Stepping Away From Society

    I've always thought of activities like camping, fishing or hunting as "going into nature". I realized that's not a very accurate way of thinking, because you can never really "leave nature" in the first place. All the tropes of civilization we get used to are, ultimately, parts of nature - they are consequences of the nature of Man.

    A better way of thinking about it is as "stepping away from society". These activities give us a glimpse into how life is with less social interactions. Though we use resources we bought previously, the activities themselves involve acquiring a particular good - shelter, fish, meat, etc. - by executing the multiple actions that are usually done, more efficiently, by multiple people in a complex chain of production. If the goal was merely to acquire fish, a trip to the supermarket would suffice - the goal is to get the fish yourself.

    A great objective value in these activities is to have a direct, perceptual grasp of the individual's productive potential. Although buying something with money you've earned is just as much of an instance of your productivity, the acknowledgement of that fact is rather abstract - it requires more mental steps to get to. When you produce a value directly, by hunting a deer and butchering it for meat for example, you witness your productivity directly, from the forethought all the way to the final product. That is a valuable emotion to have in your sense of life.

    These types of activities also give you a rather direct grasp of the value of social interaction, precisely because they temporarily deprive you of its products. While camping might be nice for a few days, you wouldn't exchange a proper house for your tent.

    Seems to me those are great ways to make your evaluations of yourself and social life more accurate, both on an intellectual and an emotional level.

  -  February 8th, 2020