The Eloi were, of course, the child-like, cattle-like race of humans in H. G. Wells’ “The Time Machine.” They didn’t do anything except sit around in the sun, eat the food and wear the clothes provided to them by mysterious means without even wondering where they came from. They were used as food by the Morlocks, a debased, deformed branch of humanity who dwelled underground and still ran the machines.
Sometimes it amazes me the things ancient people figured out how to do.
Who figured out that putting the seeds in the ground would result in a plant later on?
Who thought up shoes?
Or how to make glass?
We have it so easy now. Most of the heavy lifting was done for us millennia ago. Sure, researchers are still finding cures for diseases, new medications, but who figured out way back when that willow bark tea was good for headaches, or that putting spiderwebs on a cut could stop bleeding? They didn’t have universities to study at and huge libraries or textbooks at their disposal to look these things up. We’re just building on what those nameless, faceless people of yesteryear were clever enough to discover on their own.
Take for instance these traditional Sami reindeer boots. Ok, by the time these were invented people had probably been wearing something on their feet for awhile. But as Thor points out:
Bellingskaller have soles with two leather pieces where the hairs are facing each other so that one does not slip so easily.
Brilliant. These days, we have heavy-duty winter boots with cleats in them for that purpose, or you can get the kind that attach over any shoes or boots, like tire chains for shoes.
Look at how much time we spend playing games. People devote hours of their daily lives to playing computer games, sports, or any of a thousand other things that have no purpose. Recreation. Leisure. Downtime. Vacation. We’ve evolved to be able to include these things in our lives since most of our basic needs – food, shelter, clothing – are taken care of (at least for most of us). Daily life is not a struggle to track herds of wild aurochs across the open plain to find food for the tribe.
Don’t get me wrong, I like my comforts as much as anybody. I like being able to flip a switch and have the lights come on, or turn a dial to cook something. I’m no survivalist (most of whom really wouldn’t be able to survive long without a lot of the trappings of civilization like guns or forged steel blades, and I doubt most of them would be able to make their own clothes), but is there a tipping point where we will become so pampered that we will become the cattle? So dependent on some unseen source for food and clothing that we don’t even question it? Or have we already passed that point? I’d say here in America there are those for whom that’s true. While I realize there are other places in the world where basic survival is still the goal, our focus (at least here in the Western hemisphere) is on ‘enjoying life.’
So watch out you Eloi – the Morlocks are getting hungry.
8 thoughts on “Are We Becoming Eloi?”
Great thought provoking post. The Time machine was a great story the first time I read it..I especially like the idea that you can travel back in time but some things are fixed and will happen anyway. Maybe different people, different time of day, but the same event has to occur.
My wife and I thought about that last night watching Dr. Who.
She asked, “Why do you suppose some points in time are ‘fixed’?”
I thought about it and realized I didn’t have an answer but still attempted one.
“I guess in the grand coding of the universe some things can be variable but some things must be hard numbers” But who coded it? And for what reason?
Then again, Dr. Manhattan in “The Watchmen” put it like this:
“There are no set events, only what can happen…does happen. There is no such thing as destiny or fate.”
I am often disappointed about how “Eloi” we are. I’ve been guilty of it too. Simply excepting something out of “want” rather than questioning from where or how it comes. Things I read lately about securtiy and violations of individual rights by our government disturbs me. Because it seems foolish to complain when we are so “well protected” but I do believe that we are being protected to death….
So, now that the NSA is looking at your blog….
I wonder who was the first person to attempt to drink milk from animals? Seems like a horribly disgusting cultivation process doesn’t it?
Sometimes when you look at the patterns of discovery, it does make you wonder about Fate and Destiny and if humans weren’t “slated” to be what we are now. Instead of just remaining like the rest of the animals on the planet.
What made us want to improve ourselves? Was it being unhappy with our current status?
What made us want to be the dominant herd of animals on the planet?
I’ve never held with ‘fate’ or ‘destiny.’ It’s too easy to use that as an excuse for failure or entitlement, or not to do anything at all. I mean, if it’s Fate or Destiny, you can’t really avoid it, right? So just float along and it’ll happen, right? There is a drive that exists in humans to compete, to dominate, just like in animals where the alpha male becomes the leader of the pack. It’s instinct, it’s hardwired by evolution.
Drinking milk from animals is logical enough, they could see the animals’ young nursing. But who looked at tree bark and thought about tea? I’m sure some things, like hiding under tree branches for shelter led to building bigger tree branch forts and so on, naturally evolved. But who came up with weaving? Or even tanning hides? Some things may have been “happy accidents” (as Bob Ross used to say), but some of it like, grinding wheat to make flour and baking, seem too far removed from natural processes to occur spontaneously.
Wow Dame…you’ve really out done yourself. This is very well written along with being poignant and interesting. Your mind works at such a high level…one I can only peer up to.
Thank you Susannah! You are too kind.
It’s a great piece…one of your best.
Quite like the idea of being a morlock…….bring me kelly brook..yum
I’ve often wondered about these things, too. Like who thought, “hey, let’s take this oval thing that comes out of a chicken, crack it open, pour its contents into a bowl, add some milk, stir, then throw it onto a pan and cook it? Or to mix these eggs with flour and sugar to create cakes.
Must say I’m all for enjoying life. I see so many soulless creatures around me. Which doesn’t negate the fact that I also believe in working hard, being responsible, and not taking pleasures for granted. Both are important to me in living a rich, fulfilling life.
Surely there is a balance between the Eloi and the Morlocks?
So funny that this old post has 2 new comments in as many days! 😉
Yes! Baking! Good grief, who figured out how to make flour, and why? And yeast! Eggs I can almost see. Early humans probably observed other animals and birds eating eggs stolen from nests, but the rest? Happy accidents? I think we may be the balance between the two extremes now, at least some of us, although we do seem to be edging ever closer to the dichotomy. Kind of scary. I read an article not long ago about how Millenials are tossing clothes because they have no idea how to mend them or take care of them. Sewing, darning, etc. are becoming niche skills. Time to round up some old Foxfire books!
Comments are closed.