Although today is described as an Information Age or an Information Economy, there is no real idea of what that means. Yet, for most of humankind’s time on earth, people were hunter/gatherers living on information (knowing where a wild plant or animal was) rather than on owning material goods.
Contrary to popular imagination, Pleistocene hunter/gatherers worked little and lived well in a world of actual and perceived plenty; theirs was the original information culture. Agriculture was a miserable step down in the quality of life. It was not the result of new knowledge of animal husbandry and plant cultivation – practices long familiar to them – but rather the addictive side effect of a perceptual shift from plenty to scarcity. – Hunter-gatherers relied on information (I-adaptation) for their security; the first farmers relied instead on material goods (M-adaptation).
There were no winners in this information revolution: all had lost the freedom that goes with the perception of plenty.
Hunter-gatherer culture and the first information revolution have much to teach the world as it experiences the sixth information revolution and learns to live in a new information culture.