Pearls of Wisdom
At the dawn of time, Man was not a complex creature, he was by nature, a very basic and simple being, and he needed little to survive the harsh reality that he faced. Through the cold, and the heat, and the most trying of times, Man survived, braving then what most of us now would tremble from. The essentials that were needed to survive consisted of food, water, shelter and a crucial, tactical acumen, nothing more was needed, it was both a simpler time, but also a more unforgiving time, mistakes might carry dire consequences, theses mistakes were to be learned from quickly, never to be repeated. It is a testament to Man’s fortitude as a species that he survived to form and grow into what we are today, complex, thinking and feeling individuals. Just as a child is brought forth from the womb with nothing, Man in his simplest form does not need much to survive; only the basic needs are truly necessary. Think for a moment and pause from reading this book and ask yourself this question, what do I need to survive and to be happy, to live a full and complete life, with safety, security and comfort? After a few minutes of pondering this question, what did you come up with?
This beginning time could best be described as being both “rough and pure”, rougher because it was a time when life spans were shorter, a cold or flu-deadly, and a broken bone possibly meant death. This was the harshness of our early civilization, the part which was unsafe and at times dangerous. But what about that notion of purity that I mentioned? If we think of life before, when it was a simpler time; we migrated with the food, moved with the seasons, and slept with the sun and moon, what could be more difficult or purer than that. It is now known that hunter-gatherer societies spent around 3-4 hours per day working to survive; they did not work nearly as hard as we do in our present situation.
Living simply implies that we survive on only what is vitally needed, nothing more than that is required. When we live simply, we live connected, connected to the Earth, the animals, the stars that guided us, the seasons that helped us to migrate. We would call it being connected with the numinous around us; the ancient Romans called it Numina or Numen, before they were influenced by the Greeks. There was a power that resided in nature and it was to be appreciated and respected and we were connected to it, we were its children and it was our parent. This is perhaps where the Gaia Hypothesis came from, the idea that there is a power or life in the Earth itself, that everything is alive. I remember one summer being in Joshua Tree National Park hiking along a trail, on one of the bends I stopped because I saw something moving in the cliffs up ahead. I realized it must have been a Big Horn Sheep standing up there on the cliff face, climbing with relative ease what a man would have needed a rope to ascend. With each jump this sheep made there was a loud resounding crack that went through the valley floor, it sounded like thunder, and it had power. I wonder now if this was in some small way that connection to the primal force or the Numina that is all around us. Just as fish swims around in the ocean and lives in the water, it might not know that it is surrounded with water, I believe our ancient ancestors did, I believe they knew what was around us, they knew they were connected because they lived simply.
Nuggets of Dirt
Cory Ian Shafer