Having tried two side-routes . . .

In my last posting I spoke of the population disbenefits of the agricultural revolution. Was it a bad mistake to leave hunter-gathering for it?  No, because it was a case of force majeure. We had already caused almost all easily available prey to go extinct, and we had reached the extremities of survival — such as living in the Arctic Circle or causing too many deserts by forest destruction or having to grow food halfway up mountain sides.

Agricultural cultures brought many disasters with it — human suffering on a vast scale by means of slavery, human sacrifices and warfare. Even in untraumatic times we suffered from fanatical religious governments and nasty oppression of women in every possible agrarian culture the whole world over.

But what about industrial cultures? We are seeing increasing social breakdown, especially from the poorer end of the social order. And, as mentioned in my previous posting, a general vulnerability to new world-wide killer mutations. Unlike the agricultural revolution, the industrial era was not inevitable. It was only an amazingly concentrated set of circumstances in the north of England that ignited it. But once ablaze, there was no stopping it for a century and a half until it started slowing down in the 1980s.

Who and what are to blame for our departures up the side routes of agriculture and then industry. It can only be mutations to brain genes which gave us a large brain and a very curious one when we broke away from ape-like ancestral stock. As well as being social mammals with a while bunch of strongly emotional instincts we are also rational with an intensive interest in what else goes on than merely our own survival. Agriculture and then industry may have been disastrous side-routes in many ways but perhaps they were necessary ones to proceed along first as we now start to adjust to a post-industrial society.

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