The P.C.-ness of “Psycho”

Filed under: Emotional Fossils, Mental illness

There is plenty to be outraged about in the crude bigotry of our president, but it is little noted that, when he throws around epithets like “psycho,” he is denigrating the mentally ill. Do you or someone you love suffer from “major” depression, panic disorder, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder? I am a psychiatrist and have …

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The Evolution of Human Emotion

∾APE MIND • OLD MIND • NEW MIND: The Evolution of the Human Spirit∾ now on Amazon

Filed under: Human Nature, Justice, Mental illness, Myth, Self domestication, Sexual Selection, The Ascension of the Human Spirit, Two Mind Hypothesis

BACK COVER OF THE BOOK The Ascension of the Human Spirit (excerpt) The remarkable aspect of evolution by sexual selection, which Darwin so courageously proposed, is that it is driven merely by the desire for a trait, in this case the desire for justice. I had realized that sexual selection is not only driven by …

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Therapy for Liberals

Therapy for Liberal Elites: Radical Progressivism

Filed under: Belief, Human Nature, Justice, Language, Mental illness

Look at the back of a one-dollar bill. On the left, you will see a pyramid with the “eye of providence” at the apex. Above this image are the two words Annuit Coeptis, meaning “He approves [or has approved] [our] undertaking,” and below it are three more words, Novus Ordo Seclorum, meaning “New Order of …

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The Evolutionary Biology of Left and Right

Republicans Democrats and Human Nature

Filed under: Author narrative, Dominance and Submission, Emotional Fossils, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature, Mental illness, Sexual Selection | 3 Comments

A glaring weakness of the agenda of the political left is that social justice does not appear to be rooted in the flesh and blood of human nature. The two most influential thinkers on our attitudes about what makes us tick are Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud: we are ape-men who when psychoanalyzed are revealed …

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Exam nightmare

Schizophrenia and the Meaning of . . . .

Filed under: Belief, Evolution of Emotion, Mental illness | 2 Comments

In Old Mind, New Mind I chronicle how in my study of clinical depression I gradually came to the conclusion that the basic mechanism of all major mental illnesses is similar to cancer in that it represents the escape from regulation into unrestrained pathological hyperactivity. In cancer, the hyperactivity is the growth of cancer cells; …

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Solomon, Andrew

Andrew Solomon: “Breathtakingly original. . . . A great endeavor of the intellect”

Filed under: Emotional Fossils, Evolution of Emotion, Mental illness | 1 Comment

Andrew Solomon, after reading Old Mind, New Mind sent me these two sentences: 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. In this post, I return the compliment. …

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Mental illness stigma

Hidden Evolutionary Benefits to Mental Illness?

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature, Mental illness

I recently got a note from someone about Old Mind, New Mind who has suffered from mental illness. As soon as he found out that the book was about the relationship between mental illness and human evolution, he assumed that I thought that mental illnesses are adaptive in some way and expressed his reservations about …

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OLD MIND NEW MIND EMOTIONAL FOSSILS THE EVOLUTION OF THE HUMAND SPIRIT

Old Mind New Mind

Filed under: Author narrative, Emotional Fossils, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Mental illness

An Evolved Will for Justice Separates Us from Apes Perhaps the world’s foremost scientist on the subject of mind evolution, Michael Tomasello, states in his recent book, A Natural History of Human Thinking (2014): The main problem is that collaboration, communication, and thinking do not fossilize, so we will always be in a position of …

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Hiding in a hole

SNIT DISORDER AND HUMAN EVOLUTION

Filed under: Dominance and Submission, Emotional Fossils, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Mental illness

We pick up the narrative as I am describing a prison inmate: He spoke slowly and deliberately with no emotion whatsoever. He had shot his wife dead after drinking one night. He said that he would always love her and was just waiting to die. He then went on to describe in spare, clear language …

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Exam nightmare

What Is Mental Illness: Excerpt From The Book

Filed under: Mental illness, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The general pathological mechanism of mental illness can be described as a self-reinforcing feedback loop. On the Fourth of July, the politician gets up on the podium and tries to begin his speech. Suddenly there is a piercing squeal from the speakers, and, as he speaks, it only gets worse. Very simply, the sound of …

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What we caught from Neandertals

SAD is an STD (and we caught it from the Neandertals!)

Filed under: Mental illness

major mental illnesses are an epiphenomenon—or “side effect”—of the major adaptation that bestowed upon us the miraculous capacities of reflective self-consciousness and the deep complexity of syntactical language that has enabled our rich symbolic culture. Therefore we should look at the mentally ill as paying the price for our extraordinary capacities.

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What’s Missing in Matt Ridley’s “The Evolution of Everything?”

Filed under: Dominance and Submission, Enlightenment Narrative, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, History, Mental illness | 2 Comments

You can quibble around the edges about his analysis (and painfully trite take on religion), but I think he is generally right just as I have been claiming in this blog: over the long haul, human history has been in the direction of greater justice accompanied by prosperity—resulting from the progressive coordination of our increasingly divided labor.

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The Cause of Mental Illness: “The Answer Is Just Around the Corner”

Filed under: cognitive capacities, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Mental illness, Two Mind Hypothesis

Our vulnerability to mental illness is similar to our vulnerability to lower back, hip, and knee pathology, which is the price we pay for the adaptive advantages of upright posture. Mental illness is similarly the price we pay for our mental capacities for large-group bonding, reflective self-awareness, and the complexity of linguistic syntax.

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