Re: Chariots of the gods? (fwd)

Jesse S. Cook III (jcook@AWOD.COM)
Thu, 3 Oct 1996 11:35:33 -0400

On 2 October 1996, Martin Cohen responded:

>On Mon, 30 Sep 1996, Jesse S. Cook III again replied:
>>On 29 September 1996, Matin Cohen responded:
>>>MC>>Depends. From the middle class life of an academic, maybe not, unless I
>>>>>wished to follow some of my more romantic notions. If I lived in certain
>>>>>forms of inner-city poverty or certain types of modern rural poverty, in
>>>>>fact if I were one of the millions of more serverly impacted victims of
>>>>>modern world market capitalism, I would switch in a minute.
>>>JSC>Only if you were ignorant, as you apparently are, of the real conditions
>>>>under which those to whom you say you would switch lived. Even those
>>>>"severly impacted victims of modern world capitalism" have a more humane
>>>>lifestyle. You are idealizing what you are ignorant of, as did Rousseau of
>>>>"Noble Savage" fame.
>>>MC>Our spieces has a great capacity for violence and "inhumanity".
>>JSC>Do you know of any species that doesn't?
>Of course there are species with less of a capacity for violence.

Name one and tell us how its and our capacity for violence was measured.

>I am
>afraid that by definition, all other species are not "human", making the
>second point moot.

What "second point"?

>>>MC>BUT - I would rather live in a
>>>cohesive tribal society that has some set of beliefs that make life
>>>meaningful than under the grinding poverty and oppression of many poor
>>>urban populations today, or many rural and peasant peoples today.
>>JSC>Only because, in your ignorance of their true conditions, you are
>>>idealizing the "cohesive tribal societies".
>Can you really generalize about their TRUE conditions? It is not that I
>nobilize the savage, I just don't place us on the top of the heap.

You just don't face facts.

>>>MC>What would you prefer, Jesse Cook, famine as a displaced sub-Saharan
>>>African farmer, or small band life in a relatively lush environment? How
>>>about a society with a high suicide rate (ours), or with a high murder
>>>rate (ours), or high rates of infanticide
>>JSC>You don't know anything about infanticide or you wouldn't have included it
>>in this litany. As for murder and suicide, how about tribal warfare and
>>human sacrifice? How about slavery?
>OK Jesse. Infanticide in various forms is not that uncommon in MODERN
>urban slum life.

Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn't; but it was quite common in paleolithic times!

>As for murder, I am afraid that while it does occur
>in tribal life, and no doubt did in the past, we are the leader.

Upon what do you base such an assertion?

>Just how common was human sacrifice? I know it has occurred in a number of
>places and times, but gosh, it seems to be much more common in comic books
>than in either the ethnographic or historical record.

Granted, it might not be too common in the ethnographic records (which are
drawn on peoples living in fairly recent times), but if you think it was not
common in the ancient world (Old as well as New), you are only displaying
your ignorance again.

>>>MC>because it is inconvienent to your argument?
>>JSC>Nothing is inconvenient to my aguement; its all jist for the mill.
You are
>>the one who is denying reality.
>It might surprise you to realize that I am not so much dismayed by your
>denial of common "modern" humanity to tribal peoples, past and present, as
>you illusory belief in how wonderful this "modern consciousness" is.

First, I have never denied "common 'modern' humanity to anyone. Second, I
have never professed a belief "in how wonderful this 'modern consciousness' is".

>wonderful, that when modern humans engage in less than wonderful behavior
>(as they do at an alarming scale) you note them as exceptions, modern
>people without modern consciousness.

You have finally got something right. That is exactly what I said: there
are modern people without modern consciousnesses, just as there are modern
people without modern conveniences, modern people without modern educations,
etc. You seem to think all modern people are alike in every respect--at
least you write as if you did. Could anyone on this list be that ignorant?

>>>MC>So, according to you, Eskimos and !Kung have "modern
>>>consciousness" and the Germans of 1935-1945 didn't? OK...?
>>JSC>That is not according to me. You seem to be a bit confused here.
>Now wait. You said that the Holocaust while a modern event, was not
>carried out by people with "modern consciousness."

That is correct. I said that.

>You also said that for
>Eskimos and !Kung to have had the kind of handle on their own technology
>that has been reported by ethnographers would require them to have our
>level of consciousness.

That is wrong. I never said that.


Jesse S. Cook III E-Mail:
Post Office Box 40984 or
Charleston, SC 29485 USA

" is not for our faults that we are disliked and even hated,
but for our qualities."--Bernard Berenson (1865-1959)