The Problem With Our Brains

In terms of what our brains were designed by natural selection to do they are succeeding spectacularly. But in the process of such massive success our brains have inadvertently created a number of serious problems with which we are currently wrestling. The problems I am talking about range from commonplace issues such as crime, violence, cheating at cards, cut-throat business tactics, political despotism, and intolerance to a rash of relatively new global concerns like climate change, increasing economic inequality, international terrorism, environmental degradation and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

When I say there is something wrong with your brain I am not talking about a problem with what it has evolved to accomplish. There is no problem with how well your brain functions to help you and your species survive. What is wrong with our brains is that the mechanisms that evolved to promote the survival of our hunter-gatherer ancestors are sadly unsuited for our modern world. The survival mechanisms that served our early ancestors are actually problematic in the modern world. What worked well in tribal societies is all too often inappropriate in our urbanized, global circumstances.

From the Introduction

The Hopeful Mindset emphasizes a set of values that can reliably guide us toward a better future. The values of the Hopeful Mindset support the interdependent ecological view of living things as opposed to our default view of living things as independent, separately existing entities. These values are hopeful because they are indicative of realistic and practical means by which we can work to build a better future. When individuals make choices based on the values of the Hopeful Mindset outcomes will tend to contribute to a future more in line with the facts of interdependent existence and therefore a future supportive of sustainable human life.