Wednesday, October 29, 2008

De-Evolution



As a species, mankind is not keeping beat. We do a lot of errands and a lot of moving around but we're not getting anywhere. In fact, we're de-evolving, and basically, our de-evolution is our evolution. Physically, this is no more evident than with the "average" American, who weighs way too much, exercises far too little, pops too many pills for an assortment of reasons, eats like crap, pollutes more than any other citizen of the world, and sleeps poorly.

There is a lot to learn from our caveman friend, and not just in terms of diet and lifestyle. But in terms of LIFE. Basically, we have allowed ourselves to be coddled and become pansy’s – we sip sugared-up lattes, we transport ourselves in large automobiles, we sit indoors all day, staring at a virtual reality, under artificial lighting. We persistently surround ourselves in climatically-controlled structures, keeping us from harm's way. We buy too many toys to ensure we remain happy. We are "civilized".

The caveman, as direct descendants, should be looked to with respect and admiration. Times were tough then. Every day was survival. And yet caveman came through. Times today, of course, are not that tough and so some of us will seek to make them challenging by involving ourselves in physical goals (running a marathon , climbing Kilimanjaro, biking across Australia, or running across the transrockies, etc, etc). The caveman didn't have this luxury. His hardship was not chosen - it was real everyday; and often success or failure meant the difference between life or death.

The caveman discovered out that eating certain foods made him sick and that fire was not just dangerous but also of assistance. He learned these things through trial and error and he became smarter and more adapted because of it. But today we seem to have lost that. We're told what's right and wrong and what we're supposed to do, not just by our parents but by our "civilized" society itself - that if you play with fire you will get burned. We accept mediocrity and have gotten rid of our curiosity. We don't think for ourselves; rather, we go to school, take IQ tests, earn our pieces of paper, get jobs, do our jobs, ensure our survival and ask no questions until it's too late, then die (again). Because you're told that if you don't "choose" such a path, someone else will and they'll be the ones reaping the rewards. Essentially, we do what we're told; we're told fire may burn us and we believe it must be true because that's what we were told. Everything for the caveman was experimental. For those of us who challenge ourselves to take the unbeaten path - mistakes will be made (and plenty of them at that), but guarantee you will be better because of them. This is how we learn.

Remember the bumble bee story: how scientists come to the conclusion that it is incapable of flying---its wings too small and too slow and its mass too great---yet somehow no one ever relayed this message to the bumble bee, who goes about his business soaring from flower to flower, seeking the fruits of his labour.

In life, don't be afraid to occasionally take the caveman approach and find some stuff out for yourself. After all, where's the fun in playing it safe? You need to think like the bumble bee or the caveman and do what it takes to learn for yourself. This is the best form of learning and it's called EXPERIENCE. We learn from experience and we gain experience from making mistakes. Go out on a limb (ie: take a RISK!), because as any Neanderthal can tell you, that's where the fruit is found.

As a species, it doesn't look like we'll ever turn back the clock, but as individual you can. Start thinking "backwards". Eat like man used to. Sleep like man used to: when it was dark. Exercise like man used to: by staying predominantly aerobic with the occasional brief sprint. Try to pollute like man used to: not at all. These things may all seem difficult to do, but only due to a vast freedom of choice. Here is some general advice to find your ‘inner caveman’:

1) Eat like a caveman. This means avoid eating food in packaging or food that contains more than one ingredient. It does not mean drinking tea or coffee or smoking something that grows in the ground. If you can't get through a single day without coffee, a drug, something is wrong.

2) Train like a caveman. Go out all day and see what you can discover for yourself; go primal! Discard the ipod and wathc. Shun all electronics and get in tune with your own frequencies.

3) Get in touch with your fears. Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed. Cavemen were full of fear and theirs were far more tangible than yours likely are.

4) Make some mistakes. They will likely not cost you your life, so go on, make them. Then, more importantly, learn from them. If you're too afraid to make mistakes, you'll never grow.

5) Get lost. Go somewhere new, somewhere unfamiliar, and get acquainted with it and with yourself. Leave the city of comfort!

6) Sleep outside, under the stars. Talk about feeling insignificant! If you don't think this will have an affect, you haven't tried it. Those same stars are the very ones your caveman cousins gazed at each night and I'm willing to bet they knew more about them than you or I do.

7) If you lack raw physical talent, try making up for it with lots of long and hard training. If you fail then, at least you gave it an honest effort. Throw hard work at almost any problem and the problem is no longer a problem. Of course, it's the hard work that then becomes the problem, but only if you abhor it.

8) If it can't be done, give it a shot. Find out for yourself whether it's true or not. Those who repeat that it can't be done are almost always interrupted by someone doing it. Just as it was back in the days of the caveman, rules are constantly rewritten.

See if you can do all of this once every so often and perhaps more than just a day; maybe a week, a month, a year, a lifetime. I’m not suggesting giving up on society but rather to not let it suppress you or shape you or your decisions. Don’t buy for the labels, give up on your daily starbucks, walk to work, open-water swim, play with fire, throw caution to the wind, or spit straight into it. Don't settle for someone else's lessons or their experiences. Write your own story, even if it's in hieroglyphics!

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