If you are a fan of human history the impression you get of our progress over the years is a relentless march forward. We evolved on the plains of Africa as small and weak primates with very little to distinguish us from other animals. Deep time and the relentless random pressure of evolution changed that by giving us a big brain and a wonderfully articulated hand. Our history is littered with people who took those advantages and did remarkable things. In fact history gives the impression that we all strode gloriously towards the future with linked arms singing Do Your Hear The People Sing from Les Miserable.
But this view is totally incorrect, a few people have dragged the rest along for the ride. If it was up to the majority of people we would probably still be sitting on our arses hitting each other on the head with sticks in much the same way that our primate cousins still do. The default setting for humans is one of apathy, this apathy is also a function of our evolution. We evolved to operate in a minimum energy or ground state. That is apply the least amount of energy to something to get by or if you are being technical maintain homeostasis. It is a powerful strategy and it has worked remarkably well but it is also the root cause of much of our dissatisfaction with life and with ourselves since we have two competing trains of thought. The first tells us we should get going and do something and the second in the great Australia Day tradition simply says…ah I cant be fucked…..
And guess which one wins most of the time? Hence we spend a lot of our time in pain.
The interesting thing about this conundrum is that most can get through life doing the bare minimum that society expects. That is go to school, get a job, raise a family but if we are faced with making a change as to who we are or the absolute direction of our life then we baulk at the effort required. We baulk because change requires energy and it is not just physical energy, most can manage getting out of bed but changing the way you see yourself, the world in general or your place in the world is both extremely hard and also sometimes distressing because we have to acknowledge our own failings. As a result we tend to stay in our own neat little orbit because these orbits are comfortable and we don’t really need to do all that much to maintain them. Society even goes out of its way to accommodate our own inertia. When I first started training in a serious way many decades ago it was accepted that to transform your physique would take a year or so of hard work. Over the decades this time has gradually come down and now one of the gyms I frequent is offering a 9 week transformation program because 12 weeks was just too long.
Lost in my own personal history I once heard the phrase you are where you are because that’s where you want to be and if this phrase makes you uncomfortable or you rail against it then it is probably true.