Within libertarian circles the popularity of the paleolithic diet is exploding. The logic behind the primal blueprint is simple: for 200,000 years paleolithic man subsisted on a hunter-gatherer diet; agricultural living is a recent phenomena; the transition to a grain-based diet has had deleterious effects on human health. This rediscovery of my ancestral diet begs the question: what else about the paleolithic lifestyle should I be emulating?
Primal footwear seems to be equally in vogue as people are now frequently seen sporting Vibram Fivefingers instead of traditional sneakers. Claimed health benefits include reduced blood pressure, reduced back pain, increased balance, and more. However, despite my faith in the efficacy of the caveman diet and primal footwear I have yet to experiment with either.
A lesser known, but perhaps equally important, routine for paleolithic man was the act of squatting. This is something I have great experience with.
Several years ago I began to develop an extreme discomfort during bowel movements. My suffering lasted a couple of years. All the while I couldn’t help but to think that I was doing something wrong. What it was eluded me.
One day, after a relatively frustrating bathroom experience, I decided to do some serious research. Where it landed me was a Godsend. I had discovered the health benefits of the squatting position. I immediately purchased the Nature’s Platform. That was more than three years ago. Since the day of its arrival in the mail I have not once returned to the sitting position, not even during travel.
Reflecting further upon the benefits of squatting it seemed to me to be the natural position adopted during childbirth, at least by paleolithic woman. Surely, ancestral women were not forced to fight gravity while laying on their backs in an inclined position!
Rewind to when I was in 7th grade. The first instance of a lifelong malady would occur during lunch. A bite of my food would become lodged in my esophagus. After several hours, and much agony, I was able to dispel the food. This problem has plagued me to this day. As a result I am forced to eat at an abnormally slow pace, chewing thoroughly, and swallowing very small amounts, all while drinking copious amounts of fluids to help wash it down.
Twice I have had to visit the emergency room in order to be given muscle relaxants to help pass the food, either up or down.
Fast forward to recent history. A few weeks ago I accidentally got a bite of steak stuck in my esophagus. Steak is the worst kind of food to get stuck because it will not break up and dissolve over time. After 30 minutes of struggling to get the food down I was sure I was going to have to visit the E.R. again.
But what I had learned from previous experiences coupled with my fascination with the primal lifestyle I decided to try something I had never before done. I decided to assume the squatting position. I had my glass of water and a bowl nearby in case the water I would use to help force down the food came back up. But after only a few moments of resting in the squat position I could feel my esophagus working its magic. Shortly thereafter I took a swig of water and without any difficulty, the food had passed.
My logic in doing this was that paleolithic man did not sit upright at a table while eating. He likely hovered over his fresh kill or collection of berries and ate while squatting. Since this revelation I have been eating dinners at home in the squat position. I use a piano stool that puts me at perfect height with the dinner table. I have noticed a definite increase of ease while swallowing food. My wife’s explanation for this ease is that the diaphragm constricts the esophagus while sitting upright, but is open and spread out while in the squatting position, thus allowing easier flow to the stomach.
This affirmation of the benefit of the squatting position has made me do a double take on the paleolithic lifestyle. So when a concept that is completely foreign to my culture is advertised as being in accordance with our prehistoric nature, I take notice. This leads me to polyamory.
I am a happily married man of three years. But shortly after my wedding I converted to anarchism. Had I known then what I know now I can honestly say I would have done it differently. Not being religious I saw no point in a church wedding. Still a minarchist, however, I opted for state recognition and got legally married. Had I been an anarchist at the time I would have chosen neither the church nor the state as a nuptial authority.
I’ve long believed that marriage isn’t for everybody. As time went on I’ve come to believe that marriage isn’t for anybody. Neither the church nor the state can keep two people who want nothing to do with each other together. Where there is love or a sense of commitment there is no need for marriage. Historically, marriage seems to be more a tool for oppression than anything.
With this in mind I’ve begun questioning monogamy as well. While most westerners claim to be monogamous I feel the evidence shows otherwise. At best many people could be considered serial monogamists, being with only one mate at a time. But in the historically understood, biological definition of monogamy, humans by-and-large do not mate with one, and only one, person their entire life, at least not without great difficulty. Furthermore, with the rate at which relationships end with unsanctioned affairs, it seems humanity’s biological imperative to have sexual relations with many trumps the westerner’s cultural expectation to remain sexually exclusive to one.
Researching these topics online I stumbled across a video podcaster who may very well be the Stefan Molyneux of relationships. Watching his videos on polyamory I couldn’t help but to think that this very nondescript looking individual, much like Molyneux, had some very poignant views to share concerning love and human sexuality.
One lead he gave me resulted in my purchasing what is often considered the bible of polyamory. The book Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships gives a sobering outlook at not only man’s evolutionary psychology since the paleolithic period, but also our cultural and physical anthropological predilection towards promiscuity.
Going into the book I expected it to be more of a modern how-to approach to the polyamorous lifestyle. Instead the authors took us back in time to explore how our ancestors related to each other. An overwhelmingly solid case is made, and our ancestral history confirms, that humans’ bodies are biologically hard wired for multiple and frequent sexual partners.
In making these claims the authors, a male-female married couple, show that man’s fall from a life of peace and abundance happened as a result of the agricultural revolution roughly 10,000 B.C.E.
Turns out, the Garden of Eden wasn’t really a garden at all. It was anything but a garden: jungle, forest, wild seashore, open savanna, windblown tundra. Adam and Eve weren’t kicked out of a garden. They were kicked into one.(Sex at Dawn, p. 81)
Interestingly enough throughout the book the authors unwittingly, or covertly, make the case for anarcho-primitivism. They turn the Hobbesian view on its head that prehistoric life was solitary, nasty, brutish, and short. On the contrary, the evidence is clear that our distant ancestors led highly social, sexual, peaceful, and relaxed lifestyles. Only after the discovery of agriculture did a life of abundance worth sharing turn into a life of scarcity worth competing over. And this includes mates.
Despite being marketed to the polycurious, Sex at Dawn reads more like a social science textbook. It isn’t at all titillating, opting instead for a casual scholarly tone. That being said it is a completely fascinating read. I haven’t been exposed to anything this paradigm-shifting since Rothbard’s For a New Liberty. Practically every paragraph forced me to stop and scratch my head. Each page would simultaneously challenge my worldview and blow my mind. There were simply so many thought provoking concepts in the book I’ve decided to not even bother sharing any of them in this article. Which to choose? Each one is an article in itself!
All in all Sex at Dawn is a must read for struggling married couples, soon-to-be married couples, singles, and the entire libertarian community as a whole. Polyamory may very well be the next primal lifestyle choice to break into the mainstream.