The Creative Spark overturns widely held misconceptions about race, war and peace, and human nature itself, providing a profoundly new answer to an age old question: what made humans so exceptional among all the species on earth? In this in-depth and fascinating exploration of creativity, Agustin Fuentes shows how imagination now is much the same as it was in the time of our ancient ancestors, and that, when combined with collaboration, humans are capable of anything. Indeed, imagination and collaboration are inseparable.
A bold new synthesis of paleontology, archaeology, genetics, and anthropology that overturns misconceptions about race, war and peace, and human nature itself, answering an age-old question: What made humans so exceptional among all the species on Earth? Creativity. It is the secret of what makes humans special, hiding in plain sight. Agustín Fuentes argues that your child's finger painting comes essentially from the same place as creativity in hunting and gathering millions of years ago, and throughout history in making war and peace, in intimate relationships, in shaping the planet, in our communities, and in all of art, religion, and even science. It requires imagination and collaboration. Every poet has her muse; every engineer, an architect; every politician, a constituency. The manner of the collaborations varies widely, but successful collaboration is inseparable from imagination, and it brought us everything from knives and hot meals to iPhones and interstellar spacecraft. Weaving fascinating stories of our ancient ancestors' creativity, Fuentes finds the patterns that match modern behavior in humans and animals. This key quality has propelled the evolutionary development of our bodies, minds, and cultures, both for good and for bad. It's not the drive to reproduce; nor competition for mates, or resources, or power; nor our propensity for caring for one another that have separated us out from all other creatures. As Fuentes concludes, to make something lasting and useful today you need to understand the nature of your collaboration with others, what imagination can and can't accomplish, and, finally, just how completely our creativity is responsible for the world we live in. Agustín Fuentes's resounding multimillion-year perspective will inspire readers—and spark all kinds of creativity.
Author: Agustín Fuentes
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2015-05
There are three major myths of human nature: humans are divided into biological races; humans are naturally aggressive; and men and women are truly different in behavior, desires, and wiring. In an engaging and wide-ranging narrative, Agustín Fuentes counters these pervasive and pernicious myths about human behavior. Tackling misconceptions about what race, aggression, and sex really mean for humans, Fuentes incorporates an accessible understanding of culture, genetics, and evolution, requiring us to dispose of notions of “nature or nurture.” Presenting scientific evidence from diverse fields—including anthropology, biology, and psychology—Fuentes devises a myth-busting toolkit to dismantle persistent fallacies about the validity of biological races, the innateness of aggression and violence, and the nature of monogamy and differences between the sexes. A final chapter plus an appendix provide a set of take-home points on how readers can myth-bust on their own. Accessible, compelling, and original, this book is a rich and nuanced account of how nature, culture, experience, and choice interact to influence human behavior.
Author: Camilo J. Cela-Conde
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2007-09-27
This book is intended as a comprehensive overview of hominid evolution, synthesising data and approaches from physical anthropology, genetics, archaeology, psychology and philosophy. Human evolution courses are now widespread and this book has the potential to satisfy the requirements of most, particularly at the advanced undergraduate and graduate level. It is based on a translation, albeit with substantial modification, of a successful Spanish language book.
Recent empirical and philosophical research into the evolutionary history of Homo sapiens, the origins of the mind/brain, and the development of human culture has sparked heated debates about what it means to be human and how knowledge about humans from the sciences and humanities should be understood. Conversations on Human Nature, featuring 20 interviews with leading scholars in biology, psychology, anthropology, philosophy, and theology, brings these debates to life for teachers, students, and general readers. The book-outlines the basic scientific, philosophical and theological issues involved in understanding human nature;-organizes material from the various disciplines under four broad headings: (1) evolution, brains and human nature; (2) biocultural human nature; (3) persons, minds and human nature, (4) religion, theology and human nature; -concludes with Fuentes and Visala's discussion of what researchers into human nature agree on, what they disagree on, and what we need to learn to resolve those differences.
“The Knowledge Illusion is filled with insights on how we should deal with our individual ignorance and collective wisdom.” —Steven Pinker We all think we know more than we actually do. Humans have built hugely complex societies and technologies, but most of us don’t even know how a pen or a toilet works. How have we achieved so much despite understanding so little? Cognitive scientists Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach argue that we survive and thrive despite our mental shortcomings because we live in a rich community of knowledge. The key to our intelligence lies in the people and things around us. We’re constantly drawing on information and expertise stored outside our heads: in our bodies, our environment, our possessions, and the community with which we interact—and usually we don’t even realize we’re doing it. The human mind is both brilliant and pathetic. We have mastered fire, created democratic institutions, stood on the moon, and sequenced our genome. And yet each of us is error prone, sometimes irrational, and often ignorant. The fundamentally communal nature of intelligence and knowledge explains why we often assume we know more than we really do, why political opinions and false beliefs are so hard to change, and why individual-oriented approaches to education and management frequently fail. But our collaborative minds also enable us to do amazing things. The Knowledge Illusion contends that true genius can be found in the ways we create intelligence using the community around us.
Author: Adam Ashforth
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2005-07-08
In a true story of a man bewitched, set against the turbulent backdrop of contemporary Soweto, Ashforth shows that witchcraft is not simply superstition but a complex response to spiritual insecurity in a troubling time of political and economic upheaval.
Author: Kevin N. Laland
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2018-09-11
Humans possess an extraordinary capacity for culture, from the arts and language to science and technology. But how did the human mind—and the uniquely human ability to devise and transmit culture—evolve from its roots in animal behavior? Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony presents a captivating new theory of human cognitive evolution. This compelling and accessible book reveals how culture is not just the magnificent end product of an evolutionary process that produced a species unlike all others—it is also the key driving force behind that process. Kevin Laland tells the story of the painstaking fieldwork, the key experiments, the false leads, and the stunning scientific breakthroughs that led to this new understanding of how culture transformed human evolution. It is the story of how Darwin’s intellectual descendants picked up where he left off and took up the challenge of providing a scientific account of the evolution of the human mind.
Author: Stephen T. Asma
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2017-06-21
Consider Miles Davis, horn held high, sculpting a powerful musical statement full of tonal patterns, inside jokes, and thrilling climactic phrases—all on the fly. Or think of a comedy troupe riffing on a couple of cues from the audience until the whole room is erupting with laughter. Or maybe it’s a team of software engineers brainstorming their way to the next Google, or the Einsteins of the world code-cracking the mysteries of nature. Maybe it’s simply a child playing with her toys. What do all of these activities share? With wisdom, humor, and joy, philosopher Stephen T. Asma answers that question in this book: imagination. And from there he takes us on an extraordinary tour of the human creative spirit. Guided by neuroscience, animal behavior, evolution, philosophy, and psychology, Asma burrows deep into the human psyche to look right at the enigmatic but powerful engine that is our improvisational creativity—the source, he argues, of our remarkable imaginational capacity. How is it, he asks, that a story can evoke a whole world inside of us? How are we able to rehearse a skill, a speech, or even an entire scenario simply by thinking about it? How does creativity go beyond experience and help us make something completely new? And how does our moral imagination help us sculpt a better society? As he shows, we live in a world that is only partly happening in reality. Huge swaths of our cognitive experiences are made up by “what-ifs,” “almosts,” and “maybes,” an imagined terrain that churns out one of the most overlooked but necessary resources for our flourishing: possibilities. Considering everything from how imagination works in our physical bodies to the ways we make images, from the mechanics of language and our ability to tell stories to the creative composition of self-consciousness, Asma expands our personal and day-to-day forms of imagination into a grand scale: as one of the decisive evolutionary forces that has guided human development from the Paleolithic era to today. The result is an inspiring look at the rich relationships among improvisation, imagination, and culture, and a privileged glimpse into the unique nature of our evolved minds.
Author: David S. Moore
Release Date: 2003-02-05
Provides an analysis of the nature vs. nuture debate, arguing for an end to the "either/or" nature of the discussions in favor of a recognition that environmental and genetic factors interact throughout life to form human traits.
Author: Nam C Kim
Release Date: 2018-03-13
Genre: Social Science
Why do we fight? Have we always been fighting one another? This book examines the origins and development of human forms of organized violence from an anthropological and archaeological perspective. Kim and Kissel argue that human warfare is qualitatively different from forms of lethal, intergroup violence seen elsewhere in the natural world, and that its emergence is intimately connected to how humans evolved and to the emergence of human nature itself.
Author: Kristen Lee
Publisher: Health Communications, Inc.
Release Date: 2018-02-06
One of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves is rethinking what we've been taught, because thoughts become behaviors. The same mind that gets us stuck is the same one that can set us free. It's time to rip up the script society hands us, breathe deep, and reclaim a healthy definition of success that doesn't compartmentalize your mind, body and soul. We need a new organizing framework that allows more flexibility and moral grounding--one that lets science, emotion and spirit to fuse. Too often, life's disorienting moments can leave us tumbling into messy, downward spirals. We lose clarity, and are held hostage by blind spots that keep us from thriving. We fall into common mindless behavioral traps which lead to perpetual patterns of shutting down, numbing out, binding up and staying stuck. In this uniquely liberating book, Dr. Kristen Lee teaches us how to apply a process of behavioral change using a series of different lenses, to steer our brains to overcome blind spots and cultivate Upward Spiral habits. A leading expert on resilience and behavioral science, Dr. Kristen Lee developed this new psychology of thinking model from over twenty years of clinical practice, the latest neuroscience, and her own research findings. Mentalligence [men-tel-i-juh-ns] is a sage guide that will help you build meta-awareness by emphasizing an impact-driven rather than a performance-obsessed mindset, and adopt a model of 'collective efficacy' that is less I-focused and more we-focused, to facilitate positive social impact at a time when it's desperately needed. This is what psychologists call 'The Good Life'--living mindfully and consciously. Rather than falling for predominant definitions of 'success' that leave us boxed in, depleted, and oblivious to ways we can work together, Mentalligence helps us find the thinking and behavioral agility to work towards better outcomes for all.