what would it mean to be a hunter-gather writer?

In reading the opening chapters of Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”, I’m struck not only by the vivid storytelling but also by the persuasiveness of his arguments.

Perhaps something has been lost, mainly our symbiosis with nature, in the agricultural revolution and beyond.

What I’m thinking about: -If human progress is good (or the progress of conscious beings), is this still good to the detriment of domesticated animals and environmental degradation? (Yuval makes the interesting point that Homo Sapiens had made extinct many megafauna even before the agricultural revolution…and we continue to make animals extinct today, though at least now some people and people-made institutions are paying attention to this.)

-Could we have developed the technology we have today without farming? (I guess…yes. We would have a hunter-gatherer lifestyle with all the technological progress…but I also guess that progress would have taken longer…but on a geological scale, perhaps not too much longer.) ^ This is interesting to ponder. Less humans would have been born, a LOT less, but we would have also killed a LOT less of each other in the numerous territorial and resources conflicts since. ^ Could advanced hunter-gatherer societies have resisted fighting over, say, learning how to use combustible engines, oil, fuel, and so on? I’m imagining a land vehicle or blimp would help in hunter-gathering.

What does this mean for us, for me? -I’ve nature-nurtured my way to enjoy thinking and writing. It is an exploration. Was part of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle exploration? They didn’t always roam far, because they needed to learn routes and ways of the flora and fauna in their neighborhoods. We like travel but also home. -As someone who likes to write (I usually call myself a writer, although really I’m just a human), how would my lifestyle be different in 1) a hunter-gatherer society; in 2) an advanced hunter-gather society (fictional); and in 3) a current 2017 reality where writing and fiction and art are separate but combined and blended in so many other forms? (music, film, visual art)

I’m not sure. Which is fine. So I will continue gathering my thoughts. No need to hunt too much. I hear the hunter-gathers were mostly gatherers, anyway. (This doesn’t mean we can’t change, but we need to think about WHAT we want, and want to want, in other words what our philosophy is, and make decisions and efforts toward those individual lives and families and societies and ultimately Earth and beyond.)

October 13, 2017


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