Crisis In The Family Courts

Lundy Bancroft: The Myth of Progress

Posted in Uncategorized by abatteredmother on June 22, 2009

The Myth of Progress

We have been misled by a crushing weight of misinformation about our own history, in order to cajole and force us into accepting the modern world, or what I call The Climate Crisis Lifestyle. We have been steadily indoctrinated to believe that there is (and was) no good alternative to "progress" as it has been defined in the modern world, meaning ever-greater hierarchy, pollution, mind-numbing work, and destruction of communal ways of living.

In the weeks ahead I will examine the myths that I believe are most central to keeping us locked into this dangerous channel. Today I will begin with:

MYTH # 1

"Tribal people throughout human history have mostly lived hard lives of hunger, disease, cold, and other severe discomforts, and to cap it all off their lives were short. Industrialism and technology have saved us from this horror, making our lives more leisurely, more comfortable, more meaningful, and longer."

REALITY #1

Human beings are animals. Do you see any animal, living in its wild state, that spends most of its life starving, suffering pain, and working itself into unbearable exhaustion and boredom? Of course not — for the most part animals do notlive in this way, and there are certainly no entire species who live in bad conditions through the bulk of their lives. So why should we believe that wild humans did?

And the fact is that there is plenty of historical evidence to indicate that most tribal people, prior to being conquered by non-tribal invaders, worked far fewer days per year than we do, worked shorter hours than we do on those days that they did work, and devoted far more of their lives to leisure, festivals, crafts, and games. They suffered much less than we do from violence, loneliness, insecurity, and work-related illnesses and deaths.

My goal is not to idealize the human being in his and her natural, wild lifestyle. Tribal life included injustices, hierarchies, and violence (and perhaps even some boredom). But these ills were present at minute levels compared to what we endure in the current world with our supposed "progress." True human progress (which moved forward through most of the history of our species) actually stopped at precisely the point at which industrial and technological "progress" began, an ironic twist that I will be writing more about in the months to come.

A truly "wild" human being (who would never have survived alone, and so was always part of a group, tribe, or clan that worked partly or entirely cooperatively) was as magnificent, intelligent, skillful, and beautiful as any wild animal that we enjoy watching or learning about today, and he and she should be celebrated and revered by all of us. Those of us who long for the wild are actually longing for a far more interesting, leisurely, and accompanied life than the modern world allows us, our natural way of life that was taken from us long, long ago.

Can we find our way back to some version of that nature-based, wild way of life? It seems that we may have no other choice. The earth may not tolerate our presence much longer unless we can rapidly learn — re-learn, actually — how to live in full harmony with it. So it appears that we are beginning now, whether we like it or not, a transition to a new way of life, full of perils but also full of exciting possibilities.

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