Dark SIde of Man Notes and Summary

Essay by hitman99University, Bachelor's April 2005

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THE DARK SIDE OF MAN: Tracing the Origins of Male Violence, by Michael P. Ghiglieri; Perseus, 1999;

[p. 179] "The central 'truth' of sociologists is that nature, especially that of humankind, is nice and that people are designed to do things that, all in all, favor the survival of their species. Hence people could never be equipped by nature with instincts to kill other people. This idea comes from the Bambi school of biology, a Disneyesque vision of nature as a collection of moralistic and altruistic creatures. It admires nature for its harmony and beauty of form and for its apparent 'balance' or even cooperativeness. It admires the deer for its beauty and fleetness, and it grudgingly admires the lion for its power and nobility of form. If anything is really wrong with us, it explains, it is a sociocultural problem that we can fix by resocializing people. It is not a biological problem.

"Nature, however, is actually a dynamic state of recurring strife of relentless competition, dedicated predators and parasites, and selfish defense. The deer owes its beauty and fleetness to predators such as mountain lions, which kill the clumsiest and slowest deer first; to competitors for food; and to competition between males to mate. Without predators, deer would not only lack fleetness; they would lack legs altogether. They would be slugs oozing from one plant to another. Yet even if these deer-slugs were the only animals out there, natural selection would favor the evolution of faster and more aggressive deer-slugs and would favor any other trait that made them superior competitors against each other. This would include the killing of one deer-slug by another in situations where it boiled down to kill or die.

"Moreover, the power and noble visage of the lion (or of the family...