14

votes

What Principles Are Important for a Paleo(ish) Intentional Community?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 21, 2012 at 10:16 PM

Most of the discussions I've seen about establishing an intentional community adhering to paleo principles center around the decidedly neolithic concepts of farming and money. In other words, they seem to conceptualize "paleo" in terms of food production only.

Considering paleo in the larger contexts of evolution, lifestyle, psychology, and hunter-gatherer anthropology, what concepts to you think should be included in an intentional paleo community?

E4faef53346e45f644ef905ab99ccb28

(83)

on September 06, 2012
at 02:08 AM

Andrew - thanks for pointing me in that direction! Sex at Dusk is definitely going on my list now.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 31, 2012
at 06:17 PM

Update. The claim in *Sex at Dawn* are pretty much dead in the water at this point. There's a book-length critique of it that just came out that debunks most of its claims. See: "The myth of promiscuity: A review of Lynn Saxon, Sex at Dusk: Lifting the Shiny Wrapping from Sex at Dawn" http://bit.ly/SUE6KU

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on August 26, 2012
at 09:15 PM

Wait, does this mean you're done cavorting around the Arctic?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 26, 2012
at 03:33 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3MiD_U4CHQ

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 26, 2012
at 03:25 AM

I referenced a journal review of SaD about a year ago, and added a few of my own thoughts. http://evolvify.com/sex-at-dawn-journal-review/ Notably, the book's author called the review "critical, but not terribly unfair".

Medium avatar

(19479)

on August 25, 2012
at 08:52 PM

Human rights are not "paleo" either Harry.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on August 25, 2012
at 06:02 PM

@Harry, survival of the fittest, bitches.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 25, 2012
at 09:45 AM

Kumbayah, kumbayah, kumbayah..

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 25, 2012
at 09:42 AM

What happens when _another_ intentional community encroaches on your intentional community? _Crush the enemy, see him driven before you, hear the lamentation of the women_?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 25, 2012
at 09:37 AM

Free speech is not necessarily paleo. Perhaps far from it..

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 25, 2012
at 09:35 AM

What about hospitals, power stations.. I suppose such a model becomes possible with higher technological advancement where you can achieve high levels of self-sufficiency without compromising on healthcare, etc. How would you reconcile basic human instincts for social power/domination?

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 25, 2012
at 06:04 AM

Funding is an interesting area. In practice at least 30% of industry could be work done by machines. Capitalism prevents state or community ownership of such machines (and thus people just lose there jobs instead, and get no income to compensate). But in the modern era, with so much mechanisation, i suspect under a different, mildly socialist system, we could all work less and still get paid the same. Having realised this (that machines can do a significant portion of our work), it would seem to be that the current system is less than optimal economically.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 25, 2012
at 05:59 AM

Basically youd be looking at a globalised network of smaller communities, with more local economies and local level community, but still dependant on specialisation too. I guess you could look at as being a bit like the web - an interlinked collection of smaller networks. And no, there is no example of that. But there was no example of centralisation, or specialisation before those developed either.

963322f175cdd4c5f7d52cc372b3a167

(646)

on August 25, 2012
at 05:25 AM

They were too uptight and humorless even for Melissa. And that's sayin' something.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on August 25, 2012
at 04:24 AM

Yes, theoretical is great, but what about the practical? No one has (directly) addressed child-rearing, schooling, division of labor, sharing of resources and efforts, what the rules are for lazy-asses, what the rules are when someone leaves, etc. I personally vote for Paleo Taco Tuesdays.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on August 25, 2012
at 04:22 AM

Dude. Get a grip.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on August 25, 2012
at 04:22 AM

I think this would happen naturally in any intentional community, whether it was intentional or not.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on August 25, 2012
at 04:14 AM

I saw Peter Gray speak at AHS this year, and he knocked my socks off. Has made me reconsider everything I do as a parent with my daughter from here on.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 25, 2012
at 02:08 AM

Exactly zero of my references have been blog posts. Now I have to prove that books and scientific journals aren't blogs? Tedious much? Add disingenuous to the list of traits you're displaying. If you fully understood *ad hominem*, you might realize that its invocation is only effective as a debunking argument in limited scenarios; this is not one of them. Please look to the top of your screen and see if you've been awarded the troll badge. I'm done feeding you.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 11:15 PM

You say, "I'm not on a crusade to convert people." But those who dont "get it" are labelled as cynical, right?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 11:00 PM

I'm looking forward to you addressing at least one of my points (although I won't be holding my breath). Wrap yourself around as many references as you like but try to keep them in the realm of the reasonably scientific - regurgitated blogs don't count. Whilst you're at it do look up the definition of ad hominem. It does follow that high EQ is a neo thing (that's another point you can challenge by the way).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 10:55 PM

I'm looking forward to you addressing at least one of my points. Wrap yourself around as many references as you like but try to keep them in the realm of the reasonably scientific - regurgitated blogs don't count. Whilst you're at it look up the definition of ad hominem. It does follow that high EQ is a neo thing (that's another point you can challenge by the way).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 10:51 PM

I'm looking forward to you addressing at least one of my points. Bring as many references as you like but try to keep them in the realm of the reasonably scientific. Whilst you're at it look up the definition of ad hominem.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on August 24, 2012
at 09:41 PM

Well said Nick. I agree on minimalism, and on the value of play. I'm a storyteller and theatre teaching artist, and I am always amazed at how some of the people I work with need so much in order to "play" or be creative. But I think a lot of it is in opportunities we are given. PS, check out Homo Ludens, a book about play as a cultural function.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 24, 2012
at 06:24 PM

Right bro, 'cause your kumbaya quip was the pinnacle of rigorous inquiry. My philosophy says that if you can't challenge ideas by anything besides assertion and condescension, you probably have nothing to say. I'll put my pile of references up against your unsupported ramblings and sarcasm any day.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 12:51 PM

Ironically, invariably a leader always emerges and the rest follow. This is a "paleo thing". Whether the leader is shaman, elder, king or matriarch - there is still a leader.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 11:01 AM

And where would you seen art, science and technology fit in? How would you fund these things? How would you support a huge population? Protect your borders? You're talking about a whole new world model. Do you have an example of something like this that exists today?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 10:11 AM

"Bro", what does your retrograde philosophy say about having ideas challenged? Viva ad hominem? I suppose it makes sense in a paleo behaviorist way, which is precisely consistent with my position - paleo for the body and neo for the mind.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 09:59 AM

Did I hit a nerve? Are you unaccustomed to having your ideas challenged? Remember, if we were living in paleo times you would need a skin far thicker than that.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 24, 2012
at 08:32 AM

Bro, you haven't said one interesting thing anywhere on this page. At least earn your smug. Oh oh... or are you just demonstrating the *free-rider problem* by letting everyone else bring ideas to the table while you drag the conversation down? I gotta sing to spice up the incessant banality. Worse, when you're at your least boring, it's only because you're whipped up into a frenzy of being wrong.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 07:24 AM

You mean like all holding hands and singing a paleo version of Kumbayah?

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 23, 2012
at 11:34 PM

Thanks, George. Good input.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 23, 2012
at 11:25 PM

Yes Harry, I was kidding, actually. But for the most part, posting here has lead to the most unhelpful, cynical, and one-dimensional analysis I've seen in quite some time.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 23, 2012
at 11:21 PM

I'm getting down voted for actually attempting to answer a question and providing support other than whatever pops off the top of my head? Y'all are something else.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 23, 2012
at 11:17 PM

Matt, I hear ya. Every culture ever studied has developed some sort of 'religion'. While it's no longer necessary to invoke religion to explain the universe, it is wise to at least distill the impulse into something that fits with human instincts.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 23, 2012
at 09:16 PM

"I was hoping someone would answer in such a way that my homework was effectively done for me". You're kidding, right?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:37 PM

There is good and bad in everything Jamie. Paleolithic life was hardly an ideal eden - it was often brutal and terrifying.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:35 PM

There is good and bad in everything Jamie. Paleolithic life was hardly the ideal eden you imply.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:32 PM

Id be looking to support a kind of modernised neo-tribal way of life, rather than simply a stripped back one. Which I guess is not a regression, but rather an evolution.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:27 PM

It could go further - communities physically designed to encourage meeting familiar people, houses and buildings designed with full spectrum light, or light let in from outdoors (and no blue lights in the evening), computer interfaces designed to emulate interacting with physical objects, enabling touch across space. Getting off the track of community per se a bit here, but I think ive conveyed my idea - modern life and modern technology to fit around the human, not the human struggling poorly to adapt to the life and technology.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:23 PM

Lets look at the spear for example. The spear enables us to fight others, and hunt animals. This tool use gave us power. Without that power we would have died, or been overwhelmed, like a lion refusing to use its claws. But the spear didnt remove us from sunlight, disconnect us from other people etc. IDK best rough examples I can think of, is say, the barefoot shoe, or the ipad, versus the regular shoe or the old typewriter. In the former case, we adapted to the technology. In the later case it was the other way around.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:19 PM

Humans are evolved to share cultural knowledge. They are evolved to problem solve, and use technology. It think it would be wrong to have some kind of pure 100% "back to nature" approach, and would rather support or participate in re-conceiving modern inventions and ways of doing things, to marry them with more human natural psychology.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:17 PM

But its doubtful that the mainstream thinkers even recognise an issue with our escalating crime rates etc. Thats where IMO a highly successful _modernised_ intentional community with a veiw to design for human needs, rather than humans poorly adapting to its design, with a thriving economy with some socialist touches, if well conceived , could do wonders, by showing people you can have both community and modern living.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:13 PM

Although, its arguable whether thats truely a neolithic problem per se, as it would seem that early tribal villages got/get there psychological needs met pretty well compared with us. I dont think think myself, that global contact, or modern technology need be abandoned to create closer communities. Local economies, proper housing design, and shared activities could go along way for example. As could some soft socialist ideas.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:11 PM

What you say about cognition is true. For example, scientific knowledge is positively impacted by a global sharing of information. However, human mind state/psychology is not so positively impacted by modern living. The modern era has placed food, shelter, security and material wealth above mental/emotional wellbeing. Perhaps we were just a little overzelous about getting to where we are.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 11:59 AM

^ I think it would ideally be philosophical rather than religious.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 23, 2012
at 11:48 AM

Funny how paleo tends to be so anti-relgion and yet, many of the answers here seem to include very religious aspects: ritual, mystisism, unseen connections, etc...

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 23, 2012
at 11:39 AM

So essentially, paleo needs to become a religion?

6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

(1169)

on August 23, 2012
at 11:15 AM

yes, the most common comment of course is that you are selfish (the planet cannot feed people eating meat given the numbers on it but it can veg - that does not bother me at all as we are only this planet for the blink of an eye anyway and will be gone before we know it compared to the animals, gases and the rest which will follow us)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 23, 2012
at 07:36 AM

In terms of our metabolism information is transmitted via genes. Human genes evolve very slowly. In terms of the human mind information is transmitted in terms of genes (slow evolution) and memes (hyperevolution).

2d7eb22102308801df5af0f632c9bc7c

on August 23, 2012
at 02:27 AM

Seasonal celebrations that mark the cycles of the landbase would definitely reconnect us to something we've lost.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:09 AM

I would definately vote for at least seasonal celebrations, which are pretty much universal. What else can be included will be somewhat dependant on what people can get into or not. +1

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:07 AM

Ritual also helps provide context and sense of place, as well as a way of dealing with emotions. Seasonal celebrations, funerals, birth celebrations are all common in primitive societies, as well as contextual rituals like pre-hunt, or acts of sympathetic magic. Of course a modern hunter gatherer would need to do these in a more philosophical than metaphysical context, but thats perfectly viable IMO.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 07:33 PM

And, despite "Primal" in the name, there is no mention of anything related to evolution in it.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 07:32 PM

Good point. I don't talk about this reference much, but "Primal Branding" deals with ritual in the context of marketing/branding. What's interesting is the extent to which humans think of things as rituals (though not necessarily consciously). An example he uses is the process of getting coffee at Starbucks... from standing in line to ordering to waiting to getting the coffee to doctoring it with additional ingredients. It's a consistent (and shared) ritual, but also customized for (and by) each individual. http://amzn.to/RDxT8z

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 07:16 PM

For me, it's easier to live the principles myself & then I seem to run into folks who are living similarly. "Unintentional" community at its finest.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 07:14 PM

What's ironic is that I already live a life with my husband that meets many, (but not all--we own property) of the principles outlined in your blog post. Planning on becoming semi-nomadic next year.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 05:59 PM

Carson~ You missed my point about homogeneity. The tribal structures you are describing came out of centuries of people growing upfrom birth in the *same* tribe with traditions and oral history held by the elders.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 05:59 PM

No. I want people who agree with me because they understand the HG anthropology, and/or will read the references I provide when I say my ideas are drawn from them. I don't have time to craft a custom argument for the majority of humanity steeped in the socialization of the industrial-agricultural-state. I'm not on a crusade to convert people.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 05:50 PM

I could give you a short answer, but until you step out of the assumptions of modern economic theory, it won't stick. I'd recommend starting with the Peter Gray link above. The full-text is available for free.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 22, 2012
at 05:32 PM

I also don't see how you're going to be able to achieve group cooperation in anything above the size of a large family. That is, unless you're able to find a homogeneous crowd of individuals with fully benevolent intentions that does not exist.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 22, 2012
at 05:30 PM

Just curious, how you plan on circumventing the free-rider problem? Also, if you have no land rights, you encourage the fullest exploitation of land resources in the shortest term possible, with no long run time horizon on the mind (read, copper communism).

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 22, 2012
at 05:28 PM

Just curious, how you plan on circumventing the free-rider problem? Also, if you have no land rights, you encourage the fullest exploitation of it in the shortest term possible, with no long run time horizon on the mind (read, copper communism).

2d7eb22102308801df5af0f632c9bc7c

on August 22, 2012
at 05:16 PM

That's exactly what I mean by tribal political structure: 30 members or under and after that the "tribe" splits into distinct separate groups. Egalitarianism is a fundamental outgrowth of most indigenous worldviews, and its how they tend to function politically. No doubt it's a slow an painful process, but we're not fighting a war here- we can afford to make decisions slowly. And in fact, creating an environment where decisions can be made by consensus should in fact be one of the goals of the community in the first place.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 05:00 PM

And I do apologize if my tone was snarky or cynical. Not my intention.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 04:59 PM

Harry, I encourage you to go beyond "neck-down Darwinism" and consider Jamie's comment seriously. Humans, like all other animals, have evolved brains that generate predictable behaviors in certain situations. Human well-being is increased in some contexts, and decreased in others. Agricultural civilization does not represent a peak in well-being for most individuals. The hunter-gather lifeway does seem to be optimal psychologically, as well as physically.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 04:56 PM

You mean you only want people who agree with you? Got it! And you assumed that I thought your question shouldn't be asked. I actually think it is a good question, and would benefit from some deeper inquiry. That is all.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 04:51 PM

Fortunately for me, the intelligent people I like to associate with tend to be less inclined to make *fundamental attribution errors*. At this stage in the game, there are plenty of people who "get it". For now, those are the people who are more invigorating and inspiring to interact with. Carson's responses are a good example of this.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 04:39 PM

And pointing out that your community context is key can hardly be considered nonconstructive.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 04:37 PM

I am simply questioning your intentions & if you are thinking of starting a community, intention is key. I think my questions are as valid as yours and if you have problems with folks questioning *your* assumptions/intentions, then you are going to have a hard time creating community with intelligent people.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 04:24 PM

Stating/implying that a question shouldn't even be asked is one of the least helpful responses in the realm of all possible responses. When I hover over the down arrow, it says, "This answer is not helpful" so that's what I'm going by. And... the response just seems cynical without adding anything constructive.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 04:16 PM

In my extended experience of consensus decision-making, it only works well in small (30 or under) homogenous communities. The diversity inherent in a modern intentional community makes consensus a painful and not very useful decision-making process.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 04:13 PM

And I would love to know why I was downvoted, out of curiosity.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 04:09 PM

I do think minimalism is a predictable and appropriate response to consumerism. I mentioned it, along with Zen, in the post I wrote about this yesterday. http://evolvify.com/building-a-paleo-intentional-community/

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 02:31 PM

We have far better tools to understand & cope with our emotions than our Paleo ancestors, thank goodness!

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 22, 2012
at 12:22 PM

^ I disagree completely. Much of what I have learnt in psychology suggests an evolutionary basis for the brain. Such as our ability to remember only a smaller group of people, our dependance emotionally on community and touch and our evolution driven sexual attraction. Our brains inability to cope with modern living is evidenced by our escalating crime, depression and suicide rates. Our brain is encoded by genes just like our metabolic pathways. Our brain has fluidity in its connections (learning), but not in its hormones or neurotransmitters. Emotionally we remain the same as our anscestors.

Cc4f028b568b0244ba2d1b9e4c6f4898

(8)

on August 22, 2012
at 12:02 PM

Yes but i still wonder "how" that translates into real life? If we are not going to be "hunting" or "gathering" then will our community be based on 'play'. Not that that would be a bad thing at all, but to me its still a novelty that would wear off in time. I could make a monthly trek to Atlanta to participate in "meet ups" but then its back to the internet to participate in the "community". Im ALL about "play" being a leading factor in a paleo community and im all about looking to H/G for tips on how to structure community but we are faced with a new obstacle - modern economics.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 22, 2012
at 10:02 AM

Andrew, unlike our metabolic pathways, which by merit of their encoding in a genome that evolves very slowly are trapped in the past and benefit from an understanding of our ancestry, the human mind is rapidly evolving, learning, adapting, driven by curiosity, novelty and invention - and hurtling towards the future. Consequently, I find the premise that applying paleo principles in the context of sociopsychology - aside from academic interest - to have little practical benefit

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 22, 2012
at 09:59 AM

Andrew, unlike our metabolic pathways, which by merit of their encoding in a genome that evolves very slowly are trapped in the past and benefit from an understanding of our ancestry, the human mind is a thing of the future, driven by curiosity, novelty and invention. Consequently, I find the premise that applying paleo principles in the context of sociopsychology - aside from academic interest - to have little practical benefit.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 08:23 AM

Harry, are you saying this is one of those instances, or just stating the obvious?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 22, 2012
at 04:10 AM

Sometimes its just not possible or even desirable to recapitulate everything paleolithic.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 02:42 AM

It's less about the rejection of "neolithica" per se and more about clearing the board of all of the *assumptions* of agricultural civilization. In the last 3 or 4 decades we've made huge leaps in understanding of our hunter-gatherer ancestors and how evolution has shaped us. Knowing what we know now, what kind of community would we build? I view this as a good overall sketch: "Play as a Foundation for Hunter-Gatherer Social Existence" http://bit.ly/dfKbF9

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 02:28 AM

All of these rely heavily on assumptions rooted in agriculture and the state.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 22, 2012
at 12:43 AM

If you are very serious about this, I would suggest first reading up on "the tragedy of the commons," the Lange-Mises debate on market socialism, and the repetitive failed attempts of Utopian Socialists like Robert Owen and the New Lanark experiment.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 12:06 AM

I'm with you, but I think it's good to clarify that I'm talking about small and voluntary intentional communities rather than a movement in the grander sense. Assuming buy-in from residents/members, what principles would be useful?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 22, 2012
at 12:05 AM

What are the "decidedly neolithic concepts of money?"

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18 Answers

7
630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 05:20 PM

Some of the contributions so far have been great. I was hoping someone would answer in such a way that my homework was effectively done for me. Unfortunately, some of the biggies were missed. Here is a rough sketch of where my thinking on these principles is currently, and the works I find particularly relevant to them.

Egalitarian Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior, Christopher Boehm

Semi-Nomadic The Hadza, Frank Marlowe

Play Play as a Foundation for Hunter-Gatherer Social Existence, Peter Gray

Non-State The Art of Not Being Governed, James C. Scott

Property rights yes, land rights no Georgism, Henry George

Anti-Agricultural Against the Grain: How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization, Richard Manning

Self-sufficient (as a community)

Self-reliant (as individuals within a community)

Individualist

Minimalist

The ideas are expanded upon in the post I just wrote, Building a Paleo Intentional Community. The work is ongoing, and I don't consider this question "Answered" at the time of this writing.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 05:50 PM

I could give you a short answer, but until you step out of the assumptions of modern economic theory, it won't stick. I'd recommend starting with the Peter Gray link above. The full-text is available for free.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 22, 2012
at 05:30 PM

Just curious, how you plan on circumventing the free-rider problem? Also, if you have no land rights, you encourage the fullest exploitation of land resources in the shortest term possible, with no long run time horizon on the mind (read, copper communism).

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 22, 2012
at 05:32 PM

I also don't see how you're going to be able to achieve group cooperation in anything above the size of a large family. That is, unless you're able to find a homogeneous crowd of individuals with fully benevolent intentions that does not exist.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 07:24 AM

You mean like all holding hands and singing a paleo version of Kumbayah?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 22, 2012
at 05:28 PM

Just curious, how you plan on circumventing the free-rider problem? Also, if you have no land rights, you encourage the fullest exploitation of it in the shortest term possible, with no long run time horizon on the mind (read, copper communism).

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on August 25, 2012
at 04:14 AM

I saw Peter Gray speak at AHS this year, and he knocked my socks off. Has made me reconsider everything I do as a parent with my daughter from here on.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 10:11 AM

"Bro", what does your retrograde philosophy say about having ideas challenged? Viva ad hominem? I suppose it makes sense in a paleo behaviorist way, which is precisely consistent with my position - paleo for the body and neo for the mind.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 10:55 PM

I'm looking forward to you addressing at least one of my points. Wrap yourself around as many references as you like but try to keep them in the realm of the reasonably scientific - regurgitated blogs don't count. Whilst you're at it look up the definition of ad hominem. It does follow that high EQ is a neo thing (that's another point you can challenge by the way).

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 23, 2012
at 11:25 PM

Yes Harry, I was kidding, actually. But for the most part, posting here has lead to the most unhelpful, cynical, and one-dimensional analysis I've seen in quite some time.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 09:59 AM

Did I hit a nerve? Are you unaccustomed to having your ideas challenged? Remember, if we were living in paleo times you would need a skin far thicker than that.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 10:51 PM

I'm looking forward to you addressing at least one of my points. Bring as many references as you like but try to keep them in the realm of the reasonably scientific. Whilst you're at it look up the definition of ad hominem.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 25, 2012
at 02:08 AM

Exactly zero of my references have been blog posts. Now I have to prove that books and scientific journals aren't blogs? Tedious much? Add disingenuous to the list of traits you're displaying. If you fully understood *ad hominem*, you might realize that its invocation is only effective as a debunking argument in limited scenarios; this is not one of them. Please look to the top of your screen and see if you've been awarded the troll badge. I'm done feeding you.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 11:00 PM

I'm looking forward to you addressing at least one of my points (although I won't be holding my breath). Wrap yourself around as many references as you like but try to keep them in the realm of the reasonably scientific - regurgitated blogs don't count. Whilst you're at it do look up the definition of ad hominem. It does follow that high EQ is a neo thing (that's another point you can challenge by the way).

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 23, 2012
at 11:21 PM

I'm getting down voted for actually attempting to answer a question and providing support other than whatever pops off the top of my head? Y'all are something else.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 24, 2012
at 06:24 PM

Right bro, 'cause your kumbaya quip was the pinnacle of rigorous inquiry. My philosophy says that if you can't challenge ideas by anything besides assertion and condescension, you probably have nothing to say. I'll put my pile of references up against your unsupported ramblings and sarcasm any day.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 23, 2012
at 09:16 PM

"I was hoping someone would answer in such a way that my homework was effectively done for me". You're kidding, right?

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 24, 2012
at 08:32 AM

Bro, you haven't said one interesting thing anywhere on this page. At least earn your smug. Oh oh... or are you just demonstrating the *free-rider problem* by letting everyone else bring ideas to the table while you drag the conversation down? I gotta sing to spice up the incessant banality. Worse, when you're at your least boring, it's only because you're whipped up into a frenzy of being wrong.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 25, 2012
at 09:45 AM

Kumbayah, kumbayah, kumbayah..

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 26, 2012
at 03:33 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3MiD_U4CHQ

6
240b0de1bfa11b51623daa6ba059bf95

on August 22, 2012
at 04:28 AM

Maybe minimalism. Part of the hunter-gatherer/ancestral thing seems to be that people only kept what was absolutely necessary. Very different today with people mindlessly accumulating stuff. Beyond a certain point it becomes a burden. To my mind, a big obstacle to positive interactions in the world is wanting new and wanting more. Hunter-gatherers would primarily have cared about that which works and that which is enough. That's minimalism, more or less.

Another focus might be active engagement in physical skills, a broad category that would include everything from sports to wood carving to live theater. Basically, various types of play to be readily shared with others. I want to emphasize "physical;" we're physical beings and experience life with our senses, not our imagination. It's important to share the experiences too; play allows individual expression but also bonds a group.

I think the real struggle for a paleo community would be for everyone to become reliant on and trusting of other people when there's not really anything forcing them to do so. For the most part hunter-gatherers were depending on each other for survival, whereas today people aren't in that situation. Minimalist living with an enormous focus on games, performance, and skilled physical activity might simulate hunter-gatherer life enough to keep us socially and psychologically healthy.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 04:09 PM

I do think minimalism is a predictable and appropriate response to consumerism. I mentioned it, along with Zen, in the post I wrote about this yesterday. http://evolvify.com/building-a-paleo-intentional-community/

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on August 24, 2012
at 09:41 PM

Well said Nick. I agree on minimalism, and on the value of play. I'm a storyteller and theatre teaching artist, and I am always amazed at how some of the people I work with need so much in order to "play" or be creative. But I think a lot of it is in opportunities we are given. PS, check out Homo Ludens, a book about play as a cultural function.

4
50330e8f7333311261e058cf4d53b29d

on August 23, 2012
at 05:31 AM

I'm pretty new to paleo, but I've been living in intentional communities since 1993.

Living in a group is a lot more fun that living alone or living in a nuclear family - there is nothing on TV as interesting as what happens almost every day in our kitchen. I like the 'play as a foundation' paper/idea - the group I've lived in since 2000 focuses on pleasurable group living - its an ongoing social experiment that has been running since 1968. We use a form of consensus called 'the one no vote.'

Groups are powerful - together you can really get stuff done - if - you pull together. The question is: what do you want to do? A pretty standard idea is that together you can have a far higher quality of life. But that alone doesn't seem to be enough to keep a group together. There are groups who get together around diet - vegetarian, vegan, whatever. You could view it that way.

FYI the failure rate among intentional communities is really high - the half life seems to be something like 5 years.

If you want to know about the nuts & bolts - check out Diana Leafe Christian's book - Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities. Its THE book.

Beyond that, IC.org is a very useful site.

Lots of people are really into farming - its a lot harder than it sounds. But the bigger question is how do you want the group to work in terms of economics. A really fun thing is to have a 'family business' that you work in/at together - especially if it means you can 'work at home' That is mostly what we do.


*I'm assuming y'all know that the nuclear family was an idea created after WWII to keep the economy going - Levittown and the GI bill (home ownership) and all that. Sell more cars, more washing machines.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 23, 2012
at 11:34 PM

Thanks, George. Good input.

4
2d7eb22102308801df5af0f632c9bc7c

on August 21, 2012
at 11:47 PM

Eating paleo is in a way, tremendously subversive. When you reject neolithic foods like grains, legumes, or possibly dairy from your diet it's intuitive to then ask "why did we ever begin eating these foods in the first place?" This is an important question, in fact it's a dangerous question. It forces you to rethink assumptions about civilization itself. When you question the practice of monocrop agriculture, you question the very substructure of the civilized way of life. This is possibly why the knee-jerk reaction to Paleo that some people have is so narrow-minded or outright vitriolic.

An intentional Paleo movement must come to terms with this. We will never be able to isolate our food from the politics surrounding it. The foods we profess people to avoid are the flagship foods of imperialism, colonialism, and the industrialized drawdown economy. Those who profit most from this system will probably not like us very much.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 12:06 AM

I'm with you, but I think it's good to clarify that I'm talking about small and voluntary intentional communities rather than a movement in the grander sense. Assuming buy-in from residents/members, what principles would be useful?

6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

(1169)

on August 23, 2012
at 11:15 AM

yes, the most common comment of course is that you are selfish (the planet cannot feed people eating meat given the numbers on it but it can veg - that does not bother me at all as we are only this planet for the blink of an eye anyway and will be gone before we know it compared to the animals, gases and the rest which will follow us)

3
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 11:39 PM

There is no doubt that the transition from a hunter gatherer to settled agriculturalist has impacted greatly on more than food sources. For a solid treatise I suggest Jared Diamond's Pulitzer Prize-winning, Guns Germs and Steel.

In my view the defining characteristic of our species is that we are driven by a desire to explore. It has shaped our evolution and cultural history. It has brought us into conflict with each other and our environment. Inevitably, it will see our civilisation explore beyond the bounds of our planet and transform our own physiology in ways that we cannot at this time conceive.

If there is a master "paleo" behavioural driver, then the drive to explore, both outwards and inwards, would be it.

It would therefore be of interest for the author of this question, who has indicated he is an advocate of a return to a hunter gatherer lifestyle - as a solution to the problems that he says are manifest in a neolithic lifestyle - to reconcile the force of this drive against his vision of an ideal human community.

3
2d7eb22102308801df5af0f632c9bc7c

on August 22, 2012
at 07:15 PM

Something I would add to that list: Ritual

Rituals are necessary within a group that is governed by the order of custom as opposed to the rule of law. They are a way to exorcise interpersonal tensions, and reinforce group integrity.

Rituals probably need to evolve based on the nature of the group, but some options might be things like fighting (akin to Maasai stick fighting), sports, music, theater, storytelling, etc.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 07:33 PM

And, despite "Primal" in the name, there is no mention of anything related to evolution in it.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 11:59 AM

^ I think it would ideally be philosophical rather than religious.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:09 AM

I would definately vote for at least seasonal celebrations, which are pretty much universal. What else can be included will be somewhat dependant on what people can get into or not. +1

2d7eb22102308801df5af0f632c9bc7c

on August 23, 2012
at 02:27 AM

Seasonal celebrations that mark the cycles of the landbase would definitely reconnect us to something we've lost.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 23, 2012
at 11:39 AM

So essentially, paleo needs to become a religion?

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 07:32 PM

Good point. I don't talk about this reference much, but "Primal Branding" deals with ritual in the context of marketing/branding. What's interesting is the extent to which humans think of things as rituals (though not necessarily consciously). An example he uses is the process of getting coffee at Starbucks... from standing in line to ordering to waiting to getting the coffee to doctoring it with additional ingredients. It's a consistent (and shared) ritual, but also customized for (and by) each individual. http://amzn.to/RDxT8z

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:07 AM

Ritual also helps provide context and sense of place, as well as a way of dealing with emotions. Seasonal celebrations, funerals, birth celebrations are all common in primitive societies, as well as contextual rituals like pre-hunt, or acts of sympathetic magic. Of course a modern hunter gatherer would need to do these in a more philosophical than metaphysical context, but thats perfectly viable IMO.

3
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 02:52 PM

Why would you want to create such a community? What is the value?

Are you proposing some kind of experiment like Biosphere 2, where you isolate from the predominant culture for a set period of time?

Do you know someone who will donate a huge game reserve next to the ocean?

If you aren't going to step (as much as possible) out of a neolithic context, I fail to see how you will be able to question neolithic assumptions.

In 7 years of living in an intentional community (Findhorn ecovillage), I failed to see any significant shift in challenging status quo assumptions when survival was at stake (re: food/money.)

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 04:56 PM

You mean you only want people who agree with you? Got it! And you assumed that I thought your question shouldn't be asked. I actually think it is a good question, and would benefit from some deeper inquiry. That is all.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 05:00 PM

And I do apologize if my tone was snarky or cynical. Not my intention.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 04:24 PM

Stating/implying that a question shouldn't even be asked is one of the least helpful responses in the realm of all possible responses. When I hover over the down arrow, it says, "This answer is not helpful" so that's what I'm going by. And... the response just seems cynical without adding anything constructive.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 04:39 PM

And pointing out that your community context is key can hardly be considered nonconstructive.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 04:37 PM

I am simply questioning your intentions & if you are thinking of starting a community, intention is key. I think my questions are as valid as yours and if you have problems with folks questioning *your* assumptions/intentions, then you are going to have a hard time creating community with intelligent people.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 07:14 PM

What's ironic is that I already live a life with my husband that meets many, (but not all--we own property) of the principles outlined in your blog post. Planning on becoming semi-nomadic next year.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 04:51 PM

Fortunately for me, the intelligent people I like to associate with tend to be less inclined to make *fundamental attribution errors*. At this stage in the game, there are plenty of people who "get it". For now, those are the people who are more invigorating and inspiring to interact with. Carson's responses are a good example of this.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 04:13 PM

And I would love to know why I was downvoted, out of curiosity.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 07:16 PM

For me, it's easier to live the principles myself & then I seem to run into folks who are living similarly. "Unintentional" community at its finest.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 05:59 PM

No. I want people who agree with me because they understand the HG anthropology, and/or will read the references I provide when I say my ideas are drawn from them. I don't have time to craft a custom argument for the majority of humanity steeped in the socialization of the industrial-agricultural-state. I'm not on a crusade to convert people.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 11:15 PM

You say, "I'm not on a crusade to convert people." But those who dont "get it" are labelled as cynical, right?

2
Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on August 24, 2012
at 09:01 PM

I know a lot of this has been said, but I'd like to add something my wife and I were discussing the other day. Having just moved to a new city, and having joined a CSA here, found organic food stores, etc, we were talking about how Paleo as a way of eating can take some of the best elements of other "food movements".

For example, locavores. There's a lot of local, sustainable agriculture around here. While not 100% paleo, the paleo community as a whole (or an intentional paleo community like the one envisioned here) would benefit greatly from a local, farm-to-table outlook on whatever was grown.

Or another example, raw foods. There's also lots of raw food options here. Again this isn't all paleo, but certain things like raw honey we find to be much more useful and enjoyable in our food.

As my wife and I see it, having an awareness of what other people around us are doing contributes to how we approach our own eating. It means also that when we meet people who eat raw, local, organic, and/or vegetarian, we can find a common ground.

So if we seek to be intentional about our food practices, with it must come a level of awareness, not only of what other paleos are doing, but how we can interact with others around the subjects of food and living. This in turn would allow for us to be the self-reliant individuals that many paleos seem to be (and certainly those of us who would join an intentional community), while also having a spirit of openness and mutual aid which would define communitarian living.

2
6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

on August 23, 2012
at 11:20 AM

They used to think some Amazon tribes were a nirvana of personal happiness. In fact 30% of them had committed murder usually over a girl, plus ca change.

I certanily prefer living in my fairly large family group structure here than if I were entirely alone or with a partner alone but if someone wanted a paleo life the best way is make a fortune, buy a tract of rain forest or land or huge bit of the Scottish highlands (or just go there and camp/rent) and move across your domain (or join the British gypsies or travellors I suppose if you can find any still able to live a travelling life). That will not be much fun.

I do own a small island near the equator (they are not expensive) so I suppose more than some people I have that chance to live fairly wild as it were although I don't want to live there.

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 23, 2012
at 08:50 AM

Considering paleo in the larger contexts of evolution, lifestyle, psychology, and hunter-gatherer anthropology, what concepts to you think should be included in an intentional paleo community?

There is definitely scope and, in my view benefit, in considering paleo for more than a dietary template. Other aspects include sleep/rest patterns, immune enrichment, acute versus chronic stressor exposure, hormonal considerations (particularly for women, who for health purposes should simulate the hormonal effects of pregnancy) and exercise.

These are all physiological functions that are hard coded by genes with some transient modification by epigenetic effects.

The functioning of the human mind is not so rudimentary. Its exquisite and extensive ability to adapt means that the role of environment dwarfs the contribution of genes and epigenetics. The framework of the mind is not just encoded in genes but also in memes - in culture, books, electronic media, etc.

In contrast to synthetic food, which adversely impacts metabolism, exposure to the synthesis of information results in new levels of human experience and cognitive processing and positively impacts brain physiology by increasing neural and glial network density.

Consider an accomplished pianist, violinist or maestro. Consider a theoretical physicist that can visualize and predict the function of the subatomic universe with mathematical equations or a poet whose weaving of words triggers the contemplation of wondrous worlds for his readers. These and more are aspects of the neolithic.

Personally I have no interest in simulating paleolithic aspects of lifestyle other than what is beneficial to physical health. From a cognitive perspective I am far more interested and excited to contemplate about where we are going rather than dwelling for too long on where we have come from.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 11:01 AM

And where would you seen art, science and technology fit in? How would you fund these things? How would you support a huge population? Protect your borders? You're talking about a whole new world model. Do you have an example of something like this that exists today?

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:11 PM

What you say about cognition is true. For example, scientific knowledge is positively impacted by a global sharing of information. However, human mind state/psychology is not so positively impacted by modern living. The modern era has placed food, shelter, security and material wealth above mental/emotional wellbeing. Perhaps we were just a little overzelous about getting to where we are.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:27 PM

It could go further - communities physically designed to encourage meeting familiar people, houses and buildings designed with full spectrum light, or light let in from outdoors (and no blue lights in the evening), computer interfaces designed to emulate interacting with physical objects, enabling touch across space. Getting off the track of community per se a bit here, but I think ive conveyed my idea - modern life and modern technology to fit around the human, not the human struggling poorly to adapt to the life and technology.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:23 PM

Lets look at the spear for example. The spear enables us to fight others, and hunt animals. This tool use gave us power. Without that power we would have died, or been overwhelmed, like a lion refusing to use its claws. But the spear didnt remove us from sunlight, disconnect us from other people etc. IDK best rough examples I can think of, is say, the barefoot shoe, or the ipad, versus the regular shoe or the old typewriter. In the former case, we adapted to the technology. In the later case it was the other way around.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:35 PM

There is good and bad in everything Jamie. Paleolithic life was hardly the ideal eden you imply.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 25, 2012
at 06:04 AM

Funding is an interesting area. In practice at least 30% of industry could be work done by machines. Capitalism prevents state or community ownership of such machines (and thus people just lose there jobs instead, and get no income to compensate). But in the modern era, with so much mechanisation, i suspect under a different, mildly socialist system, we could all work less and still get paid the same. Having realised this (that machines can do a significant portion of our work), it would seem to be that the current system is less than optimal economically.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:37 PM

There is good and bad in everything Jamie. Paleolithic life was hardly an ideal eden - it was often brutal and terrifying.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:17 PM

But its doubtful that the mainstream thinkers even recognise an issue with our escalating crime rates etc. Thats where IMO a highly successful _modernised_ intentional community with a veiw to design for human needs, rather than humans poorly adapting to its design, with a thriving economy with some socialist touches, if well conceived , could do wonders, by showing people you can have both community and modern living.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:32 PM

Id be looking to support a kind of modernised neo-tribal way of life, rather than simply a stripped back one. Which I guess is not a regression, but rather an evolution.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:13 PM

Although, its arguable whether thats truely a neolithic problem per se, as it would seem that early tribal villages got/get there psychological needs met pretty well compared with us. I dont think think myself, that global contact, or modern technology need be abandoned to create closer communities. Local economies, proper housing design, and shared activities could go along way for example. As could some soft socialist ideas.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:19 PM

Humans are evolved to share cultural knowledge. They are evolved to problem solve, and use technology. It think it would be wrong to have some kind of pure 100% "back to nature" approach, and would rather support or participate in re-conceiving modern inventions and ways of doing things, to marry them with more human natural psychology.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 25, 2012
at 05:59 AM

Basically youd be looking at a globalised network of smaller communities, with more local economies and local level community, but still dependant on specialisation too. I guess you could look at as being a bit like the web - an interlinked collection of smaller networks. And no, there is no example of that. But there was no example of centralisation, or specialisation before those developed either.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 25, 2012
at 09:35 AM

What about hospitals, power stations.. I suppose such a model becomes possible with higher technological advancement where you can achieve high levels of self-sufficiency without compromising on healthcare, etc. How would you reconcile basic human instincts for social power/domination?

2
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 22, 2012
at 01:00 AM

I would say shared activities, meeting and community is the total centre point. You want your community to have regular contact with each other.

Lots of walking and sunshine would be another.

Theres no reason to eschew technology in my beleif (humans have always been tool users, makers and thinkers), but technology, in terms of form, function and use, should be adapted for the human, rather than the human adapted for the technology.

Agriculture has benefits such as a connection to nature and the seasons (and bringing people together). Its not something to regect outright. In fact I would deepen its benefits by trying to establish said community very close to native forest/bush, where the community can learn about local plants and animals, connect to nature etc.

I would also suggest that a paleo community should be connected under some kind of philosophy connecting them to the natural world. A sense of mystery, awe and also a spiritual connection to life and living things is part of our old way of life. Now in the modern day, we kind of preclude superstition and metaphysics, but philosophy is not precluded. What that might mean, ill leave up to you.

Of course outright huntergathering and survival skills arent nessasary anymore. But thats no reason not to have someone there to teach these skills a little, just to deepen the connection with nature. In this respect, it may also help to have a herbalist, who is familiar with local plants.

In terms of psychology, the are three pillars of subjective wellbeing - freedom from undue restrictions, a sense of place and purpose, and community. Recreating that closer community and a role in it, and also a connection to the world around them will be key IMO to forfilling our emotional needs.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 23, 2012
at 11:48 AM

Funny how paleo tends to be so anti-relgion and yet, many of the answers here seem to include very religious aspects: ritual, mystisism, unseen connections, etc...

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 23, 2012
at 11:17 PM

Matt, I hear ya. Every culture ever studied has developed some sort of 'religion'. While it's no longer necessary to invoke religion to explain the universe, it is wise to at least distill the impulse into something that fits with human instincts.

1
Ff5d6fd79983af7b92bfab38b71823fb

(290)

on August 23, 2012
at 04:17 AM

This is a great post, and its a great vision. Land, a bunch of animals, everybody helps. Go in to it heart first, brain second, sense of humor and take nothing too seriously. The vision of a community apart from the machine is so dear to my heart. Nearest I've come is Rainbow Family. Transient, utopian.

1
2d7eb22102308801df5af0f632c9bc7c

on August 22, 2012
at 04:01 PM

Based on this thread I think the first order of business ought to be anthropological education on hunter-gatherer/indigenous peoples. There are beautiful and vibrant examples of modern hunter-gatherer societies all over the world (almost all of which are threatened by civilization) whom we can work to emulate in a respectful, non-relativist way. If we try to create communities based on whatever quasi-racist relativistic image of cavemen people have in their minds this will never work.

The next thing might be to adopt tribal political structures. By that I mean limiting the groups to sizes that are small enough to allow egalitarian decision making by absolute consensus on almost every issue.

2d7eb22102308801df5af0f632c9bc7c

on August 22, 2012
at 05:16 PM

That's exactly what I mean by tribal political structure: 30 members or under and after that the "tribe" splits into distinct separate groups. Egalitarianism is a fundamental outgrowth of most indigenous worldviews, and its how they tend to function politically. No doubt it's a slow an painful process, but we're not fighting a war here- we can afford to make decisions slowly. And in fact, creating an environment where decisions can be made by consensus should in fact be one of the goals of the community in the first place.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 04:16 PM

In my extended experience of consensus decision-making, it only works well in small (30 or under) homogenous communities. The diversity inherent in a modern intentional community makes consensus a painful and not very useful decision-making process.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 24, 2012
at 12:51 PM

Ironically, invariably a leader always emerges and the rest follow. This is a "paleo thing". Whether the leader is shaman, elder, king or matriarch - there is still a leader.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 22, 2012
at 05:59 PM

Carson~ You missed my point about homogeneity. The tribal structures you are describing came out of centuries of people growing upfrom birth in the *same* tribe with traditions and oral history held by the elders.

1
9866c5f3578a7a965ab212898d868467

on August 21, 2012
at 10:36 PM

meeting/socialising and actual human contact. whilst the web has been an amazing hub for bringing paleo communities together (and the #AHS12 hashtag really made me feel a connection with likeminded individuals) to embrace a paleo lifestyle means getting back to bare bones social situations. Real human contact is a must. From here a true forum based approach can happen that explores ideas and concepts organically and freely, rather than sitting at a computer and having the time to formulate an answer before unleashing it.

0
963322f175cdd4c5f7d52cc372b3a167

on August 25, 2012
at 03:56 AM

Universal respect for free speech.

Oops...that rules out our esteemed PH mods.

963322f175cdd4c5f7d52cc372b3a167

(646)

on August 25, 2012
at 05:25 AM

They were too uptight and humorless even for Melissa. And that's sayin' something.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on August 25, 2012
at 04:22 AM

Dude. Get a grip.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 25, 2012
at 09:37 AM

Free speech is not necessarily paleo. Perhaps far from it..

Medium avatar

(19479)

on August 25, 2012
at 08:52 PM

Human rights are not "paleo" either Harry.

0
E4faef53346e45f644ef905ab99ccb28

on August 25, 2012
at 03:13 AM

Has anyone read Sex at Dawn?

While I'm not necessarily suggesting a full-blown return to the paleolithic polyamory this book suggests was the case, perhaps an unwillingness to accept CW's views on love, marriage, and monogamy in favor of a shift toward a more tribal system of relationships would benefit a Paleo Community. More of a network of interdependent human relationships rather than monogamous pairs? Thoughts?

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on August 25, 2012
at 04:22 AM

I think this would happen naturally in any intentional community, whether it was intentional or not.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 26, 2012
at 03:25 AM

I referenced a journal review of SaD about a year ago, and added a few of my own thoughts. http://evolvify.com/sex-at-dawn-journal-review/ Notably, the book's author called the review "critical, but not terribly unfair".

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 31, 2012
at 06:17 PM

Update. The claim in *Sex at Dawn* are pretty much dead in the water at this point. There's a book-length critique of it that just came out that debunks most of its claims. See: "The myth of promiscuity: A review of Lynn Saxon, Sex at Dusk: Lifting the Shiny Wrapping from Sex at Dawn" http://bit.ly/SUE6KU

E4faef53346e45f644ef905ab99ccb28

(83)

on September 06, 2012
at 02:08 AM

Andrew - thanks for pointing me in that direction! Sex at Dusk is definitely going on my list now.

0
Cc4f028b568b0244ba2d1b9e4c6f4898

(8)

on August 22, 2012
at 02:15 AM

Ok let me ask you a question in return: if we had a community, what would we do? have 8 hour smoked brisket potlucks? MovNat Monday Meet-ups? I mean, are we going to have a novelty community? How much are we rejecting neolithica? Are we supposed to be like, Amish with MacBooks? We can tackle the philosophical stuff all day but its the practical, tangible, economic acts that will define the "community". Trust me, I am all about community building. Actually, I am about to start a "primitive skills' intensive in my area and I think the paleo community and the primitive skills community might have some overlap. Maybe that could be a potential solution about how to structure your next "paleo mixer" - fire making and/or flint mapping workshops along side the paleo brownies.

Cc4f028b568b0244ba2d1b9e4c6f4898

(8)

on August 22, 2012
at 12:02 PM

Yes but i still wonder "how" that translates into real life? If we are not going to be "hunting" or "gathering" then will our community be based on 'play'. Not that that would be a bad thing at all, but to me its still a novelty that would wear off in time. I could make a monthly trek to Atlanta to participate in "meet ups" but then its back to the internet to participate in the "community". Im ALL about "play" being a leading factor in a paleo community and im all about looking to H/G for tips on how to structure community but we are faced with a new obstacle - modern economics.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc

on August 22, 2012
at 02:42 AM

It's less about the rejection of "neolithica" per se and more about clearing the board of all of the *assumptions* of agricultural civilization. In the last 3 or 4 decades we've made huge leaps in understanding of our hunter-gatherer ancestors and how evolution has shaped us. Knowing what we know now, what kind of community would we build? I view this as a good overall sketch: "Play as a Foundation for Hunter-Gatherer Social Existence" http://bit.ly/dfKbF9

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 25, 2012
at 09:42 AM

What happens when _another_ intentional community encroaches on your intentional community? _Crush the enemy, see him driven before you, hear the lamentation of the women_?

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on August 25, 2012
at 06:02 PM

@Harry, survival of the fittest, bitches.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on August 25, 2012
at 04:24 AM

Yes, theoretical is great, but what about the practical? No one has (directly) addressed child-rearing, schooling, division of labor, sharing of resources and efforts, what the rules are for lazy-asses, what the rules are when someone leaves, etc. I personally vote for Paleo Taco Tuesdays.

0
C0c839648b31512515daaffe8e4e9ad1

on August 22, 2012
at 12:34 AM

I am creating a website for this type of sentiment/community. Any help here with getting it going would be helpful and useful. It would not focus on food or exercise but on other important aspects of life.

This is in response to Carson's post.

Please let me know what you think.

Edited to be more specific.

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