Saturday, May 24, 2014

Questioning Evolutionary Psychology

Our Maximum Leader is a product of evolution, at least to some extent. Her behaviors are adapted to her role in the ecosystem. As a small predator, she is a ruthless killer of prey and when confronted with larger threats, she dials up the aggression to 11. The first few times she met with the Catican Guards, she was all teeth and claws with nothing held back. They were curious and tried to be friendly and she clawed their noses until blood came out. That behavior taught the Guards to respect her and she now comfortably rules the house.

And I mean she comfortably rules the house.
Our children, being children, sometimes make poor choices. They play instead of studying, they spend money when they should save it, or they don't set long-term goals and make plans to achieve them. My immediate reaction to these events is almost always anger. My job in these cases is that of a salesman. As children are not video games where I can control them directly, I have to convince them to buy my ideas on proper life choices. Zig Ziglar, master salesman and instructor, tells us over and over and over that you can't convince a prospect who declines to buy your product that he's wrong, you can only bring new information to him that causes him to make a new decision.

If you can't sell by convincing someone they're wrong, you certainly can't sell by getting angry at them. Imagine how quickly a shoe store would go out of business if the sales force spent their time screaming at the customers for picking ugly shoes!

The older I get, the more I become convinced that the Catholic Catechism is as good a rule book for life as any out there. Following the Catholic Catechism demands you embrace love, respect and forgiveness for others. Love, respect and forgiveness are far better sales tools than yelling, but yelling is almost always my first choice. I lean towards similarly un-Catholic, self-destructive behaviors in sloth, gluttony and lust. As far as I can tell, we all do. Yelling at my kids isn't an isolated example of self-destructive behavior, it's one of many and it appears to be universal across the human race.

If human psychology is the product of evolution, how did I manage to end up with all these counter-productive behaviors? Our Maximum Leader doesn't seem to have them. Her behaviors all appear to make perfect sense. If human cognition grew slowly over millions of years, why didn't efficient management of it grow as well?


Moxie D. Hoxie said...

This is a good one. Thanks!!

Bob the Ape said...

I think a certain event in a certain garden, some time ago, involving a man, a woman, a fruit, and a serpent, might have had something to do with it...