Monday, April 22, 2013

Fleshing out Unzoo

I have written a page on the Unzoo concept origins, but this post is to flesh out the concept further; what it means now, it's application, scope and implications.

Basically Unzoo refers to "undoing the zoo". Of course we all think of zoos as the the place where animals are kept for people to see. In the past zoos did not create contexts that were appropriate for animals. Diet, movement and environment were tamed by the zoo in order to manage them. Now, generally zoos are much more enlightened places where the animals are matched to their natural requirements, and are healthier and happier for it. However, closer to home, the "human zoo" is not yet so enlightened. In our context, zoo is still a bad word.

Zoo can be many things. It describes a state of being. Zoo is anti-nature. Zoo is what happens when our tools stop working for us, and work against us instead. Zoo can be technology, our tools, our culture. Our architecture, our food, our movement, our politics. Even the size of our population is "zoo" if it goes beyond its natural bounds.

When do things become zoo? Anytime things work against our true nature. And our true nature is based on how we have evolved to be. A "zoo human" is a human removed from its natural environment, not eating food appropriate to its species, not moving in all the ways a human has evolved to move. It is when our population exceeds our resources (natural and psycho-cultural). When our technology has exceeded the natural boundaries of our evolution.

Zoo is taming the beast. Man dominating nature. Industrialisation. Forgetting who we are, becoming lost.

The progress of civilisation tends to be cyclically destructive, primarily due to running down our natural resources or political upheaval resulting from scarcity. This is the zoo in action. In the end the human zoo is what will destroy us.

Some societal reform thinkers propose a solution is to switch thinking from short term to longer term. Sharing resources, cleaning up pollution, basic healthcare and birth control, economic limits in line with natural ones. Another opinion is that a global cognitive transition from conceptual to conscious awareness will bring a new era of enlightenment to society. Unzoo absorbs this thinking, but takes it further.

So what is Unzoo? "Undoing the zoo" invokes an evolutionary context to all thinking. It embraces working with nature as opposed to working against nature. Tools and technology are Unzoo if they work for us and with nature. Our nature and the nature we live in.

Unzoo is an inherently subversive concept given that it seeks to reverse some of the key developments of civilisation that are "zoo". This is not to say that Unzooing is a step back from progress. Rather it is a new path to move forward on.

What is a good example of the Unzoo principle in action? Here's one I know and respect; MovNat. MovNat is a physical education & fitness system based on training the full range of natural human movement abilities. That Unzoo's your movement. MovNat is not merely a reversion to primal movement, rather it uses our intellectual tools to develop our natural movement abilities into higher level skills. As such it perfectly demonstrates our technology working with nature to progress as a human race.

What are the benefits of Unzoo? Apply the Unzoo principle to all key aspects of life and see what might happen. Unzoo this; our cognition, movement, architecture, infrastructure, technology, culture and politics.

What might we get? "Super-cognition". "Superhuman movement".
Amazing architecture blended with nature. Re-integration of animals into human life. Not just zoos and farms. Smaller sustainable populations. "Natural technology" that integrates into a holistic evolutionary based lifestyle. Play as a normal part of everyday life for all. Healthy functional relationships stemming from optimal lifestyle structures and patterns. Evolutionarily contexted politics beyond left, right or green.

Unzoo everything. In a word - it's utopia!

Where to start? That's for another post.