It’s 20:00. My phone and laptop go into the top drawer of my dresser, and I lock both items away for good. For this one night, I have decided to shut things down so I can read and think.
I am reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. The theories of how Homo Sapiens before myself conducted themselves fascinates me.
The first one that caught my attention was The “Gorging Gene” Theory which states that our hunter-gather ancestors opportunistically bloated themselves on sugar and fats because of a scarcity mindset. They didn’t know when their next meals would come, so when they finally found something sweet and tasty, they devoured it. I read about this theory after washing down a Philly cheesesteak sandwich with a 20 oz Cherry Coke. Then I ate a pint of dulce de leche ice cream.
The second assertion which caught my attention was regarding the foraging patterns of Sapiens. “Sapiens did not forage only for food and materials. They foraged for knowledge as well. To survive, they needed a detailed mental map of their territory… Each individual had to understand how to make a stone knife, how to mend a torn cloak, how to lay a rabbit trap, and how to face avalanches, snakebites or hungry lions.” (Sapiens, 48) In other words, Sapiens were very curious and engaged with their environment.
In a certain sense, we haven’t changed much. Many patterns tie us to our past, but we can hardly match that level of curiosity in the present day. Sure, we love to watch tv shows and scroll endlessly through Instagram; we even gossip like our ancestors, but what skill do we attain when our survival is practically guaranteed? We no longer need to hunt for food, and we’re no longer being hunted as food. Is there a word for when one solution creates another problem?
Lastly, here is a new word that I learned, coprolite. It’s the technical term for fossilized turd. I’m learning again.