The Human Condition Documentary Proposal—Part 2 Soul
Recognition of the Significance of Mate Selection
While the explanation of how the nurturing, love-indoctrination process created humanity has received virtually no recognition since the work of Fiske, Drummond and Hall in the 19th century, the role of mate selection has been recognised by a number of leading thinkers, both early on and in recent times. Charles Darwin recognised its importance when, in 1871, he wrote The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. Here is an extract from the final chapter: ‘He who admits the principle of sexual selection will be led to the remarkable conclusion that the nervous system not only regulates most of the existing functions of the body, but has indirectly influenced the progressive development of various bodily structures and of certain mental qualities…and these powers of the mind manifestly depend on the development of the brain.’ Note that Darwin recognised we needed to have developed a degree of consciousness to be able to practice sexual selection of ‘certain mental qualities’. This need for consciousness applies especially to the ability to select for mental qualities of cooperative, selfless morality since, as will be explained in Part 3, recognition of the integrative, selfless, loving moral values depended on the love-indoctrination process Page 45 of
Print Edition liberating consciousness from historic blocks in the mind against any recognition of the importance of cooperative selflessness.
Science historian Jacob Bronowski recognised the significant role played by sexual selection when he stated: ‘We have to explain the speed of human evolution over a matter of one, three, let us say five million years at most. That is terribly fast. Natural selection simply does not act as fast as that on animal species. We, the hominids, must have supplied a form of selection of our own; and the obvious choice is sexual selection’ (The Ascent of Man, 1973).
Geoffrey Miller is an evolutionary psychologist from the University of New Mexico whose thinking, importantly, differs from the early, selfish-gene-emphasising school of thought. Author of The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature (2000), Miller is among a small but growing number of scientists who in very recent years have been brave enough to acknowledge the importance of mate selection in the development of humans’ cooperative, moral nature. This courageous ‘break-out’ of honesty is possibly a result of a backlash to the extreme dishonesty of denial-complying scientists in claiming our morality or soul is nothing more than a subtle form of selfishness. To quote Miller: ‘We think survival of the fittest couldn’t go the whole distance in accounting for human nature, and we think there must have been something else to fill that gap, and I’m saying sexual selection is what fills the gap, because it’s capable of noticing anything that we can even talk about. If I notice that somebody else has a rich consciousness and I sort of wonder, why do they have that, my capacity for noticing that contains the answer, it says, I noticed that that might influence a sexual choice I make with regard to that person, it might make them more attractive to me, and just by admitting that you’re saying that’s subject to sexual selection. We have this amazing window in to the minds and souls of other people that other animals don’t, because we have language, because we have rich social lives. And that means sexual selection has the power to reach in to these moral virtues and these spiritual interests and to shape them in a way that it couldn’t do in any other species. When I think about how sexual attraction might have worked among our ancestors, as they were sort of going through the final spurt on the way to becoming modern Homo sapiens, I tend to think of them as conspicuously displaying their capacities for sympathy and kindness, so anything that would have been sexually attractive, would have been subject to sexual choice. Sexual choice could have amplified these traits, made them more elaborate, more conspicuous, more easily displayed. It is an argument for runaway kindness in the same way that runaway sexual selection can explain the size of the peacock’s tail. In our species it explains the size of our hearts and our capacity for romantic commitment, and I think the sort of intricacy and depth of our consciousness as well’ (Testing God: Darwin and the Divine, documentary produced by Mentorn Barraclough Carey/Channel 4, 2001).