The Original Affluent Society

People carry a great deal anxiety these days about their jobs being taking over by automation.  “What will happen to our sense of purpose in life if we no longer have our jobs?”  There is another way:

‘The possibility that our hunter-gatherer ancestors might not have endured an unremitting struggle against the elements first came to public awareness in 1966.  It followed a series of studies conducted by a Canadian anthropologist, Richard Borshay Lee, among the Ju/’hoansi “bushmen” of Africa’s Kalahari.  He was surprised to learn that the Ju/’hoansi spent only 15 hours a week securing their nutritional requirements.’ 

 It showed that they had an unyielding confidence in the providence of their environments and knowledge of how to exploit this.  As a result, they only ever produced enough food to meet their immediate needs confident that there was always more available.  Though the Ju/’hoansi did not have to work particularly hard, they were neither indolent nor bereft of purpose.  They found profound satisfaction from the work they did.’

To read more click, ‘And used their free time to make music, create art, make jewelry, tell stories, play games, relax and socialize.’


Covey Cowan, Mill Valley, California