Since I just don’t have the time to put together a Friday Book Club — sorry — maybe we can all kick in on this: A list of the hard truths.
I don’t mean stuff like “Blacks commit way disproportionately more crime” or “the 19th Amendment was a big mistake.” While those are true enough, they’re also common knowledge — why do you think the PTB go to such great lengths to suppress any mention of them? For “hard truths” I mean things that we ourselves — the students of History, the “conservatives,” the saturnine — have a hard time looking at straight on, and indeed try very hard to forget. Stuff like this:
Humans can’t handle abundance. One of my favorite “jokes” is that I’m the only guy I know who really believes in evolution. By which I mean: If you grant that we humans are, in fact, great apes — that we share 96% of our DNA with chimps — then 96% of our behavior follows. Any group of humans will invariably behave like an equivalent-sized group of monkeys, because we are monkeys.
Monkeys, like all lower animals, are hardwired for life on the ragged edge of survival. Malthus got it right, back in the 18th century – a given population will always expand to the limits of its food supply, and that explains the behavior of both the population and its individual members. Dogs, for example, will breed any time there’s a female in heat, the males fighting it out among themselves for access. Dogs will eat until they vomit, then go back and eat the vomit.
Humans work the same way. But there’s one crucial difference — while every other population has hard limits on its food supply, ours is effectively limitless. Ask any overweight person (these days, that’s pretty much all of us) who has ever seriously tried a calorie reduction diet. It’s almost impossible, and not just because our foods are packed with high-calorie, glucose-spiking artificial crap like corn syrup. Even if you go all natural, you find yourself overeating, because we have 24/7/365 access to all kinds of perfectly natural products that don’t suit us, and screw us up. Yeah yeah, it’s “healthy,” “natural” food… but do you know how much sugar is in a cup of strawberries?
This isn’t some kind of Paleo diet manifesto. I don’t care what you eat (and I myself am not the paragon of optimized nutrition). I’m trying to point out that abundance is pathological in itself. Because we’re just monkeys, our systems follow a kind of nutritional Say’s Law — supply creates its own demand, such that we give ourselves diabetes eating nothing but “natural” fruits from climates we’re not genetically adapted to.
And it’s not just our food. Our environment, too, is far too secure for our firmware. We’re wired for threat detection. So wired, in fact, that city dwellers who go camping often freak themselves out in the quiet of the forest — did that bush just move?!? Your threat-detection hardware can’t be shut off, so when you take away the constant barrage of stimulus in the city, you actually start to hallucinate threats.
In other words, the abundance of our environment has screwed up our eustress. “Eustress” is beneficial stress, the kind that makes you stronger, and it applies to everything in your body. Lifting weights is eustress on your muscles; solving math problems is eustress for your mind. Everything about our biological life is designed around maximizing eustress — change your material conditions, and your body (and mind!) will adapt. Humans are amazingly hard to kill — even in concentration camps, the numerical majority of those not killed outright by the guards survived to tell the tale.
That adaptability, too, is hardwired. We can’t shut off our eustress-maximization mechanism — “life force,” “will to power,” whatever you choose to call it — any more than we can consciously, voluntarily shut off our hearts. If there’s no stress available in our environment to eustress against, we’ll make some…
…and that’s modern life right there. Again, look at the Kavanaugh circus. The only thing wrong with those people is that they’re bored. Feminism didn’t exist in the 19th century, simply — and it really is this simple — because sex often resulted in conception, and conception opened up the very real risk of painful death. Add infant mortality to the mix — a 1 in 2 chance your child will die before the age of five concentrates the mind wonderfully — and you’ve got all the stress, eu- and the other kind, that anyone could ever need. Only barren spinsters from rich families could afford to worry about politics back then; now we’re all barren spinsters.
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