On Sitting

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Nature provides precious few opportunities to sit. When out-of-doors, one either stands or lies down; there is very little in-between.

When we go into nature to reconnect with the earth, we are prepared to do without syndicated sitcoms and carbonated drinks, but we often fail to anticipate the lack of seating. At the end of a long hike, you may become compelled to rest your legs as you take in a pleasant vista. And yet, lest you are possessed with great insight and packed along a folding chair along the way, you are unlikely to find adequate seating. Any self-respecting woodsman will concur: nature is BYOChair.

Humanity did not evolve with seating options, and our bodies are not well-suited to it. How absurd it is that we now live our lives upon our rears, with brief intervals of standing and walking, rather than the other way around. If our bodies were built for such a lifestyle, our rear-ends would feature hard calloused pads like the bottoms of our feet. Rather, they are the texture of the velvety cushions upon which they rest.

In so many ways, to sit is unnatural. Perhaps it is no accident that we like it so much- how better to demonstrate one’s modernity than by sitting? It’s as advanced as Wonderbread! Many modern ailments are actually seating-related: scoliosis, carpal tunnel, blood clots. These problems are only derived after excessive periods of seating and, as such, are true embodiments of progress. Their sufferers should wear them as a badge of honor. Who among us may claim an ancestor so preeminent as to suffer from a seating-related injury? Not many indeed.

The longer we persist on two feet, the more we can identify with the ancients: those long-passed ambulatory sorts who rarely had occasion to sit. Before the onset of modern advances, humans were unable to be productive while at rest, and indulged in seating only rarely. We now have the ability to combine industriousness with a seated posture and frequently employ our computers, microwaves, cars and drone missiles to help us “get things done” while chair-bound. To engage in so many seated activities is an act of defiance against nature.

We are our better selves when standing. It is a question of momentum. When standing, the mind is at attention. It represents the question “what next?” for it is primed and ready for the next event. In the seated position, you are more apt to ask “why is what next?”  Only the worthiest of causes will prompt you to arise from its cozy repose. The current trend toward an ever-increasing prevalence of seating raises an important question for humanity. Will the seating-induced tendency to consider actions before engaging mean that we become more thoughtful and discerning? Or will it lead to our descent into the impotence of slothdom? I wonder.

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