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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Democracy in Pre-Columbian Mexico

Filed under: History, Human Nature

It is generally assumed that the natural social organization of humans is the hierarchy that is the hallmark of the primate order of which, of course we are a member. I have posted evidence that the principle feature that has distinguished our hominin tribe from the beginning is the evolution of a democratic, egalitarian social …

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Lessons from Bees about Group Selection and Democracy

Filed under: Emotional Fossils, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection | 1 Comment

I finally grasped the central idea of group selection after reading Thomas Seeley’s wonderful and eminently readable book Honeybee Democracy (2010). In it he illustrates that the fundamental principle of effective group-selected living is to maximize the coordination of the advantages of two or more heads and bodies over one. Leadership is a negative because …

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Back to Language: Super-Cooperation in Insects vs. Coordination in Organisms

Filed under: Group Selection, Language

William Hamilton, the originator of the idea of “inclusive fitness,” in which gene level selection (selfish genes) occurs, recalls the moment when he “had come to the realization that the genome wasn’t the monolithic data bank plus executive team devoted to one project-keeping oneself alive and having babies-that I had hitherto imagined it to be.  …

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