Through my journey in psychology and mental health, I realized what most people miss regarding mental health, despite it being so obvious!Read More
We are alive during some crazy times, aren’t we? We’re headed towards multiple self-created disasters, and we’re aware of it. And we’re still not doing nearly enough about it all to change our course. It’s easy to blame it on human nature, which is most people do. What if it’s simply the mindset that modern culture was built on, which has spread to every corner of the globe? And, we have everything we need to change that?
I honestly don’t believe we were created, with our incredible intellect and unlimited capabilities, just to destroy ourselves. I also believe we had to get to this point.
Take a trip down the rabbit hole with me, if you will.
To start, let’s go back 15,000 years or so ago. People were immersed in their ecosystems, part of the living, breathing world around them. They were constantly exposed to weather and events beyond their control, just as their ancestors had been for eons. Everything they took came from the world, and they gave it right back, only slightly altered. They were just another part of the wild world.
The world was altering people’s lives far more than they were shaping the world. They didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. That’s how every single living being on this planet had existed up to this point. But us people were on the verge of changing all that.
With our incredible capabilities (brains, hands, language, etc.), we figured out how to manipulate the world around us. And we could pass detailed knowledge on to future generations. So we began to alter the land to grow food for ourselves. We domesticated wild nature to have it work for us. We started to shift away from the natural world.
Once you settle down and grow a bunch of food for your people, other people and creatures come by and eat it. Defense of one’s land goes hand in hand with claiming it as your own.
I’m not arguing this as a “bad” thing that we did. We did it for our loved ones. It’s also a part of who we are and how we got here. We are, by nature, technological and cultural beings. We’re going to make our mark on the earth, one way or another. But our intentions in doing so, how we treat it and others, reverberates throughout everything.
When some people grow food for other people, they have more time to figure out how to build their shared society up. To do that, they need more resources, and they get more rewards from that. They create a larger population, which drives aggressive expansion into other people’s lands.
Funny how we use words like “civilized” and “wild.” I see them as the opposite of their common meaning. To me, Wild promotes peace, while “Civilized” people are far more violent and erratic, in an “I’m going to wipe out your culture and call it peace” kind of way. But I digress.
In The Parable of the Tribes: The Problem of Power in Social Evolution, Andrew Bard Schmookler outlines what happens when an aggressive culture invades others. The threatened peoples are forced into a struggle that results in one of four outcomes. They are:
1. Imitate the invading culture by building up their own civilization and fighting back
2. Withdraw from the land and go somewhere else
3. Assimilate, or be absorbed by the invading culture, or
4. Flat out be destroyed.
Whatever the course, the way of life, and the mindset, of the aggressive culture spreads. Within the last few generations, it has expanded to every corner of the globe.
Civilization creates massive advantages, particularly for those who live in it. There are also some enormous consequences, which we’re becoming ever more acutely aware of.
As people physically dominated the land and other people, internally, we created a hierarchical worldview to align with, and justify, all of this. We sit atop everything else in nature, and some people sit above others.
This mindset has to exist for us to destroy nature and other beings for our wants. Or, more commonly, what we think we want only to find out later it doesn’t quench our desire. When we view ourselves as superior, though, we can justify killing other living beings, people, or even ecosystems merely for our desires, beliefs, or just more stuff.
Competition for power and control is woven into both society and the mindset. We learn it as we grow up in this world. This hierarchal view gets instilled in your consciousness from the moment you are born. It’s taught and shown to you by everyone you know. It comes with massive advantages.
Getting here was inevitable
It’s my belief that we had to get here. Until now, as in the generations that are alive today, we had little awareness of the consequences we were creating. Global warming wasn’t on our radar until the 70s. We didn’t have the technology to show us exactly how much we were messing things up until now. The internet, with its connective power of knowledge and communication, didn’t come about until the turn of the century.
It’s culminating, as we are becoming more and more aware that the way we are living is unsustainable. The closer we get to the end of the line, the more things will spin out of control. It’s bad now, and about to get worse.
This way of life will come to an end. Either we begin to do things another way, or we go too far down the path we’re on.
We have to let go of a lot of the ways we think we know ourselves in the world. We need to recognize ourselves as the keystone species of the planet, hold awareness of the responsibility that comes with that, and act from that place.
The world we have created compels us to live and think in certain ways. So the first step is to get out of it. When you get into nature, you find peace, beauty, and a natural state of presence. You recognize what truly matters to you. Appreciation for simplicity comes naturally. Life and the world are easy to love here. This is where we find our true, wild nature
This isn’t just “hippy stuff.” Emotionally mature, healthy people feel empathy. Those who deny love and caring for others in favor of their ego-driven wants are dangerous. They act from a place of hurt and fear. They are, as I see them, emotionally and psychologically underdeveloped. But we collectively support and pursue these values, which allows even the most immature, self-centered people to harness that power.
All of us grew up in this world. We learned and unwittingly gave our consent to these values. We now support things as they are in one way or another. But living as we do conflicts with something deep within ourselves. We know things are wrong and that we’re a part of it.
The way we’re living doesn’t reflect our deeper nature. In fact, we ignore our own deeper nature to conform to this way of life on its terms. We chose to sacrifice our humanity for the sake of the culture as it stands rather than creating a culture that supports our humanity. And we force others, and even punish our children, to force them to do the same.
We don’t have to return to living hunter-gatherer style to get past all of this. We couldn’t even if we wanted to. Evolution brought us to this point naturally. But we have to come to grips with the reality of our world and how we see ourselves, as individuals and as a species.
If you want to make real change, you need to change yourself. Get out of the culture that teaches you what you all of this and into a world that is still wild and free.
The best thing you can do towards that end is to get out on an experience, especially the Cascade Camp, and see where it’s all coming from. You can also read more, comment on this post below, subscribe to the mailing list, or contact me directly.
Marketing-wise, I’m supposed to tell you which one to do. But change takes time, and we’re all at different places with it. It should feel right to you. If this post speaks to you, take some action now. But do get on your path.
We are offering a limited number of experiences in 2022. Check it out to see what’s still available!
If you want someone to talk with about this kind of stuff, or you want to feel out if this all is a good fit for you before signing up for a trip, or anything else really, feel free to reach out!