Alas education in civilization justifies and encourages ruthless greed. It seems that all vertebrates go through a learning process and all mammals need or do better with an education from their parents and siblings. However, people are completely dependent on human interaction to be able to participate in any social setting. That is we must learn from other people to be able to function and it’s the reason why the education we get is the major factor that determines how well or badly we interact with one another, other life and the world.
Humans are the most adaptable of life that ever existed. That is why we are a reflection of the education we receive. The forms of interaction from birth and then for at least the first half of a decade determines the way we function. All individuals need that early education to have any meaningful social interaction in their life. This would indicate that our human nature will take on whatever hue of interactions we are exposed to from birth. The different relationships we have observed over the last few centuries show an amazing variety of beliefs or non-beliefs and ways people relate to one another and to nature.
These are what our human nature can adjust to; nevertheless, we feel better and live in more harmony under some systems and condition than others. The kind of life that can give everyone the greatest security and satisfaction is likely to correlate with the most social life; whatever system people live in, we’re always social even as we have strong antisocial elements in our economic system. An economic system can contradict our genetic makeup; provided there’s some sociability in that life we can get by, but it does produces physical and mental strain on us and the environment.
Humans are a part of nature regardless of our education. Our body is also a micro common it’s composed of a multitude of microorganisms within oneself; we are a small common that cooperates to achieve the best possible life. Efficient life would demand that every organism contributes at least as much as it takes from whatever size the common is. Although an organism may start as a parasite, it will do better by helping the host to be healthy for its own sake; eventually the parasite becomes part of that unit. Or the opposite can happen and degeneration occurs when individual units, in a social setting, do their own thing in a competitive struggle for supremacy as we are experiencing today. When it happens in an individual we call it a cancer.
Hunter-gatherers were a part of nature; they aimed to only take from the common what it could give sustainably and to maintain a stable condition according to circumstances. Australian aborigines lived in harmony with nature in many ways for about 50,000 years experiencing extreme conditions with sea level dropping then rising 120 metres inundating very large areas of good living land. That colossal displacement must have strained relationships beyond life’s ability to reconcile fully, except for the people living in desert areas well away from the coast and rivers.
The Kalahari Desert people’s lifestyle is well documented. They had no outside competition due to the unsuitability of their land for agriculture; they therefor were able to live a non-dominated life and had an outstanding ecological knowledge. It also shows that agriculture didn’t improve life. It was only to support a larger population.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“The San kinship system reflects their interdependence as traditionally small mobile foraging bands. San kinship is comparable to Eskimo kinship. Children have no social duties besides playing, and leisure is very important to San of all ages. Large amounts of time are spent in conversation, joking, music, and sacred dances. Women have a high status in San society, are greatly respected, and may be leaders of their own family groups. They make important family and group decisions and claim ownership of water holes and foraging areas. Women are mainly involved in the gathering of food, but may also take part in hunting.
Traditionally, the San were an egalitarian society. Although they had hereditary chiefs, their authority was limited. The San made decisions among themselves by consensus, with women treated as relative equals. San economy was a gift economy, based on giving each other gifts regularly rather than on trading or purchasing goods and service.”
In Gorge B. Silberbauer’s book Hunter and Habitat in the Central Kalahari Desert. Silberbauer spent 10 years living with G/wi Bushmen and during that time the worst violence he noticed was a slap, anything else is very shameful, although they are very excitable people. It shows people can live peacefully and have fulfilling lives because that is their goal even in harsh environmental conditions and because of the lack of competition and domination for private property requiring a different education. The Bushmen, Inuit and Yupik would welcome strangers to mate with to diversify the gene pool to have the best genetic mix for healthy children. Without private property people’s thinking is centred on the welfare of the children instead of wealth.
“Theistic religions are particularly characteristic of the peoples of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. It seems that, before colonial contact from the 16th century onwards, the indigenous peoples of Australia, the Americas, and many other parts of the world did not have theistic religions. In Africa the situation is a little more complex, due to earlier European and Arabic influences, but even there theistic religions were a late development, and very rare until recent centuries.”
The final transition from a hunter-gatherer to an agricultural existence resulted in our disconnection from nature this transformed societies into parasitical organisations feeding on the common, and taking consistently much more from nature than giving. That distortion occurred as societies increased their size due to agriculture then becoming easy prey for warriors to take over eventually forming civilisation if the land could support the number of people in larger units. The education people received, apart from learning how to produce food and shelter, was to justify and glorify supreme rulers that’s god and those supposedly appoint by the almighty to rule, it’s a dramatic difference from hunter-gatherers .
Looking at the natural history over billion years we can see a learning process taking place as life learned to extent its scope and intensity over so much of the planet that it’s hard to imagine another niche that life can occupy now. Nevertheless time is still on its side and with that process of trial and error, the way life thinks as we also do, it’s impossible to imagine the outcome that time will produce, if civilisation doesn’t wipe out life.
A more able organism may not be able to take over a niche long held successfully by a less able one until a catastrophic episode renders the established life unable to compete in that new environment. Mammals were better able to thrive in darker and cooler times than dinosaur were and eventually held a dominant position in both day and night. But without that meteorite crashing on the planet it’s unlikely that mammals would forage in daylight, or we would exist.
Agriculture introduced work. It was an alien concept for hunter-gatherers, but to feed extra people they had to knuckle down to farm and build cities with stone and wooden tools. It was tedious work and a harder life than gathering but it returned more food to feed a growing population, and a necessity to dominate and not be dominated. Even with metal tools life was just as hard, as those surpluses weren’t to reduce hardship for the slave or workers but to dominate more of them. Even after using steam engines the quality of life remained or became even more dismal for workers. However when an English tradesman James Watt managed to make useful steam engine it also gave the inspiration and drive that created the laws of thermodynamics and those laws define fundamental physical quantities of temperature, energy, and entropy.
Up to that time there was little need for writing or mathematics for most people and tradesmen, but well within 19th century fossil fuelled economies soon demanded literary ability from everyone, education then expanded the economy by maximising the use of coal. Technical and scientific knowledge grew the economy, but still there was little improvement in the welfare of workers. It was the gasoline and later diesel engine and the jet engine that gave an affluent life for many people in the industrialised nations. Nevertheless, the preservation of that parasitic system on nature fell on the entertainment and information sector to continue education after our schooling, so that our thoughts remain focused on serving an economy that’s divorced from life’s needs.
Oil became the primary fuel, it’s now essential to produce all other energy sources and the only fuel for most transport. Capitalism is kaput without oil. Nevertheless educational institutions (which includes the information media) minimises or ignores the danger we all face as the finiteness of oil will soon be with us. The information we received from early in life is tuned to the belief that something will turn up to replace oil because we needed the energy. Fossil fuels are the growth producer that gave the socioeconomics of capitalism its seemingly magical ability to keep producing more stuff, thereby people world over find it difficult to think outside that concept.
Literacy and numeracy had little direct effect in raising people’s quality of life from its inception until the general use of oil in the industrialised countries. That prime energy source has permitted the mining of coal and other minerals on a vast scale with minimal labour. Low grade ores are now the main source of many minerals that would have been left in the ground without the oil, so soon they will stay in the ground. Likewise agriculture’s dependence on oil and gas is even more of a concern as there will be over two billion more people to feed from depleting top soil without oil or gas. The ignorance of our educated elite is the greatest danger facing life today as they entrap nearly everyone in competing for more of everything when many people can and must have less to be fair, secure and happier.
Our technical knowledge in using oil was the prime mover in the affluence of industrialised nations and the loss of cheap oil will be the chaos to experience in a decade as oil becomes scarce. If we had an education that was oriented for our wellbeing instead of an education to satisfy an abstract economic system divorced of time, space and energy, people would be aware of simple and obvious problems of unsustainability. Capitalism spread of ignorance of what we are doing to the planet and ourselves is the stumbling block for our survival.
When one looks around the world one can hear so many languages and many lifestyles, cultures and viewpoint, yet none of those particular qualities are inherited, they are all learned. Our body shape and skin colour is due to the environment we have adapted to and are then in our genes, but the way we feel and interact with our companions and nature is learned due to our physical and mental ability to learn and be social .
Our education has helped to achieve an increase in population, in a world that is gradually less able to support even fewer people and with no plans to reduce that population or feed it. Although we have learned so much about nature and yet understand so little of why we do what we do, our role is to boost the economy that’s our purpose. We have vastly increased our knowledge and ability to such an extent that scientists can place a satellite around Pluto and Jupiter with incredible accuracy. Also engineers are able to produce commercial aircraft that have superb safety records, even with the extreme potential hazards of flight. Yet our economists have a record of repeating chaotic conditions, but those blunders are nothing compared to the consequences of disregarding overpopulation, depleting resources, and global warming we are facing.
Cheap oil gives a false sense of plenty when it’s due to affordability (as it is now). It’s doubtful if the world economy can afford much higher prices for any length of time yet society’s knowledge and understanding of our energy problem is matched by an ignorance of a general depletion of resources. Our education and the careers we have to have to maintain our family is keeping us busy and not allowing us to evaluate the damage our competitiveness is doing to the planet. It will be an impossible world we will hand over to today’s children to cope without affordable energy to process the depleting resources and grow more food on degraded soil. Life in general tends to see its descendants as of primary importance, so it was with humans until civilisation muddied our outlook by seeing power and objects as something to die for.
We are educated to fit into society’s structure, but does that structure suit human needs, does it harmonize with nature, can it be sustainable. Fossil fuelled powered capitalism contradicts them on all counts and without fossil fuels the 9 billion expected people would be unsustainable within that system it may jeopardise all life on earth.
We are but one of a multitude in the common and can never be the most important part in its maintenance. Civilised status was an irritant parasite in the common, but today under capitalism our parasitic behaviour is in the process of killing life, our host. We can’t exist without a healthy common. If we could abandon all the bad things in capitalism, we would be left with people and our knowledge. We would then see ourselves as the most extraordinary and wonderful life, our sociability is supreme it even shines through whatever shocking type of civilisation we ever had.
We have gone as far as we can in our dominant superior mode as it’s possible while still being able to save our children. The Common is nature combine wide variety of life on the planet with its elements; their combination gives the planet its uniqueness within the solar system. That varied common is an exciting, interesting and should be a pleasant experience to pass one’s life in, if that was our purpose.
Civilisation has never been fair and peaceful. What passes for peace is a state of domination and for fairness we substituted equality; the weak have equal opportunity to dominate by competing against the established powerful ones. We are all different with different abilities and needs, so equality can’t exist, but fairness can and must be to be fully social. Democratic capitalism is supposedly controlled with competition but to be able to have competition it is necessary to have confidentiality however, to have honesty openness is required. All competitive activities have some element of deception and unfairness in them, starting with school sports and exams.
Sadly civilisation is our only datum for evaluating human nature it thus gives a distorted account of our ability to cooperate and help each other. This is due to the tiny number of psychopaths who manage to fight their way to power and start the pillage and violence to dominate. For the rest of us our main concerns is survival, we then steel ourselves and follow the leader. We know an incredible amount of information yet we have a chaotic economy with a political system renowned for its deceit. The educational system participates in that and does its best to maintain it.
The learning process is the way life survives. From bacterium to humans, that’s from the simplest way to the most sophisticated. All living things maintain life due to that process. Nature produced the first life by trial and error; we learn by that process, our information is the outcome of that. Nature’s experiment during the Cambrian Period produced an explosion of all kinds of life during that time, but only a few species were able to survive. That was nature’s way of learning, trial and error. But we, and nature tend to be conservative we inhibit the introduction of new ideas and new ways of living. Catastrophic events such the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs allowed mammals to function in daylight. So sometimes we need an external force to get us out of our rut; but we need to see the coming calamity in time to avoid it before it gets out of control. Our well to do rulers is at risk of annihilation as anyone else is; they are unaware of a life or death situation they are facing. Also too many environmentalists tend to minimise the hopeless conditions our children will encounter, if we don’t have a common and fair united action soon to stop our wasteful destructive activities.
Lionel Anet is a member of Sydney U3A University of the Third Age, of 20 years standing and now a life member