We made a terrible mistake 12 000 years ago when we traded the idyllic life of hunter-gatherers for the trappings of civilisation.
We had a short workday and spent most of our time raising children, telling stories and developing culture. Until the day when we high-fived each other, celebrating the false achievement of domesticating grain.
From there on, things just spiralled downwards. We didn’t domesticate grain – grain domesticated us. It took a healthy lifestyle from us, collected us in villages, towns and cities and created a situation where we were in a position to have more children and buy stuff. Which forced us to work longer and harder to care for all those children and buy more stuff we don’t need with money we don’t have.
Until now, when we have reached 2018, where I have to wake up at 5am, drive to Pretoria at 5.45am to work a long day with hundreds of other poor souls who are entangled in the civilisation trap. Just to be able to sit on our ugly couch with the lovely Snapdragon in the evenings to watch programmes we don’t really like on satellite TV we can’t really afford.
How on earth can that be progress? And don’t tell me we have developed language. Have you seen the nonsense we WhatsApp to each other?
Twelve thousand years ago, a prehistoric Snapdragon would look at the pre-agricultural me in a saucy way and say: “Grrrr!” That would have touched my soul much more than “Lmao” on a cellphone screen.
Because those days we were still smart enough to notice the person rather than the profile pic. Nowadays, only our phones are smart. We used to have time for stories, love and our children. But somehow we think we are better off with Candy Crush.
The good old hunter-gatherer days are gone forever. But we can improve on what we have. Even if we only take a moment to catch our breath.
This morning I WhatsApped the lovely Snapdragon. “Let’s celebrate the truth in YOLO this weekend and take the time to do high tea. I’ll hold your hand, look into your eyes and say ILY.”
It wasn’t long before the reply came back. “LOL.”
It’s not quite “Grrr!”, but I’ll take it.