Episode:Civilization—Early Development (Part 4)
The earliest human cultures arose along the rivers of the Eastern Hemisphere, and human society evolved from the hunting stage through that of the herders to the territorial stage of agriculture. Man is a creature of the soil. He may try to escape from the land, but he is certain to fail. “Dust you are and to dust shall you return” is literally true of all mankind.
Keywords: Urantia, Hunting, Herding, Farming, Overpopulation
Summary by Kermit
Commentary on Review
We revisited the final paragraph of section 4 to reiterate the seemingly counterintuitive contention that the heightened spiritual consciousness that gives rise to so much of today’s call for revolutionary action to right perceived wrongs in our society and culture is a major cause of the planetary emergency that brings the fifth epochal revelation to our world.
Spiritual consciousness divorced from cosmic wisdom distorts temporal sensibilities triggering precipitous reactions to human needs in lieu of balanced action born of patient reflection. Every domain of human activity conforms to the evolutionary process, ordained by the God of Evolution. The rapid technological changes of the last one to two hundred years, often cited as contributing to the emergency are not to blame. Had Adam and Eve fulfilled their mission, our civilization would have attained the pinnacle of technological development by 10,000 B.C. The missing piece in our planetary progress is the absence of the intellectual and philosophical uplifter, the Magisterial Son. It’s most difficult to understand the consequences of this omission in their fullness. It appears today that the world needs help that is not being provided. The zealous motivation to eliminate the contrasting conditions that showcase the inevitabilities is understandable, but contraindicated. All of which highlights the problems of pain and suffering and the question of the context in which they are viewed. Existentially, pain and suffering are to be eliminated. Experientially and evolutionarily these tensions serve to move society, culture, and civilization forward. Remember pain and suffering are essential to progressive evolution. And lest we forget, we have celestial assistance 24/7 helping to move civilization forward. As individuals we have sovereignty over our inner life where we are free to supply the favorable conditions to be grown. Our sovereignty does not extend to the outer life such that we can cause any of these favorable conditions to become widespread social phenomena.
68:5. Land Techniques—Maintenance Arts
The author introduces the term land-man ratio for the first time in the revelation and its importance in the evolution of the mores, which are in turn linked to man’s cultural civilization. Four great steps in the forward march of civilization, all having to do with land techniques are explained. The nomadic collection stage was the earliest form of industrial organization and in fact is still the mode of life of the African Bushmen. With the invention of weapon tools, the hunting stage followed enabling no small relief from food slavery. Today there are some Australian natives who have progressed little beyond this stage.
The domestication of animals led to the pastoral stage. Pastoral living afforded still more relief from food want. However, it also reduced women to the depths of social slavery. This dynamic is played out today among predominantly pastoral peoples where the status of women is well below that of men. Vestiges of the pastoral stage persist in Christian and Moslem cultures, where Christian religious leaders are still called pastors, and the pastoral mores of the Moslems became codified in their holy book, resulting in women’s current condition described as little short of hopeless by the revelators. Again, we pointed out the difficulty in viewing the state of humankind from an existential perspective where we call much of what is going on in the world, grossly imperfect and therefore “bad”, in contrast to seeing the evolutionary nature of progressive civilization as perfecting and therefore “good.”
The highest type of material civilization, the agricultural stage was brought about by the domestication of plants. Agriculture was responsible for quadrupling the land-man ratio of the world. The Planetary Prince and Material Son and Daughter both endeavored to teach horticulture and agriculture. The 5th ER speaks highly of the benefits of tilling the soil to all races of mankind. There has always been conflict between the herders and the agriculturalists. We briefly discussed this antipathy as depicted in both the Bible and the revelation versions of the story of Cain and Abel. Yet, both activities being activities of peace, their common weakness as far as world social activities is concerned is that they lack the lure of excitement and adventure.
As a result of the evolution over these stages of land use, nomadism declined and man increasingly lived at home. The revelators use of the term “territorial stage of agriculture”, suggests the concomitant evolution from tribal ways to nation ways, wherein man’s sense of belonging and connection to “a people” (tribal) transition to “a place” (nation).
Commenting on the present day role of industry supplementing agriculture and the attendant urbanization and increasing number of nonagricultural group of citizenship classes, the revelators remind us that the highest social developments must ever rest upon a sound agricultural basis, notwithstanding the futuristic fantasies depicted in the Jetsons et al.
68:6. Evolution of Culture
With the land-man ratio as a foundation for all social civilization, we now focus on the next step, cultural civilization. If not already obvious, our author reminds us that we are creatures of the soil, dependent upon land for our very existence and destined to return thereto. (At least our non-enduring components).
The intelligent development of the arts and science increased the land yield, which coupled with some degree of population stability provided favorable conditions for building a cultural civilization. The natural relationships between supply and demand applied to land and people made for predictable adjustments in the differential value placed upon both over the vicissitudes of history. Note that as man exerts his genuinely human nature, he begins to rise above these natural mechanistic relationships and is able to take some control of these processes.
In the remaining seven paragraphs of this section, the author takes up the matter of population; its relation to standards of living, social classes, and issues its control. With increasing poignancy he treats these topics of increasing controversy challenging our current day mores and the “material idealism” underlying them. In the final paragraph he dares to prescribe what can be described (at least by today’s more-derived standards) as a markedly politically incorrect strategy to institute eugenics-based programs of population management and control.