“ReWild Yourself” was created by Daniel Vitalis between 2014 and 2017, with a total of 177 published episodes. Daniel interviews many experts in different fields and various topics, but always brings us back to one common thread and way of looking at the world:
If we look back at our evolutionary history, we can see that there is one main event which shifted everything for us, and this was the period of time during which the human species went from hunter-gatherer to domesticated. And it all happened around 10,000 years ago (somewhere between 10-15 000 years ago), with the advent of the Agricultural Revolution.
This time last year, I was introduced to the podcast by a dear friend who knew me well enough to know that I was probably going to get something out of it. I was in Tasmania with my sister, and we were on a mission to tick off our visa days in Australia in order to have the right to stay and work over here for a second year.
In Australia, staying here a second year means having to do 88 days of farm work at some point during the first year. Many travelers who have gone through this plight will probably agree with me that going through this process laid out by the system is no easy feat. For my sister and I it took us a total of 6 months of various picking jobs where we ended up on a total of 12 different farms around the country. From weeding to picking tomatoes, shallots, passion fruit, lychees, apples, strawberries, walnuts, garlic shelling, ginger trimming, and even some night shift supermarket packing work out in the middle of nowhere. It was unpredictable and stressful (emotionally and financially), yet we somehow managed to get our visa days within a week of the end of our visa, and could stay a second year.
There were many downsides to having to go through this ordeal, but there were also a few advantages. The main one for me was the possibility to listen to podcasts at the same time as working “in the field”, and be able to keep learning and gaining knowledge, instead of just mindlessly getting through the daily grind whilst distracting my mind with hours of music (which was definitely tempting and sometimes just plain necessary).
As I delved deeper into the ideas and knowledge pouring out of the various episodes of the podcast, I realised there was no going back, the paradigm was shifting, and I was hooked.
One aspect of it’s importance lies in the paradoxical fact that although it was at the heart of a major shift within our history, for some reason it seems to hold no major significance within our society’s historical discourse and our understanding of our past on this planet. When we think of our past it seems that culturally we can only really imagine back to the last few hundred years of “civilisation”. I’m sure this can probably be correlated with what we have been taught to focus on in history lessons within our education system. At least I can relate this to my own education and history classes. The current paradigm just doesn’t commonly look at history through the lens of the Hunter-Gatherer / Agricultural Revolution shift. We may have heard about the Agricultural Revolution, but usually the more important Revolution was the Industrial one, which is much more recent and therefore must be more relevant. This is where I disagree. It’s time that we look at the source of where the world’s “issues” lie, not just the symptoms.
No one wants to admit that by domesticating our food (plants and animals) with the creation of monocrops, we ended up by domesticating ourselves. However the facts are all there pointing us to this conclusion, whether we want to admit it or not. I believe that by admitting this reality we will have the opportunity to be objective about our evolutionary past and will give ourselves the much needed opportunity to look at the big picture and empower ourselves as individuals and therefore as a species.
In “Rewild Yourself”, Daniel uses his fairly extensive knowledge of our history in order to look at pretty much everything concerning humans. Reminding us along the way that we are also mammals, and therefore animals – something the domesticated human seems to have forgotten. He uses various approaches, such as the anthropological and the scientific, to explain why the world has turned out the way it is at present. And looking at our species through this lens appears to make so much sense.
If we look at the changes that occurred during and after the Agricultural Revolution we can cover pretty much every topic ranging from our physical and mental health, to the food we eat, the way we move (or don’t!), the way we think, the cultural and anthropological, political, economic, scientific, and educational. From the spiritual, to the religious, the conscious to the unconscious, the primitive to the domesticated. Anything to do with people, animals, plants, and the way all of this interacts with the Earth can be looked at from this perspective, and enables us to gain important insight into our past and therefore the state of things at present.
“ReWild Yourself” goes through all of these ideas with an extremely diverse, educated, and holistic approach. Daniel’s interviews with experts within many fields are compelling and inspiring to say the least, and have created within me deep sense of truth.
As I poured through the episodes I became increasingly aware of the ironic and paradoxical nature of my own situation. I soon realised that I was just another pawn, trapped right within the system created by the Agricultural Revolution iteself, which I was learning is one the major aspects of our culture we need to figure out how to move away from. The labor intensive, back-breaking and monotonous work I was undergoing was the pure result of the creation of mono-crops, which only a few thousand years ago took many of us away from our natural hunter-gatherer lifestyle and deep and symbiotic connection with the Earth.
There I was, just another slave trying to overcome the unnatural border regulations imposed by our “nations” (a culturally created concept within itself) and their need for control and power over each and every individual on this planet. A divided perception of the world fueled by an agrarian civilisation.
The effect it took on my body as well as my emotional well-being was obvious. Aches and pains from strenuous repetitive unnatural movements, and a deep sense of powerlessness, anxiety and even disconnection.
I am forever grateful my twin sister and I were in it together and there to support each other as we obeyed the rules and trudged our way through the system. Thank goodness for the stupid amount of hobbies, interests, creative project, and friends I have that kept me physically and mentally sane. And thank you to the ReWild Yourself podcast and Daniel Vitalis, for inspiring me to see the bigger picture and guiding me to a wider, clearer, more wholesome and healthy perception of this world.
If you have never listened to the podcast I would first of all recommend starting at the very beginning, as Daniel introduces most of the major concepts within the first 40 episodes. However here is a mix of some of my favorites.