The 6 Million Year History of Coliving
Coliving is 6 million years old.
When you research the history of coliving, you will find articles that only go back as far as 'in the 1900's we had boarding houses'.
We believe those forget the point that we humans only exist today because we lived in tribes for 6.000.000 years, since our first ape grandparents with the 'homo' gene.
(Before that, their ape ancestors also lived in tribes for millions of years. You could go back 100's of millions of years to how fish live in schools. But our human gene strain first appeared 6 million years ago.)
We only became more individualistic and non-nomadic since the agricultural revolution 12.000 years ago, and the introduction of capitalism, some 300 years ago.
If you zoom out on the entire timeline of human history, individual living is the trend, not communal living.
We are wired to live in communities we trust and who support us, which is why coliving can feel so natural, especially if you live in close connection with nature, and in a smaller town vs. living alone in a brick city made of strangers.
This article has been researched and written by Pier from Coworksurf. You can freely use this research. Feel free to use the information, and please mention and link back to us.
Some facts in a row:
- For more than 6 million years since the first 'homo' gene strain, we have relied on each other to survive.
- We used to live in tribes of 100 to 150 'people' for millions of years. If a tribe would reach 200, the group would split into 2 groups of 100 and go their own way.
- We were semi-nomadic. Moving with our food and water, following the seasons and the most fruitful lands.
- We're not super strong, fast, have big teeth or sharp claws. The only reason why we still exist today is because of each other.
- Our social cooperation was our defense against animals with more deadly physiques, and our superpower to thrive in almost any environment.
- Survival of the friendliest: The people with the best social skills had a bigger chance to survive and pass on their genes. (Getting banned from the tribe to survive alone was basically death.)
- If you depict the entire timeline of human history on a 12-hour clock, the modern world in which you woke up today - with cities, supermarkets, suburbs, big buildings, advertising and the Internet - only formed a second before midnight.
- Farming (12.000 yrs ago) made us non-nomadic.
- As we became static, our villages grew into cities and kingdoms far larger than 150 people.
- Capitalism (300 yrs ago) bred specialisation and individualism.
- If you look at the trend timeline over 10+ million years, individual living is the trend - not communal living.
- People do love their privacy and the ability to withdraw from the group. Capitalism and automation allow for a modern life that our anciestors would dream of as 'Walhalla' or 'heaven'.
- We believe we can combine the best of both worlds; to find communities that make you feel connected and heard, while enjoying all the opportunities that capitalism, automation and the internet have brought.
6 Million years ago
We've lived together in tribes for at least 6 million years, since our first great ape ancestors. (And their ancestors).
We can't run fast, have big teeth, sharp claws, or a poisonous sting. Instead, we rely on social cooperation to survive. We live in tribes of 100 to 150 people that are semi-nomadic. If our tribe grows to 200 people, it splits into two tribes. We worked an average of 15 hours per week. All generations live and work together.
12.000 years ago
Agriculture needs us to stop moving to grow our food and protect our harvest. Settlements grow bigger. The first cities and individual housing developed. People start specialising and trade increases.
First, we barter. Then we use items to make trade easier, like rocks, shells, gold. People don't want to carry their life savings in gold. Too risky. The goldsmith has a safe, so they give the gold they don't need to him. The goldsmith gives them an official piece of paper with the amount of gold he owes them. People start trading pieces of paper.
To trade more easily, people make the pieces of paper of smaller value, and they remove any ownership names. Now we all trade pieces of paper that promise their value in gold. We believe we can exchange the pieces of paper back for gold with the goldsmith if we want to.
Nice! Now I don't need to first trade my grain for bricks, to trade my bricks for a new axe. I can sell my grain for pieces of paper, get a new axe, and anything else I need, without having to make any more barter trades.
3000 years ago (Europe)
You live on a king's land and pay 90% tax for the army to have your back. Generations upon generations work on the land in a neverending loop of static hierarchy. Nice.
300 years ago
We introduce capitalism. Capitalism means that everyone can now create and own their own businesses, instead of everything being owned by the state. Capitalism makes trade and the distribution of work even more effective because of specialisation.
Specialisation is effective..
If I focus on making hammers all day, you focus on turning trees into planks, our friend makes sails, and another friend puts all of these together into the form of a ship, we can create more and better ships faster.
..but it's also monotone.
We evolved doing different things in a day. You would forage fruits, nuts and mushrooms, hunt, fish, cook together by the fire, play with family members. Now you just make hammers - day in, day out.
Capitalism, industrialisation, automation and larger companies structures created many jobs around single tasks to be repeatedly performed all day. It works, but it's boring at first, and demoralising after a decade.
Our modern world offers a life that our ancestors would dream of as heaven; any food you crave is delivered at your doorstep with the press of a button. You are safe, have access to good healthcare, are connected with the rest of the world, and can learn anything from anyone for free on the Internet.
The only reason why we humans still exist today is because of each other. Let's keep bringing back the new things we create to the core of our being: a deep connection with ourselves, each other, and the natural world that is us.