The Fallacy of Primitive Cultures

Yesterday I brought up the term “primitive society,” which I feel as though I need to address. Primitive society, primitive culture, primitive civilization. All those terms marginalize and oppress peoples and ways we don’t understand. There is no such thing as a primitive culture. There maybe be cultures that we find barbaric, and barbarism is certainly something humanity as a whole is trying, with varying degrees of success, to leave behind, but I do not think a society or culture is any less complex simply because they do not have the technology, the scientific knowledge, or governmental system that developed countries have. Even tribes that live in voluntary isolation in the amazon rain forest have complex social structures, they speak complex languages that are capable of expressing an infinite number of ideas that have never been expressed before (which is one of the things that defines language: the ability of original thought converted into sound). Not for a moment do I buy the idea that a small community of people living in the Himalayas have a less complex human experience. They may be more content in their lives, resigned to the fact that they are where they are and most of them will not leave their village (though this is changing), but they have made peace with their lives–even the parts of their lives they do not like. I don’t mean to say people should settle. No. But I do think there is a culture within western society to give up on something if it isn’t immediately fulfilling. One of the reasons for this is because there are a lot of things you can do within out society that can fill up your time, distract your mind, and make you forget–for a little while–how alone you are. I’m not a fatalist in the fact that we are alone. I think people feel alone, often times when they are not, and feel connected in times when they are actually alone. For instance, you can feel connected easily with Facebook or Twitter, but if no one responds to your updates and posts–well, how connected are you? Of course, this brings the question of: What is more real, the feeling of connectedness social media can give, or the reality of the fact you’re sitting alone.

(This blog is no different)

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