They Were Smarter Than We Realized

A ground-breaking book by an anthropologist-archeologist team, more than a decade in the making, offers a new take on humankind’s history.  Why is it relevant for an energy healing newsletter? First of all, history is the foundation of our self-concept as a species, so evidence requiring a major revision is relevant to everyone. More to the point for our audience, however, is that ancient healing traditions, which modern forms of energy medicine are reviving, may deserve greater respect than they generally receive in a culture driven by a materialistic form of science. 

Just published last month, the book is modestly titled The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. Written by David Graeber and David Wengrow, it is our final book recommendation of 2021 (with thanks to Ken Wilber and our other friends at Integral Life for bringing it to our attention).  Here is a brief excerpt:

“To give just a sense of how different the emerging picture is: it is clear now that human societies before the advent of farming were not confined to small, egalitarian bands. On the contrary, the world of hunter-gatherers as it existed before the coming of agriculture was one of bold social experiments, resembling a carnival parade of political forms, far more than it does the drab abstractions of evolutionary theory. Agriculture, in turn, did not mean the inception of private property, nor did it mark an irreversible step towards inequality. In fact, many of the first farming communities were relatively free of ranks and hierarchies. And far from setting class differences in stone, a surprising number of the world’s earliest cities were organized on robustly egalitarian lines, with no need for authoritarian rulers, ambitious warrior-politicians, or even bossy administrators . . .”

“One thing that will quickly become clear is that the prevalent ‘big picture’ of history – shared by modern day followers of Hobbes and Rousseau alike — has almost nothing to do with the facts. . . . [We must retrace] some of the initial steps that led to our modern notion of social evolution: the idea that human societies could be arranged according to stages of development, each with their own characteristic technologies and forms of organization (hunter-gatherers, farmers, urban-industrial society, and so on). As we will see, such notions have the roots in a conservative backlash against critiques of European civilization, which began to gain ground in the early decades of the 18th century.”