Is gathering and collecting a primal drive?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 25, 2010 at 3:51 AM

In paleo times, we probably spent a fair amount of time wandering around looking for resources, be it food, water, or materials for toolmaking or shelters. Perhaps time was even spent collecting materials for artistic endeavors like cave painting, hair grooming or skin painting. One of my own own modern day hobbies is hiking out in the desert and looking for semiprecious stones. My mother collects antiques at garage sales. Other people in the world today collect all manner of things including stamps, plants, kitty cat nicknacks, Star Wars action figures, or beer cans. Could it be that a primal drive to gather and collect is so strong that even today when all our basic needs are met, we still find ourselves inventing excuses to find something to collect? What things do people here collect that might be a throwback to an ancient drive to gather and collect?

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on July 25, 2010
at 05:54 AM

Great observation. Grok didn't live an environment filled with so many consumer goods, but it is still in our genes. Part of the Paleo/Primal exercise plan is to do a lot of walking around outdoors, preferably not over-dressed so that one can absorb that importand Vitamin D. If you are strolling in an urban environment you can find so much stuff! Real old-school foraging is there in the form of fruit trees and and wild herbs growing even through the cracks. But all the stuff people throw away that you come across -- it's amazing! Even without dumpster diving it is all around you. So much stuff that your kids would love to play with! If it's a bit broken, they'd love to completely demolish it, and in many cases its quite educational for them to see all the components. Of course, be careful of dangerous parts. Sometimes hauling this loot home can be a great workout in itself -- think of Lifting Heavy Things. Urban foraging is a great primal hobby!

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on July 25, 2010
at 06:47 AM

I think there'll always be an aspect of planning ahead in the gathering habit. See a knappable stone and think "Oh, I'm going to need that."



on July 25, 2010
at 08:26 PM

i've added weeding to my exercise routine. before my mom would do it, but she can't know. i figure that the ancestors must have been digging and pulling up a lot of roots/tubers, so i think this is closer to paleo exertion than a lot of the convention exercises i was doing.

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