The 'Gorging Gene' in a time of abundance

Biology and culture interact in fascinating ways. We may have had significant cultural advancements in technology, but biologically, we are still just hairless monkey’s floating on a rock in space. We are in the historically unique position of abundance. We have more than we have ever had, in terms of food, materials, comfort and innovation. The problem is our Monkey brains have a difficult time integrating this abundance into productive endeavors.

The reason why you “gorge” on sugar is because when these things were available in our monkey environment, we would need to take advantage of the opportunity while it presented itself. The fruit on the vine didn’t last long because we were in competition with other animals and other monkeys, so we would instinctively gorge ourselves. We have the capacity to overload because the opportunity was rarely presented… but now we are bombarded with the opportunity to gorge because of abundance.

This impulse is not limited to the food in our environment, we have the same reaction to anything that triggers satisfaction in our brain. This is why we are so easily hacked by the fake images of super models and fast food. Sex, salt, sugar and cash will always get our attention. They appeal to our biology in ways that we must actively process and respond accordingly.

We check our phones 250 times a day. We spend 4 hours scrolling. We cannot maintain a conversation without impulsively check our screens because we are gorging on engagement.

It takes great effort on our part to not gorge because we have a biological proclivity. Don’t mistake this for an excuse for bad behavior. It is simply a call to awareness.