Primal versus Modern: what are we saying?
There is actually little to suggest that we used to all swing from trees, crawl like other animals or climbed everything in site. The chance that those things happened are quite high, but did we do it as a species, or were these the jobs of particular members of our tribes?
We have great potential for movement. In fact it is the soul purpose of our body. Move. In many ways, for many reasons.
And yet, as far as our bodies are concerned, it seems our biggest worry for wellness is simply making sure our gooey centers aren’t falling out. We do all sorts of things to stop ourselves from leaking in whatever way. If large amounts of stuff does start coming out, especially from unspecified openings, we freak a little and do everything we can to stop it.
But only a small percentage of our culture lets the body pursue its very important purpose. But was there a time when it was vastly different? Sure, pre-city life, we moseyed around more as a culture. Pre-desk, there was the squat. Pre-kitchen there was the hunt. Pre-TV there was the dance. And yes, movement was intrinsic to survival, making it, indeed, primal.
But did everyone crawl around like bears and monkeys? Did everyone climb, jump and dance? We actually don’t know. I dig the thought of our early models moving for fun, for survival, for the very real expression and needs of the body. And there is no argument in my being that this is deeply encoded in our hardware and software.
Yes, the need to move, the desire of our organic machines to get some groove on, is as primal as our system gets. But let’s give a little credit to our modern exploration of movement as also something very human, but without discrediting some very here-and-now roots. The need to move might be primal, the expression of it can be very modern, for better or worse. Jason Brown, fellow movement-ologist and Mental Meat Head presenter, has some great things to say about it here.
In other words ‘primal’ might be both accurate and extremely limiting. I wrote a post years ago about the overuse of the word ‘Evolve’ after a plethora of rather un-evolved gyms began throwing the word around as the title of their program or space. Blatant hyperbole, trying to put a shine on the very common. ‘Primal’ is in danger of going the same way. Cliches bring shelf-lives to products and trends. You’ve built in obsolescence once you romanticize a label. Shit, ‘tribe’ is in my training concept’s name (and has been for almost 14 years, even before I opened a sanctuary under that name over 10 years ago). You’d be right to think that I’m a bit concerned about that word being used beyond it’s sustainable meaning these days.
So consider this just opening some dialog about what we’re trying to say with the word ‘primal.’ I’d like to think we’re allowed to be proud of how some of us are aiming at achieving a homeostasis with this very real current dot in the human timeline, which is the human way. We can expand upon our primal roots, we can actually improve on our given hardware and software… that’s the beauty of the organic machine. You might want to call our potential ‘primal,’ and perhaps arguing the semantics of that is silly. But what do we call what we might create from that potential? Is it still primitive?
Or has it, um, ‘evolved?’ Perhaps we should celebrate what we can do with our humanness, which we might want to consider beyond primal.
That’s it. My new philosophy… post-primitivism. Neo-primal. I’m trademarking that as you read this! Meanwhile be the best You, whatever you want to call it.