Reply To: Suggestions of how discussions might be framed

  • Charles Rykken

    May 30, 2023 at 2:14 am

    Thank you very much for pointing out this book!!! I just ordered a copy of the hardcover edition which should arrive before the end of June. As a philosophical journalist, I am not a scholar of early history. I have read quite a lot and at the time all of what I read said that the early forms of government were little more than gangster (hierarchical and warlike) operations. Before I respond to what you said, I will read the book mentioned. My wife graduated from National Taiwan University(Tai da) with a degree in Chinese history. We have had numerous discussions and she agrees that Confucianism was grossly sexist and demeaning of women as was Buddhism. It was collectivist and the emperor’s palace was rife with power politics with murder a commonplace. This is what such power organizations look like, whether they are Asian or European. It seems amazing that I would miss so much of what is claimed in Graeber’s and Wengrows’ book but from the wiki article it appears that the examples come from the pre-Columbian Americas. I am expecting to find that the egalitarian societies were wiped out by the gangster cultures. BTW, I use the expression “gangster culture” to refer to patriarchal, extremely warlike, hierarchical cultures where any challenge to the capo de capos (the big dick, the big dude with a tude, etc) was a recipe for instant death. It was intended to be a metaphor. I would be inordinately pleased if you would read the Anne Harrington book “Reenchanted Science” and we could discuss the relationship between religio-philosophical beliefs and the character of the culture that embraces those beliefs and MOST importantly whether the culture was or was not preliterate.. I believe that the invention of writing is crucial in understanding how this issue manifests in a culture. Preliterate cultures are obviously different from cultures with a written mythology. I still stand by my characterization of Western cultures with a written mythology. In preliterate cultures the relationships between the political, shamanic, and story telling communities was much more fluid where the idea of written law did not exist. There was NO issue with the spirit and the letter of the law.