That’s the way we fix him. We must satisfy the beast. Your body, my body, our entire species general physical form is what I call the human animal; and what an animal! It is the most complex machine the world has ever known. Its capable of computing exactly where you should place your hand to catch a speeding ball flying toward you in milliseconds. Whereas your laptop regularly accesses and decodes the largest collection of information the world has ever known by doing tens of thousands of processes simultaneously and even it can’t do that calculation in time. It also doesn’t have arms or a hand to catch the ball with so there’s that too.
Our bodies are amazing beasts. They perceive the world in at least 5 ways according to our culture but there’s definitely more ways from inexplicable intuition to balance. This machine is so amazing in part because it was designed for adaptation. Every animal plant and fungi on the planet has a strategy it employs to keep itself alive and the species propagating. Each strategy is a little different from everyone else’s strategy so everyone can live sharing the earth and its resources. Some birds build nests in trees and some holes in the ground; same with certain species of spiders. They do this so they aren’t all competing for the same habitat and other resources.
The human animal chose adaptability as a main ingredient for our survival strategy.
That’s how we took over the world. We’re designed to be so adaptable that we don’t come out of our mother’s belly’s fully baked; able to feed, clothe and protect ourselves as newborns. We can’t even walk or crawl when we come out. We come out partially baked and we continue to bake for about 25 years so we can adapt to anything. We are so highly adaptable; we can live anywhere in the world in nearly any climate. We are innately capable of achieving feats of incredible physical strength, endurance and healing. One other profound thing stands out about our species strategy for survival. That’s our incredible cooperation skills which have led to our colonizing and destroying much of our amazing planet. Our cooperation skills are definitely legendary.
The body that you and I have today was in a way designed by our great great great great great great great grandfathers and mothers. Any machine can only work optimally when it is used in the way it was designed and intended to be used. Great great grandpa expected your life to leave you physically taxed with little available food so you were designed to be nutritionally conservative, and socially interdependent. But let me ask you a question. Is that what your body experiences? Do you and your neighbor or close family members combine the food that you gathered off tree’s bushes and roots throughout the day so everyone would have enough food? Probably not.
The consequence of not having those species expected experiences is that you gain weight easily and often need friends and family support even if its not to share meals for survival. This means you aren’t using your body the way it was designed to be used. Me neither. Almost no one living in the modernized world is. You would have to go way out of your way to do that. I for one am glad I can get coffee and a bagel without growing the beans and grinding the wheat for it but the point still stands.
So what happens to a machine that is not used for the purpose for which it was designed?
That depends on the machine. What if that machine was engineered to be so efficient that it was designed to use the same parts that it uses for say locomotion, to also facilitate water metabolism and waste removal? Well, that machine would slowly work less and less efficiently as waste and water build up and eventually will crumble and fail. How little locomotion happens would have a direct effect on how fast the machine will fail. This is the interdependent reality of the human animal you reside in 24/7. It really is the most incredible machine ever made.
Are you beginning to see where I’m going with this? Can you guess what the solution is? No, I don’t just want you to walk more. Walking is amazing for health and the example I gave is true of the design of the human animal but if that’s what you think I’m talking about you will have missed the bigger better point. This is simpler even than that and is further reaching as well. “Satisfy the beast” is a principle you can keep in the back of your mind to help you keep an eye on the health and balance of all your functions. Your energy levels, physical and mental health are all directly affected by, as they all refer to or are housed in, the human animal! The principle is the remedy and it is to always keep in mind, and to treat yourself like a wild animal once in a while.
Ever wonder why wild sex is so good? Its not just the orgasm. Masturbation can be fun but doesn’t provide the same experience, does it? Sex usually feels better and more complete because it combines an orgasm with lots and lots of body contact and MOVEMENT. Things great great great great (you get the point) grandma designed you for. I’m sure she’s smiling down at another opportunity for more great great great great great great grand kids every time it happens. The wisdom of her design generates health and well-being from combining exertion for physical health with social bonding thru body contact and ensures the future of the species with the gift of orgasms. That’s some seriously genius engineering. The only way to improve on this would be if humans desire for sex was compulsive… so…
The simplest and best things we can do for our bodies are told to us from elementary school. Eat right exercise good rest. These are the basic tenants any pet owner knows is what they need to worry about with their dogs. We know how to treat our animals but we forget that WE are animals. You don’t give your dog chocolate because it is bad for them. One bar won’t kill your dog; mine has seriously eaten like 4 entire bars (without my permission). But it will harm them in the long run or if they to it often. So you restrict your dog’s chocolate privileges for health reasons. Do you do the same for you?
If we remember to “satisfy the beast” what we are remembering is that we are animals with instincts, impulses and a certain set of physical needs and desires beyond what a “person” is often thought to need. Just like your dog. As humans we get this hella upgraded brand new part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex whose job is to facilitate socialization within the species. This is evidenced by the fact across all species with a PFC, Prefrontal Cortex, which is social mammals, the species with the most PFC matter have the largest social groups.
Most of the PFC's job is to help us “control the beast.”
The PFC sits on top of all the older parts of the brain to do some top-down regulation. That is extremely important to making sure we can establish and maintain connections with the people around us that matter to us so we don’t act like “animals” or lizard people (reacting from the lizard brain ie brainstem). The PFC is the primary part of the brain responsible for facilitating human civilization and cooperation. It’s the “oh no, I really shouldn’t” part of us. Our ancestors worked hard to gift us with this amazing chance to beta test this newest and powerful part of our brain. We have used it well to control the beast as evidenced by civilization itself. But now I think it’s time we use it not just to control the beast but to satisfy it.
We have gone so far down the control the beast mode for so long as civilization spread and populations grew because we all had to learn how to get along stacked on top of each other like that. We controlled ourselves so much that we have created a great valley in our thought processes that pits our sense of self and humanity against our animal nature instead of the reality which is that it was and continues to be our animal nature that our humanness is predicated on.
A happy well fed properly socialized and exercised beast is much easier to deal with and are much more predictable. They’re less reactive and have less health problems than their domesticated counterparts. (Pugs V Wolves) The best way to satisfy the beast is regularly. Regular or scheduled species expected stimuli is best to prevent problems of all sorts. But we may need to satisfy the best in the moment too. Those elementary school explanations believe it or not are some of the best ways to do that. Like “walk it off.” Literally go for a walk. You’ll be surprised how helpful it is. I know you won’t “feel like it” in the moment but give it a chance.
Many cool things happen when you walk. We all know its good exercise. You also metabolize water and waste like I mentioned earlier. If you’re feeling stressed out for any reason and choose to go on a walk your brain also interprets the movement of your peripheral vision passing you as you escaping the source of the stress. That’s a HUGE relief because that’s the species expected process for stress. Remember great great grandma’s grandma didn’t design you to deal with problems on the other side of the world. She designed you to respond to threatening situations right in front of you. The only thing worse than stress is chronic stress. The kind you’re not able to get away from. Walking provides the peripheral movement of the environment indicates escape to your brain and resets the system even if you’re only escaping the drama on the screen of your phone.
I said there are many ways to satisfy the beast not just walking. Movement is beastly need we are most deficient in because it’s the one we have outsourced the most. That’s why we are still talking about it. Our bodies were designed with an expectation to spend more than half our day looking for food, not in a chair. Walking works and going to the gym works too but they are still not enough for optimal health.
For optimal health move in weird fun ways.
Try making a game out of it. Just try standing on one leg while you watch tv or listen to the Speak Plainly Podcast. Put one foot up by your knee and then try the other leg. Move your body around at different angles while standing on one leg. Don’t just stand straight up. That’s boring and you already do that position. Standing up straight and sitting on a surface that puts our femur at a 90 to the spine (chairs). That’s nearly it for common body positions in our culture today. Most of us are experiencing only two body positions when we were all designed to be looking for berries, chopping fire wood and carrying water all day. Every. Single. Day.
So mix up your movements. Find a playground and use the monkey bars. Crawl up your stairs on all fours. When your good at that try crawling down them! Crawl around the livingroom on all fours. Spend an entire afternoon doing all the regular things you would normally do but do them with your shoulder blades retracted. Trying keeping your shoulders back as you open doors. Actually reach behind you instead of turning around to grab things behind you. Practice hand stands against a wall. There are an infinite number of ways you can add varied movement to your day without going to a gym or consuming an hour of your time no matter your fitness level. You can even just knead some bread if you’re into food type things.
You are a human and you are an animal.
A complicated confused and self-aware animal. Confused because your entire genetic memory has been striving for this moment in time. Striving to make the lives of descendant’s better generation after generation until we arrive where we are today. The fact that we've made it to today and are still suffering is the confusing part. Us in the western world like never before are free from nearly all physical labor that was once demanded for survival. So, those excrement and waste systems we talked about are backed up in all of us. Your body is so efficient it was designed to account for every experience all the way down to expecting and counting on the physical SQUEEZE of mechanical pressure on cells in order for nutrient exchange. Your beast was designed to need the pinching of body parts and glands created by muscles pulling bones together. It was all accounted for and counted on by the engineers to keep the whole human animal running smoothly and in good health.
So why do we still struggle. We are probably the most self-aware creatures in the world; living in the most sophisticated machine ever created. Every machine in the world came from this one. Really, every wheel widget and rocket ship was created by the human animal. You and I have insight into its needs by turning our attention to not what can be learn on the outside but how much we already know in the inside.
Any sensation generated by this incredibly sophisticated machine is designed to tell you something. We have just forgotten its language and have outsourced listening to ourselves to blood panels. Today we have learned to be concerned with news about places, people and situations of which we can do nothing about. We already established great great great granny designed us to respond to threats right in front of us; not terrible situations on the other side of the planet. So, we know this is hard on your body. Very hard on your body in fact. But still, you are a good kind person in the modern world who doesn’t want anything bad to happen to anyone. You are naturally concerned with their wellbeing because all people matter to you too. Still, you can do nothing to relieve their suffering so far away.
As a privileged, concerned and responsible citizen of the world...
it’s your natural duty to want more information on the subjects you care about. Generally the more information a human has the better. With more information you can more accurately predict what will happen with them and your brain really likes that. That’s almost the brains whole gig. Brains LOVES prediction; All the better if it can use its predictions to create habits; its other favorite thing. One habit every brain has for survival is to keep an eye out for things that are important to you the user. Since you’re a good person, those poor people going thru hell on earth on the other side of the globe are important to you. Which means you’ve tasked your brain with another job, to constantly scan your environment for information about those poor people.
You know what I’m talking about here because it’s the new car phenomenon. You have never seen a pink Jetta so you debate buying a pink Jetta and suddenly they’re everywhere because suddenly pink Jetta’s became important to you. In the same you will search and even manipulate your environment subconsciously to find information that you desire. So you turn on the news to stay properly updated on world events. Every time you turn on the news you see coverage of the same story that broke your heart a month ago and it breaks all over again as you “feel their pain.”
That’s not just a metaphor either, that’s exactly what’s happening to you. Your brain is imagining what it would be like for you to be in their shoes and due to grandma’s immediate threat design you dump the same stress chemistry into your body as you would if you were the person going through the horrible fate that you’re only watching. You do that even once and its habit forming because completes a loop. To our brains’ information is worth a lot. It’s an end unto itself biologically speaking.
Your beast will physically experience to only a slightly lesser degree what you the beast empathize with. But there is one major difference between you and the refugees you empathize with. You aren’t there. You didn’t experience the actual trauma which also means you didn’t escape either. You don’t get to have the full experience of finally making it to a refugee camp where you get a warm meal and hugs from other people who know your struggle. You don’t get to experience the necessary progression from 1st person involvement in a traumatic incident to resolution in whatever form it comes.
You, good hearted & concerned citizen, get the rare and brand new privilege of reliving the absolute worst, most dramatic, made for TV moments, that get televised over and over and over and over for weeks or months. While the people who were bombed by Greedy American corporations left their homes and bombings behind to find safety, while you watch it on repeat. This trauma isn’t happening across the globe anymore. You’re receiving what’s called secondary trauma and its VERY real. The natural progression of first person trauma eventually reaches some resolution. Secondary trauma doesn’t resolve on its own. It requires purposeful effort to resolve.
In our modern interconnected world, we see so many horrible things happening so regularly that taking a moral stand against those horrible things becomes paramount. The more we are bombarded with this information the worse we feel for our fellow humans and the more we want to help. The more we care. The more we care the more stress we bring into our own body with no built-in instincts on how to resolve that type of stress. This is where “satisfy the beast” comes in to remind us that being a good person can unfortunately be counterproductive to being a healthful person.
This is part of why stress related diseases are the coolest trend across the modern world now a days. We really did a number on traditional diseases with the invention of western medicine pharmacology and things like soap. The flu killed more Americans in 1918 than both world wars. Now the big killers are related to not enough movement, too much food or too much stress, and not necessarily in that order.
You have insight into the most incredible machine in the universe and it's falling apart with you inside it.
It can only really communicate with you. Blood panels are awesome and all but if you listen, what you can glean from listening to your body will be seriously awesome, and powerful for you. Its at least going to be more useful to you than your lipid panel is. So when you turn on the news and get stressed out; Listen to your body what is it telling you to do. My body has almost never experienced extreme stress and communicated to me “OH yeah I love this, soak it up!” My mind has with the “I cant I cant I cant.” But my body almost always says “take a walk dude.” Or on some rarer occasions I have gotten “go now, laydown turn off all the lights and just breath.”
When it comes to the body finding resolution for stresses of any sort action cures all. What would you do for your dog who was acting off? Take your body on a walk, just like you would a dog; except you’re bigger, so you should probably walk longer than you would walk a dog. Make sure to give your beast plenty of water and make sure there’s proper socialization time too. I think you’re starting to get the point by now. Make your beast play with other humans so you can learn to socialize if you’re not good at that. If we’re honest, after COVID most of us are bad at it even if we once had social skills. Yes, bad encounters are important too; just try to make sure nobody gets hurt.
We all face physical and mental troubles. When that happens if you can remember to “satisfy the beast” in you, you’ll do much better. Your physical form expects consistent physical exertion from you and so does your brain for optimum functioning. Whether you’re watching the news or having a fight with your partner, remembering that you’re a human animal will help you better recognize and facilitate appropriate responses for whatever weirdness you’re feeling.
It’s finally universally accepted in science that the body and mind function best when the body is in a peaceful pleasant state.
Going from an unpleasant state to a pleasant state can take a very long time if we don’t intervene using our physical body. It’s almost like the brain or mind is somehow connected to the body. It’s almost like one lives inside the other… Remember that. Movement deeply satisfies the beast.
I know I’m harping on this piece. There’s a reason. Ive already said as human animals in the modern world it’s varied and challenging physical movement that is the thing we are most desperately in need of. Most of us thankfully have food shelter and security most of the time. But we don’t have to move much for them. So physical movement will be your greatest asset to taking control over your physical and mental health. There are some even more marvelous benefits from fasting and not consuming food as would have been normal or “species expected stimuli” for us but that’s a whole lot of information I’ll save for a separate article for brevity and clarity’s sake. Grandma didn’t plan for Costco or supermarkets.
You have LOADS of stress and I keep saying your body expects stress. But something is still wrong. Maybe your body isn’t handling your stress well. Don’t worry too much yet. You might just need to switch up the kind of stress that you experience most regularly. The type of stress you ACTUALLY need is physiological stress; physical and mechanical stresses. I’m talking stresses like cold, heat, wet, dry, pushing, pulling, squeezing and shearing forces. The kind you get out in nature like while hiking.
Your body has important processes that require mechanical forces in order to work well. Especially in the places that have the largest range of motion like the hips, groin, necks, knees, and arm pits. Your beast was designed for varied physical movement and exertion like in walking, squatting, crouching, climbing, pounding and chewing as well as hot and cold exposure. Your body expected that kind of stress relatively constantly. But it doesn’t get that kind. It gets the kind comes from sitting on the couch watching coverage of starving children in Africa, refugees from Syria, bombs in Pakistan, and COVID killing more people still.
Tell me. I really want to know. What are you getting from watching the news or reading all those articles that can justify the damage done to your own body and mind by the flood of stress molecules you constantly experience? You get social capital of talking to other people about it…. You get to reenforce that you are a good and empathetic caring person. And? What else do you get?
I hope you don’t need that much reassurance that you’re a good person. I’m sure you are. Is reenforcing the im a good person belief worth your mental and physical health? Cuz it doesn’t have to cost those things. There are other, less costly ways. I don’t know how much news or tv you how much time you spend on social media or how many news articles you read. I don’t need to know because its not about me or what I think is right.
This is about you and your life YOUR life; not the starving kids in Africa or Syrian or Muslim refugees. It’s about your life, right here, today and only you get to decide what and how much is right for you. So, ask yourself, ask your beast, what benefit do you get from concerning yourself with trauma that you can do nothing to help stop prevent or change? Vs the damage it is causing to your health. You are undeniably experiencing the prolonged stress from caring. You now know watching and caring causes physical distress that leads to mental health problems, chronic illness and debilitating diseases.
If you tuned in exactly one week from today and listened to the news again, how different do you think that day’s news will be? Its not much different I promise. Still try it for yourself.
It’s good to be concerned with others well-being. That brings about a natural desire to want to stay informed. It’s fine to talk to your friends about important world events. But now you are aware that the impulse to do this is biological at its base and is actively being manipulated within you in order to sell news.
Meanwhile the stress it’s putting on your system is more real than any impact you might have on the people you seek to support by caring so much. I’m not asking you to become self-centered or cold hearted. Each of us have to recognize for ourselves that the information and now disinformation age has flooded great great great great great great great grandmas hardware with too much data to process accurately; and if we don’t carefully limit our inputs our incredible beast of a machine is going to crash.
How much a person should limit their input is different for each person. I can’t tell you whats right for you. Only you have the insight into your beast. Ask it.
I will tell you I LOVE doing social media Sundays. I hop online once a week on Sundays and check on the people I want to check on, scroll thru memes, laugh my way thru Tiktok videos and try my hand at singing duets. Once a week is great for me. It might change but for now it works great. Even with checking in once a week, not much really changes in the news. Ask your body. It can only talk to you, so experiment and listen up to what’s on the inside.
What if you’re system is already overloaded and crashing? You need to reboot the beast. The instincts of the beast are the instincts for survival in a harsh world. It’s all about keeping the physical form alive. So the only way to give your beast a reboot is physically. Get primal. There is some basic maintenance that must be performed on this incredible machine if we have to if we want function optimally.
Spend 15 min every day in the morning and again in the evening in direct sun light, outside; even if its cloudy. I live in Washington so I understand the struggle. The UV light profile is different during those times and therefore hits different. This informs your body of time of day and even the season. It helps to reset your clock and keep you in context with the natural world not just our artificial concrete one. No, it doesn’t work through glass. The glass stops the information rich UV.
We all need to move regularly
a walk every day cleans out the junk created by stress but also just living and eating and aging. If your mind is racing then walk it out. You’ve probably got an insane number of things on your list so don’t worry if your mind races; don’t try to stop it. Let it run itself out. Its part of your beast so just like an animal it will eventually tire if you leave it alone to finish its work. If it’s been running a long time then it’s built up some endurance and some momentum. So it may take a long time to let it tire. Just keep walking at watching it every day.
Drink water, we all die pretty quickly without it. I think that’s a pretty clear message from all our bodies that water is important. Same thing with food. But with food remember it takes about 45 min for your body to communicate to your brain about food. What it says in the first 15 minutes can be especially deceitful. Whatever happens in the first few minutes is just the mouth talking; and well, that’s his job so you can’t really blame him. Whose mouth doesn’t love the taste of at least one thing that’s terrible for them? Mmmmm… Cheesecake… You don’t need to eat like a monk or rabbit but listen up about 45 minutes after you eat and see what your food tells you.
Satisfy the Animal is a principle, mantra and motto I use to keep my body and mind’s needs wants and reactions in context. I know what animals need and how they react to certain basic things and so do you. Your body can only communicate with the one person driving it. So, you have to figure out for your beast what you need in each moment. Once you learn to listen, you’ll know what to do. Learning just takes practice. “Satisfy the beast” won’t solve all your problems but it will help you remember which ones are animal problems and which ones are human problems. In today’s world, we’ve so separated our sense of self from our animalistic instincts and behaviors that this disconnect is at the root of many quintessential, emblematic modern problems. These two things must stay in balance for our lives and healthful to be vibrant.
So the next time your mind races like crazy or you feel like you’re going to faint from stress. Remember to satisfy the beast. Next time you feel bored and agitated and don’t know what to do ask your beast what to do and not your mind. The mind will likely answer more loudly at first, but the body answers to and its almost always action oriented. So listen up to your beast and learn to satisfy her. The totality of your moods, thoughts and nature depends on her.