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The population of my world is well fed and water can be plentifully scavenged from the plant life. We live in a wonderful tropical utopia that boasts a large nomadic population. The weather systems are stable and predictable we know when the storms will come and the jungles tell us when they're about to hibernate, people have learned these patterns over thousands of years and travel to keep away from areas of trouble.

I as a great seeker of knowledge travel with the few who share my passions and we seek to fix problems we see the nomadic tribes are dealing with. Mostly a lack of recorded history and feel that society has stagnated, there's no passion for innovation!

To overcome this shortcoming we feel that the answer is to create a center of learning (hopefully multiple!), but we've come to the problem that the most successful way to store and record knowledge keeps us largely immobile. Which can be helpful since everyone can find us. The problem is now that we don't move around much we have to deal with troublesome weather and times of plight as the jungle occasionally bears less goods to harvest.

We who wish to build a new society are few. We need more so we can create stable traditions of learning, and eventually start up reliable trade between multiple centers so that food and water shortages are fewer.

How do we convince nomads to settle down from their lives of ease to live a life of hopefully temporary burden so that our new dream of innovative society can form?

Notes

  • We have little to no metals available, though our tools may allow for better craftsmanship, the materials are going to be the same available to the nomads.
  • Conflict between nomad tribes is low, they have no need to fight over resources. Other than a few of the nastier predators of the jungle there's not much weight of the offers of protection. It's usually just simpler for them to move on.
  • The storms are particularly nasty when they come through, collapsing large portions of the jungle with their high winds.
  • Our world is large, and spreading word to the tribes that we seek settlers has been difficult. Many times tribes don't communicate with others for months or years at a time. Some tribes will never meet again even after decades of travel.
  • We've assured ourselves that after our dreams come true the burdens we've dealt with will be eased! Surely the ability to make better technologies, accumulate knowledge, and set up trade systems will help everyone! We just have to convince a happy population to burden itself with this dream.

Useful links to other posts about building this world :)
The "Soil" of the Hanging World
The Trees and Plant life of the Hanging World

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  • $\begingroup$ How is agriculture in this world? Are there settled civilizations? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Nov 6 '19 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ There are currently no settled civilization. The world is a giant jungle. The populations live by hunting and foraging, which is plentiful and easy to come by as long as they keep mobile. We need to convince them that things could be even better if they took the time to develop an area. $\endgroup$ – Nymn Nov 6 '19 at 18:24
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    $\begingroup$ Its a trap! Don't listen to him! Farming sucks. You'll have thousands of years of drudgery and zoonoses to lookforward to. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Nov 6 '19 at 18:26
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    $\begingroup$ What happens when nomads have a population boom, but fruits are becoming scarce? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Nov 6 '19 at 18:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Nymn this setup is plausible only for as long as all regions of this world are underpopulated. There may be empty and plentiful lands, but if one tribe is surrounded by other tribes on all sides and its resources are are running low, it is facing a long and potentially perilous journey. For real history reference, look at settlement of America. Crossing Bering Straight during ice age was no small feat, and many tribesmen must have died during this journey. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Nov 6 '19 at 19:09
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The nomads do not settle. You do.

enter image description here

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Catherine%27s_Monastery

Saint Catherine's Monastery lies on the Sinai Peninsula, at the mouth of a gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai, near the town of Saint Catherine, Egypt... Built between 548 and 565, the monastery is one of the oldest working Christian monasteries in the world. The site contains the world's oldest continually operating library, possessing many unique books including the Syriac Sinaiticus and, until 1859, the Codex Sinaiticus.

This Saint Catherine's monastery is pretty interesting - holy to multiple religions it would seen.

https://www.sinaimonastery.com/index.php/en/description/the-monastery

A 1500 year old library is pretty cool in and of itself. Like the monastery, your site of learning is built on a holy place and staffed by holy people. The nomads bring offerings of food and supplies and information on their yearly pilgrimage and the monks stock up to get thru the rest of the year. They grow some of their own food too. The monastery has a spring and so is a nice place to rest for the nomads as they travel - it is not a struggle to get them to show up.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is very close to how I envisioned things may work out, thanks for the real life source examples! As things came together on my world I realized quickly that I was missing reasons for a society to evolve very far, as they'd not have many of the standard problems that brought about civilization on earth. $\endgroup$ – Nymn Nov 6 '19 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ Do note the structure of the outer wall for other things you should consider when settling down. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Nov 6 '19 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ @StarfishPrime Defense will definitely be an interesting concept to study up on for this. Will be existing in basically a 3-dimensional environment and mostly only have plant life to work with! $\endgroup$ – Nymn Nov 6 '19 at 19:38
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    $\begingroup$ Flash of insight from the comments on the original question is that the Monastery can also take on the function of caring for pregnant women, sick, infirm, and elderly. Though these people in of themselves may not add much to a stable strong working population, they'd give another reason for tribes to visit more often. Also men may stay with their wives, and women and children perhaps may decide they prefer the monastery life instead of returning to travels. Also, the infirm and disabled could easily find a calling in a place of learning and healing! $\endgroup$ – Nymn Nov 6 '19 at 19:47
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Well hello there, nomads! Sure, you might think you're happy now, but...

...try some of this delicious distilled hard alcohol!

Take as much as you like! Come back any time!

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Two possibilities based on two of the prevailing theories on why humans originally started living in cities.

1. Religion

See Göbekli Tepe. Similar to Wilk's answer, start a religious center that doubles as a library. But rather than aiming at total self sufficiency, convince the nomads to makes pilgrimages and sacrifice game to supplement the priests' diet. Start domesticating animals and plants, and recruit the brightest and hardest working nomads to join your elite group living at the complex full time.

2. Alcohol

A more traditional view, as expressed in A History of the World in Six Glasses, is that humans accidentally stumbled upon the wonders of fermented grains, and domesticated grain to be able to produce larger quantities. This is what Roger's answer gets at.

You can also combine these two together; there's a reason monasteries are known for their breweries and vinyards!

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You mentioned it in a comment, but I think one of the most important reasons to settle down is medical care. If only for help during childbirth, this can draw in a lot of travellers, if you're the only site on the world than can provide adequate care. Same for the elderly, who'd be less able to travel as they grow older, and they'd be more suited to "help out" at a nursery type establishment.


To go into a bit more detail:

We have little to no metals available, though our tools may allow for better craftsmanship, the materials are going to be the same available to the nomads.

Simplemedical implements don't necessarily require metals, especially if you're starting out with just splints, ointments and herbal remedies. Some metal could be useful for small instruments such as tweezers, stitching needles and scalpels (or just any small, sharp knives) that can sterilised and reused. That does however raise some questions about your civilisation's knowledge of microbiology.

Conflict between nomad tribes is low, they have no need to fight over resources. Other than a few of the nastier predators of the jungle there's not much weight of the offers of protection. It's usually just simpler for them to move on.

Conflicts may be rare, but I doubt there'd always be some, even basic feuds. Fights break out between teenagers, pranks go wrong, etc, so medical care can always be helpful. If there are feline predators out there, stitches and preventing blood loss would be major survival factors.

The storms are particularly nasty when they come through, collapsing large portions of the jungle with their high winds.

This could be problematic for a settlement, but if it were dug into the side of a mountain (native american style) or sheltered some other way, your settlement would probably be quite durable. You'd probably need some sewage / water evacuation system, but that can be developed once the settlement has started properly.

Our world is large, and spreading word to the tribes that we seek settlers has been difficult. Many times tribes don't communicate with others for months or years at a time. Some tribes will never meet again even after decades of travel.

If your settlement is estableshed close to (or in) a large mountain or other natural landmark which is visible from afar, it could be easy to set up a beacon of some kind to attract attention to your settlement. Once some tribes know of it, they could spread word around to tell others of it.

This could also serve as a method of communication between tribes: if there is some form or library / archive in your settlement, tribes could leave messages to another tribe. That way, they wouldn't need to rely on bumping into each other on their travels to communicate.

We've assured ourselves that after our dreams come true the burdens we've dealt with will be eased! Surely the ability to make better technologies, accumulate knowledge, and set up trade systems will help everyone! We just have to convince a happy population to burden itself with this dream.

Once a few tribes have come through and noticed that childbirth / diseases / impromptu surgery go much better when someone does that with all their time, I don't doubt that they'll be incentivised to stay within a week or so of travel of your settlement. And once you start distilling alcohol (for disinfecting your surgical equipment, of course), you'll be sure to convince them to stay.

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There are a lot of ways. I can think of a large coup of methods.

  • Change from the top. You convince a tribal leader with enough power to settle down. He then can convince people in the long term but for now his authority is enough. We have too many of those changes in history to even bat an eye at it. If your leader has enough power to pull it off until it begins to work then it would be a peace of cake.

  • Change from the bottom. Not exactly the opposite. You can't convince 99% of the tribe about your plan. Heck. 80% is too much. But all you need is a strong base among the people Just a solid base of rebels and people with strong believes and willingness to work. Like your average revolution basically. You don't need the whole tribe, but if you can it's awesome, because 20% willing to work and do the heavy lifting is better than the 80% that don't want to do anything. From there you either have a dictatorship with your initial group as the ruling class or you can keep things more civil but still enforce your vision.

  • Show, don't tell. Get your group together. Build your society. And when people show the shining Utopia you have then they will flock to your state. Or you can just conquer them.

  • There is a lot more variations of these thought. For example if you start convincing the young ruling class of the tribe of your vision then you are setting up a rebellion and a friendly head of state at the same time

  • And as a last point. I think you will only start getting real results when few can remember that old days. You just have to weather the storm for the first generation then the second generation won't even think about the golden days.

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There is a moral philosophy question.

In Systems of Survival, Jane Jacobs outlines a thesis that moral codes are bifurcated. That is, there are fundamentally two such moral codes that depend on the fundamental method of getting a living. These two are the make/trade method, and the guardian method.

The older is probably the guardian method. This consists of staking claim to a geographic territory and extracting value from it. This includes doing so in a nomadic, even transitory manner. So nomads will be using this. Fundamentally, this morality involves at least the implication of the use of force to defend the territory.

The other method is make/trade, otherwise known as economic. You make some valuable items. And you trade some of them with other people for things they've made. And you both wind up better off. It's the old story about the people who live by the ocean have a lot of fish and a ready supply of salt. The people in the mountains have flint and bamboo suitable for spears. If they trade some of what they have lots of for what they have little of, they are both better off. In particular, they are better off than if they were to slaughter the other tribe, because the tribe that dies out takes with them the knowledge of their side of the trade.

Jacobs outlines the transition of a tribe called the Ik. (Yes, funny name. Please get over it.) Colin Turnbull publishes a description of them during the harshest part of the transition in Mountain People.

They were nomads. The country's government wanted to make a huge park out of their territory. So they were forcibly settled. Of course, they started with a moral code suitable for nomads. They exerted prowess. They played truly violent practical jokes, especially on people from outside their tribe. They were fatalistic and made little preparation for the future. They were territorial. They followed traditions. They took revenge. They were loyal to their tribal hierarchy, but deeply mistrustful of outsiders. They had little idea of contracts, and were quite pleased to be able to loot somebody else's store of food or other valuables.

Then they were forcibly settled and prevented from roaming in their former territory. They nearly died out. About three decades later they are doing OK as subsistence farmers. They are thrifty, industrious, and keep contracts. They cooperate with their neighbors. They are optimistic. They are, compared to what they were previously, non-violent. And they make as much preparation for the future as they are able. They improve their land and their herds, and they store up food for the lean times.

So the Ik were forced, by horrible experience, to adopt the moral code suitable for living in a village and farming. This is drastically different from the moral code suitable for nomads in the African bush.

So, to get nomads to settle in one spot you need to teach them the moral philosophy of being economic actors as opposed to extracting value from a territory. It's a very hard lesson. Drastically hard. Reading about the transition of the Ik is not recommended for bedtime reading. Some of the events are quite nightmarish. But after the lessons, they are doing quite reasonably for subsistence farmers. And, as a result, they don't want to be nomads any more.

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There is the way as it presumably happened on earth, see for example the all time favorite 'Guns, Germs and Steel'. Essentially, an agricultural society can support a much bigger population per area than a nomadic one. Additionally, farming populations can grow much faster than nomadic groups. In nomadic groups a women can only have a child every 4 years or so, because only then can a child walk with the tribe on his/her own. In a farming society women can have children every 18 months to 2 years (child mortality is super high either way). So start with a small agricultural settlement, the farmers will win out on the nomads eventually by sheer force of numbers.

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