Repaleolithization

Repaleolithization is a concept developed by Frank Vanderwal in the novel Fifty Degrees Below. It is a life style attempt to return to activities that are sane for the human body and mind and were practiced by human beings as they evolved in ancient geological times but which are now mostly abandoned in modern urban life. It was meant to enhance the experience of living and accompany one's pursuit of happiness, a "landscape restoration inside the brain".

This highly scientific term is derived from the paleolithic era, or Stone Age, extending roughly from 2.6 million years ago to circa 10,000 BC, during which times the homo genus evolved into the homo sapiens species, developed tools, tamed fire, lived through hunting and gathering in small tribes and doubled their brain volume from ca.600 cm3 to ca.1200 cm3.

Frank lists paleolithic behaviors that are said by anthropologists to be stimulating to the human brain and acted as triggers in its expansion in the past. They are (p.99):

  • talking
  • walking upright
  • running
  • dancing
  • singing
  • stalking animals
  • throwing things at things
  • looking at fire
  • having sex
  • dealing with the opposite sex more generally
  • cooking and eating the paleolithic diet
  • gathering plants to eat
  • killing animals for food
  • experiencing terror

Despite being in an otherwise urban environment, in Washington DC, Frank pursued to engage in all of these activities as an experiment on himself with various degrees of success. For example he tracked feral animals in Rock Creek Park or played frisbee golf with his friends.

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