Primal Sense Blog

REWILDING

When your cat sits and purrs in your lap, or your dog licks your face and then lays down next to you…..it just feels “good”, doesn’t it?

There is a reason for that.

And it is because a primal re-connection is being made.

Afterall, for the first 99.99% of our species’ existence on Earth, we lived among all the other species in our local habitat, not separate from them. Yes, we feared some of them, some of them were pests, and some of them we hunted for sustenance, but that ancient symbiotic relationship wired our bodies and our minds.

And deep emotional ties associated with that “wiring”….. are still with us.

Despite that thick sliding glass door you see in the picture above.

Perhaps more profoundly, these deep emotional ties are extremely positive ones.  A multitude of recent scientific studies document that interaction with an animal, such as picking up and hugging a cat, triggers a significant release of endorphins, dopamine and other “feel good” neurochemicals  in the human body. This interaction  also significantly lowers the body’s level of the “stress hormone” cortisol,  as well as its  blood pressure.

In otherwords, you literally get a buzz.

Amazingly, these positive “drug like” experiences occur for humans even when they simply view wildlife from a considerable distance, let alone when their domesticated dog snuggles up to them. Ultimately, it is why many humans are willing to pay prodigious amounts of money to go “whale spotting”,  or are totally thrilled to see a fox run across their backyard.

And that is why “Rewilding” is so beautiful.

Specifically, “Rewilding”  is an worldwide conservation effort to restore and protect existing wilderness areas, and promote the management and existence of more wildife habitat throughout the planet.

The actual impetus for this movement comes from most wildlife biologists and paleontologists, who are now convinced we are in the midst of the Earth’s 6th mass extinction period.  This one brought on not by abrupt and abnormal volcanic activity, or meteorite impacts…..but by our day to day negative impacts upon the Earth’s ecosystem essentially since the dawn of modern agriculture.

We are now at a critical point in our relationship with wildlife, with the reality being that all of Earth’s species…. are in this together.

There never was supposed to be a “separation”.

Not only are we missing this relationship – we desperately need this relationship.

Our pets are telling us so.

“Return of the Wild”- NPR Radio

http://www.onpointradio.org/2010/01/return-to-the-wild

DAYDREAMING

It started early.

Stop daydreaming!

That is what many parents and teachers told children growing up in advanced societies prior to the 1990’s.

Although we were usually told this because we were supposed to be paying attention at a certain moment, the message was clear. Daydreaming is bad. An idle mind is a lazy mind. You need to be “productive”.

Advanced society reinforced this mantra at almost every level..and it stuck.

As a whole, we became conditioned. Ashamed to daydream.

And then came the “Information Age”.

Now, daydreaming seems to be on the verge of all-out extinction. Our “downtime” is packed with I-Pods and cell phones. Bombarded by Blackberries. Torpedoed by text messaging.

Even if we had the will to daydream now, we don’t have the time.

And for children today…. the ability to daydream may be moot. According to a 2010 “Kaiser Family Foundation” survey, children aged 8-18 today are spending 53 hours a week …on average….using electronic media. Do the math on that. And then wonder what it is doing to their formative brains.

Why is the looming extinction of daydreaming so tragic?

Because science is now telling us that daydreaming is actually a critical cognitive process, especially for creativity and problem solving.

What kind of society would we live in if daydreaming became extinct? Personally, I don’t want to find out.

So when your are done reading this, you may want to think about getting up and going outside for a leisurely walk – without an I-Pod. Try purposely letting your mind wander and drift. It’s all good.

Your primal mind is wired for it.

And never let anyone shame you away from daydreaming………..

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/08/31/daydream_achiever/?page=1

WHERE TO START?

My first “GOING PRIMAL” blog entry ……so where do I start?

That has been the question lingering in the back of my mind over the last week, as the launch of goingprimal.com grew closer. It has been a four year journey in getting this “thought experiment” on-line, and over that time I have gathered so many thoughts and so much information.

So I figured, it might be kind of fun, to “start” at the “end”.

You know, “The End“…… as “in “death“.

Afterall, in “advanced” societies, when we die, it is interesting to note that most of us do not bury our physical bodies in a very sustainable manner.

Sealed away in millions of ornate and expensive caskets, and orderly arranged on well-manicured geometric plots of often fertile ground, our toxic formaldehyde-juiced bodies are “protected”. Disconnected from Nature….one last time.

So even when it is our natural moment to return our physical bodies to God’s green Earth – we fight it. Sanitation is a flimsy excuse.

A telling indictment of the overall way we live in “advanced societies” now……our bad habits follow most of us even to our graves.

The truth is, when one looks across the broad spectrum of most of today’s advanced societies..one is hard pressed to find much of anything “sustainable” in the fundamental structures of those societies.

And now….. it is “crunch time” for us, isn’t it?

For a long while, it seems most of us have listened to the politicians, and the economists, and the corporate leaders, as they have led the building of our society. They have told us “who” we are, “how” we are, and “what” we should do, and for the most part, the majority of us have paid attention well.

As our species collectively stares at this monumental crossroad before us, perhaps it is time to begin listening more to the biologists, and the anthropologists, and the behaviorial ecologists…and most importantly…. our own natural instincts.

For instance, witness the aftermath of the recent catastrophic earthquake in Haiti. The immediate and massive outpouring of love, support, and aid from more developed nations around the world was natural instinct. Our raw primal nature at its best.

In fact, our very survival as a species depends on that same general concern for the suffering of others, even when it happens to fellow human beings we do not know and most likely will never know. Our primal empathy is just as powerful as our primal “self-interest”….despite what we have been “told” all these years.

Or should I say ….”sold”.

Speaking of instincts, I always marvel at the unfettered instincts of children, and the clarity they can give. So I would like to close this first blog entry with a insight by my 7 year old son, the youngest of my three children.

After a long weekend camping and hiking trip this past Fall, I was putting him down for bed the night we got back. This is usually when he asks me at least one probing question that all tired Dads tend to answer “on the fly”, so their kid will get to sleep..and that night was no exception.

He asked me, “Dad, why do people live in big houses when they could just live in a tent?” I thought about it for a second and said, ” Well, most people could do that, but most people want more than that.”

My son didn’t say anything back.

I could sense him mulling over my answer, before he sighed, and then simply rolled over and began falling asleep.

As I rubbed his back, I felt like I kind of betrayed my boy, and myself, with my flippant answer. What was I saying exactly?

I realized that in my son’s mind, throughout our camping trip he probably felt safe, secure, and relaxed. He enjoyed a warm and comfortable place to sleep and get out of the weather, and he had functional clothes, enough good food and water, and a decent place to go to the bathroom. I am sure he also felt loved, useful, and happy.. as a meaningful part of a small social group.

And no doubt he had alot of fun as we challenged our minds and bodies that weekend….while immersed in Nature.

So what else DO we really need in this physical world?

The next generation wants to know.