Thursday, January 8, 2009

Human health perspectives, case study, analogy

There is one really crucial point that I want to convey in this particular blog post. Humans have barely begun to scratch the surface of understanding the complexity of their own physical, mental and emotional biology and part of the problem is that they do not sufficiently understand that they evolved to be a certain way that is not at all reflective in the modern life style.
In other words, the human organism, both body and mind, is structured and functions the way it is because it lived a more natural life for millions of years. Technology and enforced social structure at first provided an evolutionary and survival advantage to humans, but now the balance has tipped so that much of the routine activities one takes for granted each day are actually contrary to how the human body and mind evolved.
Let's use an analogy, one that is a bit of a stretch, but everyone can relate to it. Thing of the human body, mind and emotions as an automobile. Roads existed before automobiles did, since they were the result of footpaths, by both humans and animals, and eventually were widened and paved to support horses and wagons. Thus when the internal combustion engine was discovered (first for trains that ran along their own roads, called tracks) and cars were developed, they used the same roads and were even called horseless wagons. Cars were developed to automate a function that already existed, which was to move along a pathway and transport people on land.
Suppose that over the past hundred years that the waters of the ocean rose so much that just about all land was under at least a few inches of water all the time. Humans have a huge investment in cars and they'd still work, so obviously everyone would have to get used to driving cars around through water all the time. A new set of problems would arise, so people would tinker with cars, perhaps making bigger tires so the chassis would be farther up and more out of the water, for example. But people being stuck with cars would continue to use devices that were designed to run on dry roads in the new theoretical water covered world.
Problems would spring up (no pun intended) because cars were not originally designed to be in continually wet surfaces. What happens when the exhaust pipe is under water? Will the engine quit when hit by a wave? Cars can float away and capsize in just about a half a foot of rapidly moving water. Would traffic reports now report local tidal action on the roads rather than traffic jams?
OK, so now let's assume that several generations of mechanics were born and raised knowing only the water covered world, not the dry land masses that cars were originally developed for. When they sit around and talk about cars, how much would they understand about why cars are developed the way they were? They would not understand it much at all.
For example, they might look at windshield wipers and say, "Why did they put them 'up there?'" They should have put a propeller under the car so that it can move better through the water. They would not understand that there was no 'water to move through' except from puddles of rain and that visibility, not boat type of safety, was the only need for wipers or "propellers."
So much of how cars were developed would seem baffling or like egregious oversights to these young mechanics who never knew the dry world where cars traveled at most through rain. The most incredibly obvious thing to those of us who drive cars in the normal world would seem weird, mysterious, or stupid to the young mechanics who modify and fix dry world cars that operate in the wet world that is constantly covered with several inches of water, day in and day out.
Likewise the humans of the past hundred years understand very little about the millions of years of life that the human body and mind evolved for and lived within, and wonder why the body "breaks down" or "works the way it does" as it tries to make do in a world that is not structured now the way it was evolved for.
The most obvious example is the daytime biological clock. Humans were evolved to wake with the sunrise, perform all of their work, child rearing and recreation activities before sunset, and then have quiet evenings with low or no lighting and then sleep. Huge chunks of the human DNA and chemical balance evolved in that simple formula of concentrated physical and mental effort during day light hours, and long periods of sleep at night time, with low light and reduced activity in the evening, since only natural star and moon light or some candle, oil lamp or fireplace light was available.
Now, think of all the ways that the natural body is now forced to be unnatural in the modern world. List them for yourself so that you can use this as a comparative exercise: if human bodies were evolved to be active from sunrise to sunset, with diminished visual and mental activity in the evening, and a long period of overnight sleep, how many ways do we break that formula today?
Working shifts comes to mind, but do not focus on that too much since there have always been those who were "night watchmen" and others who had to adjust to different work schedules.
Instead, think about how desk jobs and school enforce physical laxity during the day while only moderately stimulating the mind. Instead, people are forced to be mentally stimulated more in the evening (homework, bill paying and electronic media usage), just when they are supposed to "wind down" in low light and stimulation conditions. What is elevated during the day? Corrosive stress hormones and other chemicals. When humans farmed and hunted they were not in a continual state of arousal. There would be the need to react quickly to prey or to a sudden weather condition or mishap, but in general people only got the occasional as needed "adrenaline shot." Now we have seething people everywhere in a constant state of stress arousal but having to contain it, whether it is due to economic crisis, child care crisis, oppressive and stressful workplace, and physically sedentary jobs or classrooms where kids are even drugged into being "non hyperactive" and thus "compliant."
Virtually everything about modern life, both the infrastructure and the mindset, are in opposition to how the human body, mentality and emotions have evolved and are naturally programmed and sustained. Life was difficult and often brutal for much of human history, but humans thrived and increased. Why? Because life was still structured to leverage human strengths and evolutionary "talent." But now modern society is infested with "secret weapons" that work against the human body, mind and emotional well being. All humans are consistently overstimulated while having at the same time to suppress much of the over stimulation in order to conform to the expectations of the job or activity AND at the same time they have less physical activity during the times in the day when they are supposed to, according to their own genetic evolution and profiles.
This is the heart of the physical and mental health crisis in the world today.
Here's an example. Can you believe there is a mental disorder called "SAD," "Seasonal Affective Disorder?" This is when people get depressed due to low light levels and so forth during the winter. In other words, people who still respond to the world naturally are diagnosed with an illness, while those who seem on the surface to not mind or respond to seasonal changes are viewed as the "healthy" ones.
Think about it. People who experience SAD are the ones whose bodies are correctly saying, "Hey! The seasons have changed and the body and activities should change accordingly." Yet we no longer have intensive work summers followed by harvest and then reclusive winters as did our ancestors. We are supposed to be jolly and carry on with our "work" or studies or other activities no matter what the season, what the daylight or how our bodies try to recapture their survival skill rhythms. People used to be thrilled at the short days and dark wintry season because they weren't busting their backs working in the fields. The crops were in and they were tucked and hunkered down for a low activity season. They didn't get "depressed" or the 'winter blues!'
Much of the global epidemic of depression is from the feeling of inadequacy-no matter how much one 'achieves'-because so much of modern activity is forced into slots that down in the soul feel unnatural. People are forced to live less in sync with reality and more and more in an artificial and enforced timetable of activities and expectations that are contrary to the body's natural evolved survival traits. Look at the war against "fat." I mean, no one used to be "fat" in the way that it is meant today. Fat is the body trying to do the right thing in circumstances that have become miscued regarding the daily activities that humans were evolved to partake in. I cannot believe how much people are now warring against their bodies even as they try to do the best that they can.
Think back to the dry land cars that are now forced to operate in wet land. What if the modern mechanics who only know of wet land but have to maintain the dry land cars got "angry" at the parts of the dry land cars that don't seem to work "optimally" in wet land? Rather than being grateful that dry land cars worked at all in the wet land environmental crisis, they were enraged at the dry land car parts that weren't totally "perfect" for wet land? That is what humans are like with each other and with their children, and now our children have learned to be enraged at themselves because they don't "measure up" to the insane expectations of modern life. Rather than being grateful that the dry land cars kept on working in the wet land crisis of change and their complexity and ruggedness praised and understood, people are made to feel "at war" with the dry land cars and their original makers. They learn to hate themselves even as they successfully drive their dry land car. They put their dry land cars in situations where they must break down (like drive them into a lake) and then gloat with anger and self loathing.
It's a real mess; I'm not going to lie to you. I see one moronic health research study after the other and wonder if people are ever going to understand themselves before they have completely come undone. Defiance of natural body rhythms, day and seasonal activity, lack of sleep, over electronic stimulation and the corrosive effects of social stress have damaged the human race far more than any, and I mean any, of you realize. And whenever people have warning signs you view it as something to warp even more in the "cure" rather than understand what is really going on. The refusal to work together to make congenial, honest and natural work, school and social activity settings that are mutually supportive is one of the most destructive of the changes in society.
This is another reason why so many have become less than tuned in with reality. The human mind is able to look at an object that is partially hidden by another object and infer what it looks like in total. For example, if one dry land car is parked partially blocking another dry land car, even though you cannot see the entire dry land car in the background you know that it is complete and looks the color and size, blah blah blah based on what you can observe. Human brains are evolutionarily designed to constantly "fill in the gap." Thus when you flood it with partial over stimulated images of unreality (TV, Internet, video games) the brain works to make real and false connections. So, for example, you see accurately the porn, but you then create an inaccurate mental linkage regarding reality of day to day priorities. Where once a man would feel pride and pleasure centers at having a good wife and happy healthy children, the man feels pride and pleasure center at seeing hot women lesbian kiss.
I'm not being droll and I'm not exaggerating. I'm explaining that just as too many killings in the TV and movie entertainment media have enforced unrealistic based brain circuitry, so too has overstimulated "reward" fragments of input, such as porn, overcoming the survival traits and the self esteem regulatory mechanisms that evolved in the human animal over millions of years. It then becomes lose-lose. Humans lose the joy that they used to obtain from natural cycle activities, including marital love, and they never gain what they are now programmed to crave in the new addiction. They lose what they had, or could have had, and never gain the theoretical "new world" continual gratification. That is why all addictions are called "progressive," not because they are liberal (LOL), but because they are the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that does not really exist and is only further and further out of reach, and so more and more addiction activity results in less gratification and/or more destruction of the norm.
I'm not just ranting and in fact, just yesterday it was on the news about how something like twenty-five percent of people view porn on the Internet at work. Again, this has nothing to do with being a prude. I'm saying that such activity is depression and stress increasing because it is contrary to the biological and genetic evolutionary structure of human biology, mentality and emotional health. Humans are not evolved to be continually self stimulating during all hours of the day and rather than a "release" or a "diversion" or an "enhancement" of one's "sex life" (or a substitute for not having one) it becomes a barrier to both having a real life in that regard and also becomes a biological and emotional/mental hindrance to health and ultimately satisfaction. Simply put it is making artificial and corrosively stressful what should be a naturally flowing goodness for every human being.
So as the population is seething and overly stimulated and stressed (often at their own choice), you wonder why there are sudden heart ailments even among the young, cancer, bipolar, depression, autism and all sorts of woes and ailments at levels they have not been seen before? Remember that as I blogged just yesterday humans are also consuming in their food, water and through their environment untold numbers of chemicals that have detrimental effects. Again, the human body is a marvelous thing and can withstand a lot of cleansing (that is what the liver is for, no "detoxing" regimes please!) But it is not evolved to withstand constant dosing of strong chemical cleansers, other people's medications in the drinking water, preservatives and food additives and the emitting of fumes from so much plastic and other artificial building material surfaces.
It's like the angry wet land car mechanics so resent the success of the "badly designed" dry land cars that they now throw acid on top of the car since "that's the modern way to live." It's a mess and I wonder when people are going to wake up and be more generous and kind about their own bodies and minds and each others'. I hope that the car analogy helps because like I said, it is a bit of a stretch but one that everyone can easily grasp and understand. Sigh.