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Old April 29th, 2007, 11:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
Crucified Spartacus
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Does art represent superior aspirations or a problematic denial of nature?

I started this thread because the idiocracy thread was locked. There was a discussion going on about art/human reason that can still be read if others want a basis for engaging with this thread. This was scourge's last comment directed at me. My response will follow the quote.

"Not really. Art is a function and consequence of the only uniquely human characteristic: the ability to reason and communicate abstractly, and thus, to learn from the past and plan for the future (the single most important factor in human survival). 'Higher' aspirations (values) are, indeed, superior aspirations. Not because of 'civilizational biases,' but because they not only are the values of human survival, but higher values and higher values alone affirm our humanity."

So nuclear weapons are a product of our ability "to reason and communicate abstractly", so by necessity, nuclear weapons should be characterized as superior aspirations? Superior to what? The non-omnicidal reality of daily life in a wolrd without nukes? Same goes with art. Art is superior to what? Is it superior to living a life of direct, unmediated connection with nature where the fullness of life is taken as it is and not represented/altered? If you favor representation/alteration you are clearly being influenced by civilizational biases, or at least a set of biases associated with symbolic communication/life, which as i mentioned is derived from the upper paleolithic which hardly represents the history of humanity. It represents less then half of homo sapiens history, and a miniscule percentage of homo history.

One doesn't need art to survive. In matter of fact, art may represent one of the first manifestations of humanity moving away from the natural world and into a bubble of symbolic(alienated) life.

One doesn't even need the vague, pre-linear and pre-cyclical sense of time you described for survival. Humanity can use it's speed, strength and senses for survival. Our ability to "reason" with that vague sense of time may help us and i wouldn't necessarily reject all forms of time perception in human consciousness, but you are elevating them to a level which i feel shows civilizational biases.

From John Zerzan's The Case Against Art http://www.primitivism.com/case-art.htm

Art is always about "something hidden." But does it help us connect with that hidden something? I think it moves us away from it.

During the first million or so years as reflective beings humans seem to have created no art. As Jameson put it, art had no place in that "unfallen social reality" because there was no need for it. Though tools were fashioned with an astonishing economy of effort and perfection of form, the old cliche about the aesthetic impulse as one of the irreducible components of the human mind is invalid.

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Old April 30th, 2007, 01:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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So nuclear weapons are a product of our ability "to reason and communicate abstractly", so by necessity, nuclear weapons should be characterized as superior aspirations? Superior to what? The non-omnicidal reality of daily life in a wolrd without nukes?
Nuclear weapons come from reasoning concretely, not abstractly. Nuclear weapons were not created for any artistic aspiration, they were created for destroying - for function. Nuclear weapons, or creating them, brings no higher experience to human existence. Art is in not technology, and your example does not make sense or relate in the least.



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Same goes with art. Art is superior to what? Is it superior to living a life of direct, unmediated connection with nature where the fullness of life is taken as it is and not represented/altered?
Art turns nature into something beautiful, while survival turns it into an enemy - something to struggle against. Living a life of direct, unmediated connection with nature only brings the desire to overcome that life, as it is tedious, with only basic satisfaction brought in continued survival. Living to survive, to function, has led us to nuclear weapons, to the mass technological destruction we are now wreaking. Living to function, to survive, with cold concrete reasoning, is suicidal. It sees the earth as resources, as ours to do with as we please. Living for art is the opposite, and is exactly the reason many of the peoples that did mostly experience nature directly and brutally did not so quickly see it as enemy - it brought higher human experience, higher valuation of our home, real satisfaction with living, etc. Art makes humans human, while reason would turn us into machines.


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If you favor representation/alteration you are clearly being influenced by civilizational biases, or at least a set of biases associated with symbolic communication/life, which as i mentioned is derived from the upper paleolithic which hardly represents the history of humanity. It represents less then half of homo sapiens history, and a miniscule percentage of homo history.
Alright? This states nothing about the philosophy of the matter, or anything really of meaning.

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One doesn't need art to survive. In matter of fact, art may represent one of the first manifestations of humanity moving away from the natural world and into a bubble of symbolic(alienated) life.
Are you saying that all you wish is to survive? That this is what the human species should value? What would be of greatest benifit to our species? Art allows humans to go beyond just surviving, hence is superior. It makes the surviving worth it. Art causes humans to live, and not just survive.


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Humanity can use it's speed, strength and senses for survival.
Yes, it can. But why? Why survive for simple survival? Humans, as a species, need more than just survival. Our nature leans us towards going beyond it, no matter what; either on a route that ignorantly clings to functionm - a suicidal route, or a route embracing the higher aspects of human nature, primarilly art, whiche brings satisfaction and meaning to life.




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During the first million or so years as reflective beings humans seem to have created no art. As Jameson put it, art had no place in that "unfallen social reality" because there was no need for it. Though tools were fashioned with an astonishing economy of effort and perfection of form, the old cliche about the aesthetic impulse as one of the irreducible components of the human mind is invalid.
Great job turning humans into worker ants! You speak as if there is nothing more to the human mind than eating & reproducing. Our nature goes far beyond this, far beyond survival & function; and if we attempt to go for just those we will in the end fail, as this is living in opposition to nature, at war with it, as we are now.
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Old April 30th, 2007, 02:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Nuclear weapons come from reasoning concretely, not abstractly. Nuclear weapons were not created for any artistic aspiration, they were created for destroying - for function. Nuclear weapons, or creating them, brings no higher experience to human existence. Art is in not technology, and your example does not make sense or relate in the least.
What reasoning could be more abstract than mathematics? The creator of nuclear weapons couldn't simply reason 'concretely' that he wanted a weapon of mass destruction and snap his fingers to make it appear. What is the difference between 'concrete' and 'abstract' reasoning?
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Old April 30th, 2007, 02:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Nuclear weapons come from reasoning concretely, not abstractly. Nuclear weapons were not created for any artistic aspiration, they were created for destroying - for function. Nuclear weapons, or creating them, brings no higher experience to human existence. Art is in not technology, and your example does not make sense or relate in the least.





Art turns nature into something beautiful, while survival turns it into an enemy - something to struggle against. Living a life of direct, unmediated connection with nature only brings the desire to overcome that life, as it is tedious, with only basic satisfaction brought in continued survival. Living to survive, to function, has led us to nuclear weapons, to the mass technological destruction we are now wreaking. Living to function, to survive, with cold concrete reasoning, is suicidal. It sees the earth as resources, as ours to do with as we please. Living for art is the opposite, and is exactly the reason many of the peoples that did mostly experience nature directly and brutally did not so quickly see it as enemy - it brought higher human experience, higher valuation of our home, real satisfaction with living, etc. Art makes humans human, while reason would turn us into machines.



Alright? This states nothing about the philosophy of the matter, or anything really of meaning.



Are you saying that all you wish is to survive? That this is what the human species should value? What would be of greatest benifit to our species? Art allows humans to go beyond just surviving, hence is superior. It makes the surviving worth it. Art causes humans to live, and not just survive.




Yes, it can. But why? Why survive for simple survival? Humans, as a species, need more than just survival. Our nature leans us towards going beyond it, no matter what; either on a route that ignorantly clings to functionm - a suicidal route, or a route embracing the higher aspects of human nature, primarilly art, whiche brings satisfaction and meaning to life.






Great job turning humans into worker ants! You speak as if there is nothing more to the human mind than eating & reproducing. Our nature goes far beyond this, far beyond survival & function; and if we attempt to go for just those we will in the end fail, as this is living in opposition to nature, at war with it, as we are now.
My nuke comment was made to show that because something is a product of reasoning doesn't make it good. Scourge of god associates art with higher aspirations because they are a product of reasoning, but that is not a justification for art, beause i could justify nuclear weapons by saying they are a product of our reasoning. In this context, my example makes sense and relates.

I don't think art turns nature into beauty, i think it degrades natural beauty. The desire to overcome nature is not a product of living in nature, it is a product of human choice. Hence, not all humans have made this choice throughout time. Some have, and they have forced the one's who chose to stay in nature out of it and into the fields and factories.

Living in nature tedious? Well, some find it tedious, but others don't. Many civilized people have no actual direct experiences with the natural world, however, seem to be very sure how much they hate based on the bed time stories they were told about big bad wolves. Not saying you fit this description, but it is prevalent and wouldn't be surprised if you do fit it. It would explain your comments.

Living to survive has not led to nukes, living to play god ala Dr. Frankenstein has led to nukes.

One doesn't need art to appreciate nature, and if one doesn't appreciate art one is still human. Art does not make humans human. I do not appreciate or create art, and i'm still biologically human.

Art allows us to go beyond surviving, but i don't find it superior to the natural world as it is. This creative urge humanity exhibits in civilization is a major component of the root of why the world is being destroyed. It goes back to the being vs. having dichotomy explained by numerous indiegenous peoples as well as various daoist and buddhist philosophers.

Our nature does not lead us towards going beyond nature. Choices we have made lead us to going beyond it. You are proposing a deterministic explanation where i see bad choices.

Why survive for survival in nature? Because there are many fulfilling experienes one can have simply being one species among many, rejecting our role as god and scourge of the earth.
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Old April 30th, 2007, 11:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't think art turns nature into beauty, i think it degrades natural beauty. The desire to overcome nature is not a product of living in nature, it is a product of human choice. Hence, not all humans have made this choice throughout time. Some have, and they have forced the one's who chose to stay in nature out of it and into the fields and factories.
...
Why survive for survival in nature? Because there are many fulfilling experienes one can have simply being one species among many, rejecting our role as god and scourge of the earth.
Beauty is in interpretation so even if you live directly in the wilderness (i don't say nature because actually everything is natural) and do not write novels or paint pictures you will have some kind of interpretation that will make you see beauty in nature as well as in your life.
Thus you create art, even if it is only in your head or in some tribal tradition that you create.
You might notice that tribal peoples mostly have lots of mythology and are very religious. Thus their artistic and creative urges, which lead to seeing beauty and meaning in life is permeating their whole life, as a story, as proto-philosophy and as religion and is not only present in some books or pictures.

I think this was also part of the point of the other post.
So saying that natural tribes live in a more positive and beautifull world then me may be true but it is not because they have no art, but because they have better art then ours or because the average tribesman is better suited for understanding art or creating it everyday when interpreting the world then the average modernist.
It is not because they have less art but because they have more of it.
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Old April 30th, 2007, 12:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think this was also part of the point of the other post.
So saying that natural tribes live in a more positive and beautifull world then me may be true but it is not because they have no art, but because they have better art then ours or because the average tribesman is better suited for understanding art or creating it everyday when interpreting the world then the average modernist.
It is not because they have less art but because they have more of it.
Exactly. Art is about interpreting the world romantically, as more than just "it." The forest is not just atoms arranged in a particular way, it is a magnificent wonder of nature - art. We've advanced upon this to art that we create ourselves, and this is not separating ourselves from nature. In the modern era we've rejected art, and in so doing harm the planet, our connection with our own higher nature, etc.
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Old April 30th, 2007, 03:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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So nuclear weapons are a product of our ability "to reason and communicate abstractly", so by necessity, nuclear weapons should be characterized as superior aspirations?
Nuclear weapons are like any other tool - they have no value in and of themselves, but merely reflect the choices of those that use (or choose not to use) them. Let's not forget that the one and only usage of atomic arms almost certainly saved millions upon millions of lives. Nor should we forget that a flint-tipped spear could be used to bring down game to feed an entire band of early humans, or it could be plunged through the breast of a woman who refused to have sex with a member of the band.

The issue raised has not been one of tools - be it spears, h-bombs or art - but one of the values and apsirations behind the tools. The impulse to create, to build, to dream, to improve life: this is the highest impulse, not of civilized humanity, but of humanity period. It is only in this highest level of cognitive functioning that human life is distinct in any way from any other, and it is this capacity that lies at the heart of human survival and adaptation. As such, it does represent the 'superior' element of the human being, and is justly celebrated.

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Art is superior to what?
The creative impulse for humans is superior to our other human impulses and abilities in the only way that really matters: it is the capacity most repsonsible for human survival. Art itself is an expression of our ability to reason abstractly, and is thus 'only' a tool. However, it is a tool that is every bit as much central to human quality of life as, say, fire. It fills a psychological need in humans that nothing else does.

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Is it superior to living a life of direct, unmediated connection with nature where the fullness of life is taken as it is and not represented/altered?
This is a non sequitur: 'direct, unmediated' experience does not exist. Everything we experience is mediated through at least one layer of distance. We never experience the world directly, instead, we experience a representation of the world as filtered through eletric impulses in our synapses. We don't 'experience' the world, we experience the effect of the world upon our own nervous system. For the vast majority of humans, our experience of the world is filtered through many other mediating layers: language, emotion, our own previous 'experience' etc. The idea that there was some pristine Eden where we experienced nature 'directly' and its 'fullness' is the stuff of hippie bumper stickers, not real life.

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If you favor representation/alteration you are clearly being influenced by civilizational biases
How so? Art has been around five times longer than 'civilization' (that is sedentary agricultural modes of social organization and food production).

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or at least a set of biases associated with symbolic communication/life, which as i mentioned is derived from the upper paleolithic which hardly represents the history of humanity.
But it DOES represent the entire history of fully anatomically modern humanity. It's almost certainly not coincidental that representational art and humans with wholly modern morphology emerged at one and the same time 40,000 years ago. It is equally worth noting that the general belief among paleoanthropologists that the emergence of art among the first fully modern humans is an indicator of a major leap forward in human symbolic awareness (and thus in our capacity to communicate), and that this leap almost certainly underlies the survival of Homo sapiens sapiens and the extinction of neanderthals.

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It represents less then half of homo sapiens history, and a miniscule percentage of homo history.
You're still being disingenuous. Homo sapiens emerged about 100,000 years ago, but anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) only emerged around 40,000 years ago - approxiamately the same time as we find evidence of the first art.

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One doesn't need art to survive.
One doesn't need spears or opposable thumbs either - but they're damn useful.

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In matter of fact, art may represent one of the first manifestations of humanity moving away from the natural world and into a bubble of symbolic(alienated) life.
Symbolic life life is only alienated when the signifiers are treated as more important than the signified (as in Christianity), otherwise, it just adds to the richness of life.

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One doesn't even need the vague, pre-linear and pre-cyclical sense of time you described for survival.
And one doesn't need fire. Again, it's helpful though.

Incidentally, relativity would seem to suggest that 'time' actually does exist only in the 'vague, pre-linear and pre-cyclical sense' you deride. So much for your 'direct connection' with nature, eh?

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From John Zerzan's The Case Against Art http://www.primitivism.com/case-art.htm
Primitivism is retarded, so I'm not going to waste my time.

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Old April 30th, 2007, 09:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Beauty is in interpretation so even if you live directly in the wilderness (i don't say nature because actually everything is natural) and do not write novels or paint pictures you will have some kind of interpretation that will make you see beauty in nature as well as in your life.
Thus you create art, even if it is only in your head or in some tribal tradition that you create.
You might notice that tribal peoples mostly have lots of mythology and are very religious. Thus their artistic and creative urges, which lead to seeing beauty and meaning in life is permeating their whole life, as a story, as proto-philosophy and as religion and is not only present in some books or pictures.

I think this was also part of the point of the other post.
So saying that natural tribes live in a more positive and beautifull world then me may be true but it is not because they have no art, but because they have better art then ours or because the average tribesman is better suited for understanding art or creating it everyday when interpreting the world then the average modernist.
It is not because they have less art but because they have more of it.
One doesn't necessarily have an aesthetic appreciation because of living in the wilderness. I think having a sense of appreciation or beauty for wilderness is separate from creating traditions or artifacts that are considered art, like paintings, mythologies, sculptures, etc. I have a sense of appreciation and beauty for wilderness, but i don't consider myself an artist.

Tribal mythologies and religion are not universal and there is no evidence they cover any substantial portion of homo history. Some peoples are much more religious oriented than others. Some tribes have shamans while others don't. Some have beliefs in god/gods while others don't.

One can interpret one's world as positive or beautiful without creating art. For example, one can be satisfied and enthralled with the existence/beauty of a tree with out creating a poem, painting, or song about the tree.
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Old April 30th, 2007, 10:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Nuclear weapons are like any other tool - they have no value in and of themselves, but merely reflect the choices of those that use (or choose not to use) them. Let's not forget that the one and only usage of atomic arms almost certainly saved millions upon millions of lives. Nor should we forget that a flint-tipped spear could be used to bring down game to feed an entire band of early humans, or it could be plunged through the breast of a woman who refused to have sex with a member of the band.

The issue raised has not been one of tools - be it spears, h-bombs or art - but one of the values and apsirations behind the tools. The impulse to create, to build, to dream, to improve life: this is the highest impulse, not of civilized humanity, but of humanity period. It is only in this highest level of cognitive functioning that human life is distinct in any way from any other, and it is this capacity that lies at the heart of human survival and adaptation. As such, it does represent the 'superior' element of the human being, and is justly celebrated.



The creative impulse for humans is superior to our other human impulses and abilities in the only way that really matters: it is the capacity most repsonsible for human survival. Art itself is an expression of our ability to reason abstractly, and is thus 'only' a tool. However, it is a tool that is every bit as much central to human quality of life as, say, fire. It fills a psychological need in humans that nothing else does.



This is a non sequitur: 'direct, unmediated' experience does not exist. Everything we experience is mediated through at least one layer of distance. We never experience the world directly, instead, we experience a representation of the world as filtered through eletric impulses in our synapses. We don't 'experience' the world, we experience the effect of the world upon our own nervous system. For the vast majority of humans, our experience of the world is filtered through many other mediating layers: language, emotion, our own previous 'experience' etc. The idea that there was some pristine Eden where we experienced nature 'directly' and its 'fullness' is the stuff of hippie bumper stickers, not real life.



How so? Art has been around five times longer than 'civilization' (that is sedentary agricultural modes of social organization and food production).



But it DOES represent the entire history of fully anatomically modern humanity. It's almost certainly not coincidental that representational art and humans with wholly modern morphology emerged at one and the same time 40,000 years ago. It is equally worth noting that the general belief among paleoanthropologists that the emergence of art among the first fully modern humans is an indicator of a major leap forward in human symbolic awareness (and thus in our capacity to communicate), and that this leap almost certainly underlies the survival of Homo sapiens sapiens and the extinction of neanderthals.



You're still being disingenuous. Homo sapiens emerged about 100,000 years ago, but anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) only emerged around 40,000 years ago - approxiamately the same time as we find evidence of the first art.



One doesn't need spears or opposable thumbs either - but they're damn useful.



Symbolic life life is only alienated when the signifiers are treated as more important than the signified (as in Christianity), otherwise, it just adds to the richness of life.



And one doesn't need fire. Again, it's helpful though.

Incidentally, relativity would seem to suggest that 'time' actually does exist only in the 'vague, pre-linear and pre-cyclical sense' you deride. So much for your 'direct connection' with nature, eh?



Primitivism is retarded, so I'm not going to waste my time.
Nukes have negative value simply because of the negative environmental impacts their production creates. Also, simply living in a world where centralized power in a very small number of hands could bring on mutually assured destruction is a negative value. Not to mention the testing of nukes and the negative health/environmental effects. What i'm saying is that even if they aren't used they have negative value. Nukes saving lives in WWII is not "almost certain" because there are good arguments that the Japanese could have surrendered since the war was waning, and that the estimates of u.s. troop deaths from invading japan were severely overestimated in order to promote nuke use. Obviously this isn't the point of the topic, but i think you should at least be aware that not everyone agrees with your seemingly pro-nuke historical perspective.

A flint tipped spear is not going to be used to create omnicide. I understand the point you made, but i also think one always has to make clear distinctions between the types of technologies/tools we are talking about. Some people take a very lazy approach by trying to justify or mitigate the effects of nukes/war in general by pointing to a supposedly brutal human pre-history that is often more the product of hobbesian imagination then scientific observation.

You seem very concerned about separating human life, especially our mental capacities, from other species. Why such great pride in your species? We are on the brink of omnicide after all. Maybe we need some critical self-reflection as a species concerning the choices we've made to enter the symbolic/technological realm and not blindly elevate our historical capacities to some shrine of greatness and egotistical pride.

Humans were adapting and surviving for a long time without any building or creating except for the simplest of tools that were produced in the same fashion for hundreds of thousands of years without specialization. I'm not saying we can't use our brains for certain survival purposes, i'm saying the turn towards the symbolic creates a matrix in which our primary perception and interaction with the world becomes less natural. The more we retain our animalistic modes of interaction with the world, the better off life as a whole will be.

Art fills a need in humans according to you, but not all humans engage in artistic activity. I have no desire to engage in artistic activity, am i not human? Just because many do art doesn't mean it is a necessary or even positive value for our existence.

Electric impulses through synapses? Whatever, you can stretch the definition of direct experience if you want, but i think it is pretty clear that when i say unmediated experience, at least within the context of this thread, i am talking about non-artistic life.

Art is a civilizational bias because it is a major component of what civilized culture promotes but can not be demonstrated to be an innate characteristic of the human mind. Creativity is so lauded within the confines of civilization one starts to loose perspective of what exactly is innate and what is pushed by ideologues.

Again with the "almost certainly" in regards to neanderthal extinction. There are various explanations for neanderthal extinction. You seem to use the phrase "almost certainly" to give yourself some scientific credence when you want to support what you feel is the right explanation.

So we find the first art with homo sapiens sapiens(HSS). Does this mean art is an innate drive in HSS? No, because not all people create art today, and i highly doubt every single human group in the upper paleolithic created art. Also, pre HSS peoples are considered by some to have had the ability to create by art but chose not to. This again would lead one to think that the development of art since HSS and the Upper Paleolithic is a cultural choice and not necessarily a positive or biologically necessary one.

Adds to the richness of life? Again, an opinion i disagree with. It's like if you were a big video game fan, and said it adds to the richness/interest level of life, i would say i totally disagree because it furthers us into the technological matrix and away from wilderness. Try to be a little more clear when stating opinions but masking them as objective value or biological imperative.

If primitivism is so retarded, then why can I, someone who is associated with anarcho-primitivism, be able to give such coherent replires that demonstrate the validityof my points?

Fire and tools are helpful according to some standards, but they hurt according to others. Again, your biases are being masked as fact.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 12:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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You seem very concerned about separating human life, especially our mental capacities, from other species. Why such great pride in your species? We are on the brink of omnicide after all. Maybe we need some critical self-reflection as a species concerning the choices we've made to enter the symbolic/technological realm and not blindly elevate our historical capacities to some shrine of greatness and egotistical pride.
We're on the brink of omnicide, huh? If you say so.

I realise that technology's gotten a little out of hand lately, but I think the benefits of it outweigh the negative aspects so far. Technology has done wonders in improving people's quality of life, especially regarding education. Of course, you're going to argue that we'd be better off in the woods picking berries or something, but I'm not too into that myself.

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Originally Posted by Crucified Spartacus View Post
Humans were adapting and surviving for a long time without any building or creating except for the simplest of tools that were produced in the same fashion for hundreds of thousands of years without specialization. I'm not saying we can't use our brains for certain survival purposes, i'm saying the turn towards the symbolic creates a matrix in which our primary perception and interaction with the world becomes less natural. The more we retain our animalistic modes of interaction with the world, the better off life as a whole will be.
You've got a lot of explanation to do before convincing me that we're better off as woodland tribesmen. Making random generalizations like this won't do it for me, I'm afraid.

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Art fills a need in humans according to you, but not all humans engage in artistic activity. I have no desire to engage in artistic activity, am i not human? Just because many do art doesn't mean it is a necessary or even positive value for our existence.
Okay, you joined this forum because you listen to metal, right? Something tells me you have a desire to listen to it.

My personal feeling on art is that it's a way of expanding one's mind and accessing unique/arcane thoughts that we wouldn't otherwise have access to if we just went about our lives stuck in our own perspectives. Art stimulates the mind. It encourages you to explore new things. I think that gives it plenty of positive value.

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Art is a civilizational bias because it is a major component of what civilized culture promotes but can not be demonstrated to be an innate characteristic of the human mind. Creativity is so lauded within the confines of civilization one starts to loose perspective of what exactly is innate and what is pushed by ideologues.
Well, here's your bias: you think that because art is so popular it's being forced down everyone's throat, and no one has any choice but to embrace it. What evidence do you have that all the people who claim to enjoy art so much are really just being brainwashed to enjoy it? It's not a religion, you know. People have a choice.

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So we find the first art with homo sapiens sapiens(HSS). Does this mean art is an innate drive in HSS? No, because not all people create art today, and i highly doubt every single human group in the upper paleolithic created art. Also, pre HSS peoples are considered by some to have had the ability to create by art but chose not to. This again would lead one to think that the development of art since HSS and the Upper Paleolithic is a cultural choice and not necessarily a positive or biologically necessary one.
Have you considered that early man was simply too busy trying to find food, or not get eaten by predators, to bother making art? The reason it's so much more prevalent these days is because people have more free time on their hands. If you look back even to the middle ages, there's little evidence that anyone besides rich, educated nobility and clergy made art. Nowadays we have entire nations of literate, educated people with plenty of time on their hands (thanks in large part to technology), so it figures that there's more art being produced now.

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Adds to the richness of life? Again, an opinion i disagree with. It's like if you were a big video game fan, and said it adds to the richness/interest level of life, i would say i totally disagree because it furthers us into the technological matrix and away from wilderness. Try to be a little more clear when stating opinions but masking them as objective value or biological imperative.
Yeah... again, how does being in the woods equal the best possible life? I would say that living in civilization, with access to the vast material and creative resources of humanity, is a hell of a lot more interesting than living out in the woods, starving, scavenging for berries, and worrying about the next grizzly bear that's going to come and eat your family.

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If primitivism is so retarded, then why can I, someone who is associated with anarcho-primitivism, be able to give such coherent replires that demonstrate the validityof my points?
Because, like the rest of us, you're a typical middle-class dude from a developed country who goes to school/work, surfs the internet, and listens to metal. Your life full of separation from nature. Deal with it.



That should be sufficient for now. Thanks, all.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 12:57 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Hope I'm not missing too much by jumping in here. I just don't feel like reading the rest of the page.



We're on the brink of omnicide, huh? If you say so.

I realise that technology's gotten a little out of hand lately, but I think the benefits of it outweigh the negative aspects so far. Technology has done wonders in improving people's quality of life, especially regarding education. Of course, you're going to argue that we'd be better off in the woods picking berries or something, but I'm not too into that myself.



You've got a lot of explanation to do before convincing me that we're better off as woodland tribesmen. Making random generalizations like this won't do it for me, I'm afraid.



Okay, you joined this forum because you listen to metal, right? Something tells me you have a desire to listen to it.

My personal feeling on art is that it's a way of expanding one's mind and accessing unique/arcane thoughts that we wouldn't otherwise have access to if we just went about our lives stuck in our own perspectives. Art stimulates the mind. It encourages you to explore new things. I think that gives it plenty of positive value.



Well, here's your bias: you think that because art is so popular it's being forced down everyone's throat, and no one has any choice but to embrace it. What evidence do you have that all the people who claim to enjoy art so much are really just being brainwashed to enjoy it? It's not a religion, you know. People have a choice.



Have you considered that early man was simply too busy trying to find food, or not get eaten by predators, to bother making art? The reason it's so much more prevalent these days is because people have more free time on their hands. If you look back even to the middle ages, there's little evidence that anyone besides rich, educated nobility and clergy made art. Nowadays we have entire nations of literate, educated people with plenty of time on their hands (thanks in large part to technology), so it figures that there's more art being produced now.



Yeah... again, how does being in the woods equal the best possible life? I would say that living in civilization, with access to the vast material and creative resources of humanity, is a hell of a lot more interesting than living out in the woods, starving, scavenging for berries, and worrying about the next grizzly bear that's going to come and eat your family.



Because, like the rest of us, you're a typical middle-class dude from a developed country who goes to school/work, surfs the internet, and listens to metal. Your life full of separation from nature. Deal with it.



That should be sufficient for now. Thanks, all.
The moment the first nuke was created we put ourselves on the path to omnicide. The subsequent arms race just made it all the more likely.

A little out of hand? If you say so. Our entire society is dominated by technological modes of being.

Not into picking berries? Why's that? Ever actually try it?

I'm not here to lay out an elaborate argument for why living in the wilderness is better than living in civilization. There are many resources on the internet or libraries that can give you that type of information. I already directed scourge to the primitivism site, but he thinks its retarded.

Actually i don't have a strong desire to listen to music anymore. I've grown quite bored with it.

Art can stimulate the mind in a civilized context that disconnects us from natural stimulation that very well may have been the reason that pre-civilized forms of art developed so late in homo history.

I didn't say people don't have a choice in regards to art. I said they are influenced by the civilization indoctrination machine through society as a whole, but pop culture in particular.

Upper Paleolithic folks weren't too busy finding food or dodging mammoths to make art.

Why assume i'm middle class or go to school or even work? Because i use a computer? A homeless person could use a computer in a public library.

Why so scarred of grizzly bears, starvation, and death? Heidegger would be displeased. You're just another animal. Animals get eaten by other animals and periodic food shortages occur in all bioregions. Deal with it.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 01:43 AM   #12 (permalink)
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The moment the first nuke was created we put ourselves on the path to omnicide. The subsequent arms race just made it all the more likely.

A little out of hand? If you say so. Our entire society is dominated by technological modes of being.
Can't really argue with any of this. Though you're still playing up the nuclear threat to make technology sound bad. No one's going to be ending the world anytime soon, I predict.

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Not into picking berries? Why's that? Ever actually try it?
Of course I've picked berries before. There were blackberry bushes all over the place where I used to live. I like hiking and camping too. I think nature's wonderful. But I like having the option to come back to the warmth/safety/comfort of a house too. Being a caveman doesn't give you that option.

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I'm not here to lay out an elaborate argument for why living in the wilderness is better than living in civilization. There are many resources on the internet or libraries that can give you that type of information. I already directed scourge to the primitivism site, but he thinks its retarded.
Well, if the website's arguments are anything like yours, I'm not surprised. All I've been hearing from you so far are baseless opinions.

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Actually i don't have a strong desire to listen to music anymore. I've grown quite bored with it.
Oh. Whatever then. Personal taste.

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Art can stimulate the mind in a civilized context that disconnects us from natural stimulation that very well may have been the reason that pre-civilized forms of art developed so late in homo history.
I still don't see why you keep pointing a finger at art as the culprit behind all this disconnection from nature. Didn't that actually start with agriculture, which caused people to stop living a nomadic life, and hence to build permanent structures, organized cities, etc. etc.? I somehow doubt that the decline of the bushman began with people painting pretty pictures and banging on drums.

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I didn't say people don't have a choice in regards to art. I said they are influenced by the civilization indoctrination machine through society as a whole, but pop culture in particular.
Okay, people are influenced by art. Congratulations. People are influenced by a lot of things, like gender roles, religion, and parenting. That's not all going to go away if you take civilization out of the picture.

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Upper Paleolithic folks weren't too busy finding food or dodging mammoths to make art.
K. Good to know.

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Why assume i'm middle class or go to school or even work? Because i use a computer? A homeless person could use a computer in a public library.
Because in all likelihood you are a middle class dude who goes to school and/or work, and owns a computer. Most hobos don't give a shit about philosophy, or heavy metal, or internet forums, and even if they did they wouldn't be able to articulate their thoughts very well. Thus, you're probably not a hobo.

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Why so scarred of grizzly bears, starvation, and death? Heidegger would be displeased. You're just another animal. Animals get eaten by other animals and periodic food shortages occur in all bioregions. Deal with it.
Yeah, but I'm also entitled to not deal with all those problems if I'm able to avoid them. I'm not going to get put on trial by the supreme court of nature for not 'playing by its rules'. Humans deserve their place in nature (or out of it) anyway, because we're smarter than all the other animals. Just because we eat and shit like the others doesn't mean we have to act as stupid as the others. You might as well give humans some credit for their superior intelligence, and not try to shove them into an obsolete ecological role which they do not fill anymore.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 01:53 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Note: I've gotta head to bed, so I'll get to your next response later on. Better make it a good one.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 02:06 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Can't really argue with any of this. Though you're still playing up the nuclear threat to make technology sound bad. No one's going to be ending the world anytime soon, I predict.



Of course I've picked berries before. There were blackberry bushes all over the place where I used to live. I like hiking and camping too. I think nature's wonderful. But I like having the option to come back to the warmth/safety/comfort of a house too. Being a caveman doesn't give you that option.



Well, if the website's arguments are anything like yours, I'm not surprised. All I've been hearing from you so far are baseless opinions.



Oh. Whatever then. Personal taste.



I still don't see why you keep pointing a finger at art as the culprit behind all this disconnection from nature. Didn't that actually start with agriculture, which caused people to stop living a nomadic life, and hence to build permanent structures, organized cities, etc. etc.? I somehow doubt that the decline of the bushman began with people painting pretty pictures and banging on drums.



Okay, people are influenced by art. Congratulations. People are influenced by a lot of things, like gender roles, religion, and parenting. That's not all going to go away if you take civilization out of the picture.



K. Good to know.



Because in all likelihood you are a middle class dude who goes to school and/or work, and owns a computer. Most hobos don't give a shit about philosophy, or heavy metal, or internet forums, and even if they did they wouldn't be able to articulate their thoughts very well. Thus, you're probably not a hobo.



Yeah, but I'm also entitled to not deal with all those problems if I'm able to avoid them. I'm not going to get put on trial by the supreme court of nature for not 'playing by its rules'. Humans deserve their place in nature (or out of it) anyway, because we're smarter than all the other animals. Just because we eat and shit like the others doesn't mean we have to act as stupid as the others. You might as well give humans some credit for their superior intelligence, and not try to shove them into an obsolete ecological role which they do not fill anymore.
Technology is bad enough without nukes. Nukes are kind of the end point of a long history of playing god.

Whether or not nuclear war is going to happen today, tomorrow, or 10 years from now, i think we should be more concerned then your comment indicates you are.

Having the option of moving between wilderness and civ is problematic and dangerous. I say one or the other. For example, people use nature to get away from the city because the city sucks so much. But this is just another way for us to continue destroying wilderness with cities by having small nature reserves that are always under threat from development.

It's not a baseless opinion to say that art is recent in homo history and that there is no basis for saying an artistic impulse exists even in homo sapiens sapiens. This is demonstrated archaeologically for the former and just by simply living for the latter.

I'm not saying art is the "culprit." I think it's part of the problem and we can appreciate/live within wilderness without it, as did homo erectus.

Those things you mention may very well go away if we eradicate the civilized paradigms from our collective mind in a post-civ world. Decolonizing mentally and physically is the key. Neither one by itself is sufficient.

Talk to any hobos lately?

No, you're not going to be put on trial, but you may very well be eliminated from existence with all your sapien buddies by nature for being a species gone mad.

I don't view other animals as stupid. I see them as fitting into their niches and generally living in balance, not threatening the biosphere. All these things you think make us intelligent like mathematics and sneakers with lights in them i see as arrogance and destruction.

We don't fill the ecological role anymore not because it isn't possible, but because we reproduce it's demise everyday by choice.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 07:42 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I started this thread because the idiocracy thread was locked. There was a discussion going on about art/human reason that can still be read if others want a basis for engaging with this thread. This was scourge's last comment directed at me. My response will follow the quote.

"Not really. Art is a function and consequence of the only uniquely human characteristic: the ability to reason and communicate abstractly, and thus, to learn from the past and plan for the future (the single most important factor in human survival). 'Higher' aspirations (values) are, indeed, superior aspirations. Not because of 'civilizational biases,' but because they not only are the values of human survival, but higher values and higher values alone affirm our humanity."

So nuclear weapons are a product of our ability "to reason and communicate abstractly", so by necessity, nuclear weapons should be characterized as superior aspirations? Superior to what? The non-omnicidal reality of daily life in a wolrd without nukes? Same goes with art. Art is superior to what? Is it superior to living a life of direct, unmediated connection with nature where the fullness of life is taken as it is and not represented/altered? If you favor representation/alteration you are clearly being influenced by civilizational biases, or at least a set of biases associated with symbolic communication/life, which as i mentioned is derived from the upper paleolithic which hardly represents the history of humanity. It represents less then half of homo sapiens history, and a miniscule percentage of homo history.

One doesn't need art to survive. In matter of fact, art may represent one of the first manifestations of humanity moving away from the natural world and into a bubble of symbolic(alienated) life.

One doesn't even need the vague, pre-linear and pre-cyclical sense of time you described for survival. Humanity can use it's speed, strength and senses for survival. Our ability to "reason" with that vague sense of time may help us and i wouldn't necessarily reject all forms of time perception in human consciousness, but you are elevating them to a level which i feel shows civilizational biases.

From John Zerzan's The Case Against Art http://www.primitivism.com/case-art.htm

Art is always about "something hidden." But does it help us connect with that hidden something? I think it moves us away from it.

During the first million or so years as reflective beings humans seem to have created no art. As Jameson put it, art had no place in that "unfallen social reality" because there was no need for it. Though tools were fashioned with an astonishing economy of effort and perfection of form, the old cliche about the aesthetic impulse as one of the irreducible components of the human mind is invalid.
I am going to take it that you can relate to the author, John Zerzan, that art reflects the desire in man to hide from reality and it provides the refuge. Therefore, it is wrong and we should live in reality than living in a world which is a mere representation of it.

Perhaps there is some truth to that, because like religion, it was born out of profound discontent with reality. But I am going to say art reflects a higher, honorable drive in man to reach into higher plains just like any other human field like religion, science or technology for instance. Art strives to capture beauty in some form which is something that should be cherished. It is foolish to point the finger at one field for how it is treated. That is like blaming technology for the invention of hammers when someone killed somebody for using it. If you're going to criticize human action, go criticize the intent behind it and not a whole field.

Also, primitivism is not a reasonable idea for people in the modern west. So, what do you want? For us to live a paltry existence without no technology, art or religion at all? We came this far, so I dont think its easy to throw it all away. We should think more about using technology more wisely like making our lives less dependant on it.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 07:44 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Nor should we forget that a flint-tipped spear could be used to bring down game to feed an entire band of early humans, or it could be plunged through the breast of a woman who refused to have sex with a member of the band.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 11:49 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Having the option of moving between wilderness and civ is problematic and dangerous. I say one or the other. For example, people use nature to get away from the city because the city sucks so much. But this is just another way for us to continue destroying wilderness with cities by having small nature reserves that are always under threat from development.
Dude, it's because our society is so damn organized that we are actually able to set aside wildlife reserves. Do you think six billion people all living out in the woods are going to live sustainably and preserve the harmony of nature? Hell no.

Of course, if you want to argue that overpopulation is a result of civilization, it's probably true, but I think as long as humans are smarter than other animals they're going to find a way to dominate their ecosystem. Unless you are able to genetically engineer retarded humans, it seems more reasonable to trust in a developed, educated society to live sustainably than to trust primitive humans, who are not going to understand the importance of such a concept.

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It's not a baseless opinion to say that art is recent in homo history and that there is no basis for saying an artistic impulse exists even in homo sapiens sapiens. This is demonstrated archaeologically for the former and just by simply living for the latter.
So... you're saying it's self-evident that there is no artistic impulse in humanity today? I must not be following. Please explain why so many people are making art. And if you're going to write it off to 'cultural indoctrination' or something, then please explan how the culture of art even bothered to exist in the first place.

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I'm not saying art is the "culprit." I think it's part of the problem and we can appreciate/live within wilderness without it, as did homo erectus.
I don't even remember what the problem is actually. Is the problem simply that we're not living in the wilderness anymore? Because you haven't yet convinced me that my civilized life is any worse. As I pointed out, it's safer, I have more freedom, more things to do and think about, and I'm not constantly struggling to stay fed.

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Talk to any hobos lately?
Yup. I live in Richmond, after all. They come up to me outside the 7-11 all the time babbling incoherently and asking for change. Quite a philosophical bunch, those hobos.

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No, you're not going to be put on trial, but you may very well be eliminated from existence with all your sapien buddies by nature for being a species gone mad.

I don't view other animals as stupid. I see them as fitting into their niches and generally living in balance, not threatening the biosphere. All these things you think make us intelligent like mathematics and sneakers with lights in them i see as arrogance and destruction.

We don't fill the ecological role anymore not because it isn't possible, but because we reproduce it's demise everyday by choice.
A big part of what makes us human is that we can find ways to get ahead in the ecosystem. The human drive to create and invent is what made our dominance possible.

The main question that comes out of this, it seems, is whether it is worthwhile for humans to have that creativity, or whether they should just be another animal. If you prefer the former, then it seems inevitable that humans will create an imbalance in nature.

But then that assumes that it is wrong to have an imbalance in nature. For one thing, what's so special about having a perfectly structured ecosystem if it doesn't progress to more advanced stages? What's the point of evolution?

For another thing, the ecosystem is going to die out one day anyway. We've already had several mass extinction events via meteors and volcanoes. (Of course, human development also constitutes a mass extinction event.) A gamma ray burst from outer space could nuke all life from the earth one day, and much more efficiently than our big, bad nuclear weapons. Ultimately, the Sun is going to die out, and then there's no chance of life at all. So what does it all come to?

I prefer to trust in the creativity of humanity, and see where it takes us. It seems like a waste of evolutionary ability not to. And in the end, humanity might be our only chance of preserving life on earth beyond all the cosmic events that would otherwise extinguish it. So why not give civilization a chance?
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Old May 1st, 2007, 02:52 PM   #18 (permalink)
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My question for the primitivists is this: since there are a finite number of human beings that can be supported by a hunter-gatherer lifestyle (probably well under 100 million), who gets to decide which 6.4 billion or so people have to die to make that lifestyle possible for the chosen few?
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Old May 1st, 2007, 08:45 PM   #19 (permalink)
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My question for the primitivists is this: since there are a finite number of human beings that can be supported by a hunter-gatherer lifestyle (probably well under 100 million), who gets to decide which 6.4 billion or so people have to die to make that lifestyle possible for the chosen few?
That is one of many obvious problems with primitivism. The philosophy is utterly naive and pointless.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 10:52 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I am going to take it that you can relate to the author, John Zerzan, that art reflects the desire in man to hide from reality and it provides the refuge. Therefore, it is wrong and we should live in reality than living in a world which is a mere representation of it.

Perhaps there is some truth to that, because like religion, it was born out of profound discontent with reality. But I am going to say art reflects a higher, honorable drive in man to reach into higher plains just like any other human field like religion, science or technology for instance. Art strives to capture beauty in some form which is something that should be cherished. It is foolish to point the finger at one field for how it is treated. That is like blaming technology for the invention of hammers when someone killed somebody for using it. If you're going to criticize human action, go criticize the intent behind it and not a whole field.

Also, primitivism is not a reasonable idea for people in the modern west. So, what do you want? For us to live a paltry existence without no technology, art or religion at all? We came this far, so I dont think its easy to throw it all away. We should think more about using technology more wisely like making our lives less dependant on it.
Once again, we can have an aesthetic appreciate for nature without art. Art just leads us to representation which isn't "higher" or more "honorable" then simply appreciating the beauty of a tree without creating art based on the tree.

I didn't say it was easy to "throw it all away," but i do think it is right. We can try to move away from technolgy by making ourselves less dependent on it, but the masses of people and the institutions they prop up do not seem very inclined to make serious moves away from a techno-dominated society. Like a philosophy professor of mine said once, "It's not just too late, it's about 40 years too late and sure as hell too little."
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Old May 1st, 2007, 10:56 PM   #21 (permalink)
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That is one of many obvious problems with primitivism. The philosophy is utterly naive and pointless.
You're like 17, right? You have such strong opinions about things i doubt you have spent any significant time trying to understand. My advice would be to not be so quick to pass judgement just to reassure yourself how right you think you are. I mean seriously, i haven't even given an answer to scourge's question yet and your remarks indicate you have already mentally blocked accepting any possible answer i would give by claiming pirmitivism is "pointless." Maybe i'm off base with these comments, but then again maybe not.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 11:05 PM   #22 (permalink)
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My question for the primitivists is this: since there are a finite number of human beings that can be supported by a hunter-gatherer lifestyle (probably well under 100 million), who gets to decide which 6.4 billion or so people have to die to make that lifestyle possible for the chosen few?
first of all, although this may seem like an unimportant point, i don't consider myself a primitivist. Although i am associated with what is called anarcho-primitivism in certain concrete ways, i do not believe in classifying complex thoughts and actions into ideologies ala any "ism."

With that said, there are various approaches to dealing with population issues in regards to returning to more natural ways of living outside techno-society. For example, there is the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Another example is a transition from garden agriculture to foraging. Another example is industrial sabotage. There are various ways, some involving force, others not, which could be utilized to reduce population to more natural, harmonious levels. I have my inclinations which to a certian extent combines various elements of these strategic approaches.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 11:31 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Dude, it's because our society is so damn organized that we are actually able to set aside wildlife reserves. Do you think six billion people all living out in the woods are going to live sustainably and preserve the harmony of nature? Hell no.

Of course, if you want to argue that overpopulation is a result of civilization, it's probably true, but I think as long as humans are smarter than other animals they're going to find a way to dominate their ecosystem. Unless you are able to genetically engineer retarded humans, it seems more reasonable to trust in a developed, educated society to live sustainably than to trust primitive humans, who are not going to understand the importance of such a concept.



So... you're saying it's self-evident that there is no artistic impulse in humanity today? I must not be following. Please explain why so many people are making art. And if you're going to write it off to 'cultural indoctrination' or something, then please explan how the culture of art even bothered to exist in the first place.



I don't even remember what the problem is actually. Is the problem simply that we're not living in the wilderness anymore? Because you haven't yet convinced me that my civilized life is any worse. As I pointed out, it's safer, I have more freedom, more things to do and think about, and I'm not constantly struggling to stay fed.



Yup. I live in Richmond, after all. They come up to me outside the 7-11 all the time babbling incoherently and asking for change. Quite a philosophical bunch, those hobos.



A big part of what makes us human is that we can find ways to get ahead in the ecosystem. The human drive to create and invent is what made our dominance possible.

The main question that comes out of this, it seems, is whether it is worthwhile for humans to have that creativity, or whether they should just be another animal. If you prefer the former, then it seems inevitable that humans will create an imbalance in nature.

But then that assumes that it is wrong to have an imbalance in nature. For one thing, what's so special about having a perfectly structured ecosystem if it doesn't progress to more advanced stages? What's the point of evolution?

For another thing, the ecosystem is going to die out one day anyway. We've already had several mass extinction events via meteors and volcanoes. (Of course, human development also constitutes a mass extinction event.) A gamma ray burst from outer space could nuke all life from the earth one day, and much more efficiently than our big, bad nuclear weapons. Ultimately, the Sun is going to die out, and then there's no chance of life at all. So what does it all come to?

I prefer to trust in the creativity of humanity, and see where it takes us. It seems like a waste of evolutionary ability not to. And in the end, humanity might be our only chance of preserving life on earth beyond all the cosmic events that would otherwise extinguish it. So why not give civilization a chance?
You are right. 6 billion people are not compatible with wilderness living. Hence, i refer you to my response to scourge about population issues.

Primitive humans not understanding the concept? Although not all primitive peoples lived sustainably with nature, many did and if you were more well read you would understand that many could articulate their ideas quite eloquently. Even if not eloquent by civilized standards, the thoughts and ideas are there.

No, some people create art today, but most don't.

Safety, freedom, things to do and avoiding hunger are all anthropocentric standards that indicate a desire to control in a civilized context. All those things can be probelmatized. For example, you are safe from being eaten by a grizzly bear in civ but you are not safe from being sent to war by the state anytime they feel like drafting you for war, stripping you of your freedom and sending you to very likely be killed for something you may not believe in. That's just one example, but i'm sure you can see where i would take further examples.

Asking for change and making what you judge to be an incoherent bunch doesn't preclude philosophical inclinations. If they were so inclined, they probably wouldn't waste their time talking to people like you who seem to have their noses in the air. Remember, many philosophers in ancient times lived lives of simplicity or homelesness, for example, Diogenes.

The value of an intact ecosystem without "advancing" to civ is the sense of being one has in nature. As many indigenous people, like Sitting Bull pointed out, the difference between natural peoples and civilized peoples is the difference between being and having/gaining. Simply being can be a very fulfilling way of life and many who were in nature rejected leaving it, for example, sitting bull's people the lakota who preferred the forager way of life over the sedentary civilized drudge.

The point of evolution is to survive, reproduce and try to experience joy while living in nature. Or at least that is what every other species does as well as many foraging peoples.

"Big bad nuclear weapons." You are such an ass.

Civilization has had it's chance for 10,000 years last time i checked. It's a failed experiment in control and domination, the continuation of which will probably kill us and millions of others species off before any cosmic event occurs that i don't think we should be so arrogant as to try and control.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 01:29 AM   #24 (permalink)
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A quick point of readability: could you please start dividing up your quotes and put your responses to each under the corresponding quote, so I don't have to hunt through giant wads of text? 'Twould be much appreciated. That said, back to the endless arguing...

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Originally Posted by Crucified Spartacus View Post
You are right. 6 billion people are not compatible with wilderness living. Hence, i refer you to my response to scourge about population issues.
Well, before we go about killing off 98% of the world's population, let's first try and justify hunter-gatherer life over civilized life. You seem to be dancing around my pro-civilization arguments instead of actually countering them. More on this later, however.

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Primitive humans not understanding the concept? Although not all primitive peoples lived sustainably with nature, many did and if you were more well read you would understand that many could articulate their ideas quite eloquently. Even if not eloquent by civilized standards, the thoughts and ideas are there.
Okay... I'm not sure what you want to do at this point - start pulling out charts of statistics comparing sustainability among primitive people versus that of civilized peoples, or what. All you're doing here is expressing your unquestioning optimism in the good intentions of primitive peoples.

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No, some people create art today, but most don't.
Was this an argument against the existence of a creative impulse in humans? I'm not sure. Obviously the majority of people in the world are too simple-minded to bother with making creative contributions to society. That still leaves a significant fraction of others who do, which is better than the 0% of art and science which exists among non-humans.

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Safety, freedom, things to do and avoiding hunger are all anthropocentric standards that indicate a desire to control in a civilized context.
Are you saying that if I were a 'true man of nature' that I wouldn't care about being safe and fed? Amazing logic there.

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All those things can be probelmatized. For example, you are safe from being eaten by a grizzly bear in civ but you are not safe from being sent to war by the state anytime they feel like drafting you for war, stripping you of your freedom and sending you to very likely be killed for something you may not believe in. That's just one example, but i'm sure you can see where i would take further examples.
So I'm safer in the woods, huh? Quite honestly, the possibility of me being drafted is pretty trivial compared to the possibility of starving or being preyed upon in the wild. You're going to have to do better than that, especially considering the very high success rate with which developed countries take care of their citizens. Not to mention that the average lifespan in a developed country is several decades longer on average than that of most primitive people, thanks to modern medicine and nutrition.

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Asking for change and making what you judge to be an incoherent bunch doesn't preclude philosophical inclinations. If they were so inclined, they probably wouldn't waste their time talking to people like you who seem to have their noses in the air. Remember, many philosophers in ancient times lived lives of simplicity or homelesness, for example, Diogenes.
I'm sorry, using Diogenes as a representative of the homeless population is just laughable. I don't even know why we're talking about homeless people, though, so I don't have much to say on this topic.

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Originally Posted by Crucified Spartacus View Post
The value of an intact ecosystem without "advancing" to civ is the sense of being one has in nature. As many indigenous people, like Sitting Bull pointed out, the difference between natural peoples and civilized peoples is the difference between being and having/gaining. Simply being can be a very fulfilling way of life and many who were in nature rejected leaving it, for example, sitting bull's people the lakota who preferred the forager way of life over the sedentary civilized drudge.
Oh, hey, an actual pro-primitivism argument for me to respond to. So, living a primitive life gives us a sense of being that is otherwise unattainable. First off, civilized Buddhists would disagree with you. Second, you're once again idealising the 'joy' of primitive life. Education, comfort, and freedom to pursue personal goals are all pretty fulfilling if you ask me. And the fact that you consider civilized life to be "sedentary drudge" but foraging in the woods all day not to be is again laughable. If you're really so sick of your boring city life, then go live on a commune for a few years and see if that solves all your problems. You haven't given me any indication that you're speaking from actual experience instead of just uninformed idealism.

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Originally Posted by Crucified Spartacus View Post
The point of evolution is to survive, reproduce and try to experience joy while living in nature. Or at least that is what every other species does as well as many foraging peoples.

"Big bad nuclear weapons." You are such an ass.

Civilization has had it's chance for 10,000 years last time i checked. It's a failed experiment in control and domination, the continuation of which will probably kill us and millions of others species off before any cosmic event occurs that i don't think we should be so arrogant as to try and control.
Since the alternative to civilization seems to be throwing away all our scientific progress and wandering around in the woods being 'at one with nature' until the planet dies out, I'm not too worried about the imbalance in nature that civilization has created. Since scientific progress has given us the chance to outlive our planet and our solar system, civilized humanity could end up being the savior of all life one day. That doesn't sound like much of a failed experiment to me. Rather, I would say that a stagnant, unprogressive ecosystem with no way of saving itself from cosmic destruction is far more of a failed experiment.

Your prejudice against exploration and progress is quite amazing to me, really. You talk about the appreciation one could get by 'simply existing', yet you cannot appreciate all of the achievements in science, philosophy, and art which has come from stepping outside our simplistic animal roles. You think that philosophical conversations, like the one we're having, are one of the many horrible things which has come from our not living like all the other animals. You're against all of our aspirations to understand the world around us. You think we should live sheltered in ignorance of all that mystery and intricacy. We should be content just to live, unconcerned with how short, insignificant, and meaningless our lives would be in the grand scheme of things.

The very beauty of being human is that we can learn and understand so much about the world around us. We are the only form of life we know of which is capable of such remarkable feats. There is, of course, a risk to all the power in that knowledge, but it's a risk I'm willing to accept, just as you're willing to accept the risk of being hunted in the wild. I would rather celebrate our explorations, and see how far they take us, than just give up and accept a kill-and-be-killed fate in the cycle of nature.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 05:01 AM   #25 (permalink)
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A quick point of readability: could you please start dividing up your quotes and put your responses to each under the corresponding quote, so I don't have to hunt through giant wads of text? 'Twould be much appreciated. That said, back to the endless arguing...



Well, before we go about killing off 98% of the world's population, let's first try and justify hunter-gatherer life over civilized life. You seem to be dancing around my pro-civilization arguments instead of actually countering them. More on this later, however.



Okay... I'm not sure what you want to do at this point - start pulling out charts of statistics comparing sustainability among primitive people versus that of civilized peoples, or what. All you're doing here is expressing your unquestioning optimism in the good intentions of primitive peoples.



Was this an argument against the existence of a creative impulse in humans? I'm not sure. Obviously the majority of people in the world are too simple-minded to bother with making creative contributions to society. That still leaves a significant fraction of others who do, which is better than the 0% of art and science which exists among non-humans.



Are you saying that if I were a 'true man of nature' that I wouldn't care about being safe and fed? Amazing logic there.



So I'm safer in the woods, huh? Quite honestly, the possibility of me being drafted is pretty trivial compared to the possibility of starving or being preyed upon in the wild. You're going to have to do better than that, especially considering the very high success rate with which developed countries take care of their citizens. Not to mention that the average lifespan in a developed country is several decades longer on average than that of most primitive people, thanks to modern medicine and nutrition.



I'm sorry, using Diogenes as a representative of the homeless population is just laughable. I don't even know why we're talking about homeless people, though, so I don't have much to say on this topic.



Oh, hey, an actual pro-primitivism argument for me to respond to. So, living a primitive life gives us a sense of being that is otherwise unattainable. First off, civilized Buddhists would disagree with you. Second, you're once again idealising the 'joy' of primitive life. Education, comfort, and freedom to pursue personal goals are all pretty fulfilling if you ask me. And the fact that you consider civilized life to be "sedentary drudge" but foraging in the woods all day not to be is again laughable. If you're really so sick of your boring city life, then go live on a commune for a few years and see if that solves all your problems. You haven't given me any indication that you're speaking from actual experience instead of just uninformed idealism.



Since the alternative to civilization seems to be throwing away all our scientific progress and wandering around in the woods being 'at one with nature' until the planet dies out, I'm not too worried about the imbalance in nature that civilization has created. Since scientific progress has given us the chance to outlive our planet and our solar system, civilized humanity could end up being the savior of all life one day. That doesn't sound like much of a failed experiment to me. Rather, I would say that a stagnant, unprogressive ecosystem with no way of saving itself from cosmic destruction is far more of a failed experiment.

Your prejudice against exploration and progress is quite amazing to me, really. You talk about the appreciation one could get by 'simply existing', yet you cannot appreciate all of the achievements in science, philosophy, and art which has come from stepping outside our simplistic animal roles. You think that philosophical conversations, like the one we're having, are one of the many horrible things which has come from our not living like all the other animals. You're against all of our aspirations to understand the world around us. You think we should live sheltered in ignorance of all that mystery and intricacy. We should be content just to live, unconcerned with how short, insignificant, and meaningless our lives would be in the grand scheme of things.

The very beauty of being human is that we can learn and understand so much about the world around us. We are the only form of life we know of which is capable of such remarkable feats. There is, of course, a risk to all the power in that knowledge, but it's a risk I'm willing to accept, just as you're willing to accept the risk of being hunted in the wild. I would rather celebrate our explorations, and see how far they take us, than just give up and accept a kill-and-be-killed fate in the cycle of nature.
I don't know how to do what you asked about quotes and readability. I only recently learned how to use the quote function at all. I'm not computer savvy. Sorry.

"Killing off" are your words. Did you even read the post i made to scourge i directed you towards in response to the issue concerning population? Some anarcho-primitivists are not in favor of killing anyone off. Some are probably pacifists.

I didn't really start this thread to make a detailed justification of forager living over civilized living, but since that is where you wish to go, i will comply.

no charts or unquestioning optimism is necessary. The simple fact that wilderness existed for millions of years of human evolution while it has seen a precipitous decline from civilizational attacks in the past 10,000 years presents a pretty clear picture of the stark contrasts between the two ways of life.

The "simple mindedness" you speak of I celebrate and not denigrate for in it is a vestige of our ancient connection with simplicity. All these culturally engaged citizens are just rushing from one thing to the next without stepping back and really thinking about whether we have lost some sense of connection to something larger then our egos.

If you lived in nature you would most likely want to feed yourself and protect yourself if attacked, however, my comment was made to indicate that this desire for safety, freedom to act outside nature, avoidance of hunger are things i feel represent an urge to control that is reinforced by civilizational biases. On the other hand, primitive peoples have a more mature understanding of the balances of life and are willing to accept certain natural processes like bioregional fluctuations in food supply, predation relationships, population control measures that are naturally enforced, etc. These are all the things civilization tries to repress.

You speak of lifespans being increased, but i don't see that as a positive either in itself or especially considering what has been sacrificed to attain the increases. I see foragers dying in their 30's in Africa but they lived meaningful lives both socially and ecologically. Again, the desire to control everything is the key civilizational bias. Trying to survive is one thing, and all species will do it, but when you enter the realm of man cum god, which is the advent of domestication/civilizaton, we have taken our simple desire for survival and turned it into a worldwide plague.

Why is Diogenes as an example laughable? You are using the few people you talked to for 5 seconds at the local convenience store as an example. Your experiences are limited with the homeless as are mine, but i don't make the same assumptions you do about their interest or lack of interest in philosophy.

I have learned a lot from studying Zen, however, i think there are many problematic aspects of buddhism. My ultimate criticism is that it has no instrinsic relationship to wilderness. The sense of being attained in civilization, whether influenced by buddhism or not, is not the same as the sense of being in the wilderness.

I used to think going to school, pursuing civilized interests like music and "comforts" like having air conditioning, using an umbrella when it rains, etc. were fulfilling until i woke up from the civilized dream and connected with something more meaningful.

"foraging in the woods all day." this is highly debatable. i wouldn't be opposed to spending substantial portions of time engaged in foraging or related activities because i value the activity and don't see myself as outside the natural context where i shouldn't have to do these things like other animals, however, various anthropological studies have indicated the estimated time to procure daily subsistence needs among hunter-gatherers is hardly "all day," but more along the lines of a few hours per day. richard lee's work with the kung san is a good example of this.

I'd rather live in a wilderness world where i can't control possible cataclysms on earth then to sacrifice that wholeness of being simply because something might happen in the future like a gamma ray burst or whatever. if it happens, it happens. extinctions have happened, they will happen, and we may be part of it. in the time between now and the next large extinction uncaused by humanity, i say let's stop trying to control everything and we might find some enjoyment in the process. this idea that we will be the saviour of other species is ridiculous considering the number of species we've already been responsible for killing off. no one appointed humanity as the decision maker for whether mass extinctions occur or not, and trying to stop them occuring naturally is attaining a level of power i feel is arrogant and dangerous. As george carlin once said, "meddling with nature is what got us into the problem in the first place." i don't expect you to accept this line of reasoning but at least you can't say no one ever laid it out for you.

Ecosystems and species ultimately fail to protect themselves from certain external circumstances, like comets or whatever, however, new ecosystems and species arise over time. I appreciate this process and am willing to accept that humanity is just another species trying to survive but very well could be eliminated like any plant or animal. Your definition of failed experiment is not being able to control the universe. No species can or should, and the only one's who think they can or should are 21st century civilized consumers who have lost connection with any reality beyond the simulations we repdroduce ourselves within.
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