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Old 04-19-2010, 02:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The story of your enslavement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xbp6u...layer_embedded
My friend showed me this video the other day. What do you think of it?
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:01 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I found it entertaining, enough so to watch the entire 13 minute video. I think people are always slaves, not to one thing or another but a large number of things. Regardless of any changes we could ever make, this will never change. I'm not sure anyone who truly enjoys life, can stop fearing death. I like things they are now, I very much see our environment vastly and constantly improving. Today is the best world we as humans have ever lived in.
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Old 04-19-2010, 04:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I like things they are now, I very much see our environment vastly and constantly improving. Today is the best world we as humans have ever lived in.
I don't understand how people can make these claims. How do you know this is the best world humans have ever lived in? What is your criteria? How can you account for the multitude of all human experience? I'm not saying it isn't necessarily true, but more like its not a knowable thing. A peasant in feudal times might say the same thing couched in the ideology of a monotheistic order of being.

In terms of freedom, you could argue that the best world people ever inhabited was 300,000 years ago. There simply weren't enough humans around to make the threat of force a compelling constraint. All we've done since then is traded our constraints from nature for the constraints of each other(and are again coming up against the constraints of nature.)
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Old 04-20-2010, 01:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Iuanes View Post
I don't understand how people can make these claims. How do you know this is the best world humans have ever lived in? What is your criteria? How can you account for the multitude of all human experience? I'm not saying it isn't necessarily true, but more like its not a knowable thing. A peasant in feudal times might say the same thing couched in the ideology of a monotheistic order of being.
Well people can make these claims based off of the differences between what we know about previous times and today, while weighing how the differences would effect the human experience. I mean its a very easy thing to think about. For me, I'm basing my opinion on: literacy, communication, technology, medicine, transportation.

I mean life is much easier now, we have much more free time we live longer, we're more educated, we're way healthier, and because of advancements in transportation we can go and see places we never could before. I don't think its even close.

In every aspect of life, today's world just greatly exceeds any time previously.
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Old 04-20-2010, 01:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Maybe for 1/3 of the worlds population or less. While certainly these 'marvels' of civilization exist it doesn't necessarily mean that people have them, or that they improve the experience of life. Technology, communication, literacy, medicine all work within a personal, social and environmental context.

Its not like its just a checklist of properties that this world has. What matters in any time is who you are and what position you occupy in the world.

I would argue that are understanding of the past is extremely limited.

Since the advent of agriculture humanity has actually had less free time. Industrialization and wage earning have maintained this. Hunter-gatherer societies for example spent less time on 'work' than the modern individual.
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Old 04-21-2010, 12:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Iuanes View Post
Maybe for 1/3 of the worlds population or less. While certainly these 'marvels' of civilization exist it doesn't necessarily mean that people have them, or that they improve the experience of life. Technology, communication, literacy, medicine all work within a personal, social and environmental context.

Its not like its just a checklist of properties that this world has. What matters in any time is who you are and what position you occupy in the world.

I would argue that are understanding of the past is extremely limited.

Since the advent of agriculture humanity has actually had less free time. Industrialization and wage earning have maintained this. Hunter-gatherer societies for example spent less time on 'work' than the modern individual.
Exactly. For the 1/3rd of the worlds population or less. If you want to see the past take a look at a third world country or African tribes, they're there.

I would disagree. They spent their time just trying to "survive" and in fact you don't even have to work today to survive in most western democratic countries. We mostly work for pleasure and desire to obtain and achieve. Where as they were just trying not to die.
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
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No, work into modern hunter-gatherer tribes, stories from colonizers, archaeological and paleontology work, primate research, all lead to a picture of alot of lazy, let's forage sometimes, dick around alot lifestyle. Think about a world with a low population where food is available with minimal processing. Now think about the work that needs to go into razing a plot of land, ploughing, seeding, pest control and harvesting. Not to mention the disease risk that goes into monoculture and denser populations. Comparisons from bones of hunter-gatherers as compared to agriculturalist attests to a much easier and healthier lifestyle.

Yes, hunting and gathering was dangerous, there was predation and attritional tribal warfare and you were ****ed if a certain area went through a prolonged drought or some other negative ecological change. But it wasn't work all day, scrape by and wake up to another desperate tomorrow. That's a myth.

Its actually anthropological work into the pristine african tribes that counters the picture you paint. These tribes were egalitarian (each person was there own head), there was a system of hospitality and trade, and their lifestyles were relatively easy. Only we come in there and see that they live in huts and don't have metals tools and think these people are desperate.

And 3rd world Africa is precisely the result of modernization and colonization of the west. Imposing artificial state borders, reorganizing agricultural and economic systems to suit the global market, have left Africa in the desolate state it is in today.

Not to mention global warming, which has left much of the fertile part of Sahara an inhospitable desert.

This isn't the condition only in Africa either, but in most of the 3rd world, which accounts for most of the population. So yeah, for the fortunate few, in the fortunate few countries life is great. But when characterizing this as the 'best world ever' you may find a great many who would disagree with you, but simply don't have the time or ability to do so.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Well... meh

You can certainly question and argue some of my points, especially the bits that come down to just opinion but do you have points or evidence suggesting otherwise?

I may not have 100% proven that this is the best world we as humans have ever lived in. But you have offered nothing with which to look at as a possible alternative.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by xeberus View Post
I very much see our environment vastly and constantly improving. Today is the best world we as humans have ever lived in.
I am very close to becoming a certified environmental horticulturist, and I just had about 13 paragraphs written about how wrong I think you are. But it was way too heavy, and slightly off topic so I cut it back a little bit.

But I also understand. As a human, it feels great to be able to go to 7-11 and get virtually anything you want in 2 seconds. Oh Henry, Snickers, CHIPS!!! Trust me man. I am 22, If I could shut my mind off and just enjoy what surrounds me, I'm sure I would 100% agree with you. But I can't be that ignorant.
We live in a non-sustainable environment, where industrial methods are REQUIRED (demanded) to feed us, clothe us, and keep us warm, becauseeeee there are 6+ billion of us now.

An "optimist" in my situation could say that security and guaranteed survival are two things that do NOT exist in nature, and unfortunately, that applies to us, our children, and their children as well.

In that case, who who cares if we are 5-6 years past peak oil usage, and who cares if the canadian tar sands will only give us about 11 months of worldwide oil usage in total, and who cares if we basically have to use half of that oil to get it out of the ground, so that we can make some more cars?

I guess we were ****** anyway, right?

Reduce the population by 75% minimum and I will say it is the best world we as humans have ever lived in. The research I've done over the last 2 years, many experts would say going back to 1960's we had a perfect opportunity to keep our population fed and taken care of sustainably. The money hungry always want a piece of the action, and putting anything that by right should belong to humans into the hands of greedy men, was the wrong decision, in my opinion.


But, this is where I cut myself off this time because this is the issue that leads to just about every 'political' problem we have.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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My main contention is simply that the 'best world ever' is largely unknowable and based on ignorance and opinion and at the very least, shouldn't be used justify the status quo.

Arguably, as I have hinted at, the world before agriculture can be considered the 'best world ever', at least in terms of the conditions for how the majority of people lived and how freely they lived. I would prefer living in a small band 300,000 years ago, than an urban slum or a poor farm. Again, its about who you are not when you are. I don't occupy any of the aforementioned lifestyles nor am I suited any more to flourish in them, but the fact that my life is good does not mean its good for the world, or that the 'how' of my life is sustainable.
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