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Built for the Stone Age - part one: Pleasure

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Humans often consider themselves to be the highest form of life. The most "advanced" form of life. Some people even seem to think that other creatures are all trying to evolve into a human state of intelligence and that WE're the only ones who have "arrived". In fact there are some far more successful creatures than humans around. There are vastly more ants and bees than there are humans, and they've achieved that without our intelligence. And some species like sheep and grass they have enslaved us and they get US to promote THEIR survival and reproduction. These other creatures have been around for far longer than humans and they breed faster. So they have had far more generations to perfect their design. Humans, by comparison, are -just prototype creatures, really.- -just prototype creatures, really.-What?? And for 99% of the time we've been around we've been hunting and gathering. This... farming experiment is really quite a recent thing and... Well, it's yet to prove itself. Anyway, that's what this is all about. -Lloyd.- -Lloyd.-Thank you. Yes. Well, this is a pilot for a documentary series which will examine the consequences of the fact that humans are not designed to live in the modern world. Now, the sequences which follow do not all belong to the same programme in the series but they've been selected for their ease and cheapness of production. And... They... They do illustrate the general intent, so... And are a bit of a lark. So here we go. People are stupid. And animals...... And animals......are stupider still. They need encouragement to get them to do the things which are good for them. And to this end mechanisms have evolved to make them feel good whenever they do something which is likely to help them... ...reproduce, survive. You may have heard of endorphins, enkephalins, endogenous opiates... Doesn't really matter what they're called. They're signalling chemicals which the brain uses and can recognise as, for instance, pleasure. These mortals are over-indulged! Why do they need all these chemicals jamming up their brains with all this pleasure nonsense? I'm sure things would be better without them. Hello, Bert. Up to much? Not really. I'm having a go putting this in my mouth and ingesting it. -I tried that. It's a waste of time.-Yeah, well... I tell you my jaw is getting a bit tired. And that's not all. You only get heavier, and you have to get rid of it again later. Out the other end, do you know what I mean? Hiya! Fancy a bit? Not really. I'm tired. Rest? What's the point? Ah! Perhaps now I see that this pleasure-inducing chemicals do have a rol to play. Clearly, they're good things. Let's give them loads! Bert! -How are you doing?-Harry! It's great to see you! You look... ...fantastic! I haven't seen you in minutes! Harry! Isn't the sky white? And... And isn't the ground brown? Woah! Come over here! Try banging your head off a tree! IT'S BRILLIANT! Martha! Let's do it! Now! Wait, no! I want to try something. Oh, isn't shuffling your feet brilliant?! I can do this all day! Ah. I think I over-did it there. On reflection I can perhaps what I really ought to do is let evolution determine over many generations which things should make humans feel good, and which should not. Humans are busy being hunter-gatherers. So, they should get pleasure from things which are of benefit to hunter-gatherers. Hey! I'm hungry. Let's go hunting. Great. Weather's looking great. You're feeling better now? Yes, definitely. Best kip I've had in a while. You know, you can never get tired of the taste of your own kill. Especially after a chase like that one, eh? Are deer the only thing you want to chase today? Ah! Martha! For whom I have saved the choicest cut. What are you suggesting? Excellent! I knew that my divine genius would get there in the end. Ooo! You left it to evolution! No I didn't! Hmm... goddesses! Well... That's humans sorted out forevermore I'd say. Wrong, Zeusy (or perhaps I can call you 'Jupiter' - for short) The snag is, you see, that while we evolved to feel pleasure when we do things which our ancestors were doing all the time like hunting, and eating, and chatting, and relaxing and making (or trying to make) little hunter gatherers, now we don't live like them. Now the daily survival tasks include: getting up in time in the morning to catch the morning bus, revising for exams, remembering to buy more nappies, and... filling in forms. Forms! Forms! Where are my endogenous opiates now that I need them. I hate this! Right, there's only one thing for it. I'm going to have to get some opiates into me by some means or another. Oh, dear.

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 59 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 52
Posted by: tellmemoar on May 5, 2011

«This is the first part of a 50-minute pilot I made for a television series about human evolution, trying to explain with comedy why people are so very strange.»

www.LloydianAspects.co.uk

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