- Jun 23, 2010
- Basic Beliefs
- Eastern / Pantheist
There are some common misconceptions about foraging ("hunter-gatherer") lifestyles floating around here; foragers don't just randomly wander around the landscape, they also have to plan extensively and pass down quite a lot of information to the next generation about what Westerners would call botany, biology, ecology, geology, fire science, and so forth. You'll starve to death just stumbling around hoping to run across food sources, if you don't know how to predict what will be available at what times, in what places, what is available raw and what must be processed, what plants have medicinal properties, etc. If anything, agriculture lowers the bar on how much information you need to carry in your head in order to survive, though this may be one of the things that made it attractive to our Mesopotamian forebears.
A couple years back I spent some time reading about different hunter-gatherer communities across the globe throughout history. One of the counter-intuitive things I realized is that Indigenous culture isn't really that far removed from European culture leading up to it's Apex. The only thing separating more complex civilizations from less complex ones is conducive agriculture. But the basic human experience was the same: need for food, housing, fun, family, escapism. Indigenous cultures were very similar to European cultures, but hunter-gatherers were more directly tied to the land and seasonal patterns.
With regards to disconnect, I think what we're looking at is degree of specialization. Looking at my own life, for example, I spend most of my days indoors, water and food are essentially delivered to my doorstep, I never have to worry about staying warm. Actual concerns about the natural world are so far from my view as to basically be invisible. The framework I live in is a specialized culture that orients my thought patterns in a completely different way than would be the case if I were a hunter-gatherer.
Probably hunter-gatherers still felt they were special, but likely also felt a deeper connection to the natural world.