For the past year or so, an idea for a new book has been rolling about in my brain. I registered a new domain for it today and want to start formalizing my thoughts. Much of that will come out in this blog. That may spill over to the other domain. And I'll probably try out the concepts in a variety of settings to see how the concept plays out.
Speaking of that: Here's an early chance for you to get involved. The central conceit is simple: as a culture, we move constantly toward as state of increased convenience. I've played with it from a few angles, and that always seems to be the case. There probably exists the odd edge-case or two, and individuals and even small-ish groups can decide to move in the opposite direction. But I'm talking about entire societal blocks. Terms like "Americans" and "industrialized nations" describe the groups I'm looking for.
Tell me examples where large societal blocks moved away from a more convenient lifestyle to a lessor one.
History has provided a few of those. The great civilizations of Mesoamerica come to mind. But I'm building in an out-clause for those shifts that a great calamity or disaster caused, or when dystopia forced our adaptable brains to go another direction. I'm looking for those cases where a conscious decision to "go backwards", if you will, was generally adopted before the disaster struck. Before people looked around and said "Wow, there's nothing left to eat and everyone else is dead. Guess I better remember how to use a sharpened stick to skewer some of these rats."
I'm looking for examples of ebullient societies -- maybe even organizations? -- who decided to not just right their course, but to abandon some trappings of convenience and go "back to a simpler time" on their own. I don't think it's happened. But I'm willing to be wrong and start adjusting my thought process around it.
I don't think this book is going to leave my head unless I write it down. I appreciate your help way way in advance.