Going back to the Stone Age | Sunday Observer

Going back to the Stone Age

It’s no laughing matter. All of us seem to be going back to the Stone Age. You might argue that it cannot be true because we are on the zenith of civilization. We have invented planes and trains running at unimaginable speed. US President Donald Trump is planning another trip to the moon. Scientists are exploring the universe for habitable planets because we are not so happy with our own planet. While we are boasting about our super civilization, I find we are fast approaching another Stone Age.

Most of us seem to be tired of modern life. To get away from it we spend our holidays in a remote village. After a few days of living close to nature, we come back to our air-conditioned hen-coops in a multi-storey building. Then we start travelling in air-conditioned vehicles to our workplaces and return home to be entertained by home theatre. We have no time to talk to the next door neighbour as our mobile phones are ringing incessantly. We do not cook our own meals and eat them leisurely. We make a beeline to the nearest food parlour and devour whatever is available because we have no time to waste.

Hunter-gatherers who lived in the Stone Age probably had no heart attacks, diabetes or AIDS. They lived a simple life in caves eating whatever nature provided. Of course, they killed wild animals and ate their flesh. They did not know the art of cooking. So, they burnt the flesh and ate it. According to the US counter-culturalist John Zerzan, the hunter-gatherer period was the only time man successfully integrated into nature without exploiting it. Today, the so-called civilized man has begun to over exploit natural resources. And then he wants to find another habitable planet for his nefarious activities.

Caveman existence

Even the modern man has some traces of caveman existence. When he attends a party he prefers to savour barbecued meat. That is somewhat similar to burnt meat eaten by cave dwellers. Enacting this Stone Age scene is complete except for the band music. The simple cave dwellers had no one to play musical instruments because they had none of them. However, they would have danced around the fire. If possible, modern man should spend at least a couple of days in the jungle eating wild berries. He should scour the woods and fields for other food items. He is sure to find a handful of hairy bittercress or other uninspiring plants. In the absence of any toast or jam, he should learn to eat such leaves and fruit as they are.

Beautiful sight

When the sun sets, a man acting as hunter-gatherer has to find a place to sleep. The ideal place would be a cave because there are no comfortable houses or hotels in the jungle. Before going to bed he has to make a bonfire for two reasons. The fire would scare away ferocious wild animals. On the other hand, it would give enough warmth. If you cannot find a cave, you should make a temporary hut on a tree.

You will enjoy the beautiful sight when you wake up at dawn. Shivering in the cold, you will hear birds singing in the thickets. With a dying fire in front, you will enjoy a spectacle you have never experienced before. You will see the first rays of the sun poking through the trees. Be prepared to miss your morning coffee or breakfast. As you have no access to food stalls or supermarkets, you will wonder how to find food in the jungle. The only way to fill your empty stomach is to find some edible plants and fruit. Then, look for a stream or river flowing by. Try to catch some fish with sharp sticks. After a few attempts you will succeed in catching some fish for breakfast.

Limitless multiplication

If we can spend a few days like hunter-gatherers, we will realize how they lived in the distant past without basic amenities. Surely, life would have been really tough for them. They had no clocks or computers and they did not know the time. The hunter-gatherer’s lifestyle is probably the only way for us to integrate with nature. However, this does not mean that we should go back to the Stone Age!

Today, modern man has too many comforts. As Mark Twain said, “Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessaries.” Mahatma Gandhi added a rider when he said, “Civilization in the real sense of the term, consists not in the multiplication, but in the deliberate and voluntary reduction of wants. This alone promotes real happiness and contentment, and increases the capacity for service.” Gandhi practised what he preached.

Going back to the Stone Age at least occasionally would remind us that we should have some regard for nature. Trees are not there to be cut down and to put up ugly factories and sky-scrapers. Beautiful animals are not there for us to kill and eat their flesh. All over the world the forest cover is dwindling due to man’s greed for filthy lucre. When there is no forest cover, the world would become a desert. When you think of modern man’s inhumanity to mankind and nature, we should pay a compliment to cave-dwellers who never exploited natural resources. The only weakness in modern civilization is man’s craving for more and more comforts at the expense of Mother Nature.

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