Critical Thinking on The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race.
Humankind used to be hunters and gatherers, and they would spend time working hard to find something to consume and rest for the rest of the day. When I thought for the first time about the concept of hunting and gathering, I felt that this kind of life was not that healthy because first, I thought lifespan would be short for hunters and gatherers. For instance, they were hunting animals, and, without any doubt, this activity was hazardous. Consequently, they might die while hunting an animal. Another phenomenon I was concerned about was related to gathering. Due to not having any kind of diplomacy during the gathering, they could encounter problems with other humans who were hunters and gatherers, which could trigger significant issues. Considering these points, the agricultural lifestyle, in other words, a sedentary lifestyle, made sense at that period of time. Firstly, they do not need to spend their time looking for an animal, which prevented them from hurting by an animal. Besides, they could store their crops, which guarantees that they do not need to worry about anything like scarcity. When I thought in that way, I did not understand the way the author thinks. Then, I realized some issues about agricultural life. When I questioned, I found some points that needed to be revealed. To begin with the first point, I thought about the nutrition both hunters and gatherers, and farmers get. While farmers are more likely to consume foods that contain carbohydrates, hunters and gatherers were likely to consume meat and high nutritional value foods that humankind should not miss out on. The problem is the foods that farmers consume. Farmers are not as healthy as hunter-gatherers because consuming carbohydrates instead of meat and high nutritional value foods can even affect the difference in height and weight between hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists. However, as I mentioned above, I was apprehensive about getting along with people while hunters and gatherers were looking for a meal. Regarding the agricultural lifestyle, agriculturalists are likely to get on well with other agriculturalists. Moreover, they could build a relationship with others by selling their goods that they crop and store. However, farming is always problematic.
Hunters and gatherers were able to find an animal to consume, and they were done after finishing. There was no issue with it except malnutrition that they could face during harsh times. However, the number of crops might be waste because of some issues such as weather conditions. In other words, agriculturalists’ crops might be unsuccessful, so that they might suffer from starvation. As could be predicted, farmers could have a social bond with others because the settled life that farmers live in offers a chance to build cities and create markets and lodging places through these opportunities. However, as mentioned above, farming could be flawed. Even though living with others and negotiating with them are okay, there is a problem with farmers’ health conditions. Being farmers mean that they are being forced to live with others. This might potentially cause unexpected illnesses, and so that this might cause worse incidents because of the lack of prevention. I reckon hunters and gatherers were less likely to experience these kinds of issues since they did not need to share their living spaces with others. In other words, hunters and gatherers did not build cities as farmers do. Hence, as suggested previously, the life expectancy of hunters and gatherers was longer than farmers. Hunters and gatherers were not likely to experience any kinds of illnesses caused by a settled lifestyle. Hunters and gatherers were healthier and more likely to live longer than farmers. However, the difference in the length of their lifespans should not be that much. So, how do they both spend their days? As noted above, while hunters and gatherers spent their time looking for something to consume, farmers spend their time farming. In the beginning, I thought that hunters and gatherers must have spent a remarkable amount of time searching for food. The book named The World’s History, which Howard Spodek wrote, offers that hunters and gatherers spent approximately 800–1000 hours engaging in hunting and gathering in a year. Meanwhile, farmers spend 1000–1300 hours a year for farming (Technicality, 2019). This information is really surprising for me because one of my thoughts about agriculture is that it offers people a chance to spend their time for themselves. In contrast, hunters and gatherers had no time for themselves because of their time finding food. To conclude, when I read the article written by Diamond (1987) for the first time, I was really surprised because everything presented there made me gain a different perspective. Settled life, in other words, agricultural lifestyle, seems to have numerous advantages such as storing food and building cities. However, there are also some drawbacks to these advantages. On the other hand, when hunting and gathering are overwhelming activities, it seems to be challenging to keep these kinds of lifestyles, but it surprisingly offers some advantages. Due to getting used to living in settled as humankind, living as hunters and gatherers could be humankind’s pure and sole way to live healthily. However, whether possible to turn back to the hunting and gathering lifestyle is controversial.
Diamond, J. (1987). The worst mistake in the history of the human race. Discover, 8(5), 64–66.
Technicality. (2018, June 19). Agriculture: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9GIN9Fmwrw
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