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

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Wed Feb 23 15:50:45 UTC 2005

Marty Seligman (learned helplessness theorist, Learned Optimism, 
Authentic Happiness, former APA president) - an atheist - mentions that 
as a key to true happiness. He reviews literature that religious people 
are generally happier and more fulfilled, more resilient. Czentmyhali 
(spelling!) at U Chicago finds that kids involved in something greater 
than themselves are much more likely to experience "flow" and periods of 
greater happiness. Religion is clearly an adaptive force. BTW, I don't 
want to hear arguments that religion is behind most wars. That is a 
pretty tired argument that was thoroughly debunked by the 20th Century.

Alice Andrews wrote:

> Hi Gerry,
> Thanks for the note...
> There was an interesting article somewhere--maybe Frank sent it 
> in?--about teenagers and the possiblity that what they were missing 
> was 'religion' or 'spirituality' or a 'sense of purpose and meaning 
> beyond them.' Do you remember reading that on paleo some time ago? I 
> can't find it...But it seems apropos to your missive. (If anyone knows 
> it and can send out again, I'd appreciate!)
> Thanks and cheers,
> Alice
> Hi Alice,
> Thanks for the rec re: Nesse's  "Evolution and the Capacity for 
> Commitment".  Although I still haven't read it I'm familiar with its 
> contents.  The issue of 'commitment' especially for young people is 
> something that definitely needs addressing and maybe requiring our 
> youth to make a firm political commitment to a particular party will 
> carry over to their demonstrating less risky behavior with drugs, sex, 
> employment, family or whatever.  Yet isn't our youth already 
> politically brainwashed into political awareness or have they flicked 
> away that duty as well?  I no longer hang out with our country's young 
> but when I did I found that very few had their head screwed on 
> correctly and many were adrift;  from what I hear now they still 
> continue on their aimless flow.  When I wrote my original answer my 
> thoughts were on "my generation", not the others.  Thanks for your post.
> I'll add the book to my list.
> Gerry
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Alice Andrews <mailto:andrewsa at newpaltz.edu>
> To: The new improved paleopsych list <mailto:paleopsych at paleopsych.org>
> Sent: Monday, February 21, 2005 8:30 PM
> Subject: Re: [Paleopsych] Re: paleopsych Digest, Vol 9, Issue 20
> 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!
> Alice
>     ----- Original Message -----
>     From: G. Reinhart-Waller <mailto:waluk at earthlink.net>
>     To: The new improved paleopsych list
>     <mailto:paleopsych at paleopsych.org>
>     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!
>     Gerry
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