Why can’t you find the word “chair” in the “Bible” and the “Homer Epic” of nearly 30,000 lines? The term “Hamlet”, written between 1599 and 1602, also lacked the word. But by the mid-19th century, the situation had completely changed. In Dickens’ Desolate Village, the word “chair” appears 187 times. What has changed in the world?
Sedentary is considered a “new type of smoking”, we also know that sedentary is not good for health. In addition to not being good for your health, chairs are as inevitable as modern air pollution.
I was surprised to find that chairs used to be very rare, but now they are everywhere-in offices, trains, cafes, restaurants, hospitals, theaters, schools, lecture halls, homes, chairs are everywhere. If I were to make a conservative estimate of the number of chairs in the world, I think it would be difficult for the number to be lower than 8 to 10 chairs per capita. According to this logical calculation, there may be more than 60 billion chairs on earth. Should chairs become one of the signs of the beginning of the “anthropocene”? The chair, like other epoch-making landmarks, can be found on every continent of the earth.
As for why there are so many chairs suddenly, there is still no clear reason. It is the result of fashion, politics, changing work habits, and people’s desire for a comfortable life. The last of these needs need not be explained too much, because the current culture that emphasizes relaxation and comfort is one of the main factors driving consumer decision-making.
Although chairs began to appear in the early modern times, from 1500 to 1800, they did not become more common until the Industrial Revolution.
Before the 18th century, chairs were more common, but most people still couldn’t use them. Even today, sitting on a hardwood chair for a long time is not easy, and the cushioned chair was very expensive at the time. However, the new relaxation culture was promoted from the French court in the 18th century, which made the chairs generally used.
For centuries before, chairs have always been related to power, wealth, and social status. Whether it is a farmer or a monarch, the rules for using chairs are the same in a wide range. In the first scene of “King Lear”, there was a stage guide that pointed out: King Lear should sit in the chair lifted by his servant. Today, people still think of chairs as a status symbol. In my academic field, the chief professor at the highest level is called “Chair”, the original meaning of the word is “chair”. The chairman presiding over the meeting is also called “Chair”, and the company’s top leader, the chairman, is also “Chairman” or “Chairwoman”. And the best chair in a company building is always the big boss’s seat, which is also generally recognized by people.
Chairs are beginning to be widely used (especially after the French Revolution and the British Charter Movement), in line with people’s slowly changing work patterns. Most occupations in the Victorian period were manual labor or working in factories.
But by the end of the 19th century, with the invention of typewriters and telegraphs and the further promotion of electricity, the second technological revolution was able to advance faster, and the labor market began to change. Office clerk became the fastest growing new job in the second half of this period. The 1851 census showed that less than 44,000 people were doing administrative work. In just 20 years, the number of people working in the office has increased to 91,000, more than double the original number.
Most people now work in the office. And throughout the 20th century, a series of sitting activities appeared, matching our new work model.
In the 19th century, reading novels became very popular-with the birth of cinemas, radios, and televisions, more and more activities took place while sitting. In recent years, computer games, online videos and other activities that use the screen to pass time have made us sit and meditate. In the “anthropocene”, people need chairs to complete all the above activities.
Modern life allows us to sit and carry out activities. If this is like a bunch of flowers, then the chair is the stem of these flowers. The chair is undoubtedly an indispensable part of modern life. If there is no chair, how our activities will proceed is really unimaginable. Research conducted by the British Heart Foundation shows that we sit about 9.5 hours a day. This means that modern people do not spend 75% of their time on activities, which brings us many problems.
The health of the soft and hard tissues of our bodies can be simply summed up as “use and waste.” Muscles and bones will respond to this, whether it is to increase the weight or stop using it. The density of bones will increase or decrease accordingly, and muscles will become stronger or weaker. When sitting on the back of the chair for a long time, most of our back muscles will become loose. This will undoubtedly weaken the support of the spine and make back pain an important cause of disability.
We live in the “anthropocene”, so we may also divide ourselves into “anthropocene” human beings. Paleolithic humans were most likely to die in infancy, when violence and injuries were also common causes of death in adulthood. But in modern humans, the vast majority of deaths are due to metabolic disorders, such as heart disease and certain cancers-these diseases are related to sitting sedentary.
A 2012 study focused on the effects of sedentary movements. The study collected data on 7813 women. It turned out that those who sat for 10 hours a day had shorter telomeres (the shorter the telomeres, the faster the cells age). The sedentary habit makes them 8 years old physically. Some studies even pointed out that a small amount of exercise can not offset the negative effects of sedentary.
The above studies and many other studies show that for spending a lot of time sitting on a chair and enjoying leisure, we should think carefully whether this should be.