Abundance (#127)

Teenagers today often hear from last generation people that back in those days, we didn’t stare at screens all day, we went outside and did stuff.

But if only there were something known as the Internet back in those days, I can assure you that the teenage situation would be pretty much the same as it is today.

The reason we crave for sugar goes back to our evolutionary past. Back in the really old days when we were hunter-gatherers we foraged for food. Sweet foods were quite rare in the jungle. When you got it, it was only apt to jump and eat all (or as much as you could) of it. You couldn’t say, “Okay, I’ll eat a little today and save for tomorrow.” because when you would be back tomorrow you’d find it all gone, eaten by some other tribe.
Another thing is that sugar is healthy in small amounts in it’s natural form (through fruits or dates) and contains a lot of energy. The energy from sugar attracted hunter-gatherers more so. Ones who consumed sugar had greater survival chances from starvation, and hence passed on their genes to produce offspring that craved sugar.

Now, thanks to our great-great-great-great-great-great… grandparents, their forager circumstances led us to crave sugar. And now it’s become a huge obesity problem.

For modern technology has made use of our cravings against us. Now, we can easily find food that contains sugar whereas back in the old days you were lucky to find one fruit on the rare fruit tree.
Now entire industries are based on the raw material of sugar. And although, sugar has increased, our craving for it has not gone any lower.

We weren’t evolved for all this abundance in the world. We evolved for a scarce world.

You may ask why haven’t we evolved as sugar has multiplied and we know that sugar is not healthy? Where’s evolution stopping us from excess sugar now?
Well, evolution takes a long time. The first sugar plantation was planted in 1518, some 500 years ago. In evolutionary perspective, that is a very narrow range of time. It takes countless generations for evolution to happen. So humans are still evolving, and maybe way ahead in the future we develop an instinct against excess sugar. Who knows.

Like we started this article, humans have certain desires created by evolution for its survival traits. And we want to fulfill those desires rooted into our DNA. So, if you were to go back in time to the 20th century and magically give everyone access to Facebook, there would be teenagers in homes on Facebook for the majority of the day, wasting their time watching other people show off their fake lives. Same with dopamine inducing video-games and all the stuff teenagers today are exposed to.

It’s just a matter of having it. Kids these days are no worse than the last generation. We have the same instincts as those before us. But now we have devices to manipulate those instincts.

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