I understand that "modern paleo" so far includes a number of people with many things in common regarding diet, several things in common regarding fitness and more or less open minded. As of modern paleos today, there are great variations in attitudes, social standing, sexual preferences, you name it which means that comparing "modern paleo" to the lifes led at hunter gatherer societies is extremely far-fetched. Some modern paleo may closely follow a paleo diet and be 100% a corporate man while someone else might live in the wild mountains, many are straight, some are gay, many are libertarians, some are liberals, etc, etc. I mean could we say, beyond a way to eat or exercise that there is something as a (modern) paleo lifestyle, in terms of common values, practices, ideas? Again I am not talking about innuits, hasdas or Amazonian indians, but about people like ourselves, and whether we can (so far) talk about a lifestyle, or we should restrict ourselves to diet, and exercise.
asked byPhilosopher (3524)
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on March 16, 2011
at 04:29 PM
It does seem odd to me that people will go far enough to decide to adopt a diet that they hold to be more healthful because they "evolved" on a diet like that, but they won't look at other aspects of their lifestyle that might be running counter to their body's evolutionary expectations (not a great way of putting it but you know what I mean, I hope).
There is a lot of mythology surrounding the alleged meaning of human existence. For instance, most people who extol survival of the fittest have no idea what that actually means--they think it means they get to beat up weak people, or that Nature will beat up weak people, or that the purpose of human evolution is to produce perfect humans, when of course none of that is true. (Short answer: There is no known purpose to human evolution, or any other kind either.)
This all plays out in interesting ways, socially speaking.
One thing to keep in mind about the "Neolithic" is that it was the age of domestication, including domestication of humans. A lot of what seems to be going wrong with humanity today stems from that domestication. Part of the process of domestication is locking up the food and not letting people obtain their own for themselves. The ability to obtain one's own food is part of what distinguishes adult animals from immature, and neotony (or "being childlike") is a hallmark of domestication. Next time you hear a Paleo adherent extolling the virtues of surplus private property on "libertarian" grounds, think about that. (You can't have "liberty" if someone else owns all the food.)
I hesitate to advocate a prescriptive formula for human living. I can't control anyone else's life. But if you're interested in reading other people's perspectives on human domestication and our responses to it, you could do some research on the human rewilding movement. Urban Scout is an interesting blogger in this genre. Jason Godesky's Thirty Theses are a more academic look but very thorough. (I don't think he's completely happy with them, but as an introduction to the rewilding school of thought, they are very useful.) Daniel Quinn is almost more of a poet, but again, his work will knock your brain sideways. That'll get your feet wet. And there's lots more out there.
Also be aware of word games. A lot of the words used to discuss this issue are culturally loaded. Wild vs. domesticated, civilized vs. not, someone is going to take offense sooner or later at the language you try to use. It's an occupational hazard of thinking outside the box (or the cage), and you might as well get used to the idea now.
Have fun. I sure am.
on March 16, 2011
at 03:07 PM
We, in general, believe that we should have the freedom to find and consume the foods that make us feel our best, and freedom from government/medical establishment/lobbyist/etc. interventions in human diet that would prevent us from achieving these ends.
Everything else is delightful variety.
on March 16, 2011
at 05:03 PM
I'd like to steal from Kurt Harris and transform his 'creating an evolutionary metabolic milieu' into creating an evolutionary social milieu and an evolutionary psychological milieu. And noting that the 'bio', 'psycho' and 'social' are heavily interdependent!
That is, not re-enacting the ancestral past (although each can do what he likes).
E.g. Mindfulness, in its modern sense, is probably not truly paleo, but for many people very beneficial for health and wellbeing. It creates a physiological/psychological state that probably recreates the state of mind/being that our ancestors had (more or less). Meditation is the 'technology', the 'trick' that does it.
Very analogue to HIT, it is not really natural, but a technological manner of recreating a state that is beneficial, inspired by evolutionary/ancestral reasoning.
(btw, I don't practice any true meditation, I prefer barefoot nature hikes and walks, always on the look for birds and small game. Maybe that is re-enactment?)
The thing I am not able to do, is advising people how to recreate that psychosocial milieu. I've got some ideas of how to do it for me and my familiy, but that is personal experimentation, even though we feel fine...
on March 16, 2011
at 05:18 PM
This reminds me of the "Is it period?" discussions that take place at SCA events.
It's not paleo to sit, typing on a computer, discussing paleo things, in English, wearing these clothes.
I went paleo for health reasons. Unless you're Innuit or living in a country that doesn't mind, it's nearly impossible for legal reasons to incorporate most aspects of primal living. Sitting for 8 hours a day in front of a computer isn't very healthy, so I try to move more. At home I'm considering making a standing desk.
You do what you can. My grandma lived to be 93 without following a single paleo guideline.