If I told you that I’m about to conduct an experiment where I put an ape in a cage, feed it oily fries and meat patties, in an artificial light source, sit it on a comfy chair isolated from everyone and get it to watch a screen all day, you’d call me cruel right? Inhumane even… Ironic isn’t it, that we do just that to ourselves, every day. We feel bad about battery hens, bred purely to produce to the maximum yield, and yet we act the same way at work. A wild hen lives up to 12 years but we are happy with a super-productive hen that lives 2. Indeed, we breed chickens to eat and their life is ended at less than half of their wild counterpart. We’re not that far off as western world humanoids. Our working life is all about being as productive as we possibly can, to gather as much wealth as possible at the cost of shortening our overall life span. The incidence of executive lives cut short from heart failure and stress-related conditions is astounding! Yet I believe it is our choice, and not some ‘hidden hand’ that forces us into these lifestyles.
The pressures of family, keeping up with the Jones’s, cost of living increases all speed up the hamster wheel while we struggle to keep up; these are our excuses…. A likely story. I believe that for those living in a western culture we (nearly) always have a choice. The irony is that most of the time we don’t realise it. Our lives are too ‘domesticated’ to understand that we are slowly evolving into a difference species of human; One that depends on drugs extracted from plants, instead of eating the plants themselves to ward off illness. One that process food to enable it to last longer by adding harmful substances to them, and then pay double for the fresher version at the high end supermarket, and one where ‘strawberry picking’ is a paid-for day-out. Even our ‘fresh’ fruit and veg is a domesticated version of its wild brother. In fact, what we eat is usually born and bred in a test-tube (a glass house sized one) that also evolves the plant into a lesser version of itself. Since we are what we eat, I think we are becoming ‘lesser’ versions of Homo Sapience.
This seems all like doom and gloom for us. We can’t exactly go out foraging for food, so what choice do we have? Well we need to de-domasticate ourselves in small doses for a start. Little things, added altogether, can make a significant difference. Even the occasional camping trip can give us a break from the neon glow, puts us in touch with nature and re-sets our body clocks to the sunrise and sunset. Fresh air, trail walks, physical activity and quiet meditation are all conducive to our ancestral way of life. Perhaps we need to spend a little time there before we evolve into mush!
It should start with our food. We need to try and source food from the lowest part of the supply chain, at the local farm/fisherman (fruit & veg, fish, animals etc) when possible. Even then, selecting one that you know does not use pesticides and ideally feeds their animals natural foods.
We need to re-trigger our activity levels and balance the inevitable desktop lifestyle with exercise, preferably not in a neon-lit room on a motorised carpet. We need to do this daily, not to exertion, but enough to get the blood pumping and our joints moving. Exercise should be fun, and if possible shared with loved ones.
GO ON AN ADVENTURE! It doesn’t have to be jungle trekking in Borneo; Gozo has some lovely trails to offer, for example.
We need to add some health competition to deviate our attention to repetition, by doing sport or taking on challenges that reflect what we love and enjoy. From playing chess to the weekend rugby match. We need to do things that make us feel ALIVE! Nothing beats laughing out loud as soul therapy!
We need to balance our fast-paced lives with some simple quiet time dedicated to meditation, reading, and meaningful relationships. Mindfulness practice, yoga, listening to music and other forms of ‘zoning out’ and resetting our minds are essential for us to empty our RAM and allow us to cope in the regular days at work.
But ultimately, we need to address the battery farms that are our work environments. Whilst we can’t all quit our jobs and go and live in the jungle, we need to consider arranging our environments and work practices to at least reduce the damage we are causing to ourselves; We need to change our battery farm work environments into safari parks (or Zoos, in Vitalis’ example), before we become that ape in the cage.
If you think at least part of this is about you, then get in touch with us and consider our coaching and mentoring to help you change they way you live and work.