Unless you are my student, or you've read about the selfish gene, you don't know what I am talking about.
It's about evolution. It's about the genes that use life-forms as vehicles for their own purposes.
A pigeon is a life form, and it is a vehicle for its selfish genes.
A worm is also a life form, and so is an elephant.
Human is also a life-form, the only one, so far, that is in conflict with the selfish gene.
With the new phenomenon: consciousness, humans are at odds with their own genes... the "vehicle" is revolting against the drivers, the genes' hegemony.
But let us define ess, Evolutionary Stable Strategy, not scientifically, but practically. Not socially, but individually... in the "ecosystem" that you are, that your family is.
When the vehicle and the genes are in harmony, and the vehicle is humming along with minimal or no internal conflicts, we can call that state ess... it's working.
ESS doesn't mean the vehicle is happy. It means that the genes are happy.
ESS with humans almost never means happy, because the nature of humans is to want to grow, be attracted by the unknown, the mysterious, the uncharted territories, with adventure.
All that is against the ess... and a tension between the vehicle and the genes.
You are stuck in all areas of your life in an ess... or you wouldn't be here.
I am stuck in all areas of my life in an ess... or I would not be here either. I would be out there exploring, or dead.
So what is there to do?
As I said: ess for a human goes through phases: happy, comfortable, unhappy... longing for adventure, for a meaning, for a purpose.
Because ess is like a prison cell: coming in from the storm into the safety of a prison cell is like food for the starving. Then it stops being such a big deal, but it's comfortable, you get fed three times a day, the toilet is right there, you sleep when you want... but it's boring. Too predictable... so you long for adventure.
You long for something more, better, different... But none of it is possible inside the ess...
So, what are you supposed to do?
- I am going to use the area of health, because a question about that prompted this article.You are eating the way you are eating. You feel the way you feel... you look the way you look, you have energy or you don't... you are unhappy in some way.So you make some changes. You pick a diet-cult method... and, of course, the genes are not happy: this new method isn't an ess... so the genes work, feverishly, to restore the ess.
Rarely your new diet/eating method/sleeping method etc. is sustainable, effortless, and you feel better. The genes stop resisting, and you just built a new ess... evolutionary stable strategy.
Now... here is a curve ball: You and your body are now agreeing.
But... every human's body has other critters living in and on them: fungus, bacteria, mites, and they need to agree too.
For example: Two weeks ago I started an experiment: I ate a slice of cheese cake: sugar, and gluten... two "nutrients" I was doing well without.
A week later I bought a slab of cooking bittersweet chocolate.
I ate it. And then hell on earth began.
I became hungry, 24/7, thirsty 24/7, heat intolerant, edgy, and angry. thinking of the futility of my life and my work. Hoping that I'd die soon. Hating stuff... dramatic, isn't it?
I took note of it. I didn't fight it. I saw that the critters in my body and on my body exploded their population in hopes for more sugar, more gluten, more food just for them.
They tormented me for another eight days.
Now that I didn't give in (I had nothing to cheat with... or I probably would have given them what they wanted!) they are dying off, and I am back to not hungry, still edgy, intolerant... some of my email correspondents have told me off too... sorry guys! but at least I am not depressed. lol. Yes, your character, your behavior is really influenced by those critters... and what you eat.
So you see, you need to be in ess with more than just your body... the travelers need to be considered too.
- The second question the same person asked: how do you alter the current ess with your family, so they support you in your new eating habits?It's taken you a long time to get to an ess with the family, a tolerable situation where you can do some of the things you want to do, and no one is yelling you for it...But then you decide that you want to change your diet... as in the case of my student.
And then all hell breaks loose... the ess has them... they don't want to change, even if the ess is not a happy place, not joyful, and not good for anyone.
Because they have managed to not be yelled at, have some freedom... so they are afraid.
And that last word: afraid is a keyword.
They are more afraid than you are. Because you know what you want: a new ess that serves all of you better. But they don't...
So your first job is to make sure that they know that you are also on their side. That you want it to be better for all concerned.
You may want to have conversations where you hear them out what they need... and see that you provide that.
The only think YOU need, at this juncture, is that you can get well, healthwise...
And that they actually support you.
Promise them that once you are well, you'll be easier to live with, and more supportive of them, yourself.
You need to mean it.
Ess is a give and take deal.
Not willing to give? Might as well give it up now...
So, to summarize: in order to grow, in any area of life, you need to be willing to rock the boat, so you can negotiate for a new ess.
You need to know that humanity has not evolved for at least ten thousand years, because people are NOT willing to rock the boat, or not willing to negotiate.
Negotiation is not words... it is a give and take... a mutual respect with the genes, with society, with the people you live with.
Unless you are certain you are going in the right direction, experimentation will tell you... don't run experiments longer than it takes to get the results.
Most vegans, vegetarians, fruitarians, paleo, etc. people are running an experiment for too long... and now they have a new ess that is harmful for their mental, intellectual, emotional, or physical well-being...
Don't forget... experiment, pay attention. The new ess you are intending may be worse for you than the one you are abandoning...
PS: The Diet Cults is an enjoyable book, even though its truth value is only 8%...
Where it's off is that people can start eating as if nothing had destroyed them... just eat healthy... Hogwash.
In my health consultations I have yet to meet someone whose system is not already made intolerant, allergic, or sensitive to most staple foods...
Where he is right is this: if you can find the 15 or so ingredients that allow you to thrive... and you stick with them, you'll have developed a new ess that helps make you bright, energetic, and changeable... which is the number one requirement for thriving.