What do you make of David Graeber and David Wengrow's idea that the linear evolution from archaic to indigenous, tribal, traditional, ... turquoise ... is not really linear. The technological level of a society doesn't determine the complexity of their ability to apprehend the world. Many evolutionary levels can be found in the same society at the same time, etc... ???

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Nov 20, 2022·edited Nov 20, 2022Author

It's hard for me to assess Graeber and Wengrow's book because they leave the impression that their left-anarchist ideology drove the analysis, leading them to cherry-pick evidence and supply highly speculative theories to ambiguous evidence. They tell a story about human freedom and our ability to construct fundamentally different societies, but I'm not quite ready to believe that their story isn't fictional in good measure.

That said, from what I have read of the text and read about the text, I don't think anything they wrote is a major threat to integral theories of sociocultural development. Quite the contrary, they actually acknowledge that the archaic > hunter/gatherer > agrarian > industrial unfolding is a good fit for the history of the West. That's no small admission. But they want to convince us that if we look at early societies without prejudice we will see that they hopped around these stages, sometimes jumping from hunter/gatherer right to industrial urban centers, etc.

While I'm not convinced this is correct, it might be. And so integral evolutionary theory must take pains not to be too linear and we should also question whether the integral model of development for early societies has been too simplistic.

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Thank you, Joe. That's helpful and sounds reasonable. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.

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