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The World Until Yesterday

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 710
  • Category: Society

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In David Brooks’ essay, he discusses Jared Diamond’s book “The world Until yesterday.” Diamond’s book relates many customs of primitive societies and compares the so called traditional and modern society. Brooks believed that primitive societies are more ferocious than ours. Raids and revenge become the cycle since land is valuable in the agriculture society. In “The World Until Yesterday”, Jared Diamond tells some violent stories which were normally happened in the primitive society. Geography and environment seem to be the prior elements because agriculture is dominant.

Diamond describe a war happened in 1961 between two tribal alliances in New Guinea which causes 0.14 percent population got killed. The mortality of this war exceeds the war-related death rates among most major countries confronted included World Wars I and II. People in tribal societies were taught to revenge back once they feel they are in danger. In comparison of us, we feel guilty about killing about others and we were taught to hold up our desire for revenge. What causes the distinction is the structure of the society and the environment in which we live are dramatically different. However, traditional societies have much to teach us in terms of child-rearing, the treatment of the elderly and dispute resolution.

People in primitive society solve essential human problems from their experiments. Brooks gives example about how people settle a traffic accident in the tradition society and modern society. People have different approaches and more importantly their goal of the settlement seems to be different. He believed that in Jared Diamond ‘s book, he pays too much attention on geographic and environment features and ignore individual’s ability might improve their own lives. It’s hard to learn from people in primitive society because we have so many differences from them in terms of society structure, levels of civilization and technology development.

All of these differences largely impact people’s path of lives and destiny. There is no doubt that traditional society has given us valuable experiments and individual’s dignity is shape by our civilization. I agree that Brooks opinion on people from primitive society don’t seem like us and the society environment is different from us. For instance, in primitive society is a few dozen to a few hundred people where you know everybody by name. There aren’t any strangers. But in modern society, we’re dealing with strangers everyday, and we’re told that strangers are an opportunity for something interesting and they’re not dangerous.

In contrary to the traditional society, people are growing up in a society where everybody knows everybody else and they share responsibilities for everybody else. However, there is still something that our society can learn from the ones Diamond writes about. For example, the way they raise children. People are not brought up solely by their parents but all the adults are view as their substitute parents meaning all of those social models and much more social opportunities for learning social skills than children in modern society. Unlike children in the United States, their parents are the only one that has overwhelming influence on children. Also, Diamond talks about loneliness in his book. We can compare how people treat elderly citizens.

In traditional society, old people live out surround by their friends, relatives and children, meaning that they’ve got their lifelong social ties. Whereas in the United States or other developed countries, elderly citizens are considered a disaster. Most of them end up to be lonely, living far from their friends and their children. We have heard and see a lot cruel story about elderly who lives alone and have no one to help when they are in need. The life of old people is more satisfying in traditional society compared to our society.

Or I should say the connection between people are closer in terms of treating elderly and we often say that we can learn a lot about a society by the way they treat their elderly. Our civilization is damaged our society at some respects emotionally. However, different people have different ways of measuring the success of a society. In the society we live, we put too much attention on individual’s economic success and therefore ignore things that tied people together humanity.

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