Room for Nomads Anymore?


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In reading about the current situation in Tibet, I came upon a few different sources discussing that the nomadic way of life in Tibet is becoming more and more difficult as time goes on. This likely has to do with its Chinese occupation, but it did get me thinking about the nomadic way of life.

We have come to discover that all of mankind was once engaged exclusively in the nomadic lifestyle. For about 10,000 years, mankind has has largely done away with that means of living. Thus, in the recent centuries, such a lifestyle has become more and more difficult. Not only are nomadic tribes are groups often forcefully removed from their original homes and subjected to "civil" law and regulation, but many that live the nomadic life are moving away from the group and pursuing lives in civilization.

Is there any room left for the nomadic lifestyle anymore? Will "civilization" come to be the new universal mode of human living in the coming centuries?
Hi, and Peace--

jiii, I think that perhaps there will always be nomads. I don't know exactly how, but I think there is a space that will always be there, either by force or by choice. It may be in different ways than history has traditionally documented.

Good question.

Excellent question:

Remember that the ancient hebrews were transformed from a nomadic desert people into a civilization which, while it had nomadic groups, mainly continued into the future, after the diaspora, in villages and city-state entities. While their worship acivities were at first centered upon a tabernacle in a tent in the desert at Shiloh which was transportable, religious activities ended-up in constructed temples (as it was in Babylon) of brick and stone in Jerusalem and on an island in the middle of the Nile River. Village synagogues followed in the villages.

There has been scholarly speculation that the original tent-tabernacle from Shiloh was housed in Solomon's first temple in Jerusalem. Hence we see the conversion of the Hebrews from a nomadic and portable people, into people rooted in single locations This all took place during the first millenium bce.

Since science currently views "the initial conditions" of any novel phenomenon as the most important to its continuance and well-being in a timeline, does this mean that G-d intended for the first of the "chosen" people to be rural and nomadic, as opposed to "civilized" and urban ? What does this say about our current problems ? Are we, just by living in fixed locations as opposed to nomadic patterfns, falling further aweay from what G-d originally intended ?

Perhaps that's why we have the growing trend of some towards camping and RVing when we have meaningful time off. Some of us seem to have a longing for that mode of living that is simply not available to us in fixed-location modes of living. A repressed longing for nature ?

We as a race are about to be opened to a whole new era of exploration. There will be plenty of room for our nomadic tendencies. Maybe not in this generation, but in the near-far future.
Something interesting about the concept of 'Nomads' being forced from their 'homes'...I need to learn more to explore how that happens.

My understanding of the past is that Nomads when they returned to 'their' lands, they found someone else on it...

Nomadic lifestyle has been reduced it seems by every single advance technologically (except for the RV and wifi). When agriculture was cultivated, as civilizations grew, with permanent homes being built, roads, trains, indoor plumbing....each and every one reducing the nomadic lifestyle.

It still occurs to a degree amongst migrants, rainbow tribes and our elderly that winter in the south US.

In the past when a tribe, a group of nomads camped at a spot, eventually the food sources were used up, the water was no longer clean and it stunk from carcasses and human feces....the moved on ... and as the comic indicates they said, "Of course we move on, it stinks here, we no mad!" Nature takes its course, seasons change, berries, plants and wildlife come back and the nomads return for the harvest again...

I was somewhat nomadic prior to being married...wintering in the Keys, mid Atlantic in spring, Sierras for summer, northern California in the fall, mid Atlantic for a few weeks prior to heading to the Keys again in January...
To give a 'college geography' point of view, there are some areas, for example, some areas of Africa, where nomads (I'm thinking here of certain tribes of 'Bushmen') are forced to become sedentary because the land available to them (the rest of it being taken up by farming or settlers, what have you) is not sufficient to support a group of people of their size, that is, the specific roots and plants and animals are widely spread and the more you limit the land that they can use, the less there are of these already rare resources, to the point there is simply not enough to support the population and the tribe has no choice but to settle down and start farming - likely on land that noone else wanted, because it wasn't fertile or whatever (which is why the government had not yet taken it) and with no knowledge, instincts, or skills for the job at hand. It's a tough thing.

As to other nomadic peoples, who still have land in abundance, governments frequently frown on them and try to think of ways to tie them down because frankly, how do you tax someone that doesn't have an address?

Interesting observation about taxes, sara[h]ng.

Since the situation in Tibet was what prompted jiii to start the thread, I was just wondering if anyone caught the Discovery Channel's story on the disappearing lifestyle of the Mongolian nomads last night?
You mean 'Discovery Atlas: China', right? I managed to catch it. What a great presentation! It would seem, based on what was shown, that the Mongolians are allowed to live nomadically there. The man they interviewed seemed mostly concerned about civilization encroaching upon the prairies, and very much concerned that the traditional way of life might be lost.
I'm dead serious about the taxes thing. That was a big point of discussion in the class. It sounds silly, particularly the way I worded it, but it's accurate, and really pretty scary as an indication of the materialism and egocentrism rampant in the world. Though, that is not the topic at hand.

I don't think it's silly at all, sara[h]ng! I actually think it is quite relevant.:)
jiii--I have been toggling a lot these days between the History Channel and Discovery. I think that might have been the second airing of that particular episode--if not, there was a similar program a night or two before on the "westernization" of China. I fell asleep both times, but not because I wasn't interested! That whole series looks like it is going to be worth checking out. I am glad they are running it, because I can only watch the History Channel's story on the Knights Templar just so many times before it starts to get old. Know what I mean?

Well, I just wanted to comment on the series before we get back to the main idea of this thread. Sarah's thoughts on the taxation angle are certainly something to consider.