Week 7 Blog Post

This week’s material really puts to perspective how quickly the rate at which the modern human evolved increased. In less time than it took for the improvements of stone tool from the lower paleolithic era to the middle paleolithic era, we have seen revolutions such as the agricultural revolution and urban revolution that take intelligence to a level never seen before by any other animal at any point in time. The agricultural revolution that later led to the urban revolution laid the premise for what was to come afterward, replacing the barbaric hunting and gathering system to a farming system that resembled our current society.

I believe that the emergence of agriculture eventually led to the rise of the state, since for the technological and societal developments to happen for a state to rise, there needs to be a lot of people to specialize in certain areas to create a societal system composed of people who can trade labor for goods and vice versa. And to organize a large quantity of people into a society with law and order, it is necessary to allocate power and authority to a government which leads to the rise of the state.

The cultural development that led to the rise of the state is the beginning of permanent settlements prefaced by the agricultural revolution. Like with any development the initial concept starts at a very barbaric level. The beginning of the neolithic era set the inevitable consequence of the rise of the state since the agricultural revolution let people permanently reside in an area. Likewise, permanent settlements led to craft specialization which led to a more complex society that closely resemble our modern system. And with a more complex society, people sought organization through developing law.

In our videos secondary evidence such as grinders and other heavy equipment were presented as evidence to the emergence of agriculture, since large tools could not be carried around easily during a hunt. Thus these heavy tools were evidence of agriculture, since heavy equipment such as grinders could process plant material better, and tools such as the one used to cut wheat became even more specialized for their specific task.

The emergence of agriculture closely resembles the rise of the state, where both phenomenons show the radical rate at which human intelligence evolved. The change from hunting and gathering to agriculture led to the development of tools exponentially more advanced than any found in any paleolithic era. The complexity of society and cultural behavior expanded so rapidly it surprises archaeologists even today. Same with the rise of the state after the urban revolution, the societal complexity got so great that a organization was needed to find order. Material goods and culture became even more advanced, and as generations passed by, the complexity in our tools and our society only continue to increase in complexity at a exponential rate.

2 thoughts on “Week 7 Blog Post

  1. I agree that it is interesting to look at the rate in which many of these developments take place. We see that as we have moved through our lineages, even through the measures of the Pleistocene and the Paleolithic, the measure of these eras grow shorter each time. The rate of human development, specifically the development of thought and thinking capabilities has been increasing exponentially over time. For example, the period of the last 50 years alone have seen the greatest increase in our technological capabilities than ever in the history of modern humans. It’s strange to think that events such as the most recent agricultural revolution, industrial revolution, moving farther and farther back to the urban revolution and the first of the agricultural revolutions were, as far as the history of the world goes, not terribly long ago.
    .Looking at your point on specialization of peoples for the sake of spreading of goods and service, I raise the question of how this system might have come to be where they are realizing they should specialize. Who’s to say that maybe everybody was doing their own thing/ doing what they liked or if everybody was doing a little bit of everything until they started assigning roles either to themselves or as instructed by an authority figure. Good points there.
    I find your use of “consequence” in relation to the rise of the state very interesting. I can’t tell if you use it in a way that is indicative of the rise of state as a malady to modern humans or if you were using it synonymously with “outcome”. Either way, it made me think of whether or not I have a feeling towards this development; the word made me take a step back to look as more than factual to see if in my head it could fall on a spectrum between good or bad or some other ambiguous dichotomy. I haven’t made a decision but it’s still fun to think about.

  2. I enjoyed your take on the definition of how a state rises and really took in your points on how a state is derived from specialization. I would definitely agree with that specialization helps further a society from a productivity point but I did disagree slightly with the points on how a basis for the state is exchange for goods. I think agriculture definitely offers a new take on the exchange of goods but where I disagree is that I believe that exchange was already taking place within groups. When a hunter obtained a kill it was a commodity the hunter could trade already. Where I offer a new take on your point is on inter-village trade rather than intra-village trade. I think that an important component of the state in regards to specialization is that since different regions produce different goods, being able to exchange goods with different regions and establish a sense of commerce is a giant contributing factor to states growing and diversifying. Coming from a standpoint today, I find it fascinating that a society would be able to survive at all with just hunting and gathering, agriculture sustains populations to an extreme degree and looking at the grocery store today almost every product (including meat) starts with wheat and corn. Without the development and advancement, I really believe that human beings as we know them would no longer exist.

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