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How big a deal was it to develop agriculture? It changed Everything – So if we change our food system – it too will change everything

So if we shift to a new system – then all will change again.

What might the new system be like? Grains are the centre piece of Ag as we know it. If we returned to a more Paleo diet of meat and veggies, then we could lose the plough and go to a pasture system for meat and a permaculture system for veggies. What might this look like? Like this!

Can we live a Hunter Gatherer Life today? Part 1 – yes – Here is mine as a model

What is the modern version of this – our Hunter Gatherer past – our ideal Work/Life social setting?

For we know that how we work today is  a major driver of stress and poor relationships. Can we live and work as they did?

This short series will explore how we can do this now. Let me start with some features of my life and we can then see if I am really a hunter gatherer. Then in Post 2 we can look out and see how new organizations are emerging that will give people like me and maybe you much more power than when we are just on our own – outside the mainstream. Then in the 3rd and last post, we can look ahead and see what we can do to give this movement of empowering the very small even more power.

So I am what is now known as a Free Lancer. I have worked for myself since 1994. I used to be a very corporate person before that and had never worked for myself then.

Then it was odd to not go back to getting a job – but I wanted freedom more. I am not alone look at what is happening:

In 1980 most of us – about 80% had jobs. But now only 60% do. 40% do not. Something is happening. The age of the Job is surely dying and a new age of the Freelancer is re-emerging. The trick I think is to stop worry about the job and to find your place in this very old way of living.

This is my Freelance – Hunter Gatherer Life today – how does it compare to a job? How does it compare to the classic HG life?

Time – I have huge control over my time. Only in dire circumstances do I not control my calendar. I get up when I want to and my commute is to the room next door. Now I work a lot and long hours but all on my terms. I get paid to deliver outcomes. I have deadlines but how I get there is up to me. So I can mow the lawn when I want. I can go shopping. I can take days off and go and see my kids. Because I don’t have a commute, because I don’t go to all those meetings, I have so much more time than those with jobs. I have to slow down to keep pace with conventional clients. Sometimes I am pressed, but those times are rare. We all have a crisis now and then. But the pace of my life is leisurely – as it was with Hunter Gatherers. Above all I have time for others. Time for my wife and family and time for a network of friends. Not “networking” but hanging time. Being with them. I have time also for me and for reflection. I have time to absorb and wrestle with ideas. I have time to do manual things such as stack wood, mow for hours etc that keeps me grounded and active. I sleep well as I rarely have to get up. Now I am up at dawn but that is my own internal clock and not the alarm.

I have high status – I am seen as an artisan who has been hired because I am an expert in my field.  Who does not want to be considered useful?  I get paid to be useful. I do very difficult things, so the validation is even more satisfying. My status does not come from my car – I drive a base Hyundai. It does not come from my clothes – my wife thinks I look like a tramp. I don’t earn a lot of money – I earn what I need – so it does not come because I am rich. It comes from me inside. What I know and what I share – for 75% of what I do I do for free. My greatest joy is to be of help to younger men and women. I have a tribe too. A group of dear friends that I share my ideas with and who do the same with me. We teach each other and we go on hunting trips with each other. For we each have skills that the other cannot have and we have learned from “hunting” how much we need each other. More on Hunting later. This is where status came in the Hunter Gatherer society. It comes from the value that each of us has inside. When we are young we have a strong body and lots of energy. It is value that grows as we age. For we become ever more skilled. Later when the body and our energy weaken, it is wisdom. I have a name – I am known as “Rob”.

I live in a  small community where I am known. I live on Prince Edward island. A province of Canada that has the population of a small town – 140,000 people. In a sense we all know each other. Of course we don’t but it feels like we do. Being so small, we are all known. No secrets here – NONE. For better or worse, we have a reputation. Such was life in a Hunter Gatherer society. Our social world was small. Your name often represented your character. Now this can be stifling. But I assure you that having a place is better than not. We are designed to feel best when we are known and we have such a place. Now you can find this in a  real neighbourhood in a big city but it gets more and more difficult as a regular person to be a somebody in a big city. The smaller the place the less social stress too. In a big city the moment you go out into the streets you have to switch off your social radar. If you don’t the crowds will overwhelm you. The more you switch it off – on the subway, in an elevator, on the sidewalk, the more you keep it off until you may lose your ability to inhabit a place or be with people – even your own family!

Grooming – I also inhabit a small place on the web. I do not have thousands of “Friends” and nor do you. In reality, we have a small tribe online as we do in real life. It is helpful not to forget that – for this small tribe needs your attention. Set your limits too wide, and you have nothing. For this group is your Grooming Buddies. They don’t exist in the conventional workplace where it is everyman for himself. You can have office “friends” but how often do you keep up with them over time. These you take real risks with – do work in dangerous situations when you don’t know much about how it is all going to turn out. They have faith in you and don’t mind the ride if the final prize is not there. These are the pals that you can tell all to. They share your values and they have a great ear. They know you like a long term, lover and accept you for all your foibles. They don’t have all the baggage that your family shares with you. They are vital to your health. They are your hunting partners.

I go hunting – Work in a Job is like farming – it’s all about routines and hard grinding. Getting a contract out of thin air is hunting. Like real hunting, it helps to have a team. There are risks. Sometimes you fail. But there is no feeling like bringing home the mammoth. Or actually even the small deer. We are hunters at heart. The companionship of the hunt is special too. As is sharing the “kill” at the end. For that is what real hunters do – they share. It’s not about domination. Now there are patches where there is no game and some fear about that. But I have designed my life, like a hunter, not to need much. I have set up my life so that we can be quite comfy with very little money. The Hunter Gatherer is no possessed by his possessions – the modern worker is one pay check away from the street. I can have very long stretches of no game.

We do gathering – We don’t rely on my bringing home the bacon. We also gather. My wife has her own areas where she brings in what we need too. And we share how we maintain our other gathering business – we run a small rental business. I am the grounds man and she the inside person. We have a diverse range of small livings that accumulate to give us enough. Takes soem of the pressure off the hunting!

Livings and Life – When I was young and foolish, I wanted to be rich. I made getting rich – I was an investment banker – the sole aim. But when my dad died aged 55, I began to think about what I really wanted to have. And that was a good life. It took a long time to get there, but I have made the switch. I now make a living so that I can have a life. For this is the only one I am sure that I have. Our hunter gatherer ancestors felt the same. Things meant very little to them. But living is important. What you do every day is your life – not your vacation or your retirement. The pay off of a real life is to have made a difference. To have kids and set them up well or to help set up other kids well. To prepare the best future and to have had fun while.l doing this. Life is so short, there is no time to be wasted.

When I was young and foolish, I lost sight of this. Now I think of my kids and all kids. In this very uncertain time what is our legacy? We have mortgaged their future in so many ways. Time to do the work to give them a chance I think. For what will they think of us if we don’t try? What we will think of when we die if we have not tried?

In the next post, I will talk about how many HG’s today are finding networks and tribes that offer more assurance financially that us early pioneers had. I will show you how this way of life is moving from an aberration to a norm for many. Where the hunting is much better!

 

Hospital in the US – One of the most dangerous places you can go to

September 1, 2011 Context, Infection, Resources No Comments

This data reminds us that Hospital is not a safe place and that going to Hospital in the US is positively dangerous. I take all of this into consideration when I think of the choices ahead of me. Will the conditions in Hospital get better or worse in the next 30 years as I get very old? What do you think?

The Hazards of Hospitals
Created by: MedicalBillingAndCodingCertification.net

Measles – Is Vaccination the key?

Fears about the safety of vaccination are causing concerns that measles may be on the way back

“In the September Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Gregory Poland, M.D. writes that ‘More than 150 cases of measles have been reported in the United States already this year and there have been similar outbreaks in Europe, a sign the disease is making an alarming comeback (abstract). The reappearance of the potentially deadly virus is the result of unfounded fears about a link between the measles shot and autism that have turned some parents against childhood vaccination.'”

The use of statistics with this kind of time scale highlight the “Risk”.

In this context it looks like vaccination is great and is behind the almost eradication of the disease. So have a look at this stats that follow Measles further back.

Oh – so using this length of time we see a different picture. This is true for all infectious disease. More here and source.

So what is really going on? First of all recall that infection is rooted in environment. If it is easy for feces to get into the water, you have cholera and no cure will help you. If there are lots of rats and fleas, the chances of bubonic plague is high. Lots of mosquitoes, and you live in Panama, you will likely get yellow fever. Poor living conditions, poor food and you are likely to get TB. If you are weak, you are vulnerable and so on.

Vast improvements in the environments helped bring down the rate of infection. Secondly, true immunity comes from having survived the disease. When Europeans arrived in the New World, millions of indigenous people died of measles and our urban western diseases that we had largely become adapted too. Over time, we adapt and our real and systemic immunity builds.

So why the outcry about vaccination? History belies the claim that vaccination is the main defense. Secondly, the immunity that you get from a vaccine is not the same as the immunity that you get from the disease or from the antibodies you inherit from parents who have had the disease. No need for a second shot or any repeats if you are truly immune.

Are there risks from vaccinations? Let’s just accept for now that there is no know link to autism. And look at risks more broadly. How well developed is an infants immune system? Not much is the answer. How does an infant build an immune system? By inheritance and from its mother’s milk. And by testing it by putting everything in its mouth. When would a child’s immune system be robust enough to be tested in a hard way? 3 – 4? When we do we vaccinate them now? From birth to 15 months!

Might there be risk in testing the infant’s immune system at this early age?

Might building a real immunity be better?

We turn to medicine first – should we? Follow the money!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s stop the nit picking re Ancestral/Paleo and Focus on the Big Context

I have to admit being guilty of nit picking and loving a good fight and spent a lot of this weekend involved in such little fights – but my wife and best friend Robin reminded me that this was not the best approach. And then I read this – a comment on the Ancestral Health Conference and I am convinced. If this movement is like a church – the broader the gates the better – best we stay at the context level rather than fight about the details of what is in or out – like how many angels could stand on the head of a pin – a major debate back in the early years of Christianity! Here is the link (Stumptuous.com Krista Scott Dixon)

Why is studying ancestral health and primal diets important? And what do we plan to do with that knowledge?

Well, let’s back up.

Here are a couple of fundamental concepts behind the notion of “ancestral” or “primal” health.

Concept 1: Hominids evolved to eat a particular range of foods, in a particular context.

There is no ONE “ancestral” or “primal” diet. Humans do just fine on many diets that vary by region and seasonal availability. That can mean anything from all-tubers-all-the-time (as in Staffan Lindberg’s research on the Kitavans) or the blubberiffic no-veggies-no-problem diet of indigenous northern peoples.

Humans did not dominate the globe by being picky eaters.

We did, however, get very used to eating stuff that we could hunt, gather, and/or dig up. We got used to working for our dinners. We somehow forgot to invent TV right away, so we ended up getting riptshizzled by climbing trees, running from tigers, hauling logs, playing (more than you’d think) and trying not to die.

Concept 2: We lived for millions of years with this primal diet and lifestyle. High-fructose corn syrup was introduced in the mid-20th century. Hilarity ensued.

The mismatch between 99.99% of our genetic history and our currently 21st reality causes most “diseases of civilization”.

Now, most folks focus on the content of the diet. Which makes sense. You are what you eat.

Thus, many presenters covered things like the conversion of fructose to craptabolism and why that matters; how vitamin D will make you immortal; why inadequate fat will make you insane; or the importance of understanding the specific molecular structure of lectins (giant geek boner for Mat Lalonde!! *making “call me for o-chem study sessions” thumb-and-finger gesture*).

Other presenters added context by focusing on specific health effects.

Frinstance, is your GI tract healthy and are bacteria our overlords? Did you know that some people have juicy white plaque sausages in their arteries? Why are Westerners such diabetic lazy bastards? and so forth.

All of this was entirely awesome. You know that feeling (any of you born earlier than 1980) of eating Pop Rocks fizzy candy? Well that was my brain.

Still, despite the often crudely drawn nerd-porn of molecular structures and chemical conversion pathways, the overall vibe, at times, lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. Actually we do sais quoi, and it came from Frank Forencich. Which is this.

It’s great — crucial, even — to focus on what we ate, and eat. This knowledge alone, if put into practice, could save millions of lives.

But humans did not live by bread organ meats alone. It is also essential to understand:

  • how we ate — with others, in a structure of mutual interdependence
  • how we got what we ate — hunting and gathering communally, reading the signs of the land and the animals, moving in all kinds of ways
  • that we played as well as worked
  • that we were intimately connected to our group, tribe, community, ancestors, stories, land, and other organisms; and our sense of self was derived from a deep relationship with all these things
  • that we lived in and through our bodies as well as in and through our perceptions and foci — our realities were comprised of what we paid attention to (think about that as you’re diddling with your Blackberry)
  • that we lived in a physical and geographic context with changing seasons, temperatures, physical sensations, light levels, vegetation, and animal populations

By the way, although hat tip to Boyd Eaton for the discussion of egalitarianism and gendered divisions of labour, next year I’d like a little less on “Man the Hunter” and a little more on “Woman the Gatherer”. Hello, did women even exist in the Paleo period? We know from studies of modern foraging societies that even top-notch hunters strike out more often than not, and women’s foraging labour typically sustains the group more consistently.

Anyway, you see where I’m going, I hope.

Don’t get hung up too much on the “what”. Ask also about the “how” and the “why”. Don’t miss the ancestral forest for the carb-and-protein trees. Human history offers us a tremendous, rich, diverse, nuanced narrative. Dig in to this conceptual buffet.

Think big. Bigger.

This primal/ancestral stuff is huge. Let us not constrain ourselves to amino acids and carbon groups (as delicious as the debates may be). Let’s not focus on whether coconut flour is “Paleo”. Let’s get contextual all up in that shit. Let’s dive into the exuberance of the big, big, BIG picture.

Let us get over ourselves and find out what our ancestors have to say. Let us shut up and listen to their histories, their stories, their bones, their insights, their genes, their movements, their social and physical geography, the undulating rhythms of their seasons and lives, and their dancing bacterial overlords.

Oh, but the grass-fed beef jerky can stay.

A broad view of much of the best thinking on Ancestral Health

Earlier this month, the Ancestry Foundation hosted the first of what will be many conferences on Health as seen through the perspective of Evolution.

FRIDAY

“Dimensional Mastery: How understanding where we’ve come from gives us valuable insights into where we’re headed” by Matt Wallden

“How to Triple Your HDL” by Jonathan Carey

“Bone Broths: The Missing Link in the Evolution of the Modern Superathlete” by Catherine Shanahan

“The Multifactorial Influence of Chronic Sleep Reduction on Body Weight” by Dan Pardi

“What Does the USDA Really Represent?” by Adele Hite

“Paleo Made Simple: A Template for Avoiding Common Errors When Adopting an Evolution-Based Diet” by Melissa and Dallas Urban

“Does physical activity impact dietary choice in a modern Western population to correspond to hunter-gatherer macronutrient profiles?” by Stephanie Schnorr

SATURDAY

“Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet, Healthier Dog Food the ABC Way” by Steve Brown

“Declining Age at Menarche: An Indicator of Declining Public Health” by Meghan Gillette

“How psychological dysfunction arises from disparities between hunter-gatherer and modern lifestyles: A new theoretical and therapeutic model” by John Montgomery

“The Ancestral Classroom” by Steven Platek

“Neuroregulation of Appetite:  Paleo Nutrition Supports Homeostasis of Macronutrients and Energy Balance” by David Pendergras

“Grass Based Health: The Big Picture” by Peter Ballerstedt

“Ancestry: A Re-imagined Approach to Education” by Brian Geremia & Justin Park

“Game Over: Comparing the Childhood Play Style of Modern Western Societies with Hunter-Gatherer Societies” by Anna Floyd

“Foods from Our Past: Reclaiming the Paleo Diet Experience in Latino Communities.” by Armida Ayala, PhD, MHA

Health Costs and Why you cannot afford them

August 4, 2011 Context No Comments

Why health care will ruin you and you employer and the state – The red line are health care costs. The black line are the guys at Goldman Sachs. And you are in the basement.

It gets worse. Health outcomes in the US are really poor.

So you are spending money you don’t have on treatment that does not work

Time to think about taking charge of your own health? Oh while you are depressed by this – the kicker – Education costs are worse!

We believe that only drugs can make us well and only a university degree can get us a job. Neither are true. Both will bankrupt you.

 

 

Your Lifespan – Part 5 – What we must do

As we all worry about the current fiscal situation – this is the time bomb. As so many of us age AND as so many of us who are not that old, get sick from the diseases of Modern Civilization, the costs of healthcare rise beyond the capacity of any nation to fund.

When the Boomers at in their 80’s, Medicare will cost the entire tax capacity of the US.  Of course it won’t, for we will be bust before then.

Many will demand that we get more efficient.

But this trend is unstoppable. And of course it’s not just aging.

42% of us are likely to get cancer. With 30% with Type 2 Diabetes, what will this be like in 20 years time. There are problems at the other end of the the population too. 20 years ago the Autism rate was 1 in 10,000. Now it is 1 in 160. Nearly one percent of the American Population will be unable to cope. And there is no reason to think that this trend will slow down.

So what to do? I think that our first step is to do all that we can to take care of our own health. Reduce the risk of illness and bankruptcy from our own lives. I am finding that my own example, is helping some of my friends take the same action. I have not been able to argue a single person into this. You my dear readers are the choir – it is our friends and family and colleagues that will not act if all we do is make the case.

I am finding that being the change is the best way. Once enough of us exist, then I think we will have enough power to persuade. What about at work. Health costs are killing your employer as well. What about at the state level? If some key workplaces, move then the power will build further. Then some states can move.

Then we will change the system. Then we will have the power to defend ourselves from those who make billions from making us ill and by treating our illness.

So this is very personal. By saving yourself and those that you love, you set in motion the forces that might make this apocalyptic future a lot better.

Good luck

 

 

 

Your Lifespan – Part 4 – Why Medicine is part of the Problem and what you can do to change this

You are reading this post because you believe in a new understanding of how our health works. You know that you can take charge of your health. So why, if you know this to be true, is it so hard to persuade others? What is in the way? The quick answer is the medical profession and the vast majority of the people who believe that their health depends on the healthcare system are in the way. The good news is that you can also act to change this – even though you are only you and not the establishment.

Why should this be? And why can you have the hope that you can make a difference?

After all don’t THEY know best? Well as I am about to show you, they don’t and “They” have often stood in the way of real change. The medical profession tried their best to stop the last revolution. But in the science won.

Let me show you a few examples.

Back in 1850, EVERYONE believed that disease was spread by smells. This was called the Miasma Theory. It had a logic to it. Corruption does smell. This well-established belief was of course held not only by the public but by the establishment. All the top doctors knew this to be true. Miasma was the foundation of the medical system at the time.

So when Dr John Snow discovered that cholera was spread directly in water and could prove that one pump was the source and showed how the pump had been contaminated – the establishment shut the pump but dismissed his findings. If you have a look at the map above you can see what Snow and everyone could see. The black marks are deaths by location. All Snow could measure was deaths. He did not know what he was looking for.

Can you see it? Can you see what he had the openess to see?

The deaths cluster around one pump. (The Broad Street Pump)

The establishment could see this too. They closed the pump. BUT they would not allow themselves to go the next step and see this link as a link. They could not accept that cholera was spread by direct contact with the water and some unknown thing in it. They held to the theory that it was smell.

When Ignatz Semmelweis discovered that if doctors washed their hands after autopsies and then helped women give birth, they did not die of fever, he was hounded out of his position.

Neither Snow or Semmelweis knew of germs. But they both were real scientists. They saw what was there and what was real. The establishment was captured by a theory. Worse, their careers and reputation all depended on the theory. So they had to deny and punish the people who could challenge them.

One last story about Florence Nightingale. She arrives in the Crimea with her nurses, an alien idea on its own, and finds the hospital at Scutari a scene of desolation. What you may not know about her was that she was one of the first ever to use statistics. Argument with the senior medical staff failed. After all who was she? Only a woman! What did she know compared to them – the male doctors? So she fell back on statistics.

In this chart, the areas in red are deaths are from wounds. The area in blue from disease. She was able to show that in time, the entire British force would die from disease. This was what she used to persuade the people above her that she could try a few novel things – like clean the place up!

She too knew nothing about germs. But she could see something what we have lost today in hospitals that making them immaculately clean was a good thing.

These stories tell me that the real pioneers in health always start out as rebels. They have to be this to be pioneers. That the real pioneers use the power of observation. Galileo did too!

That the establishment don’t. They hold onto the dogma. And they punish observation when it contradicts the theory. The Dogma has to prevail to help them keep their status, their power and their income.

These stories show us where we are today in the new Health Revolution. What we have now are results that don’t fit the theory. Paleo and Crossfit deliver results. Better, the science id there too. Taubes, Lustig are showing the fallacies in the Fat makes you fat Dogma. Lindeberg showing the population effects if diet. Marmot and Sapolsky showing the social drivers and Michael Rose, like Pasteur, has the big overarching umbrella – that all disease is environmental (as of course is infection) and that if we live in the right environments we will be healthy. That this is not a mad idea but a product of the process of Evolution.

This idea changes the foundation of how we see health today. The Miasma of today is that each disease is separate and has a pathway. So your heart is one area and you lungs are another. That heart disease is different from dementai. That each problem can be cured by a specific treatment. That medicine is transactional – each problem is a stand alone. And all of this mechanistic thinking has created a vast system based on this wrong view of how nature works. Made worse by how confusing this approach is. For it has no context.

Here is what we are up against:

Why is it that doctors are so fiercely resistant to change? Particularly at the cost of so many lives lost. Particularly when any honest physician must see they don’t have the answers when it comes to healing chronic disease.  What is it about the medical profession and the way it is structured that makes it such a depressing and bankrupt picture for the future? Yes there are villains. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for in the way it has co-opted and co-erced doctors. Yes, there are always those physicians who care a lot more about maintaining their authority and standing than about healing people, but the great majority of doctors are concerned and try their best. So why isn’t it working?

I believe the answer is twofold.

First there is simply so much scientific information out there that it is very hard to keep up with it all.

Second, the major pharmaceuticals have taken advantage of this fact. They make drugs. Drugs don’t cure people, but they can and often do relieve the symptoms. The drug companies bombard doctors with the information which says “this” drug for “that” disease. All the doctor now has to do is select which drug from the competing drug makers who duke it out amongst themselves to divide the spoils. The doctor is not in the business of healing any more, he has become a glorified pharmacist. When the drugs don’t hack it, he passes his unfortunate patient on up the medical food chain, to a specialist, a surgeon and finally a hospital.

A Legal Solution…..?
I’m not overfond of lawyers, but if you’ve got the money a reputable legal firm will go a long way to win your case for you and earn their share of the winnings. The medical profession ain’t like that. They don’t get paid any more or less if you live or die. What they get paid for is the number of people they see in a day. Even if you’ve got the money and you’ve got a life-threatening cancer, do you reckon your doctors would pull out all the stops to get a winning result in the way a team of attorneys would? I don’t think so.

So this is the Miasma Theory of our time.

So how can I be so hopeful that you and I can take this on and change it?

We need only have 15% of the population onside and the system will tip. This is at the heart of what is known as Adoption Theory. You may know it as the Tipping Point.

So how do we get to 15% and what is in the way? What is in the way is the system as it is now. I think it is to show our story to others. Be an example of health to you family, friends and colleagues. For now they believe the dogma. But as they see YOU. They will start to question it.

I am finding that I cannot convert by words. Only by example. So my friends “Be the change” and it will happen all around you.

It took the pioneers about 50 years back on the 19th century to tip the system. Look at the growth of Paleo and Crossfit now? We have come from nowhere in 10 years. People are noticing us. The epidemic gets worse every year. Weekly there is more evidence that our system does not work. It does not make us healthy.

The money to fund the Miasma is running out too. My hope is that in 10 years, we will have won. The Miasma will be on the back foot fighting for its life. In 20 years it will be gone.

So, it is up to us. You can truly be a real hero. By being the change, you will have bene part of this movement that will change the world for the better. More on this in my final post in this series.

 

Your Lifespan – Part 3 – What is the one simple but big idea that can help you be healthy?

Every day we read of a new study that says “This is bad for you” and “This is good for you”. No wonder when it comes to taking control of our health, we are confused by science. I read a post today that said that there are “No perfect foods”. This is rubbish. There are – if you have the right perspective.

In this post I will be as clear as I can about the simple idea that can give you this power.

So what then is wrong with the perspective that most science and all of medicine uses that makes it all so confusing and contradictory? Let me tell a few stories and I think you will see.

Imagine that she is you.

You see your GP. She of course sends you to a dermatologist. After all, what is wrong is your skin – right? Well not really.  He will talk in a limited way about diet but he has no deep diet context. He will treat your skin mainly topically and if all fails, he will prescribe Accutane.  A drug that can have very serious side effects. Accutane is like chemo – it is a brutal treatment. But even through you may clear up – you are not cured. Your acne is in abeyance.

You are severely depressed. Your GP sends you to a Psychiatrist who no longer will talk through what has gone on but will prescribe one or more drugs that will interrupt the mechanism of your thoughts. For a while. Over time the risk is that you will get worse and even suicidal. He will raise the dose and add new drugs. You are on a treadmill.

You have cancer. Your GP sends you to the Surgeon who adds in the Oncologist and the Radiologist.

They remove the cancer cells that they can and then give you chemo and radiation. You look and feel like this. (My wife went through all of this and I dare not show you what she looked like)

You may be “cured”. My wife is still here after 9 years. But this is not a CURE. It – like Accutane or Antidepressants has knocked the disease back on its back foot.

So what then is the pattern here and how do we do better than this?

Note how all these stories start the same way. You notice something wrong and then you go to the gatekeeper the GP. There has been no work done before you are ill. For medicine has no answers to WHY you get ill.

You might know this. But what you don’t know maybe, is that NONE of these diseases affect in a major way populations that don’t eat the modern diet.

Note how each of these “specialists” deal with a silo of you and few or none expand this silo to includes the wider you of your entire bodily system – your social world – your ancestry – and how you inhabit your body and the physical world. They only know their bit. This is what I mean:

This is the ignition system of an engine in a car.

This is a broader context – we drive cars on roads with people in them in varying conditions. To understand CAR – you have to work back from this and not up from the ignition system. If all the context you have starts from the parts – you MUST get lost. So it is with medicine and cell biology. They fuss about the working parts and the direct linkages. Worse, becuase they focus on direct linkages, they miss the side effects.

For we are NOT MACHINES. We are complex systems nested in complex systems. Their basic metaphor is wrong.

This is why they miss WHY we get ill as we do. They miss the connection between their areas and all others. They miss the truth that there is one simple big idea as to why we get the diseases of modern civilization. And that is this –

We are designed to be naturally healthy – all living beings are – so long as we live our lives inside the parameters of how our nature has evolved. That means that if we eat what we are designed by our nature (How we have evolved) to eat AND if we live in social systems that suit our nature best (Think of how all our hunter gatherer ancestors lived) and if we inhabit our bodies and the natural world as we have evolved to do ( Be active and outside a lot) The we will be healthy.

This is true because of the systems aspect of our context. Get the optimal systems fit and our system will do fine. We are NOT machines with simple direct causes and effects.

Simple isn’t it? You and I can all use this simple and huge idea.

Just as 150 years ago, we also learned how to combat infection. Also behind that was a huge but simple idea. If we lived in large numbers in a concentrated space, we would set up the ideal systems conditions for infection. Once we learned how germs and vectors like mosquitoes and fleas worked, we could change the systems conditions. At a large scale such as in a big city and on a small scale such as in the OR.

All the mumbo jumbo of pre germ medice was swept away. Only to pop up in how medicine works on chronic disease today.

They will tell you that only if your kid is vaccinated, will you be able to protect her from infection such as measles. But they have missed the history.

We defeated infection not by drugs and not by a speciality in a disease. But by smart use of the knowledge of the systems issues and clever public health.

All these infectious diseases are the product of the modern world. They arise from our living in close contact with animals and other humans. They are novel to all who have not lived a modern (defined as agricultural and urban life). So when they were introduced to people who did not share this life and who therefore had low immunity, they killed millions. Western man killed of most of the natives in the Americas.

All infectious disease is related. It takes hold inside the crucible of close contact between man – animal and man. The plague came from this and so does flu. The breakthrough is not a drug, for the germ or virus will adapt. It is to work in a systems way to break the cycle.

So it is with chronic disease.

All are related. All stem at first from a mismatch in diet and then are amplified by a mismatch in our social and natural environments.

So if you have bad acne, depression and cancer – or arthritis – or IBS or crohns – or worry about alzheimers – or have heart disease – or have their marker and best pathway type 2 diabetes – then know that all are related.

On PEI, the average man becomes disabled by 65 and lives on in this state for 9.7 years. The main cause for this is Type 2 Diabetes.  It is estimated that by 2030 1/3 of the population will have it. So, as more people hit their 60’s and more suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, the need to respond rises exponentially. We live in a time of epidemic and medicine as it is practised today cannot help you.

Diabetes drives many other conditions including cardiovascular disease. PEI adults in 2006 with diabetes had to be hospitalized much more often than those without it. 16 times more often for lower limb amputations. 6 times more often with kidney disease. They had 5 times more heart attacks. 4 times more heart failure. 3 times more strokes. They stayed 3 times longer in hospital. Had 2 times more visits to physicians and 2 times more to specialists

Most diabetics don’t just take one medication, but several. A typical regimen for an adult diabetic after a couple of years of treatment and following the dietary advice of the American Diabetes Association includes Metformin, Januvia, and Actos, a triple-drug treatment that costs around $420 per month. Two forms of insulin (slow- and fast-acting), along with two or three oral medications, is not at all uncommon

You can help yourself by understanding the ideas on this site and on our sister site The 55 Theses

Now how you apply this knowledge is not simple. Changing your diet in a system that pushes the wrong choices on you is hard. You don’t just “Buck Up” when depressed. You don’t just get cured with cancer either.

But knowing what we do now – gives us the kind of start that we all had back in 1880 when the pioneers took on infection and rolled it back in a generation.

Michael and I are working to provide you and policy makers the best context so that you can make the best choices.

 

 

Your Lifespan – Part 2 – How you and I get ill

You get ill when you look like this – this is how I looked aged 59 – I weighed 205 lbs. How I look here has all the signs that you have not lived your life according to the rules.

This is how I looked aged 18 just as I was going out to celebrate my sister’s 16th birthday. I weighed 140 lbs. I was just about to go to South Africa to work as a diamond prospector.  I would walk 11 miles a day in the Kalahari desert and think nothing of it. I was at my peak of fitness.

This story is not all going to be about weight though. It is going to be about knowledge and hope.

This new fat and unfit me was also a new thing. For right up until my late 40’s I was relatively thin and still able to do a lot of things.

Then one day in my 50″s, it seemed as if a switch has been turned on. Each year, I put on a few pounds and became progressively weaker. Then about 58, this process started to accelerate. My knees also were hurting a lot and I was investigating knee replacement! But I thought that all of this was normal.

I thought aged 59, that putting on weight and feeling poorly was my destiny. After all we all get fat and ill as we age – don’t we?

I did try the conventional way – a bit. My wife Robin begged me to lose the tummy. The conventional wisdom meant that I had to take a lot more exercise and I had to eat less. I tried. I signed up and took more exercise but I injured myself and felt awkward and gave up. And I loved my food…. So like so many of us, I was resigned. The “Cure” that all talk about was too hard for me.

Anyway, I told myself that this was my destiny. I would be like all the other people and get ill as I got older. If I had not learned what I know now and if I had done nothing

What had happened to me is surely what has happened to millions – maybe to you too.

When did the “switch” turn on for you and you started to get fat and weak? Do you think that, like me, that this is the new “normal” for you? Do you think that that this is all that is going on?

For what I have learned that this is not all about the weight and the visible?

What is really going on is that inside of you and I is a progression of deterioration that will lead to the chronic diseases that plague us today.

So how and why do we get them? And why do they seem to turn up suddenly as if a switch is thrown? Why is medicine so bad at preventing us from getting them? Why does medicine do such a bad job of “curing” us – for once we get heart disease, we have it. Once we get depression, we have it. Once we get cancer, it can come back. Once we get Type 2 Diabetes, we always have it – NO MATTER what meds we take. The meds do not cure us. They enable us to stay alive in poor health.

Let’s find the answer simply by going back and looking at infection. When we see the model here, we can see the answers to the questions above about chronic disease.

Cholera is always around. But for humans to get it, Cholera has to have an ideal environment to propagate and to spread. Cholera is not spread through the air but through direct contact with human feces. So, if you put a lot of people together and you have no proper sewage disposal system and you allow the sewage to contaminate the water supply, you have the ideal conditions for an epidemic.

Now you can develop a “cure” – (now we know how to treat Cholera – heavy hydration with pure water). But the real cure is to take away the environment that gives cholera the edge. For instance, Cholera is always a threat today when a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane damage sewage or water systems as happened in Haiti. You cannot contain the epidemic by vaccination or treatment. You have to work upstream and fix the sewage system and supply clean water asap.

This chart tells the story. See how most of the scourges of infection were beaten back BEFORE the advent of drugs.

Even TB!

All were “cured” by work on the upstream issue of environment. All these diseases were the product of changes to our social and physical environment caused by Industrialization. It was when millions of us left the small communities that fitted our own nature better. We arrived in the cities knowing nothing of the consequences of overcrowding. We found ourselves in the same predicament as say these animals now!

All these animals will die if they live like this. To prevent this they are given antibiotics as a routine. This is not sustainable and is dangerous as we are breeding super bugs as a result.

The only way that is sustainable is the change the environment. That is what we did for ourselves.

It was John Snow, a Dr, who discovered that Cholera was water born. He was never accepted by the establishment and died before his discovery was accepted. It was Joseph Bazalgette who built the sewers that made it possible for 8 million people to live in London.

We think that medicine “cured” infection. Medical knowledge about the environment for infection was the cure not any vaccine or drug.  But of course Big Pharma and the Medical Profession take the credit and today tell us that the ONLY way to be healthy is to use drugs.

All of this story about how we really conquered infection is true for the Chronic Diseases of our time. They all stem from environmental causes. Which in turn arise because we have not known the consequences of changes we have made to our diet, our work culture and how we live and work.

For just as we can never adapt to living in concentrations of millions without a good sewage system and a secure water supply, we also can never adapt to:

  • Eating a diet that is mainly composed of grains and sugars and other foods such as dairy and legumes
  • Living and working in a culture where we have little or no control or say
  • Losing touch with what our bodies really need in terms of activity, sleep and exposure to the natural world

My getting fat and pre diabetic was all related to not knowing any of this too. I too had no context. I bought the Kool Aid about the fact that I should eat MORE grains and dairy. I had no idea that how much control I had in my life was a key factor in my health. My only thought about my body was that I should “Take more exercise” which is only a fragment of the larger truth and a part of my life where I would have to find the time and pay someone else and do – for me – silly things not connected to what I did every hour of the day.

I also did not know this.

Every animal has evolved to be healthy throughout its life. Evolution would not support a population that had to “carry” a large segment who could not cope.

We humans are no exception. In fact, in all societies where people live according to our design, we remain fit until we die. People who do not eat the modern diet, who have a culture that is more personal and who are active and spend a lot of time outdoors live long and healthy lives. Like this man.

He is from Kitava and he is my age. I hope I can be like him! Don’t you?

Our challenge is time. If you get cholera, you can be well this morning and dead by supper. The impact of Infection is obvious and quick.

But the diseases that we get today are slow building and hidden.

This is the “Switch” I was talking about. You seem fine – and then you have a heart attack. You are thin and in 10 years you are obese. You are fit and then crippled with arthritis. You go off to your routine breast exam and find you have stage 3 cancer.

This moment is different for us also depending on our ancestry. If your ancestry is longer adapted to the modern diet, the switch may not go on until your 50’s. If you are a First Nations person, it may go on right away from birth.

I think this delay and difference has hidden the danger from us all. Not helped by a vast industry – Food and Medicine – that makes a fortune from this and who have captured the media and so public opinion with their message – “Eat more grains and take a pill”.

So in my next post we will explore why we cannot adapt to this any more than we can adapt to drinking water contaminated by feces.

 

 

 

 

 

Your “Lifespan”? – Part 1 – How long have you got before you are really ill?

July 18, 2011 Aging, Context 1 Comment

This is an image that is all about Lifespan. Until the late 1800’s and the discovery of how infection really worked, this was what we all feared. Your child could be well in the morning and dead that night. Entire cities could die in weeks. Most children did die. We have found ways of avoiding this. But actually it was not a drug but public health. It was not medicine but medical knowledge that has extended our Lifespan.

This is our modern equivalent. It shows what is behind the “Healthspan” crisis of our time. When our children are exposed to a number of environments that will cause them to lose their health earlier and earlier and condemn them to a life of illness. They will live but more and more will reach a stage in life where they are so ill that they cannot function as full citizens. Medicine has found no way of preventing this. But it has found a way of keeping us alive – at great cost – when we get these diseases.

You have a greater chance today than 30 years ago in getting – Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, Kidney failure, depression, dementia, arthritis, CFS, IBS, Crohns and many other chronic illnesses. When you get these diseases your ability to work, to look after your self, to be a parent all erode to the point of failure. When you get these diseases the costs to you, your family, your employer and the state are rising so fast that all risk bankruptcy – even the state itself. And the rate of incidence is rising too. More and more of us are going to get these diseases.

“Consider that a National Cancer Institute study projects a 39 percent increase in cancer costs between 2010 and 2020. That figure represents in great part our success in extending the lives of those already afflicted with the disease. Kidney dialysis also has become an economic quagmire. A 150 percent increase in the number of such patients is expected over the next decade. The cost of Alzheimer’s disease is projected to rise from $91 billion in 2005 to $189 billion in 2015 to $1 trillion in 2050 (twice the cost of Medicare expenditures for all diseases now).” (link)

This is a global issue – look at cancer rates in the UK – it is estimated that 42% of Brits will get cancer. (link)

 “There are currently 2 million people living with cancer in the UK and that number is doubling to 4 million over the next 20 years. Yet no one thinks the country can afford to double its spending on cancer,” Devane said.

So what to do? That is the point of this site and the 55 Theses Sister site.

I thought today it is time to make all of this more personal. For in the end this is not about statistics, it is about you and me. Many of these diseases oppress my family and so affect me directly too. It must be the same for you. Who does not have a friend with heart disease, or cancer or depression? You may have them yourself.

So in this series I will make it all about us.

To start, please think about how do you feel about your Healthspan? Have you lost it already? Has a loved one lost it? Do you see signs, as I did, that you are at risk of losing it? Have you done anything for yourself to prevent you from losing your health?

In this context, I will go back with a personal lens and talk about:

  • How do we get these diseases?
  • Why they are all linked – they are in fact the same
  • What is the role of Medicine?
  • What can you do?

But I would like to hear from you? How much Healthspan do you think you will have?

The Great Return – Part 5 – Why Food is the way Home

I have been trying to see how #Paleo is more than a diet. Taking control of our health will in the end be about changing how we live. For our system today not only restricts our diet to shit but treats us like slaves. Tinkering with the system will not alter this. Taking on the system in protest will not either.

So how do most of us take control of our health? It is by overthrowing the system in the same way that it overthrew the Hunter Gatherer system. By establishing a new system that has more power.

This post is all about how they will happen.

“Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they” J J Rousseau – the opening of the Social Contract

Today we think we are free but we are not. None of us are free.

Even Princes have no real control. For we ALL depend on institutions for all the essentials for life.

We all have no control over our food, over our energy, over our shelter, over access to credit and so to work itself. Our children are expensively taught by strangers. Our health itself is controlled by a vast medical empire.

We are not free. We depend on a system as a slave depends on her master or a cow on the farmer.

So how did this come about? It all comes about as a result of the Food System – how we get our food drives the very essence of our culture.

Cavalier_assur2
Our current modern food system is based on the idea of domination. Domination over nature. Domination over people. Domination is our culture.

How we get our food will be the most powerful process we can use to change all of this.

The revolution will not be as a result of protest but of people coming together to grow food in a new way that does not depend on oil, on credit or the industrial food distribution system. That does not depend on Domination but on Cooperation.

It will be based not on small peasant systems that all still depend on agriculture. But on small networked farms that work instead WITH nature. Where we use our new understanding of how nature works to mimic her and to use her forces to help us.

There will be NO PLOUGH. And FEW grains. There will be no CONFINEMENT. Scale will come from aggregation not concentration.

The protein will rotate on grass. The vegetables will be part of that system and also use the principles ofPermaculture. The system will have a positive reinforcement. Each part will help the others and over time, most of the work will be done by nature herself.

Assyrianmap
We will get here not as a result of any Utopian dream but in the same way that the Assyrians pushed out the local Hunter Gatherers. This was not adoption but evolution – the system that could field the armies won.

The shift to a new food system will be finally achieved when enough of us live in the new that the old will have to die.

At first some of us will adapt to this because we will have no choice. With no jobs, no money, expensive oil, no credit – we die or evolve. We evolve by growing a new system that does not need the old system.

As more and more of us find a place here, the old system loses it power. More and more people will be attracted to it because it gives them what they cannot find in the old system.

The old system demands vast amounts of capital and energy. To pay for this, it has to rely on us slaves to pay. Well soon we will not be able to pay. So the old will be defeated by its own inability to fund itself and to find the energy that it needs.

What would it take? It is so vulnerable now that it 15% of us left it forever, I think it would fall. For that is the Tipping Point moment.

So how would this shift start? I think like all new systems. It will take a few pioneers who can see the choices. So in closing – here are some pictures of the old followed by the new. Do you see what I see?

Here is what the 2 systems look like side by side.

This cannot survive a system failure

6a00d83451db7969e201156fc96bd0970c-800wi
This can

6a00d83451db7969e201156fc96c6d970c-800wi
This cannot survive a system failure

Feedlot.jpeg

This can

6a00d83451db7969e20147e1ad2623970b-800wi
This cannot survive a system failure

Mexcity
This can

Ctown

So here is the choice. Which system do you want to bet on? Do you have kids or grand children? Now ask again which system do you want to bet on?

Here is your next choice. Will you wait and see how this develops? Or will you work to help this change come?

Will you fight this or embrace it? If fight, how will your kids benefit?

Getting home may be a hard struggle. What immigrant ever had it easy. But the New World we make, could be a much better one that the one we have. And surely our kids will thank us.

This is also not about “Them” versus “Us” – for as JJR said We are all in Chains, even the overseers. For we are prisoners of an idea.

Be the Change! How Michael Rose and PEI Saved me

Here I am in August 2009 – pre diabetic – a typical middle aged man. I thought that this was my destiny – that all men of my age had to be like this.

Rob at beach 09

But after talking with Michael Rose and then 9 months of eating differently and being more active – this is who I am now

Robsummer011

Not thin – but 35 pounds less and importantly most of my visceral fat has gone as have my man boobs.

With luck, I should be able to be healthy and fit and like this until I die. With luck I have pulled back from the normal on PEI where the average man aged 65 is disabled by ill health and then lives for another 10 years a drain on his family and the state.

My aim was not just to lose weight6 – this is so much more than just another diet. It was to return my body to its designed natural state which woudl allow me to plateau. To keep have a long “Healthspan”.

We talk all the time about Lifespan – but for me what counts is how long can I live and be healthy? My “healthspan”.

So how did I do this in such a short time?

Most of this has taken place as a result of a change in diet – I gave up most modern foods – grains – dairy – legumes. I do cheat now and then too. I am not perfect.  Routinely, I eat no processed food though – drink no pop or beer unless I am travelling and then very very rarely – I am only human!

I do drink a lot of wine. 3-4 glasses a day.

I don’t eat any kind of candy and no sugar at all.

I am never hungry. I rarely need to snack and if I do, I tend to have a few nuts.

I did spinning for 2 months in the late winter once a wek – but most of my “exercise” is activity based. Why pay for a gym when I can stack 4 cords of wood!

I feel so much better. Lighter – not just in weight but in spirit. My knees don’t hurt. You put a back pack on with 35 pounds of bricks in it and walk all day and you might see why my knees hurt.

My blood tests are of a 25 year old. I sleep well.

I work at a standing desk and can do that all day now without getting too tired. It took 2 months to be my new normal and is now. I garden, move wood, use the stairs and walk the dog.

Now it helps also that I have a ot of control in my life. I work for myself and Robin and I have a hunter gatherer life. We do a bit of this and that. I don’t have a lot of cash in hand but I din’t rely on one key person to pay me. By giving up my expensive life and big mortgage in Toronto, I have no debt.

By living not in a rush, I have time for my friends and family and have time to do a lot of work for free – to spend weeks with my kids – to help others on what they want.

I go to bed early and rise with the sun. I work outside all year. If it is not mowing – it’s shovelling. I walk our dog every day rain, snow, wind or shine.

I belong to a few great tribes of people that I love – who do the great work of our time. My life is an adventure again.

Changing my way of eating was in fact the easiest and fastest way back to health.

Leaving my old life in the big city and the big world was harder to do. It took maybe 10 years to complete the change and took me to the limit. I had to kill off the old me and leave my old life behind.

Coming to PEI saved me. And so did Michael Rose

The Great Return – Part 4 – The Inquisition and Why it always fails

Gandhi
First they ignore you – then they laugh at you – then they fight you – then you win.

Today I am going to explore how we are about to experience all of this as we see the power of the Corporate World – more powerful than the Empire in India – go down. We see it now in media but we will see the final battle in the arena of health and food.

It is going to be in this area where the public will awake and discover how they and their children have been betrayed. I will show you today how betrayal is the key flash point of revolution that spreads the meme beyond the initiating cadre to the mass. 

All Imperialists from Rome to Britain and the Institutional/Corporate World have had the best of intentions. For after all Rome did actually do a lot good things. But the price of Empire is loss of freedom. And in the end this is what we all want. Espcially if Empire can no longer offer good roads, peace and justice etc.

The road to Freedom often starts with a funny man in a dhoti. How the Titans of the Empire laughed at Gandhi then. 

This process of ignoring – laughing – fighting and losing is what happens to the establishment in any paradigm shift. Who in 1935 could imagine the British Empire leaving India?

Who can imagine the Corporate Titans of our own time losing control of us?

Today time speeds by – what took decades now takes years. The Mad idea of working with nature and using her models, is very new. Maybe only 20 years old. In terms of a coherent way of eating and its relation to food maybe a decade. Blogging about this began in 2005!

In less than 6 years, millions are involved. The time of “Ignoring” has past.

The old system’s immune system has been alerted. And the laughing and the attacks have begun.

Paleo” is being talked about by the mainstream media as a joke – the Caveman Diet. Just another fad. Ignoring the point that this is not a diet but part of a larger context of health – that of aligning how we live to our evolutionary past.

Expect more “Jokes”.

The “Attack” is all about Food Safety.

We are seeing concerted attacks on people who raise animals in a truly safe way – small egg flocks – people growing veggies in their front yard. They tell the mainstream that this food is not safe. Ignoring that the factory systems food is at the centre of our long term chronic health crisis.

Expect more attacks designed to raise the fear of the public and fear among the pioneers.

Autodefe
They will “burn” them as heretics. In modern terms they will humiliate us and take away our livliehood. And do it all in the context of keeping the rest of us safe from heresy. 

The establishment are powerful not just because they have a few Titans at the top but because there are so many functionaries below them. People who make their living and have their power as a result of being in the system. 

But the smart revolutionary does not attack this group. They depend utterly on the Titan. When he goes they go too. The News of the World staff get fired and cannot be rehired. The Mubarak inner circle and support melt away when their man falls.

But they cannot be ignored – they will be the ones who attack the new. Not the Titan himself.

You cannot win by attacking this system directly. They will crush you.

You win by allowing them to commit an outrage on you! It’s very Zen!

The Titans destroy themselves by going too far in their attacks. At some point they outrage the sleeping people. 

Massacre
In India, the innocents were killed at Armritsar

Look at what is going on in England now. The entire political class in the UK now has to step back from Murdoch. His henchmen/women have gone too far.

The people did not mind the Hugh Grants of the world or the Royals being hacked. But they cannot tolerate the families of war dead, of murdered children being the targets. And now that Gordon Brown has been seen as being defiled by the Titan, all can see that the only way ahead now to to sweep Murdoch away.

The people move when THEY feel the injustice and the betrayal.

So now to us. What will be the moment?

I see two tracks tnat interact. The power of social media and the increase in awareness that we are all being betrayed by the system.

The power of social media means that the secrets of the Titans can no longer be hidden. The big betrayals are amplified by social media. The power of social media means that dictators can no longer oppress their people without the world looking on. The more they assault their own people – such as in Libya and Syria – the more inevitable it is that they lose.

So what about us in the west. The scale of the deception and so betrayal builds every day.

  • The War in Iraq was based on a lie
  • We have also lost in Afghanistan trying to support the unsupportable
  • The press is being shown to be mainly in the pockets of its owners – it has done its best to hide the truth
  • Wall Street owns the recovery and the people are bereft – there is no growth in employment
  • The young in Europe and the old are shut out
  • The Euro zone and America’s credit are on the knife edge but we were told that we have to pay back the bankers

Meanwhile the old contract is being destroyed

  • The pensions that boughtv our obediance when we worked for them are going
  • The schools and roads that we paid for are in ruins
  • The justice system is being gamed
  • Even our water system is for sale
  • We don’t own our homes annymore
  • Our children did all we asked and there are no jobs
  • We are told that we are not safe and our liberties are removed

You can add to this list – the reasons for consent are melting.

All of this is coming out of the New Media and the stories get bigger and get more traction every day – the Titans are shown not to care about us. They are shown to be cynical manipluators.

And now we come to the big lie – that our health and old age will be looked after by a Ponzi scheme of the transfer payments. 

This demographic and fiscal crisis will be the battle ground where the revolt will take place.

Rising oil and food prices and the debt crisis will all come together and the people will have nothing to lose by taking the risk of leaving the system. 

The entire basis of the western deal with its people will unravel and the people will be betrayed just when they are the most vulnerable.

So what to do? What do you and I do? Not easy question to answer but just as there are patterns of history that show us how true paradigm revolts take place, there are patterns that can help us see our best choices and what will happen in a pattern sense as the revolt gets under way.

Check back in a couple of days.

 

Great Return – Part 3 – The Rules of the New World#2

This post is written in July of 2011 – The Murdoch New Empire, the Police in the UK and the Tories in the UK are being rocked.

I think that we are living through a period where the Network is destroying the Hierarchical power of the establishment.

We can see now that this revolution began in the Arab world but now, this July, we are seeing that the Network is a real threat to the most powerful in the west as well.

I think that history will show that power is shifting from the Machine Institution to the Network.

This will be a real revolution unlike 1917 that merely replaced one top down regime for another. 

This is more like 10,000 years ago when a new food system changed everything about how humans lived and their place in the world. 

I think that the forces that will take us there are now in motion. Not the least that millions of people have been cast out by the old system. That many of these millions are well educated and have the personal power to act. These are the kind of people that drove the French and the American Revolutions that in their own day also cast down the old power system.

They are likely people just like you my dear readers. We are the immigrants in the brand new world that we will make for ourselves  – not in a new place but in a new “Space” that we create ourselves.

Ellis

Without knowing it, you have just left Ellis Island and you are in this strange New World.

How strange this all is. 

Fortunately the pioneers have been here for some time and this post will show you what the new rules are and how best to get around in this new place and to realize its potential. 

In essence – people here in the New New World – or New World#2 – live the lives of the Hunter Gatherers – they live lives much like all hominids and Humans have lived for millions of years. But with a difference, now we know how all of this works. We know the science and we have tools that empower us to be this old way anew.

So let’s wander around NW#2 and see how they live and work. Let’s see the models they use. 

And by the way – all of this exists for real today – just in a very small and scattered form. It just needs organization to come to life.

Home and Work – Home is that old fashioned Home where we all live and work.

For in NW#2 we mainly work from home for ourselves or in tribal groups – some partners are next door but some are the other side of the world. 

We don’t just do one thing either – the bigger cash generating deals are like a hunter bringing home an elk and get paid in cash by the larger system. But we do a lot of gathering for no money. We trade services with each other – I do some work on your site, you give me veggies. We offer up our place for rent and move in with our sister who lives down the road and we split the money.  

We don’t just sell services either. With our network of 3D printers and jigs we can make almost anything locally. Hey we even make cars using the Wiki Car Company – an open source design for cars that uses a series of chassis’s that we then adapt to create unique one off cars. For less cost than a mega car plant – we don’t have their fixed costs.

More than 50% of the things we need – we make locally. All are built using Open Source designs.

The result is that there is work here for all. 

What were hobbies become “Livings”. Your weaving, your knitting, your soap making, your talent for music or knowledge of astronomy, your mechanical genius, your coding, your cooking, your green thumb, your strong back, your relationship with children – your real skills – the real you.

No one gets super rich but all can be very comfortable and secure. Secure because no outsider can take away your living. For we are so interconnected. The gap between producer and consumer has been closed. We are always both.

Our children grow up in the middle of all of this. They see what their parents do to make a Living. They participate early too – either to help the family or to play their own role. Many children have their own Living. The gap between helpless child hood and being a participant is tiny. 

For the kids too are not shunted off into a world separate from life called school or youth.

Nor are our babies and infants given away to strangers. In our physical community we help each other a lot with the little kids. We spend very little money on daycare or nannies. We have family close, we have other families in the same boat – we have a good system. The kids also have access to tremendous resources from all over the world. They have lots of mums and dads – as kids always used to have. There are lots of Eyes on the Street in our place.

Our teachers are very different too. They are not “professionals”. They are largely us.

Our older kids meet in study groups and use materials from the web. If they have a question that they cannot solve themselves – they can access the local learning network for advice. This local Network extends all over the world. Our kids can talk to the best teachers in the world and they do. 

We used to pay a lot of money to educate our kids for not very good results. We now pay a fraction of this and our kids have learned to learn and they mix with really talented people. They don’t need a piece of paper to show what they have learned. They have a reputation that has been earned.

Food

So where did all the teachers go? Where did all the people with non jobs go?

In the old country almost no one did any work to get or prepare food. In the NW#2 food and energy is where most of the work is done. Everybody contributes here. In 2000, less than 5% of people worked to produce food and most of them were no more than slaves.

Now 85% of us participate in one way or another in food and energy.

About 30% of the food we eat is grown locally – and we are in Montreal. There are gardens on roofs – front yards – back yards in public spaces. Small animals too – chickens are everywhere and there are goats and sheep in town.

Nearly everyone spends time on growing and preparing food – we grow a lot on our own or in local groups in the community and we also help out in the country.

The rail service to the surrounding farm land is working well again and 50% of our food comes in from the direct hinterland. Many also go out there and help work for food. We help with the cultivating and harvest – for the Community Ag Model that we use, integrates the customer into the producer. That way we we keep the costs down for all. No immigrant slaves here – we belong to farm groups as helper/consumers. CSA on steroids.

Consequently, we pay very little money for food. But food growers do well. We all benefit from the Network Effect.

Farming itself is very different too. We also work WITH nature and not against her. She does more and more of the work as a result.

Farms tend to be small – about 100 acres and worked by a family and by the neigbours.

Those growing veggies mainly use Permaculture that needs no external inputs and that has yields that rise every year and where the work also falls. In many of these mini farms, the main work of the year is harvest.

Almost no machines are required. Almost no external inputs and certainly no agri chemicals.

Those with animals use a pasture system made famous by Polyface farms where grass and woodland provide the base and we rotate animals on the grass thus building up the base year by year.

In our food system, vitality grows every year. The natural capital increases and our need for external energy reduces.

We used to have no time and so had to pay cash for everything – now we have time we don’t need as much cash. THIS is the central big idea in New World#2.

Like Open Source Software we trade goods and services a lot for no money – we do have an exchange now – so the Ledger can be converted into currency of needed. This was how the old country store used to operate. 

Energy/Travel – You cannot replace oil as a convenient source of energy – but oil is very expensive in the New World#2. So how do we still have a great life? We have redesigned how we live to reduce the need for oil.

This is why the home and the local community has become the centre. We had to go far away every day to work and school and to get anything. Now most of those routine trips in the car are not essential any more. The need to drive everywhere has been designed out of the system.

Some of us do go to face to face distant meetings now and then – it is always vital to meet face to face. But these occasions tend to be rare and are often largely social – the point is to bond again.

When we travel we mainly take some time and we tend to stay with each other or rent a place from a person. Co Working places are ubiquitous. Few have offices that are exclusively theirs except at home. Why would you pay to have an office all for yourself?

The Global Co Working Network also allows you to have an office in any town, city our country. 

Energy/Climate

Heat in the winter up north and cooling in the summer in the south demand significant energy. Here design has helped too.

Much of the sunbelt, short of water and boiling hot has lost much of its population. Those that remain have gone back to building design that fits this climate. Adobe is common again. Even here permaculture works and, as was tested in the desert in Israel, is able to produce food and this practice is gaining ground on the desert itself.

Here up north in Montreal, the typical co-housing of Montreal East was designed with winter in mind. With neighbours alongside and above and below, heating demand has been reduced further by insulation.

Community heat and stoves using waste fibre are common.

Large scale and long Distance Energy

The truck is no longer the centre of the system. Most things are made locally – much is recycled locally – even steel. We trade things we can’t grow or make.

As back in time – water is the way that really heavy goods are carried. The seaboards and river and canal systems are the new/old highways for heavy goods. 

We have time now so we too use the trains and ships. 

Health

Big Industrial food no longer makes sense with very expensive oil. In the old country we used to spend a fortune on health. But now we eat so much better, we are so much more active, so much less stressed, we are naturally mainly very healthy and fit.

Grains depend on factory farms, serfs or slaves. Oil is too expensive and no one wants to be a slave anymore. So very little grain is grown anymore. We eat meat, that is grass fed, veggies fruit and nuts. This was and is our ideal diet.

So Big Pharma has little place here either. We are all working hard at breeding better animals and seeds that fit our local enviroment.  We share this knowledge around the world. Big Ag has no place in this vast cooperative effort – for if we fail here, we starve. The IP issue has gone away for the system that could enforce it has collapsed.

Most research now uses an Open Source Model – for we all benefit.

So what about the  Medical professionals?

Of course, if you have an accident, we use the Dr’s. Specialists operate all over the world too. Even a small community hospital can have a world class surgeon operate – for she is in her community and telemedicine is the norm now.

But there are not that many doctors – and the ones we have are oustanding. But we don’t need a lot of them, because so few of us are ill. 

The frontline healthcare system is now run by Health Facilitors who help us in groups work out how to get control of our health back. We pay them to keep us healthy. Health is all about matching our lives to our design.

Media

We get our news and information from each other. The old highly centralized media system was show to be what is was a shill for ther old system. They were largely made irrelevant as their role was exposed. And then their costs brought them down.

Most people have a voice now. A profound shift in human consciousness.

There is still an entertainment business but it is more of an aggregator. We don’t need as much distraction as we used to. With a more full real life, we need to depend less on a fantasy life.

So how did we get here?

No social engineering brought this about. Much of the pioneer work was done in the 1990’s. But it will be desparation that takes us here. Cities that can go no lower such as Detroit are along the path now. 

We will get here because the people who were cleared by the landlords will have no choice. We have to eat. We have to have work. We have to raise our kids. We have to have our health. In the old world all of these things are provided by the institutions. They are shutting us out. We either cannot afford them – such as healthcare or what they offer – such as public school – is rotten.

So we will do what we have to and create an alternative world alongside the old world.

In this new world, by using the network effect and open systems we will dramatically undercut the sunk costs and rigidities of the old world. We will drive them out of existence.

This weekend as I write this – we can see this process in action. The Bastille has been stormed. It’s early days but we can feel our power and sense the weakness of the regime.

BUT they will not go quietly and the attacks we see on local food systems and the massive effort to protect IP in things such as seeds is a sign of their fear.

In my next post – The Inquisition and how to defeat it.

The Great Return – Part 2 – The “Industrial Clearances” and what they mean to you

Are all of us, who are today unemployed or under employed or never to be employed, failures and misfits?

I think that most of us think that we are in some way bad people. I think that, even as we hang up our Consulting Shingle, or our Craft Shop sign or offer our availability to do free work or volunteer work – or just wonder where the rent cheque will come from – still hope that we will once again get a “real job” that pays enough to give us a life.

I think we want to go home to a nice job.

Well my dear friends, I don’t think that is going to happen.

I think we are seeing a return of an early pattern. When the hunters became unemployed when all the big game died off 10,000 years ago. Or more recently when the landowners “Cleared” their agricultural peasants of the land.

We are the new displaced.

This is not your grand father’s layoff. This is not another downturn or recession. We live today at the turning point when one culture and its power system and economy will be decisively replaced by a new one.

In this context, those jobs are NEVER coming back. But all is not lost. WE have been here before and I think I see how we can see ourselves in a new and more hopeful light. Where we can create an entirely new economy for ourselves with each other. A new economy that will give us the opportunity for a much better life than the one we failed to hold onto or even get a taste of.

There are so many of us now – mainly the young and the middle aged – that we have reached a critical mass. All we have to do is to “SEE” the opportunity. The New Hunter Gatherer Economy.

So this is what really is going on – this is the pattern and this is where I think we might go.

History_clearances_325x325

The Industrial Revolution created its workforce by using new methods of agriculture to throw the people off the land. Waves of displaced peasants who had lived and farmed for millennia in rural villages in Europe were literally thrown out. They went to the new cities and their factories or to the New World.

They could never return. Their displacement was vital to the birth of industrial society. Not a good thing but a key systems factor.

By 1905, thanks to Henry Ford, wages in this sector had begun to offer a middle class life for labourers. Not an easy struggle to get there. But by 1950 it was normal to be able to life a good life with few deep skills. By 1970, the more literate could live an even better life in an office setting.

But then the process of Globalization began.

Rustbelt

7 billion people tied into a global trading system drives wages to the basement.

Empty cube

What started on the factory floor now affects white collar work as well. Now even call centres.

For those of us in the West with Western expenses, we are put in an impossible bind. We cannot compete with global wages.

Agmachine

Now Technology is accelerating this displacement and is stripping the work itself out of the system.

Planting in 1600 needed the entire village. In 1750 it could be done by one man and a horse. No land owner was going to bring back his old workforce.

As with farm technology in the 1750’s, machines and computers can do so much of what we used to do. Labour on its own in an industrial or office setting is also being replaced irrevocably by machines and technology.

Robots

The Jobs are not coming back and the jobs for our kids will never be there.

Chart-en
This is current data from OECD and Statistics Canada.

Unemployed

This is the modern equivalent of the Highland Clearances.

All the puffery of the politicians about getting behind job creation is misguided. How can the jobs come back in Europe or North American when our living costs are so high compared to places like China?

For all our key costs in the west are based on the old model. Housing, energy, education, health, food – all of these are based on the old reality and are systems costs based on the cost of the industrial and centralized model.

How can we bring the well paying labour based jobs back when technology has made us truly redundant?

OK enough doom and gloom – do you get my point though? The well paying jobs for routine work cannot come back. And here is the proviso – so long as we hang onto the industrial model!

So where is the hope and also the health? For this kind of stress – low self esteem – low status – lack of a sense of meaning is a killer.

The hope is here – that there are millions of us with talent and energy – old and young – who have nothing to lose by “Immigrating” to the Real New World Economy. The New Personal Networked Economy. Where the Household Oikonomia. Where the Household/Tribe is the core unit.

The irony of where we are going is that we the Displaced will have the tools that will take on the industrial economy on and decisively beat it.

Where we will use the new tools that empower the small and the network that gives scale and power to the aggregated small.

In the next post I will go into some detail about what this may look like – but here are a few teasers.

One thing that all of us share is that we don’t have much money and we worry about how we will afford to buy the things and services that we need.

  • Food – But if you grew your own or shared growing food with others – you would have food – Now you have the time to do this as millions are finding out. We can eat REAL food at a cost we can afford and employ a lot of us. We can also gain independence from the system. The key will be to learn how best to work WITH nature. The system which is based on oil has to fail anyway – this way we can get ready for the day and have a new more viable system in place. 
  • Paid work – New technology will enable you to sell your services and products personally and directly. We offer something that THEY cannot – Trust – we can offer authentic and truly good and safe things – THEY can’t
  • Manufacturing – New Technology – 3D Printers now enable the most complex things to be made locally – no more big factories. More true freedom – craft and skill returns to work
  • Energy – We can never replace oil in its ease of use – but we can redesign our lives and energy systems to do well. In doing so we can be free of depending on Big Oil. How and where we live and work is a big part of this as is a new food system that is integrated into our energy system.
  • Health Insurance and Care – With this kind of life we recreate the environmental fit that we need to be naturally healthy. Our dependence on Big Pharma will be broken
  • Day Care – If you worked from home you can work around this as parents did for all time before our own – Freelancers are recreating the old home economy – where all is centred on the home and the tribe
  • High Quality Education – All there today online waiting for you now – Homeschooling will offer more and better than any school and then if enough near you are doing this – you can have all the sports and social too
  • 2 cars or more – Essential for job families – Not for Freelancers – your energy costs will drop
  • Housing – You don’t have to move all the time to get work anymore. You may just make one more move to a place where all of this is emerging
  • Pensions – Where will the money come from to pay for me when I am old? – You will have a role and work in the tribe – if you are prepared to contribute
  • Elder care – Not if you rearrange how your family works – more labour at home and a real role for grandma and grandpa – I am ready!

So where are we Immigrants going too?

I think to a more dispersed and more stable pattern of settlement.

We are in the 1740’s in America – with the early colonies. Colonists who still have to obey the King’s rule and the King’s men.

But in a short time, we will start to organize. Our power will grow. In the end, the King’s men and all his power will not be enough to subdue us – we will create our own place.

And then my friends, the words of the Statue of Liberty will call out again:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

And millions will answer.

Next I will share the details of how the the pioneers are buildong this new system – it is all here in fractal form.

The Great Return Part 1 – Getting back our right relationship with Nature – A series

Is the Paleo diet just another fad diet? Is Crossfit just another fad fitness craze?

They are not – and you should not dismiss them.

They are in fact the early signs of a new revolution in human society, economy and culture. A revolution where we return to working with nature and where we accept that we too are part of nature.

Where we accept that trying to dominate nature and so each other is an idea that is taking us and much of life on the planet to doom.

For we can only abuse the rules of Nature so far and we can only abuse our own nature so far and Nature will push back. And when she does, we lose. The Natural world and our own Nature is not infinitely plastic.

Nature can take a lot of damage but a Tipping Point will arrive when we go too far. We can only take so many fish out of the sea, clog up the atmosphere with only so much CO2, lose only so much topsoil, use more water than we have.

The same is true for us as part of Nature. We can eat junk food, live in crazy circumstances and in crazy social and political systems – for a time. But when we do, nature will push back at us too.

For the planet is a closed natural system with key rules. And so are we. The closer the planet is to its interacting norms, the more it can support life. And the same is true for us.

Millions of years of evolution have set up an ideal set of environments, food, social, physical in which we are designed to be at peak health and happiness. The closer we live our lives to this set of ideal environments, the healthier and happier we will be, (Thesis #2). Conversely, the further away we live our lives from these ideals, the worse our health and our happiness.

We live today at a time when most of us live as far away from Nature and our Nature that is possible. She is pushing back harder and harder. As more of us get sick and as change to climate makes life hell for millions. we see her as the enemy but in fact, she has always rewarded those that work with her.

Our only chance as a species is to “Go Home”. To go home to working with her.

The beauty of this impending revolution is that we know how to be in this new relationship with nature and each other – for we are hardwired to do this. We have just been distracted by 10,000 years of a phase of development. Maybe we have been like teens – all about me? Maybe this is our time to be young parents and be a true member of the community of life again?

Ideally we are designed for this new/old relationship with nature and our nature – the life of a Hunter Gatherer.

Does this mean we have to go home to the caves and wear skins? No – no more than at the time of the Renaissance, we went back to wearing Togas. No it’s all about ideas and principles and mindset.

Men and women in the 15th century applied ideas that had been forgotten and even prohibited to how they lived their lives and so created the modern world. A world based on observation rather than dogma.

What I think could happen now is the same. We can and should use the PRINCIPLES of the Hunter Gatherer World to design the Post Industrial and Post Agricultural Society that will have to evolve to help us get though Peak Oil and Climate Change.

This series will explore how this is taking place – without any “Plan” or leader. The new world is naturally emerging as it should be! But what I think we can do is accelerate the process of transformation by seeing it more clearly.

For to “Get There” all we have to do is to accept that we are there – all Dorothy had to do to go home was to say “I want to go home”.

For “Home” is deep inside us. It waits only for us to say yes. All we need to know to do well in this New/Old World is hard wired inside us. All it has to be is remembered.

You and I can immigrate to this New World today.


Then the “New World” was a place.

Today the New New World is a State of Mind. We don’t have to get on a boat. We just have to see ourselves in a new light. The moment we do, we have arrived at the pier. Life will still be hard, it always is for immigrants. But few who got off at the pier ever wanted to go back to the old country.

So in this series I hope to paint you a picture of what this new country will be like. You might see that you are almost there. I doubt that many of you will be surprised. The ideas are not new they are older than us. But we have forgotten them.

So I offer you not a new book but a mirror. And at the heart of it all is the heart and love and the acceptance of our true place. We will, as Paul hoped for, have grown up.

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

Here then is the structure of the series:

1. In the next post “The Emergent New Hunter Gatherer Society”: we will see how the new Unemployed, the Under Employed and the Freelancers are not failures or misfits but are New Immigrants who are in engaged in a massive new project – to redesign our economy and food system using these principles. We are creating this new world for ourselves and for our children because we don’t fit the existing system and worse it works against our real needs.

2. “The Principles of HG Life as they are practised today”: We will extract the principles from the emergent patterns and see how they can be used as our guide for making our own choices and how they put meaning on our lives. What can each of us do to disconnect us from the old system and connect us to the new?

3. “The Principles of Real Revolution”: The full power of the old system is lined up and is already pushing back at the new. “THEY” know we have their number and they know we are death to them and they will fight tooth and nail to defeat us. So it is important for us to know how to deal with this and people like Gandhi and Havel show us the way.

4. “The Heart of the Matter – Food”: There are several factors that shape human culture. Our primary energy source, climate, our primary communication tools. So Peak Oil, Climate Change and the Web will rock the old system and make the birth of the new essential. For the old system cannot cope with these changes. But the real deal is the food system. How we get our food is THE most powerful factor is shaping human society, culture and so power. What will it be about the new food model that is the Game CHanger? Why will it set you free? Why will it change everything – where and how you live and who has power and who does not.

You and I can go home – all we have to do is to change our mind about who we are and where we are.

Here is a piece that make me cry every time I read it out loud – it says it all for me.

There will come a time when humanity will choose to go against nature, to exploit her bounteous gifts, causing a sickness across the planet. People will forget the ecstasies of communion, and life will become drab and colorless.

In these coming dark ages, though, a deep sense of loss will cause the beginnings of a Great Return. They will look at the landscape and the old temples, built to withstand the cataclysms of millennia and understand once again the sacred laws of Existence.

When this day comes, humanity will have come of age. It will consciously acknowledge its role in the creative impulse that comes from the Sun, fertilizes the Earth, and calls forth the flame in the hearts of men and women to worship Life and the miraculous forces behind Creation.

Miller, Hamish & Broadhurst, Paul. The Sun and the Serpent: An Investigation into Earth Energie

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What is the Missing Human Manual All About?

Do you want to age well? Most of us do. If you are my age, 60, this is more important a question that if you are 30. But most of us would not wish to have heart disease, cancer, dementia when we get old.

Most of us think it is normal that we will get ill like this.

But science today tells us that this is not "Normal". Our evolutionary past designed us to be active and fit until we drop dead. Why? Because raising human children takes so long. Mature adults had to do most of the hard work enable us to invest up to 25 years in our kids.

We are designed by our evolution to reach a plateau of fitness in mid life. So why do most of us not live like this?

We don't because, we have strayed away from the best way of living that fits our evolution best. Our culture has got too far ahead of our biology. We eat foods that make us ill. We have lost our social identity and power and that makes us ill. And we have lost touch with the circadian rhythms of the Natural World, and that has made us ill too.

We have lost our fit with our true nature.

This site will be a Manual. It will show you what the best fit is. It will show you the science behind this. It will share with you some methods for getting your fit back with your true human nature.

So welcome to the "Missing Human Manual" . I hope that we can help you and I hope that you can help others as a result.

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