Neanderthal Among Cro-Magnons

It feels like I’m surrounded

5 min readJun 19, 2021


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If you’re talking to a man who says that he’s 70% correct, you can probably trust him, because it seems reasonable.

If you’re talking to someone who says that they are 80% correct, you can still trust them, with a seed of doubt.

If you’re talking to a person who states that they’re 90% correct, you can still trust them, with a bit more doubt.

If you’re, however, talking to someone who states that they’re 100% correct, you can be 100% sure that you’re talking to a fool”.

Chinese proverb

I admit. I’m spending too much time on social media and watching TV lately. See, I’m freelancing these days, and, among other things, trying to write. Unsuccessfully, thus far. So, while staring at a screen, trying to come up with the next essay, I’ve been noticing a few things that I’m compelled to share here.

Everybody knows better

It feels like they just know better. By “they” I mean all those bubbleheads talking to you from various screens, and in real life. Everybody is so self-assured in their convictions, assessments, statements, that it’s nauseating. You can’t open your mouth anymore, without somebody interrupting and telling you the ways in which you’re wrong. What happened to the good all-fashioned doubt? Are they not aware of the half-baked arguments that they’re making?

All I want is to be valued for what I really am, not for what I could or should be. And I think that I accrued enough qualities and life experience to be taken for what I am. I don’t need “3 things to live a happier life” or any of that fluff.

Everything is a high priority

Everything is so high priority, high stakes situation, everything is so dramatically overhyped that it feels like life and death situation. And I get paralyzed with indecision.

In reality, the stakes are seldom as high as presented. Those who present them in such a manner usually have a hidden agenda, and it’s in their best interest that you don’t think about what they’re saying, but rather sheepishly accept it as a whole.

Follow the rules

Just follow the rules that I invented 5 mins ago, don’t think, do as I say, and you’ll be fine. Scammers operate almost exclusively on this premise. The critical part is not giving you the time to think and assert the situation. If you gullibly fall into that trap, you’d be taken for a ride.

Everybody is giving you an unsolicited advice

“The people sensible enough to give good advice are usually sensible enough to give none.” — Eden Phillpotts

Wherever you turn — media, Internet, social networks — everyone is advising on every and any topics under the Sun. Why should you listen to any of them? What makes them experts? Nothing at all. Don’t listen to all those “How to…” articles, videos, streams. They’re out there just to make money off of you. If they had any applicable advice and they cared about the rest of us, they’d offer it for free.

So, to combat this onslaught of unneeded, unwarranted, unsolicited “advice” that’s coming your way, you’d need to pay attention to the following.

Those are just their opinions

After being frustrated for a while, I had an aha-moment. “Wait a minute! Those are just their opinions, not a qualifying statement about me!”. It has nothing to do with me, it just reflects their knowledge and biases, nothing more. It was liberating. I don’t have to abide by anybody’s opinion, I just don’t.

Media-free day

A long time ago, I was working at this smallish startup as a software developer. For some reason, our unusually chatty janitor was doing his chores right in the middle of a workday, around 11 am. While he was working around our desks, he was talking. A lot. Most of it was about his day, himself, and whatever else crossed his mind. However, one of his stories stuck with me.

At one point he was telling me how he established a weekly “media-free” day for himself. No news, no screens, no Internet, just answering the phone calls, if necessary. At the time, I didn’t think much of it, except impatiently waiting to continue my work.

Later on, I realized that that was actually good advice, and started following it myself. Since then, I’m mostly oblivious to the news, anything and everything that’s unsolicited. My life is a lot healthier because of that.

Find real experts

It’s hard to find trustworthy and real content in the media wilderness. It seems that a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth. That’s why all the big corps are vying to corner the media market, so they can place their “truths” prominently.

Digging for real expertise and objective content requires a lot more work, but it’s doable. It usually isn’t found on social media and it won’t lend conveniently into your inbox, though.

Be wary of people telling you what and how to do things, in non-professional settings. Everything that looks too good to be true, probably is. Learn how to recognize someone’s hidden agenda and ulterior motives. It takes practice, but it could be achieved.

Neanderthals were probably as capable as modern humans, cognitively, and more so physically. What did them in is not less complex brains, but rather their inability to adapt to larger social structures. It was a paradigm shift for them that they couldn’t cope with, and it was ultimately their downfall.

Today, we’re encountering new paradigm shifts, as well, that some of us are finding hard to cope with. The new Cro-Magnons — those with better social skills, better at networking, hustling, gig-economy — are thriving in these new conditions. It may be that modern times are making them more adaptable, and thus more fit for survival.

By the same token, we “Neanderthals” shouldn’t be dismissed that easily, since we still have something valuable to offer to society at large — our experience and unique perspectives. Without Neanderthals, there wouldn’t be any Cro-Magnons, either.




“The only person you can’t learn from is yourself” — Anonymous