Prehistoric man began in a society of hunters and gatherers. These nomadic people took meat and grain from their surroundings and then moved to different areas as food stuffs were depleted. Because they followed migrating herds, these people were unable to establish cities or communal life beyond tribal existence, composed of extended familial groups, whose main function was based solely upon gathering sustenance.
Eventually, man learned to domesticate animals and grow their own grains. To this end, they also created crude agricultural implements which aided them in tilling the soil, harvesting crops, and managing livestock. These once nomadic people were able to organize a horticultural society that was able to establish small cities that extended beyond one familial group.
As their knowledge of agriculture and livestock increased, people established an agrarian society which greatly improved the production of food. In this society, people began to specialize in trades and form guilds because farm production demanded specialized items such as those made by blacksmiths and other craftsmen. Metal plows pulled by yoked oxen greatly outperformed the hand plows and straight sticks used during the time of the preceding horticultural society.
As the population grew, there was an increasing demand for mechanization and other technologies. It was at this time that people moved from an agrarian-based society into an industrial society. It was during this society that there was a great exodus of people moving from rural areas to large cities in search a jobs and new opportunities. Eventually, the industrial society led to the postindustrial and postmodern societies. The significance of these two societies was the production and consumption of information and consumer goods/digital media, respectively.
Because we live at such a fast pace and are bombarded by all kinds of different information, I long for a simpler existence such as one experienced during an agrarian society. I have recently taken up the art of knitting and have learned to take yards of wool fiber, coupled with two knitting needles, and turn the fiber into things such as socks, scarves, lap throws, hats, and mittens. It is very fulfilling to be able to take a raw product such as animal fiber and turn it into something that can keep you warm in the winter. Knitting has a meditative quality that forces you to slow down and shut out the outside world which always seems to be in constant motion.
I do not feel that I am alone in this attempt to escape the current postmodern society. There are many people now who are turning to a simpler lifestyle through backyard gardening; organic foods; free range meats; handicrafts such as sewing, crocheting, and knitting; and home canning and preserving. The world now moves at such a fast pace that sometimes we just need to remove ourselves from the world, just for a moment, and enjoy simpler pleasures from a bygone era.