Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Pure Innocent Happy Natives

I already stated my opinion about the "pure innocent natives" myth when I reviewed "James Cameron's Avatar" in my "Most Disappointing Movies" article. In that review, basically I said the natives is not really innocent, they could be as nasty as modern people and more. 

But recently one of my facebook friend shared the photo on the right. That brings another Luddite argument: 
"They are happier than us!"

What a joke. 

I could start by saying "Ignorance is a bliss." Other than that I could list another "NOs".

Another List of NOs
No philosophers to point out the flaws of these societies.

No books to improve your knowledge.

No method to spread knowledge widely and quickly.

No way to communicate with people on the other side of the planet.

No food from other regions/countries, only the same old boring food that your ancestor cook.

No cure for tons of nasty diseases.

No police to defend you. That makes "No crime or prisons" means "might is right," or "law of the jungle." What do you expect?

No defense against modern army. The "No stress No Bombs" become no longer true once these people meet some psychopaths with automatic weapons and gunship. By the way, I need to restate my previous argument: primitive people can and have mutilate each other just fine with their bows and arrows.

Here is a concrete example for the last 2 NOs, taken from Jared Diamond's book Guns Germs and Steel page 277. Diamond interviewed the women from Iyau Tribe in Papua. When asked about their husband their typical answer is: "Which one? I had 3 husbands. The first one died after another tribe attacked us. The second one died after my third husband killed him. The third one died after the brother of my 2nd husband avenged his brother." No wonder Diamond mocked the myth of "innocent natives" in that same page!

I could go on, but I am sure you got the point. What? You still think their way of life is more advanced?

Tell you what, talk is cheap. Put your money where your mouth is. Lenin once said "people vote with their feet." If you think that their way of life is so "advance," just give away all your belongings, go back to the jungle and join them. Come again? You prefer the comfortable modern life? That means you're "No Action Talk Only" in this matter.

Oh yeah, I also get some response that I have to respect them, and telling that they are primitive is a form of disrespect.

Err ... I respect them by treated them like an adult who can take criticism well. I respect them by NOT suggesting them to emulate an ostrich, avoiding all contact with modern civilization. Contact between those people and us is INEVITABLE, so better let them prepared for it.

Oh yeah, I also NEVER stated that we can't learn anything from them. I am sure we can learn many things from them, but learning from them IS NOT THE SAME with saying that their way of life is superior to ours. And I am sure, they can even learn MORE from us, since our ancestors already experienced their way of life, while theirs haven't experienced our current way of life.

I also showing respect by expecting them to progress, not to be static, locked in hunter-gatherer way of life forever, totally dependent on us to defend themselves. If that is not respect, I don't know what is.

This kind of argument usually made by "Multiculturalist" who thought that all cultures are equal, and we have to put each culture in a bubble to make sure they remain unchanged forever. No they are not. Some culture generally is more primitive from the others. Culture is also dynamic, evolving and changing, not static.  Sometimes it is not the whole culture itself that is primitive, but only some aspect of it. But a multiculturalist doesn't want to hear that. They perceived cultures as museum exhibitions where each exhibition has to be "static." They never perceive human as human, who are always changing, can do wrong, and have to be scrutinized and corrected.  Hopefully this article debunk the dangerous tenet of "multiculturalism."

So what are you waiting for? Start respecting them by helping them to overcome the 3000 years of lack of scientific and technological progress! You could start by NOT glorifying their current way of life.

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