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Sapiens 15 A permanent revolution

Page history last edited by Ian Kimber 8 years, 3 months ago



Lecture 15  A permanent revolution


Segment 1

Today there are about 7 billion people most animals on the planet are humans and domestic animals.  We have taken over the whole world

Resources available are increasing and continuing to increase.  Ecological destruction is real and natural habitats are being destroyed.  this might endanger the survival of mankind itself.  we are creating many unexpected side effects like global warming.

Violent changes like this have happened in the past and life has survived.  Some animals have benefitted today it is probably rats and cockroaches!


In the past we lived by the day and the season and not the clock.  the jobs changed according to the season not about the hour and the year.

A medieval worker did the whole job and not a production line.

Now we live by the clock in a modern factory or office jobs are often divided and it is vital that all workers are in synchronism.

Transportation needs to match working hours and work to precise timetables   Nowadays we have many clocks and these are mostly precise


Segment 2

The collapse of the family and the community and its replacement by the state and the market.  In the past humans always lived in close families they were the basic unit of communities.  in the lat two centuries all responsibilities of families has been handed over to the state or the market.  you family were your cares and your children your pension fund.  Families tended to chose partners for unmarried members. all disputes were settled within families.  


The rules were very different from a free market it was a market of obligations and money seldom changed hands.  less than 10%  of needs were obtained using money and offenders were often punished with violence against other family members not necessarily the actual offender.  There were very few services of any kind families and local communities were left to sort themselves out with a simple and accepted transaction rules.


The Chinese organised this into hierarchies of family groups and it was the hierarchies that were taxed an punished for their misdemeanours.  Anyone who was outcast from your family or community it was virtually a death sentence.  The state had no social responsibilities.  


This was changed by the Industrial revolution.  The transfer of people from villages to the cities  pulled individuals out of families The state and the market started to take control of the family to provide support and punish offenders and control traditional family violence.  This was “sold” to the new isolated individuals using the concept of individual freedom.  The state gradually becomes the “family” of the individual.


There is a very diverse range of opinions about this but all would agree that the individual not the family is the important unit whatever sort of state system they use.  The liberation from the family resulted in the state taking control and intervening in people’s lives.  This transition was amazingly rapid.  Was it worth it?


The market (i.e. money) now controls what we do in our lives and this includes our emotional and sexual needs “fashion” has a large controlling factor


I the past respect for the family was absolute and the rule of the family including violent punishment had to be accepted now the state has these controls.


One’s position in the state and market is the important factor not one’s position in the family or community.  We are consumers in consumer tribes, that is followers of sports or pop stars or even environmentalists!  This is a fundamental change in humanity


Segment 3

In the past the social order was stable and immutable but the social order has now changed rapidly and is continuing to change rapidly the only condition is one of constant change and flexible.  The world of the future will be very different from that of today.


The world has become much more peaceful today than it was in the past!  This may seem incredible considering today’s wars.  The statistics however prove this  in 2012   301,000 war 520000 crime tot 830,000  this was 1.5% of the total number of deaths.   This is much lower than in the past when local feuds caused many more deaths.  Even today most violence occurs in local small communities  today there are 9 murders per 100K people   In the past this was as high as 4,000.   Violence between states is also less. Since 1945 international violence is at an all time LOW!  the reason for this is the collapse of the European Empires and their replacement with independent states.  This transfer was done in a planned and orderly way not war.


Segment 4

The new states created by the breakup of empires did not wish to create large empires through conquest.  Since 1995 this has not happened.  This is in general true over the whole globe.  Wars between states are now very rare compared with the past.  Civil wars and internal violence are much more common.  This is not what most people believe. 


The peace we are having today is different from that in the past it is not just the absence of war it is more than this. in the past people were at peace but did not trust each other and prepared for war.  Nowadays states consider war between their neighbours as impossible and do not plan for war between their neighbours.  The worst is some sort of brief border incident due to misunderstanding.  There are only a few possible cases but these are the exceptions.

Some may say this is naive.  How is this explained.  Nowadays the price of war is very expensive.  Nuclear weapons have in fact reduced the risk of a war between superpowers also the profits of war have declined.  Conquering other states does not bring benefits.  The sources of wealth are in knowledge and skills not in territory and population. Peace is more profitable for your country than war.  Attitudes to war have changed fundamentally by a peaceful elite based on trade and development.  States are also no longer totally independent but are linked with other states in networks of international communities spread all over the world.


How can we characterise the modern era?  It is a matter of timing it depends a bit on what is happening recently it is a very dynamic situation we are headed towards either heaven or hell.  But are we happier today?


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