Re: Racism and ancient history

Dr. Doug (
20 Jan 1997 03:01:18 GMT

In <5bto8b$> (Michael
James Dean) writes:
>Dr. Doug ( wrote:
>: In <5bn0fh$> (Michael
>: James Dean) writes:
>: >: divisions. However, nature provides us with plenty of examples
>: >: groups not using violence against other groups, even competing
>: groups.
>: >
>: >: No bonobo chimp has NEVER been known to kill another bonobo
>: >: They settle their differences usually with SEX. Even between
>: competing
>: >: groups. Actually, when you examine them, they appear to be much
>: more
>: >: similar to humans in many ways than regular chimps. Check out
>: >: fascinating article in Scientific American, March 1995.
>: >
>: >I'm not trying to be a jerk, but the obvious reply to this is that
>: >aren't bonobos. Not that I wouldn't mind trying to solve all my
>: >problems through sex :)
>: >
>: Bonobos are jsut one example of conflict being resolved
>: in nature. (I will initiate a fuller discussion of the bonobos
>: from the anthro ng.)
>The point I was trying to make was that, although nature provides
>examples of animals who resolve conflict non-violently, it doesn't do
>much good because we do not have the same hard-wiring as they do. We
>would most likely not do too well trying to emulate them.
>: >: The BaMbuti people (pygmies) of the Ituri rainforest in Zaire are
>: very
>: >: isolated gatherer/hunters, and according to Turnbull in "The
>: >: People," never make war, even on other BaMbuti people competing
>: >: each other for honey or hunting grounds. They just yell at each
>: other
>: >: until one group has had enough noise. But afterward, these
>: have
>: >: no problem interbreeding and interacting with each other.
>: >
>: >does never mean NEVER or does it mean not within the timeframe in
>: which
>: >they were observed? Just because they don't currently make war, or
>: even
>: >if they haven't made war for a hundred years, this doesn't mean
>: have
>: >never done it or will never do it in the future. Not only that but
>: just
>: >saying that they don't make war doesn't explain why they don't.
>: >could be myriad reasons why this is so. You state that the
>: >examples show groups who don't engage in violent behavior, but the
>: above
>: >paragraph only relates to making war. Shouting matches are
>: >violent aggressive behavior which, in other groups, might preceed
>: actual
>: >physical violence.
>: >
>: The BaMbuti have no institutions for war or domination. No warrior
>: societies, no slavery or servitude, no conquering hero myths, no
>: institutions for the domination of women. They are also very
>: and thus, not threatened. I think when a culture becomes regularly
>: threatened, sexism and war begins to be institutionalized.
>This is very interesting. I would enjoy reading about such a society.

>Could you perhaps get me started in the right direction? Turnbull's
>Forest People" you mentioned, where else might I look?
>The question in my mind is whether or not aspects of this culture
>be adapted to our own. I sincerely doubt anyone would be willing to
>regress to primitive hunter/gatherers in order to eliminate war,
>racism, etc. We see the example their society provides, but what can
>learn from this example and how can we use this knowledge to improve
>own condition?

Turnbull's book is really the classic work. I would also recommend
Riane Eisler's books, such as "Chalice and the Blade" and most recently
"Sacred Pleasure." I really don't believe that dog-eat-dog is our
hardwiring. We are very flexible, and in times of stress (the last
6,000 years) we can adapt to a greedy warlike situation during our
period of technological surplus/scarcity.

I'm sure part of our answer is to reverse all this heavy sexual
repression that we endure, and support women to the max in their
attempt to gain confidence and political/economic equality. I'm also
certain that nationalism must die, to be replaced by people who can
actually see for the very first time a photo of their home, the earth.

Well, I'm off on another massive tangent. Oh well, you asked.