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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Conditioning


I recently read a blog post about self defense training and the difficulty that instructors were having breaking the social conditioning that we all have. That post is here if you're interested.

The quote that got me thinking was "Nothing about survival or self-protection or self-defense or whatever you want to call it is difficult or unnatural. This is exactly the problem we were evolved to solve. Not being a victim is part of our deepest wiring. Mind, body and spirit have all the tools."

If you think about it for a while, he's right.

Our bodies haven't changed all that much for the last several thousand years, so we all have the same basic equipment for survival that our ancestors did (if they didn't survive, they wouldn't be ancestors). All of our senses are tuned to hunt and forage for food, and with the invention of glasses and such we can maintain our abilities longer in life than ever before. We still lead the rest of the animal kingdom with our opposing thumbs and large fore-brains. We have all the basic tools issued at birth (excepting those with medical conditions) to eat, drink, walk, communicate, and fight. Training will hone those tools into what you may need to stay alive in an emergency.

Our minds are slightly different from those of people who had to live hand-to-mouth. We still have some of the basic instincts, like the desire to hoard and gorge whenever possible. Our brains keep trying to tell us when danger is near, but most of the time we ignore it. Fear is something that is so far removed from most peoples' lives that we have to watch movies or visit a haunted attraction in order to feel scared. Those scares are the same as they were a hundred years ago; we just have better special effects now. This is one of the reasons people "freeze" during an emergency: they are completely unprepared for what they are seeing and have no clue as to how to deal with it. At worst, they'll try something they saw in a movie and end up making things more dire than they were.

Our spirits, though, have changed the most. People have been taught that they can eat and drink without having to think about it, and it has made them lazy and dependent. Hunting is looked down upon by a large segment of society as a barbaric tradition that should be abolished now that we have grocery stores. Going 24 hours without food is considered abuse or torture now, instead of being considered "cleansing" or a beneficial thing. A 24 hour fast will not kill you unless you have one of the rather extreme medical conditions, but if dinner's an hour late you'll hear all kinds of complaints. Our spirits have gotten soft.

Our souls are not really involved in survival. They'll still be around after our physical bodies have quit working. I'm not sure if our souls are subject to the same kind of changes that have impacted the other three parts of us.


Another line from the article is "Almost all of society is set up to perpetually brainwash them so that they never remember their own power."

Again, he got it mostly right. I think a better way of saying it would be , "Almost all of every society is set up to keep them brainwashed so they can never find out what they have lost." Society, by definition, places more emphasis on the group than the individual. Individuals with the ability to survive without, or outside, the group become a threat to the group because they may show others how to live outside it. If enough people leave the group, it is no longer as strong and may not survive. Groups have survival instincts just like individuals, and groups tend to outlive individuals. Society is always going to try to control the ones on the fringes and stomp on any information that may weaken the society. It's a matter of self-preservation.



Learn to use what you've got. Research what the human body can actually do. Never sell yourself short and always keep struggling towards something better. Humans have been through a lot in the time we've been here, some of us will get through it again.

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