Consider for example the (Indian nosed yellow) Albatross. Weighing in at no more than 2.5kg, yet possesses a wingspan of 6.5ft, with which it can lift off the sea without even a beat, just face into the wind. And once airborne soar for 1000km, again without any further physical effort, travelling up to 10 000kms between meals.
The albatross also has a lifespan of up to 60 years.
Given all that, how do we compare?
Well we can’t fly for starters, and any other kind of locomotion seems to be getting harder and harder by the minute (here the locals even drive the few tens of metres between house/ school/ shops/ and bars). We need feeding a lot more, usually by others, and with a constant variety of products, most of which need to be grown specially, usually in other countries then shipped in/ a lifetime of regularly updated clothing/ 24hr entertainment and electronic contact with each other/ work/ money/ accommodation/ heating/ sets of rules/ languages/ border controls and citizenship/ plus a whole host of other stuff too.
And for all that are we any happier/ useful than the lowly albatross?
I’m reading an excellent book right now (a Christmas present from friends in my favourite english town, LEWES). It’s called STATION ELEVEN by Emily St John Mandel. And not only is about what happens after a survivalist scenario (my full-time obsession), but illustrates how crazy our current way of life has got. Here’s one example:
“…adulthood’s full of ghosts.” “I’m talking about these people who’ve ended up in one life instead of another and they are just so disappointed. Do you know what I mean? They’ve done what’s expected of them. They want to do something different but it’s impossible now there’s a mortgage, kids, whatever, they’re trapped.” “I think people like (that) think work is supposed to be drudgery punctuated by very occasional moments of happiness, but when I say happiness I mostly mean distraction. You know what I mean?” “Okay, say you go into the break room… and a couple people you like are there, say someone’s telling a funny story, you laugh a little, you feel included, everyone’s so funny, you go back to your desk with a sort of, I don’t know, I guess afterglow would be the word? You go back to your desk with an afterglow, but then by four or five o’clock the day’s just turned into yet another day, and you go on like that, looking forward to five o’clock and then the weekend and then your two or three annual weeks of paid vacation time, day in day out, and that’s what happens to your life.”
Another example it highlights is when there is no longer electricity or fuel (petrol can only be stored for a year). Everything which makes us who we are now simply disappears. Along with all the waste and senseless destruction of the ecology to produce it. We have become blinded by gadgetry.
I’ve also been reading about Scotland (my spiritual homeland), helping a friend with his english in return for internet time. This week it was about the fishing industry. Apparently, until well into the eighteenth century there was no such thing as commercial fishing, people fished yes, but only took what they could eat fresh for themselves, not as a means of making money, as there was no means of preserving or transporting it. That was only 150 years ago. Since then we’ve gone mad, and taken out (or poisoned) virtually everything edible in the world’s oceans, destroying forever that which had remained until then sustainable for millions of years.
Personally I would prefer the simple life. Here’s hoping the apocalypse happens soon.