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How To Look After Your Human Animal

Today's message is a quite a deep one that has come out of a recent chat with Nate.

Nate is a deep thinker, he's a guy I really enjoy working with as every time he books in for a call he has a list of topics that have come up in the previous few weeks, not limited to the training program but expanding out into more philosophical discussions.

In a recent voice message he left, he talks of how his Rugby team has resumed training after the winter break. And immediately, after a single session, his mood, his entire demeanour has shifted for the better.

He describes a “funk” he's been in simply dissolved away.

How movement is essential for the human being, stasis being nothing but harmful.

It was a lovely message to receive.

So here are some thoughts on the matter:

I have been listening to and reading a few different folks of late, and a common thread that pops up is how close or how distant we are living from our core values.

I'm not a fan of the way we discuss values in general.

But when we move away from psychobabble and group think that goes along with their bais/background, what these guys seem to be saying is very close to how I think with the Human Animal vs Human Being dichotomy

The human being is a social construct

The human animal is fundamental

Human Being describes the “higher functions," the kind of functions that make us pick a certain brand of car, style of clothes, or choose a particular post code to live in.

It's a little psychology and a lot of sociology.

The animal is what actually keeps us alive and thriving, it's our physical body, it's our hormones, our nervous system, essentially it's our physiology, without which psychology can not happen.

So when we ignore the foundation, the animal, what does the construct have to build on?

Anyone who's built anything will tell you that the foundation is what determines the structure.

This then begs the question, what does the human animal need?

What does any animal need?

Why do animals in captivity lose physical and mental health?

Has society created a kind of captivity for itself, akin to zoo animals?

What then, do good zoo keepers do to keep their animals in good health?

And what do human beings do to keep their human animal in good health?

All animals need movement, a version of a hunt (even if they're hunting pastoral ground and watering holes)

Take away an animals need to move and very quickly you see boredom and depression creep in.

Not all species need social, but they need enough to mate. Humans are social, like most of the great apes, this is true whether we like it or not.

It all seems rather obvious when we drop our "superior being/human being" facade and actually take a look at ourselves as part of nature as opposed to separate to nature.

Possibly the best proper description of Homo Sapiens is the book “The Naked Ape” by Desmond Morris, here’s an amazon affiliate link should you wish to get yourself a copy:

Morris starts by describing how we look at and categorise plant and animal life when we discover and study them.

In order to do this dispassionately with our own species, the human animal he says to imagine yourself as an alien visitor to Planet Earth and discovering Humans for the first time, how would you then categorise what you find?

It's a great book, it ticks every bias I have.

But it's also a lesson in creating a little distance so we can actually examine what and who we are.

So many of the “self help” gurus give out great Human Being advice but fail to address the Human Animal.

They fall foul of the idea that we are separate from the animal kingdom, from nature. Superior even.

And that simply is not true.

The further we remove ourselves from nature, the faster our health declines.

Yes, we live longer

But lifespan is not the same as health span.

We live longer but are sicker for longer.

Not only that, mental health problems are on the rise, illnesses and diseases associated with age are occurring at younger and younger ages.

Autoimmune diseases are on the up.

We could go on.

If perhaps we moved more frequently, spent more time outdoors, we got wet, we got cold, we sweated, we expose ourselves to natural light, natural weather.

If we ate real foods, single ingredient foods, ideally foods that are from (or at least potentially from) our locality.

If we had a social structure to lean on, one built on mutual respect and support. With people who would laugh with us and point out when we take ourselves too seriously but be there to help us up anytime we needed.

Just as we would do for them.

Animals need challenge.

Imagine never walking your dog. Never socialising your dog. Feeding your dog shite food.

How do you think your dog would get on?

Now look around at the people in your company.

Do they walk or exercise in any way?

Do they have a good social circle, or is it based on alcohol or crab bucket politics?politics.

Do they eat real food or packaged food like substances?

Now look at yourself.

Ask yourself, “If an alien species looked at me, would they categorise me as a healthy example of a human being?”

What do you think?

Hit reply and let me know.

And while you're at it, ask your question. What do you want to ask about any aspect of the Human Animal?

Till then.



Dave Hedges

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