Graeber - Gone but still writing

4 posts / 0 new
Last post
Joined: 20-04-08
Jan 8 2022 07:36
Graeber - Gone but still writing

The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, co-authored with archaeologist David Wengrow,

A review here

spacious's picture
Joined: 2-09-15
Jan 8 2022 20:07

Here are two critical reviews from radical anthropologists (at least the reviews are good):

Chris Knight

Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale

Joined: 6-01-16
Jan 19 2022 22:21

Regarding the second review
1 - The second review seems to be criticism rather than review. A review of a book encourages the reader to read a book, but the second review discourages.
2 - What has encouraged me to read the book is many flaws in the criticism. One is appealing to "materialism". This is none sense. I have adopted the naturalist view to avoid false dichotomy of mind and mater.
3 - I may come back to this after I finish the book.
I am going to read the first article which is from Chris Knight after this.

Joined: 6-01-16
Jan 20 2022 03:23

Regarding the first review from Chris Knight,

This one also tries to discourage reading the book. It is all about what is wrong with the book. However, I am encouraged, especially, because of this:

"Now we come to The Dawn of Everything’s central idea. It is that we were all once free because we could choose how to live, ..." This quote continues this way: "...experimenting now with one political structure and now another – sometimes even oscillating between utterly different social states." I drop the second quotation; I like the first one. Here is why:

1 - It is not wrong to say that we were or are free. It seems we are actually free. When some people chose to become revolutionary, they chose it freely. When some people chose to be reactionary, they chose it freely too. There are always people who avoid joining a strike, and those who do not hesitate. If we were not free, we wouldn't. It seems contradictory. If we are free, why we would go for revolution? The answer is that we are free to challenge what is given. There are more to this.

2 - Why we are free in this sense? What tells us about this? Unlike other apes, we gradually learned to build the objects of our needs by constructing them mentally, as a hypothesis, then we began to objectify it by using our body, even with speech as natural force. Any success meant and mean knowledge and change of our environment. It is knowledge as it adds to our concept of the world. It is change of environment because we add something to it from our own; what was is not what used to be. This is our freedom. We create our own physical and social environment. Social relations are invented based on our freedom too. In another words, our capability to construct an environment for our living, is our freedom. When we build our first stone tools, we began to be free from given. We gradually built our social world based on our choice. We had choice to leave like a master or not. Once we choose to be master, we created an environment that feels better for us, but our victims feels bad and as a slave. Salve sees her/his social environment as given and undesirable. So, slave build her/own hypothesis freely, therefore, master try to prevent slaves to have mind of their own. This explain the human condition, because its logic is the same for both master and slave - it is universal. When we are not free, it is when we have no choice, it means we have no knowledge or capability to change our environment. I am not free to jump to the moon. But I am free to jump over a cat.

So, I am encouraged to see what The Down of Everything offers while both articles were written to be discouraging. Some criticism in both articles make sense, some don't and the "critical reviews" are politically motivated. Authors wants us to know their anthropological view not what is on the book. The second articles is less criticism and more ridiculing a dead man. It is somehow outrageous. He should have more respect.