Children being born today are some of the first to have parents that even understand what child abuse is. Which means it's possible that there will be a drastic reduction over the next generations.
It's likely that this would result in a markedly different global society. Maybe even one that eliminates most forms of abuse and needless suffering.
Another subject Burke talks about is the exciting idea the 99% can actually contribute to society now, because education and science is no longer the exclusive domain of the wealthy.
More of the 99%'s brainpower coming online could fully explain the cycle of accelerating technology development that we're observing.
It's possible that those people indeed had "deep psychological problems" (though you have presented no evidence) - but the connection you are making isn't there.
This paper provides evidence that ancient people also suffered from PTSD, disproving your argument that cultural norms are capable of overriding human biology and psychology.
Also your argument that human biology and psychology override social norms is unfounded. That is context-dependent, and cultural norms are the case specifically to influence biology and psychology! For example, what we eat and how we eat is directly related to cultural norms, and what we eat directly influences our biology. Over the course of time, our bodies compensate and adapt to our eating patterns as a society, influencing both prevalence and development of disease, as well as how we respond psychologically to cultural changes in diet. The dynamic between culture, psychology, and biology is extremely complex, and it cannot be definitively stated that the body wins over the mind, in any case.
edit: a more specific example of the kind of dynamic I'm referring to would be restrictive eating disorders. Eating is both a psychological and biological response. We eat because we nourish our bodies, our bodies let us know when we need to eat by sending signals to our brain, which we interpret as a kind of discomfort or pain. The pain, psychologically, distresses us even apart from the physical sensation. However, due to cultural developments in the way we view bodies, many people completely override their biological pain response in order to achieve what they perceive to be a cultural norm. You may say this proves your deducted result, but I would argue that in many ways the cultural norm can be perceived to encourage eating disorders. Yet, somehow, those with restrictive eating disorders are still considered perturbed. The relationship is complex. Up until very recently it has been completely normal for models and entertainers to employ very restrictive and unhealthy regimens for their bodies. It is the culture in that aspect of society to do so. In this way, psychology and biology override social norms, but simultaneously social norms are overriding biology and psychology. How would you classify this case based upon your current argument?
Does your assertion apply to isolated hunter/gatherer tribes with almost no contact with the rest of the world?
I don't claim to know the answer to this. Certainly it seems like the lives of pre-agrarian people would have been challenging. But on its face it seems wrong to claim that our ancestors would have "universally suffered from severe childhood trauma and abuse".
Could it be your modern viewpoint leads you to label as "abuse" the normal challenges all animals face? I'm curious how you define "abuse".
What do you mean by "you"?
> Children being born today are some of the first to have parents that even understand what child abuse is
I disagree. Even the most base animals have instincts to care for their young, no? I find it hard to believe that all parents, before a certain time, were unaware of abusive/non-abusive behaviors.
I find it more likely that there is a subconscious instinct to protect one's offspring, and this instinct may exist in people to different extents.
Furthermore, there may have been a time in the past where evolutionarily selected child-rearing practices that today we would consider abhorrent were actually necessarily to ensure survival. In a brutal world you need to be brutal to survive and one way to ensure that your offspring is brutal is to well... brutalize them.
Our western world is far less brutal a place than it was even fifty years ago and that may necessitate developing child-rearing methods that are counter to our evolutionary ingrained instincts.
Whether today we consider ancient practices abhorrent or not is a different matter though. In general those can be explained by cultural differences, and there is no need to invoke mental health. Improvements in psychological well being isn’t universally correlated with increased pacifism, as some people here seem to think. Modern western civilization is a product of very specific historical events - not a progression toward our "evolutionary ingrained instincts". If anything, judging by the vast majority of human history - our "evolutionary ingrained instincts" are far more tuned toward violence than what is considered acceptable today in the western world.
A mentally healthy individual in modern US would act very differently from a mentally healthy individual in ancient Rome.
The stories of sacrifice to Moloch are supported by archeological finds of child remains around Carthage.
When a lion kills his rival's children is that 'child abuse'?
We have evolved culturally that we now have a notion such as child abuse. To look backwards (emotionally) through modern ideas like 'human rights', 'child abuse', is not a useful model (imo)
Incidentally, I always remember Richard Kulisz when I think of childrearing modes.
If they even make it that far. We're not so civilized after all...
The best way to push that proportion higher still is via education of girls and women (and career prospects for them), universal high-quality sex education, high quality women’s healthcare, easy access to birth control, generous parental leave policies, and state-subsidized childcare and other public assistance programs for the poor. Empirically, illegalizing and restricting access to abortions has very slight impact on the number of abortions, but serves to make them dramatically less safe and more expensive.
In places where there has been a regression in women’s health and teenager’s sex education (e.g. Texas), we have seen a rise in unwanted pregnancies an increase in infant and mother mortality, and worsening conditions for small children.
I certainly think it was exactly opposite. In todays world we don't even know our neighbors names, not to mention what's happening in their children's bedrooms. And if anyone gets in trouble, its after long court battles with Child Protection Services, etc.
I have a hard time believing that back in the ancient times of tribes, clans and communities gathering together forming micro-societies, I doubt you would go on for too long without punishment of some sort, had other tribe members knew you are abusing your child(ren).
What happens when everyone in your society thinks rape and wife beating and alcoholism is just a normal evening?
Women in the Middle East are "honor killed" after they are raped. The god of the Israelites explicitly permits the Israelites to kill their own children if they are disobedient.
I dunno, I tend to think of Amazonian headshrinking: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrunken_head
> Historical examples include European colonists mounting the skulls of murdered indigenous peoples, or indigenous peoples using skulls in both burial rituals and as trophy displays.
Ah, so Europeans mount the skulls of murder victims, while indigenous peoples bury them, or keep them as trophies.
What a very interesting viewpoint on human history prevails amongst the editors at Gizmodo.
It isn't a particularly long or difficult read.
Parasitism all the way down!
Also it's against HN policy to moan / comment about why non-tech / VC news features on the front page.