5 Suggestions for Becoming Less Civilized (and a Giveaway)

Inline_How_to_Uncivilize_YourselfCivilization has given us great gifts. Infectious diseases rarely kill us anymore. We have hot running water that’s safe to drink (usually). We can go down to the market and buy a thousand different foods. Things are, for the most part, safe and comfortable. Of course, many of the benefits of civilization have been solutions to problems it introduced. That we rarely die from infectious disease is significant because the high population densities of early civilizations created such high infectious disease burdens; nomadic hunter gatherers didn’t have that issue. But there are benefits.

Civilization has also harmed us. There’s the usual laundry list of maladies, like industrialized diets, sedentary lifestyles, dysfunctional circadian rhythms, skyrocketing rates of obesity, diabetes, and cancer that we discuss on here all the time.

But there’s also our wildness. For a civil society to function, it must tamp down excessive wildness among its citizenry. Someone’s got to maintain the roads, fix the plumbing, drive the buses, and get up and go to work on time. Yet, the call of the wild persists….

Humans have always represented the intersection of wildness and order. We have animal urges and instincts, and we have reason and logic. We’re subject to the natural world, and we mold and shape it. We’re civil, but with an edge. It’s that precarious balance between chaos and order that helps us do incredible things. The crazy vision of stepping foot on the moon and the discipline necessary to get us there safely. When we become “too civilized,” we lose that edge. On the balance, I’ll take the civilization, but we can do it better by reintroducing wildness into our personal lives.

“Wild” isn’t “crazy” or “savage” or “violent.” It can include ebullience, but it’s mostly about loosening the shackles of what civilization expects you to be and do.

Besides the obvious and dependable ways to become less civilized, like taking wilderness skill classes, flouting conventional dietary wisdom, camping, and hiking, what are some other suggestions?

Adjust Your “Create:Consume” Ratio

To consume is to be passive, comfortable, civilized. Civilization needs consumption. It’s necessary. But civilization and the humans who populate it also need creation, and that’s a bit more wild. It’s pushing the boundary, riding the edge. This isn’t an either-or situation. Everyone consumes. Everyone should create, too. How’s your ratio?

You don’t have to start a blog or write books. You don’t have to become an oil painter or sculptor. Although those are all great options for cultivating wildness via tweaking the create:consume ratio, they’re not the only way.

Creation can be almost anything as long as it introduces something new to the world. It can be minor or monumental. If you’re reading a blog and a thought comes to you, write a comment. If you’re scrolling through a Twitter conversation and have something to contribute, do so. Participate. You could be dungeon master for a Dungeons and Dragons group—that’s creating a narrative for others to inhabit. You could convince your buddies to start training with you—that’s creating good, healthy habits in people who didn’t have them. Direct your energy outward, rather than be a passive recipient of exogenous energy.

Learn a Martial Art

There’s a real human predilection toward violence that, if ignored or repressed, often explodes into tragedy. Martial arts can be a good outlet for that. Now, I don’t know this first-hand. As a kid, I got into my fair share of mostly-friendly scrapes and rough and tumble play, and it was great. Every kid should do that (few do these days). But I don’t have any real experience with martial arts. Not learning one is actually one of my major regrets in life. In recent months, however, I have done some very easy grappling drills with an acquaintance who’s been training for most of his life. It’s been awesome. Nothing too serious or intense. But I get a real sense of how I’d respond in a violent situation.

Don’t do what I did. Learn a martial art. There’s an element of wildness—you’re learning how to do and avoid violence, how to face another human being in simulated mortal conditions—tempered with control and the boundaries of civilization—no one’s going to die or get seriously hurt. From my limited experience, I’d say try a grappling art like Brazilian jiu-jitsu or wrestling.

Indulge Your Fandom

Humans have a sense of tribalism encoded in us, a desire for allegiance toward and acceptance from a group. For some, that manifests as ethnic or religious hatred. There are obvious problems with those manifestations. Could there be a positive outlet for our tribalism? Research shows that diehard sports fans see physiological benefits when their teams compete, such as boosts to testosterone and increased empathy. Sports fans even have a higher-than-average sense of meaning in their lives, something many modern humans lack.

I’m guessing this may apply to more “nerdy” allegiances, like Star Wars vs Star Trek, Marvel vs DC, or Playstation vs XBox, though I have to draw the line at adult My Little Pony fans. Sorry.

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t let these tribal allegiances consume your life. Don’t spend every waking moment following sports, politics, or pop culture. That’d be like engaging in perpetual warfare with a rival tribe—no good.

In fact, I think some of these “open-ended” tribal conflicts are the most dangerous. In sports, as on the battlefield, there’s a definitive, objective conclusion to the conflict: Your team either wins or loses. Everyone accepts the outcome, because the outcome is undeniable. In politics or pop culture, the battle never ends. It drags on, and drags you down with it.

Get Your House In Order

When chaos envelopes us at home—dirty dishes in the kitchen, clothes strewn around, papers everywhere, bills unpaid, responsibilities mounting—we devote most of our creative energy to blocking it out, to ignoring it, leaving us little energy left over to embody our true, wilder selves. Don’t do this.

Instead, deal with the issues directly. Clean the place up. Address all the energy suckers. You’ll probably find that most of them resolve rather quickly, and you have far more time and energy left over to create, learn, play, and indulge the call of the wild.

And, yes, I think there’s an argument to made for minimalism here.

Interact With the Environment In Atypical Ways

Civilization has created neat, linear environments with walkways and paths and boundaries. Normally, we stay between the lines, stay off the grass, and generally follow the rules. Try not doing that.

  • Climb trees, randomly. Do so in full view of others; it may inspire them to do something similar.
  • Walk or bear crawl along the backs of park benches. Be cautious about it.
  • Take shortcuts. Vault over fences.
  • Sprint up stairs.
  • Do pullups at crosswalk light posts, overhead branches, ledges, anything that you can grip and hang from.

Be a weirdo, not a jerk.  You shouldn’t walk through wilderness protection zones or trample someone’s garden. Don’t trespass.

I’m curious how you foster de-civilization in your life? Any comments, reactions, responses? I’d especially love to hear about martial arts more experienced folks can recommend.

Now For the Giveaway…

As we wrap up this kickoff month of 2018, the question becomes: how do you take your intention to the next level? Today I offered up some ideas for those often neglected but still essential “other” foundations of a healthy and fulfilling Primal life.

primalconnection_400x400And I want to offer one random commenter on today’s post something to help in that regard—a copy of The Primal Connection and a $50 gift certificate to PrimalBlueprint.com to apply to other books (or anything on the site) that might support his/her next steps.

Just tell me some thought inspired by today’s post—or something you’d like to see me cover about these “extra” essentials of Primal living: play, sun, sleep, nature, barefooting, etc.

Be sure to comment on today’s post by midnight tonight (1/31/18 PST) to be eligible.

Take care, everyone. Be well!


About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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237 thoughts on “5 Suggestions for Becoming Less Civilized (and a Giveaway)”

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  1. I thought the idea of finding a positive outlet for tribalism was interesting. I do tend to think of obsessiveness as detrimental, but I like that you noted the physiological benefits of healthy tribalism. In future posts, I’m always interested in hearing more about the human relationship with nature.

  2. This article really helped me understand the importance of getting our house in order. For me, having a house that is out of order will cause unneeded stress and anxiety. I dread the time it takes my wife and I to bring the inside of our house back to life especially with two kids under the age of 3 but the end result is satisfying and the stress and anxiety soon disappear.

  3. All great ideas. I would add that even “micro dosing” nature helps. I take my dog outside first thing every morning and last thing before bed, barefoot and coat-less, regardless of the weather. While she’s doing her business I stand quietly and notice the feeling of the grass (or snow) underfoot, the air on my skin, the sounds and smells in the atmosphere, and what’s up in the sky (colors, clouds, etc.). I simply get quiet and observe, both externally and internally. Once you start doing this, your relationship with nature will strengthen, and you may even start feeling a hit of gratitude each time. This little ritual takes virtually no time, and has a profound effect. Oh, and I live in NY City, so really, no excuses – you can do this anywhere.

    1. I love this idea! I let my dog out on his leash several times a day, and in the process often stop and look out at the world from my deck (I feel so lucky to have a pretty backyard with a pond and lots of trees and wildlife), but I hadn’t thought of it as “micro dosing” nature. I am going to do this more intentionally now, thank you! And barefoot more often too.

    2. I love this! It’ll be easier as it gets warmer and I think I’ll try it. My dog would love it, of course!

  4. This post has everything: solid advice, Brazilian jiu jitsu, and Dungeons and Dragons. 10/10, would read again!

    From your experience with grappling drills, how would you adopt martial arts into Primal aligned fitness endeavors? Also, what is keeping you from becoming more involved in the martial arts you listed? Or Dungeons and Dragons, for that matter?

  5. How about some tips for indoor rock climbing. Really been getting into this lately as great cross-training. Went outside in Colorado last summer and I’m hooked.

    How do I increase finger strength? What about how being outside on a rock brings you so present?

    1. I used to do a lot of indoor rock climbing (both top roping and bouldering) and loved it. Definitely had issues with grip strength though. Still want to try doing it outside…know it would be a whole different experience.

  6. As a former scoutmaster, I used to encourage my scouts to do exactly this, but not too much (adolescent boys have no brakes on their behavior). But it was amazing to me how much I had to tamp down technology. At one time, I actually had two scouts texting each other from opposite ends of a hiking line. Phones were soon banned on campouts, much to the chagrin of the scouts (this was before phones were essentially banned by sexual harassment/predator laws). The best campouts were the ones with no technology involved.

  7. Excellent ideas. How about an article on “walking meditation in nature.” This is a formal practice with a blueprint to follow.this can be done solo or holding the hand of another. It connects us with the earth. It cultivates joy and gratitude. It places us in the present moment. Peace from n.c.

  8. I think that practicing a martial art, or parkour (which is in a way what you suggested on point 5) has definitely the advantage to make you understand how your body moves on a deeper level than other physical activities based on simpler, or more repetitive, or more structured, movements. I did for me at least, making me less clumsy on the way.

    1. Yes! This was my primary reason to enrol my 7yo in martial arts (I, like Mark, am regretting not learning it as a child). I find we have a set of movements in which we feel comfortable and very few civilized opportunities to explore more and expand that set.

      1. It’s never too late to learn a martial art. It can be hard to find a good school that has a good environment for adult beginners, but they are out there. I came back as a thirtysomething woman and love everyday I get to train.

  9. My journey started with your website and the Paleo diet, but I’ve slowly began exploring more of the anthropological aspects. What is a true homo sapien supposed to be? How are we designed to thrive?
    The Stoics (and Aristotle) tried to teach people to live like we’re created to live. They taught that we’re social creatures (and lots of other stuff). They were on the same track. JSM Ward wrote in “Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods” about men’s/women’s social groups in still wild tribes that were disappearing quickly during the early 1900s and how we should study them to preserve as much knowledge as possible before it’s lost. We’re probably meant to be composed of little bands of family groups. (How do we imitate that?)
    Then on to barefooting, Movnat, hiking, wilderness camping – that all eventually brought me to the concept of “Re-wilding” ourselves, which I’ve been exploring since I heard of the idea. I was able to grow up in the country with lots of freedom. I want to teach my children to be independent and wild. That’s sadly lacking in today’s society.
    It’s truly a rabbit hole, but if you venture down it I’ll be sure to join you! 😀

  10. The idea to climb trees, jump fences, and bearcrawl park benches sounds like such a great way to have fun in nature.

  11. I eat in a healthy way and have released 80 pounds. (Almost 65. Did this post-menopausal!) I walk a lot and do planks among other exercises. But I can be wobbly at times. I’m thinking martial arts might be more interesting than PT! Since downsizing, our house pretty much stays neat and orderly. I just rearranged a linen closet to make it function better. Little tweaks are all that’s necessary now.

    1. Hi Linda- I have found yoga helps with wobbly balance muscles… (as a fellow post M woman) Congratulations on the weight loss!!

  12. Good article. I would like to see you write more in the future about finding balance between living less civilized and still within society. For example, whether love or hated the reboot of Point Break, there is a line in there that Bohdi says that really resonated with me. He said “We live on the grid, just on our own terms.” I would like to see you write about how that applies to the primal lifestyle. Thank you! Alan

  13. I went outside and climbed a tree after reading this. Considering I live in the middle of town and it’s January, I got a few strange looks 😀

  14. I really like the idea of creating and consuming being a ratio. and being the weirdo who does pull-ups on the trees in the park in worth it, most especially because I can show my kids that playing doesn’t stop as you grow older.

  15. i plan to replace as much stuff as i can with homemade items, for now i am starting with plates and other items i can make from pottery clay, it might be interesting to find a local item trade platform for homemade stuff, ranging from my stuff like pottery to homegrown food, to self made clothes. (though it will take a while untill i’m skilled enough to trade.)

  16. I really is just so simple to change. Run, jump, and just play your way to feeling better.

  17. I am lucky in that I enjoy the outdoors so much. I have a woilderness search and rescue team, I hunt and fish, and generally just try and be out more than in.
    One thing I have done is to leave my shoes put away at all times after I am home. Whatever the temp or situation, I just leave them off until I am leaving. So even if I walk outside in January, I know it won’t kill me to get some barefoot time in the cold.

  18. I have been thinking about Tae Kwon Do; thanks much for giving me a needed nudge!

  19. I am ok in several of these items:
    * Martial arts – lots of judo as a kid, looking forward to learn taikwando. Love aikido, but cannot do it (bad elbow)
    * I climb trees at least twice a week: this part of the slackline ritual in the park, it is like the “dessert”
    * Being considered a weirdo? – check!
    * Barefoot at all times excepting when I am at work, even ride my bike daily barefoot: funny how this piques the curiosity of people, much more than walking barefoot

  20. I live out in the country and do a lot of hanging from trees type pull ups. i’m older and wondered about going back and learning karate. i studied the martial arts in my 30’s for a few years and miss it. i feel like i may be too old 30 years later. any thoughts?

    1. You’re never too old! Just find a good instructor. 2 of mine have been men in their late 60s.

  21. I totally love this. I have 6 year old (wild) twins and it seems that this is what they do all the time. All I need to do is join them:)
    I also like to break out in dance or song spontaneously, and then the kids join me:)

  22. I appreciated the martial arts suggestion. I sometimes have a hard time staying motivated to exercise, but reading your thoughts on martial arts inspired me to look at it in a different way. I would view martial arts as both exercise and education, whereas I feel that exercise is just exercise; I already use my knowledge and don’t learn a whole lot from my current routine. I am now looking at kickboxing and Jiu Jitsu classes in my area. THANKS!

  23. I am an avid outdoorsman. I hunt , fish and train hunting dogs. I eat wild game and fish several times a week with my family. I actually had trout for lunch which I caught through the ice last Friday. We also heat our house with wood there is something to be said for escaping so called civilization whenever possible

  24. What I didn’t read verbatim, but inferred – Get out of your comfort zone!!! Easy to say, much harder to do. That is my new focus!

  25. I am married to the “weirdo” you were talking about. I want to be more like that and have the energy to do those things. When your life is out of order it’s difficult to be in that creative space. I will be doing spring cleaning early this year. I’m ready to get weird!!?

  26. Eat your weeds! Nothing more wild than cooking some dandelions, or putting them in a green smoothie, or making a green juice out of nettles (or sauteeing them). Eat some small wild raspberries on a hike from ripening vine (just know that is what you are eating). And of course, make sure civilization hasn’t ruined them with pesticides!

  27. I tend to avoid the whole “Yay, sports ball, move the ball to the thing!” tribalism, I usually find watching sports, on TV to be a waste of time, and in person, a waste of money. I do think the science around the belonging to be interesting. I live in a State that is almost defined by how a particular college does in football. The loyalty among people who didn’t even attended the school they root for is manic.

    As far as finding a creative outlet, I have pursuing photography, even so much that I was up at 3 am this morning, standing in a field to take pictures of the supermoon as it went into eclipse and turned into a blood moon. I have released those pictures into the wild for others to enjoy.

    Mostly it just gets me outside and out of my comfort zone (it was cold this morning!)

  28. I frequently sit on the ground – especially at the beach. It uses more muscles to keep your back straight instead of constantly reclining.

  29. My husband and I recently started practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu together. It has been a fun and challenging way to learn to move our bodies differently, and to connect with each other. It has also encouraged us to be more active in everyday life to help build the endurance and mobility we need to succeed on the mat.

  30. I love the idea of finding easy ways to de-civilize. My husband and I are trying to do this frequently as we have become miserable with the rat race we are living in and raising our kids in. Thanks!

  31. I’m sixty-six & enjoy Tai-Chi & yoga. I think I’ll try kickboxing too Ha!!! Maybe. Lisa

  32. Great article! New goal for 2018 is to take the road less travelled and be more spontaneous.

  33. I work with elementary aged children with behavioral issues. Your post, especially the parts about embracing your inner weirdo, really spoke to me today. I’m going to take my students outside this week (or around the building if it’s still 15 degrees out here in Chicagoland) and look for ways that we can empower creativity and diversity of action inside the educational setting.

  34. This post feels like it was inspired by Jordan Peterson.

    I’d like to see posts on how we normal, full-time workers, with kids, and all of that chaos, can find time to create, or play, or get involved.

    What are the practical ways to do this?

    1. I’m not suggesting that this is a solution, but I was in my garage with my bare feet on the cement floor to ground myself for as long as possible (very cold here in the Northwest) because I don’t get any “wild time” anymore…… I get your point!

  35. Great to hear my obsession with all things Whovian…as in Doctor Who…helps to set the wild in me free,

    1. I have always wanted to learn a martial art, and was happy to read your lifelong desire and recent dive into it. Why do you recommend a grappling style as opposed to something like Kung Fu or something less about grappling? Thank you

  36. I loved the idea of wildness and being a little weird too by letting my inner child be allowed to play! Thanks for the invitation!!

  37. “no one’s going to die or get seriously hurt”

    My son got hit in the ear by a spinning back kick, a very powerful and deadly kick, he went down like a ton of bricks and his ear was swollen for a week. My blood froze when I saw it happen, a few more inches towards his temple and that might have been a fatal blow. And he once (the guy for some unknown reason stepped right into his punch) broke someone’s nose so badly they had to be taken to the hospital and have reconstructive surgery. When I was doing Judo I once threw a guy to the mat, who somehow landed and cracked a vertebrae, ending his Judo days. I’ve been kicked in the throat, and I have two screws in my foot due to someone rushing me when I was doing a front snap kick.

    So, you need to make sure you are in a situation where safety of the practitioner is of paramount importance by the Master / Sensei ,and if you get in a situation you are sparring with a macho, reckless person you need to walk away. I was exposed to folks in the martial arts that embodied the best of what we are, with the heart of a warrior and the soul of a poet. I’ve also met some unscrupulous bullies, but they are definitely the exception to the rule.

    1. wow I get this 110%
      I am living proof: I had a dislocated shoulder in my judo days, the guy who threw me landed on top of me. After that the shoulder dislocated several times, and I can say now that I am cured of it, I can hang from a bar with a single hand (could not do it for decades after the incident).
      This incident had the effect of stopping my judo: I came back to it, but had to keep my left arm always near me, scared of a repeat of the dislocation (which happened like 6 or 7 times, sometimes doing something simple like climbing a wall, etc)
      And I once threw a guy and had a scare thinking I had broken his arm, but it turned out a non issue. Your last paragraph is golden

  38. I find it interesting to think about being more orderly as one form of being less civilized, but it makes complete sense. With those energy drains, we don’t have the space to question our conventional ways of doing things.

  39. I can get mentally paralyzed by the thought of doing Primal movements in public -outside gym. Even at a park, I get weird looks as an adult. It’s all about building confidence and adding to our Arsenal of what is outside the social norm but we’re gonna do it anyway. Just last week I added balancing on curbs while carrying boxes and groceries. It doesn’t sound like much, but it adds a bit of balance to boring parking lots and a splash of play to errands that can get dull. So thanks for the encouragement. I’ll be on the lookout for other fringe movements to infuse into my day.

  40. Ive said it before on these pages, but I hunt.

    It takes you off tracks, because that is where the game is. There is a pattern dictated by terrain, weather and vegetation – wild stuff – and there is a randomness, because you are pursuing something that you cannot know perfectly.
    Instead of following that trail that others have walked, you go where the situation dictates… even if no other human has set foot there for centuries, if ever!

    There is sitting around a fire with your “tribe”. People who are there for the same purpose that you are, with whom you have a memory of shared experiences….. and who have shown time after time that they will put themselves through hardship to help you.

    There is rolling out of the swag before dawn in lousy winter weather, knowing that the domesticated people couldn’t face that…..

  41. I’ve thought about the lack of striking and grappling skills in most modern training. I’ve explored a wide variety of movement skill training but would love a review of various martial arts that highlighted their various features.

  42. Why not learn martial arts now? I am in my 50s and started re-learning. I did some training in my 40s and had to take some time off, but you are never too old to learn. Just need to find a good sensei.

  43. I would have never thought about interacting with nature by climbing a tree at my age. But I love that you are inspired enough to be brave and step outside the norm. That is definitely a trait I need to aspire to!

  44. For me, I think getting back to a primal connection is simplifying my life through the choices I make. All the ‘noise’ online and off can really drain my focus, intent and energy. Plus, time has become a valuable commodity. And the pace set by technology is super accelerated. Sometimes, I think it would be great to have a universal dial back and slooow everything down. Don’t get me wrong, I think mental and physical activity are vital to keep us engaged, sharp and feeling alive. My next move is to do a ‘clean up,’ to remove the unnecessary distractions and enjoy feeling a lot lighter and more connected to what’s around me.

  45. The weirdos are the fun people to hang out with! I am definitely joining this trend!

  46. Honestly, based on the thoughts Mark laid out here, LARPing is firing on all cylinders. It takes creative thought to make a character, roleplay, and come up with armor and weapons. Then, depending on how serious you get, you can study and train in real martial arts in order to better your in-game play. You interact with a group of people equally zealous as you are. It takes time and organization to be efficient in crafting your needed items. And, depending on what LARP you do (anything from high fantasy to zombie apocalypse is out there) you can definitely interact with the environment in atypical ways. Heck, I’ve played a straight barbarian before, about as primitive as you can get. It’s great exercise and you can do it barefoot (in most cases.)

  47. I started ‘playing’ Taiji about 3 years ago. Although I live in a suburban area in the mid-west, I went outside this morning to see if I could see the lunar eclipse (it was 50 degrees F and breezy). Nothing to see… Why not take the time to play a brief Taiji form barefoot & shirtless in my back yard? Yes it was cold, but it was also invigorating! Neighbors watching? I don’t know, but if they ask what I’m doing, I’ll tell them.

  48. I’m definitely that weirdo that gets strange looks often for climbing trees or walking barefoot… at first it made me feel a bit uncomfortable but now I really don’t mind…

  49. This is my first post Mark, and I’m a newbie to your program. I like your comment about martial arts. I primarily use Tennis to test my body but appreciate that knowing how defend ourselves and our loved ones physically is as primal as it gets. I’ve only dabbled with multiple martial arts, but this post is motivating me to consider Ju-Jitsu again. There is something about being that primal that feeds an inert human need.

    A topic that I’d love to see you cover (that might also get you in trouble) is “primal relationships” and marriage. Something about the benefits of getting rid of the cell phones for a while, playing in nature and even doing some of the hunter/gatherer and survival type of stuff. If you haven’t seen it, there is a series called “Naked and Afraid” that got me thinking about my own version of that concept in my own marriage. I think some time in the wilderness and the natural adversity it offers would be fun and a great bonding experience. (BTW..my wife hasn’t bought into this yet)

  50. Create vs Consume. While I may not have the right plan in place for create, I have had a large frustration with the amount of consume. I have been working towards consuming less (TV, phone data…useless stuff). A good way to get my butt in gear more often.

  51. The last suggestions reminds me a lot of parkour and probably why the idea appeals to me. My self conscious, shy side often gets in the way though my husband gladly does the things you suggested when we’re at the park!

    1. hey check the Tapp brothers parkour channel, I am learning the basics from them

  52. I love that the “get your house in order” and talking about chaos vs order reminds me of Jordan Peterson

  53. Seems like we need to retain our childlike curiosity and sense of play. Believe again that all is possible

  54. Well done, Mark, really! I like you more and more! Primal is my way of Life! Olav from Frankfurt greets all the Groks out there….

  55. “Get your house in order” rings true to me. I can’t function in a house that is messy!

  56. I’d be most interested in SLEEP explored. An aspect of life I have true issues tackling.

  57. When I go swimming, the two lanes in the pool for laps are commonly full. So, I often go and swim through the lazy river part of the pool instead – and that really changes up the rhythm of the lap swim and make it different. You never stop that way.

    I will also second the barefoot ways. I garden barefoot, and no shoes feel as good as the warm soft soil .

    Rolling is the part of the martial arts that I keep doing even after not being able to do the actual MA (broke my foot twice while trying, so…) It’s safe on a mat and it’s not something you normally do as an adult.

  58. Love the idea of going off trail. I have some arch problems so not sure about the barefoot idea, but may give it a try once the weather breaks.
    The 21 day plan helped me drop 18 so far. Huge Thank You!

  59. These are great ideas. My take on minimalism: I think everything we own has a ‘management fee’ attached. Objects around our homes need to be stored, dusted, cleaned, repaired, etc. I now look at everything with an eye toward: is the value I get from this object worth the ‘management fee’ attached to it? If not, it goes to the thrift shop.

    I’ve found this has greatly reduced the amount of clutter around my home, and hence the time I have to spend maintaining the house in a respectable condition.

  60. Maybe just maybe, simply get out of your rut. I know I have a rut. We all do on some level. Just do something different in the way of getting out, getting physical and getting stronger!

  61. I really enjoyed reading this article, it is very timely for me as many of the suggestions are in line with the goals I have made for myself for this year. I read this while taking a break from sifting through a bin of paper clutter. I am finding that my thinking is clearer as my clutter decreases. After reading, I went back and added the word “mindfully” to the beginning of each of the suggestions. I am sure there are benefits even if going through the motions, or distracted, but being fully present while de-civilizing, for me, will me most effective. Thanks again!

  62. I love the concept of a create/consume ratio…as a question I can consciously ask myself on a daily basis to help me choose my best next activity…

  63. Tribalism frequently has such a negative connotation, and recently reading “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger has given me a much greater appreciation for the many positive aspects of tribalism. It seems to me that having a tight-knit community fits nicely with the principles of ancestral diet of lifestyle. Some friends and I are currently trying to create such a community, both in terms of lifestyle and actual physical living space. I feel very positive that we can do this while abandoning some of the negatives of tribalism like fear and aggression towards others not part of our own tribe/community.

  64. I enjoyed reading the ideas of becoming less involved with our modern conveniences, and more in tune with where it is we live. No matter the geography, we all have so much available to enjoy (whether it is a state park, a lake, a stream). It is common and simple to forget the beauty and opportunity we have to connect with nature as well as ourselves. However, it is great to be reminded in posts like this, and I am grateful for your wealth of knowledge. Thank you!

  65. I have observed that simply walking barefoot through a grassy park is viewed as weird, or something that just doesn’t occur to people (as I rarely see anyone else doing it). And it makes my feet so happy I am sad for people who don’t allow themselves this experience.

  66. My two fav points from today’s post:
    -Be a weirdo, not a jerk: thank you for making that clear distinction. Keep off protected properties and love the earth-BUT jump over benches, have some fun!, and enjoy the ride. I want to work more of this functional wild movement into my daily routine, and know it will make me feel more limber and generally happier (or at least smiling at myself being a goofball) Letting go of inhibitions to do this-YES!
    -it’s ok to indulge in your fandom: far too often we don’t let ourselves schedule time in our day for things that make us feel full and happy. Continuing to give your readers permission to give themselves permission to dive into their fav tribes is such a healthy way to be who we were meant to be, and to unabashedly self-express to the world.

  67. Hello Primal Tribe. I love these ideas, One of my favorite ways to decivilize is to eat outdoors. I personally dislike being indoors most of the time, sadly, it is reality of living in close enough proximity to my employment. I try to increase my outdoor dining moments by enjoying my coffee and a book out on the patio, choosing to eat outdoors at restaurants and specifically looking for restaurants with outdoor seating. I once built a home with an outdoor dining area almost as large as the indoor living space. Also, I open screen doors so that there is no barriers between me and the outdoors when I must be inside the house; I especially enjoy this when it rains.

  68. “You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you.” Isadora Duncan
    Always loved this quote and thought it was appropriate here.

    Perhaps, meditation would make a great addition. I always feel wild and free while I’m clearing my mind of the chaos and connecting with the Universe.

  69. The section about martial arts and the human predilection towards violence intrigued me the most. I have studied martial arts and thought about this issue quite a bit. There have been times I’ve been startled into awareness of this natural human predilection for violence within myself – ever see a runner go by and feel a strange urge to chase & tackle them? Not a very socially acceptable impulse to admit to, especially as a woman, but it’s real and it’s interesting as hell so please feel free to talk more about this issue. 🙂

    1. “ever see a runner go by and feel a strange urge to chase & tackle them?”
      Yes, and glad to see I’m not the only one 🙂

  70. Getting one’s house in order – the energy sucking nature of clutter and hoarding makes total sense. Though my house isn’t either, I can certainly start reducing the number of things I own that serve no purpose. I find the thought of being more minimalist to be a liberating. Oh yeah, I’m inspired. Thanks Mark.

  71. Think wildly, act rationally. I’m trying to make this my motto, especially when I’m about to purchase or take advantage of the easy, man-made version of a thing. I ask myself what the evolutionary advantage of doing it for myself might have been. I can almost always think of a reason why doing it “wildly” would be “better” for Grok. Even if I can’t, I still went through the mindful part of the process.

  72. This post seemed mostly centered on men given they need more outlets for their violent/wild side. Do you think this pertains to women as well?

  73. Having toddlers I take a que from them and get outside more. We live in the woods so it’s easy to explore trails, and off the trail with littles. I also fin that we all handle our emotions better when we’be had time to run, play, climb and wrestle. Without this we get moody with uncivilized outbursts of energy and emotions. Being a little more wild allows room for civilized behavior.

  74. I’ve been toiling with the idea of learning BJJ or some other sort of MA/MMA. Just trying to figure out how to balance the demand between husband, father, work, etc. If anybody has any suggestions on simple ways to get started that would be greatly appreciated. I was thinking of maybe getting my 6 and 4 yr old daughters into something and then just joining them. 🙂 Can never have your baby girls too prepared.

    And I think there’s not much more primal than minimalism. I mean think about it. Grok probably didn’t have a 5 bedroom cave with 3 different excrement holes, two squatting/sitting areas (which only one you were actually allowed to squat in), and a bunch of unnecessary belongings, to worry about. No! He had a small one room cave, crapped outside, and had only things he used and didn’t have things he didn’t use. My wife and I started our minimalist journey about 5 yrs ago or so and it’s been amazing. Ups and downs for sure. Some tears and squabbles even but it’s so nice not to have to worry about a bunch of stuff. The less stuff we own the less we are worrying about it and the more freeing it is. The thing for us which has been huge is buying less things that are higher quality – things that we NEED that will last. May be a bit more expensive up front but in the long run you are needing to buy less. As opposed to buying a bunch of cheap crap that isn’t going to last and then going out and having to buy more. That along with buying things second hand then boils over into the environmental aspect of consumerism. But that’s another story for another time. 🙂

  75. Qi gong isn’t the most martial of arts, but it IS satisfying and feels rather primal…moving that energy!

    And yes, I’ve been doing a great deal of “rewilding” lately, though that’s always been my bent. More time outdoors, more time off the beaten track, more time paying attention to the small things, paying attention to ALL my senses, to the messages Nature sends…

  76. Yup! I find tidying, throwing away, donating, and organizing so calming and rewarding. I’m finding a lot of joy in shifting my mindset over to a minimalist one! Currently, I’m culling down my natural beauty products and only replacing them with ones that can be used for many different purposes. The fewer things I have the more freed up my mind feels for other things.

  77. I think all those are great ideas. I even try to convince my son to things like walk backward or instead of turning right take 3 lefthand turns…keep it up!!

  78. I like the fandom part, especially as we enter a year with both Olympics and World Cup, the two sporting events I enjoy. I believe they allow many nations and cultures to be tribal without having to go to war.
    The chaos part speaks the most to me. In fact, as I write this I’m clearning up papers in my office, filing folders, destroying stuff from 2011, and taking out the trash. Some people are ok with the chaos, but for me it’s like a toothache that just gets worse if you ignore it.
    As for weird, I use my nieces as an exuse to do fun kid stuff with them, whether it’s climbing a tree, building a fort, or finding bugs in the garden.

  79. This is my first comment as I am new to your blog and newsletter, please forgive me if I am saying or asking anything already discussed! My fiancé is a hunting guide in Wyoming (I am a nurse) and we spend lots of our time in the mountains glassing for wildlife, taking pack trips and fishing, usually on horseback. However I am originally from California and miss the sun in the wintertime. It gets very windy here come spring as well and still snowy and I wonder how to be less cooped up and more adventurous during these times? We do get out and go horn hunting in the spring etcetera but there is something about doing other activities involving water, the beach and such that I feel I am missing out on. How could I add the lakes and reservoirs and riviers into my life here in a de-civilized nature? What do you suggest?
    Thank you

  80. I stretch and do yoga wherever and whenever I feel like it and my daughter even joins me sometimes now (she’s 2). I really like Krav Maga and anything that challenges me physically and mentally in new ways. I go to farmers markets and write on my blog. Create:Consume ratio is a good way to say it.

  81. Love this! Especially #1 – everyone *should* create. Such good suggestions and achievable for everyone. Thank you!!

  82. Thanks! This post has inspired me to spend less time trying to tame my daughters exuberance…and more time trying to emulate it!

  83. Your post was something that’s been on my mind a lot. I’m contemplating a novel about humanity being genetically called back to the woods. I’ve had the longings myself as my health improves. I was insanely happy for the cow that chose to go be a wild bison! I’d love to hear more thoughts on this pull back to a more “human” lifestyle.

  84. I love the create:consume ratio! We are definitely a nation of ultra consumers. If something breaks or shows any signs of wear, our natural inclination has become to toss it in the garbage and buy a new one. Not many people entertain even the thought of attempting their hand at self repair.

    My family and I have been making a concerted effort to recycle, upcycle, repair, and reuse in order to put a small dent in waste and overconsumption. In doing so, we have found so many new ways to flex our creative minds and learn new and practical skills. It’s a great way to grow beyond your current knowledge set!

  85. Great post. I can most definitely see the benefits of the first two (creation and tribalism) in my life. I’ve always been a creator of sorts and find myself happiest and most inspired and at ease when I’m creating, or on the verge of creating (building furniture (or a shed!), crafts, recipes, new systems at work, etc.).
    Having grown up without much of a sense of belonging or shared interests with others, I have only recently discovered an amazing tribe in my 30s after joining an adult gymnastics/tumbling/crossfit-like group twice a week. (This group is now my go-to group for celebrating and socializing too, but our common thread is movement.) I have learned so much, enjoyed this group so much, and these friendships have broadened my interests and perspectives. Working out together, grappling together, learning new skills together, and at times, failing together, has created a precious bond.
    I think more people should dare to let their house be slightly disorderly, or minimally orderly, if it frees them up for things that matter more, like family, friends, movement, and fun. Life is way too short to skip experiences to stay home and wash the dishes.
    Other un-civilizing things I want to do more of: kayaking, backpacking, rock climbing, dancing, growing a garden, hunting, foraging, fermenting food, parkour, buildering, acrobatics, and improving survival skills, instincts and knowledge. The only things slowing me down at the moment are my full-time desk job and young kids!

  86. Great post!
    Please share any and all insight about SLEEP! Read everything in past about it but am always curious about more tips and things I am not aware of in how to cultivate the best sleep possible.
    ANY and ALL of those topics though: sleep, sun, play, barefoot, nature–I LOVE and am VERY interested in learning more about! So PLEASE DO explore these topics! Thank you! You are awesome Mark! I appreciate you and everyone in the primal community!

  87. Living on the road in a caravan, we stay at many caravan parks. I’m the weirdo doing my exercises and weight training with my headphones on under the caravan awning, or else in the common BBQ/park areas.
    This is a lifestyle for us, but most other people are on holidays, so I get plenty of looks from people passing by while I’m huffing and puffing. I just nod, smile, and continue on.

  88. Completely agree with rough play and lament the fact that so many schools here in the UK ban it. Will look into local martial arts clubs

  89. I agree that tribalism can have negative effects but I tend to focus on the positive. As a yoga teacher I like the community that yoga classes create. And I also like that the classes I teach or participate in include people from all walks of life. There can be walkers, marathon runners, cyclists, jiu-jitsu competitors…you name it. It’s something I truly enjoy! I never know who will be beside me but there’s a special community created every time we join on the mat.

  90. Minimalism is a journey for a household of 4. It’s worth it. We are still on our way.

  91. Liked the create concept. I see this as relating to others. Do something for somebody without consuming. It would be great if it became a common lifestyle.

  92. Being thought of as a weirdo can be a mark of success. The last thing my wife said to me before she died of cancer was that our then infant son and I should live a free, fit, healthy and fun life, the opposite end of the scale to what society norms dictate and very different to our previous 10 years where we worked every hour to pay for things we didn’t need with which to impress the friends we didn’t have. Watching a loved one die young inspires you to do all in your power to learn how to live an optimum life. So my son and I moved to the other side of the world so that we could maximize our sunshine hours, surf lots in warm, clean water, walk and run barefoot on the beach every morning, sleep outside in fresh air all year and grow our own organic food. Keeping our overheads to a minimum means we don’t have to earn so much money and reduces stress – our living accommodation is very basic and pollutants are minimal. No sprays, no WIFI, no power lines. We home-school so learning is continuous, for both of us! No school means maximum surf time, freethinking, free imagination. Simple but not too simple: LCHF; Intermittent fasting; HIIT; Functional strength. Yes it’s a long and winding road with plenty of pitfalls and yes it takes courage and risks to make a stand and be different but the health and fitness results for both body and mind are fantastic. And yes, everyone thinks we are weirdos!

  93. How about learning a different language? I know language is very much a societal construct, but at least we break down some barriers if we can communicate outside of our own immediate community.

  94. I never got the rivalry of Star Wars vs Star Trek and Marvel vs DC. Such fandoms can co-exist in one person. In my house, we’re fans of them all. Heck, my teenage daughter even got me to go to Comic Cons and do some Cosplay – if you’re ever at a Con in central Arkansas and see someone dressed like NCIS’s Abby, it’s probably me, or my daughter. She’s got a bunch of Cosplays, I’ve only got the one.

    Be a weirdo, not a jerk – that could possibly be the motto of my life. I’m really nice, but also kind of weird.

  95. “Be a weirdo, not a jerk.” Could be my mantra. I have been working on becoming less civilized in many ways, almost all of which push me out of my comfort zone, and appear from the outside as unequivocally weird. I’m embracing it, and nothing, to my delight, that I am surrounded by other weirdos like me.

  96. I am an avid college football fan(War Eagle) and can totally see the increased intensity etc that I get during the season…attending games etc. Feels very primal…have never thought of this before. Interesting take.

  97. just want to add that lying on a trampoline, looking at the sky and the leaves rustle in the wind, is a great way to micro-dose into nature because you don’t have to worry about wet grass or bugs–just walk out there and it’s there for you, like a hammock but easier.

  98. Good read, however regarding martial arts, I’d recommend for the “mature” person to try a kata (Tang Soo do or Karate) based art as well as grappling for the long horizon. The ground work of grappling has potential to agrivate knee and shoulder injuries just as the high kicks can cause old running pains once again. Rule one of either, stretch and hydrate before and sleep after. I am a proponent of knowing and practicing self-defense (to include boxing conditioning) and do so, regularly. I’m 65.

  99. My thought inspired by the post: Does being eccentric count as Interact With The Environment Atypically? ;P

    1. I throw rocks into streams at the park! and try to make the flat ones skip! You’d think I was firing a six-shooter the looks I get. And if its over 70 I take my shirt off to feel the sun. Just a rebel I guess. (yes I’m a guy)

  100. I spend a week every year backpacking. I go after Labor Day to places where I’m likely to find solitude. That allows me to really get in touch with the natural world. During last September’s trip I was three days without seeing or speaking to another person. I noticed that I became very observant with my eyes, ears and sense of smell. Also spent time on the warm sunny afternoons skinny dipping in clear, cold water! Came home feeling like a million dollars!

  101. Calls to simple cleanliness to reduce impediments to creativity and activity are always good. With a large family, I could use hearing them hourly!

    There are many posts I haven’t read, but something on working into more barefoot time would be good. Is barefoot good for everyone, or how does one determine if it is not ok for them? Is sock-footed of the same benefit? Is a painful adjustment period normal? etc.

  102. Consider camping or backpacking with Mike minimal gear. I know a guy who goes for a weekend with shorts shirt and a small canny pack

  103. The suggestion to increase the create:consume ratio resonated with me, in part because I think of creativity as a core element of human nature. I am curious how to fit that idea within a primal perspective. On the one hand, there is evidence for very early creative activity among humans and pre-humans, so there are reasons to say that a primal lifestyle is a creative one. On the other hand, civilization seems to be the accumulated product of human creativity, an ongoing movement away from wildness. It’s as if the lifestyle of our ancestors contained the seed of its own undoing.

  104. You got me thinking about following a sport, my parents were avid rugby and cricket fans and I shared the same passion when younger but let it die off. I love the passion I see here in the states with fans and their sports and often wish to join in on the frenzy and feel it’s a good excuse to get together with friends and relax too… now to just learn the rules to football ?

  105. I am inspired to combine being less civilize with physical activity. Go disassemble and carry off the large dead tree on the back of my property, without modern tools!

  106. Based on this and previous similar discussions, a while ago I bought minimalist trail shoes to run in the woods which I have really enjoyed – even though I don’t strip down to a loin cloth or carry a spear 😉

  107. Absolutely love the idea of creating vs consuming. Such good ideas outside of the artistic creating box. This article has inspired me to take a RAD ( Rape Aggression Defense) class given by my local police department.

  108. Article speaks close to home for me. We grew up doing this, when did all that change. Time to get back to what feels right. As I turned 60 last year, I travelled and learnt Yoga in India & Kung Fu in China. Great article.

  109. Create Vs Consume: that’s seems to be the most effective comment I got from this post to regulate our wilderness spirit Vs civilized spirit! Creation in some sense is pushing the boundaries and exploring the unknown -that small surprises and many unknowns that our ancestors experienced on a consistent basis. The generality of possibilities that the create vs consume is representing and applicability to many individuals in the modern era sound exciting to me.

  110. Practicing a martial art undoubtedly played a huge role in my upbringing, and is something I would like to return to. My dad had started studying Shorinji Kempo when my brothers and I were kids; an injury took him out of commission for a bit, but when he returned to practice, the whole family went along with him. The origin of Kempo is tied directly to the post – WWII social disorder in Japan. Doshin So, the founder, wanted to provide a practice that would instill discipline in the country’s youth, and based the art on several existing martial arts. The focus of Kempo is on disabling your opponent while doing the least harm, often using their aggression against them.
    I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a philosophical, peaceful, but incredibly effective martial art.

  111. Today we had sunshine! To try and repulse the “Creation Deficit Disorder” that plagues so many of our days, the littles and I climbed the hill behind the house in 3′ of snow, followed by 3 large dogs and 1 house cat. The other house cat will not accept this lifestyle and chose to sleep on the chair in the office instead. I suggested forgoing the coat and suggested just a tank top (it was the first sun in sometime after all), but that was met with “are you crazy” looks. I did notice though, as I was yelling “get moving” over my shoulder on the way up the hill, that we were leaving a trail of coats and hats in our wake.
    And I completely agree that physical clutter will zap energy. Almost faster than anything else. There is nothing as refreshing as having it all in its spot and being able to wake up to a completely clean slate. It’s taken me years to learn that lesson!

  112. We meet at a little-used state park/boat ramp on Saturdays and hike its hills and search along the river bank. We bear crawl up hills and climb & hop over concrete picnic tables. We do tree pullups and carry logs from a fallen tree and generally have a fine time.

  113. ” It’s that precarious balance between chaos and order that helps us do incredible things.’ Love this quote, I’m going to add it to my board and share it with my students. It applies to all areas of our lives, and it’s a great reminder that nothing ever changes if we stay in our safe little bubbles nor venture out to try new things.

  114. I think of minimizing chaos in the house as a form of controlling the controllable. That is an area that a needs a big improvement in my personal world!

  115. Love this article! It reminds me to clean out some things when I get home (it’s so lovely to be traveling and have less stuff and distractions right now). I also love the suggestion to interact with the environment in non-linear ways: I do already do some of this, but you’ve inspired me to take it on even more (and learn how to do pull-ups!)

  116. I realize that my husband is very good at creative over consumerism. While I’ve been “wanting’ to paint, he took it a step further and built a tabletop easel for me out of an old wooden beach chair frame.

  117. Great article Mark. First time poster from Canada. 57 years old, 2 years Primal and never looked or felt better. I had a funny experience last year that aligns with your suggestion of being less civilized. Last year we had company meetings at all inclusive in Mexico. One morning I did workout on grass consisting of bear crawls, pull ups on tree branch burpees, etc. The resort staff gave me a few strange looks and mentioned they had a gym… then a guest on lounge chair hollered, hey buddy, cool workout, can I join you tomorrow? Made my day! Grok on and keep doing all the good you are doing Mark.

  118. I am becoming less civilized by finally learning to paint and not just draw! As I’ve improved my health over the last year and a half my energy for art has also improved. I’m finally approaching a point in my life where it seems feasible to pursue it as an occupation instead of hobby and its very exciting. Even more than that in exploring it I’m finding I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with it. To make for a living seems suitably wild to me!

  119. These are all really good ideas, and all make sense being aligned with the natural ways of humans and the earth. The things that resonate most at this moment are the create:consume ratio and keeping the house in order. They really make a difference!
    The place I’m probably most stuck in terms of better grok-dom is managing to “get in” all the stuff that I *know* is good for me, every day–or even regularly. I’m sure I’m not the only one who recognizes I have better habits than anyone I know, but in some sense also feel like I’m just getting by with eating right (for me) and forcing enough sleep. Play, sun, nature and barefooting agreed are super important, and I do genuinely try to fit them in even at work or before/after. I realize there are places to “squeeze in” those necessities, but with so little time to devote to them, it’s easy to push them off because “what difference will 5 minutes really make?”
    I hear you about microdosing, and maybe that is the best compromise. I just have to make it happen. Taking the few minutes to walk in a park, swing on the swings, could be just the antidote to feeling fried from a commute.

  120. Can’t see my comment. Hope I’m not double posting.
    Reminders for basic cleanliness and decluttering are good. With a large family, the reminder could be good hourly!
    I haven’t read many posts, so maybe this is covered even recently… How to work toward more barefoot time. Are there people it is not good for (diabetics, those with certain foot problems)? How does sock-footed compare to barefoot? Is pain normal during an adjustment period? If so, how long is normal? etc.

  121. Hi, I wholeheartedly agree with the comments made. As a lot of people these days become housebound and job bound I think the wild side takes a dive. I was lucky as a kid in that I grew up on a farm which meant not only lots of physical activities including riding horses, skinny-dipping in the dam and so on. But also we ate well – fresh vegetables, fruit, milk straight from the cow and killed our own beef, and mutton along with a liberal supply of rabbits.
    Now, at the age of 66 I’m still doing heaps of activities. My day starts with a dose of meditation to clear my head – followed by walking the dogs in nearby bushland. I do follow their lead of insatiable curiosity and exploration and so a low-lying limb becomes a chin up bar and a log or gully becomes a high jump or a long jump. Over the years I’ve dabbled extensively with Tai Chi and martial arts and I highly recommend any of these to people- regardless of age or sex.
    Now I still do Goju Ryu, Krav Maga and Hapkido. Not quite as flexible as an 18-year-old but I do follow the philosophy of use it or lose it.
    Another tip for those embarking on stretching your boundaries is to keep away from negative people. Follow your own drive and passion. At the age of 60 I did my first Ironman event and since then I’ve competed in eight events including New Zealand and Hawaii. So I’m used to people calling me a crazy Aussie.
    I do think it’s important to remember you are not competing with everybody else, well sometimes you are; but mostly you are competing against yourself. If you run – then walk. If you can’t do full push-ups do half push-ups. One step at a time- but keep pushing the boundaries.
    Three months ago, along with100 men and women, we rode across Israel in the steps of the light horse to commemorate in the charge at Beersheba. 100 years ago, 800 light horse Anzacs charged 6 km against artillery to capture the water wells of Beersheba.

    I do agree with one of your commenters however in that if you do take up a martial art, make sure you try before you buy and make sure the instructor is not only highly competent but has high integrity and respect for all students and the style. Thanks again for your article – and to everyone, follow your wild dream.

  122. Hi mark,
    Get your house in order really hit the spot, I’ll try my very best so my energy can be spent on more productive areas ! Thanks!

  123. Once again, I think you have valuable advice. I studied an intense form of karate when I was younger and it was a great benefit to me. Today, I find meditation in yoga, fishing and outdoor drum circles around a fire.

  124. About getting sunshine in the winter…it’s plenty sunny out there but it’s also cold.
    (You’ve seen the new work on Vit. D and sulfonation, yes, no?) Do you uncover head and neck, or unwrap legs. Or bravely unwrap arms and legs? Is one better for exposure? My wild side is visible all over town; I live close enough for shops, post office, Farmers’ Market. I’m on my tricycle! Imagine old lady, long silver pony tail, with yoga mat strapped on in front!

  125. I’m getting my butt over to the beach with my dog! I’m a few miles away and never seem to get over there. Need to remember to play more and work less

  126. I love the idea behind this post and I’ve been thinking a lot about tribalism and how it can be used in a positive manner – I’m a fan of the solution you suggest: Don’t let it be open ended. I like to live on the wild side by doing cartwheels in the grocery store. I’m a weirdo, but it makes shopping trips way more interesting.

  127. I’ve looked into martial arts for my son a few times, because he has some anxiety. I’ve never thought about it for the reasons you describe here, though. This is going to push me toward getting him enrolled. Thinking more about it, some of his anxiety may actually be from repressing certain energy. So, thanks!

  128. I’ve wanted to learn Krav Maga for several years so your thought on learning a martial art hit me as another reason to not put it off. I’m getting closer and closer . . .

  129. Yes to martial arts! Just got my brown belt in Seido Karate ( at 54, never too late!)

  130. I love your idea of creating, rather than just consuming. I used to do so much more of that. I’m going to dig out the clay and paint tomorrow.

  131. I need to try bear crawling park benches! I love reading about ways in which we can rewild!

  132. About getting sunshine in the winter…it’s plenty sunny out there but it’s also cold.
    (You’ve seen the new work on Vit. D and sulfonation, yes, no?) Do you uncover head and neck, or unwrap legs. Or bravely unwrap arms and legs? Is one better for exposure? My wild side is visible all over town; I live close enough for shops, post office, Farmers’ Market. I’m on my tricycle! Imagine old lady, long silver pony tail, with yoga mat strapped on in front!

  133. I’d be curious to see an article exploring the benefits, any potential detriments, and cautions of things like Tai Chi, yoga, and other slow moving activities.

  134. I’ve been thinking for a while now that I need to do more creating and less consuming. It’s funny because I’m a Graphic Designer by day, so I spend a lot of my professional life “making stuff” in a sense. But somehow it doesn’t seem as satisfying or as meaningful as building a garden at home, refinishing some old furniture, or playing my guitar. Which also plays into another part of the “Primal Code”: Make time to play!

  135. Mark, I applaud your mention of martial arts and was happy to hear you actually started getting into one. It’s timely, as I am also looking for a martial art to get into; it’s definitely got primal written all over it. Please, please keep us updated on your new found venture and progress with it. I’d also love some beginner resources and if there happens to be a primal approach you’d recommend for martial arts. You’re on a great roll with these amazing blog topics that highlight such refreshing ideas and areas to explore!

  136. Great article, looking forward to incorporating some of these ideas into our primal lifestyle.

  137. I loved the part of the post! “Humans have always represented the intersection of wildness and order. We have animal urges and instincts, and we have reason and logic.” I will ponder ways I can stay on the edge! Thanks, Mark.

  138. I enjoyed this article and am in agreement with it! People need to be out in nature and to get in touch with themselves away from a man made environment.

  139. I’d like to see more on the concept of minimalism and simplification. It seems with the passage of time, life gets more complicated and complex. I’d love to revert back to bare essentials simplified living.

  140. If I don’t create something every day, i start getting antsy. whether it’s cooking or quilting, even if for just a little bit, my brain relaxes and my stress level goes down.

  141. Next to the school I work at is a park, and a month ago I started walking there barefoot before school, and also during lunch. Families walking to school probably wonder why I walk around barefoot even if it’s cold and wet. Not a huge one, but for me a start!

  142. When we are feeling stressed we do two things: take the kids to the park to run around and play with them or clean our house or both if its a particularly stress filled time. Both help make our life much happier. We also have plans to enroll both our kids (boy – 4 and girl – 2) in martial arts when the are old enough for a class. All that to say, right on with those recommendations.

  143. I loved this post, Mark. You include lots of simple, actionable steps we can take to get more connected. I reached out to a handful of BJJ studios in my new town to take action. Thanks

  144. I swing around random street sign posts when the mood strikes me. 🙂

  145. Go barefoot in nature. Or if you want to be really weird, go barefoot in the grocery store…

  146. This is fantastic! One of the things I have implemented in the past was Unplugged Sundays ( “US” for short) in our house. No phones, no computer, no tv. This forced me and my family to find positive ways to interact with each other like getting outside and hiking and playing. Just cut loose in the outdoors. Unplugged Sundays also helped to get me back into my love of painting and drawing. We weren’t 100% effective at doing this. But it still felt great. Your article is a good kick in my butt reminder that I’ve fallen off the US ritual and need to implement it again. Thanks Mark!

  147. I have never thought about the create:consume ratio. It makes perfect sense. When I am in consume mode, I am much less happy and fulfilled. I have always know I need creativity in my life to provide some of my fulfillment, I had just never thought of it in relation to consuming or consumerism. I love this new connection/comparison! Thank you!

  148. I like the last part of the article discussing ways to interact with the environment. Lately as I venture through parks, along the paved walkways, I think about how domesticated we have become. I mean, what other animal domesticates it self? Humans are strange creatures. I usually find myself wandering off onto the grass and in the dirt and look up at trees thinking how I could hang off of them. I wander over to the playground(designated for 12 and under) and try to pretend that I am a primate. Why should have to stop playing?!
    Also, I would like to see a post about seasonal/regional primal eating. We can go to the grocery store and buy foods that have traveled more than we have and it doesnt matter if there is snow on the ground, we can still buy “fresh” strawberries in january. What if we actually had to wait and look forward to eating in season? That is primal.

  149. I agree with the dirty dishes scenario and minimalism. If you only have a few dishes then they don’t stack up as high before you need to wash them. Less clutter and less work.

  150. I’m that “adult My Little Pony fan” you didn’t want to include in the tribe. What I like about the fandom of MLP is that it is intensely positive and inclusive. I love having a mini-tribe of MLP fans (my daughters and me) right here at home -it gives us something to get excited about together that makes the rest of the word roll their eyes. (And I’m not a big TV watcher otherwise.)

    I feel like I express my creative urge in all the cooking I do every day- 3 meals for 6 people. I could easily just be a consumer by throwing a package of trash in the microwave or hitting up the drivethru, but that would be terrible for both my health and my sense of satisfaction at having created a nourishing, delicious meal. I don’t regret all the time spent in the kitchen, like many do, because I’ve chosen to view it as a creative space for myself.

    One way I like to be a little wild is in knowing what is edible in my neck of the woods, and making a point of partaking in the bounty from time to time. Wild raspberries and mulberries at the park? You better believe I’ll come out of there with my mouth and fingers dripping with juice.

    1. Hannah Lamm, I intended the My Little Pony comment as purely tongue-in-cheek. Raising a daughter, we absolutely had the ponies…oh, so many ponies. Of all the toy phases she went through, that was one of the more pleasant, I have to admit. Love your ideas about edible berries. I miss those days picking them myself as a kid.

  151. More on resetting the circadian system, please. I’ve been trying without much luck on mine.

  152. Excellent insight. I would love to hear more ideas about how to make the natural world a bigger part of daily life for those who live in the city and/or work indoors.

    1. hi. I think maybe cooking from scratch is a way to create something too. I have some herbs in pot (spices) and I love the taste of a dish with them, freshly… Another way to create is tricot or crochet too!!!
      ty for your blog!
      (sorry for my english grammar! Val from Argentina here)

  153. It was interesting to hear that sports fans have physical benefits from their fandom. I’m not into sports, but perhaps I can root for one part of nature vs. another.

    10 classes a week of karate when I was a tween messed up my knees, but I sure did love it! Now, I’m interested in both Tai chi and something with sparring. Perhaps in time…

  154. I love the martial arts advice! But don’t get too fixed on grappling arts. Find one that suits you and that you enjoy. Especially if you’re female and want to be able to defend yourself, because then you need to be able to find your advantages and if possible stop the opponent before it gets into the area of grappling or ground-fight. From experience, I can say that as a 60 kg, 1,65 m female, I’m completely lost against a male with 90 kgs and 1,90 m.

    But yes, martial arts bring wildness inton your life – and confidence! 🙂

  155. I am a lifelong musician. But about two years ago I got burnt out on playing. So i started focusing all of my energy on other things like fitness and becoming a better leader. I haven’t picked up an instrument in about two years. I’m going to start playing again, but now I’m going to play for me. I haven’t just picked up a mandolin or guitar and just played for the pure enjoyment that music brings to me in many years. It’s time to create!

  156. Here i go adjusting my create-consume ratio! I ussully don’t comment on anything anywhere but since i totally agree with everything written above, i’ll follow on this too.

    I can vote for learning a martial art-i started with MA at age 12. After 19 years, i still do it and it has become my play time, definitely something i’d recommend.
    It keeps you active, there are techniques and strategies to learn plus the physical part. Input-reward feedback is much faster than in most cases so it keeps you motivated. SIde effect of the proggress you make is a great boost to your self-esteem since you proove to yourself over and over again that you can learn,you can solve problems and you can succeed.
    It is a great workout, where you are actualy “in tune” with our body (you can’t listen to music or think about your troubles when someone is trying to choke you).
    Another strong point is, it helps you keep a calm mind in heated situations, be it buisness meetings, argument with a spouse or someone on the street. In those emotional situations, thinking rational means you have superpowers.

    Indulging in my fandome is something i never asociated with heading the call of nature… Interesting, I will work on that too. I guess getting in a martial art kind of covers this part too?

    Great article all in all. WIll share it (specially for the part about taking care of our homes).

  157. I took a Muay Thai class after reading this post and its awesome

    1. I still grow some of my own veg & fruit in the summer (I’m 74) One of my passions is spinning washed fleece into yarn and then making that yarn into a jumper or something for my house. I belong to a lovely craft group which I visit once a week. I decided to get rid of some of the stuff I didn’t need, that’s still work in progress.

  158. I am always on the hunt for a positive environment at home. I can appreciate having a space that relaxes and inspires. Minimalism for the win.

  159. I found Yoga as a “fountain of youth” for me and now with the addition of a more Primal way of life, I FEEL lighter than ever. Try handstands in public. It’s a great totally body primal strength addition to squats, push-ups, planks and pull-ups.

  160. I loved your point about staying between the lines, “stay off the grass, …. Try not to do that.”

  161. FOR MEN ONLY…

    Men evolved fighting, hunting, protecting… struggling… persevering… winning. And when we win, we get rewarded with a boost of dopamine, androgens and more things that cultivate such behavior. Androgens also help us to win! In modernity, there are not a lot of natural opportunities for boys and men to put themselves in harms way… to overcome real struggle… to really fight for something of value… to win. I believe in contact sports but what happens when that’s over and done. I believe for us men to really thrive, we have to possess a type of high courage to continue to fight for something meaningful… to foster an inner fire… to take real risks… and to continue to create opportunities to win. Look for opportunities that scare the shit out of you… look for opportunities to live! Feel like your stuck in a rut… want some ideas… here ya go…
    In the context of leading a relatively “normal” (boring, routine-driven) life, the key is change. Novelty is what our DNA expects but in the modern world, we do the same things over, and over, and over… just sort of existing in life, on autopilot… so change everything (sleep differently, eat differently, move differently)… change what you do… what you see… how you think… how you feel… how you are… become a greater level of mind, body and spirit to become a greater version of yourself.

  162. Start with simple things like brushing your teeth with the other hand… cross your arms left over right… sit in a different chair in a different way… drive different paths to and from new and old places… don’t let yourself exist on autopilot… create novelty in everything that you do. We are sapiens of genus homo, hunters, gathers, nomads. Have you taken a freezing cold shower yet… if not, go do this right now… tell me how you feel after an ice cold shower… this elicits a state of being that will remind you of what it’s like to feel alive again. This ice cold shower seemingly puts you in harms way… you will endure struggle.. you will endure discomfort… you will overcome real and imagined struggle… remember this… comfort is not good for the organism.

    Progress with other things like a 5-day water fast… this acts like a genetic reset of sorts and it provides the mind, body, spirit framework for real struggle. Start chopping firewood… make a backyard fire… start doing Crossfit and push yourself… buy a set of daggers and practice throwing proficiency or make a spear and do the same… go to the shooting range… get in a game of pick up basketball or paintball or a first person shooter game…

    When was the last time that you did something that really scared the shit out of you… run from a lion… run from a dog… go bungee jumping… get on a roller coaster… go bouldering or rock climbing… take up an extreme sport… pick a fist fight that’s worth fighting for… (I did this at the post office one day when a man was bullying a woman clerk, he retreated).

    Start living again!

    1. wow thanks this is great.
      And this is my first action item:
      “buy a set of daggers and practice throwing proficiency”
      (I went to a gun show some days ago, should have bought the set there)

  163. Yes! Getting your house in order. I always feel more peaceful and relaxed when I’ve gotten rid of clutter.

  164. I don’t think there is such a thing as healthy tribalism. I see the violence and conflict that things as sports create on almost a daily basis. Watching sports is a stupid endeavour that serves nothing more than to distract the masses. Meaning can be found somewhere else…you know in the things that actually matter…things that advance our species. If you want to play that’s fine go out there have fun with your loved ones or even watch them play. But as of professional sports we should get rid of this part of us and move on. Just think if we would have spent all the money and resources on science where we would be. Sadly its going to stay panem et circenses for homo sapiens.

  165. Thanks for this reminder to get connected with our inner wildness, to one another, and to the Earth. Beautifully said. I also want to raise a crucial overlooked point. You say that human health has drastically improved as a result of civilization – e.g. declining infectious disease. In part, this is true. Improved sanitation and medical systems and food accessibility and security etc etc etc have all allowed for health and longevity, in broad strokes, to improve. But at the same time, civilization has done the opposite. Our culture of consumption and uncontrolled growth has wreaked havoc on our natural systems, and this, in turn, is (or is going to) wreak havoc on our health. For the infectious disease example – climate change and land use change and the way that we manage our food systems are all conspiring to bring new threats of infectious disease around the world (and we’re seeing this with zika, dengue, malaria, yellow fever, chagas…). Our changing natural systems also impact non-communicable disease, physical health, mental health, conflict and violence… you name it. Without critically looking at our environmental footprint, we can’t be confident in continuing to have good health (and even if we personally don’t see the direct effects yet, our children, or grandchildren, or people on the other side of the world will). So yes, maybe it is about being “less civilized” (in ways) to support our own health, but it’s also about much more than that. We can’t forget that our plights of “civilization” are limited to wellness alone, and that successfully protecting our health against the ills of “civilized life” requires a much deeper approach. We need to think carefully not just about how we are protecting our own inner wildness, but how we are supporting our planet’s. I’d love to chat more if anyone would be interested, and if you’d like to learn more on your own, check out planetary health.

  166. I thought the create:consume ratio portion was going to be more about creating things that you need as opposed to buying them. Like, your own food–including snacks and condiments–, clothes, cleaning and body products, furniture, etc. That seems way less civilized to me. And beneficial to the Earth.

    Tribalism: I’m not sure I”m sold on that. For one, being part of a tribe doesn’t mean SITTING and watching others compete (while eating loads of junk food). And then being cruel to the other tribes when the team they sat and watched lost, as if they had control over it. It’s gearing up and chanting and getting out there as a tribe (to protect your land). Feeling part of a group, I’m sure is great. But why not join a recreational sports team? Perhaps one of competition, but maybe one of cooperation, such as a kayak or mountain bike group, where the members work to support the others, but you’re a group–with identifying shirts and a sense of belonging. Why do we need to be so competitive with each other? Obviously some bit of competition was important to survival–especially competition with your food source. But I doubt Grok sat around and said, “Haha, my deer is bigger than your deer!” and then pushed his kids to make sure they always killed the biggest deer, and definitely it had to be bigger than the deer of the other tribe or they’d get punished. There was a lot of cooperation, I”m sure or we wouldn’t be here today. When one deer was killed, it can’t be kept to oneself. It was shared, and the work of preparing it was shared. But I suppose if good hunting land was scarce, as the population grew, there became tribes and battles and survival of the fittest. But those tribes had to cooperate to succeed. It wasn’t “I killed the most men!” There was no MVP of the battle, either.

    I love interacting with the environment in unusual ways though. That makes sense. And I’ve run up the stairs (consistently, just as how I do it) for years. If not run, skip steps. Taking a kid to a playground? Stay off the phone and go play on the equipment with him/her. And yes, you CAN go up the slide!!! No, you’re not a helicopter parent; you’re interactive and gettting your workout–no need for the gym. PS, we need playgrounds for adults, too. Since it’s not exactly acceptable to go workout at a playground if you don’t have a kid with you. (In fact, in NYC, the sign at the fence says no entry without a kid.) But maybe the point is adults (and kids, too) should find the “playground” in everyday life.

    Another way to be less civilized is to get your workouts from real life. Walk fast, swing your kid around, do what Mark said in the last one, shovel your own snow, rake your own lawn, mow your own lawn, garden, walk/bike to places, hunt your own food, buy as much as you can in Costco (and go through every aisle as the cart gets heavier), then carry as much as possible into your house at once, etc. And for heaven’s sake, get off the treadmill!!!

    I love the idea of writing about how to be uncivilized in a “civilized” world. And yes, I believe licking your plate is primal. How else do you get all those juices up? (no, not with bread!)

    BTW, the original Disney Pocohantas movie addresses the idea of what is civilized. The English say they want to civilize the Indians, but Pocohantas points out that the Indians have all they need and know more than the English (about the world they live in). What we all need is some de-civilization. Be yourself–forget about all these “rules”. Do what’s right for you!!! (That doesn’t hurt others and the Earth)

    1. Forgot to add, another way to be less civilized is to homeschool. And not sign your kid up for every activity that comes along. Also, cook and eat at home, but with your “tribe”–keep your house open to kids arriving and impromptu friends showing up. On homeschool, you have to arrange it so there are other kids around, to play and learn with–not in organized activities, but who show up, hang out and are there–a consistent group of them. I guess it would be called a coop. I just think of how it was back in the day. Kids woke up, stepped out of their cave and other kids were there to play with–no packing snacks and driving to playgroup or paying thousands of dollars for dance class, or planning playdates weeks in advance. They were there and they played all the while learning skills for their lives. Am I homeschooling? No, ’cause the kids (while physically living close) just aren’t there for it. So we make the best with public school, don’t worry about excess abscences, and counteract the harmful effects with things at home. Would I love to under the right circumstances? Yes.

      And one more way: work endlessly to encourage less civilization at school–more outside time, more student direction, less testing, relaxing/igoring rules on who can/can’t bike to school and walk home by themselves. Work to allow kids to be kids again.

      I’ve concluded while thinking of this that “civilization” is mostly about control. Not the part where humans come together and help each other survive in a community. But the part about following certain rules or you’ll be called a savage or uncivilized. Bring on the names, thank you! I’d rather that than feel stuck as a “proper” person. The contrast between the “civilized” and “savage” world was beautifully highlighted in “Vikings” (History Channel). Nothing about the French and English worlds of the time was appealing.

  167. Micro dosing nature, what an interesting idea you’ve touched on.

    I grew up in the city. Born in L.A., moved to Minneapolis. Always enjoyed city life except the 10 years living in the suburbs.

    Always looked for the outdoor places. Parks, lakes, rivers, etc. When faced with a move a few years ago, just couldn’t come up with a neighborhood I wanted to live in. Finally realized it was time to move to the country. Been out here a year and never regretted it.

    Sunsets are more beautiful, sunrises sweeter, and nature surrounds me and invades me. I’ve never been more at peace.

    Spot on Mark, all of us animals needs nature.

  168. Although living a little differently raises a few eyebrows, it gives others permission/inspiration for rethinking their worldview. People often succeed in groups and imaging a less “civilized” lifestyle changes the face of civilization itself over time. People rarely think deeply about the kind of lifestyle they have and how to achieve it. I see so many who just sit around hoping “something good” will happen to them and release them from their trap.

    Our family thought deeply about how to achieve what we wanted. It took a long time and a lot of work and thought about who we were and wanted we wanted for ourselves and our family. My husband walks to work through woods, from a house my sons helped build, we grow some of our own food and work hard to have a flexible (but demanding) work schedule.

    I think some of our inspiration came from the way our parents and grandparents lived. They were people who could not be “tamed” and weren’t fooled by the status quo. Their amazing stories are an inspiration to our extended family, who tend to all be people who think outside of the box, especially in incredible flexible lifestyles. You can live differently, it just takes commitment and work. My husband often says “Getting what you want is easy, knowing what you want is hard.”

  169. I love primal play, maybe it’s because I’m just a big kid.

    Taking my 5 year old kid to playground at parks is a sad affair. Parents hovering over their kids, not letting them explore and be creative.

    I’m all for letting my boy explore and make his own decisions and mistakes (reasonably safe ones while playing).

    He likes to wrestle/play in the snow with me. I’m wondering where the line is on playing with kids. A balance of playing with him and letting him ‘free range’ and explore on his own?

    What are the benefits? Ideas for joint play sessions? Ideas for play on his own?

  170. One of the most enjoyable ways I’ve found to interact with the environment is to do as the animals do. I have the pleasure of living in the Hudson Valley where there are many farms that offer educational tours to the public. One particular farm I visit raises goats and does tours that allows the public to walk with the herd on their grazing paths and encourages people to play with them as they scale large rocks and the terrain around them. There’s something instinctual that happens when you follow an animal and look at the world through their eyes. It’s very insightful to watch them be picky about the branches and bushes they decide to graze from, as it teaches mindfulness for what one consumes. I was headbutted by one of the smaller goats and reveled in the playtime that would give them experience and allow them to exercise at the same time. Needless to say, I headbutted back and thought to myself of what we as humans do physically that allows us to enjoy learning and playing through physical activities. Thank you Mark for sharing some great advice on how we can interact with the environment around us!

  171. Yes. Yes. Yes! Love this insightful post!
    Doodle, draw, dance, band play your dishes, Converse with a stranger, write a nice note and leave it in the shopping cart/library book/menu, walk backwards, challenge the kids at the park to a game of freezer tag, call up your bank and tell them thank you…. Oh, I’m just getting started! Lol.
    May you Be danced and moved by the gifts of this wild Life.

  172. I’m one of those non-commenters usually, so here goes… Some ideas, maybe, to do as a family: Sitting on the floor (It’s amazing how horrified some people are when a 43-year-old woman sits on the floor). Sometimes my teen daughters and I race to the car in parking lots–you can’t not laugh. We roller skate. Take the stairs and race (they beat me). Walk on curbs like balance-beams. We sometimes use candles at night. We’re lucky enough to have a masonry fireplace and use it often. We built a keyhole garden and are learning how to grow vegetables. We often walk barefoot in the woods outside our front door (although that’s probably just because we’re too lazy to go get shoes). I teach a class at the local art center and volunteer there. We’re taking a Udemy computer course together. We DIY projects around the house as much as possible (I do use power tools, though). I encourage my girls to take things apart/put things together using tools. Read books–gasp!–just because, not for a class. Ferment stuff or try an unusual fruit or vegetable or cooking method (expect resistance!). I realized we have been doing this stuff just sort of for the heck of it… Reading this article has encouraged me to be more intentional and do more.

  173. I enjoy your posts partly because of your kindness. Seems odd to point it out, but “be a weirdo, not a jerk,” feels like what our culture needs in so many ways.

    1. Melinda Trotti, thanks for your note. Glad you’re here. Taking responsibility for the energy we put out there is key, I think.

  174. I think perhaps the reason theres so much violence in the world is because people allow their energies to build up. Civilized ways don’t allow outlets for energy.

  175. This post reminded me of something Nassim Nicholas Taleb has written a lot about (and that is high praise coming from me, since I am a huge NNT fan) – the idea that what is bad for the individual is good for the collective (in his words, individuals must be fragile in order to make society antifragile). You’ve given a good reminder that the inverse is true, in terms of “acting civilized” – what might good for societal progress (an individual behaving completely civilized at all times, denying any wild impulse) could actually be bad for that individual – they lose part of what makes them fully human. However, in adding the piece about create:consume ratio, you’ve made a nice argument for how wildness actually contributes to a vibrant society, and it’s a great reminder to me to add a positive contribution to the world by actually making something, instead of just being a passive participant.

  176. Sprinting up stairs… I’m definitely incorporating that option into my life!

  177. Mark I totally agree with you on this topic. I studied Judo for many years it gave me an outlet for my stress and aggression. My oldest son started and he has surpassed me!!

    My other PRIMAL escape is fishing. Fishing streams on foot involves the elements of stalking and the “kill” without actually killing the animal. Once in awhile I will take home a few to eat though.

  178. Last summer, hubby & I spent 4 days ‘bamping’ – camping in our boat on the water in our local large lake on the outskirts of the city.
    Talk about a wild smack in the face! Holy cow (literally)! Our suburban life and many days of *daytime* boating on the water did nothing to prepare us for nighttime, and important things like: Currents! Wind direction! The Weather! Moon phase! Utter Silence and Darkness interspaced with Very Loud Animal Sounds!!
    The hills were full of he-hawing donkeys (these are wild ancestors of released mining burros) braying at the full moon literally all night long, fish jumping, flocks of water birds fishing, a herd of longhorn cattle came to the shore near our anchor (including an aggressive bull), and coyotes killed something that loudly died within earshot.
    Sleeping didn’t happen, but it was a fascinating eye-opener about how close the wilderness is to our home, yet how far removed from it we live, even though we consider ourselves outdoor-type people.

  179. I think cooking/creating is a great thing. I would add to that to include doing it with friends/family on a regular basis. Sharing the joy of the kitchen can be great and sitting down to share the meal even better. Which leads me to another point – it is about sharing the meal. The notion of phones at the table or eating with the TV on is just counter to the real notion of sharing and connecting with your tribe. Shut it all down and engage in the moment.

    The notion of the sports fan and their tribe. I would add this thought. People get wrapped up in their team(s). I heard a question posed some time back – what if folks were as passionate about their family, friends, health and as knowledgeable in those areas as they are about their sports teams. We can quote amazing stats about a football player but may not know things that really matter.

    Lastly – I have some neighbors with young kids. We live in Seattle and the weather can be a little dark and wet. Every evening they gear up, grab the strollers and head out for a family walk around the neighborhood. Those parents are doing a great service for their kids – it is only rain and you can still make it fun – just go outside and amazing things happen!

    Keep up the great topics!

  180. I live in a boxy flat with barely any natural light, and all I have is views of my neighbors surrounding me. Outside is a concrete jungle, no nearby park. What’s worse is I work from home. I do get morning light from my kitchen window, so rain or shine, winter or summer, I open that window and l gaze upwards, looking for birds or clouds or other activity. I also take off my clothes (avoiding neighbors’ windows for modesty’s sake) and try to get sun on my skin. I also set up a standing desk in there to put my laptop so I can extend my time in there. It’s the best part of my day.

  181. Haha yes to being a weirdo! When out & about I love picking a tree at random and giving it a big hug. I sometimes get funny looks but hope it inspires others to give trees some love too :-))
    Great article, thanks Mark!

  182. Ya learn an art of war even though you arent in war lol. Only insecure, lack of self esteem boys and girls do human cockfighting rubbish. Im 32 and am very well disciplined, its called Life. Live it, enjoy it, be good to others. Get over the hard days. Unless violence is 100% necessary, dont go near it. No, its not our nature.

  183. guys only,try growing a beard or some other facial hair. It does'(nt have to stay there forever .(give it a time frame)

  184. My husband and I embarked on our own de-civilization 5 1/2 years ago. We retired at 50, sold all our non essential items and live full time in a 16 foot trailer wandering mostly the western states. We live in nature every day. We mountain bike, hike/backpack, surf and kayak and now learning rock climbing. We hope to inspire all who we meet to live simply. To stay active everyday. To eat wisely. To always learn new stuff. To live every day of their life. To live your own idea of what your life can be

  185. I love to include ” night hikes” into my playground of “out of the box” activities.
    The night sky whispers to its own energy and the stillness reveals nature’s different song.
    The eclectic sounds (or lack of) satiate the senses from within.
    And then you stop…no speaking, no moving until the quietness throw ” night hikes” into my playground of ” out of the box” activities. 
    The night sky whispers its own energy and the stillness reveals nature`s different  song. The eclectic sounds (or lack of) satiate the senses from within.
    And then you just stop ….and be still…..the quietness becomes loud!

    We live in a constant changing/ rattling world…. that gives the phantom impression of “normality .”
    Night hikes whoo us back ….to the “still small voice” that is within!

  186. I will offer up, shower less. Yes, some of us must, such as a dentist close to his patients. But for most of us, showering is a timed habit. Something you allegedly MUST do. For many of us, horse puckeys.

    My fiance’ has a congential skin condition best relieved by long showers. Not the usually situation. I can go for many days w/o showering w/o odor or offense. I have a T shirt loaded with my sweats that Kirsten has on her bed, holds dear, wallows in my odors. OK, I do too with her panties.

    There are body odors that make us gag. There also ones that remind us that we are human. And sexual.

  187. On tribalism, I studied Shaolin Kempo Karate 20 years ago in my mid-thirties. The discipline, focus and learning to move my body in new ways was powerful and gave me more confidence in everyday life, and the community of the dojo supported my growth while challenging me every time we gathered. I stepped away from that to pursue long distance cycling for charity which gave the wanderer in me a new lease on life exploring places I’d never traveled in a car. But again, the foundation was the community, the shared values – striving for goal together, pushing each other, but also holding each other up. When I was hit by a car one morning on my ride into work and suffered a catastrophic spinal injury, the tribe rose to support me through months of rehab and was there when I was able to pedal again. Each of us must find our own tribe. I met my wife in a community chorus which has been her tribe for more than 30 years. Find your tribe!

  188. Handstands…yes…I used to do those all the time while waiting for busses. Thanks for the reminder!!

  189. I think adjusting the “Create:Consume” ratio is vitally important to get people to become aware of how much they “consume” everyday. I do things like walking barefoot in the grass at my apartment complex everyday for the grounding benefits but also because it just feels great. I grew up in the country and doing things like walking in the woods and climbing trees always makes me feel great. I encourage people to find these things that are absolutely free and do wonders for your well being.

  190. The thought that came up for me was parenting. I have a six year old boy and it has been so hard to let myself “free play” with him. I have to resist the urge to structure our time together. When I let him lead, we make up a baseball games, run around the community garden. We see how high we can swing and then jump off. We wrestle. It has been hard to break out of the doing things that are structured, like this is the time I work out. This is the time I work. This is the time I rest. If I have free time – I always want to structure it. Reading more about being less civilized reminds me that play has an important role in our health – holistically. Free, unstructured, spontaneous, silly play can provide such a great balance to our overly structure stressful days.

  191. Great article! Having been a practitioner of the Martial Arts for over 30 years I found your statement regarding human predilection towards violence to be interesting. To me it boils down to survival. Once pushed Man will become violent in an effort to survive. This matches our emotion curve and as one is pushed further into a survival situation one goes through loss of interest, to fear of, to anger with the threat. Reach anger and you are a step away from violence. Society has changed survival from fighting for your life to how many likes on Facebook did I get. But the response when pushed far enough is still the same, a primal desire to survive and willingness to fight for that survival.

    Having developed some skill in the martial arts I can wholeheartedly recommend it to any one, at any age and any level of interest. I say any age and interest because there are so many different levels of martial arts. Martial arts is the study of warfare and violence. Wow that was a pretty raw statement, but true. Look up the word. The trick is you can have varying levels of Martial Arts that can appeal to you wherever you are on the spectrum of interested in moving my body, to being a lethal warrior.

    On one end stands arts like taekwondo which will teach you some movements, environmental awareness and exposure to self discipline and control as a method to channel one’s inner tendency towards violence in emotionally charged situations.

    In the middle are effective grappling arts such as Jujitsu, Judo and BJJ. I say effective because these arts require good technique to work. Bad technique does nto work so they are more likely to maintain effective techniques. Also they are constrained by rules (as they are sport based) and thus this reduces the likelihood of gross injury. This also means your Jujitsu, Judo or BJJ instructor can be evaluated easily as able to do or not able to do, and anyone with half an eye for athletics can find a good instructor. So this is where I recommend people look who have a stronger interest in learning something effective.

    I pursued something more towards the other end and have become highly skilled in the martial arts. Yes I have spent 30 years studying how to dismantle bodies and kill people. Does this make me a killer? Absolutely not. Just because you can, does not mean you must do. In actuality a truly lethal martial art requires practitioners to be of the highest ethical and moral fiber. After all I am trusting my partner with my life and he is trusting me with his. Mistakes are not allowed as they can be very dangerous. I can also attest to those who can not handle the responsibility of the lethal knowledge will wash out or limit there own ability. Sounds crazy but I have observed this time and time again over 30 years of practice without fail, students who can not trust themselves with the knowledge limit their own ability. There is not one highly advanced student or instructor in my dojo that I have not had the moral conversation with (listening to them wrestling with the reality of their lethal skill versus the morality of their life and coming to trust themselves with the knowledge they are learning.)

    Likewise finding a truly good instructor in the more lethal martial arts is difficult. Firstly they are fewer than you might think and there is no way for the average person to evaluate them. The instructor says “this move works and will kill your opponent.” Are you really going to ask them to prove it? How can you evaluate if it really works? This alone limits the number of higher level practitioners. Then of course there is the time commitment it takes to move a skill into the level of knowingness. Few people I know have committed three decades to the study of something. I am not saying it takes three decades, learn something today and you are better tomorrow than you were, guaranteed! But, to become good at something does take some practice and to be great takes commitment.

    Perhaps this post has challenged some civil sensibilities. If so don’t let that stop you from pursuing the martial arts. You participation at any level is honored an appreciated and you will get more out of it then you thought you would.

    So I have done my wild thing today. Hope you enjoyed a peak into the wild side of the martial arts.

  192. I love the idea of doing random bear crawls and pull ups (attempting anyway) while out walking. The kids would enjoy this as well. Thanks for the idea.

  193. Great ideas, thanks! I just retired and so am keeping my eye out to see what I might get involved in, to stay active. Your suggestion to learn a martial art inspired me to do an internet search on “old man wrestling.” I had a giggle or two watching these old guys taking each other (and younger guys) on. Yep, I might try it.

  194. I’m surprised that less bathing and showering wasn’t mentioned. And a page search didn’t turn up either word in the responses.

    Americans tend to shower on a schedule, meaning every day for most middle class. With few exceptions, in this office/retail job world, not necessary. Some people must shower every day by social convention, those who get close to others like dentists. Some people have a problem with BO regardless of what they do or don’t do. Had a roomie once like that.

    We remove a lot of animal scents and pheromones with daily showers. Our skin bacteria usually worsens. There is a primal joy and ancient response to smelling your lover’s natural scents instead of soap or perfume.

    Certainly, hot, soapy showers are often a blessing after a day of hard physical work, for instance. Or take a water shower w/o soap sometimes.

  195. Oh, yeah. Pee outside if you can. Meaning male and privacy, I guess. It’s what I do during the day. My fiance’ loves it, she gets the primal thing.

  196. Read “Mr. Tiger Goes Wild” by Peter Brown to your kids/grandkids/random kids. Not a life-changing kids’ book, but it could just change your life (and it’s not totally a kids’ book either). But it is wonderful and on topic.

  197. I like to walk my dog around the school’s cross country track. Luckily, it’s pretty wild. Rabbits (I let her chase them, she never catches them), skunks and coyotes (luckily, they are nocturnal). I’m very wimpy about the cold, though.

  198. I really enjoy interacting with the environment in atypical ways. I find myself feeling fuelled by thee interactions, and yet always stifled by fear of judgment of others. I used to deal with that fear by consuming illicit drugs, but that is no longer an option for me. I struggle with bringing primal benefits back to my life – while wanting to be a productive and accepted member of society.

  199. When it comes to martial arts I suggest something where you learn to take blows. Even a sport like full-contact football or classic boxing. Why? Nearly everyone grapples at some time in their childhood. But not everyone knows what it’s like to take a punch or a blind-side body shot. In a real life situation the first blow is often unanticipated and so shocks/stuns the “prey” person that they are unable to mount any timely defense. Your ability to defend yourself depends on making that moment of shock into a micro-moment small enough to survive and get out of the “what’s happening/why are you doing that” death loop into a survivor’s mindset of maximum aggression. As for Tribalism and connection to creation, I’m Catholic, I’ve got that more than covered. 🙂

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