The Insulin Cycle

The Insulin Cycle

During digestion, foods that contain carbohydrates are converted into glucose. Most of this glucose is sent into your bloodstream, causing a rise in blood glucose levels. This increase in blood glucose signals your pancreas to produce insulin.

The insulin tells cells throughout your body to take in glucose from your bloodstream. As the glucose moves into your cells, your blood glucose levels go down. Some cells use the glucose as energy. Other cells, such as in your liver and muscles, store any excess glucose as glycogen. Since glucose in the bloodstream is toxic, if the liver and muscle tissues have reached their capacity to store glycogen, the insulin will trigger the removal and storage of the remaining glucose in the bloodstream as fat.

About four to six hours after you eat, the glucose levels in your blood decrease, triggering your pancreas to produce glucagon. This hormone signals your liver and muscle cells to change the stored glycogen back into glucose. These cells then release the glucose into your bloodstream so your other cells can use it for energy.

This whole feedback loop with insulin and glucagon is constantly in motion. It keeps your blood sugar levels from dipping too low, ensuring that your body has a steady supply of energy, while at the same time keeping blood sugar levels from getting too high.

The Longevity Gauntlet

The Longevity Gauntlet

For most of human history, human longevity stood at around 40 years, give or take a few. And the lifespan for most humans followed the same type of pattern, for many, a brutal ending at birth or within a couple years after, for the rest, a relatively safe run through adolescence and young adulthood. They progressed through adulthood, enduring the injuries and ailments that accompanied a mostly adverse environment, and if they were lucky, they facilitated the advancement of several offspring through childhood and into adulthood themselves. While most of our ancient ancestors had the physiology to make it into old age, their environment had other ideas.

Ironically, as we “evolved” from hunter-gatherer, to farmer, to factory worker, we seemed to actually be creating an environment that fostered more things that could kill us than things that could help us live longer. The air we were breathing got worse, the food we ingested got less natural as well as the liquids we started drinking, and the products we were inhaling. For a while we were experiencing the worst of both worlds, the high infant mortality rate of our hunter gatherer ancestors as well as the lifestyle causes of death of the modern era.

Then, around the turn of the 20th century, we began cleaning up our urban environment through improved hygiene and sanitation, as well as developing antibacterial medicines. This was the one-two punch that has drastically reduced infant mortality throughout the world. These changes vastly improved our expected lifespan (life expectancy at birth), but did little for the maximum age that humans could expect to live. In fact, even today, our life expectancy, at the age of 75, has gone up very little (see graphic below).

Simple and Hard

Simple and Hard vs Complicated and Easy

There exists a profound disconnect between how much our bodies, our brains, and our minds have been evolving. Each has been evolving on a completely different timescale. Our bodies have evolved over the past several million years, our brains have evolved over the past hundred thousand years, and our minds have evolved over the past hundred years.

During the first several million years or so, since we climbed down from the trees, we evolved physically to adapt and survive in this new environment. We walked more upright, we developed stronger legs, and we lost most of our ability to swing from limb to limb. This new environment offered a much greater variety of feeding options, but it also came with a price - more predators.

We were not physically equipped for this new environment, so we had to work as a team or even a tribe. This requirement for teamwork spurred and sped up the evolution of our brains, allowing us to develop tools and strategies that propelled us to the top of the food chain. Eventually, our brains figured out how to use our environment more efficiently and even control it. We transitioned, rapidly, from hunter gatherers to farmers.

As we tamed our environment, it created a social excess that allowed some individuals in society the freedom to pursue higher levels of thinking. The results of which echoed through society and fostered the far more rapid evolution of our minds. This allowed us to explore the sciences, develop processes for manufacturing, build magnificent cities, and eventual discoveries into the deeper workings of the body, the brain, and even the mind.

The Journey To Rock Bottom

The Journey To Rock Bottom

Rock bottom is that place we find ourselves where we feel we have lost control over the events that are shaping our lives. In this moment, we become powerless, we become the ultimate victim. Rock bottom is a place that no one wants to go to and we will avoid it at all costs. But, in all actuality, this is the place where truly profound changes take place. This is the point where we realize that we have nothing else to lose by trying a completely different approach to how we are living our lives. This is when we let go. This is when we surrender. This is when we accept going along for the ride for a while, or maybe for the duration. This is when we let go of the reins and just let life happen.

The Chained Elephant

The Story of The Chained Elephant

By Jorge Bucay

“When I was a small boy, I loved going to the circus. Animal acts were my favourite. I was quite impressed by the elephant, who is, as I found out later, the favourite animal of all children. The elephant’s part of the show was a display of his huge weight, his immense size and power. Then, as the show was approaching its end, slightly before the elephant had to return to his tent, he was standing tied to a tiny wooden stake driven partially into the ground. A chain was wrapped around his feet. The size of the stake was very small, and the part of it that was driven into the ground was even smaller. The chain that was wrapped around the legs of the elephant was quite large, but it seemed quite obvious, even to my childish mind, that an animal whose power was so large, so immense that it could rip trees off the ground and hurl them to others, was more than enough to let the elephant just rise and walk away. That was the mystery of the elephant. What sort of immense force could keep the elephant tied to that tiny stake? Why didn’t he rise and walk away?

Our Deprogramming

Our Deprogramming - How Did We Get Here?

We need to take a really long and hard, and maybe even painful look at ourselves. All those things that we don’t like about ourselves, all those things that we don’t like about our lives, they were all caused by us. We did them. We did them to ourselves. We may not have created those things directly, we may not have asked for them specifically, but at the very least we created the part of our personality that allowed those things into our lives. We created the opportunity for those things to enter our lives and we chose how we would let the outcomes affect us.

We must question everything that we know about ourselves and the world around us. All the things about us, all the things in our lives, are there because of the choices we made. Most of those things were not caused directly by a single choice, but a series of choices, a chain of events, that may go far back. So far back in fact that we can’t even remember what the first choice was that started it all out. But this is where the solution lies. If we can figure out why we made the choices we have made, then we can figure out how to not make those choices again. The further we can trace back in the decision making chain of events, the closer we can get to the reason we made the choices we made. This will take us further into the core of who we really are, and this is how we will stop this cycle of questionable decision making. 

This was our programming, for better or worse. Assigning blame for our programming will do no one any good, least of all ourselves. We must first accept this before we can move forward.

Our Programming

Our Programming

“Our ideas are conditioned by the prejudices instilled in us by our parents, by our culture, and by the historical period we live in. They are further limited by the increasing rigidity of the mind. A bit more humility about what we know would make us all the more curious and interested in a wider range of ideas.” - Robert Greene from The Laws of Human Nature

The person that we have become today is not the person that we chose to be, nor is it the person that we would have chosen to be (most likely), if we were given the choice. But it is who we are, and it is who we have to live with for the rest of our lives. We are not just who we are, we are who we were conditioned to be. We have all experienced this conditioning since the day we were born (and maybe earlier). This conditioning has been reinforced our entire lives by our parents and extended family, our schools and the teachers they employed, the media, our neighbors, and our workplace.

The person we have become has been molded by the decisions we have made throughout our life. It may feel like we were consciously making those choices, but in reality it was our subconscious working covertly behind the scenes that was directing our decisions. And our subconscious is a direct product of our conditioning. This is our programming.