One of my colleagues, Mass Angular Momentum, sent me a link to this article [Link] that I had noted but not yet read. Given his indication of relevance to me I quickly read and began to cogitate.
The article detail – all too shallowly, but it is journalism, after all – work out of U California on incidence of hypertension among hunter-gatherers. Notably, they find it is largely absent.
As my colleague observed, this is not surprising. The hunter-gatherer existence is, or at originally, was free of most stresses. Yes, they might stress over being able to find food or romance or whether to switch from H&G to making blanks for tools, but they were largely spread over the group and less frequent than the stresses of civilized life. Speaking logistically, the more people in the area, the more interactions and the more stress.
Also, we cannot discount diet either. There have been studies indicating that a pattern of gorging followed by starving is more healthy than constant adequacy. One suspects it is hard to deposit barnacles on the plumbing if they are periodically serving as food reserves.
But I cannot help worrying about the reliability of the data. Since the end of exploration on Tellus, there have been no hunter-gatherer bands not corrupted by some contact with civilization, the observer effect if nothing else. This is strengthened by the pictures in the article of hunter-gatherers attired in civilization clothing. These folks are not leading a pure HG lifestyle and lacking controls impossible in human studies reduce science from experiment to observation. And falsifiability is impossible.
It is also a bit of a trivium. We cannot recapture the HG lifestyle for numbers of people. If any of our own stream to join the few HG bands we shall destroy them in a situation akin to that on the news last night of scaling Everest. The magic of consumerism is that it destroys everything. It is indeed the red blob.
We could, of course, kill off 0.99 of the population of Tellus, somehow eradicate the survival guilt of the remaining 0.01, and return to a hunter-gatherer existence. Maybe. But there would be no returning. It would be a one way trip since we have largely destroyed the resources that permitted us to leave that life style for civilization.
As for me, I volunteer to be part of the 0.99. I am past the age of 45 and hence living on borrowed time for a hunter-gatherer. Besides, physics and physicists are as irrelevant to being a hunter-gatherer as being a physician or banker or plumber.