Why is riding a galloping horse thrilling to me? Because it is outside the boundaries of my normal experience.
I drive in a vehicle every day. Often times I drive at speeds faster than any roller coaster I have ever been on. Not often, but occasionally while driving in Los Angeles a lane change requires slightly more aggressive behaviors. There’s not a whole lot about that specific experience that is overtly stimulating anymore but strap me into a roller coaster, a car that has 500+ horsepower, or an aircraft of any sort and I feel exhilaration like no other. It’s exciting and it feels good. However, I imagine if I was experiencing those every day, they might be like that Los Angeles lane changes I mentioned above.
So what’s the difference?
It’s what you and I have grown accustomed to and the contrast between the normal and the exceptional.
Now imagine someone that had only ever known driving or riding in a 1915 Ford Model T or horse-drawn carriage going for a ride in a fully appointed Tesla Model S in track mode. They might even pass out in a quarter-mile sprint. Maybe even hurl like a kid on a roller coaster.
This made me wonder. Could moving at rates of speed faster than my body has evolved to travel over many many millennia be having a negative effect on me?
My brain is a highly complicated computing mechanism that developed over many millennia. My senses evolved to interface with my immediate surroundings and my brain processes all of that information from all of my senses all at once so that I can know what to do next. And yet we have only just begun traveling beyond the rate of one horsepower over the last 170 years or so.
When any one of my senses gets overstimulated it can literally cause a mental logjam as I try to process the additional information. The result feels like an increase in overall bodily metabolism mechanisms cranking up; a heightening of senses. A defense mechanism. It’s like my body’s ancient programming kicks in to protect itself despite my will from the overdose/stimulation. It shuts down other things to focus on the immediate danger. Adrenal fatigue much? Perhaps.
There is plenty of reason to believe that this is exactly what is happening. Research has shown that exposure to these kinds of stresses I mentioned resulting in things like brain fog, a loss of energy, depression, cravings for carbohydrates and electrolytes, lightheadedness along with other various symptoms.
Have I become numb? Surely, I have. Was I born numbed by my mother’s own body ignoring hormonal emergency messages during the first 10 months of my existence, entering into a world of accelerated living from day one?
How would I know if I was addicted to this acceleration if everyone else around me is also born into this world of overstimulation as well? How would anyone know if the only thing they see when they look around is people just like them?