(r)Evolution: Are we really evolving?
Aboard the Brooklyn Bridge-bound MTA, I finally gaze up from my smartphone to take note of what was taking place in front of me. An expected, yet still overwhelmingly congested subway train.
A picturesque New York City scene spewing with vibrancy, richness, and diversity. The surplus of colors, shapes, sizes, scents, cultures, and untold backstories adding even more credibility to the “melting-pot” metaphor.
Yet, all I could focus on at that point in time was something not so expected. The silence.
A silence that was so irritatingly loud it became too apparent to ignore. Without any other way to describe the moment, I felt as if the parallel universes of twilight-zone//black mirror accidentally collided with our own “real” universe.
An out-of-body experience in which I instinctively was thinking I was just a victim of a social experiment (similar in nature to one that took place at grand central station a few years ago).
I observed closer, no longer intrigued but somewhat spooked out to finally find the source of such silence: smartphones.
Nothing new of course or earth-shattering. Nonetheless, disturbing. A collective digital conscience ruled by a uniformity in thumb swiping and taping.
A rush of dopamine achieved through a frenzy of unopened email (Yes, there is free Wi-Fi now on the MTA). Passive soul(mate) searching via Tinder. An endless marathon of scrolling through the FB newsfeed only made somewhat humorous whenever I ask myself “so how many miles did you scroll today?” The online presence and activities go on, yada-yada-yada, you get it.
I share this not because I’m judgmental or critical of our generations reliance on technology. I myself have my own online indulgences (seduced by endless FB content, binge watching YouTube channels, perusing through the endless minutiae of Reddit comments).
But the concern or question that I propose related to the topic of technology use is whether or not we are actually in fact evolving as humans in the positive, most progressive direction.
With the big ideas of artificial intelligence, singularity, synthesized consciousness, and virtual reality now thrown in the mix of everyday conversation, there’s really no telling how far and to what extent technology will redefine what it means to be a human.
Certainly, the most basic functions of human beings are to eat, sleep, procreate, and repeat. But of course as evolution indicates, humans have learned to develop a greater level of complexity in its functions (tools, language, culture, religion, philosophy, technology etc…) that will continuously change and advance.
But what we’ve gained in convenience and advancement (literally food, shelter, travel, mating partners, and pretty much anything you can think of is one click away), is compensated in the loss of other basic human necessities.
Mindfulness, curiosity, imagination, eye-contact, courage (especially when striking up a conversation with a total stranger), the “struggle” to gain something of value etc… and the list goes on.
It is 2017 and I’m on a quest to find a balance between modernity and basic (maybe even primitive) human functionality.
So what does this exactly look like to me?
Yes, I’ll still use my iPhone, but maybe I will limit my daily usage or dependence. Maybe I’ll keep it on airplane mode after 10pm or whenever I’m spending time with another person. Maybe I’ll even just stop using Google Maps for everything and use the innate navigation skills that our hunter-gatherer and even pre-2000s descendants once used not so long ago.
Yes, I’ll still eat out for dinner, order from food delivery services, and occasionally binge on packaged//processed foods…but maybe I’ll just limit the intake of all of the above. Maybe I’ll go on a more strict Paleo//Keto//Primal Blueprint Diet and focus on non-Gmo, Organic produce. No more factory-farmed items. No more simple carbs and empty calories.
All things that are reasonable, doable, and things that I’m already pretty much doing on regular…or trying to. It’s a matter of evolving, but not necessarily with the traditional or Darwinian understanding.
By this I mean to participate in a (r)evolution, with the (r) standing for “reverse” in order to form the word “revolution.” To return back to our most primal roots (not to it’s fullest extent obviously), and learn to incorporate such roots to life in the 21st century.
Learning to design a lifestyle that allows the merits of both to coexist and gives you the tools and needed resources to truly evolve…this, of course, should be defined and interpreted on an individual level.
To continuously be the best version of ourselves and continuously grow, adapt, and advance. To engage in a self-motivated and self-imposed “revolution,” in which you are constantly seeking change in order to advance and succeed in the cut-throat rat race we call life. A race against time, others, and most importantly, ourselves.
As said, 2017 will be a year in which I will try to scope out the things of the past and future that will allow me to be the best version of me in the present. From diet, exercise, sleep, relationships, to overall fulfillment in whatever activities I pursue, a (r)evolution will be the ultimate test.
I’ll later be writing a blog post updating ya’ll with things that I have been doing in the last couple weeks since coming back to the US and things that I plan on doing throughout the year…all related to this idea of being a modern caveman.