Primitive Tech Societies

Image from Steve Bowers

Left to themselves, Primtech cultures and societies are extremely stable and long-lived, persisting for tens or hundreds of thousands of years and more. Prims are often found in reserves and societums, under Caretaker or Utopian stewardship, or in habitats or microhabitats and niches in orwoods and other complex and spacious environments. Frequently they live in symbiotic or commensal association with and in large ships and orwoods. Given a stable self-sustaining habitat or orbital, prims can survive indefinitely without need for any infrastructure. Prims are also often adept at adapting more advanced technology to their needs, and incorporating it into their traditional lifestyle.

At the lowest technology levels, Primitive Tech government tends to be based on tribal chiefdoms, and may be either patriarchal, matriarchal, hermophro-archal, hive, or parahive, depending on the clade and culture in question. Economics involves living off the land and is fairly simple. There is a very strong tendency to animism, a sense of sacredness and of the Spirit of the World/Habitat/Ship in which they live and have lived often for hundreds of generations. At higher technology levels, Primitive Tech societies may include nations, empires, and other larger scale organizations, and significant mercantile activity.

To compensate for the lack of technology, there may be a strong emphasis on magic and esotericism, especially shamanism and animism. Sometimes the more formal religions and philosophies found in some of the "higher end" Primitive Tech societies incorporate these elements as well. Contact with higher civilizations can be devastating for Primitive Tech cultures, as their members may leave for the bright lights of the city but end up exploited, lost, confused, and without the stable roots their traditional lifestyle provides. For this reason, ships and habs with symbiotic Prims tend to minimize or prevent interaction with the higher tech societies.
  • Druidworld  - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
    Historical recreation world with massive megalithic monuments
  • Fallow - Text by M. Alan Kazlev; amended by Stephen Inniss
    In prim (pre- and anti-industrial) societies, fallow land is land that has been left ploughed but not planted for one season. This helps the soil recover its fertility. Even so, this method of farming is grossly inefficient and ecologically destructive compared sophisticated polycultural techniques or with higher tech bio-nano assisted agriculture.
  • Guanche - a Lost Colony  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Colony in the Cygnus Expansion which was lost when that empire dissolved and regressed to Bronze Age technology.
  • Paleolithic - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The old stone age. Among Old Earth hominids the stage of development of the most primitive stone tools. Also applied to analogous stages among xenosophont tool users.
  • Prims, Primitives  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Widely used slang term for humans or other sophonts who reject all but the most primitive technology.
  • Rif - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A ludd, an opponent of ultratech. Sometimes also applied to prims. [From Rifkinite, from Jeremy Rifkin, early Information Age opponent of genetic engineering and nanotech.]
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev; revised by Stephen Inniss

Initially published on 11 May 2003.

Additional Information