culture, in our day to day usage of the term, rises up from the concept of cultivation.  focused cultivation of the land began about 10,000 years ago (ish).  this time is also known as the rise of civilization.  it is also the rise of chronic “lifetsyle” diseases (things like diabetes, cancer, auto-immune conditions) and the rampant subjugation of women.

every living thing can be said to have a natural culture.  when we think of dogs, their cultural greeting is to sniff each other’s butts.  when we think of elephants, their cultural set up is maternal.  when we think of sharks, they are more of a loner, hunting culture.  gorillas have great table manners and japanese macaques like bathing in hot water.

people also have a “natural” culture: we care for our young, we like to eat together, we communicate.  these things are (sorry for this scientifically inaccurate term) universal.

there is also culture that is born out of place and imagination. there is a difference between the shelters that the massai build and those that the japanese do.  there is a difference between the sounds that we use to communicate in france and in china.  there is a difference between the way that we congregate for a meal in the united states of america and haiti.  our great hubris and downfall is mistaking the local culture for universal human culture.  we get in big trouble because we think that the way we do things with local culture is the way all people should do it.  it makes no sense to dress like an inuit in papua new guinea.  it makes no sense to consume like an midwestern american….well, ever.

however, there are things that make us human and these are the things that we need to indulge in frequently in order to be wild.  these are the things that make us the human animal:

1. we are creative

2. we are happier when we spend time barefoot outside (check out this book and don’t be as put off by the cheese tastic ness of the title as i initially was)

3. we are healthier when we eat the way we evolved to eat

4. we need each other

5. we are meant to move

6. we are wired to experience new things

7. we are problem-solvers

8. we need lots of sleep

9. we will take adaptive responses and become sick if we expose ourselves too long to things that, in nature, are meant to be acute exposure

10. we are emotional

11. we play

12. we like rituals

13. we are curious

if you want a really great list of ways to be wild, check this out.

these are my first thoughts and my first list about what the human animal is like intrinsically.  i’d like to hear your thoughts about what we all have in common that aren’t dictated by our local culture.