Why Do We Work? One Theory by Pseudo-Anthropologist and Unsettled Co-Founder

By: Michael Youngblood, Unsettled Co-founder 

The Agricultural Revolution, beginning about 10,000 years ago, was the first time in our species’ 100,000+ year existence where our methods of work forced homo sapiens to settle. This newfound way of life, one of settling, forced our species to work for long days at a time and ultimately normalized a sedentary way of life. Everything changed. While we usually think about big, societal shifts today in terms of automation of the workplace, the singularity, space travel, and other technological change, none of this compares to that moment 10,000 years ago when our species settled. For 90% of our collective existence, homo sapiens would be better defined as homo inquietus, Latin for “unsettled man” or “restless man”. 

According to anthropologist, Monika Mazur:

“Restlessness is the introduction to the creative process; this state is necessary for something mental or notional to ‘hatch’; it is anxiety, uncertainty of premonitions, combined with courage found in passion, which is an attempt at challenging oneself…” 

Did our species trade stability for creativity? Maybe so. We evolved into the “wise man”, the homo sapien. Today, we may have lost the “wise” in some capacity, but we are trying our best to regain how we can be a wise species. Maybe it involves staking a claim on aspects of how we used to be, our inherent restlessness and passion. 

What happened with the rise of agriculture and the worldwide “settling” of our species into literal settlements, towns, cities, and megacities of today, forced us into working longer, harder, and less fulfilling hours. But today, we can take it back. If we realize our species’ potential and are able to discover new ways to find purpose and meaning in our work, we may once again bring the sapien back to homo sapien, even if we believe we should always be a little bit homo inquietus. 

If the alignment between your career and your passions is a little blurry, Unsettled has created an interactive and 100% digital platform — Unsettled’s Lifestyle Incubator — so that you can design for meaning and be unsettled, wherever you are. 

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