The Social and the Natural world
Our social development as humans has led us to a point where we are the most dominant species on this beautiful blue marble.We have put our society in the center of the of the universe,and try to dominate nature and we want to have control over it. Sometimes our society makes us believes nature is our enemy and needs to be controlled to avoid risk and put to our benefit.
We have forgotten where we come from. It is from this dirt were we came from and have rosen out of this dirt and build our society upon it. In this society we get obsessed with money what have absolutely no value beyond the human world. We prioritize things which makes us unhappy and please people we normally do not like. We completely forget to look around and let us amaze with all the natural world has to offer.
For the record I do not dislike people, I believe we are a wonderful species and are capable of great things. What is important tough is that we keep reflecting on where we stand and where we want to go.
Humans (myself included) are very bad at planning ahead, we are short sighted and plan not further than a short period. The result of the short sightedness is that over time we drift away, and we forget where we came from. Mankind is very adaptable to its situation, with sometimes as a result we get accustomed to the new ( maybe not so pleasant) situation. People start to react with this how we always done it. But is this truly the case?
We often forget where we come from as a species. I notice when people are talking about nature. It is like nature is just a trend that will vanish over time and it is something you like or you do not. Which off course, is not true, we are part of nature and we can not neglect it or treat it as some type of commodity. If we care for nature it gives back in more ways than even imaginable.
Fortunately we are standing on a cross road to change our direction as a species. This is the best time to be alive as humans. More and more people are realizing nature is not a commodity but a vastly dynamic system which supports life and gives us all the oxygen we breath and food we eat. Due to our social development, world wide poverty is decreasing and due to more educated people we start to give back to nature and start to make it sustainable. A synergy is forming between nature and humans.
There is still a long road ahead of us but it is also important to look back where we came from. So how did we end up from the african plains to a vastly complex society?
The Very Short Timeline off our Social Construct
200000 BC: Tens of thousands of years ago we were wanderers on the plains of Africa. We started walking on our feet, we knew what plants to eat and what animals to kill.
12.000 BC: We learned agriculture, domesticated animals and we started to be more efficient and started to free our time. Which gave us the opportunity to learn different crafts.
9000 BC to 500 BC: The first societies started to take shape. Mankind starts to develop culture were we learn to write and how to trade and craft. Later humans migrated to different parts of the world were even more cultures took shape. People started how to live their lives and philosophy took shape which is the base of our norms and values.
1600 AD The scientific revolution started to get shape. Mankind started to focus on the science of matter. Gradually moving on the time scale we formed a society that believed beta sciences are absolute. Over time this will have a big result on mankind.
1850 AD: The industrial revolution is starting to take place. Humans start to pollute like never before, steam powered machines revolutionize the world around us and machines become bigger and faster. The industrial revolution allows us to move more dirt around and produce more products. The average man has access to product it never had.
1950 AD: Informational age: labor is automated in factories. computers beginning to take a important part in our society. The opportunity is there to reduce labor and start to enjoy more leisure time. Instead of this competition is driven up and we are forced to work harder and smarter to maintain a bigger and more luxurious lifestyle.
1990 AD: Internet: one of the most amazing inventions in recent era. The internet allowed the human society to accelerate innovation and development. Third world countries are competing with the first world. There is one downside we used it to create a 24/7 economy. Everybody is connected all the time and our brain loves it and because it is addicted to short stimulants, and slowly we demand ourselves to take part of it.
Especially in the last three decades a lot has changed. We went from manual work to more intellectual work. Also social pressure has risen, the internet has created a 24/7 economy and indirectly work is more woven into our personal lives. And the speed of these developments also increased, which demands us to keep up to it. From time to time we undergo a existential crisis where we overthink everything. Often with acceptance as result and no little action.
Our society does not really have a purpose and we lack a common goal as humans. It is only in the last 250 years we start to think about where we should head as a species. our development as humans allowed us to develop a social system where we can meet the majority of the people with basic needs which allows us to think and plan accordingly.
People with normal jobs are working 40 hours a week for 40 years to free themselves from the job and start something they really love doing. Make art, gardening or volunteering in the local community or even some other profession what makes the world a better place.
After work we are exhausted and only have energy left to do only our other social requirements. Multiply this by the millions and it results in a society which does not have any direction.
Caged Monkey Experiment
A good anecdote to describe what I mean about the lost direction is now a modern day fable; its about a hypothetical group of scientist and the 5 caged monkey experiment.
Early 20th century there were a few scientist who put about 5 monkeys in a cage with steel bars. In the cage there was a ladder, located in the middle, and on top of the ladder where bananas located.
The most dominant monkey in the group started to climb the ladder right away. By climbing the ladder the other monkey’s where immediately showered with cold water.
The monkeys figured out soon enough, that once one of their cage members climb the ladder the rest would receive a cold shower. Soon enough, the monkeys start to beat the climbing monkey who was reaching for the bananas.
And eventually no monkey dared to climb the ladder anymore because it was afraid to be beaten by the others.
What the scientist did next, is replacing one monkey with the other. The first thing the new monkey was noticing is the banana on top of the ladder. Only wondering why the other monkeys were not reaching for it. It wanted to start climbing the ladder with full enthusiasm.
As soon the new monkey was climbing the ladder, the remaining monkeys delivered the new guy a beating. Soon after the scientist changed out a second monkey.
The second monkey naturally did the same as the previously exchanged monkey. It was directly pulled of the ladder and beaten by the remaining monkeys including the first monkey.
The new monkeys learned soon enough they could not climb the ladder or would get a beating by the others. After all the original monkeys were replaced, there were only monkeys left whom never experienced a cold shower. Even though the group would still beat up any monkey who would go upto the ladder.
Off course the monkeys would never know why they were beaten. Just accepting they could not climb the ladder and never questioned why it was beaten.
This is similar to our society, many generations are born and follow in the footsteps of our ancestors. Often just doing what is told and as a species we just float into the unknown not knowing what we will encouter. Looking back where we are coming from is the best option, so we can orientate and adjust our course.
Our True Past
The homo sapiens are a product of millions of years of evolution and wandered for 10 thousands of years across the plains of africa. This is where we adopted to nature, learned to walk straight and are hardwired to the rhythm of nature.
For ages we learned to look for the stars to indicate the time of the year or look to the sun to get a indication of time. Our biological clock is resetted with the blue light spectrum of the sun and makes us fully aware the day has started.
For me the simple joys of life is just a regular stroll through the park with my dog or a small hike through the local woods with the sun on my face. Or seeing my bees prosper in early spring. Due to our social development as a species we achieved great things. Sometimes at great cost for our environment. But this social development has ensured that you and I can now roam this beautiful blue little planet.
During this social development we mined and exploited a lot of the earth’s resources and we somewhat lost touch with nature in the process.
We chopped down most of our native forest to use as firewood or building material. After which we use the land for agriculture. We overgrazed most prairies to deserts to supply us with food. We moved more dirt around than all the sandstorms from the last thousand years. And as of today this exploitation continues.
By neglecting the natural world and our earthly resources it can seem we have a dark future ahead.
But there is a small sign of hope. As we gather more information with satellites and other technologies we notice the earth is one dynamic system and is not as obvious as previously thought.
Through the internet we share information on a social aspect but it also makes us aware about climate change and the dangers it is bringing us. The internet is the cohesion between people and cultures. It can be compared to mycorrhizal fungi which signals between different trees and provides all individuals with plenty of resources. The same as the internet is providing us with endless information and countless opportunities.
Due to this information transfer there is a common realization between countries, the alarms bells are ringing. We need to take action to secure our climate from changing to a more hostile environment with heavier storms and disturbed earth cycles.
This common realization combined with our social developments is speeding up sustainability in rapid ways. China is pushing itself from industrial polluter to sustainable giant. The united states subtracted itself from the paris climate change agreement but most states are putting matters into their own hands and are rapidly investing in renewables.
I believe this trend is just the beginning and as the technology becomes cheaper the expansion will increase even at greater speed.
Also due to automation and free-ing our time from labor we are one of the first generations which have to rethink our purpose as mankind. It all seems daunting but due to the speed of technology we have the opportunity to free ourselves and go chase our own dreams.
Dream chasing can be scary but as people we have to take risk and do something where you believe in. We are too much caught up in our work and do not think about life next to work and the few hobbies we have time for.
Work is what we know and where we are trained for our entire life. But the information age pushes us to new frontiers. We automate processes with robots and computers become smarter and better at the jobs we used to do.
I suggest we look back where we came from, there is a huge and damage world out there which still supports us and gives us anything. If we free ourselves a little from the social construct we have created. It is possible for us to be happy humans.
What most people don’t realize is that we are hardwired in this natural world were we lost touch with. Also known as nature or the outdoors. It can be very relaxing to be in nature, it provides us with inspiration and teaches us most of the things we know.
Use Both Worlds
As people born in the natural world and grown up in the social world we sometimes forget the first. Nature sometimes is annoying because you have too weed your garden or the annoying mosquito hinders you. But nature has much more to offer, in these busy era nature can be our biggest savior.
Because we are hard wired in to nature we can fully be ourself within it. And being yourself sometimes becomes trully rare in this society where you are demanded to be the best at all times. This can lead to lonelyness and self doubt, everything seems greener on the other side. But often those same people struggle with the same problems you face. Only it is covered in a prettier package.
We live in a beautiful era where we can have food on our table without hunting for it. Most people when they image life in the past, are thinking about roaming freely through nature and being truly free and live a simple happy life.
What they forget is that people did not get older than 40 and there was a high mortality rate. Without the healthcare system we would have diseases and infections and parasites which would feast on us.
But because our social development we have a healthcare system which guarantees the normal human on a healthy life. We have farmers who put food on our table and we have time for hobbies and to roam around freely in nature.
Most people do not realize this fact, because they have trapped themselves in their own lifestyle. Most people earn enough to support their lifestyle, and if you live below your means, you have plenty of money left to become a nomad int this social world and can start exploring the natural world.
By reclaiming our past and putting nature back into our lives we can be much happier people. Most countries in the western world have built social securities which allows all humans with their basic needs. If you work hard and save some money this allows you to truly enjoy life to the fullest and you can roam this planet without worries.
Off course the journey you take is solely yours. I don’t say you need to abandon everything you know but it is possible for you to find a balance.
By mastering the social world and wandering around in the natural world you can fulfill your intrinsic values a human has hardwired in itself.
So think about where you are now and where you want to stand. For me this means to sometimes step out of this social world with its obligations and roam freely around in nature.
If you want to start you don’t have to look far, because nature is all around.
Photo credits: Pixabay