Inheritance

Inheritance: The Evolutionary Origins of the Modern World

Hardback Published on: 13/06/2024
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Published 13/06/2024
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Synopsis

The ancient inheritance that made us who we are. The ancient inheritance that is now driving us to ruin.

Each of us is endowed with an inheritance. A set of ancient biases, forged through countless millennia of natural and cultural selection, which shape every facet of our behaviour. For generations, this inheritance has taken us to ever greater heights, driving the rise of more sophisticated technologies, more organized religions, more expansive empires. But now, for the first time, it is failing us. We find ourselves careering towards a future of unprecedented political polarization, deadlier wars, and environmental destruction.

In Inheritance, renowned anthropologist Harvey Whitehouse offers a sweeping account of how our evolved biases have shaped humanity’s past and imperil its future. Unveiling a pioneering new way of viewing our collective history – one that weaves together psychological experiments, on-theground fieldwork, and big data – Whitehouse introduces three biases that shape human behaviour everywhere: conformism, religiosity, and tribalism.

These biases have catalysed the greatest transformations in human history, from the birth of agriculture and arrival of the first kings to the rise and fall of human sacrifice and creation of multiethnic empires. Yet today, they are driving us to ruin. Taking us deep into New Guinea tribes, Libyan militias, and predatory ad agencies, Whitehouse shows how the tools we once used to manage our biases are breaking down, with devastating implications for us all.

By uncovering how human nature has shaped our collective history, Inheritance reveals a surprising new path to solving our most urgent problems. The result is a powerful reappraisal of the human journey; one that transforms our understanding of who we are, and who we could be.

  • Publisher: Cornerstone
  • ISBN: 9781529152227
  • Number of pages: 368
  • Weight: 577g
  • Dimensions: 241 x 164 x 32 mm

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