Naturalist and author, Michael McCarthy, points out that we contain, deep within us, a legacy of instinct and inherited feelings that connect us to the natural world.
The concept comes from a particular branch of evolutionary biology called evolutionary psychology. Human history includes 500 generations as farmers, and 50,000 generations where we were part of nature. This is where we evolved, where we became who we are. This is why, for example, bird song has such an immediately and viscerally calming effect on us.
After 500 generations of “civilization,” this is how we tend to think of ourselves – as civilized. But for 50,000 generations before that, we were wildlife. The influence of that is far more important on our psyches than is civilization.
We might have left the natural world, most of us, says McCarthy, but the natural world has not left us.
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