Rational Animal Philosophy

While going through reams of links this morning to come up with a handful for you, I felt I had to make this one a separate entry, thanks to Chris Highcock at Conditioning Research, always a great source of useful diet and exercise information.

One of the aspects of my approach to the "Free the Animal" theme is that we are, very much indeed: animals. Our technological, industrial, and social development is such that we have lost sight of that core, fundamental identification. We have literally forgotten who we really are, at root, base, and foundation. Look around you at all the decrepit, overweight, constantly grazing, feeding, shopping bodies. That's the result of failing to live by one's true animal nature.

So, here is a fabulous introduction into who the Animal inside you really is, by Frank Forencich of Exuberant Animal. There are, I think, three very core aspects to his presentation. First is the loss of sensory input that we're all subject to. Some may recall past blogs where I talked about walking outside barefoot daily in summer (or in Vibrams). What was astounding to me, at first, was the sensory overload. But, after a period of adjustment, it becomes normal and you then realize that you have actually heightened your senses in a very fulfilling way.

Next is how our social arrangements are about as far from what we were designed to be as possible, and I say: this is why collectivist political institutions will never work (for me) — though we may yet somehow manage to physically and neurologically evolve into the social equivalent of ants & bees. It is for this reason that I eschew modern politics utterly and completely. A primal hunter-gatherer used to accounting for the values and actions of about 30 other people — having real and important influence in his group — would quite rightly find the notion of voting (getting a 1 in 200,000,000th say in his own affairs) absurd. He might even cut off your head for suggesting such an unnatural thing (and I wouldn't blame him).

Finally, Frank does a fabulous job of demolishing the modern notion of the mind-body dichotomy with a very interesting approach: body-centric education. I previously blogged about mind-body dichotomies.

Exuberant Animal's Frank Forencich gives hope to the modern man (and woman) from Lauren Muney on Vimeo.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Chris on March 30, 2009 at 13:31

    Thanks Richard.

    There is some great stuff in that presentation.

  2. Monica on March 30, 2009 at 15:57

    "First is the loss of sensory input that we're all subject to."

    I agree. I did not listen to this presentation yet. However, I've always noticed my personal tendency to *create* sensation for myself in an indoor life: bite my lip, bounce my leg, move back and forth in my swivel chair, whatever. Often I will have to move my feet back and forth to get to sleep. I wonder if any of this would be necessary if I got out more.

    I used to do a lot more fieldwork when I was doing a master's degree, and during my PhD the height of my research season was always when I could get outside for a bit of bug collecting, but this was very limited. I felt so much better, happier, more positive during those few weeks in the summer.

    Politics. IMO the only reason to get involved in politics/activism at this point is to keep freedoms from eroding further and try to reverse the trend of taking away values from other people. It's an inescapable fact that people are trying to do this via the coercion of the state. While I've been tempted in the past to just focus on my own life and pretend it isn't happening, hoping to muddle along in my own life with as much happiness as possible, I'm afraid that if I don't act to prevent my liberties from being stolen I'm going to wake up in a country one day, in my lifetime, where it will no longer be at a point that I can ignore — and will start affecting me in some pretty dramatic ways. Way more dramatic than anything we are experiencing right now… i.e. not being able to eat meat.

    What say you about this, Richard? True, it's not ideal to get embroiled in politics to take away others' values, but what about people trying to take away *your* values? What would you do if some part of society seriously make headway at cutting off something very, very valuable to you? Not that this isn't already happening, but I mean something really *vitally* important to your well-being — say, meat? Do you simply not get involved in politics, even at that point? Even coming out with guns waving (which truly might be valid at that point) could be defined as politics, you know. 🙂

  3. Dr Dan on March 31, 2009 at 03:10

    The sad fact is that hunter gatherers would have had close ties within a community of say 30. We live in cities of millions but I could count the number of close ties I have on my left hand. Sad. We are disconnected in many ways.

  4. Ngakuta on March 31, 2009 at 16:16

    Thank you for posting this; I really enjoyed the video and am going to watch it again today. I will definitely go barefoot/wear just socks around the house/office more often.

    BTW a Maori bloke once told me that his grandfather hated wearing shoes because he 'saw with his feet' and wearing shoes was like 'being blindfolded'.

  5. Richard Nikoley on March 31, 2009 at 16:22

    In the spring, summer and fall I often wear my Vibram 5-fingers for walks, working out at the gym, etc. But in mid summer last year I decided one night to just go barefoot.

    Amazing. In the fall, sidewalks got a bit cold so I went back to shoes. But I'll tell ya, the sensory input is impressive. I read somewhere that we have more nerve endings in the feet than even in the genitalia. So…

  6. Richard Nikoley on April 1, 2009 at 16:03

    Lost track of this one and forgot to reply.

    Well, I blogged from 2003-2008 and 2,000 posts on activist politics. Got me no where but profoundly mentally and physically unhealthy. Glad I'm done with it, and will never go back.

    I'll just wait until people start shooting, if ever. Then I'll decide what to do.

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