Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: The Gnoll Credo

I have been meaning to mention this book that I bought and read a couple of weeks ago.

The Gnoll Credo is a novella which is a thinly disguised polemic about the need for humans to recognise their true nature as hunters and what that means for how we should live and think, what our society should be like.

He builds the story around an anthropologist's encounters with a gnoll - a humanoid hyena - in a fantasy world of orcs and elves.  The gnoll explains and illustrates the Gnoll Credo...a set of 10 Commandments (12 actually) for carnivore hunters, explaining their society works and how their minds work.

“We are born and we die. No one cares, no one remembers, and it doesn’t matter. This is why we laugh.”
That is the basis of the Credo, an apparently nihilistic yet strangely life affirming set of assertions.  It made me think of the Fuck It philosophy (another book that I am enjoying just now).

The Gnoll is a hunter and that defines its life and outlook.  You get the impression that the author also thinks that this is the way that humans should be.  There are hints that  - as Erwan Le Corre says - we are zoo humans, too far removed from our nature, our reality.

It may not be the best piece of literature that you will ever read, but if you are interested in paleo diets or evolutionary fitness, it is worth your time and money.  Don't get me wrong, it is a well written book and the characters - particularly the Gnoll Gryka - are very well developed and there is some nice emotional insight into the main human character.  However, it is what the metaphor tells you about yourself that is challenging.

Paleo diets are one thing but we need to see them in a broader philosophical context.  We may be designed to eat a certain diet....but what does that mean for how we are designed to live and to relate to each other.  How can we be happy?  What does the paleo principle mean for us in terms of our relationships, our happiness, our spirituality?

The author is blogging in a rather more usual paleo blogger style at where he is sharing some good science

You can read the first pages of the book here

1 comment:

Bill Strahan said...

A truly excellent book. I can't define exactly why it had the impact on me that it did.

As I reached the end of the book, I found myself savoring simple things more. I felt wonderfully, truly alive.

As a result, I bought a copy for one of my friends for his birthday. He's a paleo-crossfitter as well and he had a similar reaction to mine.

I continue to read J. Stanton's blog and enjoy it greatly. It's cool to see someone else noticed him as well.