Frank Forencich is an internationally-recognized expert on health and human adaptation. As an engaging speaker and movement teacher, he brings a unique perspective to the human predicament and offers practical solutions for some of the most pressing problems of our age. Frank is the author of several books on health and the human predicament, most recently The Sapience Curriculum. He is a black belt in karate and aikido.
From this episode:
I love this distinction [between humanity and culture] because a lot of people aren’t sure where to put the focus right now. I read a lot on, for example, New York Times. I read the various environmental, habitat destruction, climate stories that come out. I read the comment section. What I always see in the comment section are people talking about humanity as the problem. “Humans are a virus on the planet.” “Humans are a pathogen.” “Humans are cancer on the Earth.” Some people even say, “Humans are the asteroids that are causing this mass extinction event.” They put the focus on humanity. You could make that case, if you wanted to. The problem if you make that case is that you have got nowhere else to go. If humanity is the problem, why even get out of bed in the morning? That’s the end of the conversation. I prefer to put my focus on culture. There’s a good reason for this. There have been many human cultures throughout human history that have lived in rough harmony with the natural world. in ways that have been profoundly sustainable. We are fully capable of doing that. The big ?? there is us: the modern culture. That’s the place where we can do some work. That;s the place where activists, artists and teachers can do some work: to change the trajectory of the culture. Once we get clear on that distinction, then it makes our activism a lot more effective…
Indigenous people didn’t have a monopoly on wisdom. Certainly, there was plenty of bad behavior in the Paleo, we can be sure of that. But they did have a narrative. They did have a view. They did have something that we don’t have, which is a sense of humility and modesty. Most indigenous people seem to have that woven into their culture. They distrusted ego. They distrusted power. There is plenty of evidence that native people would act in concert to bring down egocentric individuals, and people who tried to exercise too much power. They mistrusted this and took action to level the hierarchy, and to live closer to the circular natural of life. That’s the lesson that we can take. That’s something that anybody could take.
Our music for this episode is the track “Run Billy Run” by Dana Lyons.