I’ve noticed how rappers love to talk about “the streets”. They like to remind us, from their mansions, that even if they have been through some kind of wannabe-Tony-Montana rise to power, even if they do make more in an hour than you do in a year, even if they are gleefully sucking that corporate shlong they once renounced, that deep down, they’re just like you and me – they haven’t forgotten where they came from.
I’m not falling for it. As far as I’m concerned, they’re the man now. Pretending to be anything but just embarrasses the both of us. However, I’m totally on-board with one thing – it’s good, in moments of personal crisis, to look back at where you came from.
I’m a human being.
That means that, even if things have changed a lot over the last few centuries, the vast majority of my ancestors – thousands of years of them, in fact – lived in fairly small tribes. Their brains had to keep track of around 150 people, and what made that even easier was the fact that those 150 people were in close physical proximity almost all the time.
Contrast that with today. How many people are you asking your brain to keep track of? You’ve got the people you live with, you’ve got the people you know socially, you’ve got the people you’d consider an acquaintance, not to mention all the public figures you’ve been conditioned to give a second thought to…
What’s the number? Hundreds? Thousands? Hundreds of thousands?
Who cares? My point is that it’s a lot. It’s a whole lot more than your brain evolved to be able to handle. And to top it all off, youre brain is trying to keep track of the vast majority of them via a screen, rather than via flesh and blood.
Is it any wonder we’re confused from time to time?
I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I might moan about the modern world sometimes, but I love it, even with all its problems. I’m not suggesting for one solitary second that we close ourselves off or shut our borders or burn bridges with one another.
However, just in the same way that you can’t have a party every single night without eventually getting sick of it, your brain needs a rest sometimes. So take a break every now and then. Switch off your phone. Switch off the TV. Go interact with some humans – at a safe distance, of course.
Give your brain a chance.