Stalking the good life.

  • Crabb P
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Reviews the book Darwinian Happiness: Evolution as a Guide for Living and Understanding Human Behavior by Bjorn Grinde (2002). In many respects the book follows the recently blazed path of "positive psychology," which focuses on life-enhancing experience and conduct, but it is unique in its emphasis on using evolutionary knowledge to foster human happiness. For Grinde, "Darwinian happiness" is the degree to which we adjust our living conditions to fit our evolved neurological and physiological design, with the aim of maximizing rewards and minimizing distress. Grinde is also trusting of capitalism as a source of happiness because it provides a good fit with our natural selfishness. But along with the joys of accumulating wealth capitalism brings much human misery. The nature of work under capitalism is as much drudgery, humiliation, and insecurity as it is satisfying and self-actualizing. We cannot go back to a Paleolithic environment, as Grinde correctly points out, but we can live our lives closer to that environment and we can selectively edit out dysfunctional elements of our cultures. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)

Author-supplied keywords

  • darwinian happiness
  • evolution
  • happiness
  • human nature
  • positive psychology
  • theory evolution

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  • Peter Crabb

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