Saturday, February 23, 2013

Seeing Yourself

The Paleo prism.  I often take a gander through this metaphorical device as part of my thought process when considering, well, everything really.  Nutrition, exercise, work, sleep, sunshine, stress, social life, and on and on.   It's just putting myself in Someone Else's shoes, only in this case, it's our paleolithic ancestors unshod feet.  I don't do this to find the right or wrong answer, merely as part of the fun process of over thinking things, which I happen to be good at.  For instance, one completely trivial thing that's crossed my mind is:  how did those guys keep their hair and nails trimmed?  I'm guessing they pretty much just take care of themselves, but thankfully, I've never been so information starved that I had to look it up.

With this in mind, while I was watching Frank Forencich's AHS 2012 presentation today, I heard something that has my mind spinning from looking through the prism.  At the very end of the clip, at the end of the Q & A, he mentions that paleolithic people never really knew what they themselves, as individuals, looked like.  Especially their own faces.  Of course, it's obvious when you think about it, as they had no mirrors, photos, or videos.  The only possible glimpse they could get would be from seeing their own reflection in water, and that would only give them a general idea, not a detailed high definition view. 

Think about that.  Think about living your life never knowing what your own face looks like (insert joke here), or more importantly, ever really having to CARE about it!  Go ahead, honestly think about that, I'll be right here still chewing on it myself.   I'm having a hard time coming to grips with how my life would be different if I never had the opportunity to see my own face.  I can visualize myself chasing wild game, using leaves to wipe with, eating bugs and sleeping on the ground, but never seeing my own face?  Sure, it would've happened because it had to like everything else, but, well, there's just a lot racing through my mind right now on how differently you would look at and treat other people never knowing your own image in the first place.  Am I wrong in thinking this might be a big factor in how and why interpersonal relationships differed in tribal people as compared to what we have today? 

Is there anything we can do about this?  I mean, I can sleep longer, in a darker room.  I can eat more nourishing food while foregoing refined garbage.  I can sit less and move more.  I can even lift hard and sprint occasionally, but I can never undue seeing my own image.  I know what I look like and how I look compared to others.  And I always thought knowledge was a good thing.  Hmm.  Fascinating, just fascinating.


The Primalist said...

There have been people who've done little experiments of trying to avoid a mirror for a month, or even for a year.. but as you said, you can't undo knowing what you look like.

Disney movies come to mind - the characters' reflections are always super clear, with the water resembling a mirror.

I'm guessing people were a lot less vain back then. No mirrors, no designer clothes. Back to the basics.

Still, when you looked at others, you would judge relative attractiveness. And I'm guessing you'd figure out where you stand. Perhaps if you got fewer dates than your fellow tribe members, you'd suspect something was up? :P

Definitely something interesting to ponder in our image driven society..

Aaron said...

'our image driven society' - you nailed that one.

In regards to relative attractiveness, I agree that it would be 'sorted' out who got the most attention, who got the least, and kinda where people fit in between. And if you knew who got the most attention, and what they looked like, you could be jealous in a way, but I doubt there was much you could do about it. At least in terms of changing the way you looked.

Still pondering.