In Episode 29 of The Elements of Community Podcast, Lucas Root invites listeners to explore the concept of community and adulthood through an unconventional lens. Root suggests that physical maturity is not the primary indicator of adulthood in humans; rather, it is skills mastery. He goes on to explain that community has a greater role to play when it comes to human development than other animals, and he proposes five key skills that define adulthood: complex communication, fluid leadership, teamwork, strategy, and coaching.
Root then dives into how community plays a part in the four times a woman’s life when she is or can be infertile: childhood (when men and women share it), peak athlete phase (where fertility is turned off by choice), pregnancy (where fertility is naturally switched off) and menopause (when fertility is turned off forever). He explains that each point has its own story and strategy behind it which can only be understood if looked at through a lens of community as one of humanity’s basic needs. This narrative aims to explain why humans have such a long period before they become fertile compared to other animals and how society’s approach towards menopause is misguided – instead of woman losing her status in society, it should be seen as women entering their best years where they can serve their community at their fullest potential.
Overall, Root argues that community is essential to understanding human biology. To illustrate this point further, he draws attention to elder pillars in the community who can help shed light on this subject – specifically women. As part of his mission for 2021, Root hopes to create 50 episodes featuring these pillars as guests on his show where they can discuss concepts like adulthood, the strategy of infertility in women, and understanding community as a whole.
Root encourages listeners to engage with him help him find elder women who are Pilars of their communities. You can nominate an elder woman with the form located here. If you’re interested in learning about how the five elements of community form our basic understandings of adulthood, infertility, leadership, and especially the power of women then this podcast episode is definitely worth tuning into!
Other subjects we covered on the show:
- Lucas has proposed a framework for what it means to be an adult human, which is not necessarily based on age.
- How physical maturity does not define adulthood in humans, but rather skills maturity does and the five skills that define adulthood include: complex communication, fluid leadership, teamwork, strategy, & coaching.
- Lucas discusses how the four times in a woman’s life when she is or can be infertile are actually a strategic aspect of community. Those times are: childhood (when men and women share it), peak athlete phase (where fertility is turned off by choice), pregnancy (where fertility is naturally switched off) and menopause (when fertility is turned off forever).
- Lucas, the show host, is grateful to all those who showed up throughout the season one journey – listeners & guests alike – as they look forward to season two, which will focus on stories around relationships that we call cherish: the relationship of the Grandmother to their community.
AND MORE TOPICS COVERED IN THE FULL INTERVIEW!!! You can check that out and subscribe at https://pbp.li/eoc29.
If you know an elder woman who is a pillar of her commynity that you think should be i9nterview in season 2 of Element of community, you may sponsor her using the form below:
Full Cut Video
Lucas Root: [00:00:00] This episode has been very special to me. It's raw, it's very vulnerable. I, I bear my soul to you. I'm sharing with you some really personally deep thoughts, some things that have built as a result of me engaging with what the idea of community is. And being in a position to be able to share that with you has been one of the greatest joys of my life so far.
And so thank you for being there with me so far. The first piece that's really gonna get out there that's really gonna kick this episode off with an absolute bang is a model of what it means to be an adult human. Or rather, how do you know what an adult human is? and what are the definitions that are floating around out there that people think of for an adult human that don't fit?
And I go on to tie that together with community so that you can see [00:01:00] how the elements of community, our model for community that we've been building works so beautifully in tangent with an adult human. And finally, there's actually a third piece, this a tripod. This stool stands on three legs. And that third piece I'm not gonna tell you about right now cuz it is a magic, beautiful surprise.
Now, what's most important to me right here in this instant is I make some requests throughout this episode that are really important to me, in fact, and you're gonna find in the show notes, A way to be able to respond to those requests. And you're in a position right now and I am being vulnerable with this ask to be able to work with me to build how this show is going to look over the coming season actively.
And so I invite you to look in the show notes, respond to the questions that I ask, and shape this show with me. Thank you.
[00:02:00] I am really I'm, I'm, I'm filled with, with Joy, with Delight at an incredible season one for the elements of community podcast and for the way that you have engaged with me and engaged with all of my guests, and celebrated and listened and enjoyed and even shared the stories. I was able to bring to you through this podcast.
It's been a delight and it's been an honor for me to be able to build that story with you and to share that story through you. So thank you. Thank you for being a part of Elements of Community Season One. Thank you so much for showing up for me and with me in the way that we have this has been amazing.
So season one without really intending season one started out as [00:03:00] just exploring what it means to have a community and starting to build a language around that community with you. And with other people who are interested in this idea and in the story that that we were able to create through that, that lens of community and a few episodes in it sort of directed itself and I allowed that flow to happen.
It sort of directed itself into interviewing business leaders. Part of the reason why I allowed that flow to happen is because it occurred to me that business leaders are in a perfect position to be able to actually execute building community, partly because business leaders are going to be directly impacted by building that community in significant positive ways.
So the incentives are in the right place. The business leader builds a community. The community engages [00:04:00] with a business win-win-win.. , and I think that's really actually quite natural. Remember, the fourth element of community is bidirectional value. The value that the community gets for each member, which includes businesses, the value that the community gives to the members, which again includes businesses, right?
So that bidirectional value is a really important thing, and it's part of the reason why the incentives are aligned for business leaders. It turned into completely by accident. It turned into a really powerful focus for the season one show and now as we draw to a close, I get to look back at some of the really powerful episodes that we had and reflect a little bit in how that created a story and how that made it possible for us to have conversations inside the story that season one brought to us.
It's been beautiful. , here are some of the things [00:05:00] that really stick out to me. You're in review right now on the spot in flow. We discovered that prayer is a language of a community. An amazing discovery. We dove deep into the idea, and I'm gonna go into that more in today's episode. Right now, we dove deep into the idea that leadership needs to be fluid in order for it to be truly human leadership.
The idea of fixed leadership is actually a little bit silly. It's part of the reason why season two is not actually gonna focus on business leaders only. Part of the reason, part of the reason is because leadership needs to be fluid. A a a, an adult human has to be able to express leadership in both seizing leadership when it's the moment for them to move the community forward for them themselves, that person, that [00:06:00] individual, to move the community forward because they are best capable in that instant.
and to cede the leadership to give it up, to hand it over. When somebody else is more capable of handling leadership, and again, so I, I've seized leadership and shared that platform, shared that stage with business leaders, and now we're gonna move into a different version of community and start looking at a different approach to community through that leadership lens.
So some of the really powerful leadership episodes. The, the Peter Laughter leadership episode amazing conversation about how the Quaker community views leadership and how the Quaker community has built their entire culture. Remember, culture is the memory of community, and we'll talk about that today.
The Quaker community has built their entire culture around this notion, and it works and it's [00:07:00] beautiful around this notion that leadership is an in the moment thing. Leadership is an in the moment thing. The person who is most capable of being in leadership in the moment will step forward, will seize leadership in that moment, and as that moment passes, that person will then cede the leadership to the next person Who is most capable in that moment to be in leadership.
Leadership is an in the moment thing. Now, there are some things where leadership lasts a little bit longer, right? For, for example, sometimes there is a project leader, so the leader for the project, the person who has accepted personal accountability to the deliverable, even if they're not executing every single task The leader of the project is probably going to share the stage of leadership regularly.
So sometimes they will be on the stage themselves. Sometimes they will share that stage with the person who is most capable in that moment to be the leader. And [00:08:00] then when the leadership is ceded inside the project, it is ceded back to the person who is leader for the project. Beautiful conversation that, that conversation I had with Peter.
Laughter amazing. a an another thing that comes up the, the, the episode around the, the language that is created inside a community of faith, a community of focused faith. And my, my episode with ISIS and Drea absolutely extraordinary when you think of a community of faith, probably you're thinking of Christian.
This particular community is not a community of Christian faith, and they have taken many of the truly beautiful practices that I see inside some of the major religions today and turned them into something that has built up their community through the common language, the unique common language of their community that is built up in projects and it's built up in prayer, and it's built up in the way [00:09:00] that they communicate, the stories they tell, the way that they build the story of their community inside the community.
It's an amazing thing. I actually have had the personal privilege of actually going and visiting ISIS in her community and spending some time with them. After the episode, we, we shot the episode first. She invited me to come visit and I did, and what I witnessed was every bit of the beauty that you might hope coming out of that episode.
It was amazing. He was amazing. Fast forwarding a little bit, taking that language thread and looking at different places where that language thread opens up inside Season one. This recent episode with Padram Shojai. Amazing, amazing episode. Absolutely filled with powerful nuggets of wisdom. I mean, truly powerful nuggets of wisdom.
One of my favorite is the discussion that we had towards the end of the episode around [00:10:00] how language and common language inside a community often functions in the same way as macros on a computer, right? Where in a macro, in an Excel document, you have one single word that's tied to a whole host of things inside that document.
It could be formulas that are executed when you type that one word in. It could be actually button clicks, right? So it could run very much an an, an app inside the macro where it clicks some buttons and it runs some programs and it does some calculations and it spits something out for you. The, the idea of common language as a macro opens up so many different ways for us to look at the language and
build the richness of how we can focus on common language for community through the lens of that macro. Now, taking that backwards again, looking at prayer as common language and starting to understand that prayer itself, [00:11:00] the word prayer. Is a macro, it opens up stories inside your head. It could be that it opens up stories about kneeling down in a Christian Church or kneeling down at a synagogue.
It could be that it opens up different kinds of stories, stories that run the gamut of going out into nature and spending time meditating, perhaps in prayer in nature, or kneeling down and facing east the sun sunrise, or facing west the sunset for whatever reason. Or it could be the rituals that you do inside of your own personal family community for things like the end of the year and
rounding down the year, winding up for the next year. The macro of prayer inside your common language. The macro of prayer inside the common language that you build a community around is a, is a truly beautiful idea and a beautiful expression of what is possible. [00:12:00] So we're putting a wrap on season one.
We're wrapping it up. We're tying it. I am again, absolutely filled to the brim and overflowing with gratitude for you, for showing up, for showing up its guests, for showing up as listeners and audience members for making this the experience that it could be in every way. And now we get to look forward and I'm gonna talk a little bit about some things that I've built language around over the past year while I'm building the elements of community and how that's informing what I'm intending to do with season two.
Season one is done, season two, we're just beginning. And these are my plans. So first I have to tell a couple of stories. The first story is and this is something that I've been really building into the relationships that I [00:13:00] cherish. My relationship with you is now a relationship that I cherish you, the audience, you my guests.
So the first is I have built, just like I've built a framework for community, I've also built a framework for what it means to be an adult human. And bear with me because I'm, there's a sequence here. And the sequence helps to inform the story of what season two is going to be. So the framework for what it means to be an adult human.
So first let me ask you a question. What is the drinking age. If you answered 21 here in the United States, you are actually incorrect. . Here's the thing, it's common language that 21 is the drinking age, but when will you not be arrested for having had a drink? And the real answer is somewhere around 18.
Think about it. You go to college parties, you have a couple of [00:14:00] drinks, even if the cops show up. You're probably not gonna get arrested for having some drinks at a college party after you're 18. It's just true. It's the truth. It is actually the truth of the society of the United States. The drinking age is not actually 21.
You know what 21 is? It's the age when you're allowed to buy a drink, have some of it, and then drive. Now, let me put that in another language. A language that's going to be a little bit confronting to you for a reason. I want it to be confronting. , what I'm saying is 21 isn't the age when you're allowed to drink. It's the age when you're allowed to drive a car, which is arguably the most dangerous machine in the US society today.
It's the language, it's the age at which you're allowed to operate the most dangerous machine in the US while being slightly impaired. That's what 21 is. It's not the drinking age, it's the age when you're allowed to drive a car after [00:15:00] having had a drink. Now let that sink in for a minute. 18 is when you get to start drinking.
18 is when you get to go to war, die for your country, so you can drink. You can die for your country and you can vote in many cases. 18 is theoretically when you become an adult. You will also be charged as an adult in the courts for any crime that you commit. 21 is when you're allowed to start behaving from a place of impairment.
21 is when we trust you to understand the implications over the course of your life of being impaired and taking responsibility for that. So which is it? Which is the age of adult? Is it 18 or is it 21? The irony is it's actually not either of those things. If you go to college professors and have a conversation with them about whether or not any of their graduates are true, true adults, what do [00:16:00] you think the college professors are gonna say?
They're probably gonna say something like, well, they're legally. When do people really start to accept responsibility for the long-term implications of the decisions they're making about their life today? Is it 18? Hell no. Is it 21? Not then either. Look around at society today with open eyes and ask yourself that question.
When do people start to accept responsibility for the long-term implications of the decisions they're making? , unfortunately, what I think that you'll see, same thing as what I see, is that when you look around at society today, here in the us, at the very least the answer to that question is for most people, never.
For most people, they never get to the point where they can accept the long-term implications and the responsibility long-term for the choices that they're gonna make today. Right now, for most people, that is never true. and [00:17:00] we grapple in our society with the idea of adulthood because of the fact that that right there is a real significant challenge for us.
We don't actually know how to define adulthood because what we mean by adulthood is this is true. What we mean by adulthood is a person is capable of accepting responsibility for the long-term implications of the decisions they make. And now we look around society. Most people never get there. So how can we define adulthood in a scenario where what we want should also be reasonably possible and never happens?
So I have a framework. I have an answer, right? This isn't a question without an answer. I have an answer. I also have a request. I have a request with relation to this answer. My request is this. Listen to the answer, really let it sink in. And then please. Write in the comments what your [00:18:00] thoughts are about this framework of adulthood.
Tell me what you think. Tell me whether or not you think this makes sense. I really want to know. I want to hear from you. I want to be able to test this theory with you. Here's my framework for adulthood. It actually has nothing to do with age. In fact, humanity is a relatively unique species. . Every species is unique, right?
So don't just roll your eyes at that. We're relatively unique in that. Most animals become adults very, very quickly within one to two years. The percentage of their life that it takes for, for, you know, a long lived mammal to get to that one to two year age changes, depending on how long they live for horses, you know, maybe they live 40, 50 years.
So one to two years to get to physically adult is, you know, a very small percentage of their life same thing with lions and tigers and bears, right? They, they, they live [00:19:00] a, a relatively long period of time. So the one to two years it takes to get to adulthood is not very long. If we look at other mammals, their lifespan is shorter, but it still takes them one to two years.
Not all of them. So, you know, the shorter their lifespan, the shorter their childhood is, right? But humans are weird. You know, a, a horse lives 40, 50 years, which is an unappreciable large percentage of how long a human lives and they become an adult in one to two. humans by comparison, live only a little bit longer than horses.
And it takes us five times as long to become an adult. More than five times. It takes seven or eight times as long for us to become an adult. We don't become an adult in one to two years. We become an adult in physically in 15 years, right? Somewhere, somewhere between 10 and 25 for most humans. We. Physically capable of having children at somewhere between eight and 12 years [00:20:00] by biological standards.
Both of those numbers are extraordinarily huge. I mean, really, truly huge. And I'm gonna get to this, it seems like for the human animal, we don't really define adulthood at the animal level by physical maturity. How could we, physical maturity is a really hard thing for us to measure, whereas in many other animals, it's less hard to measure what does physical maturity mean to a human.
There are biologists out there that probably have a few answers to that, but the problem is there are a few answers and probably there isn't just one simple answer. So probably it's not physical maturity that we as an animal use to define adulthood. So if it's not physical maturity, what else could it be?
Well in the world of animals, physical maturity is one of the ways that you [00:21:00] arrive adulthood. The next one, it seems relatively obvious, is social maturity. Now, the reason that we use 18 and 21 as ages of adulthood is because we've tried to define adulthood in terms of social maturity. In 18 and 21, we're our best guess on when social maturity starts to happen.
I, I think that that's maybe a decent approach. We're missing some things, and this is why I'm actually having this conversation. Social maturity does indeed start to show up in the human animal right at somewhere between 18 and 21. Those are, those are reasonably good approaches. It turns out we know far better now than we did when we started making these laws.
It turns out that social maturity really starts coming into its own sometime between 25 and. . So maybe our adulthood measure should be sometime between 20 and 25 and 30 based on social maturity. We are socially adults at sometime between 25 and 30. [00:22:00] Again, this may be confronting to some of you, but do the research.
What you're gonna see is that this actually is well supported and is starting to become the way that we talk about social maturity inside the human animal. And if you disagree with it, you're gonna need to start speaking up now, cuz that's becoming a. Common thread to the conversation of social maturity.
Here's the thing, I don't think that we as an animal use social maturity as an animal to define adulthood. I, I actually think that there's a third way to define adulthood. Now, I've spent 10 minutes talking about this, and believe me, I could spend plenty more, but I, I do want to get to it because my request to you was very important.
The third way that I think we could define adulthood is skills, a skills maturity, but not just any skills as an animal there are skills that are particularly valid and important to us humans. Looking at it through the lens of [00:23:00] community. And then again, this lens of community has allowed me to see this and deepen this conversation within myself and in my important relationships in a very powerful way.
Seems to me that there are skills that define adulthood to humanity as an animal. As an animal, not as a civilized human. There are five of them. You're like, wait, five elements of community, five skills of adulthood. Lucas, you have a problem with the number five. . You may be right. I, I also think that the number five specifically has a, a, a magic within us.
There, there, the number five shows up in so many different ways to me and my understanding of humanity. For example my theory of the tribe that you need to feel safe and supported is that the tribe, the people who have your back under, under any circumstance, no matter what your, your, your ride or die, the minimum number that you need to have as your tribe [00:24:00] is five.
You need five people that have got your back all the time no matter what. Now, most people, they've got their two parents. . They've got their spouse. That's three. They probably have one or two best friends. That's five. So most people probably actually have a tribe, even though they don't think about it that way.
They're not using that language. They haven't established common language around it. Right? The number five, it's a magic number. There are five skills of adulthood. Here they are. I'm gonna fly right through them. This episode really isn't about this. Five skills of adulthood are number one complex communication.
now, we've talked about communication a lot and it comes back up here as a skill of adulthood. In order for you to be able to be a true member of the community, you need to be able to get into that common language of community. And so that first of the five skills, it actually makes sense that it probably is one of the elements of community in [00:25:00] order.
You know, they match up. They match up nicely. Complex communication. You need to be able. Create and share complex ideas. You need to be able to be good at getting into the language of the community, which is intentionally unique. It's unique, filled with heuristics and macros, and stories and ideas that are all really effectively shared through this unique common language to make the sharing of complex ideas more effective and more efficient.
So complex communication, complex ideas. That first skill is complex communication. The second one, fluid leadership. Fluid leadership, and this is what I was talking about before in terms of my episode with Peter. A fluid leadership skill is about seizing leadership, when it's appropriate, when it's appropriate to the community.
when it's appropriate to the community [00:26:00] that you be the person who leads in this instant, and then cedeing leadership, giving it up, passing it on when it's appropriate to the community for you to give that leadership up, right? Fluid leadership. It's actually a skill of adulthood. It's an interesting thing to say cuz that has some implications.
Look around at the people in your life. How many of them know when to give up Leadership. Many people know when to grab for it. How many people know when to give it up? Important question. That is a skill of the human animal adult. Seizing leadership and ceding leadership, both fluid leadership, so complex communication, fluid leadership.
Third one is teamwork. Teamwork is working together as a team. Teamwork is understanding that the person standing to your right is actually going to do their job, trusting them to do it, and executing your own job with pride and honor. [00:27:00] Teamwork is very closely related to Common Heart. One of the elements of commuinty.
Show up with pride and the intent and commitment to do the right thing for the community. Do your work with pride and honor in your work. Share and receive care. That's that common heart. Teamwork is very similar to that. Show up. Do your work with Pride. Trust your team members to do their work with Pride.
Trust in the common heart of your team members. That's what teamwork is. Teamwork is a skill, and it's a complex skill. And that's the third skill of adulthood teamwork. The fourth one is strategy. Now most people think of strategy as an attribute. I would argue that it's not. It's actually a skill. It's something that you can build out and deepen through your engagement with strategy.
And ironically, humans are actually wired to be effective strategists. Here's the [00:28:00] thing, just because we're wired for it, doesn't mean we choose to become good at it. Strategy is a very, very important skill, and it's one of the basic skills of adulthood. You must have achieved some mastery of the skill of strategy, looking at a problem, being able to break down that problem into specific measurable steps that you can then engage in.
Not just yourself, but your entire team or community engaging in as a project in order to achieve the goal: strategy. Notice I used project, right? One of the elements of community very closely ties in with strategy. It's interesting that the skills of adulthoods support the elements of community. It should be interesting.
You should be seeing these ties, right? Strategy is the fourth skill of adulthood, so complex communication, fluid leadership, teamwork, strategy, and the fifth one is coaching. Both being a coach and [00:29:00] being coachable. So ironically, and I don't need to explain coaching, you all know what coaching is. The irony here is that when you look around at the people in your life, how many of them are coachable?
How many of them coach? How many of them know when to seize leadership? How many of them know when to seed leadership? How many of them are good at understanding how to break down a problem into specific measurable steps that can be accomplished by a team right strategy? How many of them really understand how to create complex ideas and share complex ideas?
That includes storytelling, and storytelling is very important to the human animal. This is what it takes to be an adult. This is my framework. This is my definition for the adult human. There's more to go. Don't worry, we're not stopping here. But again, My request, my ask of you, and I'm gonna have another ask later, these are important to me.
My ask of you is [00:30:00] spend some time thinking about my definition for adulthood, the five skills of adulthood, that humans are not adults because of age. Humans are not adults because of physical maturity. Humans are not adults because of social maturity. Humans are actually adults as an animal because of a skills maturity.
When you think about that, It starts to make sense that many of the indigenous cultures that still exist today have adulthood ceremonies that happen at times that seem a little bit ridiculous to us because you could potentially be an adult at 14 or 15 based on this framework if you're relatively extraordinary at engaging with community.
and building the skills that makes it possible for you to be expert in engaging with community. You could be an adult at 14 or 15 complex communication, fluid leadership, teamwork, strategy, [00:31:00] coaching. You could actually be an adult at 14 or 15 by comparison. When we look around at the society that we have built here in the United States, what we see is most people.
Never become adults. They never get there. They never arrive. They have never actually become a human animal adult. This is a powerful realization and this is what I really want you to spend some time soaking in, allowing it to settle into your brain, having thoughts about it. Share your challenges with that idea with me.
Come back into the comments and really tell me how you feel now. Moving on. So this is what an adult is to me, moving on. I'm, I, this is how I want to focus this next thing, but I needed to share that adult thing with you in order for this to really settle in. Well, this is how I want to focus on season two.
Alongside that, so adulthood [00:32:00] is actually five skills for human. It's not physical or social maturity. Right. Alongside that, I also have a model let's say it's not a model, model is not the right word. I have a narrative about womanhood that I've been working on, that I've been sharing, I'm building language, building story around that I'd like to share with you.
And in fact, this narrative of womanhood is going to drive the focus of season two. Again, a hundred percent focused on community. Here are the questions. If we look at the entire lifespan of a woman, infertility exists in potentially four D. Strategic places in the lifespan of a woman, it exists as a child.
Now, most people don't think about infertility in a child because men and women share that particular infertility. So it seems normal to us. But remember, most other mammals become fertile at one to two years [00:33:00] old. Even long lived mammals become fertile at one to two years old. Humans are very strange in that it takes us eight to 12 years to become fertile.
A significant portion of our life by both years and by percentage. It's huge. It's a very, very long time. Why? Now you could sit back and say, well, it's because it takes us a while to grow to a certain size. Yeah, that's true, but it's also not the right answer. Other animals grow to bigger than us much faster.
There's a strategy here. There's a story here that needs to be told, and that story is missed, when you say it's because it takes us a while to get to that size, put a pin in it. We're gonna come back the second time that infertility exists as a phase of womanhood. Not every woman steps into this, but it's as a peak athlete.
Right? And that could happen more or less anytime between when fertility turns on for the first time to menopause when it [00:34:00] turns off for the last time. Right. As a peak athlete, you turn your infertility on or rather turn your fertility off. Now again, there's a cultural narrative about that. The cultural narrative is that that's unhealthy, and in fact, in some cases that may be the case, but I would like to argue that nothing happens by accident, and in fact, nothing is broken.
And if you're seeing something show up over and over again, like infertility in peak athletes and menopause, it's not simple. Or perhaps it is very simple, but it's not simple on its own. There's a story that tells the strategy. There's a story that tells the strategy. You have to be a true adult to be able to see this, to be able to understand and engage with the story complex communication and the strategy of this.
It's not just, it's unhealthy. You are unhealthy. No. In some cases that may be true, but in fact, that is a [00:35:00] natural. Part of womanhood. It is natural. It exists for a purpose. It exists for a reason. What's the reason? What's the story? What's the strategy? Just like childhood, it doesn't make sense for us to give it a simple answer, just like childhood, where the answer that we have been given that we have internalized as the story is we're not physically mature enough to have children.
It's silly because plenty of other animals get to physical maturity. Well, sooner than that, and in fact, animals that are larger than us still. Physical maturity. Well, sooner than that, a silly answer. It, it's missing the story, it's missing the strategy. The same is true for a young woman who is a peak athlete and turns off her fertility in that phase of her life.
That peak athlete, think of her as the huntress, and I will come back to this the third time. Again, we don't spend a lot of time thinking about this, but the third time that fertility is turned off in a woman is when she's. . [00:36:00] Now I'm bringing this up because again, there's a story and a strategy here. There are other animals, and in fact other mammals.
That can get pregnant more than once. At the same time, rabbits, for instance, have two wombs, so a rabbit can get pregnant twice at the same There are marsupials, kangaroos, for instance, that can get pregnant while they have another pregnancy in the same womb. So where there is a mechanism, , right?
Where there's a mechanism for a different path. Then when you look at our path, a woman's fertility turns off when she's pregnant. There's a reason for that. There's a strategy behind it, and probably the reason, which could be simple, the strategy, which could be simple, probably it's not immediately obvious if you're reductionist, if you only look at that one thing, probably.
The story, the strategy behind it only starts to reveal itself when you look at a different picture and it's broad. [00:37:00] And then the fourth, so again, childhood, peak athlete, pregnant. The fourth is menopause. And I, I, my heart goes out to every woman who is in and undergoing menopause. I personally believe that menopause is a woman moving into the best and most beautiful years of her life.
And I'm gonna talk about that many of us look at menopause as somebody becoming not woman anymore. And I know that this is a confronting statement and probably some of you are gonna reach out to me with less than delight when you hear this, if you don't keep listening. So please do keep listening cuz there's a story here, just like the other three.
There's a story here and I don't agree with society's approach to. I don't agree that we should be doing things that minimize menopause. I think that we should be engaging with the beautiful expressions of [00:38:00] womanhood, including menopause as her being the best that she can be all the time, and in fact, as her serving and engaging with the community of humanity at her.
Now again, reductionist. You look at each one of those and you try to figure it out, but I'm a strategist. I'm not a reductionist. And to me, if you don't look at the whole picture, you're definitely going to miss things that are going to affect the way you carry your actions forward. I need to look at the whole picture.
So the question is, how does the whole picture inform the story, inform the strategy of these four things? Now, obviously this is the elements of community podcasts. So the lens that I'm using to look at this whole picture is through the lens of community, which you guys have heard me say. I consider community to be a basic need and in fact, a basic expression of how humanity [00:39:00] exists.
We are not humans alone. We actually are only humans together. Important, right? . The way that I look at this is through the lens of community. How is it that extending the amount of time it takes to reach fertility maturity to eight to 12 years serves the community of humanity? Interesting question. How is it that turning off fertility as a peak athlete serves the community of humanity.
Interesting question. How is it that turning off fertility during pregnancy serves the community of humanity? Interesting question. And now finally, taken all together, menopause, the peak and penultimate of those turning off fertilities. How is it that menopause serves the community of humanity? [00:40:00] With that in mind and with that in hand, What is the prime directive of biology?
You should all know the answer to this. The prime directive of biology is to reproduce. If reproduction is the most important thing in biology, then turning off fertility for any reason, it has to be for something that is really important strategically, it has to be for something that is absolutely critical to the animal, the human animal, strategically.
And when you look at the individual, just that one woman, it's impossible to see that. But when you zoom out and see humanity community, now it starts to make some sense again, re reductionist, fails. Strategic. Seeing the wider picture, seeing how the pieces of the puzzle fit together, the adult human, now it starts to make sense.
We're a child for a longer period of time because [00:41:00] adulthood as a human is not defined by physical maturity. It's defined by skills maturity, and skills take a longer time to build. And here's the words that are really gonna tie this together. Pregnancy would be a distraction from becoming a fully expressed human adult in the world where skills define adulthood.
Let that settle in. Pregnancy would be a distraction from the most powerful thing that that human can be doing in service to the community. Humanity as a whole, pregnancy would be a distraction, and so in service to that, our bodies don't turn on fertility until. A very long time, biologically speaking, a very long time.
Because it takes time to build skills. It takes time to build mastery in skills. It takes time to be ready to be an adult human by the definition [00:42:00] of skills, but it's possible at 12, 14, 15, and pregnancy stops being a distraction from becoming an adult human as you've gotten to the point where you have maturity in those skills, and that's why childhood is so long for humans.
It's because of skills. It's because becoming an adult, it's not a physical maturity thing. It's not a social maturity thing. It's a skills maturity thing. For some people, that happens sooner. For some people, that happens later, and our bodies allow us, right? This is the highest and best use of the way that our bodies engage with the biology of being the human animal.
Our bodies allow us the time to become adults, not physical, not social. But the way the human animal defines it skills, it's a beautiful thing now. Now we understand childhood in a whole new [00:43:00] light, with a whole new story, with a whole new narrative. It makes so much sense, but you had to see it from the strategic picture of humanity.
You had to see it from the community lens in order for that story to reveal itself. Now, let's look at the others. Now that we have language here. The language of the child, the language of. Becoming pregnant is a distraction from the best thing that that six year old, seven year old eight year old can be doing.
Becoming pregnant is a distraction. Now that we have that language and we have the support of what it means to be an adult human and the lens of the community. Being core, central to the human animal. Now let's look at the next one. Why is it, how is it in service to the community of humanity? Right? How is it in service to your tribe that when you are a peak athlete, you turn off your fertility?
Well, let's bring that language of childhood forward. How is it a distraction [00:44:00] to become pregnant. How is it a distraction to become pregnant when you're a peak athlete? Well, think about it. If a woman has chosen to be a peak athlete, it might be because she needs to be one of the hunting party. Ah, haha. But men are the hunters, right?
No, they are not. No, they are not Women hunt just like men skills. And tools are the great equalizers. Skills and tools mean that the physical difference in size between men and women are relatively irrelevant. Skills and tools means that a woman can hunt alongside a man with every bit of efficiency and effectiveness that the man can.
there is no reason other [00:45:00] than the choice that the woman makes that she can't be on the hunting team. And in fact, when you look at the modern lore of the world, what you'll see is the lore that we carry. The myths, the stories that we tell of humanity at its most primal include women as hunters and women as warrior.
Think of the Amazon tribe. Women as hunters, women as warriors. Think of the gods that we tell stories about. The Greek gods, the Norse gods, the indigenous American gods. They all have stories of women's as hunters and women's as warriors, every single one of them. Why? Because women are hunters and women are warriors when they choose to be.
allow it. Now, what that means is that an adult woman who chooses to be a hunter, a huntress adult woman who chooses to be a warrior, a warrioress [00:46:00] is in fact making the choice that is her pen ultimate, her absolute best and highest use In that moment, she is accepting leadership. In that moment, she is playing a role in service to the community and in service to herself in that moment and becoming pregnant would be a distraction from the choice that she's made and the choice that the tribe has made together in supporting her as a huntress. Becoming pregnant would be a distraction. Next one. A mother, how is it that becoming pregnant again while you are pregnant would be a distraction?
Give that some thought. We spend an enormous amount of energy [00:47:00] on our babies, an enormous amount of energy, and for very good reason our babies don't become adults. Until they've built skills that support adulthood inside of our community. Skills take a long time, and a lot of work to build skills are actually a very challenging thing to do.
So in fact, the focus that we have on our current baby is maybe more important than having another baby. Being able to focus on the 1, 2, 3 babies that you have inside of you now is. The most important thing. Then being able to add yet another one from one to two or from two to three, that focus, that connection that you have with your current babies maybe needs to be able to be a contiguous and undistractible focus.
You as a woman, [00:48:00] we as a community, we need to be able to engage with that baby, that one baby, those two babies. Directly through our song, through our celebrations, through our rituals, share our unique common language so that that can start getting built into the baby immediately as soon as the woman becomes pregnant and having another baby added to the mix maybe is a distraction from the level of focus that we can bring to the babies that are already there.
Let that sink in.
And finally menopause. How is turning off fertility a distraction from the best that she can be right now? How is, I'm sorry I said that wrong. How is continuing to be fertile, a distraction from the best that she can be right now? Well, Each and every other time that fertility was turned off, it was turned off in a way [00:49:00] that served both the woman herself and the tribe.
It was turned off in a way that was strategic to serving the woman herself and the tribe. It was turned off in order to minimize distractions from the highest and best and most powerful use of herself in that moment. Think about menopause through that lens. What possible role could be so important that we're never gonna turn fertility back on again.
We've turned it off and we're gonna keep it off. That light in turn back on what role is so valuable that we cannot be distracted ever again from that role? Here's the bomb drop. Here's the big one, and I'm gonna ask for this, right? Remember I said I was gonna ask for something again? I'm gonna ask for this.
The bomb drop is, there's only one thing that could be so important that once a woman steps into that, she can never be distracted from it. Again. [00:50:00] Think about this from a tribe perspective. What role in a tribe is so important that she can never be distracted from it again, it's not motherhood, and in fact it's not even grandmotherhood.
Although menopause and grandmother are correlated, they're not the same thing. Menopause occurs so that the woman who has arrived at that stage in her life can no longer be distracted from the one role that is most important in the tribe. And what is that? It can be only one thing. It's either the chief or a member of the council of chiefs in the tribe.
I'll say that again in my opinion. And with the strategy that I laid out, the story that I laid out for you in this episode, the only thing that explains menopause, the only thing that makes menopause make any sense for us humans at all. [00:51:00] And we actually can see support for this particular story in other animals in the world.
The only thing that is worthy in biology of turning off fertility forever. Is so that she can be the chief of the tribe. This is gonna be confronting to some people. I accept that. I accept that this is gonna be confronting. Here's what I'm asking you to do. Just like with the adulthood framework, what I'm asking you to do is let this settle in, really engage with the story of this.
Listen to the episode more than once if you have to, and then share with me in the comments your thought. Share with me the challenges that come up in your conversation inside your head, in your conversation with your husband or your wife, or your kids, or your grandparents. I want to hear it. I want you to share these thoughts with me.
I want you to engage in this [00:52:00] idea with me, fully engage in it in the world, and engage in it by sharing back the challenges that you encounter. I think this is a beautiful story, a beautiful narrative. I think that this is probably the best narrative we have so far to explain these four phases of infertility that women step into and out of.
And through that narrative, through the story, through the strategy that lays those four infertility out, it's clear to me. And I just shared it with you, and you can't unsee it. You can't un unhear it. It's clear to me that the only reason for menopause is so that women can be chiefs because becoming pregnant again would be a distraction from the absolute highest and best use as chief.
Let that settle in. Now let's get back to season two. Right. Season [00:53:00] one ended up by accident being focused on business leaders. It was a happy accident. It ended up being a beautiful season. We brought some amazing things season two. Here's what I'd like for season two, and here's my third request from you.
What I'd like from season two is to engage with pillars of the community who are elder women. Who have stepped into their elder state, their elder phase, who have stepped into their true powerful grandmother energy, whether they have grandkids or not. I would like to have them. I would like to have them come onto this episode.
I would like to have them engage with me in the conversation of community through the lens of elder pillars of the community, women. And I hope we'll see if I can do this and I'm gonna be doing the work too. But I'm asking you to share in that work, I hope, right? Think of this as a nice little elements [00:54:00] of community common project.
I hope that I can put together 50 episodes next year. So one episode per week for the entire season. 50 episodes with pillars of the community who are women. Now, thank you so much for staying with me. Am deeply passionate, as you can tell from this episode. I am deeply passionate about these subjects. I'm deeply passionate about how these subjects are changing my life.
And the relationships that I have with the important people in my life with my parents, my mother, who is still alive, with my wife, with my sister, with the women who are most important to me, and in fact, with all of the people in all of the communities that I engage with, I'm bringing this language into all of my relationships, and I'm starting to share this story more widely.
And now here it. A hundred percent open and public. I'm sharing it with you [00:55:00] along with those three requests. Three requests. Number one, engage with the idea of my framework for adulthood as humans. Number two, engage with the idea that I have for the strategy of the phases of infertility, of women, the strategy and story that can be told.
When you look at that, Lens of community and the power that that brings to our relationship with women in our lives now. And number three, this is the, this is the ringer. This is the big one alongside me. I would like you to bring women to me who would be an amazing interview. Women who are pillars of the community.
Women who understand community in a way that I personally do not yet understand it. I want them on my show. I want them to have conversations with me. I want to share it with you, So thank you. Thank you very much for season one. I cannot wait to dive into season two with you. I can't wait for the most powerful interviews [00:56:00] that I'll be in.
I can't wait to share them, and I can't wait to see how this plays.
Narrator: Thanks for joining us this week on Elements of Community.
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