Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom helps people realize their unique importance. Using my knowledge of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, my experience with therapy, coaching, somatic healing, and personal growth I create products to help you discover, develop, and express the elements of your identity critical to your health and your contribution to our world. My goal is to research, develop, and disseminate these materials so that every individual can reconnect with their uniqueness, realize their passion and purpose, and live the life they were born to live.
The key tenet of the Toltec/Ruiz family legacy that I talk about in this episode is Domestication. The Toltecs use this term to describe the ways humans are changed by the people around them as they grow up. Domestication starts immediately upon birth and continues throughout our lives.
During Domestication we learn how to do many helpful things like walk and talk but we also learn things like what religion we believe in or whether or not we live with our parents our whole lives.
In short, Domestication are the norms, rules, and laws we are taught that teach us what to believe and how to behave. Some of these things are incredibly helpful whereas others are not.
To varying degrees humans will question their beliefs as our lives unfold. We wonder why we feel a certain way about this or that. And often we have no answer. We can’t remember ever even thinking about whether we like eating animals, for example, and may realize we didn’t even know we had a choice. Or we sit in church one day and ask why we worship a God who doesn’t approve of our sexuality.
The Toltecs, and the Ruiz’s, teach us how to become aware of the ways we have been Domesticated and even demonstrate how we can change the beliefs we may no longer need or agree with.
Millions of people have no interest in the Are vs Should Problem because they can’t meet their basic human needs for things like food, clean water, and safe shelter.
These problems can only be fixed if we live more in the Are and less in the Should.
There are no two ways about it, I believe that we need to be more Are, and less Should. I am even starting to believe that the world’s biggest problems can only be solved by people who realize their full ‘Are’ potential. It seems imperative that we learn to develop our Are potential and to shun the Shoulds. Being in our Ares is what is going to fuel the creativity necessary to move forward as a species and solve our most pressing issues.
And, sure, some people already live more in their Are who have invented awesome things like rocket ships an iPhones, but many of these amazing inventions don’t mean much to a lot of people on Earth. I think much of the industrialization and consumerism we see today is fueled by the Should and not the Are.
Similarly, many people do not have the food, water, and shelter necessary to even ponder the Are vs Should Problem. I realize my white privilege is what allows me to even ask whether I am the person I AM or the person I feel like I SHOULD BE. I get that. Not everyone has that luxury. But we all deserve it. We’re all born to be who we Are, but our circumstances and opportunities available dictate whether we have luxury time to ponder such things. And the solutions to these food, water, and shelter problems is going to be found by someones’ (or many someone’s) Are.
Every person on earth deserves to have their needs met. We deserve to have food, clean water, safety, community, and all of the other basic needs. We also deserve to wonder and to be curious. We deserve to have the choice about whether we thrive or survive. We deserve the chance to be who we Are.
So I feel a sense of urgency around the Are vs Should Problem. We need more of us to think. To learn. To create. To figure out. But to do these things we need to allow ourselves to bIf more of us learned how to minimize the Shoulds, we would make more discoveries, invent more useful items, and more quickly solve the world’s most pressing problems.
Obviously this means that we, as individuals, need to work on this – and I promise, I will develop a “how-to” in the not-too-distant future, but we also need to pave the way for everyone else.
Think about it. We can put people on the moon. Entrepreneurs go to ‘space’ for fun. Most of us have the internet in our pockets. Don’t tell me we can’t figure out how to take care of each other. To give each other the opportunity to be who we Are.
After WWII Americans made some major advances in the pursuit of happiness. The 40-hour workweek. Worker protections via unions. Inexpensive plastic goods and TVs in every room. We purchased homes, went to college, and earned pensions for healthy retirements. We had picket fences, 2.3 kids, and stayed married (but not always happily). Our grandparents passed these ideals on to their children, and to each successive generation, changing very little with respect to goals and ideals. Depending on your age, you are the second, third, or fourth generation to come after that era that started nearly 80 years ago.
That dream worked out well for our ancestors, and maybe for their kids. But things have changed. Guaranteed pensions became incredibly volatile 401ks. Health care became more expensive and less helpful. College expenses multiplied by a factor of 10 or more, far outpacing inflation. We had kids later, and though we spent more time with them, they learned less about life because we protected them from it. The jobs our parents had changed dramatically for the worse, and by the time we got our degrees the jobs we wanted looked nothing like what we expected.
In short, living our ancestors’ dreams didn’t work out so well.
When we are born we make these and other silent agreements with our families, societies, religions, peers, employers, and other people and groups we may never meet. We obey the rules, norms, and laws of the countries we live in. We accept our familial beliefs. We learn the rules from the schools we attend. A lot of these rules are good. They keep us safe and peaceful. But some of these rules are just plain dumb, and it’s time we pushed back on the things that aren’t working out for most of us. It’s time for a NEW dream.
I am currently working on a larger project that will connect my background in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with personal growth, psychology, and finding more joy and fulfillment in our lives. In Episode 43 I introduce some evolutionary evidence that every individual human is born to discover their uniqueness (despite how ‘woo woo’ that sounds), and how NOT doing so goes against evolutionary theory.
I didn’t coin the term Unnatural Selection. People have used it, generally, to describe forces that affect evolution but are not necessarily a part of ‘regular life’. These forces become selection pressures when they influence the ability for a species to persist. For example, invasive species can be physically moved to new areas where they did not evolve and wreak havoc on the species living in that area. These selection pressures are some feature of the invasive organism that gives it an advantage and with which local species did not co-evolve. These forces often include predation, habitat use, aggression, or other forces that negatively impair local species.
The point of the term unnatural selection is that this novel selection force did not co evolve with the species it is affecting. Most of the time this disconnect is about time or space. In the invasive species example, the organisms didn’t occur in the same physical space (like a continent, island, or area) and so the issue is simply about relocation. Other times the unnatural condition is about time, and the obvious example is climate change. Many argue that human activities are a natural part of our evolution, but the key difference is the amount of time it has taken for these changes to occur. Sure, if human induced global changes occurred over millennia, the earth and its inhabitants may, indeed, have plenty of time to coevolve. But the sudden nature of temperature and CO2 changes over the past 100 years did not allow for such a response. Hence, the selection forces are unnatural.
That’s a long way to go to explain the basis for my argument, but well worth it I hope.
So the main argument I am making in this episode is that humans have imposed a few other unnatural selection forces upon ourselves. If you watched Episode 43, you will know that the main force I consider unnatural is that of conformity. Despite the evidence (which I find compelling, obviously, though you may not) that our DNA, by its very nature, demands that every human fully realize our uniqueness, yet human societies impose the opposite.
Societal norms, religions, laws, politics, and even the popular arts impose forces that encourage conformity. Because it is our nature to NOT conform, but to be UNIQUE, these forces are unnatural. Sure, norms and laws are important. Driving on one side of the road, wearing clothes, not punching people in the face. These are good things. Here I’m talking about mechanisms that discourage people from being different or to behave ‘like everyone else’. On the obvious end, ‘white people are better’ is an unnatural selection force. On the more obscure end, publishers requiring all books to be written according to a set of approved literary rules may result in really, really great books never being published.
The essence of unnatural selection is the intention to make everyone the same, and to make life difficult for those who insist on expressing their individuality. You probably won’t have to think very long to find examples of this in your own life. I have experience mdany examples in my life, and maybe that’s why it’s such a big deal to me.
Therefore, the ultimate travesty of unnatural selection is that the ideas, thoughts, and creativity humans need to survive the future may never come to light because they will be discouraged and effectively ‘weeded out’ of society. As the world becomes more crowded and less hospitable to humans, it becomes increasingly necessary to find unique ideas and approaches that will alter that path. Solving human problems, or any problem, REQUIRES unique viewpoints. As many as possible.
I hope you enjoy the episode. Your comments and thoughts are welcome and encouraged as I develop this idea further.