Almost everyone grows up confused, passes through life confused, and dies confused…

— Geoffrey Miller from “Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior”

…modern society looks bewildering to children. They are born with paleobrains, built from paleogenes, expecting a paleoworld: a close-knit social environment of kin-based hunter-gatherer clans.

Children are wired to learn and play the normal game of life for which they evolved: be cute, grow up, find food, make friends, care for kin, avoid dangers, fight some enemies, find some mates, raise some kids, grow old and wise, die.

Instead, they face a bizarre new world of frustrating duties and counterintuitive ideas: sit still, learn math, find a job, move away from friends, ignore kin, drive cars, leave kids in day care, and grow burdensome in old age.

They face this new world with minimal guidance. Their parents go away all day to make money, to buy things, to look good and special, and to attract extra attention from other men and women, despite having mated and reproduced already.

Their parents can’t explain why they pretend that they’re still in the mating market if they don’t actually want a divorce and custody battle. Their high school teachers can’t make sense of the consumerist world for them either, and their college professors can only suggest reading perplexing rants from postmodern French sociologists, such as Jean Baudrillard.

So, almost everyone grows up confused, passes through life confused, and dies confused.”

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