A paleo-psychiatrist’s account of the inner evolution of our felt emotions since primates began forming groups 52 million years ago. Darwin discovered that we are descended from apes, and everyone knows that we have an ape mind driven by the motivation to dominate. There is no science possible on the minds of our ancestral human species because minds do not fossilize, and they all have gone extinct. However. . .
mental illnesses (major depression, panic disorder, schizophrenia, and mania), conceived as emotional fossils, bear evidence that we have evolved two additional, exclusively human minds.
Our old mind was an evolutionary response to the near extinction of apes six million years ago: due to its sterility, individual ape dominance “reconfigured” in the first humans into the collective authority for justice. This old mind—the human spirit—has been naturally selected ever since due to the productivity and fertility it engenders.
Our new mind first began evolving atop our old mind 200,000 years ago in our own species. We all have the relentless need to be loved that motivates disparate varieties of “self-display” behavior (i.e.: vanity), which evolved by sexual selection, similar to the peacock’s tail. This new mind that desires to be desired by others has exerted a steady pressure to aggregate larger and larger inherently more productive groups.
This book will not only improve your attitude toward who you are, but, more important, who we all are and where we are headed.
Inside the pages of this book you will learn
How & Why:
Human emotions appeared 52 million-years ago
Our human ancestors arose 6 million years ago
Our species arose 200 thousand years ago
Language evolved into what it is today
Reflective self-awareness evolved
We are so thoroughly vain
We are spiritual beings
We have a destiny
“In this breathtakingly original book, John Wylie proposes a new theory of mind, one that reconciles evolutionary biology with psychodynamics. This is a great endeavor of the intellect and a deep review of consciousness itself.” Andrew Solomon (Noonday Demon & Far from the Tree)
- John V. Wylie graduated from Yale with a degree in history and received his medical degree from Columbia, in 1969. After two years of surgical training, he was inspired by the writings of Carl Jung to switch to the field of psychiatry. He completed his psychiatric residency at Georgetown University and began his career at Patuxent Institution, a maximum-security prison in Maryland with a treatment program. He spent 35 years in private practice in Washington, DC, where he served as the Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Sibley Memorial Hospital. He retired in 2007 and wrote Diagnosing and Treating Mental Illness: A Guide for Physicians, Nurses, Patients, and Their Families, published in 2010, second edition in 2012. Dr. Wylie was a founding member of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society.