[Paleopsych] Re: paleopsych Digest, Vol 9, Issue 20

Alice Andrews andrewsa at newpaltz.edu
Tue Feb 22 04:30:53 UTC 2005

Hi Gerry, 
Randy Nesse edited a book called "Evolution and the Capacity for Commitment"; do you know it? It's wonderful... if you don't. (His 'Commitment in the Clinic' chapter is superb, btw.) Anyway, I think the book addresses your question. The word 'commitment' itself addresses the question. We have evolved mechanisms for detecting commitment and for detecting possible defection in others. People who tow the party line, etc. are considered committed. We seek out such people because it is proximately and ultimately adaptive to do so. Befriending, supporting, trusting, etc. the uncommitted would have been-- and still is, a risk (or threat). Such risks could have been very costly over our evolutionary history and can be still today. Of course, sometimes such risks (siding with someone who seems to be sitting on the fence, uncommitted, a rebel) can be to one's advantage. But 'ancient-brain' doesn't know this--and probably 'statistics-brain' doesn't know this either!
Anyway, enough late-night babbling! It's a good book and might answer your question...
All best!
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: G. Reinhart-Waller 
  To: The new improved paleopsych list 
  Sent: Monday, February 21, 2005 9:55 PM
  Subject: Re: [Paleopsych] Re: paleopsych Digest, Vol 9, Issue 20

  >> Someone beyond the liberal/conservative
  dichotomy may be rejected by both sides as a nuisance,
  a threat to shared assumptions that define a group
  against another.

  This is absolutely amazing!  Why would any audience 
  reject someone who cannot plop into either the liberal 
  or conservative camp?  Please explain the threat you 
  feel is apparent.  This I need to hear!


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