There's a lot to be said for survival, not the least figuring out how we modern softies manage it.
You look back at photos of our forbears and you think, gee they look miserable. Maybe it was the black and white photography, or the handlebar moustaches and corsets, or simply the deprivation.
Yet they survived and here we are, pretty much useless by comparison, in a one-on-one sense. Makes you think those old-timers had some skills.
This all comes into focus watching a TV show like Alone airing on SBS on Demand.
It features survivalist types dropped into remote wilderness areas with little more to rely on than their wits and backwater accents.
Their mission it seems is to provide binge-worth viewing by living off the land, going through existential crises, positioning their Go-Pros just right so we can witness their suffering. It's quite compelling.
Their pristine environments are typically stunning and yet there's rarely mention of the word Instagram. More often it's "hungry" as they curse the absence of weapons to protect themselves from predators.
Last person to tap out wins the prize.
Not a bad format, I have to say, watching people struggle physically and spiritually, sometimes with diarrhoea after eating the wrong berry. Other times it might be a sodium imbalance.
It quickly brings into focus how you'd go if you were warding off frost bite, parasites and bears. Answer is most likely you'd starve, die, or be eaten, in that order, if you didn't go mad first.
Certainly a lot of these frontier types go through their crying phase.
You'd like to think you could hack it once you got into your groove, as many of the contestants seem to do.
But the truth is it's been a while since you slayed a musk ox with your bare hands and eviscerated it with a sharp stone. Certainly without a hand moisturiser that isn't brain fat from the skull you just boiled. And sucked.
In the background there's always the four underlying "f"s of the human condition - fighting, flighting, freezing and fornicating.
Not much fornicating going on, except from Mother Nature - with mind, body and soul. It's literally a jungle out there.
Of the many fascinating aspects of the show is the accountant-like breakdown of vitamins, calories and protein you find in things like bugs, slugs and rodents.
Not a lot as it turns out, particularly if you can't catch them. Evidently no one in the food chain likes to be eaten.
Then there's the lottery of consequences from unskilled gathering like hallucination, vomit and suicidal ideation.
All hinting towards that ultimate KPI of failure - dialling up your satellite phone for UberEats and a hot bath.
Judging by the remorseless vibe of the wild, no one cares except the show's insurers who probably stand to lose the most if someone takes it to the limit.
Yeah, I really enjoy the show, and most probably because I'm not in it.
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