The Primitive Thinker

The waste of too many people cannot be assimilated by nature any longer. The world is showing alarming signs of exhaustion.

What is a Primitive Thinker(*)? The primitive thinker is an individual who thinks his waste is lost in an infinite world.

Some among the primitive thinkers consider themselves to be environmentally concerned. A typical primitive thinker drinks water in a single-use plastic cup, or spills “just a little bit” of used motor oil down the drain, or leaves the air conditioning on in an empty home, or runs a 2,000 pounds vehicle to commute every day, or buys a small plastic water bottle, quenches sudden thirst, and then discards the disposable plastic bottle into the trash. I am a primitive thinker.

None of these actions would have any consequence at all if there were only a few thousand of us. But this is not the case. There are 7 billion people, and we are expected to grow to 10 or 11 billion by 2050.

The primitive thinker mentality was shaped in the ancient world. Thousands of years ago, taking, using and discarding, as much as needed, was necessary for survival. The cycle of life would take care of the waste afterwards. Everything was assimilated and lost in the vastness of the world.
Nowadays none of us would consider it acceptable behavior to urinate in the alley of a back street. Yes, many still may do it, but they would be labeled as rude, impolite, bad-mannered, backwards, ignorant and disrespectful, in other words, primitive thinkers.
Urinating itself is not bad, indeed it is necessary, yet still, we all know that the real problem is repetition, too often, by too many individuals.
Let’s face it: a five gallon spill of oil into the Mississippi waters won’t alter the eco-system of the river. It is millions of people, and thousands of households, and hundreds of industries discharging their waste into the river that kills it. It is not one single primitive thinker who kills the river; it is too many primitive thinkers living along the riverside that kills the river.
The fate of the many primitive thinkers is ultimately the collapse of their way of living. In his book Collapse, Jared Diamond argues that societies die from a self-inflicted death when they fail to meet the challenges of the new times. He gives, among others, the tragic example of the downfall of Easter Island civilization.
Today many alarming warnings are giving signals that the world waste assimilation capacity is being overstretched. With 7 billion primitive thinkers, and growing, the finiteness of the planet is becoming as obvious as the limits of the shores of Easter Island.
(*) I did not coin the term Primitive Thinker. The first time I heard of it was many years ago on a radio station. A young man, Cy Jarvis, was being interviewed and he used the term to describe well-meaning people who don't mind anything. They just don't think of the consequences of what they do. He appeared in an episode of This is American Life.



  1. are you the person that worked out a deal with godaddy's domain name search engine and stole my idea? Just curious. It's okay. We seem to be thinking alike so I couldn't careless at this point. I'm just curious is all. I hope you will reply. Thank you, All the best! And, please, keep up the good work.

  2. I finally read your disclaimer at the bottom of your page. And thank you. Jarvis must have coined the term and I learned it from a M.D. So I apologize for my mistake. Let's team up and get the word out. Look me up @primitivethinkers on FB. I will give Cy Jarvis credite for this terminology (as soon as practical) because I thought my friend came up with the idea well over twenty+ years ago.


Powered by Blogger.