You are a hunter gatherer

Don’t be fooled by pretty clothes, warm houses and wheels, your primitive ancestors still control your life.

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You consider yourself intelligent, with a civilised modern existence; you are far removed from the primitive aboriginal from whom you are descended.

But ten thousand years of settled agrarian and urban living has not allowed sufficient time for your brain to evolve beyond the forces of ‘immediate need’ that drove your forebears to strive to acquire their energy resources.

They extracted their energy resources from their immediate environment. The best hunter stalked and killed the (energy dense) prime animal. Acquiring such an energy resource elevated his status in the clan. Being able to do it again and again made him clan leader. It gave him choice of breeding females because they saw him as offering the best chance of survival for their offspring. Crude maybe, but nature’s forces are not concerned with the niceties of civilised living.

Anyone lacking hunting skills was quickly sidelined.

The day to day existence of our ancestors was predicated on survival at all costs. It is irrelevant in our own time.

Are you sure about that?
We follow the same pattern but with fancier window dressing. You don’t have to catch and slaughter your own food supply because you can afford to pay someone to do it for you.

We do what they did, but in a different way. We also spend our lives in the pursuit of energy resources, and call it by different names: a bigger house, a faster car, exotic foods and countless shiny toys. Energy-dense possessions elevate our status. Everything we possess has energy embodied within it, and we are driven to acquire them as part of our survival strategy, whether we admit it or not.

If you fail in your acquisition and consumption of resources on a day to day basis, just like your ancestors, you are likely to find yourself homeless and destitute. Sidelined from society.

Nothing has changed.

There is no material difference. The purpose behind it is the same. The millionaire is invariably fixated on his second million. The billionaire is never satisfied with one billion. We are driven by genetic forces we are unaware of: the force to survive at all costs.

You may not belong to the elevated ranks of the super wealthy, but your existence is predicated on the need to acquire resources to sustain your current level of existence. You consume those resources to give you the necessary energy to continually improve that existence.

Those are our forces of ‘immediate need’. They are the same competive forces that brought our forebears through fifty thousand competitive generations.

Now we face a new challenge: we have brought ourselves so close to self destruction, that we must change to save ourselves from extinction.

Ask yourself if the homicidal momentum of a couple of million years of competitive success can be changed to one of gentle gardening before the end of this century?

The only certainty is that nature is indifferent to the outcome. The planet will go on spinning for a while yet, with or without us.

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co-author of The End of More, in paperback and kindle on Amazon email

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