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Life conditions conducive to health in Homo sapiens

    Folks, this table is fantastic! It's probably the most important document I've ever read in terms of helping me restore my evolutionary balance, sanity, and well being while staying engaged in the battle for an evolving, alive planet. Not only have I, for years, used this list practically, to help make major decisions that have shaped the directions of my own life, but I also use it in consideration of my activist friends and to help us shape our processes and appropriate behaviors with each other. This table of essential qualities shows just how deeply we are oppressed, and marks a path toward profound universal liberty and well being! This one page alone is so cool it should make you want to support this web site and the networking project called Hayduke Rocks! Print it out and give it to everybody you know!

    The following table is from Western Civilization in Biological Perspective by Stephen Boyden, 1987, Oxford University Press, Table 4.1, pp. 78-79.

    Optimum life conditions for human beings

    "According to the principle of evodeviation, when animals are exposed to life conditions which differ from those to which their species is genetically adapted through evolution, signs of phylogenetic maladaptation are likely to be manifest. The hypothesis was put forward that, in the case of the human species, the principle of evodeviation applies not only to the physical or material aspects of life conditions, but also to less tangible behavioral and psycho-social aspects. It follows, assuming this hypothesis to be correct, that consideration both of the material and of the behavioral and psycho-social aspects of life conditions of primeval people could provide important clues to the nature of the biologically determined or universal health needs of the human species.

    "With these thoughts in mind, a list has been prepared which is a summary both of the life conditions of hunter-gatherers and, accepting the principle of evodeviation and the hypothesis that it applies to intangible aspects of life experience, of the optimum life conditions for members of the human species in general. The list begins with the more tangible material aspects of life conditions and ends with the more intangible psycho-social and behavioral aspects. With respect to many of the postulated health promoting aspects of life conditions, including the intangible aspects, the principle of the optimum range is applicable; that is to say, too little or too much of a given condition may be detrimental to health."

    Life conditions conducive to health in Homo sapiens:

  • Clean air (i.e. "paleolithic air" -- not contaminated with hydrocarbons, sulphur oxides, lead, etc.)
  • Environmental temperatures within the range of those experienced in the 'natural habitat' ("habitat with the characteristics of those inhabited by human beings in phase one societies")
  • Exposure to visible light (duration and intensity) within the range of that experienced in the natural habitat
  • Noise levels within the range of those experienced in the natural human habitat
  • Diet:

    • Calorie intake neither less nor more than metabolic requirements. Social norms which allow the individual to eat when hungry, but which do not encourage overconsumption of calories in response to ritual, habit, or, for example, boredom
    • Foodstuffs providing the full range of nutritional requirements for the human organism. In the primeval situation this is usually provided by a diverse range of different foodstuffs of plant origin and some lean meat (cooked)
    • A diet which is balanced in the sense that it does not contain an excess of any particular kind of chemical constituent or class of foodstuff
    • Foodstuffs with a physical consistency of that of natural foods containing fiber
    • Foodstuffs devoid of potentially noxious contaminants or additives
  • Clean water -- free of contamination with chemicals or pathogenic microorganisms
  • Minimal contact with microbial or metazoal parasites and pathogens

  • An effective emotional support network providing a framework for spontaneous care-eliciting, care-receiving and care-giving behavior
  • Frequent interaction on a daily basis with members of the extended family and in-group on matters of mutual interest and concern
  • Opportunities and incentives for small-group interaction on projects of mutual interest and concern [That means head out to base camp this summer! -- Hayduke]
  • A social environment which confers responsibilities and obligations on the individual toward the in-group

  • Opportunities for the individual to move spontaneously and freely from one small group to another, and to and from a state of solitude
  • Levels of sensory stimulation which are neither much less nor much greater than those of the natural habitat
  • A pattern of physical work which involves some short periods of vigorous muscular work and longer periods of medium muscular work, but also frequent periods of rest
  • A polyphasic sleeping pattern, and the opportunity to rest or sleep in response to the urge to do so
  • Opportunities and incentives for the learning and practice of manual skills and for creative behavior in general
  • Opportunities and incentives for active involvement in recreational activities
  • An environment which has high interest value and in which changes of interest to the individual are continually occurring (and at a rate which can easily be handled by the human psyche)
  • Opportunities for considerable spontaneity in behavior
  • Considerable variety in daily experience
  • Short goal-achievement cycles
  • Aspirations of a kind likely to be fulfilled
  • An environment and lifestyle which are conducive to a reasonable degree of:

    • a sense of personal involvement
    • a sense of purpose
    • a sense of belonging
    • a sense of responsibility
    • a sense of interest
    • a sense of excitement
    • a sense of challenge
    • a sense of satisfaction
    • a sense of comradeship and love
    • a sense of enjoyment
    • a sense of confidence
    • a sense of security

Posted May 15, 2000