I’m reading a book now called Sex at Dawn. It’s really a book about how human beings are not meant to be monogamous but more interestingly it goes deep into studies and research about us as human beings.
Here’s the shocking things I’ve learned from the book about what human beings were like in our earlier years:
- We shared everything. Our very early ancestors were foragers ie hunter-gatherers. We often lived nomadic lives and exist in small communities where we shared everything. In small communities, there was very little need for laws or enforcement because everyone knew each other. If someone did something that harmed another person then that person would have to deal with the shame of doing so from everyone else. So people generally don’t do these things. Compare that to the world of today… people do bad things because they don’t know the people harmed by their actions. They aren’t close enough to feel the shame.
- There was little reason for war or conflict because nobody owned anything and everything we needed was available around us. When you consider that nobody had the concept of owning land, or owning anything or anyone.. then there really is nothing to fight about.
- No leaders could oppress its people. Because everything that we needed and wanted was available around us, no leader could oppress or exert influence on everybody else because if you weren’t happy you could just leave. So people followed leaders then not because they were forced to, or it was a given right or anything.. but because that leader had gained their respect.
- There was no poverty. That’s right. Think about it. Poverty is man-made. Man created money, man created the social classes that have and have-nots. Man created all of that. In our early years, there wasn’t a rich or poor or middle class. Everyone had a chance to eat whatever they wanted to eat or do whatever they wanted to do. The Earth provided for everything. Nobody starved.
- The lives of our ancestors weren’t as bad as we think they are. There was a story in the book where European explorers visited a South American tribe at the time and took pity of their impoverished lives. They lived in little huts, they ate insects or bugs and they didn’t have nice proper clothes to wear. They decided to bring back two people from the tribe to Europe and train them how to dress, how to eat with a fork and knife and eventually brought them back to their tribe a year later to hope that they would go back and teach their tribe. After leaving the two natives for a year, they went back with disappointment to find that they had went back to their old usual lifestyles. The explorers offered to bring them back to Europe but they didn’t want to. They were happy in their tribes with their community, and what the explorers saw as poor living conditions, they saw as their way of life.
- There was no stress. And there was a lot of free time. Hunting for food, taking care of household chores all took only a few hours a day. Researchers found that it was very common for our ancestors to sleep 3 hours in the afternoon every day because really… there wasn’t really anything to do. There was no empire we needed to build, no legacy. We just needed to take care of ourselves and raise our kids.
After reading about all this, I began to think that HOLY SHIT! It’s entirely possible that our modern human lives are the worst possible lives in our existence as human beings., Today we worry about stress, we have a large number of the population living in poverty, crimes, wars, violence… none of these existed in the early days when we were hunter-gatherers.
The flip side about this made me think. What is it that makes us so stressed these days? What matters? What do we really need? If we were to be hunter-gatherers of our current generation, maybe that’s just the equivalent of having jobs that earned just enough for us to survive. Do we need to pursue wealth at the expense of being able to spend time doing what we loved doing.
All the stress, all the pressure we feel now. That’s all man-made and in many instances. it’s something we can choose to do or choose not to do.
That’s all food for thought for me this weekend. Maybe it might be for you too 🙂