anOther Story Of Progress

138 minutes 8.1/10 based on 17 votes
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  • madscirat

    Instead of watching this dreck, I recommend you simply get stoned with the first know-it-all college hippie you encounter. The ensuing conversation will contain all the understanding and depth present in this documentary and at least you will leave with a buzz.

    Of all the ridiculous assertions bandied about on this ‘documentary’, the dumbest by far is the statement that tribal peoples were and are anarchistic. I seriously have not heard something so ignorant since my philosophy professor forced me to read Rousseau. Then again, at least, Rousseau lacked the insights of anthropology. These modern hippies have no such excuse.

    Primitive people are very much like us, or most of us, in that their minds are bound up by ideas, superstitions and beliefs, which regulate their actions and stabilize their society. They are not free thinkers; they are fundamentalists. They act in terms of an inherited world view full of assumptions and outright bullshit, again just like us.

    At least, modern Homo sapiens has the option to discard his beliefs. Try telling your shaman you no longer believe in the ancestors or the power of his ju-ju stick.

    • Thomas

      I
      have never claimed that all tribal people were and are anarchistic.
      What I am claiming is that hunter-gathering people living in band
      societies were and are anarchistic. If you would have any significant
      insights in anthropology yourself you would know this. So, it seems
      that it is actually you who are ignorant.

      Or
      maybe it is your judgement that is clouded by your anger of having
      your belief systems questioned. I base this on your way of resorting
      to personal attacks and name calling. Maybe it is people like you who
      need to discard your fundamentalist belief in modernity before it’s
      too late. And maybe then we could have a serious discussion.

      • madscirat

        Barclays may not be a hippie but there are other ways to be stupid. One is imagining a people are free of control when they in fact have complex social rules and spiritual beliefs which give order to their societies. The San did not just wander into the Kalahari and start a commune. Like all tribal people they inherit a complex culture thousands, perhaps even millions, of years in the making. If you don’t believe that culture is integral to their social stability than read history and watch what happens when Europeans mess with it.

        I have no belief system. What I do have is years of living experience in intentional anarchistic communities. Have you actually lived in a community run on these principles? Of course, you don’t need to have lived in one to know that nearly all those attempted in the 60s failed miserably. I’ve lived in some of the few which survived and they survived by creating hierarchies of control and complex rules just like the society they tried to escape from. The only ones I have seen work the way they were meant to are family sized groups where everyone knows one another intimately. As soon as you get a community of any size, people naturally form hierarchies and move to dominate one another.

        I guess this is not a serious discussion though since apparently the only way we can have one, is if I automatically agree to your thesis. How very anarchistic of you to make such a demand.

        • Thomas

          “The only ones I have seen work the way they were meant to are family sized groups where everyone knows one another intimately. As soon as you get a community of any size, people naturally form hierarchies and move to dominate one another.”

          Well what can I say? This is the basic principle of anarcho-primitivism. Again, hunter-gatherer band societies. Harold Barclay (who you call stupid) came to the very same conclusion. And we, the “hippies” (I think the correct term would be primies – we are usually too militant for the poor hippies) also have come to the same conclusion. So whats the fuzz man?

          “I guess this is not a serious discussion though since apparently the only way we can have one, is if I automatically agree to your thesis. How very anarchistic of you to make such a demand.”

          No, you don’t have to agree. But it can be a good thing not to insult people and use ad hominem arguments if you want a serious discussion. It can also be a good thing to actually know what you are talking about.

          • madscirat

            Okay I’ll stop calling the people in this video stupid hippies if you start being logically consistent. You said very clearly that we can not have a serious discussion unless I abandon my position. You also call me a fundamentalist (which is actually an ad hominem among hippies), but that is demonstratively untrue because I used to believe the exact same thing you do. Yes, it’s time for the villain monologue, “we are not so different, you and I….”

            Do you think I changed my mind because I met a techno-utopian-minister or because I read a book or saw a documentary? No, I changed it because I lived in anarchosocialist communities and observed the fail With My Own Eyes. That is not fundamentalism, that is empiricism. As for family groups, you try taking the population of the world as it is currently organized and getting them to live in small family groups. Not gonna happen. People live in dense population centers with large amounts of anonymity. They live in apartment houses not farm houses, subdivisions not villages.

            The solution is not going back, it is going forward and going forward is easy. We’re doing it right now. It’s like Stephen Hawking said, “all we need to do is keep talking.”

    • Thomas

      “Anarchy is the order of the day among hunter-gatherers. Indeed, critics will ask why a small face-to-face group needs a government anyway. […] If this is so we can go further and say that since the egalitarian hunting-gathering society is the oldest type of human society and prevailed for the longest period of time – over thousands of decades – then anarchy must be the oldest and one of the most enduring kinds of polity. Ten thousand years ago everyone was an anarchist.”
      Harold Barclay, American anthropologist

      Or is he just a pot smoking hippie as well?

  • Katherine

    As I watched this I began to suspect that everyone in the video was completely stoned. Then I noticed that if you look at the lower left corner of the screen around 17:23 you can actually see smoke. Just sayin’.
    Even the segment with Layla AbdelRahim (at 2:56) who is supposedly some sort of expert was rambling and pointless. As far as I can tell, what she said was essentially that if we name a cat we can then withhold food from it and if we name a tree, then we’re going to go chop all of the trees down. That must be a relief to perpetrators of animal cruelty, since now all they have to do is not name their animals and they can neglect them all they want and not be found guilty. Also, since meerkats have now been shown to have distinctive vocalizations for different types of predators, directions, and even colors we’d better watch out! Those crazy critters are going to raze the forests and kill us all!!!

    • Thomas

      “As I watched this I began to suspect that everyone in the video was completely stoned. Then I noticed that if you look at the lower left corner of the screen around 17:23 you can actually see smoke. Just sayin’.”
      It wasn’t weed *cough* it was incense. Nothing but ad hominem agruments: “if I don’t get it they most be stoned, oh look smoke” *sigh*

      “Even the segment with Layla AbdelRahim (at 2:56) who is supposedly some sort of expert was rambling and pointless. As far as I can tell, what she said was essentially that if we name a cat we can then withhold food from it and if we name a tree, then we’re going to go chop all of the trees down.”

      No, you got it all wrong. It is the mindset that comes from domestication and objectification that leads us to naming individuals and making them dependent on us that is the problem. Instead of letting them be what they are we use them for our own purpose. That is different from having certain expressions so that you can warn others, in the moment.

      How many trees have animals painted? I read that the Piraha people became very agitated when reading the word for sky from a paper and didn’t wanted to continue with the reading classes when they finaly understood what the classes was about. For them it is an expression of the sky, not some scribble on paper. Where symbolic thought begins and ends is hard to to say, however there is a difference in the mindset that I think is more interesting to talk about.

      That is why your attempt at being sarcastic is not even funny because you got the facts wrong from the beginning. It’s just stupid and hostile. I would never mistred the cats. They are not pets, they are my friends, my family. Yes, they do have names, but it’s my smell and sound of voice and so on that is important to them, not my name.

      • madscirat

        I know I’m beating a dead horse at this point, but I simply can not let the following statement stand unanalyzed.

        “It is the mindset which comes from domestication and objectification that leads us to naming individuals and making them dependent on us that is the problem. Instead of letting them be what they are we use them for our own purposes.”

        Well I’m glad someone had finally been elected Pope of Nature and can inform us all what is natural and what is not. I mean I thought that was the job of the Baptists, but if you want to put on the silly hat and issue edicts go for it.

        So domestication isn’t natural. Good, great, unfortunately this means that lichen aren’t natural since they are a fungus which has domesticated a cyanobacteria. Oh, and most ants are out to. Most have domesticated molds dependent on them in their hives and some have even domesticated aphids which they herd around like cattle. Maybe ants are aliens, though, they sure look like it… Then comes the real problem, unfortunately the likely origin of every cell in your body (excluding the symbiotic bacteria your body has ‘domesticated’) is the phagocytosis of an aerobic cell by a larger anerobic bacterium or in simpler terms, your cells all work via the domestication of mitochondria.

        The natural world is built off of domestication, symbioses both mutualistic, commensal and parasitic. Does domestication need to be cruel? No, and one good way to help it be less cruel is to…. you guessed it, give animals names for a name is nothing more than a symbol of respect for somethings individual identity (unless the name is something like 59291A).

        • Thomas

          First I would say that maybe you would like to live as a mindless drone working for an elite like the ants do (being an commie and all) but I rather live as a mammal. I am neither an insect or fungus. Second, there is a big difference between symbiotic relationships and domestication. The relationship between the wolfs and humans began as a collaboration but after a while there was a shift in power which became problematic, leading to where we are now. Third, your comparison with the bacterias and the cells in the body with individuals doesn’t make any sense, because with this kind of extreme relativism you might as well say that the sun has domesticated the earth and the earth has domesticated the moon and so on. Lets be reasonable ok?

          • madscirat

            You do realize the sun and earth aren’t alive, right? OK maybe the earth is, but you get the point. You’re drawing an imaginary line and saying that when humans do the same thing the rest of life does, it’s somehow different just because we’re human. You want to argue that humans shouldn’t think of themselves as special yet your whole view of domestication and the artificiality of human behavior is contingent upon granting humans a special status from which other lifeforms are exempt.

            • Thomas

              Just because ants are different from us doesn’t mean that we are better than them. They seem quite happy with division of labour, hierarchies and domestication. We on the other hand are not doing quite as well, if you take an honest look at how the world looks today that is.
              So, instead of giving examples from ants that are very different from us maybe we should look at species that are closer to us, like for example the Bonobos. Or, why not go to our earlier history when we where living in balance with the rest of the world (and the few indigenous cultures that still are) and ask ourselves: what went wrong?

              This is what primitivism is doing. And the answer is quite simple. Domestication is what went wrong. Before that: all was fine. After that: everything started to go to hell.
              This is not the case with ants. They are living according to their nature. Let us live according to our.

              • madscirat

                If you want a reason why people are immediately dismissive of your philosophy you may look no further than, ‘domestication is what went wrong, Before that: all was fine.’

                Before that all was fine? Before that…. all was fine…. I don’t even know where to begin with this. Maybe with the Aztecs and Mayans, their civilizations were notable for lacking animal labor. They still managed to build pyramids with slaves and ritualistically murder people. As far as the west and east, civilization couldn’t have even gotten to the level of sophistication we experience today without domestication. Again I recommend you go work an organic farm. Without animal labor, generating a food surplus is nigh impossible and flat out impossible when it comes to foods like cereals.

                Also my ant example was used to counter your supposition that domestication is unnatural so instead of arguing as if I said we should all be ants, tell me how ants, and all the other species which exist in close symbiosis, are not natural…. Protip, you can’t so instead craft a strawman argument where you invent a statement I didn’t make and argue against that instead . Ooooh I have a good one, you could act like I said we should all live like ants, that would be easy to argue against.

                • Thomas

                  First. The Aztecs had agriculture which is domestication of plants.
                  Second. Your claim that the Aztecs agriculture didn’t create any surplus is completely absurd and has no grounds in reality. Either you are trolling or you are getting desperate in trying to prove me wrong. Show me the source for your claim that they didn’t create surplus. It’s because of surplus that they could built up their civilization.

                  “Often considered a disadvantage, the Aztecs did not have any animals to aid them in their farming. However, the system developed by the Aztecs did not require the use of animal labor. All that they did need was very soft land in order to grow their crops utilizing the tools that they had at their disposal. This is just another reason why the chinampas were so useful– the soil was so soft that all that was needed was a plain, wooden stick for digging and a simple, wooden hoe in order to plant and harvest all the crops that they needed to sustain their society.” – Aztec Farming and Agriculture By: Anthony Aguad
                  But what about the Mayans? Did they create surplus? First we should establish that the Mayans were as well an agricultural society. It wasn’t a hunter-gathering civilization. There is no such thing. And yes they managed to create surplus just as the Aztecs did.
                  “By burning and cultivating just 5% of the land each year and then allowing 19 years for the surrounding jungle to reclaim it, they had the formula for a sustainable agriculture, that could produce small surpluses, and could scale up as the population increased.” – Mayan Civilization and history
                  But you know what? The Mayans civilization collapsed because it was too vulnerable.

                  ” As at the end of the pre-classic period, the Maya abandoned all of the lowland cities and never returned, but this time there were millions of Maya. As each city collapsed, the refugees overwhelmed resources in the adjacent areas. The Maya cities collapsed one after the other. Depending on the quality of the water supply and the extend of local environmental degradation, they fell like dominoes over a 50 year period. 90% of the Maya died, along with 100% of their Mexican “divine lords”, who could not keep their promise to “cause the rain to fall and the corn to grow”, no matter how much blood they sacrificed. Some of the Maya managed to migrate to the Toltec cities in the northern Yucatan, like Chitzen Itza and Uxmal, where populations grew rapidly at this time. Most died in the forest. Late in the 9th century the drought would end but Maya civilization would never recover.” – Mayan Civilization and history

                  I assume that the people I discuss with are intelligent enough to understand that when I claim that domestication is not natural I mean for us humans. You know I don’t lick myself all over the body as my cat does because we are two different species. I don’t meow. I don’t purr… As I wrote earlier, the ants seems quite happy with a society that leaves us humans alienated and miserable. This is my point. Nothing else.

    • madscirat

      Even though I could not see the smoke that man is either stoned or has been stoned sooooo much that it has become his natural state of being. I mean, I honestly have no problem with drugs. I love the White Albulm, but maybe rational analyses and weed is not as good a mix as music and weed.

      • Thomas

        You know I think it’s really sad that people will sink this low. I blame the internet and the alienation it brings. How very sad.

        • madscirat

          I think it’s sad some people are so addicted they can’t put down their joint for a single documentary interview.

          • Thomas

            It wasn’t weed. It was incense. And it was used as a dramatical effect, I find your obsession with trying to prove that I was smoking pot in the film a bit strange. But I guess it is some kind of desperate attempt to distract from the real issues brought up in the film. This kind of hostility is very common from some people because they feel very threatened by us Green Anarchists and the analysis and solutions we provide. The left have shown itself to offer no real solutions to anything leaving some people from that scene very bitter and hostile to anyone with other ideas. I have to say that from the discussion I have had with you so far you seem to be a very unpleasant person. I hope that wathever issues you have you can find a way to deal with them. I don’t know about your background but where I’m from you would never get away with this kind of behaviour. You can’t keep a respectful and keep calling me names and disrespect me. Tough guy behind the computer screen. What a fucking joke…

          • Thomas

            The difference between you and me is that I’m not hiding behind a pseudonym like a troll. I play with open cards. What you see is what you get. And I think that is very important when comunicating with people. It’s a very sick society when people feel the need to troll behind computer screens because they don’t have the guts to face the real world. And that is actually a part of my critique of modernity. Today we see increasing anti-social behaviour, especially on the internet where people feel that they can write anything they want to anyone they want because they don’t have to face the consequenses you’d have to in a face-to-face society. Try acting like a complete asshole in a society like that and sooner or later people will not want to have anything to do with you or worse, they will find a way to get rid of you.

            • madscirat

              So basically you expect the viewer to see a complete hippie talking as if he were stoned to the tits while a trail of smoke wafts past his face and assume he’s not smoking marijuana?

              For my part, I totally believe it’s incense. But every nuance of that scene SCREAMS ‘joint in hand.’ As for trolling, this scene is simply hilarious as is the ineptitude of the editors who let it roll through uncut and no amount of ad hominems on your part can take away the LoLs that I and countless other doc viewers have had over it. And for this, we thank you.

              • Thomas

                you know what i think? i think you are just jelaus because you have absolutely no talent and that is why you spend your time acting like some kind of expert on films. i also want to thank you for your time and energy you have spent in posting hateful comments. because you know what they say. there is no such thing as bad publicity. the more come comments you post, the more viewers i get. and most people watching this film will focus on the issues brought up by it. not your obsession with me smoking or not smoking marijuana.

  • marco

    i dont understand the point in debating all of this. are you advocating that we all go back to some primitive tribal state? that would make us more free and happy? ask your great grandpa how much happier he was shitting in buckets and cooking on a wood stove.

    • Thomas

      Have you watched the film? If not, then do that first and then we’ll go from there.

  • Feral Lynx

    Great film! Keep up the good work.

    • Thomas

      thank you

  • 123Jano123

    rubbish
    dont watch

    • Thomas

      or maye you should watch it and see what makes the haters so angry and scared…

  • Dan Flynn

    What hypocritical drivel! “Civilization must be destroyed” Think of all the technology-via-civilization used to produce this film and the music in it.

    • Thomas

      Exactly how is it hypocritical? Is it hypocritical to use the masters tools to take down the masters house? I don’t think so. But then again I am more pragmatical than moralistic. Sure, it would be more convenient for people like you if people like me would just move out in a hut in the forest.

      And I would have gladly done that if it wasn’t for the fact that there are hardly any natural forests left in Scandinavia. Even the forests are domesticated. And owned by someone else. Sure you can camp for 24 hours in one place but then what? I have friends who have lived like that and they were constantly harrased by the authorities.

      And when they need the resources it doesn’t even matter if you own the land. There is also the global threat with global warming, toxins, you name it. Therefore I stay inside the system and continue with dismantling it with the best of my ability and also showing people alternatives, you know like autonomous living, perma-culture, and all the rest that you seemed to pass you by watching the film.

      • Dan Flynn

        More pragmatic than moralistic? Well I guess that says it all.
        No, it would be better for people like me if people like you, who can see the world’s ills, advocated any kind of a reasonable solution, or some real contribution to a solution, instead of foolishly romanticizing the past and spreading hopelessness. I agree, the world is a mess and we created it, but the most likely solution lies in progressive, not regressive thinking.

        • Thomas

          and you are romanticizing a star-treck fantasy that has no grounds in reality. at least we managed to live on this earth as hunter-gatherers for millions of years… and there still are people that do that. but the are dying, because of you fucking need to have all these meaningles gadgets… ask them what they think about progress and technology… do be honest, you make me sick…

          • Dan Flynn

            “romanticizing a star-trek fantasy…” Ha ha, good comeback! Seriously, though, I make you sick?! You think I am happy as long as I belong to the privileged few while the world burns? You don’t even know me. Throughout, you commit the fallacy of generalizing and stereotyping. You seem to have very dichotomized, black or white thinking. The real world is much more complex than that. Just because I advocate the use of technology and progress instead of regression does not mean I also advocate the greed and inequalities that have prevailed historically. The difference between you and me (and believe me, I am not blind to the inequalities and injustices you speak of) is that I don’t think we should throw out the baby with the bath water. Also, “Meaningless gadgets” is a statement that would tend to come from someone who lacks vision. Whether regressives like it or not, we are witnessing, aided by technologies of interconnectedness, the formation of a coherent world-wide mind, a collective consciousness of humanity. But I know, that kind of thinking makes people like you sick. “Even if it is all done fairly, some people will be left out, and that kind of natural inequality just should not be!” My point is that technological innovation does not have to mean exploitation. We should seek to end the wrongful means that have been historically employed in the name of progress, not to end the logical progression of technology itself. Everything points toward disaster not because of technology, but because of the means and the way it has been used. We should address the real issues, the inequalities and greed, the exploitation of natural resources. Again, we humans are a technological species, and nobody is going backwards in the way you advocate. We should go forward with conscience.

            A good example to start with would be electricity. Instead of trying to end the need for it, why not invest in clean alternatives? Because people who lack hope and vision think it is not possible? Because coal/oil conservatives, who also lack vision and are full of greed, stand in the way? It is possible, though difficult, to create abundance and have our technologies, with equality and respect for the environment. But it is up to people like us who actually care about it to advocate for realistic change. Unfortunately, you’ve got me labeled as someone who doesn’t care because of your stereotypes, and I think you are wasting your energy on regressive changes that nobody is going to buy into.

  • Dan Flynn

    Now that I’ve finished watching the entire drivel, I wonder what alternative does it offer? The best it seems to offer is a kind of regression. Further, it clearly is advocating violence as a means for change…to what? I don’t know because it doesn’t offer any alternative solutions. (Again, other than to suggest some kind of implausible regression scenario.) All in all, it reminds me of an angry teenager.

    • Thomas

      What you call regression I call healing and recovering, Because: “Unlimited growth is the philosophy of a cancer cell.” – Edward Abbey

      Take an honest look at the world today and then compare it with the the few hunter-gatherer societies that are left and ask yourself what is better for the planet. You might want to have clearly defined utopian solutions but I don’t believe in that. The only way we will get out of this mess alive is by questioning everything. This is the truly anti-authoritarian way.

      I would also like to know exactly how this movie advocated for violence. By showing how people react against reppresion? What they might do when their frustration taked over? You wan’t to know what I think is right or wrong? Well, I wont tell you that.

      • Dan Flynn

        Growing pains. We are no longer hunter-gatherers. We are the tool-making species, and only by very severe authoritarianism (ironically) and violence will people like you hold us back. We are going to be traveling among stars with our technology and we have the potential save ourselves and the planet with technology. We can come full circle. You seem to lack vision and love for and faith in humanity.

        • Thomas

          could you elaborate on how exactly you are going to save the world with technology when everything points towards complete disaster? if you want to win me over you have to show me how that is going to work. i am a (believe it or not) reasonable guy and i do have vision and love for and fath in humanity. that’s why i believe that people will wake and put an halt to this insanity. togheter, in an egalitarian way. so you see i have visions, it’s just different from your star-treck-fantasy… how can you not recognise that your “wonderful” is based on ruthles exploitation of the natural world and living creatures in it? you know what i think? i think that you don’t really care as long as you belong to the priviliged few that reap the benefits of progress while the rest of the world fucking burns…

      • Dan Flynn

        Also, unlimited growth is the “philosophy” of all life we have ever observed. No need to keep breeding out of control for sure, but going back into a hunter-gatherer state wouldn’t be a long-term solution for that anyway. Education, not a collective memory lapse, is the cure for out tof control breeding. Note that the crazy breeding behavior is our inherted nature, straight from the bare nature you would have us return to. The danger lies in ignorance.

  • Morpheus

    Interesting film, even if i don’t agree with everything. I think that a lot of the critique is valid but i don’t see how we could go back to living as stone age hunter gatherers. How would you actually do that, practically I mean?

    • Thomas

      that is the big question. i think it will have to be a gradual process while we are working togheter to restore and heal the planet. i am a strong believer in perma-culture…

  • Nick

    So what was the robot arm feeding the imprisoned monkey all about? An allegory, perhaps of your employer handing you your paycheck?

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