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Review of Myopic Man: On the Nature and Universality of Human Self-Deception and Its Effects on the Health of the Planet

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0 comments   Add a comment   Contributor: Sarah (Nov-20-2008)    Play a Video
Categories: Global Warming, Philosophical & Quality of Life, Pollution, Population Growth and Control

Land use for farming impacts the rainforest: what to do?Sub-title: On the Nature and Universality of Human Self-Deception and Its Effects on the Health of the Planet

This book asks "what is it about human nature that leads people to ignore or deny their environmental footprint?" Others have addressed the denial of human nature in general, but none reveal the link between this denial and our present day environmental crisis.  This book focuses on how self-deception is the unconscious predisposition that insulates us from our own consumption, competition, and aggression found in all people.

During the 7 million year history of hominids, these behaviors were never a problem until the last two centuries.  The book isn't another pessimistic accounting of how human nature has impacted the global ecosystem.  In 12 chapters it explores the biological basis of why we are destroying the Earth. From 9/11 to Iraq, from the world-wide immigration crises to global warming, the fact that population growth, consumption, waste, and pollution indexes have all gone in the wrong direction is explained by the human disposition to avoid, deny, and ignore the evidence of one's individual contributions to these global problems.

Three chapters explore how organized religions create natural infrastructures that support self-deception in consumers under the guise of "prosperity." Another two chapters explore how media and advertising are used to institutionalize self-deception about consumption, waste and pollution through politics and commerce.  One chapter zeros in on the denial rampant within the environmental movement.  It reveals how 50 years of reliance on the Lockean blank slate constructivist model of human nature that proposes we have no biological drives (for example, towards consumption, greed and aggression), explains the overall long term failure of the modern conservation movement.

This theory is being replaced by a modern Darwinian approach.  It makes the point that from the E.O. Wilsons, Al Gores, and other high profile environmental leaders on down to the activists in the field, their fundamental misunderstanding and denial about the nature and evolution of the human mind is what keeps the movement from connecting with the average consumer.  This misguided assumption about how easy it is to change the core of human behavior prevents environmentalists from developing programs that lead to real changes in those pesky global indexes.  We can plan on 50 more years of failure and environmental decay unless we begin to deal with our institutionalized denial of human nature.

Another chapter explores the ethics of technology and our religous-like faith in its ability to solve human-caused global and local problems; the chapter asks whether more technology is necessarily a good thing when the history of our use and abuse of technology is what has led to everything from 9/11 and Iraq to the problems that come with globalization.  In the end, man the innovator may be too much of a good thing.

Source: Newly released book by author Marc E. Pratarelli  
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About contributor Sarah (Sarah Johnson)

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