarian controls and a system of sanctions and punishments are required.

A painting by artist Michel Angelo Pacet

And Hierarchy in Society … a Master/Slave Pattern … Elites, Law, Punishment, and Out-Laws

This master/slave pattern is reflected also in the larger culture. With the onset of horticulture we have the beginnings of settled communities.  Whereas in nomadic groups it does not pay to own very much and hence an egalitarianism is the rule, in settled groups we have the gradual accumulation of wealth and property into the hands of a few. This brings in a hierarchical society and an elitism which, reflecting the situation of the family, requires control of the populace for the ends of the elite. Thus a system of dire sanctions and punishments is instituted. We have the beginnings of law . . . and hence of “out-laws” — that is, those who refuse or cannot abide by the wishes of the dominant group.

2349077637

And Conformity and Repression of the Self: Authoritarian Cultures Create Authoritarian Personalities. We Have the Beginnings of Religion.

The agrarian culture is, generally speaking, much less tolerant of individual differences, viewing them as potential threats to essentially ill-gotten wealth and power. Its economic system “requires” conformity and repression of individualistic impulses of all kinds. This cultural and familial situation is reflected in the psyches of those who pass for “normal” in that society.  Authoritarian cultures create authoritarian personalities. The members themselves are as equally repressive of their own “individualistic” impulses as the larger society is oppressive of such corresponding individuals and groups.

the-fall-of-man

We have the beginnings of religion. Whereas primal cultures look to personal experience of the numinous as a basis for establishing a relation to any Larger Reality beyond the self, hierarchical societies extend the effort to control the populace for the benefit of the elites into the private realm. Clerical authorities now mediate with the supernatural. Conformity and suppression of impulses is sought even in directing the very thoughts and consciousness of societal members.

Greek Orthodox ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew blesses believers during a Christmas mass in Aya Yorgi (St. George) church at Fener Greek orthodox patriarchate in Istanbul

There Was No War: Early Human Savagery Is a Patriarchal Myth … Hiding Our True History, Our True Human Nature as It Rationalizes Civilization and Its Enforced Enslavement as a Boon

In support of this, I quote:

The entire period under discussion, from 3.5 million years ago to about 10,000 years ago, was a peaceful period.  There are no remains of weapons used by humans against humans, no signs of groups of human beings being slaughtered. pigmeos-Mbuti-300x170 Thus the early forms of humanity, far from being savagely aggressive and cruel, were probably a gentle, humorous, peaceable folk, like many tribes living to this day in gentle climates. The picture previously offered of early societies — that of a patrilocal band of related males who exchanged women and treated them as commodities — is a patriarchal construct; such societies probably never existed. Most likely, early gatherer/hunters lived in fluid, flexible egalitarian groups. This is not to say that these people lacked aggressiveness and did not experience conflict. But they developed social skills for dealing with negative interaction; their education focused on personal relations, cooperation, their part in a larger whole.

madadfasfasbuti

RdBirthFly_copyA group life centered on child care and sharing could not survive in a highly aggressive environment.  Intense aggressiveness would have destroyed the species. And among present-day gatherer/hunters, whose customs vary from extreme male dominance to more or less equal but segregated male/female to integrated egalitarian societies, one factor is universal: all live by sharing. A degree of aggressiveness is culturally induced: where it is not valued, it is not strong. This “advance” was left to Homo sapiens and that glory, civilization.  (French, 1985, p. 39)

gfgffgsfgsgsdfgsdfg

Upon which Skibbins (1991) elaborates,

As [Marilyn] French documents in her book Beyond Power, the first three and a half million years of our existence on this planet as hominids and the first 85,000 years walking on this planet as homo sapiens, we lived without war. There are no cave paintings of war. Replace that inaccurate bear killing bundle of testosterone which Wilber paints, with the images of the tribe in the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy.  Research in anthropology and paleontology reveal that we were a gentle, nomadic, primarily vegetarian people. For 95 percent of our lives on our planet both genders shared their love of children, their loyalty to hearth and tribe, and their deep sense of connection with each other and with the earth mother who gave them life.

2238140366_adfafa2217c975f3

Aggression, domination, subjugation, isolation, depersonalization, sowing wild oats and clinging to powerful others are the products of the last 5,000 years.  They reflect the gradual domination of a worldview obsessed with an addiction to power and control.  This pollution has so warped our capacity to love that we believe the differences Wilber describes to be inherent.  Actually they are a symptom of a recent aberration in our history, a disease which we may be nearing the end of. . . .  (Skibbins, 1991)

Civilization-a-disease-hopefully-nearing-the-end-of

So at a certain point some of us began the agricultural attempt to harness the natural order for our benefit. The hunter-gatherer and the agricultural lifestyles correspondingly reflect two radically divergent ways of viewing oneself and the world — two separate attitudes, two different consciousnesses, if you will.

Salvador-Dali-adkg;gkjgasdg

The Original Affluent Society

In the agricultural worldview, people are separated from nature and seek to control it. By contrast, the hunter-gatherer sees in nature a great provider who asks only that one relate harmoniously to it and act in harmony with it. Marshall Sahlins (1972), in the famous anthropological essay titled “The Original Affluent Society,” first published in 1968, which did a lot to expose Western ethnocentric biases in evaluating these early cultures, wrote “a pristine affluence colors their economic arrangements, a trust in the abundance of nature’s resources rather than despair at the inadequacy of human means” (p. 29). But see, also, Colin Turnbull’s (1961) classic, The Forest People, for further help in freeing oneself from the burden of our limiting Western heritage concerning the basic “darkness” of human nature.

Mbuti boys wear grass skirts during their circumcision ceremony.

Basic Trust Versus Basic Mistrust in Relation to the Natural World

From these newer perspectives it is easier to see how, since Nature is seen as beneficent, this dependence on it is not viewed as a problem. Still, it does imply a strong element of basic trust; whereas the agrarian culture seeks to control the natural and economic forces upon which it is dependent and implies basic mistrust.

We Opted for “The Struggle” Over Easy Living

And So We Cast Ourselves Out of the Garden

The relationship for the agricultural society, thus, is one of fear, struggle, attempt to control nature, and to propitiate and appease God — in a word, separation, analogous to the physical separation at birth of the newborn from the mother.

separation-from-god

Notice that at the outset, in The Bible, immediately after being thrown out of Eden, people are agricultural:

And Adam knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.  And she again bare his brother Abel.  And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.  (Genesis, 4:1-2)

We Ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil = We Split Life Into a Duality of Pleasure and Pain, Seeking to Possess One and Avoid the Other … at Great Cost, for We Turned Life Into Great Effort

We, of course, did not really start out keeping sheep and tilling the ground.  So in Genesis the entire period of a hundred-thousand years … or three-million years, if you include our hominid existence … of hunter-gatherer culture is subsumed under the time in Eden. But then, speaking metaphorically, we ate fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We no longer trusted “God” … Nature, Divine Providence, the All That Is … and instead attempted ourselves to gain power over nature by the separation of life into a duality of good and evil and pleasure and pain — struggling to avoid one and possess the other.

ben_goossens_18-600x420

In doing this we began our agricultural lifestyle, and so we were thrust out of The Garden.

Since this did not happen for that 95 to 99 percent of our previous existence, what changed? What was that “apple”?

the-apple-was-separation-from-Nature-at-birth

I contend it was birth pain. And this is what we address next.

neo-wakes-up-within-the-matrix1

Continue with Birth Pain Causes a Feverish Human Mind, Struggling Against Nature and the Divine, Which We Call “Intelligence”: Out of Eden, Part Three — Birth, “Intelligence,” and Culture

Return to Is Birth the Beginning of Consciousness, as We Assume, or Is It the Forgetting of Innate Divine Awareness: Out of Eden, Part One, Birth — An Awakening or a Forgetting?

For an Overview and Links to Other Parts of This Work-in-Progress, Go to Prodigal Human: The Descent of Man

Falls from Grace: The Devolution and Revolution of Consciousness – Michael’s latest book – is now available in print and e-book formats.

at http://www.amazon.com/Falls-Grace-Devolution-Revolution-Consciousness/dp/1499297998/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1400787010&sr=1-3 

Planetmates: The Great Reveal  is also available in print and e-book format.  at https://www.createspace.com/4691119

and at Amazon at

http://www.amazon.com/Planetmates-Great-Reveal-Return-Grace/dp/1496083326/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399084684&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+adzema

To purchase any of Michael Adzema’s books, available in print and e-book formats, go to Michael Adzema’s books at Amazon.

To purchase a signed copy of any of my books, email me at sillymickel@gmail.com … Discount for blog subscribers.

Invite you to join me on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/sillymickel

friend me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sillymickel

Advertisements

The First Retreat from the Natural Self Was Matriarchal Consciousness; It Should Hardly Be Our Goal: You Cannot “Balance” a Duality … You Can Only Transcend One.

ritual-as-shadow

Matriarchy Is Not an Answer to Patriarchy: Is “White Man’s” Pride and Prejudices Keeping Us from Seeing Our Real Solutions, Our Primal Return?

TheGardenOfEden

A Golden Age

The question that naturally arises from the preceding chapter’s conclusions on the current state of affairs and their unfortunately intractable response is, What can be done about the present crisis in consciousness? But in order to do anything about our situation, we must delve a little deeper into understanding this state of consciousness and into how it has come to be that way. A more thorough exposition of exactly that endeavor can be found in several other works of mine (The Great Reveal, Apocalypse Emergency, Apocalypse—No!, 21st Century and Its Discontents, and Adzema, 1993a, 1993b).

From Ancient Greece?

images20120115-195400For our purposes here, I would like to point out that similar conclusions to what we have arrived at about our crisis have been coming forth from many quarters of our culture in modern times. Examples are Rupert Sheldrake’s The Rebirth of Nature, Marilyn French’s Beyond Power, Theodore Roszak’s  The Voice of the Earth, Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, Richard Tarnas’s The Passion of the Western Mind, John White’s The Meeting of Science and Spirit, and Ken Wilber’s Up from Eden. Nevertheless, what almost all of these perspectives lack is a well-grounded anthropological perspective (Beyond Power being the notable exception). Their analysis of the historical process that has brought us to this pass is often heavily conditioned by a Western bias towards history which sees humanity as beginning in ancient Greece during a matriarchal “Golden Age.”

Completely overlooking, in this way, the full 99% of our specie’s history that occurred prior to that time — when we truly did live in harmony with Nature, as foragers and then hunter-gatherers — these theorists naturally come to the conclusion that our problems in consciousness arose when we switched over from a matriarchal mode of existence to a patriarchal one: That is, with the advance of nomadic patriarchal conquerors over the pastoral and agricultural “matriarchal” cultures of the Hellenic period of ancient Greece.

Matriarchal Is Not an Answer to Patriarchal

This is unfortunate because to seek to find a Golden Age in the matriarchal period has required of such writers that they completely overlook many of the obvious shortcomings of the matriarchal view. This is not to say that the matriarchal cultures may not have been more harmonious with Nature … and with their inner natures … than their patriarchal successors. That they were less violent is also true. Therefore, that matriarchal cultures were less “fallen from grace” than patriarchal ones is not something I would dispute.

What I think is crucial to make known, however, is that the matriarchal cultures themselves were also “fallen from grace”: from a previous, even more “golden” state — one which was even less violent and more harmonious with Nature. [Footnote 1]

282021_10151047916457681_1441414004_n

Is “White Man’s” Pride and Prejudices Keeping Us from Seeing Our Real Solutions, Our Primal Return?

But the writers in this area are apparently unaware of the true conditions of cultures outside of or prior to the Western “royal” line. Evidently, they are still to some extent influenced by the Western conditioning which has us scapegoat and denigrate such cultures and viewpoints as “primitive,” “savage,” and “uncivilized.” Thus they have us begin our history with a supposed “Greek miracle,” where we are said to have just “awakened” from a prior collective addiction to superstition, magic, and violence.

Lawlor_iconRobert Lawlor, in his book, Voices of the First Day, is one theorist who has not made such a mistake. In fact, Lawlor’s depiction of the aboriginal Australian world view demonstrate exactly the kind of “unfallenness,” “higher consciousness,” and harmony with Reality that most “matriarchal” theorists think they are espousing. It is one that is more truly in line with what might actually be our Reality — as the cutting edges of our sciences are finally telling us … despite themselves. It is interesting how we have come full circle in this way.

The First Retreat: Matriarchal Consciousness

Nevertheless, in response to the popular “return to the matriarchy” view, it is important to point out that it is not necessarily a good thing to go to matriarchal consciousness as a way of correcting patriarchal consciousness, even if it does represent a marginally better state of affairs.  For one does not correct the problems inherent in a duality by swinging to the other end in that same duality.

You Cannot “Balance” a Duality … You Can Only Transcend One.

That approach simply reinforces that particular split, that particular duality. After all, one would not think it a good idea to go from a period of totalitarian fascism to one of complete anarchy, for example. That would only put in play the forces to create another extreme crackdown. Neither would one consider it wise to swing from an extreme of hedonistic behavior to one of anal-compulsive repression; nor would one wish to order up a period of flood to counter one of drought!

“Balancing” Opposites Is an Impossible Struggle. Only a “Conjunction of Opposites” Brings Transcendence.

Though this pendulum-swinging tendency is often observed, it is hardly a desirable thing.  So, as it turns out, neither is it an ideal solution to go from patriarchality to matriarchality — just to “balance the opposites” . . . as some matriarchal advocates espouse. For doing either of these extremes sets up and reinforces the forces at the opposite extreme, readying them for the next wild swing in the other direction! No, one can only correct a duality by transcending that duality. And transcending, by the way, involves a synthesis — that is, either a going beyond, or a going before, to a state where both elements are not opposed — to a state where there is a “conjunction of opposites,” not their continued opposition.

Primal Consciousness

Hunter-gatherer consciousness — termed paleolithic consciousness by one researcher — and especially the even earlier forager consciousness was characterized by just such a, relatively, non-dualistic acceptance of That Which Is … for the most part. Its way of life, corresponding, has been called the “original affluent society,” in that it is estimated that only four hours a day were needed for attending to survival concerns.

But a mistrust set in.  Fearfulness and intractability in the face of change followed; and hence there arose the desire to attempt to control Nature, rather than to follow Her and conform to Her rhythms.

Continued with Ritual As Shadow: Magic, Ritual, and Superstition Occur with the Beginnings of Ego and the Agrarian Desire to Control Nature — the Matriarchal Consciousness

Return to “Why Did He Do It? White Man.” It Is Only Now That His Own Demise Is at Hand That Rational Man Stops to Reflect — The Primal Return

Footnote

1.  See also Matriarchy: a real solution to the shift in consciousness?

Continue with Ritual As Shadow: Magic, Ritual, and Superstition Occur with the Beginnings of Ego and the Agrarian Desire to Control Nature — the Matriarchal Consciousness

Return to “Why Did He Do It? White Man.” It Is Only Now That His Own Demise Is at Hand That Rational Man Stops to Reflect — The Primal Return

Invite you to join me on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/sillymickel

friend me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sillymickel

%d bloggers like this: