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Why did humans become farmers?


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#1    pantodragon

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 03:43 PM

The move from hunter-gatherer to farmer is considered to be a major mile-stone in the advancement of human civilisation.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is that humans turned from hunting and gathering to farming because farming was a means of exerting control over their environment.  So, far from indicating progress, the development of farming is one of the early signs that humans had become addicted to power.  (One manifestation of this addiction is that human society is extremely competitive.)

If one picks up this thread i.e. addiction to power, one can follow its development in farming from the earliest farming practices to the present day.  So, to get their power fix, humans exercised more and more control of the environment; this exercise of power manifesting itself today in environmentalism (e.g. “managing” wilderness areas) and genetics (e.g. GM crops).  

In reality, the development of farming is actually an indicator of the degenration of human society.


#2    Ealdwita

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 04:37 PM

View Postpantodragon, on 02 March 2013 - 03:43 PM, said:

In reality, the development of farming is actually an indicator of the degenration of human society.

I respectfully submit that it's the direct opposite!

In my view, farming came about as a way of dealing with an ever-growing world population which couldn't be sustained by hunter-gathering. Gradually, by trial and error, prehistoric man began to cultivate grasses and tubers in fixed areas which eliminated much of the nomadic way of life necessitated by having to follow herds of animal prey. This in turn, freed up some of the 'tribe' from domestic work, allowing them time to develop pottery, weaving and toolmaking, eventually culminating in writing and metalworking etc.

Even today, Nomadic, hunter-gatherer people such as the San bushmen of the Kalahari desert, who utilise plants for food but have no formal agriculture, will, after digging up a tuber (for example), replace a part in the ground - so that the plant will grow again for the next time that they or another person passes that place.

"Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel, ac gecnáwan þín gefá!": "Fate goes ever as she shall, but know thine enemy!".
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#3    Andami

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 04:46 PM

To answer the thread's original question; to brew beer.

Edited by Andami, 02 March 2013 - 04:46 PM.


#4    Frank Merton

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 04:52 PM

Agriculture represents an obvious advance in human history.  Still, the comment that it also was a degradation in society may be true.  Hunter-gatherer societies are happier and overall healthier and don't have to work so hard.


#5    Shiloh17

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 03:26 AM

Planting corn was probably a little safer than hunting things with fangs, horns and bad attitudes.


#6    pantodragon

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:10 PM

You have all obviously bought into the orthodox story of the ascent of man which starts from those in power telling us we've never had it so good and then having history written in such a way as to prove their point.


#7    Bavarian Raven

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:26 PM

Quote

Hunter-gatherer societies are happier and overall healthier and don't have to work so hard.

Till they starve... and starvation is always a threat for a hunter-gatherer society.


#8    pantodragon

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:37 PM

View PostBavarian Raven, on 04 March 2013 - 05:26 PM, said:

Till they starve... and starvation is always a threat for a hunter-gatherer society.

You've spotted the famines in Africa, have you?   In the UK, in earlier times, peasant farmers used to keep an area of land uncultivated and free to  grow wild foods to ward off starvation when the cultivated crops failed.


#9    Frank Merton

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:39 PM

View PostBavarian Raven, on 04 March 2013 - 05:26 PM, said:

Till they starve... and starvation is always a threat for a hunter-gatherer society.
Ah yes, precisely.  The existence doesn't have the dependability of agriculture (although I think a lot of farmers might doubt that).


#10    Bavarian Raven

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:34 PM

Quote

You've spotted the famines in Africa, have you?

That's because in many regions, the "knowledgable" farmers were kicked off the land and the remaining land was redistributed to people who really didnt know how to farm. Or, in other cases, they simply lack the infrustructure and good land. Nothing to do with farming itself.


#11    Ealdwita

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 09:44 PM

Addicted to power or not.... .anybody I catch 'hunting' or 'gathering' on my farmland will either get the contents of both barrels of a Remington 11-87 Premier whistling around their ears or two large Labrador retrievers hanging off their goolies!

"Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel, ac gecnáwan þín gefá!": "Fate goes ever as she shall, but know thine enemy!".
I can teach you with a quip, if I've a mind; I can trick you into learning with a laugh; Oh, winnow all my folly and you'll find, A grain or two of truth among the chaff!
(The Yeoman of the Guard ~ Gilbert and Sullivan)

#12    pantodragon

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 04:27 PM

View PostBavarian Raven, on 04 March 2013 - 07:34 PM, said:

That's because in many regions, the "knowledgable" farmers were kicked off the land and the remaining land was redistributed to people who really didnt know how to farm. Or, in other cases, they simply lack the infrustructure and good land. Nothing to do with farming itself.

Read the next comment down from yours by ealdwita.  This is the attraction of farming.  It plays into the hands of people who are addicted to power.  So, yes, the whole system gets mucked up and famines happen for less straight forward reasons than simply crop failure.  But all this still means that hunter gatherers were less vulnerable than farmers.


#13    aztek

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 04:43 PM

they just got sick of going all over the forest and collect edable plants, some smart dude back than figured it will be easier, and faster, if edable plants were in one place. lol

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#14    Render

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:29 PM

You can speculate all you want, but to imply that humans made a conscious decision for power by farming is ridiculous.
Hindsight is always 20/20 eh.


#15    Emma_Acid

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:52 PM

The 'hunter gatherer' lifestyle doesn't support large populations. It can't. Populations will always grow as a general rule (bar war and disease), and farming came out of a necessity to feed. It has nothing to do with "power". Oh sorry, that's just me being brain washed.

Science isn’t about truth and falsity, it’s about reducing uncertainty ~ Brian Nosek




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