food for thought 30.11.2021

Meditation, evolution and Instagram.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Years ago, I developed a theory that I called “SA – Social Atavisms.” It described the influence of evolutionary mechanisms on everyday life. I was delighted with the discovery. Some time later I found out that evolutionary psychology is a thing.

Okay, I bragged, and now to the point. Evolution is a process of adaptive changes taking place over time. It turns out that the forces that induced our ancestors hundreds of thousands of years ago are still extant in the days of the Mars lander. In our human case, one can be tempted to distinguish three basic evolutionary factors:

  • having children (passing on genes)
  • acquiring and securing resources
  • positioning in the herd

The latter two basically serve the former. The more resources and the higher the position in the herd, the greater the chance of a more favorable and safer gene transfer and protection of one’s offspring. In a hominid herd a million years ago, the dominant male, having first access to often poor food resources, increased the chances of survival for himself and his offspring, therefore he was more attractive to females.

Do you see a correlation with the 21st century?

Despite the greatest access to resources in the history of humankind, we still mainly deal with obtaining them, establishing our position in society, and ending up in the dating carousel (looking to pass on genes). Although our offspring have an incomparably greater chance of survival than ever before and we do not need a “herd” to survive (formerly, rejection by a herd was equivalent to death), we still strive for social approval, if only by faking our life on Instagram. We climb with effort and at the expense of ourselves to achieve mythical success (position and resources), against our own sensitivity and genuine needs, succumbing to the whisperings of a genetic imprint.

What does meditation have to do with it?

Meditation is a tool that brings awareness between impulse and decision, enabling the chances of a choice that does not automatically come to the aid of evolutionary holdovers.  Because what was good in the past doesn’t have to be now.

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