Pub. Date:
State University of New York Press
Pub. Date:
State University of New York Press
The Parable of the Tribes: The Problem of Power in Social Evolution, Second Edition / Edition 2

The Parable of the Tribes: The Problem of Power in Social Evolution, Second Edition / Edition 2

by Andrew Bard Schmookler Andrew Bard Schmookler


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"Imagine a group of tribes living within reach of one another. If all choose the way of peace, then all may live in peace. But what if all but one choose peace?" From this basic premise, Andrew Bard Schmookler has built a towering work of intellectual and spiritual insight, a book that will shatter many preconceived notions about how civilization has developed and why human history has been so filled with torment. In this new edition, Schmookler shows how, with the end of the Cold War, we now have an unprecedented opportunity to solve the problem of power that has plagued civilization.

The Parable of the Tribes is a new vision of the story of humankind. It presents a radiant new synthesis of history, evolutionary biology, political theory, and psychology.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780791424209
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 12/23/1994
Edition description: 2ND
Pages: 426
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Andrew Bard Schmookler is the author of a number of books, including Out of Weakness: Healing the Wounds That Drive Us to War; Sowings and Reapings: The Cycling of Good and Evil in the Human System; Fool's Gold: The Fate of Values in a World of Goods; and The Illusion of Choice: How the Market Economy Shapes Our Destiny. His cultural and political commentaries appear frequently in newspapers, magazines, and journals and on the radio. The original edition of The Parable of the Tribes was winner of the 1984 Erik Erikson Prize.

Table of Contents

Book I. The Parable of the Tribes

The Parable of the Tribes

1. Introduction

2. Understanding Change

3. The Common Sense: Selection by Human Choice

4. The Rube Goldberg Problem: A Critique of the Commonsense Theory

5. Toward A Bigger Vision

6. The Way of Life

7. The Emergence of Culture

8. The Breakthrough to Civilization

9. The Struggle for Power

10. The Selection for Power: The Parable of the Tribes

11. The Reign of Power

12. Power versus Choice in Social Evolution

13. A Tragic View of Human Destiny

14. Hope

The Theft of Human Choice

1. Unfree Choices

2. Two Great Waves of Change

A. The Spread of Civilization

B. The Modernization of Archaic Civilization

3. Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: The Non-Alternatives of the Parable of the Tribes

A. Withdrawal

B. Destruction

C. Transformation

D. Imitation

4. Qualifications: Limits on the Transformative Effects of Conquest

5. Choosing the Choosers: The Historymakers

6. The Mother of Invention

A. Introduction: Beyond Selection

B. Leaving the Primitive State

C. The Escalator of Civilization

D. Conclusion: Innovation as Directed by Human Purpose

Shaped by Power


1. Red Sky at Morning: The Dawn of Civilization and the Rise of Warfare

2. The Evolution Toward Larger Societies

3. The Evolution Toward More Complex Societies

4. The Evolution Toward More Effective Central Control

A. Unity of Purpose

B. Coordination

C. Sacrifice

5. Reflections on the Disadvantages of Centralization

A. Ignorance

B. Lack of Motivation

C. Stagnation

6. The Adrenalin Society

7. The Common Denominator

Epilogue to Book I. Power and Choice in Our Times

Book II. The Natural and the Unnatural

Introduction: The Natural and the Unnatural

PART I. A House Divided: The Human Condition in Civilization

Prologue. A Zoo Story

Human Nature and the Evaluation of Civilization

1. Out of the Cold: Beyond Value Neutrality

2. A Theory of Natural Values

3. The Question of Human Nature

4. Eden: The Natural Environment

5. The Fatal Mismatch

6. The Original Sinner: Evaluating Human Nature

Power and the Psychological Evolution of Civilized Man

1. The Re-creation of Man

2. Fighting Mad

The Seeds of Rage

Channeling Destructive Energies

The Faces of Human Aggression in the Evolving Reign of Power

3. Hierarchy and the Lust for Power

4. Under the York: Harnessing Human Energies

The Displacement of Pleasure by Work

The Displacement of the Present by the Future

The Human Costs of Production

Afterword: The Fighting Machine

5. The War Within: Moral Internalization and the Social Order

6. Unreasonable Reason

The Powers of Reason

Is It Progress?

The Loss of Meaning and Value


7. Conclusion: Possibilities

PART II. Power and the Loss of Wholeness

Systems of Nature and of Civilization

1. Synergy and Viability: Dimensions of Wholeness

2. Nature and Civilization Contrasted

A. Natural Systems

(1) The Body

(2) The Species, Especially Natural Societies

(3) The Ecological System

B. The Systems of Civilization

(1) Overa

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