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+1 vote
What are some anti-civ books that explain why they believe the destruction of civilization would be better? The anti-civ stuff I've read will explain why industrialized civilization is a negative and should be destroyed, but stops there. So are there any anti-civ books that includes explanations of the negatives of civilization prior to industrialization? It's confusing if it's just limited to the negatives industrialized civilization.

To make it more confusing to me is sometimes the anti-civ people sound like they'd prefer to live in the conditions of the bourgeois prior to industrialization. For example, Bellamy's writings comes off that way to me. He suggests stuff like fishing, woodworking, herbal folk medicine... were common skills among the average person. But stuff like that was only really accessible to the elite classes prior to industrialization. A chair is something you'd think the plebs would've had in their home, but they did not. They usually had a bench and ate gruel. The average pleb usually didn't have the materials, means and know-how to make complicated stuff out of wood for themselves prior to industrialization.

I think that maybe due to many books that are about past societies tend to focus on the elite classes and so it's harder to get a sense of how average people lived in the past.

Did that Bellamy dude "cancel" himself or something?
by (4.7k points)
lol, so fishing is unique to the boogsh-wa?? I don't think so. Overall I personally find Bellamy's critiques to be very boring and badly written, but he has a lot of good points.
"stuff like fishing, woodworking, herbal folk medicine... were common skills among the average person. But stuff like that was only really accessible to the elite classes prior to industrialization"

is your question specifically about industrialization, not civilization per se? i'm not clear.

while industrial civilization is only a few hundred years old, civilizations are at least 10,000 years old. the statement i quoted above may be applicable when referring to industrial human civilization. but it would be absurd if referring to pre-civilized humans. are you referring to the period of civilization (less than 10K years ago) that is prior to industrialization?
Funkyanarchy, let's say between 500-1,000 years ago. I'm asking if there is an anti-civ book where it focuses on the everyday average peoples lives prior to industrialization in Eurasia and why it is a negative or problematic.  I assume there's an anti-civ book/writing that examines the structures of everyday life somewhere in Eurasia and at some point prior to industrialism. I've noticed indigenous people of some area are mentioned a lot.  If there is an examination of peoples prior to industrialization, it seems like the focus is mainly on the elites.

The woodworking and fishing thing was to attempt to indicate they're fairly recent and slowly became more accessible to the commoners instead just certain people.

@Nihilist, yes, the commoners didn't go fishing. I guess if they were part of a crew they did, but outside that not really. They had no easy way to get to a river or the ocean. Even if they did, the fish along the shoreline were depleted by the people of higher status than them, so were rivers. With the rivers it was dependent the location. The plebs in now what's France and Germany weren't allowed to fish in the rivers. They didn't have sailboats to go deeper out to sea to fish. Preserving and transporting the fish was problematic for the people that did. They could obtain fish from a merchants though. It was a tiny part of their diet. Most of their diet was from various grains and cereals, and occasionally salted beef. yumyum

The mechanical saw was mostly what made it possible and easier to do woodworking. It relies on sawmills. The plebs didn't have sawmills.

There are many things where you'd think the past pleb was doing this or that and had this or that. Like the fork, you'd probably think the fork has been around for a long time. It didn't appear until 17th century and didn't become widely used until the 18th century. People, especially priests, thought the fork was some sort of diabolical tool and bickered about it for like 80 years.

Is Ismael the one with the telepathic or talking gorilla?
Yes, Ishmael is the one with the talking gorilla.

I'm having a really huge issue with the way you are framing this discussion: you're using all these general terms to talk about European civilization, but you aren't using dates or referring to specific locations.

If you're whole thing is class society, it was only until recently that written text was easily available, so if you are looking for a specific book about civilization you're gonna have to do more than ask a small group of anarchists about the books they like.

In ancient times, there were these types of people called "scribes" who were the only ones who could actually record things on stones or papyrus. Also, the majority of people back then had no use for written word: it started out as a way for more privileged people to keep records, so they could pass down information to the next ruling class. They talk about this in different words in "Free from civilization"
"I'm asking if there is an anti-civ book where it focuses on the everyday average peoples lives prior to industrialization in Eurasia"

you might want to look at specific history books covering the time and place you are focused on. iow, not specifically anti-civ. you could then filter based on authors' perspectives/biases, if you can determine that.

2 Answers

+1 vote
against (his)story, against leviathan
by (52.9k points)
Thanks. I've read that, but it's not quite what I'm looking for.

Not really related, but it that book sets off my pet peeve.
0 votes

The anti-civ stuff that i've read normally does a pretty good job of explaining the inherent issues of civilization, whether the writers want to destroy civilization is irrelevant to me (and i believe should be irrelevant to the readers...) because it's not something that can be done by an individual or a small group of people. While I can't predict the future: "destroying civilization" is out of the question, mostly because the vast majority of people have a vested interest in keeping it running.

The three best books that come to mine that i would classify as "anti-civ" are (in no order):

-Free From Civilization.

-Ishmael (this book was actually responsible for "radicalizing" me and was a tremendous help for me in my teenage years, even though i had a lot primitivist type delusions because of it, mostly my romanticizing of indigenous life)

-Running on Emptyness.

I could go into detail about all these books, but i'm just going to be pithy and say that the one thing that i appreciate about all these books i have mentioned is within them there's a critique of the alienation that comes from all large societies. The wilderness may have all these terrible dangers [and the fear of it is somewhat warranted] but if you are just a cog in a machine, so to speak, then you're going be missing out on a lot of the sensuality and freedom that small bands of hunter/gatherers and gardeners used to have.

Of course, the major issue with a lot of anti-civ thinking is this idea that we need to conform to previous indigenous lifestyles or our lives just aren't worth living. However, we can re-create animalian sensuality and freedom to a degree.

by (2.4k points)