Are We Still Talking About Hunter-Gatherers?
Our species' pace of change now outstrips our ability to adapt. We are generating new problems at a new and accelerate rate, and it is making us sick - physically, psychologically, socially, and environmentally." Heather Heying & Bret Weinstein
Note that the publisher's Portfolio Books sent me a free copy of this book to review for a fair and honest review. Here goes.
I wanted to like this book. I appreciate the ideas, especially around the speed at which technology is moving and my general agreeance that the pace of change is creating more problems than we seem to know how to manage. Hartmut Rosa coined the term social acceleration in his book of the same name, referring to the idea that society as a whole seems to be speeding up. Perhaps that low-level angst that seems to grip us all is a function that none of us know how to adapt to anymore other than by trying to hold on.
Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein, known for their DarkHorse Podcast, have been riding the wave of their initial popularity stemming from Bret's earlier speaking out against the intellectual woke mob coming after Universities and himself at Evergreen State College in 2017. His appearances on The Joe Rogan podcasts elevated him to someone of interest only to see the whole topic fizzle as big names like Sam Harris slowly backed away. I've personally listened to a few of their episodes early on and found some of the conversation interesting. For a counter-argument, I'd recommend
the podcast Decoding the Gurus who delve into this world of public intellectuals.
This book attempts to simplify some of these topics into manageable chunks while asking us to put on our evolutionary thinking caps and reflect on what people from our past may have done. I have to say there are some interesting ideas in here and some straight-up borderline crazy ideas (see not going to a doctor to get your broken bones set). In the area of health, I had to give my head a shake as the advice seemed dangerous. I appreciate the need to step back from antibiotics and consider the individuality of our bodies but please see a doctor.
The sections on raising children and our school system were necessary, and everyone should read the section on becoming an adult. The short Corrective Lens sections at the end of this chapter are worth reminding ourselves regularly, although they felt a bit superficial like much of the book. Ultimately, that was part of my complaint with the book. It didn't feel like a book that was well researched and thought out but perhaps more out of a need to capitalize on waning popularity. At some points, recommendations based on singular anecdotal experiences didn't leave me with a lot of comfort accepting what I had just read.
Rating: 3/5 for me. Recommended to anyone who happens to be a DarkHorse podcast fan and those generally looking for different views on our evolutionary behaviour and where we are today.
As for my final thoughts, are we placing too much emphasis on our inability to evolve as a species? Although I tend to agree that technology is outpacing our own evolution, I do begin to wonder if we put too much stock in the idea that our brains are running on this outmoded software when we have in fact designed and built everything around us. Something worth pondering as a lot of books today seem to base their narrative around this singular idea.