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* Their work week is short enough to make us drool in envy.
* They enjoy almost unbelievable egalitarianism
* The religious gasp at their high levels of sexual freedom, experimentation, and enjoyment.
* They're damn happy people, laughing freely way more than we do.
* Outside a division of labor, women have total social equality with men.
* They rarely resort to violence or war
* Strong social safety nets in most of their societies support the disabled, old, and in many cases, even the lazy.
* They usually live to be at least as old as we do
* Their health is more robust than ours, and they're frequently immune to diseases ravaging their sedentary neighbors.
* Their social lives are rich, and they have the free time to indulge themselves.
* With a few exceptions, their lifestyle lets them live in harmony with the earth, relying mostly on renewable resources, and keeping their numbers at a sustainable level.
* Their senses appear many times sharper than their own, and many seem curiously immune to extremes of temperature.
* Their strength often seems unbelievable.
* They intelligently use their time to create more productive environments that needs little care.
Almost universally, anthropologists remark on how ridiculously happy hunter gatherers seem to be. Laughter is far more common in their societies.
Of the !Kung: "Bursts of laughter accompany the conversations. Sometimes the !Kung laugh mildly with what we would call a sense of humor about people and events; often they shriek and howl as though laughter were an outlet for tension. They laugh at mishaps that happen to other people, like the lions eating up someone else's meat, and shriek over particularly telling and insulting sexual sallies...(15)".
Laurens van der Post expressed wonder at the exuberant San laugh, which rises "sheer from the stomach, a laugh you never hear among civilized people. (17)."
There's little wonder why. With no stressful work and plenty of time to socialize with friends and family, or engage in other pursuits they enjoy, what's not to be happy about?
Observing a prisoner exchange between the Iroquois and the French in upper New York in 1699, Cadwallader Colden is blunt: “ notwithstanding the French Commissioners took all the Pains possible to carry Home the French, that were Prisoners with the Five Nations, and they had full Liberty from the Indians, few of them could be persuaded to return. “Nor, he has to admit, is this merely a reflection on the quality of French colonial life, “for the English had as much Difficulty” in persuading their redeemed to come home, despite what Colden would claim were the obvious superiority of English ways:
No Arguments, no Intreaties, nor Tears of their Friends and Relations, could persuade many of them to leave their new Indian Friends and Acquaintance; several of them that were by the Caressings of their Relations persuaded to come Home, in a little Time grew tired of our Manner of living, and run away again to the Indians, and ended their Days with them. On the other Hand, Indian Children have been carefully educated among the English, cloathed and taught, yet, I think, there is not one Instance, that any of these, after they had Liberty to go among their own People, and were come to Age, would remain with the English, but returned to their own Nations, and became as fond of the Indian Manner of Life as those that knew nothing of a civilized Manner of Living. And, he concludes, what he says of this particular prisoner exchange “has been found true on many other Occasions.”
Benjamin Franklin was even more pointed: When an Indian child is raised in white civilization, he remarks, the civilizing somehow does not stick, and at the first opportunity he will go back to his red relations, from whence there is no hope whatever of redeeming him. But when white persons of either sex have been taken prisoners young by the Indians, and have lived a while among them, tho’ ransomed by their Friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness toprevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a Short time they become disgusted with our manner of life, and the care and pains that are necessary to support it, and take the firstgood Opportunity of escaping again into the Woods, from whence there is no reclaiming them.
There was always the great woods, and the life to be lived within it was, Crevecoeur admits, “singularly captivating,” perhaps even superior to that so boasted of by the transplanted Europeans. For, as many knew to their rueful amazement, “thousands of Europeans are Indians, and we have no examples of even one of those aborigines having from choice become Europeans!”
[I] "A People's History of the United States" [/I]
The managers of Gulag's islands tell us that the swimmers, crawlers, walkers and fliers spent their lives working in order to eat.
These managers are broadcasting their news too soon. The varied beings haven't all been exterminated yet. You, reader, have only to mingle with them, or just watch them from a distance, to see that their waking lives are filled with dances, games and feasts. Even the hunt, the stalking and feigning and leaping, is not what we call Work, but what we call Fun.
The only beings who work are the inmates of Gulag's islands, the zeks. The zeks ancestors did less work than a corporation owner. They didn't know what work was.
They lived in a condition J.J. Rousseau called the state of nature. Rousseau's term should be brought back into common use. It grates on the nerves of those who, in R. Vaneigem's words, carry cadavers in their mouths. It makes the armor visible. Say the state of nature and you'll see the cadavers peer out.
Insist that freedom and the state of nature are synonyms, and the cadavers will try to bite you. The tame, the domesticated, try to monopolize the word freedom; they'd like to apply it to their own condition. They apply the word wild to the free. But it is another public secret that the tame, the domesticated, occasionally become wild but are never free so long as they remain in their pens.
[B] But none of them ever worked. And everyone knows it. The armored Christians who later “discovered” these communities knew that these people did no work, and this knowledge grated on Christian nerves, it rankled, it caused cadavers to peep out. The Christians spoke of women who did “lurid dances” in their fields instead of confining themselves to chores; they said hunters did a lot of devilish “hocus pocus” before actually drawing the bowstring. [/B]
These Christians, early time-and-motion engineers, couldn’t tell when play ended and work began. Long familiar with the chores of zeks, the Christians were repelled by the lurid and devilish heathen who pretended that the Curse of Labor had not fallen on them. The Christians put a quick end to the “hocus pocus” and the dances, and saw to it that none could fail to distinguish work from play.
Our ancestors I’ll borrow Turner’s term and call them the Possessed had more important things to do than to struggle to survive.
[I] Fredy Perlman: Against His-story, Against Leviathan! (1983) [/I]
Today “work and more work” is the accepted way of doing things. If anything, improvements to the labor-saving machinery since the 1920s have intensified the trend. Machines can save labor, but only if they go idle when we possess enough of what they can produce. In other words, the machinery offers us an opportunity to work less, an opportunity that as a society we have chosen not to take. Instead, we have allowed the owners of those machines to define their purpose: not reduction of labor but higher productivity—and with it the imperative to consume virtually everything that the machinery can possibly produce.
Crazy Horse, Tashunkewitko of the western Sioux, was born about 1845. Killed at Fort Robinson, Nebraska in 1877, he lived barely 33 years.
As a boy, Crazy Horse seldom saw white men. Sioux parents took pride in teaching their sons and daughters according to tribal customs. Often giving food to the needy, they exemplified self-denial for the general good. They believed in generosity, courage, and self-denial, not a life based upon commerce and gain.
One winter when Crazy Horse was only five, the tribe was short of food. His father, a tireless hunter, finally brought in two antelope. The little boy rode his pony through the camp, telling the old folks to come for meat, without first asking his parents. Later when Crazy Horse asked for food, his mother said, "You must be brave and live up to your generous reputation."
It was customary for young men to spend much time in prayer and solitude, fasting in the wilderness --typical of Sioux spiritual life which has since been lost in the contact with a material civilization.
Edmund Morgan imagines their mood as he writes in his book American Slavery, American Freedom:
If you were a colonist, you knew that your technology was superior to the Indians'. You knew that you were civilized, and they were savages... . But your superior technology had proved insufficient to extract anything. The Indians, keeping to themselves, laughed at your superior methods and lived from the land more abundantly and with less labor than you did... . And when your own people started deserting in order to live with them, it was too much. ... So you killed the Indians, tortured them, burned their villages, burned their cornfields. It proved your superiority, in spite of your failures. And you gave similar treatment to any of your own people who succumbed to their savage ways of life. But you still did not grow much. Black slaves were the answer.
Why isn't our life easier than theirs ? With all our inventions ?
Sitting Bull also knew techniques of healing and carried medicinal herbs, though he was not a medicine man.
Because of his status as a wichasha wakan, Sitting Bull was a member of the Buffalo Society, a dream society for those who dreamt of buffalo. He also was a member of the Heyoka, a society for those who dreamed of thunderbirds.
If the Wheel was invented in the hunter gatherer society (of course , to ease the burden of transport), that would give arise to occupations of a wheel maker, a cart maker etc ....giving rise to occupations..which like what we do would be a 5 hr job and would give rise to the work-eat-sleep cycle.
Originally posted by getreadyalready
reply to post by coredrill
We are creating the throw-away lifestyle that leads to pollution on the manufacturing and consuming end. We are creating a false-demand for our products on purpose, and then complaining that we have to work harder to make more products?!