“Constant lowlevel warfare” was “accepted as part of life” among tribal peoples in much the same way that bruises, broken bones, and concussions are “accepted as part of life” among professional football players. I mean by this that they no more wrung their hands over constant low-level warfare than professional football players wring their hands over bruises, broken bones, and concussions.

It could, in fact, be persuasively argued that constant low-level warfare played much the same role in their lives as sports do in ours. In Beyond Civilization, I nowhere talk about “reverting to living tribally.” We’re never again going to live the way our ancient ancestors lived, and I’ve nowhere suggested that we could or should. Therefore it seems pointless to speculate about the consequences of doing so.

What I’ve said again and again is that our ancient ancestors had a way of living that worked well for them for millions of years, and that we can learn something about it to our advantage. In Beyond Civilization I examined the possibility of people making a living tribally (as opposed to making a living by going to jobs). Making a living tribally is not the same as living tribally, and, as I say, I’ve never suggested that we should “revert” to tribal living—or to anything else, for that matter. As I’ve said again and again, there’s no such thing as going back. We can only go forward.

ID: 529
posted: 12 Dec 2001
updated: 02 Apr 2002

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