Saturday, December 14, 2013

Origins of Northwest European guilt culture. Part II


 
Reconstructed Mesolithic roundhouse near Northumberland, Great Britain (source: Andrew Curtis)
 

At different times and in different regions, humans have entered larger social environments that are no longer limited to close kin. Because there is less interaction with any one person and more interaction with non-kin, correct behavior can no longer be enforced by the to and fro of family relationships. A moral code develops, with rules enforced by ostracism and shaming.

In Northwest Europe, the moral code is also enforced by guilt—a form of self-shaming where the wrongdoer inflicts self-punishment even when he or she is the sole witness to the wrongdoing. There is also a high degree of empathy; the wrongdoer literally feels the pain of the person who has been wronged.

When did this guilt culture emerge? Historians usually link it to the rise of Protestantism, the expansion of the market economy, and the emancipation of the individual from the kin group, all of which happened—or are said to have happened—over the last thousand years. Yet there is compelling evidence for an earlier time frame. At the dawn of history, the peoples along the North Sea and the Baltic already had relatively loose kinship ties, a tendency toward prolonged celibacy, and a high level of circulation of non-kin individuals between households.

This behavioral package would enable them to exploit the potential of later historical developments, particularly the rise of the market economy. Back then, however, its usefulness was far from obvious. The future seemed to belong to other peoples, and not to these barbarians on the edge of the known world.

So how did this package come into being so long before modernity? And why? At first, I thought the cause was the introduction of agriculture to Northwest Europe. Only farming can create a population density that is high enough for people to enlarge their circle of interaction beyond that of close kin. Previously, there was only hunting and gathering, and hunter-gatherers were just small bands of closely related individuals. That kind of social setting has little need for either shame or guilt, a good example being the Inuit of northern Canada:

That is, in the past, the individual was expected and encouraged to do what he wanted, and thus had little guilt over most acts. In fact, there was so little censure, overtly, that one could do whatever one could get away with. But there was always the shame — concern with what people would think. What guilt existed was very archaic and related to oral incorporation and “bad mother” fears. Taboo-breaking was always a problem but at least one was not “guilty,” but simply inappropriate in his acts. That is, one had to suffer the shame of exposing one’s inappropriate acts to the spirits as one’s inappropriate social acts would be noted and subtly censured by friends. (Hippler, 1973)

In these simple societies, “guilt” was little more than fear of retaliation, either from living people or from spirits. In both cases, there was no real empathy with the person who had been wronged. Mental anguish was produced by fear and not by any feeling of the other person’s pain. 

The first complex societies of Northwest Europe

I was therefore surprised to learn that the first complex societies of Northwest Europe were hunter-gatherers, or rather hunter-fisher-gatherers:

The societies of the last hunters (and fishers and gatherers) of northern Europe appear to have evolved quickly toward increasing complexity in the period prior to the spread of agriculture. Complexity is defined by greater diversity (more things) and integration (more connections). Advances in technology, settlement, and subsistence are preserved in the archaeological record. During this period technology developed toward greater efficiency in transport, tools, and food procurement. Settlements were generally larger, more enduring, and more differentiated in the Mesolithic than in the preceding Paleolithic. Food procurement was both more specialized and more diversified-specialized in terms of the technology and organization of foraging activities, and diversified in terms of the numbers and kinds of species and habitats exploited. (Price, 1991)

We like to see hunter-gatherers as beautiful losers who were steamrollered out of existence by much savvier and more numerous farming peoples. In reality, from around 8,500 BP, these hunter-fisher-gatherers of the North Sea and the Baltic began to achieve ever higher levels of population density and social complexity that would put them on a par with farming peoples farther south. They were thus able to stop the advance of farming for two to three thousand years:

After a rapid spread across Central Europe, […] farming communities came to a halt in the North European Plain, leaving the coastal areas of the North Sea occupied by hunter-gatherers. […]

This could not have been due to ecological conditions. The frontier extends across a uniform geographical area, and the soils of southern Scandinavia are, in many places, light, fertile, and favorable for cultivation […]. The reason for the delay must be sought in the late Mesolithic communities of the region. Although regional differences exist […], hunter-gatherers in the southern Baltic region are likely to have had a greater population density than central European foragers […], larger and more permanent settlements […], and a complex economic pattern involving specialized extraction camps, seasonal scheduling, and seasonally intensive use of specific resources […] (Zvelebil and Dolukhanov, 1991)

These North Sea and Baltic peoples were semi-sedentary. Most of them lived from spring to fall in large coastal agglomerations where they fished, sealed, and collected shellfish. They then dispersed to small inland hunting stations (Price, 1991). Johansen (2006) has argued for a higher degree of mobility: “a number of small groups rotating between sites on a seasonal basis within a confined territory, but perhaps periodically aggregating at key localities.” Bang-Andersen (1996) states: “In certain areas such as the seaboard of central West Norway, particularly resource-rich marine and terrestrial environments may have made it possible to stay within restricted parts of the region all the year round on a diffuse sedentary basis.” Most areas, however, had “a permanent or semi-permanent base camp on the coast, a certain number of extended extraction sites for seasonal hunting, gathering and fishing activities, a larger amount of transitory sites, and an almost indefinite number of special purpose sites or single-activity loci.”

It was in the coastal agglomerations that Northwest Europeans began to develop social relations in a setting where most people were not close kin. Unlike farming communities, there seems to have been a continual demographic turnover, with people spending part of the year in small bands and then regrouping in much larger settlements. It was perhaps this fluid environment that made guilt more effective than shame, since shaming works to the extent that one continues to interact with those who have witnessed the shameful act.

But this raises another question. How did guilt become so dominant within these populations? What is to stop some individuals from exploiting the guilt proneness of others while feeling no guilt themselves? This free-rider dilemma may have been resolved in part by identifying such individuals and ostracizing them. It may also be that these semi-sedentary communities were conducive to evolution of altruistic behavior, as described by Maynard Smith’s haystack model (Wikipedia, 2013). According to this model, guilt-prone individuals are at a disadvantage within any one community and will thus become fewer and fewer with each generation. If, however, a community has a high proportion of guilt-prone individuals, it will have an advantage over other communities and thus expand in numbers at their expense. And if these communities disperse and regroup on a regular basis, the overall proportion of guilt-prone individuals will increase over time. 

Conclusion

History is not always what we think it to be. This is not just because of bad data. There is also the way we imagine the stages of human progress, i.e., hunting and gathering, farming and, finally, modern industrial society. Each stage led to the next, and it was ultimately farming that prepared us for the modern world.

In reality, it was the hunter-fisher-gatherers of the North Sea and the Baltic who led the way to behavioral modernity, i.e., individualism, reduced emphasis on kinship, and the market as the main organizing principle of social and economic life. Their mode of subsistence was not wiped out by agriculture, unless one sees fishing as a kind of farming. They not only survived, but also went on to create what we now call the Western World. Not bad for a bunch of losers. 

In a recent post, hbd* chick (2013) has shown how these societies were the locomotive of sustained economic growth within Europe long before Europeans began to expand their trade to Africa and the New World. She quotes a study by Greer (2013):

By 1200 Western Europe has a GDP per capita higher than most parts of the world, but (with two exceptions) by 1500 this number stops increasing. In both data sets the two exceptions are Netherlands and Great Britain. These North Sea economies experienced sustained GDP per capita growth for six straight centuries. The North Sea begins to diverge from the rest of Europe long before the ‘West’ begins its more famous split from ‘the rest.’

[…] we can pin point the beginning of this ‘little divergence’ with greater detail. In 1348 Holland’s GDP per capita was $876. England’s was $777. In less than 60 years time Holland’s jumps to $1,245 and England’s to 1090. The North Sea’s revolutionary divergence started at this time. 

We can go farther back to the steady expansion of North Sea trade from the 7th century onward (Callmer, 2002). There were external influences here and there, but most of this growth seems to have been endogenous, the main external influence being an international context that made trade more and more profitable. The rest—mindset, behavior, culture—was locally supplied.
 

References

Bang-Andersen, S. (1996). Coast/Inland Relations in the Mesolithic of Southern Norway, World Archaeology, 27, 427-443.

Callmer, (2002). North–European trading centres and the early medieval craftsman. Craftsmen at Åhus, North-Eastern Scania, Sweden ca. AD 750-850+, UppSkrastudier 6 (Acta Archaeologica Lundensia Ser. in 8, no. 39), 133-158.
http://www.uppakra.se/backup/docs/uppakra6/11_Callmer_U6.pdf
 

Greer, T. (2013). Another look at the ‘Rise of the West’ - but with better numbers, November 20
http://scholars-stage.blogspot.ca/2013/11/another-look-at-rise-of-west-but-with.html

Hbd *chick (2013). Going Dutch, November 29
https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/going-dutch/ 

Hippler, A.E. (1973). Some observations on witchcraft: the case of the Aivilik Eskimos, Arctic, 26, 198-207.
http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic26-3-198.pdf 

Johansen, K.L. (2006). Settlement and land use at the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in Southern Scandinavia, Journal of Danish Archaeology, 14, 201-223.
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0108464X.2006.10590118#.UqtWBPaA2po

Price, T.D. (1991). The Mesolithic of Northern Europe, Annual Review of Anthropology, 20, 211-233.
http://www.cas.umt.edu/departments/anthropology/courses/anth254/documents/annurev.an.TDouglasPrice1991MseolithicNEurope.pdf

Wikipedia (2013). Group selection.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_selection#The_haystack_model_and_trait_groups 

Zvelebil, M. and P. Dolukhanov. (1991). The transition to farming in Eastern and Northern Europe, Journal of World Prehistory, 5, 233-278.

40 comments:

Beyond Anon said...

It seems to me that guilt can be viewed in the light of increasing intelligence and future time orientation.

That is, such individuals could imagine that someone else might find out about their actions and subject them to shame.

Concerned Rabbit Hunter said...

OT, but "Harper showed that the late Roman world had remained a slave society deep into Christian times."

Sean said...

The most direct way for 'guilt' genes of a hunter - fisherman to flourish and spread would be if the guilt conferred a propensity to be a better provider for his family. An instinct for prodigious efforts to provision his family would surely be the most powerful way for a hunter fisherman to exert himself for superior reproductive fitness. So the NW European tendency would be for a monogamous exogamous nuclear family man, with a tendency to feel guilty if he was easy on himself.

I don't see where hunting and coastal fishing would require co-operation in a group. I think the edge may have been an advantage in being less aggressive to others within the group, because there was no scarcity (it would seem there was not, if there was a high density of people living by fishing - hunting, as is being suggested). So I see it as a low pressure system without tough competition between males for women ect, where there was far less need for kinship ties.

The docile mice of Smith: "THE mice vary in their aggressiveness. Aggressive mice beat docile mice within haystacks, but groups of docile mice are more productive than groups of aggressive mice. The haystack model corresponds exactly to what Darwin described in words. Maynard Smith concluded on the basis of his model that the between-group advantage of docility was insufficient to counter the within-group advantage of aggressiveness". Which seems reasonable. Except, mice don't wage organised war, people do.

A powerful advantage to being nice would be if it made for a more coherent military force in battle. Would a group of conscientious hunters all pals together win if they were fighting a group of farmers (made up of different and rival families). I think they would.

Bones and Behaviours said...

"In reality, from around 8,500 BP, these hunter-fisher-gatherers of the North Sea and the Baltic began to achieve ever higher levels of population density and social complexity that would put them on a par with farming peoples farther south."

Is there any evidence that they practiced slavery like the Pacific northwest Cenoamerinds?

Anonymous said...

We like to see hunter-gatherers as beautiful losers who were steamrollered out of existence by much savvier and more numerous farming peoples. In reality, from around 8,500 BP, these hunter-fisher-gatherers of the North Sea and the Baltic began to achieve ever higher levels of population density and social complexity that would put them on a par with farming peoples farther south.

What about the Indo-Europeans who invaded Europe around 4,000 BP? I think Cochran (and others) have argued that these hunter-gatherers were steamrolled out of existence by the Indo-European farming pastoralists invading from the east, rather than by farmers from the south.

You disagree with Cochran regarding the Indo-Europeans, right? I think I recall you arguing with him about this in a thread at his blog. If I remember correctly, you believe there wasn't much population replacement, while Cochran believes there was significant population replacement with the IE invasions.

The traditional view seems to be that the invading IE's introduced cultural and commercial complexity into Europe, with the debate mainly over whether they replaced the late Mesolithics or if there was mainly cultural diffusion. Even recent cultural and commercial complexity are described as legacies of the IEs. Do you dispute this view and believe that they are legacies of the Mesolithics, rather than the IEs?

Anonymous said...

Note the general view also maintains that individualism was introduced by the IEs.

Anonymous said...

This could not have been due to ecological conditions. The frontier extends across a uniform geographical area, and the soils of southern Scandinavia are, in many places, light, fertile, and favorable for cultivation

Nah, there are major problems with getting the Middle Eastern agricultural package to work in Europe. Crops progressively get shucked by more northern moving agricultural populations. Collapses happened among farmers. This can't be handwaved with "Oh, it's the soil, the soil that matters". Local adaptation was hard.

Not to say that the North Sea-Baltic didn't have an atypically Jomon / Pacific Northwest like pattern of higher complexity fisher gatherers.

As for the larger thesis, it seems ahistorical - Eastern Bloc people have never been reported to be guilt not shame, nor individualism. Trying to built a pan-North European (Mesolithic Fisher) basis for individualism or guilt has the problem of the Slavs. The most ancestral are the least guilty and individualistic and the most shame and collectivist.

Peter Fros_ said...

Beyond Anon,

Then why is shame more important than guilt in Japan, where people tend to be very future-oriented?

Rabbit Hunter,

I'll see if I can read that book over the holidays!

Sean,

Larger communities create opportunities for more efficient harvesting, processing, and storage of fish (as well as other marine products). We see this in later fishing communities of the North Sea / Baltic area. Often, these activities require large numbers of men or women from many different families, so people have to be willing to work with non-kin as they would with kin.

Bones and Behavior,

There is some evidence of social stratification. Slavery? Perhaps.

Anon,

mtDNA evidence shows a sharp divide in Europe between late hunter-gatherers and early farmers. I don't see this as evidence of population replacement for three reasons:

1. The haplogroup in question ('U') is not selectively neutral. It appears to increase heat production at the expense of ATP synthesis. When Europeans gave up hunting and gathering and took up farming, they entered a very different regime of cold/heat exposure.

2. In a study of 92 Danish human remains that ranged in time from the Mesolithic to the Middle Ages, Melchior et al. (2010) found that high incidences of haplogroup U persisted long after the advent of farming and apparently as late as the Early Iron Age. The disappearance of haplogroup U may simply reflect natural selection and not population replacement.

3. In northern Europe, farming replaced hunting-fishing-gathering between 6,000 and 3,000 years ago. Some Finnish groups became farmers less than 2,000 years ago. If there had been massive population replacement by Middle Eastern farmers, one would have to assume that the physical appearance of northern Europeans, evolved over at most a period of 4,000 to 1,000 years (since we have historical accounts going back 2,000 years).

Anon,

I'm arguing that guilt culture is part of a larger behavioral complex that includes the Western European Marriage Pattern. The WEMP eastern boundary seems to be a line stretching from St. Petersburg to Trieste. To the south and east, societies tend to be more shame-based than guilt-based.

Anonymous said...

If there had been massive population replacement by Middle Eastern farmers

I was talking about the Indo-Europeans, not Middle Easterners.

Anonymous said...

You disagree with Cochran regarding the Indo-Europeans, right? I think I recall you arguing with him about this in a thread at his blog. If I remember correctly, you believe there wasn't much population replacement, while Cochran believes there was significant population replacement with the IE invasions.

This is the thread and argument I was referring to:

https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/and-your-little-dog-too/

Sean said...

'After a rapid spread across Central Europe, […] farming communities came to a halt in the North European Plain, leaving the coastal areas of the North Sea occupied by hunter-gatherers.'

Makes sense. Those who claim the modern population is descended from Indo Europeans have to explain the continuity in cranio-facial form (and pigmentation). But they can't.

The US was created by Puritans who were mainly from East Anglia. England was an Anglo Saxon colony. Holland was the first commercial state. The dynamic areas of the west were all demographic offshoots from the north European plain. 'Anglo Saxon' basically. And Holland, where many of the Anglo Saxons came, from was the first commercial state.

Sean said...

Peter, being 'willing to work with non-kin' sounds reasonable. It could be it had the side effect of making them formidable in group conflict with farmers. NW hunters may have had a sizable population when they came into contact with the interlopers, but the numerical advantage would have vanished quickly enough for the hunters to be the losers eventually, and we can see they were not. I think the farmers learned to stay away from them.

If there was a conflict and one side was made up of many tight extended families who would only risk their life for their kin, then that would make for a less cohesive force and a more unstable 'army'. In primitive warfare the main tactic would be charging to place the enemy under psychological pressure and get them to break and run.

Anonymous said...

You keep establishing you're a shitty anthropologist and a shitty population geneticist at the same time.

This comment made me LOL since it confirms (it's a nice distillation in fact) that you're oblivious about both Northwest European genetics and Baltic history and cultural anthropology, apparently:

"In reality, it was the hunter-fisher-gatherers of the North Sea and the Baltic who led the way to behavioral modernity, i.e., individualism, reduced emphasis on kinship, and the market as the main organizing principle of social and economic life. Their mode of subsistence was not wiped out by agriculture, unless one sees fishing as a kind of farming. They not only survived, but also went on to create what we now call the Western World. Not bad for a bunch of losers."

Malloy's and some Anon comments are the only worthwhile reading in these two threads.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there physical and cultural discontinuity with the arrival about 4,000 BP of the Bell Beaker culture, an early Indo-European or Indo-Europeanized culture, in the North European Plain (and elsewhere in Western Europe)?

From what I understand, not only was the intrusive Bell Beaker culture discontinuous with the previous hunter-fisher-gatherer culture, but its artifacts were much more sophisticated and indicative of much more complex and sophisticated economic activity and extensive trade networks than the previous culture.

Sean said...

As I understand it NW Euro hunter fishing types are supposed to have been wiped out by farmers who were then conquered by Indo Europeans. Latterly, Cochran and Harpending are saying the Indo Europeans wiped out the farmers, whereby people in West coast Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia, and Germany all look so alike!

barakobama said...

Peter Frost or whoever made this article.

About the Mesolithic European hunter gatherers. Your right that they were not "steamrollered out of existence by much savvier and more numerous farming peoples"

Farming way of life replaced solely hunter gathering way of life. All the different cultures they had also do not exist but that has happened to many people in history. Most cultures don't survive for 10,000 years or even 4,000.

A lot of the blood of Mesolithic Europeans has survived in modern Europeans. New evidence came out 4 days ago.

7,000 year old Mesolithic hunter gatherer La Brana-1 from northern Spain just had his full genome sequenced. It was found he had blue eyes. Disproving the hypothesis that blue eyes and all European paleness descends from Neolithic Near eastern farmers. A paper is suppose to come out in a few weeks.

http://www.theapricity.com/forum/showthread.php?105677-7-000BP-Iberian-hunter-gatherer-La-Brana-1-had-blue-eyes

Autosomal DNA of Mesolithic and Neolithic European hunter gatherers. Has found that the specifically European clusters found in so many tests. Solely or mainly descends from them. So what makes Europeans distinct is their Mesolithic European hunter gatherer ancestry.

http://eurogenes.blogspot.com/2013/09/more-on-east-baltic-as-refuge-for.html

Not surprisingly the distribution of the most likely Mesolithic European descended groups correlates very well with distribution of light colored eyes and hair in Europe. Light colored hair and eyes are very exclusive to Europeans today.

I am sure that as more pigmentation genes of pre Neolithic Europeans even from the upper Palaeolithic come in a lot will have light colored hair and eyes.

What is confusing though is that ancient mtDNA has pretty much proven most of their maternal lineages were replaced by Near eastern farmers. Most paternal lineages in Europe are probably also not descended from them.

A very large amount of Near eastern farmer ancestry does exist in Europe proven by autosomal DNA too. The "Mediterranean" type ancestry found in autosomal DNA descends from them. Same with most Near eastern type ancestry in Europe some of it though may have come after the Neolithic.

Many modern Europeans mainly descend from near eastern farmers or other near eastern ancestry that did not come with the spread of farming. Mainly Iberians, Italians, and Balkaners.

I think European hunter gatherer mtDNA is more complicated than U( almost all U5, U4, and U2e). There are for sure non U's from Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Europe. All are in the RO(RO-HV-H,V) family except for some likely N's.

I think the Genetic history of pre Neolithic Europe was more diverse than many people have assumed. The population many were the only Mesolithic-Palaeolithic Europeans may have replaced genetically distinct people who lived in Europe.

mtDNA from Siberian hunter gatherers in the same area Mal'ta boy was from. Has proved there was admixture with European hunter gatherers. There is also prove of east Asian admixture in European hunter gatherers from Karelia, Russia(7,500ybp and 3,500ybp). Who knows European hunter gatherers range may have gone into central Asia or possibly didn't take up all of Europe.

Anonymous said...

I'm arguing that guilt culture is part of a larger behavioral complex that includes the Western European Marriage Pattern. The WEMP eastern boundary seems to be a line stretching from St. Petersburg to Trieste. To the south and east, societies tend to be more shame-based than guilt-based.

Peter, which are the parts you're see Slavs and Northeast Europeans as having, since they probably have less guilt or individualism and are a good less oriented towards capitalism (judging by their history) than say Italians or Spanish?

Anonymous said...

In reality, it was the hunter-fisher-gatherers of the North Sea and the Baltic who led the way to behavioral modernity, i.e., individualism, reduced emphasis on kinship, and the market as the main organizing principle of social and economic life.

There is also the view that Jews have been influential in promoting "behavioral modernity." See for example Yuri Slezkine's The Jewish Century.

http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2013/12/yuri-slezkine-jewish-century.html

"The Modern Age is the Jewish Age, and the twentieth century, in particular, is the Jewish Century. Modernization is about everyone becoming urban, mobile, literate, articulate, intellectually intricate, physically fastidious, and occupationally flexible. It is about learning how to cultivate people and symbols, not fields or herds. It is about pursuing wealth for the sake of learning, learning for the sake of wealth, and both wealth and learning for their own sake. It is about transforming peasants and princes into merchants and priests, replacing inherited privilege with acquired prestige, and dismantling social estates for the benefit of individuals, nuclear families, and book-reading tribes (nations). Modernization, in other words, is about everyone becoming Jewish.

Some peasants and princes have done better than others, but no one is better at being Jewish than the Jews themselves. In the age of capital, they are the most creative entrepreneurs; in the age of alienation, they are the most experienced exiles; and in the age of expertise, they are the most proficient professionals. Some of the oldest Jewish specialties-commerce, law, medicine, textual interpretation, and cultural mediation-have become the most fundamental (and the most Jewish) of all modern pursuits. It is by being exemplary ancients that the Jews have become model moderns."

Also see the German Historical School scholar (and friend and colleague of Weber) Werner Sombart's The Jews and Modern Capitalism, in which he refutes Max Weber’s theory of the Protestant ethic, arguing that Jews introduced the spirit of capitalism into Northern Europe after being dispersed by the Inquisition.

szopeno said...

"Slavs" meaning who? Czechs, Slovaks, Poles? Or Russians? Because there are huge differences between features of Slavic nations.

Peter Fros_ said...

This seems to be one of those debates where tempers flare. If we look at the archaeological evidence, we see evidence of population replacement in Central Europe. Even in that area, these intrusive farming settlements seem to disappear after a certain time. In other words, the farmers replace the natives, only to be replaced by other people.

If we look at Scandinavia and the North European Plain, the archaeological evidence indicates continuity rather than replacement. The following is from Price's review article:

"The change from hunting-gathering to farming in southern Scandinavia was not sudden. The gradual shift to agriculture can be seen as a four-stage transition. Sedentary groups of Mesolithic foragers avoided the arduous requirements of agriculture in favor of wild foods for some time but gradually imported tools and weapons of Neolithic manufacture from the south after 3,600 BC. Funnelbeaker pottery, domesticates, and long barrows mark the appearance of the first farmers around 3,100 BC; but a fully Neolithic economy is not in place until after 2,600 BC. It is clear that contact with farmers preceded actual cultivation and herding by at least 500 years. Agriculture became the primary subsistence regime only 1,000 years later ..."

Beyond Anon said...

Then why is shame more important than guilt in Japan, where people tend to be very future-oriented?

That is a good question. Clearly I need to think about this more.

Anonymous said...

Guilt is awesome because it promotes socially beneficial behavior without needing large external enforcement. Maybe they just could not afford to pay for cops given their hardscrabble existence and so needed an internal enforcement mechanism to keep society functioning.

Anonymous said...

"Slavs" meaning who? Czechs, Slovaks, Poles? Or Russians? Because there are huge differences between features of Slavic nations.

Why not describe how all of them fit the pattern or don't separately to you apprehension and then we can test against third party sources and Peter's theory?

truepeers said...

BUt where is the evidence for the guilt the author imputes to these Baltic fishermen?

I find it hard to conceive how guilt could come into existence absent a monotheistic understanding of human nature - the idea that we all share in a universal being. Yes, this idea is implicit in the worldview of pagans, who can inutit a unity in their diversity, but for full-fledged guilt to emerge, surely one has to feel guilty towards a well-understood universal truth.

I still think the Jews are the world's guilt specialists - isn't it obvious? Why does the author have apparent minor interest in religion, a fundamental component of every human society? Just, as an example, to speak of the nuclear family without bringing up the church's long war against extended family loyalties and inheritance srikes me odd.

Anonymous said...

There is also discontinuity with the arrival of the Corded Ware culture in northern and northeastern Europe about 5,000 years BP. The Corded Ware artifacts are more sophisticated and indicative of more complex and sophisticated economic activity and extensive trade networks than the previous mesolithic culture. There is also evidence of greater individualism being introduced by the Corded Ware culture. For example, individual burials are introduced with the Corded Ware. Previously, the mesolithics had collective burials.

Mikke said...

Wonderful stuff.

1) The agriculture of "Finland" was nothing like the agriculture of Mesopotamia. Google the term huuhta, swidden, or slash-and-burn agriculture, and see also this English translation of Per Martin Tvengsberg on the metsasuomalaiset:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Slash_and_burn

(My own people, btw.)

2) The US was most certainly NOT founded by English in the mid-Atlantic, but by metsasuomalaiset Finns from Sweden.

http://nc-chap.org/cranehook/pdfs/forestFinns.pdf

http://nc-chap.org/cranehook/pdfs/materialCulture.pdf

Anonymous said...

The Sami, northeastern European, and Baltics have the highest degree of mesolithic ancestry and they aren't particularly known for being behaviorally modern. They've been relatively backward.

bleach said...

"Sean14 December 2013 17:18:00 GMT-5

The most direct way for 'guilt' genes of a hunter - fisherman to flourish and spread would be if the guilt conferred a propensity to be a better provider for his family."

Another just-so story which flies in the face of the facts. NW Europeans do not have bigger families. And their labor usually serves to support the families of others.

szopeno said...

@Anonymous
Re Slavs:

http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/wvs/articles/folder_published/article_base_54

Compare where Russia, Poland and Czechs (all Slavs) lie in this map. Czechs are virtually the same as Germans.
Here:
http://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/national-individualism-collectivism-scores/

You can look at the collectivism/individualism. Look where is Poland (seven places behind Germany, 5 places ahead Austria).

Or look at those two maps:

http://www.eupedia.com/images/content/individualism-map.gif
http://www.eupedia.com/images/content/individualism-map-2.gif
(Hungary? WTF?)

Sean said...

The north west coast in Mesolithic times would take in Doggerland which was a rich hunting and fishing ground. When it disappeared the Doggerlanders headed for north west Europe, there seems to have been a lot of fighting, but still, the population of NW Europe must have been massively boosted by the 'climate refugees'. Everyone pulling their weight for the efficient exploiting of food resources would have been a must with all those extra people.

The Neolithic invasion of Europe stalled when it reached Northern Europe. The farmers were up against a far greater population density in north Europe, and just maybe the Doggerland wars had forged the Euro hunters into rather formidable opponents.

Few more thoughts:- Indo-Europeans were warriors into honour, and fear of shame if they lost honour. Much like the Early Greek tradition.

Christian believers in an afterlife would be in fear of God if they did something that made them liable to punishment in an afterlife. That is not guilt in the sense of blaming oneself.

What about vicarious guilt, ie feeling guilty for what someone else has done?

Sean said...

The 'fake' Mandela memorial interpreter said it all

Sean said...

Doggerland

Using fish traps would have meant being in cold water, and body heat can be lost 25 times faster in cold water than in cold air. Observers remarked on how the Yahgan Indians were remarkably resistant to cold. Maybe haplogroup U was really an adaptation to fishing.

Peter Fros_ said...

Truepeers,

Islam is a very monotheistic religion, yet most Muslim societies rely much more on shame than on guilt. Islam also has no doctrine of original sin.

I'm interested in religion, but I would question the view that Germanic pagan beliefs constitute a "religion" as we understand the term, i.e., a cohesive system of normative moral beliefs. In other words: notions of "right and wrong." Another problem is that most of what we know comes from Christian observers who lived among people who were already partially Christianized. This is a problem with Beowulf. Is it a witness to genuine pagan beliefs or is it simply a Christian's interpretation of paganism?

Anon,

If we're talking about the hunter-fisher-gatherers of the North Sea and Baltic, a number of cemeteries have been found but the burials in them seem to be individual, with people being buried in very different ways.

Mikke,

The Finns are a clear example of population continuity, since they adopted agriculture within historic times. Yet according to the mtDNA data, they seem to have been largely replaced.

Anon,

The Sami are reindeer herders with a simple kin-based mode of social organization. The Baltic peoples lie to the west of the Hajnal Line and thus exhibit the Western European Marriage Pattern, which seems to be associated with behavioral modernity.

Sean,

I believe that guilt evolved out of shame along a trajectory of increasing internalization. In the initial phases of this trajectory, people believed that spirits were watching their shameful acts. Then, further along, this internal watchdog became merged with the self, i.e., one's internal representation of oneself.

I need to read up more on ancient fishing of the North Sea and the Baltic. To what degree was fishing a high-trust activity that encompassed large numbers of unrelated individuals?

Anonymous said...

The Sami are reindeer herders with a simple kin-based mode of social organization. The Baltic peoples lie to the west of the Hajnal Line and thus exhibit the Western European Marriage Pattern, which seems to be associated with behavioral modernity.

Right, but your argument here is that the Mesolithics are associated with behavioral modernity. The Sami and the Baltic peoples have the highest amount of Mesolithic ancestry and they've been relatively backward.

Anonymous said...

If we're talking about the hunter-fisher-gatherers of the North Sea and Baltic, a number of cemeteries have been found but the burials in them seem to be individual, with people being buried in very different ways.

The traditional view is that individualism and greater cultural and commercial sophistication was introduced into Northern Europe by the Indo-Europeans. For example see this documentary for the traditional view:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmHXBXG7Loo

Anonymous said...

The documentary I just linked to begins with narration saying that 4,000 years ago the mesolithic hunter-gatherers on the north coast of Europe disappeared with the arrival of the Indo-Europeans who introduced individualism, cultural & commercial complexity, modernity, etc.

Do you dispute this characterization? Do you think the influence was in the opposite direction - from the mesolithics to the Indo-Europeans, rather than the traditional view?

Sean said...

Bollongino et al found there were 'hunter gatherers' in Neolithic Germany with a "freshwater fish diet, ... carrying mitochondrial DNA sequences typical of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers.". The west european Mesolithic techniques for exploitation of fish resources must have been extremely advanced if they were competitive with farming communities living right beside them for 2000 years, as Bollongino found. One must presume there was a lot of co-operation. For the origin of these efficient processing techniques I suspect Doggerland. It was likely the richest fresh water fishing ground in Europe. So a lot of people depending on fish, and when Doggerland began to decline, that would create the pressure for methods for more efficient processing of marine food. They moved around on giant dug out canoes, one 30 feet long has been found. From what I have read about Inuit whaling, their boats are crewed only with those they totally trust. The Doggerlanders went to what is now England and Holland, which were the first commerial nations.

Low digit ration is associated with competitiveness and lack of empathy. High digit ratio is associated with co-operation and altruism. England, Holland Germany, Poland have very high digit ratios. Denmark has the highest in the world, and that was where the burials Melchior et al studied were.

Anonymous said...

The Doggerlanders went to what is now England and Holland, which were the first commerial nations.

Doggerland disappeared by around 6,000 BC.

R1b is the most common y-chromosome haplogroup in England and the Netherlands. It's believed to have been introduced by Indo-European speakers long after Doggerland disappeared.

The northern Italian city-states were commercial states before the rise of the English and Dutch commercial empires. R1b is also the most haplogroup of northern Italy.

Sean said...

One to three men fathered most western Europeans?.

Now how could the putative expansion be sustained? The most obvious way was the founder(s) got in on the ground floor of an expansion into territory with plentiful resources and zero competition.

"DOGGERLAND would have appeared as a low-lying, undulating plain that eventually became lush with vegetation and fauna as the retreating ice allowed the land to be colonised; perhaps the lushest locales in Europe."

Are you begining to get the picture?

hbd chick said...

wrote up a little response to your post:

more on the origins of guilt in northwestern european populations

(^_^)