It’s a strange fact that freedom and equality, the two basic ideas of democracy, are to some extent contradictory. — Thomas Mann
It’s been said that one cannot truly love another until one learns to love themselves. That same sentiment can certainly be applied to the sustainability and stewardship of our natural resources. We can’t have a healthier, more vibrant world for mankind until we have a healthier, more vibrant mankind to nurture that world; a sustainable mankind. And, as an entity is only as healthy as its constituent parts, a sustainable mankind cannot happen without a sustainable YOU.
One of the hallmarks of the Paleo movement is the critical and fiercely free thought of its legion. Independence of thought is a must-have characteristic of a truly sovereign and sustainable individual. The days of blind groupthink, guru worship, and “believe me, I’m a doctor” that have mired our society in poor mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, economic and relational health are thankfully being bulldozed by those within the Paleo movement. The pace is relentless now, and the shockwaves of change reverberating within the halls of the old guard are deafening. Drastic change in every corner of society is eminent.
Though free and critical thought are crucial to personal freedom, they are still not enough to fight the misunderstanding and ignorance obscuring our personal path to vitality. We need to go one step further and continually question our own pre-held belief systems, and what we think to be true. Our minds cannot be a safe harbor for confirmation bias. Only in this way can we truly say we are in search of truth above all else. We ave to place the quest for truth even above the smug, euphoric rush of “being right” or “winning the argument”.
Paleo f(x)™ exists because a sustainable YOU requires hard work and diligence of effort, effort that we encourage, applaud, and support however we can. The Paleo movement exists because humanity demands it. Ours is, like all movements that have come before it, an organized response to a cultural demand.
The term for the self-questioning philosophy required of a truly sovereign individual is epistemocracy; the subtle art of being comfortable making the most directionally accurate choices and maneuvers while in a continual state of “not knowing”. “Not knowing” does not imply self-imposed ignorance – quite the opposite. Not knowing, in this case, refers to the act of always questioning, and understanding that there’s always more to know. It’s about being okay with the notion that old beliefs, when clearly unqualified, must be shed with as little resistance as a duck moulting last year’s plumage.
In his book The Black Swan, author Nassim Taleb defines an epistemocrat as “someone of epistemic humility, who holds his own knowledge in greatest suspicion.” From personal experience, I can tell you this is easier said than done; I’m still a work in progress.
An epistemocrat understands that randomness and change are basic and unavoidable (even desired!) laws of nature, and that individuals, organizations and businesses can either be strengthened or destroyed by this unpredictable variance. To paraphrase Darwin’s Origin of Species: it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives, nor is it the strongest. The species that survives is the one that is best able to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.
Epistemocratic Thought on Display
Part of nurturing critical, free, epistemocratic thought is putting yourself in environments where those qualities are appreciated and encouraged. Toward that end, there’s a reason why Michelle and I choose to live in Austin. Going a step further, we make it a point to attend as many events and happenings with an “epistemocratic atmosphere” as possible, and one of our favorite yearly gatherings here in Austin is Voice and Exit.
Billed as an event that seeks to “maximize human flourishing”, Voice and Exit, like Paleo f(x)™, exists to enable and encourage those who wish to transform our world for the better. And like Paleo f(x)™, Voice and Exit attendees learn, collaborate, experiment and connect with like-minded people who are ready to criticize the status quo by creating new possibilities. That is, they’re making real and lasting change in the world. Not just by talking, but by doing.
A major theme of this year’s Voice and Exit was decentralized governments, alternative currencies and intentional communities. Check out a few of my favorite talks from the 2016 V&E round-up and see if they don’t strike a chord with you as well:
- Exiting the Healthcare-Industrial Complex
- Retraining our Brains for Performance and Wellbeing
- College is Dead: how the next generation can educate themselves, and build a career
The resonance between Paleo f(x)™ and Voice and Exit is palpable, and attendees at either event would readily identify with one another and with the notion that we live in a world limited by outdated institutions and social models. But as Buckminster Fuller — in a point that ripples congruence throughout both communities — famously said:
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Paleo has certainly done this with food, sustainability and fitness. And the last few years has seen our movement broaden to include elements of spirituality, mindfulness, and economic health. In short, the Paleo movement has shifted from food-centric entity to that of creating and maintaining a holistic, complete, and sustainable YOU. A soul and sustainability, backed by science, YOU.
Readily to fully embrace a sovereign and sustainable YOU? Paleo f(x)™ and the Paleo movement have your back.
Heal thyself, harden thyself, change the world –