Abolish Chairs!

June 1, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

In an impassioned plea against chairs, Colin McSwiggen’s shows that evidence suggests that sitting on chairs for extended uninterrupted periods can significantly raise the risk of death – even for those who exercise a lot. So why did the chair become so common? His history of the chair explains:

  • Chairs “are about status, power and control.”
  • Chairs find their origins in the Stone Age, up to 12,000 years ago, when those in the upper classes of society sat on thrones – a small raised platform.
  • They were better than benches because they could only seat one person – signifying their status.
  • Most other people would either sit on the ground or squatted. They would lean against the odd barrel every so often.
  • In the Middle Ages common people didn’t keep cumbersome chairs, because they moved around a lot to keep from getting sacked.
  • Rich families might have a single chair for the head of the household – but it would be heavy so that it couldn’t be stolen.
  • Chairs didn’t become popular until the industrial revolution, when mass production made them cheap and people could afford to emulate the rich.
  • Moreover the industrial revolution led to a more sedentiary office-based lifestyle where you’re required to sit for long periods.
  • Chairs in schoolrooms are a tool for teachers to control the movements of students. By the time children become adults they’ve lost the ability to sit, unless it’s on a chair.

To read many more fascinating details, why a good chair doesn’t exist, why ergonomics is a waste of time, how our entire society is designed around chairs, making them inescapable, why chairs are like parasites, and what you should do after you read the full article, click here.

Source: Jacobin

Via: Marginal Revolution