Quinta-feira, 4 de Agosto de 2011

"throwing spear"




These developments marked a major turning point in the evolution of lethal intergroup violence and in the character of interrelations between neighboring groups. Although fitness continued to be related to territory size (for food-limited populations in occupied environments), selective circumstances no longer favored aggression as a means of achieving territorial gain. Conflict avoidance and the development of intergroup relations of friendship, mutuality, sharing, and cooperation were favored instead. Intragroup cooperation was elaborated in conjunction with the teamwork entailed by large game hunting and was further reinforced by mechanisms for sharing large animals jointly killed by a hunting party. Development of these practices provided a template for establishing positive relations between neighboring social groups that could readily be realized when two bands temporarily camped and hunted together. Conflict avoidance dictated that groups move apart to alleviate resource competition whenever possible. This response to crowding facilitated migration out of Africa into the temperate and subtropical zones of Europe and Asia, vastly expanding the geographic distribution of H. erectus. In other words, the development of the throwing spear altered the means of production as well as the social relations of production, distribution, and consumption within groups in fundamental ways that also transformed intergroup relations and influenced subsequent hominid evolution.

This period of Paleolithic warlessness, grounded in low population density, an appreciation of the benefits of positive relations with neighbors, and a healthy respect for their defensive capabilities, lasted until the cultural development of segmental forms of organization engendered the origin of war. This organizational transformation facilitated the mobilization of all adult male group members and their participation in preplanned dawn raids on settlements in which the tactical advantages of surprise and numerical superiority could be brought to bear. At this juncture, the unit involved in combat is a raiding party (a military organization) rather than a hunting party (an economic organization), and the location of combat shifts from the border zone to the sleeping quarters at the core of a group's territory. At the same time, the intrinsic military advantage shifts from defenders to attackers. All of the attackers are combatants, whereas less than half of those under attack are armed. Attackers characteristically inflict numerous casualties while suffering few or none. This outcome is a consequence of weaponry amplifying the advantages of surprise and numerical superiority.


The evolution of lethal intergroup violence thus encompasses three major periods: (i) the era of coalitionary killing, (ii) the era of intrinsic defensive advantage, and (iii) the era of war. An advance in weapons technology (the javelin-like throwing spear) engenders the first transition, whereas an advance in military organization and tactics produces the second. The decisive significance of these factors is expectable in light of what we know from recorded military history. However, the duration of the first two eras extends over hundreds of thousands of years. The protracted character of these eras is consistent with the slow pace of technological and organizational change during the Paleolithic period.


publicado por quaerendoinvenietis às 21:37
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