We Got What We Asked For
I recorded a great podcast with Thomas Cox, the owner of MealFit, last night. The topic of human evolution, one of my favorites, came up, and it got me thinking a little more.
Humans labored and toiled for thousands of years, living nomadic lifestyles, hunting off the land, growing what they ate and foraging for the rest. Money and commerce did not come about until the more recent era of man.
After thousands of years evolving to become perfectly in tune with our natural environment to not only survive but to thrive as individuals and as a species, is it possible that we have arrived?
Let me clear the air, I know for a large portion of the human population that clean water, shelter, and food are still not a given, but I think they almost certainly could. With our level of ingenuity, communication, and ability to transform the world around is such profound ways, these basic human needs could be met by a much more significant portion of the earth's population.
For the rest of the humans on earth, our basic needs are met, which puts us in a unique scenario for the first time in human history. Our sole purpose on earth for millennia was to survive, procreate, and further the species. Now the coin has flipped, and the mechanisms that drove our species to more or less dominate the planet, are the same drives that are slowly making us sick and even killing us.
We use to hunt for calories, and now we are dying from diseases related to excess calorie consumption. We used to walk and move and use our body all day every day, and now our sedentary lifestyle cranks the volume up on things like pain, depression, and autoimmune diseases. We have always lived in small, tight-knit communities, and now we perceive less and less value in actual human interaction as we trade the personal for the digital. We used to procreate quickly and often, and the challenge was in getting a child to survive long enough to be self-sufficient. Now, infertility rates are sky-rocketing at an alarming rate.
We have arrived, in a sense, but for how advanced we are as a civilization it is still a struggle to realize that for the first time we are going to have fight what seems natural, and instead trade a bit of human nature in for a greater connection to the environment from which we came.
What do I mean by this?
Our human nature, aka evolutionary drive, would have us consume all the calories, rest as much as possible, have as much sex as we like, accumulate all the wealth, only take care of our immediate family and so it goes.
We are continually evolving, and our current times are calling on humans to evolve at breakneck speeds to an environment that we created.
We must choose discipline over evolution, though.
Discipline comes from the Latin word for pupil, which is rooted in the phrase pupa or pupus, which means boy or girl. If you remember back to 4th-grade biology, the pupa stage for a butterfly is the 'transition' stage. Discipline is our key to transition, and it is the daily practice of changing the way we interact with our current world.
To change our relationship with food, with movement, with exercise, with others, and to a greater extent with our natural environment. Discipline seems like work because it is work. It goes against the urges that got us, humans, to where we are today, but humans only became the most dominant species the earth has ever seen because of our ability to work. To sweat, to hike, to run, to hunt, to think and to problem solve.
Daily disciplined work towards a better you, has to result in a better world.