In the first ever World Happiness Report released on April 2nd, 2012 for the UN, Jeffrey Sachs writes, “We live in an age of stark contradictions. The world enjoys technologies of unimaginable sophistication; yet has at least one billion people without enough to eat each day. The world economy is propelled to soaring new heights of productivity through ongoing technological and organizational advance; yet is relentlessly destroying the natural environment in the process. Countries achieve great progress in economic development as conventionally measured; yet along the way succumb to new crises of obesity, smoking, diabetes, depression, and other ills of modern life.” This observation summarizes the general thrust of Primitive Times – a new media source reflecting on these primitive times.
Before there was such a thing as the World Happiness Report, the name Primitive Times was conceived with 2 distinct references in mind. The first, like Sachs’s quote above, is simply an acknowledgement of our present collective state of being – our preference for conflict over understanding, for consumption over contribution, for separation over connection, and for winning an argument over realizing truth. We bemoan our inability to do anything about the world’s mounting problems while building more Starbucks and sinking precious time and resources into disingenuous marketing campaigns, imbuing the notion of economic growth with more paramount importance than the global prosperity this growth is supposedly meant to address. Despite our rising GDP and technological prowess, it is this monomaniacal way in which humanity at-large goes about its business that could rightly be called “primitive.” Just as ants crawling in a straight line, consumed only by the path in front of them, are unable to perceive the world to their left and right, we too have no mechanism of accounting for the larger picture outside our own immediate individual pursuits.
The second reference to “primitive times” is far less derisive, and instead lauds those wholesome qualities and realities prevalent in cultures commonly thought of as more “primitive” than our own. These realities include lower instances of violence, poverty and disease; and greater instances of peace, happiness and well-being. It is the view of this blog that humanity has now reached the point, thanks in large part to its increasingly skillful use of the internet, where it can be both modern and “primitive” at the same time – that we can have a world that is even more technologically advanced and innovative than the one we have today, yet is also built upon a foundation of honesty, respect and collective awareness. The bulk of content on Primitive Times, thus, will be dedicated to articulating and contemplating in one way or another how this can happen, and in fact, how it is happening.
The blog is maintained by Mike David – a freelance writer, independent journalist and activist living in San Francisco. His work has appeared in Adbusters, Common Dreams, Truthout, Nation of Change, Reality Sandwich, Reader Supported News, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, and others.
If you have any questions, comments, or would like to contribute or suggest content for Primitive Times, by all means get in touch. Similarly, do likewise if you feel you or your organization has a complementary vision to Primitive Times and would be interested in collaborating in some way.
Thanks for being here.