Sometimes, when I reflect upon the enormity of human history, I can’t help thinking it’s a marvel we’ve survived this long. We humans, with our need for 24 hour comfort, and never-ending entertainment and instant online connection, once lived in cold damp caves with nothing to keep us occupied except fires and rough paintings on the wall.
I’d have made a terrible caveman for a bunch of reasons. Partly, due to all the factors listed above. But there’s one particular reason above all that makes me very thankful I’m alive today and not back in the stone age.
As a caveman, I expect I’d be dealing with an awful lot of stress. There’s a sabre-tooth tiger – run. There’s a giant cave bear – run. There’s another tribe of cave people who don’t look very nice – run. Sounds to me like being a caveman was nothing much but stress, stress, stress.
Not that I don’t have any stress in my life. Particularly at the moment, I seem to have more than enough. The main issue is how I respond to stress.
My body seems to have decided on a 100% foolproof method of dealing with stress. Anytime anything happens in my life that puts me under any kind of pressure, there’s one thing I can rely on. I’m going to get a migraine.
Not just any kind of migraine. These are head-busting migraines. And they’re not just fleeting. They can go on for days and days. Have stress – have a migraine. It’s a routine I’m getting more than a little tired of.
From an evolutionary point of view (and hey, I’m a big one for finding evolutionary answers) it makes complete sense – not. What’s the best way to respond to stress? Fight or flight or migraine. Imagine if I was a caveman. There’s a sabre-tooth tiger – what should I do? I know, I’ll give myself a debilitating headache. That will definitely stop it attacking me.
Doesn’t take a lot of mental energy to conclude that I wouldn’t have lasted long in the stone age. As described above, I would have made an absolutely appalling caveman.
I guess the good news is that sabre-tooth tigers (and cave bears, though not necessarily other tribes who don’t look very nice) are not something I need to worry about. And the worst consequence of the migraine is a couple of miserable days in bed. Still, it’s definitely something I could live without.
Because I may have made a lousy caveman, but I’d like to give being a 21s century man a better stab.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as