Why did Totalitarian Agriculture take hold 10,000 years ago?
Totalitarian agriculture is the type where you dominate an entire region of land so that it only produces human food. Other types of agriculture include nomadic herding, growing just a few crops for supplementation of diet, and basically treating the wild as a garden which you occasionally influence by spreading seeds for foods you like and maybe cutting out a few plants that compete.
A couple reinforcing feedback loops are what made T.A. grow to cover the entire world.
1. Hunter-Gatherers are defeated:
T.A. people can outcompete H.G. people because of increased food surplus and division of labor. Their soldiers can train every day, they can spend more time developing war technologies, and the soldiers get their food handed for them while the H.G. people have to get their food while they are supposed to be fighting off an army. Also, the T.A. have the advantage in numbers considering the surplus of food brings on population boom in all cases. T.A. peoples always had to expand because they would always overrun their resources and/or have more population than their land could handle. They would then kill or subdue H.G. people until their own needs were met. This is how it grew geographically.
2. Old Memes Erased, New Memes created:
People basically strayed from old ways. They forgot there were better options of living. They then, even in the face of the truth, sought to idealize their new lifestyle. This is seen in all the religions that followed which claim suffering, etc is innate and good for humans. People began to slowly transform into utopian-seeking, blame-throwing, resource-consuming, and self-righteous people that we see today. This is how people want to STAY, instead of leave this ridiculous arrangement of mostly being slaves to a small percentage upper class.
I would now like to add one new element to this transformation that might explain how it FIRST happened before these feedback loops really took hold. I just read a couple books. "The Addictive Personality" and "The Power of Habit." What I try to comprehend as the power process, the drive for achievement, the response to stress....now has two more labels for me: habit, addiction. We live our whole lives based upon habits because we can't consciously make every single decision.
The crux of my point came when I was reading the first of the two books. It talks about what leads one to develop addictions, which are really just stronger-than-normal habits. Here are some situations where one is more prone:
-After the loss of a loved one
-After the loss of status
-After a loss of ideals or dreams
-After the loss of friendships
-When facing new social challenges or isolation
-When leaving one's family
In life, things cycle between good and bad. The choice is to either accept this, or to try to make the bad times better times. The addict's brain trys to control these downward cycles more than others. The addict may not be able to control his life situation, but he can control his happiness by relying on something he knows will consistently bring him sanity and happiness.
I think what happened is some short of trauma to a certain group of people where T.A. first emerged.
-Was there too much fighting among tribes, so one tribe decided to go off and be on it's own by tending land as in T.A?
-Could there have been a sway in memes enough that people got addicted to their "side job" of herding or growing just a few crops?
-Was it a climate shift that caused a cultural trauma of limited food availability, possibly great death numbers? This could have created a meme to "make even more sure next time that there is extra food saved up"?
-A rogue group of traumatized people left a H.G. tribe after being unrespected or unliked, and they decide to control their happiness by working extra hard during the day until they were working all day and dominating whole regions of land?
-If T.A. originated in the Fertile Crescent when the area was fully lush, maybe there was too much food to go around? Maybe populations grew* denser than normal for H.G. peoples, so there were extra laborers around during the day with nothing to do. Plus, there could have been extra competition for territory with all tribes having tons of "disposable" fighters. This competition could technically have bled into sexual selection. (Maybe competition was high for mates, so some males started growing more advanced gardens to show how awesome they were. Although hmmm...men don't really do that nowadays) All this could have been a traumatic experience that lead to some people trying T.A. as a peacekeeping idea and as a way to stay busy during the day.
*One more thought here spills in from something I mentioned in the Primal Attraction thread. The Mt. Toba explosion 70,000 years ago apaprently reduced human world population to about 5,000. This event could have selected for people who were more fertile than average and lead to more potential for rapid population growth in the event of food surplus. Maybe it was a double edged sword in some places where food was too rich because it caused too much bickering (since people innately fight). When T.A. came, this capacity for reproduction was called on again as it aided in providing greater use of the increased surplus than before. In other words, population wouldn't have grown as much if the same event had occured before the Mt. Toba event.
Last edited by wiltondeportes; 05-31-2012 at 01:11 PM.