“Why Instincts Can Compete With Our 21st Century Brain.”
• 1. Mike (my teenager): “My Bio teacher says we are Cavemen living in the 21st Century. There’s a conflict going on between our ancient & modern brain. Huh?”

• 2. Me (Pop): “On-the money. But here’s what it means to you. It’s the answer to “So-What?” - “Who-Cares?”
You don’t have to remember this.

• Modern humans are 10,000 years old. We started 2.6 million years ago from the Ape family. That’s the Paleolithic or Stone age. We are really Naked-Bipeds.

• Two-legged furless apes that still react to life by Instincts, Reflexes, and Habits hardwired in our Nervous-System. They form Neural-Networks in the brain plus spinal cord.”

• 3. Mike: “So you agree with “Teach”.

• 4. Me: “OK, we are the inheritors by DNA & RNA of a couple of million years of Nature. Nurture, like reading & writing are a New adventure.

• The average U.S. citizen has been reading and writing (illiterate is the opposite), for only 120 years.”

• 5. Mike: “What are examples of our conflict with our Ape ancestors?”

• 6. Me: “The smartest professor on instincts affecting Homo sapiens (you) is at Harvard, an evolutionary biologist, called Jason Lieberman. He says a lot.”

• 7. Mike: “Examples that make sense to me, please.”

• 8. Me: “Walking like our ancestors or Sitting all day like us. Our tribe of “Hunter-Gatherers” walked 6-miles daily, 7-days weekly. Modern Humans never hit the one-mile mark, outside their health club.”

• 9. Mike: “So they walked a little more.”

• 10. Me: “Our mind-body connected was constructed atom by atom to climb trees, mountains and hills to forage for veggies, fruit & kill prey for dinner.

• We dug and threw, walked and ran from better predators
that wanted us for their dinner.”

• 11. Mike: “What was their reward?”

• 12. Me: “Survival in their environment, a hot meal, living long enough to transmit their genes to us. Get this: their movement pumped Oxygen around their cells, and blood to flow (better heart pumping action) and Immune System activity.”

• 13. Mike: “Still they died at 25 years or so, but healthy.”

• 14. Me: “We sit at a desk & computer for 8-hours, in a car or sofa the rest of our waking hours. No exercise. Heart Disease is #1, & Stroke number 2 on our hit list.”

• It requires a Conscious decision (Willpower & Intent) to exercise our muscles, tendons, ligaments & bones. It is not natural for adult Americans to move actively. It is not an Instinct but requires a Decision.”

• 15. Mike: “What else?”

• 16. Me: “Reading & writing which translates to using the Computer, keyboard and Internet. We had the Internet for only 25-years old. An Average of 5-6 hours online is normal. Did you know we check our Email 30-times daily.”

• 17. Mike: “I know you are dying to say it. Any suggestions to self-improvement online?”

• 18. Me: “SpeedReading101 saves you 2-hours daily. You read and remember 300 pages daily. It helps with reducing chronic-stress too.”

• 19. Mike: “You’re on a roll, what else is different?”

• 20. Me: “What we habitually eat, sugar-starch-fats, not Veggies, Fruit & protein. Modern man consumer 100 pounds of sugar annually, not their 5-pounds. Could explain lack of heart attacks & diabetes?”

• 21. Mike: “Last one, I got homework.”

• 22. Me: “Shoes. We cannot feel nature and need foot specialists. You walk better barefoot. Exercise the bones in your toes and arches. They were not Flatfooted like us.

• Last point about our eyes. There are 2 types of vision: Fovea-central-vision which is very narrow. The second is
Peripheral (wide) vision.

• Your ancestors (progenitors) did not read the NY Times or Googled. They exclusively used Wide Peripheral vision for seeing the Big-Picture. It helped in tribal hunting of prey.

• Narrow (Fovial Vision) used in reading & computing causes Nearsightedness. It causes Images to blur at a distance. By the way, Peripheral is the secret of speedreading.”

• Mike: “I learned a lot & it didn’t kill me. I got more questions for next time, thanks Pop.”
See ya.
Copyright © 2013, Bernard Wechsler

Author's Bio: 

Bernard Wechsler: education director,

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