It's (Mostly) Not Your Fault

Today Dr. Josh Stout argues that It's time for compassion for ourselves and others - our evolutionary heritage demands it for our survival.

It's (Mostly) Not Your Fault
"It is absolutely vicious what evolution has built into us."

...and it's not theirs either

Eric 0:08

Wednesday, October 25th. This is episode six. Hi, Josh. 

Dr. Stout 0:13

Hi, Eric. All right, so this is Dr. Stout, and I am here to slightly change the subject. I've been trying to stay on a history of human evolution, but I just feel like I need to talk about some of the causes of why we do what we do, how we end up doing what we do, and why we need to have compassion for ourselves and others. Because in many ways, we're where we're not masters of our own actions in many cases. And so I just want to start off with some world news that what's going on both in the the U.S. and the Israeli Palestinian conflicts and just thinking about how no one is benefiting from these activities that we're looking at essentially balanced oppositions that cause everything to come to a halt and that no one involved is benefiting. And so you can see this certainly in the in the attack by Hamas, that that certainly Hamas is not going to thrive and the Palestinians are not thriving. And it was terrible for Israel. So how do these things happen? And we can see them also in our own government where we've now created a government shutdown and nothing is happening and the budget's not going to go through. And how can this be benefiting anyone? And the answer is when you're looking for the the cause of a crime, you say cui bono, who benefits? And so the person who is benefiting from all of this is Putin. So what we see happening in in Israel is Israel had had the rise of a right wing often associated with close ties to Russia so that Putin was not wanting to send weapons to Ukraine because he was trying to facilitate ties with Russia. And it was also helping his own power. Putin likes to help strongmen and he likes to help authoritarian leaders. But as soon as Israel starts recognizing that the U.S. is its main ally and it better do what the U.S. is trying to ask it to do, it starts thinking about sending some arms to Ukraine and suddenly Hamas attacks and Hamas is attacking, using Russian weapons. In some cases, you know, the Kalashnikovs that they're holding are classic Russian weapons that were put together by Hamas, but with Russian permission. So this is all essentially a Russian plot. It's not helping Hamas. It's not helping Israel, but it is helping Putin. And you can see it exactly the same thing happening in the in the U.S., where you have two parties that are locked. One of those parties has been actively helped by Russia to keep it strong because Putin doesn't actually want one party to succeed. What he wants is for gridlock. He wants the parties to be perfectly balanced. And so he has his his bots and his agents constantly working to support right wing authoritarian groups across the world. And we are we are one of them. And what do we see? We see a budget compromise happening in in the House. And they say, well, we're just going to put off aid to Ukraine. And as soon as that's done, everything shuts down so that Ukraine will never get its aid so quick. 

Eric 3:27

But I have to say, though, it's not just the bots across the world. It's his it's his oligarchs, his paid agents running around the world with bags of money. 

Dr. Stout 3:36

Bags of money. And, you know, you he infiltrated the FBI. He had his oligarchs actually paying off the head of the counter espionage group of the FBI in New York City was paid by oligarchs. So, yeah, he's he's he's out there compromising everything at every level, while at the same time he has a really weak army. But I wanted to think about how do we get to places like this, How do we get to where someone can play us like a chessboard and put a few people into the right places, have things that are against our own interests happening. 

Eric 4:08

And not not in the way these things. He's not he's not tearing anything down. He's building things up. He's he's he's encouraging things. He's not destroying anything he's destroying from the inside. Well. 

Dr. Stout 4:20

It's it's it's creating division by strengthening the sides to make them balanced. You know, this is a this is an eternal game. Even even Israel was playing this game a little bit by strengthening Hamas while the Palestinian Authority was weakened so that they couldn't ever have a peace solution. So, you know, divide and conquer is the classic one. And one way you do division and conquer is by strengthening the illogical forces. And I, we can certainly see this. And so one of the things that we leap to is authoritarianism. And this is definitely having to do with our evolutionary heritage. We look to the strong person, the strong man, because that is who we come from as apes, you know, the silverback gorilla who rules all around them and and creates a safe, calm environment where everyone can have peace because the strong leader has has taken care of us. And so he's he's selling this. But there are there are deeper levers within our subconscious that are also being manipulated. And we've over time, basically made these levers stronger and stronger and installed them deeper and deeper. So it really starts off with with racism and the racism that we start off with is the racism that basically everyone has. This is the fear of the other disliking strangers. Why you feel more comfortable around your friends and less comfortable around a whole bunch of people you don't know. This is perfectly normal. Everyone feels this way. I would call this sort of like, you know, small r lowercase racism. That is the sort of normal variety. This is what, say, the English would feel for the Scots. Okay, So it's it's it's it's a there's definitely some problems there. It's not good for you. It leads to whole all the preconceptions that one can have for a for a group you don't know very well and can lead to, you know, everything up to and including war like the English with the Scots. 

Eric 6:17

Is the basic, you know, other. 

Dr. Stout 6:18

This is just a basic other in in the algebra. Right. So this is this is, this is where we we what we have through evolution. Right. So we fought the other people because they wanted to get in our territory, They wanted to steal women from one group. They, they were, they were competing with us. And then once you get farming, which we talked about last time, you have the things like the rise of slavery and the rise of conquering territory and stealing actual stored resources from each other, All of these things are built deeply into our evolutionary history. And so the fear of the other is, is is instinctual and something that we feel naturally. And slavery was something that had been existing throughout essentially human history. As soon certainly soon as soon as we got farming, it was part of our of our history. And so Europeans doing it in in the Americas. I tried it a variety of ways, but finally settled on stealing people from Africa and then bringing them here as slaves. At the same time as we were deciding that maybe we wanted to be an egalitarian system based on democracy and the equality of everyone, right? So we're writing all these documents and we're trying to figure out how to become this sort of dreamed of system where everyone has power and there is no dictator and there is no king and everyone is equal and there is no hierarchy of serfs and lords and nobles, and we have slaves. So, you know, how does this fit with our with our entire view of ourselves? Well, the only way we can make this work is by deciding that the slaves are not like us. The slaves are different. They are inferior in some way, and they deserve. They even need this that the slavery, they would welcome it because we're bringing them enlightenment. And so this is American racism. This is the capital, our racism that we installed as a way of keeping ourselves sane while doing such abusive things. We had to have a reason why this was logical and this was something that we could live with. 

Eric 8:18

But is this is this type of reasoning unique to Americans? 

Dr. Stout 8:22

I really do think it is. I really do think it is. I think I think, you know, if if England is doing a genocide in Ireland, okay, it's not the same kind of racism. It's definitely racism and it's definitely a genocide. Right. These are things that actually happen and they are absolutely racism. But without the sort of visual cue of a darker skin and and a paler society that where you can really identify the people really easily. You know, in England, it's all based on accent. That's not just not the same. And this this is this is a much deeper one and in many ways has broken the way we think from for a very long time. So when the theory of evolution was being brought in the in the late 19th century to intellectual thought in the in the United States, there were problems with it between religion and evolution in many places. But in the United States, it became deep and it involved the evangelical church and it involved this right wing alliance between the evangelical church and the idea of being anti-science with racism as the dog whistle. And so this became the basis for a lot of the Republican Party's sort of racist dog whistle evangelical connections. So the idea of being anti-evolution was sold as being anti-Christian. But what was really happening is people didn't want to be related to Africans. And that was the really deep, deep feeling right? So that that somehow Africans were somehow associated with apes, but not white people, and that we were very different, made by God in in in God's image. And that other other people were were inferior in some way. And so in the twenties and thirties, the racism was super bad. Segregation and at its height, you know, lynchings, etc.. And this was being done in absolute lockstep with things like the Scopes Monkey Trial and the the anti evolutionary feelings of the day. And it started to get picked up by the politicians. They realized that there was a way to actually use these these these fear of other levers which we had Accenture weighted with our sort of modern American racism to get people to no longer listen to reason. Right? So evolution is a very, very reasonable theory that things change over time. We see that things don't stay the same. We can see that you can turn a wolf into a dog. We can breed things. We do it in real time. You select for something and you see the reactions. Evolution is just the same way. You could imagine how, you know, a system could. You know, if you're chewing fruit, hard food all the time, as we did on the Serengeti, your teeth and jaws end up being bigger, you know, over generations, not Lamarck, not inherent in acquired characteristics, but, you know, evolution through natural selection is a very intellectually appealing theory that makes a lot of sense that goes exactly what would farmers have been doing ever since they started breeding animals. Everyone knows you can select for traits and then watch them get inherited and actually produce something from it. A new a new a new group of chickens say, we've been doing this in real time for a long time, Right? So this is not a incompletely an unnecessary theory that we just invented to sort of impose on people. It's something that is is intuitively obvious. It's observable. Exactly. And so how did we manage to get this to not be believed? We did it with a alignment between racism and the evangelical Christians and then supported by the right wing politicians. And this became a movement, this same kind of irrationality, anti-science movement was taken on by the by the oil companies when they wanted to stop lead in gasoline. It was taken on by the oil companies when they wanted to have global warming not be prevented by, you know, not using oil. It was a way of attacking scientists as the elite and keeping the evangelical community with the right wing church. And with that always that subtext of racism. So that subtext of racism connected with religion is seen as protecting us. So the religion is our belief system that we're protecting. The anti-racism is the belief system that we're protecting. All of this stuff is necessary to be who we are. All the things we see around us. Ole, ole, ole, ole, ole. The discrimination against minorities is immoral. Unless. Unless they're a different race and they're just criminals and they're dangerous. And so this is what certainly I, the right wing has been using. But Putin was able to to support this at a much higher level. He was able to every time someone came up with a racist meme, he was able to accentuate it. He was able to put racist means in and then have his own people accentuate those so that we were being manipulated without really understanding it. We were being used with our own symbols, our own society. 

Eric 13:37

You're talking 2016 here. You're talking. 

Dr. Stout 13:39

Right. So that these existing systems that had been used to manipulate us and that we had found convenient as ways to in a democracy have undemocratic things happen, you know, how are we moving money from the poor to the rich in a democracy when there's more poor than there are rich? How are we voting against our own health care? Right? How is this possible at the only reason there's actually been papers done on this, there's a very close association between how racist you are likely to be and how little you want health care for people. Now, in this case, racism usually means do you think minorities have an unfair advantage in this country? And if you answer yes, that's that kind of racism. Okay. So there is there is there is there is this real through line that has been used of of connecting racism to the evangelical party and the desire to have a right wing authoritarian leader that Putin really pushed with us. And he's been doing this all over the world. You know, certainly the Hamas Israeli conflict is all about racism and, you know, essentially inventing a difference between people and then accentuating it. And so all of these things are used as tools, land, land is also deep in our consciousness. Right to farm means that more land you have, the more farm you have. And people do definitely feel a deep connection to a land. And certainly that is related to religion. 

Eric 15:07

I mean, that's about people who were moved off the land. 

Dr. Stout 15:10

I mean, this is yeah, I want to I want to leave that aside because it gets complicated. It's a lot easier to talk about how we've been insulated, manipulated in this country where we mostly killed off the people who own the land. So that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about us as a white Christian evangelical nation, not wanting immigrants with a different amount of melanin in their skin and a different language group to come in because they are dirty and dangerous. Anytime you hear those dirty and dangerous things, you know, you've left a rational discussion aside. You were now in the side of pushing those buttons that are deep in our brains. 

Eric 15:52

These are the levers, the levers you were talking about. 

Dr. Stout 15:52

These are the levers, right? So when, when, when, when, when if you think about a an immigrant bringing danger to this country through crime or some other thing, exactly how Trump talked, you're hitting those buttons. And as soon. 

Eric 16:04

As even though we know. 

Dr. Stout 16:06

Yeah and so it is. 

Eric 16:07

Immigrants are less likely. 

Dr. Stout 16:09

Oh, and bring the money to the country. The whole country's built on it because we all know that we were all were immigrants. 

Eric 16:13

But that's facts and figures that have been figured out through a kind of science right. 

Dr. Stout 16:18

Completely able to be ignored because now we can we can hit the buttons that show how we're afraid of the other. We're afraid of the danger of the disease, of the crime. You know, I had I had people saying, you know, well, what about what about if you're if your daughter gets raped by an immigrant, what are you going to do then? This was real fear that that Trump was going to protect us from the rapists. And this was something that was being put out to. What do you do? 

Eric 16:44

How ironic. 

Dr. Stout 16:46

Indeed. I know. I'm sorry. And so what do you do when they're coming for your daughter? You look to the strong man, right? So you look for the strong man who is literally looking like a gorilla, you know, big and fat and heavy and not going to be pushed around. Right. So that that's who you're going to who you're going to look for. And Putin was really pushing all of this, you know, not he wasn't Putin wasn't standing on the stage with Trump, but he was certainly aiding it and helping it and moving this whole thing along. And so we're seeing the exact same thing happening. Trump is being used as a way of splitting our country. Now. He's even splitting the Republican Party because Putin doesn't care about the Republicans. What he wants is for nothing to happen. And by splitting the Republican Party, he can prevent aid going to Ukraine. So these are all just little levers that are put into us and that are then able to be manipulated. Once those levers are in place, it's easy for someone to take control and it's easy for someone to to to make us do what they want without us even thinking about it. And we will start ignoring the evidence of our own senses. We'll start ignoring science. We will start saying that that science wants to take my guns away in my religion and you'll become actually anti facts and pro feeling. And we need to protect ourselves from all this dirt and disease. 

Eric 18:07

Is this radicalization? Is this what they mean when they mean are we talking now about it sounds so close to. 

Dr. Stout 18:13

Well it's it's it's using we we are irrational creatures, right? We have this sort of facade of rationality that we often use to explain our irrational actions. Right. So, you know, I talked about dopamine at one point, how it makes us want to do things. And so, you know, someone has an affair, right? They know that's going to ruin their life, but then they can come up with reasons after the fact of why they did it. Right. So these were these were things that were happening because of of deep desires put there by evolution. Evolution wants you to go have sex with as many people as possible. Right. Especially if you're a man, because you're going to have very few costs as long as you don't get caught, You can you can spread your seed far and wide and you're you're you're putting yourself out there. So things that are against your own interests are often going to be promoted by evolution, Right? Evolution is not a moral way to think about the world, right? So, you know, a gerbil when stressed will eat her own babies. This is not a moral activity. It's something that evolution has caused to happen in certain situations. So it is it's it's not a a moral thing to go and make lots of women pregnant. But evolution wants you to do that. And it's always going to be the same. You know, women obviously have the same kinds of incentives. If a woman can somehow get extra resources or find a man with extra better, you know, good genes, sneaking outside of marriage is going to be an advantage to her. It turns out. Actually, we've measured this and there's very, very, very, very little of it that actually produces babies. While cheating is incredibly common at actually producing babies from cheating is low and has been low for as as long as we can measure backwards, which predates, you know, the modern birth control. 

Eric 20:14

I wonder why? 

Dr. Stout 20:17

Because it's one thing to have an affair. This could be a social interaction. Right. So chimpanzees use sex as one of their various ways of bartering and exchange and obtaining benefits. And so this is this is this is part of our general social interaction as humans. But a woman having another man's baby means that that man has to raise that baby. That is that is a major cost to him. And he's likely to kill her. And many cultures that happens if if a man catches a woman cheating and she gets pregnant, he's going to be really, really upset. And so it seems as though both men and women have basically been able to mostly stop from ending up having babies that they're not their own. And so they do genetic tests done on parents and done on offspring and found out it's it's far, far below 1%. Whereas the number of marriages that have cheating involved or, you know, 30, 40. 

Eric 21:22

It's higher than 1%. 

Dr. Stout 21:24

Yeah. So so the difference between those two is huge. Anyway, I want to get back on topic. It's that's an interesting thing to think about, but I was just trying to say that we have these levers in our brains that don't always have our best interests as we would understand them at heart, right? So that we end up doing irrational things. 

Eric 21:41

And these levers that that are legitimate evolutionary, Yes. Desires that are not best interest for us individually, right on a population level. Right. Have benefits. 

Dr. Stout 21:54

Right. And so these can then be used by marketing. Everyone knows that sex sells. You put a model on a car and some guy is going to buy that car. Even though he doesn't need it because he's being told what he wants is the model. And we're not very good at the subconscious level at separating the model from the car. We we often can't tell when messages are mixed like that, what is what. And we get confused. I mentioned this with dopamine before. You know, you give someone flowers, the red flowers give you the dopamine spike, you think you like the person, you go out to dinner. It works especially well at a at a fancy restaurant that you've never been to before. You can get the highest dopamine response. You're going to think you like the person an awful lot. If you're at a restaurant that is really kind of fancy that you've never been to before. So, you know, we we often will get confused between these reward impulses that are sort of programmed into our brain and what we really want. And this is why it's so difficult to argue with someone. Once someone has made up their mind, they've done something irrational and they, after the fact of it, use their rational mind to explain it. You can't argue them out of it because it's built on a foundation that has no meaning and they have huge vested interest in defending that. Right. 

Eric 23:10

You're saying this has an evolutionary. 

Dr. Stout 23:14

Well, it’s how how we're built. The evolutionary motivation is the first layer. And we only acquired sort of rationality and consciousness very, very late in the game. And it's all built on top of this. And, you know, it's sort of put together, you know, on, on, on the ability to throw gives us language. Language gives us this ability to kind of rationalize. 

Eric 23:34

We do things with an evolutionary benefit that are detrimental to us, and then we are forced in order to live with it, to use our rationality to to to figure out a way through it. So exactly. Living with it. 

Dr. Stout 23:48

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So very, very rarely are we living rational, productive lives that we planned out ahead of time. And then we follow our plan. Exactly. We tend to get sidetracked by all of our desires, and then we end up doing things that we don't necessarily want to do. And so we end up in a democracy that votes for rich people to get richer and the majority of us to get poorer. How could this possibly happen? Right? So the same thing is happening to us in health wise. How did we suddenly all become obese? How did we suddenly all have such health difficulties even while our health system is improving, our longevity is now decreasing and is decreasing even relative to other countries. So the rest of Europe, you know, Europe as a whole has been improving its life expectancy, whereas the US is is is flattening. And tellingly, it's the worst outcomes are happening amongst minorities, amongst particularly black people, where their life spans are going down faster and so there is actually a connection between these things and racism as well. And between the manipulation we are happening, how is it that we manipulate ourselves into a country where we're spending more and more on health care and getting a worse and worse outcome? And, you know, clearly the answer is someone is making a lot of money off of this. And one is the the the health care industry. Right. The insurance companies don't do anything for us. And they're taking about a third of the money. You know, the doctors get paid and we get health care insurance. It's just a middleman. And we've just installed them in there and they're there forever. And this is why we don't have, you know, universal health care. But what do the insurance companies do? They use lobbying to work with people who really, really don't want black people to get health care. And there's actual evidence of this. And so people vote against this and they might not know it consciously. They might this might not be a I don't want to do this racist thing that we are, as I said, unconscious people. But there is good evidence of strong correlations between the sort of racist dog whistle thoughts and voting against health care. There is a strong correlation. I with our own health, we have similar kinds of buttons, right? So we are hungry when we haven't eaten for obvious reasons. But this is stronger in us as a species than some other species out there because we need fat. We absolutely require fat to live. Every moment our brain takes close to 20% of our total calories. Our brain can't live more than, you know, seconds without a constant supply of glucose. We are like a rocket ship with a throttle wide open all the time. And so we are evolved to store as much fat as possible all the time. And this is a unconscious button that we don't know how to push, right? Because this is something that is from the beginning. This isn't even from the beginning of consciousness. This predates brains, right? So we start we're the poor relations out on the Serengeti. We're always trying to save calories by being the most efficient ones. This is how we develop bipedalism, right to walk from one place to the next with as low calories as possible. Then we switch to brains. And this is when we get the tools. What are we getting? We're getting fatty marrow out of these out of these bones. We're eating almost pure fat as as our main source. The new thing that we developed when we got the big brains that required the new food, the new thing we developed that new food was was probably bone marrow muscle tissue meat doesn't supply as much. Bones are really well protected and hard to get into. And if you're the thing with a rock, you're the one that can get into that bone when no one else can. So this was a untapped resource that we were able to get that enabled our brains to get bigger. But it meant that we had to have a constant source of calories when we might not have constant access to marrow. Right. You're going to find marrow occasionally and you can eat as much as you possibly can, but then you need to store it. So we're designed to not burn those calories, move around as as as as efficiently as possible. And we're designed to store as much of it as possible as fat. 

Eric 28:25

So even our predecessors running around the Serengeti might have had little bellies. 

Dr. Stout 28:30

It's possible they certainly would have been storing as much as possible. And we were probably attracted to the women who had a little bit of fat on their bodies because they weren't going to be able to produce babies if they didn't have fat. You know, we know this from marathon runners. They're no longer fertile. Right? Stop marathon. They need fertile again. Right this you can actually control your own fertility that way. So we're very, very closely associated with high body fats. The only things that are like close to us are things like marine mammals. They surpass us, right? Because blubber, all of that. But we have for a land mammal, the highest percentage of fat in our milk of really any animals out there, because we need to build that giant brain. We need to build fat babies. I mean, you've seen babies, They are fat beyond belief. They have dimples on dimples. They have folds between their wrist and elbow. Right. How is that even possible? There's no joint there. And so what we're doing is we're just packing them with fat. They're like little baby seals. And so, you know, our milk is something along the lines of, you know, 25% to 18% fat something. And in that range, you know, a baby seal might be 50%. That's different creature. But everything else is down around, you know, five or 10%. We have much more fat in our milk. And it's specifically to make fat babies so that we then build big brains and we end up with AI adults that can provide us brains with calories. So this is something that is very, very deep in our evolutionary history and is is absolutely the way we go and the way it's the details of the system work is the the hormone that makes you no longer hungry is made by fat. And so the more fat you're storing, the more comfortable you're feeling. As soon as you're no longer storing fat, the hormone leptin that tells us we are satiated goes away. Right? So any time you're not storing fat, you're going to start feeling hungry. And then the other side of it is ghrelin. So ghrelin is the one that when your stomach runs out of food, right, when there's no food in your stomach, ghrelin is going to signal hunger so you won't feel full and done until you've filled up your stomach. Right. So when you fill up your stomach, the ghrelin stops being release. So that releases the hunger thing. But it's separate from the one that tells you you've had enough so you won't really feel like you've had enough. And still you start filling up all that fat and making new fat cells. That's when the fat cells will start producing leptin and telling you. So there's actually a delay between stopping the hunger in terms of you've stopped the thing that produces hunger, ghrelin and stopping the hunger and the thing that tells you to stop being hunger hungry leptin. There's a delay between these two things. 

Eric 31:28

This is why we have a problem with portion control. 

Dr. Stout 31:30

It's a real problem with portion control. And it's why why? One of the easiest things to tell someone, which is true but hardest to go along with, is just eat when you're hungry. Okay? If you just eat when you're hungry from ghrelin. Okay? The one that's actually telling you to be hungry, that will actually lead to some decent outcomes. You'll only eat when your stomach has fully emptied. Right? You'll be. That's when ghrelin will really start telling you to to start eating. And this is this is really in general, good for you. This will this will aids in memory. It aids in all sorts of things about your body. However, there are some downsides to it. Everything is connected with our body. If your ghrelin levels are really high, it's going to tell you to stop making muscles. When your ghrelin goes high, you actually release human growth hormone. And so you can you can actually sort of biohacking yourself by thinking about when are you going to be hungry, when are you exercising, when do you want to produce hormone human growth hormone and start building muscles? There's ways to actually think about the relationship between the timing of food and your own ability to to get stronger. But that's that's a separate issue. Yeah. I want to talk a bit about like, you know, just eat when you're hungry would mean that you only ate when your stomach was empty. You would actually have decent portion control. But that's not what happens. We eat until we are full and then we eat a little bit more. And the reason we do this is because we haven't started actually making it into fat yet. So the first thing that happens is our blood sugar goes up, the blood sugar goes up and immediately we get insulin. Insulin is going to try and control our blood sugar. Where is that blood sugar going to go? It's going to go into fat. So insulin is the hormone that actually makes fat from sugar. So as the sugar goes up, it tells the body to make fat. And this is when finally the leptin gets released. So there's a secondary and then a tertiary effect. 

Eric 33:37

And how long does this actually take like physically. 

Dr. Stout 33:40

Half an hour, an hour? So the longer your meal takes, people tell you tell you to wait a little bit after the meal, right? You eat a little bit, wait, just wait to see if you're still hungry in a half an hour. That's what we're talking about, Right. So increasing levels of insulin will also make you feel hungrier, right? Sorry. Will also make you feel satiated. Yeah. So as the insulin is going up. But what do we know about insulin? Insulin causes the blood sugar to drop. When the blood sugar drops, we're going to then start feeling hungrier again. Right. So it's very difficult to get the right amount of food. Our whole system is based on overeating and then eating again as soon as we possibly can. And it's based on seeking out as much fat and sugar as we can possibly get. 

Eric 34:33

This is vicious. 

Dr. Stout 34:34

It is absolutely vicious. What evolution is built into us and this is connected to how we feel. So when we get the sugar in our body, when we when we when we start producing insulin, these things are related to dopamine and serotonin. So low serotonin levels are related to being depressed. What do we do when we're depressed? We start depression eating. We tend to go for sugary foods, which are going to relate to our insulin levels, which are going to relate to our serotonin. So our bodies are constantly manipulating us. And so now we're dealing with things that involve the world outside us, right? So you could be depressed because there's things happening outside the world. Hamas touch, Hamas attacks Israel. And you sit down with a pint of Haagen-Dazs and weep, right? Because there's nothing else you can do. And so these are these are buttons that we have deeply in us that can then be manipulated from outside. And these are things that are able to be understood by the outside world. Same thing with dopamine. So when you get sugar, you're rewarded with dopamine. If you are a person who is hyperactive, which we mentioned last time, you have low dopamine. So one thing you might seek is sugary snacks. I was talking to someone who is sort of the philosopher king of a prison and he said that one of the things is with people who have ADHD, who had drug problems. Right, Because ADHD will often drive you towards seeking out dopamine, providing drugs when they get them off the drugs. The next thing is they're overeating and you have an obesity problem in the prisons and it's directly related to the dopamine interaction. So what do you do when you need a reward? You eat some food, particularly sugary foods, the ones that give you the fastest reward, they're going to give you the greatest dopamine. And so the marketers have figured this out just like we have a bunch of flowers and we give them to someone in their bright red and they make us like the person. We put the packages for the candy bars and bright red shiny things with gold letter gold lettering and any kind of flashy lights you put them with the impulse buys, right? You put them at the next to the checkout counter. Where are you going to have the most impulse buy? You've been looking at food all day. You're feeling kind of hungry and boom, there you see the candy bar is right at the checkout. And so you buy one. Maybe. Maybe you want someone to be happy with you. You buy it for them as you're coming home. Right. So these impulse buys are connected with our ideas of happiness, with our ideas of of bringing something back for someone there. You know what? What's the other thing we bring in? In addition to flowers? If you want someone to like a box of chocolates. Right. So these these are these are these are deeply embedded things that we use on each other all the time. Right? We know how to manipulate each other, but the food companies really know how to manipulate us. Right? So just like, say, cigarette companies might manipulate nicotine because nicotine is providing dopamine and they can manipulate our addictions by how much nicotine they supply. And each cigarette food companies are manipulating are sugar intake, and they know exactly what the insulin profile looks from a particular kind of sugar. So fructose is going to be different from glucose. It's going to have a different flavor profile. So the the sucrose and fructose both give us a sharper sweetness spike, which gives us a better dopamine reaction. So that initial reward is higher from the fructose. So the high fructose corn syrup in all of our fizzy beverages these days. So all the sodas are closely related to this huge rise. Epidemic in obesity in the United States is related to the manipulated portion of these sugars and the specific use of ones that are going to be extra sweet. It's interesting. It should have been that sodas were great for us. Fructose is roughly half the calories of sucrose for the same sweetness. Right. This is white way, way, honey is grape. Honey has twice the sweetness for the same number of calories. The the sodas should have been great for us, but it turns out that they make us extra addicted to that. That sugar hit to the dopamine. And what happens when you have fructose in your in your system is you can't process the glucose. You can't process the fructose until the glucose is gone. So let's say you have a meal, some of it gets digested into glucose. That fructose is just going to keep circulating around the body. The only thing that can be done with it is to turn it into fat. And so we turn it directly into fat. And so the insulin is going to be trying to get rid of this. Your your liver is going to be trying to get rid of it. Some of it will go to your liver. You end up with fatty liver disease because the the sugars are being stored as fat in your liver. When your liver starts storing fat, it's not a liver anymore. It's fat. Right. So it can't do the processing. So the more fatty liver disease you have because your liver has been overwhelmed by the sugar you're eating, the worse the problem is going to get insulin specifically is going to target your gut, right. So fat can be stored anywhere in your body. But there's a difference between the stuff that's underneath your skin, the subcutaneous fat and the fat that's around your organs and your gut. So the gut fat, the visceral fat, visceral fat responds to hormones much more quickly. So all of this sugar related to the the dopamine drive directly goes to our stomachs. So this is absolutely something that the the food companies are aware of and they're using to manipulate us. You combine that with our sort of a general low level of anti-science thinking, and we become a very easily manipulated, able and very confused people who are sitting at home sad drinking soda and eating snacks. So this is this is what is done to us. And it is it is not an accident right. There are a lot of people who are benefiting from this situation by having a stressed out stress lowers dopamine, makes us eat more stress is related to hierarchy. The lower you are in the hierarchy, the more stress you feel, the more likely you are to eat more. All of these things are absolutely being used. Now, I'm not saying that there's the equivalent of a Putin arranging this all for us, right? There are individuals who are benefiting from it, you know, so the marketing director of a company is an ad director here, but these these are levers that are built into us now, You know, an alien being like Putin could combine and figure out ways to manipulate us on a whole scale. But that's I do not think you have an inkling. 

Eric 41:18

About the levers you are talking the the physiological levers that you that you were talking about and then you were talking about Putin. It makes me think about Cambridge Analytica. 

Dr. Stout 41:27

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So, so so with AI, you can identify particular triggers down to individual people and know exactly which meme to send to someone. And this is what they're trying to figure out. I don't think we're actually there yet, but it's like. 

Eric 41:41

Analytica with A.I.. 

Dr. Stout 41:43

Yeah. So it's like going to be tomorrow that you get a candy bar ad sent to you when the A.I. knows you're hungry, right? You know, So it's going to it's going to be even worse. And they absolutely know how to manipulate you. And now they're going to know you. Particularly, you know, we've we've had targeted ads for a while, but the targets have never been particularly good. 

Eric 42:06

I don't know that I'm right now. I mean, I used to be worried about about the marketing potential of these things. Now I'm much more about the political, the political marketing. 

Dr. Stout 42:13

It's all the same thing, essentially. But yes, So anyway, what I wanted to get to was why we should have compassion for each other. 

Eric 42:21

That you did say that. 

Dr. Stout 42:23

And I did say that in the beginning. Yeah. So when we are being manipulated like this, it is not our conscious mind making these decisions. These are our unconscious feelings that are causing us to do these things. And so there's this huge move against fat shaming. And I am all for it. You know, we need to stop shaming each other for how they look, for how we look when we've been programmed this way. And the society is profiting from our programming. And so it just accelerates all the things that are happening to. 

Eric 42:58


Dr. Stout 42:59

And encouraging our programming. It benefits from it. Exactly. So so all all the powers that be benefit from us making poor decisions for ourselves. And then we shame each other because of our bad decisions. 

Eric 43:13

So are we going to be able to talk about how we work against this deep? Yeah. Yeah. 

Dr. Stout 43:18

I do. I do want to talk about that a little bit. I'm definitely trying to head that direction, but I wanted to draw the parallel between the essentially the ideas of, of, of not fat shaming people connected directly to our politics as well, that we really need to not hate each other. That when you see someone who has been programmed to be racist, that is bad and they need to deal with that. But one you're going to be able to change them, certainly not easily. Maybe as a society you can slowly build that to be, you know, not socially acceptable and people can slowly learn to not be racist, but you're not going be able to argue someone out of it. And too, it's not entirely their fault. They've made some decisions and I definitely feel angry. And then I have to realize that anger is also a button that's been pushed in me, right? So when I see this happening, my own buttons are being pushed. So, you know, this is this is this is something that we have to acknowledge that we really can't change each other. We can only change ourselves and that this is a very deep truth and that we barely have the capacity to change ourselves, that we need to become managers of our own brains. We have to take responsibility for our decisions and we are going to fail over and over again. And we need to have compassion for others, but also ourselves. We need to realize that when you make these bad decisions because of the dopamine, because the serotonin, because the sugar and because of the flashing lights that the companies put in front of your eyes, it's not entirely your fault. Right. And so if you think it's your fault, what are you going to do? You're going to sit at home with a pint of Haagen-Dazs again, right? So it just makes things worse and plays into their hands again. You have to become aware of your own decisions and then you have to be compassionate for yourself when you end up still making bad decisions. Because this is how we're program. I'm not saying we don't have free will. We absolutely do. We need to be responsible for our own actions, but those actions are not going to go the way we want them to. Our conscious minds are not in control. We have buttons all over us being pushed constantly. Now, I don't think we should just let go of all morality and say I have no control over my life. I should just go have sex with who I want to and eat anything I want to all the time, every day. That's not going to work out for you. But while taking responsibility for our actions we have to realize our own compassion. I was looking at something in the Times the other day where they were talking about how nutrition classes might be a bad idea in middle school. I think this is a terrible right. We need to understand our own nutrition. We need to understand understand what? What makes us healthy. So why could it possibly be bad? Their argument is it can lead to eating disorders. And again, this is something that evolution has programmed into us. Eating disorders are our way of living, fasting and bingeing is how we lived as hunter gatherers. We are programmed to feel good when that happens. This is part of our evolutionary history. Eating disorders are absolutely something we are susceptible to and it is something we have been basically directed to have happen, right? So our depression, our need for rewards, these are related to our food intake, our desires to not listen to reason is directly related to our food intake and the way desire itself works. So when when someone starts connecting, say, body shaming on, on, on, you know, I one of the social media, the the body shaming is going to start triggering very directly eating disorders that are deep, deep in our subconscious and this isn't something that makes means you're crazy. You're a normal person. If you have a weird relationship to food, right. Again, you have to have compassion for yourself and others when you see them having these things. And there's many different weird relationships we can have, right? So they're straight out, you know, anorexia, right? You just stop eating and that's going to make you feel good. It's going to make you feel like you've taken control of your life. You're going to feel powerful. There's a ton of rewards for this thing because finally you've had some willpower. You're like the smoker who just gave up cigarettes only you gave up food, right? So that's a problem, right? So there is there is there's there's rewards for these things. Bulimia, same idea. Now. Now, I can get as much feeling good food as I can possibly have and it won't have any effect is I can just go throw it all up. Right so all of these these these behaviors are absolutely reinforced by by who we are with in an evolutionary lineage. There's an interesting one that we don't often talk about, but is also related to this, which is orthorexia the idea of having an orthodox food approach to life. And this can be both healthy and unhealthy. So the latest one that people had, you know, not latest one, the one that people had for a long time was staying away from wheat gluten. Right. So a very small number of people actually have problems with wheat gluten. A lot of people were trying to avoid wheat gluten by having a strict rule in your life, you're actually able to control your calorie intake. It will actually improve your health outlook. I suspect it'll change it for a whole bunch of reasons. Gluten is often associated with, you know, simple starches like wheat and many other simple starches that we might have in our diet. By avoiding it, we can avoid processed foods. We can avoid this whole manipulation that the companies are doing to us. It's not the gluten that's making us healthy or unhealthy. It's everything we're doing with our food. And by avoiding one aspect of it, that's one way people can do it. I think it would be more rational to try and avoid simple sugars, avoid the candy bars, that kind of thing. But anything you do that is going to actually get you some control in your life is actually going to be helpful. Keeping wheat flour out of your stomach is going to make you also feel less bloated. Why would this be part of that Is is your own intestinal flora when you have a whole bunch of sugars in your stomach, the bacteria go crazy. They start producing gases. They they your stomach is going to be roiling. What your stomach wants is fiber. Your stomach wants to be sitting and eating fiber and not getting processed sugars and starches, and it wants to be doing some work. And if it doesn't do these things, you're going to start feeling unwell. So there is there is many relationships between various kinds of orthorexia and actually healthy lifestyles. But again, they're not they're not really logically, scientifically thought out. They do tend to be sort of pushing our buttons that we're where we want to take control of our lives. Again, many of these things are related to religion. I want to have a sort of topic on this itself. Many religions have fasting, have food rules, things that you can't eat. These are all things that are actually beneficial for you, not because that food itself, certainly in this day and age, might itself be poison, but because just having rules is good for you. So, you know, this is something you can do for yourself. You can come up with things you do. So, you know, for example, I try not to eat until certain times of day, a couple of times a week. 

Eric 50:47

See, I thought you were. You were because you've been inching towards this. You've been inching towards intermediate into intermittent fasting. 

Dr. Stout 50:54

Yeah, that's one possible solution. I want to have a whole show on it. But, you know, these, these, these are things you can do where you can take control. I love it because I just say I'm not eating today or, you know, at least until like 5:00 or 3:00 or something, you know, 5:00. I know that gets kind of late to two is sort of normal, but I've been pushing it to five and six. And, you know, these these are things where I can take control of my life. I'm I'm temporarily anorexic, right? But then I get to eating again. So it's not an eating disorder. It's more of a form of orthorexia. Right? It's an eating control, maybe a little bit obsessive eating control. Not eating is not necessarily good for you, but it turns out to have a lot of benefits, which I would like to, you know, talk about at a later date. All of these things are interrelated, like leptin interferes with cartilage production. Okay. So the less hungry you are because leptin has been produced by your fat cells, the worse your knees will end up being. So just like ghrelin is associated with human growth hormone, right? When you're when you're eating is when you want to build muscles. Right. Being, being, being, being being hungry. Ghrelin actually inhibits human growth hormone. Right? So if you're hungry, you don't want to build muscles, You eat food. You build muscles right? If you have a long term ghrelin deficiency, right, you never eat, your muscles will start wasting away. We are not great that way. Other animals don't do that right. So things, some things can hibernate and just eat their own fat and they just come out skinny with all their muscles. We we can't do that. We stop eating for too long. We will start eating our own muscles and eventually we'll eat our heart. And that's not good, right? So if you if you go without food for a long time, that's. 

Eric 52:42

How you die of starvation. 

Dr. Stout 52:43

Yeah. Eventually you, you eat yourself and reason is, is because our, our, our, our, the, the lack of ghrelin is not specific enough, right? It should just tell us to eat the eat the fat, but it doesn't work like that. And so we're not we're not perfectly designed to be long term fasters, but we actually have a lot of benefits from the short term fasting, right? So this was probably the lifestyle we lived, where we were looking for food, running around, using calories, trying to get to places as quickly as possible where we could get that food but for long periods of time, not having food. And then when we found the food, it would be a big pile of food. It was a mammoth. It was an entire like grove of nuts. Right. And we would eat all those fatty nuts and all that fatty mammoth for as long as we possibly could. We would lie there being fat and as long as we were, you know, full of food, we would not need to exercise, We would take a break and we would have a really relaxed nice day because now we were finally, you know, not hungry. And then we would get up and do it again. And so this was our lifestyle bingeing and fasting and bingeing and fasting and then periodically eating high fiber snacks in between. You're feeling really hungry here. Eat a pile of semi edible leaves. You know, I cut these off the cassava bush and now we can chew them, you know, they'll fill your stomach up, which will lower your ghrelin. Right. But you're not going to get a lot of calories out of them. 

Eric 54:05

So but you will get fiber. 

Dr. Stout 54:07

You will get fiber, and you'll just do neat, right? And your stomach will feel full and the stretch receptors will lower the amount of ghrelin you're experiencing. And so you'll feel less hungry. And so the lifestyle we had was, you know, leaves in between binging. And so, you know, people talk about a paleo diet. They think it's only meat. That's not what it should be. It should be much, much higher. Percentage of plants with occasional meat binges is probably how we actually lived. Yeah. And then the other thing is, you know, tremendously, much more exercise. I want to talk about all of these things, future episodes. But I was feeling personally so stressed from what's happening right now politically that I wanted to talk about how to have compassion for each other and, and how we have these deep, deep buttons that are not under our conscious control. And we have to acknowledge us in each other and in ourselves and to try and, you know, let each other off the hook and let ourselves off the hook for the bad things we do all the time. And to see ourselves as living in this world where we can try and be better people. But we should really be trying to focus on ourselves first, because that's where you can start taking responsibility for your own actions. 

Eric 55:19

Thank you. 

Dr. Stout 55:21

Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. 

Eric 55:24

See you next time. 

Dr. Stout 55:25

See you next time. 

Putin’s fingerprints are all over the Hamas attack
The evidence for Russian involvement in this atrocity is circumstantial, but present.
Ghrelin - Wikipedia
Leptin - Wikipedia
Cui bono - Wikipedia
Racism - Wikipedia
Evangelicalism - Wikipedia

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