dawn of everything
notes/tweets/quotes.. till book comes out:
Wouldn’t it be fun if the earliest evidence for an explicit ideology of equality (“we are all much the same”) came between farming and cities, in what’s usually assumed to be a “chiefdom” type organisation? Everything we know is wrong.
#TheDawnOfEverything #Ubaid #Mesopotamia
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1328683310084657156
David Wengrow (@davidwengrow) tweeted at 1:10 PM on Tue, Dec 15, 2020:
Any time something really good happens with #TheDawnofEverything I naturally wanna tell @davidgraeber about it at once. Since I can’t, I’ll tell Twitter instead: a leading expert thinks our #Cahokia chapter is not too shabby (usual disclaimers, etc.). 🥲
Close to finishing edits on #TheDawnOfEverything but with a heavy heart, as it feels like a conversation I started long ago with @davidgraeber is ending. Today was to be his 60th birthday. David liked putting out teasers, so in his spirit, here’s one from our conclusion: (1/3)
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1360240661325377541
@davidwengrow: – “In developing the scientific means to know our own past, we have exposed the mythical sub-structure of our “social science” – what once appeared unassailable axioms, the stable points around which our self-knowledge is organised, are scattering like mice. – 2/3
@davidwengrow: – What is the purpose of all this new knowledge, if not to reshape our conceptions of who we are, and what we might yet become? If not, in other words, to rediscover the meaning of our third basic freedom: the freedom to create new and different forms of social reality.” 3/3
Our charming publishers @fsgbooks made a proper banner for #TheDawnOfEverything so now at least my twitter profile looks a bit less like ROCKY III . . every step closer to release is bittersweet without DG: thanks to everyone who’s along for the ride. It really means a lot to me.
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1376937941600194560
10 years on this is my copy of Debt – which @davidgraeber gave me over a bowl of ramen near Times Square, which is roughly how #TheDawnOfEverything started. https://t.co/MwsZf4Lz5G
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1390264226028167171
“Perhaps this is what a state actually is: a combination of exceptional violence and the creation of a complex social machine, all ostensibly devoted to acts of care and devotion.” #TheDawnOfEverything
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1401280641887576064
ostensibly: apparently or purportedly, but perhaps not actually
First reactions to #TheDawnOfEverything: magical, marvellous, much missed @davidgraeber – all this is for you!
Thanks so much to R.D.G.Kelley, R.Solnit, J.Scott, P.Mishra, @CoreyRobin, @nntaleb, Prof.Chomsky, J.Lanier, and @rcbregman https://t.co/rayWmM4JVw
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1413820646107369475
This is one of the most important books I’ve read in a long time. Clear, urgent, powerful – a manifesto for decolonization and climate justice that pushes the horizons of our imagination. Every page is gold. Read it, share it, discuss it. https://t.co/hNC93OOkjR
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/jasonhickel/status/1413915892988088323
This is how we start by the way . . #TheDawnOfEverything https://t.co/XWUSFob4Sn
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1417218877696659464
farewell to humanity’s childhood – or why this is not a book about the origins of ineq.. ‘living in time for metamorphis’
from nassim nicholas taleb tweets:
In case you’re seriously impatient @nntaleb has been tweeting pics of #TheDawnOfEverything (some of the bits between the covers that is).
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1416780710258651148
I’ve stopped blurbing books. Except when they are real books. In this case a real, real book.
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/1413863796884525057
“DEMOCRACY” BORN IN ATHENS 6th C BC?
A remark that both I & Amin Maalouf made: Livy documents that the Carthagenians had a senate that blocked Hannibal. Arabs inherited a “مجلس الشورى”, a council of elders. So could it be earlier?
Here in Graeber & @davidwengrow:
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/1416761101245636609
@davidwengrow 2) COMMODITIZATION OF DEMOCRACY
Graeber & Wengrow: While ancient assemblies deliberated on common problems, democracy as now implemented is a game of winners & losers. https://t.co/HPjJRI6fVF
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/1416761689765257225
quote from book: ‘democracy as we have come to know it .. a game of winners and losers’
other notes from his writings on democracy ness: david on voting; david on communism; david on direct action; david on consensus; david on care and freedom; as if already free ness; .. so (to me).. we need to let go of any form of democratic admin
Again, the late David Graeber: the problem with historians is that they are not aware of the survivorship bias, do not have a word for it. https://t.co/tezSOFje2y
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/1417202725486477315
from book: ‘the line of reasoning that assumes that, if there is no direct evidence for something, it can be treated as if it does not exist’
That’s about the best 1-line summary . . #TheDawnOfEverything https://t.co/8JSoYBQ5PW
links to: graeber here.. writing w wengrow looks way back to the earliest forms of self org among human societies for clues as to how we might survive the coming decades.. 700 pages you should definitely make time to read – jd
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1420390795614597129
thinking.. need to look beyond earliest forms of self org (history ness).. to survive whatever’s coming.. rather.. need a means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature.. so we can dance/self-org/whatever as legit free people
there’s a nother way for 8b people to live/org/be
well, this is very much the standard way of looking at human history – a story of progression through evolutionary stages, linked to modes of production – and in #TheDawnOfEverything we will explain (1) it didn’t really happen that way, and (2) how we came to think that it did. https://t.co/dvwp2W7nJI
links to: @mbauwens: it was an evolutionary process, foraging communities started experimenting with agriculture and found that overall it led to better outcomes, higher densities of people, more surviving family members; there’s a long inter-regnum in which both systems co-existed
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1422833604351119363
while reading david on creative refusal – last page (16):
The battle @davidgraeber and @davidwengrow fight in *The Dawn of Everything* is not so much about historical revision, as it is about getting rid of the illusion of a one-shot revolution that takes us back to a single ideal past.
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/SimonaFerlini/status/1423554211258712067
not that there was a perfect time to go back to.. because all history was/is played out in sea world.. but that doesn’t mean we can’t leap to ie: eudaimonia\tive surplus.. to an undisturbed ecosystem (not a one shot revolution.. a revolution in reverse.. a revolution of everyday life.. revolution as instigating utopia everyday
2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b free people
let’s be that creative in our refusal.. ie: a nother way
This is key question @davidgraeber and I grappled with & #TheDawnOfEverything argues (1) a new narrative of human history based on actual evidence is possible + (2) the conceptual tools needed to write it lie partly outside the European tradition (e.g. in Native American thought). https://t.co/MAJJXb9Gi
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1323971763513020422
Wld you say that an evidence-based grand substitute narrative is possible or do we finally need to get rid of all? It cld be neither one of progress nor of decline. But what? A “non-linear” story of contextual possibilities, imaginative problem-solving …? #TheDawnOfEverything
ie: imagine if we
I’ve been asked to give the Radcliffe-Brown Lecture, which David Graeber would otherwise have given (it’s one of the highest academic honours in our field, and they’d like to hear about our joint work on #TheDawnOfEverything). I think I’ll talk about freedom. More on this soon.
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1442501270691106816
yay you.. keep on man
I hear some talented readers are designing a website for #TheDawnOfEverything – a place for citizen science, and reasoned debate/deliberation on the issues raised in the book (maybe I’ll use it to respond to questions, criticisms, or the occasional misrepresentation of our work).
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1442522502270382080
#TheDawnOfEverything is about unravelling myths, asking new questions, and creating tools to answer them – within the bounds of what can presently be known. Answers can’t always be simple (only myths have this quality), but some important things have come into focus. A flavour https://t.co/lXPppXg2oJ
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1443565253845991431
links to screenshot of page from conclusion in book:
.. a new vision of social relations she would instantly be marked as a subversive, a revolutionary; if she attracted followers she might well find herself confronted by military force.
all this brings into focus another question. does this newly established nexus between external violence and internal care – between the most impersonal and the most intimate of human relations – mark the point where everything begins to get confused? is this an ie of how relations that were once flexible/negotiable ended up getting fixed in place: an ie, in other words, of how we effectively got stuck? if there is a particular story we should be telling, a big question we should be asking of human history (instead of the ‘origins of social ineq’), it is precisely this: how did we find ourselves stuck in just one form of social reality, and how did relations based ultimately on violence and domination come to be normalized w/in it? .. t
perhaps scholar who most closely approached this question in the last century was anthropologist and poet named franz steiner..
NEW VIDEO: It’s time to discard some common misconceptions and rethink our perspective on human history, so that we can truly reckon with the scope of our political possibilities.
Special shoutout to @davidwengrow https://t.co/C98m0uySpj
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/_saintdrew/status/1445843700064690176
next tweet in his thread links to his 32 min video:
30 min – there’s so many things we don’t yet know.. there’s so many things we’ll never truly know.. but the unknowability of our whole past doesn’t cut off the possibilities of our future.. in fact.. *in some respects.. it may free us to think anew.. so much more is possible.. there is nothing inherent about our temporary condition.. t
ie: a nother way
jacobin mag 2021 – David Graeber Knew Ordinary People Could Remake the World – by GIULIO ONGARO
They show, for instance, that social domination can be broken down into three elements — control of violence, control of knowledge, and charismatic power — and that permutations of these elements yield consistent patterns throughout history. While the modern nation state embodies all three, most hierarchical societies of the past had only one or two, and this allowed for the people who lived under them degrees of freedom that are barely imaginable for us today.
The Dawn of Everything is a treatise on human freedom.
they identify three types of freedom — freedom to abandon one’s community (knowing one will be welcomed in faraway lands), freedom to reshuffle the political system (often seasonally), and freedom to disobey authorities without consequences — that appear to have been simply assumed among our ancestors but are now largely lost
This analysis flips the question one should really be asking about the historical development of hierarchy: “The real puzzle is not when chiefs first appeared,” they suggest, “but rather when it was no longer possible to simply laugh them out of court.”..t
Whenever nonspecialists try their hands at human history, they inevitably end up reproducing the same old myths we have grown up with.
all of us.. the myth of sea world
One of the experiences of delving into this book, at least in my case, was a gradual recognition of being in the presence of an intellectual oddity, something difficult to situate within the current landscape of social theory..t
We know that Graeber, at least, liked to think himself as a “pre-humanist,” actively expecting to see humanity realize its full potential.
If comparisons must be made, they should be made with works of similar calibre in other fields, most credibly, I venture, with the works of Galileo or Darwin. Graeber and Wengrow do to human history what the first two did to astronomy and biology respectively. The book produces a similar decentering effect: in dethroning our self-appointed position at the pinnacle of social evolution, it deals a blow to the teleological thinking that so insidiously shape our understanding of history
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1451875338678685702
the guardian – 2021 – The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow review – inequality is not the price of civilisation
All of these books (diamond, harari, et al) share a common assumption: as societies become larger, more complex, wealthy and “civilised”, they inevitably become less equal. . The lesson, then, is clear: human equality and freedom have to be traded for progress.
Graeber and Wengrow see the origins of this “stagist” narrative in Enlightenment thought, and show that it has been so persistently appealing because it can be used by radicals as well as liberals.
the authors make their sympathies clear: they admire experimentation, imagination and playfulness, as well as mastery of the art of not being governed, to use historian James C Scott’s term.. t
The Dawn of Everything is an exhilarating read, but it’s unclear how effectively it makes the case for anarchism. Sceptical readers will be driven to ask: if states in their current form are really so unnecessary, why have they become so dominant across the world? To address this, Graeber and Wengrow would have needed to offer a much fuller account of why modern states emerged, how they could have been avoided and how we might live without them. This is what Kropotkin tried to do, and such questions seem particularly pressing when the sheer complexity and interconnectedness of current global challenges lead many to conclude that we need more state capacity, not less.
? missed the point? from reviews.. haven’t read book yet.. but seems to not be about why things emerged.. but rather why we got stuck in them..
Even so, myth-busting is a crucial task in itself. As we seek new, sustainable ways to organise our world, *we need to understand the full range of ways our ancestors thought and lived. And **we must certainly question conventional versions of our history which we have accepted, unexamined, for far too long.
*i’d say we don’t need to understand history ness
**i’d say we don’t need to question history.. (energy suck).. we just need a nother way way for 8b people to live
#TheDawnOfEverything is currently the *best-selling* book in Canada. As in #1.
I’m speechless, and if you’ve read it you will know what a special resonance this has.
I so want @davidgraeber to know.
Thank you to all our readers.
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1451481665231114243
This is how I will always remember David Graeber. On top of the world.
WE DID IT DAVID
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1451853336597127169