We have evolved over thousands of years, from little creatures that lived in the ocean, into intellectual problem-solving beings. As we progressed through our evolutionary path, our brains developed more parts. Think of our brains as a computer. As more hardware is added, higher levels of processing is possible.
If we look at the most basic part of our brains, which has only one role – survival, we can see that it is mirrored in the brain of a reptile. Therefore, we entitle it the “reptilian brain.” The reptilian brain is the most basic part of out brain.
We can learn a lot by studying a reptile’s brain and, thus, their hierarchy of needs. Why? Because this reflects our fundamental innate needs.
There are three fundamental needs of every animal, and they operate on a hierarchy. I’ll use the example of a snake to illustrate my point.
1. Safety: A snake will not leave its burrow until it knows that it will not be eaten and that the “coast is clear.”
2. Sustenance: Once the snake has checked that the coast is clear, it will slither about looking for a nice warm meal to obtain nourishment.
3. Procreation: Once the snake knows its environment is safe and there is enough food to support a family, it will go and find a mate and procreate.
So how does this relate to us humans? Well, if we don’t have safety and sustenance, we are not fit for bringing another life into the world. Mother nature is way smarter than us, and employs certain physiological mechanisms to ensure life can be supported (or unsupported).
We have an epidemic of infertility. Why? If we look at the model of the reptilian brain, we must understand that the fundamental need of every human is safety. When we perceive something as threatening, whether it be financial issues, getting cut off by a car, or even a violent movie, we enter the fight or flight and fright response. This is associated with the release of stress hormones and thus a physiology that reflects DANGER.
Next, we need sustenance. How many people are trying to get pregnant yet are eating what Michael Pollan calls “food-like substances.” People are eating foods that are abundant in calories, yet depleted of nutrients (vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients). Strike two for setting the physiology up for new life.
When the two basic human needs of safety and sustenance are not met due to over-stimulation, lack of stress-reduction, and poor food choices, fertility becomes very difficult for many.
Mother nature always knows best.