Monday, May 7, 2012

Stacked agianst Us

Why is it that seemingly everything about our modern lifestyles goes against our grain so to speak?  Let me throw out some examples to show you what I'm talking about.

Actual:  Most people sleep 6-7 hours in a room illuminated by electronic lights, wake up to an alarm clock, and need stimulants to start the day.
Ideal:  Go to bed shortly after sunset and arise when light breaks.  This means sleep time will vary throughout the year, but will average more like 9 hours a night.  And we should sleep in relative darkness.

Actual:  People these days do a lot of sitting.  At work, in the car, on the couch.  It adds up to the majority of the day for a lot of folks.  And we sit in chairs that are downright lousy, if not dangerous, for our health.  Squatting is our natural way to sit.  It's also our natural way to go to the bathroom, but we sit for that too.
Ideal:  We should be moving about throughout the day.  Mostly standing and walking with some light physical labor here and there.  We should go to the bathroom squatting.

Actual:  Indoors.  Most everybody these days spends the majority of their time indoors under artificial light, oftentimes late into the night.  And when people do manage to get outside, they apply sunscreen in order not to burn.
Ideal:  Sun on your skin and fresh air in your lungs everyday.  Don't burn, but don't apply chemically laden sunscreens also.  Use light clothing as Sun protection if needed.

Actual:  Junk.  And lots of it.  Highly processed, artificially flavored and preserved convenience 'food' cooked in Omega 6 abundant, rancid seed oils.  Pizzas, donuts, french fries, pasta, boxed cereals, chips and soda just to name a few.   I think somewhere around 25 % of peoples calories these days are coming from liquids.
Ideal:  Meat, fish and eggs.  Veggies and fruit.  Roots, tubers, herbs and spices.  Water.

Actual:  Lots.  Everyday.  Chronic.
Ideal:   Fight or Flight.  Only on occasion.

Actual:  Face to face communication and group socialization are on the decline.  Most people and families spend ever increasing time in front of screens ... televisions, computers, video games, ipads and smart phones.  Both at home and at work.
Ideal:  Families/Clans/Tribes/Neighborhoods.  Spending time discussing life's pleasures and problems with those whom we share our part of the world.

Health Care
Actual:  Fix the symptoms
Ideal:  Prevention.  Address the cause.

And on and on.   If our society was headed down the wrong path on only one or two of these issues and doing alright with the rest, maybe there would be hope.  But every single friggin thing seems like it's going the wrong way.  My point is that when you add the effects of these things together it doesn't bode so well for us does it?  Our lifestyles are becoming stacked against us.

So why is this?  Why are we increasingly going against our grain in our everyday actions?  I don't think the answer to this question is so cut and dry.  Is the driving force overpopulation?  Over-urbanization?  Bad information?  Over commercialization?  Greed?  Rap music?  Globalization?  Increasing wealth disparity?  Aaaargh.  The world sure is a complicated place.

Hmmm.  I just had some inspiration.  Sometimes, actually a lot of times, these posts are me just thinking out loud to myself while I mull things over so bear with me here.

Greed Vs. Giving.  When you think about it, Greed sure does seem to make the wheels spin in the wrong direction on a lot of things.  No surprise there I suppose.  And it's brilliant, but opposite twin of Giving can push things back the other way.  Again, not headline news.  But what brings about Greed and Giving?  Are they natural traits found in varying degrees in all of us?  Are they learned behaviors?  Can we cultivate Giving and suppress Greed?   I don't think we can just about face overnight on all of the stuff I mentioned above, but if we can somehow instill in people, and especially our future generations, the virtues of caring and giving we just might plant the seeds for some change.  And as for us right now, I think a positive step would be to slow down and simplify.  Everything is so fast paced and complicated in this world that we're losing focus on how to be the animal that is human, and how to take care of ourselves, our community and our planet.

Now, any ideas on how we can make people who are already really greedy see things differently?  Yeah, that's a tough one.


Anonymous said...

great post!

things we can do:
1. speak our minds.
2. break from the flock.
3. be entrepreneurs (easier said than done).

Aaron said...


Agreed. I think just being Paleo checks #2. And writing blogs, books and speaking with those curious about the example we set dives into #1.

But I do see a need for more of #3. The hold up is obviously risk. Not everyone can or wants to take that step, especially with this 'lifestyle' still in it's infancy (maybe early childhood)*. But as more people experience benefits and realize this is not some fad diet or gimmick, I think we will start to see more businesses popping up.

* I find my statement ironic as, of course, Paleo is old, old school. We're just coming back to our roots.

The Primalist said...

Having a bad day? :) I try not to think about all those things at the
same time. Doing so leads to stress, eating junk, lack of sleep, etc.

First off, I'm grateful for being aware that all that stuff's bad.
Most people don't know or don't care.

And secondly, I try to spread this awareness to others, even if it's
just one person at a time. That's also why I'm enthusiastic about this
lifestyle catching on with celebrities, because they have a much
greater reach in spreading awareness.

Doesn't answer your question of how to make greedy people more giving. I wish paleo could fix that, too.

Aaron said...

You're right ... leading by example. I've touched on it before and think not only is it the best chance we have of spreading this lifestyle, it may be our only one. Big Money will fight tooth and nail to preserve the status quo.

I find it ironic that the science backing this stuff up is already there, but the facts themselves will not convince people. It will take a grassroots effort with, as you point out, famous people sharing their successes in order to give it a big shot in the arm.