Once I read about this white woman working in Africa. She wrote about how the locals couldn’t stop laughing at her because she would go every evening for a run. They thought she was insane.
At that time I laughed and thought poorly of those tribal people. “They are so primitive and backwards”, I thought. They just don’t understand modernity.
But 10 years later my point of view changed.
We Just Got it Wrong
People who read me may be under the impression that I am a racist towards caucasian people, but this isn’t true.
While growing up I never thought about myself as non-Caucasian, as my childhood was privileged. I did and owned the same things people had and did on TV and in movies.It took a comment in New Zealand to make me realize I was “brown” and by that time I was 21!
We have been indoctrinated into thinking that the Intellectual and Industrial Revolution brought knowledge, prosperity, enlightenment and advances in everything. And that is what I reject , not white people per se.
In reality what truly happened was the rape, pillage and enslavement of people in Africa, Asia and the Americas. That is what brought prosperity to certain empires and cultures, not their “revolutionary ideas”.
What those philosophers were doing was concealing the fact that they were doing inexplicable crimes for economic gains. To do so, they needed to put the mind above all, because only through reasoning, one can proclaim that “we are all equal” while at the same time having, abusing and killing slaves.
Western ideas put reason above everything, and more arrogantly, above Nature itself. And that is why we are living in the world we are today.
It is only in the last decade that people are realizing at a meaningful scale that this isn’t the case.
Reason, the Ugly Child of The Mind
Because we have been brought up idealizing those philosophers that explained “modernity” and its “riches” enshrining the mind and its ideas, people go really crazy when I talk down on the mind and its reasoning.
It is hard to explain to people that there is an intelligence far more vast than that which comes from reasoning alone.
Reasoning allow us to be very upset at President Trump for withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocols, yet convince ourselves that taking a 20 minutes hot shower and using 30 straws a day to drink our beverages is not a contradiction of sorts.
In our bodies this “love of the mind” has destroyed any reminiscence of balance and wisdom. The balance that should exist between The Body and The Mind.
As stated above, The Mind can convince us of almost anything, no matter how negative or contradictory things can be. And in doing so, it has allowed the biggest abuse of the 21st Century, that of our bodies.
The body has become the modern victim of society, the one that bares all the attacks, all the damages, and all the stupid fixes we throw at it.
How Does The Body Lose to The Mind Every Time?
Just think about it, how many people do you know that go on every-weekend-alcohol-binges, just because they are miserable in their life? Then they go into a “Mea Culpa”, trying “ to fix it”, by punishing the body with extraneous exercise while it is tired, overloaded with toxins, compromised on its liver function and dehydrated for all the loss of minerals.
We do this even though we know that sports don’t help detoxifying the liver, but we reason enough, until we make ourselves believe a lie. Then we blame our politicians for doing the exact same thing. The mind causes the damage, and the body pays for it.
We eat large amounts of junk food during the day, for days, weeks, months and years. What do we do? We blame the body! We hate the body! We blame our genes, or metabolism, anything but pointing the finger to the mind, which is the one that convince you that you “deserved” to overindulge Caligula style.
Again, the body, gets forced into a regime of punishment. We go into high intensity training or long runs. Or we decide that we want to do a “muscle up” in 3 months. The body serves us to the best of its abilities. But with all the prior mistreatment it soon gets injured. Then we get upset with our bodies for not being resilient. Mind 2 – Body 0.
Most people are dissatisfied with our jobs, simply because their minds don’t allow them to do what they love, because it first “demands to know where the money is going to come from”. To alleviate the dissatisfaction we go and pack our bodies with drugs – either legal or illegal -, and then theorize that our bodies are “prone” to addiction. Mind 3 – Body 0.
Because I have lived an entitled life without a single difficulty or obstacle, I punish my body and deny it any food as a way to have “something to control in my life”… Again, punishing the body, but this time for lack of parental love and care. Mind 4 – Body 0.
Some people over correct for what they feel is a life being lived without purpose and go crazy on animal rights and become vegan. They punish their bodies by depriving them of essential nutrients. Not only that, they go into a rampant rage of self-aggrandizement and hate, which only further damages their health. Mind 5 – Body 0.
Do you start noticing a recurrent theme here?
Modern Society and its “Wisdom”
The Body will always be a truer reflection of our being. It can’t lie.
If you are still a healthy individual and you overeat, you will feel it. Indigestion is a natural way for the body to react and say NO MORE. What does “modern” science do? It creates “medicines” to allow us to overeat without getting the wise signals of our stomach not to overeat.
Another one, we work hard, beyond what is necessary and we are under stress. What does the mind convince us to do? Drink a couple of Red Bulls and go partying all night. Because who needs to go, get a massage and have an early night when exhausted?
One more. We give candies, soda and junk food to our kids, until they become diabetics before 10. How does our enlighten society answers with? By renaming the disease once called – adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, because it was never present in kids, to Diabetes Type 2 and prepare them for liver transplant and a life on supplemental insulin.
We force our bodies into sedentarism and we then push them into exercising at intensities and lengths, they can’t sustain.
So as you see, nature, which is expressed fully in our bodies, has been subdued, enslaved, abused and pillaged by the mind. Just like the nature we say we care about, but rarely protect with our actions.
Being tired, in pain, overweight and depressed are only signals that our bodies put out there, in the hope of being heard. But no one listens. They are benevolent signals to change our behavior, not uncomfortable symptoms that must be quieted by the force of legal medicines.
Who profits from our madness? Pharmaceutical companies, Sport Industries, Medical Establishments, Food Industry, etc., In short, everyone that can make a buck out of our stupidity and non-sense.
Going Back to Nature
Somehow we are slowly coming back to our senses. We are many, but still far from a majority.
Some people have already realized some of the fallacies of the last part of the 20th Century and here are some basic examples:
In the 60’s mothers were convinced that babies were best nourished by formula, not by their own milk. Most women today agree that mother’s milk is unmatched in its nutrition and wisdom.
Many people have stopped believing in elevated, clumsy, rigid and totally artificial footwear that does nothing but weaken the feet and the whole body with them. All these sport shoes were created after somehow we bought into the believe that our feet didn’t evolve properly and timely.
Some people now start to understand that eating food that has been processed can’t be very good for their bodies. They are preferring food that is natural. They are eating according to their body experience, not to what their minds and their powerful reasoning tell them is best to boost their egos.
Yes, reasoning that you have to force your body to be a vegan and even your new-born and pets, is nothing but another artificial construct where once again, we punish the body, as if we weren’t the body itself.
I personally know 3 people with doctorates from top Universities around the world to leave their fields and go back to learn how to cultivate produce in ways that don’t damage the soil. That is before the oil based, fertilizers era.
These people began to to realize that there is something unnatural in living in the 28th floor of a skyscraper. We are the children of the Earth, we need connection with Nature.
When my Cat Goes for an “Easy” 10 km Jog
Crucially, for the last 5-10 years people have started to realize that “exercise” as such, is another Frankenstein’s invention that has little to do with Nature.
You know when I realized how artificial exercising is? The time I saw my cat putting on his sweat pants and sport shoes to go for an easy 10 km run. Thank God I woke up immediately after that!
But anyway, how stupid does that sound?
Have you ever watched a primate going to the gym and getting some pull ups done to get good at “hanging” from branches? Did you ever see a gorilla benching 500 pounds, with or without belt, to get the girls? Me neither. What about a leopard using some “high volume protocol” to get some power on its legs?
Nah, they are too smart to do the human thing.
So when that white woman put her sneakers on to run around the African savanna everyone who laughed at her were right. Unless she was being hunted by a lioness, she had no reason to do the running thing.
Real life, Real Fitness
If she were a regular person in the tribe, even if she was a doctor or a scientist, she would have been involved in the regular activities of the tribe. There would be no imbalance to address.
Hunting, bringing water from a well 18 km from the villages, skinning and cooking prey, lifting and carrying heavy stuff, making fires, cutting wood, taking care of the kids, repairing huts, dancing for ceremonies and acting in plays to keep traditions alive, would have been more than enough to keep her in great physical readiness and shape.
She would have been working at every level and form of her Fitness. She would be adapted and ready to handle whatever event her environment threw at her. She would be expressing her humanity.
That is why the locals were laughing at her. Because she was doing something artificial – punishing the body – only necessary, to compensate for her sedentarism and lack of understanding of what being a human really means.
So Jogging, CrossFit, Bodybuilding, Beer Yoga and whatever new decadent trend comes our way, are just artificial constructs that are convenient, but are only replacing, without much success, our detachment and rejection of nature.
We love sports because they are convenient: we can consume them when we want, in nice air conditioned spaces, with cool music blasting from hi end speakers, and some nice lighting that reminds us of our latest rave. We know exactly how long it will last for and at the end we may get some medal or trophy, or at least a scented towel and a tap on the back.
Plus the invaluable selfie, how to live without that? 😛
Welcome Discomfort in Your Life
Am I proposing to go back to the tribal life? Yes, if I could. But I know that wouldn’t work for 99% of people that by now, feel comfort and its excess, luxury have become a Human Right. It isn’t.
First we must realize that the only difference between what “comfortable” and “uncomfortable” is, is just a mental tag.
Since early age we learn that everything has tags. And everything has an exact opposite. Black has white. Thin has fat. Ugly has beautiful. And so on.
But if we “untag” the world, we unchain ourselves from our aversions and desires alike. Things become what they are, not how we judge them to be. They are not difficult, uncomfortable, or less desirable, they just are.
Going for a walk in the middle of the day in Bangkok is a torture, only if you are comparing it to a nice stroll in Paris at the beginning of the Autumn season.
Carrying your shopping bags is uncomfortable only if you imagine a poor kid from the slums carrying them for you.
But it goes the other way around, people that have never had air conditioner would HATE sleeping in a room at 16 degrees Celsius. Isn’t it all about perspective?
So carry your bags, engage in some physical activity, mow your own lawn, walk under the sun, load your truck, climb the tree to save your cat, and run for your life when someone turns on the TV and selects CNN!
Cook your food, go for your groceries, engage in life itself. Use your body. That is where joy, the real joy of living is at. Work at it.
Dance, play with your kids or your nephews, go camping, fishing. In a single word: MOVE and you will see how a white woman, going for a jog in the middle of Africa is truly funny.