Podcast #84: The Hygiene Hypothesis as the Explanation for Everything

An everyday system, TM, is a simple, commonsense solution to an everyday problem, grounded by a pun or metaphor. Propose/discuss new systems here.
Post Reply
User avatar
reinhard
Site Admin
Posts: 5928
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2005 7:38 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA
Contact:

Podcast #84: The Hygiene Hypothesis as the Explanation for Everything

Post by reinhard » Fri Mar 29, 2024 12:31 pm

Enjoy!

Episode 84: The Hygiene Hypothesis as the Explanation for Everything
Cure all your ailments with dirt, pain and danger

https://everydaysystems.com/podcast/episode/84/

NoSDoc
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 12:23 pm

Re: Podcast #84: The Hygiene Hypothesis as the Explanation for Everything

Post by NoSDoc » Sun Apr 07, 2024 1:44 pm

Dear Reinhard!

I absolutely agree with your hypothesis! I sometimes think of this in other words: you don't gain strength living a soft life. And especially we living in "the first world" have quite soft lives: never hungry, cold, miserable, in danger etc. No wonder we have so many week people around - physically and mentally. I think strength comes from going beyond your perceived limits. I am very intrigued with this idea. I like to watch/read/listen to all these stories from ultra athletes and special forces selection etc. where people put themselves through hard times and come out stronger, with more confidence and energy.
HOWEVER: when I look at my life and observe it honestly I am much more in the team: "systematic moderation" than "extreme challenges". I sometimes wonder how these 2 worlds go together. Do you have an idea on that, an educated guess?
Probably consistency and continuous work is also a form of strength?! Perhaps systematic moderation prepares oneself for going beyond one's limits SOMETIMES - which might be more healthy and wise in the long run? Perhaps it is more "both and" than "either or"?! It's all speculation from my side. I really think of this a lot and have not come to a conclusion that brings those 2 worlds together: "systematic moderation" and "going beyond one's limits".
I'd be happy to get you perspective on that!

All the best from southern Germany, where we have a beautiful spring and still some snow in the Alps - really beautiful! :D

Stefan

User avatar
reinhard
Site Admin
Posts: 5928
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2005 7:38 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA
Contact:

Re: Podcast #84: The Hygiene Hypothesis as the Explanation for Everything

Post by reinhard » Thu Apr 11, 2024 7:53 pm

Thank you for this thoughtful response, Stefan!

I think, high-level, the way to bring moderation + challenge together is two fold:

1. "Exposure therapy" on all fronts. So seeking challenges -- but moderate and controlled challenges, that are likely to stretch but not break us. To the extent that we have control over things this is a great approach. This is something we can actively do ("spider hunter," etc.)

2. When "uncontrolled" challenges jump out at us, pain or fear or spiders beyond anything we would ever have sought out ourselves (as will eventually happen, even in our modern, hygienic lives), instead of simply freaking out, we can try to take a breath and seek the "exposure value" in these situations not of our choosing. This is more a matter of prep than action, or maybe re-action. The value we gain from these crises may be small compared to collateral damage of the larger shock or trauma, but it maybe be something, and it may be important, and it may be the only way such things can ever be obtained.


Reinhard

NoSDoc
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 12:23 pm

Re: Podcast #84: The Hygiene Hypothesis as the Explanation for Everything

Post by NoSDoc » Mon Apr 22, 2024 1:25 pm

Dear Reinhard!

Thanks for your response and sorry for my late answer. I totally agree with what you write. For most of us for the biggest part of our lives this will be our approach.
But still I somehow miss a third category: willingly / conciously taking up a BIG challenge. Something like: I will climb Mount Everest without oxygen or I will loose 100 pounds and become a Navy SEAL or I will marry again after having been abused or we fly to the moon or whatever the challenge may be. Something where failure is likely. The stuff that inspires people. Or is it only me who gets inspired by such stories? That could also be and tell some things about me and end the discussion... ;-)
Perhaps these people practice systematic moderation in all other areas of their lives and have a "big challenge" in one aspect? Who knows? Or they gather strength for quite some time practicing systematic moderation which enables them later to go "all in"?

Reinhard - at least I enjoy this "philosophy conversation"!

All the best

Stefan

User avatar
reinhard
Site Admin
Posts: 5928
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2005 7:38 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA
Contact:

Re: Podcast #84: The Hygiene Hypothesis as the Explanation for Everything

Post by reinhard » Mon Apr 29, 2024 11:33 pm

A very thought provoking question!

My first thought was to downplay the necessity of that for most people: little if anything in most of our lives falls into the moonshot/Everest category. And do we really need Everest ascents and moonshots? From anyone?

My next thought was that even if these goals are worthy (and I do suspect they are, even if only as showcases for human spirit), and even if you happen to be that rare individual capable of such feats, adventures on that scale require something beyond "everyday" systems. My special calling is to help my fellow lost sheep of the house of screw up, ordinary people and "demihumans," not ultramarathoner navy seal types.

But then I thought of VC Cat, and how, while few of use are ever going to be in a position to do titanic, world altering things, we very well might be confronted with challenges that seem about as impossible for us, personally, given who we are. Some of the other challenges you mentioned (lose 100 pounds, recover from an abusive situation) are not so rare as one might hope and do require a sort of heroism.

It reminds me of when some friends of ours taught me and my kids to ski in Vermont. We started on the bunny slope, and my youngest, maybe 8 at the time, was very frustrated. He kept falling, it just wasn't clicking. He was getting cranky. Then during a cocoa break my wise friend said to him NOT what I would have said ("hey, nice try, let's go home!") but "this looks too easy for you. Do you want to try mid-mountain?" My son's eyes lit up. And by the end of the day he was at the top of the mountain.

It really struck me, that incident, and the thought that sometimes we have to make a problem bigger, grander for it to be sufficiently inspiring -- the opposite of what you would think and the opposite of "moderation."

I once described the everyday systems as "extreme moderation," taking the methods of extremists, but harnessing them towards moderate ends.

But it sounds like we might need some "moderate extremism" as well?

I will continue to think on it! Thank you again, Stefan!

Reinhard

Amy3010
Posts: 1284
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:48 am
Location: Belgium

Re: Podcast #84: The Hygiene Hypothesis as the Explanation for Everything

Post by Amy3010 » Sun May 12, 2024 6:26 am

Wow - I love what your friend said to your son, that is some real Yoda-level parenting wisdom.

The discussion between Stefan and you is intriguing as well: the idea that a problem or challenge has to be big enough to inspire someone to really go all out to tackle it. If not, and if we are not made uncomfortable enough by our challenge, then it is easier to keep on living with the status quo?

I just got back from my 81-yr-old mother's house, which has gotten much too big for her to maintain since my dad died 7 years ago. She had a water damage situation while I was there, and we had to empty an entire walk-in closet, declutter a huge amount of stuff, call in a mold specialist, etc... and this crisis has suddenly enabled her to start taking steps towards what previously felt unmanageable - selling the house and moving. So the crisis was necessary to take on the challenge of changing her living situation, otherwise she would never have taken that step. Is this kind of what you mean?

I just ordered the Anna Lembke book from the library!

User avatar
reinhard
Site Admin
Posts: 5928
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2005 7:38 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA
Contact:

Re: Podcast #84: The Hygiene Hypothesis as the Explanation for Everything

Post by reinhard » Wed May 22, 2024 4:21 pm

Hi Amy,

Yes, I think your epic move for you mom might qualify as a top of the mountain situation! I had to do something similar for my dad a few years ago. He never wanted to make any plans for the future and then the future just came and got him. His Parkinson's suddenly got much worse and literally overnight he went from being able to live independently to never driving again, assisted living, etc. It was quite a challenge to have to sort out all at once.

What intrigues me especially along these lines is the idea of intentionally making something a mid mountain or top of the mountain situation, because you are seeking or even needing the inspiration that magnification of the challenge brings (my challenge with my dad just fell on me, I think I would have vastly prefered to avoid it altogether somehow).

I hope you are enjoying the Anna Lembke book! I found it surprising on many levels. Most of all, I think, in the empathy (even admiration) I felt for many of these people who might have simply repulsed me if I hadn't gotten to know them better through her.

Reinhard

NoSDoc
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 12:23 pm

Re: Podcast #84: The Hygiene Hypothesis as the Explanation for Everything

Post by NoSDoc » Thu May 23, 2024 12:01 pm

Hi Reinhard!

Moderate Extremism - WOW! I love that term! A concept worth exploring. And in my view this could make Everyday Systems also intriguing for some more extreme Characters: Practice extreme moderation in most areas of your life's so that you have the energy to be moderately extreme in one area.
Now it's a system also for those types of people! :D

All the best

Stefan

User avatar
reinhard
Site Admin
Posts: 5928
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2005 7:38 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA
Contact:

Re: Podcast #84: The Hygiene Hypothesis as the Explanation for Everything

Post by reinhard » Wed Jun 05, 2024 5:57 pm

Glad you like it, Stefan!

I'll keep thinking about it...

Post Reply