Several earlier posts, “Humans, Human Culture and Popular Government”, “The Crisis of The American Political System” and most recently “Accounting for Trump and the Resurgence of Autocracy” have indicated that I am struggling with the state of our species. I’ve abandoned my earlier lifelong unspoken assumption that our species is fundamentally rationalist. The development of the scientific method and a general tendency to search out facts to substantiate theory seemed to me to be evidence that this is so.  Given even the history of just my lifetime it is now hard for me to understand how I ever maintained even a vague faith in such a notion. Nevertheless, global warming, the pandemic and the rise of autocratic politics. especially in the US, demands a much sounder analysis of what our species actual mental, social, and cultural capabilities are.

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.1 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.2 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. Human nature.

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. Neurology and social psychology know a great deal already about us as social beings. 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.

More will follow on AmericanDelusions


  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/01/24/trumps-false-or-misleading-claims-total-30573-over-four-years/ accessed 10.6.2021
  2. https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/fundamentally-flawed-2017-tax-law-largely-leaves-low-and-moderate-income accessed 10.6.2021

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