Monday, January 3, 2011

Primitive technology: It still works!

What do I mean by "primitive technology"? Well, the way things are now, what was cutting edge yesterday is archaic today. This laptop would be considered a "dinosaur" if you could see it. Primitive technology is relative.

Primitive technology is interesting for a couple of reasons. First of all, it's fun! I am fairly well trained in primitive wilderness survival skills from my experience at Tom Brown Jr.'s School of Tracking, Nature, and Wilderness Survival (a.k.a. "Tracker School").

My training there took me back to my childhood running the ridges of northeastern Pennsylvania and spending my summers there quite detached from the normal modern world. We had no TV all summer and had to be entertained by fishing, hunting, shelter building, canoeing, biking, reading, gardening, lumberjacking, christmas tree farming, outdoor cooking... the list goes on and on - and it was all fun.

Note to parents - KIDS LOVE PRIMITIVE TECHNOLOGY much more (in my experience of teaching it) than modern technology. This may sound incredible but try it on them and get back to me on how they liked it. Can making a bow-drill fire be more fun and exciting than the latest computer gaming product? You betcha! The Children of the Earth Foundation, an offshoot of the Tracker School, is a great resource for parents who would like to help their kids build a better connection with their planet.

Secondly, learning primitive technology tends to liberate the mind from the trap of modern day marketing and commerce. It's not that modern day marketing and commerce are all bad, but simply that... not needing modern society and its systems for basic survival frees a person to be more creative in approaching the challenge of good, enjoyable living. Because I have the skills, I can literally live off the bounty of Mother Earth - just like a true hunter-gatherer - without the dubious 'benefit' of modern society.

Finally, primitive technology is often more earth-friendly than the cutting edge. True, more people are waking up to the damage humans are perpetrating on the environment. It is becoming more and more politically correct to be "green" in one's lifestyle. Some modern technologies are quite earth-friendly I suppose - and green marketing is a growing industry. Which is good - provided it's true - that is, provided that it's not what we call "green washing."

Really, not all primitive technology has to be stone age either. The bicycle developed pretty much alongside the automobile chronologically, but, it is still more primitive in principle since it is based on the concept of self-propulsion. Walking is very primitive technology! Self-propulsion is better for the planet and the person - and it's more fun!

So, turn the TV off, jump on your bike, and ride over to the nearest piece of woodlands and start to develop a closer relationship with your planet - and enjoy.

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