Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#1
I have an honest question (I hope this is the right forum) for people who point out how unglamorous it would be to live in a real Tolkienesque fantasy universe.  Various forums have posted things like, "Would you live in Middle Earth if you could?"  or "Why do you love fantasy so much?" and the answers are usually, "Because I'd get to live in the Shire!  I'd get to go on awesome adventures!  I could explore an exciting new world!"

Almost every time, someone pushes their glasses up, puts a smug look on their face and raises their index finger in the air (okay, I'm imagining this, since I can't actually see them) and replies, "You know, if you actually lived in a fantasy world, you wouldn't be one of the heroes.  You would be a subsistence farmer doing backbreaking work under the hot sun all day.  You would have no indoor plumbing, no modern medicine, no electricity, etc.  And it would all be for a relatively small amount of food.  Good luck surviving the winters! and so on.

So my question is, if medieval life (using this as an example since its so ubiquitous in fantasy) was that grueling and that hard, then why didn't humanity just go back to hunting and gathering?  Why didn't Frodo and the Hobbits walk out of the Shire and just forage, fish and sleep under the stars?  Surely, all that manual labor had to be worth it, if we kept doing it right?

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#2
*Puts on history hat* 

Because hunter-gatherer cultures tend to be in conflict with farming communities. If this wasn't the case, plenty of indigenous tribes of today would have a much easier time, instead of being pushed out of their territories or killed for the natural resources they have. 

I dunno about other continents but here in Europe, the spread of agriculture was accompanied by a time of warfare. Agriculture allowed for war cultures to arise because, despite the lowered life expectancy and drop in general health that came with the diet change, it could still feed more people. It doesn't matter if half your tribe have bad teeth by the age thirty, if you have twice the amount of 20-year-old warriors compared to everyone else in your surroundings. You still have the advantage. 

Now imagine all the resources you need to build and run a village or a town. You need to cut down a lot of forest for the timber. You need to secure a lot of land for grazing and growing crops. You need to hunt the predators to protect your lifestock. You need to keep all the hunter-gatherers from hunting-gathering your stuff. You need to mine, and might even poison the land doing so. What happens to the hunter-gatherers when you do this? Will there be a conflict of interest? 

In continental Europe, to my understanding the last 'no mans land' that was around was claimed when the population recovered after the black plague and overpopulation started setting in again. In the more scarcely populated northern Europe, the 'no mans land' laws persisted until late middle age when the kings started following the example of the continent, laying claim on everything within the country borders and decided they owned it all, whether or not it was developed land. At that point, every tree and deer legally belonged to the king and the nobility. Hunting a deer was a death sentence if you got caught, same with cutting down some species of trees. They wouldn't exactly care if someone belonged to a different culture.

Most of the hunter-gatherer cultures vanished at this point. They either died out or settled down. There's a very sad book in Swedish from this time, written by some guy about a vanishing forest/river people I've since forgotten the name of. He talked about how their memory got pushed into folklore as mythological people and as monsters. 

Frodo and Sam didn't live in the middle ages bdw. The age of the LotR books is about 6-7.000 years ago, in a fictional age where nobles didn't lay claim on stuff too far beyond their city borders. They totally could've gone hunter-gatherer, assuming they didn't mess around on land others had already claimed. 

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#3
That said, my main problem with living in a fantasy world is the difference, not that it exists and is always outright terrible. Of course there were nice places to live even then. But it wouldn't be nice for me, because I'm used to the internet, modern medicine, running water and toilet paper. I might grab a hammock and go live in the woods for a summer if I'm getting the 'return to the land' feeling, but that's only something I'm willing to do because I know that, if the fish don't bite and I run out of food, I can walk for a day or two and there'll be a convenience store. And don't get me started about winters. 

Someone actually born in a setting like that would have a much easier time. They'd have learned what it took to live there since childhood. They could probably do quite a bit better than I. 

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#4
I think this whole thing is kind of weird because it seems to me like a sort of argument no one actually has. Like I've never met anyone who said anything about being a peasant in a fantasy world.

But there is an interesting point here about agricultural societies vs. nomadic hunter-gatherer ones. From what I understand, in general, it's accepted that for the majority of the population, *agricultural living was actually a downgrade from living as hunter-gatherers*. Your average early agricultural civilization had members who were less healthy, had worse diets, and were exposed to more disease than their hunter-gatherer cousins. Agricultural civilizations were not better at *improving* the lives of the people who lived in them over hunter gatherer societies. Agricultural civilizations were better at *perpetuating themselves*, often at the EXPENSE of the people who lived in them. While hunter-gatherers were often healthier, agricultural civilizations could achieve far higher population density, and organized militaries could outcompete hunter-gatherers (at least in the long run). In a very real way, the beginning of settled civilization heralded the slow conquest of the world by the miserable. And for a large part of humanity, that would remain the story for thousands of years, until technology dramatically reshaped things. 

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#5

Sereminar Wrote: That being said it's important to keep in mind that even in mideval europe peasant farmers worked less than you do. Here's an excerpt from a decent medium Article


Quote:A Medieval adult male in the UK worked 1,620. A 13th-century laborer could have up to 25 weeks off, while modern Americans would drop their jaw at 25 days.
During the late 14th century, when wages were high, things were even better. In fact, workers refused to commit to working the full year or even six months.
Instead, they worked on a daily basis, using only enough days to make their typical wages. This brought their work hours down to about 1,440.



So yeah, work sucks, but our common understanding of history is...unreliable. It's fun to really drive down and do research.

All that said, it really should be a lot different with random deadly monsters running around, and much much different if a system existed

The article is behind a paywall, but is this total work or simply employment hours? If a medieval person has 25 weeks off from their job, but they need to spend those 25 weeks working on their own winter preparations, its not really free time, it's just work elsewhere. Even school holidays in the west are still tailored to match the times kids would've historically had to go home to help their families with the planting or harvest. 

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#6

Haust Wrote: If a medieval person has 25 weeks off from their job, but they need to spend those 25 weeks working on their own winter preparations,



Subsistence farming, manufacturing, and such had a lot of latency built in. Twelve to sixteen of those weeks off were probably during the winter when growing was difficult, preparations had been made, and icy/wet weather or stormy seas made it prudent to stay in one place if we're speaking specifically of Europe. On places with extreme heat, the time off may have added up when the burning sun made it dangerous to toil in the fields and un-aircondotioned buildings.

Seasons, growing cycles, and the circadian rhythm affected medieval life in a way that's hard to grasp for us modern folks.

That said, I will never long for a fantasy world. With my medical needs, I'd have died, lol. It doesn't matter how hard the work was.

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#7
I have a bit of a different take: it depends entirely on the fantasy world. Fantasy worlds might have some of the imagery and trops of the middle ages, but they aren't necessarily supposed to be accurate representations of that period. Some book describes a weapon that never existed? No problem. Cities weren't really set up that way? No big deal. Barbarians/knights/thieves didn't really behave... Nobody cares. It's fantasy and there can be an infinite number of differences between that world and the real one.

I'm going to include popular fantasy and scifi worlds and rank them best to worst, in my opinion.

1. Star Trek
2. Forgotten Realms
3. Fallout
4. Star Wars
5. Westeros

1. Star Trek is obviously a utopina pipe dream in outer space. Everybody's basic needs are completely taken care of (at least if you're in the Federation), you get to travel the stars, and you can sign up to have fantastic adventures, or maybe be killed by a spacial anomaly, mechanical breakdown, transporter accident, or an alien species. In all honesty, it's the one universe I'd actually want to live in. It's not that I'd be all gung-ho to get assimilated by the borg. Rather, I'd prefer to spend my time on Risa, not worried about my budget, where I can write in paradise. What's not to love?

2. The Forgotten Realms may be similar to medieval Europe, but it's fantasy. Meaning that much of what you don't have in technology you get back with magic. If you get sick you can go to a cleric and they can fix 99% of the things that have gone wrong, including death. You may not be a swashbuckling hero, but many of the cities are pretty fantastic. This is not a place where people are dumping dung out their windows into the streets and an infection is likely to kill you. There are threats to the peace, but most of them are regional, not global. I think FR might actually be a better place to live than the real world.

3. You'd think Fallout would be lower on the list. I mean, a nuclear war has happened, animals have mutated into monsters, and you pretty much have to scrounge to survive. But look at it a little deeper. First of all, stimpacks are the medicinal equivalent of a healing potion, so when you get hurt, you can actually make yourself more comfortable pretty quickly--assuming you have any at your disposal. Organizations and societies have begun to re-emerge, so it's totally an option to join up with like-minded people to enhance your odds of survival. There's also a lot of really cool tech that somehow survived the nukes, and that can make your life interesting. On the other hand, the average person might have to scrounge for your supper, you might end up eating roasted bloatfly meat, and you might get killed by s super mutant. I guess you have to take the good with the bad.

4. Let's be honest, when you get away from the cool laser swords, the kitbashed spaceships, the droids with quirky personalities, and the pew pew pew, the Star Wars universe is pretty terrible. It has a real problem with evil wizards rising from nowhere to impose fascist dictatorships on people. Your planet might get blown up by some new super weapon. You might get eaten by a Crayt Dragon, a rancor, a sarlacc, or some other nasty monster. Oh yeah, and odds are you're illiterate and have to toil away, working the land of some obscure world for survival. Star Wars is kind of the opposite of Star Trek in terms of the quality of life.

5. It's basically medieval Earth with weak magic, dragons that might nuke your entire city, you've got no real health benefits, and everyone's an a-hole. I don't even like the fantasy of Westeros, let alone what the reality would be like.

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#8
To answer the OP's question, humanity didn't revert to a hunter-gatherer's society for many reasons. Our current view of hunter-gatherers is also very romanticized, they had it even worse than subsistence farmers. 
1) HG's are much more likely to starve - as a farmer you have long-term food that can be conserved like grain, maize, and livestock. Food that you can gather or hunt is perishable, so you need to find food every other day. A couple of unlucky hunts and your tribe is starving.
2) HG's couldn't get nearly as the same amount of food as farmers. That's why farmers outcompeted HG's everywhere and that's how the human population exploded. If all farmers reverted to hunting most of them would starve or be killed in competition for hunting/gathering places.
3) HG societies are notoriously aggressive, the average HG society has the same murder rate as the worst favelas in Latin America. Farming societies are much safer.
4) HG societies interact much more with dangerous wildlife
5) In medieval times, most of the land (and all the best land) belonged to some Lord. If you tried to live somewhere as a HG, the only option was some remote place where there was barely any food.
6) If you were a serf you were tied to the land. It was illegal for a serf to leave the land he belonged to. If you tried you would have armored nobility hunting you down like a wild animal. So even if you wanted to, you couldn't become a HG.

So being a serf in medieval times was bad, but it was still better than being a hunter-gatherer. That is why people didn't revert to it.



Sereminar Wrote: people have lived stateless for all of human history, even today. frequently they are called "hills people" in anthropology and history. Generally they live in areas harder to police, hills, forests, mountains, places that you can't march an army though forcing people to pay taxes. 

They sometimes control trade routes and raid other communities for goods and supplies. Frequently they will do so in predictable and consistent times so that the settlements will have leave for a day and then come back. The predictability is because it benefits no one for people to die in these raids.



From where I come from we call them bandits.


Sereminar Wrote: That being said it's important to keep in mind that even in mideval europe peasant farmers worked less than you do. Here's an excerpt from a decent medium Article
Quote:A Medieval adult male in the UK worked 1,620. A 13th-century laborer could have up to 25 weeks off, while modern Americans would drop their jaw at 25 days.
During the late 14th century, when wages were high, things were even better. In fact, workers refused to commit to working the full year or even six months.
Instead, they worked on a daily basis, using only enough days to make their typical wages. This brought their work hours down to about 1,440.

So yeah, work sucks, but our common understanding of history is...unreliable. It's fun to really drive down and do research.

All that said, it really should be a lot different with random deadly monsters running around, and much much different if a system existed




That article isn't decent. It's not even bad. It's horrible. The writer has no idea how serfdom functioned and nothing she wrote has any resemblance to reality.



Sereminar Wrote: To answer your question those hours are inclusive of all labor at best estimate. Here's a further list of hours/year by century (england specific). As you can see, the 1400's were a great time to sell your labor :p
Quote:
Eight centuries of annual hours

13th century - Adult male peasant, U.K.: 1620 hours
Calculated from Gregory Clark's estimate of 150 days per family, assumes 12 hours per day, 135 days per year for adult male ("Impatience, Poverty, and Open Field Agriculture", mimeo, 1986)

14th century - Casual laborer, U.K.: 1440 hours
Calculated from Nora Ritchie's estimate of 120 days per year. Assumes 12-hour day. ("Labour conditions in Essex in the reign of Richard II", in E.M. Carus-Wilson, ed., Essays in Economic History, vol. II, London: Edward Arnold, 1962).

Middle ages - English worker: 2309 hours
Juliet Schor's estime of average medieval laborer working two-thirds of the year at 9.5 hours per day

1400-1600 - Farmer-miner, adult male, U.K.: 1980 hours
Calculated from Ian Blanchard's estimate of 180 days per year. Assumes 11-hour day ("Labour productivity and work psychology in the English mining industry, 1400-1600", Economic History Review 31, 23 (1978).

1840 - Average worker, U.K.: 3105-3588 hours
Based on 69-hour week; hours from W.S. Woytinsky, "Hours of labor," in Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, vol. III (New York: Macmillan, 1935). Low estimate assumes 45 week year, high one assumes 52 week year

1850 - Average worker, U.S.: 3150-3650 hours
Based on 70-hour week; hours from Joseph Zeisel, "The workweek in American industry, 1850-1956", Monthly Labor Review 81, 23-29 (1958). Low estimate assumes 45 week year, high one assumes 52 week year

1987 - Average worker, U.S.: 1949 hours
From The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure, by Juliet B. Schor, Table 2.4

1988 - Manufacturing workers, U.K.: 1856 hours
Calculated from Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Office of Productivity and Technology



"1400's were a great time to sell your labor :p" - Sell your labor?!?!?!?!?! I think I just had a concussion from how hard I slapped my forehead... They didn't have capitalism at that time!!! 
Let me give you a little hint. Those 1440 hours in the 14th century. Yeah, about that... THEY WEREN'T PAID FOR THEM!!!!!!
Serfdom was a mode of production where you have serfs who are tied to the land and work it and the land belongs to a feudal lord. For living on his land, the serfs were REQUIRED to work 2-3 days every week for their lord and EVERYTHING they produced on those days would go to the lord. That's what those numbers in medieval times calculate. The "days off" weren't leisure time or some merry dancing or drinking like the article suggests. The "days off" and that 25 weeks off was a period where they worked the fields for themselves to get enough food so they don't starve!!! So 1440 hours per year was the time every serf had to work for free + the time he worked for himself, which is highly variable, depends on the weather for that year, harvest, many other things, but it was probably in 2200-2600 range. 
So your list is meaningless because it compares apples to oranges. 3150 hours in 1850 and 1856 in 1988 were all times you worked for yourself for pay, and the rest was your true leisure time. For the medieval peasant, he probably worked 3500-4000 hours per year of which 1400-2000 he worked WITHOUT any reimbursement. Even your own sources say that (the serious ones, not the blog posts and newspaper articles)
https://www.medievalchronicles.com/medieval-people/medieval-peasants/
" Medieval Serfs were peasants who worked his Lord’s land and paid him certain dues in return for the use of land, the possession (not the ownership) of the land. The dues were usually in the form of labour on the lord’s land. Medieval Serfs were expected to work for approximately 3 days each week on the lord’s land as. A serf was one bound to work on a certain estate, and thus attached to the soil, and sold with it into the service of whoever purchases the land."

And additionally, on the things he did earn he had to pay a tax to the church, which was around 10%. That doesn't seem much for us, but for a subsistence farmer that is a huge tax. There was a reason why people were running away from clean farms into dirty factories to work 3000 hours per year. They weren't stupid.

Researching is fine but you need to pick a diverse viewpoint and not just anti-capitalstic ones. Because people will believe many incorrect things if it agrees with their ideology, and you get articles like that. Let's see it from a different perspective. Today's workers work in total the same time the medieval peasant worked for free for their lord! Sooo, thank you capitalism.

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#10
Life in the Shire was so hard that they were having two breakfast.... 

The Shire isn't a medieval society, but rather an early modern one, just before industrialization/end of enlightnement period. (with Saroumane being the industrialization).

And if we talk about sustainability it is the kind of society we should tend towards if we want to save our climate and livelihood. So it is a strong argument for all those who want to keep modern commodities at all cost. 

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#11
Quote:I have to imagine peasants must have had some leisure time, or they would have revolted?



Ofc, every Sunday and religious holidays. As a peasant in medieval ages your average week was, two or three days working for the lord from dawn until dusk (more during the harvest), 3-4 days working for yourself again from dawn until dusk and Sunday was a rest day when you would go to church. And like people mentioned there were times when you had fewer things to do, like during winter but you still had to tend to the livestock and work for the lord, get firewood from the forest...
And people still revolted from time to time. It could become unbearable when for some reason the lord demands more work, tax...

It's also a different mindset that's hard to understand for us. They didn't have much to do outside work either. Sure you had some fairs sometimes but they were illiterate, nothing other to do than work. When people get used to hard work it's actually difficult not to work. Source: my grandmother was a peasant (not in medieval times ofc :D). Even when we earned enough money she would still plow the land and tend to the livestock because "what else was she going to do", and she would work all day. She always complained about how much she works but when I would point that she doesn't need to and we could just sell the land, she would scoff at the idea. She couldn't imagine herself not working.

Quote:Life in the Shire was so hard that they were having two breakfast.... 

The Shire isn't a medieval society, but rather an early modern one, just before industrialization/end of enlightnement period. (with Saroumane being the industrialization).

And if we talk about sustainability it is the kind of society we should tend towards if we want to save our climate and livelihood. So it is a strong argument for all those who want to keep modern commodities at all cost. 

Yes, I agree with this interpretation.

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#12
This entire question uses low fantasy medieval worlds as its basis, and it always has an obvious answer of 'no way in any hell'. You could be reborn as a seraphim (Or whatever Gandalf technically is) and the world would still be objectively horrible to live in, by modern standards of course. I could look at high fantasy in general, but this is RR and what more do we excel at than LitRPG? And when it comes to a normal human there is no better magic system.

The basis of LitRPG is translating effort into reward, however most stories utilise a lot of luck for protagonists on top of effort. This luck will be ignored. In a world with such easily accessible magic and power, you still have the rulers but that should make farming significantly safer as soldiers clearing away monsters is a common sight. More problematically might be all 'levelling' grounds being monopolised, but since people like to ignore that reality so will I. As long as every class is able to access useful skills and basic magic then basic survival becomes simple. Healing is easily solvable with any type of healing classes, which are normally divine in nature and can heal literally anything. Considering nature magic to enhance plant growth speed is commonly seen in games as well as web novels it goes without saying that food production is barely an issue. Re-fertilising the ground would be rather simple as well, if even necessary.

So would I want to go to a high fantasy magic world where everyone can gain access to power and things are generally convenient? Probably, the lack of internet might hurt but in general I don't see many problems beyond getting killed. And tbh, dying trying to get stronger sounds better than dying in a gutter while starving. Yes it's not very relevant to the question, but the question isn't super applicable to fantasy on RR in the first place.

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#13

kovich Wrote: To answer the OP's question, humanity didn't revert to a hunter-gatherer's society for many reasons. Our current view of hunter-gatherers is also very romanticized, they had it even worse than subsistence farmers. 
1) HG's are much more likely to starve - as a farmer you have long-term food that can be conserved like grain, maize, and livestock. Food that you can gather or hunt is perishable, so you need to find food every other day. A couple of unlucky hunts and your tribe is starving.
2) HG's couldn't get nearly as the same amount of food as farmers. That's why farmers outcompeted HG's everywhere and that's how the human population exploded. If all farmers reverted to hunting most of them would starve or be killed in competition for hunting/gathering places.
3) HG societies are notoriously aggressive, the average HG society has the same murder rate as the worst favelas in Latin America. Farming societies are much safer.
4) HG societies interact much more with dangerous wildlife



You're right about a lot of these, but I wouldn't say that being a HG was worse than being a random pheasant or townsperson in medieval times. The HG people lacked modern medicine too, yes, but their illnesses would've been different and more likely to stay on an individual level. Injuries, infections, drinking bad water. Not surrounding themselves with their own or their animals waste meant few pandemics compared to the poor souls who had to go stay in towns and cities soiled with feces and full of rats. 

Also, being a HG doesn't mean there's no cultivation of plants or the land at all. Everybody who has spent any time at all looking at plants understand that plants will grow from seeds. A HG culture might still tend to orchards or wildlife hotspots to secure food, they just aren't likely to tend to fields and time-consuming crops/methods. Even a nomadic people who decide not to consciously grow anything will still increase the amount of plants they can eat in the places where they've dwelled, simply by collecting and tossing/pooping out seeds. One or two bad hunts sending your tribe starving isn't the whole truth. And there's trade, too. And plenty of archaeological evidence of HG people growing as tall or taller than the modern average. 

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#14

Haust Wrote: You're right about a lot of these, but I wouldn't say that being a HG was worse than being a random pheasant or townsperson in medieval times. The HG people lacked modern medicine too, yes, but their illnesses would've been different and more likely to stay on an individual level. Injuries, infections, drinking bad water. Not surrounding themselves with their own or their animals waste meant few pandemics compared to the poor souls who had to go stay in towns and cities soiled with feces and full of rats. 

Also, being a HG doesn't mean there's no cultivation of plants or the land at all. Everybody who has spent any time at all looking at plants understand that plants will grow from seeds. A HG culture might still tend to orchards or wildlife hotspots to secure food, they just aren't likely to tend to fields and time-consuming crops/methods. Even a nomadic people who decide not to consciously grow anything will still increase the amount of plants they can eat in the places where they've dwelled, simply by collecting and tossing/pooping out seeds. One or two bad hunts sending your tribe starving isn't the whole truth. And there's trade, too. And plenty of archaeological evidence of HG people growing as tall or taller than the modern average.


I was probably too focused on the negatives for the hunter-gatherers. You've made good points.

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#15
I remember I read in a book, someone said, "we didn't domesticate wheat, rather wheat domesticated us."

Life was much less fulfilling for the average human than when we were hunter gatherers. What the domestication of wheat DID do was help the population explode, meaning that rather than for convenience, we began *depending* on granaries for our existence because all of a sudden everyone had 12 kids to feed. That's really all it was. Just humans getting into something for the sake of convenience before realising that they'd made a mistake but oh no we live like this now.

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#17
Quote:If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

I'd fuck off and live innawoods. 
The older I get the less I care about the stupid social games we are required to play in order to get along. I'm tired of people constantly screaming about politics and race and religion and this, that, and the other. 
In order to recharge my batteries, I spend a lot of time in the woods. Every weekend, in fact. 
A few years back I was out and about and I came across a deserted mining town. It's not on any maps, and the land isn't owned. So every weekend I go out there in my jeep and I work on rebuilding one of the houses. I've got a water filtration system set up, I've put up a greenhouse. Towards the end of my project I'll probably get some solar panels and one of those tesla power walls and then run LED lighting, since LEDs have an active life of like 20 years and use very little electricity. 
In any case, once the project is done, I'm just going to disappear. 
If I were sent to an isekai world, I wouldn't give a fuck about magic powers or saving the kingdom from evil or rescuing the princess or assembling a harem. I'd fuck off and go live in the woods. 

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#18

Sereminar Wrote:
kovich Wrote: 3) HG societies are notoriously aggressive, the average HG society has the same murder rate as the worst favelas in Latin America. Farming societies are much safer.

false, while there certainly was conflict in hg societies (they weren't noble savages) extrapolating historical rates from modern examples isn't so simple, as noted by https://brewminate.com/conflict-violence-and-conflict-resolution-in-hunting-and-gathering-societies/

Quote:Conflict appears to occur at a lower incident rate amongst hunter-gatherers of a “simple” form. However, through this analysis it has become evident that archaeologists have unduly created a myth of the “peaceful hunter-gatherer”. It has been made clear that conflict is prevalent and healthy within these groups. Furthermore, the method in which conflict is managed and resolved is much different than what Westerners are accustomed to. Simple hunter-gatherers are acephalous and conflict is dealt with by collective social control. This method is effective because each individual is interdependent and conformity is necessary for the livelihood of each member.

In addition to utilizing social control for conflict resolution and management, modern hunter-gatherers live in vastly different environments than their counterparts did in the past (LeBlanc 2003). The present residential environments are primarily harsh and modern groups have low birth rates that maintain stable resources. This combination allows for adequate resources to be shared within the group, generally reducing resource competition. The differing residential areas of the past, however, provided great resources, and high population growth rates ensued. This combination eventually provides a strain on resources and competition naturally follows. Consequently, evidence of historical violence and warfare are common in the archaeological and ethnographical record. One must look at the data and evidence both objectively and critically to dispel these perpetuated myths of the “noble savage” or brutish solitary “beast”. This is vital for a clear, concise representation of what humans were like prior to the development of agriculture which transformed the current global human condition.



Again. The source that you provided confirms what I said. Have you actually read the source you provided or did you just skim and cherry-picked some things without context? Nothing in that article contradicts what I said, in fact, it supports it. I never said that they are "mindless beasts" or that they don't have ways of dealing with agression which is the point of the article. I said that there is more violence than in state societies like ours or medieval one. This is a quote from your own source!

Quote:To blindly accept previous assertions that hunter-gatherers are resistant to engaging in violence and aggressive behaviours would be a mistake. Lee (1984) found that the !Kung can be scrappy and violent, and the violence sometimes leads to fatal results. Between 1922 and 1955 there were 22 incidents of homicide (Lee 1984: 91). When analyzing these numbers, first
impressions may lead one to believe that this is a low figure for homicides. At such a low
population density of the !Kung, however, this number could be interpreted as high.



Quote:Violent encounters especially escalated when females were scarce, and females as young as eight years old have been betrothed to males to prevent such violent conflicts (Lee 1984)


Quote:For example, the Herero (a group that neighbours the !Kung) invaded !Kung territory in the 1800s, and they were

defeated with raids and warfare (LeBlanc 2003:116). LeBlanc (2003) also provides evidence that the early Arctic anthropologists observed occurrences of warfare and were told stories about warfare among the Inuit. Researchers know that the Eskimo had tools used exclusively for warfare (LeBlanc 2003:117). This evidence suggests that historical warfare was much more prevalent in previous groups as compared to modern counterparts. In addition, this emphasizes that caution should be taken when deriving impressions of the past.

These are all from your own source.
And here is a source comparing violence in state vs non-state societies.

https://ourworldindata.org/ethnographic-and-archaeological-evidence-on-violent-deaths#share-of-violent-deaths-in-prehistoric-archeological-state-and-non-state-societies



Sereminar Wrote: buddy, pal, i listed like 7 sources. and you listed one. So yeah, the article was rather simple, but it did list the following source which goes into pretty good depth about Serfdom So again from https://www.worldhistory.org/Serf/#:~:text=Medieval%20serfs%20(aka%20villeins)%20were,for%20their%20own%20basic%20needs.

Quote:The institution of serfdom was gradually weakened by several developments in the late Middle Ages. The sudden population declines caused by wars and plagues, particularly the Black Death (which peaked between 1347-1352 CE) meant that labour was in short supply and thus expensive. Another trend was for free labourers to leave the countryside and seek their fortunes in the growing number of towns and cities. Runaway serfs could similarly try their luck and there was even a custom that by living for one year and a day in a town a serf earned his freedom. Without sufficient labour, many estates were abandoned. This situation gave serfs leverage to negotiate a better deal for themselves, even to receive a payment for their work. The greater use of coinage in medieval society helped make this possible and worthwhile. With saved-up money, Serfs could make a payment to their lord instead of labour in some cases or pay a fee to be absolved from some of the labour expected of them, or they could even buy their freedom.



I listed your own source! How did you manage to read and not notice that I quoted from your own source? Look up your first post, this is one of those 7 sources that I quoted   https://www.medievalchronicles.com/medieval-people/medieval-peasants/.
And this quote that you listed in no way contradicts anything I said. It contradicts yours. If serfs worked so few days as your medium article suggests, why were they risking severe punishment and trying to run away? It makes sense in my world where they are abused and not much sense in the world the medium article painted where they work 3 days a week and the lords believed the serfs had a worker's right to leisure.



Sereminar Wrote:
kovich Wrote: Those 1440 hours in the 14th century. Yeah, about that... THEY WEREN'T PAID FOR THEM!!!!!!
Serfdom was a mode of production where you have serfs who are tied to the land and work it and the land belongs to a feudal lord. For living on his land, the serfs were REQUIRED to work 2-3 days every week for their lord and EVERYTHING they produced on those days would go to the lord. That's what those numbers in medieval times calculate... So 1440 hours per year was the time every serf had to work for free + the time he worked for himself, which is highly variable, depends on the weather for that year, harvest, many other things, but it was probably in 2200-2600 range.

So, like, the source for the 1440 hours is quite literally a Harvard Economist, from her book Juliet Schor The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline Of Leisure. Further reading:

"Labour conditions in Essex in the reign of Richard II", in E.M. Carus-Wilson, ed., Essays in Economic History, vol. II, London: Edward Arnold, 1962

Everyday Life in Medieval Europe which you can read a lot of free on google books https://www.google.com/books/edition/Everyday_Life_in_Medieval_England/1s09shL69CgC?hl=en&gbpv=1&bsq=Labour%20conditions%20in%20Essex%20in%20the%20reign

So if you have any source at all for the additional 2200-2600 hours please do tell.



I found her book and read it. Nowhere does she mentions any methodology used or how she got to that number. Like there is nothing to explain it. The only thing that is mentioned is "Calculated from Nora Ritchie's estimate of 120 days per year. Assumes 12-hour day." and added this as a source
"Labour conditions in Essex in the reign of Richard II", in E.M. Carus-Wilson, ed., Essays in Economic History, vol. II, London: Edward Arnold, 1962
Which I couldn't find to read because it seems insanely obscure. Most of the google searches for the book return to Schor... Nothing to explain the numbers.

Here is a historical legal document that details how much serfs had to work for their lord.
https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/students/modules/hi2e9/programme/manor/manordocs
If the old english is too difficult to understand here is the explanation
https://books.google.rs/books?id=m9nCDAAAQBAJ&pg=PT184&lpg=PT184&dq=Hugh+Miller+serf&source=bl&ots=KxltgLyDV1&sig=ACfU3U2OuxO3VIVBJgVVh-aixWgMx6qoVw&hl=sr&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj376_X0sLwAhUSz4UKHXqdDDEQ6AEwEnoECBEQAw#v=onepage&q=Hugh%20Miller%20serf&f=false

So from the legal document, Henry Miller (and 17 other serfs) had to work three days every week for the whole year except for three weeks (Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide). A year has a little more than 52 weeks. So he works 49-50 weeks per year. 3 x 50 = 150 days per year Henry Miller worked for the abbot in any way the abbot saw fit without any payment. You do understand that serfs also had to work for themselves? So if Nora Ritchie estimated 120 days per year, and we have a legal document that says that a serf had to work 150 days for his lord for free isn't it logical that Nora Ritchie's estimate is about free work the serfs had to do and not total? You can't even estimate the total in any meaningful way.


Sereminar Wrote:
Quote:The "days off" weren't leisure time or some merry dancing or drinking like the article suggests. The "days off" and that 25 weeks off was a period where they worked the fields for themselves to get enough food so they don't starve!!!

as far as days off go from: https://www.worldhistory.org/Serf/#:~:text=Medieval%20serfs%20(aka%20villeins)%20were,for%20their%20own%20basic%20needs.

Quote:A serf had leisure time on Sundays and on holidays when the most popular pastimes were drinking beer, singing, and group dancing to music from pipes, flutes and drums. There were games like dice, board games and sports such as hockey and medieval football where the goal was to move the ball to a predetermined destination and there were few, if any, rules.  Serfs did get to live it up a little once a year when, by tradition, they were invited to the manor on Christmas day for a meal. Unfortunately, they had to bring along their own plates and firewood, and of course, all the food had been produced by themselves anyway, but they did get free beer and it was at least a chance to see how the other half lived and relieve the dreariness of a country winter.

as well from https://groups.csail.mit.edu/mac/users/rauch/worktime/hours_workweek.html

Quote:The contrast between capitalist and precapitalist work patterns is most striking in respect to the working year. The medieval calendar was filled with holidays. Official -- that is, church -- holidays included not only long "vacations" at Christmas, Easter, and midsummer but also numerous saints' and rest days. These were spent both in sober churchgoing and in feasting, drinking and merrymaking. In addition to official celebrations, there were often weeks' worth of ales -- to mark important life events (bride ales or wake ales) as well as less momentous occasions (scot ale, lamb ale, and hock ale). All told, holiday leisure time in medieval England took up probably about one-third of the year. And the English were apparently working harder than their neighbors. The ancien règime in France is reported to have guaranteed fifty-two Sundays, ninety rest days, and thirty-eight holidays. In Spain, travelers noted that holidays totaled five months per year.[5]


Like, you are gaslighting me right now. The worldhistory one says exactly the same thing I said! Like literally my quote

Quote:
Quote:I have to imagine peasants must have had some leisure time, or they would have revolted?




Ofc, every Sunday and religious holidays. As a peasant in medieval ages your average week was, two or three days working for the lord from dawn until dusk (more during the harvest), 3-4 days working for yourself again from dawn until dusk and Sunday was a rest day when you would go to church.



So let's summarize this step by step.
1) You link a medium post that says that serfs worked three days for their lord and misleadingly implied that that was all they worked. Not knowing or hiding the fact that they weren't paid for that. And implying that everything other than those 3 days was leisure time for them.
2) I then said that it isn't correct. They only had Sundays and church holidays for rest and that they also had to work for themselves in addition to those 3 days.
3) You now link a worldhistory source where the first sentence is " A serf had leisure time on Sundays and on holidays "  which is literally the same thing I said!!!

Sereminar Wrote: perhaps what we're missing is a more human perspective. So here's a historical reinactor describing the every day life of a medieval peasant. Source is a comment from this absolutely brain dead article https://www.adamsmith.org/blog/regulation-industry/medieval-peasants-really-did-not-work-only-150-days-a-year

Quote:Let me chime in here as a historical re-enactor ... and a lot of them are almost.... enjoyable.



You did not seriously just quoted a LARPer? It's pretty common for people in the West to have such an easy life that they don't know what to do with themselves. And to me, that seems like the case here. Hard work can give people meaning but that's true for most hard work. No offense but, you are missing a more human perspective on this. I spent somewhere between a quarter and a third part of my life in a peasant village. I am from a somewhat poor country and my family also had to work the land in addition to the jobs they had in order to support ourselves. So every Friday afternoon when I would finish school we would go to the village where my grandmother lived. Except during the summer break where most of my time was spent there. We had a tractor and a cultivator so we had a little bit of mechanization but nothing close like on American farms. Let's dive into my experiences then.
Haymaking. This was done during the sunniest (and consequently the hottest) days because the hay needs a few days in the field to dry and you have to hope the rain doesn't fall or your whole batch will rot. Then when the hay is dry and ready you go there with a cart to gather it. And since the hay is dry it breaks and there is this dust from the hay in the air that goes into your lungs, your eyes, inside your clothes, everywhere. And it is hot like the seventh circle of hell because it's summer and you are on an open field. So you start sweating like a pig, and the hay dust starts mixing with your sweat so the dirt feels like the part of your body. And the thing about hay dust is that it's not like ordinary dust. It's sharp. And it stings. So you get a rash on your arms, neck, and face like someone took a thousand tiny razorblades and started cutting. So you fill up the cart with hay and return home and you park the cart near the barn to get all the hay out. And I remember once, so you have one guy with a pitchfork on the cart that is passing the hay, and this one time he started manically jumping on the hay. And people around me all in a panic, running around and throwing blankets on the hay. And then I saw a flame. Since it was so freaking hot and the hay is so dry and from all the friction, a flame burst out. It was not a big one and we managed to put it out luckily, but it was a matter of seconds the dry hay that was connected to our barn that was close to our house blazed into a torch. And you repeat this process until all your hay is collected.
Then you have fertilizing. We didn't use those fancy fertilizers. You see, when you clean the cow shit you don't actually throw it away. You gather it in one place, and when the planting season comes, you again put all that cow shit in a cart and drive with it to the field and then you have to mix it up with the plowed land. And you have cow shit pasted all over you and you can't get the smell out for a week. And then is the time for the next field. Then you have sowing, some are just scattering, but for some you need to care for the distance and plant a little bit deeper. So you spend the whole day in this unnatural position, where you are constantly hunched forward and repeat the same motion of digging and planting, and then you move a step forward and again you make a hole and plant, until your back starts aching. Because of this, most of the older people in the village are all bent forward and have a bad back. And then you go to your neighbors and help them because it's impossible to do all this by yourself and they also helped you. Then life on the farm is not just some idyllic feeding the chickens and milking the cows. You may have a young cow and the moment you finally finish milking her she kicks and throws all your work down the drain. Then you have to help the cow with the birth. And when hens start brooding she turns extremely aggressive and can attack people. My dad actually has a hole in his face where a brooding hen plucked him when he was a kid. And there are like a thousand different things that you have to do that I honestly don't even want to remember anymore.
Like, nothing is stopping anyone from living life like a medieval peasant. You can buy some patch of land and try to cultivate it. And then you'll see how much you'll work, not to have a great life, but just to manage. But it's all posturing, not a single person that writes how medieval life was great is going to abandon modern life and work the fields.
And now I have a bunch of privileged people, who have no idea what they are talking about telling me how amazing the fieldwork is. There is a reason I worked my ass of so that I don't work on the fields. And honestly after this larper I don't have the patience for elitism or being patronized. I'm done with this.

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#19
What y'all aren't realizing is that farming isn't actually that bad. Once you get used to it, it's about as bad as any other manual labor, plus whatever other bad things come with low tech. People were sustenance farmers because they made a living off of it, and while surely they would be much happier in modern day, if you don't have the option then you wouldn't consider it that bad. It's all about perspective. So I might just be a sustenance farmer in middle earth, just please for the love of god don't put me anywhere in WH 40K.

Re: If you actually lived in a fantasy world...

#20

Alaea Wrote: What y'all aren't realizing is that farming isn't actually that bad. Once you get used to it, it's about as bad as any other manual labor, plus whatever other bad things come with low tech. People were sustenance farmers because they made a living off of it, and while surely they would be much happier in modern day, if you don't have the option then you wouldn't consider it that bad. It's all about perspective. So I might just be a sustenance farmer in middle earth, just please for the love of god don't put me anywhere in WH 40K.



Farming itself isn't the problem. The problem is farming + serfdom (already discussed here) + lack of modern medicine + bad water + plagues + war + predators + land conflicts + lack of education and information and quick news + protecting all your farming efforts from being totally undone by rodents or sparrows, some random hailstorm that smashes your entire harvest, from mold, theft, wild boar, plant diseases, and any number of things that could go wrong with your main source of winter sustenance. Being a sustenance farmer is, to some extent, gambling. It's putting all your energy into something that can fail and eventually something WILL fail and you will starve that year, unless you have already put in enough efforts previous years to have a buffer, which you then need to defend against everyone else who are still starving. There's a story about some isolated hermit family who lived in russia, and one year the mice ate all their stored grain except something like ten grains. So the husband of the family had to protect those grains or they wouldn't have anything to plant. At first he kept them in a metal box on his person, but they had to plant them eventually. So he stayed by those grains the entire spring, 24/7, to make sure the mice didn't eat them. They got to harvest the seed from those 10 initial seeds that year, and re-started their grain supply. This sort of unexpected stuff is also part of farming. 

And all of this already assumes access to good land with enough water and suitable climate and not toally full of little rocks you got to remove by hand or risk breaking your plow. And this is just REGULAR Earth. Imagine all the magical pests and plant diseases and thorny weeds you have to deal with if you have magic and monsters in play. 

I'm not saying these people were always suffering but lets not romanticize stuff here, low tech farming is really hard work. There's other hard work too, but farming and working isn't the only reason I don't want to live in the middle ages.