Was life really so hard for early humans?

Discussions unearthing human history including cultural anthropology, linguistics, etc.

Was life really so hard for early humans?

Postby pantodragon on February 21st, 2013, 10:52 am 

In recent posts I have questioned whether life in the past really was worse than today, but so far I have only been thinking about historic times.

We are taught that life is getting better – this is progress. When one reads about pre-historic times, writers talk confidently of how hard life was for our distant ancestors. They had to hunt and forage for their own food, had none of the comforts of modern life, and no medicine and so were vulnerable to diseases and therefore had a relatively short life-expectancy.

It seems to me, however, that there are a number of important factors that do not get a mention.

These people were at home in their environment. They could make or find everything they needed, and that must have given them a lot of confidence.

Today people live in an environment that they do not understand, and are surrounded by technology that most of them know nothing about. If anything goes wrong they have to call in an ‘expert’ to get it mended. This is very stressful, and creates a lot of anxiety and feelings of insecurity.

People in prehistory were born into freedom. They owed nothing to anyone. They did not have to work to pay off a mortgage, or an education debt, did not live with the possibility of losing their home and being ‘on the street’ and starving; in fact, there was, presumably, no poverty. People had not taken possession of the land and animals and so one could go where one pleased and help oneself to whatever one found.

People must have been content with their lives, since there was not the huge gulf between rich and poor, with most people being tantalised by things that are out of their financial reach. People then were not slaves to money as they are forced to be today, and they did not have to devote themselves to the future, thinking of careers and finally of pensions; they could live in the present.

Life today is a very high maintenance affair. There is endless paper work, taxes, insurance, licences, mortgages, bills, bank accounts etc etc all demanding attention. Then there is all the technology which requires maintenance: cleaning, servicing and repairing or renewing. Of course, maintaining a house is very demanding and time consuming. In contrast, life in prehistoric time was extremely low maintenance, so people would have had more time to do things they really wanted to do, more time to just have fun.

I think there would also have been much less boredom. People then would have known how to amuse themselves, since there was no option to buy their amusements instead. There is a lot of boredom around today, and much of it stems from the fact that people have gotten used to buying their amusements and do not know how to entertain themselves.

I am not saying that, given the option, I would chose to be transported back in time to live in the stone-age. I would suffer severe culture shock, I am sure. But nevertheless, it seems to me very likely that people born to that life were more confident, secure, free and contented, even happy, than people born into our world are.
pantodragon
 


Re: Was life really so hard for early humans?

Postby Fuqin on February 21st, 2013, 11:29 am 

Well try dying of septicemia at the age of 25 because you have no dental physician, or you break a leg and infection sets in.
Hell yes life for the living is better in some parts , got to be!
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Re: Was life really so hard for early humans?

Postby pantodragon on February 23rd, 2013, 12:36 pm 

Fuqin wrote:Well try dying of septicemia at the age of 25 because you have no dental physician, or you break a leg and infection sets in.
Hell yes life for the living is better in some parts , got to be!



And that's better than having no immune system for however many years and surviving on a cocktail of drugs which have all sorts of unpleasant side effects until full blown Aids sets it?
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