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A Masterclass for Healers

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So what are some of the ways in which today’s culture is different from the one humans evolved in? What conditions promote healthy human development, and which ones undermine it?

Due to the competitive nature of capitalism and the increasing scarcity of resources relative to the population, people have become more and more individualistic, selfish, and aggressive. People are, for better or worse (and Gabor believes for worse), rewarded when they behave this way. Selfish and competitive behavior is rewarded with success in today’s society. Millionaires and billionaires are the ones who do not stop putting their needs and desires first, even at the expense of others and the environment.

But in societies of old, teamwork and connection was more rewarded. People lived in small hunter-gatherer groupings of 50-100 people. Babies were raised by many different caretakers, providing them with an abundance of connection and attachment at the most crucial time in their brains’ development. People did not have 9-5 jobs, smartphones, and concrete walls in between them and the next group of people. Mothers and fathers walked around holding their babies on their chests and shoulders, giving them their full attention. When a baby would cry, they would be immediately soothed until their needs were met.

Evolutionarily, humans are accustomed to an environment with an abundance of face-to face connection and socialization since day one. Teamwork, compassion, and a lack of individualism was necessary for survival. 

A First Look at Attunement

Compared to babies in early civilizations, babies in the modern era are by-and-large experiencing less attunement with those around them. Future lessons discuss this topic in depth, but essentially attunement is a type of safe emotional connection that is very important for babies and children during their developmental years. Many common parenting practices and environmental factors are denying infants of the attunement they need for healthy brain development.

Children cry because they have no other way to ask for their needs. When someone’s needs aren’t being met, their brain is flooded with stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline). If a baby’s brain is chronically flooded with these hormones, it will impede their brain development. All this to say, modern society’s conventions are causing many babies’ brains to adapt to circumstances they weren’t designed for, increasing their risk for mental conditions, physical illnesses, and all kinds of maldevelopment. 

So at this point Gabor has called attention to two important characteristics of today’s culture

  1. We have increased stress due to circumstances we did not evolve to live in
  2. We have decreased attunement with each other due to a lack of connection

So, in general, we are exposing ourselves to prolonged stress and doing nothing to mitigate its long-term effects. When discussing today’s drastic increase in drug addictions, overdoses, mental disorders, and physical illnesses, this is a component that many doctors fail to acknowledge. 

As Gabor demonstrates with a show of hands from his audience, very few people have had their doctors ask them about their childhood, their trauma, or their self-perception when trying to treat them for illnesses. Gabor believes that if the Western medical mind would address the mind-body connection more, it would greatly increase their knowledge and quality of treatment for any and all medical conditions. Separating the body from the mind when it comes to medical approaches is unscientific and untenable in real life. The separations are ideological rather than real.