The Benefits And Negatives Of The Neolithic Revolution

The Benefits And Negatives Of The Neolithic Revolution

Was the First Agricultural Revolution really that great?

The Neolithic Revolution was a groundbreaking event that happened at around 10000 B.C., when the earliest humans learned how to plant seeds and learned rudimentary horticulture, as well as how to domesticate animals. It was a huge stepping stone for the early humans, for it started the transition from a hunting-gathering society to an urban, agricultural society and shaped the course for the rest of human history. While it is a widely accepted fact that the Neolithic Revolution was a monumental step, and a great thing that happened in history, an opinion has started to grow among historians that the Neolithic Revolution might have actually been a mistake.

Here are some reasons why some think it was beneficial, and why some think it was a mistake.

The Benefits

1. Humans began farming.

Farming was an important step in human history because before, humans were nomadic hunter gatherers, which meant that they would hunt their food and gather fruits and berries in their surroundings. They would not stay in one place and would follow their main food source (usually animals) around. Hunting and gathering was a dangerous life to live, due to the inconsistent food source. It could take hours to track down an animal herd, and even then, the animals could always get away. When the humans started farming, however, they found a new, reliable food source that was easy and sustaining. This was a stepping stone to many of the future changes that happened because of the Revolution.

2. Humans settled down into cities.

When humans started farming, they did not have to wander the land, following the animals they used to depend on. They started to settle down near their food source and come together. Soon, they had permanent settlements with more people living together. That led to more collaboration and work between people. This was also a big step in making empires and proper civilizations later on.

3. Food surplus, specialization of labor, and new technology

When the early humans were hunter-gatherers, the entire tribe/family of people were involved in finding food. They were all part of tracking down the animals that were being hunted, skinning, roasting or another part of the process. However, when the humans started farming, they realized that they actually had an abundance of food on their hands and that it was more than they needed. This is called a surplus.

When they attained a surplus, there were fewer people needed to grow food. That left a lot of the people with free time on their hands, and they began to work on other things. Some became artisans and focused on making specific crafts to help them survive. Others became merchants and specialized in trading and selling things. And others became blacksmiths skilled in making things from metals. When people started to specialize, they invented new technologies in their respective fields. For example, after the Neolithic Revolution, humans learned how to work with bronze. They also invented the wheel. New systems of irrigation were invented to increase crop yields. Soon, instead of everyone focused on the production of food, there were many different areas in which people were working, creating a diverse environment,

The Negatives

1. Social Class Structure

Before the Neolithic Revolution, the human society was generally an egalitarian. Each person played a simple role, and they worked toward the same purpose: attaining food to survive. However, when the humans settled down and started farming, they needed someone to control who did what and how things were being made. This is where kings came into the picture.

Kings and rulers were put in charge of the allocation of resources, infrastructure development and other aspects of early civilization. However, when kings were put into power, a social hierarchy rose up with them. On top were the kings or rulers, then came the priests, then the middle-class workers, such as the merchants and the artisans followed by the peasants and then, there were the slaves. The advent of a ruler caused certain people to rise in power, and others to fall.

Also, with the surplus food the revolution created, there arose the chance for monetary gain among citizens. Some people became richer than others, and they became part of the social elite. Those who held special occupations, like artisans, blacksmiths and scribes, were right under them. Due to the surplus of food, the value of food production decreases, as did that of those who made a living off of it. They were right under the specialists. And finally, the slaves were at the bottom. The slaves were either prisoners of war from a rival village or someone who could not pay off his or her debts.

2. Gender Inequality

In the time before farming became prevalent, both genders were usually considered equal. Men and women spent their day hours looking for food and preparing it. The gender equality common in the Paleolithic society was partially due to the fact that both men and women had the same role: food gatherer. However, all that changes when societies transitioned over to an agrarian lifestyle. Women kept their roles as farmers and raised children. In contrast, men did not need to hunt anymore and left their jobs as hunters to find new, specialized jobs. Through those jobs, they gained money and power, while the women stayed home. This can be interpreted as the foundation of the patriarchal society that dominated most centuries for millions of years.

The Neolithic Revolution was one of the most important transitions man has ever made. The switch from a nomadic lifestyle of hunting for food to a sedentary agrarian society indirectly helped the early civilizations of Sumer, Babylon, and Egypt to grow and develop, thus setting the stage for everything in history that came after it. However, it also came with many negative socio-economic problems, some which we are still suffering from as of today. Whether you think that it was good or bad, it should be known that the Neolithic Transition is one of the most impactful events in history.

Cover Image Credit: Justin LaBerge/ Fotor

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Life is Easy When Your Major is a Party Major

Disclaimer: This article isn't a sarcastic one AT ALL.

You may be wondering why I chose to write this article and what exactly a “party major” is. Well firstly, I’m writing this article as a sort of “I give up” when it comes to talking to other people about my major. Yup, you heard me correctly, I’m waving the white flag to all of the narrow-minded people around me that like to act like they know everything about something that has nothing to do with them. You win, this article is my final declaration of how wrong I’ve been about myself this entire time and proof of how right you were all along.

Secondly, I’d like to define what a “party major” exactly is. Before today, I thought I grasped this concept pretty well. A “party major” to my knowledge was a major that is so easy that even a person who partied day and night could still maintain good enough grades to stay in college and continue to party. This means that no real effort is required and no real future after college is needed- just pure fun and no stress.

So after looking at my major and evaluating all of the work I put into homework, quizzes, tests, exams, papers, and all of the parties I DON’T go to, it seemed to my calculations that my major does not = a party major. But since my major isn’t anything mathematical, scientific, or “important” whatsoever, I guess I’m not smart enough to get those kinds of calculations about the things that matter in life, correct after all. So cheers to YOU, the “non-party major,” for putting me in my place, yet again, and this is my final battle cry.

Remember that thing called "high school" that everyone had to go to before entering college? Ah yes, the times where you were forced to take every type of class, even the ones you had no interest in, and you were graded on how well you could memorize information and take tests. It’s not like high school was supposed to be used for anything useful, like I don’t know, trying to decide what you like and what you want to do for the rest of your life. Ah no, that would just be ridiculous! And it’s not like I actually pushed myself at all in high school to get good grades in the classes I didn’t like. Why would I do that? I didn’t even take AP Chemistry, Biology, Literature, Calculus, or European History and get straight A’s in all of them, that would just be too hard for me considering I’m a Communication Studies major and I like to take the easy way out.

I like to read books not because I’m interested in them, but because I have to. I’m not passionate about writing at all, I actually hate it and just enjoy wasting my own time and other people’s time when they read what I write. Why would I want to be successful, happy and absolutely love what I do, when I could major in something more important and what you consider “harder” to live a life full of misery and hatred? Sounds like fun. You’re right, all the people like me just don’t have the ambition to do something hard, so we continue to work jobs to waste our own money and sometimes even our parents’ money when we have to pay off tuition and student loans for a good portion of our lives.

I love my “party major” so much, that’s why I decided to take on another one at the same time. I’m double majoring in Communication Studies and English just so I can have twice the fun and twice the time to party, not because I like to challenge myself and get the most out of my college education. Passion, who needs it? Passion is just another stupid cliche that us millennials shouldn’t use as an important device when trying to plan out the rest of our lives. I think we should all just look at the generations above us- our parents and even our parents’ parents- and fall into miserable 9 to 5 jobs like them in order to achieve some fake happiness.

I totally agree with the statement that English and communication skills aren’t useful at all. It’s not like we use different words, phrases, and expressions in our everyday lives to get our point across to people. It’s not like the authors of your textbooks had to be the list bit coherent or literate to write down things in a way that was easy for you to understand an important concept. It’s not like we have to be able to communicate effectively to important people in a job interview, or in a workplace, or even to gain someone’s respect. Why would we want to be able to understand something intellectual that our professors or higher-ups are saying, when we can just copy it down and memorize it for a test. Ignorance is bliss.

Now this article is not intended to be a jab at any majors other than my own- like I said, it’s my final resignation. I wrote this to take the time to criticize my own majors, something I actually know a little bit about, rather than going out of my way to criticize another person’s major that they might care deeply about. It’s not like I can use what I know and what I’m in the process of learning to do anything effective or significant with my life. It’s not like you clicked on this article and got to this point in it because you actually care about what I have to say. It’s not like I’d rather be measured by my abilities and my success in the future, instead of being thrown into the same category as the people who didn’t take their life or education seriously. And I certainly don’t think my thoughts and ideas have any sort of authority or power over anyone else, even though I have the platform and the voice to write about things like this, and you don’t. I really wrote this article because I have so much free time on my hands. After all, life is easy when your major is a party major.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Daniels on Unsplash

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5 Ways To Release Your Frustrations Without Hurting Yourself Or Others

Healthy coping mechanisms so you don't explode this week.

With midterm season starting to come in full swing, it’s understandable why a lot of students might be feeling stressed and frustrated. It’s difficult to juggle schoolwork and other obligations, especially if they all happen to fall on the same week. While people might have different methods of coping with frustration, I thought I’d share some of my own practices.

1. Work out

I know that might seem like the last thing you want to do or have time for in a busy week, but trust me – it works. Blowing off steam while listening to your favorite jams in the gym is a great way to release all that pent up energy that could be making your whole mindset negative.

Instead of letting toxic feelings consume you, let it all out on the treadmill or lifting weights. Stony Brook is great enough to offer fitness classes at the recreation center (that you’ve already paid for in your tuition package so you might as well utilize all your resources or they’ll just go to waste!).

My favorite classes are the Zumba classes and belly dancing classes. They’re fun and don’t require too much thinking so give them a try!

2. Write it out

Sometimes writing out your feelings, whether it be typing on your computer or using a pen and paper, helps release negative feelings and allows you to feel cathartic. Personally, whenever I’m having a bad day, I can’t seem to let it go without using some method of release. If I don’t do anything about it, everything just builds up inside me and I feel like I’ll snap at the next person who looks at me the wrong way.

Try finding your writing style. Maybe you like poetry, or fiction, or journaling. Do whatever makes you feel the most free.

3. Scream/cry

It sounds silly, but it helps. If you’re living with people, you should probably scream into a pillow or something so someone doesn’t call 911 thinking you’re getting murdered. This natural human response always makes me feel calmer and more relaxed.

If you can’t find any privacy to cry, single bathrooms and the shower are great places. After all, no one will be able to hear you with the water on.

4. Stress balls

Squeezing stress balls is a great way to physically let out your frustration without having to hurt anyone or yourself. A punching bag could work great too if you happen to have one. Just make sure you don’t hurt your hands!

An easy way to make a stress ball is to put a funnel in the opening of a balloon and fill the balloon with flour. Tie off the end and then you’ve got a super simple DIY stress ball. Happy squeezing!

5. Vent

If you’ve got someone willing to listen to you rant about whatever you’re frustrated about, you’re all set. Just like with writing, I find satisfaction in typing out all my anger because I can feel and hear my fingers flying across the keyboard as I type out everything over Facebook Messenger. A phone call or seeing someone in person can work even better so they can hear your emotions and inflections more clearly. Maybe after you’ve calmed down, they’ll even give you a hug. And who doesn’t like hugs?

Whatever coping mechanism you find works for you, I wish you the best of luck. Remember to stay strong and that whatever you’re going through is probably temporary. You’ll make it through. As our favorite blue tang said, “Just keep swimming.”

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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