Heather Heying and her husband, Bret Weinstein, jointly earned a doctorate in biology, and together they have received several awards for the quality of their research on evolution and adaptation. Now they publish in Spain the result of more than twenty years of research, the hunter-gatherer’s guide to the 21st century. How to Adapt to Modern Living (Planet), which is number one in sales in the United States and which specifies this: “The main challenges we face come from the inconsistency between the lifestyle we have and our evolutionary heritage. We evolved to live in clans, but we don’t know our neighbor’s name. Survival in primitive societies depended on our sexual differences, now questioned, and we have changed our eating, sleeping and education habits”.
Are we ancient bodies in a modern world?
We are evolution, but our ancestral bodies are not keeping pace with change.
Is everything going too fast?
The structure of our body has hardly changed for 200,000 years, but the contexts around us have continued to change at an ever-increasing speed.
We face challenges that our mental and physiological structures are not prepared for. We generate new problems at high speed and this affects our physical, mental, social and environmental health.
At this, we are the best.
If we don’t find a way to deal with unbridled novelty, humanity will perish a victim of its own success.
But we live in the most prosperous time in our history.
That’s true, but nonetheless, as the statistics show, people are more apathetic, angry, extreme, anxious and depressed than ever.
Does progress hurt us?
It is a question of hyper novelty. We are the best and most capable of coping with change, but our bodies, brains and souls cannot keep up.
Our souls, what do you mean?
We are more than we can comprehend that we are, and part of that is the connection between us, the connection with the natural environment and with other beings.
Is the collective consciousness disappearing or changing?
Let’s use the metaphor of the bonfire: throughout history people have gathered around the fire to share stories, it’s a collective consciousness.
Now we gather around mobile.
Technology is wonderful, but according to our structure, it would be even more wonderful if we were in the same room and could share atoms and molecules and not just our voices and images. We flattened our version to just two dimensions.
What are we giving up?
In rich countries, there is a dangerous phenomenon we call infantile ecstasy: the renunciation of collective consciousness through a series of inconvenient long-term economic and sociopolitical decisions.
Are we myopic?
If you tweet a knee-jerk reaction, you’re going to be angry, less effective at work, and have worse relationships that day.
All this did not happen before.
10,000 years ago, if I put stones across a stream and stepped into the water, I learned, because it all came down to cause and effect. Systems today are so complex that we lose control of them.
Medicine has evolved for the better.
Thirty years ago it was still thought that the right thing to do was to lower a fever, but we now know that a fever is the body’s adaptive response to a pathogen. The body knows that the pathogen does not survive high temperatures, and if we reduce the fever, we are helping the pathogen.
Want me to say?
This is one of many examples of evolutionary biology thinking that has not reached the mainstream. The problem is that we are arrogant and reductive.
Reductionist in what sense?
If you break a large system down into parts and catalog and identify them, the system will always be greater than the sum of the parts.
Is this a scientific truth?
Yes, for example, we reduce food to chemistry. Throughout our history, things that tasted good were good for us. Before we sucked sugar cane, today we make products with sugar. We have transformed a good for us into a bad thing.
What are the main dysfunctions that acceleration has created?
Psychologically, physically and socially we are not healthy. physically we have
ailments and illnesses that did not exist before, physical inactivity, pollution.
We generally lead a very disconnected life from each other; Although we live in crowded cities, we feel lonely and the response is usually pharmacological rather than social. We miss the fire.
Did Homo sapiens suffer from insomnia?
Only occasionally. Often what keeps us going is the outside light, noise and blue light from screens.
Would we be healthy if we followed nature’s cycle?
If we could experience this for one or two years, our bodies and minds would be transformed, but we live by the clock, which is completely artificial.
Is the problem evolving?
Yes, and the solution too. We will need to rethink our sociobiological capacities and needs and act accordingly.