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The human machine vs. the human organism

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  • The human machine vs. the human organism

    When should I IF? How long? When should I eat? How much? Is it okay to eat this before working out? Is it okay to eat that after working out? How should I exercise?

    Schedules and regimens can help a person ease into a new lifestyle, but the sooner you learn to live without them, the better. In the paleolithic world, one of the very few set things would have been the rising and setting of the sun. Most everything else would have been unregulated, difficult to predict, foolish to rely on; in a word: organic. Yet that was, as we all know, the environment we thrived and were most healthy in.

    15,000 years later and we've developed a relationship with the world that is more mechanical. Biological processes are understood in much the same way that mechanical ones are. While certainly not "wrong," such an understanding does colour one's attitude towards nature and one's own body in a way that tends to be rather cold, demanding and above all alienating.

    We must always keep in mind that we are not machines and cannot expect ourselves to function in the same way all the time in any given circumstance. Nature (and I include ourselves as an inseparable part of nature) is too complex to be understood like a textbook, and when we insist on regulating most aspects of our lives, it leads to stress when things don't work out like we anticipated. The best tool we have for understanding what's going on is how we feel.

    Don't feel hungry after a workout? Don't eat. Feel lightheaded and jittery halfway through every workout? Maybe try eating something beforehand. Feel perfectly fine without breakfast every day? No need to feel guilty and force something down in the morning. Feel sleepy around noon? Stretch out and have a short nap.

    Then, just for fun, every now and then deliberately avoid catering to your body's non-pressing needs (pressing needs being things like elimination, drowning, gushing neck wounds, etc) to simulate difficult times out on the savannah.

    It all sounds pretty obvious but it's so easy to forget.

    You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

  • #2

    Certainly worth a reminder every now and again

    I think the most valuable thing I've learned here is to LISTEN to my body- however crazy it may be, it's no use trying to impose routines and activities that I *should* be doing.

    The first step of listening is merely silence - switch off that mental chatter of what everyone else is doing and thinking and saying.........


    • #3

      Through this journey I have learned to listen to my body so much more than I have in the past. It has been a wonderful learning experience.


      • #4

        An excellent post, I loathe the comparison of humans to machines. Whenever it comes up in conversation I make a point to rebuke it and highlight how it over simplifies the wondrously complicated systems that make up any living thing.

        I do, however, like the common belief that putting sugar into a gas tank is just as bad for a car as it is for a human. ;P


        • #5

          my only response to this... is have any of you ever really looked at the motherboard and CPU in your computer? Could you take it apart or put it back together? Machines can be fascinating and complex, but be based on simple principles.

          i view the human body as a machine, a complex machine, but one that can eventually be understood. Biological processes are no different than the circuit board. If then yes or no digital statements combined with some analog inputs to create a wonderfully self-regulating and balancing whole.

          Of course... this could just be a difference of how we all view ourselves. I am a rather detached person without much in the way of spirituality. Those who choose to follow a more meta-physical approach may find it more comfortable to view nature as something more than a reciprocating biological environment.


          • #6

            It's so good to come across these wise words at this time. I've been reading a book called ecophilosophy and technology, and what you've written in this post really hits upon the main theme of the book.

            One thing I have to add in regards to listening to one's own body/quieting the chatter, as Northernmonkey mentioined, is that in this technological age we have also lost the propensity to use our imaginations. Our creative imagination is an incredible source of power, but it is so often silenced by the media that we barely realize that there are different modes of thought/being.

            And, I think, one aspect of being primal is to be spontaneous in accordance with the spontaneity in our bodies, and this is imagination in practice!

            Anyway, thanks for the post! I don't know how much my response make sense.. just some thoughts.


            • #7

              Interesting post, and by and large I agree with the tenor of it. There is certainly great value in listening to our bodies' expressions of various needs as they change through different circumstances.

              I wonder, though, if sometimes we force circumstances onto our bodies that lead to the necessity of pre-meditated, intellectually-based actions.

              To employ an analogy: Wild horses never need their hooves trimmed. They move around a lot on varied terrain, and thereby wear their hooves into the ideal shape for smooth and painless locomotion. When we domesticate horses, though, putting them in soft pastures and stalls that limit their movement, we have changed the circumstances and must therefore add an unnatural action (hoof trimming) to compensate.

              Similarly, if I am going to actively bodybuild or endurance train, perhaps it makes sense for me to take action to compensate for the stresses of those activities, regardless of how I "feel."

              (...I write as I consume a bowl of coconut milk and blueberries -- even though I'm not particularly hungry -- because without it, my day's calories would have been down around 1450, which is ridiculously low for the heavy workout I did today and the recovery I need to do before tomorrow's metcon effort.)

              Nightlife ~ Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm ~ Idaho's Primal Farm!

              Latest post: Stop Being Stupid


              • #8

                I like it Primalchild. Now that I can work whatever hours I want I've been doing this more and more. I've been stretching out of the routines I've built up. This gives me more reason to push. Thanks.