Why are we so brilliant in some areas and so backwards in others? Why are we living in such a climate of fear (choosing maniac leaders to make things better, not realizing they may be the cause of the terror) when in the scheme of things, we’ve never had it so good. We should be having the time of our lives at this point; where every desire is a click of the finger away. We can have food delivered 24/7 straight into our mouths and order a husband at two in the morning, so why are we so dissatisfied with our lives? We humans are the master race, so why do so many of us have a theme song of “I’m not good enough” playing in our minds? When did we start thinking we have to be perfect? We’ve only been in this homo sapien condition for a few thousand years; we’re still a work in progress. We share 98% of our DNA with great apes, and about 23% with yeast and 19% with bananas - so get over yourself.
Evolution has a lot to answer for. What helped us survive millions of years ago is exactly what’s not making us survive today. Things like competition kept the tribe strong. If someone was slipping behind they would have to try harder for the sake of the group’s chances of survival. Now, we’re competing on a global level, thanks to social media. With those odds you can never win and we’re left with the feeling that if we could just beat everyone we’ll be happy. Ask any billionaire or supermodel if they have peace of mind. I’ll put money down that they don’t. I’m sure they also have that niggling feeling that there’s someone out there, richer or more beautiful. If we learn that evolution only cares about our survival and it couldn’t give a hoot about our happiness, than we won’t be so hard on ourselves knowing that ‘we are not our fault.’
Part of our brain is still left over from the Stone Age, and it doesn’t realize the wallpaper has changed. The problem is that we haven’t got the bandwidth to deal with the complexities of the 21st century. So when you find it hard to cope, know that it’s not your condition, it’s the human condition. It’s the glitch that we all have.
“How to be Human” is a manual of how we work, why do we think the way we do and why are so many thoughts negative, why do we choose the partners we choose, why are we so addicted not just to drink and drugs but on-line shopping (me) and why are we at our wits ends thinking about how to raise our kids?
With the help of a monk and a neuroscientist (the monk being an expert on how we think and the neuroscientist an expert on where everything is that makes us who we are in the brain), we suggest ways for you to harness that wild part of your mind and make it work for you. To be the driver, not the driven. The monk tells you how to develop compassion, forgiveness and all those seemingly ‘fluffy’ areas that can make our lives a happier place to live. If we want to survive in the future, we’re going to have to learn to upgrade our minds as much as we’ve successfully upgraded our iPhones.
How To Be Human: The Manual is out in paperback now, and is available from all good bookshops. If you would like to read a chapter of the book for free, just tell Ruby where to send it.
Ruby is on tour with How To Be Human: The Show - tickets are now on sale.