Leaving Eden for the Big City
Speaking of bands, oddly enough, it reminds me of a lyric by Alice Cooper: What's keeping us apart isn't selfishness / What's holding us together isn't love.
As Fukuyama explains, these societies "are highly egalitarian." They are essentially horizontal, with primary distinctions falling along the lines of age and sex.
This is primitive communism in all its naked glory. But note that the result -- or basis -- is the same as its modern version, the effacement of individuality by a kind of coercion that is always operating under the surface.
What is the nature of this coercion? As Fukuyama describes it, it is a kind of passive-aggressiveness that keeps everyone in line. No one has to even explicitly tell anyone else what to do.
While some members with leadership abilities will naturally emerge -- as when boys play together -- they do not have any formal power, nor are there any explicit rules or laws. Fukuyama notes that there is "authority" but not power; or again, the power is implicit and spontaneous.
Here again, this reminds me of the implicit regime of political correctness, which is also always present, aggressively pushing people into little boxes of identity in order to enforce community standards. Political correctness is like the rule of law, only furtively established by totalitarians.
And one only becomes aware of the law by transgressing it. Then you understand that there is this alternate source of power and "justice" in the world. It is decentralized and dispersed, but comes together like a collective defense mechanism when needed to attack liberty and enforce ideological servitude.
Importantly, political correctness results in a false unity, since it is founded upon fear and hatred rather than love. It is rooted in thanatos, not eros (or a "false eros," i.e., (-L), as when the troll leaves us with a chirpy namaste, assoul!).
An image occurs to me. If I remember correctly, there is a kind of fungus that exists as individual cells, but which can come together in the form of an elongated tube, which can then "walk," so to speak, by falling forward.
Now, a fungus is neither plant nor animal, but one of those "in between" entities that escape our clear-cut boundaries, like viruses or Michael Jackson.
Like the Walking Fungus, tribal societies "can aggregate at a high level," but "are prone to immediate fissioning once the cause of their union (such as external threat) disappears" (Fukuyama).
Fukuyama mentions an old Arab wisecrock: "Me against my brother, me and my brother against my cousin, me and my cousin against the stranger." This explains how the only real "unity" in the Arab-Muslim world is deeply rooted in the cosmic thanatos of Jew-hatred. This is the same unity as human sacrifice, which I believe Gil Bailie calls "unanimity minus one."
The Walking Fungus also reminds me of zombies who walk around but aren't really alive as we understand the term. Is it possible for Death to be "alive" and running around loose in the world? Or does this only happen in movies?
How did humans transition from band to tribe? It occurred only yesterday, about 10,000 years ago, and accompanies the development of agriculture. Correlation is not causation, so it is impossible to say which came first.
But on the psychic plane, this represents a profound shift, for it is the transition from a life of freedom and movement within bountiful nature -- one might even say Eden -- to one that is stationary and for the first time involves work that is actually toil instead of "adventure."
There is a big difference between getting together with the boys to go on a hunting trip vs. turning soil and picking weeds. Ask any man.
The need for constant mobility limited the size of bands, but agriculture brought with it great increases in population that required new modes of interaction. Now, for the first time, human beings had to deal with others outside the clan without simply killing them.
As a result, roles that were once concrete and implicit now must become abstract and explicit. For example, instead of "authority" incarnated in the form of "father," the authority must be pried away from the object and understood as role, not person.
Importantly, the authority will still be rooted in the unconscious archetype of Father, only projected into the Chieftain or Big Man.
This kind of arrangement is still halfway between tribalism and a fully developed society, the latter of which is (supposedly) fully conformed to abstract roles and laws. For example, for us moderns, the "president" is primarily an abstract office, not a concrete man.
But not really, for as we were saying yesterday, later stages always contain -- and are sometimes contained by! -- elements of earlier ones. This is true both on an individual and a collective basis. Indeed, Obama's fundamental problem is that the left's archetypal projections of the godman have gradually been withdrawn, thus revealing the emperor's empty suit.
Fukuyama doesn't get into it, but what are the implications for religion of these different stages of development? Joseph Campbell wrote a big-ass, expensive book -- which he considered his magnum opus -- on this subject (published separately as The Way of the Animal Powers: Mythologies of the Primitive Hunters and Gatherers and The Way of the Seeded Earth.
Wait. Fukuyama does get into religion, but not too deeply. In fact, he says that the reason band-level organization "took hold across human societies was due to religious belief, that is, the worship of ancestors."
The spirits of the dead require "continual maintenance on the part of their living relatives, who had to provide them with regular offerings of food and drink lest they become angry" -- like in-laws who never leave.
The bigshots who unified the society were subject to the same courtesy, only on a grand scale -- for example, as exemplified by the pyramids of ancient Egypt. When a pharoah died, it was considered good form to entomb him with a bunch of slaves to tend to his needs in the afterlife.
Likewise, in ancient China "the graves of high-status people were filled with... the bodies of horses, slaves, and concubines" -- not to mention plenty of food -- "intended to accompany the dead person into the afterlife."
Even so, the problem with a Chinese burial was that the spirits were still hungry an hour later.
On that note, I must stop. Time to earn some bread by the sweat of my brow.