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Blog: On Health. On Writing. On Life. On Everything.

Our Tribal Past

June 5, 2010

Tags: order, cave people, commune, depression, meaning, Our Tribal Past, social animal, spirituality, tribal past, tribe

We often get sick when we disregard what our ancient bodies need: fresh food, a little movement, clean water, fresh air, and so forth.

But we also have an ancient soul, an ancient mind – and they, too, suffer of our modern times. The enormous increase in depression is a sign of it.

What were our living conditions for millions of years? Certainly, I don’t know all the specifics, but certainly cave people did not stare at a screen all day, live and work in isolated cubicles, sleep alone, eat alone, be exposed to an explosion of images and facts – and a dearth of meaning.
Without returning to stone-age primitive living or the commune – but ancient people slept in a pile under bearskins, always touching and smelling their neighbors, they hunted in groups, they gathered in groups, they de-liced one another. Granted, to live so close to each other might have increased aggression and homicide. But today, we suffer from the opposite: loneliness and isolation. If yours is a happy, creative solitude, don’t worry. But if you get your most intimate exchange from TV, messenging and computer, you set yourself up for depression – bad food and lack of exercise exacerbating the situation.

Just acknowledging our ancient needs is a step out of the isolation. Hug and kiss as much as possible! I always felt that the hugs I gave to patients (only with their permission) nourished me as well as them. Stay in touch with loved ones – even if they live far away. Write letters asking and granting forgiveness to people you have lost from your life. Join a community for art, music, dance, spirituality. Acknowledge that you are a social animal (forget the partying side which seldom brings fulfillment) since the dawn of times.
Aspen eyes, by Peggy Peters

Iguazu Falls, by Xin Liu

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. 2012, by Lolita Parker jr.

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