Tuesday, February 12, 2019

#43 / The Hyper-Cooperative Human

“Becoming human”—the phenomenon—is a protracted and extraordinary process that anyone can witness if privileged to observe a child growing up: maturing not just physically but emotionally, socially, cognitively and morally. But before that, of course, becoming human was also an evolutionary process, one that cannot now be witnessed directly but has been intensively studied. Thanks to Michael Tomasello, both processes are, more than ever, becoming demystified and revealed as wonderfully interconnected.

By setting out the quotation above, I intend to refer readers to a book review that appeared in The Wall Street Journal on January 11, 2019: "‘Becoming Human’ Review: The Defining Neediness of Humans."

The author of Becoming Human, Michael Tomasello, is "an American developmental and comparative psychologist... He is co-director of Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, co-director of the Wolfgang Kohler Primate Research CenterGermany, honorary professor at University of Leipzig's and at Manchester University's Department of Psychology, and professor of psychology at Duke University."

According to the review in The Wall Street Journal, Tomasello argues that what makes us human, and what has made humans evolutionarily successful, is our ability to cooperate. 

We are all individuals, in other words, but we are also connected together. It is through that connection, collaboration, and cooperation that we have created, and continue to create, our human world. There are certainly different styles and methodologies in which human collaboration - essential for human survival and success - can manifest itself. Whatever style and method we employ, I say it's "politics," and we "live in a political world."

Tomasello's book sounds good. The review is worth reading.

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