What does it take to go back to being a truly sustainable culture? I keep pondering that question. Whatever we try, it has to be practical and fit human nature. Here’s an example of a cultural norm that does not fit our nature. Nuclear families.
I have a dear friend who has just had a baby with his wife. I went to visit him. His wife looked like she hadn’t slept in weeks. Turns out, she hadn’t. Peter told me that taking care of a baby was impossible for even two people. A few weeks later, I visited again. This time, his mom was visiting for a couple months. I could feel that sanity had returned. Peter’s wife actually laughed and smiled. The baby seemed calmer and my friend privately wished he could keep his mother for eighteen more years.
For thousands of years, human beings brought up children in family groups. Everyone was happier. Raising children is stressful. Nuclear families tend to generate the stressed out conditions that create depression, anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, ADHD, personality disorders, and other forms of mental trauma. It takes several adults to one child to really feel at ease. My point is that whatever culture we invent, it needs to approximate the kind of living conditions we long lived in.