Learning to be Human: Part I

This is a topic I LOVE, but will be extremely boring for most (you have been warned). I will be talking about human evolution, fitness, and how to reconnect with our deep brain. It will also be long and split up into a few different parts (once again, you have been warned).

There was a time and age where gyms did not exist. People didn’t do WODs. They just lived. Their daily lives required them to be functional, strong, mobile, healthy, fit humans. Homo sapiens are a species of animal, and the human body we all occupy today is a subspecies of homo sapiens.

The first human ancestor appeared on earth 5 million to 7 million years ago. Our modern human subspecies is believed to be about 200,000 years old. 

So, for a good long while, humans were like every other animal out there. We were walking around, licking rocks and mouth breathing just trying not to die. 

About 10,000 years ago humans learned how to farm and domesticate animals, and roughly 3,000 years ago “sports” were ‘invented’. The more time between humans and their animal roots, the more artificial our lives become. This especially applies to our training lives.

Just living without connecting to our deep brain

Most modern humans have it pretty easy. We don’t have to seek out shelter, food, water. Our needs are mostly taken care of. Even when we do have to see out the basics, it’s not too difficult. 

We have transportation, stores, our meat is already hunted and our produce already gathered. If we even have to cook, we have controlled fire (ovens, stoves, instant pots) in the safety and comfort of our own dwellings.  

We buy, cook, and eat this food, then we go to the gym and workout in an air conditioned building, with perfectly balanced weights that come in perfectly round plates. We can run on a perfectly flat treadmill, or swim in a perfectly calm body of water. Our Peloton creates a nice gradual slope to pedal up, instead of something so steep or obstacle filled you have to dismount and walk/climb up. 

We don’t do any crawling or odd obstacle movements, we don’t duck under, climb on or over. We don’t have to go out in the cold, the hot, the rain, the sun, or the snow if we don’t want to. Our time is spent mostly indoors, our feet rarely touch anything but socks, and our entertainment comes from multiple black boxes of varying sizes.

Just living has become easy, domesticated, simple, and artificial.

Progress above all else

There’s a reason humans are at the top of the food chain (for now). We are smart compared to most other animals. We can critically think and analyze. 

Humans take joy from progress and when we become better at things. Because of this it comes as no surprise that we would rather push progress and move further down the road of betterment instead of looking back to where we came from.

Where did we come from? Well, being a CrossFit coach, my view is that humans came from fitness. It is literally in our DNA. You are descended from the fittest, healthiest, and smartest humans. 

Sometimes that is VERY hard to believe, but it’s true. All of us alive and who have lived in the past only did so because the ones who came before them ran faster, hunted better, gathered more, or were smart enough to remember where clean water was. That’s a crazy thing to think about, but that’s why I think we each need to reconnect with our deep brain.

Transcend Domestication

I have a shirt that reads the above title.  It’s one of my favorite shirts, due to the message, and also the images it has on it. The message is trying to bring focus to ourselves.  

Are we living how we are supposed to be living?  

Is this the best time to be a human?

Of course, we have tons of technology. Our life expectancy is higher than ever. We have the ability to travel. We are bigger, stronger, and faster. Our lives allow us time to relax and enjoy things for fun. On a whole, our lives are very peaceful.

But are peaceful and fulfillment the same thing? I would argue they are not. I would also argue that most modern humans are not truly fulfilled.  

Reconnect with our deep brain

Everyone is different, and I’m not trying to generalize or make the suggestion serious conditions or issues could be fixed this simply. But I honestly think we humans are missing a huge part of being fulfilled. We have forgotten the primal, animal side of ourselves.

Here are ways we can relearn, reconnect with our deep brain, and hopefully become more fulfilled. We can do these things to remember a little of the humans we once were.

  • Change your routine
  • Start back at step one
  • Remember what playing is
  • Immerse yourself in nature
  • Reconnect with your tribe
  • Leave the shoes at the door
  • Learn about your food
  • Observe without distractions
  • Gain old skills

In the future parts of this post (here, and here) I will explore these ideas further. I will discuss what these actions can do to help you feel more connected to your inner self, boost your fitness, and feel more fulfilled.