hunter gatherer anthropology book

The Human Reality
A Reinterpretation of Our Origins and Evolution

book the human reality
6th December 2016 
The Human Reality
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by Peter Prew


    If we condense this inconceivable time-span into an understandable concept, we can liken Earth to a person of 46 years of age.
    Nothing is known about the first 7 years of this person’s life, and whilst only scattered information exists about the middle span, we know that only at the age of 42 did the Earth begin to flower.
    Dinosaurs and the great reptiles did not appear until one year ago, when the planet was 45. Mammals arrived only 8 months ago; in the middle of the last week man-like apes evolved into ape-like men, and at the weekend the last ice age enveloped the Earth.
    Modern Man has been around for 4 hours. During the last hour, Man discovered agriculture. The industrial revolution began a minute ago.
    During those sixty seconds of biological time, Modern Man has made a rubbish tip of Paradise.
    He has multiplied his numbers to plague proportions, caused the extinction of 500 species of animals, ransacked the planet for fuels and now stands like a brutish infant, gloating over his meteoric rise to ascendancy, on the brink of a war to end all wars and of effectively destroying this oasis of life in the solar system.
    (Extract from the pamphlet Against All Odds, by Greenpeace)

The book The Human Reality is much more than a study of human anthropology and evolution. It reveals how the startling degenerative changes in human behaviour from small evolutionary groups of hunter-gatherers at home in the world, into re-evolutionary composite animals called nations (resembling giant human beings) at war with the world, have specific implications that threaten human extinction.

As modern humans seeking the truth of our evolutionary biology and human origins, we presume we are looking back at our hunter-gatherer ancestors, and tracing our evolutionary descent in an unbroken line from Homo sapiens hunter-gatherers to ourselves. My research over the past 40 years reveals a very different picture and philosophy.

Homo sapiens hunter-gatherers were as highly developed and as relatively perfected as any other wild animal over millions of years of evolutionary adaptation within the natural environment. They ranged freely in ecological understanding through the wilderness, their well-beloved home.

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Then, at the end of the last Ice Age, 10-12 000 BP, some of their kind were, I believe, forced by pressures beyond their control to adapt to a primitive subsistence agriculture. At the same time they underwent an extraordinary change in physique and in behaviour. In the words of Valerius Geist, professor of environmental design at the University of Calgary (New Scientist, 22 February 1979):

    Ice Age people were remarkably well developed with large athletic bodies, robust bones free of diseases, and brain sizes some 20 per cent larger than our own. Their physical development contrasts sharply with populations from Europe during the Mesolithic, when small body size and brain size, diseased bones and teeth, and signs of homicide and cannibalism were the norm.

Homo sapiens hunter-gatherers were made as relatively perfect in their physical and psychical adaptations as they were in their hunter-gatherer techniques. They were in fact masters of their own environment. It is unlikely, therefore, that these magnificent hunters chose to adapt out of a highly developed hunter-gatherer way of life – one that was absolutely conducive to their health, happiness, general stability and well-being – to a primitive subsistence agriculture and protected village environment. Rather, a few were , I believe, forced so to adapt. Their adoption of a primitive subsistence agriculture as a principal means of providing food would so adversely have affected their physical and psychical development and health as to cause a degeneration in their judgement, dexterity and skills, eventually making the hunter-gatherer way of life impossible to them. Loss of hunter-gatherer abilities and of health would so have interacted with each other as to reduce them to a gross imperfection. In that condition they were no longer superb masters of their environment. They were instead at the mercy of the wild environment. They were people devoid of everything that had previously distinguished them as human. They were failed and feeble units in what was to them a giant and chaotic universe.

The Mesolithic and early Neolithic thus introduced what may be described as a two-fold fall. First, in losing many of their characteristics as hunter-gatherers, and in suffering a fundamental socio-economic disintegration, disorientation and deculturation, these de-ranged people lost the basis of their identities and stable state, and the wilderness became a hostile environment to them. They were thereafter imprisoned in conflict with that world. This was the primary fall, which was followed by a secondary fall, when a few climbed, as it were, on the bent backs of their weaker fellows to escape their imprisoning circumstances and dearth, to create stratified societies of:

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out of a wilderness – which had only yesterday been their beloved home – exploited and destroyed to that end. With the growth of stratified societies, not only were men and women humiliated in each generation as forcibly de-ranged hunter-gatherers, but further degraded as domesticated, or enslaved, animals to the lowly condition of peasant cultivators for a few elevated as Chiefs and Kings of stratified societies.

The two-fold fall thus involved both a primary and a secondary historical degeneration. I describe members of

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stratified societies as Homo degener, or degenerate human, in sharp contradistinction to Homo sapiens, or true human being. If Homo sapiens hunter-gatherers, in their relative physical and psychical perfection, may be regarded as a model of what it is to be human, Homo degener’s deviation from that model may be seen as a progressive degeneration into inhumanity and imperfection. In losing many of their characteristics as human beings, and in destroying their erstwhile home, Homo degener peoples were doubly deprived. They had changed out of all recognition, undergoing what may be described as a primary re-evolution: when a process of an infinitely slow evolutionary change and development of all humans made relatively perfect in a limitless freedom of movement in the horizontal → as hunter-gatherers was turned into a process of accelerating anti-evolutionary change and development of degenerate sedentary people attempting to acquire power and improve their condition, thereby raising up hierarchical structures in the vertical. Their stratified societies have subsequently grown through progressive revolutions on the original re-evolution.

However, this is only one major element of the re-evolution that occurred. For the second major aspect of the fall, which relates to the growth and spread of stratified societies as pyramids of power, may also be viewed as a growth and spread of composite animals across the world. History – or rather what may now be better described as biohistory – can also be seen as the story of the progressive development and growth of new (pioneer) species of composite animal comprising:

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that are subject to a convergent evolution.

These animals could only survive in the world by cutting back the wilderness and cohering in groups in protected environments. As they slowly developed hierarchies of leaders and led, these groups began to multiply and grow up as composite animals comprising controlling head, fighting arms and cultivating hands and feet. They were characterized by a division of labour which made the whole greater than the sum of its individual parts: they resembled giant human beings. Their members faced the wilderness and world as corporate bodies of degenerate people to whom the outside world was a hostile environment. These composite animals now spread their prison-like protected environments outwards to engulf the wilderness, other composite animals and hunter-gatherer peoples. For whereas previously all men and women had belonged to one species – Homo sapiens, at home in a wilderness in which men and women occupied an equal economic and social status and obeyed the laws of nature that governed their behaviour – a majority now belonged to new species of composite animal at war with the world, whose principal concern has been to discover and pervert the laws of nature, and to exploit the land, to make the world as comfortable and safe as possible for their alien and exotic kind.

It has been shown that profound cultural change is a costly response to perturbation which, at best, may just permit an animal to survive. It is least costly and ultimately most adaptive to change as little as possible, particularly when, as in the case of the hunter-gatherers, their evolutionary adaptations had already proved enormously successful over tens of thousands of years. In the case of the adaptation to farming, I wish to show that the change was, and remains, catastrophic, mainly because it was a degenerative re-evolutionary adaptation that has required the ongoing destruction of the wilderness in order that farming cultures might not only survive but prosper.

Humanity was thus divided in two, on the one hand Homo sapiens hunter-gatherers still true to their evolutionary selves, and on the other failed degenerates separated from their true selves by their adaptation to agriculture. The highly developed hunter-gatherer is an evolutionary marvel; while those peoples alienated from their original evolutionary path by their adaptation to a primitive agriculture in order to survive became re-evolutionary outsiders or ‘evolutionary misfits’.

Each nation is a protected environment of degenerate people fundamentally at war with the world. All the aggressive characteristics so conducive to the well-being of humans as hunter-gatherers evolving co-operatively in a freedom of movement in the horizontal within nature are redirected and perverted to serve static composite animals concerned to expand in the horizontal the better to grow in the vertical in competition with other similar exotic animals. It is this frustration and perversion of the true potential of humankind that makes for man's inhumanity to man, to women and to nature. The co-operative cultures of the hunter-gatherers gave way to rivalry, warfare and slavery. We are no longer evolving as true men and women integrated within the natural world. That we are true human beings is a fallacious belief which permeates all our intellectual disciplines and renders them nugatory. We are members of anti-evolutionary composite animals alienated from one another and from the natural world – hence the angst, loneliness and pain of humankind – and subject to an increasingly competitive convergent evolution that invites nemesis: it is propelling Homo degener both towards World Government and ultimate self-destruction.