The Dawn of Everything by Graeber and Wengrow

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The Dawn of Everything by Graeber and Wengrow

Redigeret: feb 7, 2023, 5:08 pm

I may follow through with this. Daughter is listening to the audio book and I’ve got a hard copy. We are 2 hours distant, but texting is what we do.

The Dawn of Everything

feb 7, 2023, 6:07 pm

Chapter 1 is brief, but meaty.
Farewell to Humanity’s Childhood

Refers continually to the concepts of pre-history as described by Rousseau and Hobbes.
I just had hands on an elementary book describing Rousseau today.
I’ve been shifting my books in the living room. I knew exactly where it was, and now, afterwards, I’ve lost track of it! I read some of it last year and recall arguing with both Rousseau and Hobbes while reading it. I don’t have a good background in this subject.

But these current authors point out how this Enlightenment conceptualization was a simplified cartoon in order to detect patterns. Afterward, it’s silly to continue with the simplification treating it like fact.

Swiftly, they discuss Stephen Pinker, the Yanomami people as described by Napoleon Chagnon, and mention a variety of individuals who chose to return to living with indigenous American groups after sampling both forms of society.
“Western propagandists speak endlessly about equality of opportunity… By far the most common reasons, however, had to do with the intensity of social bonds they experienced in Native American communities; qualities of mutual care, love and above all happiness, which they found impossible to replicate once back in European settings.”

A short section on Adam Smith and the assumption that trade is the only logical assumption that can follow from the evidence of precious objects transported widely. They offer three alternatives to the notion of trade, each more whimsical. Made me smile.

Redigeret: sep 4, 2023, 11:08 am

Chapter 2 Wicked Liberty

Not through the chapter yet, but the title refers to the Jesuit missionary reaction to attitudes of the native Americans towards authority. It bothered them that this society refused to acknowledge obedience to a higher power, civil or spiritual. The freedoms of the females also bothered them no end.

There are 72 volumes of writings from these missionaries describing NA society that were produced and circulated widely in Europe.

Graeber and Wengrow rely on these as well as Curious Dialogues with a Savage of Good Sense Who Has Travelled, written by Lahontan
Dialogues avec un sauvage names the savage Adario, but is presumed to be a real Wendat NA named Kondiaronk. All who met this man were dazzled by his brilliance. He is quoted as saying "A man motivated by interest cannot be a man of reason."

Examining the concept of personal possession of goods or land, and "baseline communism" (pg 47) the NA is bewildered by the lack of generosity to others and how ownership turns to power, personal and political.

Gregory Bateson is mentioned with his coining of the term "schismogenisis" meaning group self-identification by an anti-identification comparison of "the other." I'm not sure I buy into this theory yet.

I was concerned that the authors were setting up a new model of the Noble Savage" but am somewhat reassured. Still, these NA voices are all second hand, interpreted by Europeans.

Daughter is 7 hours in on the 24 hour audio. She suggested I try it, and I am. But still referring to the print book often.

feb 12, 2023, 8:10 pm

I did find my book on Rousseau. It’s a slim book titled Advocate of Government by Consent and is meant to be a YA introduction.

Graeber/Wengrow believe that Rousseau was greatly influenced by the writings on NA philosophy.
The rest of chapter 2 considers the oddity of liberty and then equality as concepts growing and flourishing in a European milieu that had never experienced either within known history.

feb 12, 2023, 8:16 pm

I switched to audio for chapter 3 Unfreezing the Ice Age. (Pg 78-119)

It went swiftly, but now I have to go back and read it to absorb the details. I can only listen effectively when I’m in the car, for some stupid reason.

Looking for evidence of equality/freedom/self-reflection/sociopolitical options in the pre-historic record.

feb 20, 2023, 12:56 am

Hello, hello! I found my book (along with another of his, Bullshit jobs), and I hope to get started tomorrow. Full disclosure: I am poised to like this, as I already appreciated Fragments of an anarchist anthropology.

And I'm so sick of how everything is, our motheaten theories and mean traditions and EVERYTHING.

feb 28, 2023, 4:28 pm

I still have the print book, but switched to audio. These chapters are massive. Difficult to summarize. At chapter 5, I got the impression that their theories of pre-historic civil society are exercises in playfulness. Chapters 3 and 4 worked to broaden our knowledge and interpretations of various American tribes/groups/geographies. One in particular seemed to catch their attention. It’s political structure vacillated with the seasons, they claim. I’ll have to go back and try to locate that section.

I do have problems staying focused in audio version around the house. I do much better in the car, but I’m no longer driving much.

Daughter was here last week. She listened to 11 chapters before her audio copy had to be returned, so she read chapter 12 here, but we never did discuss it. Too much else going on.

I’m on chapter 6 and the South American remains are getting gruesome.

mar 5, 2023, 11:01 pm

Sorry, I'm way behind, I have three library books I must dispatch ASAP. But never mind me, do your thing, and as I start commenting maybe it'll be a chance to refresh! Yeah, I wouldn't care to do this in audio (well, I just don't like audio in general, but especially for nonfiction where I keep needing to go back, cross-reference etc.)

mar 6, 2023, 8:45 am

It’s on pause for me. I’m in another state up on a roof.

Redigeret: sep 4, 2023, 11:20 am

>3 2wonderY:

Iroquois in Michigan and Canada. In 2001, he was named a Person of National Historic Significance by the Canadian government.