Following the footsteps of Charles Darwin and his commendable work in the 19th century, evolution has become the most powerful idea of human existence in the modern world.
A big part of his work was focused on the tendency of genes to mutate over time. For e.g. when a dog, or a monkey, or a human for that matter, has a gene mutation—it’s commonly defined in terms of the organism’s unsuitability, because of which, ultimately, it dies. But, there is another side of it. Hardly, but sometimes, these mutations give these organisms an advantage and make them more efficient and successful.
Subsequently, these mutations would be transferred to the descendants who will have the same advantages as their parents, followed by a whole generation picking up the same traits. But, we must acknowledge that gene mutation takes time, in fact—a lot of time.
To keep things in perspective—it took us millions of years to get mutated from a single cell organism to the advanced complex structure we today are; homo sapiens. Markedly, a noticeable change in our physical structure is not something we would notice during a lifetime—but, at the same time, equally interesting, there is a second thought from Darwin’s theory of evolution; ‘adaptation of the environment’.
He evidently pointed out that with a shift in an environment—there is also a sudden shift in organism’s characteristics living in it. For an e.g. in 1998, in Untied States, Grey Frog and Green Frogs, although being from the same species—adapted to their environment and preferred wetlands and wooden areas accordingly. These adaptations, although a very substantial improvement, were major to survive in their very habitats and effectively camouflage from the predators. These adaptations can dramatically alter the chances of a species survival. Isn’t that exciting?
This very adaptation theory also applies to the human world, not in terms of reproductive potential but in term of social hierarchy. This is the very reason why ‘nerd intellectuals’ in the 21st century, even after being shortsighted, timid, being short on charisma, poor muscular development, lack of social skills, have a successful life.
On the contrary, in the past, most of one’s success was dependent on his/her physical strength and social skills and, on the other hand—the loner, introverts were in a very disadvantageous position. Fast forward to the last quarter of 20th century, where technical revolution created this environment for nerds to flourish and by the end of it, it turned out to be highly advantageous for them.
Humans as a species are not mutating enough to be even noticeable, on contrast, our environment is changing rapidly. And, this has hugely affected our society. Some of us, a very small fraction of our society is like those green and grey frogs, who has these rewarding traits like self-discipline, massive intellect, rationality, which gives them a great advantage over the others and substantially improve their life standards.
But, several of us, who aren’t too much inclined towards the adaptations, unlike Grey or Green Frogs, in this new world—do not have these empowering traits. We often overeat, have baseless anxieties, spend an immeasurable amount of time before screens, watch too much porn, stay monogamous and get involved in so many unproductive activities.
The bottom line is – that even though we often find ourselves chasing in this technology-driven capitalist society, we must acknowledge that adaptation according to this new modern world is not the trait for everyone. We often, find ourselves not fitting in the room filled with intellectuals and disciplined humans. During those times, we must be a little forgiving for us and most importantly, for people around us.
We should see that it’s our biology that has disappointed us with a range of cognitive habits that do not serve us anymore. Our indulgence around sugar, anxiety, power, sex and excitement did make sense when they evolved, but not now, although pleasing and entertaining, they are counterproductive and hamper our effectiveness in this capitalist society.
Darwin’s theory helps us to understand why we do such unproductive things on a daily basis and struggle with the smallest of the tasks. If truth be told, it’s just that we are not adapting to the modern times for which we are consistently accused of the demeaning human nature.
Undoubtedly, the modern world is a strange place and it’s really hard for most of us to pull off. Acknowledging our limitations, we all should accept that Darwin was right. Not all of us are adapting enough to be successful—not all of us are like those grey and green frogs from United States. it’s not even our fault—places where we were growing up, the kind of education we get, people that surround us, our friends and families—there are several variables that play a critical role in making one successful. And, even if one of the pieces miss match—we miserably stay under the shed of mediocrity. So, next time you see an unsuccessful man—struggling with his life—failing, just know—it’s not anyone’s fault. He, unknown to the adapting world, is trying. And, that’s enough!