The Human Operating Manual

Part I: Our Needs

The basic physiological requirements for human survival.

Let’s get right to the point. We are sick on a multitude of levels. 

  • Individually, we are tired, stressed, susceptible to a variation of life debilitating diseases, and addicted to immediate gratification.
  • Culturally, we are trapped in a state of perpetual cognitive dissonance, systematic oppression, and biological distancing from our evolutionary requirements.
  • Globally, resources are depleting rapidly, biosphere conditions are changing, and entire species of animals are dropping like flies.

I apologize for the grim and sensationalized start, but no matter how we look at it, it’s not looking good for the recently self-discovered Homo sapiens. We came roaring onto the scene, figured how to work together, found our place in the natural order of things, and then decided, “You know what? Enough is not enough.” What followed was the pillaging of the planet’s resources, warring against competing groups, and a technological revolution that led to us gaining the power to destroy everything. 

If we put the threat of self-imposed annihilation to the side for now, we can address the crazy fact that our hardwired physiology has barely changed at all. Meaning that the basic requirements for the modern day car driving, coffee drinking, digitally addicted human being are almost identical to that of our sub-Saharan ancestors. Unfortunately for us, we’ve been so distracted with technological advancements, specializing in a small subset of skills, and self-imposed cultural requirements that we’ve distanced ourselves from the bare necessities of survival.

Individually, these requirements include but are not limited to:

I’m sure this list is of no surprise to anybody. It’s hard to deny the importance of getting enough sleep and eating better. What often gets misinterpreted is the optimal requirements of each category and the socially constructed hierarchy of perceived importance of these categories. Resulting in our motivation to fulfil these requirements becoming greatly skewed by our culture, convenience, and education.

Many of us are overwhelmed with the process of becoming a healthy human being. Especially when our current environment is vastly different to what our physiology evolved for. What makes matters even worse is that the consequences of ignoring our health don’t usually show up until way down the track. By then, the cause of our dysfunction is so far removed from the response that we attribute our disease to bad luck or whatever external stressor is the most convenient at the time.      

The silver lining to this disconnection from nature is that we have never been as safe or abundant in resources as we are now. This safety gives us the privilege of being able to choose our own methods of accomplishing our individual health objectives. An example of this would be by playing an outdoor sports activity. This would provide the health benefits of movement, breathing, social cohesion, purpose within a group, clean air, and sunlight. Not to mention the downstream effects of improved sleep quality, increased motivation for healthier food and beverage choices, and lowered overall stress. 

If we can prioritize a few hobbies into our week, that cover most of the aspects of our health, we won’t feel as overwhelmed by the conflicting health information we find online. Resulting in life changing effects such as:

  • Improved energy
  • Increased overall longevity
  • Mental clarity
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Increased interoception
  • A greater sense of control
  • Healthier relationships  

So, if you would like to improve your quality of life right now, click one of the needs links and find an activity that works for you. If you are more interested in the bigger picture, read through each section, explore the rabbit holes, and develop your own health system that fits your chosen lifestyle.  

JayPT +