There are three parts to this book and a pretty chunky appendix full of essays. My advice is to only read the first part which could be its own book. I get the feeling that the author just wanted to stick everything all together into one book, for which I am grateful, because I might have been enticed to buy the second part as a separate book and wasted my money. The second part is just a rehashing of the first part but goes into more detail of ‘civilized’ human history and all its crimes and flaws. I got the point in the first part. I skimmed the second and third part as well as all the appendix essays. The third part starts talking about future implications, like AI. One objectionable chapter discusses how modern society has become effeminate which is in part due to chemical adulteration of our food and environment. However, the author is a bit sexist and hypocritical when he claims this is a bad thing or the growing influence of women in society is a bad thing when he claimed earlier that they are increasingly become victimized. There is nothing good or bad about feminization. What the author should argue against is rather emasculation and how this creates men who are more prone to violence, sexual aggression, crime, entitlement, hoarding, greed, and displacement.
After reading this book, and it actually was a good thing that it was so long and I had to skim everything but the first part, it kept my mind thinking about the subject for weeks. I also happened to finish writing my sixth novel and incorporated some of the book into it. You can’t help but realize that you have been brainwashed, and it became so clear now. I was born in England and moved to America when I was seven. I remember this debate I had with my friend during lunch about who won World Wars I and II. As an English kid, I was convinced that England won both wars, and the Americans just came in to help, like the French came to help the Americans during the Revolutionary War. The Americans would not say that it was the French who won the Revolutionary War. However, my American friend was convinced that it was the Americans who came to the rescue and won World Wars I and II. But even between victorious allies, there are two versions of history. When I was in high school, I was a socialist. I believed the government, with sufficient power and taxation, could force people to cooperate and ban those who seek to exploit and damage the system. Where did that come from? It came from American history where we learned that FDR saved America from the Great Depression and later World War II, that all his New Deal programs were great and made our country great. While we learned that America robbed and killed Native Americans, enslaved Africans, and imprisoned Japanese American citizens during World War II, it was given to us as factoids instead of tragedy. We certainly were not taught that we bombed countless civilians during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. But this is how brainwashing works. You shower someone with 100 truths, some embarrassing and then hide several lies. The truth is that we were an imperialist empire that instead of sailing overseas to occupy and colonize distant lands, we merely marched across the continent, including stealing half of Mexico.
Both English and history, even art classes, taught me that the classical heritage of Western civilization is the only important, worthwhile thing around. They taught me that African, Middle East, Asian, and Western Hemisphere history is nothing but tribal savages beating bongo drums with bones stuck through their nostrils. They failed to teach me that at one time the Middle East and Asia both had more advanced science and civilizations than Europe, that agricultural technology in the Western Hemisphere often surpassed Europe. They taught me that while Europe was not nice in taking over the world, they had successfully civilized the savages who made sacrifices to their false gods and ate each other. It was all brainwashing.
* * *
What the author misses most is not the fact that our rulers and overlords have oppressed us and wiped out our history as hunter-gatherers, but rather, how our new ‘civilized’ life is not only unhealthy but induces countless psychological disorders which create victims as well as victimizers. In hunter-gatherer societies, I would argue that child molestation, rape, child abuse, random murders, cannibalism, mass killings were rare, hence our huge aversion to them. Certainly, there were tough times and horrible behavior occurred, but with modern society, we simply created an over-population problem where the obvious solution was to allow the peasants on the bottom die off first during any food crisis or send them off to war to steal resources and land from neighbors. This is why we have become so obsessed with climbing the socio-economic ladder to get away from the most vulnerable group.
However, crime and disorders seem common place in modern society because oppressed people displace their anger and frustration. Their sense of not being in control is vented by robbing others of their control and freedom. Unfortunately, controlling others gives us a sense of control. To the extreme, a husband who is constantly berated and frustrated at work may come home and beat or rape his wife to regain a sense of control. The wife may in turn abuse her children to regain a sense of control. The kids then bully and abuse other kids to regain their sense of control, etc.
One of the greatest of all human needs is self-determination. We don’t crave it, because it has always been in abundance, but when it is taken from us, just like a diet without fruits and vegetables, we suffer significantly. This is why it is so easy for us to vote and surrender our rights, because we don’t understand how that is directly connected to our oppression. Imagine if men craved self-determination as much as sex. They would all be libertarians. One of the most key elements of self-determination is the freedom to associate with those we care about, and this is undermined by our education and work where kids are first separated from their parents all day and then people are separated from spouses, children, parents, friends, extended family by spending all day at work. Even worse, they try to form friendships at work only to realize a relationship with someone of higher or lower rank is corrupted and relationships with people on your own level is corrupted by constant exposure to workplace frustration and stress.
When you really think about it, humanity is suffering a group psychopathy. It’s actually one big brainwashed cult that refuses to accept the truth, that we Americans are rich because we and Europeans exploited and robbed the rest of the world, that we are doing nothing to alleviate the suffering of billions on this planet, that we are in fact making things worse by supporting our government and investing our retirement funds in our corporations. If a cult deprogrammer talked to us, she would tell us this, and explain that we are living this big lie.
* * *
Civilization is not unnatural, as everything in nature is natural. What we should rather say is that it is maladaptation and an ecological catastrophe like a meteor striking the Earth and wiping out countless species. Nature causes its own catastrophes and humanity is a prime example. The narrative that it is civilization that teaches humans to be social and giving is actually the opposite. Civilization teaches humans to be selfish, cruel, apathetic, submissive, irresponsible, and immoral. By oppressing and depriving humans of their basic rights, needs they have been evolved to thrive upon, it has turned most into apathetic and immoral creatures and some into criminals, thieves, murderers, and rapists. In other words, it is not civilization that keeps the savages out but rather civilization that turns us into savages.
This book makes a notable point that this has turned men into sexists, that after being subjugated and oppressed, men used their greater strength and aggression to turn around and subjugate and oppress women. In fact, we subjugate and oppress all the weaker members of society including the young, old, and disabled. A simple example is how we have created an auto-dependent society where the young, old, and disabled are relegated to limited bus service and hence their freedom of movement and equal access to all the benefits of society are restricted. Even worse, we have taken the most unaccountable, monopolistic, uncaring, largest bureaucracy in the world, government, and victimized them by it. Archaeological evidence shows that primitive people took care of those who probably could not fend for themselves due to their physical injuries or age. We are all born with the instinct to give, because we are the most socialized creature in nature. That socialization is aided by biochemical which give us bumps when we do something nice for others like letting a car merge into our lane from a side street, helping an elderly person carry packages up a flight of stairs, giving up our seat on the subway for a pregnant woman, picking up someone’s jacket off the floor, etc. By letting government coopt our giving for the weakest in society, we essentially give up our fundamental evolutionary enjoyment of giving which turns us into a society of ever more selfish and self-centered takers. It is sad that women tend to support more regulations and restrictions and rules and more government because they have a heightened fear of crime and injury, but by doing so, they actually create more criminals and dangerous men who feel ever more subjugated, oppressed, and powerless.
* * *
We like to walk up to strangers and give them advice thinking this will change their lives instantly, but we forget that our narrative voices have no causal efficacy. Making someone think they are wrong and they should change their ways has very little impact on their behavior, because most of their behavior has already been cast in the die by past social exposure. Being the most socialization creatures, we also heavily copy other people’s behavior, especially those closest to us. When we create an overly protective and restrictive society or government in an attempt to coerce the masses to be more civilized, inadvertently, we create more criminals and dangerous people. When we are constantly impoverishing people with fines and penalties and then incarcerating them for nonviolent, victimless crimes, we expose them to real criminals. With 24/7 constant exposure to real criminals often in traumatic manner, we take nonviolent, good people and turn them into violent criminals.
If you think about it, humanity itself was traumatized when it left the wilderness and succumbed to sedentary farming, socially stratified life. They effectively destroyed hundreds of thousands of years of primitive culture in a matter of a few thousand years. The entire system of harmony with nature and wilderness knowledge was thrown out and replaced with an entirely new culture and religion that reinforced the new sedentary, hierarchical farming life. This trauma resulted in a collective desensitization, disconnection, divergence of identities, extreme behavior, and irresponsibility.
Genesis 1:26 – Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule (reign, have dominion) over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” This line from the bible conveys two things. First, nature was created for humans to rule over like a king. In other words, instead of making us stewards, guardians, parents, and keepers of nature, supposedly, God made us the kings over nature and as such, we were given the right to exploit, abuse, and enslave nature for our benefit. If God made humans in their likeness (notice the use of the plural), then this implies the Gods are flawed and rule over us like a king instead of a steward, guardian, parents, or keeper.