Every transformation in history has offered great opportunities and unforeseen mental, emotional, and physical challenges. The epic human transitions: Stone Age – agricultural age – industrial age – the information age – all had their unique set of amazing breakthroughs combined with overwhelming impacts on humanity. The digital age is no different. It is offering the greatest technological advances in human history. On the flip side, the expansion of “digital age toxicities” is a looming threat that must be confronted and dealt with immediately. There are three interrelated areas of concern; physical, mental, and emotional health. This article will identify the potential problems and offers suggested solutions for each concern. First, it is important to remember how far we have come as a society while also identifying a chilling trend that should be a wake-up call for everyone.
In Expansion Mindset and Humanity Upgrade, we explored in detail how this is the greatest time in human history to be alive. Steven Pinker, in Enlightenment Now and Yuval Noah Harari, in Sapiens, go into exquisite detail on how this happened and why it is accurate. I urge you to read the articles, and, if you have the time, both books; it will give you a fundamentally different and elevated outlook on life. In the words of DeWitt Jones:
“When we focus on what’s right with the world, we have the energy to fix what’s wrong.”
There is much to be grateful for in this world. Gratitude and vigilance will continue to move us forward. We must also have an accurate assessment of reality. There are some alarming trends developing that must be confronted immediately.
Amid this amazing progress is an alarming trend. For the first time in a century, life expectancy in America is declining. Not since World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, that killed 675,000 people, have we seen a decrease in life expectancy. In the last three years, life expectancy has either stagnated or declined. This is blamed, in part, on the opioid and suicide crises. In 2017, there were 70,237 drug-overdose fatalities, with opioids accounting for 47,600 of them. Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in 2017 at 44,965. With the great advances in medicine, health awareness, mental health, public safety, and food availability, it is a sobering fact that life expectancy is decreasing. It should be the exact opposite. Life expectancy should be skyrocketing.
Why is there such a dramatic rise in drug overdose and suicide deaths? Why is life expectancy decreasing? The answer is that we don’t know. The causes are multifactorial and interdependent. It is impossible to tease out the exact reasons in such a large and diverse population.
The digital age is toxic to many people on many levels. The following outlines toxicities in the digital age and how they affect us on a physical, mental, and emotional level. These observations will, at the very least, close some gaps in our understanding. Every transformation in the history of humanity has offered some unique and unforeseen challenges. Let’s discuss what we do know to begin to develop some solutions.
This is an attempt to broaden the definition of toxicity to more appropriately fit the digital age. Chronic diseases are skyrocketing; diabetes, arthritis, autoimmune disease, dementia, etc. For the first time in history, far more humans will die of complications from obesity than from starvation. There are few places left in the world where the soil is not depleted, contaminated or both. The air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat is contaminated, depleted and/or filled with empty calories. Excess belly fat is a new form of toxicity and virtually unheard of in the history of humanity. Today, 73% of Americans are obese or overweight.
In A Looming Health Crisis, we identified a digital-age toxicity that is relatively new: electromagnetic frequencies (EMF/ELF/RF). This is the most ominous, ubiquitous and pervasive health threat in history. This is not an overstatement and is based on where the science is leading us.
Here are just a few of the documented effects of the exponentially expanding amount of electromagnetic frequencies:
Digital detox resurrects a proven method of revitalizing the body at a cellular and organ level. These are natural, life sustaining, revitalizing pathways that have evolved over billions of years of evolution. Toxic energies (EMF/ELF/RF) and the typical modern diet stresses and overloads these cellular protective mechanisms. This is due to constant and excessive consumption of sugar-laden foods, animal proteins, saturated fats, preservatives and multiple toxins.
Digital-Age Toxins could soon become the major source of chronic disease, surpassing all other current factors. These are bold statements backed up by scientific facts. In coming years everyone will need a digital detox on a regular basis to maintain their health. You can eliminate most of the well-known toxins; smoking for example. Very few people will be able to disconnect from the toxic energies that are exponentially increasing in our techno-centered world.
Digital detox offers a proven way to revitalize and rejuvenate the body on a cellular level. This process promotes fat loss, conserves bone and muscle mass while activating stem cells. This will be hailed as the greatest health and longevity innovation of this generation.
Five days of precise nutrition and caloric intake creates a transformation in how your body functions on a cellular level. Sugar (glucose and glycogen) stores are depleted from the blood and organs after 24-48 hours. Your body then burns visceral (belly) fat for fuel. The most important benefit, however, is the improvement of cellular functionality. Without sugar, cells turn “junk” into fuel. The cell becomes energized, stronger, cleaner, and healthier by consuming its own toxins. This is not science fiction. Yoshinuri Oshumi won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine by identifying this process. It has a fancy clinical name; autophagy. Finally, stem cells are activated, and they regenerate or repair aging tissue, organs, and positively impact the immune system. This is one of the greatest wellness and longevity breakthroughs in in modern history.
There is much more to digital detox. Health is a continuous journey. You can find all the tools you will need at Humanity Upgrade Digital Detox.
We are in the age of transformation. Our society is experiencing an unprecedented amount of change. Change causes uncertainty, stress and anxiety. Automation, digitization and robotics have been eliminating jobs for decades. Artificial intelligence is causing this trend to accelerate, and we could be reaching a tipping point very soon. Andrew Yang (2020 presidential candidate) in his book, The War on Normal People, outlines, in compelling detail, the upcoming upheavals in the job market and society at large. The growing exclusion of today’s youth, along with the elimination of jobs in multiple sectors of our economy, tells a foreboding story. In previous articles, I have offered a way to mitigate the risks and thrive in the age of transformation (expansion mindset).
The essentials of expansion mindset are as follows:
Expansion mindset builds on growth mindset by incorporating the above. This is your most valuable skill for navigating the 21st century.
Humanity has undergone a radical environmental change. Seventy-four thousand years ago, Homo sapiens were an insignificant species of hominids whose numbers may have dwindled to an estimated two to three thousand. We had very little impact on the planet. We slowly crawled out of central Africa, and seventy-four millennia later, we dominate the planet. This transformation occurred in a relative nanosecond on the cosmic timescale. Our motivations evolved, and this evolution informs our lives to this day on a moment-to-moment basis. Safety, satisfaction and connection are still the major drivers of human behavior.
We are not the biggest, fastest, nor the strongest animal, but we are, by far, the smartest. Our brains evolved over 600 million years in three basic stages, or layers: reptile, mammal, and primate. The first layer is the reptilian brain. These structures are at the base of your brain and automatically regulate basic body functions. Your reptile brain keeps you safe by constantly scanning for threats. Your inner-lizard keeps you breathing, runs from bigger animals, eats smaller ones, and mates with ones of similar size. It’s a simple life.
The second/middle layer in your nervous system is your mammalian or emotional brain. While the reptile brain moves away from threat, the mammal brain moves toward reward. It is better suited for survival because it seeks greater opportunities in the form of better food and more desirable mates. It is focused on satisfaction. We also see the beginning of complex social structures, playfulness, and the nurturing of offspring. Emotions have served mammals extremely well for the last 300 million years, and they still dominate our behavior today.
The human/primate brain is the top layer and is responsible for our advanced intellect and interconnected world. The human brain has tripled in size over the last seven-million years, with most of that evolution happening over the last two million. Humans have developed complex social structures that allow us to cooperate flexibly and efficiently in very large groups.
The hallmarks of the human mind are not just flexibility or intelligence; it is in the connections we make with our offspring and each other that set us apart. Few, if any of us, could survive in isolation. We are completely helpless when born, and for many years to follow. Our survival requires an astounding amount of time, energy and resources to nurture and develop our young.
This enormous expenditure of time and energy encourages one to consider the possibility that safety and survival may be secondary to our need for connection. Our most basic need could be relationship. Clearly, the future of humanity will be focused on strengthening our interconnectedness. The ability to foster and enhance these connections will be the hallmark of effective future leaders.
Unfortunately, modern society has us more isolated and stressed than ever. A recent loneliness study tells a heartbreaking story. The survey of more than 20,000 U.S. adults ages 18 years and older, revealed some alarming findings (see an excerpt from that article below):
This study offers some sobering data. Humans evolved in a tribe. Our safety and satisfaction needs depend on being a part of a group of people. When we become isolated and alone, meaning and purpose are lost. Depression and despair are the result. We cannot afford to leave people behind; it is unhealthy and wrong. Johan Hari discusses how the opposite of addiction and depression is not sobriety and happiness, but connection. We must be cognizant of our need for interconnection.
We are on the precipice of a health crisis. Digital detox is first about limiting exposure to digital toxins and then reversing the effects. We must act now. For the first time in modern history, life expectancy in the U.S. is declining and has done so three years in a row. The causes are multifactorial, and we may never know the exact cause. We must confront these problems on every level as individuals and as a society. Some toxins we can eliminate, some we can avoid, and some we must counteract and reverse. Digital toxins are an exponentially expanding health threat. A Humanity Upgrade is essential to your overall health and wellness strategy.