Human's Mismatched Environment

en in humanity • 5 min read

Life. Evolution. History. Society. You might think that you understand these concepts. Not just concepts but how our modern life works in general. When you think about it and go deeper and deeper, you find out that you know nothing. No one knows. Because if anyone knew, we would be building our society a bit differently.

Life is a natural marvel. We still know so little about it, even though we know a lot. We are trying to hack a super complex process, but what are the consequences? Do we care enough about consequences? Can we even predict them?

Probably not. We are just animals trying to survive. Every animal cares about what is now, not what will be in the decade, not at all in centuries or later. And thus, we follow a path that might not be the most optimal one. It always takes time to discover we could be on a better course. The question is whether we can fix it and how fast it can be improved.

For example, we need energy. The most direct source is sugar which is challenging to find in nature without our factories. Our body is a fascinating machine with fine-tuned sensors to detect even a slight amount of it to overcome the issue. The problem is our body can get easily addicted to it when there is plentiful sugar-based food. And indeed, we do love sugar. The statistics of obese people are proof of it.

For example, we need to save energy. In the past, we had to do a lot of work to survive, and sometimes the energy intake didn't cover all the needs. We learned how to relax in every possible moment. We also learned how to simplify our life. All the tools and science are here to make our life easier. So much easier that we can order food delivery, sit on the couch, eat more than we need, and not even stand up to change the TV channel. The problem is our body is used to a lot of movement. Without it, our machine cannot keep its shape and flexibility.

For example, we need input. We have big brains making a ton of predictions every single moment. That's what allowed us to evolve faster and escape the limits of biological evolution. We can invent and share abstract ideas, which are very valuable for the survival of our species. We mastered curiosity. The problem is we created social platforms with endless feeds. Our interest keeps us scrolling and scrolling through an ongoing and pointless stream of unimportant content.

For example, we need others. One person doesn't make humanity. We are like ants - we get the advantage only with significant numbers. We literally benefit from the mistakes of all other people before us. Living in a mid-size community is super helpful. The problem is like ants run wars against each other, we also do. The internet connected us in a way no one could expect before. We created semi-virtual global communities that meet in both the virtual and physical worlds every day. Our strong affection for our beliefs and community sometimes triggers very nasty responses. Just think about any conspiracy theory, diet, family planning, political system, race, religion, sex orientation, vaccination, or war sides, to name a few. We see people with another mindset as an enemy.

For example, we need recognition. That helps us feel good and motivates us to work even harder. At least that works for some competitive individuals who shape the world the most. For the rest of the world, it is great to watch those individuals due to our embedded curiosity—a win-win situation. The problem is our prizes and patents and legal issues make us cheat the system to get there, and in many cases, the developments are slowed down than the other way around. On top of that, prizes give every individual too much credit. It is not one or a few scientists behind the discovery but an incredible amount of work of many people. Not to mention that exploring dead ends is equally essential.

For example, we need to live. It's natural. We are part of the complex life on the planet Earth. It is not necessarily us who need to survive. Life started from simple cells and expanded to all sorts of species, and every living thing carries its need to go on. We created many tools to help us do so, and we are great at it. The mortality rate is going down rapidly, and we dominate the world. The problem is it is affecting the climate to our discomfort. Now we are in the battle between that our tools are helping and not really at the same time. Our brains are not equipped for something like this, moreover, if the negative outcome comes slowly in the long term.

For example, we need our biological rhythm. Good diverse food, proper sleep, enough exercise, stereotype, etc., is crucial for us. The problem is we don't consider us being animals, and we try to escape this reality. Maybe we will be able to do so at some point, but till then, highly processed food without enough nutrients and vitamins, displays, no need to go anywhere, too many parties, etc., is slowly killing us.

Clearly, our life could be better, and I'm listing just a few topics. We are allowed to pause and rethink what we do. The problem is not everyone can do so due to various reasons. Not necessarily because of low IQ but because we must run fast to survive in this wild world. I was fortunate enough to have time to read interesting books on many topics, watch various talks or listen to podcasts, think about those ideas, and figure out what all that means to me and what I want to do about it. Anyway, even with that, I can only change a little.

We live in a fantastic world, but not a perfect one. Even if a lot is excellent, we should not rest because we live in a mismatched environment. Let's put endless feeds away and use our capacity for something more meaningful.

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en Human History: We Are Animals, June 29, 2020
en Alternative to Lockdown?, February 12, 2021
en We Need Fake Stories, January 4, 2021
en Our Fake Stories are Flawed, January 6, 2021
en New Religion: Climate Change, February 1, 2021

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