Myth-Taken: Health & Fitness

“…in the human body, every muscle has an impulse to action and is not fully alive unless one is in action.”

                                                Joseph Campbell, Transformations of Myth Through Time

 

Everybody knows exercise is good for them — whether or not they do anything about it. And everyone knows diet is a key to good health. The scale’s tipped in favor of most  everyone also knowing stress kills. So how is it Western civilization grows sicker of unnecessary diseases preventable with exercise, diet and containment of stress?

I’ve sought in vain for solid answers. Fitness industry publications regularly discuss their version of the problem with the ‘Two R’s’ — recruitment and retention of members. As much as we know the health bestowing benefits of exercise, recruiting people to sign up earmarks major marketing expenditures to getting them started. Once started, the next task is membership retention.

 Physicians and other health care workers tell their version of the same story with a different word: compliance. Examinations & diagnoses resulting in prescriptions including lifestyle modification just aren’t well followed. And when they are, more success occurs with dutiful compliance to popping pills than getting control of lifestyle.

 What’s alarming among health & fitness professionals is a subtle yet pervasive ‘blame the patient’ explanation of failure. It’s said patients/clients lack motivation, don’t take their situation seriously enough, and myriad other reasons. Most of those reasons boil down to psychologizing failure — explaining it in terms of some psychological deficit of the patient/client.

 I’ve long been troubled by failure of individuals to live by health & fitness principles generally agreed upon in our culture — but disinclined to buy into psychologizing as blame the victim. After all, those who also live in disregard of health principles eventually pay for it — becoming victims with serious health challenges. Carl Lanore mentioned a study done in England some years ago demonstrating on the average it takes three near death experiences to wake up an individual. We’re apparently looking at a very serious, deeply seated challenge.

 What follows is the first of a series on the topic. Originally intended as a single post, research and writing soon blossomed into far more than anticipated. What’s more, far too much for a single sensible post. In this first entry, we’ll explore a startling discovery, the kind normally not thought of. Blame it my maverick life’s journey: born in the year of the Monkey of the Chinese zodiac, insatiable curiosity runs wild as a passion for explorations and journeys of discovery account for a non-normal way of understanding. So hang on to your seat since we’re entering the forest where it’s thickest and their is no path.

Myth: Emic and Etic

 The secondary meaning of myth is that of a widely held yet false belief or idea. In our times, among the educated yet rather culturally illiterate, myth has come to mean the antagonistic opposite of truth — where truth is said to be only the fruit of science. Discussion of that error will occur in a subsequent post. Myth’s primary meaning, one with millennia of use, is that of a traditional story, one concerning earlier people, heroes journeys, and natural and social phenomenon — becoming the possible human dormant within us all.

 Myth is inescapable. Born into a given culture as a blank slate, our first fifteen or so years are a period of prolonged infancy marked by dependency. Newer science employing electroencephalogram technology used to measure specific brain wave activity indicates through age seven to eight, children’s brains exhibit activity otherwise found in hypnosis and that state in-between sleep and awakening. In that period, children absorb everything experienced, everything told to them — and without judgment, taking it all up as literal, factive truth. Kid’s say the darndest things! We know not that such learning forms much of the content of the subconscious mind. What’s more, even in adulthood, our conscious minds account for somewhere between 3-5% of our waking activity: our subconscious mind is busily at work all of the time interpreting experience with beliefs fixed early in life — beliefs that aren’t rational and cannot be addressed by the rational conscious mind.

For many, the subconscious has come to mean that place where programs are busily at work, filtering and making meaning of sensory experience. That’s true. But not to be confused with programs as we know them in our computers and smart phones. Our stored information is complex, memory a composite of experiences involving all five of our sensory systems — audio, touch, taste, smell, and visual. While considerable attention is given our subconscious in psychotherapies — regarding subconscious beliefs about ourselves — our range of subconscious beliefs is far larger than merely those applying to self. Subconscious learning orients us to the world, to reality, rife with beliefs and expectations about the nature of nearly everything. On a collective level, those beliefs form an unconscious social and cultural mythology about life. That’s how we become enculturated from an early age.

Early anthropologists faced a huge problem in attempting to understand other cultures. Due to their own Euro-American biases, they held you can understand another culture by gathering its beliefs; in turn, those beliefs form an ideology, a doctrine, a dogma, even a religion, all said to be rational. Since that orientation failed, they came up with the emic versus etic distinction.

 Emic research aims at understanding how people think, how they perceive and categorize their world. Its focus requires staying within a culture, without bias or judgment, understanding it on its own terms. No interpretation allowed. Etic research, on the other hand, moves outside a given culture to interpret from an impartial perspective. It is on the etic level of discussion comparison of cultures occurs, as well as analysis. Our journey begins within orientation of the emic — the emic, largely subconscious collective mythology of health care and ftiness.

 Into the Belly of the Whale

 Health & fitness care involves many disciplines in our culture, including medicine, pharmacology, physiology, dentistry, the fitness industry, alternative medicine, dietary movements, the vitamin and supplement industries — just for starters. All make claims, all hold authority, and all are frustrated for good reason.

 What seems to escape attention is that our system of education offers little to nothing in health & fitness care curriculum. At best, programs bordering on personal hygiene count! But we know everyone has a deep and abiding set of beliefs about health & fitness care. Fleshing them out in a summary manner reveals an emic story, one when consolidated is a collective, taken for granted myth. Remember, myth used here respects that story, never invalidating it. After all, it’s taken for granted, acted upon, informing persons in decision making and the conduct of their lives.

 Supplanting and amplifying our primary, subconscious beliefs, attitudes and expectations concerning health & fitness is information media: the Internet, television and print media. And that comes in two major versions. One is health report updates with news broadcasts. Information media is paid for by sponsors, and likely one out of seven paid advertisements on television is a health care advertisement. Just think about it: those ads are for specific diseases — diseases of body, mind, and emotions — competing standards of treatment for common diseases. Uncommon diseases afflicting small populations hardly merit huge advertising expenditures. So what do we learn about health & fitness care — more specifically, how does targeted advertising contribute not just to a specific treatment, but to a wider myth of health & fitness care? What is the nature of that myth — what does it have you believe about the human condition?

In summary form, here it is: At the moment of your conception, your genes were formed. That means you were locked into inalterable fate since your genes can’t be changed. And you’re taught diseases run in families, a powerful suggestion that those diseases have been inherited in your genes. There’s no turning back of the clock, no genetic replacement surgeries. You’re stuck. Assuming you’re going to develop heart disease, type II diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension, high ‘bad’ cholesterol and others, those unfortunate diseases can be managed with medicines. If they get worse, you may have to see one or more specialists.

 We understand health care to be out of our hands, something we turn to medical authorities for help. We know of type II diabetes, osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction, low T, miracle drugs that bring down high levels of bad cholesterol, aids for sleep, medicines for bipolar disease. Health care is largely treatment with biochemical pharmaceuticals — and that’s because your own biochemistry has broken down, working against you. Much of disease comes from genetic fate: when your parents conceived you, your fate was cast by the genes you got. There’s nothing you can do about those genes — they’ve determined your condition. If needed, surgeries might save you, or perhaps radiation and chemotherapy. What’s more, you must be careful of quacks — those persons falsely claiming medical authority while offering alternative cures. In most cases, diseases can’t be cured, however they can be contained and maintained to slow inevitable downward erosion and extending your life expectancy. This is all said to be science, entirely naturalistic.

 We’ve made a myth-take. Our notion of health care & fitness is  one of disease care applied to degenerating lives.

Myths of destruction are rare. The nature of myth is to enliven, inspire, rejuvenate to have an experience of life. That process is called mythologization. Our myth, however, is one of pathologizing. Genes cause disease — it’s that simple. As we’ll find in subsequent posts, science has moved beyond genetic determinism: at best, perhaps as much as 5% of all diseases have roots in genetics. But not so in the mythic realm of disease care.

 As a practical matter, the disease care orientation dehumanizes, demeans and debilitates human imagination, resulting in a sense of alienation and ennui from our very lives. We’re stuck and nothing can be done about it.

 My presentation may seem simplistic. After all, how could sophisticated early 21st century humans buy into what’s blatantly a simplistic myth? How can they not? Look around you. That myth, posing as a generally accepted scientific standard, resides as the basis of health care insurance — whether it be private health insurance corporations, Medicare, or other options. It’s the dancing tune to hospital policies. Physician education establishes it, while mandatory physician continuing education credits update its latest versions.

220px-Phoenix-Fabelwesen

 The Pheonix arising from ashes of destruction.

 Mythologizing

 Folks failing to heed the call of exercise and diet suffer from competing voices of authority — whether or not they hear them. We address their conscious minds with information aimed to renew their lives, placing them in control of their health and fitness. Decades of reinforced, amplified subconscious conditioning says ‘not so’.

 “Why should I bother myself. After all, my genes are the demons controlling my life; if and when I do get sick, exercise and diet will never have the power of medicines. Our culture relies on medicines no matter what. Those experts advocating exercise and diet, even stress control, aren’t doctors — and if they are doctors, they must be quacks. I’ll go online to Quackwatch and get proof. My faith is invested in doctors and meds.”

That’s what we’re up against. Not a failure of motivation, not indecisiveness, not laziness. A mythology of alienation from our lives, a condition holding health to be an absence of disease. Health is disease deficiency? That’s all that can be said? Such pretense of science has failed.

 From prehistoric times, as evidenced in surviving hunter/gathers, and the living testimony of art, architecture and mythology, our heroes have always been fit. And became fitter by mastering the tests and ordeals giving birth to heroism. They answered the call to greater life, met the challenge, and as heroes returned to impart wisdom to live by to those who would master it. They teach us how to live in the system as a human being, not dehumanized by the system. Our ancestral tradition of myth always celebrates and inspires renewal, optimization of the gift of life, outgrowing the pale ken of the system.

Our disease care model presupposes disease as inevitable, perhaps as the innate human condition. Defining health as the absence of disease is admission the system remains clueless regarding health as anything but a deficit of disease. Pregnancy and aging are now counted as diseased conditions mandating treatment!

 Inserted in this section is a mythic symbol, the Phoenix, giving pause for contemplating arising renewed from the ashen ruin of degeneration and destruction. For the disease care myth not only pathologizes, more significantly it’s dehumanization robs us of our very souls. The Phoenix arises above ruin, spiritually rising as new order, as awakened wisdom of purpose: it says ‘yes’ to life.

 Subsequent posts will focus on renewal by means of vital activity, enlivening activity, whose side effects include health care and fitness — activities expressive of our human passion, thereby enlivening optimal expression of life — including the rich potentials of our human genome, one adapted for thriving and peak living, never pathologizing.

Watch for future posts. And join in the discussion.

 Afterword

Part of my thinking in this article was stimulated remembering a 1993 episode of Northern Exposure. Graham Greene’s character, a sophisticated, very cosmopolitan Native American shaman decides to do anthropological research among the citizens of the town to discover the average white American’s health and healing myths and stories. The episode is stunning. That’s Season 5, Episode 7, “Rosebud” available for viewing free online.

http://www.ovguide.com/tv/northern_exposure.htm

©2014, Ken O’Neill. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited.

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Fitness with an Attitude: BodhiBuilding™

Beings raised in sub-optimum evolutionary circumstance will require some level of supra-evolutionary countermeasure to offset those effects.

BodhiBuilding is what I’ve named it: it’s core is fitness and health as an attitude, an imperturbable understanding. You won’t find it in the fitness industry nor in medical care. It’s been more than fifty years in the making and exists only here on the official blog of BodhiBuilding. Understand it to be an unparalleled  new paradigm of fitness and health spanning a spectrum of practical applications ranging from therapeutics to peak performance; however, BodhiBuilding’s chief mission is mentoring preventative self-care by optimizing innate, genetic, natural yet largely dormant human resources. By means of whole person training and education, those dormant resources are accessed, organized and stabilized for sustainable fitness and health. BodhiBuilding is the very first integrative paradigm orchestrating whole person fitness and health by uniting contemporary science and traditional wisdom.

 Revealing BodhiBuilding to be an attitude, an imperturbable understanding, is a new paradigm simply because it’s outside of the box of traditional, out dated notions of fitness and health. None of our traditional guiding models offer an integrated wisdom orientation. Instead they’re specialized, uncoordinated and fragmented — most often as not as old fashion, out dated stereotypes not up to speed with contemporary science and completely in the dark regarding wisdom traditions. It’s no small wonder we’re a nation of out of shape individuals in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis stemming from not understanding preventative self-care. Worse still, we’re not educated to gain an understanding of the simple, natural basic principles optimizing genetic expression of our lives as thriving fulfillment, fitness and health.

 For the first time, BodhiBuilding addresses and integrates the three dynamic aspects necessary for preventative self-care (including recovery of health) ensuring optimal exuberant thriving of your life.

 BodhiBuilding’s three foundational pillars are irreducible dynamic aspects of whole person health and fitness. You can’t emphasize one or two at the expense of the others: taken as a whole, all three are vital for optimal thriving due to their synergy. Synergy means the sum is greater than just adding up the parts. In order words, BodhiBuilding’s three pillar synergy can be expressed as 1+1+1>3! Those aspects are developed concurrently, together at the same time, bringing about integrative results. Better still, they give birth to fitness and health with an attitude.

 Of the three pillars, Noetics elevates BodhiBuilding beyond the pale ken of the fitness industry, the medical industry, the supplement industry, and others. Noetics moves you from passive ‘follow the leader’ investment in external authorities, purposefully empowering self-mastery by taken control of your attitude with self-understanding. Neither fitness nor medicine as we known them aims to develop self-mastery. Think of it this way: fitness and medical care are not aimed at you gaining sufficient self-understanding to be granted a diploma signifying having graduated. By keeping you bound to experts, you remain alienated as a stranger to your self. You run the risks associated with detrimental reliance with those treating you as a number or a statistic. Your health depends on gaining freed independence with self-understanding. That’s fitness and health with an attitude, with an imperturbable understanding.

 The Three Foundational Pillars of BodhiBuilding

 1. Dietary environment stresses optimizing health and fitness by means of conscious selection of nutrient dense whole foods and orthomolecular nutriceuticals. Nutriceuticals refers to what are commonly called supplements including but not limited to vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs and other natural substances enhancing one’s biochemistry as raw ingredients for a thriving metabolism. Other natural substances can include NAC (n-acetyl cysteine), cittruline malate, creatine monohydrate, and numerous others known to enhance wellness. Hormone replacement therapies are also included as optional to your dietary environment.

 2. Robust physical activity favors what is commonly thought of as bodybuilding for development and maintenance of healthy genetic expression slowing down the aging process and preventing degenerative diseases. In an era beset by myriad commercial panaceas for exercise, the simple, irrefutable fact is that for general fitness needs bodybuilding training is fast, simple, and efficient in satisfying the primary training goals associated with attaining sustainable health and fitness. Optimizing natural skeletal muscle builds an interest bearing reserve of vitality.

BodhiBuilding does not promote cookie cutter, one size fits all fitness solutions since it is client centered upholding the needs and dignity of individuals.

 3. Of the three foundational pillars of BodhiBuilding, Noetics is the least known and most significant. Noetic comes from the ancient Greek noēsis / noētikos, referring to that mix of personal subjective understanding, direct & unfiltered knowing, and a sense of inner wisdom.

 The first two foundational pillars, dietary environment and robust physical activity, are the centerpieces of traditional Physical Culture. Both are known to work close to miracles when genuinely understood and applied. Yet neither goes far enough in either comprehending or ensuring successful preventative resolution to today’s threats to personal thriving in fitness and health. Let’s call them necessary conditions, but only by themselves not sufficient conditions ensuring preventative self-care. Diet provides raw materials which activity signals your DNA programs to make biochemical use of for health and wellbeing; however, the greater Noetic environment plays a major role in metabolic health, or not.

 Some succeed with long term fitness and health. Sadly, the majority of persons undertaking self-improvement dramatically fail. The fitness industry thrives on failures: they sell annual  memberships, hoping only a small percentage makes use of them — were the majority of members regularly active, gyms would prove too small for the crowds using them! Training support rarely works well due to an absence of Noetic know-how.

 Introducing Noetics

 I’ve chosen to use Noetics simply because it’s not a well known word, hence far less likely to promote confusion or trigger adverse associations with words generally both over used and applied with myriad meanings. Much of our knowledge of Noetics comes from ancient wisdom cultures; however, over the last fifty years growing sophistication in the neurosciences has brought about a meeting of contemporary neuroscience and traditional wisdom know how resulting in emerging sciences (plural) of consciousness.

 Emerging new sciences of consciousness remain somewhat marginalized by traditional scientific orthodoxies. Conservative religions meet them with predictable knee jerk reactions.

Wisdom traditions from around the world share a common understanding of human consciousness. They teach us that there are two kinds of truth. One is the virtually unquestioned truths of our conventional world, including beliefs about the nature of reality, of people, and of ourselves. Beliefs constituting ‘ordinary reality’ are gained by  growing up within a specific culture — learned at home, at school, at church, and by means of information media. Most of us don’t question those beliefs, instead taking them for granted as ‘the way things are.’

The Paleolithic Prescription (1988) written by physician-anthropologists burst the bubble concerning common sense based taken for granted notions of health. The implications of the book are both far reaching and revolutionary. When you consider that 18% of the domestic national product is earned by the medical-industrial complex, a book showing that the rapidly escalating pandemic of degenerative diseases sweeping Western culture are due to adverse diet and lack of physical activity is simply a revolutionary insight. Add to that another significantly large portion of the DNP earned by the industrial food complex of business, and the significance of the book could be threatening to major segments of the economy. The book has not enjoyed great success in its 25 year history, and only with the Paleo movement of the past decade has a segment of society taken it seriously.

By no means is a sweeping condemnation of the food and medical movements implied. They are part and parcel of our culture, their activities largely composed of doing what’s culturally taken for granted as doing the right thing. Those who condemn them on the basis of ignorance or conspiracy have missed the point. The Paleolithic Prescription using tools of both medicine and cross-cultural anthropological analysis offered a moment of awakening we ought to take seriously by implementing the principle of awakening.

Traditional wisdom regards our taken for granted outlook and beliefs on life as a sort of ‘normal waking trance’ associated with post-hypnotic phenomena. Up to our first fifteen years of life are spent unquestioningly absorbing what we’ve been told is true. Beyond that, our education teaches us to think within those beliefs. We never question them. For wisdom traditions, we remain alienated and estranged to the nature of our own minds — we’re unknowing, unwitting captives of what’s taken for granted. And what’s taken for granted has exceptionally powerfully strong emotional roots. Too great a challenge to what’s taken for granted is scary, often feeling as if madness is intruding. For our emotional comfort and well being, dutifully adhering to ‘common sense’ keeps us safe and protected.

Wisdom traditions observe the normal waking trance to be one of woefully incomplete understanding of life. Worse still, a condition utterly devoid of self-understanding. Variously called endarkenment, illusion, or simply blindness, that condition is characterized by subconscious domination by our emotions making us subject to the chronic stress, alienation, depression, anxiety, and other psychological conditions plaguing contemporary life. In that respect, multiple billions of dollars are earned annually for use of psychiatric drugs treating those symptoms along with a huge industry of illegal drug use weakening the moral fiber of our population.

 The good news is traditional wisdom says you can doing something to free yourself, to optimize your experience of life — and in a way freeing you of anxiety and denial when it comes to making beneficial choices for options outside the box of taken for granted. Biggest still, the power to do that resides naturally within you. You just need to learn to harness the power of your consciousness.

 Here’s where I’ve chosen to use Noetics. The way out of the trap is training. Most all of the commonly used words bear lots of associations, many of the sort that a sane person would be skeptical about if not just run in the opposite direction! Tradition wisdom directs you to begin turning attention inward to your own consciousness. Words like meditation, contemplation, and others are commonly used. The odd thing is all those words come from Western religion, hence have next to no commonality with wisdom traditions. Noetics focuses on a mix of personal subjective understanding, direct & unfiltered knowing, and a sense of inner wisdom.

Beginning Noetic training teaches you how to calmly settle down then focus on a single phenomena inside yourself. Guess what? Something that simple reveals how scattered, fragmented, and distracted our ordinary, taken for granted consciousness amounts to. The technique is called mindfulness from the word vipassana. But mindfulness is a mistranslation of vipassana. the ‘vi-‘ prefix implies ‘nondual mindfulness’ — it’s aim is to get beyond being self-divided, to become wholehearted in focus. Most often mindfulness is taught as a sitting activity. Some short mindfulness sitting sessions throughout the day have immense whole person fitness and health benefits. Mindfulness is generally taught for stress management.

Noetic development goes beyond stress management. As your skills deepen, you will begin to ‘see through and rise above’ the subconscious programs that set off knee jerk reactions to stress. Recent studies have shown that as little as eight weeks of twice daily mindfulness workouts facilitate remodeling of brain activity resulting in less knee jerk stress reactions due to higher areas of the conscious prefrontal cerebral cortex taking over interpretation of environmental phenomena. And that’s just 8 weeks of learning.

There are several turning points along the wisdom way. Wisdom claims you can transform your consciousness to become liberated from emotional stress reactions. Proof of that occurs when you least expect it, in spontaneous moments of riveting clarity, freedom and unconditioned wellbeing or bliss. That doesn’t mean you’ve arrived — and simply means you’ve had confirming experience that motivates going further. Then comes a point when fitness and health arises seemingly all by itself as your attitude, as your understanding. It’s imperturbable because you can’t backslide or fall off the wagon.

 The Noetics of traditional wisdom call that decisive turning point becoming awake to the nature of self — empowering wisdom gained that sets you free and independent. That’s the cornerstone of health and fitness. Just consider the turmoil and failures, the roller coaster rides from one kind of physical training to another, one diet to another, always seeking solutions outside yourself through experts and gurus. An unstable situation rooted in personal instability caused by lack of knowing yourself. That spells stress.

Stress makes us sick and kills us. All the receptors of our brains exist in leukocytes, those white blood cells of our immune systems. Leukocytes carry neuropeptides to every one of the estimated 50-70 billion cells of our body. That means our emotions are systemic information to every cell of the body. Those messages move to cellular receptors, resulting in emotion as large molecules signaling your DNA. Stress messages stimulate catabolic or tissue disruptive genetic expression. Positive emotions circulating through your body to every cell are cause for rejoicing in benefiting cell repair and growth. Continuing stress suppressed your immune system. Long term subtly wears down and erodes your metabolism. Stress hormones make you gain fat. Yet if chronic stress is a ‘taken for granted’ condition, you’ll succumb to it.

For BodhiBuilding, Noetic practice transforms anaerobic training. That means no distracting video or television screens, no smart phones, and nothing else but development of pure mindfulness of training. You’re no longer lifting weights, you’re mindfully contracting muscles to move weights. You’re working for physiological states including pump, burn, hypoxia, and fatigue. And you’re not resting much between sets. Studies have shown mindful training accomplishes two ends: better training results and enhanced recuperation.

 That’s a brief introduction to BodhiBuilding. Real brief, and perhaps simplistic for that reason. Stay tuned for more.

BodhiBuilding training is available through http://www.longlifefitness.net. Inquiries can be made there or by messaging me on Facebook.

 Beings raised in sub-optimum evolutionary circumstance will require some level of supra-evolutionary countermeasure to offset those effects.

©2014, Ken O’Neill. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited.

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Genius Gene BodhiBuilding ̶ Orderly Chaos Training™

Normal, Abnormal and Meta-Normal Life

Human evolution isn’t finished & complete: it’s barely off the ground! The greater majority of mankind exists in a sub-human condition of imposed normality, blind & endarkened to the sleeping giants genetically endowed within us all. We face heretofore unprecedented challenges of healthy survival and thriving, ones grossly endangering future generations. Of all challenges to overcoming our extinction by ensuring a humane future for succeeding generations, health and wellness reign supreme. This post holds we must move from the encapsulating dominant social trance of abnormal ‘normality’ in favor of an actualization of our innate sleeping potentialities for becoming next humans, what I call meta-normal, or beyond-normal, self-actualizers.

The Norm: In-forming/Shaping Normality

Well into the second decade of the 21st century, it’s high time to update ourselves, leaving behind out dated, worn out ideas. That’s not an easy task. We’re supersaturated with them. It’s said an idea repeated a thousand times over becomes a de facto, ingrained ‘truth’ ̶ rendering dislodging such illusions a tough grind.

In our culture, the options are twofold: you’re either normal or abnormal. And we cautiously avoid being branded as abnormally deviant.

The truth be told, contemporary humans live lives of remarkable abnormality. We are deviants of our ancestrally forged, rich genetic heritage. In 1988 Eaton, Shostack, and Konner’s landmark breakthrough book The Paleolithic Prescription established that the non-infectious, non-communicable diseases Western civilization suffers from are unknown by surviving hunter/gatherer populations: both groups share exactly the same genes. So what gives?

21st century exercise physiology based on genomics & proteonomics ̶ the science of how our genes respond to signals triggering cascades of cellular biochemical responses ̶ indicates normal contemporary life is unfriendly & adverse to normal genetic functioning. Ancestrally inherited genetic wisdom is primed to make us healthy & thriving, enabling us to mate and pass on genes for living success to offspring.

Throughout our long evolutionary journey, almost from birth, kids’ development and survival hinged on being adroitly physically fit for survival into healthy adulthood and further mating. In our times, those closest to ancestrally normal are life long athletes.

Our entire medical-industrial system of accessing and diagnosing health rests on diagnoses and statistics accounting for contemporary living. By ancestral genetic expression, today’s normal is ancestrally abnormal. Yep. Our standard of normal is genetically abnormal. The Paleolithic Prescription didn’t go that far in its assessment only because it’s an artifact of the pre-genome era. Match it up with genomics/proteonomics and it’s findings become explosively revolutionary.

Medical use of the word insult means damage, trauma, injury. Contemporary standards of normal unwittingly characterize insults to your genetic potential for healthy thriving!

Bio-Markers Re-Visioned

Modern annual physical exams put focused attention on blood panels giving your physician a repertoire of bio-markers ̶ markers pin pointing vital biochemical measures of how you’re doing. Blood panels can range from a page or two to many pages. Contemporary usage of short form bio-markers look at readings that might be off centered and mandating prescriptions of pharmaceuticals to manage existing conditions such as elevated cholesterol, hypertension, osteoporosis, and the like. What they really measure is a whole different story.

Given that contemporary genetic expression results in abnormal human conditions, our bio-markers are indexed to human genetic abnormality. What’s more, medical notions of health mean ‘absence of disease.’ If you’re not sick, then you must be healthy. What’s wrong with this vision: simply put, it doesn’t characterize attributes of being healthy, instead merely says you’re not measurably sick.

Thanks to genomics and proteonomics, it’s now known that being sick is very different than being on the long journey of becoming progressively sick. Our blood panels do not and cannot measure the process of sickness onset. That process can take 20, 30 or more years. The biochemistry of slow metabolic erosion, steadily progressing breaking down, is merely under the radar of today’s testing. That means erosion is sure as hell going on and it just is outside of today’s technology of measurement and diagnosis.

That’s by no means true. There’s a real simple method of measuring degeneration in action. It’s as simple as measuring body composition. The big tell tale indicator of metabolic breakdown is early onset sarcopenia. Not sarcopenia as profound indication of muscle wasting. Just the slow erosive process. You can see it with the naked eye, needing no high technology tools. Expanding waist line, cellulite spoiling feminine thighs and hips, lowering sexual drive for men and women, loss of strength and firm muscle mass ̶ those phenomena blindly attributed to middle age.

Orderly Chaos Training™ ̶ The Meta-Normal Leading Edge

Tufts scientists prescribed anaerobic weight resistance training for preventing, stopping and reversing sarcopenia. Shortly thereafter, Dr Wayne Westcott’s applications resulted in two pioneering books demonstrating the efficacy of resistance training based on Nautilus/HIT principles at a Massachusetts YMCA. So successful has his work been that waiting lists resulted.

My work is focused in contributing to a grassroots revolution in preventative and rejuvenating self-care. Physical training is primary for preventing, arresting and reversing the grossly evident bio-marker of muscle loss and muscle wasting. We’re still stuck with 20th century ideas of training incongruent with 21st century science! Bodhi-Building’s Orderly Chaos Training™ moves training out of ‘normal’ 20th century cookie cutter training ideas, taking a quantum leap forward to training for meta-normal wellness.

What’s meta-normal? Meta-normal means ‘beyond or outside of normal.’ Normal training notions are rooted in 20th century strength and conditioning practices bringing success to athletic prowess. Standard approaches to fitness training amount to less intense, less demanding practices than those guiding athletic performance. Programs are written by a rote cookie-cutter approach falsely assuming one size fits all. Long term sustainability is easily measured by attrition of gym memberships driving the fitness industry to a feeding frenzy under the mantra of ‘recruitment and retention.’ Something’s drastically wrong if recruitment and retention drive an industry: success should breed waiting lists, not constant bait for getting referrals.

The task of meta-normal conditioning radically differs from standard practices. Rooted in emerging 21st science, Bodhi-Building’s roots are in bodybuilding ̶ the art and science of building enduring muscle. For a sedentary population sickened by lifestyle, muscle developing bodybuilding aims at developing genetically normal ancestral fitness. Bodhi-Building’s standard of meta-normality recognizes average, normal people get sick by virtue of under developed genetic requirements, hence our genetically normal person will become aesthetically athletic in appearance due to living up the their genes’ plans for them.

Why a basis in bodybuilding? Of all training and athleticism, bodybuilding is the master art and science of building lean muscle. Bodybuilding training puts primary emphasis on building high quality lean muscle mass, with considerations of absolute power and strength along with athleticism of secondary importance. For those afflicted by or entering into muscle wasting, your only sensible guiding objective is Stopping the Waste ̶ you’re reversing from Metabolic Syndrome to Genetic Thriving Syndrome!

Bodhi-Building orchestrates latest science in union with training know-how and wisdom producing fast results then sustains them for a lifetime. Workouts are not long, and are focused to the point. And progressive: in time, training should adapt to improved recuperative physiology facilitating expression for four to six brief sessions per week. With Noetic development, your conscious awareness grows to prevent the double edged sword of under training or over training.

So what’s the system, what’s its programs? There are none. We mentor individuals for their personal growth into self-mastery. With Orderly Chaos Training™ the substance of workouts changes from session to session. Why? There’s a wide range of options based on sets, reps, full and partial movements, step movements, static holds with mindfulness to appropriate Time Under Tension being paramount. Our training emphasizes training the wide range of dormant potentials. The other key is a meta-normal psychological principle that’s accessed, organized and then stabilized: intensity of effort, not measurable with weight on a bar but, instead, by emergence of self-mastery.

That’s an introduction to Bodhi-Building and its Orderly Chaos Training™, a rather lengthy one at that. The objective here has been introducing a revolutionary new way of meta-normal training addressing the health care crisis of our time ̶ an issue who’s resolution amounts to nothing less than an evolutionary step forward in human consciousness.

©2013, Ken O’Neill. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited.

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Wise Up!

What prevents modern people from taking heed and putting into practice simple measures known to prevent onset of the degenerative diseases running ramped at pandemic levels in Western civilization? Is it a lack of will power? Cavalier disregard? Or steadfast believe disease is something that happens to other people?

It’s time to introduce wisdom’s perspective on the human dilemma. Wisdom traditions offer a meta-normal take on life, one rooted in breaking the taboo against knowing yourself. Born of training attention, concentration, wisdom results in an inner knowledge you can’t come by any other way. With wisdom, you become in tune with yourself. Of course, that means you become the authority regarding your wellness. With wisdom, all fooling yourself ceases in place of peace bestowing self-acceptance.

Our human wisdom heritage insists adopting pro-active preventative self-care is part of a bigger challenge: a crisis in consciousness itself. The ordinary, normal kind of consciousness guiding most folks is woefully incomplete due to being underdeveloped. Only through development of a fuller consciousness does wisdom to live by naturally emerge.

Wisdom can’t be learned from books or lectures. Mentors or coaches play a decisive role in developing wisdom only insofar as they’ve successfully made the journey themselves.

While our sciences continue in rapidly escalating acquisition of knowledge, corresponding increases in wisdom are not evident! In fact, traditional science often serves as a major obstacle to developing wisdom.

Western civilization was for long dominated by religious authority whose tight control depended on a form of mind control known as dogmatic faith in mandatory theological doctrines. The Church maintained its powerful authority by classifying certain states of consciousness as heretical. Heresy simply was not tolerated and could lead to excommunication, torture and imprisonment, even death by burning at the stake. In all cases, it was believed heretics would suffer everlasting damnation in hell.

Perhaps the most persecuted of all heresies was the gnostic heresy. Much of our knowledge of the gnostics is based on Church disinformation aimed at making them look foolish and evil. Gnostics were among the early Christians, however gnosticism is an orientation to gaining fuller consciousness known throughout the world.

Our English word ‘know’ comes from gnosis, and gnosis is commonly found as the core of words such as diagnosis and prognosis. Gnosis is Greek, and its ultimate word origin is the Sanskrit verbal root jñā. The word means knowing or understanding, but in a very special sense of the understanding that is wisdom.

Wisdom understands ordinary, conventional consciousness as a gnosis deficiency disorder ̶ in other words, incomplete and lacking in understanding. Ordinary, normal consciousness arises from social conditioning from birth: what’s learned in the family, at school, in church, job training, and by participation as a member of society. Network information media including radio, television, and the Internet seal the deal.

Going further, wisdom understands how ordinary consciousness is maintained at the expense of gnosis bringing about wisdom. Our wisdom heritages refer to ordinary conventional knowledge as a state of endarkenment ̶ being in the dark. It’s often referred to as illusionary, a waking dream life, or as a hypnotic suggestion created normal waking trace. It’s also our emotionally controlled safeguard ensuring sane membership in society.

Wisdom goes on to note the condition of ordinary life comes with side effects of endarkenment: fear, anxiety, stress, pressure, suffering and sorrow. By means of cultivating gnosis, one can gain liberating wisdom making those conditions manageable at first, and in the long run seeing through and rising above them as a renewed, free person.

Contemporary neuroscience and psychology add to wisdom’s perspective. Gnosis inducing practices or working out result in remodeling of our brains as evidenced by ‘before’ and ‘after’ MRI scans. Our normal condition of fear dominated fight or flight knee jerk reactions to life results in considerable gray matter associated with a little part of our brains known as the amygdala. As little as two months of twice daily short gnosis workouts results in remodeling of our brains in which that gray matter moves strengthening circuits used for our left prefrontal cortex to become the seat of objective, dispassionate interpretation of our environments and emotions. That transforms fear based limbic fight or flight reactions to responses from higher brain/mind functioning, reducing stress. What’s more, the insula is shown to become active, the seat of empathy, compassion and loving kindness.

That’s just one example of contemporary science catching up with what human wisdom traditions have insisted upon for several thousand years. Such science has a lot of catching up to do in its explorations.

Because Western culture was dominated by a reign of religious tyranny for most of its formative 2,000 years, practical application of the taboo against gnosis ̶ the taboo against knowing yourself ̶ prevented psychology from developing. At best, Western culture took ‘normality’ for granted, and as its psychology developed in the 20th century focused considerably on abnormality expressed as mental diseases. A part of the board examinations mandatory for gaining licensing as a psychologist includes testing of the comprehensive Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, apparently now in its fifth revised tradition. No correpsonding manual of characteristics of the liberated, wide awakened human potential exists! In that regard, our orthodox sense of mental health is markedly deficient and its scientific competency in woeful need of scrutiny. It should also be noted DSM bodes well as a diagnostic basis justifying prescriptions of pharmaceuticals as an admission of failure of the psychological enterprise to heal dysfunctional psyches.

Most ironic from the perspective of wisdom is that much of the scientific enterprise diagnoses emotional disorders, treats them with pharmaceuticals, and bases itself on a reductionist view in which matter and energy are the basics of the world. No discussion of consciousness occurs despite the fact that all science is an artifact of consciousness. Wisdom maintains that puts the cart before the horse. At best consciousness is somehow regarded as a side effect of our brains.

Badly bungling gaining a basic mapping of consciousness are the fields of the philosophy or religion and colonialist Orientalism. Due to persecution of the gnostic heresy, recognition of that ‘something vitally different’ at play in the gnostic liberation traditions of India and China has remained missed and unaccounted for by academics for several centuries. At best they repeat the scholarly axiom that all ‘religions’ are based on belief, so by identifying beliefs you’ve got understanding of alien, non-Western traditions nailed. And what a botched job they’ve done, rendering gnostic transformational psychologies as religious dogmas by means of misinterpretation.

From beginning of the Common Era, certain works were written in India counting as comprehensive mappings of the consciousness territory of awakened dormant human potentials. Such traditions are known in China and Islamic sufism as well. Simply put, we’ve missed the boat due to prideful tribal sluggishness. The result is that our contemporary Western mapping of the dormant human potential can be thought of as an early 17th century map of Africa, a few locations identified, the majority completely in the dark of endarkenment.

Our crisis today is one of evolutionary fitness rooted in a crisis of consciousness. Billions of years of physical and biological evolution brought about the first humans only 2 million years ago, and in only the last 50,000 years have we developed language and tools. With language we communicate, in time learning to communicate within ourselves, and later become self-reflective. From the first shamans down through seers and sages an archaic wisdom tradition developed. A blessing of the information age makes knowledge of our wisdom traditions available in books, on the Internet, through podcasts, videos, and the written word where just a few decades ago such was accessible only at great difficulty.

Noetics is the Third Pillar of BodhiBuilding ̶ a way of preventative self-care aimed at thriving of your genetic potential. Your genes are the other form of ancient wisdom written over billions of years of the long evolutionary adventure embodied as you, me, everybody in humanity. By means of gnosis oriented working out and training, irreversible certainty and peace overcome doubt, suffering, and indecisiveness.

A constant theme in fitness industry publications is member recruitment and retention, said to be a problem of motivating members to join gyms. Health and medical publications report that despite solid preventative advise, people just don’t follow it ̶ hence, get sick due to controllable environmental and personal responsibility issues. Clearly more is at stake than marketing and motivation ̶ and that’s a crisis in consciousness.

BodhiBuilding’s Three Pillars ̶ nutrient dense whole foods, robust physical activity, and Noetic training ̶̶ work in concert to access, organize, then sustain stability of your innate human potential for fitness and wellness. Of them, Noetic training aims to awaken your ability to give birth to a wisdom understanding transforming your life. Once accomplished, you’ll live that wisdom. It will be you!

BodhiBuilding contributes to a new frontier in wellness and fitness by developing whole persons. Once transition from uncertainty and confusion occurs, steadfast gnosis of fitness naturally emerges ̶ as a ‘lived in’ understanding of natural living.

Wise Up ̶ with wisdom.

©2013, Ken O’Neill. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited.

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Renewal ̶ Letting It Rip!

This blog post has been a long time coming. A real long time ̶ it’s been brewing for 55 years. For most of that time discussion was limited, real limited. Only a year ago did certain internal pressures convince me it was time to quit hiding. Even then it’s taken a year to overcome decades of self-protective resistance for saying too much in public.

Joe Campbell used to advise us: “Follow your bliss and the world opens up to you.” I’ve learned the truth of that motto in personal, experiential form in the past year. Corollary to Joe’s remark is that when you don’t follow your calling by living an authentic life, then you pay for it.

In all honesty I’ve beaten around the bush about unleashing a name I invented nearly 20 years ago: BodhiBuilding. Bodhi is ancient Sanskrit meaning awake & awakening whereby one gains wisdom. No, not facts, data, ideology or dogma ̶ wisdom, a kind of knowing of your self, of your mind and emotions, a knowing bestowing peace and certainty. In that regard, wisdom is not something you learn from books, lectures, podcasts or other sources external to yourself. Wisdom is won by following methods taking you into depths of yourself which ordinary knowledge is clueless about. Wisdom arises from living by principles and techniques of self-mastery, hence bestows an uncommon freedom and imperturbable, fearless inner knowing.

Sound vague or airy fairy? That’s precisely why I’ve kept it to myself other than to a close circle of friends. The pressures of our times reflected in an absence of leadership in genuine, authentic health and fitness care mandate making wisdom known ̶ and underscore providing learning opportunities whereby individuals can become inner directed in understanding preventative self-care emphasizing fullest flowering our genome’s inherent wisdom for thriving in exuberant vitality. As things stand, government and insurance endorsement of vast cartels of monopolies whose inferior processed food makes us sick, of sedentary living breaking down the integrity of genomically determined healthy metabolism, and a medical-industrial system which hopelessly maintains unnecessary illness by prolonging life with erosive degeneration are simply unacceptable. So too is a fitness industry out of touch with contemporary research findings in which our genome is telling its story, is voicing its natural requirements for thriving, exuberant living.

Yes, wisdom sounds extremely airy fairy, but only because we’ve learned to discount our feelings, our intuitions, our inner sense that something’s missing hence something’s not right. We’re trained to invest our emotions in external authorities, thereby displacing any inward sense of credibility. Our feelings just aren’t legitimate. Kowtow to the experts ̶ and you’re clearly not an expert about your self, about your body, about your mind, about your vitality. Since we’ve learned to NOT trust our intuitions, any suggestion of regaining and renewing that inner well spring of wisdom is discredited as airy fairy.

The genomic revolution is making great strides, largely in exercise physiology. I sincerely hope for a merging of medical physiology and exercise physiology bringing about a comprehensive understanding of the wide spectrum from therapeutics to peak performance. Even more so, I hope such a spectrum of vitality redefines health as a vacuum like condition of absence of disease to one articulating the presence of robust, thriving passion for life. Only then will we have a comprehensive vision of life rooted in nature.

BodhiBuilding emphasizes Original Nature, Essential Wisdom. It does so by emphasis on Three Pillars of Fitness/Wellness. All three are integrative aspects of a whole, healthy living organism. You can’t do just one or two. None are a primary cause, and all three are inseparably interrelated.

One is nutrient dense whole foods. That’s a phrase full of ambiguity. Whole foods includes supplementary items including vitamins, minerals, amino acids and a range of nutriceuticals constantly being discovered in laboratories. While I love the Paleo movement, I’m painfully aware that it’s not up to speed with complimentary and alternative medicines which often treat nutrient deficiency disorders with nutrients, herbs, even hydrochloric acid to offset lack of its production due to compromised ‘foods’. Nutrient dense is not as simple as organic foods. Especially not with those past 30 or 40 with compromised metabolisms.

Pillar two is robust physical activity, and item gaining incredible provisioning from genetic based evolutionary exercise physiology laboratories. The majority of our fitness ideas are hand me downs from the 20th century’s pre-genome era. Since the late 1970s, the fitness industry has increasingly pandered commercial theories of training, not scientific ones, to an unsuspecting public ready to part with cash in hope of salvific restoration of some degree of fitness. From the late 1980s it was established that muscle wasting is primary to metabolic syndrome, and that the key to avoiding non-infectious, non-communicable degenerative diseases lies in maintaining muscle mass, which for most means gaining attractive, shapely lean muscle mass. In the past decade we’ve come to understand two dimensions of resistance training, and application of sarcoplasmic muscular development to be of primary importance in the muscle building/maintaining war against disease. That’s a new paradigm in training, and I’m one of it’s paradigm pioneers.

The third pillar is called Noetics since there’s no unique name for it yet. Noetics is describable as auto-regulation, as voluntary control of the autonomic nervous system, and a host of other names. The reason for so many names is so many academic and clinical specializations work with aspects of it, rarely seem to talk to one another, so we’re far from approaching an integrative, synoptic understanding. That’s a pity because those wishing to contract for services have to run a gauntlet of guess work and discovery. Bottom line is this: we inherently possess incredible resources making up an amazing dormant human potential.

BodhiBuilding integrates Noetic training into the warp and woof of your everyday life with attention and mindfulness training practices. You exercise your muscles and body, you exercise dormant capacities and functions of your conscious and unconscious mind, and you learn to make healthy food choices. Yes, your renewal is a new lease on life as both an art and a science.

Watch for regular blog posts from now on. Coming up next year is BodhiBuilding’s official website http://www.longlifefitness.net. A place holder version of the site is online, one allowing for signing up on our mailing list. Although the site will swing into full operation with the new year, we are accepting applications on a limited basis for those wishing to enroll in remote BodhiBuilding training. Remote training works best because the small number of persons on the leading edge of the cusp of evolution’s next step are widely scattered. Thanks to ever enhanced technology, remote training is as good as hands on work.

My thanks to those who’ve goaded me for a year: my wife Karan being first and foremost. And some credible folks who you can Google to learn more about: Frank Zane, Marty Gallagher, Fred “Dr. Squat” Hatfield, PhD, and Tommy Suggs. Thanks too to Mark Alexander, Mike Graham, Sara Gustafson Eye, Keith Norris and Skyler Tanner.

Until next time, Happy Trails to You Until we Meet Again.

©2013, Ken O’Neill. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited.

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Post- Modern Paleo: A New Copernican Revolution?

Post- Modern Paleo: A New Copernican Revolution?

We are evolution becoming conscious of itself.” – Sir Julian Huxley, 1959

 Certain turning points occur in the course of human history, seemingly simple introduction of a new idea resulting in wide sweeping changes in understanding of nature and life. The first major such event in Western European history redefined the Earth as one of the planets revolving around the Sun, displacing centuries of religious mythological authority maintaining the Earth to be the center of the Universe. In the centuries following, a steady stream of various other naturalistic revelations have further altered understanding of the nature of human life on planet earth. Yet the impact of a turning point event occurring in 1878 has yet to directly bear practical, pragmatic fruit on the lives we live – including our health and well being. In what follows we explore the foundation of the Paleo movement as a uniquely post-modern science – yet one incomplete and necessarily floundering due simply unawareness of its post-modern origins establishing what will hopefully become a New Copernican Revolution.

 Publication of Copernicus’ On the Revolution of the Celestial Spheres just before his death in 1543 formulated a heliocentric model of the universe, placing the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center. His untimely death was, in retrospect, timely insofar as the event spared him of accusations of the utmost heresy and surely prolonged subjugation to sophisticated techniques of torture. The Copernican Revolution forever displaced traditional religious authority regarding the place of Sun, Earth and planetary motion, while introducing a problem haunting science until Newton’s postulating of gravity 140 years later: prior to Copernicus everyone understood that things fall to the floor moving toward the center of the universe. Dislodged as the world’s center, no cogent explanation sufficed to explain what Newton would recognize and name as gravity.

 Over roughly the past two centuries, a short span of 200 years, human civilization has undergone unprecedented shifts towards a kind of self-reflective consciousness. The revolution beginning in the 1850s with Darwin and Marx undercut belief rooted in traditional religious and monarchical myths of human origins and human nature, opening the way to naturalism. Pasteur’s discovery of germs as cause of infectious disease toppled standard explanations of causes ranging from divine retribution to curses, thereby establishing the beginning of modern medicine. The culminating act establishing a naturalistic, human based science came with William James establishing the world’s first psychology laboratory at Harvard College in 1878: for several centuries investigation of the human mind was forbidden by religious authority due to its belief that psyche was the seat of the soul, hence the exclusive providence of church.

We humans have come a long way in the short span of less than two centuries – a long way in movement from the thought-control imposed by church and monarchy by means of mythologies privileging totalitarianism. Modern totalitarian states remain, some governed by exclusive religious claims, others by state Communist materialistic authority. Far more subtle and pervasive today are institutionalized systems of dogmatic authority that we’re raised believing to be ultimate truths of life. Origins of the Paleo movement as a post-modern discipline while not well known or appreciated are of utmost importance for every freedom loving, wellness seeking individual.

 Paleo Origins: A New Post-Modern Science

 If Paleo has a remote scientist ancestor, Charles Darwin will have to share that role of honor with Harvard College philosophy William James. Among his numerous achievements as an early bearer of the title “Harvard pragmatist” James broke the stranglehold of several centuries of Western religious authority by establishing the world’s first psychology laboratory in 1878; within a year, a second was established in Germany. Another twenty years later, Vienna’s Sigmund Freud discovered the distinction between our two minds: the conscious and the unconscious.

 In the wake of revelations of both Darwin and Marx, some philosophers and scientists began questioning long held beliefs about the nature of human consciousness. Just as Pasteur demonstrated that curses, hexes, and divine retribution did not account for diseases due to bacteria, similar shift in attention occurred with early speculative development of what would become far more than psychology, resulting in a blossoming of an array of social sciences in the twentieth century: included are psychology, sociology, political science, and anthropology. Much of the early development of those fields drilled down simply to establish separate, independent fields of theory and understanding as new specializations – suffering as being marginalized as ‘soft’ sciences by modernity.

Modernity and Post-Modernity

 In a nutshell, modernity refers to the new scientific worldview arising in the wake of Darwin, Marx, Pasteur and many others during the late 19th century. It’s philosophy included mandatory control-measure taboos inherited as a way of thinking from medieval religious authority: science was bound to the study of external, observable, measurable phenomena. Modernity stripped supernatural explanations from its worldview, holding the nature of reality is reducible only to material causes. Mind by it’s very nature did not fit well into materialistic reductionism. At best mind and emotion were confined to what’s known as epiphenomenalism: just as the kidneys produce urine, the brain excretes consciousness! What an odd metaphor for scientists to employ in description of themselves! The rise of biochemical medicine dominating American thinking resulted in development of psycho pharmaceutical approaches to treating, not healing, ‘emotional disorders’ – a fact verifiable with reference to news network commercials reinforcing the view such approaches are ‘normal’ ‘medical science’.

 Post-modern thinking became a major force in the wake of World War II. Revelations of psychology throughout the twentieth century inescapably established how easily psychological conditioning shapes mind, emotion, and behavior. Sociology went further, revealing the incredible gravity of social pressures from birth in establishing ‘the social construction of self” and reality. Political science shed more light on casual and deliberate shaping of belief, including insidious tools of mind-control and opinion shaping rooted in manipulation of fear. Anthropology revealed not only cultural relatively – how language and one’s native culture are shape a particular culture relative to others – but provided tools for comparing culturally arbitrary beliefs as not absolutes.

 Post-Modern Paleo

 Paleo’s origins were not as a diet. In the early 1980s three remarkable scholars met at Emory University. Anthropologist Melvin Konner and his late wife Marjorie Shostak were renown Harvard anthropologists for their field work with the !Kung. Back at Harvard in midlife Mel entered Harvard medical school to fulfill a lifelong dream, becoming also a MD. Soon after he was recruited to chair Emory’s anthropology department. There he met S. Boyd Eaton, professor of radiology and lifelong student of anthropology. In the early 80s Eaton attended an anthropological conference on diet, sparking interest. The three of them set out studying diet, fitness, etc. among extant hunter/gatherers. Their version of evolutionary medicine brought together tools of anthropology to bear on medical presuppositions native to Western civilization. Comparative study indicate extant hunter/gathers lack vocabulary for most of the diseases we of contemporary Western civilization take for granted as ‘the human condition.’ In the best spirit of the Copernican Revolution, their co-authored 1988 book The Paleolithic Prescription counts as a primary post-modern classic. And as with the wake of opposition to Copernicus by religious authority, their work and its unprecedented escalation as the now popular Paleo movement remains discounted and marginalized by official dogmatic ‘medical scientific’ authority.

 Paleo Today: At the Turning Point

 I confess. I’m guilty as can be. It happened with I was twelve years old, more than 50 years ago. I inherited a collection of books from my late great-uncle. Included was one of the two volumes of Darwin’s The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871). At twelve years of age I had my first sex book! I soon became converted to evolution, never looking back. My delight regarding the Paleo movement is boundless, nevertheless guarded simply because by all appearances it’s drifting int a popular movement at the expense of losing life line connections with its scientific origins. In fact, in some quarters it’s become just plain counter factual as a dietary movement divorced from a rapidly growing evolutionary science of exercise physiology that’s mandatory for an informed, intelligent accurate picture. And more…

Sir Julian Huxley, from the eminent British family of evolutionary scientists, said in a 1959 centennial Darwinian conference at the University of Chicago: “We are evolution becoming conscious of itself.” Other scientists of that period have noted the same metaphor, like Huxley then going on to advocate moving from passive recipients of forces shaping evolution to becoming co-evolutionary consciously volitional participants in that process in order to become the First Humans. A new race pure human, gratefully accepting the full richness of dormant genomic potentials by embracing a journey of discovery oriented to self-mastery/self-liberation!

I must also confess to a different worldview. While still in high school two professional wrestlers at the San Jose YMCA noted my passion for weight training while otherwise a bookish kid. One Saturday morning they took me aside, expressing how they liked me, along with their concern over lacking any skills for taking care of myself on the street. Every Saturday thereafter we’d meet for an hour in the wrestling room learning self-defense going up against guys 50 pounds of muscle bigger than me in hand to hand combat, rubber knives and rubber guns. We reached a point where they prescribed going down the street to the Buddhist temple to learn judo and meditation. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area I knew something of Buddhism from Alan Watts’ television programs on KQED. Within a decade, exhausting the possibilities of psychology and philosophy as material reductionist dominated in a double major, I entered a Japanese Buddhist graduate school: I’d learned enough to know core Buddhism isn’t a religion, instead a profound mapping of dormant human potentials together with powerful methods of bringing those potentials to integrated living them. That, in turn, took me to Kyoto for advanced training, testing of ‘heart’ understanding, then awarded mentor licensing as a Kyoshi (akin to a Zen master). Due to little interest in religion, I was more aligned with emergent post-modern consciousness research, especially with pragmatic application to athletic peak performance and wellness. As such, my orientation goes well beyond diet and exercise as reductionistic ‘medicines that are good for you.’

One important lesson is that mediation is a plural word: there are many, many versions, all aiming at specific outcomes. What’s more, meditation is a carry over term from 19th century pioneering interpretation. The more accurate term is ‘non-dual mindfulness.’

 My claim is that Paleo is well advised to plunge deeper into post-modern development. That means the so-called ‘soft sciences’ need to be embraced and gainfully employed in celebration of a passion for life. As such, we need to address how wellness feels different and better than doing things out of self-divided obligation because they are good for you!

 Epistemology

 Post-modern Paleo benefits from an important narrative of Western culture. One group of early Christians were persecuted out of existence: the gnostics. Gnostic and gnosis come from the Sanskrit verb jñā, which means a transcending, inner understanding – the sort arising from seeing through and rising above cultural conditioning. For a prescribed dogma totalitarian oriented, growing early religious authority, gnostics were dangerous. The gnostic heresy became the most persecuted of heresies: it claimed one could have spiritual experience independent of churches and priests through direct contact with the spiritual. In 1460, the Medicine court purchased a long forbidden book, The Corpus Hermeticum, putting Marsilio Ficino to work rendering it to Latin. That work reintroduced long forbidden gnosis to the Latin Renaissance, in turn fanning development of Renaissance Science – viewed and punished as the Scientific Heresy by religion. With anonymous publication in Kassel of the Fama Fraternitatus in 1614, a new image of a new human emerged: one could know the mind of God by opening Liber Mundi, the Book of Nature. Descartes’ carefully constructed work separated mind from body, giving religion a basis for making a deal: science could study external, observable, measurable events, leaving the psyche or seat of the soul to its owner, religion. German phenomenologist philosophers danced around the issue with careful writing, but it was not until James established his laboratory that the heresy was put to rest.

 Early interpretation of non-Western ‘philosophy and religion’ assumed everybody everywhere had religions that can be interpreted in Western languages based on examination of what they believe. Sadly, the spiritual liberation traditions of India and China (plus derivative cultures) don’t work that way. They count as sophisticated transpersonal, perhaps in some cases transcultural, pathways of liberating the dormant human potential. Our Western interpreters, blinded by their culture’s Gnostic Deficiency Disorder, were entirely ill-equipped for the task. Due to their cultural waking trance, they found doctrine and beliefs everywhere they looked despite none being present!

 Core non-dual mindfulness promotes development of observing or flowing through life without being hijacked by knee jerk reactions to everyday melodramas. One gains skill in seeing through and rising above addictive reactions. MRI scans demonstrate that a few weeks of non-dual mindfulness training result in diminishing concentrations of gray matter associated with the seat of the fight or flight limbic system’s amygdala with increased population of gray matter to the left prefrontal cortex, seat of objective decision making – plus lighting up of the insula, seat of empathy,compassion, and loving-kindness. Far more studies, literally tens of thousands, indicate immense liberative humanizing physical and psychological benefits from non-dual mindfulness skill development.

 Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with how we know what we think we know. Practice of non-dual mindfulness results in getting to know ourselves, our unconscious yet habitual automatic pilot reactions to life. As we gain skill into settling into unhurried inner peace, a transvaluative experience occurs that comes to value peace over stressful discord with ourselves. Many techniques such as neurofeedback and hypnosis can help accomplish similar ends, while doing so with reliance on an external operator instead of gaining lifetime, portable skills.

 Psycho-Physical Training: BodhiBuilding

 For decades I’ve largely kept physical training (resistance training) separated from non-dual mindfulness training for the public. Yep, I catered to popular stereotypes due to several decades of dismissive responses. The world has, happily, changed. Candace Pert’s work on the ligand-receptor system underscores the whole system wellness importance of coordinated, integrative psycho-physical training/skill development. Hence, it was time to step up to the plate with what we’ve done for decades.

 Physical training has grown in sophistication in recent decades due to programmatic methods scheduling progressive development over the course of months and more. Most of our orientations to ‘meditation’ are simplistic – simplistic in that Sanskrit and Chinese traditions have the same sorts of progressive skill development and training models that physical training does. Wonderful news. Psycho-physical training does one important thing: it unlocks fuller expression of genomic potentials for whole person wellness that do reductionist, half-hearted approaches.

 Where does Bodhi-Building fit in the Paleo or Physical Culture worlds? It’s a harbinger of things to come, a new guiding paradigm. Specifically it’s client centered rather than one sizes fits all. It can be done at home or in a gym. It’s demanding yet simple: you meet yourself with every rep of every set, gaining skill in dense intensity leading to surprisingly rapid improvement. In practical terms, it aims to prevent, arrest, even reverse chronic degenerative diseases plaguing Western civilization.

 Bodhi means wisdom, hence the outcome of BodhiBuilding is one of gaining liberating personal wisdom empowering voluntary self-care in wellness based on stimulating rich expression of dormant genomic potentials.

 For those interested, watch for a separate BodhiBuilding website coming very soon. Applications will be taken for learners, both one on one and by use of web technology for remote mentoring.

 ©2013, Ken O’Neill. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited.

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Beyond Paleo

“The real problem of humanity is the following;

We have Paleolithic emotions;

Medieval institutions;

and god-like technology.”                                                                                                                                             E.O. Wilson cited in 2009 conversation,

with Rebecca Castro, p. 18, The Watchman’s Rattle.

A recent request for my thoughts on ‘the future of Paleo’ as someone dissident to the movement took me doubly aback: first, due to the question itself, and secondly due to being regarded as a ‘dissident.’

I’ll readily confess: I’ve never thought of myself as a dissident within the Paleo movement simply because I’ve never considered myself to be a card carrying member of the Paleo movement. Paleo’s rapid emergence and popularity as a grassroots nutritional movement is breath taking: however, once we move beyond the diet considerations, Paleo is merely the tip of a huge iceberg — and with that, of far greater social and scientific importance than simply a dietary movement. That iceberg is NOT Paleo — it’s the emerging new paradigm of evolutionary science. It’s time to move Beyond Paleo, just as Popular and Commercial Paleo moved out of evolutionary science forming a scientifically solid nutritional movement. The clear and present danger of Popular and Commerical Paleo lies in making non-dietary claims couched as ‘genetic’ or ‘scientific’ when, in fact, those claims are hand-me-downs in commercial garb.

Originating nearly 30 years ago, the seeds of Paleo slowly grew as academic research and publications in the newly emerging discipline of evolutionary medicine — where medicine and anthropology joined forces studying human evolution, health, and diet on a global and historical scale for the first time. In 2004, one of the researchers published a groundbreaking study entitled The Paleo Diet, catalyzing the shift from a best kept secret of academia to what became the groundswell popular Paleo movement. Blogs, websites, and social media all contributed to viral growth of popular Paleo, a movement further amplified by commoditization of Paleo with myriad commercial ventures — books, workshops, clothing and equipment, and much more.

The request to talk on the future of Paleo catalyzed thinking on the past and present stage of Paleo, including dangers it faces for some foreseeable time. From my perspective, Paleo went commercialized too fast and with too great success to now be able to renew itself; what’s more, the bigger implications of Paleo seem of little interest to contemporary Commercial Paleo. The future’s wide open — in the future I perceive, Paleo will occupy a significant role in a far greater paradigm, one concerned with whole person natural genetic expression mandating attention to far more than diet.

Dr. Lane Sebring & Evolutionary Science

Moving from Arizona to a small Texas town in 2004, word of mouth recommended a physician who seemed in league with how I feel about medicine. In short order I became a patient of Dr Sebring, enjoying our conferences with my annual physical examination. We shared many interests in common, including physical culture. In 2009 I was honored with his invitation to collaborate developing an evolutionary based clinical procedure for dealing with Metabolic Syndrome — type II diabetes, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis, and several other symptoms. We were just then moving back to Wimberley from Austin, within two miles of his clinic. We’d already decided the lower level of our home was to include a comprehensive gym and research office.

Sarcopenia — Initial Breakthrough

First guiding my contributions to work with Dr Sebring were deep roots in Evans and Rosenberg’s landmark research of the 1980s at Tufts. They renamed chronic strength muscle atrophy by using a new word: sarcopenia or muscular poverty. Evans & Rosenberg initially set out to explore the age old conviction that muscle wasting is a normal condition of aging. Their research revealed that muscle wasting due to inactivity is the primary cause of premature aging, along with Metabolic Syndrome. Of greater importance, they demonstrated that sarcopenia can be prevented, can be arrested, and can be reversed. Muscle fate is not cast in concrete, instead there’s a plasticity of muscle. Their 1992 book Bio-Markers tells an intriguing story.

Evolutionary Medicine

Dr Sebring should be called the Pioneering Paleo Physician. From 1998 he was a regular participant at the late Robert Crayhon’s Boulderfest, there meeting up and attending workshops with Loren Cordain. Four years before publication of Cordain’s The Paleo Diet, Lane was already engaged in clinical applications of Cordain’s principles. When CJ Hunt undertook his In Search of the Perfect Diet movie project, Cordain pointed him to Dr. Sebring. To my shameful embarrassment, Dr Sebring had pointedly urged me toward Cordain’s book as early as 2005. A casual perusal of the book suggested it was yet another Physical Culture orientation to a high protein, nutrient dense, natural whole foods diet. How entrenched can one become? Only when we began collaborating did I read the book, experiencing an epiphany of insight. But it didn’t stop there. Cordain’s website contained years of peer review publications, and their references took me back to the origins of Paleo in the work of Eaton, Shostak, and Konner, especially their 1988 The Paleolithic Prescription.

My journey turned from Paleo to Evolutionary Medicine at that point. The great lesson of evolutionary medicine isn’t restricted to discovery of the Paleo diet: of far greater importance is revelation that a pandemic of nearly 35 diseases racking havoc and ruin among Western cultures stem exclusively from living in utter contempt of our genetic nature. While successful application of Paleo on a personal basis in losing body fat and subduing type II diabetes is admirable, reducing the Paleo movement to a self-help industry undermines its potential for mitigating major social & health problems of our world.

Beyond Sarcopenia — Evolutionary Exercise Physiology

 Evolutionary sciences now include evolutionary exercise physiology. Unencumbered by the dogmatic institutionalism of medicine, exercise physiology has emerged as a truly independent science. While medical research grew over the past century due to grants and controls from the pharmaceutical monopolies, hence overtaking free investigation due to directing research to marketing agendas, medical schools were forced to eliminate dissident disciplines: energy medicine, chiropractic, nutrition, and physical culture. Up until the 1970s, physical culture reincarnate as kinesiology and exercise physiology made slow progress. From the 1970s, exercise physiology began coming of age. Hidden away from the pharmaceutical-medical monopolies in obscure colleges of education, in physical education departments — as relevant as basket weaving to most — funding from alumni aimed at fielding champion athletes and teams produced handsome budgets. Their science was in aid of peak performance, science in service of unlocking dormant genetic potentials producing world class athletes and teams.

From the 80s through the new millennium of the year 2000, the Human Genome Project produced detailed mapping of what drives and makes us up – our genome. The year 2000 stands as a decisive turning point, one in which research turned to understanding genomic expression. Incredibly important research publications of the past 12 years in evolutionary exercise physiology, if taken seriously and applied, threaten to more than dramatically resolve the gridlocked health care crisis not only in public policy, but more importantly catalyzing a new medical science. A new medical science? Yes, one beyond  treating downstream symptoms but, instead, addressing upstream causes and prevention. So dramatic are the implications that public cost savings amount to tens of trillions of dollars.

This much is known: inactivity signals DNA to sequence unhealthy proteins, while under-sequencing healthy proteins. In terms of human evolution, our genetic make up standardizes normal levels of activity resulting in biochemical production of fitness friendly proteins. In an activity deficient condition, we don’t produce what we’re supposed to be making, starting a downward spiraling deregulation of health. We sign our own death warrant. Activity rules.

Physicians are today trained in the scalpel and prescription pad triumphs of 20th century Pasteurian medicine — a medicine whose triumphs defeated communicable, infectious diseases — along with public sanitation hygiene projects. Today’s pandemic of upwards of 35 major diseases are not infectious, communicable diseases; instead, they are degenerative, based on us as a civilization doing ourselves in. In pure existential terms, diseases of civilization are masked, unconscious, unwitting versions of mass suicide — akin to lemmings running off cliffs to certain destruction due to blatant ignorance, while for humans that ignorance is managed by surrogate measures of addiction to retain us within comfort zones of detrimental addictive reliance.

Beyond Omics – The Rest of the Story

The September 15, 2011 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology carried two articles of immense sobering influence for us. Wagner & Paterson’s “Physiology: Found in Translation” editorial was simultaneously published in 2011 in The Journal of Physiology; Physiology News; American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology; American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism; American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology; Journal of Applied Physiology; and Physiology. David Paterson is Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Physiology.

Peter Wagner is Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Applied Physiology, an unprecedented move. They introduce Michael Joyner’s Edward F. Adolph Distinguished Lectureship address published as “Giant sucking sound: can physiology fill the intellectual void left by the reductionists”

 Both articles review thirty years of inspired work in genetic and molecular biology, with emphasis on those fields’ promise of establishing deeper knowledge resulting in new cures for diseases running ramped. To date, panaceas remain in short supply. Where traditional physiology offered tools on the macro-level of diagnosis — capable of assessing presenting symptoms to various regular and rare causes, today’s biochemical model is so far removed from gross examination and diagnosis as to be remotely useful, more likely lost in confusing the forest for the trees. The author’s of both papers call attention to reductionism and the need to re-establish sobering balance.

Reductionism is the tendency to reduce complexities to simple explanations, simplistic paradigms that don’t stack up with credibility in face of the big picture. Reductionism was a characteristic of theology, replaced in the late 19th century by materialistic reductionism. That era of reductionism removed mind/emotion/will from the picture, holding that all scientific explanation could be based on reducing phenomena to material causes. Mind was explained as epiphenomalism – the view that just as the kidneys excrete urine, the brain excretes consciousness — essentially a toxic byproduct of no great importance other than as something defecated. One wonders if the implications of that view impacted the scientists proposing it in terms of self-esteem for their profession. Caveat lector!

The authors discussed above are physiologists. Crossing over to exercise physiology, the same reductionist genetic and molecular biology also thrives. Rarely do orthodox medicine and physiology intersect with physical culture and exercise physiology, resulting in immense fragmentation of knowledge and disruption of development of whole systems understanding. Since medicine and physiology are chiefly occupied understanding pathology while physical culture and exercise physiology concern themselves with health and peak performance, their dissociation creates an unhealthy gap in pure and practical knowledge.

Worse still, a review of genetic and molecular biological literature reveals a sort of Grail Quest for primary yet nevertheless evasive, mysterious, perhaps unknowable factors. Factors? Yes, since both fields highlight varying metabolic pathways marked by considerable synergy, interactions sufficient enough to result in highly clouded explanations.

The Omics mistake in physiology simply should not occur in exercise physiology. And the best way to ensure such mindless reductionism from happening will be a new field of research pairing up subtle omic research directly to gross level physical training protocols. Most genomic exercise physiology studies measure aerobic expression, while for over all health benefit anaerobic protocols must be followed. We’ll have more to say about commercialized physical training below, while for here genomic strength development is far from a singular noun: systematic study of various training methods is mandated in order to fully understand what they stimulate and how they work.

Slower, Weaker, Smaller — Manthropology

Australian anthropologist Peter McAllister’s Manthropology is a curve ball to our Western civilization standards of normality. Based on sub-disciplines of anthropology, he offers an adjunct to early Paleo science, amplifying how diminished genomic expression has become under the reign of Western civilization. Like Jarod Diamond’s work, obvious implications of McAllister’s work should be a wake up call. What’s he got to tell us? Through his work, his reporting of physical anthropological findings undeniably conclude that contemporary zoo humans are essentially smaller, weaker, slower expressions of ancestral adaptations. Comparative study of McAllister’s findings applied to the current pandemic would explicitly reveal how rapidly we’re promoting increasingly smaller, weaker, slower, and hence sicker with chronic degenerative diseases.

From Academic Paleo to Commercial Paleo

Its roots are in academic research, in evolutionary medicine: Paleo itself was born with publication of Loren Cordain’s The Paleo Diet in 2004. Up until then, growing scientific news appeared in various hard to find peer review publications. As a new author with a popular book, Cordain’s publisher chose the title. And that choice of title typecast Paleo as Diet.

Several years of focused Paleo research makes it real clear how rapidly and influentially Paleo has grown in remarkably short time. Such unprecedented growth is largely due to websites, blogs, and social media. Cordain set loose profoundly revolutionary ideas, while web media transformed those ideas into a groundswell popular movement out of which a rapidly growing commercialized Paleo is erupting.

Commercial Paleo is, after all, inevitable. The most difficult challenge those of us who got into to Paleo early on faced was identification of supply and distribution channels, even in our local areas. Business opportunities abound, resulting in a more formidable, doable foundation for applying Paleo to your life.

Popular & Commercial Paleo: Where They Went Wrong

Something disruptive happened as Popular and Commercial Paleo genres became runaway successes: they ran away from their scientific roots in evolutionary science. They did so first by dumbing down formative evolutionary scientific research by focusing on diet and diet alone. Anyone familiar with American culture knows that fad diets make millions of dollars because they satisfy belief that silver bullets cure everything. Paleo does better than simple fat loss diets: reports of remediation of type II diabetes and other illnesses fuels the fire.

Symptomatic of what’s wrong about Paleo is the whole area of exercise or fitness, a dimension of academic studies at least since 1988 publication of The Paleolithic Prescription. Up until emergence of Popular Paleo, diet and activity/fitness were part and parcel of medical anthropological reporting. Popular Paleo exhibits wholesale disregard for more than a decade of evolutionary exercise physiology publications irrefutably underscoring the primacy of activity, with nutrition a close second. The result is many folks regard Paleo as a diet freeing them of any concern for fitness bestowing action.

Commercial Paleo dramatically worsens the situation, yet you don’t see any discussion of it. In essence, a sort of ‘gentleman’s agreement’ seems to be in place — promoters of various Commercial Paleo schemes, especially those including some version of “ancestral fitness”, never challenge, never criticize, and never discuss justification for their scheme. With my early readings of Paleo literature, I smelled an aged rat upon reading that Paleo based exercise should consist of “short, infrequent training of upwards of one set of eight exercises done to failure.” That motto is not science speaking: it’s the polemic of a commercial theory of exercise now forty years of age. It has no justification in evolutionary science — nor do any of the other commercial theories!

To date, the leading Commercial Paleo concepts attempting to colonize the movement have been HIT and CrossFit, both known for aggressive marketing while being short on validating science: you’ll be hard pressed to find either in the curricula of exercise physiology or in scientific studies, while both ultimately rest on systems of authoritarianism for inprisoning minds. That’s because they’re commercial theories, not scientific theories. HIT and CrossFit are by no means alone for being short of scientific validation. Other commercial training services advocate ‘real Paleo’ Tarzan and chimp approaches to training.

Review of a century of study concerning how exercise works, what exercise methods are best, what makes muscle grow and get stronger result in one answer: we don’t know yet. Science doesn’t have to be in a hurry to learn the answer, but generations of individuals frustrated by no to slow fitness results seek a winning system. Once finding a system producing long sought results, a convert is born. We know this much for sure: any training system works for some of the population some of the time. Plateaus are more inevitable than injuries. Otherwise training ideas are widely divergent. Once a solution is commercialized, however, at that time its ability to grow and change is pretty much dead: commercialization leads to branding uniqueness, rarely generality. Our best solution today are those coaches ripe with wisdom in the art and science of training.

For my interests, Paleo is a wonderful dietary movement with a broad spectrum of entertaining systems of exercise thrown in. None of those exercise systems can justify being called “Paleo” because as they aren’t rooted in evolutionary science: they are not Physical Culture 2.0. either. And the ones you’re most likely to hear about are due to marketing budgets making their existence know: as much as they’ll claim to be Paleo, what evolutionary science justifies that claim. In absence of science, a good many rely on fictional reconstructions of Paleolithic life. Some cite anthropological reporting of Paleos working hunting 2-3 days weekly, then resting a lot: use of single studies does not consider men’s and women’s work allotment among many primal peoples.

Beyond Paleo: An Emergent New Humanistic Naturalism

 Paleo increasing digs itself into a solidifying ‘caveman’ icon. That’s going to backfire since it often glorifies a fictionalized ancestral past in seeking solutions to complex problems my recourse to simplistic image, while — more importantly — it disregards 100,000 years of continuing, sustained human evolution. I’m more concerned with moving well beyond commercialized Paleo, reconnecting with original scientific roots, and incorporating other disciplines filling still more blanks showing us what our genomic potential amounts to, and how we can consciously & beneficially evolve. It seems to me reclaiming our humanism is key, and doing so in a far reaching, multidisciplinary yet integrative manner.

Humanistic Naturalism: Reshaping Medicine

 Let’s move out of the Paleo Diet paradigm in a genetic based humanistic naturalism applied to medicine. With every physical examination, your doctor keeps track of both your height and weight. Those figures can be entered into a computer program for calculating BMI or Body Mass Index. Depending on the percentage score calculated, you’re rated on a relative scale of percentage body fat — ranking you as healthy, overweight, or obese.

Evolutionary exercise physiology understands that only until very recent generations, children born into the world had to develop strength and speed to survive. Those surviving into adulthood mated, transmitting the genetic wisdom keeping them alive to subsequent generations. We’re born into the world ready to compete and win — so much so that evolutionary scientists say that most of our ancestors’ normal condition was like that of life long athletes today: today’s medical standard for ‘normal’ is genetically abnormal. Our ancestors were heavier with lean muscle mass, yet with lower body fat.

Athletes are regularly diagnosed as over weight to obese with application of BMI. Since insurance companies use BMI, athletes can expect to be offered coverage at a higher premium due to being diagnosed at greater risk for disease and death — they’re diagnosed as over weight. Body composition distinguishes between body fat and muscle, giving a more accurate report but is not admissible for insurance companies.

Your doctor doesn’t know normal is abnormal. That means average numbers are wrong yet your doctor doesn’t know so. Since we’re smaller, weaker, and slower than our ancestors — except for life long athletes — construction of diagnostic tables fixing contemporary ‘normal abnormality’ will have tremendous health ensuring benefit. So-called ‘health’ by normal is abnormal standards would be reversed as unhealthy. Adjusting recommended body weight by age group upwardly in accounting for greater muscle mass would elevate target body weight goals for maintaining a place in the evolutionary fit category.

Implications of re-visioning bodyweight to athletic body composition have to be applied throughout the life span of 90 or 100 years. And with a dramatic shift from today’s pathetic standards. Sarcopenia speeds up with aging: the average 70 year old may have wasted away as much as 33 pounds of strength muscle. If we assume healthy people grow lighter as they age since sarcopenia is not taken into consideration, then a life long athlete could expect to be as much as 33 pounds fitter than the normal is abnormal standard — maybe more.

In line with roots in evolutionary science, blood panels would undergo considerable change. Blood panels are standardized to a random, general population — control groups composed of fit persons are excluded. From the evolutionary perspective, those optimally expressing the most natural genetic potential of fitness should be the gold standard. Sedentary people deemed healthy today due to an absence of disease by contemporary standards would not and could not be deemed healthy under an evolutionary based blood panel. In other words, the standards of normal abnormality do not take into account testing for bio-markers of degeneration versus fitness: we know two very different molecular biological processes distinguish the two, and with metabolic differences.

Under evolutionary medical diagnosis, attention will shift to Fitness Deficiency Disorders now treated as stand alone diseases (e.g., type II diabetes, hypertension, and osteoporosis) will be recognized as secondary and tertiary degenerative steps.

Such a genetic science based revisioning of simple bodyweight and blood panel diagnostic tools will align medical practice with diseases emerging as consequences of living in contempt of our genomic requirements. Evolutionary fitness, not disease absent “health,” will become our highly valued standard.  Prevention will outweigh cure.

Beyond Paleo

Most likely, the Paleo movement is here to stay. After all, it’s a genetically based refinement of old time Physical Culture’s admonishment to consume nutrient dense, natural whole foods. As a subordinate yet supporting role to Physical Culture 2.0 and an emerging Naturalistic Humanism, Paleo will well nourish the work of embodied minds taking the driver’s seat in next phases of human evolution’s challenge to avoid extinction at the hands of its own ignorance. Otherwise, the forces of evolutionary science will continue to shape a larger Naturalistic Humanism in which Paleo plays an important supporting role.

©2012, Ken O’Neill. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited.

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