I was idly pondering the other day, about why the pace and rhythm of life are different in “northern, cold-weather” cultures vs. “southern, warm-weather” cultures (globally speaking).
(Warning: Extremely Generalized Generalizations ahead! My opinions in this post are for contemplation & discussion only, as opposed to me being a source of accurate factual details about other cultures.)
Tropical or semitropical places, the cultures tend to have a reputation for being relaxed, laid-back. Non-urgent vibe regarding work.
Places that have marked seasonal differences; winter and summer; dormant winter season … the cultures tend to have a reputation for “work work work, urgent urgent urgent” mentality.
I used to think the tropical cultures w
(to be continued — going across the street to have a glass of wine with my dear friend S.)
(The next day.) OK, I’m back!
I used to think that the tropical cultures were relax-paced because there was food growing year-round and thus no rush to harvest food and preserve it for the long winter. And possibly also because of the heat which makes rushing around impractical.
And those things may be true. But the other day, it also occurred to me that rushing around and urgency, in a place where nature exhibits year-round growth and fertility, would actually be a maladaptive trait. Because in a tropical or semitropical climate, there is always work that could be done; always something to do. Fruit to pick, vegetation to cut back; whatever. So a rush-around-oriented, “Type A” person in such a place would be very prone to burnout.
(to be continued; sipping coffee and enjoying the slant of the light on my porch and getting ready to crack some Florida-grown macadamia nuts for breakfast)
Meanwhile, in places with cold winters, the “Type A” mentality could be seen as somewhat adaptive. Rush around all spring and summer to put food by for the long winter.
In so-called “modern” consumerist society, where lights blaze 24-7 and we exist in a climate-controlled bubble year-round, it’s feasible and considered desirable to bust ass work work work, urgent urgent urgent 365 days a year; there is no winter dormancy slowdown period for us “modern” humans.
In such an artificial sub-universe as this one that we “modern, advanced” humans have co-created, it is easy to forget that in the olden days in the northern, “winter” cultures, the dark cold season, while hard, was also in many ways a period of rest — for people and for the land. The late sunrises, early sunsets, frozen ground lent themselves well to a fallow mode. Indoor projects such as mending, knitting, planning could be done, so it’s not that no work got accomplished in nature’s downtime season. It was just less hectic. Thus even in the northern cultures, people got a break from rush-rush-rush urgent-urgent-urgent. There was sitting by the fireplace; telling stories; playing music.
I think it’s no accident that some of my favorite suppliers of yarn and other knitting/crocheting materials are located in cold-winter places like Nebraska and Minnesota.
My nutshell conclusion: In cultures not infected by the relentless pace and rhythm of consumerism / capitalism, people (and the land) always got to rest, one way or the other. But in the harsh “modern economy,” colonized world, people and the land aren’t meant to rest, ever.
I see a voluntary scaled-back lifestyle (which many of us are adopting) as one way that a person (and household, community, etc.) can take back their free-agency from all this.
• “Quiet Quitting” video-post on TikTok by wetheearthseed. ” … what are we giving up for these luxuries?”
• “15 Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture“ article & website by Tema Okun. This list has been such an enlightening window through which to see with fresh eyes the culture we are swimming in. I’ve had so many lightbulb moments over the past few months with the help of this list. One of the pillars of WSC is … wait for it … “sense of urgency.”
• UBUNTU Contributionism: A Blueprint for Human Prosperity – Michael Tellinger. Someone in one of my online groups mentioned him in passing; I have only just now started googling so I can’t comment authoritatively. But, any problematic aspects aside (such as what seems like cultural appropriation of the word ubuntu), supposedly he believes we can have a society where everyone can live well while only having to work 3 hours a week, and those 3 hours of work are done in one’s own community. Makes sense.