In the present world, almost 99.9% humans, including our leaders, are living by depending on second-hand knowledge, unlike in the past when almost 99% humans were living by depending on the first-hand knowledge or their own brain or individual knowledge for almost 99% of the millions years of human existence. The second-hand knowledge is indeed the degenerated form of knowledge – today we call it information – which we get through the mechanization of certain arrested knowledge or opinion of others that are largely framed under the influence of some VESTED INTEREST.
It is due to our total dependence on second-hand knowledge that today and every day almost 99% humans are in front of the screen for hours on end, be it before TV at home or the Smartphone screen while travelling. An average post-modern adult is found to spend about 4 to 6 hours per day looking at screens, generally in the case of the younger generation.
With the ongoing information explosions, people are mentally burdened with only information overload and becoming more and more mentally passive, just as they are physically overloaded with ‘second-hand’ (degenerated) cells creating fast food and becoming more and more physically passive, as is evident by the globally spreading degeneration diseases. To comprehend the degeneration of the human life structure, on every sector – from the mental to the physical, and from the microscopic to the macroscopic – please see Chapters 4 and 10 of Life On Meltdown.
Imagine that you, and a small group of other people, were to wake up tomorrow with absolutely no memories of your past or even of the language you spoke, in the middle of a forest in a tropical wilderness. Even if none of you had ever spent a moment away from the shelter of civilization in your life, you would not awake and be filled with dread and fear. You think you might because in the ‘real’ world you have been conditioned to fear Nature, to see it as savage, violent, a struggle to survive. You have been taught and brainwashed to distrust and ignore your instincts. But now you would awaken with no such prejudgments. You would become, in many ways, as children, and your whole group would awake full of wonder, and greet each other awkwardly, and then, probably, until hunger and thirst and sexual desire started to command your attention, you would probably play with your new ‘friends’, exploring and discovering, as children do, and as the newborn of all species in Nature do.
Your group becomes, in fact, a hunter-gatherer tribe, completely unaware of any of the precepts of civilization – language, science, reason, morality. Your initial state is one of astonishing joy, wonder, health, well-being, self-sufficiency, peace, security, community, learning, alertness, awareness, cooperation, imagination, love and respect for Nature, and, to the extent needed, creativity – all the elements of natural systems. You will instinctively hunt together and gather and share food, and you will recognize in each other specialized talents for doing one thing or another, and learn from your expert peers. There will be a ‘pecking order’ of sorts, based on consensus of, and respect for, those whose talents are most valuable – keen senses, physical strength, creativity – but the tribe will be egalitarian. There will be no hoarding or inequitable distribution of food or other resources. Since there is no scarcity, sharing will be according to need. Sex will be consensual and non-exclusive. You will respect and flee from predators, and be alert for them and protect your young from them, but you will not fear them.
The hunter-gatherer is in all of us. For 99% of human history we were almost exclusively hunter-gatherers. Living in our technology-dependent world does not mean that we have totally severed our hunter-gather roots – the skills and intelligence learned from all those millennia of survival. One does not erase the souls of one’s ancestors. Even if we no longer actively use those skills for daily survival, the untapped intelligence remains within us. Could it be that we could recapture the things we have forgotten and need to relearn today?
That is how Nature works. Each creature strives to live and to bring more of their kind into the world not because they fear death, but because life is wonderful. When you see tiny birds scrounging at your bird-feeder or shivering in a tree in winter, don’t feel sorry for them. They are not helpless and struggling and cowed. They shiver because instinctively they know it keeps their body temperature up. They have amazing (at least to us, who lack them) instinctive survival talents – they need a lot of food in winter to keep warm, and they find it easily, enjoyably, and if they can’t, they simply hibernate. Although lots of birds are eaten by predators, few freeze or starve to death – famine is a modern human invention, due to our huge numbers and loss of natural adaptability. If you see a dead bird, it almost certainly might have succumbed to one of three human-caused injuries: Collision with a window, or an automobile, or a domestic cat that no longer needed or wanted to eat what it killed.
Our ignorance of Nature, combined with our collective arrogance (because of our unquestioned ‘evolutionary success’), leads us to believe that we are the only emotional and intelligent creatures on the planet. But just as economists and historians are tearing apart our myths about prehistoric man, scientists are systematically deconstructing the anthropocentric myths of our modern emotional and intellectual uniqueness and superiority. Although our incompetence at deciphering animal language and communication has so far made it conveniently impossible to prove conclusively, there is very compelling evidence that many animals exhibit extraordinary intelligence.
In fact given some new evidence that emotion is principally a response to sensory stimulus, and knowledge that some animals have greater sensitivity to many sensory stimuli than humans, it’s quite possible that many animals lead much richer emotional lives than we do, that they are more ‘sensitive’ in every sense of the word than we are, that they ‘feel’ more, and more deeply, than we could ever hope to. Why then don’t they articulate this, so that we understand?
Perhaps they do – maybe we are just so numb to all language other than our limited and clumsy modern/mechanical ones that we don’t ‘hear’ them. Or perhaps it’s just that they don’t have to – maybe we developed ‘sophisticated’ abstract language not because we were uniquely able to, but because it was necessary to convey precise instructions about man-made processes (like computers) in our strange new unnatural hierarchical culture, whereas other animals always survived just fine without such artificial constructs. How sophisticated a language do you need to say ‘danger’, ‘food’, ‘yes’, ‘no’, and ‘I love you’, and ultimately what else is really important to say?
Modern humans now need Nature’s language and Nature’s technology to live comfortable lives. But most other animals know a better way to live, and don’t need sophisticated language or technology to do so.
For more on this topic, please read the essay: THINKING ON A CLEAN SLATE: PREFACE TO THE HUMAN STORY: