#david wengrow Tumblr posts

  • waterbodiez
    18.05.2022 - 4 days ago

    “The Roman Law conception of natural freedom is essentially based on the power of the individual (by implication, a male head of household) to dispose of his property as he sees fit. In Roman Law property isn’t even exactly a right, since rights are negotiated with others and involve mutual obligations; it’s simply power - the blunt reality that someone in possession of a thing can do anything he wants with it, except that which is limited ‘by force or law’. This formulation has some peculiarities that jurists have struggled with ever since, as it implies freedom is essentially a state of primordial exception to the legal order. It also implies property is not a set of understandings between people over who gets to use or look after things, but rather a relation between a person and an object characterized by absolute power.

    ...West Indian sociologist Orlando Patterson, who points out that Roman Law conceptions of property (and hence freedom) essentially trace back to slave law. The reason it is possible to imagine property as a relationship of domination between a person and a thing is because, in Roman Law, the power of the master rendered the slave a thing (res, meaning an object), not a person with social rights or legal obligations to anyone else. Property law, in turn, was largely about the complicated situations that might arise as a result. It is important to recall, for a moment, who these Roman jurists actually were that laid down the basis of our current legal order - our theories of justice, the language of contract and torts, the distinction of public and private and so forth. While they spent their public lives making sober judgements as magistrates, they lived their private lives in households where they not only had near-total authority over their wives, children and other dependents, but also had all their needs taken care of by dozens, if not hundreds of slaves.”

    - The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow

    #grace if you see this -- we have to discuss when i see you next #the dawn of everything #david graeber#david wengrow#text
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  • neoretrobibliomartini-x
    11.05.2022 - 1 week ago

    The term "inequality" is a way of framing social problems appropriate to an age of technocratic reformers, who assume from the outset that no real vision of social transformation is even on the table.

    David Graeber & David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything

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  • waterbodiez
    10.05.2022 - 1 week ago

    “What’s important here is the fact that this equality could be viewed as making people (as well as things) interchangeable, which in turn allowed rulers, or their henchmen, to make impersonal demands that took no consideration of their subject’s unique situations. This is of course what gives the word ‘bureaucracy’ such distasteful associations almost everywhere today. The very term evokes mechanical stupidity. But there’s no reason to believe that impersonal systems were originally, or necessarily, stupid. If the calculations of a Bolivian ayulla or Basque council - or presumably a Neolithic village administration like that of Tell Sabi Abyad, and its urban successors in Mesopotamia - produced an obviously impossible or unreasonable result, matters could always be adjusted. As anyone who has spent time in a rural community, or serving a municipal or parish council of a large city, resolving such inequities might require many hours, possibly days of tedious discussion, but almost always a solution will be arrived at that no one finds entirely unfair. It’s the addition of sovereign power, and the resulting ability of the local enforcer to say, ‘Rules are rules; I don’t want to hear about it’ that allows bureaucratic mechanisms to become genuinely monstrous.”

    - The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow

    #the dawn of everything #text#david graber#david wengrow
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  • waterbodiez
    08.05.2022 - 1 week ago

    “To understand the realities of power, whether in modern or ancient societies, is to acknowledge this gap between what elites claim they can do and what they are actually able to do. As the sociologist Philip Abrams pointed out long ago, failure to make this distinction has led social scientists up countless blind alleys, because the state is ‘not the reality which stands behind the mask of political practice. It is itself the mask which prevents our seeing political practice as it is.’ To understand the latter, he argued, we must attend to ‘the senses in which the state does not exist rather than to those in which it does.’ We can now see that these points apply just as forcefully to ancient political regimes as they do to modern ones - if not more so.

    An origin for ‘the state’ has long been sought in such diverse places as ancient Egypt, Inca, Peru and Shang China, but what we now regard as states turn out not to be a constant of history at all; not the result of a long evolutionary process that began in the Bronze Age, but rather a confluence of three political forms - sovereignty, administration and charismatic competition - that have different origins. Modern states are simply one way in which the three principles of domination happened to come together, but this time with a notion that the power of kings held by an entity called ‘the people’ (or ‘the nation’), that bureaucracies exist for the benefit of said ‘people’, and in which a variation of old, aristocratic contests and prizes has come to be relabelled as ‘democracy’, most often in the form of national elections. There was nothing inevitable about it. If proof of that were required, we need only observe how much this particular arrangement is currently coming apart. As we noted, there are now planetary bureaucracies (public and private, ranging from the IMF and WTO to J.P. Morgan Chase and various credit-rating agencies) without anything that resembles a corresponding principle of global sovereignty or global field of competitive politics; and everything from cryptocurrencies to private security agencies, undermining the sovereignty of states.”

    - The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow

    #the dawn of everything #text#david graeber#david wengrow #origins of the state
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  • theatermachtpolitik
    02.05.2022 - 2 weeks ago

    [Religion macht Untertanen: Gott in der Geschichte](https://raete-muenchen.de/religion-macht-untertanen-gott-in-der-geschichte "https://raete-muenchen.de/religion-macht-untertanen-gott-in-der-geschichte")

    Wir wurden durch die Religionen dazu verführt, an Herrschaft und Obrigkeit zu glauben, weil ja auch Gott über uns herrscht, „mit seiner Gnade“ und „für unsere Sünden“? Die Ideologie der Schuld führt zur Schuld für unser Leben: Du hast zu schuften und zu zahlen. Es geht auch anders:

    [David Graeber](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=david_graeber "david_graeber") arbeitete die Jahre 2007-2013 an der Goldsmiths University und war von 2013 bis zu seinem Tod Professor für Anthropologie an der London School of Economics.

    Seine wichtigsten Bücher:

    [Bullshit Jobs-Eine Theorie](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=bullshit_jobs-eine_theorie "bullshit_jobs-eine_theorie") (2018)

    Schulden – die letzten 5000 Jahre

    [Anfänge](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=anfaenge "anfaenge") (Arbeitstitel war: „Das Buch der Könige“ zusammen mit David Wengrow: „Anfänge. Eine neue Geschichte der Menschheit“. Aus dem Amerikanischen von Henning Dedekind, Helmut Dierlamm, Andreas Thomsen. € 28,95 / 670 Seiten. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2022

    David Graeber, David Wengrow „Anfänge“: Eine neue Geschichte der Menschheit

    Zur Kolonialzeit wurde von den gebildeten Missionaren, vor allem Jesuiten, ausführlich berichtet, dass die „neuen Völker“ so schwer zu missionieren und unterwerfen sind, weil sie es nicht gewöhnt sind, den Befehlen eines Anderen zu gehorchen. Spannend, was die Religionen mit ihrem „Herrn“ und den angedrohten Strafen mit uns gemacht haben:

    Von den indigenen Völkern Amerikas und Kanadas wir berichtet, dass die Grundversorgung so wie so für alle gemeinsam war, Privatbesitz war eine Kleinigkeit für Geschenke, für Spiele, …

    Wenn wir unsere dümmlichen Beiträge gegen das bedingungslose [Grundeinkommen](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=grundeinkommen "grundeinkommen") hören, „dann würde niemand mehr arbeiten“ und „wer soll das bezahlen?“ merken wir, dass das Selbstverständlichste, das Grundlegende zu Essen, zu Wohnen, inzwischen zu „Menschenrechten“ erklärt, zum Almosen verkommen ist, zur Justiz-Sache pervertiert, die das heilige Privat-Eigentum garantiert und religiöse Gemeinschafts-Mäntelchen herumwickelt.

    Menschen haben immer die Wahl

    [https://www.fr.de/kultur/literatur/david-graeber-david-wengrow-anfaenge-menschen-haben-immer-die-wahl-91427851.html?cmp=defrss](https://www.fr.de/kultur/literatur/david-graeber-david-wengrow-anfaenge-menschen-haben-immer-die-wahl-91427851.html?cmp=defrss "https://www.fr.de/kultur/literatur/david-graeber-david-wengrow-anfaenge-menschen-haben-immer-die-wahl-91427851.html?cmp=defrss")

    David Graebers und David Wengrows „[Anfänge](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=anfaenge "anfaenge")“ sind eine Revolution der Geschichtsschreibung: „Es war alles ganz anders. So erklären uns die beiden Autoren des 667 Seiten dicken Buches „Anfänge – Eine neue Geschichte der Menschheit“. David Graeber lehrte Anthropologie an der London School of Economics, war einer der Wortführer der Occupy-Wall- Street-Bewegung und seit seinem vor zehn Jahren erschienenen Weltbestseller „Schulden – Die ersten 5000 Jahre“ wohl der berühmteste bekennende Anarchist der Welt.

    Im vergangenen September starb Graeber im Alter von 59 Jahren in Venedig. David Wengrow, geboren 1972, ist Professor für vergleichende Archäologie am University College London.“

    Die Wahrheit aber ist, wie Graeber und Wengrow schreiben: „Erfunden wurde das Wort ‚Demokratie‘ wohl in Europa – und das auch nur um ein Haar, denn Griechenland war in der fraglichen Zeit Afrika und dem Nahen Osten kulturell viel näher als sagen wir zum Beispiel England –, doch es ist nahezu ausgeschlossen, vor dem 19. Jahrhundert auch nur einen einzigen Autor aufzuspüren, der nicht die Ansicht vertreten hätte, dass die Demokratie nichts anderes als eine schreckliche Regierungsform sei.“

    [David Graeber](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=david_graeber "david_graeber")/David Wengrow: „Anfänge. Eine neue Geschichte der Menschheit“. Aus dem Amerikanischen von Henning Dedekind, Helmut Dierlamm, Andreas Thomsen. € 28,95 / 670 Seiten. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2022

    Geschichte neu schreiben:

    Neben den 100 Jahren Demokratie und Frauenwahlrecht gilt es auch, das erwachende demokratische und damit republikanische Denken gegen Katholizismus, Militarismus und Monarchie wieder zu beleben, auch die [Reaktion](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=reaktionaer "reaktionaer") und ihr bis heute weiter wirkendes Gedankengut des Chauvinismus kenntlich zu machen.

    Dazu haben sicher viele weitere Leute in München und Bayern was zu sagen:

    Etwa 7000 Räte hatte es in Bayern gegeben, als die Revolution so überraschend freundlich erfolgreich war, doch ist die Erinnerung an die Räte-Zeit durch faschistische Propaganda in der Geschichtsschreibung vergraben.

    Die Bewegungen vorher, wie die [Wandervogel](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=wandervogel "wandervogel")-Gruppen von jungen Burschen und Frauen gegen die soldatischen und studentischen Burschenschaften, das internationale Denken der pazifistischen Gruppen …


    Derzeit auch eines der ersten Bekenntnisse, wenn jemand über die [Ukraine](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=ukraine "ukraine") und [Russland](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=russland "russland") sprechen will; die NATO wird dabei IMMER ausgeklammert, denn sie hat ja nur zugesehen? Während allerlei Landkäufer, Parteien und EU-Versprechen seit Jahren unterwegs waren, deutsche und ukrainische Rüstungskonzerne an [Russland](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=russland "russland") ihre Übungszentren und Waffen verkauften … Diener des Volkes?

    Ein netter Geschichtslehrer, gespielt vom Spitzen-Schauspieler und heutigen [ukrainischen](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=ukraine "ukraine") Ministerpräsidenten Selenskyj, wird von seiner (ihn schätzenden) Schulklasse mit Video bei einem Wutausbruch gefilmt, durch soziale Medien kommt enorme Zustimmung, aus dem Skandal wird eine Idee: Er könnte bei den Wahlen zum Präsidenten kandidieren. Per Crowdfunding bringt die Klasse die 2 Mio Rubel zusammen und es gelingt … [https://www.pressenza.com/de/2022/03/das-gute-hat-einen-sprung/](https://www.pressenza.com/de/2022/03/das-gute-hat-einen-sprung/ "https://www.pressenza.com/de/2022/03/das-gute-hat-einen-sprung/")

    Auf arte ist Diener des Volkes in der Mediathek kostenlos zu sehen, gibt die Serie von 23 Folgen zu jeweils gut 20 Min einen wunderbaren Blick auf die Verhältnisse in der [Ukraine](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=ukraine "ukraine") und die wunderbare Stadt Kiev, die es hoffentlich bleiben wird … auch nach Angriff aus [Russland](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=russland "russland") … [https://www.arte.tv/de/videos/RC-021804/diener-des-volkes](https://www.arte.tv/de/videos/RC-021804/diener-des-volkes "https://www.arte.tv/de/videos/RC-021804/diener-des-volkes") bis 18.5.22 und am 19.3. im ORF

    Schuld(en) sind ein Thema, das sich durchzieht:

    Wer ist schuld an, wer ist wem was schuldig, selber schuld, dass DIE verhungern, verdursten, an der Hitze verrecken … [Othering](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=othering "othering") nennen das junge Soziolog*innen, Kolonialismus- und Rassismus-Kritisierende, wenn sich Menschen von den Gefühlen für andere abwenden, abgrenzen, sie zu Feinden oder Fremden erklären, wie wir es gerade bei primitiven Mitmenschen zu russisch Sprechenden erleben.

    [David Graeber](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=david_graeber "david_graeber") hatte mit „Schulden, die ersten 5000 Jahre“ eine Grundlage beschrieben, wie uns mit den Religionen die „Erbsünde“ bei gebracht wurde, die uns dann in den Kapitalismus getrieben hat.

    David Graebers Vermächtnis über Herrschaft und Eigentum

    Der Archäologe David Wengrow und der Anthropologe David Graeber sind der Auffassung, dass die Geschichtswissenschaft die falschen Schlüsse aus vielen Zeugnissen der Vergangenheit zieht. Mit ihrem Buch „Anfänge“ wollen sie damit beginnen, „eine neue Geschichte der Menschheit“ zu schreiben. Von Nikolaus Nützel | 14.03.2022 im DLF zu hören: [https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/david-graebers-vermaechtnis-ueber-herrschaftskonzepte-100.html](https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/david-graebers-vermaechtnis-ueber-herrschaftskonzepte-100.html "https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/david-graebers-vermaechtnis-ueber-herrschaftskonzepte-100.html")

    „Viele in den vergangenen vierzig oder fünfzig Jahren gewonnene Erkenntnisse haben die herkömmliche Sichtweise erschüttert. Heute wissen wir, dass es in manchen Gebieten Städte gab, die sich jahrhundertelang selbst verwalteten, ohne das geringste Anzeichen für Tempel und Paläste, die erst viel später gebaut wurden. In vielen frühen Städten findet sich schlicht keinerlei Hinweis auf eine Administration oder eine herrschende Schicht.“

    Die Freiheit ist des Menschen bestes, weil ältestes Gut

    Wider die Legende vom ewigen Gehorsam: In „[Anfänge](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=anfaenge "anfaenge")“ schreiben David Graeber und David Wengrow die Gründungsgeschichte unserer Zivilisation neu: [https://www.derstandard.at/consent/tcf/story/2000134061621/die-freiheit-ist-des-menschen-bestes-weil-aeltestes-gut?ref=rss](https://www.derstandard.at/consent/tcf/story/2000134061621/die-freiheit-ist-des-menschen-bestes-weil-aeltestes-gut?ref=rss "https://www.derstandard.at/consent/tcf/story/2000134061621/die-freiheit-ist-des-menschen-bestes-weil-aeltestes-gut?ref=rss")

    „Mitunter muss man sich gerade die Untertanen gott-ähnlicher Könige als besonders glückliche Menschen vorstellen. Aus der Mitte des vorvorigen Jahrhunderts wird über ein Ritual aus den südwest-pazifischen Fidschi-Inseln berichtet: Bei Sonnenaufgang herrschte vollkommene Stille. Ein Herold verkündete, der König sei im Begriffe, seine Kava-Wurzel zu kauen; woraufhin die frommen Insulaner in einen gemeinsamen Chor einstimmten: „Kau sie, kau sie!“ Beschlossen wurde das Schauspiel, eine Kollektivfeier kosmischer Eintracht, mit donnerndem Gebrüll.“

    ‚Anfänge‘: Als wir uns noch nichts sagen ließen

    Warum hatten indigene Gesellschaften ‚Spielkönige‘ und eine ‚Clown-Polizei‘? [David Graeber](https://wiki.eineweltnetz.org/doku.php?id=david_graeber "david_graeber") und David Wengrow schreiben ein doppelt libertäres Buch über die Freiheit. [https://www.zeit.de/zustimmung?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zeit.de%2F2022%2F05%2Fanfaenge-david-graeber-david-wengrow-geschichte](https://www.zeit.de/zustimmung?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zeit.de%2F2022%2F05%2Fanfaenge-david-graeber-david-wengrow-geschichte "https://www.zeit.de/zustimmung?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zeit.de%2F2022%2F05%2Fanfaenge-david-graeber-david-wengrow-geschichte") (Bezahl-Abo)

    #raete-muenchen #anthropologie #archaeologie #david-graeber #david-wengrow Originally posted at: [https://raete-muenchen.de/religion-macht-untertanen-gott-in-der-geschichte](https://raete-muenchen.de/religion-macht-untertanen-gott-in-der-geschichte "Permalink")

    original post

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  • bodhioshea
    23.04.2022 - 4 weeks ago
    Very large social units are always, in a sense, imaginary. Or, to put it in a slightly different way: there is always a fundamental distinction between the way one relates to friends, family, neighborhood, people and places that we actually know directly, and the way one relates to empires, nations, and metropolises, phenomena that exist largely, or at least most of the time, in our heads. Much of social theory can be seen as an attempt to square these two dimensions of our experience.
    In the standard, textbook version of human history, scale is crucial. The tiny bands of foragers in which humans were thought to have spent most of their evolutionary history could be relatively democratic and egalitarian precisely because they were small. It’s common to assume — and is often stated as self-evident fact — that our social sensibilities, even our capacity to keep track of names and faces, are largely determined by the fact that we spent 95 per cent of our evolutionary history in tiny groups of at best a few dozen individuals. We’re designed to work in small teams. As a result, large agglomerations of people are often treated as if they were by definition somewhat unnatural, and humans as psychologically ill equipped to handle life inside them. This is the reason, the argument often goes, that we require such elaborate ‘scaffolding’ to make larger communities work: such things as urban planners, social workers, tax auditors and police.
    If so, it would make perfect sense that the appearance of the first cities, the first truly large concentrations of people permanently settled in one place, would also correspond to the rise of states. For a long time, the archeological evidence — from Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, Central America, and elsewhere — did appear to confirm this. If you put enough people in one place, the evidence seemed to show, they would almost inevitably develop writing or something like it, together with administrators, storage and redistribution facilities, workshops and overseers. Before long, they would also start dividing themselves into social classes. ‘Civilization’ came as a package. It meant misery and suffering for some (since some would inevitably be reduced to serfs, slaves or debt peons), but also allowed for the possibility of philosophy, art and the accumulation of scientific knowledge.
    The evidence no longer suggests anything of the sort. In fact, much of what we have come to learn in the last forty or fifty years has thrown conventional wisdom into disarray. In some regions, we now know, cities governed themselves for centuries without any sign of the temples and palaces that would only emerge later; in others, temples and palaces never emerged at all. In many early cities, there is simply no evidence of either a class of administrators or any other sort of ruling stratum. In others, centralized power seems to appear and then disappear. It would seem that the mere fact of urban life does not, necessarily, imply any particular form of political organization, and never did.
    This has all sorts of important implications: for one thing, it suggests a much less pessimistic assessment of human possibilities, since the mere fact that much of the world’s population now live in cities may not determine how we live, to anything like the extent you might assume . . .
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  • bodhioshea
    23.04.2022 - 4 weeks ago
    Settlements inhabited by tens of thousands of people make their first appearance in human history around 6,000 years ago, on almost every continent, at first in isolation. Then they multiply. One of the things that makes it so difficult to fit what we now know about them into an old-fashioned evolutionary sequence, where cities, states, bureaucracies and social classes all emerged together, is just how different these cities are. It’s not just that some early cities lack class divisions, wealth monopolies, or hierarchies of administration. They exhibit such extreme variability as to imply, from the beginning, a conscious experimentation in urban form.
    Contemporary archeology shows, among other things, that surprisingly few of these early cities contain signs of authoritarian rule. It also shows that their ecology was far more diverse than once believed: cities do not necessarily depend on a rural hinterland in which serfs or peasants engage in back-breaking labour, hauling in cartloads of grain for consumption by urban dwellers. Certainly, that situation became increasingly typical in later ages, but in the first cities small-scale gardening and animal-keeping were often at least as important; so too were the resources of rivers and seas, and for that matter the continued hunting and collecting of wild seasonal foods in forests or in marshes. The particular mix depended largely on where in the world the cities happened to be, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that history’s first city dwellers did not always leave a harsh footprint on the environment, or on each other.
    #David Graeber #the dawn of everything #Cities#david wengrow
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  • rotationalsymmetry
    07.04.2022 - 1 mont ago

    David and Other David (I'll...learn their last names at some point, probably) in The Dawn of Everything finally got around to land ownership is a made-up concept and it's glorious.

    #you thought this was a book about archaeology and the history of humankind #it's actually an anarchist treatise not terribly subtly disguised #but yeah it's also about the history of humankind #david graeber and david wengrow in point of fact
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  • topaudiobooksit
    04.04.2022 - 1 mont ago

    The Dawn of Everything - David Graeber & David Wengrow https://ift.tt/QMGIwO4

    #The Dawn of Everything - David Graeber & David Wengrow
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  • strike-debt-bay-area
    02.04.2022 - 1 mont ago

    Next Book Group, Saturday, 4/16, 4:30 p.m., finishing THE DAWN OF EVERYTHING

    We’ll complete our discussion of THE DAWN OF EVERYTHING, by David Graeber and David Wengrow. We left off at the end of Chapter 7, but of course we can revisit earlier chapters.Join us to talk about this important book. Email [email protected] for the Zoom link.

    "an imaginative success . . . At its core is a fascinating proposal about human values, about the nature of a good and just existence." -- Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Review of Books

    #debt#strike debt #strike debt bay area #david graeber#david wengrow #the dawn of everything #human history
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  • bodhioshea
    25.03.2022 - 1 mont ago
    Very large social units are always, in a sense, imaginary. Or, to put it in a slightly different way: there is always a fundamental distinction between the way one relates to friends, family, neighborhood, people and places that we actually know directly, and the way one relates to empires, nations and motropolises, phenomena that exist largely, or at least most if the time, in our heads. Much of social theory can be seen as an attempt to square these two dimensions of our experience.
    #david graeber#david wengrow #the dawn of everything
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  • bodhioshea
    19.03.2022 - 2 monts ago
    . . . Domination begins at home. The fact that these arrangements became subjects of political consternation does not mean they were political in origin. Slavery finds its origins is war. But everywhere we encounter it slavery is also, at first, a domestic institution. Hierarchy and property may derive from the notions of the sacred, but the most brutal forms of exploitation have their origins in the most intimate of social relations: as perversions of nurture, love and caring. Certainly, those origins are not to be found in government. 
    #david wengrow#david graeber #the dawn of everything
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  • bodhioshea
    14.03.2022 - 2 monts ago
    They have no lawsuits and take little pains to acquire the goods of this life, for which Christians torment ourselves so much, and for our excessive and insatiable greed in acquiring them we are justly and with reason reproved by their quiet life and tranquil dispositions.

    Brother Gabriel Sagard, OMR

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  • bodhioshea
    14.03.2022 - 2 monts ago
    From the beginning of the world to the coming of the French, the Savages have never known what it was so solemnly to forbid anything to their people, under any penalty, however, slight. They are free people, each of whom considers himself of as much consequence as the others; and they submit to their chiefs only in so far as it pleases them.

    - Father Lallemant, 1644

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  • bodhioshea
    14.03.2022 - 2 monts ago
    I have spent six years reflecting on the state of European society and I still can’t think of a single way they act that’s not inhuman, and I genuinely think this can only be the case, as long as you stick to your distinctions of ‘mine’ and ‘thine.’ I affirm that what you call money is the devil of devils; the tyrant of the French, the source of  all evils; the bane of souls and slaughterhouses of the living. To imagine one can live in the country of money and preserve one’s soul is like imagining one could preserve one’s life at the bottom of a lake. Money is the father of luxury, lasciviousness, intrigues, trickery, lies, betrayal, insincerity, - of all the world’s worst behavior. Fathers seek their children, husbands their wives, wives betray their husbands, brothers kill each other, friends are false, and all because of money. In the light of all this, tell me that we Wendat are not right in refusing to touch, or much as to look at silver?”
    . . . “You honestly think you’re going to sway me by appealing to the needs of nobles, merchants and priests? If you abandoned conceptions of mine and thine, yes, such distinctions between men would dissolve; a leveling equality would then take its place among you as it now does among the Wendat. And yes, for the first thirty years of banishing self interest, no doubt you would indeed see a certain desolation as those who are only qualified to eat, drink, sleep and take pleasure would languish and die. But their progeny would be fit for our way of living.  Over and over I have set forth the qualities that we Wendat believe ought to define humanity - wisdom, reason, equity, etc. - and demonstrated that the existence of separate material interests knocks all of these on the head. A man motivated by interest cannot be a man of reason.

    - Kondiaronk, Chief of the Hurons

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  • bodhioshea
    14.03.2022 - 2 monts ago
    For my own part, I find it hard to see how you could be much more miserable than you already are. What kind of human, what species of creature, must Europeans be, that they have to be forced to do good, and only refrain from evil because of fear of punishment? … 
    You have observed that we lack judges. What is the reason for that? Well, we never bring lawsuits against one another. And why do we never bring lawsuits? Well, because we made a decision neither to accept or make use of money. And why do we refuse to allow money into our communities? The reason is this:  we are determined not to have laws - because, since the world was a world , our ancestors have been able to live contentedly without them.

     - Kondiaronk, Chief of the Hurons

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  • bodhioshea
    14.03.2022 - 2 monts ago
    [Those Native Americans] … were continually teasing us with the faults and disorders they observed in our towns, as being occasioned by money. There’s no point in trying to remonstrate with them about how useful the distinction of property is for the support of society: they make a joke of anything you say on that account. In short, they neither quarrel nor fight, nor slander one another; they scoff at arts and sciences, and laugh at the difference of ranks which is observed with us. They brand us for slaves, and call us miserable souls, whose life is not worth having, alleging that we degrade ourselves in subjecting ourselves to one man [the king] who possesses all the power, and is bound by no law but his own will.

    - Louis Armand, Baron de Lahontan

    #Louis Armand Baron de Lahontan #david graeber #the dawn of everything #david wengrow
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  • noleavestoblow
    09.03.2022 - 2 monts ago

    "It is basically a theological debate. Essentially the question is: are humans innately good or innately evil? But if you think about it, the question, framed in these terms, makes very little sense. “Good” and “evil” are purely human concepts. It would never occur to anyone to argue about whether a fish, or a tree, were good or evil, because “good” and “evil” are concepts humans made up in order to compare ourselves with one another. It follows that arguing about whether humans are fundamentally good or evil makes about as much sense as arguing about whether humans are fundamentally fat or thin."

    - David Graeber and David Wengrow

    #random quotes#reading#quotes#quote #stumbling on random beautiful quotes #random beautiful stuff that i read #David Graeber#David Wengrow
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  • bodhioshea
    03.03.2022 - 2 monts ago
    “Environmental determinists have an unfortunate tendency to treat humans as little more than automata, living out some economist’s fantasy of rational calculation. To be fair, they don’t deny that human beings are quirky and imaginative creatures — they just seem to reason that, in the long run, this fact makes very little difference. Those who don’t follow an optimal pathway for the use of resources are destined for the ash heap of history. Anthropologists who object to this kind of determinism will typically appeal to culture, but ultimately this comes down to little more than insisting that explanation is impossible: English people act the way they do because they are English, Yurok act the way they do because they’re Yurok; why they are English or Yurok is not really ours to say. Humans — from this other perspective, which is just as extreme in its own way — are at best an arbitrary constellation of culture elements, perhaps assembled according to some prevailing spirit, code or ethos, and which society ends up with which ethos is treated as beyond explanation, little more than a random roll of the dice. 
    Putting matters in such stark terms does not mean there is no truth to either position. The intersection of environment and technology does make a difference, often a huge difference, and to some degree, cultural difference really is just an arbitrary roll of the dice: there’s no ‘explanation’ for why Chinese is a tonal language and Finnish an agglutinative one; that’s just the way things happened to turn out. Still, if one treats the arbitrariness of linguistic difference as the foundation of all social theory — which is basically what structuralism did, and post-structuralism continues to do — the result is just as mechanically deterministic as the most extreme form of environmental determinism. ‘Language speaks us.’ We are doomed to endlessly enact patterns of behaviour not of our own creation; not of anyone’s creation really, until some seismic shift in the cultural equivalent of tectonic plates lands us somehow in a new, equally inexplicable arrangement. 
    In other words, both approaches presume that we are already, effectively, stuck. This is why we ourselves place so much emphasis on the notion of self-determination. Just as it is reasonable to assume that Pleistocene mammoth hunters, moving back and forth between different seasonal forms of organization, must have developed a degree of political self-consciousness — to have thought about the relative merits of different ways of living with one another — so too the intricate webs of cultural differences that came to characterize human societies after the end of the last Ice Age must surely have involved a degree of political introspection. Once again, our intention is simply to treat those who created these forms of culture as intelligent adults, capable of reflecting on the social worlds they were building or rejecting. 
    Obviously, this approach, like any other, can be taken to ridiculous extremes. Returning momentarily to Weber’s Protestant Ethic, it is popular in certain circles to claim that “nations make choices’, that some have chosen to be Protestant and others Catholic, and that this is the main reason so many people in the United States or Germany are rich, and so many in Brazil or Italy are poor. This makes about as much sense as arguing that since everyone is free to make their own decisions, the fact that some people end up as financial consultants and others as security guards is entirely their own doing (indeed, it’s usually the same sort of people who make both sorts of argument). Perhaps Marx put it best: we make our own history, but not under conditions of our own choosing.
    In fact, one reason social theorists will always be debating this issue is that we can’t really know how much difference ‘human agency’ — the preferred term, currently, for what used to be called ‘free will’ — really makes. Historical events by definition happen only once, and there’s no real way to know if they ‘might’ have turned out otherwise (might Spain have never conquered Mexico? Could the steam engine have been invented in Ptolemaic Egypt, leading to an ancient industrial revolution?), or what the point of asking is even supposed to be. It seems part of the human condition that while we cannot predict future events, as soon as those events do happen we find it hard to see them as anything but inevitable. There’s no way to know. So precisely where one wishes to set the dial between freedom and determinism is largely a matter of taste. 
    Since this book is mainly about freedom, it seems appropriate to set the dial a bit further to the left than usual, and to explore the possibility that human beings have more collective say over their own destiny than we ordinarily assume.” 
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