This is the central proposition of my new book - That our culture - is part of a series of cultures that are shaped by food - energy - communication and tools sets that organize how we live - who has the power, where and how. I go further. I make the point that just as the proto human life has a series of mindset phases, it makes sense from a Fractal Perspective - that humanity also tracks this cycle.
If I am correct, we are ending our "Teen"" all about me" phase and are entering the next phase of Young Parenthood.
We are ending a phase where authority is located in the external power figure - the God, the Father and the CEO and is re-located in each of us. We are ending a phase where we have to conquer uncertainty and so nature to one where we become part of what is going on and re-connect in a knowledge filled way unknown to our predecessors with Nature and work with her as our ally.
So here is a quick heads up
That this multi million year phase has shaped us as powerfully as the first 3 years of life shape the individual. These were our Initial Conditions. Who we really are was set here during millions of years of shaping. We too were attached like an infant to our mother, the Earth. She provided us with all we needed and we were part of her.
This is not a new age myth but how Evolution and the Forces of Natural Selection work. Our bodies, our social reality and how we fit into the natural world have been shaped by millions of years of hunter gathering.
Then something happened that forced us to leave her bosom and seek food in a new way. As we did this, we began a journey of separation from her. Just as an infant has to be weaned from her mother.
Agriculture was a 10,000 year childhood where we had to obey the Parents known as Kings and Aristocrats. We were still attached to Nature because we still lived directly with her. For our main energy was still muscle.
In America and France we overthrew them. We discovered a new source of energy, the stored energy of the sun in the form of fossil fuel and we began to pull away from direct contact with nature completely.
In the last 50 years only, this separation from any contact with nature has become almost complete. We live almost entirely in our heads and emotions and have no grounding anymore. We are the “Rebel Teen” who unthinkingly damages himself and all others.
This is where I think we are. The question then is will we damage ourselves so badly that we fall off the Pattern, like the capsule going out into space, or will we make the “Return” on the curve and become the nurturing true adult that is part of the Pattern?
Please join me as I explore this thesis. Look over my shoulder as I investigate the patterns of each phase at as importantly look at the patterns of transition. Why do we make these convulsive shifts? What drives them? For if we can see why the shifts occur, we can find out where we are now and where we might be going.
I see 3 main forces in play that interact to push us into a transition. A shift in how we harness energy. A shift in how we communicate and a shift in how we imagine tools.
How we use energy also shapes us. Having fire separated us from all other species. It enabled us to eat differently. It enabled us to wean children earlier. It may well have driven the acquisition of language. It certainly set us off on a particular path of technology and tool making. Fire made us the dominant predators. Fossil fuel has made us into planetary beings who influence all systems and who live outside the bounds of nature itself.
Our consciousness is shaped by how we communicate. When we acquired language, the shift in our capacity and the change to our culture must have been enormous. When we acquired the written word, another shift took place. Now we are living though the shift that the web is imposing.
How we use tools also shapes us. Each tool paradigm affects how we inhabit the world and our impact on it and on us. All our early tools were the extension of our body. Direct force was the core metaphor.
How we get our food is the meta context that uses these three elements to define who we are as a society and how we interact with the world.
How we get our food defines our culture or prevailing paradigm. Periodically the prevailing food system fails. This failure creates a crisis that has to be overcome or we fail as a species.
10,000 years ago we got so good at hunting that we were part of the forces that caused the die off of the mega fauna. Our hunting skills, our large population and climate change was too much for the animals that we had depended on.
We had to find a new food system or die. When we gave up hunting and gathering, we changed every aspect of how we lived. We settled. We had property. We had Kings. We had a Male and angry God. We had a vast difference between the elite and the rest. We fought nature. We feared women. This all the opposite of how we had lived for millions of years.
We also ate an entirely new diet based on grains. We lost a foot in height. Bad teeth were the normal. So was heart disease and arthritis. But this way of life could enable us to vastly increase our populations.
I think that we are right in the middle of one of these food systems crises right now.
That is why everything seems wrong. We are at the end of a system that has to crash. But the new system is hard to see. So we hang onto the old for dear life.
But if we could see the pattern, we could instead put our energy into the new.
I think we can see the way ahead - if we look back at our history from a Fractal perspective and use Food as the context and Energy, Communication and Tools as the catalysts.
So let’s start with a map.