Thursday, March 23, 2006

Fear - the dominant human emotion.

This 1997 article is more current today than when it was first published.

Brian Deer on homo erectus
Homo erectus and human evolution - Brian Deer investigates:

"Attitudes are changing, however, and science mirrors that. In the same cultural shifts that see aboriginal peoples probed for ancient wisdoms, so Homo erectus is being rehabilitated as something more than a beast. While lonely skulls and stone tools once stressed individualism, large-scale land surveys and evidence of fire now point to the community of life. And we now see that it was not aggression, but fear which dominated our earliest lives. Fear - the emotion which vicariously excites the readers of thrillers, and which a philosopher might see as the source of all human evil - is the default emotion of our evolutionary line. It just never went away."

Hm. So much for the vicious dominant thigh-bone wielding primate we liked to think we arose from. Apparently the conventional wisdom is somewhat leaky.

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