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Discussion on 'The Dawn of Everything'

rousseau

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A few weeks ago this post suggested starting a thread on this book, which a few members consider groundbreaking. I haven't read it yet but am 37th in line to get one of 12 copies from the library, so may join in soon.

I'm interested in understanding this book, which I haven't seemed to fully get from reviews and synopses. I'll hold off on comment until I've actually taken a look.
 

rousseau

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The first review from Goodreads looks somewhat positive:

https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/56269264

Here's what looks like a decent review that is somewhat critical:

https://notevenpast.org/a-false-dawn/

This isn't an endorsement of either of these reviews, but a few decent synopses of what the authors were trying to convey. There is a lot of writing out there on this book, so I could have posted from a pretty wide variety.
 

rousseau

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The critique I usually have of popular history books (for mass consumption) is that they often dig a little too hard into their own thesis, at the expense of a balanced and objective academic treatment. This is what it looks like the negative review above addresses at points: that sometimes the arguments the book presents are meant to be compelling but aren't actually entirely accurate.

On the positive side it likely does do a good job of critiquing popular narratives of the rise of civilization, but I do find the sensational style of popular books a bit annoying. At times it feels like we're trading one misconception for another, but maybe that's just typical of best-sellers. Or maybe it's typical of authors who are passionate about an idea, but often a bit biased.
 

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I was touting this book based on reviews so should respond here.

But I'm only making slow progress. I'm at page 107 in a 520+-page book (not counting notes). This is mainly my own fault: I have other projects and priorities; and am reading other books. I'm a relatively slow reader. My vision problems make reading difficult. But despite all these excuses, I'd be spending more time on the book if I enjoyed it.

Contrast this with The Memory Code, a book I've touted by the wonderful Lynne Kelly. Just now, to check, I opened the book at random several times and found that (except for a few pages where she describes her own experiments), the book consists almost entirely of descriptions and explicit discussions of primitive or prehistoric artifacts. (Ms. Kelly's thesis is said to be a major breakthrough in anthropology.)

Dawn of Everything, on the other hand, instead of talking about a chapter's putative topic, talks about talking about it, and tries to make pointless connections. Talking about the origin of consciousness, the book mentions the movie 2001: Space Odyssey and crackpot YouTubes. Why? Were the authors being paid by the word?

They did go on to make the claim that consciousness derived from language, specifically dialogs; they point out that Plato and other early writers created dialogs for their expositions. This might be interesting. But then why do they complain when another writer asks whether early (pre-language?) hominids were violent and nasty like chimpanzees or peaceful and lascivious like bonobos? (I find it interesting that the other two extant species in Tribe Hominini have such different social behavior, but the Davids think the comparison should have been to biker gangs and hippies instead of chimps and bonobos.)

Political theory and early societies interest me and I hope to learn from this book. But I wish a zealous editor had crossed out all the passages where the Davids celebrate their useless off-topic opinions.
 

rousseau

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That's generally my beef with popular history, and why I usually avoid it like the plague. When your title is going to land in major bookstores, controversy and flash sell, boring and accurate very much do not sell. That doesn't mean the book is necessarily devoid of substance, but when money makes up a major component of the initial motivation you're definitely going to get a certain type of book.

On the other hand, without this particular writing style you can't get a text out to the masses, so it's a bit of a trade-off.

For my money I like titles that are aimed at other academics and graduate students, boring as all hell to the mainstream reader, but cogent, factual, and balanced. I've been lucky to not only have access to one of the biggest academic libraries in Canada, but also work a 5 minute walk away from it. For a few years I could take home literally stacks of beautifully written books, and renew them as long as I wanted, as the actual students at the university fussed over their Instagram.

Anyway, when I read that this title (DoE) is almost deliberately misleading at parts, that raises your eyebrows to what other parts of it are misleading. And if the authors are trying to build a particular narrative, and need to rely on stretching the facts to do so, does that put the central thesis in question entirely? Are they really broaching the topic fairly? And if not, that raises the question of what the central thesis should be. If history isn't just the rise of civilization, what's the actual story?

I really shouldn't say too much before reading it myself, but this is the impression I've gotten from the few reviews I've read.
 

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This will be my summer read, if I ever make it through the end of term gauntlet! I did enjoy the first few chapters, though I wonder if the general public is really the audience so much as those already in the field - I feel like they sometimes leap into one of our popular debates without really giving a novice reader enough information to understand why certain ideas are in dispute. This is especially problematic when the myth they're trying to broach has been solemnly taught to even college students as "the facts" for more than twelve decades now, and remains the consensus understanding of just about anyone who has never studied archaeology, even if they did study one of the other social science disciplines. I don't think economists and political scientists have any idea that their fundamental models of history have become antiquated products of a bygone age while they have continued to parrot them in intro classes; they've had no one to correct them, at least no one whose opinions they respect. So how is the general public supposed to know? That means this book is needed, but I wonder whether it does enough to catch the reader up. The biker gang thing, for instance, makes perfect sense to me. Why on earth would you study chimpanzees rather than humans as analogues for earlier human societies? What you need to account for is social scale, not biological difference, and the data that exist support the contention that very small human groups function similarly in certain key respects regardless of cultural context or "race". There are mountains of data here. Band societies aren't just the doorstep to a later "stage" of social organization, they are the basic form of human social organization and we inevitably fall back into something like it even within and beneath the superstructure of an organic mass society. But if the Davids don't communicate that effectively, I can see where it would be confusing.

I don't know where to go with popular books, honestly. Public awareness of history and the human sciences seems to have frozen sometime around 1965, and ever since then any popular author who wants to get skin in the game has had to waste more and more bookspace luring readers in with lasvicious cover art before sneakily catching them up on the last now fifty years of study. A thankless task that seldom succeeds, and is too often treated with derision by their colleagues if it does. Which means completely uneducated journalists like goddamned Jared Diamond or conspiracy wonks a la Charles Mann often end up writing the most popular works on the social sciences, rather than social scientists. And then those turn into "documentaries" on Natgeo or History Channel that clip an entire culture into a ten minute action sequence bookended by misleading stock images. The questions I get, sometimes, even from undergrad majors... Aliens, blood rites, satanic cults, thinly disguised racism, god knows what all they seem to be putting on the air these days.

I know this sounds "elitist" of me, but I don't know how else to assess what's going on. Public education is in a rut. It has been for a long time. I don't blame "the public" for all this, they are only reflecting what they were taught by authorities they thought they could trust. It's not their fault that higher education has been as hopelessly compromised and crippled as it has become, before you even get to the topic of popular culture. If they aren't even getting things right at four year schools, is it fair to go after Hollywood writers or even newsrooms for not reading a bunch of seemingly obscure journals written in a jargon they can't follow? I review textbooks on a regular basis as part of my job, and it appalls me how little introductory textbooks on almost any cultural subject have changed since the heart of the Cold War, despite the theoretical renaissance of the 1980s onward. I sometimes wonder whether anthropology in the Euroamerican sphere doesn't deserve to go the way of philology, not because the content of our studies is unimportant or irrelevant but because we have ceased to play a meaningful role in the societies we supposedly study and serve.
 

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First of all, let me admit that I have not read The Dawn of Everything and I probably never will, but looking through this thread, I do have a question for Politesse.

Why on earth would you study chimpanzees rather than humans as analogues for earlier human societies? What you need to account for is social scale, not biological difference, and the data that exist support the contention that very small human groups function similarly in certain key respects regardless of cultural context or "race".

My question for Politesse is, if you're studying pre-verbal societies, as Swammerdami suggests, why wouldn't you look at our closest evolutionary cousins rather than highly verbal modern social groups, especially groups as poorly defined as "hippies" and "biker gangs." By "biker gangs" are we taking about the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Corporation, with its trademarked logos (defined by the Dept. of Justice as an international criminal syndicate)? By Hippies are we talking about youths who espouse "Sex, Drugs and Rock n' Roll" (not that different from what the Angels believe in)? Do either of these qualify as a "very small human group?"

So, how would you propose to study pre-verbal groups?
 

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First of all, let me admit that I have not read The Dawn of Everything and I probably never will, but looking through this thread, I do have a question for Politesse.

Why on earth would you study chimpanzees rather than humans as analogues for earlier human societies? What you need to account for is social scale, not biological difference, and the data that exist support the contention that very small human groups function similarly in certain key respects regardless of cultural context or "race".

My question for Politesse is, if you're studying pre-verbal societies, as Swammerdami suggests, why wouldn't you look at our closest evolutionary cousins rather than highly verbal modern social groups, especially groups as poorly defined as "hippies" and "biker gangs." By "biker gangs" are we taking about the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Corporation, with its trademarked logos (defined by the Dept. of Justice as an international criminal syndicate)? By Hippies are we talking about youths who espouse "Sex, Drugs and Rock n' Roll" (not that different from what the Angels believe in)? Do either of these qualify as a "very small human group?"

So, how would you propose to study pre-verbal groups?
The vast majority of verbal communication on a phonetic level is only necessary to transmit concepts of increasing complexity.

As primitive technology, the YouTube channel, demonstrates, effective communication requires very little, and doesn't really require words.

Studying preverbal groups can be accomplished through observing any naively verbal group with few verbal concepts.

You only really need words when you want to communicate more complex things from distances. I expect conflict, war, and fighting changed with language more than anything else.
 

Politesse

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First of all, let me admit that I have not read The Dawn of Everything and I probably never will, but looking through this thread, I do have a question for Politesse.

Why on earth would you study chimpanzees rather than humans as analogues for earlier human societies? What you need to account for is social scale, not biological difference, and the data that exist support the contention that very small human groups function similarly in certain key respects regardless of cultural context or "race".

My question for Politesse is, if you're studying pre-verbal societies, as Swammerdami suggests, why wouldn't you look at our closest evolutionary cousins rather than highly verbal modern social groups, especially groups as poorly defined as "hippies" and "biker gangs." By "biker gangs" are we taking about the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Corporation, with its trademarked logos (defined by the Dept. of Justice as an international criminal syndicate)? By Hippies are we talking about youths who espouse "Sex, Drugs and Rock n' Roll" (not that different from what the Angels believe in)? Do either of these qualify as a "very small human group?"

So, how would you propose to study pre-verbal groups?
Because they are humans as opposed to chimpanzees. Study by ethnographic analogy is a methodology known to be flawed and imprecise, but a human group is still going to act and organize more like a group of humans than like a bonobo troop.


Would you do it in reverse? Study a population of non-verbal humans to gain insight into wild chimpanzee behavior? Why or why not? How accurate do you feel your guesses about the social structure of a chimp community would be?

None of this is to say that primatology is not useful to the anthropologists. We are primates. But what we share with our cousins, we all share with our cousins. Thinking that a culture must be more chimpanzee-like because it seems deficient to your your own is the kind of unhelpful and unpredictive stereotype that the book under discussion is questioning. If that line of reasoning was going to be helpful, it should have helped us explain the material data we find in the deep past, but it has actually done quite the opposite. Victorian attempts to apify indigenous or primeval peoples nearly prevented anthropology from becoming a serious scientific discipline at all, to whatever extent that it is, and misled them in both areas of study in fact (we liberally anthropomorphized apes also)
 
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Swammerdami

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I mentioned the chimp/bonobo vs biker/hippie thing and perhaps should apologize. This was just 2 or 3 sentences that I read just before posting here. The Davids were probably correct to make the point they did.

There's just something hard-to-describe about the authors' tone or style which sometimes gets annoying and causes me to put the book down. Perhaps the fault is in the reader, not the writers.
 

bilby

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As primitive technology, the YouTube channel, demonstrates, effective communication requires very little, and doesn't really require words.
I am not convinced.

Radio works with words but no images; But the reverse - silent movies - has to broken up with panels of written words (often dialogue) so that the audience can follow the story.
 

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First of all, let me admit that I have not read The Dawn of Everything and I probably never will, but looking through this thread, I do have a question for Politesse.

Why on earth would you study chimpanzees rather than humans as analogues for earlier human societies? What you need to account for is social scale, not biological difference, and the data that exist support the contention that very small human groups function similarly in certain key respects regardless of cultural context or "race".

My question for Politesse is, if you're studying pre-verbal societies, as Swammerdami suggests, why wouldn't you look at our closest evolutionary cousins rather than highly verbal modern social groups, especially groups as poorly defined as "hippies" and "biker gangs." By "biker gangs" are we taking about the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Corporation, with its trademarked logos (defined by the Dept. of Justice as an international criminal syndicate)? By Hippies are we talking about youths who espouse "Sex, Drugs and Rock n' Roll" (not that different from what the Angels believe in)? Do either of these qualify as a "very small human group?"

So, how would you propose to study pre-verbal groups?
Because they are humans as opposed to chimpanzees. Study by ethnographic analogy is a methodology known to be flawed and imprecise, but a human group is still going to act and organize more like a group of humans than like a bonobo troop.


Would you do it in reverse? Study a population of non-verbal humans to gain insight into wild chimpanzee behavior? Why or why not? How accurate do you feel your guesses about the social structure of a chimp community would be?

None of this is to say that primatology is not useful to the anthropologists. We are primates. But what we share with our cousins, we all share with our cousins. Thinking that a culture must be more chimpanzee-like because it seems deficient to your your own is the kind of unhelpful and unpredictive stereotype that the book under discussion is questioning. If that line of reasoning was going to be helpful, it should have helped us explain the material data we find in the deep past, but it has actually done quite the opposite. Victorian attempts to apify indigenous or primeval peoples nearly prevented anthropology from becoming a serious scientific discipline at all, to whatever extent that it is, and misled them in both areas of study in fact (we liberally anthropomorphized apes also)
I suppose Swammerdami’s retraction makes this discussion an official derail, but so be it.

I actually agree with most of what you have to say Poli, but you haven’t convinced me because I don’t think your argument applies to this case.

I guess it depends on what you mean by “human.” We are not talking about “indigenous” peoples (and I’m not sure what you mean with “primeval”). We are discussing our remote pre-verbal ancestors. That would be several species ago, and a creature perhaps not even of the same genus as Homo. I base that speculation on the fact that both Broca’s area Wernicke’s area of the brain are already relatively enlarged in Homo habilis and even somewhat in Australopithecus africanus, if I am not mistaken. This indicates at least some verbal abilities.

Would I theorize about the social life of A. africanus based on a bunch of stoned twentieth century youths having sex? I think not.

This does not mean that blanket comparisons between contemporary chimps and bonobos with our assumed A. africanus ancestors makes any sense if done mindlessly. But as you admit, primatology has its place.

Although I’m no expert by any means, I studied some physical anthropology in college, many years ago. The fad then was baboon studies, because they were another social primate that had adapted to life on the savannah. The point generally was how differently they had adapted.
 

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That would be several species ago, and a creature perhaps not even of the same genus as Homo.
Almost certainly not the case; the development of a vocal apparatus capable of what we understand as verbal language is a pretty recent affair. No one knows (or can know) when exactly verbal language came about, but it is a relatively recent event and something that came about within a population fairly similar to ours, if not arguably defining our species.

I mention the apification of indigenous and/or early human peoples, because that's where this trope started; Victorian anthropologists using modern peoples they considered "primitive" as analogues for prehuman primate species and vice versa. While the conversation has changed, many of these ideas persist, and morevover, they always show up again eventually in this sort of conversation. You start talking about early man and chimpanzees, and all the old Imperialist language starts cropping up as though on order- "tribes" and "savages" and "close to nature" and "primitive features" and "non-hierarchical society" and all the other dogwhistles for outdated social and racial stereotyping both positive and negative. Whether as a compliment or an insult, it's always people of a certain lifeway that are getting compared to animals, never the privileged cultures. Even when social elites are the target, the way to insult them is to refer to their "savage, tribal instincts", implying that they themselves are evolutionary throwbacks unworthy of the coveted title of the civilized. Falling short of civilized ideals. And in their case, it is never a compliment. No one praises a CEO by calling her a "noble savage" or saying that she has "strong tribal instincts". Applied to a Eauroamerican, referencing the primeval to describe their behavior is taken as an inherent criticism. But all of this is pseudoscience and rhetoric. "Civilized" peoples and "uncivilized" peoples, however you choose to define those categories, bear the exact same degree and scale of biological relation to chimpanzees, and we are all very distant cousins who took considerably different evolutionary paths. The anlogy fails no matter who you're trying to apply it to you, because chimp society is just different to ours, in very fundamental ways.

This junk needs to be expunged from our popular dialogue altogether. It is neither accurate nor salutory as an approach to real archaeology or paleoanthropology. As the Davids write in the introduction to the book, the myth of civilation magically appearing and transforming the "primitive world" by the power of agriculture is more like a virus or a meme than a serious theory - it isn't accurate, and it has dire political implications. Memes spread because they express something people desire to be true for emotional or sociological reasons, not because they've survived the gauntlet of scientific study.

Would I theorize about the social life of A. africanus based on a bunch of stoned twentieth century youths having sex? I think not.
While as I said, the Australopithecines aren't even in this conversation, I also feel that this a very solid answer to my question. Because we have a lot more in common with A. africanus than we do with modern chimpanzees. Our common ancestor with africanus cannot have lived than ~4 million years or so before the present. If A. africanus is a bad analogue for the social structure of modern humans, chimpanzees and bonobos are laughably ridiculous candidates.
 
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There were probably MANY mutations involved in the development of language, with the tiny improvements to very primitive languages still offering some survival or procreative advantage. The Y-chromosome MRCA of Sapiens and Denisovo-Neanderthal was about 600k years ago. Neanderthals' vocal tract is significantly different from Sapiens' tract and some believe that this would preclude the wide range of phonemes that makes language efficient. In support of this view is the sudden emergence of advanced tools and fine art when Sapiens replaced Neanderthal, despite that Neanderthal brains were slightly bigger than Sapiens'.

I wonder if linguists can conjecture on the nature of these very primitive hominid languages, the steps that separate the barks, grunts and screams of chimp language from human language.
 

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Of course they can conjecture, and do so, quite vigorously. Many of the most vigorous debates in paleolinguistics center on language evolution.
 

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That would be several species ago, and a creature perhaps not even of the same genus as Homo.
Almost certainly not the case; the development of a vocal apparatus capable of what we understand as verbal language is a pretty recent affair. No one knows (or can know) when exactly verbal language came about, but it is a relatively recent event and something that came about within a population fairly similar to ours, if not arguably defining our species.

I mention the apification of indigenous and/or early human peoples, because that's where this trope started; Victorian anthropologists using modern peoples they considered "primitive" as analogues for prehuman primate species and vice versa. While the conversation has changed, many of these ideas persist, and morevover, they always show up again eventually in this sort of conversation. You start talking about early man and chimpanzees, and all the old Imperialist language starts cropping up as though on order- "tribes" and "savages" and "close to nature" and "primitive features" and "non-hierarchical society" and all the other dogwhistles for outdated social and racial stereotyping both positive and negative. Whether as a compliment or an insult, it's always people of a certain lifeway that are getting compared to animals, never the privileged cultures. Even when social elites are the target, the way to insult them is to refer to their "savage, tribal instincts", implying that they themselves are evolutionary throwbacks unworthy of the coveted title of the civilized. Falling short of civilized ideals. And in their case, it is never a compliment. No one praises a CEO by calling her a "noble savage" or saying that she has "strong tribal instincts". Applied to a Eauroamerican, referencing the primeval to describe their behavior is taken as an inherent criticism. But all of this is pseudoscience and rhetoric. "Civilized" peoples and "uncivilized" peoples, however you choose to define those categories, bear the exact same degree and scale of biological relation to chimpanzees, and we are all very distant cousins who took considerably different evolutionary paths. The anlogy fails no matter who you're trying to apply it to you, because chimp society is just different to ours, in very fundamental ways.

This junk needs to be expunged from our popular dialogue altogether. It is neither accurate nor salutory as an approach to real archaeology or paleoanthropology. As the Davids write in the introduction to the book, the myth of civilation magically appearing and transforming the "primitive world" by the power of agriculture is more like a virus or a meme than a serious theory - it isn't accurate, and it has dire political implications. Memes spread because they express something people desire to be true for emotional or sociological reasons, not because they've survived the gauntlet of scientific study.

Would I theorize about the social life of A. africanus based on a bunch of stoned twentieth century youths having sex? I think not.
While as I said, the Australopithecines aren't even in this conversation, I also feel that this a very solid answer to my question. Because we have a lot more in common with A. africanus than we do with modern chimpanzees. Our common ancestor with africanus cannot have lived than ~4 million years or so before the present. If A. africanus is a bad analogue for the social structure of modern humans, chimpanzees and bonobos are laughably ridiculous candidates.
I fully agree with Swammerdami’s suggestion, which incidentally echoes what I have been arguing about the history of language. Modern, fully articulated grammatically complex language “as we understand it” did not emerge fully formed when the larynx descended in Homo sapiens one to two hundred thousand years ago, like Athena emerging from the head of Zeus.

There must have been proto languages, less articulated no doubt, and with more primitive syntax, and before that even simpler vocal communications, and so on.

A good deal of real work has been done on these issues in the last decades, such as summarized in this paper.

Here is the Abstract:

Recent articles on primate articulatory abilities are revolutionary regarding speech emergence, a crucial aspect of language evolution, by revealing a human-like system of proto-vowels in nonhuman primates and implicitly throughout our hominid ancestry. This article presents both a schematic history and the state of the art in primate vocalization research and its importance for speech emergence. Recent speech research advances allow more incisive comparison of phylogeny and ontogeny and also an illuminating reinterpretation of vintage primate vocalization data. This review produces three major findings. First, even among primates, laryngeal descent is not uniquely human. Second, laryngeal descent is not required to produce contrasting formant patterns in vocalizations. Third, living nonhuman primates produce vocalizations with contrasting formant patterns. Thus, evidence now overwhelmingly refutes the long-standing laryngeal descent theory, which pushes back “the dawn of speech” beyond ~200 ka ago to over ~20 Ma ago, a difference of two orders of magnitude.

As for your claim that to compare one species of the Family Hominidae with an average brain size of 466 cc and extreme sexual dimorphism to another species of Hominidae with an average brain size of 400 cc or thereabouts, and reduced sexual dimorphism, makes me an incipient 19th century racist, doesn’t insult me so much as amuse me. It’s simply silly.

On the other hand you would escape racism by only comparing said species to yet a third species of Hominidae with an average brain size of maybe 1200 cc and very little sexual dimorphism. But A. africanus are human, you say. Well, no they aren’t. They’re Australopithecus. You want Homo for a human.

There are reasons they don’t put Australopithecus into genus Homo, and I don’t think it’s racism. There are reasons Australopithecus, Pan, and Homo are all classified as Hominidae. There are reasons only one extant species of Homo is recognized. That’s us. All of us, Indigenous, European, African, you name it. No doubt all of that would shock a 19th Century Social Darwinist. It very likely would shock Darwin himself. And as I said about comparisons between species, even when both are in the same Family, it's the differences that you learn from..
 

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I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my previous remarks about The Dawn of Everything. I feel obligated, as I am now happier to recommend the book!

The references to contemporary politics that I found annoying in the introductory chapters have disappeared by Chapter 4. (Perhaps they will reappear in Chapter 12 "Conclusions.")

I now enjoy the book much more, and feel the authors do a good and interesting job of presenting their evidence and connecting dots. I'm still reading slowly, but to savor the book. As I read I feel regret that I may not be able to act on — or perhaps even remember! — their teaching.

So far, most of their examples are from America. But not all: the Hadza people of Ethiopia are so intent on equality that "(talented hunters are systematically mocked and belittled)". (Yes, this interesting fact is written in parentheses.)

One reason I'm reading slowly is that I often stop and compare what I'm reading with my other readings or thinking. Fiedel's 1987 Prehistory of the Americas is also in my library; it discusses egalitarian societies and seasonal changes to hierarchy, but also mentions that the wives of Natchez chiefs were strangled and buried with the Chief. (So far, the Davids have given scant attention to such exceptions to their thesis.)

The Davids write that the Wendats had play chiefs and real freedoms while today we have real chiefs and play freedoms. For example, those unable to afford transportation still have the "right" to travel today, but the Wendat insisted that they actually be able to travel. I am reminded of my own nephew who works for government managing a number of Native Americans. He reports that they are not bound by regulations, and feel free to take days off whenever it suits them.

My own ideas:

I look forward to learning how the Davids explain the evolution of values in human society. Land ownership must be a key part of the story. Agricultural land (along with, sometimes, slaves or serfs) represented the lion's-share of wealth from the invention of irrigation until the Industrial Revolution; and the fixed and inherited nature of land led to codes of chivalry. For example, I've been intrigued to note, in prior readings, the emphasis Bronze Age aristocrats placed on travel, adventure and knowledge rather than on accumulation of wealth.

New forms of capital grew immensely after the Middle Ages, dwarfed the value of agricultural land, and changed the systems of values. I wonder if the Davids will agree with this view in later chapters.
 

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I'm glad you're enjoying the book a bit more! I've still been busy setting up my summer courses, but my deep dive will begin soon I hope.

"(talented hunters are systematically mocked and belittled)". (Yes, this interesting fact is written in parentheses.)
Hadza shit-talking particularly is new to me, but socially leveling banter is actually pretty common cross-culturally, and especially where hunting and animism are concerned - a cocky hunter is a danger to everyone. For a classic example, RB Lee's article "Eating Christmas in the Kalahari" is an enjoyable (and short) read often put in the hands of undergraduates.
 
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