stayed on the savannah.
Our modern feelings were perfectly useful for an animal competing in a small ecological niche. That simply isn’t where humans find ourselves now.
TaaL: Feelings were designed to feel ‘good’ by the same sort of process that gets raisins to the bottom of a box; (or in this case getting DNA molecules preferentially through an environmental sieve). You’re all relying on that process to pull a miracle out of a hat as you reproduce past the 10 billion mark, eating fossils, as though your genes have a plan. Genes never have a plan; they don’t know anything, much less that there’s a future. They are programmed to do what they formerly did. Before any hominid reading this was born, your ancestral gene trajectory functioned to make the maximum numbers of copies of themselves. That was their sole criterion, which is as intention-free as the crystallizing of a snowflake. The agenda of the gene therefore pushes for the largest-possible biomass of human existence, while your quality of life is not even a consideration. (M uch as a male spider’s gene agenda makes him into lunch for a female). This is important to realize. While brains have evolved so you “feel better” when repeating behaviors that happened to h elp your ancestors survive, “feeling good” is not a design goal of any sort. Here’s the catch (and why I agreed to contribute here). Going along with the gene agenda feels good. Eating junk food, blaming outgroups, acquiring more and better possessions than your neighbors... all of this feels great. Pursuing an agenda different than this not only has no deep-brain reward circuits, but also runs afoul of evolved brain aversive systems. Going on a diet feels terrible. Loving your enemies feels messed-up. Living a low- consumption life feels like a sacrifice. Thus , the behavioral dice are loaded in favor of the gene agenda, and that’s what you see writ large in the world around you. All the things you are pre-programmed to care passionately about are linked to ancient evolved primitive systems; while the abstractions of the "conscious" part of your neocortices have no such deep links to your core brain structures. You’ll gun each other down over road rage or being snubbed for a promotion, but the abstract loss of a natural world just gives you the urge to blog.
The Bottom Line: If it feels good to do, you really should think about why you’re doing it, because it may be irrational gene stuff.
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