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Author Topic: Are tribes/less complex civilizations all that bad?
Oshun
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*Please ignore my grammar or misspellings. I'm very tired and it's quite early in the morning here [Smile]

So I've been doing a lot of thinking on this. One of the reasons it doesn't bother me as much whether Egypt is black or white for example, is that even if it were true that blacks were not responsible for any of the larger, more complex civilizations, this doesn't bother me. I feel like, the praise of complex civilizations and their characteristics are more Ethnocentric, and many black people who try to conform to this are simply falling into another trap. Consider that:

The common man in less complex communities is allowed to be more self sufficient.

What I mean by this, is that traditionally, they often seemed to have at least, a more egalitarian access to the land, knew how to plant crops, knew how to hunt, knew to make weapons to hunt for prolonged periods and knew how to provide themselves with shelter. Many individuals in complex societies don't have these important survival skills and if they wound up without either food and shelter they must try to get government assistance or starve/be homeless/die.

A reduction of economic empowerment. Complex societies typically praise social stratification in the very unlikely hope they too will become an elite and will get the chance to look down on others. They have bought into vast sea of myths: (a)that their rulers are sent by God and that (b)suffering in a lower class is good because they'll go to heaven and enjoy splendor, or nowadays that (c)these 'elite' positions are held by those with the most merit to keep them hopeful. If you have merit, you will definitely become part of the top 1%. Nevermind that such individuals usually rely on inheriting their positions. These places teach their masses to be permissive towards substantially unequal distribution of resources. Ethics in America are to work for what you earn. The poor are spat on, while the rich consuming most of the world's wealth are given a free pass.

With those at the top taking their work to the lowest bidder around the world for more gains, the demand that people in complex civilizations live on a wages that often aren't sustainable for them increases. And remember very few of them have the skills and resources to survive without money. Deforestation and privatization of farms makes the chances of independence all the more unlikely as well.

Less "complex" societies don't have to worry as much about the centralization of power. They have have more control and often a greater sense of kinship to their leaders and they have more autonomy. In today's world, one of the many frustrations with complex societies is that power lies in the hands of the few. The few have no emotional attachment to the majority (often requiring some degree of exploitation of the common person to be among the few) and laws are so complex the average person does not know their way around them. They're not guaranteed equal quality of representation, by people who know their way around complex legal systems. More complex civilizations at this point, have the fire power to wipe out the masses if they become hostile and attempt to do to them, what was done to Marie Antoinette. No longer can the elite be physically forced to listen to the people, and legally they hold an immense advantage over common individuals.


One common excuse for the superiority of complex civilizations is that they're technologically superior and provide a better quality of life. But most of these civilizations are now living off energy plans and consumption that is unsustainable or ridiculously high. You need to be able to put the ancient civilizations in the context of being a transitional period to the kind of society we have now. The United States makes up 5% of the world, and uses 24% of it's resources. Many of the models for their consumption of energy and other resources uses an infinite model, with finite resources. It destroys the environment for their future generations and for the rest of the world.

Most people who praise the splendors of complex civilizations, even in the past typically ignore the standard of living for the majority was not as great. Not everyone got to spend the afterlife in a pyramid, had rococo styled homes, and got to wear extravagant gowns. My question is, in all of these societies how comfortable were average people. Not the kings or queens, debutantes, celebutantes, senators and presidents--but the average population of people who most individuals will be born and will die as.

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Tyrannohotep
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While I will still fight to the death to correct the historical record about Egypt in the name of factual accuracy, you do raise valid points. The Egyptians left behind some wonderful architecture and technology for sure, but their society was a very autocratic and theocratic one that I would never enjoy actually living in. I don't like how the Egyptian civilization has been misrepresented to slander African people, but nobody should base their self-esteem on whether or not their ancestors put together some glorified big pile of rocks.
quote:
The United States makes up 5% of the world, and uses 24% of it's resources. Many of the models for their consumption of energy and other resources uses an infinite model, with finite resources.
This is precisely why I don't like capitalist economics. A lot of people wonder what's wrong with Africa or the Third World in general without considering that the First World is hogging a disproportionate share of the world's limited supply of resources. As long as the capitalist West continues its current greed, we shouldn't be surprised that some people get smaller pieces of cake. After all, if everyone lived like the average American, the world would have been raped beyond its ability to sustain any of us long ago.
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Doug M
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Good comments all. In fact the pyramid itself is a perfect example of the system you speak of. The base represents the masses and the pinnacle the elites. Look how small the peak is compared to the base. And the whole cosmological, mythological framework that it symbolizes as well as the social structure and organization that built it are a big reason it has been adopted by modern societies as a symbol for the current system.
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Sundjata
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quote:
Originally posted by Oshun:
[QB] *Please ignore my grammar or misspellings. I'm very tired and it's quite early in the morning here [Smile]

So I've been doing a lot of thinking on this. One of the reasons it doesn't bother me as much whether Egypt is black or white for example, is that even if it were true that blacks were not responsible for any of the larger, more complex civilizations, this doesn't bother me. I feel like, the praise of complex civilizations and their characteristics are more Ethnocentric, and many black people who try to conform to this are simply falling into another trap. Consider that:


What is "falling into a trap" is implying that without Egypt there were no "large" and "complex" civilizations in Africa (see here). That would of course be false and we can discuss it further if you'd like.
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Oshun
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I think you're being rather defensive and needlessly so. This isn't an attack on black people. I was not suggesting whether or not there actuallyARE or are not other large/complex civilizations. My point was the VALUE of such civilizations over less complex/smaller civilizations (typically associated with Africans) is ethnocentric/eurocentric. Despite the cons and lack of autonomy people have in these societies Eurocentrics still needlessly believe that 'complex' societies are superior in every way. And they if American come from a country that's founding principles and values are supposed to be on individual freedoms and autonomy. By their own value system, their government style actually puts them rather low on the totem pole.

In any case all I was saying that HYPOTHETICALLY if Ancient Egypt was not black, and there were NO larger, more complex civilizations that were in Africa it wouldn't matter. It shouldn't matter. The fact that it would to some people if true is to me, the trap. I don't research Egypt's African origins or anywhere else's African origins under the pretense that I "need" that to be true, that I need association with such civilizations so that I'm not a "primitive" person. Smaller/less complex societies carry a wisdom in their construction that the common man in the US should've picked up on years ago. Probably from the very start of it's founding. I would actually like to see civilization styles that don't reflect European ideas of "good" civilizations get a better reputation.

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Sundjata
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^I agree with everything that you've typed here. My point remains the same and I don't consider it being defensive. The fact that you use Africa as a "hypothetical" example to demonstrate your point likely exposes a sub-conscious tendency to associated Africa with the "less complex", with out defining the terms. What you may in fact be arguing is that so-called "tribes" are indeed "complex". Yet if this is so then what justifies usage of the word "tribe"? For instance, how does one distinguish a European "ethnic group" from an African "tribe"? How "large" are these tribes? If one were to erroneously refer to the Yoruba, who are over 20 million strong, as a tribe yet not the Greeks, who only number up to 13 million, then what does that say about "large" and "complex", even within this context? It should be a non-issue but we are feeding into Eurocentrism by playing a game on their own terms though your way of thinking is obviously very progressive.

Please don't misinterpret, your point is well-argued and well-intentioned but if we are talking about "falling into traps" then I think it is ALL of our responsibilities to remain especially careful.

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Oshun
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When I say "less complex" I'm mostly referring to how I tend to hear these types of civilizations separated, which seems from what I've read to be related to government type. "simple" Socities are governed in a way that is easier for the common individual to understand, which actually leaves them more empowered. Complex governments seem to govern more people, but the laws are more complex which usually results in things like unequal representation under the law.

Here's my thing. In my hypothetical, I'm merely supposing these things are true because this is the position many racists take with Africans. My point is, even if that WERE true, there s actually individual strengths in these societies that our societies don't grant the common man. My point was simply that, if what they said WAS true, I'm not bothered by it.

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-Just Call Me Jari-
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quote:
One common excuse for the superiority of complex civilizations is that they're technologically superior and provide a better quality of life.
This is an understatement. First off Complex socities do offer a better quality of life. For one modern medicine, surgery, dentistry, modern science, astronomy etc all stems from what you would call "Complex societies". Due to this Homosapiens are the only species on our planet (that we know of) to exit or planet, we now have the ability to avoid exteniction if our technology and science keeps improving by leaps and bounds.

In the case of Ancient Egypt, Egypt was one of the most stable and safe nations on earth to live at during its heyday. Further the ave Egyptian would have been more self reliant than a person today.

The Pyramids were a national project. The Average Egyptian recieved free food, paid leave and a paid vacation.

quote:
The United States makes up 5% of the world, and uses 24% of it's resources. Many of the models for their consumption of energy and other resources uses an infinite model, with finite resources.
Yet the U.S has the best universities and on of the best and highest paying medical and folks from the 3rd world flocking in Droves to the U.S. You should go to a Hospital or Medical School and preach and let all the Arabs, Africans and Indians etc to go back home to their lovely amazing lives in poverty. Im sure they will tell you how much they love it..

America is the only nation in history where a poor immigrant has the oppurtunity to become a Millionaire or part of the Middle class.

You won't find this anywhere else even in other western nations.

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Whatbox
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Yeah yeah I know ... but still it's ... [Smile]

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Whatbox
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haha, right.
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Whatbox
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You know, I'm not even sure Egypt was all that complex, or is touted to be. People there seemed to have lived a relatively simple means of life -- for the great majority.

The place in ways seemed very spiritual if you ask me, but also burdened by corruption.

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Whatbox
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quote:
Originally posted by Oshun:
*Please ignore my grammar or misspellings. I'm very tired and it's quite early in the morning here [Smile]

So I've been doing a lot of thinking on this. One of the reasons it doesn't bother me as much whether Egypt is black or white for example, is that even if it were true that blacks were not responsible for any of the larger, more complex civilizations, this doesn't bother me. I feel like, the praise of complex civilizations and their characteristics are more Ethnocentric, and many black people who try to conform to this are simply falling into another trap. Consider that:

quote:
Originally posted by Sundjata:
What is "falling into a trap" is implying that without Egypt there were no "large" and "complex" civilizations in Africa (see here). That would of course be false and we can discuss it further if you'd like.

quote:
Originally posted by Oshun:
I think you're being rather defensive and needlessly so. This isn't an attack on black people.

Hum. Well, I'd just read Sundiata's first post logically; to just be making a logical point, not be being ractionary, although his post misses the point (as you note). Just as in having a one, working logic, not in the polemic sense of thyius, versus thyAt.

quote:
Originally posted by Oshun:
I was not suggesting whether or not there actually ARE or are not other large/complex civilizations.

Ok, you know what, Sundjata,

what Oshun says here:

quote:
is that even if it were true that blacks were not responsible for any of the
Doesn't absolutely have to imply that without the Ancient Kemetians there were none, even though I could see how one could read it like that.

quote:
My point was the VALUE of such civilizations over less complex/smaller civilizations (typically associated with Africans) is ethnocentric/eurocentric. Despite the cons and lack of autonomy people have in these societies Eurocentrics still needlessly believe that 'complex' societies are superior in every way. And they if American come from a country that's founding principles and values are supposed to be on individual freedoms and autonomy. By their own value system, their government style actually puts them rather low on the totem pole.

In any case all I was saying that HYPOTHETICALLY if Ancient Egypt was not black, and there were NO larger, more complex civilizations that were in Africa it wouldn't matter. It shouldn't matter. The fact that it would to some people if true is to me, the trap. I don't research Egypt's African origins or anywhere else's African origins under the pretense that I "need" that to be true, that I need association with such civilizations so that I'm not a "primitive" person. Smaller/less complex societies carry a wisdom in their construction that the common man in the US should've picked up on years ago. Probably from the very start of it's founding. I would actually like to see civilization styles that don't reflect European ideas of "good" civilizations get a better reputation.

This is the epitome of the way I feel of the topic. I more or less aggree with the entire quote above.
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Swenet
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Good sh!t Oshun.
You make good points, some of which I have been making in the past as well.

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Swenet
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quote:
Originally posted by Whatbox:
You know, I'm not even sure Egypt was all that complex, or is touted to be. People there seemed to have lived a relatively simple means of life -- for the great majority.

The place in ways seemed very spiritual if you ask me, but also burdened by corruption.

Agree.
But watch your tonque though, saying that might ruffle the feathers of those who claim that the Ancient Egyptians were practicing science.

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Whatbox
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Speaking of less complexity / definition, lately, I've been wondering about the pre-colonial Bantu nations and societies of more inland Africa. What were those communities like. It seems most of what I know outside of vaguery is stuff about peoples and places less inland, even if inland forest dwellers such as the Yoruba or Asante, not that they have to be forest dwellers to be inland, Khoisan environments are desert / grasslands, and even the Tuareg I consider inland, that is, compared with the coast-hugging Berber-tribes, and Egypt which is its self right-at-the-gates-of- Asia / Levant / Mediterranean (Sea).

I'm not saying the less inland a group is the more I know about them, just saying compared to groups far from the Sahel, I know more of them closer to it.

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Whatbox
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quote:
Originally posted by Swenet:
Agree.
But watch your tonque though, saying that might ruffle the feathers of those who claim that the Ancient Egyptians were practicing science.

They did.

They did some quite some amazing things, infact. But then people have been using science since we got here, using certain rock for certain tool (to make), which to do that we'd heat it to make them more moldable. Back to Ancient Egyptians -- the term "chemistry" comes from the name (well, they called their place "Kem"), and they even had a full fledged prosthetic foot with moveable parts (so prosthetics was invented by no peg-legged Pirate) ... well I will concede that one may be more mechanics than science.

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Oshun
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quote:
understatement. First off Complex socities do offer a better quality of life. For one modern medicine, surgery, dentistry, modern science, astronomy etc all stems from what you would call "Complex societies".
Access to dentistry, surgery, scientific discovery and all the other positive things complex societies can produce are treated as privileges to those who can afford them. Their availability relies on the people having the socioeconomic empowerment to reliably pay for such services. If not, they're only entitled once they're rushed to the ER and by then, their lives are at great risk to die (hence why they're there) and the doctors do the bare minimum. Not enough to keep them from coming back where even greater complications and risk for death can occur.

The seemingly Eurocentric view of looking at how to value what a society has, is to present what is available to those at the higher classes. An alternative view, one I find more often in blacks for instance, tends to look at how good societies are based on how much they'll provide everyone that meaning. For example, someone who is black is more likely to scoff at July 4th being the day the nation was free and got it's independence. That's because this only was true for a certain portion of the population whose oppression was only at the hands of Britain. White women, Native Americans and African Americans were still screwed over and were not "liberated." Freedom is therefore generally accepted as still being a work in progress OR it's attributed to whenever EVERYONE was legally provided equal protection on paper.

To put that sort of thought into the perspective of this discussion, the alternative view is valuing nations based on the lowest common denominator, or the ones with the least amount of economic empowerment. A nation with many practitioners of dentistry doesn't mean anything to a woman working 3 jobs and without enough money to pay for a child with cavities. Nearly 60% of Americans will spend at least 1 year of their adult lives in poverty and that's the general population, we haven't even gotten to Blacks and Latinos. When defining poverty, the methodology in doing so is often defined by outdated thresholds. Meaning a lot more people are poor or will be poor, but the US covers it up. 22k for a family of 4? Please.

50 million people in the United States are without health insurance. Also, when you speak to African Americans and Hispanics, groups that have been socially subordinated to offer EuroAmericans economic security, both have about 1 in 4 uninsured again. Don't be surprised if you don't find people worshiping such advances like science, dentistry and the like because the fruit of these advances are not reliably available to everyone. They are there for the upper classes.

The above is what I meant when I said, a group of nomadic tribes that know where to find shelter, cultivate the land for food and can hunt are more self sufficient in survival. Americans are not. As a matter of fact, America runs on a model FOR self sufficiency but does not educate or provide resources to it's people in doing so, nor has it distributed essential resources like land through merit. For the most part things like that are inherited.

I'm not working on a world view that determines provisions to those at the top, I'm looking at judgment through what each group has worst case scenario. And worst case scenario Americans can't provide food or shelter for themselves and will die. Many smaller tribal communities Americans sneer towards will live on.


quote:

Due to this Homosapiens are the only species on our planet (that we know of) to exit or planet, we now have the ability to avoid exteniction if our technology and science keeps improving by leaps and bounds.

Humanity will inevitably go extinct. Even if humans hop planet to planet, solar system to solar system the universe will expand to the point where eventually none will be able to exist. Extinction is an inevitability. The purpose of such advances should be to make what time we have the happiest for all. Unfortunately, the fruits of Eurocentric elitism dictate that the greatest discoveries be exclusive to people based on class and socioeconomic status.


quote:
quote:
The United States makes up 5% of the world, and uses 24% of it's resources. Many of the models for their consumption of energy and other resources uses an infinite model, with finite resources.
Yet the U.S has the best universities and on of the best and highest paying medical and folks from the 3rd world flocking in Droves to the U.S.
I'm not going to deny that the US' offers better potential for education... actually I just might. Because what does it mean to be educated? Most children are not reared to an actual job and to be self sufficient. Models for managing such matters often relies on things like networking--which benefits the most higher classes on down. Second, Americans for example aren't taught what they need to know in order to be self sufficient. They aren't taught law to compensate for their complex government structures. They're not taught how to make shelters, they're not provided studies they can use in daily life, how to read studies or taught history in a way that's applicable today's world. They're taught in many cases trivia that is so worthless in terms of it's modern application that the average child spends years re-memorizing the trivia once they've forgotten it. EuroAmerica uses homework to reinforce what they teach because there is no application to what they're memorizing otherwise. Many blacks don't subscribe to the cycle of memorizing and forgetting trivia as being educated. There's a greater desire for applicable knowledge and to know how it will be applied when one is learning it.

Compared to the education people are legally entitled, Universities are nicer. But again, that's for those that can afford it. The lower classes aren't guaranteed this at all. They are given the poor k-12 education that doesn't aim to genuinely educate and is provided by in the worst conditions by the poorest quality educators. In New York, 3/4ths of the general population aren't ready for college despite graduating. Saddest thing? IIRC 1 in 10 blacks live there.


Place that in the framework of a university education in it's applicability for ever go mostly to benefit the higher classes with the lower ones having little comparative benefit. "OOooh but Affirmative Action!" So what? You have to graduate and be college ready first, and then be educated about whatever AA scholarships/grants are out there second. The difference between Eurocentric world views and many black views often clash. Eurocentrics attack views held by many blacks their being too self-entitled despite the fact that by law, everyone is entitled to for example life, but doesn't get all they need to have it. And while it'd be one thing if all blacks didn't work or whatever, the reality is many poor and struggling blacks are working to feed their families and to make ends meet.

Meanwhile the wealthiest that perpetuate this are the ones whose class is ironically defined by NOT having to work. Upper Upper classes differ from the rest of the world in that they can make more money with the money they have. They often profit off of perpetual debt, meaning we will forever have to pay people who don't have to work. To say it a final time those at the top don't have to earn anything and ironically the Eurocentric model demands that everyone respect THIS at the same time.

Most those people get their wealth from inheritance, and screw up the government to take more of everyone else's resources. But it's the poor being treated as parasites, while the rich suck what remains of the middle classes bone dry.Dp they fight it? No. Eurocentrism was made by upper classes, and the masses foolishly feel proud following.

quote:
You should go to a Hospital or Medical School and preach and let all the Arabs, Africans and Indians etc to go back home to their lovely amazing lives in poverty. Im sure they will tell you how much they love it..
Again, I'm not saying they shouldn't strive to greater material resources. I'm saying that how we're valuing societies seems to differ. I value what ALL in a community can have access to. You value what is attainable to upper classes.

quote:
America is the only nation in history where a poor immigrant has the oppurtunity to become a Millionaire or part of the Middle class.
Oh my God don't start with the bootstrap myth. The reality is MOST Americans (especially now) will not be able to pull that off. Just because some get through doesn't mean we should impose this sort of ridiculous standard for everyone
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-Just Call Me Jari-
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quote:
Access to dentistry, surgery, scientific discovery and all the other positive things complex societies can produce are treated as privileges to those who can afford them. Their availability relies on the people having the socioeconomic empowerment to reliably pay for such services. If not, they're only entitled once they're rushed to the ER and by then, their lives are at great risk to die (hence why they're there) and the doctors do the bare minimum. Not enough to keep them from coming back where even greater complications and risk for death can occur.
First off even if Modern medicine and health is seen as a "privilage" in some societies the effects and benefits are still seen by those who would be called "non privilaged". This is even seen in the 3rd world where due to a better understanding of the Human body etc. people are able to live longer. This understanding only came about through complex civilizations. Things we often take for granted, I.E the understanding of the circulatory system, the understanding of the Human brain, A correct scientific understanding of Menstrual Cycle in women, etc.


The fact of the matter is we as a species know more about our world and universe due to our coming together in complex societies and exchanging ideas.

In my opinion this is something I and most people who are honest with themselves would take if given the choice for Human kind to remain uncivilized and ignorant our world and the sciences.


quote:
The seemingly Eurocentric view of looking at how to value what a society has, is to present what is available to those at the higher classes. An alternative view, one I find more often in blacks for instance, tends to look at how good societies are based on how much they'll provide everyone that meaning. For example, someone who is black is more likely to scoff at July 4th being the day the nation was free and got it's independence. That's because this only was true for a certain portion of the population whose oppression was only at the hands of Britain. White women, Native Americans and African Americans were still screwed over and were not "liberated." Freedom is therefore generally accepted as still being a work in progress OR it's attributed to whenever EVERYONE was legally provided equal protection on paper.
Yet and still we as a nation continue to make gains in eliminating discrimination and oppression. We elected and African American man to the office of President something that would have been a distant dream 20 yrs ago. White men don't have the power they once had.


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To put that sort of thought into the perspective of this discussion, the alternative view is valuing nations based on the lowest common denominator, or the ones with the least amount of economic empowerment. A nation with many practitioners of dentistry doesn't mean anything to a woman working 3 jobs and without enough money to pay for a child with cavities. Nearly 60% of Americans will spend at least 1 year of their adult lives in poverty and that's the general population, we haven't even gotten to Blacks and Latinos. When defining poverty, the methodology in doing so is often defined by outdated thresholds. Meaning a lot more people are poor or will be poor, but the US covers it up. 22k for a family of 4? Please.
Well your argument is that due to rampant poverty that the values of Civilization mean nothing?? First off why is there so much poverty, Why is that mother working 3 jobs when you have Corporate CEO's taking home Billions and Millions every year yet pay low taxes and buy our politicians?? Are you claiming that we as a people CAN'T provide the mother decent health care for free?? what about her wages(which is inadequate for her lifestyle) is that a product of bad choices, being screwed by a rich elite??

On a side note what is your opinion of Capitalism??

quote:
50 million people in the United States are without health insurance. Also, when you speak to African Americans and Hispanics, groups that have been socially subordinated to offer EuroAmericans economic security, both have about 1 in 4 uninsured again. Don't be surprised if you don't find people worshiping such advances like science, dentistry and the like because the fruit of these advances are not reliably available to everyone. They are there for the upper classes.
Again this seems to be your opinion of American society and values rather than complex civilization. Further poor and oppressed folks like African Americans and Mexican Americans probably have better Hygine and health than folks living in Tribal, hunter gather type socities. depending on their lifestyle of course. Its actually free to keep one's self healthy.


quote:
The above is what I meant when I said, a group of nomadic tribes that know where to find shelter, cultivate the land for food and can hunt are more self sufficient in survival. Americans are not. As a matter of fact, America runs on a model FOR self sufficiency but does not educate or provide resources to it's people in doing so, nor has it distributed essential resources like land through merit. For the most part things like that are inherited.

I'm not working on a world view that determines provisions to those at the top, I'm looking at judgment through what each group has worst case scenario. And worst case scenario Americans can't provide food or shelter for themselves and will die. Many smaller tribal communities Americans sneer towards will live on.

This is a generalization of course. If American society were to collapse many would die but some would live on and adapt to finding shelter, food etc. We still have a survival instinct and strive to live fund in all animals. Further most of us know the basics of agriculture and hunting it would just be a matter of who is more effecient.

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Due to this Homosapiens are the only species on our planet (that we know of) to exit or planet, we now have the ability to avoid exteniction if our technology and science keeps improving by leaps and bounds.

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Humanity will inevitably go extinct. Even if humans hop planet to planet, solar system to solar system the universe will expand to the point where eventually none will be able to exist. Extinction is an inevitability. The purpose of such advances should be to make what time we have the happiest for all. Unfortunately, the fruits of Eurocentric elitism dictate that the greatest discoveries be exclusive to people based on class and socioeconomic status.
I agree with this. In my opinion for us a a species to get to the next level of advancement will require a whole new out look on life, science and humanity. We will have to find a way to seek advancement for the better of all members our our species and world in order to survive in the long run. This mindset where the Rich and Greedy are worshipped and where billions of people slave hours on end to make a profit for some Rich Greedy Crook is holding us back from our potential.

quote:
I'm not going to deny that the US' offers better potential for education... actually I just might. Because what does it mean to be educated? Most children are not reared to an actual job and to be self sufficient. Models for managing such matters often relies on things like networking--which benefits the most higher classes on down. Second, Americans for example aren't taught what they need to know in order to be self sufficient. They aren't taught law to compensate for their complex government structures. They're not taught how to make shelters, they're not provided studies they can use in daily life, how to read studies or taught history in a way that's applicable today's world. They're taught in many cases trivia that is so worthless in terms of it's modern application that the average child spends years re-memorizing the trivia once they've forgotten it. EuroAmerica uses homework to reinforce what they teach because there is no application to what they're memorizing otherwise. Many blacks don't subscribe to the cycle of memorizing and forgetting trivia as being educated. There's a greater desire for applicable knowledge and to know how it will be applied when one is learning it.
I agree the American Education System is very flawed. Again this is because our culture tends to worship concepts that go against education. Teachers are valued like dirt and most American children would rather skip school.


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Compared to the education people are legally entitled, Universities are nicer. But again, that's for those that can afford it. The lower classes aren't guaranteed this at all. They are given the poor k-12 education that doesn't aim to genuinely educate and is provided by in the worst conditions by the poorest quality educators. In New York, 3/4ths of the general population aren't ready for college despite graduating. Saddest thing? IIRC 1 in 10 blacks live there.
You have universities in Europe that are free for the average citizen. Im willing to bet in terms of real education they are just as good if not at times better than the most expensive educational institutions.


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Place that in the framework of a university education in it's applicability for ever go mostly to benefit the higher classes with the lower ones having little comparative benefit. "OOooh but Affirmative Action!" So what? You have to graduate and be college ready first, and then be educated about whatever AA scholarships/grants are out there second. The difference between Eurocentric world views and many black views often clash. Eurocentrics attack views held by many blacks their being too self-entitled despite the fact that by law, everyone is entitled to for example life, but doesn't get all they need to have it. And while it'd be one thing if all blacks didn't work or whatever, the reality is many poor and struggling blacks are working to feed their families and to make ends meet.
I agree 100% with this..

quote:
Again, I'm not saying they shouldn't strive to greater material resources. I'm saying that how we're valuing societies seems to differ. I value what ALL in a community can have access to. You value what is attainable to upper class.
How so..?? I think we should be clear. What we are discussing are two different arguments that you seem to be blending together in your arguments. Here is what Im taking from our discussion...again for clairity

Argument One: 1) Are tribal less complex societies such as say Hunter Gatherers(Most 3rd world nations are actually what we would define as a complex and civilized society) better in general for Humanity,

My answer....In my opinion..No.

Argument 2: Are their problems with the American system of society..

My Answer, Yes and I agree with almost all of your points, my opinion is that we as a people can change this...I hope.


What I value is no different than what you value, except Im just honest enough to tell you that complex societies have been good to Humanity.

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quote:
Originally posted by Whatbox:
quote:
Originally posted by Swenet:
Agree.
But watch your tonque though, saying that might ruffle the feathers of those who claim that the Ancient Egyptians were practicing science.

They did.

They did some quite some amazing things, infact. But then people have been using science since we got here, using certain rock for certain tool (to make), which to do that we'd heat it to make them more moldable. Back to Ancient Egyptians -- the term "chemistry" comes from the name (well, they called their place "Kem"), and they even had a full fledged prosthetic foot with moveable parts (so prosthetics was invented by no peg-legged Pirate) ... well I will concede that one may be more mechanics than science.

Do you realize that, once the criteria for being considered ''scientist'' are lowered that drastically, certain animals can be considered scientists as well?

None of those things are the result of systematic, or even abstract thought; all of it is perfectly explicable in terms of gradual improvement based on initial (borrowed) chance discoveries, needs imposed by environmental pressures and/or off shoots of pre-existing expertise. Such innovations, and their worldview in general, weren't produced by, and subsequently fine tuned by philosophy and testing with experiments. Judging by their, what seems to be, indifference toward the logical inconsistencies in their texts, one could even make the case that they wouldn't even have liked the idea of logical consistency, and that they generally preferred intuition over it, like all cultures I know of that didn't go through some form of a scientific revolution.

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quote:
First off even if Modern medicine and health is seen as a "privilage" in some societies the effects and benefits are still seen by those who would be called "non privilaged".
This generalizes what people have far too much to adequately see the difference in perspective. The first problem is that it's ignoring that in some societies with less "developed" that get some of the effects, that's because the benefits are seen by some populations within a given society, not all. In the United States again, you have a situation where these privileges are also seen by some not all. The particular populations within "third world" are "less fortunate" than many upper classes of the "first world." But they are not without privilege because of the fact that what services they are getting aren't guaranteed to many other members of the population. The populations that are not getting these benefits are the ones that are "non privileged" and you cannot say that these populations are getting many if any benefits because their being defined as non privileged is because they go without these benefits.

"But many black people have access to these benefits"

Blacks overrepresent by far the nation's poor in the US and overrepresent the homeless populations of the US. Many blacks feel as a consequence, that it's important to look at the world from the lowest common denominator because they're at the greatest risk for going uninsured, being homeless, going without employment. We must also look at the fact that US lifestyles are what fuels the problem and there is physically not enough to replicate it regardless of a people's merits.

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This is even seen in the 3rd world where due to a better understanding of the Human body etc. people are able to live longer.
Some.
quote:


This understanding only came about through complex civilizations. Things we often take for granted, I.E the understanding of the circulatory system, the understanding of the Human brain, A correct scientific understanding of Menstrual Cycle in women, etc.

Again many populations aren't going to greatly benefit from this. Before the recession, blacks made up what, nearly half of the homeless population? Homeless shelters these days are filled to capacity and people are without basic necessities for food and shelter. Again for these populations understandings of the circulatory system, the human brain and understanding of a woman's menstrual cycle isn't going to help them very much if at all.

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The fact of the matter is we as a species know more about our world and universe due to our coming together in complex societies and exchanging ideas.
But who does that knowledge about our world and universe typically benefit? Again, less Eurocentric ways of thinking don't punish knowledge, but wish for knowledge attained to prioritize at being applicable and beneficial to all. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen. If the knowledge is only in the hands and application of the economically empowered, for much of the lower class populations it may as well have not existed. In some cases, it may have even been better if it didn't. Because blacks are much more likely live with less economic stability and resources, it's understandable that many would look at the world and judge a society for what it offers in the worst case scenario.

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Yet and still we as a nation continue to make gains in eliminating discrimination and oppression. We elected and African American man to the office of President something that would have been a distant dream 20 yrs ago. White men don't have the power they once had.
Totally missing the point. The point was to get you to think how someone in this mindset would and why. Until both black and white people were legally free or are free in practice, freedom was not/will not be viewed as truly being present within the country. For this reason, many blacks do not truly recognize the 4th as a day to be celebrated as liberation. The provisions of ALL in a community matter when reflecting what the nation truly has. THAT was what the example was trying to illustrate.

Alleged progresses being made (though Obama got out of the Jeremiah Wright bit, because of his white ancestry), doesn't change that there has always been a reason for them to approach the notion of what a nation truly has in a bottoms up fashion. Be it health care, scientific discoveries or freedom. What a nation has does not (to many of blacks) look solely at the the average or even the upper classes. It includes what all can expect for all, which means bottoms up.

Many blacks will likely persist in thinking this way because if they worked on what averages had, they'd never have made initiatives to be free. Yes the country has had freedom since they were enslaved for example, but it wasn't a concept applicable to all. "Land of the Free" and "Leaders of the Free World" reflected a way of living for certain population groups. So even when looking at provisions in their own communities, many blacks will look at what the community or country has in a "bottoms up" sort of fashion where the "Eurocentric" model instilled by the European elite, looks top down or by averages that can still blot out images of extreme poverty. A more black friendly model and a Euro-elite centric one reflects differences in whose been formulating the model. Black models are being made by people of subordinated classes that consider populations with little to no privilege. "Eurocentric" models are made by elites with often unearned advantages. Usually it's to control the mass majority. Make the masses feel good that their elites have lavish architecture, science, and technology at their disposal. Don't have any money to fix YOUR broken toilet, and it's had **** in it for a few days? Ah well.

quote:
Well your argument is that due to rampant poverty that the values of Civilization mean nothing??
That sounds like a question that comes from a position of advantage. If you were someone who had to live without the benefits born from these civilizations, what they produce does in fact mean little to nothing. These sorts of questions can be asked by higher classes, because they have the means and education to know where to attain such things. From an egalitarian position? They're not completely worthless, but their worth is class dependent. Eurocentric models tend to behave that if they benefit the upper classes, you can generalize it's impact to the world as it being some sort of global contribution. But you cannot generalize or overestimate whom the invention actually helps.

Inventions and concepts are only valued for what they can offer to people. So it is incorrect to say something like, "complex civilizations gave the world medicine" or whatever. You can argue complex civilizations allowed for certain social groups, most particularly higher classes down, certain benefits like better health care with a few charitable groups in between.The person who makes things accessible to all is more important than inventors, because ideas and inventions that lack functional application may as well not exist depending on which social group you come from. In some cases, it's better if they didn't because it provides even more inequality to the advantage of other classes.

If you come from a group that lacks economic stability and has high rates of unemployment/homelessness/incarceration it's not as likely you're going to care about these things. To illustrate this in a way you may understand, What good for example is an invention that gives advantage to the top 10% but leaves out everyone else? It is not in practice very valuable. And as this system takes even more resources from the bottom up, less and less people will actually be able to enjoy any products of such civilizations, making their benefits more and more obsolete. The society produces plenty of things, but their actual value isn't in determined by ideal applications. Rather, in their real-life application to the world.

I would even go as far as to say it's understandable why many groups feel further inconvenienced by things the higher classes enjoy. The use of technology by higher classes is unsustainable, and we're destroying the environment for future generations (including theirs) to give them what they want now.We learned of bacteria and viruses and we can pump blacks with syphilis in order to see how long they'll live for the benefit of other races/classes. Now many blacks can't trust vaccines (which in general are being said to contain some unsavory stuff). We have science but many blacks and poor whites/ other groups are living in ways where these contributions contribute little to nothing. They still have access to the poorest quality food (if any), many uninsured, and people are attempting to use science in a way that disregards the capacity for black achievement (it's happening a lot on this VERY forum). You don't see nearly as often science being used in an effort to classify whites as an inferior/defective race of people. And those that do, usually have internalized white-supremacist pseudo and attack the problem by using the same standards--reinforcing the very problem they try to fight. You don't see blacks forcibly trying to sterilize whites using pseudo science either.

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First off why is there so much poverty, Why is that mother working 3 jobs when you have Corporate CEO's taking home Billions and Millions every year yet pay low taxes and buy our politicians??
Well generally complex societies have significant social stratification. It's one of the ways they define themselves against other societies like hunter gatherer communities. They're able to (ideally) handle making decisions for larger populations of people under the guise that if everyone had to weigh into a decision, nothing would ever get passed. but the people have to trust their leaders to properly represent them. And if not, they're screwed. It's an extremely great risk to trust a few individuals to represent your interests, to give people much power. Historically, these individuals have usually had to rely on ideas such as bootstrap meritocracy myths, or proclaiming God is their relative/had sent them to lead in order to coax the fears of the governed. Or that, God has a better place for them in heaven, once they've taken control of most of the resources.
The elite have better legal representation, and at this point, even have access to nuclear technology. They are at a point where they could wipe out the majority, something that hadn't been possible in earlier years. This is progress? Before, the masses could kill their incompetent leaders in the streets. Not only that but these groups have the resources to campaign in ways average people don't. The elite enjoy many things due to their positions, they're not going to educate people the empower themselves at their expense. Many EuroAmericans as well as members of other American minority groups, really need to understand that the model that's handed to them for comparing the world encourages them to feel proud of their being dominated over, and to be close minded to the strengths of other societies.

quote:

On a side note what is your opinion of Capitalism??

While I'm not sure if I can really say communism is the answer, capitalism is certainly not either. The elite have worked at making people complacent with capitalism because it ensures them advantage, while making the masses feel that the system has put them there because of superior merits. I do believe it is an extension of feudalism. Only instead, it's de facto feudalism instead of de jure feudalism. Capitalism puts on the facade of meritocracy while feudalism attempted to use religious doctrine or law. Same concept of lulling the masses into thinking they deserve to be at the top, different method. Many theorists believe they intend to chip people so that you must obey or you can't purchase or sell anything. Again, worse case scenario feudalism but perhaps even worse because people can't revolt, or boycott since too few people know how to work the land, hunt, build shelters, etc.

Capitalism demands people to have no security, whatsoever. The absence of essential resources is what in theory drives work, and that it's socialism to provide basic needs to the people. It doesn't address the fact that because the capitalist class is free continue to take resources, to whatever extent they see fit, there will never be enough for everyone, even if they work just as hard. The capitalist class doesn't have to concern itself with making sure everyone survives. Just enough to perform the labors that they want. Many people work now to acquire just some of their needs, but aren't as able these days to acquire everything they'll need at once.

I'm sure we could find many more intelligent, hard working people than George Bush that make far less money--even slave wages. We as a society have been rather complacent however, in the wealth he's inherited.
quote:
Again this seems to be your opinion of American society and values rather than complex civilization.
They are characterized by significantly greater social stratification, and the use of things like religion, or in today's case a faux meritocracy to justify it. America is just an example. You can probably find similar problems throughout the "developed" world just like it.

quote:
Further poor and oppressed folks like African Americans and Mexican Americans probably have better Hygine and health than folks living in Tribal, hunter gather type socities. depending on their lifestyle of course. Its actually free to keep one's self healthy.
Some, oppressed have better access, not all. It's important when looking at the have-nots, not to undermine what they don't have by generalizing them with everyone else. They're more important in this discussion because they bestow upon us the social securities of a community--what a community can offer someone whose lost everything. While the nation's overall picture for lacking water may seem low, many Native Americans have a greater likelihood to lack water (a little over 1 in 10). But even if I gave you water, other dimensions of health such as of shelter or food are things tribes are more likely know how to obtain on their own compared to developed nations. Americans for example, aren't taught to make their own weapons and hunt for their own food. The system doesn't make it a right to teach them how to cultivate land. Many will find there is nowhere to go in America's overcrowded shelters, and I'm sure with how much the economy sucks, this sort of situation isn't exclusive to the States. And even if you get to one, hygiene is a major problem in shelters because they compact a lot of people together, leaving many to get sick or get things like lice/tics. For this reason some people just choose to roam the streets. As for health such as dentistry, etc a growing number of Americans who are uninsured, especially Blacks and Latinos. Again, America is an example. You can find parallels in other developed countries.

quote:
This is a generalization of course.
No, it's not a generalization. We're looking at the worst case scenario.

quote:
If American society were to collapse many would die but some would live on and adapt to finding shelter, food etc. We still have a survival instinct and strive to live fund in all animals.
While this is true, the knowledge acquired to do so would not a product of what the civilization deemed important for you to know despite it's own ideas of a public that is self sufficient. You would have to learn from scratch. And for those who may have SOME knowledge of making weapons from scratch and tools for building, None of that basic knowledge would be the result of information that these institutions expect you to know. Compare that to a smaller group or a tribe, and it is expected that you know how to catch your own food, make your own tools, and build your own shelters.

quote:
If American society were to collapse many would die but some would live on and adapt to finding shelter, food etc. We still have a survival instinct and strive to live fund in all animals. Further most of us know the basics of agriculture and hunting it would just be a matter of who is more effecient.
No, most of us don't know how to hunt, nor do we most importantly know how to make our own weapons which is essential to prolonged hunting. A gun is only good for example, until it runs out of ammo. How many people can make a bullet, make gunpowder, build or repair guns? Most of us do not know how to grow crops beyond, raid the store and sticks some seeds in the mode, hoping it works. My point is, that in smaller communities it is expected to know the essentials for living. In larger ones, this sort of information is not expected, and who learns it are those who deviate from what is expected to be learned in order to develop basic skills.

quote:
This mindset where the Rich and Greedy are worshiped and where billions of people slave hours on end to make a profit for some Rich Greedy Crook is holding us back from our potential.
This is true. I'm not trying to disregard complex societies as having no good points, just that they're class dependent. The problem is, we can't simply eradicate the issue of class dependence very easily, because complex societies rest on a model of social stratification and the economic structure came from out of the bowels of feudalism. The issue I'm dealing with, is a upper class imposed standard for "Eurocentrism" demands the majority of people to ignore the strong points of other types of civilizations. My point was mostly, if you look at where those societies are strong, it's much easier to see how much the elite control living in "developed" nations. They won't allow you to learn how to live independently from them. If they have control of the economy, they have control of you. This is ironically, a growing fear of the western public. Many are growing to suspect the world will be chipped. And without education in how to live without relying on the economy, if it indeed happens most people are screwed. Our grand technology has also essentially placed a revolver to the masses' head. They can go bunk and hide while the world is pumped with radiation. If people want to revolt,they can now kill us. Forget "peace and love now war" and think about how,even if a collective consciousness were attained to stop the elites,they have more than enough firepower to wipe everyone out?

quote:
You have universities in Europe that are free for the average citizen. Im willing to bet in terms of real education they are just as good if not at times better than the most expensive educational institutions.
A step up I must admit but again America's simply an example. Even if the parallels aren't identical, there are other areas of concern that aren't dependent on this. You have the problem of, target groups and the poor not getting through k-12 to have a free college education. The poor are also more likely to simply be allowed to graduate while not being college ready. This means their college transcripts will look very poor, and/or they'll be more likely to flunk even if they get there. Take for example, New York.

quote:
What I value is no different than what you value, except Im just honest enough to tell you that complex societies have been good to Humanity.
Certain populations of people (usually class dependent), while devastating many other populations around the world.We can say complex societies have been good to us because WE are actually part of the top 15% of the world consuming 80% of the world's resources. However, to the people who work just as much, if not harder than we do, that live poorly (in part because we're becoming a global society ) this isn't true. It has not been good for them. We cannot even look at complex civilizations as having impacts of gains and loss that are isolated within their own borders. They are growing to see themselves as global societies that feel no problem influencing the politics and economies of "developing nations". They have helped to devastate much of "third world" and plunder their resources. These societies are for those communities the bane of their existence. 48% of the world for example, needs access to improved sanitation, with kids carrying thousands of parasitic worms in their bodies a year.
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