T H E P E A C E F U L & E G A L I T A R I A N
H U N T E R & G A T H E R E R S
Do they really exist?
And are they also patriarchal?
Consensus among the established scholars in contemporary archaeology and anthropology, is either that the Myth of the Universality of Patriarchy and its fundamentally hierarchical structure must stay firm and that any idea of matriarchy and / or egalitarian societies in the past must be harshly refuted as "unscientific"; as for example strongly promoted by the so often quoted Cynthia Eller - referred to by the majority of the contemporary gender theorists in these disciplines as well as in religion historian (Conkey & Tringham, Roder, Knauss, Beausang, Rodin et al), as an highly qualified authority, although she never made any investigations on the subject herself (just one about the contemporary Goddess-worshipper in her own American middleclass environment) - or they prefer not to take any stand at all, keeping silent, hiding each and everyone in their own little corner, not daring to come out with one single word on the topic which might upset or offend colleagues of an other opinion, and therefore risking themselves to be excluded from the inner circles of the righteous believers.
Its really remarkable how this kind of fact resistance can be so rigidly promoted in our modern times, when facts are increasingly available online, and by academic scholars who delineate themselves as both feminists and scientists although their obvious carriage is quite the opposite, even walking over their dead mothers bodies, just to get along with their andro- and etnocentric hegemony which might offer them wellpayed professorships and recognition.
The last days I have found two male researchers who both of them have invested a lot of interest in hunter & gatherers egalitarian lifestyle and have informed of their highly interesting findings in blogs and homepages online; the first one; an evolutionary psychologist and promotor of childrens free play namely Phil.D. Peter Gray and his must-read article:
How Hunter-Gatherers Maintained Their Egalitarian Ways
The important lessons from hunter-gatherers are about culture, not genes.
posted May 16, 2011
by Phil.D. Peter Gray
From which I quote the introduction:
"I'm taking a little break from my series on "The Human Nature of Teaching" in order to respond to questions about hunter-gatherer life in general, which were raised by my last post. As regular readers of this blog know, I have in previous posts commented on hunter-gatherers' playfulness; their playful religious practices; their playful approach toward productive work; their non-directive childrearing methods; and their children's playful ways of educating themselves. In all of those posts I emphasized the egalitarian, non-hierarchical nature of hunter-gatherer society. In today's post I present three theories as to how hunter-gatherers maintained the egalitarian ethos for which they are justly famous. I think all three of the theories are correct. They are complementary theories, not competing ones; and they are all theories about culture, not about genes.
First, before I get to the three theories, I must address this question: Is it true that hunter-gatherers were peaceful egalitarians? The answer is yes."
During the twentieth century, anthropologists discovered and studied dozens of different hunter-gatherer societies, in various remote parts of the world, who had been nearly untouched by modern influences. Wherever they were found--in Africa, Asia, South America, or elsewhere; in deserts or in jungles--these societies had many characteristics in common. The people lived in small bands, of about 20 to 50 persons (including children) per band, who moved from camp to camp within a relatively circumscribed area to follow the available game and edible vegetation. The people had friends and relatives in neighboring bands and maintained peaceful relationships with neighboring bands. Warfare was unknown to most of these societies, and where it was known it was the result of interactions with warlike groups of people who were not hunter-gatherers. In each of these societies, the dominant cultural ethos was one that emphasized individual autonomy, non-directive childrearing methods, nonviolence, sharing, cooperation, and consensual decision-making. Their core value, which underlay all of the rest, was that of the equality of individuals."
Quoting the introduction by the splendid researcher & author the anthropologist Jerome Lewis:
"It would be absurd to try to return to the social relations of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. But these social relations did last for 100,000 years in the most successful anarchist-communism experiment in history. So there must be something to learn from hunter-gatherers. The pygmies of Central Africa traditionally live in ways that come closest to the ways prehistoric hunter-gathers may have lived. This article is one of the most recent studies of the way African pygmies maintain egalitarian social relations and so make anarchist-communism work."
Painting by Henri Rousseau