In Jared Diamond’s essay, “The Worst Mistakein the History of the Human Race”, Jared Diamond defines civilization from anarchaeology point of view that society controls the natural environment(agriculture) and establishes a type of social arrangement/classification intodifferent groups. He states that the idea of civilization has developed overmillions of years through different discoveries including the transition fromgathering to the adoption of agriculture. The central argument of Diamond’sarticle is that agriculture did not deliver the glory of civilization societyintended it to and the transition intensive agriculture produced profoundchanges in human social relations. Diamond explains his argument through thefollowing quote, “…the adoption of agriculture, supposedly our most decisivestep toward a better life, was in many ways a catastrophe from which we havenever recovered.
With agriculture came the gross social and sexual inequality,the disease and despotism, that curse our existence” (Diamond, p. 1). Diamond discussesthe differences in life expectancies between.
He mentions that there werebenefits to a sedentary lifestyle compared to the nomadic hunter gathererlifestyle. For obvious reasons, a nomadic hunter gatherer lifestyle causes morewear and tear on the body, resulting in shorter life expectancies and more wearand tear on the body. I do agree with Diamond’s argument,agriculture increased calories and wear and tear on the human body.
Thisjournal is an example of how and why complex societies developed from simplerones. I believe that the invention/transition of/into agriculture contributedto complex social systems. After reading the journal, hunter gatherers had thenecessary skills and knowledge to “manipulate” the environment (plants andanimals) but at the time, it was not necessary to. Diamond portrays religion in a settledagricultural society as people who were forced, “…to clump together in crowdedsocieties…which then carried on trade with other crowded societies…led to thespread of parasites and infectious disease” (Diamond, p.
3-4). In small settledagricultural societies, there was, “…malnutrition, starvation, epidemic diseases,farming heled bring another curse upon humanity: deep class division” (Diamond,p. 4). The nomadic hunter gatherer lifestyle was egalitarian, which providedequal access to resources and equal decision-making powers that favored thegroup rather than one individual. In the hunter-gatherer’s lifestyle, there wasno class division that was seen in the agriculture lifestyles. As peoplesettled into agriculture and larger social groups, life became harder becauseof poor nutrition, prevalent diseases, growing family sizes and decreasedleisure time. If life then was anything like it is today, the more marginalizedand underprivileged social groups are, the more religious they tend to be.
Inconclusion, Diamond’s portrayal is both a positive and negative one. Crowdedsocieties became famished and turned to religion for guidance. There are several societal benefits ofreligion discussed in Loyal Rue’s article, “Religion is Not about God”. Ruediscusses that all humans have a similar goal in life, “…to achieve personal wholenessand social coherence” (Rue, p.
9). This goal allows humans, “…to develophealthy and robust personalities while at the same time constructing harmoniousand cooperative social groups” (Rue, p. 9).
Humans are focused on personalityand sociality. Humans achieve their goal by, “…formulating explicit on-sitemeanings about how things are in the world around us, and which things matterfor advancing our individual and collective interest” (Rue p. 9). Religiongives people a sense of togetherness and understanding that provides, “…anorientation in nature, society, and history, and thus provide us with resourcesto negotiate our way through the many challenges to a full life” (Rue, p.
9). In “Article Name” Author’s Name discussesseveral societal benefits of religion. 1. Do you think in Jared Diamond’s essay, “TheWorst Mistake in the History of the Human Race” the decline health and increasein environmental degradation (during the transition to agriculture) was associatedwith a degradation in the quality of social relations?2. In your opinion, is it better to have a fewpeople who live very well or a lot of people who live very poorly? After reading the following quote and focusingonly on national events, do you think your life has been a long tale ofprogress? “Now archaeology is demolishing another sacred belief: thathuman