11.28.2021 – revised 11.29.2021
For the last ten years and more I have been studying US history and the current state of our affairs. A significant focus has been on what I refer to as the “actual workings of capitalism”. You can find some of the findings at AmericanDelusions.com. More recently, the intermingled phenomena of Trump and the pandemic has shifted my attention to questions about the capacity of our species to live on the earth in a sustainable trajectory. How can we explain that 74 million Americans voted for a man who they had four years to observe in great detail. The 30,573 lies and misleading claims over four years. The painfully obvious narcissism. The meanness. The fact that his only legislative accomplishment was a $1.9 trillion tax give back to the rich and corporations. His active role in assuring that hundreds of thousands of Americans died during the COVID pandemic who would not have if he had taken even moderate action to prevent it. Worse is to understand that this craziness in the land of the free is not a parochial phenomenon. All round the world one can find examples of similar behaviors among leaders and similar reactions by supporters.
It has become painfully obvious that the post Enlightenment model of rational man, the data-driven scientist, the sceptic who rejects religious and political dogma in pursuit of the truths that science can bring us, temporary as those might be, is at best a very thin veneer on an underlying tribal mind filled with fears, hatreds, myths, and violence, lots of violence. All of this has led me to look to human culture and the human mind to understand what is going on.
Fortunately for me we are living in a period when new techniques in science have produced an ongoing revolution in our understanding of human evolution and human psychology. Whole new fields of evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology are opening doors. I am just now beginning to dig into this work. There are an enormous number of lectures by the leading figures of these fields available online. So getting an introduction, the lay of the land, is not terribly difficult.