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We don't have civilization today. We have a consumption machine that has gone of the rails trapping everyone from CEOs, Generals, Judges, Politicians to Janitors in mindless superficial activity. We have more in common with an ant colony than whatever civilization ideal anyone ever imagined. Radim on Oct 8, This is an interesting point.

I was born in East Europe "behind the iron curtain", but lived in the west for a long time. And then East Asia for even longer. There are huge differences in how people perceive "civilization" and how "trapped" they feel vs actually are. The west with its rigorous rules, both explicit and implicit. Regulation of every facet of your life, to a degree you don't realize it's so natural! South East Asia with its reckless freedom, or downright anarchy Thailand.

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The social pressure is applied more on the family level. There are few explicit regulations, and even where they do exist, you're half expected to ignore them. All of this is changing of course. As Gibson said, "The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed". There is no doubt in which direction the civilization is moving. Individual human ingenuity is an outstanding achievement, but isn't evolution always oh-so-squinting toward larger, more integrated, more efficient structures? The game of entropy. The naive integration attempts in the 20th century didn't work out so well, but the pressure is building again.

Maybe this time. Honestly I will be extremely happy when people from south east Asia or from Europe or from everywhere in the world will be banned from driving and self driving cars can do it, wasting so much less lives. I have never been to Thailand, but in the two times that I have been in Philippines I have seen two corpses under a blanket because of two separate road accidents.

Much, much, better to limit the so called "freedom" of some people if it helps to save innocent human lives. People who would trade freedom for safety deserve neither. And anyone who mentions it will get marginalized. I doubt you or the parent commenter are going to be marginalized because of that comment is any way. The fact that you can have these beliefs and express them in a public forum is a sign of how civilized things actually are. There are plenty people alive that have lived through times where that wasn't an option. Talking to them might give you some perspective. Rest assured that I'm not making such a remark without having some perspective.

Of course you can express your opinion freely, as long as it is irrelevant and pretty much nobody listens. That's why I can make such a comment here: nobody cares. Talking to some people who were abused and tortured today in so-called democratic countries might give you some perspective. Most people didn't choose their parents, their gender, their skin color, their poverty level, their childhood religious beliefs, what highschool they went to, their birth location, the job opportunities around their birth location, their spouse's choice's, their illness itenerary, etc..

So it's definitely interesting to read someine accurately describe a systematic problem then at the last second blame the victims and not the system. Many of them could easily solve the problem by changing their life style, but that would mean giving up on some ambitions, social status and luxury. It's a choice one makes, not something you're forced into, so I really don't see them as victims, at least not victims of the society. It makes our life eaiser in those extreme times when a safety net is needed. We pay for this by spending our normal days working in office buildings and paying insurance premiums instead of fishing and picking fruit.

It's a classic case of selling freedom for security. The only time I'm relaxed and feel happy is when I am out in untamed nature - seeing and hearing nature. It doesn't matter if its just a hike or "working" hard on trail maintenance. If this[1] is true, "Every 2. It seems like expulsion from the biosphere. I wonder if other people feel this way, whether consciously or not. There's also a huge mental cost induced by society.

Everything, has to have a purpose, a ROI; everything has a price even free, it takes space.

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When you live in nature, you just do as you feel. No reference, no efficiency, it's freeing; and that's a feeling you rarely get in society. Just to be clear: everything in nature also has a ROI of sorts. I would say people who live in nature are also constrained by their environment and have to be very economical. They depend on their tribe, on the cycle of seasons and the weather, have to be prepared for chance meetings with predators, can't fully prepare for other things like trauma, infection and natural disaster etc.

The closest you can currently get to "doing as you feel", involves moving to Europe and becoming dependent on the socialist state. You can live for free in a flat forever, never have to work, get free health care for every booboo, just hang out all day surrounded by people who do the same thing. I would say this is currently the state of the art in living an unnatural life. And as a result, you might end up being miserable. But I do sort of understand what you mean; our brains were built for living in natural environments.

These impose fairly random and complex constraints, with stress coming in big but short-lived peaks and real family being constantly around. Living in a concrete jungle and having constant low level stress, doing and eating the exact same things every day, taking pills for every little ill is a recipe for alienation and early death.

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Your view of the welfare state seems extremely skewed. One can certainly not just move here and profit. Well not sure what country you're in. I did live in the middle of it for many years. This is just my personal impression of the system. But I don't intend for this to become a political discussion. To me, this is just an effective example of how "doing what you feel like" can be very different from living in nature or in a natural state and being happy. Well we came out of the jungles, it's in our genes. Humans don't belong to the jungles of concrete.

There was research done at the hospitals in the 80s that by having a window with a view to nature in the patient's recovery room after the surgery. The person was discharged couple of days early, had to take less painkillers and had less post surgery complications. Now they just discharge the patient. It worked out okay, but I didn't realize I should have had a wheelchair on hand recently when I picked someone up from a relatively straightforward orthopedic surgery.

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Don't confuse technological advancement with overpopulation. The former directly impacts the reduction in natural spaces, the latter is loosely related but only through the former , at best. If we didn't have to house and satisfy with resources so many folks, we wouldn't need to have to expand so much into natural spaces. I feel the opposite way. In my mind raw nature is chaos and unpredictability. It's hard to relax when I'm not at least in medium sized town. Its a giant gladiator ring with animals killing each other every minute.

From our perch at the top of the food chain we can call nature peaceful. I'm not sure a rabbit would feel the same way. Part of the calm relaxing feeling many of us get being out in nature may be the comfort of knowing that we completely dominate the entire environment. I was going to say the same thing. If being in nature makes some people happy, that's great, but it's not a universal truth. I feel the same which is why I moved to a mountain village a long time ago. We are thinking of moving to the edge of a rainforest within a year. Maybe they are, humans have never been rational.

It is much more important to have vaccines and antibiotics than to be happy. People reading this crap who then get the urge to strip down to a loincloth and run into the woods should be aware that these viewpoints always portray the best case scenario. What if someone mugs you and takes your stuff. What if another tribe comes in and says understandably "look, food is scarce, we're claiming this herd of gazelle.

If you hunt these gazelle, we'll kill you. If you're a man, what if your wife gets raped, are you gonna go kill the guy? What if you get killed trying to do that, what happens to your wife? No, living under modern society is much better, happy or not. JoshMnem on Oct 8, I think that part of the argument is about happiness -- not about death. I ran around in the woods with a figurative loincloth for many years and there is something to it.

Spending time with people further towards the bottom of modern society will give a less positive outlook on modern happiness. After a while, they had plenty of chances to escape and return, and yet they did not. In one case, the Shawanese Indians were compelled to tie up some European women in order to ship them back. After they were returned, the women escaped the colonial towns and ran back to the Indians. Even as late as , the pattern was still going strong.

I'm not sure you know enough to compare the two. Disease, for example, is mostly a product of settled societies, not hunter-gatherers. Crime was a different issue as well, when tribes knew all the members. And sure, tribes had conflicts, but they were often not as violent as the total wars of the last couple centuries.

I'm surprised so many people who know nothing except modern society are so quick to make sweeping assumptions about a distant and unrecorded past. They are also comparing it to the best outcomes for individuals in modern society. It's not like people don't still get raped, killed over resources, and finished off prematurely by disease and starvation. I'm not sure modern civilization would look the same without a long and continuing history of people sacrificed at the altar of progress.

It's a common misconception that the job of police is to help people. Their job is to apprehend and arrest people.

The Hunter-Gatherer Way: Putting Back the Apple by Ffyona Campbell (Paperback, 2012)

Whether that actually helps anyone or not is highly situational. Same logic applies to medicine and insurance. Their job is to apprehend and arrest people who break laws. In a society without them, there's no one to arrest those who assault you, rob from you, rape you, or murder you. And if you don't think that's necessary you are incredibly naive.

The point is that they may be ncessary, but they're not sufficient. CryptoPunk on Oct 8, This is not a settled question. The references in your link are mostly new-world non-state nonstate! There are significant differences in environmental constraints and physical and social ecology between these regions. The link also mischaracterises the argument that anthropologists make: they do not believe that foragers had a fundamentally different "noble savage in a Marxist feminist garden" character than moderns, but that their incentives and constraints differed.

It is hard to find people to war with if you are living at extremely low population density, or to carry out ambush raids along long sightlines in the savannah. You are probably less likely to murder your neighbours' children if they are your nieces, or fail to share food with your brother's wife. Hunter-gatherer social technology exploiting human biases e. My understanding is that it's a settled question and that the evidence of extremely high homicide rates in hunter gatherer societies is overwhelming.

If you have any links suggesting otherwise, I'd be interested in seeing them.


As for relatedness, that's relative no pun intended. If everyone within square kilometres is at a genetic distance of a second or third cousin, then a second cousin is the base for a non-relative. In any case, regardless of why precisely it is that violent death is so common pre-modern and especially pre-state societies, it's abundantly clear that it is.

Regarding low population densities, you'll notice that Australian Aborigine tribes are represented in that chart and exhibit murder rates that are far higher than those in modern societies. They do however have the lowest homicide rates among hunter gatherer tribes. The highest homicide rates are found in the Amazon rainforest, where population densities would be highest. It is clear that homicide rates were higher in the past than they are in modern societies.

What is not clear is whether hunter-gatherer homicide rates were higher than those of pre-modern agriculturalists. The "other" was known, cementing feelings of kinship, but distant. The most violent societies according to your charts are post-band but pre-state with relatively high population density. That is not in contradiction with the "foragers nonviolent compared to other pre-state and comparable to earlier state societies" model. The interesting question is whether there may have been two optima for human organisation - one at very low population density mobile foraging, the other at the point of the modern state.

The modern state may be preferable to the first optimum, but the idea that it takes 10, of evolutionary search time to find the second hill is fascinating. This is also not a settled question. Many scientists believe that the incentives and constraints on settled peoples led to very different genetic pressures, thus leading to a very different character in modern societies than those from from a mere 10kk years ago. Maybe you're thinking of large scale epidemics, but the most common cause of death in tribal settings are modernly treatable infections.

While I definitely do not agree with your value judgement, people should in fact accept that the tradeoff was made for them. Is this really true? That it's better to live until 70 or 80 and be unhappy your whole life, than to have a happy life while running the risk of an early death from a preventable disease or infection? I know which I'd pick. It is obviously better to be happy than sad, but you've ignored 2 facts: 1 humans are very bad at appreciating what they have, and 2 humans are very bad at predicting what will make them happy.

People who are tired of this "grass is always greener" capitalist world and yearn for simpler things are doing exactly that, thinking that the "grass is greener" on the other side when it isn't. All people will eventually become miserable in the wilderness because of some tragedy, then they die, that's how nature works. Thus it is more important to have vacciness and antibiotics than to be happy because your brain is stupid and irrational, doesn't appreciate what it has, and fantasizes of edenic states elsewhere that don't exist.

Also, you know which one you would pick. You've already picked it. As technology increases, there's nothing preventing you from slowly moving out into the wilderness besides an acknowledgement that modern comforts are worth it. It requires dozens of humans to band together for any chance of survival and reproduction. Even then it can't just be done in a vacant lot; it requires an ecosystem such as only exists today in national parks and reserves, where hunting and gathering is not allowed.

So just because a single person can't just walk into the bushes and survive, doesn't mean that the 21st Century urban lifestyle is superior to a hunter-gatherer society in every way. It's not an either-or: both have advantages. I find articles like this ridiculous. Plenty of things in the modern world is bad for your mental health. Social sites like Facebook, hacker news and so on are constant reminders that you're missing out. You didn't go to a social event last night and you still haven't picked up JavaScript, etc.

On top of that research show that people now read comments rather than articles It may just be me, but reading comments in general isn't a positive thing in my life. I mean, I enjoy the discussions on HN and often I walk away informed, but the time it takes could've been spent better.

I've been here 30 minutes today. That's about how long it takes me to read a scientific article on a subject I'm interested in, and when I do that I typically walk away both informed, inspired and with a few ideas of my own. Which is the point I want to get to. Not everyone in the west is suffering. There are people who apply their focus to meaningful subjects and have interesting people to discuss them with.

There are people who spend their Saturday walking in the forest. There are people who have enough wealth to live healthy lives with large degrees of individual freedom, and lastly there are people who combine all those things and lead truely impactful lives. I think those people are a lot more happy than hunter gatherers ever were, while also enjoying the fruits of modern technology enabling them to live beyond 35, not seeing half their children die, having easy access to a wealth of knowledge and in generally enjoying unsurpassed freedom.

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Top19 on Oct 8, Look I hate Facebook, Google, the news, prefer physical books, like to exercise, whatever but I always hate seeing this stuff. In Western society there are always two lies operating at once. The first lie is that technology will save us and fix everything and is the ultimate path, the second lie is that throwing away all of our technology, being as close to nature as possible, blah blah will also save us and fix everything. One thing happier people do in fact have is a sense of historical perspective and also future sacrifice.

Knowing the sacrifice that mothers and fathers made before you to move the human race hopefully a little forward, and knowing that you can help pass along their sacrifice, knowledge, and your own hard work to your children, grandchildren, and subsequent generations. One of the things that was pointed out last time this topic came up only a few weeks ago is that most all of us who benefit from modern civilization enough so to be commenting about it on HN are enabled by massive amounts of cheap, wage-slave labor from the poorer half of the world.

When you buy cheap cloths at Walmart or even at the brands, just have a look at the tag. Your luxury is at the cost of cheap wage slave labour or a child labour in a third world country. These are the very companies which cheaply outsourced customer support to start with. That cheap labor is exactly what has brought countless people out of extreme poverty in many countries that over the years have had the competitive advantage of cheap labor. This is how Japan and south Korea started.

You can see it in process with China and many others. I'm not sure how taking away what little industry they have by refusing to buy their products helps these countries. While I find it said that children are working in many countries today, I'm also not glib enough to think that is those jobs are taken away, their parents will just send them to school instead and they'll go on to live a happy life. Farmers and other poor from China's interior make a different calculus. Many move to the eastern parts of the country to work in those factories because they are a better alternative to what they have back home.

It's not all that different from kids in Podunk USA moving to bigger cities for better opportunities despite "the rat race" in cities. If north America and Europe had not essentially outsourced their labor to China and India, we'd have two billion more people living in extreme poverty, burning wood stoves, etc. Farmers are not the same thing as hunter gatherers though. That's just not true. It's possible for both us "over here in the west" to benefit from "cheap labor" elsewhere, and for the people providing the "cheap labor" to benefit as well!

It's a win-win in most cases, which is why over the last 40 years more people have moved out of poverty than at any other point in human history. Are you really so different that for you this will be such and impossible situation that you'd throw yourself to the wilderness? These garment factory workers don't have the option to become hunter-gather. There probably is nothing to gather or hunt around where they live and the skills to do it are lost. We are comparing two models of society. Are humans in our capitalistic society happier on average than hunter-gatherers of the past?

This misses the whole point of the article, and injects a political agenda into a conversation about how wealth in the west isn't helping happiness. I don't think it's unfair to say that I would benefit from one less day of using my computer per week and exchange it for going outside and reading at the park or going on a hike or biking. Or that abstaining from social media but still having access to online content would benefit my brain.

Instead, I think it's fair to say I should be more open about being discriminating on the technology we use instead of naively accepting every new hot thing as being good for us as long as we have the discipline to moderate. I know of people who basically lost years of their lives to World of Warcraft, which is entirely why I never ever touched that game with a ten foot pole because I know my susceptibility to those games. In a sense, I feel like we just all need to be honest about our own limits and acknowledge that technology has a drawback that is not insignificant.

The title refers to a completely different lifestyle, not an added day of leisure. What was his stance on email? I made a bet to avoid eating or drinking anything with added sugar for a month. Since wild boar and other wild animal species are lean, compared to their domesticated cousins, most of the fat the hunters ate came from raw materials such as marine mammals, fatty fish and nuts.

This is partly because they used their bodies more than we do today. The starch sources that the archaeologists have so far found include acorns and sea beet, the latter of which is the ancestor of both the beetroot and the sugar beet. Compared to today, the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic diets included lots of proteins, less fat and fewer, though some, carbohydrates. A healthy diet was as important to Stone Age hunters as it to modern man.

So ScienceNordic asked Pia Bennike, a biological anthropologist and lecturer at Copenhagen University, to bring out the boxes of Neolithic bones and tell us about their condition. The only sweet food available at the time was honey. The advantage with the starch sources they had, e. This occurs in line with people starting to eat more carbohydrates, but also much more finely processed food.

Their life expectancy, however, was a lot shorter than it is for modern man. Both factors have probably played a part, but the level of physical activity in particular makes a difference. It may also be an evolutionary feature because the further we go back in time, the stronger the bones.

Calcium is crucial to the quality and strength of our bones. Today we are advised to drink milk because of its high calcium content. But milk was not featured in the Stone Age diet, so the hunters must have found their calcium elsewhere. Stone Age hunters had strong bones and strong teeth. They lived active lives and ate a coarse diet, consisting of anything edible that they could get their hands on. Read the Danish version of this article at videnskab.

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