After Darwin's daughter Annie died at the age of ten, he stopped going to church.
Sometimes an entire universe is encoded into a single sentence.
Ten years from now, I'll remember this sentence. So much pain, so much devastation, packed into a couple words.
Grief, and the collapse of faith that occurs in the aftermath, the pain of a lifetime of belief disintegrating in your fingers - these are the emotions behind Beta Male, and this sentence struck me like a resonant chord. I couldn't resist integrating into the novel (with some light paraphrasing, of course), an anecdote that reveals so much and so little at the same time.
Darwin, God, and the Meaning of Life is a good primer on evolutionary theory, evolutionary psychology, and their implications for our daily lives. No pre-existing knowledge of analytic philosophy is needed to understand it, and it's written in a clean, accessible prose that deftly communicates ideas.
This is how one should live: understanding that the boundary between philosophy and the daily practice of life does not exist. Everyone has a worldview and concomitant foundational assumptions. You owe it to yourself to examine these things. As much shit as philosophy gets for not making progress, it's still the best method we have for examining the core questions of life that fall outside the empirical purview of science.
What does evolution mean for your relationships with others? What does it say about your mother's love for her child? What does it say about a woman's love for a man? A man's love for a man?
Many of the implications of evolution are counter-intuitive and challenge our immediate reactions. Consider the following:
"The course of evolution has furnished animals with an increasingly great capacity to suffer. Monkeys suffer more than trilobites, and humans presumably suffer more than monkeys. Evolution has also furnished animals with an increasingly great capacity to inflict suffering. As evolutionary history has unfolded, then, the universe has come to contain more and more suffering. Is that progress?"
The book also serves as a useful counterweight to the crushing nihilism of contemporary manosphere pop evo-psych writers like Heartiste and Rollo Tomassi. Is it all black, then? Does evolutionary science lead directly into the pits of nihilism? (some philosophers think it does) . Not everyone thinks so. I loved this quote, too:
Whether naturalism leads to nihilism is a contentious topic of debate, and this book helps to illuminate it. In part, I tried to answer this question in a different way - I wrote a novel about it.
In conclusion: four stars out of five.
people I admire
Bret Easton Ellis