Peaceful primitive people were a myth

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Peaceful primitive people were a myth

Our society tends to portray pre western primitive people as mostly peaceloving. It serves as a kind of comparison that we now are more warlike, and that in the past people were more "attuned to nature" but this interesting book shows that the opposite is true.

The world today is more peaceful and peaceloving than in the past.

Some good ideas here, I'll quote them below...

... Quote:
A few years ago, I asked Tim Rice, who'd just written the lyrics for Disney's Aladdin and The Lion King, why he wasn't doing Pocahontas.

"Well, the minute they mentioned it," he said, "I knew the Brits would be the bad guys. I felt it was my patriotic duty to decline."

Sure enough, when the film came out, John Smith and his men were the bringers of environmental devastation to the New World.

"They prowl the earth like ravenous wolves," warns the medicine man, whereas Chief Powhatan wants everyone to be "guided to a place of peace."

Fortunately, Captain Smith comes to learn from Pocahontas how to "paint with all the colours of the wind."

In reality, Pocahontas's fellow Algonquin Indians were preyed on by the Iroquois, "who took captives home to torture them before death," observes Nicholas Wade en passant.

... Quote:
Do you remember that fabulously preserved 5,000-year-old man they found in a glacier in 1991?

He had one of those copper axes the experts assured us were an early unit of currency. Unfortunately for this theory, he had it hafted in a manner that suggested he wasn't asking, "Can you break a twenty?" "He also had with him," notes professor Keeley, "a dagger, a bow, and some arrows; presumably these were his small change."

Nonetheless, anthropologists concluded that he was a shepherd who had fallen asleep and frozen peacefully to death in a snowstorm. Then the X-ray results came back and showed he had an arrowhead in him.

... Quote:
Lawrence Keeley calculates that 87 per cent of primitive societies were at war more than once per year, and some 65 per cent of them were fighting continuously.

"Had the same casualty rate been suffered by the population of the twentieth century," writes Wade, "its war deaths would have totaled two billion people."

Two billion! In other words, we're the aberration: after 50,000 years of continuous human slaughter, you, me, Bush, Cheney, Blair, Harper, Rummy, Condi, we're the nancy-boy peacenik crowd.

"The common impression that primitive peoples, by comparison, were peaceful and their occasional fighting of no serious consequence is incorrect.

Warfare between pre-state societies was incessant, merciless, and conducted with the general purpose, often achieved, of annihilating the opponent."
By netchicken: posted on 23-7-2006

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