Michael Tomasello and Collective Consciousness

Filed under: Belief, cognitive capacities, Evolution of Emotion, Evolution of human motivation, Justice | 2 Comments

Psychologist Michael Tomasello recognizes that, because all the minds of our ancestral species have gone extinct, the only way we can scientifically approach how the mind of apes evolved into our own is to comparatively study the minds of apes and developing children to ascertain what is exclusively human in human nature. In Becoming Human: …

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Brain scient reveals that trust is our "default state"

Robert Sapolsky on Trust, Morality, and Justice

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Justice

THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE and up-to-date lay book on the science of behavior is Stanford neuroendocrinologist Robert Sapolsky’s Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (2017). The book is an encyclopedic compendium of behavioral science, written with folksy, down-home idiom. Here he lays out evidence that the fundamental “default” of human social behavior …

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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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UNDERSTANDING THE EMOTION CAUSING SUICIDE

Filed under: Dominance and Submission, Evolution of Emotion, Mental illness

With two high-profile suicides in the news, it is timely to discuss the inner experience of the most lethal form of depression. Seeking escape from an intense feeling of entrapment is intrinsic to melancholic depression, among the most dreaded of all mental illnesses. Aptly named by Hippocrates, melancholia means “black bile,” a potent metaphor for …

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Elastic relationships

Inside the Most Common Type of Depression

Filed under: Dominance and Submission, Evolution of Emotion, Human Nature, Mental illness | 1 Comment

I practiced psychiatry during the period in which the paradigm of the mind shifted from the perspective of how it is experienced from the inside (i.e.: phenomenology, mainly psychoanalytic theory) to the examination of how it works from the outside, i.e.: neurochemistry, genetics, and cognitions. The impact of Prozac on this shift cannot be exaggerated. …

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The Human Spirit

The Human Spirit: Love

Filed under: Dominance and Submission, eccology, Evolution of Emotion, Human Nature, The Ascension of the Human Spirit

During the decade in which I was actively engaged in marital therapy, I became convinced that hidden beneath more superficial reasons that people marry each other is an evolved instinct to re-balance their respective temperaments. Temperament is the component of personality that is derived exclusively from genes and is comprised of blends of paired social …

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Beautiful Hand axes at the Nasher Sculpture Center

Beautiful Hand Axes at the Nasher Sculpture Center

Filed under: cognitive capacities, Evolution of Emotion, History, Sexual Selection

Knowing my interest in human evolution, my son’s Texan mother-in-law gave me the brochure of an exhibit at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas that she visited, entitled “First Sculpture: Handaxe to Figurestone.” The brochure contained many pictures of beautifully rendered paleolithic hand axes as well as naturally formed sculptures that had been “framed” by …

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Human Nature – Part IV: The New Narrative of Human Evolution

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature, Justice, Language

Forth in series: click for first, second, or third There is evidence that, in a period of sharply declining temperatures, a collapse in the ape population occurred at the time hominins split off from apes. My view is that in the context of birthrates falling toward extinction, hierarchical dominance competition became a dangerous waste of …

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