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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 404)...

    Wouldn't the laws of chance dictate that the Agricultural Revolution was bound to happen to one culture in the human race sooner or later? If so, wouldn't this contradict what B said about the Agricultural Revolution being a fluke? Maybe there was a specific reason for the revolution that we just haven't discovered yet.

    ...and the response:

    "The Agricultural Revolution" is an artifact of our cultural mythology. In short, there was no such thing. Agriculture is nothing more than encouraging the regrowth of the foods you favor, and this is something humans everywhere do to a greater or lesser extent, regardless of their lifestyle, and there's no reason to think this was not true a hundred thousand years ago. Hunter-gatherers, though they don't engage in crop agriculture, routinely encourage the regrowth of the foods they favor, in small, unspectacular ways. When Europeans arrived in the New World, they found virtually not a single culture that wasn't encouraging the regrowth of the foods they favored. In other words, they were all agriculturalists to a certain extent, but not necessarily to the extend of living exclusively on crops. So you see, the idea that people went from foraging to crop agriculture in a single "revolutionary" leap is a just story we tell our children. It simply didn’t happen that way.


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