Humans are inherently weak, feeble and really shouldn’t be able to survive much longer than a few hours out in the elements. We have nothing to keep us warm unless we put in work somewhere else and make clothing to trap our body heat.
We can’t go out and kill many things without having to make some type of weapon first. Ditto for self-defense. We were prey for the majority of our existence and had to think about fending off predators if we wanted to make it through the day.
The one thing that we do have that fixes all of these issues is our brain. The ability to think things out, to realize potential, and truth.
The greatest realization that we have as humans is to finally understand we are a predator too…and not just the prey.
When all you need to do is go to Whole Foods or Wegmans or whatever grocery store you go to, you don’t truly understand the dynamic between predator and prey.
What Ehrenreich argues so interestingly is that man has to undergo a change; he has a euphoric release from fear (it’s hardwired in) as he realizes his place as predator. This euphoria is what leads to the sacralization of war. She talks at length about initiation rites and “manhood” as boys become hunters. It’s all about realizing that you’re the predator, not the prey, and the savage joy of survival.
This is the reason why I love sports so much. Fighting, pushing, pulling and doing anything and everything within your physical power to dominate the other person is as close as most of us get to experiencing what it might be like to lose your life. That’s only if you understand it for what it is though. Plenty of kids go out there and play sports but never really reach the point where anything is actually on the line.
It’s easy to down play pro athletes because they “get to play a game” for their job. But do many people realize that if they don’t perform they don’t get paid. It’s as close to hunting for survival that many Americans will get.
When you are able to actually realize “hey, if this was in a bit of a less controlled environment I could lose my life” you understand the importance of getting away from the prey mindset and moving towards a predator mindset.
Everyone wants to be the predator and feels ecstatic emotion when the predator status is confirmed. It boils down to a refashioning of “We will not get eaten today.” It’s a survival mechanism that is out of place in the modern world, where survival is not threatened on a daily basis. So it finds a fit with sporting events, and it fits the best with fighting.
MMA is our societies closest thing to experiencing what it feels like to be prey without going to war. The brutality lies in that the fight that doesn’t end until you are knocked out, unconscious and 100% vulnerable; or you voluntarily give up, essentially saying “if you go any longer you will kill me and I know this now”.
Most people can’t even admit when they are wrong about something the learned in grade school. How hard do you think it is to admit that all of the training you did, the preparation and the pain your put yourself through to get ready for the fight and PROVE that you are the predator and end up losing? How hard do you think it is to go through all of that only to get knocked out in the first 10 seconds? Or to get stuck and have to tap out…letting the other person know you know he his a stronger, faster and more powerful predator than you are.
You’re letting him know that he is what you want to be.
The good news for you is that it isn’t terribly hard to go from thinking like prey to thinking like a predator. It’s hard wired in us as human beings to go through this transition as we mature. If we didn’t have this built in mechanism there is no way we’d be where we are today.
Realize that you are weak, feeble and barely able to survive without some basic needs that have been handed to you for your entire life. Shelter, water, and food have probably been a staple in most of your lives and you’ve rarely had to really sit around and figure out how to keep or get them. It’s nice to have grown up a place where you don’t need to worry about the bare necessities. When you are missing one or more of these life takes a different turn and your mind only thinks about filling these basic needs.
Side note: those are the only bare necessities. Lattes, Uggs, iPhones and anything else you are trying to rationalize to yourself as a necessity isn’t and your doing yourself a disservice by spewing that bullshit.
Understand this…take a minimalist approach to everything you do in life and it will be much more manageable and enjoyable. The mental capacity it takes to account for extra knick knacks in your house and whether or not you should buy new throw pillows to match that red wine stain in your carpet is better used for enjoying the company of your loved ones or making sure you’re in a position to survive.
Walk, jump, skip, run or any other form of locomotion to the edge of your comfort zone…and then expand it. You don’t want to lift weights because you’re embarrassed of what other people there might think of you? You don’t want to take the exam to get certified in something you have a passion for because you might fail and feel bad about yourself?
Shut the fuck up and do it.
If you’re so afraid of looking like an idiot or feeling inferior, then go sit in your room with the lights off. That’s the only way you’re guaranteed to not run into someone better, faster, smarter, prettier and just overall better than you. Take your weaknesses and whatever makes you uncomfortable head on, it’s the only way you can overcome it.
Unlimited possibilities are not suited to man; if they existed, his life would only dissolve in the boundless. To become strong, a man’s life needs the limitations ordained by duty and voluntarily accepted. The individual attains significance as a free spirit only by surrounding himself with these limitations and by determining for himself what his duty is. THE I CHING, CHINA, CIRCA EIGHTH CENTURY B.C.
-Quote taken from “The 33 Strategies of War” by Robert Greene
By doing something repeatedly, though, and understanding it, you can diffuse and defuse the fear. This is true for sailing, riding motorcycles, asking girls out—even getting hit in the face by a man who wants to kill you.