Waking Up to The Modern World Pulled Over Your Eyes
“The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth .… Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more.” -Morpheus
As a young man just starting to make my way in the world, seeing The Matrix in 1999 for the first time in theaters blew my mind. In addition to the ground-breaking developments in cinematography (bullet-time, come on!) the film’s allegorical portrayal of the modern world was paradigm-shifting, to say the least. So what do Keanu Reeves and late 90’s science fiction have to do with my health, you say?
In this article, I will make the case that the biggest obstacle preventing the average person from achieving their personal version of vibrant health is one thing: Perspective. Just as a fish is not actively aware of the water in which it swims, most humans are not fully aware of the impact civilization has had on our stone-age bodies and minds.
Welcome to The Zoo
Here at Anabolic Aces, Natasha and I use the term “The Zoo” as a collective metaphor for the artificial world all of us self-domesticated, first-world humans currently occupy. The differences between our concrete jungles and the actual jungles of our tribal ancestors include dramatic changes such as decreased movement and exercise, altered artificial light spectrums, increased toxin exposure, and reduced micro-nutrient diversity in our food supply. In his bestselling book The Primal Blueprint, paleo trendsetter Mark Sisson creates a vibrant story around his fictional character Grok to help illustrate just how far we’ve diverged from the lifestyles of our recent ancestors.
While awareness of these issues is becoming more commonplace, it’s my impression that a large percentage of people are still vastly underestimating the collective impact these shifts are having on their health and well-being. While any one stressor in isolation might mildly challenge our primal body’s ability to adapt, when exponentially multiplied the cumulative load of these stressors can quickly lead to loss of function, symptoms, and disease. Author Jared Diamond went so far as to say that agriculture was “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race”. Strong words indeed.
Greed versus Need
The compounding variable in this equation is what happens when the combined forces of agriculture, industrialization, and capitalism start to hijack human psychology for profit. When our cultural systems reward decisions based on the bottom line rather than the health impact of their products and services, the people bear the burden of an ever-increasing toxic load on their bodies and minds.
The laws of nature used to be self-regulating for humans: we were just as dependent on the environment for our basic needs as other animals. Now our basic needs can be summoned with the click of a button, and arrive at our doorstep in hours. Or can they?
The insidious nature of "modern convenience" is that artificial substitutes for things as basic as food, water, movement, social interaction, and even air are becoming so commonplace that each subsequent generation becomes more and more disconnected from the earth. We're losing touch with our true animal nature: what it means to truly be a human.
The Evolutionary Mismatch
In his book The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal, Desmond Morris set the record straight by asserting that humans are indeed hunting apes. Our brain size and corresponding intelligence, social skills, and musical abilities grew in proportion to our ability to procure sufficient quantities of nutrient/calorie-dense animal protein and fat. A far cry from the trendy, low-cal, low-fat options of the past few decades.
Unfortunately, we see the mismatch between our biochemical needs and our industrial food system manifest itself in continuously increasing rates of obesity, mental illness, social isolation, and chronic disease. The struggle is real.
This Hunting Ape video clip from Morris' BBC nature documentary series The Human Animal: A Personal View of the Human Species shows us the stark contrast between wild and domesticated humans:
Choice and Responsiblity
My personal recommendation? Don't be that cow. If you’re already on the path to taking back ownership of your life, and consequently your life experience, I congratulate you on taking a stand against complacency.
If not, wake up, look around with open eyes, and take back control of your mind, body, and life. Corporate interests, brands, and governments are not your identity and not your friends. They are self-propagating stories that feed upon themselves. Insurance companies and food manufacturers are not looking out for you and your family. You need to take the responsibility to do that.
A Different Approach
So what needs to happen to re-write this story? Two things: awareness of the problem and the desire to do something about it. Make no mistake, removing the logistical roadblocks between where you are and want to go requires intention, awareness, and dedication.
I define optimal health as the ability to use my brain and body to live my purpose: helping others by speaking my truth, sharing my unique insights, and inspiring them to take action in their own lives. In my opinion, health is the most foundational element that the rest of our lives are built on. Whenever my physical and cognitive functions decline, I lose the ability to effectively create meaningful, positive impact in the world. The result is intense suffering, disconnection, and a profound sense of loss. My personal priorities and journey reflect this and motivate me to help those with a similar drive to upgrade their brainpower and subsequent life experience.
I choose to believe that:
- We can leverage the same technology, networking, and infrastructure to spread knowledge about health and wellness as for distraction and passive entertainment.
- We can choose as communities to cultivate social activities centered around movement, nutrition, and nature instead of screens, flashing lights, drugs, and processed food.
- We can create workplace cultures that value work-life balance, rest, creativity, and innovation as much as productivity, numbers, and outcomes.
I implore you: educate yourself, decide what your priorities should be, take action, and vote with your dollars. If one-on-one support seems indicated for you at this stage of your life, I encourage you to consider working with us to develop a customized plan to seek and destroy the hidden stressors in your life.
Your health will thank you.