Evolution and human behaviour and culture.

 

So much on my mind – I can’t keep up with it!

Books to read on relationships – “Marriage is the medium”

I have been reflecting on the role of evolution in relationships.

I doubt that marriage was somehow hard wired or ‘natural’ yet what is our pairing history?

I have a hypothesis:

We became human through a process of evolutionary development where we gained an advantage of walking upright, liberating the hands, developing language, having a bigger brain. Some of these processes or all of them, involved us being born as more vulnerable infantile creatures than other mamals. We are born at what in other primates might be a more juvenile stage. This means that the parents play an important role in development and grandparents do too. Hence we live beyond our reproductive life. The group has a collective memory and redundancy in its nurturing capacity.

Psychologically this can all go haywire, evolution did not provide a fool proof post-natal environment. In fact it may be that what does not kill us makes us stronger psychologically. We have wounds and seek out souses that offer the possibility for pay healing. It may be that the fear of change leads us to seek out partners that confirm our familiar view of the world and ourselves and reinforce it. Or there may be strong out-of-awareness mechanisms that can see the healing opportunity. But for some reason pair-bonds evolve that have the potential for re-living and then repairing attachment wounds.

Some of this may happen while the partners are young, though I imagine it was more likely in the grand-parent phase of life. It may not have happened a lot, but if a tribe had sufficient elders who were somewhat psychologically head it would lead to significant advantages for the group. Hence the evolution of cultural taboos against divorce and incentives for staying together.

Whatever the reason for the power of hanging-on in a relationship, there is a process of healing that is possible if there is guidance and consciousness. This healing does not happen if at the point of difficulty in the relationship partners just move on. By staying in the relationship, and becoming conscious the marriage becomes a healing space just like a therapeutic relationship. Marriage becomes an alchemical crucible, where stages of transformation can be facilitated by conscious attention. The evolutionary basis is there but we also have reason and consciousness and we have developed capacity for depth and loving relationships. This cultural evolution can happen much faster than physical changes.

There are plenty of other, less benign forces at work such as inheritance of wealth and bonding families and tribes, however the healing potential of relationships is also there. Very recently (slowly) we as humans may be ridding ourselves of sexist elements of marriage such as ownership of women by men and becoming more conscious of the healing potential.

With this hypothesis to sharpen and examine I have a pile of books to read on my kindle:

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Darwin’s Legacy: Scenarios in Human Evolution (African Archaeology Series) [Kindle Edition] Sue Taylor Parker (Author), Karin Enstam Jaffe (Author)

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Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life: A Psychologist Investigates How Evolution, Cognition, and Complexity are Revolutionizing our View of Human Nature

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The Dawn Warriors: Man’s Evolution Toward Peace

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Robert Bigelow was my teacher in 1969 at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. I was deeply influenced by his teaching. It seemed like we were getting genetics 101, but I now see that his insights were very rare, and they did not get a good grip on the orthodoxies. Sone of the details may be wrong or dated – the overall hypothesis makes sense and makes his book a worthy candidate for Peace Studies.

Time I read it again – not on the kindle unfortunately.

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The Meaning of Human Existence [Kindle Edition]
Edward O. Wilson (Author)

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Then a couple by Stephanie Coontz (she is mentioned in an earlier post relevant to this discussion) here :

The Way We Never Were: American Families And The Nostalgia Trap Paperback – October 6, 1993
by Stephanie Coontz>

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Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage [Kindle Edition – downloaded sample] Stephanie Coontz

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Diane Wolfthal Images of Rape


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A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion
Here is a review:

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Sex: A Natural History

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The Evolution of Marriage and of the Family
By Charles Jean Marie Letourneau

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The Soft Edge — Paul Levinson

 

This book is on my list because I’m exploring the relational paradigm. Archetypes of Relational Space? What comes up is that marriage is a medium. This might be relevant?

The Soft Edge

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I can get the paper version here for 1c But I want a digital one… And that is here on Google

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There is a lovely video of Paul Levinson on Amazon

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While on the journey I downloaded a sample of another book, this one looks like fun. The Plot to Save Socrates

(Thanks Brian for pointers)

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Shared Realities: Participation Mystique and Beyond — Mark Winborn

 

Shared Realities: Participation Mystique and Beyond

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Heard about this on Shrink Rap Radio where Dr Dave interviews the author/editor Mark Winborn. Worth listening to.

I had to get the book, it is a sort of meditation on the nature of the relational space. It focusses on therapy, but this would be so relevant for those of us who consider that the marriage is the therapy.

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Leonardo’s Brain: Understanding Da Vinci’s Creative Genius — By Leonard Shlain

 

I like the look of this book.

Leonardo’s Brain: Understanding Da Vinci’s Creative Genius

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Have looked inside on Amazon. I’ll get it one day. Have a few more on my plate right now.

It is an ebook on Google

Brain pickings has more its no 10 on the list.

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Ginette Paris — Wisdom of the Psyche: Depth Psychology after Neuroscience

 

One of the books that gripped me and introduced me to Archetypal Psychology was Ginette Paris’ Pagan Grace (Seem to not have a post about that book — maybe soon?) – I loved it and it was like clicking a hyperlink into a new world. So happy today to have a newish book as a sample on the kindle.

Amazon

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Books are not what they used to be.

 

Been posting a few items about books here.  Very casual. Hardly posted a thing this year, and see post on Evernote below re that. Feel some motivation coming on.

The motivation is to post book covers and snippets because I am loving my ebooks – have for years.  I don’t really want the paper books anymore.  But I miss the affordance of the stacks of books lying around unread.  They are now just a line of links on a screen and sometimes I can’t even recall why I have the book sample or who recommended it.  There are so many samples, just a list! So I’ll post unread books here, awaiting reviews.

Once paper books are read they can go on a shelf somewhere.  Even the pile in the garage.  I can look at them when I tidy up, and think, oh yes I remember that.

OK, so there is a purpose for the blog, to notice what I have in my ebook library in some sort of meaningful way.  So out with Evernote for books – and onto the blog with them.  Expect more flimsy post with cover pictures.

I will update posts too, I often do that here, they need edits and additions as they go up very rough.

I tried Goodreads for this purpose, however for some reason I am more attracted to my own blog, at least first. Social media can come later, if at all.

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There is already plenty here in the blog to stir reminiscences.  There are references to books back to 1999.  As I went back to look I found a dead link to this item

Malcolm Gladwell on Blockbusters and books.  Collaborative filtering!

Just six
authors–John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Stephen King, Michael Crichton,
Dean Koontz, and Danielle Steel–account for sixty-three of the
books on the list. In a world more dependent on collaborative filtering,
Grisham, Clancy, King, and Steel would still sell a lot of books. But
you’d expect to see many more books like “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya
Sisterhood”–many more new writers–make their way onto the best-
seller list. And the gap between the very best selling books and
those in the middle would narrow. Collaborative filtering, Hagel
says, “favors the smaller, the more talented, more quality
products that may have a hard time getting visibility because
they are not particularly good at marketing.”

It seems he was wrong though.

Must revisit, interesting. What has happened 15 years later to those lists?

web.archive.org/web/20000301085403/http://www.gladwell.com/1999_10_04_a_sleeper.htm

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Joseph Boyden — The Orenda

 

I’m gripped at about 20% into the book.

This Item puts me off a bit, though it also provides extra food for thought.

So far I think the author presents the world a world animated with the spirit of life in a sympathetic way and the Catholic view to the contrary is almost mocked, thus so far so good.

Amazon

the orenda

Enjoyed the CBC video about writing the novel, here:

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Later – upon finishing the book — Thursday, 18 December 2014

It was horrendously violent – and it is hard to believe that such cruelty is possible. However I don’t agree with the article linked to above that is biased towards the priests or the against the Iroquois.

I finished it a few days ago and the book is still with me, it had an impact, not just the violence, but the characters, and particularly the sense of the soul of things and people – the orenda – that gives the book its title.

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The Peripheral – William Gibson

 

I just heard there was a new William Gibson book out, and pre ordered it on Amazon

In the meantime I’ve enjoyed this interview in The Guardian by Ned Beauman here are the last two paragraphs:

I understood perfectly well before reading The Peripheral that our planet is beginning to roll down a very steep slope. And yet there was something terrifying about finding it here, perhaps because I’ve been absorbed in Gibson for most of my lifetime. His previous dystopias, with their overflowing slums, feel jolly by comparison; here, even Gibson’s hackers and mercenaries and television personalities are bereaved by climate change. It’s as if Gibson’s work is a city, and I have lived in that city since I was a teenager, and now that city is being drowned before my eyes. Before I left, Gibson admitted that his own story “surprised me with its grim matter-of-factness. I wasn’t fully aware of the implications, at the start. Though in my personal model of writing fiction, one never really is.”

All the same, this shouldn’t discourage anyone from reading The Peripheral, which is not, in fact, a remotely grim book. First of all, books that are as frantic with imagination as Gibson’s books, as frantic with the appetite to see what happens to us next, cannot be grim; second, Gibson’s famous weakness for happy endings has not been entirely suppressed here; and third, the details of our fate are mostly confined to that one scene towards the end, when Netherton, our descendant, explains what happened before he was born. As we read it, we ought to be like Flynne, who sits under the oak in her front yard and listens without hysterics as she hears the story of a world in which “everything, however deeply fucked in general, was lit increasingly by the new.”

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