Transitioning from a nomadic life towards an agrarian society
Approximately 10,000 years ago, humans transitioned from a nomadic lifestyle towards an agrarian society. This was the beginning of the human domestication process.
Concepts such as hierarchy became more prominent and humans slowly began to enjoy less and less freedom. Our diets changed and so did our freedom of movement. We were now tied to the land we were farming.
Remaining in one place enforced the idea of material ownership. Owning the land and the resources it provided. This was a surreal idea to the tribesman as he saw the land as something he was a part of, not something to be owned and conquered.
It wasn’t all bad though. Only a certain percentage of the population were designated the task of farming to provide subsistence. This allowed the remainder (or non-farming community) to pursue passions such as the arts, sciences, and politics effectively forming the basis of civilisation.
Human Domestication (The Native American)
In Luther Standing Bears book “My People the Sioux” he describes how the European settlers came to conquer the land (or hunting grounds) of the Native Americans.
He tells how the European settlers tried to drive the Native Americans of land they had lived on for generations by force, well at least to begin with. As this tactic didn’t work they eventually started to massacre the buffalo which was the Native Americans primary food source.
They then began to bribe them with gifts. They also started to allocate them rations of food which were completely free to begin with.
The Native Americans became dependent on these rations. Order was established and reservations for the Native American to live on were created. This was completely insane as they were giving the Native Americans back small portions of the land in which they once roamed freely.
They soon informed the Native Americans the food was no longer free and they would now have to work long days to pay for their livelihood. The Native American was left with little choice as the buffalo and other wild game were no longer abundant.
Standing Bear details how they were paid to put up a fence around the reservation he was staying at. This seemed completely bizarre to the Native American. They couldn’t understand why you would want to lock man up like they do with the “spotted buffalo” (or cattle).
This was the beginning of the human domestication process in America. Nature increasingly became something to be fenced out as opposed to something to enjoy.
Human domestication in the Modern world
Human domestication still continues today, it has just adopted a different form. Majority of schools for example teach children obedience and how to memorize “the correct answers”. Although creative thinking and questioning logic does exist in schools to a degree, I don’t believe it is emphasized enough. In short many schools are preparing children to be obedient workforce employees.
Inactive jobs are another example of human domestication. The tribesmen lived active lifestyles. The same cannot be said for the majority of the working population in the modern countries of today. A recent (Study) found that only 20% of the jobs in the US require moderate physical activity, the remaining 80% being sedentary. They have also related this to the rise in obesity among American citizens.
Transitioning from an active lifestyle to a sedentary one is an unhealthy aspect of human domestication. The human body was designed for movement. A number of our aliments would not be so prevalent if we just moved more. These are just a couple of examples among many of human domestication.
Pros and cons of Human Domestication
The same as the wild wolf was domesticated to become the pet dog the wild human was domesticated to help build civilisation. I don’t believe this was completely a bad thing and I am not an anti-civilisation. Civilisation has allowed us to gain so much.
We are able to pursue passions and share ideas that would not have been possible during the time of the tribe. Sharing of technology has allowed us to do less hard labour. Ever tried washing your clothes by hand? This allows us to free up time to do more of the things we want. Well at least in theory.
However human domestication also comes at a price. Some of the cons must include:
We always feel we need to be working in the name of progress. Therefore we have less leisure time.
We have swapped active lifestyles for more sedentary ones which has come at the cost of our health.
Our connection to nature is not as deep as it once was, partly due to urbanisation but also time constraints.
Human domestication should not be confused with rise of civilization. Although they are intertwined, they are not one of the same. Certain aspects of human domestication begin to take away from our health, our curiousness, our wildness. I believe civilisation is possible without having to compromise any of these things.
Undoing the Human domestication Process
Rewilding humans is not about going back to a time when we lived in tribes, not in Survival and Serenity’s view at least. However if we begin to question our lifestyle choices we will learn to become more conscious and enjoy more freedom.
Are we simply doing something because the rest of society is doing it or are we doing it because it aligns with our own beliefs and values? Society is not always correct. It was not so long ago that slavery throughout the modern world was common practice.
We are taught not to question authority. Learning to question is possibly one of the greatest tools in undoing unhealthy aspects of human domestication.
I believe people should question everything. Question society! Question what you read on Survival and Serenity. Allow a sense of curiosity, wonder, and willingness to explore new ideas into your life.
This is how we can begin to undo the human domestication process. We first begin to question and then we start to take focussed action. This will help us to regain a sense of who we are and how we want to live.
I want to be part of the movement that is knocking down the walls between modern society and the natural world. Not to go back but to move forward. This all starts with questioning!