PDA

View Full Version : My Theory on the Origin of Civilization (spoiler - not a real theory)



DoggerDan
2012-Aug-06, 04:20 PM
Please read before moving, as this really does belong in OTB, not one of your off-the-wall baskets... :D

It began on Friday, when I sat down to do bills. I'd been putting off recreating my filing system since I moved here last summer, which is really unlike me, as I usually don't put off anything. But hey! I'd retired, so I was worth it, right? I shouldn't have to keep up with paperwork anymore, right?

Well, you know how that story goes.

I needed to make sense of a bunch of paperwork, and I couldn't, as I was pile-filing: My files were in piles. I grew so frustrated that I gave up and watched Act of Valor, which was actually quite cathartic, as SEALS have their s..., er "stuff together."

I went for a long hike (5 hours) Saturday morning, and when I got home I...

Put it off.

So, Sunday rolls around, I head to Office Max, buy some files, and spent all day. First I re-created my filing system, and next I began stuffing papers into my files.

I feel civilized once more! Hence my theory... But actually, I think they're something to date, although I think organization pre-dated writing, probably because of the natural requirement to stack firewood, smoke food, organize cured skins so they dry well, and keep food stored, yet visible, so that as much of it is used as possible before it went bad.

So no, not a real theory. Just sharing my weekend with you. :D

Strange
2012-Aug-06, 04:52 PM
There is some evidence that the earliest writing was inventories and records of sales so you may be right.

Swift
2012-Aug-06, 05:21 PM
I always thought this is the way Civilization began (http://maggiecakes.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/civ-game-board.jpg). <wink>

Noclevername
2012-Aug-06, 05:23 PM
I always thought it was Beer.

Swift
2012-Aug-06, 05:51 PM
I always thought it was Beer.
I thought that's how it ended?

Noclevername
2012-Aug-06, 06:42 PM
I thought that's how it ended?

No, that's lack of beer. Everyone panics when you run out.

Fazor
2012-Aug-06, 07:13 PM
There is some evidence that the earliest writing was inventories and records of sales so you may be right.

I've heard that some of the earliest form of writing/records were trade/sales receipts. Also heard it argued that the first written work was a set of laws posted in the public square governing the life/rights of the civilization's people.

Receipts.

Laws.

. . . I think it's safe to say that civilization was started by attorneys.

Fazor
2012-Aug-06, 07:14 PM
There is some evidence that the earliest writing was inventories and records of sales so you may be right.

I've heard that some of the earliest form of writing/records were trade/sales receipts. Also heard it argued that the first written work was a set of laws posted in the public square governing the life/rights of the civilization's people.

Receipts.

Laws.

. . . I think it's safe to say that civilization was started by attorneys.

Noclevername
2012-Aug-06, 07:41 PM
If all the laws could fit on one post in the square, then there wasn't a need for attorneys. Attorneys only become "necessary" when you need specialists to interpret the law for citizens. The first set of laws (Hamurabbi's Code?) was simple enough for even a commoner to understand; you steal, you die. You break things, you die. You kill, you die. You kill a cow, you die. You kill a slave, you pay the owner 20 silver. Etc.

Fazor
2012-Aug-06, 08:10 PM
If all the laws could fit on one post in the square, then there wasn't a need for attorneys. Attorneys only become "necessary" when you need specialists to interpret the law for citizens. The first set of laws (Hamurabbi's Code?) was simple enough for even a commoner to understand; you steal, you die. You break things, you die. You kill, you die. You kill a cow, you die. You kill a slave, you pay the owner 20 silver. Etc.

Still needed someone to interpret them. "Your honor, my client did not kill the cow, so much as he prevented the cow from living any longer."

Swift
2012-Aug-06, 08:12 PM
If all the laws could fit on one post in the square, then there wasn't a need for attorneys. Attorneys only become "necessary" when you need specialists to interpret the law for citizens. The first set of laws (Hamurabbi's Code?) was simple enough for even a commoner to understand; you steal, you die. You break things, you die. You kill, you die. You kill a cow, you die. You kill a slave, you pay the owner 20 silver. Etc.
I wonder if there was a Feedback post in the same square, where people could complain about how the laws were too strict, not strict enough, or weren't detailed enough to cover all possible possibilities ("what about if the object wasn't broken, just scratched a little?").

<wicked grin>

Noclevername
2012-Aug-06, 08:16 PM
Still needed someone to interpret them. "Your honor, my client did not kill the cow, so much as he prevented the cow from living any longer."

That's opportunism, not necessity. Still, maybe someone just decided to make some extra not-yet-invented money by acting as a professional middleman between mere mortals and the God-King. So civilization probably led to plagues of lawyerism quite early on.

Fazor
2012-Aug-06, 08:23 PM
That's opportunism, not necessity. Still, maybe someone just decided to make some extra not-yet-invented money by acting as a professional middleman between mere mortals and the God-King. So civilization probably led to plagues of lawyerism quite early on.

You're probably right. My causality is backwards. Drats, I've become mainstream news science! Still, it'd take a brave person to appear in front of the all-powerful king in anyone else's stead.

swampyankee
2012-Aug-06, 08:34 PM
Still needed someone to interpret them. "Your honor, my client did not kill the cow, so much as he prevented the cow from living any longer."

"Your honor, that was my client's cow, which was stolen by that thief!"