Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society

Reviewed on , book by Nicholas A. Christakis

The premise is: What is natural about society? What arises independently? What is more nature than nurture? When thinking about questions like this, I am always reminded of Herodutus’ powerful example of ‘social constructs’:

One might recall, for example, an anecdote of Darius. When he was king of Persia, he summoned the Greeks who happened to be present at his court, and asked them what they would take to eat the dead bodies of their fathers. They replied that they would not do it for any money in the world. Later, in the presence of the Greeks, and through an interpreter, so that they could understand what was said, he asked some Indians of the tribe called Callatiae, who do in fact eat their parents’ dead bodies, what they would take to burn them. They uttered a cry of horror and forbade him to mention such a dreadful thing. One can see by this what custom can do.
First few chapters survey of shipwrecks and the temporary societies that arise as a result. Fun way to start it. When it gets into communes, etc., I lost momentum and decided to