How did ancient peoples build such incredible things? Or anything at all? Because you can point to the Pyramids or Stonehenge and be amazed… and so you should.
But really, building anything bigger or more complex than a yurt is impressive.
Bordering on miraculous.
In a world without telecommunications or schools, people designed monuments, cities and large geo-engineering projects.
In a world without equipment other than ropes and shovels, they followed these designs with unnerving precision.
Was advanced engineering passed slowly around the globe, kept secret from prying eyes and so lost to history?
Am I underestimating how useful an army of slaves is?
Or maybe people lived lives that cultivated inspiration. I mean, not most people. The typical person was a mud-farming peasant, toiling all day just to keep themselves alive. But what would have scholars and geniuses done with their time? When they weren’t working, what were they doing?
Probably going on long walks in forests, staring at the sky and talking to other geniuses.
We don’t do that anymore. Sure, maybe you went hiking a week ago. Maybe you sat under a tree and did nothing a month ago.
That’s not the same as doing those every day.
No wonder some of their ideas are so impressive, even by our standards.
Of course, not every idea from our distant past is a winner. One theory of medicine said the earth was poisonous – that’s why our heads are at the top of our bodies, why small animals live shorter lives and why a high altitude can increase your lifespan.
But you don’t build Stonehenge by throwing mud at the wall and seeing what sticks. That required careful planning from entire communities over who-knows-how-many years. It required genius, inspiration and dedication.
Today has many, many advantages over the deep past. We’re educated, we can pick the brains of our modern geniuses – if nothing else, they often write books – and a whole pile of annoying, expensive tasks are automated.
There’s never been a better time to build something. Simply find your nearest 3D printer and you’re done.
But maybe we distract ourselves so much that it’s not the best time to design anything.
I’m as guilty as anyone at filling my schedule with stuff, even as I wonder if I should be staring at the sky.
If I’m right, then there is a way to claw back some of the deep thinking – the kind you can only do after days of wandering through a forest.
It’s certainly much quicker and easier than that.
And it’s a skill that grows with you.
No matter what your experience with self-hypnosis is, you can learn more than just the basics here: