group, successful wooing and mating of the opposite sex, enthusiastic defense of one’s tribe and territory while ostracizing the neighboring tribes, confidence and certainty, etc. Just recently, scientists have begun to acknowledge the importance of traits such as humor, cleverness, and kindness to the survival of human groups 21 . All these traits have been ‘conserved’ , meaning that over many hundreds or thousands of generations, the neural wiring for these traits would not have been selected against once it had become universally ‘locked in’. TaaL: Your records of your own history of the last several thousand years seems like a long time to you, but it has been too little time for evolution to alter you much from your long history as tribal hunter-gatherers. You are reading these words from within a skull that contains a stone-age mind and the patchwork quilt of evolved drives and biases which come along with it. Most of the human story is unknown to you: On the order of 100 billion anatomically modern humans have lived. And of most of them, you know only what can be inferred from scarce fossils and your own vestigial mental and physical adaptations to the reality they (heroically) traversed. They experienced all the emotions and senses you do, in a very wild world, yet you celebrate no holidays to honor this heroism which secured your own existence. Your history is confined to the history of your recent civilization, as if these ancient heroes never were. Very recently, the rise of agriculture drastically increased human numbers. In parallel, the belief in shared mythologies increased the maximum size of human social all iances, creating effectively larger human “superorganisms” which displaced other large species, in the same way ants displaced nonsocial insects. And over the last couple hundred years, this process has been supercharged by the fluke of a one-time carbon energy pulse. Yet any given human is still primarily driven by hunter-gatherer instincts. I recommend looking to your past to understand the present and prepare for the future. The Bottom Line: Humans evolved to be small-tribe hunter- gatherers, and still react to the world primarily as such, even though recently occupying a very different world.
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