posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 12:38 AM
Note: I didn't know where to put this. It was originally intended as a response to another post, but was far too specific to an OP quip I disagreed
with than the real substance of his post. In otherwords, it would have been OT. Still, I wanted to post this given the level of interest in
self-sufficiency here on ATS. So I hope this is in the right forum, and if not, please feel free to close or move it.
It never hurts to be self-sufficient, but I think the problem is that self-sufficiency for every individual is fairly untenable for a society. One
could almost see societies as a sort of super-organism. There are obvious parallels between society and biological functions. Individuals could be
likened to cells. Our trade and transportation the arteries of society. Etc.
At one point in time, much of humanity was self-sufficient. We existed in only small nomadic tribes that scratched out a living from we could hunt or
gather from the local environment. However, as mankind learned to harness the power of agriculture, we gained a valuable advantage of having food
grown and stored so as to provide during lean times. This limited our nomadic wanderings and formed the first basic societies.
So now we had the ability for a relatively small segment of the population to provide enough food for the whole. This freed up valuable human
resources through which we could specialize skills. Not everyone needed to know how to fight, we had armies for defense. Not everyone needed to know
how to create tools, we had blacksmiths. As the level of specialization increased, the people became less and less self-sufficient - and learned to
rely on others in that society to take care of needs for them.
Going back to the super-organism analogy a moment. Single Celled organisms are highly self sufficient, however a cell from a multi-cellular organism
is reliant on the infrastructure of cooperation the whole provides for it's sustenance. The same could be said of our societies as super-organisms.
We have a multitude of varying specialized individuals working cooperatively to sustain the whole of the organism (society). The whole, the society,
is capable of advancements and feats far surpassing that of what is achievable on the individual level. Thus, it provides greater survivability
potential to the individual through group cooperation than a specialization in self-sufficiency.
Humanity cannot truly go back to being self-sufficient on the individual level without a significant detriment to society as a whole. While it is
preferable to diversify one's knowledge base and skill sets, to put them all into constant practice is too heavy a burden on time and resources, and
ultimately leaves the individual as more or less of limited (or no use) to society as a whole - even if useful to themselves or immediate family unit.
In the long run, and on a grander scale, this leaves our species as a whole much weaker - as we are unable to deal as effectively with threats.
For instance, consider how effective the self-sufficient and tribal Native Americans were against the Super Organism societies which invaded their