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What came first, state societies or established religion?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by octoistire, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. octoistire

    octoistireActive Member Forum Member


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    Is there any research done to indicate either of the two coming first?

    Personally I think it is safe to say that religion came after the birth of state societies in order to control/regulate the population (from an atheistic POV, implying that it was all man made.)

    But is there any evidence or research that can hint to either coming before the other?

    Ive read some books that indicate religious material being found by people (and thus spreading like a thought-form that has taken the characteristics of an organic being.)

    I am still skeptic after reading some of it so i was wondering if anyone here might have any useful information. The book is called "People of The Secret" by Sir Ernest Scott.

    Thank you. :)
     

  2. Altruikus

    AltruikusMember Forum Member


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    According to an anthropologist's article that I read, the state has only existed for .2% of humanity's existence. And Rousseau and the Social Contract Theory is complete bullshit.
     
  3. DirtyRottenThrashPunk

    DirtyRottenThrashPunkExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Religion has been with humans forever, the state has not.
     
  4. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    there is strong evidence that the state developed out of organized religion - the first "leaders" needed some "reason" for their claims - so they got theirs from "the gods". without breaking something for the primitivists - hunting and gathering societies had kind of "foremen" - for hunting for example, but completely without any power in other affairs of the group/tribe.
    with the "neolithic revolution" things changed for the hunters and gatherers, agriculture was developed, land claimed, the necessary work divided - and the population grew, so many things more "needed" to be organized, best opportunity for the parasites to crawl in...
    the early states of sumer and mesopotamia were ruled by priest kings, bit of a intensification were the egypt pharaos - who were seen as the direct descendants/embodyments of the gods... foolishly building those pyramids all the time...
     
  5. punkmar77

    punkmar77Experienced Member Uploader Experienced member


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    Human Greed ;)
     
  6. octoistire

    octoistireActive Member Forum Member


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    what you say makes a lot of sense because it seems that property/agriculture spawned religion (and religion as a means to protect that property through the psychosis inducing dogma which almost always advocated war whether it be directly or indirectly.).

    hey how are you, mar, we met before.

    i have two questions (and these are open to anyone, all input is greatly appreciated):

    do you personally think the pecking order is biological or purely cultural?

    do you think that it was only a matter of time before a hierarchy was inevitably formed because of agriculture (and our biology)?
    i guess this is true on a subjective level since religion can be any form of ritualistic belief system, but i am talking about established religion (like how you see religion operate on a state level.).
    if i am wrong please correct me.
     
  7. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    the latter

    Nothing to do with either.
     
  8. octoistire

    octoistireActive Member Forum Member


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    can you elaborate on the second answer? (i think i typed my second question wrong. i meant to say agriculture as property, excuse me :p)
     
  9. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    i don't think the development of agriculture spawned religion as such - the earlier societies already followed their own religions/cults, good example are the caves in france and spain with paintings and a few sculptures of bisons, mammoths and other animals - seems like they had some hunting cult with initiation rites, sacrifices possibly, but it''s only an assumption that they worshipped some great spirit - there is too less left over 30.000 years to be sure.
    the difference to the change after the neolithic revolution (about 10.000 years ago) is the change of the role from a shaman-like priest blessing the hunters or praying for the return of the slain animals to a priest keeping stock of the harvest, deciding who's gonna get which share of the gains - most of the written temple-related clay tablet writings are lists of stockpiles and the dept's of the farmers - we can assume that the temple staff was an elite, completely occupied with administration and government - backed up by "the gods" and the god-given rule.
    somewhere i was reading that it also meant a change in the "meaning" of the practiced religious rites, i guess it was a french anthropologist who described the tendency to sacrifice blood, bodyparts and human life as a tool to ensure the "respect" or just fear of the believing community - many of the fertility cults are very bloody - it needs some substantial power to convince people to accept the loss of one of their own or to capture war prisoners to sacrifice them for the greater good - so we get cops and soldiers in the game, commanded by priests or their armed favorites.
    the rest of the story might then develop like ol' karl marxens class war theory: the military leaders become the armed elite or feudal class, getting a taste for ruling themselves and starting to fight the ruling priesthood for the throne... and using them afterwards to back up the kingdom, imperium, whatever... :o
     
  10. octoistire

    octoistireActive Member Forum Member


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    ahh that is very interesting. i once read a true story of a class war being fought between the pope and the military (to see who would rule the state). the pope ended up winning because even the soldiers feared hell, as the pope had the only "key" to salvation.


    "the difference to the change after the neolithic revolution (about 10.000 years ago) is the change of the role from a shaman-like priest blessing the hunters or praying for the return of the slain animals to a priest keeping stock of the harvest, deciding who's gonna get which share of the gains"

    so then would you agree that not all religion is bad?
     
  11. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    i think the main reason for religion is the fear humans feel in the dark, or in other words the burden that we are conscious of ourselves - including our "meaningless" and mortality - just think about whats left in a few hundred years of todays pleasure and pains - it's hard to accept that we are very temporary...
    so people feel the need to make up some framework - protection in the dark, some continued after-life...
    noone is really free of this tendency, i know a stout atheist who got caught by a sudden river flood on a tiny island admidst the woods at night - fell into sleep after hours of worried waiting for the water level to fall - and woke up convinced that "someone" was watching/protecting him from the trees above... previously this guy spend quite a time with celtic fairy tales - so it's no wonder that he heard tiny wings whizzing in the halflight...
    i would'nt say all religion is "evil" - but my problem with believe is basically what happens if it's abused by greed or thirst for power, or what becomes of a group of believers - extreme examples: the manson family or the "modern" cults and christian spin off's.
    very often it needs only one bad intention or weakness to deal with the circumstances and the whole thing goes off very badly - and on the other hand: there is still no evidence for anything supernatural around us... so the here and now makes me an atheist.
    i'm still somehow impressed with aspects of certain rites - for example the habit of southamerican hunters to say sorry if they kill an animal - keeping in mind that each death is a loss to the world and not for free.
    learning a bit about antique polytheism in greece in the last weeks i would say their tolerance against other believers of different faiths is something we have to miss badly in our monotheistic times...
    it's more than difficult to find a final bad/good stance - and everybody decides for him/herself what/if to believe. i would prefer kind of atheistic believe in the greatness and worth of life of any form, practiced by protecting and nurture everything outside our own head - plant groves not pyramids... ;)
     
  12. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    There are kinda two questions being asked in:
    To put agriculture and biology together means you are simultaneously asking for comment both on essentialist conceptions of human nature (biology)and with what primitivists may call alienated technologies (agriculture). Yr rephrasing of the question changes it nearly completely; following yr new question then, yeah, we can start to look at surplus value and private accumulation, in short the development of class society.

    However, if one is to blame agriculture rather than the social relationships dictating the distribution of its wealth, then one is kinda following the logic of bosses who sack 1000s of workers because some new technology has made them redundant. In such an instance it is the social relationships that mean technology brings unemployment, hunger, maybe homeless; rather than allowing the workers to piss off to the pub early each day.

    These two articles write my position in a better way than I can:
    Review: Against His-story, Against Leviathan
    John Zerzan and the primitive confusion - En Attendant

    As for yr comments on 'biology', Marx, Foucault or Butler deal in detail with how our conceptions of human nature are socially, politically and historically constructed.

    Butler is referring to Gender here, but it nevertheless serves as a good quote to use right now:
    In short, there is no nature free of our conception of nature.
     
  13. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    completely agreed, and the primitivists just ignore the benefits human kind was getting through the development of agriculture: general stabilisation of life circumstances, writing as a way to pass on knowledge, architecture, metalworking and other progress in crafts, the beginning of natural sciences, writing as a way to pass on knowledge, domestication of animals (ALF will hate me) - the small historic evidence for collective communities throughout time and the examples of organized collectivism in history prove that the only fault was the development of hierarchy and class order - but both failures were not inevitable aspects of the progress made. (and the neolithic revolution was necessary at least in europe because of a climate change).
    the problem is not the culture or the technology, but the social relation raising a few above the many \m/ . looking at the gender question (one big favorite of mine) the whole mess worked a bit like divide and conquer - giving the "men" patriarchal superority stabilized the whole repressive system and this dividing of people might have at least the same importance as the separation into social and economic classes.
     
  14. octoistire

    octoistireActive Member Forum Member


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    you are completely correct with your first argument, i apologize for that, i meant to say property instead of agriculture (technology) and its connection to biology* in regards to the birth of a social hierarchy. (*which is what i interpreted punkmar said was human greed [and if it is not biology that brings forth greed, then where did greed originate? oppression?])

    i also agree with your view on nature. especially us humans with our brains having "plasticity". if we were in a well nurtured environment our brains would follow suit.
     
  15. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    :ecouteurs:
     
  16. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    watching the collective's cat <3 i'm sure domestication was kind a progress - what would we do without her...?! :o

    (okay, bad example, there are theories that the feline graces never really got domesticated - just made us feed them for free...)
     
  17. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    our cat keeps leaving us 'presents' in the form of dead mice :/
    Also, he has a collar and likes to sleep cuddled up next to me in bed sometimes, he's totally oppressed.
     
  18. trevor9849

    trevor9849Experienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    I don't know but I do know that I wish neither of them existed. ;)
     
  19. antihuman

    antihumanActive Member Forum Member


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    religion has been around for a couple million years as a feature of tribal society. the state did not exist until after the beginning of the neolithic revolution some 10000 years ago. the state was created not simply as a result of agriculture. contrary to popular belief, many tribal societies practiced some form of agriculture prior to the neolithic revolution. what was revolutionary about the neolithic era was not agriculture, but the absolutely totalitarian form of agriculture that began to overrun tribal society. the biggest innovation was the idea of putting all food under lock and key; this is the source of all power. even though agriculture already existed, true exploitative power did not exist until a small group of people was given the power to own and distribute all food. prior to this, people voluntarily accepted tribal customs for the benefits of protection and mutual aid. after food became a commodity, those who controlled the food controlled the people, and thus were able to exploit them for labor. although animistic religion existed long before this, civilization did see the creation of "organized" religion, and the spiritual separation of man from nature. naturally, those who controlled the food tended to be those whom these organized religions revered as spiritual leaders. The other major innovation of the neolithic revolution was the absolute conviction that this form of totalitarian agriculture was the "one right way to live," the grandfather of all modern dogmatic ideologies. this conviction caused the neolithic revolutionaries to overthrow their tribal neighbors, eventually leading to the neolithic consumption of the entire planet. It is these self-destructive tendencies of the neolithic revolution that have sewn the seeds for our current rapidly accelerating march towards environmental and social collapse.

    For more information on this topic, I VERY highly recommend Ishmael, My Ishmael, and The Story of B, all by Daniel Quinn. All three are the kinds of books that make you reevaluate everything you've taken for granted since birth
     
  20. octoistire

    octoistireActive Member Forum Member


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    thank you very much :]]
     
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