3 More Books to Read! Anarchism, Slavery, and Language!



it's time for another video talking about the last few books I've been reading first up is a book by Daniel Everett called don't sleep there are snakes so Daniel Everett was a Christian missionary and he went to the piraha people in Brazil deep in the Amazon to try and teach them Christianity and at the time he went in 1977 nobody spoke piraha fluently and the piraha people spoke no other languages and everybody who tried to speak piraha came away saying i've got no idea what these people are saying this language is completely incomprehensible it was a real Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra style situation and he did eventually learn the piraha language but he also discovered two other very important things the first is that pirahã is completely unlike any other language on earth it's so so difficult but it has very special linguistic reasons for being difficult and the second thing was that he didn't believe in God anymore so he went and he learned this completely obscure language to preach to these people and then figured out that he didn't believe it so it's a really fascinating look at all the time he spent there and his personal journey as well as the linguistic details so just as an example in English there's the word economics and you can also pronounce it economics and to a fluent English speaker we know that that's the same word he says pirahã is like that but for almost every word and with so many variations so one point he describes how he tried to learn the piraha word for nose and he's talking in parihar to the guy and he says so what's this I think I got nose and he repeats back to him so oh noes yeah yeah your bows because what you bows you said it was nose yeah your clothes yeah yeah yeah what you see said what bows nose what yeah flows yeah yeah your goes your Zoe's and there's just like there's so many different variations of the same word and he says it's just it's so difficult it took him years to learn it so it does get quite technical and quite difficult when he's touching on the linguistics but if you do have the time and the inclination and it sounds interesting I do recommend that one next up is a book that I read when I was on holiday it's called changing anarchism it's an anthology of essays by lots of different authors on the subject of anarchism the political theory and it talks about topics like just the theory itself but also resistance tactics anarchic environmentalism anarchic theatre anarchic sexual tea anarchic education it's a really very broad overview on lots of different topics looking at them through an anarchist lens and that's something that I didn't really appreciate was just how broad anarchism as a class of views is I would say that if you're not familiar with any anarchist theory you probably want to read an article or two or just get a basic grounding in it first because it does assume that you are more or less basically on board with what or not on board you know ideologically but it seems that you understand what anarchism is essentially and if you've got this view like a lot of people have that anarchism is just like chaos like oh it's like the Joker which it's not then you might be a little bit confused in the first few chapters and you might miss out I am probably gonna make a video beginner's guide to anarchism at some point in the near future so maybe if you're gonna get this one maybe hold off and watch that video first and last but not least for today is a book that I don't have to show you because I read it electronically on my laptop but it's called capitalism and slavery by Eric Williams so the book is an economic history of slavery in the British Empire specifically what I didn't realize was just what a capital B Bill Gates Steve Jobs business slavery was people were making mad Bank off this so obviously if you've got a lot of slaves you've got a lot of cheap labor but if you're gonna have slaves you need to have chains and you need to have padlocks and iron bars so you need metal mining and refining if you're gonna have sugar coming in you need sugar refining you're gonna need ships so that means you need timber and canvas and sales and people to actually be on the ships and crew them and you're gonna need candles and lanterns and food and rum and and provisions for all the slaves and the slave owners and the plantations if you've got a lot of money from slavery so what are you gonna do with that money well why not go into finance now that you've got a whole lot of capital and so many people had employment because of slavery and in that I'm not including slaves obviously who were not employed they were enslaved but whole economies were built on this is my point it wasn't just an isolated little thing that was going on this was the basis of entire nations economies like Bristol the city of Bristol became a big city what it is today because that's where the sugar refineries were it became a city because of slavery and Liverpool was just a town and then it became a city because it was a slave port and Glasgow as well became a city because it got involved in slavery there are banks and insurance companies still operating today which was started with money from slavery it's amazing just how much Britain was built on the backs of slaves he also includes testimonies and arguments from people at the time who were against abolishing slavery and it's bizarre because you see all the same arguments that you hear people making on the news now people going oh you can't get rid of slavery you know businesses won't be able to compete you'll you'll put thousands and thousands of people out of work and the small businesses won't be able to compete and you know our whole cities are all economies a build on this you'll crash the economy overnight if you try and get rid of slavery and it's like oh my god I can't believe that people would ever defend the enslavement of human beings because it makes other people profit it just makes you think like in a hundred years time what are they gonna look back on us and think oh my god I can't believe they thought that was okay as well as that he describes the way in which slavery ended and it ended in part because of popular resistance to it and abolitionists but he says also it stopped being profitable and it wasn't until the interests of capital than the interests of money turned against slavery that it really caught the attention of anyone and then it really ended so by the time it ended it was not really being profitable anymore and the same people the same people who defended slavery you know ten years twenty years before suddenly when it stopped making the money changed their mind it said oh we should stop everyone else doing it as well because they're competing with us anymore I it's it's amazing just the way people were blinded by greed I guess so capitalism and slavery I really I recommend all the three books today I recommend that one the most it's eye-opening and amazing and heartbreaking as well you can get it for free you can read it for completely free from no pounds and no pence I'll include a link to it below where you can find it those are the last three books I've read thank you very much to the fans who sent me some of them if you want to send me books I have an Amazon reading list of books if you if you wanted to contribute to the show and contribute reading materials we include a link to that below alternatively as you know you can always support the show at patreon.com slash philosophy tube




Comments
  1. Slavery never ended actually… it’s just been repackaged. Now people are “economic slaves”. Hopefully that anarchist book touched on this.

  2. I hope thoughtful people in the future will think we're savages. History does not guarantee social progress.

  3. it was not just europeans who economically benefited from slavery.The richest countries in Africa got rich becasue they traded slaves for goods. When the Brits came in to end the slave trade these countries begged them not to becasue the trade was so economically beneficial to their country.

  4. thank you olly! your videos have reminded me why i was interested in philosophy in the first place. My course lecturers are such a drag, you really make me think! I'll be hanging around here from now on x

  5. Have you ever read Jaron Lanier? I would love to hear your take 🙂 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaron_Lanier

  6. I would recommend Enough: Discovering joy Through Simplicity and Generosity by Adam Hamilton. It is a very short read, but has a very interesting view points in my opinion. Also Jim & Casper Go to Church: Frank Conversation about faith, Churches, and Well-Meaning Christians by Jim Henderson.

  7. Hey!
    For the book on anarchism whats the writing like?
    I have read a few articles on the matter as well as "Anarchism " by Chomsky. I found they were kinda abstract and dense. I find the basic idea (a leaderless society or one without illegitimate authority) very interesting and before I delve into it further id like to know more about the branches and famous thinkers but I dont want to waste my time on another book that doesnt seem to engage with the reader.
    Its not so much is the book easy its more is it engaging and accessible? Thanks 🙂

  8. Your observations on chattel slavery resonated with my own reading around the subject. There was a HUGE amount of capital tied up in slaves. If you want a real eye-opener, check out the bills of sale at American slave auctions during the first half of the 19th Century. An average slave cost about the same as a new car would cost us today! If most of your personal wealth is tied up in slaves, it's easy to see why were people were so reluctant to give it up. It wasn't until the financial problem of freeing people was addressed that real change could happen. Imagine pushing to outlaw the ownership of rental property today – the government would have to compensate owners to give up their properties or you would surely have a civil war…

  9. Olly, love your videos. I recently read a book by Sean Carroll titled "The Big Picture". In it he makes the case for what he calls "Poetic Naturalism". I was wondering if you were familiar with this term (it seems like an original one attributed to Carroll) or what your thoughts are on his ideas. Thanks very much.

  10. It would make my day if Ollie responds to me.Oh btw would you make a video about the Philosophy of Horror movies?

  11. Dr. Eric Williams was the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. We call him the father of our nation.

  12. For texts on anarchism, might be worth reading Murray Bookchin's essay "Listen, Marxist!". Not quite a case for anarchism so much as an account of the main ideological differences between State-Socialism and libertarian-/anarcho-communism. Really good reading and especially helpful given, as you mentioned, the kind of impressions people get when they hear words like "anarchism", "communism" and "socialism". Also, Bookchin was just a fantastic writer and theoretician, and pretty much everything he wrote pre-90s is stellar stuff

  13. I think in the future, people will look back at sweat shops with a similar disdain that we look at slavery today.

  14. The other unique thing about the Piraha is their lack of gods, making all claims of an innate belief obsolete. So Barrett and Petrovich can go packing.

  15. Top-tier salaries, plus bonus even if you make negative profit. That's what I hope they'll be shocked by Ollie. Though, Guantanamo Bay, solitary confinement, capitol punishment, rejection of asylum, circumcision, (and FGM, of course, but that's not as big a problem in the west) body shaming, gastric bands, liposuction, Botox injections, pre-school child care and maternity leave, fossil fuels (if not fusion reactors)!!! I'm reasonably certain that if civilisation hasn't collapsed to the point where we are no longer aware of these horrors in our present, and their history, they will be shocked and horrified to learn of.

    To be fair, my grand-daughters are horrified to think that, while there was "internet" there was nothing equivalent to Google or spreadsheets that I could possibly have been taught when I was at school.

    Maybe they'll be horrified that we micro-blog our entire lives for any old hacker to pick up and destroy us with. Or maybe they'll be shocked that we go to bed without a camera watching over us and monitors at the police station and home office. Maybe they'll be shocked that we incarcerate criminals rather than simply reducing their status on social networks and devaluing their adsense. ("unpersoned") Just think how expensive everything would be if it weren't discounted by ad revenue, and if you aren't valued as a consumer of ads, you'd have to be exposed to many more of them to get the discount that makes living affordable. 😉

  16. Were or are? Linguistics hides as much as it enlightens.
    Capitalism is and always was a metaphor for slavery. But what is the alternatives ?
    (The unfathomable language of the esoteric but free native, maybe?)

  17. Daniel Everett's work on language has seriously challenged the Chomskian model of language. That might be interesting to explore.

  18. As a linguistics and anthropology student, I can add a little bit more about Daniel Everett and the Piraha that I've been able to learn through my studies. One, if anyone's curious, is the reason why Everett changed his beliefs. One of the reasons was because of the Piraha's worldview which puts heavy emphasis first-hand accounts. When Everett learned the language and began teaching the tribe about Jesus, their first question was if he knew Jesus personally. When he said no, they completely lost interest and stopped listening: "How can I believe anything you're saying about this guy if you've never even met him?" According to Everett, the Piraha don't have any deities among their beliefs, or anything supernatural other than spirits (based fully on first-hand accounts).

    On the linguistics side of things, a lot of Everett's discoveries about the language was put forward by him to challenge Noam Chomsky's theory of Universal Grammar and as support for the often rejected hypothesis of Linguistic Relativity. His claims and conclusions have remained controversial to this day, and uncorroborated because he was the only non-Native fluent speaker at the time and a lot of the unique peculiarities of the language he documented are likely to be lost now because of Brazil's attempts to educate the tribe in Portuguese (thus irreversibly influencing the native language).

    I only know about the subject through lectures and study assignments and I haven't read Everett's books fully so I definitely intend to check out your recommendation!

  19. I don't normally watch these book videos but these sound great.
    The capitalism piqued my interest because I've recently been introduced to orientalism as Said put it.
    Anarchist theory would make an awesome video
    & I'm interested a lot in linguistics so I want to check that book out, I'd personally love to see a video on language I've read Derrida and some Heidegger but there are many other language philosophers I'd like to be introduced to

  20. I am so excited for you to talk about anarchism! The Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) is one of my favorite resources for it.

    Disclosure: I work for C4SS. 😉

  21. A great book I would like to recommend is: The end of arrogance: America in the global competition of Ideas

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