Over the past decade, I’ve read volumes of books, articles, journals, interviews, blogs, tweets, and musings on the topic of happiness. My favorite flavor of happiness writing is the exploration of our brain structure – particularly the way that our minds are wired and how we can use this understanding to our benefit.
Through this inaugural blog post, I’ll share with you the thesis of this Blog: That our minds are not naturally set up to lead us to happiness in the day and age in which we live. You see, our ancestors, the Homo habilis, spent about 2.8 million years evolving. Their ancestors, the Hominidae, diverged from Gibbons about 15–20 million years ago. In fact, the earliest known fossils of primates are from the Paleocene, around 55 million years ago.1 That’s a lot of evolution and, for the most part, provided a consistent environment within which to evolve – Dangerous animals, rival tribes that might kill you, long gaps between finding food, and sexy tribal women wearing nothing but loincloths.
All of the sudden, about 10,000 years ago, agriculture and civilization appeared. This changed everything. Fast forward to our modern age, with fast food, porn, theme parks, and functioning legal systems – it is clear that our environment is strikingly different from that of our ancestors. Unfortunately, our brains haven’t had a chance to adapt to our new world.