NPR

Are Hunter-Gatherers The Happiest Humans To Inhabit Earth?

Anthropologist James Suzman has lived with one of the last groups of hunter-gatherers. And it's made him rethink his perspective on the Western lifestyle.

A relaxed moment for a child in the Khoisan hunter-gatherer society. Source: James Suzman

There's an idea percolating up from the anthropology world that may make you rethink what makes you happy.

The idea is not new. It surfaced in the popular consciousness back in the late 1960s and helped to galvanize a growing environmental movement.

And now several books are bringing it back into the limelight.

The idea is simple: Perhaps the American and European way of living isn't the pinnacle of human existence. Humanity hasn't been marching — in a linear fashion — toward some promised land. Perhaps, Western society isn't some magical state in which technology free us from the shackles of acquiring basic needs and allows us to maximize leisure and pleasure.

Instead, maybe, modernization has done just the opposite. Maybe the most leisurely days of humanity are behind us — way,

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