Do We Humans Have Sufficient Elbow Room?

March 14, 2016, by Ken Jorgustin


Do we humans have enough elbow room – enough room or space to live, move, work, and think freely and independently without being overly restricted, regulated, herded or conformed in order to coexist? Is it natural for us to live in crowded spaces?

While there are still spaces with plenty of elbow room, today’s modern world and modern way-of-life presents a perceived requirement to live and work in regions where there is very little elbow room…in order to achieve the ‘modern lifestyle’ and measure of ‘success’.

‘Back in the day’, there were far more people who lived in regions with plenty of elbowroom – regions which naturally fostered independent-minded lifestyles – regions which developed unique styles of thinking and living – perhaps out of necessity.

However today’s lack of elbow room squelches independent-minded thinking and actions, perhaps out of necessity for such great numbers of people to coexist in smaller spaces.

When people are crammed together, life is very different from those who have plenty of elbow room. One’s outlook, thought process, demands, expectations, and way-of-life are often quite different. Again, perhaps out of necessity to coexist in such an environment.

Has this essentially led to two America’s?
Two generally different ideologies?
Is this healthy?

Today’s roads, cars, and easier accessibility both to and from the rural regions of ‘elbow room’ have enabled a tremendous shift of not only where we live, but how we live, how we think, what we perceive as ‘normal’, our goals, motivations, and what we perceive as a measure of ‘success’. Our very way of life.

I know this, because I have lived in both places. I have spent periods of my life in population-dense regions, some more than others, while today I live in a region that has plenty of elbow room. There are probably more deer, rabbits, coyotes, and bears than humans 😉

While comparing way-of-life between now and then (reflecting back to the time periods of living in regions so densely populated), the distinctions are clear. Having been both places, it’s interesting to reflect and compare – and apply those thoughts to some of what we’re experiencing these days in our crowded ‘modern’ world…

During the timeline of human history, we have always had plenty of elbow room. However it has only been these recent decades (a century) whereby we’ve exploded in population and have entirely changed our way-of-life. Has this rapid change gone up against our DNA? Are meant to live under such crowded conditions?

World Population: The Seventh Billion Came In Just 12 Years
Population Growth

Technological, industrial, and medical breakthrough’s have enabled our population explosion. As humans, we have adapted to living longer lives and have developed intricate systems of infrastructure to keep us alive.

The urban and suburban regions continue to expand as more people are born into it and as more from the rural regions move in (to obtain their measure of ‘success’). While I’m not knocking the wonderful attributes of our technological expansions, the human product of such development has (to an extent) changed who we are and how we live (in those areas especially).

Ideologies are different (some extremely so). Measures of success are often different. Measures of happiness are often different.

And don’t forget this one: The risks are often different (e.g. systemic risks of sustaining population-dense regions).

Regions with plenty of elbow room while typically financially poorer, they tend to be rich in independence, land ownership, self-sufficiency, self-sustainability, an increased sense of morality and general respect, and filled with nature’s plentiful awe and beauty… – all starkly different than the densely populated regions.

Regions with little elbow room while mostly financially richer (although perceived riches are often simply ‘debt’), they have much higher costs of living, are filled with more stress, are entirely dependent upon external supply chains and infrastructure, and people generally don’t trust each other. The conveniences there are plentiful and many of them very beneficial to life (modern medical centers, etc..) however there are inherent systemic risks.

Back to the original questions…

Has this essentially led to two America’s?
I believe the differences are stark enough to stereotype into two generally different lifestyles, ideologies and way-of-life. While the land mass of people living in regions with elbow room vastly outsize that of the other, the fact is that a majority of people now live in geographically small (comparatively) urban and suburban spaces and are the majority voice which today shapes the ‘laws of the land’.

Two generally different ideologies?
Yes, certainly (generally / perhaps mostly), which also tends to reflect in political associations.

Is this healthy?
It’s just the way it is. Everyone has a choice as to where to live and what life to lead. The majority have chosen to live in population-dense regions, and it works up until the time that it doesn’t. And when it doesn’t, those who live in regions with lots of elbow room will be the one’s who survive…

Hopefully some of this ramble makes sense 😉
What do you think about this?