Breakdown occurs when cultural dictates in society or religion move children away from their natural development. As a consequence children grow up and become violent adults involved in ongoing conflicts and crises within society and between people. The final part of the book deals with a situation beyond enculturation.
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Here Pearce reminds us that we are not doomed to endless cycles of hatred and hurt. We now have access both to transcendent teaching to guide us on our path and to biological research that will confirm the right way forward. The book presents a fascinating and original account of the very basis of our societies.
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Relationships/How Our Ancestors Lived
Notify me of new posts via email. Search for: Search. Most appealing, they met other groups of people. In contrast, farmers are stuck in one place all their lives. Hunter-gatherer diets were nutritious. They ate a wide variety of meat, fish, and plants. For example, the Yupic natives of coastal Alaska ate more than thirty species of mammals, birds, fish, and shellfish. In contrast, agricultural diets are mostly corn, potatoes, wheat, or rice. These starchy foods lack protein, vitamins, and minerals.
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Better diets made our hunter-gatherer ancestors bigger with bigger brains than many modern people. Men enjoyed hunting. They skillfully crafted weapons. They roamed far from home. They used intelligence to find animals. They used speed and strength to kill. Women enjoyed socializing while gathering plants, snaring small game, and preparing food. Their children played around them, or stayed in camp with their elderly relatives. Hunter-gatherers had many hours of leisure. Climates that required minimal shelter and clothing had little of the "housework" of our culture.
In harsh climates, people could do little in the winter or during storms. Small populations lived in large areas. Contagious diseases were unlikely to spread. Many cultures describe their ancestors as coming from an idyllic Garden of Eden or "land of milk and honey. People continue to live as hunter-gatherers in northern Canada, the Australian outback, and central Africa.
Contemporary hunter-gatherers live only on land that no one else wants, e. Their lives are difficult not because they're hunter-gatherers, but because they live on the worst land. Hunter-gatherers were egalitarian. A large animal has more meat than one family can eat.
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A hunter loses nothing by giving away the extra meat to other families. When the hunter comes home empty-handed, he can expect other men to share their kills. Because hunter-gatherers can't store meat, they measure wealth by social connections. Hunter-gatherers couldn't accumulate wealth. They couldn't store food.
They didn't build permanent houses. Each person owned only what he could carry. Men and women were equally responsible for producing food. They had equal status in hunter-gatherer societies.
Hunter-gatherer societies have fixed gender roles, but everyone learns all basic skills for survival. Each individual had equal opportunities to speak to the group. Each individual made his own decisions. A band that disagreed about a decision could split into two groups.
15.1. The Sociological Approach to Religion
Older people were libraries of knowledge, before the invention of writing. A band with an old woman might survive a flood or a drought, because she remembered what people did when a similar disaster happened decades earlier. Children learned by observing adults, not through rote learning. Adults raised children to think independently. Children had to survive in case of disaster or separation from the group. Because hunter-gatherers live in small bands, boys and girls play together and behave more alike than children in larger societies.
Most hunter-gatherers were monogamous. Most hunters could provide only enough meat for one wife and her children.
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The best hunters could support two wives polygyny. Biological and anthropological evidence suggests that our ancestral mothers were mildly polyandrous, i. Female gorillas are monogamous. Gorilla testes are one-quarter of the size of human testes adjusted for body size. In contrast, female chimpanzees average 13 male sex partners per birth. Chimpanzee testes are three times the size of human testes adjusted for body size. The size of human testes suggests that our ancestral mothers had several male sexual partners per birth. Biological and anthropological evidence also suggests that our ancestors were mildly polygynous, i.
In polygynous species, e. Males that win fights with other males mate with several females. Male gorillas are twice the size of females. In contrast, among monogamous species, e. Gibbon males and females are the same size. Men are somewhat larger than women, suggesting mild polygyny.
This biological and anthropological evidence for polyandry suggest that our ancestors were moderately polygamous men with more than one woman. Agriculture started about 10, years ago.
The Evolution of Transcendence | SpringerLink
Women planted wild wheat and barley seeds near their camps, so they wouldn't have to walk far to collect grain. But someone had to stay and protect the crops from animals and other people. At first, elderly individuals did this.