This story was taken from a recent trip to the Sierra Nivada, Colombia by Rishi Thornhill, founder of Aquanautia.
The Arhuacos, descendants of the ancient Tayronas, still live a way of life that is very much connected to how they have always been living. You get that sense, there is an element of an undisturbed culture, not only as you are passing through the costal mountain range but as you interact with the peoples as well.
I very much got the impression before our horse trip through the mountain that the culture was very spiritual, to be reveared, respeced through silence, distance and awe. THis perspective was handed down mainly through other westerners, and also through documentries about the peoples such as Aluna. They seemd to only talk about their great wisdom and connection to pachamma in a way that made their knowledge seem not only sacred, but almost serious, and un understandebly mystical.
But my experience living with them showed me a different aspect of this 'wisdom and connection to pachamama' that was much more relatable and yet no less wize.
I noticed that there was this huge sense of play, this sense of child like cheekyness still in them. Much like what we had as kids. I remember entering one family land, during the onset of a heavy rain, seeing a small collection of huts. The woman of the village smiled at me and then started running away. Then she looked back and I realised it was a game, so we entered a game a chase through the fields laughing, her outrunning me, and I was reminded of that sense of being a kid in primary school playing these fun games in the playground like bulldog.
It made me think when did we seem to lose that, and that led me to ask why.
Well it seems this general sense of play, of cheekiness, while still remains in adults, is a feature that is strongest while we are in school. Especially primary school. Play is one of the main ways we have of relating. And my time in Colombia, remineded me how natural it is. Another story, from y friend Romy, was the woman would laugh and then slap her arse. This is a totally unexpected this, for not only a stranger to do, but even most good friends, It was this other element of life that saw it as fun, a game, and did't take people so seriosly they coun't skap their arse and play a game of chase through the village as adults.
My hypothesis is this, that play as a way of relating and seeing the world, is much closer to our natural state. I believe the Arhuacos still dispayed this, not as a unique aspect of their culture, although it did feel that way at the time, but because their main forms of interation were in communities, the same ones they grew up in. There was not point where it becamse ' time to grow up'.
However is the west, this is slowly drilled out of us as we enter High school, through confining the arena of pay to competitive sports, rather than a general way of being and interacting with people and the world. And when that day comes when we leave school, and enter the world of work, tI believe this is forced out of most of u, as there does seem to be a place for it in the adult world
My experience in Colombia showed me different. This isn't a state only reserved or kids, but a natural expression of human life, and a very joyus one to be part of.
Reflecting on my own life, and ecision not to enter a corperate world, I believe there was this sense of hoping to preserve this element that I saw adults appeared to have lost when I was travelling, observing people and seeing other cultures than the western one that I grew up in.
In conclusion I believe this attiture is a great benefit not only to the individuals life. More joy mroe freedom more direct communication and expression, beyond the comparativly still way we have in the west. But also for our civiliazation as a whole. Yes to be cheeky is to be free, and competiton does result in productivity, but this joyful attitute of not seeking permission, and seeing life as a game, creates stronger connections between people and more joy, which would most likely lead to happier, healthier people that are able to move where they want without being stuck, less burnout, and a different, but certainly mroe greater sense of productivinty. One that arrises from independant thinkers that can take the lead and make their own decisions, rather than worker bees that follow orders passed down the highricary, and compete to climb it. That way is fine for the era of the industrial revolution and for production based ecomonmies, but the world is looking for more super star players. Imagine a whole world full of them. RUnning around, slapping buts and shaking things up that need some new energy.
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