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Future Human Traits


Eric Edmeades

In this weeks show we visit with Eric Edmeades, a philosopher, student of evolutionary biology and a former top 10 ranked professional tennis player. We delve into the habits of tribes in Africa and the Amazon and why their dietary habits show good habits we’ve lost as a result of modern lifestyles, and we debate how tech and science might change human biology over the coming decades.

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[Music] this week on the futurists Eric edms we're living in the easiest safest
best times in the history of Earth for the individual person on Earth today the easier life gets the harder it is to
live [Music]
it welcome back to the futurists if you've been following the Journey of the
futurist podcast uh you'll know that we uh have been running this show for about a year we have a great milestone to
share with you we just crossed half a million downloads for the show so yeah it's great to uh to see that progress so
um joining me in the hosting chair today of course is my co-host Rob Turk Rob hi
good morning how are you we're both at home but we're in on different continents good to see you yeah I don't
know when I'm gonna get back to the states right now I'm still waiting for my for the the US Embassy to issue my
Visa it's just to wait for next election probably yeah they you know I like I
remember coming into um JFK one time and I had my
TSA Pre um revoked oh and I and I remember asking
the the you know the Customs and Border guy you know what's going on you know what why is my my status being provoked
he's like right to Trump it's like yeah I don't think that's really practical
advice brother but anyway um so this week uh Rob um you know some some
interesting things happening um obviously uh Market's still
in a bit of turmoil the brick announcement I don't know if you saw that that Saudi and um Iran and a bunch
of other company countries being admitted to the Brick Nations now which
now means that the Brick Nations um produce more GDP than uh the
G7 H that's an interesting thing we'll see if much comes from that that organization hasn't really done much in
the past there's a bit of tension between India in China that prevents
being very effective so no I I mean but I do think that these unconventional
alliances and so forth are seeing you know that's it's easier to do now Tech is easier so forth and there's a fairly
um you know China's made some pretty good points about you don't want to be aligned with the US dollar because if you're relying on the doll as a reserve
currency and the US decides to sanction you you know you're screwed well yeah that's bad for China of course um
China's worried about that if they do something in Taiwan but anyway it's been interesting to see hey Brett if the
Indians agree to adopt the Yuan as Reserve currency I'll buy you a dinner at the restaurant of your choice all
right well and I don't think they're necessarily going to adopt the E1 but I think we could see a wholesale cbdc
that's a a brick standard sure okay well that will be in the future if it comes
yeah it'll be yeah but I mean you know automated supply chain is in the future right but we know it's going to happen
and you need programmable money so it'll be interesting interesting to see where this goes anyway let's get to our guest
um we have an interesting uh guest on on today um we're going to talk about his
books um he he's uh he's an entrepreneur um but you know probably in
terms of the conversation we're going to have today a lot more of it is about his work in terms of uh sociology
anthropology looking at um how humans uh humans behave and you know what we have
learned as human tribes and so forth in the past that we've maybe forgotten now
um he does this through you know visiting actually with tribes in Africa and the Amazon and so forth it's super
interesting so uh let's let's get him on Eric edms welcome to the futurists
thanks for having me good to be here hi Eric it's great to to see it you're in the uh Dr today right I am
I'm in the Dominican Republic Home yeah and you but you spent a ton of time traveling like all of us but yeah I'm
I'm probably on the road about half half the time yeah yeah and show has a huge carbon footprint I was thinking about
that the day everyone's always flying someplace yeah we got to do something about that maybe but you know like Caron
offsets are getting a really bad name right now we need something better right we need to just get rid of cabin I guess
I guess is the is the message but so Eric like like um like Brett said in the intro your background is as an
entrepreneur in Tech and mobile and also here in Hollywood in special effects um yeah but you've developed this you've
kind of cultivated this interest in Social anthropology and the and the uh
evolutionary history of so of societies how did you come about that like how did that occur yeah how did you
go from ilm to this it went from you know I I guess uh
when I was in um in in business just doing my thing I I I I had Curiosities that were that you know sort of stepped
outside the technology realm that I was in and one of them was frankly that I was sick you know I was I was quite
frequently sick and and I and and I mean like I was on medications and visiting Specialists on a regular basis and and I
wasn't getting anywhere in fact the latest recommendation I'd had at 21 was to you know involved surgery and and I
weirdly I I went to like what I thought was a business seminar and then on the last day of the business seminar they
talked a lot about food and I'd never really talked to anybody about food I mean I wasn't I wasn't like heavily overweight and I wasn't I didn't think
of food you know but some of the ideas that were discussed kind of intrigued me and so I I decided to kind of just
experiment a little bit and 30 days later I'd lost 35 pounds and every symptom I had was gone like I I was an
entirely different human being and my what was that yeah we should do a
show about food and nutrition I gotta tell you it's it's it might be the single most important um uh it might be
more important than anything else that we're we're discussing at the moment because it's at the foundation of it all and and and to that end I I my doctor
called me to confirm my surgery and I said I don't think I need the surgery anymore like I'm I'm fine now and
they're like no that happens with things like this it it gets better but then you know and the last thing you want to do is end up back on I'm I'm from Canada
right so we have free medical it just might be three years from now so he's like you don't want to wait on the waiting list again it was like a it like
a used car salesman trying to talk me out of canceling the purchase and so I I no kidding you can imagine 21 I looked
about 14 and it must have been very impetuous looking to this doctor but I said to him um how long did you go to
medical school for and he said six years and I said so you know in the six years how much that time did you spend studying nutrition and he and he cocked
his head to one side like you know like a confused dog and like what what kind of question is that what to do with
medicine yeah he said none he he had none and so at that point I I kind of
felt like I was in a plane with a pilot who'd never been taught to land you know so hold on a second now yeah and and so
I started at that point um studying food and and and and history and and it
really it it hit home to me one day when I started I was reading an article about elephants and the comparative lifespans
of elephants in captivity versus elephants in the wild and the article kept referring to the elephants wild
diet versus their captive diet and as a bit of a grammar I'm a little bit of a grammar fascist sometimes I I which is
odd because I'm dyslexic but what the hell and I it irritated me that they kept putting the world wide the word
wild diet that irritated me that's not the elephant's wild diet it's their naturally evolved diet they have a
captive diet and a naturally evolved diet not a wild diet and this thought on a plane no kidding flying to South
Africa hit me and I realized that's where we need to be looking we need to be looking at our naturally evolved
relationship with food what's the wild diet for humans like well you know it
it's seasonal and that's one one of the big things that people don't really understand is that there is no people often ask me what's the perfect meal
today depends on the season and I don't mean the season that you're living in I mean the season that your DNA evolved in
right the the the season that your digestive system optimized for you know you have a season that's particularly
geared at gaining weight it's supposed to do that to make sure you get through the drought but then you have a season
for letting go of that weight and the average American never visits That season and and so it it becomes a very
fasinating conversation and then that led to I was running these leadership programs where I would take people up kilamanjaro as a as a mental toughness
and Leadership exercise and I came down from the mountain one day and my Logistics partner said listen I feel
like maybe you should meet some of the the the hods of people we have here and and what what would you and and I was so
intrigued because I've been fascinated by the koian Bushman that you might have seen in the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy I've been so fascinated by that
lifestyle and I didn't know they still lived like that and I went to go visit with them and now for 15 years I've been
I've been visiting them on a regular basis it's been life-changing so what is the name of the tribe again hza or hadab
it depends they they don't our language is a little different than theirs but commonly where are they are they in Kenya or somewhere nearby yeah they're
they're actually in Tanzania very close to Kenya they're they're they're they're near the engor gor Conservancy area in a
place called I've always wanted to visit Tanzania you know I mean that's a very old place right that's like I remember
kid know my my most memorable project I did as a as a kid at at primary school
was this big poster I did on Tanzania so well funny enough you guys might know
Mark Hyman yeah yeah so I'm taking Mark to go visit with the hodza in November
and uh and part of that trip we're going to the oldi gorge which is maybe the most important pale anthropological site
in the world where the Leaky work has all been on display and then we're going to the engor Goro crater which I kid you
not I believe is the Genesis of the Garden of Eden and I really believe that and and way they get the vibranium it
it's yeah that's right it's a little like that but it's um it was a volcano the size of almost kilamanjaro and
millions of years ago it caved in and left this like Peter Jackson style wall
20 miles aong and inside there are lakes and river and rivers and and elephants and lions and what have you and it's a
Walled Garden so it's it it really feels like the Cradle of really the Cradle of mankind and the Cradle of all of our
stories and what did you learn there what are the things that you took away from that encounter or later meetings
you know um at first because I was so focused on food and and or let's say health I I mostly that's what I paid
attention to I I pay I looked at the way they ate I asked a lot about seasonal fluctuation I looked at their daily
movement patterns and that kind of stuff and so what I learned there is stuff that we all pretty much know at this
point and that is that um you know we don't eat enough of the good stuff and we eat too much of the bad stuff and we
don't move our bodies enough I mean I know you don't have to go all the way to Africa to learn that but you know there's this old Chinese expression that
to know and not to do do is not to know so I suggest that the average person knows this but they don't know it and so
to go and actually see it it I mean on an average day these guys go 10 to 20
miles a day to satisfy their basic nutritional requirements let me give you an example of something I call the
evolution Gap and that is um your cardiovascular system has a pump it it
it it and a matter of fact it has two you have your diaphragm to Pump Air you have your heart to to pump blood that's
because oxygen is so urgent that you needed to pump your lymphatic system doesn't have a pump and and and you know
it's it's it's the difference between urgency and importance your lymphatic system is incredibly important you need
lymph to flow around you if you don't have lymph flowing around you will die it's very important but it's not urgent
and so you didn't evolve a pump for it because your daily requirement for movement to satisfy your most basic
needs as a human caused you to contract and relax your muscles which pump lymph around now let's take a look at the
average person living in the modern world today they're not using the pump massive problem uh so so a lot of
motion a lot of movement is one of the keys to help that helps circulate the lymphs okay that's good it makes sense
that's a part of the world where you have a lot of marathon runners too right that part yeah you know what if you're if you signed up and you're thinking
you're winning the gold and you're racing against the Kyon or Tanzania good luck it's interesting are those two
things connected I mean is that the group that you visited with um it's not so much that it's the group it's a
little bit of a it's a little bit of an Evolution anomaly and that is that um
you know Evolution moves very very slowly um forward in a sense that you
know that's a bit of a projection but but it it it can move very very quickly in reverse and what I mean by that is
that uh you know most of us you know with slightly paler skin and northern northern hemisphere people um left the
natural selection game or changed our natural selection game quite dramatically so you your none of your no
relative you can name four generations back needed to run fast in order to survive they just didn't have to do that
whereas in Africa that has M that lifestyle has been maintained up until now and so they've had two or three
thousand years of additional selection based on their speed and their strength and their endurance where we've had you
know two three thousand plus years or even longer where speed and strength and endurance has not been a determinant
factor in our survival and as a result we are we we're typic not able to maintain the same level of athleticism
as they can when it comes to endurance running is there biological changes
happening here like if you look at the genome or if you look at their um you
know their their basic uh Health you know how how are they different from you
know an average uh Westerner guess well I would put it this way it's not it's
not that they've changed it's that we have right so what I mean is is that you
know they've been living under the reality of natural selection in the harshest possible environment that you
could live you know I mean in terms of human existence like wild animals and having to hunt and no Agriculture and
what have you and so they've just maintain the same evolutionary velocity they were already on our ancestors some
15 or 20,000 years ago started farming and developing Agriculture and and uh
and then and then civilizations and cities and so on and so we were no longer being selected for that in fact
we we basically solved infant mortality where they still deal in in the tribal areas they still deal with 80% infant
mortality we don't and so that means that you know and this is kind of this is a little harsh a little you know I
hate to it gets into the political correctness thing but the reality is is that you know if you have 10 children
like nine of them are definitely gonna make it probably all 10 if they have 10 children only two are going to make it
and which twoo well likely the fastest and strongest and and you know and that's that's the harshness of nature
right that's the selection process uh so so talk a little bit about the distinction between AD adaptation and
evolution because evolution is a very slow process and like you said um what nature selects for is random mutations
you know that's it's not something you can really plan on we can't um construct our Evolution we think we can but that's
that's hubis well we we actually can it's just ethically questionable I one of my favorite Evolution Comics ever uh
is a a strong alpha wolf sitting in the snow staring off into the forest where
there's a small glow of fire in the distance and the Wolf thinks to himself One Night by the fire with the humans
what could possibly go wrong and then there's a picture of a French poodle yeah boy so the truth is we know how to use
unnatural selection to create genetic change but but of course you know we don't do that you know theoretically we
don't do that but but the but you're absolutely right it's a very slow process when it's completely left in
nature if we manipulate it we can change dogs into thousands of unbelievably diverse breeds in a few hundred years
they tree with vegetables every vegetable that we cook you know whether it's broccoli or carrot or a banana the
original form of those things is completely unrecognizable bananas it's something people don't understand about
what they call GMO Foods is that there's a variety of there's basically three types of genetic modification there's
the the one the Frankenstein one that we're ref of and that is the the the the playing with the DNA at the at the brick
level then there's then there's unnatural selection or or genetic modification through breeding and then
there's genetic modification through natural selection I mean there are all forms of genetic modification but Robert
when you were a kid how big was a strawberry yeah they were little they were little and delicious B and Bland
now you get like apple siiz strawberries which you know maybe isn't ideal Frank it's Eric um you know when
you meet with these tribes um you know they have obviously
been exposed to the West yeah and they've they've you know they might have
a cell phone at the village and you they might have solar panels and stuff no no
not at all we're not talking about the Massi or the dooga people okay all right so but but they're they're exposed to
Western lifestyle so why is it that that they've rejected that is is it is it
just because they want to protect way of life or they made the assessment that you guys aren't really living you know
you you guys aren't uh you know what where does that sort of fit on the Spectrum yeah it's a very it's such an
important question of Distinction so the first thing is just to consider the difference between say the Massi or the
dooga people and the hodza the Massi and the dooga people are much more like us than they are the hodza people they're
agriculturalists they're pastoralist they have cell phones you know they they they Bank the hodza don't now that's not
to say that some of the hodza have not been co-opted into society the government has tried for many years to do that and and and that's been
difficult for them the missionaries have gone down there and tried to convert them to whatever religion that particular mission was all about and
introduce them to you know uh seed oils and flour but H there's a very good
answer to your question which is a lesson for us and that is that if you consider the slow way that we gave up
our natural relationship with nature and frankly our instinctive environment if you get if you consider how slowly we
gave it up it it was infantes slow if you take a Bushmen and move them to our lifestyle in a moment our lifestyle is
shockingly uncomfortable it's shockingly uncomfortable to them they they get taken into the village they're shown
they can get free food free food does lure them in initially they're like holy I don't have to hunt for my food every day but then the next thing you
know it's you have to clean over here you have to you have to you have to coexist with other people there's you know and they just it's shocking to them
our ancestors gave it up slowly over tens of thousands of years and no one no
one generation even witnessed what they were giving up they just kept moving toward what they consider to be progress
in an easier life which I don't here here we are living let's just say this we're living in the easiest safest best
times in the history of Earth for the individual person on Earth today we have less poverty as a percentage of the
planet than ever before we little girls around the world get 11
years of education to every 12 years that boys get today it we are living you can walk down the streets of almost any
major city and feel completely safe 300 years ago if you landed in somebody else's country you probably had serious
problems now you just hold your wave your little passport and walk in we live in the safest times in history of world
and yet we have more addiction we have more uh uh pharmaceutical psychological
intervention we have more alcoholism and suicide is climbing steadily this the
easier life gets in other words more suicide more hot disease yeah the easier life gets the harder it is to live it
yeah Mor stman says that that people medicate themselves when he talks about addiction to substances what do you
think people are medicating themselves for when we take drugs or when we drink uh in the modern world what are the circumstances that cause us to seek
relief in those substances uh here's a great example um
have either of you faced actual death and I don't mean theoretical traffic thing I mean like somebody held a gun to your head or a lion was pouncing or like
you you really in that moment you actually believed you were going to die mhm I had an engine failure in an
aircraft in an aircraft okay recover it fairly quickly but you
know I was working the problem before I was thinking that I'm going to die but yeah here's what I've noticed about that
people who had events like that when they were young they are generally more calm in in in tough environments I was
on a plane oxygen Mass dropped we went into a dive I put my shoes on I got my passport in my pocket everybody else is
screaming and crying I was calm calm Calm why well because as a kid I went through something where I thought I was
going to die what I mean is is that your your your biochemical emotional responses are calibrated through the
course of your life your parents faced death more often than you did your grandparents faced it exponentially more
often than they did and the Next Generation and the Next Generation before death the reality of survival you
every day you you survived was a lucky day for most of our ancestors we aren't
used to um fully calibrating our our adrenals anymore so now red and blue lights can Flash in your rearview mirror
and you flood yourself with adrenaline which is not the appropriate chemical for talking to the
police oh interesting so you're saying it's maladaptive we've adapted to this sort of sedentary lifestyle and this
kind of peaceful uh no Jeopardy lifestyle and as a result we have to kind of artificially stimulate or sedate
ourselves um in order to manage those emotions and those hormonal reactions
that came about in the old environment the previous environment yeah I might say it a little differently that we
adapted for an incredibly difficult challenging environment that required the the that required the mo the best
from us to survive the most difficult things and now that we don't have that going on we can see a cockroach and
freak out as if it's a lion all right well listen Eric what we like to do in the show is um is uh after
a short break we're going to talk a little bit more expansively about the future and we'll talk about the future of human adaptation and and uh human
evolution but before we do that just to get acquainted with you personally we like to ask some short quick questions
so these are short answers uh to give us a sense of uh how you approach this subject matter and where you got started
and so Brett's gonna do that this is the lightning
round okay Eric uh what technology do you think has most changed
Humanity fire y um that's uh that's one we've had
before but we've had the wheel we've had the fire we've had computers um is there
is there a um a futurist a philosopher an entrepreneur
that has particularly influenced you and why I think as an entrepreneur you know
I've had many um but the one that I give the most credit to just maybe because of the timing in my life would have been
Richard Branson I I I read anything that he would write and I was lucky enough to meet him a few times and he had such a
profound impact on my ENT on my life in entrepreneurship that I'm certain that I live life that I get to live today and
explore the things I get to explore today uh because of his influence and and um do you think that
um Branson's made particularly good um predictions or forecasts or you know
what's what's been the secret to his success you know I don't I don't know that he has I think that I think what
he's done is um what what he did really well in business is identify industries
that were that had run the course of time and become institutionalized so that he could compete with with them um
very well and often he got that wrong when he tried to compete with Coca-Cola I mean that was just a mistake you know that that was never going to work but
competing against British Airways well I mean anybody who had the slightest inkling of customer service could
compete with British Airways if they had the capital to do it so I think that's what he predicted really well and I think frankly um it's it's not like he's
been some timing Guru he's just been really good at um creating uh um better
circumstances in business environments and then and then attract the right people to make those things happen great
um and is there a science fiction story or um future that's that's been sort of
written or modeled that's most representative of the future that you hope for for
Humanity no all right I mean we gonna get back to the past maybe H okay you
know may maybe the Star Trek universe you know maybe the Star Trek universe um
you know I often think of you know there's there's a lot of conversation like is capitalism wrong is socialism
wrong and I what I think a lot of people don't really understand is that they they should be just different points on the same timeline that you have to go a
certain distance into capitalism to get to the place that you have enough of the right technology and money in order to move to socialism and I think that Star
Trek kind of they they depict that well whether it's whether it'll happen or not I that that might be the one great well
you're listening to the futurist with Eric edms we're going to be right back after this break and we're going to get into what is the future evolution of the
human race given the pressures and situations we find ourselves in we'll be
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show hey welcome back to the futurists I'm Rob Turk with my co- host Brett King
and once again we're interviewing someone who's doing very good work thinking about and framing new ways to
consider the future this week we're talking to Eric edms uh who is an entrepreneur but has a sideline in so
social anthropology and has been sharing with us his perspectives on Evolution and how that's changing big topic
nothing small here on the futurist this week so Eric you have a book coming out uh a book that's actually right on this
topic that we've been discussing tell us a little bit about the book yeah the the book is called The Evolution Gap and the
evolution Gap is a gap that I uh suggest has opened up between our very slow pace
of genetic Evolution and our capacity for Innovation and our accelerating capacity for Innovation and I basically
would suggest that almost all pain suffering stress anxiety disease and and frankly social difficulties um uh you
know stem from that Gap I it makes sense to me I mean I will tell you that there has been this level of Hysteria in the
last six last 18 months about artificial intelligence and and that's a very funny
thing if you think about it because on the face of it artificial intelligence is going to confer tremendous advantages
on most people right it presents a great opportunity not just for creativity but the ability to automate away some
tedious tasks and so forth but the universal reaction hasn't been Euphoria or excitement or like wow what a cool
new superpower across the board the reaction has been entirely negative um
and mainly last week we had a guest on the show who said you can boil it all down to people are worried that they're
going to be replaced by a machine that's the fear that we've got so the fear is that we're building a machine that's
going to replace Humanity what's your perspective on that from an evolutionary standpoint from a the super long Arc of
human evolution do you think it's possible for us to build a machine that'll bring us to an end and just wipe
us out well having just watched Oppenheimer I yes I think it's absolutely possible do that and I
suggest that that has probably happened in the universe that that you know that that civilizations have done them to
themselves I I tend to take a little bit more of a um you know personal View and that is let's take a look at agriculture
from minute now you and I are hunting and we come we come back to one of the villages that or one of the campsites
that we've often stopped at because we're nomadic people and we notice that there are vegetables or fruits growing
in a place where last year we were eating and throwing stuff and we're like wait a second Robert you don't suppose
we did that you don't suppose we stimulated the growth of that stuff there and we're like that's amazing if
we do that then we won't have to go out there anymore we won't have to go out into the danger we can just grow the
food near us great let's do that okay so how do you think it works well we just throw the stuff there well actually you
know in the next Generation we figure out that if we dig a hole and put the seed down then less of the birds you
know get them and then we realized yeah but then the seeds all died because it didn't like rain enough so now we figure out that we have to cut some Irrigation
in and what have you and pretty soon we are absolute slaves to repetitive stress disorders and injuries and we've screwed
up our nutritional relationship because we're growing Foods based on their flavor rather than their nutritional needs and so we have developed a
technology that has given us cancer heart disease and diabetes Now it didn't happen in one generation one generation
just did things slightly better than the next one better being a very subjective idea and and so what I'm suggesting is
that every time we make our lives easier every time we acques another aspect of
Our Lives to technology we weaken ourselves dramatically now now you probably are aware of this thing about
the London cab drivers have the biggest brains in the world have you seen that they have to learn something called the knowledge which is a four-year degree
level education on every Street Pub and Restaurant in the 150 year old exam for
taxi drivers yeah it's tough man it's tough but what's interesting is their brains don't grow learning the material
their gra their brains grow accessing it afterward and so now how many phone
numbers do you know I bet you it's less than three but I'll bet you that you and Me growing up in the 70s I remember my
phone number you knew all of them and so now there's an entire part of your brain that you have acquiesced to technology
and now let's take a look that as it stands today because of the incredible uh influx of the most disgusting oils
and excessive sugar in a non-seasonal way way plus the acquiescing of our brain to technology you and I have a 50%
chance of developing uh Dementia in our older age I I don't I think
that's a result of two things that we get to live a lot longer because it's a safer world but also because we're
living not in accordance with our design specifications wow so is that the premise of the book largely yeah I would
say okay so um tell me about you do focus on you do focus on the speed of
technological development yeah and I want to hear about that the acceleration and you know
um you you you know you you say the evolution Gap refers to the Discord between our genetically ingrained
instincts and behaviors which evolved over millions of years and the demands and realities of the modern world that has transformed significantly in just a
few Generations so the reality is we have never had the you know rapid arate
of change as we have today and largely that's because of computing it's what leads to things like the concept of the
singularity um you know and other things like this because computing power is
like you know like what you you're talking about with the Agricultural Revolution you know and then we got the Industrial Revolution then you know the
Computing Revolution we're just about to hit AI and in each of those um you know we've had to adapt faster because of of
those Technologies so in the midst of all of this we also have climate change coming up so we got massive uh potential
issues with livability of the planet with access to food with you know 500
capital cities around the world that are going to be inundated by sea level rise all these things there's a lot of
adaptation that Humanity as a as a tribe or a species has to you know um like
adapt to just in the in the next 20 years so you know what are you advocating that we should slow down that
adoption we should slow down Tech or is it increase awareness okay so here's a
really good example if if you're walking along in the wilderness and you drop down into a dry riverbed and you see 14
lions and I'm saying this as an actual specific example for my own life you see 14 lines I can tell you that what
happens is you take one sharp inward breath and then you breathe very quietly because you're stressed and you start pumping adrenaline and nor adrenaline in
your system and by doing so you trigger fight flight or or or or or freeze response now what happens is you become
less intelligent because intelligence is not required in this situation you don't need to know that the African Lion is a
largely gregarious family structured you don't need that from David atenor you need to know how many are there do
they have Cubs are they dangerous so your your intelligence becomes limited to the most basic logic your empathy
your empathy um is in direct opposite proportion to how scared you are so when you're not the least bit scared you care
about the whole planet when you're a little bit scared you care about your country when you're a little more scared you care about your community when you're scared enough you care only for
your family and if you get scared enough you will select which child to save and if you get even scared enough you will
save yourself first and and so this is just the function of adrenaline look at that's why they tell you never go into
the water with a drowning person because they can't think so now understand that that was a great survival mechanism when
there were lions attacking you it was smart that you suddenly had your heart pumping adrenaline strength speed and
basic logic now you receive a legal summons in the mail and all those same
chemicals pump into you all of them the same chemicals the same chemicals that cause your heart to thunder that cause
your your you know that you start producing blood coagulants to prevent you from bleeding to death before the injuries even happened and that happens
when you got the letter from the from the legal summons and unless you're planning on getting very serious paper cut it's not helpful plus your empathy
and intelligence is gone should you reply to that letter in that moment absolutely not you're you're subhuman in
that moment now this is just one why people send regrettable emails right
it's exactly why they send regrettable emails so so when you when you bring that Consciousness to it you recognize
that we have Paleolithic nervous systems Paleolithic emotional responses and we have modern-day influences on them well
now what we have to do is is bridge that Gap and understand that that's what's going on here's another example our
ancestors lived in fear all the time I mean you you know we they talk about us like we were massive apex predators and
stuff that's recent like we lived in fear of big cats big cats that hunted us and and and it was terrifying so we're
very good at hypervigilance we're very good at that now if a government wants to seek control of you all they have to
do is frighten you and the minute they' frightened enough you're willing to give up your security give up your freedom
for that implied security and so and we've seen a lot of that over the last several thousand or several hundred
years even where you you frighten the population the next thing you know look I'll acquest I don't need my freedom I
need you to take care of it for me the whole war on terror was that right it was constantly Runing us the the terror
alert never went below level orange whatever that means oh yeah okay but now I would even argue be a little sorry go
ahead well you're making me think of something related here um so I'm listening to this I'm thinking about the
people are listening to the show and I'm sure some folks thinking about agency right now like what am I supposed to do
with this information uh I don't live in Africa there aren't 14 lions in my backyard all we've got in my
neighborhood is coyotes and rats am I supposed to go out there with my bare hands and catch one of them for dinner tonight so I guess what are you
proposing what are people supposed to do with this information there there're sort of a process look at a symptom and understand
that symptom and and then look for the potential Evolution explanation for it so one of the examples I use in the book is wisdom teeth the current wisdom of
wisdom teeth is that we simply that either God or Evolution screwed up and gave us these extra teeth that we have
to cut out now as much as I understand of God and as much as I understand of evolution neither are stupid things so I
don't think it's likely that we just evolve these mystery extra teeth or that suddenly our Jaws got too small because
we weren't Che ridiculous here's what really happen if you go out and ask any hundred people how many of them are
missing teeth in the front of their face from some trauma they'll tell tell you that you know it's it's a good 20% of
people and we live in the safest times in the history of times and we wear things to protect our mouths in the last
generation it was routine to knock your teeth out in the generation before very routine now what did our bodies do when
we knocked our teeth out by the way your teeth are designed to fall out they're designed to fall out easily if they get traumatized because otherwise the root
would break off and you could die from a septic shock so your teeth you get Jarred your teeth just fall out then
what happens next your mouth resp spaces your mouth resp spaces now our ancestors
didn't give a damn about their smile they cared about functional teeth their mouth respaced and here's the
fascinating thing men are twice as likely to get wisdom teeth as women and men are twice as likely to suffer face
trauma as women and there's a there is a clear link between trauma and the development of wisdom teeth not
everybody gets wisdom teeth not everybody gets four some people get one some people get six so it seems likely
that the stimulation of wisdom teeth is facial trauma something hits you your body deduces from that that you may have
lost a tooth as your mouth now starts to respace it means we need an extra tooth
now that's not the problem that's Evolution it's beautiful the problem is our egos get involved and say yeah but I
want my perfect smile so we stick a denture in there now those wisdom teeth which were called forth by trauma can't
find anywhere to go and they become impacted and they grow ins sideways and we have to cut them out once you
understand that whole process as a somebody like me who will avoid surgery at every cost if I can I will not go you
know I like I'm not interested in having surgery if if I if it isn't an absolute must but once I understood that about
wisdom teeth I'm like cut them out it's that or let my spout my my my face respace and I don't want asymmetrical
teeth so I'll take the surgery that mechanism that we just described I believe we need to apply that all over
the place how about racism like here's the deal with racism if you have a vaguely racist thought
especially if you're you know one of us a middle-aged white guy and you have a vaguely racist thought you're supposed to condemn yourself you're supposed to
feel horrible and guilty you're supposed to be a bad person except wait a second
for the vast majority of human history the people in the next Village over were dangerous but not that dangerous because
we traded with them and we swapped children for DNA purposes and so on but the people that were their neighbors
they were quite dangerous we're talking 20 miles away the the kisan Bushmen have a tradition if they bump into a another
they don't know they hide behind a rock and they call out looking for common ancestry or else they have to kill each other that life on Earth was
precarious and dangerous and the more somebody looked like you the less likely it was they were going to kill or rape
you the more different they were from you in terms of their sound their smell or their look the more afraid you were
it is not sounds like Florida it's not at all a mystery that people are slightly afraid of people that look
different than them so once you understand that you go oh okay so racism has this Instinct thing now we can bring
our Consciousness in and go yeah but I don't have to be an animal okay so you're saying that we can
use conscious decisionmaking we literally can make a choice between known Alternatives and choose the option
that's more appropriate for today's circumstances do you think that's true across the board because earlier I
mentioned the the fact of accelerating technology right if we talk to folks from Silicon Valley we do plenty of that
on the show uh they're always rapturous about the idea that the pace of Technology Innovation is increasing
rapidly and to me my takeaway is always yeah that might be great for you guys because you're going to make a pile of money but for the rest of us it feels
like we're on the receiving end of something that we never chose or selected what do you have to say for
people who feel like that I I I have to tell you that um Innovation for the sake of innovation is is not necessarily good
or bad it's what we end up doing with it you know in 1890 or so um I can't think of the author's name now Emil somebody
wrote a book called suicide and in the book he suggested that if that suicide rates were increasing at that point and
that if there was ever a global conflict suicide rates would go down he predicted that in 1890 well World War I comes
along and suicide to use to mix some bad metaphors falls off a cliff suicide basically stops during World War I
comparatively and then it slowly over the space of 10 years it EES back up again then it stops again during World
War II it just stops why because people Define their life experience by having
something to fight for they they need trouble and strife they need need the struggle they need the struggle if you make life too easy for people they just
give up ask any teenager what's makes them stop playing a video game if it gets too easy they'll stop and and so
incidentally Su here's the thing the struggle is mostly monetary now and we've got this massive inequality Gap
you can't really do much about it right um you know because you've got to be able to change your you know
circumstances to to impact that or change policy and I think there's
something Brett very important about what you're saying and I think it's really this is a it's a hard thing to say but it's really important again we
live in objectively the very best times that have ever ex existed existed on Earth and while there is a big wealth
Gap and what have you there are less people there a percentage of the planet in poverty today than ever before no I I
I know that I mean like I know I know the stats right it's the best time to be alive you know as a human um you know in
in in pure historical terms but let's Eric you know here here's the part of
the show where I really want to get you sort of applying what you've learned over the last 20 30 years and um taking
us on a journey where you think this might take so already you know we are starting to you know look at gene
therapy we're starting to look at um you there are mechanisms now where we can
understand longevity self senance uh these sort of things we had Au de gray on the show uh in in December um talking
about the uh the you know longevity escape velocity and stuff like this but looking at
2030 um you know like the end of this Century um with all of the changes that
we're likely to go through over the next few decades like climate change and AI how do you think that's going to affect
the evolutionary response how's that going to change Humanity are we going to sort of become more sustainable like
more like the the Bushmen uh you know and the and the uh indigenous tribes or
um you know do we merge with technology to to get um over some of these uh you
know autonomic response uh reactions you talk about to predict where we're going
in five years let alone at the end of the century is becoming increasingly impossible what I would suggest is that
where where we are today is if we do not bring Consciousness to this Gap if we don't bring that to the Gap then we're
going to cause more problems than we could be begin to understand and I I'll I'll give you one as an example that was
built right into what you said are we going to become more like the hods of people or the indigenous people why because they know something we don't
know because they're smarter than us no they are us and and this is very important distinction um first of all
the word indigenous is a politically charged word the only place there are indigenous people are is in Africa
everybody else are Aboriginal they're not they're they're they are immigrants to those places every single other
continent the humans evolve humans migrated to those places and when they migrated those places they obliterated
the megap they ate everything that was in their path they're not better conservationists than us they don't have
a greater understanding of the planet than us and for us to go to adopt some James Cameron Pocahontas fairy tale that
the answer to our future lies in going back to indigenous people I was out hunting with the hajah chief one day we
stumbled Upon A hornbill Nest a hornbill is Zazu from The Lion King the way they nest is the female goes into a hole in a
cliff or a tree they mud it over and the male comes and gives her food through the hole until the chicks are alive we
found the nest the chief breaks the nest open he grabs the ba the mother breaks her neck takes the eggs and we have
lunch and that's the way it is and I said to him hold on do you ever think to leave them do you ever think to leave
them so that the chicks can grow up and and become and he says to meh on Earth would I do that if I don't eat them
somebody or somebody or something else will the truth is is that humans are not evil we simply want to survive and if we
don't bring our Consciousness to this conversation then as we increase our capacity for technology we will make
life less and less sustainable suicide just we we can we can make ourselves um
like for example we you know theoretically we'll be able to engineer our genes so we can get get rid of all
of these germline diseases we we'll be able to build you know sustainable communities with access to you know good
food and water not the food I'm talking about now the Franken food that we have uh you know processed stuff but you know
assume assume we're going to get better at that so a lot of those concerns might
might disappear but we still have the problem of suicide and things like that you saying so with all these
technological advances what is it that um you know that is is that sort of ongoing threat to human
evolution you know you might have seen a couple of months ago there were some press about some studies done recently
on the fact that if you live and spend time near water that you have less dress chemicals in your body and you may have
been in a Thai restaurant or a spa where there were Birds playing that there were Birds playing and weirdly Birds playing reduce
your stress levels and the reason they reduce your stress levels is that in Africa the birds stop singing when the
Predators come so the bird singing is an indication to your DNA that you're okay and that you're safe if we don't
understand those basic things we don't understand them today by the way then who the hell is playing with our genome
because they don't understand those things they're they they're they're they're they're they're um modifying our
genome for maximum profitability of the right crops the same way they did with crops people said the same things you're
saying now 50 years ago about how we were going to genetically modify grains so that they so that the insecticides
wouldn't kill them and all that kind of stuff those Innovations many of them have have you know contributed to extra
calorie load and and made it possible for people to get fed but those Innovations have also caused Untold damage to our
environment okay so let me see if I can wrap this up uh your comments today um remind me of Kevin Kelly's comments
about living with the Amish and the menites in the United States um and those are cultures that choose
not to use technology they're fully aware of it they're fully aware of cell phones and so forth but they make a conscious choice not to adopt the
technology and it's not that they're against technology they're not leites they're simply not sure what the impact
is going to be and so as a culture they say yes okay here's this new thing and that's quite interesting and we are aware of it we're going to wait a few
years we might wait a hundred years before we decide to adopt it because we want to see what the full impact is going to be and you're on a mission to
spread that wisdom to other people to take what you've learned in Africa and to tell share that with people around the world to say we can make that choice
as well new technolog is coming at us faster than ever but that doesn't mean we have to adopt it we have agency here
we have the ability to select to make a decision about whether or not we adopt that is that the direction you're
heading is that your for prescription for the future it's in the theme I would just say it a little bit differently
it's that when we do adopt technology we should adopt it with holistic consciousness of the impact so a friend of mine last night asks me aren't you
afraid that you're acquiescing a lot of your brain when you use Ai and I said some people are using AI to generate
their content I don't I use it to ideate I I sit and debate with it I use it to think so if you use AI to stop thinking
you're going to damage your brain if you use AI to think and learn faster and do more then you're doing you're sending
good blood flow to the brain so as each of these Technologies comes along you have to make a decision why on Earth in
America do you go up a flight of escalators to get to the gym yeah there are times when technology
should be adopted consciously and there are times where it just shouldn't be always take the stairs folks well Eric
it's been a great pleasure to have you on the show folks who are listening will be interested to learn more about you where can they find out about the
evolution Gap and the rest of your work they can go to the evolution gap.com and we have an evaluation you can go to gapf
finder.com it's it's we're building that out even now but even now there's a basic test there that you can identify where gaps might exist for you and and
I'm also at eric. cool thank you very kindly for joining us on the show it's a lively
conversation interesting conversation yeah um yeah we'll uh let us know in the book I know it's pre-order right now but
let us know when the book actually publishes we'll make sure it gets out on social media as well thank you super
well folks you've been listening to the futurist this week I want to thank Brett of course for organizing this show thank
you Eric for being our guest and thank you to Kevin and the rest of the crew at provoke and thanks to our audience for
listening we really do appreciate it we get a lot of great support and feedback from listeners and like mentioned in the
beginning we're thrilled to celebrate this Milestone of about a year of shows and 500,000 uh listeners that's super
news we've been growing fast and it's with your support for that we are deeply grateful we will be back in a week with
another futurist someone who is future-minded to help us frame new ways to think more constructively about the
future and of course until then we will see you in the
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