Land is the stage of society; men are the actors. And man must ever adjust his performances to conform to the land situation. The evolution of the mores is always dependent on the land-man ratio. This is true notwithstanding the difficulty of its discernment. Man’s land technique, or maintenance arts, plus his standards of living, equal the sum total of the folkways, the mores. And the sum of man’s adjustment to the life demands equals his cultural civilization.
The earliest human cultures arose along the rivers of the Eastern Hemisphere, and there were four great steps in the forward march of civilization. They were:
1. The collection stage. Food coercion, hunger, led to the first form of industrial organization, the primitive food-gathering lines. Sometimes such a line of hunger march would be ten miles long as it passed over the land gleaning food. This was the primitive nomadic stage of culture and is the mode of life now followed by the African Bushmen.
2. The hunting stage. The invention of weapon tools enabled man to become a hunter and thus to gain considerable freedom from food slavery. A thoughtful Andonite who had severely bruised his fist in a serious combat rediscovered the idea of using a long stick for his arm and a piece of hard flint, bound on the end with sinews, for his fist. Many tribes made independent discoveries of this sort, and these various forms of hammers represented one of the great forward steps in human civilization. Today some Australian natives have progressed little beyond this stage.
The blue men became expert hunters and trappers; by fencing the rivers they caught fish in great numbers, drying the surplus for winter use. Many forms of ingenious snares and traps were employed in catching game, but the more primitive races did not hunt the larger animals.
3. The pastoral stage. This phase of civilization was made possible by the domestication of animals. The Arabs and the natives of Africa are among the more recent pastoral peoples.
Pastoral living afforded further relief from food slavery; man learned to live on the interest of his capital, the increase in his flocks; and this provided more leisure for culture and progress.
Prepastoral society was one of sex co-operation, but the spread of animal husbandry reduced women to the depths of social slavery. In earlier times it was man’s duty to secure the animal food, woman’s business to provide the vegetable edibles. Therefore, when man entered the pastoral era of his existence, woman’s dignity fell greatly. She must still toil to produce the vegetable necessities of life, whereas the man need only go to his herds to provide an abundance of animal food. Man thus became relatively independent of woman; throughout the entire pastoral age woman’s status steadily declined. By the close of this era she had become scarcely more than a human animal, consigned to work and to bear human offspring, much as the animals of the herd were expected to labor and bring forth young. The men of the pastoral ages had great love for their cattle; all the more pity they could not have developed a deeper affection for their wives.
4. The agricultural stage. This era was brought about by the domestication of plants, and it represents the highest type of material civilization. Both Caligastia and Adam endeavored to teach horticulture and agriculture. Adam and Eve were gardeners, not shepherds, and gardening was an advanced culture in those days. The growing of plants exerts an ennobling influence on all races of mankind.
Agriculture more than quadrupled the land-man ratio of the world. It may be combined with the pastoral pursuits of the former cultural stage. When the three stages overlap, men hunt and women till the soil.
There has always been friction between the herders and the tillers of the soil. The hunter and herder were militant, warlike; the agriculturist is a more peace-loving type. Association with animals suggests struggle and force; association with plants instills patience, quiet, and peace. Agriculture and industrialism are the activities of peace. But the weakness of both, as world social activities, is that they lack excitement and adventure.
Human society has evolved from the hunting stage through that of the herders to the territorial stage of agriculture. And each stage of this progressive civilization was accompanied by less and less of nomadism; more and more man began to live at home.
And now is industry supplementing agriculture, with consequently increased urbanization and multiplication of nonagricultural groups of citizenship classes. But an industrial era cannot hope to survive if its leaders fail to recognize that even the highest social developments must ever rest upon a sound agricultural basis.