The World We Have Lost

I was on the phone to the Dramaturg this afternoon — we don’t usually put stories not actually generated by ourselves on the blog, but this one was too good to pass up. The Dramaturg’s brother, some years ago, went to New Zealand to learn about bee-keeping — following which, for financial reasons, he spent a few months in Australia working in a factory making kangaroo fencing (the knitted wire stuff). He found himself sharing a machine with a Stone Age Man. This individual had spent the first twenty-odd years of his life in a remote village on the Cambodian/Laos border as a peaceful hunter-gatherer, using a technology based on bamboo, rattan and flaked flint, and speaking a language known only to about 300 of his relatives. His first encounter with metal was when somebody started shooting at him. Thereupon, he, and a random selection of other villagers who survived the next bit, ended up as refugees in Australia. Being a person of some gumption, he learned the language, and got himself a job. All this the Bee-Keeper learned in bits and snatches, between shifts. Whereupon he asked the obvious question: ‘what’s it like being a stone age man?’ To which the answer, in a strong Australian accent, was, ’so bloody boring, you can’t conceive. One bloody day’s just like another.’ His recollections are of a life combining physical discomfort combined with stupefying ennui to the extent that days in a deafening factory making kangaroo wire seemed like Paradise. Which is not quite the story some people are telling us about tribal life, but there you go.

3 Responses to “The World We Have Lost”

  1. the tropical godfather Says:

    Clearly, if one wishes to Go Back To Nature, become a Noble Savage etc, Marie Antoinette rather than Stone Age Man is the ideal role model. WHAT a relief! And, of course, not only did Marie Antionette personaly invent pink Sevres milk pails, scented sheep and so forth, she introduced croissants to France from her native Vienna, thus creating the French national identity. In return for which they executed her. Typical bloody frogs.

  2. The Man From Maryport Says:

    So when did boredom first evolve among human beings? I’m haunted by the thought that there must be a very good reason for it, conveying evolutionary advantage, etc etc . . . or maybe not . . .

  3. Jane Says:

    Perhaps the definition of warfare as ‘long periods of boredom interspersed with short periods of complete terror’ is also a functional definition of life in general for everyone in prehistory, and not a few people now?

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