My programming language is better than yours 

Realizing I prefer javascript (despite it being slow!) because it carries a "promethean fire" esthetic. It's designed to make it really easy for a beginner and then lack of a rich standard library encourages a "everybody build a piece" attitude.

This is a deep philosophical question: If we're improving every day, then Prometheus is a hero (but so is the snake), if we're degenerating (Plato, Bannon) then Promethius is a Sorcerers' Apprentice.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd Unfortunately, people keep building the same pieces over and over. And they build tiny pieces, stick them into NPM, then use a weak password, get phished, sell their account, or get angry and delete their package, breaking everything else.

To say nothing of the joy of dependencies that suddenly develop conflicting dependencies.

My programming language is better than yours 

@freakazoid
I get it, I personally really like libraries written in C because I know the programmer passed a minimum bar of entry... But without JavaScript the majority of js developers would not suddenly become excellent Haskell programmers, they would probably not be developers at all. So from the perspective of the whole industry (or society at large) I think more developers are better, even if they're worse πŸ˜‰

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @freakazoid
Only if those mediocre developers don't create negative externalities.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @freakazoid
That's basically the fundamental question. Prometheus stole fire from the gods to help humans, who certainly were worse at using it than the gods.

So is Prometheus a hero or a villain ?

If Prometheus is a hero, it's hard to avoid concluding that the snake in the genesis story is also the hero.

But if Prometheus is the villain then it's hard not to reason yourself into Anarcho-Primitivism.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @freakazoid
IMO, you're generalizing too much.

Each of those cases is different, and it might be quite possible that giving people fire is ok, but giving them asbestos isn't. Where does JS lie on the fire-asbestos spectrum?

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @freakazoid
Also, I don't understand why you equate what the snake did with what Prometheus did.

The snake gave people freedom. It pushed them out of choicelessness. Made them realize that things don't have to be the way they are, and that everything has a reason. That it makes sense to ask "why".

The snake is clearly a hero (or a tool in God's hands, whichever you prefer).

Well ok, if you are an anarcho-primitivism you may argue that choicelessness is a good thing and the snake is a villain, but otherwise, I don't see why you couldn't have a choiceless fire-using society which worships Prometheus and hates Snake, or a society in systematic mode which doesn't use fire or any higher technology.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @cjd Couple of things: first, I think it's instructive to view these stories in terms of the goals the people teaching them had through the ages. It's not like people started with Prometheus and the snake and then decided how to interpret them; they had the thing they wanted to teach and then came up with (originally) or decided to use the stories to get across whatever they wanted to get across.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @Wolf480pl Second, (and now I'm doing exactly the opposite of what I just said), fire (or more to the point cooking) dates back to H. erectus, and it's almost certain that H. sapiens never could have evolved without it. Any hypothetical society without fire would have had to discard it and would need to live in a pretty favorable location to be able to obtain sufficient nutrition without cooking.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @cjd In other words, Prometheus pre-dates not just Snake but the Garden of Eden, if you think the Garden of Eden was populated by H. sapiens.

It's possible the hunting of big game (and thus war, since big game hunting doesn't seem otherwise beneficial) started with H. sapiens, which would point to the Garden of Eden being populated by H. erectus and Prometheus preceding it.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @Wolf480pl Actually big game hunting was probably precipitated by an ice age, then continued afterward because groups that stayed good at it were better able to kill other people as well, so anyone who went back to small game as soon as they could got killed or joined the groups (potentially involuntarily) who hunted big game.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @cjd Hmm, I guess that assertion obliterates anarcho-primitivism, doesn't it? If H. sapiens is defined by big game hunting and war, then there was never a time that didn't have organized violence.

Which is not to say we shouldn't abandon war, just that link between war and civilization doesn't go the direction anarcho-primitivists think it does. In fact, agriculture and civilization would have *reduced* violence.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @Wolf480pl Since human history shows a long term, steady decline in death by violence in concert with the growth of agriculture, industry, urbanization, and technology generally, I'd say anarcho-primitivism has it exactly backward.

My programming language is better than yours 

@freakazoid @cjd
I wonder how Mongol Hordes fit into this picture.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl

Not sure about how this picture is framed.

Why does hunting big game = war

Also I dont think agricultural societies = peaceful societies.
Theres been very violent societies that practiced agriculture also hunter/gatherers that weren't aggressive. Also, as suggested, the inverse.
@freakazoid @cjd

My programming language is better than yours 

@dazinism @cjd @Wolf480pl It's just a theory I once read as to why humans have hunted big game for so long even when it was not the most efficient way to get protein that was available to them. The tools and techniques of big game hunting also work well for killing people. It could certainly be wrong, but nomadic hunter-gatherer groups that came in contact would have been competitors more than, say, nomadic herders.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @cjd @dazinism And agrarians aren't nomadic, so they would only run into other agrarians if they were trying to expand their territory or had to move for whatever reason.

Of course, agriculture was a prerequisite for large scale war, but I think the scale of such wars was more than offset by the much reduced frequency. On average, of course.

My programming language is better than yours 

@dazinism @cjd @Wolf480pl Agriculture also created the surplus necessary to have a ruling class, and the dominance that came with that, of course. I just had that long monologue thread about agriculture and feudalism. But it also created the surplus necessary for trade.

My programming language is better than yours 

@freakazoid
All sounds like a rather bleak theory of the human condition, where out of group interactions are driven only by harsh utility

Is this theory based primarily on one thing you read, (do you recall what?)

I like to think that theres always been more possible reasons/options for interaction than just trade or war- certainly for me this is the case.
I think that theres evidence that this has also been the case historically
@cjd @Wolf480pl

My programming language is better than yours 

@dazinism @freakazoid @cjd

I think by Occam's Razor, there's no reason to think there are other reasons for interaction, until shown an example that can't be explained by "harsh" utility.

Can you enumerate some of those other possible reasons?

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @freakazoid
This same question arrives again and again. Did we fall from grace or are we better every day ?
Plato clearly believed that we fell from grace, from the perfect republic with the perfect Philosopher King.
Lots of lore around this belief of fall from grace. The innocent and peaceful hunter-gatherers wiped out by the cruel and mechanistic Europeans is a really common belief system.

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@cjd
Stumbled into this recent blog post, which I found an interesting read & is somewhat related to what we'd been chatting about

Living and Working together (1/3) The Social Brain Hypothesis Revisited – Unvirtual - unvirtual.us/2019/08/19/living

@Wolf480pl @freakazoid

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@dazinism @Wolf480pl @cjd Interesting. The article doesn't mention anything about how they handled conflict among groups, but this page says they ran away if they met any aggressive groups. That works right up to the point where there's actual resource pressure. They seem to want to blame agriculture, but it seems more likely to me that it was warfare and the need for protection that was the root cause of hierarchy and inequality.

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@cjd @Wolf480pl @dazinism I suspect one could probably find peaceful agrarian societies that happened to live on particularly fertile land that then took a long time to become crowded and for whatever reason rarely got raided and had such high productivity that it was easy to recover from raids.

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Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@freakazoid @dazinism @Wolf480pl
I think despite whatever effort researchers can make to be impartial, research will always tend to confirm the biases of the researcher.
I suspect the reality is that some immediate-return societies were idealic at some times (e.g. when resources were plentiful), others weren't, some were in some ways but would horrify us in others.

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Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@cjd
Yeah I agree, think all research & presentation has bias, even if the researcher/author cant see it. This always needs consideration

I think that human societies & interactions are complex & its best to avoid generalisations about how humans behave, & why, unless backed up by **a whole lot of data** from a lot of sources (who have a verity of very different biases) with limited, weak counter theories/evidence
@freakazoid @Wolf480pl

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@cjd

Theres widely accepted theories that dont stand up very well to investigation

Tangentially related to our talk of trade/war Graeber, an anthropogist examined the historical record on money/debt/trade

There is no truth to the widely excepted claim that money replaced barter

nakedcapitalism.com/2011/08/wh

Some stuff about quantifiying everything there too

Recommend the book
@freakazoid @Wolf480pl

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@dazinism @Wolf480pl @cjd The thesis seems to be that, because some societies already had money at the beginning of the written historical record, and because there were still societies using barter for a long time after, it cannot be that money replaced barter? I don't follow that reasoning. You can certainly choose a narrow definition of "money" that by definition must have been created by governments, but that doesn't really tell you anything.

@freakazoid @cjd @dazinism The thesis to me seems to be that everyone keeps saying that currency replaced barter, but in reality this has never been observed, rather barter occurs where currency has been in use but then failed.

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@freakazoid
The interview only scrapes the surface, If you are interested in a pretty thorough investigation of debt (which by necessity also looks at money and trade) backed by the historical record and anthropological observations of different societies I'd highly recommend reading the book. Lots and lots of fascinating information / observations.
@Wolf480pl @cjd

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@dazinism @Wolf480pl @cjd A socialist system where the government has a monopoly over fossil fuel extraction and gets a lot of its value-add for its citizenry that way has even less incentive to deal with climate change.

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@cjd @Wolf480pl @dazinism There are plenty of countries in the world where this would obviously not be the case, but interestingly those tend to be the same countries doing a good job dealing with climate change now. It might be instructive to use a hypothetical socialist US and Canada as thought experiments. Let's assume a democratic socialist system.

...

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@dazinism @Wolf480pl @cjd If we're honest with ourselves we cannot assume that the government would have eschewed fossil fuels before global warming was widely known about. So each administration would use fossil fuels to help keep the populace happy and get reelected.

Does the government in such a country even fund research on climate change in the first place? That can only make people upset.

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@cjd @Wolf480pl @dazinism And even assuming people do learn about climate change, you'll still have a faction that opposes the shift from fossil fuels due to the cost, which now must be purely be borne by the people. Now *everyone* has an incentive to deny climate change, to be able to keep their consumption levels high.

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