The Bonus Book of the Week is “Surviving the Extremes, A Doctor’s Journey to the Limits of Human Endurance” by Kenneth Kamler, M.D., published in 2004.
The author, a medical doctor, described people’s experiences: in the Amazon jungle, while deep-sea diving, on Mount Everest, in the desert, on the high seas, and in a spaceship. The adventurers were subjected to life-threatening conditions at every turn (by choice— they were Darwin award candidates), but possessed expertise and technology that bettered their chances of survival. Their local-area employees possessed the physical characteristics advantageous for survival because those employees had become adapted to the harsh conditions over the course of generations. Some people did die, though. However, the author failed to specify the time-frames of the above scenarios. The introduction of new technologies, and discoveries have probably prevented or mitigated some of those kinds of disasters, since the book’s writing.
One point the author made, concerns the relationship between the human brain and society. A society can regress when an influential leader in a position of power breaks a taboo. His followers will copy him and rationalize away the sin. It then becomes easier to break additional taboos. Eventually, fairness and morality go out the window, because human brains actually adopt a more primitive way of thinking.
The cerebral cortex of the brain guides the ethics of behavior, but the amygdala takes over when tempers flare, and impulse control decreases. If the amygdalas of a significant portion of the population are activated via vicious political rumors, such as:
- Biden’s going to pack the U.S. Supreme Court!
- Medicare’s going to be privatized!
- Biden’s senile and Harris is going to take over the country!
- The Republicans are going to win back the House in the 2022 midterm elections!
the nation’s behavior regresses. Enough said.
Anyway, read the book to learn a lot about the roles physiology, biochemical processes, psychology and man-made resources play in survival when humans are present in places that tax their limitations.