When we look at the history of our species, that is Homo Sapiens, the first thing is apparent to my eyes is the very liminal window in which we have existed relative to other fauna species in the animal kingdom, if we extend this branch to look to our earliest progenitors to homo erectus, and further, still not much of a dent in the history of our evolved ape minds. It wasn’t until extremely late in our evolution that we as an amalgam of collective life decided to transition from a hunter gatherer forager lifestyle, to one based on agrarian holidays and pastoralism. Even then, our forefather and foremothers who tended to a specific tract of land, who felt the earliest notions of bioregionalism, of belonging to places and spaces, never truly ‘settled’ down for the long haul. The early farming ages, or the age of domestication, which also ushered out the building of palaces, cities, walled villages, and fortresses were actually highly mobile communities. This was the human species attempt to create something permanent, that would last through their life, and those to follow, in our great need to control the mechanics of existence. But we failed…
These early villages, farmsteads, and palaces were doomed from the start because there is only cosmic truth, and that is nothing last, as McKenna described ‘not your fortune, not your misfortune, not your luck, not your children, and ultimately not yourself’ and I would extend this to the place you call home. I often think about what our earliest ancestors had to deal with in the everyday life. The problems were not whether the morning coffee was brewed dark roast or made instant, or the problems on the news, or not being approved at work for what they wore, or having to deal with a hangover and depression from an ill disciplined life, or any trivial details that people concern themselves with. The early homesteaders were at their core, a hard people, that would have to deal with a lot more, fires, animal starvation, invading tribe, stormy weather problems, keeping warm, food shortages, debts and threats from landowners, theft, these were almost constant problems, and for those transitioning from a nomadic existence, it was not uncommon to completely uproot everything one knew and move off to another country. The mass migrations of Irish, Scottish, Icelanders, Polish and other Europeans to ‘the new world’ is testament to this, even those who seemed to have a stable lifestyle, an inheritance, and multi-generational owned land, move away from the comforts of home to start over.
We are largely the descendants of these earliest ancestors who came to North America, or those who stayed behind, while even those who came early would often return with a new family, and returning to the homeland, re-establish themselves in their primordial culture. We still have this wanderlust in our spirit to move around. As a traveler I can tell you this, because I have been on my feet for six years, the first half of these living a domestic life, while still moving every 4-6 months, and the second half, a completely nomadic life, carrying everything I own, and living with new horizons by each full moon. After 3 years of this, I tried to settle, but I realized the train was going a lot faster than I knew, and it was going to take some time to slow it down. Once you get started, you come to the full understanding of what it means to be in flux, to adapt to new places, and be in almost constant movement. Our bodies were meant to move, not only in our local habitats, whether we are walking through the forests on a blazed hiking trail, or sharing the sidewalk with thousands of pedestrians. But more so, we have evolved to be active, and deeply involved with our landscapes.
If you try sitting down all day, you will notice you feel a lot of pain at the end of the day, because instead of being outside for instance, brachiating through trees, running by the sea, climbing hills purely to see what is on the other side, and navigating virgin terrain, your muscles did not get the daily momentum is has been built to get. Thoreau advocated the need to get out of doors at least once a day, to take a walk or alter your routine even slightly, so one may experience the novelty of the days, for as long as one lives. To go beyond this even, and to ask the question; how do you feel, being in one city for a full year? 5 years? 10 years? As the time falls through the sand glass, the need becomes even more great to experience new sights, smells, foods, cultures, sounds, and re-birth your own spirit in places you have only then read about or seen in movies, or heard from those that have been. There is a paradox of this because those that stay at home never know the feelings of that that have actually been.
“Who travels widely needs his wits about him, The stupid should stay at home: The ignorant man is often laughed at. When he sits at meat with the sage”
He often degenerates, and domesticates from any further growth by cutting himself off from the world, like a hermit. His body becomes tired, weak, and ugly who stays in one place. Our skeletons are forming and changing to accommodate the lifestyle we are leading, do you want your offspring to be hunchbacked, weak, and unhealthy humans because your habits today are lending to the image of our descendants, as Daniel Vitalis put it ‘Homo Fragilis’. Well we need to evolve into those Vitalis species, the elite human who has learned not to have ultimate control his habitat, but adapted so well that he is ultimately thriving there. Our ancient dna is still remembered to us, and can be activated in this hunt to reclaim mastery of the sedentary lifestyles some unconsciously choose to adopt.
‘Rewild. To reverse the process of domestication. 2. To return to a more wild or self-willed state.‘
To lead a sedentary lifestyle ultimately snuffs out the primal fire we were born with in this privileged age, and though there are benefits to staying in one place; for the right to tend land, have animals, build culture, and root in community values, there will come the times when this is not satisfying in itself and one is compelled back into the world, to re-establish his values, and feed his hunger for far away lands, and boost his mental health. It is essential to rewild ourselves to deal with the changing climate of our demanding age, and though we don’t need to traverse hundreds of kilometers to find our next meal, the majority of people will still drive this far in their cars to work and back each week. The domestic life is ill positioned to thrive in this society, and our needs are not always readily available when modern cities our so nature divorced, or homogenized to such a great degree than nothing of any quality can be extracted from it’s culture. This culture is not your friend, because it enforces conformity, and the only thing that can arise from this, is a limited perspective of being where one is only seeing through one window of their house, on the vast panoramic of the world beyond it. We need to keep moving, even the most sedentary, the scientists, and scholars of the world know this. We are trying to colonize other planets, what will we become then. We need to constantly get out of our boxes and comfort zones or comfort counties and feel the nuances of the new world all over again, and stop being submissive to it.
Unlearn & ReWild.