There is that idea that shifting from hunting-gathering to agriculture was a mistake. I disagree.

One argument is the example of Comanches:

“All of the white people who joined Indian tribes loved it and refused to go back to white civilization. All the Indians who joined white civilization hated it and did everything they could to go back to their previous tribal lives.”

Ok but, the lives of frontier settlers were ATROCIOUSLY HARD! Of course it’s better to live on the plains hunting buffalo, it’s way more fun and much less work than trying to scraggle subsistence without tractors and Borlaug’ed crops.

That is not my only argument:

“They flew us out of the jungle on a plane. Freaking planes, you guys. Even today, they’re basically space ships to me. I don’t find them any less awe-inspiring. I remember at the hotel in California, right after landing, I went into the bathroom to take a shower. I didn’t know there was a switch between hot and cold water — just hot water came out, and it blew my mind. Seriously, what the hell you guys? Hot water just happening!? Everything was foreign — the buildings, the people, the cars, the fact that you can flush the toilet. My first time in an American grocery story was … special. Cheetos, pizza, fast food … it was like, “Wow, so this is where you go find all the food.” It’s all in packaging, and some of it is in refrigerators. I felt like I was in heaven.”

“Oh, sure, I miss the food I grew up on. The ingredients and the way we made food isn’t the same. You could never replicate it here — people who made food put a lot of thought into it. I definitely don’t find anymore insects in my diet. I might eat silkworms, but eating that kind of stuff isn’t a necessity here. Back home, you needed all the protein you could get. Here you can take special pills to help you poop your excess protein out.”

WE HAD TO INVENT AGRICULTURE FIRST. Sorry for all the pain and the oppression and the unsanitarity and the diseases and the rest of the disutility, it really does make me sad, but we don’t get to do-over the past.

There is a scale of absolute levels of comfort, from “short painful life at subsistence” to “wirehead gods on lotus thrones”.

SisterY taught me that humans in losing, no-escape situations tend to hallucinate imaginary “meaning” to their suffering. This seems to me to be what the “suffering good, pleasure bad” Christianity was optimising for.  Such high levels of pain were so frequent, so random and so exquisite, that people were basically hurting all the time, compared to now that we have dentists, aspirin, anaesthesia, morphine and a vague idea of how our bodies actually work, that the most reliable cause of pleasure would have BEEN the Meaning In Pain thing.  Basically, BDSM lifestyle mindspace for everyone all the time… makes one wonder how we ever got from there to an ideal of “transcendental joy through universal love”.

We have now PASSED the point where we can afford everyone a life that’s STRICTLY BETTER than hunting/gathering, is all I’m saying. It cost a lot of disutility, yes. But we’re living better than the tribal people where 80% of everyone is suffering from an infectious disease at any given time. And we can afford that to everyone at the speed of deployment of TECH NO LO GY. With the little caveat of how to go about doing it and what utility it would immediately return for the deployer, but then how hard can that …


oh. right. nevermind.

It’s taking time. But even imperfect measures like IHDI are generally increasing and at least somewhat reflective of something that actually exists. We’ll see how it goes.


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