When Did Our Society Kill Wisdom and How is it Killing Us?
ON THIS EPISODE OF THE BEST MEDICINE PODCAST
Our Guest: Garrett Dailey
Garrett Dailey is a philosopher, author, entrepreneur and generally a fascinating specimen of human being.
Garrett has written two books, lived alone in the desert, fasted for 40 days and been “Chief Philosophy Officer” for multiple businesses.
This is his third appearance on the show.
[32:00] — Garrett defines “people-systems” and why those are the key items to solve to reverse damage to our bodies, communities and minds.
[50:00] — What is wisdom? How can we create a system to identify who has wisdom and who is a charlatan? Where did our society lose it’s wisdom?
[01:09:15] — How Individuals on the path to self mastery will be the ones who end up re-structuring our society and injecting wisdom back into it’s designs and functions.
THE ENLIGHTENMENT WAS THE DEATH OF WISDOM
We all learned about the Enlightenment period in our high school history classes.
It’s pitched as the birth of the period ruled by reason, science and logic.
Also known as: “The beginning of modernity.”
This is often pitched as a good thing — as we still live in this paradigm.
One thing the Enlightenment seemed to overturn was Wisdom. We have all the left brain proofs, axioms and arguments — but many of us lack common sense, intuition, emotional awareness and happiness.
Garrett Dailey came on the show to discuss in depth how the Enlightenment “broke” wisdom.
(It has something to do with a little thing called the “Mind-Body Problem”)
Then we riff on several examples of how this problem trickles down into our every day lives.
Finally, we hope to provide a roadmap to escape this paradigm.
To be wise is natural as wisdom lives in the human body
How the Mind-Body Problem Broke Gender, Community, and Almost Everything Else
The mind-body problem stems from Rene Descartes “Meditations.”
In this book he posits “Cogito Ergo Sum,” or “I think, therefor I am.”
The purpose of the book was for Descartes to systematically doubt everything he thought he knew so that he could arrive at base-level axioms for what can be knowable.
He realized the only thing he couldn’t doubt was, in fact, the fact that he was thinking. He described this as “mind.”
He could certainly doubt the presence of his body, along with everything else physical. Perhaps his senses were being tricked by some deceiving demon. Maybe he was dreaming!
This fundamental inability for Descartes to prove his own body existed was the root of hundreds of years of stupidity that we’re still dealing with.
I will write a deeper analysis of why the Mind-Body problem is unnecessary, (and why Descartes was wrong) at some point.
But for now, let’s look at the impacts.
First off, all things feminine (intuition, feeling, etc) are typically bemoaned as irrational in our society. That’s because they in fact, are. That does not make them less.
The nature of these functions is feminine. We’re discovering intuition might be linked to your gut flora and the “brain” in your stomach.
Intuition is a form of instinct — it’s cognition done through the body’s older organs. It also manifest as emotions.
All emotions have physical sensations. Anger heats the body and causes a hike in the shoulders. Fear speeds up the heart and causes a collapse of the chest-region. Happiness causes relaxation and deep belly laughter.
The rejection of the “body” as provably real has led to us alienating women from men. It’s also led to all humans alienating themselves from their physical emotions and bodily wisdom.
Obviously this has ended up manifesting in the theorization of sex and gender.
When sex and gender break, the fundamental balance of society is thrown out of whack.
No wonder we lack community!
We move from small tribes centered around common myth and values to perfectly square, identical, meaningless, nihilistic communities. We have centered almost all of human life around economic activity.
We are commodified through our data instead of empowered to learn about ourselves.
We are marketed to constantly instead of given privacy.
Our laws are designed to make corporations and government agencies richer instead of increase our freedoms and health.
Our buildings and towns are built for economic efficiency instead of beauty or comfort.
Of course feelings of alienations, depression, anxiety, loneliness and rage are at an all time high. (Only spurred on by the COVID-19 shutdowns).
We are alone, turned against our own bodies, for the benefit of non-human institutions.
All this is the creation of rationality.
It doesn’t sound so rational, does it?
Pure rationality is not rational. We need emotions and intuition to find Wisdom.
How The Mind-Body Problem Caused The Obesity Epidemic
Imagine a society where we had balance between the sexes, where we could trust our bodies, and where our communities functioned with a human touch.
We would be happier.
We would likely spend much less energy on unnecessary tasks.
Human beings use so much will power in our day-to-day lives because of how emotionally taxing it is to live in an Enlightenment system.
One example of this is diet and nutrition.
It was incredibly rare for pre-moderns to be obese. (Granted, starvation was more common.)
In the modern world obesity is bordering on the norm. It’s the greatest health epidemic in history.
This comes from two major sources.
- Filling the void
- Hyper-rationality at scale
On an individual level, our bodies are designed to have tremendous pleasure in the form of serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine from frequent and deep human play, contact and cooperation in physical and social activities.
In a world where that is lacking, our stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol, etc) rise instead.
However, we do still gain physical pleasure from eating.
And sugars, salts, fats are in abundance today, in a way they NEVER were in the conditions of our evolution.
Not only that are today’s super markets abundant in these macronutrients (calories), but they’re lacking in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
This causes us to feel pleasure from eating, and gain some energy — but our organs and tissues can not properly repair or function without the full micronutrient spectrum.
This leaves us feeling hungry for longer, prompting over eating.
It also leads to us having other health problems, mentally and physically.
Inevitably we are diagnosed with a “glandular” obesity problem, or a “neuro-chemical imbalance” depression issue.
And thrown medications to manage the symptoms.
Curing the problem is impossible according to modern medicine because “glandular” and “neuro-chemical” problems are fundamental errors in our bodies, by definition.
This is the equivalent of filling your gas tank with olive oil, then saying your engine must be broken when the car craps out, and allowing horses to pull the car like a buggy.
This then gets compounded when we are unable to listen to the deeper feelings in our body, of which there are two:
- “Please stop eating this, it’s killing me”
- “We are lonely, sad, depressed, anxious”
It takes a tremendous amount of willpower to constantly fight this internal war on both of these fronts.
All of it is preventable NOT by “doing the rational things” (seeing doctors for medication, eating the food that’s marketed to you, living the economically efficient lifestyle that led you here).
It is preventable by changing the starting conditions. Many people who get healthy often change their jobs, alter their living situations, join new communities, and even update their belief systems to unorthodox ideologies.
Whether all these changes are necessary or not is irrelevant: People who recover from obesity intuitively grasp that the ENTIRE operating system of post-Enlightenment hyper-rationality is rooted in the rejection of their body.
“Look where that got me,” they think. And so they begin to reject modernity — if not consciously, then in deed.
IN CLOSING: Why Personal Mastery is the Route Back to Wisdom
While the IDEAL solution would be a society with leaders who are incentivized to design functional systems and environments, the PRACTICAL solution is to realize that the “system” is not here to help you.
This is why our podcast guest Garrett Dailey named his blog and books “MasterSelf.”
HIs belief is that taking control of your own health, relationships, finances, mindset, education, environment, schedule, career, etc
Finding things that work for you…
And bucking the mainstream trends…
Is the way forward,
And if enough people do that, there might be a unified front to re-design our society one day.
I largely agree with this vision.
This is why I created a way for doctors AND patients to buck the mainstream trend in the medical world.
I created Wellspring Telemedicine clinic so that I can have a more direct, ethical relationship with my patients.
Here’s how it works: You click this link, you pick a time, you pay $50 whether or not you have health insurance (we don’t accept that at the Wellspring Clinic), you show up for your appointment from anywhere you’d like, and I speak to you candidly without the incentives I have elsewhere. My only goal is to help you, not a large hospital or insurance/pharma companies.
And you can go on your way with a doctor’s note to get whatever you need. (And know that it’s ACTUALLY what you need.)
It’s healthcare, but fair.