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DOWNLOAD õ Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior ô Are humans by nature hierarchical or egalitarian Hierarchy in the Forest addresses this question by examining the evolutionary origins of social and political behavior Christopher Boehm, an anthropologist whose fieldwork has focused on the political arrangements of human and nonhuman primate groups, postulates that egalitarianism is in effect a hierarchy in which the weak combine forces to dominate the strongThe political flexibility of our species is formidable we can be quite egalitarian, we can be quite despotic Hierarchy in the Forest traces the roots of these contradictory traits in chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla, and early human societies Boehm looks at the loose group structures of hunter gatherers, then at tribal segmentation, and finally at present day governments to see how these conflicting tendencies are reflected Hierarchy in the Forest claims new territory for biological anthropology and evolutionary biology by extending the domain of these sciences into a crucial aspect of human political and social behavior This book will be a key document in the study of the evolutionary basis of genuine altruism recommended EP59 Gregg Henriques on Unifying Psychology The Jim Rutt Show recommended EP59 Gregg Henriques on Unifying Psychology The Jim Rutt Show Christopher Boehm is a professor of anthropology and director of the Jane Goodall Research Center at the University of California He has read hundreds of anthropological studies on a variety of human societies He also spent time with Goodall at Gombe National Park, observing the behavior of wild chimpanzees These experiences inspired him to speculate on our evolutionary journey, and to attempt the daunting challenge of defining human nature, the core essence shared by all humans He present Christopher Boehm is a professor of anthropology and director of the Jane Goodall Research Center at the University of California He has read hundreds of anthropological studies on a variety of human societies He also spent time with Goodall at Gombe National Park, observing the behavior of wild chimpanzees These experiences inspired him to speculate on our evolutionary journey, and to attempt the daunting challenge of defining human nature, the core essence shared by all humans He presented his ideas in Hierarchy in the Forest.Before we begin, the goal of my work is to help people who are interested in learning about ecological sustainability Boehm s book pays little attention to ecology, and I quit reading about 75 pages before the end Folks who are eager to learn about the various trends and controversies in cultural anthropology should put it on their reading list I was intrigued by some of the passages I read My plan is to jabber a bit about these, and then call it a day.There are numerous types of societies, ranging from egalitarian no bosses to hierarchical some havepower than others Among hierarchical societies, some have many layers of rank and status, like wolf packs At the extreme, despotic societies have a dominant alpha to whom all others must submit, like chimps or Nazis Boehm presented theories on the evolution of politics and morality among chimps, bonobos, gorillas, and humans Based on how the four species behave today, he imagined that the common ancestor of all four, who lived seven million years ago, was innately despotic and that all four today remain near the despotic end of the political spectrum.He believed that humans took a strange path In the beginning, we were hierarchical Later, for much of the hunter gatherer phase, we were egalitarian Then, around 12,000 years ago, with the domestication of plants and animals, hierarchy returned to ascendance, and grew to monstrous proportions over the centuries This was not black and white, some early societies of herders or horticulturalists remained egalitarian, despite having private property and unequal wealth.Oddly, egalitarian societies were also hierarchical Civilized societies have pyramid shaped hierarchies, with the powerful at the top, and the dominated masses spread out below Egalitarian societies have an upside down pyramid, a reverse dominance hierarchy When someone began behaving in an inappropriate manner, the entire group united to confront the misbehaving oddball.Cooperation was fundamental to the success of hunter gatherer societies, so conflict avoidance was imperative Upstart males, exhibiting impulses to dominate others, were a serious threat to the stability and survival of the society Nothing wasuncool The antidote to disruptive upstarts was sanctions criticism, ridicule, disobedience, ostracism, shunning Sanctions often helped the upstart get the message, and return to conformity If these failed, the upstart might move to a different group If all else failed, he might be executed.Hunter gatherer cultures had time proven methods for encouraging conformity, and discouraging the impulses of problem personalities It was always uncool to be boastful, arrogant, or overbearing When a hunter brought home excellent meat, he would apologize for the worthless crap that was unfit for dog food Self depreciation helped to level out differences, and discourage painful swellings of pride.Once upon a time, Boehm had succeed in earning the trust of Navajo elders, in his quest to learn about mental illness in the tribe One day, he realized that he had left a watermelon in his car, which he had bought to be a gift He ran out, got it, ran back, offered it to the elder and immediately obliterated the trust he had carefully earned, terminating his research His action had been too sudden, and was perceived as aggressive The Navajo have a low opinion of white people, and are highly distrustful of them In Indian country, people are expected to be calm, composed, dignified, and respectful.One passage especially touched me Jean Briggs was an anthropologist who spentthan a year with the Utku Eskimos of northern Canada She apparently behaved like an ordinary American, who had moody days, and sometimes displayed a flash of anger when irritated This freaked out the Eskimos, who sometimes ran out the cabin when she was crabby and hissing In that society, folks were expected to smile, laugh, and joke to behave like happy people Nothing wasuncool than showing your emotions, because strong thoughts can kill or cause illness Anger was dangerous juju, highly toxic.The Eskimos tolerated a lot of extremely inappropriate behavior, because Briggs was a visitor from a tribe that was notoriously loony They gave her hints for behavingpolitely, but she missed their meaning Eventually, they reached their limits, and Briggs became a nonperson She simply could not learn how to conform.Briggs was brought up in a hierarchical culture, where we all compete against one another to acquire, hoard, and display the most status trinkets Self centeredness is the expected norm Most of us live amidst hordes of perfect strangers, and the sight of strangers must make our tropical primate brains squirm and sweat When chimps see a strange male, they don t welcome him with smiles and hugs they kill him Gorillas are also impolite unknown visitors Of course, humans take great delight in savagely killing foreigners by the millions.It s hard for us to imagine spending our entire lives among a small group of people, where survival depends on cooperation, where competition and conflict were toxic The Eskimos were not merely acting happy They were raised in a culture where it was normal and healthy to mindfully maintain respectful relationships with all others They had to spend long dark winters in close quarters, so it was impossible to tolerate selfish spoiled brats or infantile tyrants Everyone s highest responsibility was to maintain the stability of the group.Boehm s book was published in 1999 Most research on wild bonobos occurred after 2003 Early studies had to be abandoned, because of a civil war that raged between 1994 and 2003, claiming three million lives Based on incomplete information, Boehm assumed that bonobos were at the despotic end of the spectrum, but later research revealed that they were remarkably egalitarian Also, they were not egalitarian in the sense of reverse dominance hierarchy For bonobos, egalitarian behavior was normal, natural, almost effortless Humans are closely related to both despotic chimps and egalitarian bonobos.Why are chimps and bonobos so different Ecology may be the primary factor Bonobos enjoy an ideal habitat, with abundant food, and no serious competitors in their niche Chimps live in leaner lands, and compete for food with gorillas and baboons Scarcity creates tensions, and territorial boundaries must be aggressively defended against trespassers Crowding is the mother of conflict Extreme crowding turns humans into bloodthirsty mass murdering maniacs Great book and information Terrible writing.Pro This is must know information for everyone working with groups Very useful and informative to know that foragers became tribes and chiefdoms but still remained egalitarian as much as they could.Con He starts the book with great examples from anthropology literature about bands and tribes Great examples that illustrate his points But the last 1 3 of the book is just mediocre philosophy without any good academic references like in the first part Great book and information Terrible writing.Pro This is must know information for everyone working with groups Very useful and informative to know that foragers became tribes and chiefdoms but still remained egalitarian as much as they could.Con He starts the book with great examples from anthropology literature about bands and tribes Great examples that illustrate his points But the last 1 3 of the book is just mediocre philosophy without any good academic references like in the first part Remove 60 various pages from this book and you have a great book but still with a dry writing style Only for nerds On early human politics Did we do we have to live in a world described by the hideous phraseology of dominance, submission and the alpha male No We didn t nobody apes included ever likes to, and we and the apes indeed defeated tyranny by coalitions, and kept tyranny down by the vigilance of coalitions He looks at such behaviour in the apes, and in hunter gatherers who remain in the world for us to study Freedom, as a value, is gained and maintained in early style societies, that are On early human politics Did we do we have to live in a world described by the hideous phraseology of dominance, submission and the alpha male No We didn t nobody apes included ever likes to, and we and the apes indeed defeated tyranny by coalitions, and kept tyranny down by the vigilance of coalitions He looks at such behaviour in the apes, and in hunter gatherers who remain in the world for us to study Freedom, as a value, is gained and maintained in early style societies, that are insistently egalitarian, against the ever present threat Apes don t come off well I wish he had made a better use of bonobos, whom he seems to rate as hopelessly hierarchical like the others