Get ready for a journey into our ancestral past! Today, I’m talking to Chris Kelly about the way we bond and socialize as humans and our genetic expectations for health. In this episode, you’ll finally learn the real truth about how our modern living arrangements (such as the monogamous, nuclear family) has a widespread effect on all areas of our lives.
As you may already know, modern life is WEIRD and disconnected from our genetic expectations for health and our ancestral experience. WEIRD is actually an acronym for Westernized, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. Society, as we know in the WEIRD world, is a wholly modern construct that is a product of religious dogma and heavy handedness dating back to the Middle Ages more so than a sophisticated way to live our best life as humans.
But Chris is committed to going deeper and deeper to address these disconnects. As the founder of NourishBalanceThrive.com, a comprehensive health testing and consulting program, he has delved deep into the world of healthy eating, exercise, and stress management to optimize health. In this show, Chris turns his attention to our cultural norms that are actually a disconnect from our deepest biological human drives. Namely the monogamous nuclear family; the white picket fence phenomenon.
Chris and his family are performing an experiment in 2020 by cohabiting with another family in the name of CO PARENTING and community child rearing. He’s stopping short of the recently popular trend of open relationships, but we definitely address the matter in the show; both males and females are wired to mate with multiple partners in the name of our deepest and most primitive biological draft of passing our genes onto the next generation. You’ll be fascinated by Chris’s quick mind and endless curiosity, as he shares fascinating stories and research that he has come across through his work. Chris talks about the true cost of loneliness, and reveals a very scary fact: “Being lonely is as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”
Chris is truly a deep thinker, and he dispenses many thought-provoking insights and questions throughout this episode, and also provides a comprehensive reading list for you to dig deeper into this fascinating subject! Enjoy listening to the unique and incredibly well-informed perspective Chris has to offer, and check out the Nourish Balance Thrive podcast here!
From diet and exercise, in this podcast, we are looking into the way we bond and socialize. [01:25]
Chris talks about how discovering ancestral health stuff changed his life. [04:31]
Are we too obsessed with delivering this message about ancestral health? [08:06]
We live in a WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic) society that colors our outlook on our world. [09:06]
One can be surrounded by people and still be lonely which is detrimental to our health. [15:28]
We differ from the great apes in the way we bear and raise our children. It’s important to look at that. [18:25]
Aloe parents, according to anthropologists, means somebody other than the parents who contribute to child-rearing. [21:05]
Anthropologists have studied the evolution of man. When did we lose our fur? [26:58]
We hear that marrying your cousin is not a good idea, although research has shown that marrying your sixth cousin is a good idea! [27:42]
The way we live now in a nuclear family is a result of a campaign that was run by the Catholic church in the middle ages. [29:20]
Almost no animal in the world is truly monogamous. [33:54]
Humans are one of the few primates that will abandon an infant given inadequate social support. [37:05]
Our basic biological drives are in conflict with the advancement of culture. [40:47]
After the age of 35 or so your reproductive fitness increases, if you stop having your own babies and you start investing in your daughter’s kids. [45:24]
Chris talks about his experiment with two families living together. [47:12]
You can’t deny the biological urges. [56:44]
In humans, the primary purpose of sex is not for reproduction. It is for bonding. [59:53]
You need to get really clear on what it is that you value. [01:02:52]
- Brad’s Shopping Page
- Chris Kelly
- Nourish Balance Thrive
- Mothers and Others
- The Weirdest People in the World.
- Sex at Dawn
- Ethical Slut
- The Values Guided Action Worksheet
- “All of our human existence, we’ve been completely dependent on others in order to get food, to get shelter. And being separated from the tribe was death – you could just not survive on your own.”
- “WEIRD people tend to describe themselves in terms of the properties of the individual. They’ll say things like, ‘I’m a chemistry major, I’m an A+ student, an engineer, a scientist, a CEO…’ All of these things that describe a node, an individual attribute. Whereas you said, ‘I’m a dad. I’m a husband…’ These people think in highly individualistic ways, and I think that’s reflected in the way that we live.”
- “You accept the defaults for certain life choices, and then you realize that they were either inappropriate for you, or maybe, inappropriate for all humans. The last 7 years of recording the Nourish Balance Thrive podcast has really been an investigation into all those default settings that may have been inappropriate. And ancestral health and evolutionary biology has been a very informative lens through which to look at things.”
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Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for a journey into our ancestral past and our genetic expectations for health and all the disconnects that we talk about in modern life. We’re going to take this in a deeper direction, blowing right past eating and exercise into the way that we bond and socialize. Yes, Chris Kelly, the founder proprietor of the wonderful Nourish Balance Thrive, comprehensive testing and consultation program for health is now turning his focus beyond food. And in fact, in the first few minutes of the show, we will realize that we’ve probably talked enough about it. And if you just quit eating junk food, you’re going to be okay for the rest of your life. Make good choices. We don’t have to split hairs like we’ve been doing. Same with exercise, right? You get out there and move a lot, do some micro workouts and keep in shape. Hit it hard once in a while.
You’re going to be doing great. Uh, but when it comes to our modern living arrangements, such as the monogamous nuclear family, Chris is going to tell you why that is a, another genetic disconnect for health. And he’s been putting his money where his mouth is and doing some sincere personal experimentation recently, which is cohabitating with another family under the same roof. That’s called aloe parenting, cooperative breeding. He talks about the science are eight cousins that primitive societies in the world, but still have some crazy customs. You’re going to hear about things like the Catholic church’s, marriage, family contract from hundreds of years ago in the middle ages. That pretty much dictates how modern society operates now in the weird industrialized world. And weird is an acronym standing for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. And in fact, we are in the minority. Living weird. So what a wild show carrying onto one topic after another that I think will be thought provoking. If nothing else.
Here we go with Chris Kelly of Nourish Balance Thrive. Chris Kelly Nourish Balance Thrive back on the podcast. We had a wonderful conversation a long time ago, but reliably so you’re out in the outdoors again. So you’re our favorite outdoor guests on the podcast. Maybe, maybe the only one, but good for you.
Oh really? Am I? Well, thanks. First of all thank you so much for having me back. I really, you don’t have that many people recording outside.
I have not seen anyone outside except for when you brought the headphones and we both did it standing up outside, which was the ultimate. So at least I’m standing up at, Hey, I’m in a closet with all this foam around me trying to get quality, quality audio. And you’re enjoying the beautiful day in the Santa Cruz mountains, your home base.
I appreciate that. That’s a position of privilege that not everyone gets to enjoy, but I’m grateful for it. So we have some, uh, fun, interesting off the wall topics to discuss. You’re always the go-to guy for, uh, cutting edge things. And why don’t you tell us, uh what’s on your mind lately?
Uh, sure. Um, so I won’t repeat the whole story from the first episode, but like, I think maybe many of your guests and you, right? Like everybody’s got their health journey, right? Like that was, that was one of the time I wasn’t doing so well. And then I discovered all this ancestral health stuff and I changed my diet and I concentrate on sleeping and maybe I’m not as stressed a bit better.
And yeah, what’s interesting. I mean, just, just to recap a little bit is you were this extremely intense athlete who was doing what everybody would think would be super awesome. You know, you were the guy who worked a hard day in software, uh, starting really early. Right. And then you’re off in the afternoon to go pound that bike and have such an amazing productive day from 5:00 AM until you drop into bed at nighttime. But, uh, that didn’t work out so well for you.
Yeah, exactly, exactly. And, you know, once you figure out one or two things that weren’t working out so well for you, it does beg the question, what else am I doing? That’s not working right.
Opening the can of worms. I’m not Really actually healthy. Oh my gosh. Tell me more doctor.
Yeah. Well, I think what it comes down to is that some of the things you would set the defaults for certain life choices, and then you realize that they were either inappropriate for you or maybe inappropriate for all humans. Right? And so the last seven years of recording the non-response thrive podcast, it’s really been an investigation into all those default that may have been inappropriate. And of course, ancestral health and evolutionary biology has been a very informative lens through which to look at things. We use this term environmental mismatch, right? So maybe your diet is mismatched, meaning, you know, the genes that the inputs your genes are expecting and not the ones you gave it. And, you know, I’ve now come to the conclusion that humans are everywhere and they eat everything, but there are certain things they absolutely cannot eat and processed foods and combinations of highly processed, fat and carbohydrate.
Definitely not. Um, industrial seed oils. You’ve talked a lot about that on the podcast. Definitely not everything else might be plus or minus, depending on how far you, your ethnicity was from the equator and various other different things. But, um, you know, for me at this point that the food thing has become a lot less interesting and kind of started looking at other things.
Yeah. I would say I have to agree. Um, it seems like we’ve gone so far down this road and there’s, you know, hundreds of books out there about some manner of ancestral style eating, with paleo in the title or Keto in the title. And, you know, when we first started back and, uh, you know, marks Mark started the blog in 2006. We wrote the Primal Blueprint in 2008, one of the first books out there about this ancestral diet and ancestor and living. And it was fascinating to go onto the podcast circuit or the, the airwaves and say, uh, you know, grains, aren’t actually good for you. And it’s, it’s an amazing insight. Uh, but now thankfully the science and the user experience has backed everything up. It’s not an incredible revelation. Well, I guess it is for some people that, um, you know, these foods are okay to eat and, uh, you don’t have to be scared of red meat if it’s grown sustainably and naturally. But yeah, less interesting in terms of, we should pretty much be, uh, you know, dialing these things in by now. So if you’re still going to 7/11 and grabbing one of the hot dogs for your, your midday snack after a hard day on the job, um, you know, maybe welcome to the podcast and welcome to some of these insights if they’re out of the blue.
But I think for most people that are been living and breathing this stuff, it’s like, okay, well, as long as you’re not eating junk, you might just want to cut the conversation short there. So the, the listener doesn’t get bored and then, you know, look, look further and see how other, other ways you can optimize. And maybe we’re guilty of splitting hairs too much and getting too obsessed and uptight about it and argumentative about it and all those things, right?
I mean, so the way I’d frame it is like, imagine you Brad, you’re the head keeper at London zoo. And you have all these animals from all over the world that you have to take care of and say a new species of animal you’ve never seen before. He’s going to show up and you got 10 of them and you have, you have all these questions, right. That you’d be like, Oh, what am I going to feed him? And that’s what most people have been talking about. At least since I’ve been in the ancestral health space. It’s like a lot of discussion over what you’re going to feed these animals. Right? You’ve got they’re in captivity and you’ve got a.
Right. Okay. So that’s the next question you might have is where am I going? How am I going to enclose these animals to, I put them all in the same cage? Do I keep them in separate enclosures? How do I do it? Like, how do you answer those questions? And regardless of what type of animals that you are going to be looking after, like a really great right way to answer that question is, well, how does this animal live in the wild? rightR You know, you’re not gonna feed the crocodiles hay. And, uh, you know, you’re not going to keep, uh, all the chimpanzees in separate enclosures. You probably can look in the wild, like how, how do these animals live in the wild? And then you would use that knowledge to inform your decisions about how you would keep the animals in captivity. Now. Now, of course, the animals I’m talking about, they’re coming into your zoo are human animals. Like that’s, that’s the, the main animal that we’re interested in here. And you know, what I see when I look around me in the human zoo is a lot of people living in what I would call monogamous nuclear families. If you familiar with any of those terms.
Sure. I think we’re on board. That’s pretty, pretty obvious. And been going on for many generations. That’s right
Right. But it is a weird thing. Um, I think I should make that clear and it’s by weird, I mean, not just the sort of descriptor, the adjective, but also a weird is an acronym that’s used by anthropologists, specifically evolutionary anthropologists and also psychologists actually. And it’s the acronym is Westernized, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic WEIRD.
I’ve never heard that. Wow.
Yeah. And it’s important to understand, because a lot of what we know in the psychology literature, and I, I say we like, I’m somehow involved in that, but of course I’m not. I mean, they, um, is tainted by this lens. And what I mean by that is, you know, you quite often see studies where, you know, we took 26 college age men and ask them a bunch of questions. And, you know, the answers to those questions will be tainted by the fact that these men or women, they are in weird societies. They live in various parts of the world that tends to be more individualistic, more analytical in their thinking and, and less collectivist. And so you can spot these people by asking them some simple questions. Like, I might ask you this, like, okay. Brad’s imagine we just met for the first time on a bus. Nobody knows. I don’t know anything about you. You don’t know anything about me. How would you describe yourself?
Uh, I’m a, uh, a 55 year old, a married man with two kids. And I like, uh, off-beat sporting activities like high jumping and speed golf .
Weird than one might expect given where you, right. So, um, weird people, they tend to describe themselves in terms of, uh, the properties of the individual. So if you imagine a network of people, right, like a spider web with like, you know, each type, the web crosses, there’s a note there. And that note is a single person, like weird people tend to describe themselves in terms of the attributes of that individual node. They’ll say things like I’m a chemistry major. I’m an, a great student. I’m a engineer, I’m a scientist, I’m a CEO founder. Um, well, you know, all these things that describe the individual node as an attribute, rather than what you just said, which is I’m Ivy’s dad, I’m, Judy’s, husband. I’m somebody else’s mentor, you know? Right. So non weird society is, that is most of the world, apart from the U S, the U K, a few other countries in Northern Europe, Northern Europe, and also Australia, New Zealand. I should add
Chris, say it again. Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and
Okay. These people in highly individualistic ways. And I think that’s reflected in, in fact, I know it’s reflected in the way that we live, right. So I’m no different by the way, right. I live in Santa Cruz and I’m married too. So I’m a heterosexual man cisgendered married to a heterosexual cisgendered woman. And, you know, we’re married on paper, it’s a legal agreement, binding agreement, just the two of us. And we have two kids. One on the way we live in one house, that’s obviously been designed for one family, right. And we have, you know, like 1.5 cars, um, it’s not quite a white picket fence around our house, but you know, there could be, you know. And there are many houses in the area that do have a white picket fence, and you might call that a nuclear family. Right? So Judy and me are at the nucleus of that family.
And then we have, however many kids orbiting is charged particles. And I would argue that this is a highly individualistic way of thinking and completely inappropriate for our human zoo. If you look back in history, uh, you know, you have, if you look backwards and look for some wild humans, unfortunately it’s very difficult to find humans in the wild these days. As you know, you can, you can look to hunter gatherers, like the hearts there, for example, and that might give you some clues about what wild type humans might look like. Uh, but even those have been touched, right? Like they’d been found out and influenced by
And heart rate monitors on them and accelerometers to see how many calories they burned in the case of the hot hotspot.
Yeah. And, and, you know, anthropologists are very carefully followed them and counted and weighed everything they eat. And they, they measure their urine with w Lee labeled water. And they do all these really fun experiments that have been highly informative, but no doubt that these people have been touched. And so, you know, that’s what I’ve been thinking about lately is, well, you know, where are all the environmental mismatches? I think we’ve gone as far as we can go with food. I don’t think there’s really much more to be gained by optimizing in that direction any further. And you know, how humans are, uh, enclosed in the human zoo is probably a much richer source of optimization. And, you know, to think about why, I mean, just think about the epidemic of loneliness. John T. Cacioppo, has got a fantastic book called Loneliness. Sadly, he is now deceased, but it’s a fantastic book.
And I mean, it’s an entire catalog of all the really bad things that happened to humans when they’re lonely, right? You think for all of our human existence, we’ve been completely dependent on others in order to get food and shelter that the two big ones, right. And being separated from the tribe is death. Like you could not survive on your own. There’s absolutely no way. There’s a really great TV show that we love to watch. And rewatch, Bruce Perry is called Tribe and in that he, he, he gave us this fantastic expression saying that I’ve since had many other places, which is, uh, the best place to store food is in the belly of your brother. And that speaks to the reciprocality of humans, right? Like the, you know, you, you, you go hunting, I’ll go gathering some days. You’ll get lucky some days you won’t, when you do get lucky, you’ll bring home the big Bonanza that will be too much for you to consume on your own.
And the best thing to, for you to do with that excess food is to share it with the rest of the tribe, because tomorrow you might not be lucky. And then me as the gatherer, I’m going to go out and I’m going to forage, and I’m going to dig tubers out of the ground. And that’s going to be very reliable. That’s gonna be a very much more reliable source of calories. And so together we thrive and on your own, you’re dead. And so that’s why so many bad things happen to humans when they’re lonely. It’s because your brain is trying to get you to go find the others. This is a very dangerous situation. And yeah, bad things happen. Our immune system changes. And I think we’re seeing an epidemic of it. And in the epidemiological data being lonely is as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Yeah. I remember quoting some of that book, Cacioppo what’s the author’s name?
Cacioppo is gonna send me a hate mail for butchering his surname. I believe it’s pronounced good Cacioppo
Yeah. And some of those stats were highly disturbing, obviously, uh, driven by, uh, technology, mobile technology, social media, and ways that we can disengage from live interpersonal interaction, which is obviously so much more valuable and important than a digital interaction. But I remember some of the stats that, uh, you know, 30 years ago, uh, Americans had an average of 4.5 close friends that they can call their, their tight circle. And now the average is like less than one. In other words, um, if you, if you take the stats, it’s, if it’s 0.85, that means the average person has less than one, uh, you know, true close friend that they can be a confidant and all those things that, uh, you know, at least having one close friend. And, uh, the, the research says that, you know, um, two may be better than one, but certainly it, at least having, you know, a small circle that you can count on and rely on, um, is essential to survival and, and all the health markers. And, uh, we’re, we’re, we’re just declining like crazy these days.
Right. And of course, being in proximity to other people is not really a great predictor of the status of your social connections. Right. And of course, I mean, I’ve lived there. So I’ve lived in London, central London, you ride the tube, the London underground to work every day. You’re surrounded by thousands, millions of people. And yet you can obviously still be lonely. And so it’s a really terrible problem. Now, if you couple this, with what I’ve learned from reading the evolutionary anthropologist, Sarah Hrdy, have you heard a Sarah Hrdy her book from 2009 Mothers and Others is really stunning, beautiful life-changing piece of work. I’d recommend anyone read, but especially if you’re thinking about having children, you have to read Mothers and Others by Sarah Hrdy. It’s really fantastic. She spells her name a little bit strangely it’s H R D Y H R D Y Sarah Hrdy and in Mothers and Others, Sarah Hrdy presents the cooperative breeding hypothesis, and this is super duper interesting.
So, um, you know, all great apes. They, they reproduce very slowly. And, um, take orangutans as, as an example of one of the great apes. It reproduces only once every eight year., Eight years. Imagine that like, nowadays you can BOSH our babies once every year, right? Like orangutans can only do it once every eight years. And, um, part of the reason for that is that the mother infant dyad in orangutans is incredibly strong and the mother is both possessive and hyper=vigilant. And the reason they don’t let anyone touch their baby is for those reasons, right? It’s like, it’s not like the, especially the adults. They’re not, they’re very interested in holding the baby, but the mother absolutely will not allow it. Like, it seems like a really risky thing for them to do. And so for the first six to eight months of a baby orangutans life it clings onto mom holding onto the for, right.
And that might be important. Like a baby orangutan can hold on by itself. It doesn’t necessarily need up hold onto it. You know, it doesn’t need support, especially not once. So that’s a bit older and, uh, mum gets almost no support from anyone else and rearing the baby contrasts humans. So if you go back and you look at some of these other hunter-gatherer bands, like the heartset, for example, or the cone or the Akshay, um, they do something different. They, they do something that small closely resembles what we do. They, they reproduce much more quickly. The inter birth interval is much shorter, typically three to four years. So the question then becomes, well, how are they doing this? What makes us different from the other great apes?
And, and the answer is aloe parents. So I’m not sure, are you familiar with that term, aloe parents you’ll probably see it everywhere now. I’ve said it.
So it’s a technical term that the anthropologists use, but it basically means somebody other than the parents who contributes to child-rearing. Right? So that could be a grandparent. It could be an older sibling. In fact, it quite often is an older sibling or a grandparent, especially the maternal grandmother. And this person is very important in child-rearing and even just holding the child is important so that mum can go off and do some foraging and spend more time feeding herself and gathering food. And this is the special trick. This is the cooperative breeding that allows humans to reproduce more rapidly. Right? It’s a very important part of what shaped us into the humans that we are today. Now, the problem is you contrast that so the way that we’ve set up our lives today, we all live. At least most of the people listening to this podcast, I suspect we’ll be living in monogamous nuclear families.
Right. It’s exactly like the one I already described with, with me and my wife, Julie, right? We’re all living in our nuclear family, white picket fence. We do have a maternal grandma, not too far away, but it’s an hour round trip in the car. And you know, my parents are back in the UK, right? Like they’re thousands of miles away. Um, I mean, sure. We can try and hire the people that would have formally been aloe parents in my tribe. Right. I could hire day sitters, um, tutors, mentors, therapists. Like I can try to hire some of that back if I have enough money, but unfortunately I do health coaching for a living. And so I don’t have a lot of excess cash in order to purchase that additional social support. And so what I’ve been thinking about is how can I minimize my environmental mismatch?
How can I design my human zoo in such a way where it’s more like the ancestral condition that is mothers and others, the tribe. Right. And so I don’t think I could ever go back. Like, I think a lot of people who’ve made strongman arguments against paleo type diets and ancestral living in general by accusing us of a reenactment, right? Like that’s a straw man argument. We’re not like trying to recreate what caveman we’re doing. We’re just trying to minimize environmental mismatch with whatever we got available to us. So that the diet thing is actually very easy to solve. Right. I can go into Trader Joe’s, Trader Joe’s paleo diet. It’d be pretty good. Right. But for the way that we organize our family lives, the way that we live, probably as much harder because
Other people are involved. Right. Like, um, and so, you know, that’s, what I’ve been doing this year is experimenting, I think, is an appropriate word with living with other families, especially other families with young children, because I think everybody will agree. I mean, I’m thinking most people listening to this, we already know like having granny around, like to help with child care is like super helpful. Especially if you get on really well with her. Um, and obviously there’s an economy of scale there. So if you are a family with young kids and I have to look after my kids, then adding your kids will probably make my life easier. Right. Like kids generally get along and they like being with other kids. And so, you know, I could look off your kids while you work, and then you could do the same while I’m working. And there’s definitely an economy of scale there.
And you could say that about a lot of things in your life. Like we own two cars at the moment. One of them is going back soon, but at the moment we’ve got two cars and you know what? One of them sits idle most of the time. So what if we had see families living under the same roof and we only had two cars, then that would be a lot less idle time in the car. And the same is true of almost everything in your life. You think about your refrigerator, your washing machine, your tumble dryer, all the stuff in your life. And it mostly sits idle and
Vacation homes. What have you.
Yeah. Right. And, uh, there’s no, you know, there’s an economy of scale there that by adding more people, you can share more. And of course, think about food. Like how much easier is it to batch cook? When my wife is a fantastic cook and she does almost all of the cooking. And, you know, when she cooks dinner, like whether she’s cooking dinner for just us four, or whether she’s doing eight, it really doesn’t make that much difference. There’s an economy of scale there. So, you know, that’s what I’ve been trying to see areas like trying to live with other families to see if we can both A minimize environmental mismatch and then B improve efficiency.
Right. So it is actually a mismatch from a genetic perspective. And I think most people only have a historical reference point of civilized society. So they’re thinking back to, um, you know, three generations or, or 10 generations,
And thinking that’s the entire human experience. When you’re saying it’s, you know, we’re naturally inclined to live in hunter gatherer bands because we did that for, uh, what is it, you know, thousands of generations for 2 million years of evolution. And now, you know, just like when we started eating grains and the civilized food, we also, you know, went toward, uh, today’s norm of the, uh, isolated nuclear family rather than the band. And the bands, I believe, uh, numbered a maximum of 150 that’s some of the research from Dunbar that when they gathered as a, um, the largest, the largest band would be in the winter time when they hunkered down, it might number 150 total people. But then generally, uh, we roamed in smaller bands of 15 to 30 is some of the research that I’ve referenced. And so there’s always a far more than one nuclear family roaming around looking for food and living the human life until recent times.
Right. Well, I’m very glad that you brought this point up. This is, this is an excellent point. So, you know, the question is, well, how long will you know? So in her book, Sarah Hrdy makes a suggestion. You’d like, so when did our ancestors start to lose their fur? You know there is some last common ancestor and it probably had from much like a Bonobo or a chimpanzee, right? And it’s 1.8 million years ago, our ancestors started to lose their first. I might give you some clues because without fur you, can’t the baby can’t really cling on by themselves, especially not in the early days. So I think it’s likely for meeting Sarah Hrdy that we’ve been, the cooperative breeding has been going on for at least 1.8 million years. And you think, I mean, how long has the nuclear family been a thing?
Well, we know exactly how long, um, I’ve just been reading Joseph Henrich’s new book, The Weirdest People in the World. That’s how I know about the acronym WEIRD. And the Catholic church in the middle ages had something. They called the marriage and family program, and it was a campaign against polygamy and cousin marriage. So still to this day, the rate of cousin marriage in the world is about not 0.3% in the UK. People who marry their cousins.
not 0.2% in the UK, but in, in some areas, the rest of the world, it’s up to 25% of people marry their cousin. And I can see that on the look on your face. You’re really surprised by this, but would it surprise you again? I know this from reading Robert M. Sapolsky’s work. He has a fantastic book called Behave. That from an evolutionary biology perspective, remember the evolution is descent with modification. You’re not starting again from scratch, right? Like when something evolves, it didn’t just come out of no where. So minor modification to something that already existed. And it turns out that six cousin is the optimum diversity for evolution by natural selection. So you would actually want to marry someone that was somewhat related. I mean, of course everybody on the planet is related to you in some sense, but sixth cousin, it turns out is optimum for biology.
That’s pretty far removed. And probably to the point where we don’t even know, we may, we may have more cousin marriages than we think if we go into the ancestry.com and spit in the tube and then see, see all your family tree coming. Right?
Abolutely. So what I’m trying to tell you is that our currentl living configuration, including mine, this decision to live with one woman under one roof, with Nchildren and our own car and our own white picket fence, that is the result of a campaign that was run by the Catholic church in the middle age against marrying your cousin, polygamy, which is one man having multiple wives. And the reason for this was pretty simple. It was in the interest of the Catholic church. So the way that things work is that you pass down your inheritance to your heir, which in a patriarchal system is your, your son and heir right? But just the way that biology works. At some point, each family will not produce a son and heir. And at that point, well, what happens to your inheritance? You can’t pass it on. So traditionally what would happen is you would just take another wife.
You would carry on tying until you produced the son and heir. And no one had any problem with that. And I have some problems with the patriarchal system, but that’s the way that it works. And then another option, and perhaps this will be an option of last resort was you would adopt a son and heir, right? You would pick someone and you would adopt them. And it’s interesting to note that legal adoption didn’t appear in the UK until 1920 something after it appeared a bit earlier in US law, but it’s really quite a modern phenomenon to adopt somebody into your family. So, um, what the Catholic church did was it outlawed all of those things. You couldn’t, you could only have one partner, you weren’t allowed to divorce them. You weren’t allowed to adopt anyone. You weren’t allowed to take another wife. Right? And so what would happen to your money if you couldn’t pass it on to the next generation, it would
Go to a wonderful nearby charity, probably
Exactly. You could donate it to the church. How fantastically convenient that is,
and then go to heaven forever. I guess you get a certificate. Thank you for your donation. Yeah.
Yeah, exactly. And of course there’s the other story is that, um, you know, uh, a camel is more likely to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man into heaven. Right? Like as it’s something that you’ve probably heard as well. Right. So, you know, this was what rich people did was they would keep the money until they died and then they would donate it to the church. And so they could get into heaven, but obviously, and then this was like a great cash cow for that, for the Catholic church. And, uh, you know, they, they, they obviously raised a lot of money this way. And if he didn’t like the rules, they could excommunicate you.
And what that meant was that basically nobody else in your community could transact with you, or know you, or have anything to do with you in any way, unless you are actively working to risk to get forgiveness. Right. And so this is where it came from. Like this is, you know, researching and I’m like, well, how did I make this decision anywhere? Like, I don’t remember making a decision. It was just the reasonable default that was in place. When I started, I met someone and I started having kids, but you know, the same thing happened to me with the diet, right? Like I just accepted the reasonable default. I got my education from the BBC. And I listened to that interview with the cardiologist where he said that fat was bad and carbohydrates were good and you should not eat fat and you should eat more carbs. Right? And like that didn’t really work out very well for me. And I guess I did the same thing with my family arrangement. Right? I was told that
You down pal, sorry, why are they married? Just one wife. Wait a second, California allows one wife. We should have gotten married some, some Island somewhere with the RJ performance ceremony in Paraguay. I don’t know.
Yeah. And so I should make it clear at this point, you know, up until now, I’ve only mentioned polygamy and I’m not trying to advocate polygamy. And that, you know, to, for people that are not familiar with that term, that’s means like a man taking more than one wife. But other alternatives exist. So for example, polyandry is very common even in modern hunter gatherers. And that means that the wife takes more than one husband. And in fact, still to this day, something they call portable paternity is common. And what portable paternity means is that people believe that sperm for more than one man is required to make a baby. They think the baby is made of the composite of all of the spent from all the different men. And in order to gain the attributes of all of these men, you have to have sex with all of them. They don’t understand basic genetics. You think that’s really modern technology, the ability to do that spit test that you mentioned earlier and find out who the dad is. That didn’t come along until the 1950s nobody knew. And so the concept of portable paternity is common. And, and so men would tolerate.
Still today. You’re saying in these primitive societies you can see it like,
Go watch, go watch Tribe by Bruce Perry. And you’ll see, he meets women who and men who believe that this is the case that you have to have sex with more than one man in order to produce a baby that has the best attributes of those men. And so it’s not just polygamy, there are other alternatives, like polyandry also suggest, but certainly not monogamy. That is definitely not the ancestral condition. And indeed almost no animal in the world is truly monogamous. And by monogamous, I mean, lifelong sexual and emotional exclusivity. Even animals like penguins, you know, they love to make these nature documentaries about the emperor penguins and dad sits on the egg for however many months in the freezing Arctic winds. And, you know, like, and then finally they exchanged places and you’re supposed to get all gooey about how, how wonderful the monogamous, like the devotion and the suffering. But the truth is that penguins only mate for one season. And then next year it’s a completely different partner. So it’s not really monogamy in the lifelong exclusivity sense, but more like serial monogamy, which is actually more like what most people do, right? Most people do what you might call serial monogamy. That’s what my parents did. They had multiple partners but there was exclusivity in that sequential period.
Uh, is there some, uh, controversy dispute on this topic, Chris? I know, uh, Wendy Walsh, evolutionary psychologist has been on the show and she talks about how we, uh, you know, we have a natural inclination toward monogamy. Uh, maybe she’s talking about serial monogamy. Uh, but I, I wonder, I know Christopher Ryan’s book Sex at Dawn was addressing this topic to, uh, you know, our, our basic biological nature versus the, the social and cultural conventions. Like you mentioned, the Catholic church throwing down hundreds of years ago. And so we’ve been programmed like that for a good long time to where, um, maybe, you know, maybe not many people are second guessing, guessing this. I know some are, there’s a big movement for the open relationships and all that these days.
But I wonder where, you know, the, the balance point is between, um, you know, our, our genetics and our cultural programming,
Right? I mean, I think there’s a tendency for scientists to fill in the gaps with their own personal experience. And this is definitely true of Darwin, right? Darwin thought that your mother was a whore. And what I mean by that, I mean, Christopher, Ryan has a really great chapter in his book all about this. Darwin thinks your mother was a whore, and it’s sometimes referred to as Helen Fisher, you hear people cite Helen Fisher and her sex contracts, right. Is that, you know, it’s like the cliche woman exchanges, sexual exclusivity in return for protein and security and shelter. And if you read Sarah Hrdy, you’ll see that it doesn’t work like that. Right. Part of all paternity model is just not like that. And you know, of course there’s some special relationship between the infant and the mother, but really it’s mothers and others. So the child has secure attachment, not just a mum, but to other aloe parents.
And, you know, dad’s relative contribution is what they’re called faculty, right? Faculty of fatherhood. Sarah Hrdy writes about that. And the reason this is interesting for your MOFO project is, um, dad’s faculty role, right? So, um, in the absence of adequate social support humans, a super interesting humans are the only animals or the only primate, not quite the only primate, but one of the few primates that will abandon an infant given inadequate social support. Right? So no, most of the primates won’t do this and you’ll see this on TV, right? Like the, uh, the, the tragedy of the mother monkey, that’s carrying around a dead or deformed infant that clearly isn’t going to make it. Humans are not like that. Humans will abandon a baby. And they call this maternal ambivalence. This has maybe the dark side of cooperative breeding. And even to this day, you know, they don’t really like to talk about it. So it’s difficult for anthropologists to interview hunter gatherers and get them to talk about this, but say, for some reason, you know, the baby is born and it doesn’t have the right number of fingers or toes or it’s of the wrong sex, right? Like maybe you’re gunning for a boy for some reason. And it turns out to be a girl, or maybe you just don’t have enough social support, then humans will abandon a baby.
Yeah. Hopefully at the steps of the hospital or the fire department fire station. Wow.
Yeah. I mean, not for hunter gatherer is not for the conga. They actually are the hardware, for example, right? Like they just will leave baby in the bushes, Like give it given an adequate social support because it’s so crucial to the survival of the infant. Now there is one line of buffering here, shall we say? And that’s the faculty of paternity. So given inadequate social support, then dads can and will step in to provide some of that social support that should have been mothers and others. The other parents that should have been there, the maternal grandmother, the older sibling, whoever it is, it could be, anyone could be a cousin. It could be an uncle, but generally the maternal grandmother and the youngest siblings, especially girls are particularly interested in holding the baby. And so they do a lot of this aloe parenting. But if dad does have to step in there is what you might call reverse thrust that you’re probably familiar with some of these feedback mechanisms that exist inside of the individual organisms.
So think about reverse, T3, right? Like you’ve had Elle Russ talk about this in thyroid, right? Like you don’t just have the gas pedal. You also have the brake and the same is true at the level of the organism. Right? So when dad steps in with his faculty of parenting, and they’re actually seeing these people on the beach, if you go to the beach in Hawaii and check out some of the parenting that’s going on on the beach there, you get to see the moves, right? Like the, these dads that are holding a baby, and they’ve got a bottle in one hand, you know, like an, a, an, a rag over their shoulder and they’re in just the swimsuit. And you can see these guys, they’ve got like dad bod,s you know, like they’ve got boobs and they’ve got love handles and all that kind of stuff.
And I think in that case, there are going to be measurable endocrinological changes in these men, right? So you’ll see increased prolactin, which is a hormone associated with brooding and birds and, um, lactation in mammals. And then, and then the, the flip side to that is decreased testosterone. This is reverse thrust, right? So in the absence of proper social support and where dad has to step in, the last thing you want to do is make more babies, right. Even interacting with a pregnant woman is going to decrease your testosterone. So if you’re either, like, if you were like one of these guys, all you want to do is increase your testosterone. Maybe you don’t care about all of this. Well, actually you do care about this. Cause one of the ways that you could increase your testosterone is to improve your social support.
So you don’t have to be in that nurturing role. You can be out hunting and, uh, doing the testosterone boosting activities. I mean, John Gray talks about this with his relationship dynamics, where if you’re too, uh lovey-dovey and your wife’s number one confidant, where she can, uh, vent to you about her, her stressful day and talk and talk and do these things that are naturally not testosterone boosting. Um, you’re gonna, you’re gonna actually decline, uh, due to the nature of your relationship being the end, all rather than having the larger community. For example, uh, having the, the classic, uh, ladies gathering, connecting group, the book group, or the, the hair salon where they can gossip all day long and love it and nurture their estrogen levels. And the man’s the man’s way to nurture testosterone is to go out there and try to conquer the environment, solve problems, tinker with the motorcycle in the garage, do a workout, play a video game, watch a sporting event, all that kind of stuff.
Right? Yeah. I wouldn’t disagree with that. I really disagree with that. You have to be careful, you know, I think there are gender differences, but I worry a little bit about reinforcing the hell out of these gender differences. You know, like, Oh, this is what men do. This is what women do. And then when you start to oppress people and force them into things that they would rather not be doing just based on the agenda, then clearly that’s problematic. But from a biological perspective, what you said is right, and it’s true in other animals as well. So take, for example, in lions, really dad’s job after passing on the gamut cells is to prevent infanticide. That’s what the male lions do in terms of reproduction. And what happens when those males get displaced by some other males? Well, the first thing they do is kill all the Cubs.
Now the reason they kill all the all the cubs get killed. And the reason they get killed is because then they stop breastfeeding, right? Mom is no longer lactating. And when, as soon as she stops lactating, she comes back into estrus. And so the invading males increase the chances. They’re going to pass that DNA onto the future by killing the cubs. That’s the only reason they’re doing it. They’re not doing it because they’re evil. They’re doing it because it increases their risk.
They somehow knew deep down that’s, that’s, that’s wild.
Yeah. I think the same is true of my dogs. You know, when I, uh, when I rough house with my young kids, I’ve got two year old boy. Uh, and it’s interesting. He doesn’t do it. My dogs don’t do it so much with my older seven year old girl, but certainly the two. But they did when she was younger, right? Like when I started rough housing with them, my dogs just lose their mind. Like they can’t stand it. They start chasing their tails and their bark aggressively at me. And I think that they see themselves as part of my family and what my dogs are trying to do is like, they think I’m going to kill the baby and they’re trying to prevent infanticide, which is what they would do in the pack. Right? Like that’s the only job. Like they don’t hold the baby. They don’t feed the baby. They don’t, you know, like the main thing they do is prevent infanticide.
Whew! We got a lot to, uh, unwind here and I think that’s good. You make that distinction between, um, the advancing culture and the acceptance of the, you know, the modern male who was more than one dimensional and actually can care for a baby on the beach in Hawaii while his partner goes for a swim or learns to stand up paddle. Uh, but I think, uh, you know, I referenced John Gray’s too. He’s talking about our basic biological drives and how they’re in conflict with the advancement of culture and the exiting of these traditional roles that the female is supposed to be a home taking care of young ones, nurturing and making food and all that and the males out there supposed to be earning a living. Of course, we’ve transcended that now. And most people would agree. That’s a positive, but we do have to respect how this is in conflict with our basic biological drives.
Right. Right. Yeah. I hate to deny the biological differences by also hate to reinforce gender roles. I mean, you use that term staying at home here, but if I was to go back to looking at hunter gatherers, especially the harder the, you know, so I interviewed Kristen Hawkes, the mind podcast, and she has a seminar paper. I’d recommend anyone read it’s called hardworking hearts of grandmothers. And she was the original author for the, the grandmother hypothesis. That in a nutshell, what it means is that humans have this really strange, um, post-menopausal longevity, right? So, you know, you get to 40, you stop having your own babies. And why is that? You look like you spend a third of your life, non reproductive. Why would you do that? Like chimpanzees don’t do that. They’re basically fertile till the day they die. So what is it about humans?
So what Kristen Hawkes, his work has shown, proven even I’m gonna use that word proven, like I’d almost suspicious of people when they use the word proof, because you can’t generally prove anything in the natural sciences. When someone’s talking about mathematics, you can prove something. But usually people say, well, there’s evidence to support this hypothesis or to deny this hypothesis, but with Kristin horses, but they actually have a mathematical model. And I think the word prove is, is justified here. And what this work shows is that after the age of 35 or so your reproductive fitness increases, if you stop having your own babies and you start investing in your daughter’s kids, right? So this is maternal grandmother, especially the maternal grandmother, is the evolutionary ace-in-the-hole is what Kristin Hawkes would say. You start investing in your daughter’s kids. Right. And that is, what’s going to maximize the function that is getting your DNA into the future. Right. So that’s the grandmother hypothesis.
Um, so, but yeah the hardworking hearts at grandmothers. And the reason is these grandmothers are doing way more work than anyone else in the tribe. They are going out and they are digging tubers out of the ground with a stick. And they find these cheapest, like tapping on the ground. They have all these crazy skills that I could not even dream of having that they use to extract calories out the ground. So you make more babies and they are not at home, like watching daytime TV. Right. Like they’re out and about, you know, quite often. And this is true of mum as well, that they’ll strap the infant to an eight year old aloe parent, and then they go off gathering. Right. And so, you know, I don’t, I don’t think like this idea of like mum stays at home and does nothing, or just looks after the kids. It’s just like, yeah. I mean, it’s certainly not true in hunter-gatherers
Interesting. So, you know, we, we started talking about how we can optimize our diet today. Uh we’re we’re not asking you to go out and hunt for all your food, but there’s strategies we can use to try to minimize evolutionary disconnect with what’s at the supermarket, because you can buy good stuff and bad stuff at supermarket. Right. Right. And the same for exercise. Now we can lift weights that have numbers on them and go on a bar and that’s to replace the idea that we don’t have to make a new shelter every few weeks from the ground up. Uh, but with this, uh, this familial dynamics and, uh, especially curious about the, um, the disconnect between, uh, monogamy, which is kind of the norm, and if we’re evolutionarily wired to, to be something else, um, what are some strategies that we can do to manage that? Uh, you’re trying out living with another family under the same roof. Uh, not a lot of people are equipped or maybe even interested in that. Uh, so where do we go from, from this point, if we want to optimize our genetic attributes, right.
I mean, I’m not sure I have any practical advice, but you might experience once you understand the problems, solutions start to arise. Right. So I can tell you what I’ve been trying. I’ve been trying to live with another family underneath the same roof. And it’s difficult. I mean, as I think many people listening to this podcast will know that the way we live, the way we live our lives is so different. Now from most people who we meet on the street, it’s really hard. Can you imagine just grabbing some random family off the street?
I mean, like cereal for breakfast, sandwich, for lunch, pasta for dinner, like the house is riddled with things that you would rather die than put in your body, canola oil and soybean and all the rest of it. And, you know, as soon as it gets dark, they put on all the halogen spotlights, and it’s like brighter inside the house at night than it is during the day. And it’s just a complete disaster, you know? Like, and so, you know, how do you reintegrate? How do you, how do you find another family where, you know, it’s going to work? You all were living underneath the same roof. And I think in my experience so far, it’s been an insurmountably difficult task, right. To, to reverse, you know, so that, so the marriage family program in the middle ages, by the Catholic church was very successful in getting us WEIRD people to live in monogamous nuclear families. And in my recent experience, undoing, that is devilishly difficult. And so, you know, so what’s the solution. Well, something I’ve been thinking about is, you know, so how’s it cute? How do you create a buffer between you and those other families? Right. So living underneath the same roof is probably too tight of an interface. And maybe what I need is something that would more resemble a ski house, right? So you were up in Tahoe, there’s a bazillion of these giant 5,000 square foot5,000 square foot house.
Everybody’s got their own space. Oh, now.
I don’t care how many kids you’ve got. That’s just like way too much space for one family. And so maybe you could take one of those giant ski lodge type houses. And usually they’re on pretty good parcel size, right. Or the property might be five acres or something. I dunno, but big enough to where you could put a constellation of tiny homes, imagine That like, so you got this one big house in the middle, and then you have this constellation of tiny homes surrounding the one big ski house. And then the big ski house is your communal space where the shared kitchen is. And then maybe some of the other rooms are also have devoted activities for them. So, so imagine, I don’t know, maybe, maybe you’re into woodworking or something, and maybe you’d like to have some really expensive equipment that you couldn’t possibly justify earning by yourself. Well, imagine if you had, I don’t know, five other families that you were living with, well, suddenly it like becomes financially, financially reasonable and justifiable for you to have that special 3d, whatever it is, CAD cam machine that you’ve always wanted for your woodworking thing. And you have that in one of the rooms in the ski house. And then, and I know there’s, there’s probably like, you know, several rooms that are devoted to things like that.
And then, you know, you can still retire away, you know, like when it gets too crazy, like, I don’t know, you should come and spend time with my two year old boy. He’s like a Tasmanian devil. And he likes to throw things and break things and hurt people. It’s like, it’s just a phase. Right? Like, he’ll get over it. I’m sure. But, uh, yeah, it’s gonna be, you know, it’s gonna be tricky to live with him in close proximity for extended amounts of time. And so maybe you want some, and maybe you could say that about me as well. Like I’m pretty obnoxious to like, to live with, like on a full-time basis. Maybe you want some place to retire away from me and my son. You can just go back to your tiny home and you know, maybe you’ve got like a little office in there, maybe your bedrooms in there, but it’s a space that you have a private space that you can you retire to.
And then, you know, so then the question becomes, well, how do you get this thing started? And that again, is that like a really tricky thing. You’re never going to persuade a bunch of people that they should give up their monogamous nuclear family. Maybe you don’t like, but maybe if you could just forget about the monogamy part, maybe we can just stay monogamous, but you just give up your nuclear family and then move into this shared space, the ski lodge with the tiny houses. And I, so I think the way that you’d have to do it is that you do it like a timeshare. Right.. So you’d have a cooperative, some sort of business vehicle that would own the property, including the tiny homes. And then you would sell a timeshare to this place. And so then you could go there as often you wanted, maybe it was like maybe only once a month in the beginning, you just go and you spend, I don’t know, a few days there.
And then you go home and, you know, somebody else takes your spot. And then if you like it, you can maybe buy some additional time and you spend more time there. And if you don’t like it at all, you can just sell your times yet. Right. Like, and somebody else takes your place. And so then slowly, gradually, I think you’re going to find that, you know, when, especially when you’re trying to homeschool your kids, remember like my kids go to forest school and they spend all their time outdoors playing in nature. That seems like a really attractive option versus trying to homeschool on zoom right now. Like, you know, I think you’ll find that it’s like more fun to spend time at the ski lodge with the tiny home than it is in your monogamous nuclear family, on zoom with the homeschooling thing. So maybe you decide that you want to spend more time in this shared timeshare and you can do that. You can just like gradually open up the app at the time. And then maybe one day it would be your exclusive deal.
Yeah. Especially to prevent loneliness. I mean, this is no joke. I think that’s what the senior living communities are aspiring to do is to have that communal dining, not only for the convenience of someone who’s elderly and has trouble preparing and shopping for their own meals. Uh, but you know, getting that much needed social interaction, uh, forced to social interaction because you live in a place where they’re serving dinner downstairs, instead of you’re in your deluxe 5,000 square foot home that you’re living in with zero, one, or two people instead of 12 or whatever it could fit there. So it’s interesting. So you left the monogamy part out. Do you think that’s like too much of a stretch or I wonder.
It’s where I lose most people,
But I mean, it’s so popular now, Chris, this, this kind of cool trendy movement to have, uh, open relationships. And there’s been a lot of podcast content about that. And it seems like, um, an incredible, uh, stress or, and hassle, but people are doing it in the name of, I guess, just like your social experiment, where you’re throwing another family under the same roof. So I wonder, um, what do you think of that movement or,
Yeah, I mean, so the reason I started looking at Sex at Dawn and polyamory and all of these interesting things, there’s some really good books I recommend. One is opening up and it’s a female author and I can never, I think it’s taught me, you know, something like I could never pronounce that surname. And, uh, there’s another book called the Ethical Slut. I’d recommend and.
You’re full of book recommendations. Oh my goodness.
So it’s like something to think about. It’s like I would start with Sex at Dawn. If you don’t have your why clear then the how to won’t be of much interest to you. Um, but yeah, it’s a, it’s a huge change for most people. And I think it’s mostly jealousy, but I think Chris Ryan has been really good on this if you take, so imagine it, um, you know, so if you were jealous of your wife being with another man, like if you take away fear from that emotion what’s left, there’s nothing left. Like if it’s in a world of abundance where there’s always more for you, but there’s no, there’s no expectation of exclusivity. There’s no way you can actually lose something. You know, it’s only when you lose it. So you have this genuinely unwanted emotion of jealousy.
Inadequacy, all your fears come up when you know your wife’s with another man that night, because that’s how the plan’s working out. And, you know, I listened to these, these guys sharing their stories and, um, you know, it’s kind of an exercise in, um, you know, strength of character or emotional maturity and things like that. So I don’t want to discount it like out of hand. Uh, but it does open up the, the concept that everything is a choice. And Wendy Walsh makes a great point of this shame that, you know, today there’s no real rules and relationships. Like there was, uh, you know, two generations ago where if you started fornicating, you were most likely expected to get married because you were gonna get pregnant or whatever’s going on.
You get ex-communicated right. Your children,
all that stuff, God,
it is illegitimate. You bring shame on your family. You’ll be excommunicated. Cast out. Whereas yet now maybe you can still be religious and not be oppressed by the Catholic church.
You know, if everything’s a choice, it kind of makes it a beautiful in a way that, uh, if you do engage in a monogamous relationship, it really does mean something because maybe it’s counter to your biological drives. And therefore you’re going to, uh, show some, uh, restraint and resilience to maintain your commitment rather than just be animal instinct, like a dog that wants to go over and hump the neighbor’s dog.
Yeah. I mean, you just can’t deny these biological urges though. There’s something that I think every man should know about. It’s called the Coolidge effect and explains perfectly why Tiger Woods would call these terrible, terrible relationship decisions. And you could say the same of Arnold Schwarzenegger, right? Like it’s like married to a very beautiful, why would he, like, I don’t know, like you should Google those images, like as a dude, like, would you do that? Like, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Like, so what is she got the, you know, your, your primary partner doesn’t have, and there’s a very simple answer to this and it’s, she’s different. That’s all it is. She’s different.
That’s the Coolidge effect?
That’s the Coolidge effect
It’s named after a president or some, some cool dude that went out there.
It is. And I’m not going to be able to I’ll butcher it. It’s worth looking up the story of, uh, the Coolidge effect and the precedent. And it’s like some funny story, like, um, I’m not, I’m not even gonna go there. You’ll have to look it up. It involves chickens and frequency of copulation and the precedents by saying something about, Oh, you should tell the president how often they have sex. And then the president says, Oh, you should tell Mrs. Coolidge like that the cockroach is not having sex with the same hand every time. Like, it’s something like, that’s how it got its name. And it’s not very well studied in the literature, but I think it’s one of those things that doesn’t need a great deal of evidence for people to know that it’s true, you know, that you are attracted to other people just because they’re different.
And this does have an explanation in evolutionary biology and that’s just, just a protection against incest and inbreeding. Right? So imagine, I mean, people are generally not attracted to people they grew up with, right. So if you went to kindergarten with that person, you may, you probably not attracted to them. And as adults, even though that you’re not related at all, and that’s just a bill to protect against inbreeding, cause that could be potentially disastrous for getting your DNA into the future, which is the name of the game after all. And so another potential, um, protection against that is you just tend to be attracted to other people, right. And so, and I’ve been with this person a while it’s possible related, I’m just going to move on and be, and that’s like, again, it’s optimizing for getting your DNA, the future.
Uh, and that goes both ways as you talk about with the, uh, primitive female primitive tribes that don’t understand modern genetics and the females trying to get, uh, the athletic attributes into her egg as well as the smartest guy in the clan, as well as the most, uh, kind and loving. And so, uh, I I’ve read that research a little bit. It’s, it’s kind of amazing where they, you know, they’re attributing this wonderful child to, uh, the great attributes of the five different fathers.
Do you know what they, they kind of have it right. In a sense though. Like there is, there is correct. Um, as we are. And I say, we meaning like my simple understanding of reproductive biology, because what’s really going on in reproduction in humans. And you can, Chris Ryan has been super good on this is that the competition is happening at the level of the gamut. So, right. So you think about gorillas, which are polygamous, right? They have a Harvey, you have the Silverback, who’s the alpha male. And generally only he gets to reproduce the other side, like they’re waiting for their turn as the alpha, right? So the competition between organisms is happening at the level of the organism that literally do come out with FIS, whereas in humans. And this is what Chris Ryan argued is that the primary purpose of sex in humans is non reproductive. It Is for bonding.
And so, you know, I did interviews with Sukarno on oxytocin, where she talks about this, like the primary purpose of sex is to facilitate bonding between individuals and the competition is happening at the level of the gamut itself. Right? So humans, they have external descending, testicles that ridiculously over-engineered for what they need to do. Contrast the gorilla that doesn’t have external testicles, right? What are testicles? What is your scrotum? Well, it’s the beer fridge, right? The reason you’d have a beer fridge is because any moment you’re expecting a party, right? And you want cold beer when you’re picking your rises, you don’t have to wait for the beer to get cold. Right? You want it in the fridge ready to go. And that’s what descending testicles are for. And, you know, so the competition is happening at the level of the gamut cell. You’re having sex with her.
He’s having sex with everybody’s habit in the tribe gets to have sex with her and then the sperm they do get out. But that level at the level of the gamut cell and it’s survival of the strongest sperm. So in a sense, the hunter gatherer is kind of habit, right. And, um, you know, there’s some recent evidence that’s emerged in this, like in immunology where, um, the, the egg actually has some choice in the matter here too. It has like the female immune system prefers some sperm over others. And what confused the scientists was that the preference was not always for their partner sperm. Huh? That’s funny. Like, why would you not prefer your partner sperm? It’s almost as if you had access to all the sperm, huh? Well, that’s funny, isn’t it like, that’s how science proceeds, right? It’s like not a Eureka moment. It’s a funny moment. And of course these scientists, the same
Bias as we do, like, Oh, well, humans are monogamous. And uh, you know, we live in nuclear families. And so, you know, this must be, we must have got it wrong. We should redo this experiment and figure out how this really works and just confirmed my bias. But yeah. So that’s my argument. That was Chris Ryan’s argument. That’s where I learned it from, was that the primary purpose of sex in humans, non reproductive, and the competition happens at the level of the gamut cell and not at the level of the organism.
Wow. Okay. Lots of digest.
I guess, if we want to take some baby steps here and exploring, uh, how to be more connected to our, our, our genetic expectations for health along the lines of bonding, commuting, and all that, uh, you gave that, that great ski lodge analogy. So we can work on building the cabins and, and all that, but, uh, in everyday life and, you know, not requiring a ton of resources, maybe it’s, um, bringing in more people into your parenting experience could be one idea that comes to mind like, you know, uh, wanting to, um, drop the kids off at the uncle, uncle and aunt’s house for, uh, four days, instead of always having the nuclear family, you know, on this tight, tight wire of doing everything themselves and, you know, kind of not, not blending out as much maybe, and even with, um, couples, uh, you know, you’re gonna, you’re gonna say no to the, um, open relationship experiment.
You can listen to a podcast instead and learn all about it and live vicariously, but I guess you could, um, you know, kind of interact in a larger group and do things with, uh, four couples instead of one, as part of your experiment to just, you know, nurture these social connections that seem to be getting more streamlined and more narrow these days.
Right. I mean, obviously it’s super tough, isn’t it? Everything I’ve just said. And then COVID times, I mean,
yeah. That’ too. I mean, this show lasts forever so we can play it later when everything’s open.
exactly this too shall pass now. I mean, so I, I don’t disagree with anything you said, but for me personally, and I think this is going to be true for other people too. Like the first step is to get really clear on your value system, right? Like that’s the, you have to understand this intellectually, like read some of the books. I’ve mentioned Sarah Hrdy Chris Ryan, Kristen Hawkes doesn’t have a book, but she’s been on my podcast where she gives you much of what she’s learned over the past four decades. Uh, maybe opening up is, is another one. And then there’s an exercise from acceptance and commitment therapy called The Value Guided Exercise. I think it’s called value guided actions, exercise. If you Google that acceptance and commitment therapy, you’ll find it. And the purpose of the exercise is to get clear on what it is that you value. Like, what is it exactly that you value in life in personal development, in relationships, in health and everything else like this, these quadrants on the dart, board and you get really clear on what it is that I value in life.
And then I think about all the decisions, all the actions that I take are they moving me closer towards the bullseye or are they moving me off the board completely? And it just makes everything just much easier to navigate. And I think that would be my recommendation as a first step. If you’re listening to this, it’s like get really clear. Like for me, obviously I understanding ancestral health and minimizing environmental mismatch is very, very important to me. And if it weren’t then how to guide on opening up your marriage and live, you know, breaking down the nuclear family is okay, I’m not going to care about that. And so I get really clear on what it is that I value.
Yeah. Well said, I think we kind of just dismiss these things or don’t think about them at all, because we’re just programmed into our cultural norms, starting with the Catholic church’s, marriage, and family contract hundreds of years ago. And we never ever give them a second thought, but it’s kind of nice.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So I’ve just schooled it. It’s The Values Guided Action Worksheet and you’ll find it on the happinesstrap.com. Russ Harris is some fantastic books on acceptance and commitment therapy. It’s a bit like CBT. You’ve probably heard of cognitive and behavioral therapy. It’s a bit like that only better. And by the way, CBT is to stoicism, but I’d highly recommend acceptance and commitment therapy and Russ Harris’s work and do this The Values Guided Action Worksheet . And let’s figure out what it is that’s important to you. And maybe none of this matters, but until you do that,
Right, I finished my questionnaire, Chris, and I could give a crap about any of this, and I’m going to stick here with my nuclear family and not give a second time.
I’m just going to, it sets the values that were given to me by the Catholic church in the middle ages. Yeah.
Right. I’m I’m all on board. Thank you. Thank you. Catholic church, middle ages. Yeah. I hear by donate my entire estate to the church. So I don’t have to think about that either. I don’t want infighting over amongst my heirs. Yeah.
You know, at one point, um, three quarters of Germany was owned by the church and a third of the UK were owned by the church and that’s how they did it. It was like the most successful business strategy ever. You know, like I could probably learn something from the way that they do things.
Wow. Well, we have a lot of assignments. We have a big reading list. This has been like a, a wonderful, uh, semester of college. And in a quick, a quick conversation, I knew it was going to be something special when we talk to you. So thanks a lot for enlightening us.
Oh, it’s my pleasure. And if anybody listening has the ideas to me then do, do, please reach out. You can find my website Nourish Balance Thrive. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’d like to, maybe I could link, send you some links to some of the podcasts that I’ve done that have shaped my thinking in terms of, you know, what he was Stephanie Welch at the ancestral health symposium in 2013, that originally set me off on this path. And I did a couple of interviews her. And in one of those interviews, I said, nuclear family. What’s that? She goes, you don’t know what that is tonight. No, I don’t. And then I, it, I was like, I’ve just made a choice. And I realize I was making a choice. Right. And that was kind of what that was the moment where all of this started was probably not less than probably not more than two years ago now. So yeah, I should give a tip to Stephanie Welch for sending me down this route. It’s been an Avenue of much intellectual curiosity, shall we say,
Well, you can listen to shows with her on Nourish Balance Thrive podcast?
So we did the most recent podcast was on her ideas for gender segregated, communal living. And, you know, that’s maybe an alternative to the co-housing strategy that I just described. And maybe that will appeal to you more than what I said. And we also did another podcast on circumcision as male genital mutilation is, is what it should really be called and needs to really stop. And any hospital that says they’re doing evidence-based medicine should not be doing circumcision, but again, that’s another default. I mean, not so much in the U K, but when you have a baby here in the U S they just like share, we don’t like check the status of the father and they just go ahead and do this surgical procedure, which I think is male genital mutilation. But yeah, so we did a podcast on, on that. I thought it was also very interesting, but again, quite difficult to hear, especially if it’s something you can’t undo, uh, it’s almost certainly going to be the case. So yeah, Stephanie has been great,
Uh, wealthy gender segregated, communal living. Uh, I was telling you my, um, my car ride, uh, passenger down at paleo effects a couple of years ago, was talking about, she had a really sincere interest in this and was trying to organize such a community. And, you know, she spoke very eloquently. It made a lot of sense. There’s a lot of research and it was kind of a way to get the best of both worlds, because you could, uh, engage with your anonymous partner in privacy and, uh, live that sort of life. But you also had a way to go and mix with, you know, 20 females at the same time routinely as part of your experience and the kids would play together. And so you kind of had this setup, this physical setup that would support it, kind of like your ski lodge with the mini huts. Uh, but it was, you know, it was a mind, mind blowing to think of something different than, uh, driving through the neighborhoods and looking at the single family homes everywhere that we’re so programmed to think this is, this is life and there’s, you know, there’s other, other ideas out there.
Right, right, right. Yeah. And I think it’s, I think it’s important to appreciate that the way that we do things is weird. Meaning it’s unusual, it’s both the acronym and it’s very, very unusual. The rest of the world don’t do it like this. Like there’s somebody somewhere in the world, that’s listening to this podcast going, what the hell is this guy talking about? This is like, what everybody does. What is this way of saying, what is this nuclear family? What is this suburban house that you speak of? We don’t do it like this. And that is most of the world is not doing weird thing. So
I think it’s important to understand that we are in a very tiny bubble. We’re looking outwards,
Western Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic crispy. Everyone now upset that. Thanks for being on the show, man, that was a, that was a wild one. I appreciate it. Very much. Listeners go over and check out nourish balance, thrive podcast for more good stuff. We can still take the free quiz on the, on the homepage by training.
And I developed a, an analysis. I like to call it. You could call it a quiz. You click on ready buttons, seven, seven minutes, and then I can use your answers, your subjective life experience, to use machine learning, to predict the results, some of the testing that we do in our clinical practice. So for example, you’re an athlete. You care about hemoglobin that predict sports performance VO two max. Well, I can predict whether or not your hemoglobin is low after you’ve spent seven minutes clicking on ready buttons. It’s kind of a, a neat trick that we can do. Um, using data. That’s kind of, my background is computer science and data science. So yeah, you can come to the front page of our website and you’ll find the link to take a seven minute analysis. A leaky gut can be predicted, which is such a big problem that a lot of people don’t think about. Yes, I’ve got dysbiosis. Um, yeah. Which may imply leaky gut. Yeah. You’re right. Yep. Good stuff. All right. Thank you, Chris. Kelly nourish balance thrive. Thank you, listeners.