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> In the book he describes the ways modern life has disconnected us from a lot of what humans find meaningful, and given that it's not surprising that rates of depression and anxiety have skyrocketed.

Yeah. See Yvain's excellent review of "Empire of the Summer Moon":

All of the white people who joined Indian tribes loved it and refused to go back to white civilization. All the Indians who joined white civilization hated it and did everything they could to go back to their previous tribal lives.

There was much to like about tribal life. The men had no jobs except to occasionally hunt some buffalo and if they felt courageous to go to war. The women did have jobs like cooking and preparing buffalo, but they still seemed to be getting off easy compared to the white pioneer women or, for that matter, women today. The whole culture was nomadic, basically riding horses wherever they wanted through the vast open plains without any property or buildings or walls. And everyone was amazingly good at what they did; the Comanche men were probably the best archers and horsemen in the history of history, and even women and children had wilderness survival and tracking skills that put even the best white frontiersmen to shame. It sounds like a life of leisure, strong traditions, excellence, and enjoyment of nature, and it doesn't surprise me that people liked it better than the awful white frontier life of backbreaking farming and endless religious sermons.

Whites who met Comanches would almost universally rave about how imposing and noble and healthy and self-collected and alive they seemed; there aren't too many records of what the Comanches thought of white people, but the few there are suggest they basically viewed us as pathetic and stunted and defective.

https://www.gwern.net/docs/history/2012-11-13-yvain-bookrevi...




Having an abundance of natural resources that are easily accessible at a low tech level seems like it's a very large precondition to making this work.

Sounds like someone drank the "Noble savage" koolaid in writing that.


>Having an abundance of natural resources that are easily accessible at a low tech level seems like it's a very large precondition to making this work

Disagree, "civilized" societies have vast surpluses of the resources needed for survival (Level 1 and 2 of Maslows Hierarchy) compared to tribal societies, although those resources may not be distributed properly -- which is indicative of that which we truly lack: community belongingness and love (Level 3 of Maslows Hierarchy).


"Civilized" societies don't have more natural resources available, they are just able to access a much, much higher portion of the available resources.


In the context of this conversation, that's a distinction without a difference.


Civilized societies are definitely able to produce more food, and shelter at scale using industrial techniques.


This may be true now, but it's only been very, very recently in history that food surpluses are a certainty.

Until a century ago, frequent crop failures, disease, and other ailments were a hallmark of sedentary societies.


I think the original criteria was "easily accessible at a low tech level". Civilized societies are efficient and can access difficult-to-reach resources. It seems the OP's argument is that to be a tribal society you need easier-to-access resources, resources that are now controlled by the civilized society.


You're right, I think I misread their meaning. Even though still now that I understand it, tribes still exist across the world living in extremely inhospitable environments with very scarce resources, and they still manage to have much stronger community ties than many civilized socieities.


Food and shelter aren't natural resources. They are things that you produce using natural resources.

"Civilized" societies use far less land per person to produce food.


Unless you are arguing that we do not have enough resources to produce the food/shelter required to live, not sure what your point is.


Isn't this literally describing the noble savage? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_savage


This is the Noble Savage. There's a grain of truth in there, though, hunter-gatherer societies in a resource-rich environment have plentiful access to a varied diet and are in excellent physical shape. But there is continuous war between neighbours over these resources (just because you can, everyone is well-fed and healthy). So, yes, people lived well and had fun while doing so.


Yep. I like this bit by Slavoj Zizek: https://youtu.be/IISMr5OMceg?t=407

This is just racism in a different form.


Wow what a life! So beautiful. It makes me yearn for a simpler life. Thank you for sharing this.




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