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Ep240 - Humanity's Long Journey Home: We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exp

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Mixed Mental Arts

Mixed Mental Arts


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About a month ago, Hunter was on Chris Ryan's Tangentially Speaking podcast. (It's episode 234 if you're interested.) I can't speak for Chris but I had a really great time. Some people on Twitter enjoyed the convo too. Someone even said they were happy that I'd finally found my soulmate. I was disappointed that my soulmate would be a married DUDE...but Twitter don't lie!

And so, Chris and I scheduled a second conversation. Two plus hours later my faith in the wisdom of crowds is greater than it has ever been. Chris not only is my soulmate but he succeeded in bringing me to the point of tears. Legitimately, my eyes made water. Chris Ryan extracted my cultural confession from me.

One of the patterns that Chris drew out in this conversation is that so much of humanity's cutting edge thinking rests on looking back to how Hunter-Gatherers lived to see what lessons we can learn from them. In short, humanity is trying to return to what it knew before.

This is the nature of the Hero's Journey. A hero leaves the tribe and sets out on a quest to find something or solve some problem for the tribe. In the oldest sense, they leave the security of the village to hunt and gather to bring food back for the tribe. In so doing, they risk their lives and face trials from nature, plants and animals. Eventually, the face the ordeal that requires them to draw on all they've learned. If they succeed, they return to the village with their prize.

A long time ago, humanity set out on an epic hero's journey. Something was missing from village life. What was it? That's actually a quite tough question. Life for hunter-gatherers is remarkably good. And yet, set out we did. We engaged in agriculture. We enslaved each other. We built great Empires and those Empires fought great wars. Religious and cultural movements swept across the globe. And now, with all we've achieved in our mastery over the natural world, many of us find ourselves looking back with longing to a