Did Evolution Take a Wrong Turn? Is This Why We Feel So Disconnected?
I’m hard on work on my next book in The Bipolar Expert Series. This book will focus on behavior. I just completed four draft chapters that will comprise my part one. They are not the chapters I expected to write. Let’s investigate …
Ever since I could remember, I have always felt like I was an outsider. I’ve written on this numerous times. I even joke that I wish aliens would abduct me and kindly return me to the planet of my birth.
Funny thing, when I bring this up with other people with my diagnosis, no one rolls their eyes. Instead, I find a lot of nodding heads. Indeed, I find people eager to share their own stories. So it wasn’t just me.
More recently, I have observed this in those outside my bipolar tribe. Nodding heads, wanting to share their stories. These are people who tend to take the road less traveled, mind you, but still - it wasn’t just us.
Two pages into my draft and it became clear that the purpose for my book was an entirely different one than the one I started out to write. Namely: I needed to answer the enduring question of why so many of us felt so disconnected with the world around us. Our diagnosis didn’t explain it. Nor did our personality traits.
Could it be that our evolution somehow took a wrong turn around the time we walked off the job as hunter-gatherers and starting living in cities? What we need to keep in mind, here, is that the sudden shift in our social environment would have posed the same extreme adaptive challenges as any drastic change to our natural environment.
Having said that, the founding of civilization and everything else that followed totally contradicts this idea of a wrong turn. We not only successfully adapted, but we far exceeded expectations. In terms of a head count, we went from a mere 100,000 during the early Stone Age to seven billion today.
Case closed, right? That’s what any normal person would conclude. The story we have been asked to believe involves the ascent of man, one that accelerated into high gear during the dawn of civilization about six thousand years ago. We haven’t looked back.
But what about us? What about our story? The one about a world that we don’t fit into? The one we from which we feel so disconnected? This is our story, and someone needs to be writing it. I’m working on it.
John is an author and advocate for Mental Health. He wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Depression and Bipolar Disorder.