- 19,00 kr
"Kenrick writes like a dream." -- Robert Sapolsky, Professor of Biology and Neurology, Stanford University; author of A Primate's Memoir and Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers
What do sex and murder have to do with the meaning of life? Everything.
In Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life, social psychologist Douglas Kenrick exposes the selfish animalistic underside of human nature, and shows how it is intimately connected to our greatest and most selfless achievements. Masterfully integrating cognitive science, evolutionary psychology, and complexity theory, this intriguing book paints a comprehensive picture of the principles that govern our lives. As Kenrick divulges, beneath our civilized veneer, human beings are a lot like howling hyenas and barking baboons, with heads full of homicidal tendencies and sexual fantasies. But, in his view, many ingrained, apparently irrational behaviors -- such as inclinations to one-night stands, racial prejudices, and conspicuous consumption -- ultimately manifest what he calls "Deep Rationality.&"
Although our heads are full of simple selfish biases that evolved to help our ancestors survive, modern human beings are anything but simple and selfish cavemen. Kenrick argues that simple and selfish mental mechanisms we inherited from our ancestors ultimately give rise to the multifaceted social lives that we humans lead today, and to the most positive features of humanity, including generosity, artistic creativity, love, and familial bonds. And out of those simple mechanisms emerge all the complexities of society, including international conflicts and global economic markets. By exploring the nuance of social psychology and the surprising results of his own research, Kenrick offers a detailed picture of what makes us caring, creative, and complex -- that is, fully human.
Illuminated with stories from Kenrick's own colorful experiences -- from his criminally inclined shantytown Irish relatives, his own multiple high school expulsions, broken marriages, and homicidal fantasies, to his eventual success as an evolutionary psychologist and loving father of two boys separated by 26 years -- this book is an exploration of our mental biases and failures, and our mind's great successes. Idiosyncratic, controversial, and fascinating, Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life uncovers the pitfalls and promise of our biological inheritance.
Classical Freudian psychology was often mocked for claiming that everything we do is a result of our sexual drives, but evolutionary psychologist and Arizona State professor Kenrick says that his field now believes that isn't far from the truth. Evolutionary psychologists look at how we make decisions based on how they help us survive and pass along our genes, and Kendrick looks at various areas of life in this light. For instance, Kenrick reports on studies showing that reproductive strategies lead people to analyze expressions of anger differently in men and women. Studies also show that not all prejudice has the same motivation: people fear different groups, such as blacks or homosexuals, for different reasons. According to Kenrick, creative acts can also promote reproduction by attracting a mate or conferring status. The author compares the human brain to a coloring book rather than the traditional blank slate to express the interplay of innate qualities and the environment. As with a coloring book, the outlines are with us from birth, but environment influences what colors we choose to complete the images. This briskly written and often witty book will challenge readers on many levels and is sure to provoke debate, if not controversy.