Tag Archives: posture

Evolution, Serotonin and the Future of Posture

Friends,

This is a message was sent to a friend, but you guys can read it too:

This is long. Read as much or as little as you like or skip right to the questions at the end. As long as I value your thoughts and opinions I may be inclined to periodically share ideas with you and some other people whose thoughts and opinions I value also. But I do it with no expectation of a response of similar length or by a certain time. People like you already help me by being a sounding board to write and vocalize complex ideas and I am grateful.

We get serotonin by dominance
But not dominance precisely -we get it by carving out a space -geographic/social/professional- which we defend and improve.
The serotonin we get inflates us, puffs us up, makes us stand taller. If we back down from a dominance display/not maintain our space/get encroached upon, we will have a relative deficit of serotonin and deflate.
When we inflate we rise up taller, walk more confidently and lift our shoulders and gaze.
When we deflate, we are scurrilous, scared and guarded.
Our early hominid ancestors walked on all fours and engaged in dominance displays (as did our much earlier crustacean and reptile ancestors). When they won they would make big puffed-up gestures and occupy more space.
Those big puffed-up gestures were the first fumbling overtures toward walking upright.
In very general terms, we can say that there is a correlation between standing upright and reproduction: the winners got the serotonin rush and also reproductive rights after all, and both flowed from the same cause: successfully occupying space, or ‘dominance’ if you prefer.
As the less dominant died off, the standards changed: the winners perpetually, habitually stood more upright more frequently, because statistically, a recent win will give you a courage advantage in the next stand-of.
Standing more and more upright even began to become a useful default posture because as we became more deadly and became hunters of animals, we also became hunters of each other, and one of the best ways to mitigate the problem of being hunted by other tribe is to not present yourself as a “target of opportunity” -walk upright so they know when they see you that you’re coming off of many battles and that they don’t want this problems. This marks when the standards began to change again: you can still win a dominance challenge with violence and threats but you can also broadcast that you’re not to be trifled with, avoid the acute challenge, and still win. This is a viable evolutionary strategy -think bright colouring on poisonous fish.
(*it’s important to note that broadcasting how much you’re not to be trifled with should be done in a similar manner as the poisonous fish 1) The fish can actually back up his claim 2) The fish isn’t aggressive because he trusts that you’re not that stupid -the result: calm cool, dominant coexistence)
Back to viable evolutionary strategy: as standing more and more upright became the norm for the pragmatic reason of warding off predators, the inevitable dominance challenges which still did present themselves would, when won, cause even greater upright posture, which over generations and a gradual cultural shift, created even more upright baseline standard for our ancestors.
***
At this moment, we are at a critical juncture: In an evolutionary history characterized by greater and greater ‘uprightness’ we are perpendicular to the land we stand upon. 90 degrees, the beginning of a square,
At least we should be. We look around the world and so many of our brothers and sisters walk like our earliest hominid ancestors, some even prefer to walk or crawl on all fours but are stopped from “bottoming out” evolutionarily by social norms. (Crawling and humiliation are fetishes which I think speak to a generalized fear of striving upward -but my views on sexuality are not as sophisticated as I’d like them to be so please take that example with a grain of salt.
(Note: I advocate quadrupedal movement for exercise and athletic purposes; not for insulating oneself against the challenges and dangers that the world will throw at us.)

So we see a world around us of bad posture, people slouching under the weight of a heavy world. What do?
Certainly, being the upright man in a world of slouchers would have an analagous benefit to being the “one eyed man in the land of the blind”. The same benefit actually: vision. Greater vision is now an even more effective way than fighting, threatening displays and a rough demeanour. If you have vision and a cultivated voice to communicate what you see you can look at the world around you see problems that will evolve into dominance challenges, threat displays and even violence while they’re still baby dragons. Then you can act accordingly and with much greater economy to squash those baby dragons and focus on higher order problems. The man with vision can much more economically and assuredly deal with threats to the space he is occupying and the people he loves within it, than can the brute with just fists. And the man with fists and vision? Nevermind…

Maybe this point about fists and vision is a good place to begin dovetailing into something approximating an elegant close: What I want I want to ask you (now that you understand how I formulated the idea) is this:

1)Do you think “upright” is the physical / postural limit of our evolution, or do you perhaps think as I do, based on everything talked about thus far, that our posture, better yet, “the lengthening and straightening of our spinal columns as a result of serotonin being released as a reward for successfully occupying space in the world” will continue to evolve? For example, will the open heart chakra position be the postural norm, where we incline our chins upward to survey the heavens and the man of greatest vision is the man who sees the threats and responds to the challenges of a larger multi-dimensional, multi-universe reality?

2) Do you think we can precipitate this evolution by “kick-starting it at the lower order and even younger level by correcting children (and adults) with a how and why for comporting themselves more upright (and beyond).

3) Do you think a critical threshold is necessary for this kind of evolution? Like if 500 million of 9 billion on the planet are walking upright and 8.5 billion are looking at their feet, I think makes it more difficult for the few to evolve to even further heights because so many people aren’t doing their duty and “occupying their space” as they should. We need the feedback of closely-matched people to contend with so we stay sharp. I think you are living this idea whether you know it or not -you’re someone who goes out in a incredibly focused manner searching for a “better set of problems to have”. I really respect that about you. You WANT to stay sharp. So yeah, what are your thoughts on a critical thresholds for evolution?

4) Hearkening back to fists and vision, do you think upright is the perfect equilibrium between the two? If we crouch too far forward in survival mode we miss the whole magical universe and perhaps more importantly, the dangers which aren’t immediate but are on the horizon and imminent?
If we exaggerate the strengthening / lengthening of the spine and focus our gaze upward toward the heavens only, perhaps only taking up abstract causes like ” saving the planet”, are we perhaps turning too much finite attention away from the world, and the comparatively small problems (which we are able to more efficiently and economically solve than the people whose “job” we feel it is to do so). Small problems which, if left unsolved, aggregate into huge problems which we can’t economically solve. I think something is lost here, even if we knowingly make a commitment to be a cloistered monk and focus solely on the abstract. Maybe the solution is as simple as “there’s a time to be more evolved and a time to be less evolved”? -I suspect the answer lies somewhere there, although at this juncture in human existence (as in all of them) I think we always want to keep “upward pressure” and so its not a 50/50 split. What say you?

5) If we can accept the idea that the man of vision:
a)sees problems while they are still small and distant (vision)
b)speaks the problems to the people who need to hear it (truth) c)wilfully takes on as much responsibility for the problem as he can bear (action)
d)is rewarded for his vision, speech and action by the tribe (serotonin)
e) inflates somewhat, stands more upright, becomes either more aware of higher order threats or able to see more distantly in the future how problems may develop (i dont know yet the actual mechanism by which his vision might improve beyond the fact that he sees something the rest of his tribe doesn’t -like a prophet or a seer)
f) this is what we want from everyone (shared ideal)
…we can undertake the solving of the problems in earnest.

This is what has occupied my mind as of late. I am doing so much healing. I am burning away so much of what is unnecessary. I see more clearly now and I’m excited to gain more clarity yet.

Best,

–Dre

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