The Roots of Our Collective Will

Filed under: Belief, Evolution of human motivation, Justice, Language | 2 Comments

The fundamental divide between right and left is the clash between the role of the individual vs. the role of the collective. The right wins this argument because, in a post-Darwinian world without religion, the very existence of a collective will is in question—it has been made an orphan in Darwin’s age bereft of evolutionary …

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Mental Illness: All In Your Genes?

Filed under: History, Mental illness

The genetics of mental illness, and particularly schizophrenia, is fraught with the history of the eugenics movement in the 1920’s and 30’s. In 1928 twenty states had compulsory sterilization laws, most including “lunatics” among the target population. This popular movement was based on the assumption that mental illnesses are caused by a small number of …

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A Liberal Theory of Human Nature

Haidt on Us-vs-Them

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature, Justice | 2 Comments

Below is a TED talk by Jonathan Haidt, the social psychologist who wrote The Righteous Mind, in which he introduced six belief categories: important issues to Democrats are care/harm, liberty/oppression, and fairness/cheating, whereas for Republicans the most important issues are loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/ degradation. In this video he tells us that openness to new …

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Republicans Not As Happy As they Think They Are

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology

“A true saying it is: Desire hath no rest, is infinite in itself, endless, and as one calls it, a perpetual rack, or horse-mill.” –Saint Augustine (354-430) The modern science of happiness appeared on the radar screen in 1978 with Brickman, Coates and Janoff-Bulman’s paper entitled “Lottery Winners and Accident Victims: Is Happiness Relative?” In …

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Rules To Live By: Hierarchy

Rules To Live By in a Hierarchy

Filed under: Dominance and Submission, eccology, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature | 2 Comments

The fundamental unit of behavior in a hierarchy consists of a political triangle: two attempting to intimidate a third. When four possible political triangles between four individuals socially interact, the individual with the most alliances ends up at the apex of a stable social pyramid in which all four members are bound together by bonds …

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Anti-Trump for Dummies

Anti-Trumpitude for Dummies

Filed under: Ancient human migration, Belief, Evolution of Emotion, Justice, Self domestication

. . . Justice is The Human Instinct Anthropologist Christopher Boehm has been a pioneer in documenting in nomadic hunter-gatherers their “deliberate use of social sanctioning to enforce political equality among fully adult males including ridicule, shunning, and even killing those with persistently selfish dominance behavior,” giving detailed examples from tribes on every continent. Why …

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The Meaning of Belief

The Meaning of Belief

Filed under: Belief, Enlightenment Narrative, Human Nature | 2 Comments

The term “belief” originally referred exclusively to one’s loyalty and affinity, such as when people say that they believe in a sports team, which clearly carries an emotional and competitive connotation. William Cantwell Smith points out in his Belief and History (1977) that it has only been since the Enlightenment, when knowledge became more theoretical, …

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Trump & Evolutioon

TRUMP for DUMMIES

Filed under: Belief, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature

It’s called Darwinism Human nature is determined by: 1) The survival of the fittest (natural selection); 2) Including group selection: There can be no doubt that a tribe including many members who, from possessing in a high degree the spirit of patriotism, fidelity, obedience, courage, and sympathy, were always ready to give aid to each …

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Irish and Drinking

Drinking & the Irish

Filed under: Human Nature | 1 Comment

Breaking the Code of Silence: The Irish and Drink Dr. Garrett O’Connor (from Irish America) Why We Drink Contemporary Irish drinking patterns, particularly drinking regularly to intoxication, have their roots in history where alcohol often made the difference between survival and death. This propensity has been carried down in the Irish cultural DNA as a …

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Alcohol Blackouts

Filed under: Human Nature, Mental illness | 2 Comments

From  Addiction Professional: “Take blackouts seriously” by Donal F. Sweeney, MD, FACP, FASAM, July 15, 2011: Long neglected and misunderstood, the alcohol blackout is now being recognized as a serious medical condition worthy of clinical treatment. Blackouts are as old as the grape and as common as swizzle sticks, yet until recently they were considered …

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Narrative Truth

Narrative (vs empirical) Truth

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, History, Myth | 2 Comments

“What brings you in today?” you ask after a new patient sits down in your office. The first order of business is a chronology of the present illness. Precisely when did the problem start? What was happening both at that moment and more generally in his/her life? Then the present illness prompts targeted questions about …

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Mental Illness Not Genetic

Mental Illnesses Not Genetic

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Mental illness

Second post in a series starting with previous post. Mental illness all in your genes? Think again. A major study by the Brainstorm Consortium comprised of hundreds of investigators over the course of five years was published in the June 22, 2018 issue of Science and entitled, “Analysis of shared heritability in common disorders of …

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Mind vs. Brain

EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOANALYSIS

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Mental illness

Passages from my current project entitled Evolutionary Psychoanalysis: Preface This book is written for those who care for and about the mentally ill. That includes psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers, and psychiatric nurses. I am particularly eager for those in training to read it, as your attitudes toward the mentally ill are in the process …

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