Sunday, September 23, 2007

Prima Castimonia, the Default State

Our species, our social state as we have created it, have evolved (well, maybe evolve isn't the best term)...has transitioned through many incarnations. Hunter/gatherers, various preindustrial cultures, the beginnings of economy, moving ever farther from the Earth in a post-industrial electronic society...all of these changed and "advancements," though having supposedly improved our society (as most would agree) have also served to lead us to one end, that we are moving ever away from our Default State.

All people, all cultures and societies are created and born into a Default State of freedom, unburdendness, and happiness. However, we work and strive throughout our individual lives and societal histories to loose the freedom of our Default State, for the sake of advancement--however one wishes to define advancement On the surface this may seem logical, but it is also the ultimate incarnation of self-destruction. As we further distance ourselves from our Default State we loose more and more of our inborn innocence and thus, our happiness.

When you were but two year of age, you cared nothing for wages, or economy, or politics, or any of the other concerns which now undoubtedly fill our conscious mind. And I'll bet you were also happy. You cared about nothing more than dancing in the grass at the park, or hugging your mom and dad, or exploring the mysterious world beneath your bed. You cared not for things beyond that occasional dolly or G.I. Joe. This is what I speak of when I say Default State...our original state of purity in which we are free, our Prima Castimonia, if you will.

One can even take this thought to the societal level. If you look at the virgin, isolated, native tribes of the Amazon, like the Huaorani, you can see a people who live closer to the Default State than almost anyone else on the planet. They are not burdened by taxes, finances, mortgages, deadlines, traffic, or any of the other frivolous concerns of the so called "civilized" world. They might spend five or six hours a day tending to the needs of life, and spend the rest of their day with their family. We can even look at Europe and see a greater attention devoted to family, life, leisure, and happiness, than we ever see in the States. One might work six or seven hours in a day, then go home and completely leave work in the workplace, and think only of what is important in life, family, friends, and happiness. Hell, in France the law requires that one have 30 days vacation per year, in Canada they even require ten days, and they are happier for it. True, they may not make as much money per year as an American, but they don't care because they don't need that extra few dollars to be happy. Here we can see a closer proximity to the Default State, the Prima Castimonia. Now look at the US. No guaranteed vacation time, people work an average of 50 or even 60 hours per week (verses, for example, 35 hours, by law, in France), sure an American may have more money, but we also have a much higher rate of depression than almost anywhere in the world. This is an example of the benefits of be closer to the Default State and the consequences of straying ever farther from it. But I digress...

I believe that we as a people and as individuals must begin to seek and relearn our Prima Castimonia, to return, at least a little bit, to our Default State, for the closer one is to his or her Default, the happier and less burdened she or he shall live.

Such notions, being grand and simple simultaneously, are not always so easily found...this I know. It is much easier to speak of a return to simplicity than to actually live the change. However, one does not need to follow Thoreau into the woods to live more simply. One needs only to remove for his or her life the useless things, the needless clutter that not only makes a mess on the desk and just give you more things to dust, but also that clutter the mind and the soul.

"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail."
-H. D. Thoreau
In short, the closer we can be to our Default State, the happier we are.

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