Sunday, 20 February 2011


I have been following the BBC Human Planet series:
In short, it is about how creatures of the same species as you and me, survive and find their way of living in what we often call extreme conditions.

It is certainly amazing how those people live - stealing food from lions by pure bluffing, diving 10 meters deept in the ocean hunting for fish without any aid for as long as five minutes with one breath, climbing a 40-meter tall tree to steal much-needed high-nutrition honey from bee hives, etc etc. but equally, if the people from the tree house create an episode of Human planet from their perspective, they will find it equally amazing, and it is indeed amazing, that I, like many others adopting a western way of living, can somehow sit in front of a computer all day and then get bread and milk and chickens and fish and oranges in the evening.

the thing that strikes me most in terms of our different way of live is, as one of the filming crew said, how fullfilling their lives are, despite that they probably live much shorter lives than we do. and I think this has a lot to do with achievements.

Most ordinary people in the west nowadays invest 20 or so years in studying, then they start working, most achieving absolutely nothing and if one of them disappears, it would make absolutely no difference to anything in the world whatsoever. this is why we have to have books, various courses, which tell us how to manage our lives by creating goals and milestones for ourselves in order that we feel we are doing something and achieving something. "in five years time, where do you see yourself?", most managers might say, "to become a director"; most receptionists might say, "to become a shift leader"; and when you become a director, you want to go higher, and most of the timefor most people, what they really mean is to get more money. is there an end to this? not really, there's always more money to be had. so by "achieving" what you have set yourself in five years time, is just to repeat the cycle, it is rather meaningless. let's face it, to really achieve in our world, you have to be saying something like "to solve the energy problem", or "to solve the overfishing problem."

what about the people in the treehouses, or those who live on boats subsistently? they never have to ask themselves where they want to be in five years time, they are happy where they are, they are achieving every single day by hunting and fishing what they need for the next few days, and that's why their lives are fullfilling. there is no such a thing as "in five years time, I want to be catching 200% more fish than I do now every day", since they don't need that much fish, they only need to get what they need for the next few days if not just today.

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