Entry: Thrive, Survive, or Status Quo? Friday, March 19, 2004



You know what's really funny?
I actually agree with a lot more of Dig's post, than this reply might lead you to believe.

We're selfish. That doesn't change. At the base, what we all want is food, sex, shelter, and a safe place to take a shit. In short, we want survival.

You are absolutely right. It's like the old saying, "If you don't have your health, you don't have anything." If you don't have the basics, it's hard to live a fulfilled and fulfilling life. While at basic this is what we want, and need, is it really all we need and want?

Survive to survive, or survive to thrive?
If you have the basics though, what do you do next? If you have all this leisure time, what else do you do with it? Let's face it, love sustenance and shagging though I'm sure we all do, we know better than to think that's all we're going to be doing 24/7/365.

Is there a point to surviving for the sheer sake of not ceasing to survive, or of fulfilling the basics but no more? Or, if you are surviving, shouldn't you have some fun in the process? Shouldn't you find something to make your life, well, seem more worthwhile What's the damn point to all this time anyway, or to a thought process or to coming up with ideas, anyway?

Basing a relationship on sex is a great idea... as long as you can think of something else to do with the other 23 hours of the day.
  Wise words from some old saw whose name I don't know

For starters, more quality time with a copy of the Kama Sutra would be in order; an hour's not nearly enough. But I digress. Sex in the afterculture is a whole nother series of posts.

Sex and food are wonderful. Dig has made a great argument that centers around people doing more of the things they like and want. But there's still more to life than food and sex. So what else are you going to do with your time?

But that's also where all the trouble begins. Maybe after those couple hours a day of hunting and gathering, you're enjoying all your leisure time, but you keep wondering if there's something else you might do to that food to make it tastier. Or to change how you prepare it. You remember this plant with a powerful and appetizing smell; you gather some (if this is Oregon, you've probably just picked a bunch of basil). You take your stone knife out and start cutting a hunk of leg meat into tinier pieces; you notice they cook faster, and the leaves add an exquisite aroma and flavor to the flesh. Then you start to wonder about your knife. How could it work better? Is stone the best material? What if I used metal? Would that hold a better, more durable edge? Would it help me make better cuts? What if I changed the shape of the blade, maybe curved it? Would that make my work easier and better?

Our dear aboriginal friend, in all that leisure time, may just start coming up with a lot of ideas. And ideas are dangerous to any status quo, even one where people can feed and fuck as much as they want.

You think yer shit don't stink?
Back in my Southern days, I observed that one of the most annoying questions in the world was "What, you think yer shit don't stink?" It's a question you've probably heard yourself. At heart, it can be taken to mean "who the hell do you think you are for trying to do more or do different?"

My reply has always been, "Actually it's really rank... I just think there's more to life than shit."

Once you have the basics taken care of, what do you do next? Do you just go on, same ol' same ol', or do you start to wonder as years and years back, more and more aboriginal people must have done Is there anything more to all of this?

By Daniel Quinn's estimate, Civilization is around 10,000 years old. That means only about 2.9% of human history has been in the civilized world. What's more, the industrial revolution and its subsequent surge of urban growth didn't kick off until the 18th century. That's less than 1% of our history spent as industrial people.

True. But this leads to the danger of determining the worth of a person, a society or a lifestyle based on age or how long it's been around or in use. Assuming that the age of the planet is approx. 4 billion years, and that dinosaurs were on it for hundreds of millions years, and that humans have only been on it, what a few hundred thousand, or maybe a million or two? does that mean that dinosaurs were somehow are more worthwhile organisms, leading a more worthwhile lifestyle? Probably not, even though velociraptors are really really cool.

To look at it another way, my worth as a poster on downfall does not increase because I'm the oldest of the 3, and the age of civilization, industry and technology is simply where we are in the great bikini centerfold of the latest geological calendar on the wall in Gaia's office.

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