A couple of million years ago our predecessors, Homo erectus, survived through hunting and gathering.
About 350,000 years ago, give or take, Homo sapiens split off from Homo erectus and continued the hunter/gatherer model of subsistence, while slowly but surely evolving from a migratory to a stationary model. This marked, between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago, the beginning of the agricultural age, when we learned how to plant, cultivate and harvest our own crops instead of surviving on what was freely available.
About 500 years ago, in the age of discovery, Homo sapiens began a surge of technological acceleration that led to globalization, the industrial revolution and the current information age.
Think about that for another moment:
- 2 million years of community building through the shared responsibility of walking around to find food.
- 10,000 years of community building based on growing our own food.
- 500 years of global “community building” through technological advance.
Out of the last 2 million years we’ve been “technologists” for a mere 500, with the most significant advances happening in only the last 100 years.
For 2 million years everything about our existence was oriented to a means of survival that was based on community and connection. In other words, a shared purpose.
It is a hard truth to accept that we are physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally better equipped for hunting, gathering and farming than we are for automation and information.
Put another way, we are equipped for connection in service of meaning. That “meaning” was once the not-so-simple act of providing food and shelter. Today, it has more to do with solving the complex problems that plague our schools and workplaces as well as the institutions of government, religion, healthcare (to name but a few), the effective stewardship of which has become more crucial than ever.
To think that technology, still in its infancy, can supersede our genetic inheritance of connection as a means to even begin to address these issues is comically delusional.
But here we are, favoring disembodied and disconnected “solutions” for problems that only our best spiritual, emotional, mental and physical selves can possibly address.
However you define “this,” it can only be done together.