By Robert A. Vella
Is Modern Civilization too complex for the Human Brain?
Yes, says psychiatrist Peter Whybrow in a C-SPAN discussion of his provocative book titled The Well-Tuned Brain: Neuroscience & the Life Well Lived. Whybrow asserts that human brains are not wired for modern society in which long-term thinking is crucial for survival. His examination of this existential incongruity explores the physiology and biologic evolution of human cognition which progress much slower than does human culture (i.e. technology). He cites that, in his lifetime, population has doubled while economic output has increased eightfold; yet, humankind’s myriad destructive scourges persist. Lifestyles based on excessive consumption have triggered gross inequalities, conflict, and health crises such as obesity.
Whybrow posits that because the advent of modern civilization is so recent (agrarian societies began about 10,000 years ago, but Homo sapiens are 200,000-300,000 years old), our hunter-gatherer brains have lagged behind…
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