I believe one of the biggest sources of unhappiness and struggle for us as humans is the notion that we are above or apart from nature.
This is because of many factors, but I think that religion, the ego and technology are the primary culprits, though I am sure there are many more.
Because of our Playstations and iPhones and shoes and cars and air conditioning and pizza delivery it is very easy for us to forget we are biological creatures, with actual biological needs.
We forget that a vast amount of human history was spent in much different conditions than what we live in now. Our technological and cultural evolution is outstripping our biological evolution (I for real don’t care how you want to define evolution here, we can just say that the world is moving way too fast if that is easier) and an epidemic of depression, anxiety, and alienation is the result.
We don’t have tribal or kin groups anymore.
For most of us, we spend our evenings in small boxes with our immediate families, if we are fortunate enough to have that. Many of us live alone, or with people we don’t really know.
The work we do has very little to do with actually sustaining our lives, it is rare to have a direct correlation between the hours you trade and what you receive in return.
Even in my job, where every hour that I sit with someone brings X amount of dollars to my bank account, this is not a direct exchange for the things that keep me and my family alive. It is an exchange in which I receive a credit I can trade in for those things. I am always at least one step away from how my work feeds me and my people.
We spend very little or no time outside unless you count walking to your car.
We rarely see the stars. We are almost never in danger. Our food is waiting for us in the supermarket or the drive-thru, and if we work our bodies at all, it is often in a building specifically designed for working our bodies.
So much of our history as a species was spent doing specific things, and many of them are no longer necessary to keep us alive. We forget that we still have needs that only nature can meet, because we are nature.
As far as this goes, I don’t think it really matters if you believe we were designed or evolved or some combination of the two.
Can you really tell me we evolved or were designed to sit in front of a computer screen all day or to sit in a car for hours at a time? To eat microwave meals and Starburst and drink Kool-Aid? To spend 90% of our time indoors?
The healthiest (all-around healthy, not just physically) people I know push back against this creeping anti-nature I’ve been talking about here. They ride bikes outside and pay attention to what they eat. They work on projects because they want to and remember that their jobs are there to provide a means to live, not as the reason they live. They still go out and do things and really love their partners and haven’t given up yet.
How many things in your day-to-day life can you say are natural and healthy?
How many could be shifted to something better?
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I write, podcast and make videos about living in freedom through mindfulness, intentionality, compassion, and equanimity.
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