When it comes to caring for and raising young, the Hadza's practices could not be more different than ours in the modern West. Hadza children are largely allowed to do whatever they want. By American standards certainly, Hadza adults do very little disciplining or training of children. When a two-year-old defecates too close to the hearth, adults make disapproving sounds and lead the child farther away. When children are roughly between the ages of one and three, they often, naturally, throw tantrums, during which it is common for them to pick up a branch or stick and repeatedly hit people over the head. The parents and other adults present merely fend off the blows and laugh. They do not even take the stick away. When the child hits another child who might be a little older, however, that child often grabs the stick and hits back. This is the primary way that young children learn that they cannot always get their way -- the older children train them. With that in place, it is not necessary for adults to engage in discipline. Marlowe tells us, "Hadza parenting emphasizes self-reliance and independence. In general, parents and other adults are much less attentive by our standards. ...Children will learn on their own what is dangerous and what they can and cannot get away with (2010)."
The Hadza also have a very subtle and unorthodox approach to religion and spirituality. Marlowe has personally seen several animals killed but has never seen anyone say prayers over them (2010). Bagshawe (1924-25) claimed that the Hadza had no religion at all. In the mid 1940s, Cooper, after spending some time with the Hadza, said they had a very primitive religion (1949). So, they have either no religion or a very minimal one. When Marlowe asked one Hadza man if there were only one god or several, he replied that he was not quite sure. Marlowe concluded that that summed up much about Hadza religion quite well, and went on to say that the Hadza probably do have religion, certainly a cosmology, but that it bears very little resemblance to what we in complex societies think of as religion. "There are no churches, preachers, leaders, or religious guardians, no idols or images of gods, no regular organized meetings, no religious morality, no belief in an afterlife -- theirs is nothing like the major religions," Marlowe writes.
Mary Douglas writes, "Secularisation... is an age-old cosmological type... which need have nothing to do with urban life or modern science... The idea that primitive man is by nature deeply religious is nonsense... The illusion that all primitives are pious, credulous and subject to the teachings of priests or magicians has probably done even more to impede our understanding of our own civilisation than it has confused the interpretations of archaeologists dealing with the dead past (1970)."
There are some misconceptions about the elderly out there, so I'd like to turn to a discussion of old age, including entitlement and demographics. !Kung elderly are cared for by relatives and nonrelatives alike, and no one, not even people without children, are denied access to support in old age. Rosenberg explains, "!Kung elders do not see themselves as burdens. They are not apologetic if they are not able to produce enough to feed themselves. They expect others to care for them when they can no longer do so. Entitlement to care is naturalized within the culture. Elders do not have to negotiate care as if it were a favor; rather it is perceived as a right (1990)." The aged are respected in Bushman society and are effective leaders of the camps. Senilicide is extremely rare. Long after their productive years have passed, old people are fed and cared for by their children and grandchildren. "The blind, the senile and the crippled are respected for the special ritual and technical skills they possess (Lee 1968)." In fact, about forty percent of the population in camps contribute little to the food supply. Of course, young, from infancy through the age they are married (18-20), are included in this figure as well, as they typically do not contribute full-time until roughly that age.
Moving on to age demographics, there are some very enlightening figures. Regarding the !Kung, in a total population of 466, 46 individuals (17 men and 29 women) were determined to be over 60 years of age -- a proportion that is comparable to the percentage in industrialized societies. This gets to the subject of life expectancy, one that is woefully misunderstood by many. Hadza life expectancy at birth is rather low -- 32.5 years (Jones, Hawkes, and O'Connell 2002). This is typically misunderstood to mean that there are no old people. What it really means is that many people die young. There are many Hadza in their 70s and some in their 80s. The low life expectancy at birth is the result of high mortality in the first few years of life. A person who survives to adulthood is likely to live a long life. Women who reach age 45 have another 21.3 years of average life expectancy (Jones, Hawkes, and O'Connell 2002).
Men do not live as long as women. Old men are the most likely to fall out of baobab trees to their deaths as they continue to try to collect honey into old age. Usually, they continue to forage until their deaths, but tend to go after foods that are easier to acquire, such as berries and baobab. Old men are generally shown extra respect (Marlowe 2010).
I would like to close this chapter with a quick note on warfare, which is not an element of hg life (for the most part). Marlowe points out that warfare is not nearly as important as the energetics of acquiring food. If warfare were prevalent, one would expect hgs to prefer to live in larger groups to defend themselves more effectively. Larger groups would be more sustainable in richer habitats; however, we find that in richer habitats group size is not larger, indicating that warfare is not that influential (Marlowe 2010).
I have covered a variety of smaller topics in this chapter, and hopefully some light was shed on areas that have generally been rather obscured. I would like to turn to a final note on infanticide to close Part I of this work. We must indeed take the bad with the good.