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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
But I would like to hear from you? How much Healthspan do you think you will have?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
But after talking with Michael Rose and then 9 months of eating differently and being more active – this is who I am now
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
It seems that the only people speaking the truth these days are comedians – sad
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.
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.
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.
Meanwhile the old contract is being destroyed
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
7 billion people tied into a global trading system drives wages to the basement.
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.
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.
The Jobs are not coming back and the jobs for our kids will never be there.
This is current data from OECD and Statistics Canada.
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.
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.
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.
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
In this last post of this series, I will explore the downside and the upside of our special tribal Gael and First Nations culture in rural Canada and America.
We have seen that there are many physical reasons why those who live in big cities tend to be thinner/healthier than the rest of us who live in rural settings.
We have seen that a major factor is also status. In a city like Paris, London or New York you are part of the elite of the Industrial world. In rural areas like PEI or Louisiana we get the crumbs of this system. They tell us what we can have and it’s not much.
We have seen that our ancestry plays a role too. Most of us are Gaels or First Nations. We are the last of the Western Hunter Gatherers and so we are the least adapted to the modern diet.
Today we are going to look at our culture. This too is a factor in why we mainly live in places outside the best oportunities in the industrial system. It is why if we have to leave to go to the big city for work, we long to come home. To come home to a place where there are few jobs. It is why we like the seasonal nature of our system.
We don’t want to make working for the man the centre of our life.
Our Hunter Gatherer culture is a powerful force that lingers on in us. Culture hard wires into behaviour. You can see this easily in dogs. A Border Collie that has never seen a sheep will still have all its cultural wiring in place to herd. Even a Pekenese will defend her owner as she was once a guard dog.
So do we. For, underneath the veneer of modernity, we Gaels and Native North Americans are still Tribal Warriors.
This is a reason why we are not well adapted to industrial life. This is why if given a chance we want to live on PEI, in Appalachia or in a tribal setting.
Not having been farmers for millenia we don’t do “clock” very well. We don’t like to be told what to do. We love working out doors and don’t like the inside that much. We don’t take well to roles that are not earned. We like to know who people really are by reputation. “Who is your father?” is not a stupid question. Nicknames based on character are common. Your name is very important. Your family is important. Your place is important.
This has meant that we make poor peons and serfs.
So our health is further compromised by poor opportunity and poor fit with the prevailing system. We remain the outcasts and the edge dwellers. We are the butt of jokes and predjudice. We have among the lowest status in our nations.
But I think that we are just the right people to get our power back when a new form of Tribal/Networked/Local/Dispersed econonmy takes over from the impersonal money based power based Industrial system.
We have the best chance to get our health back by going back to our traditional diet. And we are best suited to a new economy that is based on the personal, the trusted and the tribe.
Those who laugh at us now will find life outside their comfort zone very challenging.
That is quite a statement. So I will post a series on this next week. I will explore the new emerging reality of the new Tribal Economy where people live again, but in modern circumstances, the lives of Hunter Gatherers.
But in closing this post on Canada day weekend and with July 4th on Monday – I would like to show you how much we have in common with each other. I would like to show you what special people we are.
We love to dance.
We love music
Our women are tough and noble
My Great Great Aunt Marguerite (Mackenzie) Allan – who lost these,both her daughters, on the Lusitania, her son on his first mission and who stayed on and founded a hospital to look after wounded Canadians.
Our men are tough and noble
We are a warrior society
We love our place.
I think that our future is in remembering our past.
It is in bringing our cultures back to the fore. It is seeing the principles that embody them and in applying them to how we live our lives again.
The hunter gatherer and heroic society has been crushed by the Industrial culture – crushed but not broken.
The next economy will be Tribal – parts of it are here already. It will be possible – no essential – to master the culture of the hunter gatherer again. I don’t mean live the exact life but the DNA of that life.
A life lived where, once again, the kind of man and woman you are is your “brand”. Where your wealth is your tribe and how your peers regard you. Where none of your economic eggs are all in one basket. A life where you have real skills. Skills that can’t be learned in 3 years from a series of books but have to be absorbed by working alongside others. A life where there is no separation between work and family. An economy, where your kids grow up with you and your wider family and learn from your life and the stories of their family.
A life where the meal and sharing food is the centre of the system. Where we know where our food comes from. A life where home is a place we would die for.
Next week I will put flesh on these bones. But for now, as we take pride in our wider nations of Canada and America, let us also take pride in our tribes.
Most new comers to “Paleo” think of it as just another fad diet. And we have had so many of them. And they ALL FAIL – so why would this be any different? It is different because it is not a diet but a call for us to heal ourselves from the damage that the industrial world has done to us. Food is a big part of this, but as readers of this blog know, there is so much more. Here Here Here Here
Here then is a call to all those who worry about diets and wonder if Paleo is for them:
Evolution doesn’t like this very much. That’s why we’re so sick in body and in mind these days. While most people seem pretty content to trade health and happiness with yummy tasting foods (or non-foods as I like to call them), a whole lot of others are questioning the validity of eating all their meals out of plastic containers only to wash it down with pills out of plastic bottles.
So, they head off to the Internet in search of answers. A Google search on a healthy diet yields the usual suspect:
1. the vegetarian diet. Change is always exciting but after a while of limiting meat and not seeing much of any benefit at all, they start to wonder (with a little nudge from rising awareness) if all the added breads, pastas, and other wheat products aren’t the culprit. Moving on, they decide to try out the diet everyone is talking about:
2. the gluten-free diet. They trade gluten grains for rice, beans, oatmeal, and the plethora of gluten-free alternatives. Their digestion is still a mess, they haven’t lost any weight, and the depression hasn’t lifted. Even if they were sensitive to gluten, they still feel terrible and assume gluten has nothing to do with it. So, back to the Internet now to narrow the problem down to red meat and saturated fat. With hopes of losing the weight they gained while scarfing down the almost, but not quite, tasty gluten-free snacks, it’s time to test out the tried and true:
3. low fat diet. Eating salads, chicken breast, and rice they drool over their friend’s plates and sneak little bites of forbidden foods. Week in week out they fail and miss their goals (because eating low fat is like abstaining from sex when a whole bunch of good looking, naked people prance around in front of you). They become more depressed and nervous and so they figure out a way to add some fun back in by:
4. counting calories. Finally at liberty to use ranch dressing instead of lemon juice, potato chips instead of saltines as they don’t exceed 1700 calories per day, they still aren’t getting jack for nutrition. They’re still depressed. They’ve lost a little weight but they’re not really cut like they so desire. Back to the Internets, they determine it was junk food slowing them down so they try the diet all their indie friends are into:
5. the raw vegan diet. This one actually tastes great and feels amazing too. They quickly pump themselves full of agave syrup and fruit sugar and feel great! Eventually, though, energy wanes. The cells start to dry out from the lack of saturated fats, the insulin plummets at shorter and shorter intervals, and muscles start consuming themselves from lack of protein. Emaciated, they amble back to the Internet craving meat and fat. Sitting at the desk with a bag of potato chips and other empty high-fat snacks, they enter search terms like “how much fat does a person need?” and “is saturated fat bad for you?” Finally they stumble upon the low carb diet and then finally:
6. the Primal eating strategy. They start eating as much as they want, when they want, and they’re eating all the fat they’ve restricted for the last 1 to 10 years. Within only a few weeks they’ve become tolerant again, hopeful, energetic, and stronger than ever. It seems this diet fuels itself with no extra effort required. Finally, satisfaction and results.
If you think about it, it’s kind of obvious that we shouldn’t be eating anything that you can’t pick or kill with a stick, but the world has replaced million year old tradition with lab-created/altered food variants. While these non-foods do manage to go in one hole and out the other without laying us flat in seconds, they are the cause of so many premature and miserable deaths. People are starting to realize it and it is because of this that:
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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