1. Table of Contents
  2. About
  3. Solar Dispatch 4
  4. Schedule
  5. Operant Conditioning
  6. The Invisible Fence
  7. ReWild Yourself! Podcast: Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova on ReWilding Our Birth Experience
  8. Do U Newspeak?
  9. Neoaboriginal Revolution
  10. ReWild Yourself! Podcast: Arthur Haines on How Speaking English Impacts Our Relationship With Nature
  11. The Habit
  12. Wild Woman Speaks
  13. Fifty Shades of Gray’s
  14. ReWild Your Diet
  15. ReWild Yourself! Podcast: Stephen Harrod Buhner on Reclaiming Your Feeling Sense
  16. YouTube Waypoints
  17. Who's Your Master?
  18. The Cradle of Civilization
  19. Gross Domesticated Products
  20. ElixirCraft Mastery
  21. ReWild Yourself! Podcast: Daniella Martin on Why You Should Start Eating Insects
  22. My English Teacher is a Dog-Trainer
  23. 20 Tips for ReWilding Your Mind!
  24. ReWild Yourself! Podcast: Dispatch 4 Reflections
  25. Your Neo-Aboriginal Challenge
  26. ReWilding Resources
  27. Would You Like to Contribute to the Next Dispatch?
Daniel Vitalis

The Operant Condition

ReWild Yourself! — Dispatch 4

The Operant Condition
ReWild Yourself! — Dispatch 4
Table of Contents Table of Contents Table of Contents Table of Contents
About

Welcome to Dispatch 4 of ReWild Yourself! This online magazine is designed to function as more than a source of information, entertainment, and education, it is a kind of natural solar calendar, and is released in accordance with the eight significant Earth/Sun events of the solar cycle. These are the Vernal Equinox, Beltane, Summer Solstice, Lammas, Autumn Equinox, Samhain, Winter Solstice, and Imbolc. This natural sine-wave rhythm of solar time was once the calendar that we humans lived our lives by, however today we are living on the Gregorian calendar, which is in reality nothing more than an artifice, having no real correlate to the events of the natural world. Conversely, the natural solar calendar is based on real, observable solar/planetary events, and is therefore a significant part of ReWilding Ourselves!

The focus of this Dispatch is the psychology of our domestication, and how through programming, habit, routine, and addiction we are often unable to fully grasp the nature of our mental and physical enslavement. I am reminded of the oft referenced "Stockholm Syndrome" (or more accurately "Capture Bonding") where a hostage or victim of a kinknapping will sometimes come to identify with his or her captors, and at times even begin to defend or even protect them. Similarly, we have been convinced that the way we are living is something we enjoy, prefer, and for some, would have chosen for ourselves if we had ever been given the choice between this and a life lived in nature. We are taught to pitty those who — in reality — have more freedom and health than us (foraging peoples), and to see them as backward and in need of rescue from their plight.  We, the programmed narative goes, are the most advanced and privileged humans who have ever walked on earth. 

Maybe "sat" on the Earth is more appropriate.

I suspect, that had we ever tasted, even for a moment, the life of natural freedom that is the wild state of our species, we too — like so many wild and free native peoples – would have strongly and even violently opposed our domestication. We were, however, born into our captivity (hospitals), educated in captivity (schools), worked in captivity (jobs), and eventually we will pass on in the same (hospitals, mortuaries, cemeteries). All the while we chase about, hopelessly, the finite resources that we ourselves produce in an economy (Greek: oikonomia; 'household management' — remember domestication means 'of the house') that pits us against one another in a viciously competitive marketplace, ensuring that we can never self-organize as is our inherent tribal nature. 

It is not my attempt to be defeatest here, but pretending it is otherwise is a kind of denial that is best left for those who believe our civilization is an improvement upon nature, that the wanton destruction of the Earth's habitat is an equitable exchange for the opportunity to watch television programming each night after a 9-5 work day in a financial system which drives them like horses pulling a cart. Ours is a Cult of Progress, and now seems to value, above all else, the manufacture of wants and the supply of the same to dopamine addicted, pharmaceutically drugged, imperialist educated, physically atrophied masses who believe themselves not only to be free, but to represent the supreme height of human achievement.

I take a different view, and the following articles, videos, and interviews will elucidate the nature of the "Invisible Fence" that surrounds us – a fence in both our physical world, and one that has been built in our minds. Reading these articles in the sequence they are presented will provide you the reader the most effective delivery of the following information, as each article builds upon the one to come before it. The interviews herein are powerful, and may dramatically impact your consciousness, from Arthur Haines discussing the impacts of the English Language upon our view of nature, to Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova sharing her work on the way our traumatic birth experiences shape our psychology. From Stephen Harrod Buhner's discussion of how our education impacts our ability to perceive reality, to Daniella Martin's research on the most valuable free food resource we poison and trample under foot.

As always our guest contributors' columns are full of rich perspectives on a lifestyle that celebrates our nature, and for the first time I have included in this Dispatch a playlist of the videos that I watched during the research and production of this magazine. A watch through them over the coming weeks will go a long way towards imparting — from me to you — some the perspectives from which this Dispatch has been written.

Thank you for being willing —even if only for a moment — to see this as I do, for being courageous enough to consider what is written, and for taking the time to see your world in a new, different, and unconventional way. First we must identify the fence before we can climb over it. To deny it simply means we will remain ensnared eternally, bah bah bahing about freedom, whilst we shamble about in chains.

May your mind be forever wild and free!

~Daniel Vitalis


All writing in ReWild Yourself! is by Daniel Vitalis unless otherwise noted.

Daniel Vitalis is a Leading Health, Nutrition, and Personal Development Strategist.  Encouraging us to “ReWild Ourselves”, Daniel teaches that Invincible Health is produced by a life aligned with our biological design. His entertaining, motivational and magnetic delivery style has made him an in-demand public speaker in North America and abroad. He is the creator of FindASpring.com, a resource helping people find fresh, clean, wild water wherever they live, and the founder of SurThrival.com, a brand pioneering a lifestyle of vigorously healthy living. Daniel was recently featured in the widely acclaimed film “Hungry For Change”. He can be found at DanielVitalis.com, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Daniel Vitalis

Daniel Vitalis

Click here to read our disclaimer.

Solar Dispatch 4

Lammas is here, ushering us into the second half of summer, and with it comes the knowledge, the visceral experiential knowledge, that this season will draw once more to a close. There are still so many warm, sun-filled days ahead, and yet the nights have become crisper as of late, and noticeably longer. The midday breeze is gently alive with the scent of aromatic herbs maturing in the fields and of wild flowers blooming, each in their turn.  Nature's palette has darkened now, as the brilliant verdence of spring leaves takes on the deep forest-greens of the second part of summer.

There is a growing sense that those things which we'd planned for this season must be done soon or not at all, as we are now out beyond the half-way point of a seasonal cycle that is inching us forward towards the Equinox of Autumn. There is as well, I feel, a certain sense of longing as we approach the fall with its cool but bright weather, the changing of the leaves, the comforts of a time of rich and abundant harvests and reprieve from humid, languid days. 

Now is the time to celebrate the conclusion of the summer, to revel in all about it which you love. To walk and hike, and swim and forage. To climb, and run, and explore. Soon, my friends, the days will grow shorter, and nights will be cooler still, and we will leave behind these days of summer for the winter that is to come. For now we continue to bask in the heat and sun, to forage through the lush vegetation, to swim in the cool waters that wrap around our tanned bodies making us buoyant from beneath. To enjoy this part of our planets cyclic journey around our great star as we travel by his side — just as our ancestors did — on a voyage through infinite space and time.

Schedule

First Dispatch: Spring Equinox - The Intrinsic Taboo

March 20 - 2014

Second Dispatch: Beltane - Let Food Be Thy Medicine

May 5 - 2014

Third Dispatch: Summer Solstice - Primal Movement

June 21 - 2014

Fourth Dispatch: Lammas - The Operant Condition

August 7 - 2014

Fifth Dispatch: Autumnal Equinox 

September 22 - 2014

Sixth Dispatch: Samhain 

November 7 - 2014

Seventh Dispatch: Winter Solstice 

December 21 - 2014

Eighth Dispatch: Imbolc 

February 3  - 2015

Operant Conditioning

I live with a companion animal, a domesticated dog named Kaina. I named her after her subspecies Canis lupus familiaris, and of course both names, that given by me to her specifically, and that given to her species by science, are human constructs — just as is my "ownership" of her. The "Invisible Fence" of the English language is structured in such a way that it is simplest (and most conventionally understood) to say that she is "my dog", as in "my possession" or "my property", as if I could really own a sovereign living thing. This of course will, in time, seem incomprehensible to people, just as now the idea that you could "own" another human (like a slave perhaps) or that a man's wife was "his property" now seems abhorrent. Yet we are not many a generation removed from that way of thinking, and you can still see the remnant of it all around us. 

Living with a dog in a culture that still exerts ownership over her species brings up many interesting moral questions in my mind, such as "Do humans own the species they have domesticated?" and if not how then do we treat these species who are not capable of living independent lives in a wild envrionment they are no longer fit for (and scarcely still exists)? These are questions from which hunting and gathering peoples were free, as they never domesticated living things in quite this way.

We, as a Civilization, consider ourselves to have come so far, but in truth we are a very long way from having a consistent ethos of freedom. I will hint to, though not digress very far into the following; corporations are now modifying species at the genetic level and this is allowing them to patent and own these unnaturally selected species. These organisms and all of their offspring are corporate genetic-slaves.

Just saying...

Fundamental to owning a species, or a member of a species, or even a member of one's own species, is the science of conditioning, both classical and operant. Classical conditioning is the method that Pavlov used to get his dogs to associate the sound of a ringing bell to food. Eventually he developed such a strong association that the dogs would begin salivating upon hearing the bell. This classical conditioning is all around us, just think of the response that is evoked in the average American when we talk about "terrorism". A large scale coordinated attack on the US created the association with the word and imagery to deep feelings of vulnerability and fear. Now, by simply evoking the word or similar imagery (ringing the bell), it is possible to evoke a large scale fear response (salivating), which, it seems, has been very effective for creating a condition under which people will willfully relinquish their inalienable rights in exchange for "protection" from this terrible emotion.

Isn't this the definition of terrorism – using panic and fear to illicit a desired outcome from the victims?  

Oops, there I go, digressing again...

This type of conditioning is excellent for evoking a "state change" (as I read this I see multiple meanings, so let me be clear, I mean a "state" change, not a "State change", though both seem true), but is not well suited to crafting specific behaviors. It is simply a response, but not a behavior that is created. The phone dings, and the brain releases dopamine. Simple physiology. The science of molding and shaping behavior and behavioral loops – a more complex and refined science – is known as Operant Conditioning, and is the same method I learned to use when training "my dog".

In order to alter "my dog's" behavior, to get her to sit on command for instance, or to jump through the hoop on my obstacle course, I had to learn about the science of rewards and punishments. Soon I realized, that this type of conditioning was all around me, and that it had been used to shape my behavior too. It works on domesticated dogs and it works just as well on "dog's best friend"... domesticated humans.

Operant Conditioning is a very simple formula that, once learned, elucidates the underlying structure of the science of behavior modification. It reveals the way that the behavior of an organism (any organism) is modified by its environment, and thus, how behavior can be modified by a domesticator.

Understanding the principles of operant conditioning is relatively easy, and our lesson begins with the definition of two terms, which form the main pillars upon which this kind of behaviour modification is structured. Those two categories are Reinforcement and Punishment. 

Think of Reinforcement as a reward. Operant Conditioning is built upon the idea that any behavior that is reinforced or rewarded is likely to be repeated by an organism. Think of punishment as… well… punishment; any behavior that is punished is less likely to be repeated by an organism. To modify behavior, then, it is essential to identify behaviors that one wants to encourage or see repeated, and reward them, and to similarly identify behaviors that one would like to see diminish or disappear, and punish them. Because life-forms will naturally seek out rewards and are fundamentally punishment-averse, they will, of their own volition, modify their behavior in response to these stimuli.

To further dissect Operant Conditioning we must understand two more terms, qualifiers that modify the above terms. These are words with which we are all familiar, but which have a specific meaning within the context of the system of Operant Conditioning. The first is Positive (+) and the second is Negative (-). We must come to this subject with an open mind and allow the terms positive and negative to have new and unique meanings here, unhindered and free from the linguistic associations that most of us bring to the conversation. The former, Positive, does not mean "good" here, the way it usually does when we speak, but rather means to add something. It is a "net-positive", in other words something is added (+) to the equation. Similarly but reciprocal, the latter, Negative, means the opposite. Rather than meaning “bad” as in the way we are most accustomed to using it, instead here it means to remove something, or something subtracted. These then, Reinforcement and Punishment, and Positive / Negative are the individual pieces of the Operant Conditioning equation. Now let’s look at the complete puzzle.

Reinforcement can come in the form of a Positive or Negative. Positive Reinforcement is the addition of something pleasing (at the time a behavior is displayed) and it is employed to increase the likelihood that the behavior will be repeated. It is the addition of a reward. Something pleasing is given.

That’s a good "sit" puppy, here is a treat!

Reinforcement, however, can also come in the form of the subtraction of an unpleasant or painful stimuli, or the removal of something you don’t like. This too is a reward – though perhaps not as we usually think of it – and thus can be used to encourage a "favorable" behavior. This is known as Negative Reinforcement, essentially "reward by removal of discomfort". 

"Thats a good dog, let’s take that uncomfortable collar off of you."

Reward, remember, is used to encourage behaviour that is desirable, and so is used to mold the behaviors of a living thing to one's desires.

Punishments follow the same pattern, and can take the form of either a Positive or a Negative, both of which are designed to reduce the likelihood that a behavior will appear again. 

A Positive Punishment, which to the uninitiated sounds like a misnomer at best and a double negative at worst, introduces a stimulus that is unpleasant, such as a painful stimuli – like being struck for instance.

“Bad dog!” *smack* “Get off the couch!”

As you can see, Positive (+) means here the addition of something that wasn’t present before (in this case the strike and its associated physical and emotional pain – you've added the strike), so it carries a connotation that we don’t typically reserve the word for in day to day speech. Positive Punishments are usually the least pleasant!

A Negative Punishment takes the form of the removal or subtraction of something good, something pleasant — something you want and often already have — to create a Punishment. This too has the effect of reducing the likelihood of this behavior being repeated. 

“Bad dog! That was too rough, I am putting your toy away”

Both Positive and Negative Reinforcement — when delivered at the right moment, which is the moment immediatley proceeding the behavior — increase the likelihood that a given behavior will be associated with the Reward, and thus will likely be repeated again. This repetition of the behaviour is part of what we can call Reward Seeking Behavior.

Both Positive and Negative Punishment – when delivered at precielsy the right moment, again immediately following the behavior – becomes associated with the behavior. The organism, once it has associated the behavior with Punishment, will be less inclined to repeat the behavior. Punishments associated with a specific action creates an aversion to that action. 

Because organisms are supremely adaptable and naturally seek comfort and pleasure whilst simultaneously moving away from discomfort and pain, reinforcement and punishment cause self-induced modifications in behavior. 

Below is a simple illustration using my Glyph as an infographic to explain Operant Conditioning.

It is through these four possible combinations of Reinforcements and Punishments that behavior is molded, shaped; and it’s as true for wild things as it is for domesticated creatures.

The difference is that when these four training tools are presented naturally by the environment and its associated organisms and web of life, as in the case of the wild world, behaviors are shaped in such a way that each organism becomes better suited to living within, and thus supporting its fellow community of life. Wild Operant Conditioning creates fitness for a symbiotic community of organisms, and helps structure the complex and interwoven networks we call ecosystems. In the case of Artificial Operant Conditioning, these four tools are plied to shape and mold the behavior of an organism to human will, for the benefit of humans. Most often it involves altering a creatures natural behaviors in favor of ones that are programmed by the domesticator. It is, in essence, the method by which domesticated species and slaves are made, and is used to make an individual more fit for its servitude.

If we are able to see ourselves as "The Domesticated Ape", and we simultaneously seek to ReWild Ourselves, we would be well served to discover the Reinforcements and Punishments that are now – currently – shaping our behaviours. These are most often taking place beneath our cognitive baseline, subconsciously modifying our actions and eradicating our natural tendencies – reinforcing our expressions as subservient domesticated, slave-like fragili.

The Invisible Fence

As you read the following article allow your mind to relax and your imagination and inner vision to come to the fore. Some creative visualization will make the content of what you are reading come to life in a way that will make it far more comprehensible.

Imagine, for a moment, that the walls of your home are transparent, and so too the streets of your neighborhood, of all the neighborhoods of your town or city. Envision the walls of every building there as translucent as well; in fact, imagine every man-made thing as invisible, all except for those wires and cables that carry electricity, and the devices that transmit electronic signals. Now, imagine the electricity that courses through these wires as a blazing yellow-orange light, like the color of flames, but with the linear, directional flow of electronic current. Imagine the radio and cell phone towers emitting their signals in colorful visible light, blinking beacons like the light-houses that guide ships away from the rocky dangers of the coast. Envision the modems in each house shining the light of their wifi signals, the cell phones shimmering in infrared and microwave luminescence, the blue tooth devices with their radient pulses, and infrared remote control signals brilliantly aglow. Imagine the whole of civilization in this way, invisible except for the energy that courses through its cables like so much blood through one's veins. See it like a picture of the Earth from space at night, a network of blazing energy defining the grid upon which we live each day of our lives.

Now move your mind's eye to the edges of that grid, where the cityscape meets the wild places, the transitional zone where only adventurous fragili or robust neoaboriginali dare to roam, outside the bounds of the invisible electric fence. This is the edge of the network.

Zoom your mind’s eye back towards your translucent, electrically enveloped home. Notice how electricity flows through your floors, your walls, your ceiling, creating a kind of electrical cage. It is the electronic human kennel in which we house ourselves. Domestication means “of the household” and we moderns spend approximately 90% of our lives indoors, which seems like more than enough to qualify. We live within the bounds of an invisible electronic fence.

We, like so many domesticated dogs, enjoy the occasional walk, out onto the streets which just below our feet buzz with the same electrified light, coursing along their predetermined, mono-planar lanes of travel, and we often follow these paths to visit other people’s electronic cages too. There a great many public kennels we visit for shopping or entertainment, each encaged in the invisible electricity that surrounds us day and night. We could almost imagine a town or city to be a massive kennel consisting of thousands and thousands of individual electrified cages and public pens, all blazing with the controlled fire of the electrical grid. 

Strangely, it is not this invisible fence that frightens us, but rather the edges of the network, the fringes of the grid, the place where the wild and mysterious unknown meets the controlling grip of human dominion. It is these places, the places that still elude the civilizing hand of the domesticator, that pose the risk of our becoming “lost”, and losing our lifeline back to the perceived safety of our electro-pens.

I invite you to begin to become aware of the feelings that stir within you when you venture off the grid, when you see the words “no service”on your tracking device, when you find yourself beyond the reach of the invisible fence of the electro-kennel. Whether you are new to ReWilding or are experienced neoaboriginals, most of us have that eerie internal sense that emerges from deep within our programming, reminding us not to venture too far, that we must be home soon, lest we miss dinner or worse. It is the voice of the unseen hand. It is the voice of the domesticator.

There are many “rewards” (Reinforcements) we receive when we stay within the invisible bounds of the cage. There is always a “pleasure button” to push, always something to stimulate a dopamine release. Outside the cage life is often perceived as more arduous, more rocky, more difficult to traverse. As the sun sets there is but darkness this far from the grid's blazing lights. There are uneven surfaces and exposure to sun, wind, and rain. There are non-human creatures everywhere, creeping things, beings who have not succumbed to extinction or domestication.  Everywhere there, at and beyond the network's edge, there are stimuli that we have grown increasingly uncomfortable with, and — if we don’t train ourselves to consciously appreciate them — will likely be perceived as Punishments. It is as if, from the perspective of Operant Conditioning, that when we remain within the bounds of civility (the Invisible Fence) we are constantly being Reinforced (rewarded) for it, and when we leave, there are seemingly endless Punishments. This leads, of course, to a decrease in the likelihood of repeating the Punished behavior, namely, venturing outside of the Fence, off of the grid.

For this reason it is paramount that we ReWilders seize the leash from the domesticator, that we take control of our own Operant Conditioning. That we become Auto-Operant Conditioners. We must learn to train ourselves in ways that align with our desired goals and outcomes. We must learn to reward ourselves for behaviors that increase our personal health and that of our habitat, and that we learn to self-punish those behaviors which do not serve us or our aspirations. This task is not one that will happen naturally or haphazardly, as the forces of domestication are deeply entrenched and the Reinforcements and Punishments it deals out are set firmly in place. We must then learn to “gate” our inputs, to avoid Rewards for behaviors we would like not to repeat and circumnavigate the Punishments for expressing our sovereign self-direction. 

Surely we humans, with all the glory bestowed by possession of the opposable thumb, can reach around and unlatch the gate of the Invisible Fence ourselves. Surely we can venture off the reservation and out into the places where the grid ends and the wild things are. Perhaps we will find that what lays there, just beyond, are not the shadow monsters we have been warned of, but rather a freedom the likes of which we have not yet dared to dream. Freedom my friends, is not to be found here, this place is a glittering, rhinestone encrusted cage. Freedom exists just over the walls, where life continues unimpeded, where nature awaits the opportunity to grow up and over all that we have made. 


Click here to learn more about SurThrival Ghee.


ReWild Yourself! Podcast: Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova on ReWilding Our Birth Experience

In this episode of ReWild Yourself! podcast, I have a deep discussion with Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova, one of the pioneers of Conscious Evolution and founder of Birth Into Being, about how our traumatic birth experiences shape our psychology.

We discuss:

  • Our world experience begins before conception
  • Birth experience is related to emotional memory
  • We are raising a society programmed to have needs neglected
  • Thousands of years of slavery still live in our bones
  • Daniel’s birth and childhood experience
  • Most of our fears have deep ancestral roots
  • Myths of birth complications
  • The altered state of Ecstatic Birth
  • The #1 way to avoid complications during birth
  • Give birth in a place, in a way, that connects to your true nature
  • How to deal with outside pressure when making decisions about your pregnancy
  • What does today’s ReWilded child look like?
  • Dissociation is ingrained in us from birth
  • An amazing story of a child healing herself from birth trauma
  • Healing words of wisdom from Elena

We are raising a society programmed to have needs neglected. Tweet it!

Most complications at birth have a psychological and emotional nature. Tweet it!


Click here to listen!


Episode Resources


Meet Elena

Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova, one of the pioneers of Conscious Evolution since 1982, when she was one of the organizers of the Black Sea 'Birth with Dolphins' project in Russia. She is a spiritual midwife to thousands of people and is the founder of Birth Into Being International. Elena created the films 'How Dreams Come True'(1995), 'Birth Into Being'(1999), 'Birth As We Know It' (2006). Since 2003 she extensively taught her Birth Into Being Method on all 5 continents and it is now offered in 22 countries in all major languages. It is a highly effective program designed for both women and men, who are ready to step into the full embodiment of Joy, Happiness and Love. 

Elena is one of the featured Legendary Leaders in the UN sponsored book, 'A Force Such As the World has Never Known: Women Creating Change'. She was a keynote speaker at the countless conferences world wide and featured in hundreds of webinars and radio shows. For more info, visit BirthIntoBeing.com.

Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova

Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova

Do U Newspeak?

I’ll begin by stating unequivocally that I adore change, and harbor the deepest appreciation for how living systems evolve to greater levels of complexity, sophistication, and order. Adapting to change rapidly and comfortably is something I hold in the highest esteem, and I feel very confident in my abilities to do so; in fact I train for it.

Seeing degradation of an otherwise functional system, however – disintegration towards chaos – is, for me, one of the most tragic of circumstances. Please read the above word — disintegration again — see the word as it is meant to be used: dis - integration 

dis- |dɪs|

prefix

1 expressing negation

2 denoting reversal or absence of an action or state

integrate |ˈintiˌgrāt|

verb [ with obj. ]

combine (one thing) with another so that they become a whole

disintegration |disˌintəˈgrāSHən|

noun

the process of losing cohesion or strength

Sometimes total destruction seems necessary, as when we simply need to wipe the slate clean, and this I can appreciate, however much of what I am seeing today feels unnecessary and unfortunate.

Nowhere is this disintegration more apparent than in the degradation of our language. 

Again I feel the need to qualify…

Language changes, it adapts, it evolves. Ideally though, changes provide a deepened capacity to express the ineffable, to make the interoceptive experience an exteroceptive communication. This is not a treatise condemning the slang of the popular culture, or suggesting a return to the English of the Victorian era, rather it is a questioning of the impacts of new modes and mediums of communication and their impacts on our ability to name and communicate essential human experiences, and the potential impacts that losing that ability might have on our culture moving forward.

George Orwell’s contemporary classic “1984” describes a totalitarian oppressive police state where the population — under complete surveillance by the State of Oceana (known as “Big Brother) — have, through the incremental destruction of their language, lost the ability to communicate about things as fundamental as their own freedom. Tremendous swaths of vocabulary are destroyed as each new successive edition of the dictionary — and the resulting new form of English known as “Newspeak” — is simplified and the language approaches a feeble and atrophied form of its former self. In the book, the regime uses this as an essential mode of mind control, which rather than being an explicit form of overt oppression — such as a prison cell might be — instead is a form of implicit repression, creating a self controlling mechanism — an Invisible Fence — that emerges spontaneously from within, as communication options are slowly reduced, and a potentially "subversive" word is neutralized or simply done away with.

What's more, in the now classic novel, Newspeak isn’t something the people see as a threat to themselves; conversely, it is celebrated across the culture, as it is believed to bring the people into a kind of linguistic and intellectual equity; it is something they have been trained to celebrate. Complexity in language is seen as elitist, and people are taught – through careful manipulation of their thinking and ability to express their internal experience – to love their slavery.

Perhaps Orwell’s projections as to how a society might arrive at such a self-imposed mute state-of-being was premature and appears now (only slightly) out of date (he wrote it in 1949), however, I think we can hear quite clearly (and read all around us) that just such a lysis of lexis is currently underway, and that it is rapidly accelerating. Just as predicted, it is not to the dismay of the public, rather we seem to have both embraced and hastened the trend, babbling ourselves into an ever deeper and ever more perilous state of meaninglessness or at least less-meaningness.

In Newspeak the ability to describe something agreeable (good) or disagreeable (bad) is particularly reduced in scope, such that rather than maintaining the existing legion of synonyms — each with its own unique, subtle contextual colors of meaning — the entire host is reduced to an utterly artless naiveté; devoid of nuance and intimation. Good — kept as the only expression of affirmation is qualified with two possible up-votes. There is good, plus good, and double-plus good. Similarly "bad", along with its every conceivable synonym is rendered into obsolescence, since it can be suitably dealt with by adding the prefix "un" to the word good. Ungood is the way in which aversion is expressed. Through this and similar mechanisms, hundreds of words are immediately done away with, and the word "good", along with its qualifying prefixes, now encompasses all of the possible expressions of attraction or revulsion one might feel the need to communicate.

In time, and with just a few generations, the language of “the people” (known in the novel as the “proles”, short for proletariat) — essentially the industrial peasant class — is reduced to a state of mental simplicity (think linguistic lobotomy) that precludes the ability to communicate about what has been lost or about the former state of cerebral sophistication they had once known. Even basic universal emotional experiences, the human condition itself, becomes inexpressible.

The Incredible Shrinking Dictionary?

Below is an image of my two hardcopy dictionaries of the English language. Below is my 1936 2nd Edition Websters Unnabridged, and sitting atop it is my 1996 Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language. 

     
 

The former, measures a full 5.5 inches thick, 9 inches wide, and 12 inches long. By contrast, this "same" dictionary, the Webster’s Unabridged (1996) from less than a century later, measures in at 11.5 inches long and inches 8.5 inches wide, but only a mere 3.75 inches inches in breadth, despite a larger font size and pages of nearly identical paper stock. 

Bad Dog, no cookie!

Consider how frequently text messages, email, chat threads, and other compressed media forms are being utilized as our standard modes of communication. Be honest. I am a thought leader in the ReWilding community, and yet I know how much I am using these forms of communication myself. Avoiding them puts one at such a marked societal disadvantage that the “social” part of being a “social ape” begins to suffer dramatically. Now, without passing judgement on this — stay neutral (it's neither plus-good nor plus-bad) — consider how the density, complexity, or depth of meaning you convey via text (for example) might be reinforced or punished. Notice how you receive the “Negative Punishment” of loss of time due to the inefficiencies of waxing poetic, and the subsequent "Negative Punishment" or lack of response you might get over time from friends and associates who simply won't play along. You learn, through Operant Conditioning, to reduce your communications to the barest acceptability of the meaning of your expression. Doing this you are once again "Positively Reinforced" by the responses of others. You are being trained — and actually, we are training each other — to simplify and degrade our ability to communicate what we think, feel, and observe with precision. The goal it seems is “good enough”. 

Unless you are a text pro, then it's plus-good enough….

I believe in adaptation and evolution (I don’t mean of the Darwinian religious type, but rather that organisms and systems tend towards greater order and elegant sophistication as they adapt), and want nothing less than to be a “Luddite”, resisting change due to an irrational fear of the same. But this my friends does not appear to be healthy self-directed evolution. Rather it appears to be a dumbing down, a critical deepening of the domestication and subsequent mental enslavement that has ruled our lives for nearly 10,000 years now.

As a writer, and the publisher of ReWild Yourself! I have striven to write content with teeth. Material that the reading of which has the potential to counteract the very thing that is the content of this article. And yet, this has been a struggle, as the readership of this magazine has been limited by the demands of their time and attention spans burdened and bedeviled with information overload. We are a people who scarcely have the wherewithal to sit down to more than a few words without distraction (and as I am so often found guilty of the same, I write this with empathy for the current cultural condition). I could — no doubt — dramatically increase the reach of this publication if I focused on memes, phrases, and soundbites. Maybe pictures of happy people on mountain tops, their arms in the air in a salute to victory, with a caption reading “ReWilding is Double Plus Good” over head. I could put a ™ or an ® on it to prove that it’s mine, that I own the "intellectual property". Instead I have opted for the format you have before you. I appreciate you, the reader, for being someone who can still integrate this much information. Well done!

ReWild Your Words!

Neoaboriginal Revolution

Why I’m Learning an Indigenous Language

By Arthur Haines of Delta Institute

Many people who have read any of my posts recently have seen occasional use of a local indigenous language.  This language, Peskotomuhkati-latuwewakon (Passamaquoddy Language), was historically spoken by 20,000 people in eastern Maine and western New Brunswick prior to European contact.  Today, due to a great many factors, including loss of culture and outright suppression of native language in schools and other public institutions, there are only approximately 50 fluent speakers left in the world.  This makes Passamaquoddy an imperiled language and, if it were lost, would represent a loss of information about the northeastern landscape itself.  Most people don’t consider the impact that language has on their manner of perceiving the world and how they express that perception.  The very vocabulary we have at our disposal affects what we see and how we describe it.  In my botany classes, I’ll often have people examine different parts of plants and describe to me what they observe.  In some cases, they fail to see a particular structure (or pattern or shape) until I provide them with a word that describes it.  Once given a word, they easily see the structure on the plant in question and on other plants later in the day (though it was invisible to them prior).  This example has clearly illustrated to me how important language is to our perception of the world we live in.

English is not an indigenous language.  It began around the 5th century AD as Old English and was subsequently altered by later invasions.  It is not a language of hunter -gatherers (i.e., wild people), rather a language of agriculturalists and imperialists (i.e., domesticated people who farm and conquer other races).  I began to wonder if and how the English language could make it difficult for contemporary people to see the world in a manner other than one of exploitation.  Given that we think in English, any limitations and biases built into that language will be expressed in the way we think about anything, including the natural features (e.g., mountains, streams, lakes) that may occur near our homes.  After doing a little research, I realized that, in fact, English has severe limitations when it comes to explaining how connected we truly are to the earth.  Here are four ways that Passamaquoddy differs from English.

1. Human relationship to environment.  In English, we describe how we move across the landscape under our own power as “walking”.  We walk, and in this verb is no mention of the environment we move through.  Certainly we can express this relationship but often we don’t.  There are many words for walk in Passamaquoddy.  Examples include kisahqewse (s/he walks uphill), motapewse (s/he walks downhill), milawuhse (s/he walks out into water, into field, onto the ice), kcitawse (s/he walks far into it, like a forest or opening), and ksokawse (s/he walks across something, like a trail or stretch of forest).  These examples (and many other verbs in this Passamaquoddy) show the spatial relationship built into their language — they considered themselves part of the landscape, not separate from it.  Now imagine how different our society would be if we thought of ourselves as part of the local environment (not something separate from and with dominion over it).

2. Language molded by environment.  Indigenous languages communicate features of the landscapes they interact with.  In fact, the language has been shaped by the interaction of people and their wild environment.  This provides for unique expression of a world view.  We don’t often realize how much our language affects the way we perceive the world we live in (along with societal conditioning).  For example, for contemporary people, gender is an important feature to pay attention to during social interaction.  In Passamaquoddy, there is no male or female gender.  In this language, grammatical gender is described as animate and inanimate (though defining these is nearly impossible to do in English).  But it is clear that climbing the social ladder was not a defining goal for one in historical Passamaquoddy life.  What was important was to convey significant features of the environment, such as those items that posed a threat, served as sources of food or medicine, could be used to create shelter or bind materials together, and so on.  Now imagine how different our society would be if we spoke a language that was molded by close association with our landscape (rather than speaking a language that has been imposed on the landscape).

3. Historical view of features in environment.  Indigenous languages preserve (though the vocabulary) features of landscape that used to exist and provide one method of studying and learning about these features.  For example, Maine used to be home to a number of animals that are no longer found here, including the wolverine, caribou, mountain lion, walrus, and wolf (all extirpated), and the passenger pigeon, great auk, and sea mink (all extinct).  All of these animals are memorialized in the Passamaquoddy Language.  For example, mokalìp (caribou) roughly means “s/he shovels snow to eat”.  Another example, malsom (wolf) roughly means “pseudo dog” or “false dog”, in reference to the “real dog” of the people (the domesticated dog).  Lastly, pihtal (mountain lion) roughly means “long tail”, a clear salient feature that distinguished this cat from other wild cats in the region.  We could also break down the meanings of many geographic features to get interesting information about the way the native people viewed those features.  Now imagine how different our society would be if we spoke a language where the history of our interaction with the environment was expressed (rather than speaking a language brought from another continent).

4. Verb-based language.  English is really about abstracting integral parts of our environment and making them into a thing that can be viewed as separate from the rest of the world.  We think in a noun-based manner.  A good example is the word wind (e.g., the wind is blowing hard today).  In Passamaquoddy, wind is a verb:  wocawson (it is windy).  In fact, Passamaquoddy has over 50 words for wind (depending on its strength, direction, what it does, etc.), all of which are verbs.  Using one more example, in English, a cleared open area dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants is called a field.  It is noun, a thing that is deemed to be a static entity and owned.  In Passamaquoddy, there is no noun for field, it is a verb:  pomskute (there is a field, a field extends along).  It represents an understanding of how dynamic the landscape is, always changing from year to year.  It represents a much more mature view of the environment.  Now imagine how different our society would be if we considered the world to be built of many, complex, dynamic, pieces that cannot be separated from one another (rather than viewing the world as individual pieces that can be made into commodities for profit).

I suspect that some might consider the learning of an indigenous language to be less than useful in today’s market-oriented landscape.  But this pursuit has nothing to do with the market and has everything to do with preserving part of the wild history of my region and part of the world’s ethnosphere.  The languages that were spoken by wild people (i.e., non-domesticated humans) carry information about the environment and help us delve into an untamed mindset — a mindset of awareness and connectedness.  Though this is certainly possible in almost any language, I feel it may be easier to lose the biases contained in modern languages and go closer to the source.  Even without fluency, I have garnered so much information about my homeland from the study of local indigenous language.  And there is no better way to help preserve an imperiled language than learning it, using it, and passing it along to the next generation.  Kulankeyasultiniya (take good care of yourself everyone).


This hands-on class is designed for those with with an interest in self-sufficiency, human health, and a deeper relationship with plants.

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Meet Arthur

Greetings! My name is Arthur Haines and I’ve been helping people explore human ecology for over 20 years. I’ve done this with the mission of developing deep awareness of and connection to nature, promoting individual health, and fostering self-reliance. Wild food is a passion of mine, and through this, I offer a glimpse of our past and a new picture of our future. Through this knowledge, and many other facets of our shared ancestral lifeways, we can awaken a rewilding of our body, mind, and heart.

I endeavor to share knowledge garnered from this perspective, one that merges the material knowledge of present-day people with the ecological knowledge of ancestral people.

You can find Arthur on Facebook and on his website ArthurHaines.com.

Arthur Haines

Arthur Haines

ReWild Yourself! Podcast: Arthur Haines on How Speaking English Impacts Our Relationship With Nature

Arthur Haines and I continue our discussion of the NeoAboriginal Lifeway. In this episode, Arthur shows us how the English language restricts our worldview, and why we should consider learning an indigenous language to cultivate the feral mindset.

We discuss:

  • The wild experience vs. the civilized experience
  • The language of imperialism
  • How Arthur became interested in learning an indigenous language
  • Language shapes how we think
  • Loss of language diversity
  • The narrow aperture of the English language
  • English is a language of war
  • Indigenous languages integrate verbs into the landscape
  • Freedom of mind
  • Religion and language
  • Language of a fluid worldview
  • Experiencing life as verbs and not as nouns
  • "Spending time"
  • Future of the Passamaquoddy language
  • How Arthur integrates Passamaquoddy into his lifestyle
  • Exploring languages indigenous to your area
  • Indigenous language reveals water as medicine

Language gives us the ability to think differently. Tweet it!

Civil time is money, but natural time is wonder. Tweet it!

Let water, food, elemental exposure and community be thy medicine. Tweet it!


Click here to listen!


Episode Resources:


The Habit

*Ding*

How do you respond to the tones of your phone? 

**Ding**

Relax your focus and amplify your interoceptive sense, notice the minute fluctuations that usher forth from within yourself as you hear this ever-familiar external stimuli. 

***Ding***

Perhaps you’ll feel a twitch run through the muscles that would bring you to your feet and carry you towards your phone. An immediate distraction from the task at hand, a subtle excitement — something is afoot, and it involves you

One amusing (yet revealing) way to gauge your conditioned response is in noting how you react to someone else's phone when it plays the same tone that you use on your own. It’s like hearing someone say your name in a crowd…

*Ding*

You may feel an almost insatiable urge to check the message. To borrow some language from the drug subculture — to take a hit. Mmmmm.. that sweet dopamine high.

Dopamine, the endogenous chemical whose role, amongst many other things, is stimulation of “reward seeking” behavior. Not necessarily a chemical reward itself, but more like a molecular-motivator that gets us to seek a reward. It makes us want to “want to”…

Courtesy of Kaleb Kinetic

Courtesy of Kaleb Kinetic

This in itself is a rather pleasurable experience (who doesn’t love feeling motivated?) and has been studied extensively in rodent studies (oh the karma) where the part of the brain responsible for dopamine production is stimulated electrically at the pressing of a lever. Once the behaviour is learned the rodents become rather proficient at pressing this aforementioned lever, and will do so with an increasing frequency, even to the point of exhaustion.

From the Wiki “Brain Stimulation Reward”:

Rats will perform lever-pressing at rates of several thousand responses per hour for days in order to obtain direct electrical stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus. Multiple studies have demonstrated that rats will perform reinforced behaviors at the exclusion of all other behaviors. Experiments have shown rats to forgo food to the point of starvation in order to work for brain stimulation or intravenous cocaine when both food and stimulation are offered concurrently for a limited time each day. Rats will even cross electrified grids to press a lever, and they are willing to withstand higher levels of shock to obtain electrical stimulation than to obtain food . 

While this is astounding to read, of course the text reward seeking behavior isn’t nearly as strong, in other words, we wont electrocute ourselves to check our text.

Just risk our lives on the highway…

Dopamine is at once a hormone and also a neurotransmitter, and it is being released when you hear that ding. You’ve been conditioned to it. Like the salivating dogs in the famous Pavlovian experiments, you have become conditioned to the chemical reward that comes (from within) at the sound of the bell. Rather than salivating like Pavlov’s dogs, you release dopamine, and rather than food, your reward is the possibility of the meaning of the message itself.

It's all so exciting, contact with the outside world, social connection! Someone wants to talk to you!

We have become a society of addicts, like crack-heads or meth users (actually, we scarcely go as long without our fix as even they), we are habituated to the rush we get at discovering the unknown contents of the next message, the next email, the next post.

What a thrill…

Ever check your phone even though you haven’t heard a message notification in a while? No *Ding*, but you check anyway. Maybe there’s a glitch with the phone. Like a crack head without a stash, picking white pieces of lint off the floor, hoping it might be a rock they’d dropped earlier. 

Maybe a message came in that I didn’t hear…!

No message? You can just hop on FB, Twitter, Instagram and see what someone else is doing… 

There it is…. Ahhhh.. the sweet rush of dopamine.

Feeling bored, need a fix? Got a craving? Go “fishing”! Just text some friends, then sit back and wait for them to come to you! This is the equivalent of a smoker who has run out of cigarettes; “Hey man, can I bum a smoke off you?”

*Hey Bro, can I bum a text off you?”  Ding *ding *ding*… they just come rolling in…

It's exhausting really, running back and forth, checking again and again, hoping for something that you can sense but is difficult to articulate. What are we seeking? Here is a better question…. Is it simply the seeking itself? It’s circular, seeking the feeling of seeking, round and round, a satisfaction that can never really satisfy.

Seeking behavior is incredibly adaptive for us, and it's integral to how we accomplish our goals. Imagine our ancestors (or even yourself) hunting or foraging for example. Setting out to seek that unknown, feeling motivated despite difficult conditions, and then, finding your query, mission accomplished; reward. This is how organisms feed themselves, hydrate themselves, and brave the glorious and sometimes perilous conditions of the mating ritual. But what happens when you have the ability to get the motivation as the reward, without any goal actually being sought or ever getting accomplished?

Ambling dopamine addicted zombies…. Shuffling through the streets, staring into their devices. You don’t take head shots… you have to shoot the phone…

Think about this for a moment — we call it a “cell” phone (think “prison cell”) and we measure our reception in “bars”. Most people actually want more bars on their cell.

“You can reach me at my cell.” 

“But it’s not an addiction, I can stop anytime I want.”

*Ding* Your master is ringing the bell… is your mouth watering yet?

We are paying for our own cell, and fear going where we have no bars. What would we do out there anyway, where would we get our fix? We’d have to do real things, seek real rewards. Sounds like too much work.

*Ding* Ahhhh…

Like a rat that can get intravenous cocaine or an electric stimulation at the pressing of a lever, we continue on self stimulating, and compared to a traditional drug problem the price is pretty low!

Rate plans starting at $19.95 per month!

All the good little citizens need their Soma.

Wild Woman Speaks

Releasing the Conditioning: Why Menstruation Isn’t Dirty

By Ali Schueler of Wild Woman Speaks

What a world we live in today.

As a child of the late-eighties, I have grown up amongst some serious destruction and environmental decay. Since I was a young girl, the environment I have interacted with has been intensely polluted, massively altered from it’s natural state, and deeply taken advantage of. Not only is this the world I have grown up in, but it’s the world that many, many generations before me have grown up in as well.

Interestingly enough, as beings living in a polluted society that uses heavily chemical-laden products on a daily basis, we have become obsessive about keeping ourselves clean of dirt and natural substances from the Earth. It has gotten to the point that some people even have phobias of dirt and natural substances entering their homes or getting on their bodies.

We fear some of the things that are most natural to the Earth (i.e. dirt, clay, plants, animals) yet we have no problem pulling out the highly toxic products like "Febreze" to spray down the household after deeply cleaning any potential remnants of dirt from our floors and couches.

This also goes for natural body substances. We are conditioned to think that picking our nose is repulsive, that pooping is gross, and most especially — that a woman's menstrual blood is extremely dirty and very toxic.

Tweet it!

Humans have been conditioned to think that many (read: most) substances that are natural to the Earth and to our bodies are dirty, while engineered, chemical-rich substances are clean.

The truth is, the things our bodies produce are clean, and it is actually the factory-produced substances that we have integrated into our lives that are dirty. Lots of things in our modern (especially urban) environments are dirty. Oil, gas, scum on the city streets, exhaust from cars, house cleaning products (like, Windex), laundry detergent — the list goes on. All are essentially created using dangerously toxic chemicals that when researched are shown to be destructive to our health. Now that’s dirty.

Menstruation should not be classified with these or other things that are, in actuality, dirty. A healthy woman’s bleeding does not get people sick. It doesn’t terrorize your immune system. It isn’t even dangerous to our health or well-being in any way, shape, or form. Studies even show that there are nutrients and health-promoting substances found in a woman’s menstrual blood (insert GASPS!)

Sodium laureth sulfate, a common chemical in commercial shampoos, soaps, and laundry detergents is an example of a chemical that should be considered dirty. Chemicals like that are what terrorize your immune system, increase your chance of getting sick, and put you at high risk for illness and general bodily decay.

Both men and women have been conditioned to think that a woman’s menstrual blood is in some way dirty. No one wants to interact with it, oftentimes even the woman whose body it's coming out of! Somehow, through media and advertising (and who knows what other propaganda that's being spread out there), we have been fooled into thinking a woman's purely natural monthly experience is somehow dirty and makes her dirty.

You can see the conditioning so clearly in advertisements by companies like "Kotex", "Always", or "Tampax" who all too often feature images of women wearing white clothing and going about their lives as normal, as if their bleeding doesn’t even exist.

The truth is, people fear menstruation and its purported inherent “dirtiness” so deeply that we are being conditioned to think it doesn’t exist, especially through the kind of ads mentioned above, as well as through birth control methods that suppress bleeding.

Women are, most often, instructed immediately upon their menarche to use tampons to manage their bleeding, and particularly, to limit the amount of interaction they have with their blood. Heaven forbid she might get a little bit on her hands!

So, we pretend the menstrual blood (and a woman’s menstrual cycle as a whole, for that matter) doesn’t exist, try not to come into contact with it at all, and maybe even suppress our bleeding using various forms of prescribed birth control to eliminate our bleeding all together.

What’s the fear here? I realize that many things are at play, one significant aspect being the fear of dirtiness. Let me tell you — there is not one single thing inherently dirty about a woman’s menstrual blood. There is nothing to fear here.

Men, it’s not going to melt your flesh if you get a little on you while being intimate with your woman. In fact, learning to be comfortable with this aspect of your woman’s body can be deeply healing and supportive to your relationship as a whole. Women, it’s not going to make you any less feminine, sexy, or cool to interact with your menstrual blood. In fact, it is going to make you 100x more feminine, sexy, and cool to be comfortable and open to your cycle, because a woman who is comfortable in her body is far more attractive than a woman who hates it, or any part of it.

The idea here is to embrace our natural bodily functions, like menstruation in a woman’s case, rather than fearing them or feeding into the culture that thinks they are bad and shameful. Our society is conditioning us on a daily basis, so it’s an ongoing process to shed these programs. It might not be an overnight process, but it’s an important process to start now. Our bodies are our temples, and it is natural to appreciate what they do for us, as opposed to using chemicals and other unnatural substances to alter how our body performs on its own.

Let’s get real, folks. Most of us pick our noses. We all poop. Almost every woman menstruates. These natural bodily functions are not dirty, nor do they make us dirty humans. It’s time we learn to respect and honor that which is most natural by releasing the cultural conditioning and choosing to ReWild not just our bodies, but also our minds too.

Don’t believe everything they tell you! Choose to create your own conditioning, and revere the natural beauty that you are!


Feel like an empowered Goddess during your menstrual cycle!

Click here to learn more about this course and reserve your spot!


Meet Ali

Ali is a writer and women’s embodiment mentor. She is committed to the re-sacralization of the feminine across the globe. Her mission is passionately providing women with experience-based tools that inspire life-changing awakening in the feminine, promoting emotional awareness, spiritual fulfillment, wild self-expression as well as a connection to our bodies and their natural cycles. She enjoys writing and video blogging weekly through her website WildWomanSpeaks.com and sharing inspiration with her Wild Woman Speaks community daily through Facebook, Twitter @alischueler, and Instagram.

Join Ali's Facebook group Wild Woman Speaks Sisterhood: The official group for the sisterhood of Wild Woman Speaks. Our tribe of sisterhood who are leading lives or are interested in leading lives that are connected to and honoring of their wild feminine nature is growing rapidly!

Ali Schueler

Ali Schueler

Fifty Shades of Gray’s

If we are, as is the current scientifically fashionable belief, a being who has been shaped by the natural — one might say wild — selective pressures of our environment, what might be the direction of the future of human evolution, assuming we continue to live in our domestic, artifact-laden, socially networked technotopia? How will we be shaped — conditioned — by our emerging environment?

Because our artificial world (coming from the word “artifact”: something that has been shaped by or bears the impression of human will), and now as an extension of this, our virtual world, demands behaviors of us that are dramatically different from what nature requires, can we expect our future development to take a radical turn in a new direction? Would the already domesticated subspecies of human — represented by us, the “moderns” — develop into a phenotype as radically different from our wild progenitor (hunting and gathering Homo sapiens) as the lap-dog is from the wolf?

Let's play with the idea momentarily, exploring some of the new pressures that may be shaping our biology, and could play a part in what “environmental fitness” might look like for humans who adapt to living in our rapidly-approaching technology-saturated civilization. I will present eight "you heard it here first" predictions about the future of human evolution.

Time Spent Outdoors

Imagine the human developmental timeline, starting around 200,000 years before the present, and leading up until today. Mark a waypoint just 6,000 years ago with the scientifically accepted “first civilization” emerging in the fertile crescent (I expect this timeline to get pushed back with future archeological discoveries). From that waypoint forward we could imagine a precipitous decline in time spent outdoors, and that leads up to today, toa point in which the average American is spending up to 90% of their lives indoors.  Of course, prior to the advent of sedentism (which emerged with agriculture and the way of life we know as husbandry) humans spent nearly all of their time outdoors or in temporary enclosures that were composed of natural materials, with far less insulation from the elements. 

Because of the time we spent in the outdoors we are adapted to the Sun’s potentially damaging ultraviolet light spectrum, and have developed the pigment melanin to protect ourselves from its skin-penetrating rays. Like a pair of specialty eye glass lenses that darken when brought into the sunlight, so too does our skin darken with exposure to the sun’s radiance. So much so that peoples traditionally occupying areas of the earth with the most sun exposure have developed more permanent skin pigmentation (think African descended peoples, who possess what is likely humanity's “original” skin type) and those who are adapted to areas with much less frequently available sunlight (think the “fair” skin types of people in northern Europe).

As humans continue to accelerate their removal from the outdoors, and as a result from the sun’s light, we could conclude that future techno-human phenotype would have increasingly pale, or perhaps even slightly ashen or translucent skin, continuing the trend that began with humans movement away from sun saturated parts of the earth. 

Prediction 1: Very Pale Skin


Direct light Sources

Prior to the invention of artificial light, humans would have primarily received, into their eyes, light that was reflected off of other objects. This is, of course, the primary way in which we “see” things and how we perceive color. As is common knowledge, an object that is orange, like for instance the fruit we call by the same name, is not actually orange at all, but rather every other color but. It absorbs all colors from the spectrum except orange, which it then casts back off. This reflected orange light enters your eye and is decoded by the brain into the color we call orange. Similarly, most of what we see is reflected light.

We do however, at times, look into naturally occurring direct light sources, such as when we look at a star, at the aurora borealis, at lightning, and at times (particularly at its rising and setting) the sun (but not the moon, which is simply reflecting the light from the sun). Humans have also evolved side by side with the use of fire, which means we have looked, all along, into flame, another direct source of light. Our eyes have developed to meet the needs posed by these environmental factors. It was only in the 1800’s that the first incandescent light bulbs were developed, and this began an era of artificial light sources, radically altering our 200,000 year relationship with light. Soon artificial light sources that we could look directly into became ubiquitous, as with the first commercial television sets, which became available in the first-half of the 1900’s. This invention led to more and more "moderns" staring – for hours on end – into direct light. Today with mobile phones, tablets, and laptop computers, most “first worlders” spend much of their day staring into direct light sources. Despite how bright these light sources sometimes seem, this light is however infinitely less bright than the light to which we are most adapted, the light of the sun (just try lighting up the night with your laptop computer screen – no really... try it) so some evolutionary adaptations are in order. 

Perhaps to deal with these less bright but direct light sources we will develop at once larger eyes, but eyes with some built in protection from direct light. Imagine a sunglass-like tinted bio-film over your eyes that prevented those ubiquitous late night laptop headaches!

Prediction 2: Larger, Darker Eyes


Touch Screen

Ever felt like your fingers are just a bit too stubby for accurate touch screen interfaces? Sometimes you accidentally type “live” when you meant to write “love”. 

While the touchscreen, at the time of this writing, is an incredibly recent advent, it is quickly becoming the interface with which most of us interact with digital information and the virtual world. What’s more, we are not very far away from a “clickable world” in an increasingly urbanized landscape replete with holographic interfaces

I predict that people with longer, slimmer, more acutely pointed fingers will out-perform, and therefore out-reproduce those who have more “primitive” human fingers. Rather than the thick and strong hands that our ancestors needed to manipulate and interact with 3 dimensional objects in natural environments, gracile fingers will be needed to manipulate ever more discrete objects in “augmented reality”. In just such a world long slim fingers would bestow a tremendous evolutionary advantage.

Perhaps we can expect fingers that are shaped more like chopsticks and less like sausages in our coming hyper-evolved technotopia.

Prediction 3: Longer, Slimmer Fingers


Not So Nosey

With a life lived nearly always indoors, perhaps even on board ships or space-stations that circle the Earth in outer orbit or beyond, the air breathed will be constantly filtered, climate controlled, and humidified to “optimum levels”. With these measures taken, we could imagine that our nose, with its wide, vascularized hair-filled nares, designed for pre-filtering, warming, and humidifying air would no longer be worth the fuss. Perhaps our simian noses could, over the course of successive generations of humans who have no need of them, simply atrophy away, with just the most vestigial of protuberances extending beyond the nostrils.

Prediction 4: Reduced or Non-Existant Nose


Feeding Time

With the increasing trend towards genetically modified food crops and animals, as well as the soon to be commercially available ability to 3D print food at home, tailored to an individuals medically determined metabolic “health needs”, I anticipate a dramatic reduction in our need to eat "real" foods in the commonly understood sense. This could lead to a dramatic alteration of our digestive apparatus, as it will be advantageous for it to diminish in size to accommodate our new  processed food diet (yes, even though we grew up with industrial foods, they are relatively new). In fact, this wouldn’t be the first time our digestive tract has shrunk in scale due to technological advancement, as evidence has now emerged that our digestive system may be adapted to cooked foods, which (when prepared well) require less energy to digest and have more available nutrition than their raw counterparts. It is now a well accepted hypothesis that our alimentary canal shrunk and subsequently our brains grew! From the aperture of our open mouth to the length and volume of our digestive lumen, perhaps we could see an even further reduction in our — already petite — digestive system.

Perhaps it was cooking that led to our larger brains and smaller gut tracts when compared to other apes. Is it possible that extruded, printed, genetically altered, molecularly constructed, nano-built future foods could lead to an even more diminished gut and perhaps even a larger brain?

Prediction 5: Diminished Mouth and Digestive Tract


5,000 Friends

Social networks are not new, in fact, they are as innate and natural to Homo sapiens as bipedal locomotion. We are a social ape, and have always maintained connections within our foraging group (bands), familial lineages (kinships), and larger social units (tribes). There is however evidence that our brain, in its current form, has developed for much smaller social networks than our developing augmented reality allows for. "Dunbar’s Number" represents our brains proposed limit on maintaining stable social relationships. That number is typically stated as about 150 individuals, though this is an average, with tolerances ranging from 100 - 250. 

Of course, with Facebook allowing for 5,000 friends we will need to undergo a dramatic alteration in our neocortex to accommodate this windfall of friends, meaning... larger brains. Luckily, with the reduced digestive energy spent absorbing our printed nano-foods, growing a bigger brain should be a snap! Picture future humans having much larger foreheads!

Prediction 6: Larger Neo Cortex


Deleted Digits

"And this little piggy went 'wee wee wee' all the way to... extinction!"

Our toes have become as obsolete as the typewriter, and just maintaining them has become far more trouble than their worth. I think we can all agree that a toeless life is the life of the future, and with such well designed shoes who needs such antiquated vestiges? You can expect to see feet better fit for spacecraft than leaving footprints in the mud. Besides, we have already left footprints on the moon, and not one of them had toes!

Prediction 7: Feet Absent of Our Vestigial Toes


Sexlessness?

With human fertility constantly diminishing, and artificially mediated and created fertilizations on the rise, perhaps sex as we know it may soon be in decline. Additionally, with augmented reality fast approaching, virtual sexual experiences are inevitable, and could conceivably begin to replace natural sex the way social networking has replaced so many face to face rendezvous.

In fact, we could stretch this a bit further and imagine a world where sexual intercourse is both frowned upon for its “roll of the dice” style reproduction, and its potential for communicating pathogens. It isn’t a sexless world that I am describing, but rather one in which sex as we know it ceases to exist. In this world, there would be little advantage to having an intact reproductive system; men with their unwieldy, delicately-dangling protrusions and delicate slung testicles, women with their orifice open to the outside world and cyclic menstruations to deal with. How much easier to just do away with sexual reproduction all together, and rely on alternative means to receive the sexual stimulation and gratification that we crave?

Prediction 8: Atrophied or Non-Existant Genitalia 


Now then, lets have a look at this new, emerging, modern human, with all its new adaptations to the technological world. Unlike our current form, which is clumsy and cumbersome in our newly emerging augmented reality, this new phenotype is ideally suited for a life lived in hive-minded, socially networked, constantly surveilled and chemically regulated, virtual world of artifice. It — scarcely recognizable as a “he” or “she”, but a decidedly more androgynous being, is the streamlined, evolutionarily fit, highly adapted techno human; Homo sapiens transhumanus

This is, of course, written in jest, but only partially so. We are driving our own evolution with everything we do. Every action, every thought, every object we interact with. Our food, our water, our air, and the light we interact with are all variables impacting our gene expression via the genetic mediator of epigenetics. Choose wisely, for if we are to continue on this path, it would be foolish not to ask the question: What will we become?

ReWild Your Diet

NeuroGnostic Chocolate

By Chef Frank Giglio of Three Lily Farm

A note from the Editor:

The following two recipes call for specific entheogens — in this case plants and fungi — that can alter our normal waking state, and bring on an alternative experience of reality. These are what Stephen Harrod Buhner refers to in his above interview as NeuroGnostics, and they can powerfully alter the existing settings of our “sensory gating apparatus”, allowing us to perceive and process more sensory information, and to interpret this information from a perspective that we may not normally be able to access. 

Of course, these substances are, as of the time of this writing, strictly regulated by a long standing prohibition here in the United States, and for that reason we feel compelled to describe our legal position. We would like to see the prohibition lifted, and believe that these substances are not only profoundly safe, but actually fundamental to our natural way of life. It quickly becomes apparent to the student of anthropology that species belonging to this category (entheogens, neuro-gnostics, hallucinogens) have been used by human beings quite-nearly everywhere in the world, and are integral to the spiritual systems of natural peoples. A prohibition on them is as unnatural as banning fruits or seeds.

We look forward to a day when the war that has been declared on nature and on our nature  ends, and along with it the war on medicines from nature. Until then, these substances — which offer such promise for the actuation and activation of our central nervous system — will have to be used in the shadows and out on the “edges of the network”.

Despite this position, we cannot recommend that you use these ingredients if they are unlawful where you live as to do so would be encouraging you to break the law. If you choose to reproduce them in a place where they are illegal you assume all risk of arrest and imprisonment by the judicial system of our free nation.

As during any prohibition, you must weigh the rewards vs the potential punishments.


White Chocolate-Chocolate Mushroom Cups

Yield - About 2 dozen plus a few more 1 ounce cups

Ingredients:

For the White Chocolate:

  • 8 ounces cacao butter (1 cup melted)
  • 1.20 ounces mesquite (1/2 cup)
  • .75 ounces maca root (1/4 cup)
  • 1.10 ounces lucuma (1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon ceylon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon green stevia leaf
  • several drops liquid stevia
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

For the Dark Chocolate:

  • 8 ounces cacao paste
  • 2 ounces cacao buter
  • maple syrup to taste
  • 2 tablespoons psylocybin mushroom powder

Directions:

  1. Melt the cacao butter in a double boiler then pour into a blender and blend with remaining ingredients. Pour 2-3 teaspoons of the mixture into each mold, leaving space for chocolate topping. Place in freezer to set for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  2. Melt the cacao paste in a double boiler, then thin with cacao butter. Add stevia and mushroom powder, stir to incorporate.

  3. Once the white chocolate has become firm, pour 2 tablespoons of the dark chocolate over white chocolate then place back into the fridge to set.*Because the chocolates are not tempered, they will soften up at room temperature so store under refrigeration until ready to consume.


Flourless Chocolate Cannibis Cake

Ingredients: 

  • 3 ounces baker’s chocolate or cacao paste
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cannibis-infused butter
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 4 egg whites
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons bitters (optional)

For the pan:

  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons buckwheat flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Coat a 9 inch springform pan with butter then dust with buckwheat flour to coat. Shake out any excess.
  3. Slowly melt the chocolate paste and butter. Once melted set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer, whip the yolks with 1/4 cup sugar until quadrupled in size.
  5. Stir the yolk mixture into the melted and slightly cooled chocolate mix then pour into a larger mixing bowl. Stir in the almond flour and bitters.
  6. Clean out the bowl then whip the whites with a pinch of cream of tartar. Whip until soft peaks, slowly add the remaining sugar, continue until medium peaks. 
  7. Fold 1/4 of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the remaining whites.
  8. Pour the mix into the prepared pan and place in the oven. Bake until barely set (15 minutes) then remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

Learning the process of fermentation creates a sense of food sovereignty. 

Crafting your own fermented foods and beverages will save you money, create a better connection to your food, and can potentially improve your health. The Fermentation Fundamentals breaks down popular fermented foods plus a variety of lesser known recipes and provides you with instruction, valuable tips, and live calls to help you become a confident fermenter. 

Click here to learn more about this course and reserve your spot!


about the chef

Frank Giglio exudes a passion for nature-based living in all that he does, from his culinary pursuits to the simplest of day to day projects. Along with his beautiful family, classically trained chef Frank runs Three Lily Farm — an off-the-grid permaculture minded homestead where he mentors and educates others on the importance of preparing and eating a real-food diet, growing their own fruits and vegetables, and connecting with nature through wild foraging, harvesting spring water, and simply spending time in the health-promoting glory of the outdoors. Every year, Frank continues to push his fitness to the elite level by competing in obstacle course races and ultra-marathons. A true Maine-Man, Frank maintains his beard by carrying water and splitting wood.

You can find him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @FrankGiglio.

Frank Giglio

Frank Giglio

ReWild Yourself! Podcast: Stephen Harrod Buhner on Reclaiming Your Feeling Sense

In this episode of ReWild Yourself! podcast, I talk with Stephen Harrod Buhner, an Earth poet and the award-winning author of twenty books on nature, indigenous cultures, the environment and herbal medicine.

He is probably best known for is extensive writing in the field of herbalism and plant intelligence, though I would offer that he is one of the most significant writers and thought leaders of the modern rewilding movement.

In our interview, we discuss:

  • Stephen’s early experiences with the metaphysical background of the world
  • The reality police
  • Fear of wildness
  • The education system shuts us down
  • Opening sensory gating channels
  • The 6th sensory channel: the feeling capacity
  • Using NeuroGnostics to open sensory gating channels
  • Reset your software program
  • Orient towards meaning rather than form
  • How to reclaim the feeling sense
  • How to operate from the feeling sense in this information-rich modern world
  • Sophisticated writing cultivates the feeling sense for the reader

Children naturally experience the world as alive and intelligent and aware. Tweet it!


Click here to listen!


Episode Resources:

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Meet Stephen

Stephen Harrod Buhner is an Earth poet and the award-winning author of twenty books on nature, indigenous cultures, the environment, and herbal medicine. He comes from a long line of healers including Leroy Burney, Surgeon General of the United States under Eisenhower and Kennedy, and Elizabeth Lusterheide, a midwife and herbalist who worked in rural Indiana in the early nineteenth century. The greatest influence on his work, however, has been his great-grandfather C.G. Harrod who primarily used botanical medicines, also in rural Indiana, when he began his work as a physician in 1911.

Stephen's work has appeared or been profiled in publications throughout North America and Europe including Common Boundary, Apotheosis, Shaman's Drum, The New York Times, CNN, and Good Morning America. Stephen lectures yearly throughout the United States on herbal medicine, the sacredness of plants, the intelligence of Nature, and the states of mind necessary for successful habitation of Earth.

He is a tireless advocate for the reincorporation of the exploratory artist, independent scholar, amateur naturalist, and citizen scientist in American society - especially as a counterweight to the influence of corporate science and technology. You can find him at GaianStudies.org.

His most recent works are:

Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm: Beyond the Doors of Perception into the Dreaming of Earth

Healing Lyme Coinfections: Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Bartonella and Mycoplasma

Herbal Antivirals: Natural Treatments for Emerging and Resistant Viral Infections (Including Influenza, SARS, West Nile and other Encephalitis Viral Infections)

Daniel and Stephen

Daniel and Stephen


Click here to learn more about SurThrival Reishi.


YouTube Waypoints

Below are links to some video that I watched as I prepared this Dispatch of ReWild Yourself! I thought I would share them, so that they might add some more depth and breadth to the topics covered in The Operant Condition. They aren't exactly required viewing, or even necessarily the best out there on their topics, but they were part of the inspiration for the articles you've been reading here, and so I've chosen to include them. If you haven't given the time to learning about Fluoride, Vaccines, and GMO's, I highly encourage you do so, and the videos below would be great for getting started. Additionally, the Century of the Self below is amongst the most important documentary films available today, and I think you would be well served to see this one! 

The Century of the Self

I have put the following videos into a playlist (except for a few which were not available on YouTube) for easier viewing: The Operant Condition YouTube Playlist

Education

The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America

Dumbed Down Education

Schools are prisons

Prison vs School: The Tour

Public "Education" has become indoctrination and distraction

Flouride 

An Inconvenient Tooth - Fluoride Documentary

The Great Culling: Our Water Official Full Movie

The Fluoride Deception exposes the truth about water fluoridation and the phosphate mining industry

Vaccines

Shots In The Dark Silence on Vaccine

Silent Epidemic; The Untold Story of Vaccines Movie dire

GMO’s

Seeds of Death: Unveiling The Lies of GMO's - Full Movie

Language

Origins of African-American English

Uncontacted People

The Tribe In The Picture - Uncontacted Amazon Tribe

First Out of Africa - The totally isolated Tribe of the Andaman

Human Slavery Today

Founding Fathers Slave Owners

Slavery: A 21st Century Evil : Prison slaves

Sex slaves a 21st Century Evil

Gobekli Tepe

Gobekli Tepe │ History Documentary │

The Origins Of Civilization: Göbekli Tepe and The Domesticaton of Wheat

Who's Your Master?

Do you have a job? Have you ever had one? Do you attend this job and participate in its mission because you are passionate about being a part of it, or do you feel you must in order to meet the constant stream of ever increasing financial requirements and/or a need to service a mounting burden of debt that, because of the usury (“interest”) charges accrued, never really seems to diminish. Does your work feel like the fulfillment of your soul’s mission, or is it something more akin to wage-slavery?

Here is a secret, the game is, by its very (un)nature, rigged, and as I intend to show in this article, its intentions have always been hidden in plain sight. It is, like a casino, based upon the emotion of hope and the belief in "the possibility" of winning, and many participants sacrifice their lives to it because they believe that if they play their hand well, or perhaps just get lucky, they might, one day, earn enough money to purchase their freedom. Speak with the wealthiest people you know and you will soon find that they are just as deep in, just as desperately — or sometimes more so — trapped (and stressed) as those who are the poorest, and whether you work for yourself or for another, the house almost always wins. Once you are in, it’s almost impossible to get out. 

Of course, as is fundamental to the game, if you have a job then you’ll have a boss, or perhaps even several. Maybe you are “your own boss”, running a business that you have developed, in which case you are likely at once your own employer and employee. Either way you will still hand over a third of your income to a private entity who, like street thugs who promise to protect you, will militarize the planet with the hard earned fruits of your labor.

There I go again... digressing...

To say one has a “job” in our culture is to indicate employment, or that one is "employed". What does this really mean? If we were to simply look the word up we might end up with the following:

employ |emˈploi|

verb [ with obj. ]

1 give work to (someone) and pay them for it

But one can’t help noticing that the word is made of two parts, the prefix “em” and the word “ploy”. Let’s dig a little deeper.

em- |ɪm| (also en-)

prefix

1 forming verbs (added to nouns) expressing entry into the specified state or location: embed engulf.

2 forming verbs (added to nouns and adjectives) expressing conversion into the specified state 

So we see that “em” is a combing form, meaning the same as “en”: To enter into.

So what then is a "ploy"?

ploy |ploi|

noun

a cunning plan or action designed to turn a situation to one's own advantage

Interesting, no? To ensure that we fully grasp this meaning, lets define the above term “cunning” as well:

cunning |ˈkəniNG|

adjective

1 having or showing skill in achieving one's ends by deceit or evasion

"Wait" you're thinking, "that can't be right!". 

Perhaps we might misinterpret this to mean that getting a job is a trick we play on ourselves to gain the advantages provided by money. However, to avoid the folly of this interpretation, we can look to the commonly attached suffixes which lay plain the meaning of the word, as in "employee" and "employer".

-ee |iː|

suffix

forming nouns:

1 denoting the person affected directly or indirectly by the action of the formative verb: employee | lessee.

In other words, the person being employed, the “employee”, is the person who is affected by the ploy. Which is to say, they are the victim of the ploy, not the perpetrator. The ploy is of course created and administered by the person who offers said “job”.

-er |ər|

suffix

1 denoting a person, animal, or thing that performs a specified action or activity: farmer | sprinkler.

This reveals that the ploy is that of the “employer” — the one who creates the ploy. Like a spider whose web, once spun, is a trap lain in anticipation of the misstep of its prey, so too does the employer create the ploy, and then lie in wait for the employee to enter into it.

If we assemble the pieces into their logical order, we can now see then that an employee could be defined as:

One who enters into a skillfully developed, deceitful plan designed to leverage their paid work for the advantage of the employer.

We could define “employer” as:

One who skillfully and deceitfully creates a plan, ensnares another into it by offering money for labor, and leverages this person’s work to his advantage.

“Read ‘em and weep”...

Perhaps if we are diligent and hardworking, we can hope for a promotion to management. This is where the employer vests an employee with some of the power over others that is held by the employer himself. Essentially allowing the employee to act on behalf of the employer within their appointed capacity. The effects of human farming (controlling other humans) is exhausting however, and we can see this reflected in the word itself: "manager", or if you read it again; man – ager. 

Manager = Man - Ager

And the stress of human management does age us quickly. Have you ever noticed the impact of large scale herd management on US presidents. Simply observe their before and after pictures! Look at them on their inauguration day and again when they leave office. Management is man-aging. Some jobs are more man - aging than others…

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While this word-play might feel disheartening, we can rest in the knowledge that if we allow this deceitful plan to be played on us for most of our functional adult life — from the time we reach early adulthood until we succumb under the weight of the enfeebling grindstone of labor — and remain loyal to both the cunning plan and to our employer, we can hope, under certain predetermined circumstances, to be able to "retire":

retire |riˈtīr|

verb

1 [ no obj. ] leave one's job and cease to work, typically upon reaching the normal age for leaving employment

This again – due to years of conditioning and repetition – sounds normal enough to most of us, until we tease apart this word as well.

re- |riː|

prefix

1 once more; afresh; anew; return to a previous state

tire 1 |tīr|

verb

feel or cause to feel in need of rest or sleep:

•(tire of) lose interest in; become bored with[ with obj. ] exhaust the patience or interest of; bore

After a lifetime of work, we can, at the end, hope to enjoy being tired, exhausted, and well, bored... again.

Head Count 

Make no mistake, we are still serfs (servant class), in a system of neo-feudalism that we now call “capitalism” or the “ism” of “the head” (capita from the Latin caput, meaning: head). 

And know that I am by no means suggesting that I prefer any of the other systems of human farming that have vied for dominance in recent centuries, be they Communism, Fascism, Socialism, or any of the other “isms” which essentially amount to different human farming methods, each steeped in its own philosophies of human livestock management.

ism |ˈizəm|

noun 

a distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology

Capitalism is “headism”, and while I could pontificate eternal about the implied meaning here (using logic and reason as the dominant lens through we which view reality, at the expense of emotion or perception, which our society so often invalidates, and for which there is little room in business ), it originally referred to the unit by which livestock were counted, i.e. “I have 400 head of cattle in my herd.” This of course calls back to a time that cattle (chattel) were like a form of money. The more "heads" you had, the more wealth you controlled.

I think it’s worth noting that humans too are counted “per capita”, and it is in these units that we typically get our population statistics.

While our "Masters" are largely unseen (by design), whispers and rumors abound, so much so that tremendous cults of speculation have emerged, and thrive upon the "knowledge" of the supposed identities of these “human farmers” who operate and manipulate the geopolitical sphere from on high. 

While those who sit atop the pyramid of the Ponzi Scheme of civilization remain obfuscated, it seems clear that corporations now exploit the earth and the resources that are found here, and we (natural persons) are both working for them and then also buying back those products that we make. It amounts to a perpetual chase after artificially generated, fiat receipts of perceived value (currently known as "dollars" or Federal Reserve debt notes) that we covetously trade about as we endlessly compete with one another over perceptually limited resources.

All of this of course is what we have been calling freedom.

Ooops!

“Freedom is Slavery” - A slogan of Big Brother in “1984” by George Orwell

The Cradle of Civilization

"First came the temple, then the city.” - Klaus Schmidt, archeologist at Gobekli Tepe

The currently accepted anthropological history — which is to say “His - story” — of modern humans holds that we "discovered” agriculture after a long, cold, glaciated “pre-historic” period

                    ...that must be the time before “He” started telling “His" story...

in which we roamed the earth as hungry and brutish savages, scraping out a living and struggling for survival. Of course, this is somewhat amusing, in that to believe it we must also believe that humans, unique and alone amongst animals, were struggling to survive, to find enough food. We were a species with no eco-niche, mistreated and misunderstood by nature herself, after 190,000 years, we were very hungry and tired from all our walking.

Agriculture, we are told, allowed us to finally cease the endless wanderings of our naturally nomadic way of life, and to begin settling into villages and to eventually develop Civilization. It is as if – according to the conventional narrative — the whole extant hominid world, filled with humans as it was, simply embraced this new way of life, together, having immediately perceived it as superior to the foraging life we had lived since the first anatomically modern humans appeared. The reality is something far different, as nearly everywhere Civilization has spread in its quest to grow and perpetuate itself, it has been met resistance from the native people. 

Civilization — characterized as it is by the domestication of livestock and crops, and by the building of city-states — is, for humans, an alternative way of life. I choose this word specifically, as it is a compound word, made of two important root words:

alter |ˈôltər|

verb

change or cause to change in character or composition

native |ˈnātiv|

noun

a person born in a specified place or associated with a place by birth, whether subsequently resident there or not

Like is so often the case, the meaning of things are often hidden in plain sight.

Indigenous peoples rarely embrace Civilization’s “alter-native” way of life, but rather, almost always resist it violently before being assimilated or destroyed by it. I am amused by the oft-recorded fact that the only thing native peoples typically want from civilization is metal pots and blades. 

One has to ask, why — if farming is truly such an improvement upon our native way of life — would it be met with so much resistance?

Why, we must also ask, would the original agriculturalists have initiated the practices of husbandry, especially given that it, contrary to the belief that held until recently, is a more arduous and labor intensive lifestyle than foraging, and one that leads to (as confirmed by many recent studies) decreases in health and problems with malnutrition? 

This question has been puzzled over for some time now, and by many thinkers, and several theories have emerged to explain this strange and maladaptive move away from a highly functional life-way towards one that damages us in mind, body, and spirit. Theories range from suggestions that post ice-age food shortages led us to first encourage the growth of plants yielding calorie-dense fruits (grains) and later to more developed systems of agriculture, while others maintain that the knowledge that grains could be wetted and fermented into crude beers left our ancestors with a taste for alcohol, and that it was the desire to maintain the supply that led to the earliest farming efforts. Many competeing theories abound, yet none of them have ever sufficiently answered the questions that arise when we explore the so-called "Neolithic Revolution".

Lately I prefer a less talked about — but what is for me a far more plausible — theory, one that has emerged from my continued exploration into what seems like one of the most important yet bedeviling questions we humans could explore. Why did we leave behind our natural way of life?

To understand this new theory we must first travel back in time at least some 11,000 (if not more) years to the "Cradle of Civilization".

Evidence has recently emerged that demonstrates that the earliest (known) megalithic structure — and so megalithic culture — predates both the advent of agriculture, and the life-way and paradigm that it is rooted in; husbandry. 

An archeological site located in Southeastern Turkey, known as Gobekli Tepe is of immense importance in unravelling of the mystery of human domestication. The site, first noted in the early 1960’s but not excavated until the middle of the 1990’s, consists of a large tell roughly 50 feet tall and 1000 feet in diameter, which has remained uncontaminated by later habitation, making it a kind of time-capsule preserving a snapshot into the lives of the humans living there just prior to the Neolithic Revolution. 

Gobekli Tepe is a megalithic site, which consists of many colossal standing stone circles (each is much like the European structure we call Stonehenge) which the people had quarried and somehow carried back to the site to be erected into their final positions. These limestone pillars, weighing between 10 - 20 tons, were carried some half a kilometer from where they were quarried to the place where they still stand today.

Unlike Stonehenge and other later developed sites, Gobekli Tepe was built entirely by hunter-gatherers, and predates not only agriculture (and domestication), but also written language by some 6,000 years. 

Klaus Schmidt, the German archeologist who oversaw the excavation of the site, has found no evidence of consistent human habitation, revealing that the site was not inhabited on a permanent basis, but rather was likely a temporary destination, and based upon food remnants, that the people there were not eating a diet of domesticated plants and animals (as none yet existed) but rather ate a diet of wild foods, as evidenced by the remains of gazelles, wild boar, red deer, wild sheep, wild goats, as well as many species of birds.

Since 1998, he has examined more than 100,000 bone fragments from Gobekli Tepe. Peters has often found cut marks and splintered edges on them — signs that the animals from which they came were butchered and cooked. The bones, stored in dozens of plastic crates stacked in a storeroom at the house, are the best clue to how people who created Gobekli Tepe lived. Peters has identified tens of thousands of gazelle bones, which make up more than 60 percent of the total, plus those of other wild game such as boar, sheep and red deer. He's also found bones of a dozen different bird species, including vultures, cranes, ducks and geese. "The first year, we went through 15,000 pieces of animal bone, all of them wild. It was pretty clear we were dealing with a hunter-gatherer site," Peters says. "It's been the same every year since." The abundant remnants of wild game indicate that the people who lived here had not yet domesticated animals or farmed.

This is most significant because prior to the discovery and excavation of this site it was believed in scientific circles that domestication of crops and livestock were required first before the organized labor and complex construction efforts of monolithic sites could begin. It was thought that then, once these were in place, complex religious systems could arise. Now, Gobekli Tepe has turned this thinking upside down, and has illustrated that the opposite is true, that this kind of organization came first, with religion leading to complex megalithic construction, and agriculture and sedentism following closely behind.

“The idea of a religious monument built by hunter-gatherers contradicts most of what we thought we knew about religious monuments and about hunter-gatherers. Hunter-gatherers are traditionally believed to have lacked complex symbolic systems, social hierarchies, and the division of labor, three things you probably need before you can build a twenty-two-acre megalithic temple. Formal religion, meanwhile, is supposed to have appeared only after agriculture produced such hierarchical social relations as required a cosmic backstory to keep them going and supplied a template for the power relationship between gods and mortals. The findings at Göbekli Tepe suggest that we have the story backward — that it was actually the need to build a sacred site that first obliged hunter-gatherers to organize themselves as a workforce, to spend long periods of time in one place, to secure a stable food supply, and eventually to invent agriculture.” Read the full article here.

It is crucial to note that the earliest known plant domestication is that of wheat, specifically eincorn wheat, and the DNA fingerprinting of more modern domestic varieties has traced the origin of this wheat back to an area just 20 miles from Gobekli Tepe. As more evidence emerges it is becoming clear that this ancient megalithic site is related to the earliest crop domestication, and what's more, it was likely the spark that started the blaze that we call the Neolithic Revolution!

It would be easy — particularly for those steeped in the psychological software of The Intrinsic Taboo — to conclude that early humans living in the fertile crescent began to self-organize around newly emerging spiritual beliefs and chose to construct a religious temple site for ceremonial purposes. Having done this perhaps they decided they'd like to remain in one place, developing agriculture for just this purpose, leading first to wheat domestication, and over the next several thousand years, to many other crops and livestock animals, and eventually the construction of the first city-states. This narrative would fit nicely with the currently held belief that husbandry is the obvious evolutionary progression for humanity, and that it elevated us out of the harsh grip of nature.

Before we consider this case closed, lets ask one important question. Who built Gobekli Tepe, and why? 

As I write this question I can sense the way it could easily be misunderstood. We make the same mistake time and time again, when we discuss how the Pharaohs built the pyramids for instance, or when we talk about the first emperor of China building the Great Wall. Similarly we might talk about how Thomas Jefferson grew tobacco and wheat on his plantation, Monticello, in Virginia, though of course this isn’t entirely true. It would be more accurate to say he oversaw the growing of tobacco and wheat by his slave force, who totaled some 650 human beings whom he "owned" over the course of his lifetime (“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” - Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence). It is easy to get distracted, in telling the Gobekli Tepe story, by those who oversaw its construction at the expense of those who actually did the constructing. As it turns out, both parties are of vital importance to understanding the origins of Civilization.

“Schmidt and his colleagues estimate that at least 500 people were required to hew the 10- to 50-ton stone pillars from local quarries, move them from as far as a quarter-mile away, and erect them. How did Stone Age people achieve the level of organization necessary to do this? Hauptmann speculates that an elite class of religious leaders supervised the work and later controlled the rituals that took place at the site. If so, this would be the oldest known evidence for a priestly caste — much earlier than when social distinctions became evident at other Near Eastern sites.” The World's First Temple, by Sandra Scham; Archeology, A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America; Volume 61 Number 6, November/December 2008

So we see that the individuals who constructed the site were likely not those who oversaw and coordinated the construction. Those who actually built the site would have required food, clothing, and shelter, and we can assume that they were not providing these for themselves while involved in the arduous construction efforts. Feeding a labor force from exclusively wild foods foraged from the surrounding landscape by traditional hunting and gathering methods would be exceedingly difficult, and in this difficulty may lie the crucial clue that gives us insight into the origin of Civilization. The need to feed the slaves may account for the development of the first agricultural crops, which are now believed to have been developed just a stone's throw from this site.

“Schmidt says the monuments could not have been built by ragged bands of hunter-gatherers. To carve, erect and bury rings of seven-ton stone pillars would have required hundreds of workers, all needing to be fed and housed. Hence the eventual emergence of settled communities in the area around 10,000 years ago. "This shows sociocultural changes come first, agriculture comes later," says Stanford University archaeologist Ian Hodder, who excavated Catalhoyuk, a prehistoric settlement 300 miles from Gobekli Tepe. "You can make a good case this area is the real origin of complex Neolithic societies." Read the full article here.

Sociocultural changes? What this indicates to me is that agriculture was never about "elevating humanity out of nature" — as it has been well established that farming is an inferior survival strategy for both health and happiness — but rather was necessary to feed the ever growing slave labor caste that were being ruled over by an elite priesthood. Agriculture, and its domesticated species, likely got their start as the foods of slaves. Bread, the “staff of life” was the original slave diet.

So we see that the origin of human hierarchy lies not in civilization and agriculture, but that civilization and agriculture emerged out of a human hierarchy.

hierarchy |ˈhī(ə)ˌrärkē|

noun

a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to status or authority.

• (the hierarchy) the upper echelons of a hierarchical system; those in authority

To best understand the word we must have a look at its etymology.

hierarchy

noun

from medieval Latin hierarcha, from Greek hierarkhes "leader of sacred rites, high priest”

Hierarchy refers to the rule by a priesthood, and this is what we see at Gobekli Tepe. Somehow, through psychological manipulation, violence, the threat of violence, some combination of these three, or some other unnamed means, the people there were ensnared in a scheme that elevated a small group to the status of ruling elite while it simultaneously subjugated (made subjects of) a larger class of people, who labored for those who were now in power. 

He [Schmidt] believes that Göbekli Tepe was built by a laboring class, maybe even by slaves. In his view, the reason that agriculture stuck, even though it meant more work and worse food, was that an élite caste had a vested interest in the new system: “Ninety per cent had to work, and ten per cent lived by wealth. The élite wanted to keep their advantage, and they had the power to do it.” Read the full article here.

Sound familiar? The builders of Gobekli Tepe were the original 99%.

"Occupy Gobekli Tepe!"

Perhaps this idea, obfuscated as it has been by The Intrinsic Taboo and the mythologies perpetuated by Civilization (about civilization) can help to answer the question that has stymied those who have asked "why we would have ever civilized in the first place?". Celebrated American scientist and author Jared Diamond wrote in his excellent article “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race”:

Hunter-gatherers practiced the most successful and longest-lasting life style in human history. In contrast, we're still struggling with the mess into which agriculture has tumbled us, and it's unclear whether we can solve it. Suppose that an archaeologist who had visited from outer space were trying to explain human history to his fellow spacelings. He might illustrate the results of his digs by a 24-hour clock on which one hour represents 100,000 years of real past time. If the history of the human race began at midnight, then we would now be almost at the end of our first day. We lived as hunter-gatherers for nearly the whole of that day, from midnight through dawn, noon, and sunset. Finally, at 11:54 p. m. we adopted agriculture. As our second midnight approaches, will the plight of famine-stricken peasants gradually spread to engulf us all? Or will we somehow achieve those seductive blessings that we imagine behind agriculture's glittering facade, and that have so far eluded us?

Photos in this article via National Geographic.

Gross Domesticated Products

We are living in a system that could be described as a large-scale human factory farm, and arguably we might also say that the name of that farm system is “Civilization”. Civilization is not the farm itself of course, but rather the model upon which the individual farms are built.

There are at present many individual farms, and each one uses its own unique farming methods. Your farm — by that I mean the farm on which you live — may be called “The United States”, or “Russia”, or “China”, or “Botswana”, or “Turkmenistan”. Some farm systems treat their livestock in cruel and oppressive ways, where upon the humans are raised according to methods reminiscent of battery hen operations, while still others adhere to more “humane” methods, preferring to raise humans in what might be referred to as a “free-range” or "cage-free"system. 

Each farm is significantly stratified, with humans occupying a tremendous spectrum of opportunity, from the unhealthy, stressful, high-intensity conditions of the lowest levels of the socioeconomic spectrum to those who are managers of huge forces of human labor and who enjoy, as a result, the opulent lifestyle reserved for the more powerful echelon of livestock.

All of the farms however are commercial operations, and measure the success of their enterprise based upon GDP, or Gross Domestic Product per capita.

Please read that again: Gross Domestic(ated) Products per head (of cattle)... really?

These farms, at present, compete with one another for global dominance or for some just to simply stay afloat in the game, and their livestock are put to work in a myriad of ways, from those who mine and extract the resources of the Earth, to those who work in the manufacture of goods, to those providing supporting services – from the picking of produce to the shuffling of documents – to the management of massive multinational corporations. There are now underway significant farm-mergers (think; the E.U.) and acquisitions (think; Iraq, Afganistan) taking place, as individual farms are subsumed into larger conglomerates, with an ultimate goal it seems of a "one-world" farming operation.

As is typical of modern farming and livestock management, the individuals of the herd are born and raised in captivity, are treated with pharmaceutical drugs, antibiotics, and vaccines, and eat a highly domesticated diet that scarcely resembles that of its wild-type. The highly processed and nutritionally poor gruel that the livestock eats is often fortified with synthetic nutrients such as B-vitamins, Vitamin D, and several halides such as Chlorine, Fluorine, and Iodine. Wild behaviors are both bred and trained out of the individuals, the former almost purely by a lack of available breeding individuals of the wild-type, and the latter by the design of the Obedience Schools to which nearly all individuals of the higher profiting farms are sent.

On many of the high-GDP farms, livestock are kept by an “invisible fencing” method, which works via several techniques operating in concert, to include such devices as the illusion of freedom (confusing free-range with freedom), travel restriction, laws with the threat of violence or imprisonment for transgressions, private ownership of land (which restricts individual access to habitat), suppression of instinct and encouraged ignorance of learned behaviors necessary for survival on natural landscapes, learned helplessness, debt and taxation, and many other methods that have been devised or have emerged in the 10,000 years that human farming has existed. Violence is rarely used against free-range livestock, and is usually reserved for cases where the above mentioned psychological techniques do not yield the desired behavioral conformity.

There are, at present, still some pockets of free, or we might also say “wild” humans. These must not be confused with “free-range” farmed humans who have been trained to parrot phrases about “freedom”, and who live in constant fear of livestock from other farms – who they are told “hate their freedom” and want to take it away.

Oh, the Terror!

Rather, I am referring to truly free humans, natural persons who still inhabit the few isolated pockets of habitat around the globe where the human farming operation called “Civilization” has yet to infiltrate, enslave, and/or eradicate these last extant wild-type H. sapiens.

Sadly these remaining tribes and individuals will most likely succumb to assimilation (genetic introgression) — or simply die away — over the course of this century, which will amount to what will arguably be the most significant event in all of human history. The extinction of the last wild human.

We would be, at that point, much like the modern cow, whose last extant wild progenitor, the Aurochs (Bos primigenius) passed away in 1627 in Poland. Today, all that remains of the gene pool of the Aurochs is what is preserved in the domesticated cow, Bos taurus. Will we too, as modern domesticated humans, see the last foraging H. sapiens pass into oblivion? When this happens, will it be noted, recorded, spoken of? Or will the umbilicus connecting us back to nature and our wild ancestry be severed forever, without so much as a mention in the ticker running across the bottom of the telescreen in the (bad) news programming that the domesticated humans consume like so much intellectual-gruel.

I have a friend who raises heirloom breed chickens on a small scale farming operation in so-called "New England" (the natives here called it "Dawnland"). He would routinely breed wild (or close to wild) Red Jungle Fowl (the wild progenitor of the chicken) back into his flocks to add novel genetic material, strengthen 'his' birds, and reduce the frequency of unwanted genetic traits that appear from inbreeding and the reduced genetic diversity that results from domestication. Perhaps quite accidentally, Civilization has done something rather similar throughout its 10,000 year human farming industry.

In the past, conquering farms would interbreed their populations with the native “savages” whose lands they were plundering, whose individuals they were raping, and whose strongest members they took as slaves. Through rape and assimilation, wild-type humans and their profound genetic material were recycled back into the livestock populations of the city-state. This, though rarely mentioned, was a mechanism by which “wild” human genes would be brought back into the “herd”.

This of course assisted Civilization in maintaining some degree of genetic health, much in the same way that the chicken breeder mentioned above might import a Red Jungle Fowl rooster to breed into his flock, ameliorating some of the degenerative traits that excessive domesticated breeding can engender. As the Red Jungle Fowl is the repository of the greatest diversity of chicken genoplasm, so too were the indigenous humans the source of genetic profundity for Civilization.

Civilization has now run out of “savages” to conquer, and so can no longer benefit from the introgression of wild genetics as it did when the Earth was still filled with wild lands and peoples to consume via conquest.

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Will humanity continue, as it is currently doing now, to celebrate the birth of Civilization — human slavery — as the all-important defining moment of our history (His-story), or will we awaken to and recognize (re-cognize: to become cognizant again) the precipice upon which we now stand, looking out over a vast and empty plane that lacks as much in genetic diversity as we now lack in common sense and understanding?

ElixirCraft Mastery

Chocolate Reinforcement Elixir

Ingredients

Nut Milk:

2 loosely packed cups Coconut Shreds

1.5 liters Chaga tea

Add Mixtures:

3 heaping tbsp SurThrival Colostrum 

2 tbsp Cacao Butter

2 tbsp Cacao Powder 

1 tsp Vanilla Powder

1 tbsp Lucuma 

1 heaping tbsp Almond Butter 

4 Squirts Omica Stevia or sweetener of your choice

2 tsp Milk Thistle

2 tsp Chia Seeds

Resources

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Vitamix


Click here to learn more about SurThrival Immortal Velvet.


ReWild Yourself! Podcast: Daniella Martin on Why You Should Start Eating Insects

I am fascinated with entomophagy as of late, and so it was great fun to record this interview with Daniella Martin — author of Edible: An Adventure Into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet and the host of Girl Meets Bug, the insect cooking/travel show!

In the interview, we discuss:

  • How Daniella became “the bug girl"
  • The great resources in Daniella’s book
  • Farming insects is not part of indigenous culture
  • Insect identification when foraging
  • How to avoid parasites when eating insects
  • Legs, intestines and exoskeletons — oh my!
  • Insect farming
  • Cultural taboos surrounding entomophagy
  • Tastes of different insects
  • Vegans, vegetarians and eating insects
  • Long chain fatty acids in insects
  • Where is the “insect trend” going?
  • The best starter insects
  • Freezing vs cooking

Crickets have the best PR. Tweet it!

Insects will soon be included amongst the ranks of edible plants and edible fungi. Tweet it!


Click here to listen!


Episode Resources


Meet Daniella

Daniella Martin is author of the book Edible: An Adventure Into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet and the host of Girl Meets Bug, the insect cooking/travel show. She also blogs about bugs for the Huffington Post.

She is passionate about teaching people that insects are fabulous food — in addition to being the most environmentally-efficient animal protein source on the planet! Her dream is to increase public awareness and acceptance of edible insects, with the ultimate goals of helping to solve world hunger, support indigenous people, and reduce pesticide use with this cheap, eco-friendly source of protein.

Daniella became fascinated with insect cuisine while conducting anthropological fieldwork in the Yucatan, Mexico. While living amongst the Maya and studying traditional indigenous food, medicine and culture, she learned that ancient peoples of this region used to supplement their diets with insects, partially because of the lack of large game. Intrigued, she began to research in earnest, and started her search for insects to try. To this date, she has eaten bees, crickets, cockroaches, fly pupae, wax worms, mealworms, silkworms, hornworms, bamboo worms, grasshoppers, walking sticks, katydids, scorpions, tailless whip scorpion, snails, stink bugs, tarantulas, cicadas, leaf-cutter ants, ant pupae, dung beetles, termites,  wasps and wasp brood, butterfly caterpillars, dragonflies, and water bugs. So far, her favorites are wax worms, bees, wasps and fried bamboo worms.

You can find her at GirlMeetsBug.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

My English Teacher is a Dog-Trainer

Conformity and Conditioning in the Public School System

A ReWild Yourself! Guest Contribution

By Chloe Parsons

My visions of being an English teacher were of Dead Poets Society grandeur.  I thought I could inspire students to be great.  I thought I could get them to stand on their desks out of passion for literature and great teaching.  I thought I could get them to…write a complete sentence in their junior year of high school.  The latter of these proved to be more difficult than you might expect. When I look back at my blink-of-an-eye career as a high school English teacher, I cringe a little. 

Maybe those boys stood on their desks at the end of the movie because no human body in the pubescent throes of mental and physical development wants to be seated for seven hours a day.

Our public schools are experiencing the highest rate of teacher turnover in history.  Our teachers by and large are the youngest and most inexperienced generation of educators, the curriculum is the weakest it has ever been, and students are bored and boxed-in.  Running from poor compensation, flimsy insurance packages, and lack of administrative support, most new teachers don’t last five years.  I don’t blame them.  One of the greatest failures of our education system is taking young men and women who have a passion for teaching — and I mean real teaching — and molding them into dog trainers.  You might think I’m exaggerating, but I have literally received training in using hand signals for optimal compliance with students.  

Prior to the 19th century, most education followed the Classical model, which emphasized the gaining of knowledge based on personal interest and curiosity, and the exploration of ideas.  As the United States became a fighting player in the industrial revolution, we adopted the Prussian model of education, which we still use today.  This model is classified by compulsory attendance, standardized testing, and training of teachers to ensure continuity across states and schools.  The purpose of adopting the Prussian model of education was to pump out “productive citizens” who would be well-equipped to continue turning the cogs of industry and success.

Also, obedience was pretty important.

During my first day of training as a new member of the faculty of X High School, we’ll call it, in X, Texas, we’ll say, we all received a thick booklet we were told was to be our “Bible.”  The Student Handbook. In this book are all of the district-wide policies by which students, faculty, and administrators alike must abide.  There were the obvious policies: no relationships with students, no showing up to work drunk, etc.  But the rules became more and more specific the further in it we delved: “if a student is absent on the day an assignment is due, the student has five school days in which to make up the assignment.”  Can you guess how many students liked to skip school on project days so we had to offer them the mandatory extra time?  Don’t even get me started about dress code — we’ll go there in a few more paragraphs. But then the rules started looking less like school and more like prison: “students are subject to random drug screenings,”  “students and faculty must wear their identification badges at all times,” “students are subject to frequent and random tardy sweeps.”  A tardy sweep is when we are required to close and lock the door immediately when the bell rings for class to start.  No late students are allowed in, and the halls are “swept” for late students.  They are all corralled into the cafeteria and given immediate in-school suspension. This was not the enlightening, poetry-reading, mind-opening environment I had envisioned when I became a teacher.

We were instructed to establish a set of classroom rules, have them approved by the administrators, make sure they were clearly published on a poster in our room, and then sent home to parents and students on the first day of school.  They’re usually simple things like “Be on task,” “No food or drink,” “Turn work in on time,” etc.  We also had to submit, publish, and announce our system of consequences, as in “on the first offense the teacher will give the student a verbal reminder, on the second offense the teacher will call the student’s parents,” and so on.  The most important thing — we were coached by veteran teachers — is to stick to your classroom management plan.  That’s what this system of rules and consequences is called.  If you show any cracks to your students, they’ll cut them wider. One teacher even told me that in the first week of school she picks at least one rule-breaker in each class to “make an example” of by calling the student’s mom during class in front of the rest of the students.  This is not against the rules. 

Ok, now many of you went through compulsory education so I will offer you a simple math problem: If Suzanne has seven class periods a day, and each teacher has five classroom rules and three consequences, how many combinations of rules and consequences must Suzanne remember and follow during her four years of high school?  Keep in mind that some teachers allow phones, and some don’t.  Some teachers make you ask before you get up, others don’t.  Some teachers accept late work, many of them don’t.  How is Suzanne supposed to remember all of this?  Well, if Suzanne were to actually test the limits of each of these rules and consequences, that would be about 420 combinations.

And that’s aside from what she’s supposed to be, you know, learning. 

We are all conditioned in some way.  We know that a finger placed over pursed lips means we need to be quiet.  We know to pull over when we see blue lights in the rearview mirror.  Conditioning works by creating a physical response in your body. These physical responses are so effective, in fact, that a new mother, such as myself, will experience a letdown of breast milk right through her t-shirt at the sound of another baby’s cry while she’s at the grocery store.  But I wouldn’t know anything about that…  Public school students are some of the most well-conditioned conveyor-belt-riders I’ve ever seen.  Praise be to the beautiful little first grade class walking to the cafeteria in a straight line behind their line leader with their hands to themselves and a “bubble in their mouth.”  (Young students are taught to “catch a bubble in their mouth” and not let it out.  This keeps them from talking in the hallway.  Because what could be worse than talking in a hallway?).

As I look back at my own classroom, I can see the conditioning in action.  At a training, I learned the “give me five” technique for getting the students’ attention.  I would put my hand in the air and say “give me five,” then I would count to five and the room had to be quiet before I reached five.  If other students didn’t hear me or kept talking, I would count the seconds on the clock until the entire room was silent.  If it took 17 seconds for the room to quiet down, they had to wait 17 seconds in silence before we continued on.  If it took three minutes, we would wait for three minutes. (That actually happened once and it was the longest three minutes those kids will never get back.)  Eventually once the students got the hang of it, I didn’t have to count aloud to five, I could simply put my hand in the air and say “give me five” and the class would be quiet within five seconds. (I just dog-whispered your kids.)  Assessing this strategy now, I find it odd that silence is used as punishment, and also that instructional time is secondary to compliance with the rules.  I could have taught a whole lesson on sentence fragments in three minutes!

Once we have established that conditioning is indeed a major tactic of public school, we have to ask what the students are being conditioned for.  It’s amazing how many times a student asks “why do we have to?” or “why can’t we?”  Usually about 99% of time the response is something like “well in the real world______.”  So apparently this conditioning is somehow training students to live in the “real world.”  Let’s investigate this more.

In the real world if you touch a flame, you get burned.  You experience physical pain that conditions you to avoid contact with flame in the future.  This is the most natural example of consequence, since the consequence is the same no matter how many times you experience it, and no matter how many people encounter it.  The consequences faced in school are highly unnatural and varied consequences, and are determined by each individual in authority to deliver them.  In one class a late assignment is an automatic zero, while in another it’s accepted for full credit.  One frequently tardy student is late for class on Monday and the teacher lets her in after the bell, while another student who has never been late in her life is late on Tuesday during the tardy sweep and is automatically taken to in-school suspension.  The kinds of rules and consequences students experience in schools are not the kind of real world consequences you and I experience as adults.  If we are late to something, there are a number of responsible and socially acceptable things we can do to remedy that, like calling ahead to let someone know, or apologizing and negotiating a new deadline with a superior.  We are never sent to isolation to copy words from the student handbook in the real world for being late. That is simply just the easiest thing to do with tardy students who are required to be compliant.

One of the most strong-handedly enforced rule at the high school level is dress code.  The dress code, I believe, does more to establish and perpetuate stereotypes and stifle personal expression than any of the other rules.  I in no way advocate letting kids come to school in g-strings and gang paraphernalia, but when the rules are actually broken down, it is strongly apparent that the rule-writers want to condition young women to not be sexual and young boys to not be powerful.  Girls are not allowed to wear spaghetti-strapped shirts, cleavage has to be completely covered, and shorts and skirts have to fall no higher than three inches above the knee.  Why? Might the 16-year old boys look at an inch of cleavage or an exposed shoulder and think about (gasp!) sex?!  I hate to break it to you, but that kid’s been thinking about sex since breakfast.  The boys are not allowed to wear “muscle shirts” or any shirts without sleeves in school.  (Let me remind you that this is Texas and the hallways have no air conditioning).  That kind of masculine expression is only fit for the basketball court or the wrestling mat.  The boys also had to refrain from the ultra-popular trend of wearing one’s pants half way down his thighs.  Now I will admit that this style just plain bugs me—they can’t walk with their pants down like that and I think it looks ridiculous, but how is this different than the girl who is wearing her first pair of 4-inch platform pumps through the halls? The boys would try to circumvent the rule by wearing basketball shorts underneath their pants so that their briefs were covered while their pants were down.  Nope.  Still an automatic in-school suspension if you were caught with you pants “sagging.”  Both of these styles — the muscle shirts and the low pants—are expressions of masculinity in the youthful community.  To administrators, however, they automatically represent violence.  Sex and violence, it’s what everyone’s always afraid of.  

Conditioning students to feel shame at their natural expressions of sexuality and social dominance, however, is detrimental and unnatural. I’m a little ashamed to tell you the next story—don’t judge me for being a victim of administrative conditioning.

On hall duty outside my classroom a boy walked by with his pants around his knees.  Not his thighs — his KNEES.  Each leg swept forward in a c-shaped motion outward from his body to keep his pants from falling all the way to the floor.  An elegant dance of the 16-year old want-to-fit-in-er.  I asked this dancing derelict to to please pull his pants up, to which I received a smirk.  I asked politely again, this time using a stern “sir” at the end of my request.  This time, as he walked away from me, he raised his hands in the air in a “come-at-me-bro” sort of way and took off running (sort of) down the hall.  I, in my neatly-pressed socially-acceptable teacher outfit and adorable red pumps, took of running (sort of) after him.  I chased him with kids clearing our path and jumping into classroom doors to get out of the way.  I chased him all the way to the gym.  I chased him up the bleachers until there was nowhere for him to go.  Like a fox chasing a hare.  I demanded that he show me his ID, which he was not wearing, and he refused to tell me his name.  In the same cheeky attitude he had showed me, I raised my come-at-me-bro hands and said, “I’ll check the cameras” and walked away.  Later that day I made a request to the campus police officers to check the cameras in the gym at approximately 2:40 to identify the culprit in the white jeans.  They told me his name (they knew him as a repeat offender), and I wrote a referral.  

As I told this story to other teachers, I was praised! Another teacher called me “The Cheetah” for the rest of the year.  But what did the student learn from this? I venture to say it was that he should stay away from well-dressed white ladies (or at least that the one in room 300 is a bit of a bitch).  Looking back, I’m really ashamed of the way I must have conditioned this student to fear and hate authority, and that the consequence he received was highly unnatural.  In the “real world,” no one’s going to chase you down because your pants are sagging.  

Here is a final example of this social conditioning.  Two students — a couple — were making out, as teenagers do, outside the gym doors during passing period.  I’ll remind you that kissing is not against the rules, and that these students were using their free passing period time as they wished.  Another teacher in passing called out, “Young lady! Have some respect for yourself!”  Let me just let that sink in for a second.  Only the young woman was accosted, not the young man, sending the message that men are allowed to conduct themselves as such, but women are not.  It also sent the message that by kissing her boyfriend in public, this young woman was not respecting herself.  It is very common for rules and consequences in the public school system to perpetuate the Madonna/Whore complex, flinging young women into one of the two directions.  I was pregnant during my last year of teaching, and by the questions I received from my students, I was amazed and saddened by how little young women know about their sexuality and their bodies.  The loudest message is that their bodies don’t belong to them anyway — but that is another story for another day.

I will end this expose by actually talking about learning.  You know, that thing kids are supposed to do at school after they’ve remembered all the rules, stopped socializing, and become good little silent hand-folding sitters. Based on the new requirements set out by Common Core (coming to a school district near you), we were required last year to attend meetings to review some of the new national standards that will be coming into effect in the near future.  One in particular just boggled our minds.  Based on the these standards, students who receive a 70 or higher on an assignment have shown “mastery.”  Really?…  By this standard, soon our surgeons will have a whopping 70% success rate in your kidney transplant, and when you try to sue for a botched job, your lawyer will have won 70% of his cases!  Furthermore, students who show mastery by receiving this laudatory grade of 70 are not allowed to re-take the test or re-submit the assignment. They’re masters, they can move on.  Students who fail, however, are allowed this opportunity.  In practice, this would mean that the student who scored a 70 but wanted a 90 is not allowed to try again, not allowed to prove he’s better.  The student who got a 69, though, can eventually study harder, re-take the test, and then get a 95.  Once the students figure out how to manipulate this process, these are ways the conditioning can play out:  1. Students will intentionally do poorly on their first attempts in order to receive a second chance and more time to complete assignments or take tests.  2. Students will lose the initiative to do better, to take risks, and form new ideas.  3. Students will be conditioned to be rewarded for mediocrity.  

All of this sounds ridiculous, but put into the perspective of the Prussian model of education, it is effective in creating productive and compliant citizens.

Teaching in a public school turned my love of learning into an abuse of power.  Becoming a mother tuned my senses to detect this conditioning and to then protect my daughter from receiving these messages.  A learning environment should allow students to form independent opinions, not perpetuate stereotypes.  The metal detectors, the drug-sniffing dogs, the punishment by isolation, the instruction of social conformity, the celebration of mediocrity, these have produced generations of mile-wide inch-deep compliant citizens who fear consequence rather than value knowledge.  Generations of people who only know to obey martial law rather than to defend the extent of their rights.  Generations of people who are auto-tuned to social constructs rather than tuned in to natural instinct and abilities.  Generations who salivate at authority’s bell and don’t flinch at the clasp of the leash. 


Meet Chloe

Chloe Parsons is a high school teacher and a new mother with a passion for natural parenting.  She advocates home birth, placenta ingestion, exclusive breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and baby carrying.  Chloe and her husband are CrossFit and Paleo enthusiasts.  She hopes to inspire women to embrace their pregnancy and birth experiences, and to encourage parents to pursue natural parenting techniques.


Voice of the Tribe is ReWild Yourself! Dispatch's guest contribution column.  If you would like to contribute an article for consideration in a future Dispatch click here.

20 Tips for ReWilding Your Mind!
  1. Decide now that it is ok to identify a problem, even before you have discovered a solution. 
  2. Begin to use language as a tool for your edification and freedom, be wary of using language in a way that deepens the bonds of your own mental enslavement.
  3. Examine your beliefs about success, money, and freedom. What you are working so hard for? Get clear. Do you have an exit strategy?
  4. Start to notice the hidden messages that are all around you. Notice how your opinions are being shaped. Become a student of symbology.
  5. Begin to feel about things as much as you think about things. Start to trust the former.
  6. Notice when the words you speak and write don't match what you wish to express. Make a practice of resolving this.
  7. Get yourself a reputable, hard-copy, early edition, unabridged version of the dictionary of the language(s) you speak.
  8. Get yourself a hard-copy, reputable law dictionary. Legal English is the language with which you agree to the precepts of your endentured servitude. Learn it.
  9. If you don't love your job decide now that you intend to change that (see number 1). Determine to find work that you love, and people you love to do it with!
  10. Get real with yourself about your addiction to the chemicals you secrete when you use your electronic devices. Your phone is your slave, not the other way around.
  11. Begin identifying when you are being conditioned with Positive/Negative Reinforcement/Punishment. Notice too when you do it to others.
  12. Find out what you can about your birth experience. Ask yourself how this information might help you better understand yourself today.
  13. Decide now that you trust the female body to have children without projecting emergencies onto it. Of course emergencies are sometimes possible... in anything. 
  14. Ask yourself "How many Saturdays was I cracked out and dissociated on sugar cereal watching hours of alpha wave inducing cartoons of neotonous talking animals?" and "What impact has this had on me psychologically and my beliefs about the world?"
  15. Start breaking more rules. Don't be afraid to challenge peoples most cherished illusions. Maybe start by eating with your fingers next time you are at a dinner party.
  16. Read 1984 and Brave New World, then look around.
  17. Watch the documentary "The Century of the Self".
  18. Remember now, and for the rest of your life, you don't have to "sit still" anymore, and you are allowed to "horse-around"! Go ahead, jump on the bed if you want to.
  19. Listen to your inner voice before trusting anyone else. Turn the volume on that inner voice way up!
  20. Start exploring the edges of the network. It starts where "no service" begins and the bars on your cell end.

Click here to learn more about SurThrival Schizandra.


ReWild Yourself! Podcast: Dispatch 4 Reflections

I will be sharing the occasional stream of consciousness rant on ReWild Yourself! podcast, and I've just recorded the first one!

Episode Breakdown:

  • Podcast song origins
  • Information on my only ReWilding immersion workshop this year
  • Will you ever see me on a TV show?
  • Dispatch 4 reflections and Gobekli Tepe

Click here to listen!


Episode Resources:

SurThrival.com

Podcast Song:

Song Title - Animal

Artist - Jenny and Johnny

The Intrinsic Taboo: A Weekend Workshop with Daniel Vitalis

Your Neo-Aboriginal Challenge
Wild grasshopper, wild milkweed fruits, wild chanterelles, and wild-fermented kimchi!

Wild grasshopper, wild milkweed fruits, wild chanterelles, and wild-fermented kimchi!

You probably already guessed it, and yes... I am serious.

Your Neoaboriginal challenge is this; between now and the Autumnal Equinox practice entymophagy at least once!

Eating insects is completely natural to humans, and is practiced ubiquitously around the globe anywhere natural humans have dwelt. It is still practiced today by extant foraging peoples and in tradtional cultures alike, and is making a tremendous come back here in our modern, domesticated world. Soon insect ingredients will find their way onto our plates (consciously I mean, currently processed foods are loaded with insect parts, we are just in denial about that) and will be celebrated the world over for their low environmental impact, low cost, energy efficiency, ease of production, and of course, for how delicious and incredibly nutritious they are. Until then, we are the vanguard, ReWilding our relationship to food!

If you are just getting started ants may be the best place to get your bug on. I simply grab them up and pop them into my mouth raw. The ones I have eaten are very sour, and taste a bit like lemon candy minus the sugar. If you are feeling more adventurous grasshoppers, crickets, and dragonflies are easy to catch and can be cooked easily on an oiled pan with some salt or spices. 

Cooked dragonfly

Cooked dragonfly

Too wild for you? Then consider ordering some cricket of meal-worm flour online, or trying one of the many cricket protein-bars that have recently come to market!

You can do this! Motivate yourself in whatever way works for you! Its easy once you break the seal! Think of it as an adventure, a chance to post something "crazy" to your networks, or of all the bragging rights to come! The journey of a thousand insects begins with one bite.

I look forward to hearing about it in the ReWild Yourself! Facebook group! 

Until then.. Keep ReWilding!

Would You Like to Contribute to the Next Dispatch?

We are looking for gifted, thorough, well researched writers to contribute articles for future Dispatches and blog features!

All submissions much be original material, ranging between 500 and 2000 words, be well-edited and contain references where appropriate.  Images must be your originals or non-copyrighted.  And of course, all articles must be relevant to the ReWilding lifestyle!

Please include a brief 1-2 sentence bio, including your website or email address, as well as a high resolution photo of yourself.  If you include your Twitter, Facebook or Instagram we will be sure to tag you!

We will be selecting only one entry per Dispatch! 

We are also always accepting submissions for a feature in the Voice of the Tribe column on the DanielVitalis.com blog!

Please send your submission to info@danielvitalis.com.  We will contact you if your submission is selected for publication in the next — or in a future — Dispatch or blog feature!