The Need to Feed the Primitive

The Need to Feed the Primitive
The Need to Feed the Primitive

I just listened to my iPhone read a poem to me, by John Keats.

Talk about beautiful.

That old stuff requires the attention of your whole being. You can’t have Keats playing in the background and still keep up. It’s not like, oh say, Access Hollywood.

There was something sad about experiencing Keats on an iPhone, though.

Something in us hungers for the analog.

I spent years working at an Apple Store as what Apple calls a Creative. A Trainer.

In the course of training I would often declare my fondness for old-fashioned books made of paper and dried ink, glue, and thread.

What’s telling is that as a representative of the world’s most famous technology company, I was free to declare this preference, because even in Apple’s view, it was no breach of loyalty to express my fondness for a tactile, kinetic experience.

I saw that Apple honored the human appetite for working with physical objects. Which is why it produces the famous look and feel of Apple hardware. And why its software mimics the clicks, whirs, and wood grain shelves of its hardcopy counterparts.

But even an imitation can’t replace the real thing.

There’s a feeling you get when you’re able to look at a pile of stuff that YOU PHYSICALLY DID.

  • The leaves were covering the yard. Now they're all in the green waste bin.
  • The clothes were a tangle in a basket. Now they’re in stacks, neatly folded.
  • The hard drive didn’t contain your spreadsheet file. Now it does.

...uh...nope. Just not the same.

When those old poets wrote, they sunk down among the graphite and oils of pencil and ink, made marks on the roughness of paper.

It was all done in long hand. It was a different pace and different sensibility.

I believe it’s a sensibility we still hunger for.

The primitive appetite is still with us.

We are fed by it somehow.

That’s why in a world of Skype and store-bought clothes, girls still scrapbook and knit.

It’s why guys get excited about barbecuing and brewing homemade beer, even though they can get a hot dog and Budweiser at 7-11.

(Sure guys, yes you can knit and girls, go ahead and brew. Nothing wrong with that.)

I challenge you to DECIDE to DELIBERATELY feed your primitive...

I challenge you to be aware of your opportunities to make these kinds of choices...

  • instead of emailing a thank you, write a note and mail or deliver it by hand
  • instead of using the microwave, cook or heat your food on the stove top or in the oven
  • instead of using the dishwasher, wash dishes by hand
  • instead of using a food processor, chop or dice your vegetables with a knife
  • instead of reading on a Kindle, iPad or nook, read a book of paper and ink
  • instead of using a lighter, rub two sticks together


But you get the point.

We now live in a time where working, creating, and shaping with your hands is almost a spiritual experience because it is so uncommon.

We can make it a spiritual experience.

Have a Good One.

Live The Creed