Man Up | Ep. 198 • June 30, 2017
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or over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D., has coached tens of thousands of people from over 87 countries to achieve happiness and success in their dating and love lives.
Once a nerdy, skinny professor of Asian philosophy who couldn’t hold a conversation to save his life, David is now director of Aura Transformation Corp., and a world renowned dating and life coach. Dr. Tian has been featured in international media, including AXN, Cosmopolitan, Psychology Today, as well as co-hosting a radio show on national radio and a weekly dating advice column in a national newspaper in Singapore. Formerly a professor at the National University of Singapore, Dr. Tian is actively researching, speaking, and publishing in the areas of philosophy and psychology.
The show, “Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man,” is David’s way of helping as many people as possible enjoy empowering and fulfilling lives, while contributing to the global understanding of masculinity in modern times. In the show, he takes your questions posed in The Man Up private Facebook group and answers based on his experience Coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.
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David Tian: Boom! Stop. I’m David Tian, PhD, and in this video, I answer the question: Are you evolved to be happy? Welcome to Man Up Episode 198.
Hey, I’m David Tian, PhD., and for over the past 10 years, I have been helping hundreds of thousands of people in over 87 countries attain success, happiness and fulfillment in life and love, and welcome to Man Up Episode 198. Fulfillment is the name of the game. By the way, I’m in Bali, in Ubud, this beautiful infinity pool looking out over the gorge here. Beautiful. The sun is setting. Alright, let’s get into it. This is a question that has come up. It’s sort of like a background question, so I’m going to address it because it’s important but it’s not a particular question, it’s a lot of different questions. It’s lying behind a lot of those questions.
So, it’s really important that guys who are trying to get better with women understand the limitations of evolutionary psychology. There are a lot of them. And the roots of the industry, the PUA industry, not the industry that I’m in but was in previously, had these roots in the science in evolutionary psychology, namely, the work of David Buss and his cohort. There’s a lot to be said about that cohort, but one of the issues is you have not been evolved to find fulfillment.
Another way to put it is, you’re not evolved to be happy. You’re evolved to survive and more importantly replicate. The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins puts it very well, that your body is simply a carrier for your genes. Your genes’ purpose is to replicate, and whatever it needs to do to keep your body alive in order to maximize replication opportunities, and then to ensure that the duplicates of you, your children, survive and can then also replicate and continue that process is what is your genes will be optimized to do for you.
Along those lines, fulfillment is not part of that process. It’s not necessary. In fact, it could make you less motivated to fuck more, maybe even not replicate as much. It’s something that you have to understand: That if you fulfill the evolutionary drives, like you do the check marks of the evolutionary drives, like status, money, body, sex, food. All of those things will give you pleasure. So if you Google this, and I did, it was very disappointing seeing the Google results. A lot of stupid psychologists out there, especially evolutionary psychologists, very short-sighted.
And part of the reason is… I mean like, when was the last time you saw an evolutionary psychologist really killing it? I know a lot of them who hang out with pick-up artists and try to get in with them. I know some of the very prominent ones who I’ve heard are trying to get opportunities to hang out with models, like old senior guys trying to hang out with models. Why? Because their entire subject of study is priming to think that the end-all, be-all of life is whether you get ahead in evolution.
Red in tooth and claw is one way of putting it, right? There’s Steven J. Gold: Evolution is based on killing. So, you kill your competitors and you might even eat them like in the animal kingdom, and you then go up the pyramid, and you survive, and you replicate. And then something like catastrophic thing happens, like a meteorite and then dinosaurs die off and the cockroaches are still around. But my point is this: Evolution, you’ve not been evolved for your well-being, your subjective happiness.
As long as you don’t define happiness as pleasure, and that was a big mistake a lot of evolutionary psychologists make. They’ve clearly not taken a moral philosophy class. “What is happiness, eudaimonia?” or whatever it is subject of moral philosophy for many millennia. I don’t think any self-respecting philosopher is really a true hedonist in that sense of, like, there’s nothing beyond just pleasure. There is. Obviously, there’s fulfillment. There’s something deeper than just pleasures, and that’s the theme that’s been running through a lot of different episodes. Hopefully, you’ve gotten on board with that; you understand what I’m saying there.
So, you’ve not been evolved to be fulfilled. You’ve evolved to seek out opportunities to replicate, to have sex and produce more babies; to basically do lots of risky things in order to get more sexual opportunities. In fact, imagine this: From an evolutionary perspective, you’d be better off as a male, from the evolutionary perspective, of fucking 50 women, like getting them all pregnant, popping out as many of them as you can, and then maybe let’s say 30 of them survive. It’s going to be, in this day and age, a lot more than that, but let’s say 30 of them survive. And they then go and have… Because they’re going to be like – if you do that, they’re probably going to be really pissed off and have lots of psychological issues. They’re going to become Dark Triad types and fuck around, and so they’ll spread out more, right?
So basically, you do all those until you fuck over some husband who finds you and takes a shotgun to your head and blows you apart. No problem. You’re 30 years old but let’s say you inseminated 50 women, 30 of them survive, now you have 30 kids. You’ve already won versus the guy who lived until he was 100 years old with a wife and kids, and the nuclear family with his five grandkids or whatever it is, and is super fulfilled and happy. He looks back in his old, long life thinking, “Wow, what a great wife I’ve had. I’ve experienced so much. So much love, and connection, and growth, and I’ve left this legacy, and contributed. This is amazing.” But he only had five grandkids, three kids of his own.
And from an evolutionary perspective, that motherfucker lost. Evolution is stupid. If you are obeying the mandates of evolution, you will just have more survival and replication, yeah, but you won’t have happiness, not in any meaningful sense. Will you have pleasure? Yes. Are we rewarded by pleasure? Does evolution reward us for having more food and sex? Obviously. The pleasure is what keeps this organism going, looking for more and more pleasure; but the world has been confusing happiness and pleasure, and that’s the problem. So, the world can continue to do that. I don’t give a fuck, but I don’t want you if you’re watching this. I prefer if you’re watching this, if you’re a fan of mine or you like the material at all, that you’ll understand that there’s a huge difference, a world of difference between pleasure and fulfillment. There’s also a world of difference between following evolutionary drives and finding fulfillment.
C.S. Lewis put it well. “Happiness can only exist”… “There can only be happiness if there’s restraint.” There has to be restraint, because from an evolutionary perspective, if you just go for it, food, sex, status, killing, take the spoils of war or whatever, it’s a horrible existence. So, here’s another way to look at it. Again, Richard Dawkins, Selfish Gene: “You are a carrier for your genes.” I recently just watch the latest Aliens movie, Alien: Covenant, and it reminded me of that metaphor. So basically, our genes don’t give a fuck about whether you are fulfilled, whether you are meditating or theta waves.
Unless that is then going to contribute to you fucking more and having more babies, it doesn’t give a fuck. That genes don’t want you to meditate and be like a monk. They definitely don’t want you to be like a real monk, alright? They want you to fuck, and have babies, and keep those babies alive so that they can fuck and have more babies and you can spread out, like the alien. Obviously not a great analogy, but I wanted to be graphic so you understand the import of this.
In the movie Aliens, right? The alien goes right into the human body, in Alien: Covenant, they grew fast. I remember the first aliens, it was like days while it was in there. But anyway, so you’re suffering, and the alien really only cares about you as a host for it to grow, and then it bursts out of your belly and wants to then replicate. It’s kind of graphic, and it’s obviously not that bad. I mean, the genes want you to be happy. They want you to have pleasure, because then pleasure will make you crave more pleasure. We’ve evolved the prefrontal cortex to plan long-term strategies, to do math and things like that, but it can also help us see that we don’t have to be driven by these needs. We can trick our genes into feeling fulfilled. If you value fulfillment, if you just want to crave in materialism and superficiality, and you just want to have pleasure, pleasure, pleasure, and then die, go ahead by all means. You’ll have won on the evolutionary scale. I don’t give a fuck.
But I pity you, pity the fool. I pity you, and hopefully you’ll see the light. You’ll come to the light side and leave the dark side of evolution. But I don’t know, it’s up to you. Test it out. Test it out. I have tested it out myself. These pleasures are momentary by their very nature. You have to work to be fulfilled. You don’t just accidentally become fulfilled. You have to work at it. You can accidentally have a pleasure, and if you were blessed with certain type of genes, facial symmetry and whatever, the body – if you can learn, you can learn charisma and you can get more sexual opportunities. That is only going to be – it’s about as pleasurable now, from a more mature perspective, as any other pleasure: as food, like adventure tours or something like that.
These are just momentary pleasures. They are good to have in life, definitely. It can contribute to a good life, but a good life is definitely a lot more than just pleasure. Evolution has evolved us to survive and replicate. That’s it. It’s not evolved us to be fulfilled. To be fulfilled, you have to work at it. You have to take actual conscious effort and steps to do what is actually unnatural. So, getting therapy is actually to make you fulfilled. Doing therapy is something that is ‘unnatural’. If you let the natural course of events unfold, you’re going to be miserable. That’s where we’ve evolved to be. We’ve not evolved for 100 years of sustained fulfillment and growth and contribution. We have not been evolved for that. You have to work at that.
So, there you go. I’m glad I got it under 10 minutes. David Tian signing out. And before I do so, join the private Facebook group. A lot of guys on the same journey, on the same path, recovering from the malaise of evolution. We’ve come this far through a process that is red in tooth and claw of struggle, of challenge, of pain, of death, and blood, and feeding on our enemies. It’s a deep thing. It’s a very deep and interesting process, but if you don’t want that to be your life, if you want to live a life that’s not just about survival and replication, then you need to come above that. You can’t just be blindly following your pleasures.
For a lot of guys in their 20s, whatever; just go and find all the pleasure you want in your 20s. Eventually, you will realize how empty it is, but it’s sort of like telling a guy who’s starving out in the desert that these donuts are not good for him. He’s just going to gobble them down. And actually, at that moment, it’s better than nothing. So if you’re starving of all pleasure, some pleasure is definitely better than nothing. But anyway, hopefully you are not a starving man in the desert, metaphorically speaking, and you understand the advice I’m giving you here. You’ve not been evolved for fulfillment so you have to work at that.
I’ll see you inside the private Man Up Facebook group. The sun has set more or less, and I’m going to take off now. I’ll see you in the private Man Up Facebook group. Click the link. Join the group. Let’s see if you can see the river, say one final goodbye today from the villa. It’s a beautiful villa, and I’m going to grab some dinner. Until then, David Tian, signing out. Man Up!