Friday, June 3, 2022

On Medium: Were Prehistoric People Childlike?

In this article, I diagnose the incoherence of The Dawn of Everything and explain how its evidence for anarchic social experimentation in prehistory is consistent with a progressive model of human development.


  1. Hello, do you have any thoughts on these tweets by Goof?

    I am not sure if you are an absurdist, but considering that you write on similar issues, I thought that your insights on this would be invaluable.

    1. I don't think I'm an absurdist in that sense, and perhaps few people are since he's likely caricaturing existentialism to draw a contrast with his darker worldview. Existential philosophers don't say we should always be cheerful and should love life, or if they do, there's some irony or poetry in that affirmation (like in Nietzsche's "gay science").

      Look at the name of the "publication" I formed on Medium: "Grim Tidings." I do think there's some redeeming value in life, but I don't think it's a cake walk. The philosophical truth is too grim for the majority, which is why they turn to religions and to charlatans.

      Anyway, why does that guy write mainly comments and tweets rather than articles? He doesn't seem to have much to say or he's got little discipline.

    2. Thank you for your reply. I agree that he seems to misunderstand/misconstrue existentialist philosophies a bit. People like Camus were clearly not in favour of blindly accepting optimistic worldviews or worshipping life. There aren't a lot of optimists who would claim that the suicide is the most important philosophical problem.

      Regarding EG's delays, here's something I found:
      "Sorry to any of the followers of my blog that have been waiting for a new entry. I have been moving house recently and I am also a terrible procrastinator."


      Once, he also told me that he was a "perfectionist". I do think that he tends to repeat himself quite a bit without properly addressing the substance of an argument (such as failing to justify his use of impersonal goods when it comes to the absence of suffering, but switching to a person-affecting view when it comes to the absence of happiness).

      If you're interested, I am having a discussion with him in the comments of one of his articles. I hope it doesn't go on forever. I should mention that I assumed utilitarianism to be true for the sake of the discussion, primarily because I wanted to argue that utilitarianism or believing that pleasure/suffering are the only sources of value need not lead to the efilist conclusion. Here's the link:

      I am the user named "Cosmic Lifeist".

      EG was also (briefly) made a moderator of the antinatalism subreddit. That place has been witnessing a maelstrom over the past few days due to the statements made by one of the mods (sevenofswords). Apparently, EG was friends with him. EG has decided to step down from his position. Ever since Amanda (aka Oldphan, Gary's follower and one of the founders of Antinatalism International)) became influential on social media, there seems to be a conflict brewing between the moderate ANs and people like the efilists and promortalists. I don't follow controversies a lot, but you can find more information pertaining to this on the r/antinatalism subreddit. Here are a couple of sample posts to give you an idea of what's been happening:



  2. A comment EG made on his blog:
    "Thanks for your comment, anonymous. The Omelas scenario is one that I’ve given a great deal of thought to. I think that you can justify imposing suffering on a smaller number of individuals provided that this is a means to the foreseeable end goal of ending suffering entirely. So an example would be killing off all life presently extant on the planet in order to sterilise it. In The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, there is no such endgoal in sight, so that’s much more akin to the prevention of the suicide of a minority in order to keep the majority happy. But the problem of suffering never gets solved even in Omelas, let alone in our own much more profoundly flawed world."

    Causing great harm and eliminating all happiness for the sake of helping beings that don't even exist yet. There's something quite strange about this idea (aside from the obvious inconsistency that lies in ignoring the positives). I would be grateful for your thoughts on this negative utilitarian conclusion.

    1. Yeah, the standard criticism of utilitarianism is that some sacrifice might be justified if it maximizes overall happiness. That's what happens in the Omelas story, I take it. (I haven't read it.) A child is tortured somehow to enable the majority in society to live happily ever after.

      That's very different from the notion of exterminating our species to end all suffering since in that case you'd be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. No one would be left to be happy with that sacrifice. So the Omelas story has little to do with the warped implications of antinatalism or efilism.

      Utilitarianism isn't about ending suffering, but about maximizing happiness. Happiness is good, on that view, whereas the efilist seems to treat nothing consistently as good. That was my main criticism of Inmendham's view: as soon as you identify something as good in the world (such as consciousness, reason, freewill, or pleasure), you concede there's the potential for things to get better.

    2. I guess this is what happens when you only care about eliminating suffering without caring about happiness or the beings who could actually benefit from its absence.

  3. Re "The Dawn of Everything"

    "The Dawn of Everything" is a biased disingenuous account of human history ( ) that spreads fake hope (the authors of "The Dawn" claim human history has not "progressed" in stages, or linearly, and must not end in inequality and hierarchy as with our current system... so there's hope for us now that it could get different/better again). As a result of this fake hope porn it has been widely praised. It conveniently serves the profoundly sick industrialized world of fakes and criminals. The book's dishonest fake grandiose title shows already that this work is a FOR-PROFIT, instead a FOR-TRUTH, endeavor geared at the (ignorant gullible) masses.

    Fact is human history has "progressed" by and large in linear stages, especially since the dawn of agriculture ( ). The book's alleged major "fundamental" insight is "the ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently" (the first part of that statement is hardly a great insight because a perceptive child can recognize that) YET fails to answer why we do NOT make it differently than it is now if we, supposedly can make it "EASILY" different, why we've been "stuck" in this destructive system for a very long time. THAT is really where "the ultimate, hidden truth" is buried and the answer is... it is because of the enduring hegemony of “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room” ( ) which the fake hope-giving authors of "The Dawn" entirely ignore naturally (no one can write a legitimate human history without understanding the nature of humans)

    A good example that one of the authors, Graeber, has no real idea what world we've been living in and about the nature of humans is his last brief article on Covid where his ignorance shines bright already at the title of his article, “After the Pandemic, We Can’t Go Back to Sleep.” Apparently he doesn't know that most people WANT to be asleep, and that they've been wanting that for thousands of years (and that's not the only ignorant notion in the title) --- see last cited source above. Yet he (and his partner) is the sort of person who thinks he can teach you something authentically truthful about human history and whom you should be trusting along those terms. Ridiculous!

    "The Dawn" is just another fantasy, or ideology, cloaked in a hue of cherry-picked "science," served lucratively to the gullible ignorant underclasses who crave myths and fairy tales.

    "The evil, fake book of anthropology, “The Dawn of Everything,” ... just so happened to be the most marketed anthropology book ever. Hmmmmm." --- Unknown

    1. I was aware that the reviews of the book have been mixed. The authors certainly had an agenda, since Graeber was an anarchist. They seem to have slanted the evidence to suit that agenda, to show that we're freer than we think we are. I agree also that there was some linear progression in the transition from prehistory to history (from what I call our collective childhood to adulthood), and I've written as much.

      Yet I suspect the book is popular not just because it's optimistic but because it's meant to ruffle many feathers. The book is iconoclastic, like Harari's "Sapiens." Also, although I haven't read the whole thing yet, the authors promise to answer the very question you raise (and the one they raise too), which is how we got stuck in our slavery to civilization. Moreover, just because some of the evidence in the book is slanted, doesn't mean the main points are bogus. Even that negative scholarly reviewer you cite agrees with a major point made in that chapter of the book:

      'The authors start out with a point that is correct, but also uncontroversial and unoriginal, namely that “European intellectuals had come to fix on the idea of primordial freedom” in large part because of travel literature that made them aware of non-European societies, including especially ones lacking large, organized states.'

  4. I believe that from the very beginning of our species, there were individuals who did not agree with what most believed. Only there was no room for dissent.

    It is the same to say that official slavery was normal before because people in other times saw it as such.
    But there have always been people who objected because they realized how unfair it was.

    Because there was silence does not mean that there was absolute agreement. Because there was silence it is also likely that there was great suppression for freedom of expression.

    It is very likely that there were people who did not believe in god or in the triviality of a slave system but was internalized in them that it was unthinkable to disagree aloud.