An Idea That Needs to Die
Freakonomics did an excellent show on ideas that must die a while ago. This is one of them that I felt very strongly about, and it still seems to come up.
- •The idea that we are still Stone Age thinkers is a burden to progress.The idea being that because we lived as hunter gatherers for a long time means that we still have these innate behaviors and thought processes left over.
- •People who buy into this paradigm are dangerous.
- •Dangerous how, you ask?
- •It seems to perpetuate this idea that our most base animalistic "instincts" are okay, because we can't help it.
- •Think of bullshit explanations about racial homogeneity because of nomadic tribal populations before cultural diasporas, think of every person that says monogamy isn't in our genes after they've cheated on someone, or the terrible Social Darwinism of the "survival of the fittest" mentality. Think about people who think you shouldn't eat bread.
- •Just because our ancestors didn't have it does not mean it's bad. They didn't have doctors, but I do enjoy someone telling me if I'm about to keel over. I enjoy having a prolonged life span.
- •It seems like a convenient way to explain bad behavior in a modern world, by saying you can't help it.
- •Things have obviously changed in the 11,500 years since agriculture became a thing.
- •We've developed massively important things such as writing and reading, enhanced communication, and changed the ways that our communities and relationships are structured.
- •We are not cave people. There is no excuse to continue to act as one, or to think that we can't escape our history. There is no reason to promote needless competition, or think that "alpha" and "beta" are ways to describe people.
- •Alun Anderson, who originally had this idea, will sum this up better than I ever could: "To just go through life thinking that we are trapped by what we are already holds us back from embracing what we might become in the future."