So, I finished reading "The Dawn of Everything", the new book by David Graeber and David Wengrow. In many ways, it's the perfect book for our dark historical moment. It's all about historical possibilities, yet not in the future, but in the past. Thus, an escape and an inspiration. It's an amazing read, so full of detail that's impossible to summarize. You really should read it yourself.
I'll just focus on the structure here. The book aims to deconstruct the dominant linear narratives of human culture, in which the "agricultural revolution" (which wasn't a revolution in the sense of quick and radical change) and the emergence of cities (again, a multi-directional (back and forth), rather than linear development) inexorably lead to inequality, domination, and "the state". There are two conventional versions of this story: the loss of freedom/equality (Rousseau, Hariri, etc) or the gain of civilization (Hobbes, Diamond, etc). Graeber and Wengrow argue, in dizzying archeological and anthropological detail, that both are wrong and severely curtail our imagination of social potential. Their baseline assumption is that humans since the neolithic are our cognitive equals. No more, but also no less intelligent than we are, hence also no less capable of making decisions about their own lives, individually and collectively. So, no more treatment of foragers as semi-apes living in small bands, unable to overcome supposed constants like Dunbar's 150 people group threshold (if it gets larger than this social stratification sets in).
A "carnival parade" of social forms