We seem to have decided to divide up the world into the white-coated lab science info with its gleaming surfaces and conservatively dressed scientists and those who embrace their pagan nature with its dancing wildly in a wood and distrust of the establishment, with it becoming ever more difficult to reconcile the two. And yet, despite this divide, it still doesn’t seem to be working for us. Which makes us think at ALSO, is there another way – can we respect, trust and love those giants of science and all that they have given us whilst enjoying the benefits of connecting with our animal selves in nature and of nature? For full disclosure when I first read about circadian rhythms I thought it was something akin to a suggestion for feeling more at ease with yourself – a bit like chakras or soothing tea – vaguely eastern appropriated for our western palate or some kind of deep mystical inheritance from millennia ago. And it is in a way. They are our inheritance certainly from our earlier past but every living thing still has a circadian rhythm. It responds to the times of the day, so it does matter when you eat, sleep and move wildly because at different times of the day our bodies want to focus on certain things, and like a badger returning to its original set – it will not be pushed easily off course.
So circadian rhythms are for ALSO22 the greatest example of where hard lab-based science and the mystical-magical natural animal world intersect and so we wanted to take a good look at this as one of our big themes for ALSO22.
Our big themes are the superstructure of the ideas in the festival; we are a next-generation ideas festival so ideas are threaded through all that we do for our guests in the field. We aim to provide through our work and our scheduling and our programming and our research to get to you - whatever path you chose through the festival and however you want to ALSO with us (hard or soft, fully engaged or letting it wash over you) or anything in-between – many interesting ways of experiencing the themes. We think you will bump up against these big themes, and this one, 'Circadian in Arcadia' is an easy theme for us to help you explore.
Just being with us in the field, outside is enough to feel your ‘circadians’ gently resetting. You don’t need to do anything to be able to let them respond positively to being away from artificial lights and the artificial world we have chosen to inhabit for comfort and ease. Your animal self, however, remembers and responds to the different demands of moving your home to ours for this one weekend in July. Most people camp and most tents can’t keep out the natural lights. it is likely most of you will wake or respond to first light. Believe us when we say just two days with us will have an effect on your CRs and it is perhaps the easiest way for us to make you feel like your ALSO experience with us has been transformative.
If you’re here for the big scientific facts of this idea then look no further – have we got the right speaker for you. Joy of joys – Russell Foster – neuroscientist and sleep specialist at the University of Cambridge is the Numero Uno in the world of understanding our circadian rhythms, and is with us to explain ‘Life Time’. Yes, understanding once and for all what they are, what they do and how working with them can enhance our lives and bring joy and practicality into those days when they can’t be our main focus.
We will be going deeper, giving many chances to embody this idea – take Russell’s double talk and understand it further and deeper, take one of many CR friendly classes in the morning or allow plenty of opportunities to celebrate the animal in you – and celebrate the things you share with every animal on the planet. Explore rhythm of life of days with our wildly fabulous music and dance programme – and of course, we’ll be celebrating rhythm In as many musical ways as possible.
Or conspire against them as you know that you can – fight the need to sleep at night by an incredible night-time programme of sessions, as ALSO presents its ‘Nocturnes’ a night-time series of nature-inspired walks, workshops and interactive sessions to help you explore the hidden side of your nature at night.