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Have hunter gatherers better mental health?

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    Posted: 23 Oct 2012 at 13:38
Have hunter gatherers better mental health than people in agricultural and industrial societies? Well, there are some who claim so. Here is a couple of articles about that.
 
One is written by a clinical psycologist:
 
Quote But how are hunter-gatherers able to weather life’s storms so effectively? Based on the available research, it seems that the hunter-gatherer lifestyle is profoundly antidepressant. As they go about their daily lives, they naturally wind up doing things that keep them from getting depressed, things that change the brain more powerfully than any medication. These range from exercising regularly and eating plenty of omega-3 fats to belonging to active social networks and getting enough sleep.
 
 
Here is some info about some health aspects regarding hunter gatherers life style, including aspects that are affect their mental health.
 
Quote Life as an adventure

There is an aspect to the HG lifestyle that has received relatively little attention, an aspect that I have called "life as an adventure": the life of a hunter-gatherer is a sequence of smaller and larger challenges, positive as well as negative, with the main characteristic that most challenges are unpredictable, of short duration, and of extremely diverse type and intensity. In contrast, agricultural and industrial societies prescribe a highly regulated life, where tasks and duties are predictable, constant, uniform, and rule-bound.
 
 


Edited by Carcharodon - 23 Oct 2012 at 13:42
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 2012 at 15:30
Hunting and gathering is an activity (a job) industrial and agricultural are not activities (jobs).

Because in hunter gatherer societies there are no other jobs (really) then the activity becomes the classification, but it still does not lend itself well to comparison with such hugely broad categories like industrial.

The key to good mental health is a sense of worth (external) and a sense of purpose (internal) which is gained from the type of job you have and your relationship with people who matter, like family.  Apparently one of the key indicators of mental health is the level of control you have over your work life.  So a hunter gatherer will have a high degree of autonomy and responsibility vs a sweatshop worker.

Maybe a better comparison would be... the mental health of hunter gatherers vs nurses or engineers or cattle farmers or factory workers.

"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2012 at 07:38

At the same time it is too narrow to classify a hunter gatherer society just as people doing a job. Hunter gatherer societies vary in different ways concerning social organization, culture, beliefs and other things. A hunter gatherer society can be as broad definition as an agricultural society. One can also say that there are some broad general characteristics that define different kind of societies. At the same time they of course vary at detail level.

Also there are transitional forms between different kinds of societies.

But in general one can perhaps say that the hunter gatherer lifestyle are more mentally healthy than the one(s) in sedentary agricultural societies or industrial societies. But there can ofcourse be exceptions if we look at certain groups in the larger societies that have lifestyles different from the majority.

And the factors that make hunter gatherers more healthy we can perhaps emulate and learn from also in our society.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2012 at 09:04
Quote And the factors that make hunter gatherers more healthy we can perhaps emulate and learn from also in our society.


Introduce a sense of adventure, managable stress, challenge and meaning into the tasks we engage in every day in a society where the connection between tasks and outcomes is very remote?

Can we do it? Please let me know your answer.

I left the audit industry after a few years, finding the tasks I performed to be so disconnected from the results achieved that it became rather meaningless. I now work as a project manager for the leading national child health research institute in the country overseeing 1600 staff, with aspirations to become one of the world's top 5. But even here, there is a huge disconnect between the work I do and the fact that childrens' lives will be saved.

With all the stress and relationships to be managed, scrutiny to be wary of, and the knowledge that me doing my job well could well mean the lives of hundreds or thousands of childrens' lives saved, there are still many degrees of separation between me doing my job well and a positive outcome being achieved.

Unfortunately, doing things like curing cancer and detecting autism in 3 month old foetuses require more discipline than what is required to spear a gazelle when you're  starving.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2012 at 19:05
Stress (and the resulting psychological complications) tends to be wherever one can find it. We may look on a hunter/gatherer lifestyle as uncomplicated and healthy from our vantage point, but they may not have seen it that way. Nature doesn't like vacuums, and so whatever issues one faces tend to expand to fill our worldview, no matter how important or unimportant they may be from a subjective standpoint. Tribal peoples, no matter how ideal their existence seems to us, still developed enough angst to commit murder and fight wars. They still had fears for their survival and their wellbeing. They still had questions about the meaning and value of life. We may associate hunting and gathering today with hobbies or vacations, but to them, it was all- and all important- in the same sense that our pensions invested in the stock market, oil supplies in the Middle East, job security, climate change, or any number of other issues weigh on us today.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 2012 at 02:51
Noble savage, anyone?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 2012 at 07:49
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:


Introduce a sense of adventure, managable stress, challenge and meaning into the tasks we engage in every day in a society where the connection between tasks and outcomes is very remote?

Can we do it? Please let me know your answer .

 
Yes I think it is possible and I also think there are people out there trying., which one can see in, among others, the sites I referred to. There are a lot of tips about how we can integrate some parts of HG life into our own.

Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:


With all the stress and relationships to be managed, scrutiny to be wary of, and the knowledge that me doing my job well could well mean the lives of hundreds or thousands of childrens' lives saved, there are still many degrees of separation between me doing my job well and a positive outcome being achieved.

Unfortunately, doing things like curing cancer and detecting autism in 3 month old foetuses require more discipline than what is required to spear a gazelle when you're  starving.
 
Do not underestimate the efforts of hunting your own food. Sometimes that can be strenuous and demand a lot of effort, knowledge, discipline and determination.  One of the differencies though are that the stress of hunting a gazelle is of more short duration and followed by a climax and after that a period of rest, instead of the chronic stress induced by the ongoing and prolonged worries of many modern jobs.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 2012 at 08:01
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Stress (and the resulting psychological complications) tends to be wherever one can find it. We may look on a hunter/gatherer lifestyle as uncomplicated and healthy from our vantage point, but they may not have seen it that way. Nature doesn't like vacuums, and so whatever issues one faces tend to expand to fill our worldview, no matter how important or unimportant they may be from a subjective standpoint. Tribal peoples, no matter how ideal their existence seems to us, still developed enough angst to commit murder and fight wars. They still had fears for their survival and their wellbeing. They still had questions about the meaning and value of life. We may associate hunting and gathering today with hobbies or vacations, but to them, it was all- and all important- in the same sense that our pensions invested in the stock market, oil supplies in the Middle East, job security, climate change, or any number of other issues weigh on us today.
 
I think noone denies that also hunter gatheres have different problems in their life. But if one shall believe above mentioned articles it seems that the amount of chronic stress is less frequent. Also factors like a more tight society where one is not left alone to ruminate to much over ones problems, where one has a social backup and  where life do not get so monotonous as it can get in agricultural or inustrial societies helps alleviate certain kinds of stress (especially chronic stress). It seems that our brains are better adapted for the life of the hunter gatherer than for our modern life. and it is not surprising since we as a species have spent most of our time puruing such a life.
Studies also show that certain kind of environments (as for example sparse forests in the vicinity of water) furher reduces stress and mental illness. It seems that we are hardwired to function optimally in certain kinds of enviroments and with a certain kind of lifestyle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 2012 at 08:02
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Noble savage, anyone?

 
You do not have to be noble, or savage to live a more rich and mentally healthy life.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 2012 at 08:54
I still don't think the comparison is meaningful because different professions and vocations have very different impacts on mental health wen coupled with personal/social feelings and issues.
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 2012 at 09:16

Yes, different occupations have of course different impact on health, both physical and mental. But still, most people in our society are in some way integrated in the same system, with many stressors in common, for example our monetary system, the often chronic stress caused by social factors and a demanding work life. Also we have the threat of unemployment and the threat of being socially marginalized if you do not comply to the norm of wage labor. Isolation, alienation and similar is also commonplace in our society, problems that cross over different professions. On top of that we have the stress of economic unequality that affects both poor and rich.

It seems that it is our civilized society as a whole that causes chronic stress, and not only the stress of a certain profession.

But of course there is also some variation.



Edited by Carcharodon - 25 Oct 2012 at 09:18
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I'd be more worried about my dental health.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 2012 at 18:34
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Stress (and the resulting psychological complications) tends to be wherever one can find it. We may look on a hunter/gatherer lifestyle as uncomplicated and healthy from our vantage point, but they may not have seen it that way. Nature doesn't like vacuums, and so whatever issues one faces tend to expand to fill our worldview, no matter how important or unimportant they may be from a subjective standpoint. Tribal peoples, no matter how ideal their existence seems to us, still developed enough angst to commit murder and fight wars. They still had fears for their survival and their wellbeing. They still had questions about the meaning and value of life. We may associate hunting and gathering today with hobbies or vacations, but to them, it was all- and all important- in the same sense that our pensions invested in the stock market, oil supplies in the Middle East, job security, climate change, or any number of other issues weigh on us today.
 
I think noone denies that also hunter gatheres have different problems in their life. But if one shall believe above mentioned articles it seems that the amount of chronic stress is less frequent. Also factors like a more tight society where one is not left alone to ruminate to much over ones problems, where one has a social backup and  where life do not get so monotonous as it can get in agricultural or inustrial societies helps alleviate certain kinds of stress (especially chronic stress). It seems that our brains are better adapted for the life of the hunter gatherer than for our modern life. and it is not surprising since we as a species have spent most of our time puruing such a life.
Studies also show that certain kind of environments (as for example sparse forests in the vicinity of water) furher reduces stress and mental illness. It seems that we are hardwired to function optimally in certain kinds of enviroments and with a certain kind of lifestyle.
 
I take your point that evolution has better adapted us for a hunter/gatherer existence than one on the factory floor. However, few in modern society work on the factory floor these days. And indeed, much more is known today about stress and its effects, and designing healthy workplaces, than was the case in the past. Chronic stress, at least in the best of circumstances, can today be recognized and dealt with.
 
I don't think we can say this with authority about hunter/gatherer socities. With repetition, almost any task can become mundane and uninteresting. Perhaps novice hunters found things exciting during their first expeditions, but what about the 35 year old wise old man of the tribe, who had seen a thousand hunts, and who then thought more about the fragility of life, and hoped for more stability and safety, than any excitment or novelty or creative input? We do know that such socities felt stress, enough to drive members to crime and to war with others, very often on a frequent basis. When Huron society first met seventeenth century French society, their primary interest was in soliciting military aid in their war with the Iroquois, not in pointing out a more relaxing lifestyle to the French.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Oct 2012 at 10:04
Just to be clear we don't live in the same society and there are plenty of people, hundreds of millions, working on factory floors.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Oct 2012 at 02:46
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Just to be clear we don't live in the same society and there are plenty of people, hundreds of millions, working on factory floors.
 
Yes, this is so. But I did hedge my statement somewhat by saying "modern" societies. Those that have made the transformation from Dicken's urban mayhem of the 1830's to the post industrial socities of today have, in some cases, learned a few things along the way. Assigning dull and repeditive tasks to workers tends to by not only dehumanizing, but also not so good for profits. Remember the advice not to buy a car from Detroit made on a Monday? (The thought was that desparing workers were so drunk on weekends that their efforts came to little on the following hung-over day). 
 
For some, in the Pearl River delta, or in Shanghai, or similar places, it's still the 1830's, as far as workers are concerned. With any luck, many of these may leapfrog ahead, much faster than the workers in Britain or America in the nineteenth century. There are already signs of some improvements in China.
 
I Think though that the main point here is psychological. Stress and the resultant problems can occur in many settings, depending on one's mindset. Some win the lottery, but then become so stressed with the follow on effects that they lapse into despair, or worse. We may think that chasing antelopes, or tending gardens may be little more than fun, but for those whose life depends on it, and know nothing else of the outside world, these issues could loom to massive size, translating into physical and psychological problems, and in some cases interpersonal or societal dysfunction.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2012 at 08:11
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 
I take your point that evolution has better adapted us for a hunter/gatherer existence than one on the factory floor. However, few in modern society work on the factory floor these days. And indeed, much more is known today about stress and its effects, and designing healthy workplaces, than was the case in the past. Chronic stress, at least in the best of circumstances, can today be recognized and dealt with.
 

Still chronic stress is increasing and in many cases it disables people for a long time and lower their quality of life and their ability to work or live a normal life. It seems that stress related illnesses increase faster than our ability to deal with them.

And also other jobs than those in factories can be monotonic, dull and stressfull (as many people working in offices or in hospitals can testify about).

 
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

I don't think we can say this with authority about hunter/gatherer socities. With repetition, almost any task can become mundane and uninteresting. Perhaps novice hunters found things exciting during their first expeditions, but what about the 35 year old wise old man of the tribe, who had seen a thousand hunts, and who then thought more about the fragility of life, and hoped for more stability and safety, than any excitment or novelty or creative input? We do know that such socities felt stress, enough to drive members to crime and to war with others, very often on a frequent basis. When Huron society first met seventeenth century French society, their primary interest was in soliciting military aid in their war with the Iroquois, not in pointing out a more relaxing lifestyle to the French.
 
Even hunts vary, every hunt is unique with its own dynamics and specific problems. On top of that the environment are often changing both in natural cycles but also in more unpredictable ways. The amount of game, or fruits or edible plants can vary and demands adaptations. Often you must move around to different places to utilize the resource that occurs at a specific time.

Ofcourse there can be periods with dullness and monotony also among these people but those periods do not last as long as in our society.

And many times hunter gatherers also have different mechanisms for socializing that makes people feel included in another way than many people in our modern society. These mechanisms can often give the stability and safety that also is needed in a society.

 

Why people wage war, or why certain conflicts between groups arise is still today poorly understood, but stress is not the only cause, it seems more complex than that.

But ofcourse we do not know everything about the hunter gatherers yet, espcially those from older times. The only thing we can go by is the research that is made on todays hunter gatherers, who unfortunately are not so many.

By the way, Iroquois were not hunter gatherers (even if hunting, fishing and gathering still was an important part of their life) but agriculturalists or subsistence farmers.


Edited by Carcharodon - 13 Nov 2012 at 08:19
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2012 at 08:12
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Just to be clear we don't live in the same society and there are plenty of people, hundreds of millions, working on factory floors.
 
But still we can learn some things from hunter gatherers concerning stress reduction and promotion of health.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2012 at 08:42
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Just to be clear we don't live in the same society and there are plenty of people, hundreds of millions, working on factory floors.



 

But still we can learn some things from hunter gatherers concerning stress reduction and promotion of health.

Do you think that any of these things would reduce stress?

- Domestic violence
- Wife snatching
- War
- Hunger
- Death of weak children

Because all of these things occurred and even still occur in hunter-gather societies. I think that some people would have been under great stress and unhealthiness.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2012 at 09:29
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

But still we can learn some things from hunter gatherers concerning stress reduction and promotion of health.
Do you think that any of these things would reduce stress?

- Domestic violence
- Wife snatching
- War
- Hunger
- Death of weak children

Because all of these things occurred and even still occur in hunter-gather societies. I think that some people would have been under great stress and unhealthiness.
 
As if many these things have not occured in a much larger scale in so called civilized, or even modern cultures? Domestic violence is one of the great problems in modern societies. Rape, snatching of women (trafficing) are rampant in modern societies even if such behaviours are forbidden. Ofcourse war takes many lives on a monstrous scale when so called civilized countries solve their conflicts. Hunger is more common in developing countries among the mainstram populations, not among hunter gatherers. And murder of poor children exists in a large scale among the mainstream culture in for example Brazil (where police and militaries have shot street children). All the problems you mentioned is more frequent and occur in much larger scale in so called civlized societies.
And there are in fact hunter gatherer societies where many of these problems are very rare or do not occur at all.
Also prostitution, crime, drugs and similar social problems which cause a lot of stress and unhealth are much more rare or non existant among hunter gatherers (at least those who are not too much affected by modern society).
Actually among the most peaceful societies on earth several are hunter gatherers.


Edited by Carcharodon - 13 Nov 2012 at 09:29
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2012 at 09:42
It seems that the upbringing of children in a way common among hunter gatherers foster better mental health, greater empathy and concience development and even higher intelligence in children.
 
http://www.sott.net/article/226105-Hunter-Gatherer-Societies-Research-shows-child-rearing-practices-of-distant-ancestors-foster-morality-compassion-in-kids
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Nov 2012 at 00:21
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 
I take your point that evolution has better adapted us for a hunter/gatherer existence than one on the factory floor. However, few in modern society work on the factory floor these days. And indeed, much more is known today about stress and its effects, and designing healthy workplaces, than was the case in the past. Chronic stress, at least in the best of circumstances, can today be recognized and dealt with.
 

Still chronic stress is increasing and in many cases it disables people for a long time and lower their quality of life and their ability to work or live a normal life. It seems that stress related illnesses increase faster than our ability to deal with them.

And also other jobs than those in factories can be monotonic, dull and stressfull (as many people working in offices or in hospitals can testify about).

 
Certainly many situations in today's world can be very stressful. However, stress is often where on finds it. It is often a case of previous experience. For example, if the most stressful event that occurs in one's life is the computer printer running out of ink, or some other such mundane occurrence, then that can loom large for some. We tend to judge the world around us by what we see, and have experienced. Although we today may perceive a hunter/gatherer existence to be non-stressful, those at the time may have thought differently.
 
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

I don't think we can say this with authority about hunter/gatherer socities. With repetition, almost any task can become mundane and uninteresting. Perhaps novice hunters found things exciting during their first expeditions, but what about the 35 year old wise old man of the tribe, who had seen a thousand hunts, and who then thought more about the fragility of life, and hoped for more stability and safety, than any excitment or novelty or creative input? We do know that such socities felt stress, enough to drive members to crime and to war with others, very often on a frequent basis. When Huron society first met seventeenth century French society, their primary interest was in soliciting military aid in their war with the Iroquois, not in pointing out a more relaxing lifestyle to the French.
 
Even hunts vary, every hunt is unique with its own dynamics and specific problems. On top of that the environment are often changing both in natural cycles but also in more unpredictable ways. The amount of game, or fruits or edible plants can vary and demands adaptations. Often you must move around to different places to utilize the resource that occurs at a specific time.

Ofcourse there can be periods with dullness and monotony also among these people but those periods do not last as long as in our society.

And many times hunter gatherers also have different mechanisms for socializing that makes people feel included in another way than many people in our modern society. These mechanisms can often give the stability and safety that also is needed in a society.

 
Feeling included in society depends on culture, personal perceptions, and other factors that vary today, and likely also did in older societies. Today there are many options to avoid dullness and monotony, ones unavailable in hunter/gatherer societies. Again though, I suspect it is a case of what one is used to. If sitting quiet in a campsite for 12 hours is what one has always been used to, then that would probably not seem overly dull.

 

 
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

Why people wage war, or why certain conflicts between groups arise is still today poorly understood, but stress is not the only cause, it seems more complex than that.

But ofcourse we do not know everything about the hunter gatherers yet, espcially those from older times. The only thing we can go by is the research that is made on todays hunter gatherers, who unfortunately are not so many.

By the way, Iroquois were not hunter gatherers (even if hunting, fishing and gathering still was an important part of their life) but agriculturalists or subsistence farmers.
 
We do have some pretty good ideas about why people wage war, and they carry over from large modern societies to smaller, more primitive ones (sadly enough). Fear of the other, competition for resources, the cycle of violence and revenge, group think, nationalism, racism, xenophobia......you may find these factors in every corner of the planet, even the most remote.
 
If the Iroquois were not a pure enough H/G society for you, you could contemplate New Guinea, a place were the stone age endured well into the 20th century. Tribal war here was endemic, with one outrage urging retribution, in a cycle that probably went for millenia.
 
 
Or you could consider the Hudson's Bay Company, the fur trading empire that once had lease to half of North America. When traders first arrived, aboriginal societies, rather than urging European traders to relaxe and slow down, clamered for the industrial goods of the more modern society. They quickly altered their lifestyles, and easily abandoned a more fundamental existence. Life became about getting the most furs, as quickly as possible, and getting them to a trading post. In fact, by the 1830's, hunting for furs had become so voracious that HB traders feared extinction of several profitable animal species. They had to insist aboriginals slow down, take it easy, and not be in such a hurry for trade and commerce.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Nov 2012 at 11:17
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 
Certainly many situations in today's world can be very stressful. However, stress is often where on finds it. It is often a case of previous experience. For example, if the most stressful event that occurs in one's life is the computer printer running out of ink, or some other such mundane occurrence, then that can loom large for some. We tend to judge the world around us by what we see, and have experienced. Although we today may perceive a hunter/gatherer existence to be non-stressful, those at the time may have thought differently.
 

The point of many of the reports I´ve read about stress is that chronic stress is much more unhealthy than temporary. Ofcourse there are temporary stress in HG-socieites to, but chronic stress seems to be more rare. The good thing with temporary stress is that it is mostly followed by periods of rest. Chronic stress on the other hand is chronic, it plagues you all the time.

  
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 Feeling included in society depends on culture, personal perceptions, and other factors that vary today, and likely also did in older societies. Today there are many options to avoid dullness and monotony, ones unavailable in hunter/gatherer societies. Again though, I suspect it is a case of what one is used to. If sitting quiet in a campsite for 12 hours is what one has always been used to, then that would probably not seem overly dull.
 

Dullness can certainly also occur among HG.peoples, but it seems that the dullness is more temporary, just like the stress. Dullness is interrupted by periods of stimulating activity. Also social life, rituals and similar seems to lessen dullness in HG-societies.

   

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

We do have some pretty good ideas about why people wage war, and they carry over from large modern societies to smaller, more primitive ones (sadly enough). Fear of the other, competition for resources, the cycle of violence and revenge, group think, nationalism, racism, xenophobia......you may find these factors in every corner of the planet, even the most remote.
 

The debate is still raging over if war is inherent in us or if war mainly is a product of more advanced societies (or at least increases in agricultural societies or state organized societies).

 
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

If the Iroquois were not a pure enough H/G society for you, you could contemplate New Guinea, a place were the stone age endured well into the 20th century. Tribal war here was endemic, with one outrage urging retribution, in a cycle that probably went for millenia.
 
 

Actually most New Guinean peoples are some form of agriculturalists. Actually they have had agriculture for a longer time than Northern Europe.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nomadic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Nov 2012 at 17:11
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

The debate is still raging over if war is inherent in us or if war mainly is a product of more advanced societies (or at least increases in agricultural societies or state organized societies).
 
It may well increase in addvanced societies simply for pragmatic reasons. "Pure" Hunter Gathers with out any supporting agriculture are usually mobile and live in small, widely scattered groups of about 30-50 people.
 
With fewer contact between groups, there is less opportunity for disputes.  Even when disputes do occur, the group being targetted for attack can be difficult to locate.  Likewise, hunter gahterer societies do not have alot of excess manpower to muster for an attack and also have limited recesourse to keep "armies" in the field.  This limits the size of the attacking force and the duration of the confict.  In turn, this usually leads to fewer fatalities.   
 
Then factor in that due to marriage taboos against incest, some of the nearby groups have marriage connections to the one's own clan.  This makes some of the "other" less foreign and psychologically harder to attack.
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

If sitting quiet in a campsite for 12 hours is what one has always been used to, then that would probably not seem overly dull.
Lack of activity in HG societies also has a practical benefit in that needless activity waste calories. As HGs do not have alot of food in reserve, calories can be very precious.  This is especially so in marginal  areas and also true in good areas during poor years.  


Edited by Nomadic - 14 Nov 2012 at 17:41
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote canman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2018 at 22:25
mental problems are purely due to modern societies' way of life.  to put it bluntly, it's f**ked up.  

hg always have strong social connections.  typically groups of 30, who all work together and support each other with everything.  compare that to the typical modern person, with just their family and a few friends, and millions who don't even have that.  so many single parents, so many desperately lonely people.  so many living without much social support.  probably the biggest factor.  the need of social interaction and support.

egalitarian.  hg societies are more or less egalitarian.  no classes, or differences in rank or anyone marginalized.  no wealth and no possessions besides personal items.  nobody is forced to do what they don't want to do.  compare that to modern societies, where it's basically a serfdom.  only the super rich have it good.  most of the rest are living a miserable existence bound by obligations, work, and little freedom.  working 40 hours just to survive... and they're the lucky ones.  thousands in every city, homeless and destitute.  most are under the delusion that they have freedom.  that is very wrong.  the billionaires/oligarchs/ruling class have put everyone in the delusion of thinking that they have freedom, when that is not the case.
the need of freedom.  

suppressed sexuality.  usa is especially bad with its archaic victorian values shoved down everyone's throats.  but much of the world is also stuck in such archaic values.  it's extremely unnatural to have sex be such a taboo, and discouraging,shaming and disparaging people about it.  especially with youth.  there is a f**king reason why their bodies are being loaded up with hormones by their brain.  a time when people are most fertile and should be having sex/children.  suppressing that doesn't work, obviously, and just causes a sh*tload of problems.  there's a staggering amount of sexual crimes and problems in our society which don't in hg societies.  teen sex/pregnancy is something many object to. and that' simply due to the way modern societies are.  archaic beliefs can and are changing.  but the fundamental problem with modern societies is that it's an oligarchy and capitalist.  most people aren't much more than drones to work for the benefit of the rich.  it's set up so that a teen pregnancy is a massive setback or just plain devastating, but then again having a child at any age is a setback for women's careers.  it's a cutthroat world which doesn't allow for women to balance family with career.  most women don't even have the option of staying home, due to the increasing class disparity and wage suppression, leading to the necessity for 2 incomes.  

so much of the mental problems in our society are from unmet needs.  so much of it caused by this capitalist society of ours.  the concept of possession, wealth and the creation of classes was probably the worst thing humanity has come up with.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Sep 2018 at 19:00
So what is the carrying capacity of the land in a hunter-gatherer society?  How long does the average hunter-gatherer live?  What kind of child mortality is prevalent in hunter gatherer society?  How about death from childbirth?  How about famine, drought, pestilence, war?  Slavery?  Do they banish the aged and infirm when they can no longer chew the fat?  

We may winge for a happier, more idyllic age, but I don't think we can go back, nor do I think we should want to.  Rousseau's noble savage bleeds into Marx's notion of the proletariat, which really bleeds into Stalin, and Mao and Pol Pot.  People are supposed to suppress their desires to stab the idiot next to them, or to screw their best friend's wife.  Maybe you say, she shouldn't be his wife, anyone's wife or husband, but saying so does not make it so. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2018 at 11:59
Quote mental problems are purely due to modern societies' way of life.
One only has to read Roman sources to realise that's not true. We're more aware of mental issues these days and the scale of human population means we encounter them more often. In prior periods of history someone with mental health problems might be seen as cursed, blessed, or someone bringing bad luck on society.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Sep 2018 at 18:46
I am curious about when "mental health" became a scientific/medical issue.  If Jesus cast out demons into the swine, is that, (to us) a mental health issue?  If so, how should we frame the comparison, if not, then there is no comparison to be framed.  The "mental health" of modern societies becomes way worse in comparison, because ancient societies don't have statistics, don't have any "thing" to compare.  Or so it seems to me.  "out of sight, out of mind."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2018 at 02:21
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

I am curious about when "mental health" became a scientific/medical issue.  If Jesus cast out demons into the swine, is that, (to us) a mental health issue?  If so, how should we frame the comparison, if not, then there is no comparison to be framed.  The "mental health" of modern societies becomes way worse in comparison, because ancient societies don't have statistics, don't have any "thing" to compare.  Or so it seems to me.  "out of sight, out of mind."


Completely concur.

I would add that whether possession or other spiritual problems are a mental health issue or a spiritual issue is something that, from the pastoral perspective, is imperative to determine. In the majority of cases that are out there at present, we are talking about a mental health issue, and the prevailing wisdom is to refer the afflicted to an appropriately qualified therapist. Actual and varied cases of possession exist, however, and then the treatment is generally both spiritual and psychological in nature. Even in the most extreme case: Someone who has been legitimately exorcised might still need professional counseling in addition to spiritual counseling.

-Akolouthos
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