The Future of the Human Race

Popsci believes that stress is a good indication the evolutionary future of the human race is about to change:

The best evidence that we are growing ragged at the hands of the Brave New World we have busily been rolling off the assembly line is that growing numbers of us freely admit to being thoroughly stressed. A recent study reported that the United States is “a nation at a critical crossroads when it comes to stress and health.”

Americans are caught in a vicious cycle: managing stress in unhealthy ways while assembling insurmountable barriers that prevent them from revising their behavior to undo the damage they are inflecting on themselves. As a result, 68 percent of the population is overweight. Almost 34 percent are obese. (This is rarely a problem in hunter-gatherer cultures.) Three in ten Americans say they are depressed, with depression most prevalent between the ages of forty-five and sixty-five. Forty-two percent report being irritable or angry, and 39 percent nervous or anxious. Gen Xers and so-called Millenniums admit to being more stressed about personal relationships than even their baby-boomer parents. It’s so bad that the results of our anxieties have found their way into dental offices, where dentists now spend far more of their time treating patients for jaw pain, receding gums, and worn teeth than they did thirty years ago. Why? Because we are tense and anxious, grinding our teeth down to nubs as we sleep.

Stress, as the experience of lab rats everywhere has repeatedly testified, is a sign that a living thing is growing increasingly unfit for the world in which it lives, and as Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace astutely observed more than 150 years ago, when a living thing and its environment are no longer a good match, something has to give, and it is always the living thing.

I’m hoping we evolve into cyborgs. But, that’s just me.

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