I'd like to discuss Paleo as a movement, as a culture, not just a diet. Specifically I'd like to address two specific sorts of issues that are closely related.
The first is discussed in the articles posted above, and other places, and deal with our tendency to Love the "in-group" we are in (be it Paleo, Vegan, Christian, Atheist, Plushy, whatever) while having the tendency to come to hate the "Other" or to at least devalue them. I've seen this a lot in Paleo...we had people who loved Jack Kruse only to turn on him when he became the other. We have factions forming with Safe-Starch Vs. Low-Carb. To a lesser degree we have Crossfit Vs Other training modalities. In some cases we are family who argues, in other cases it becomes almost tribal and people get roundly attacked for not adopting the Tribes view.
Similar, and related, is something that was discussed after AHS 2012. That is the "in-crowd" and the sense that Paleo (the movement) was less inclusive then it could be. That in some ways Paleo was quite cliquish. This was discussed in a blog post I can't find now, and in the one called "The Fattest Couple in Paleo".
So this is a question! I promise. What are your thoughts? Is this natural? Separate question, Is it desirable or something we should strive against? If, so...how? If not...why not?
asked bypaleohacks (78467)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on November 19, 2012
at 05:53 AM
Commonalities, points of connection, are the absolute core of our social matrix [as humans], and when we aren't seeking food - there is a good chance we're seeking connection.
In modern society this has its routine incarnations: mutual interests in sports teams, bands, television shows (incidentally, these interests are often massive markets - in fact I would argue that providing something that people can connect over is a fundamental way to sell otherwise unnecessary crap, media especially), etc - the stuff you find on folk's t-shirts is one of the more blatantly observable displays of the above interests, worn there in hopes of attracting another user of said media, so that one may share in a connection of some degree.
Now, with that preface in mind, I'd like to postulate the theory that the concept of the common enemy is another category of the same drive towards connection. In this case, I can theorize of primal origins in our inherent nature as a tribal animal, a hunter, existing for thousands of years in packs; working together against common prey in order to assure mutual survival. Its in our very nature to select a target by weakness and proceed to hunt from there.
I think it would be taking a very narrow viewpoint to assume that modern aggressive behavior per se is born from this unfulfilled urge; moreso I would argue that processed foods, chemicals, sugar and its accompanying dopaminergic affects, alcohol and hormonal imbalance, and the entirety of the cocktail of modern toxins consumed [especially] by the impoverished create an aggressive and anti-social individual - but that is only vaguely relevant in this theory - though perhaps quite pertinent to paleo at large.
However, I still argue that the existence of these roots (whether fulfilled in one's current life or not is irrelevant in this equation) presents a primal, root, urge towards what we see in modern society expressed as: bullying in schools, the formation of so many groups/cliques that are actually based upon their opposition to another group, the predatory tendencies of any given gathering of humans (such as the treatment towards Kruse around here at times), discrimination, stereotyping, and all of the other forms of targeting that exist - are almost exclusively attempts at connection, attempts at creating commonality, even if it dehumanizes another.
This is, of course, fostered by our modern societal mindset, in the media especially. Our entire world is presented to us as a series of dichotomies. You're either one of us, or one of them; beit democrat vs republican, paleo vs SAD, vegan vs meat-eater, Bronco vs Cowboy, nerd vs jock, gay vs straight, white vs black, working class vs bourgeois, the 99% vs the 1%, Christian vs Muslim... I could go on for a while. Everything that we are presented inherently has a mirror, a reflection, the good to oppose their evil. We aren't presented non-biased reality; we aren't encouraged to think, to question, explore and learn and consider for ourselves.
One could optimistically hope that presentation of such shouldn't be necessary, but given that we're here having this conversation, I think one can say that the examination isn't taking place on the scale that it needs to. And without this cultivation of nondualism, of thinking things through and making informed personal choices, we're left with something like an animalistic consumer; a mixture of our root urges that haven't been recognized for what they are (meaning they still have control), and the influence of marketing filth we've been inundated with since we were plopped in front of the television as toddlers.
In sum: yes, I would say it is entirely natural, but it isn't a necessity of our nature; it is a product of under-education, under-examination of our realities, of hive-mind thinking, and the giddy desire to jump on the bandwagon so that we may share in mutuality for just a moment. We as a people need to take the time to think about those that we target, and at the same time put some effort into our personal lives to create relationships that fully satisfy one's need for connection, so that it doesn't end up being expressed in pathological ways.
on November 19, 2012
at 05:10 AM
Of course it's natural. Do I always agree with how it gets carried out? Of course not.
The whole post AHS12 cliquish thing needs to die. I don't know who was all hurt about it, but sometimes you have to make your own way. I came home from Paleo FX with only a few new friends, but after AHS12, I came home with a whole new group of buddies to share ideas with. And from now on are we going to be cliquish? You bet. Why? Because we enjoy each other and want to enjoy our chemistry together. Of course we'll meet new people along the way too, but we earned our group experience and bonded. If someone doesn't like that...um...sorry?
If you're not getting the experience you want from other people, maybe you're the problem? Kinda like that whole He's-Just-Not-That-Into-You sort of thing? Make your luck, be the person in Paleo you want to be, and you will find the others that resonate with you. But don't go and blame everyone else. Sheesh.
I think the big problem is that we're in an interesting transition point. Paleo is big, but not so big that everyone feels super removed from the big names. I mean, can you imagine someone being pissed that they didn't get to eat dinner with Tony Robbins at a conference with thousands of others? Of course not. And that's what we're looking at here. There are the authors, popular bloggers, gurus, chefs, etc. who get a lot of attention, but they've already made their friends and they deserve to hang out with those friends at these events without being badgered by every Grok-fiend who has some idea how this event is supposed to go for them. A lot of the more well-known names get some weird encounters and inappropriate comments, so no wonder they shut down a little and can seem unfriendly. They're just people and it can be overwhelming.
I think the biggest divide coming up that is beginning to show itself is Paleo science geeks vs. Paleo lifestylists. There are those who think you must believe in evolution to be in Paleo. And there are those who are in this for different reasons and they like to make Paleo cupcakes. I happen to fall in the middle and I'm looking forward to watching it unfold.
on November 19, 2012
at 02:04 PM
I started with the Primal Blueprint. There are not factions there, Mark is the all-powerful overlord -- what he says goes. If he deems it primal, then it is thus. But often I find that he takes things beyond the point where normal people can implement (you know the ones who work 50+ hours a week providing for their families and who don't live beach front in San Diego selling nutritional supplements). That being said, MDA is still one of my favorite sites, and I think 90% of what he writes about is important. But the onus is on me to implement.
I think that extends to the various "gurus" and "tribes". Everyone wants to be the chief, everyone wants to be the "face" of paleo.
I went to a DC Paleo meetup and a NOVA Paleo meetup -- Those were the nicest, most inclusive people I have met ever. In the DC one I attended we discussed safe starches and the conversations was around, how can I learn what works for me... It was enlightening, engaging, and very positive. I wish I could attend more, but family/work commitments leave me with little available time.
The point is, I see the paleo community as a bunch of people seeking optimal solutions -- to diet, life, exercise, etc. Whereas the "Gurus" are a group of people seeking to earn a living in a high supply industry (there are hundreds of diets out there). So they are forced to discount one-anther and form "cliques" to survive -- Just like in Survivor -- you have to play the game if you want to win. Their goal, their ability to "win" does not match mine. I want health, they want success.
I know I went way off topic, but the two "face-to-face" meetups I went to were amazing, I wonder how the ability to hide behind the internet has hurt our ability to be an accepting tribe with "in-Group altruism"
That being said, Paleo Drama, is fun to read.
on November 19, 2012
at 01:19 PM
A study in contrasting tribes.... Paleo definitely has its religious/tribal aspects, veganism more so. Paleo focuses more on diet in its codification, like a secular kosher/halal, without the religious social aspects of veganism such as dreads, hemp sandals and PETA. I believe paleo's origins are more in Weston Price and Atkins, whereas veganism comes out of 1967 Haight Asbury.
Within paleo itself there's a lot of schism, reminiscent of Calvinist Protestantism, Enlightenment philosophy or Marxism. As something that's more cerebral than emotional, debating is expected. I prefer the paleo dialectic to lockstep ommm submentality.
on November 19, 2012
at 05:07 AM
I believe this is intrinsically part of human nature, as implied by the Articles. I think it is part of our primitive heritage and one we should want to move passed. To what degree that is possible I don't know. I think we are aided by the fact that we are all members of different tribes, several different ones in fact, and so we are not purely one identify characteristic.
I don't know how to make this more inclusive...I hope others have ideas.
I also hope that the cliques that form will not last or become to insular. I really don't have any idea how to aid that....