Ploughing fields and carrying water buckets

“History is something that very few people have been doing while everyone else was busy ploughing fields and carrying water buckets.” This is another line from #Sapiens: A brief history of humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, which is my current Audible book. While the scope of this line is primarily the events and recording of history, it also neatly captures a philosophical dichotomy I’ve been grappling with for years. On the one hand, if I’m honest with myself, I want to be one of those who makes history happen. I want to change the world! On the other hand, I believe that “real” physical work, done well and with intention, can be some of the holiest, most important work there is to be done. (See: My current Insta story; See also: My entire life as a stay-at-home parent). Do you ever experience these competing wishes? Or maybe you don’t even see them as competing?

History is something that very few people have been doing while everyone else was busy ploughing fields and carrying water buckets

Published by Emily P.G. Erickson

Emily P.G. Erickson is a writer with a master's degree in psychology. Her helpful, science-backed journalism and essays about mental health, mindfulness, and motherhood have appeared in The New York Times, WIRED, Romper, Elemental, and elsewhere. You can find the latest from Emily at www.emilypgerickson.com.

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