Biological Imperatives – first sighting

If you are a regular reader of this Blog, then you will know that a central point I am often ‘on’ about concerns the Biological Imperatives – which I believe are the deep root and cause of much of why humanity seems so maladapted to long term survival on this planet.

I’ve just finished reading The Schopenhauer Cure by Irvin D. Yalom – a brilliant book which I highly recommend.  Arthur Schopenhauer’s philosophy, as you might expect from the book’s title weaves its way deeply throughout the novel’s plot.

Bit one bit of Schopenhauer’s thought that I noted with particular interest is illustrated in the following quotes:

It has often been noted that three major revolutions in thought have threatened the idea of human centrality.  First, Copernicus demonstrated that Earth was not the center about which all celestial bodies revolved. next, Darwin showed us that were not central in the chain of life but like other creatures, had evolved from other life-forms.  Third, Freud demonstrated that we are not masters in our own house — that much of our behavior is governed by forces outside of our consciousness.  there is no doubt that Freud’s unacknowledged co-revolutionary was Arthur Schopenhauer, who, long before Freud’s birth, had posited that we are governed by deep biological forces and then delude ourselves into thinking that we consciously choose our activities.


…Schopenhauer two centuries ago understood the underlying reality; the sheer awesome power of the sex drive.  It’s the most fundamental force within us — the will to love, to reproduce — and it can’t be stilled.

Schopenhauer may have been the first to name and describe I call the Biological Imperatives.

Of course, it wasn’t until much more recently, with the advent of Evolutionary Psychology, that we can begin to connect his observations into the greater cloth of hard science vis-a-vis what E. O. Wilson called Consilience in his book of the same name.

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