“This book has the potential to become as deep a philosophical statement for the liberal position as Darwin’s
On the Origin of Species has been for conservatism.”
Leavened throughout by personal memoir and humor, a detailed case is presented for a new liberal view of human nature that is completely consistent with the science of human evolution. The author proposes that, when early humans split from apes 6 million years ago, natural selection underwent a momentous shift from the fitness of individuals to the productivity of relationships. The distinctive human adaptation is not individuals (or groups) competing for resources–the survival of the fittest, it is the capacity for individuals (and groups) to productively engage and coordinate their labor, made possible by the evolution of justice.
Inside the pages of this book you will learn:
An evolutionary narrative of the human spirit consistent with all relevant science.
How our craving for sex and attention created human culture.
How our penises and breasts got to be so big.
Why belief is really an emotion.
How ape dominance evolved into human authority.
The origin of vanity, and why gold is so valuable.
A simple understanding of self-awareness & reflective thought.
Why upright posture is so essential to being human.
The intimate connection between sex, music, and language.
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.