The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Evolutionary psychology and human adulthood

I have to correct 100 pages of my new book today and shoot it off to Marco Palmieri at Pocket books before I go to bed tonight. Also have to pack to fly to Philadelphia tomorrow for an Octavia Butler tribute. Then when I get back, I have to re-write a script, break down a book into a film treatment, and get ready to fly to Seattle for Norwescon next week. Then, if I’m lucky, my life slows down to a more normal jog…
Today is a fasting day. Start the morning with tea, Hoodia, some vitamins, and a bit of the Amrit Kalash Ayervedic nectar I’ve taken for 10 years. It has a bit of honey and ghee butter in it, but just a spoonful total…don’t think it will have much impact.
I’ve noticed that my dreams are much more intense these days. Hmmm. I think I’ll start working on lucidity again. That’s tons of fun.
I like evolutionary psychology, but don’t limit myself to it. I’ll start with the premise that human behavior relates to genetic survival, but not absolutely, and there are definitely short-lived behaviors that are evolutionary dead-ends. Societies evolve based upon human needs, but sometimes go off in the wrong directions. The successful strategies are maintained more often…but then, I’ve seen fabulous human technologies dead-end, while inferior ones thrive. Then again, there are differences between individual and group survival, and limitations to how much of all of this I can grasp. I try to remind myself that I’m probably wrong at least 20% of the time. Minimum.
Here’s another view of adulthood, though, based on EP: “that state in which a person can produce (sex), raise (job and security), provide for (short and long term planning) and educate a child in the morals and technologies necessary for THAT child to turn around and do the same thing for the next generation, and for the next generation to, at the least, maintain the values lifestyle and progress of the previous generations.”
Whew. That was clumsy, and should probably be refined. And I’m not implying that if you don’t have kids, you can’t be an adult. I DO believe that having kids is a maturing experience, but not absolutely. Plenty of people with kids are big children themselves—but then, they were before, as well. And plenty of people without children are impressively mature. But they would be CAPABLE of raising kids even if they have chosen not to, or chance has denied them that opportunity.
All I’m saying is that the state of adulthood must relate to some of the biological necessities, and a core one would be the proper care and feeding of the next generation. In fact, if it doesn’t, it would conflict so strongly with biological necessities that I’d have a hard time believing it has anything to do with the deep, balanced needs of the organism.

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