[ExI] what the hell was i thinking?

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Thu Mar 14 23:54:21 UTC 2019

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf Of
Keith Henson
Subject: Re: [ExI] what the hell was i thinking?

Spike wrote:

>>..."In the old days, there were early agricultural civilizations forming,
and civilizations recognizing the advantages of working together in big
groups beyond one's family, central governments and so forth.  As in nature,
where there are plants, plant eaters evolve, and carnivores evolve.  A
civilization equivalent to that would be the agricultural society would be
loosely analogous to the vegetarian or grazing beasts.  Then raiding
societies evolve, which do not farm land, but go invade existing farm land,
kill the inhabitants if they fail to flee, devour their crops, then move on,
in a way roughly analogous to the pack of hyenas or pride of lions."

>...I keep up with the work in this area and have never heard of this model.
If you have a pointer to an article or two on the subject I would be most
interested... Keith

Keith don't take it more seriously than it deserves.  I invented the notion,
my main source being breezy leisure speculation from a tragically idle

The reason I find this whole line of speculation interesting is in relation
to a particular technological advance: writing.  Consider that some of our
oldest written historical records come from the point of view of one of
those predator packs.  Read on please.

Imagine the scenario where there are early agricultural societies forming,
which creates an attractive target for predatory groups.  These groups are
making their living by going around knocking off agricultural
establishments.  Practicing their warrior skills, they hone their weapons
and get good at using them.  OK cool.

Now they happen upon the land of Canaan, send in spies, like what they see,
arrange for their prophets to see visions and have God instruct them to go
in there and take that place as their homeland.  That's how the trouble
started, and it is still with us to this day.

The whole story is found in Numbers chapter 13.

Long story short: they invade, they win, they settle, they write about what
happened.  We know that writing is a critically important technology, for it
establishes continuity in any culture.  It also introduces new troubles:
once written, writing doesn't change, even if culture does.

Be that as it may, this predator pack created some of our oldest surviving
historical records.  So some of the earliest history we have in the west was
written from the point of view of the predator/invader.  We don't have
surviving records from the people who were there already when the invaders
arrived with instructions from their god to take their land and the weapons
to make it happen.

People making their living invading existing agricultural establishments
will generally not develop art.  That would be too hard to transport while
wandering about in the wilderness for 40 years.  They won't develop
architecture since they will be moving on soon.  They will develop weapons
and writing.  They develop writing because books are relatively easy to
transport, and weapons because they need them to slay the infidel.

Consequence: some of our earliest written history is from the point of view
of the invader.

Consequence: modern descendants of that warrior culture are to this day
known for remarkable accomplishments in letters and weapons technology.

This is the world according to spike.


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