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Where Did It All Go Wrong? James DeMeo's Saharasia Thesis and the Origins of War

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Why is human history a catalogue of one war after another? Physicalist and sociobiological explanations of war seem to be lacking, especially when we consider archaeological and ethnographic evidence for the absence of war amongst hunter-gatherer societies and during the early to middle Neolithic period of history. James DeMeo's book Saharasia suggests that the 'age of war' only began at around 4000 BCE, amongst particular human groups who inhabited areas of Central Asia and the Middle East. He sees it as the result of an environmental disaster which occurred at this time: the dessication of the 'Saharasia' region. I summarize DeMeo's findings, but disagree with his Reichian analysis. I propose that the real factor was the intensified ego-consciousness which these groups developed at this time. I suggest how and why this 'sharpened sense of ego' arose, and at how it gave rise to -- and still gives rise to -- war.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: August 1, 2002

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