The Animal Within Us: Lessons about Life from Out Animal Ancestors

Jay D. Glass, Author
Jay D. Glass, Author Donington Press $24.95 (156p) ISBN 978-0-9660536-6-1
Paperback - 158 pages - 978-0-9660536-9-2
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Referring to the animal kingdom in this confident debut, neuroscientist and venture capitalist Glass reduces human behavior into the bio-behavioral imperatives of claiming territory, establishing social dominance and sexual mating. Presenting his work as both groundbreaking theory and a self-help guide, Glass attempts to demonstrate how virtually every decision we make and every thought we have, however pragmatic or spiritual, is rooted in a group of biological imperatives that are hardwired in our essentially animal brains. According to the author's model, we seek to expand and protect our territory, and to continue our genetic line and secure a position within the ""pack""; what's left is, for the most part, intellectualized small talk. We believe in God, Glass maintains, ""in order to have a way in which we can act out our supplicant behaviors (prayer) to a symbol (God) of the forces that exact control over our lives."" While Glass argues well for his theories, readers may balk at his reductionism, and at assertions like this: ""The mid-life crisis is simply a middle-aged adult's realization that their dreams of dominance when they began their careers some 15 years earlier will never be achieved. When we make a mid-life career change for whatever complex and rational reasons, we are simply looking for another arena in which to try once again to become leader of the pack."" Glass, who switched careers from neuroscience to venture capitalism, may be drawing on his own experience here, but he neglects to discuss properly mid-life stories in which people who have achieved great success suddenly find that success shallow. In addition, Glass fails to consider fully the intriguing question of how adoption of his thesis could transform not only our emotional well-being, but society as a whole. (May)
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