vanity is all

THE DESIRES THAT BREAK LOOSE IN MANIA DEFINE OUR OWN HOMO SAPIENS SPECIES

Filed under: Emotional Fossils, Evolution of human motivation, Human Nature, Mental illness | 4 Comments

All manner of rhetorical flourishes and beautifully constructed phrases can pour out in a torrent. Often there is a magnetic quality to this verbal virtuosity, the meaning (semantics) of which can constitute a brilliantly creative flight of ideas. Beyond the grammar and meaning, the sheer musicality of it can elicit rapt fascination.

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THE AUDIENCE WITHIN US ALL

Filed under: Human Nature, Mental illness

Forty-five years ago, while in my psychiatric residency, I moonlighted at DC General Hospital’s emergency room. I never knew ever knew who would come in the doors down there at the General. The “White House cases” were a staple, a motley collection of characters pulled off the fence surrounding the presidential residence. One evening is …

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SNIT DISORDER

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature

I began my career working in a maximum-security prison with a state-mandated treatment program. One of the inmates there, whose countenance still haunts me from time to time, was a gaunt middle-aged man who used to stand in the corner of the common room and blankly stare out the window all day, chain-smoking. His posture, …

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A Liberal Theory of Human Nature

Haidt on Us-vs-Them

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature, Justice | 2 Comments

Below is a TED talk by Jonathan Haidt, the social psychologist who wrote The Righteous Mind, in which he introduced six belief categories: important issues to Democrats are care/harm, liberty/oppression, and fairness/cheating, whereas for Republicans the most important issues are loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/ degradation. In this video he tells us that openness to new …

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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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The Meaning of Belief

The Meaning of Belief

Filed under: Belief, Enlightenment Narrative, Human Nature | 2 Comments

The term “belief” originally referred exclusively to one’s loyalty and affinity, such as when people say that they believe in a sports team, which clearly carries an emotional and competitive connotation. William Cantwell Smith points out in his Belief and History (1977) that it has only been since the Enlightenment, when knowledge became more theoretical, …

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