Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The New Biology

The nineteenth and early twentieth century were keen to emphasize the difference between man and animals, and focus on ‘man as a rational being’, at the apex of the tree of evolution, rising above his animal origins.

The logical conclusions of Darwinism, with its emphasis on man as an animal, took some time to have a real impact on our understanding of what it is to be human, but in the late twentieth century a certain disillusionment with the notion of progress, civilization, rationality and industrialization has lead to an interest in ecology and environmentalism that has caused us to recognize, acknowledge and even celebrate our links with the rest of creation rather than our differences.

This shift of perspective is suggesting that our emotions are perhaps the most fundamental part of what it is to be human.
We have come to recognize that the root emotions, such as fear, anger, or joy, are instinctive, biological responses, which have been essential to the survival and progress of the human race to outside events.

Feminist thinking has contributed to this change as feminist thinkers have found it easier to acknowledge the importance of instinct and emotion to human life.

As society has changed, the intensity of the negative emotions, especially anger and fear, is now not so useful and our basic physiological response to threat of ‘fight or flight’ is no longer an appropriate response to most modern problems.

Without the physical challenges that allowed our ancestors to discharge strong emotions we are often left in a state of stress and tension, which causes us to be depressed, anxious or hostile.
The New Biology
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