August 29, 2016

EP. 139 — How Evolution Made Us Unfit For The Modern World

Are you ever so overwhelmed by the thought of going out to socialize that you just stay home instead? And then once you stay home, you’re bummed out at yourself for not leaving the house in the first place? Is your typical party maneuver to hang out in the corner pretending to text someone? Is the slow march of time a crippling experience that can only be made bearable by drinking alcohol and seeking out progressively more dangerous experiences?

Oh. Whew. Us too!

Seems that anxiety and depression are taking a bigger stranglehold of our culture and there are actually some statistics to back that up. Suicides are at a 30 year high, drinking is at a 25 year high, rates of depression are up 800 percent over 70 years and prescriptions for antidepressants were up 400 percent between 1988 and 2011. That’s some grim shit. But we have a theory as to why this may be happening.

Around some 200,000ish years ago, the human brain stopped evolving, but our culture hasn’t. Rigorous jobs, ever-expanding social networks, complex societal problems have all made our lives more convoluted, but our brains were only designed to handle things like, “where’s the fire?” and, “hey, there are some deer over there.” Evolution has left us hanging and we don’t know how to cope. 

For a multi-tiered deep-dive into this subject, Jack O’Brien is first joined by Cracked executive editor Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) to discuss the increasing role of anxiety in our population. Later, Jono Zalay, the world’s foremost comedian with a PhD in neuroscience, joins the conversation to talk about the role of drugs in this equation and some of the scientific reasons for why our brain needs anxiety.

Also, make sure to come to our next live podcast taping on Saturday, September 10th at the UCB Sunset Theatre in Los Angeles, where Jack and the Cracked staff will flip-off movies like ‘Sully’ and ‘Deepwater Horizon’ and pitch some insane true stories that should be made into big Hollywood movies instead. Tickets are only $5 and are available here:


Cracked: Why Anxiety is the Plague of the Modern World:

Cracked: 5 Brain Disorders That Started As Evolutionary Advantages:

Cracked: 5 Ways Your Brain Is Tricking You Into Being Miserable:

Cracked: 6 Logical Fallacies That Cost You Money Every Day:

Cracked: 6 Human Character Flaws (That Saved The Species):

Cracked: 5 Logical Fallacies That Make You Wrong More Than You Think:

Slate: Why Do American Schizophrenics Hear Threatening Voices?:

Quartz: Giving Up Alcohol Opened My Eyes to the Infuriating Truth About Why Women Drink:

‘Rat Park’ Comic by Stuart McMillen:

Jono Zalay:

Jono’s Podcast ‘Universe City’:

Come see us at the Now Hear This podcast festival:

This episode is sponsored by Magoosh, Yoga Hosers, and Loot Crate.

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