The parental admonition that you were marring something left over from the Stone Age is now a scientific fact. This unfortunate truth is wrecking the health of Americans and will take more and more of our national resources and GNP to provide triage. We can not imagine the maintenance cost for those overweight, unhealthy, inactive, dependent Americans. Deirdre Barrett explains what is happening in her Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose.
When man came down from the trees and stayed most of the time on his feet, his brain was adapted to a rather simple life with no excesses in things to eat or do. He spent his time surviving. He wasn’t fat or inattentive. He wasn’t bored. He had very little initial impact on his environment. However being on the ground gave him new things to do and things to destroy so 10,000 years later here we are. Everything about us and our lives has changed except that Stone Age brain. Back then when he saw sweet berries he knew it was time to pig out before other creatures ate the berries or they disappeared, all of which was a good decision.
Today we have the miracles of refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup in a life with a seasonal berry mind. We began shattering bones with a rock to get to the marrow, now however we have home delivery of pizza, fried chicken, and cheese covered nachos. Spring water is out and beer is in. Once we hunted food, defended family and turf, joined hunting parties, worked the flood plane, and negotiated a shared existence. We were loud, crude, and prone to quick angry outbursts. Today we still have those qualities, but our large newly improved screens keep us tied down to a couch. The brain didn’t change but the environment did and along with it our physical and mental well-being.
I won’t cover what the supernormal stimuli has done to our sex lives today but the author will lay it all out for you. By the time you finish reading her book you will never have felt so close to your early ancestors. You may even understand the strangeness of your immediate family. Charles Marlin