Blogpost, self-reliance

Kill the Deer or Plow the Field

No one can deny that we’re a long way from our ancestors. A caveman would be completely baffled by our world. Even our relatives from 100 years ago would find our confusing. Things that they would have considered challenges have been completely conquered. While things that we consider relevant would be laughably inconsequential to them. At the tip of the spear of time, survival is much less of a concern than it has ever been even in a pandemic. Despite the huge difference between our worlds, we exist with basically the same hardware as our ancestors inside of our heads.

Mother nature was smart when she set up the human animal. We are wired to get pleasure out of the things that are going to keep us alive. It’s almost comical that now that we don’t have to “survive” as much, many of those joyous things are the ones that are killing us. But I digress. Historically speaking, humans have been largely hunters or farmers/gatherers. Keeping the simplicity of this in mind, recognize that these are two different skill sets. Both require a form of patience but one is more active. Tracking and hunting often took days. Planting and harvesting took months. Both take skills. Some that were innate and others that were learned. Despite never having experienced our modern perception of a computer, our ancestors had both an operating system and “apps.”

By looking at it in a similar fashion, you need to realize that you have a similar operating system. However the applications that you’re running, don’t always work well with the system. Things tend to develop glitches when your apps don’t align with your basic programming (no computer language pun intended).

Your body/mind want to survive: physically, mentally and socially. Keeping this in mind is important. Even though you’re unlikely to perish in your day to day existence, your basic programming is still trying to avoid it. So whatever problem it is that you’re having, it is probably a disconnect between your modern life and your body/mind’s prehistoric programming.

That assignment or paper that you’re avoiding. It’s not a bear or a lion or even chipmunk but it still causes fear. Not because it is going to kill you. It’s a disconnect between your modern view of school and your prehistoric brain’s need to live in a tribe. If you do something that offends the chief or hurts the tribe, you might be banished and you’ll never make it alone. It’s the possibility of planting seeds that you need for the winter and a drought coming.

The extra pounds that you’ve put on are a disconnect between your modern sense of “attractive” and your prehistoric mind’s need to take on calories whenever they’re available. Set up a system for getting food after a successful “hunt.” Remember that chasing down a deer might have taken days. So our ancestors were probably working on light food until they hit the big score.

Regardless of what you’re struggling with, there is most likely a portion of it that can be traced to a mismatch of your operating system with the world that we live in. On the one hand, this is slightly annoying. On the other, it is liberating. Freedom can be found in the fact that you’re almost never in as much danger as your brain is interpreting. So you’re starting from a place major advantage. Knowing what signals to ignore and how to leverage the helpful ones is your job as a modern day human. Set your mind up so that you can win the ancient game of survival that you’re playing.

Good hunting!

Pete

Blogpost

Human -ing

Human ingThe act of being human is not always an easy one.  Despite all of our advantages, we still run into plenty of obstacles and potholes.  There is an odd feeling that I have inside that I am more than one person.  I’ve written before about my fascination with a scene from Lord of the Rings that personifies that internal struggle.  However today I’m thinking of a much more strategical breakdown to the human animal.  We are all in a constant cycle of -ing.

Human Being – This is our general state.  Much like an idling car, we all have our own base state.  This may be influenced by outside factors but in general it is within our capacity to control.  Who are you being on a regular basis?  The -ing is important because it is a present progressive.  Who you’ve been in the past is not important.  The present is a new choice for you to be.

Human Meaning – As we are being our way through the day, things are going to happen.  It is inevitable.  Humans are not always objective creatures.  We generally put meaning onto the things that happen.  Something happened, that means; I’m going to be late, people appreciate me, I’m worthless, it’s a complete success or a million other things that we’ve made up in our own heads.  Since the stories inside of our heads about the meanings behind things are completely made up by us, then wouldn’t it be intelligent to give things a meaning that helps us?  As the writer of your own programming, this seems the most sensible thing to do.

Human Doing – Once we’ve put ourselves into a position for a successful day by being in a winning state.  Then putting the most helpful meaning onto all external events.  The only -ing left is what to do.  Doing is the end step that brings the cycle back around.  There is definitely enough evidence around to support the fact that the internal human game is extremely important.  However we were always meant to be creatures of action.  Man was meant to MANufacture, MANifest, MANage and MANeuver through this world to greater heights.

So as you are going through your day.  Pay attention to the -ing that you are in.  Are you being in your best interest?  Is the meaning that you give to your circumstances helpful?  And especially, what are you doing with what you have?  It won’t always be perfect but that’s alright because you weren’t meant to be either.  My hope is that you’re at least progressing!

Have a great day!

Pete

Uncategorized

Join the Club (Closing Time)

During one summer in college, I worked as a buss-boy and bar-back at a Mexican restaurant in Ocean City, MD.  It was kind of ironic that in a popular Mexican restaurant, all of the cooks, wait-staff and buss-boys were American or Scottish.  The mixture of different groups of people made for an interesting work environment.  I learned a lot in that job about how people relate.

On one particular night as we were closing up, a popular song came on the radio called “Closing time”.  One of the dishwashers, a fifteen year old, was singing along as he waited for his ride.  He was almost instantly chastised by a cook because he “didn’t understand what closing time was all about!”  The entire exchange was a little weird.  As someone who had experienced closing time, I didn’t see why the cook was making such a big deal out of it.  For whatever reason, membership in the ‘closing time’ club was important to this guy.  He let the poor dishwasher know in no uncertain terms that he was not part of the club.

Human beings are communal animals.  We often identify very heavily by our affiliations.  Depending on your preferences, you might be part of the GOP, PTA, NRA, FFA, CIA, NAACP or a thousand other acronyms.  There’s also a possibility that you fly the American, Confederate, Rainbow, Mexican or Peace Flag.  Most of these communities are exclusive and have trouble accepting the existence of their counterparts.  Our differences separate us in many ways.  Just like the cook who thought his perception of closing time was something that was important enough to put he and the dishwasher on different planes.  Our communities that we choose define us in many ways but in the end we are all human.

As I think more and more about the state of the world and our place in it, one thought reverberates: in most cases, we are our only predators.  For the most part, we conquered nature in so many ways that we basically no longer worry about predators.  It is only the people that are different from us that cause a challenge, a threat or fear.  We seem determined to take our differences to the extreme in order to invite or possibly even cause our own closing time.  Are our differences so important as to bring the end to another, ourselves or everyone?  I believe there are causes that warrant the ultimate sacrifice.  On the other hand, are there sacrifices that are completely unwarranted?  Is destroying your enemy’s boat so important when you share that boat?

I was just thinking….

Pete