With high rates of infanticide, senicide and disease, not many of us pine for the days before farms and nations. Yet anthropologists Yuval Harari and Jared Diamond have called the agricultural revolution a “trap” and humanity’s “worst mistake” respectively, arguing hunter gatherer life was more leisurely and free, as humans were not tied down to private property or oppressed by hierarchy.
Should humans rewild, to escape the oppression of agricultural civilisation? Is there a way to keep the benefits of industry and technology while also living as freely as our untamed ancestors? Or is this an impossible fantasy born out of a misunderstanding of anthropology and the idealistic myth of the ‘noble savage’?