Why did humanity switch from hunter gatherers to farming? | INFJ Forum

Featured Why did humanity switch from hunter gatherers to farming?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by The_Mysterious_Stranger, Jan 12, 2020.

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  1. The_Mysterious_Stranger

    The_Mysterious_Stranger Community Member

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    This is one mystery of history / anthropology I'm trying to figure out. There were literally no conflicts or food shortages when humanity were hunter gatherers. Everyone was equal. There were no hierarchies like monarchies. So why would humans switch to farming? Was humanity better off hunter-gatherers?
     
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  2. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    Agriculture allowed for surpluses in food production. We don't want enough, we want more.

    [​IMG]
     
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    #2 Pin, Jan 12, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
  3. Aneirin

    Aneirin AKA, David. . feel free to use it, I do
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    seems like it was the beginning of the end for mankind.
     
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  4. OP
    The_Mysterious_Stranger

    The_Mysterious_Stranger Community Member

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    I don't see a lot of evidence for that. There were food shortages during farming and wars because of it.
     
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  5. OP
    The_Mysterious_Stranger

    The_Mysterious_Stranger Community Member

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    I think the biggest curse on the earth was the Industrial Age. We see fires in places like Australia and California because of it. And species like Koalas are dying. Also places in Oceans like coral reefs are dying.
     
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  6. OP
    The_Mysterious_Stranger

    The_Mysterious_Stranger Community Member

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    One reason people are probably depressed now days is that people live and work in these box buildings. Humans have been hunter gatherers for 1000s of years, working outside with plants and animals.
     
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  7. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    I'm not saying that there weren't food shortages or war. I'm saying that agriculture lead to surpluses in food production relative to hunter/gathering.

    This is a basic economic fact.
     
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  8. Aneirin

    Aneirin AKA, David. . feel free to use it, I do
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    to quote Bill Nye: '"The planet is on fucking fire"..we are destroying our home, thinking that technology will save us. personally, I think we are fucked
     
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  9. OP
    The_Mysterious_Stranger

    The_Mysterious_Stranger Community Member

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    Yep, and the cause was probably greed. Unfortunately some humans like to "compete" like monarchs, dictators, Donald J. Trump.
     
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  10. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    Competition can be good, games don't have to be zero-sum. I care about poor people too.
     
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  11. Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome

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    There are many books and documentaries about this very subject. The short answer: survival.
     
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  12. Rit4lin

    Rit4lin Community Member

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    I think one could argue too that it was a matter of convenience as per usual. Hunting entailed a certain level of risk depending on the animal hunted, and could take a large amount of time. Agriculture allowed for a greater quantity without the risk of being gored by a boar
     
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    Peppermint Well-known member

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    Are you sure hunter gatherers had no food shortages? Maybe the ice age and the extinction of once ubiquitous probosceans that were hunted out had something to do with it. Incidentally domestication of cattle and the advent of agriculture began in Holocene, which started after the last ice age.
     
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  14. java

    java Community Member

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    Once you have a region where the population density is high enough, it's bound to happen. It doesn't happen overnight, but over several generations. Over their lifetime, children stopped moving as far as their parents did, and they progressively adopted and invested time and energy into other means of subsistence. In South America, I think we still have contemporary examples of hunting-gathering cultures that also practice horticulture and land management (things like slash-and-burn agriculture). It's reasonable to assume a similar thing happened elsewhere, that some kind of hunting/farming hybrid was known and practiced by groups before the grain-based agriculture we're familiar with was adopted on a large scale.

    This happened in six places around the world, usually around a river (Tigris/Euphrates, Nile, Yangtze, Indus) and in the case of the Americas, in the Andes and Mesoamerica. Then, it spread from there, given the incredible cultural advantages it brought (force through numbers, specialization of labor, increase in production, material comfort, development of various trades and knowledges, etc.)
     
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  15. java

    java Community Member

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    As to which one is better... to me, agriculture is obviously the better way to do things.
    Anarcho-primitivists, those who want to reject the agricultural civilization, have some valid arguments, but I think they romanticize primitivism a lot and take for granted the power and opportunities secured by civilization, which solves so many problems for us, problems we don't even think about. Or they want the best of both worlds, the equalitarian politics of primitivism (which probably isn't as guaranteed as we think) with the knowledge and intellectual wealth of civilization.

    In the first world, we're living in better conditions than medieval kings did. When you're that high on the Maslow's hierarchy of needs, new problems like depression and existential crisis start to appear. If the source of your next meal is a daily concern, you simply don't have time to worry about the meaning of life as much as we do.

    I also believe many people ascribe too many of their problems to their culture, their civilization or some phenomenon bigger than themselves.
     
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  16. Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

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    There were no conflicts or food shortages?

    Ahem, I think you’re falling prey to the “noble savage” idea which has been debunked for centuries. Inter-tribal warfare was prevalent and sometimes extremely violent. Food resources were so precarious that a single bad winter could wipe out an entire tribe. From our standpoint life at that time was nasty, brutish and short I’m afraid.

    I’m amazed by how influential Rousseau’s ideas about ‘life before civilisation’ still are.
     
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  17. JustPhil

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    My thoughts only

    A place where people would hunt would typically also be a fertile place for growing food. ie the animals eat the grass on fertile land.
    This would be a good thing in two parts, abundance of animals to hunt and they probably found in these areas the children would also have a better chance of survival. Also being lazy in that they did not want to build a shelter every day they stopped for the day.
    Once there they probably found food staples in the ground that they could seed and grow as food.
    Some stayed in and did this while others ranged out further and hunted the animals.
    Once animals were scarce due to depopulation of natural movement, they had to rely more on what they grew.
    As their "society" grew then they also realised that they would need to range further afield and possibly looked at the domestication of wildlife that we now see as cows, sheep and pigs.
    As they became more proficient, and again being predominantly lazy, they realised that they could "manufacture" all they needed, look after the crops and stock, and have a better life than a wandering nomadic tribe. The children were healthier and as such produced more capable and healthier offspring.
    Of course this would have happened over thousands of years. I could see it happening this way :)
     
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  18. Hostarius

    Hostarius τέλος

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    Lol, Phil.

    The paradox of human industry is that it's motivated by a fundamental laziness - do this now, and I won't have to do that later.
     
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  19. Korg

    Korg Banging on the walls

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    How do you know this? This seems like a baseless claim, but I could be wrong. I'm assuming you're talking about prehistory (13,000 BC and older)?

    IIRC, relics from that era sometimes point towards warfare, personal adornments (probably to indicate status or increase odds in sexual competition), money, weapons and so forth. Cave paintings from 30k+ years ago show humans battling each other.


    Maybe, but depression and suicide existed long before the industrial age and fluctuate a lot during it which tells me the correlation is loose. It's certainly a contributing factor, but it's not the sole reason.

    You seem like a philosophical type. Read up Emile Durkheim and 'Anomie'; I think that's a greater cause of depression and alienation than industry.
     
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  20. dragulagu

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    Let me refer you to: https://www.infjs.com/threads/how-did-language-originate.37002/
     
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