Training for the Unknown and the Unknowable: Or, What to Do If Life Accidentally Happens to You

[Republished with permission from the officially fake weekly publication Crossfit Quarterly]

I know, it’s a scary thought: What if, by the sheer stroke of fate, life somehow happens to you? For goodness sake let’s hope it doesn’t, but be prepared just in case.

I mean, perish the thought, but honestly, what happens if you lose your Williams-Sonoma Rösle potato masher and have to prep for a dinner party in just two hours? How could you face the guys at the country club after locking your keys out of the Porsche Cayenne and are forced to walk home from Home Depot? This is a harsh world, and we need to train for the remote possibility that life will happen to us.

Okay okay okay… I give. I give. I hear you… It’s not really about training for infinitesimally trivial yuppie emergencies. It’s functional! I’m with you. The world is a scary place. People’s families absolutely do get kidnapped by ninjas, and karate lessons are more tolerable for those who can do 15 rounds of Cindy (for the non-Fran friendly among us, that’s an [unsanctioned] Crossfit double entendre). And yes, I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes your crack commando unit gets sent to prison by a military court for a crime they you didn’t commit, and to promptly escape from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground, you have to move the one obstacle between you and the sweet taste of freedom. What are you gonna do then, call one of your fraternity brothers who’s been doing curls all day!? Bahahahaha. Sure, let’s see him bench press his way to freedom. Amiright.

Okay, for realz this time. It’s not actually for really real about all of those imaginary scenarios. Those are just straw men created as a literary device — you nailed me. When the rubber hits the road, it’s about something much much more serious than all that:

“CrossFit prepares us for anything and everything that we may encounter in life…  A lot of boxes post the ‘Workout of the Day’. But in order to truly train for the unknown, most days you will come to [some Crossfit affiliate] with no idea what the daily WOD will be. We like it that way.” – an actual Crossfit affiliate

Truth, Crossfit Nowheresville. Truth! Our monotonous lives are so scripted and predictable that the only thing we can possibly come up with that’s unknown or unknowable is the &@#$ing WOD!? I guess there’s always the weather:

“All [the unknown and the unknowable] joking aside, we really aren’t sure as to whether we’ll be open for classes tomorrow or not [because of the hurricane].” – another actual Crossfit affiliate

Deeeet deeet deeeeeet deet deeeeeeeeeet… “This just in: Ferocious Hurricane Prevents Local Man from Going to the Gym. Also at 11: Cats! Are they really plotting to take over Fort Knox with their laser technology? Tune-in for a news hour your life, AND your gold, may depend on.”

This whole “unknown and the unknowable” business is a canard — playing on our shared human desire to experience an unscripted life. Of-fracking-course… Surprises happen. Bad things even happen. But training for the repressed hope of connection with the natural world while self-isolating in the anesthetizing cocoon of workaday refuge is a betrayal of the human experience.

Do you pay someone to be your owner? Do you live in a crib, work in a cube, and play in a box? Welcome to the full realization of agricultural industrialization. All the time saved by the promise of progress and technology somehow eludes your grasp.

“Who wants a world in which the guarantee that we shall not die of starvation entails the risk of dying of boredom?”

Stop training for a life that maybe might someday happen. Passivity doesn’t suit you and Cages are for bad movies. Actively seek the unknown and the unknowable. Live. Get dirty. Play. Go. Now.


(It’s inevitable that some are going to read this and think I’m saying “don’t do Crossfit”. So before I get a bunch of hate mail… I’m *not* saying that. That interpretation would miss my point.)

  1. Danielle Meitiv 4 years ago

    Got your point – and love it. Much thanks as always.

  2. Victoria 4 years ago

    It's like evolvify and drywall (sorry, don't know how to html in a link: got together and wrote a blog post!

    Love it- of course…

    • Author
      Andrew 4 years ago

      What!? If it’s just a combination of evolvify and elite sarcasm, where did the profound moral lesson come from?

  3. JasonSeib 4 years ago

    I'll say it. Don't do CrossFit.

  4. The Primal Parent 4 years ago

    Yeah, gyms are for boring people and they don't train you for shit.

    When your house actually gets broken into and you're grabbed in the blink of an eye by a big masked drugged out pimp with a gun and a taser, you can kiss all your training goodbye.

    The only thing you can count on then is being resilient.

    My brother's records got crossed by some criminal black dude. Weirdest thing ever. Lawyers and court dates and all the fighting he could do wouldn't clear his mistaken identity. He suddenly owed thousands of dollars, had three strikes, and was due for jail. He said fuck it and moved to China. That's resilient.

    • Author
      Andrew 4 years ago

      Oh geez… Yeah… I read that post a while ago; it's intense even in written form. And yes… you make a good point — when real shit goes down, overhead squat technique and deadlift max tends to be meaningless.

      "He said fuck it and moved to China."
      This nicely demonstrates the human "frontier" impulse I've written about elsewhere. In the face of overwhelming state coercion, we don't have many real options left. This is one reason I'm wary of the increase in border security that seems to be sweeping the globe. What's popularized as attempts to keep foreigners out also has the effect of keeping people in.

      • Victoria 4 years ago

        I don't know- it helps to have a good deadlift… about a month ago I helped roll a fallen horse off a trapped rider. Not sure how many of the bystanders could have deadlifted half a horse in that situation!

  5. tyler 4 years ago

    like Jonsi says: go do

  6. David Csonka 4 years ago

    Funny thing about your joke on the farmer's walks. I've been doggedly trying to grow plants on my porch during this hellish Colorado Fall (feels like Winter already). I have some leafy greens growing in buckets, etc. I can move the buckets into my outdoors closet by the water heater/HVAC unit to keep them warm on the nights that freeze, which basically means every other night.

    The only real problem I have, is that the position of my balcony faces to the east, which gives my plants some good sunlight in the morning, but it's only about 3 hours, max. My solution is to carry my bucketed plants downstairs, outside, and place them behind my car in the parking lot in a place where they can get full sunlight (such that it is during a Colorado winter) for the whole day.

    This might seem like a simple chore except for the fact that each 5 gallon bucket, loaded down with rocks, soil, plant, and moisture weighs between 60-75 pounds. And, I have four of them.

    So yeah, it's a pretty awesome farmers walk, and it's fairly legitimate because it involves farming/gardening, right? LOL

    • Author
      Andrew 4 years ago

      I was just talking to somebody about how moderns think hunter-gatherer life is all scary, and choosing agriculture was somehow a no-brainer leading to boundless joy and root beer float popsicles from here to the horizon . Obviously, these people have never farmed… especially prior to petroleum driven tractors and the rest of factory farming technology.

      Carrying around buckets of dirt… Welcome to the agrarian dream! :)

      • David Csonka 4 years ago

        I'm still waiting for my complimentary root beer float popsicle.

  7. Neal Matheson 4 years ago

    This is an interesting post, from some stuff I have read it seems that lot of what are posted as "primal or paleo" workouts don't really seem to bear any relation to he recorded realities of HG life.
    I did crossfit for a few years and quite liked it but found the culture of the site a bit wearisome. Crossfit seems tailor made for modern stressed people with little time and a "goal-oriented achievement" mindset, I doubt its evolutionarily congruent though.

    • Profile photo of Andrew Author
      Andrew 4 years ago

      yeah, the philosophy of gym/crossfit training kind of feels like a band-aid solution to me. applied to the paleo diet framework, it might be something like continuing to eat garbage, then trying to supplement yourself to health.

  8. @DailySuicide 4 years ago

    This seems to be related:
    (Experiencing verses models?)

    "…my sense of “phenomenological truth,” which takes truth as being the ways the world shows itself to us, rather than as an inner mental representation that accords with an outer reality. This is core to Heidegger and phenomenology. There are many ways in which we enable the world to show itself to us, including science, religion and art. Those ways have their own forms and rules (as per Wittgenstein). They are genuinely ways of knowing the world, not mere 'games.' "

    "So, yes, I am among the many who have abandoned the idea of Truth as an inner representation of an outer reality from which we are so essentially detached that some of the greatest philosophers in the West have had to come up with psychotic theories to explain how we can know our world at all. "

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Evolvify ©2010 - 2015. A Feralculture Community Site

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?