Cook levels a shotgun at the whole pack of animal behaviorists -- Ardrey, Lorenz, Tiger and Fox, Desmond Morris -- accusing...

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IN DEFENSE OF HOMO SAPIENS

Cook levels a shotgun at the whole pack of animal behaviorists -- Ardrey, Lorenz, Tiger and Fox, Desmond Morris -- accusing the man-as-beast theorists of providing the philosophical underpinnings for ""high fences, wire taps and guns."" Tracing the genealogy of ""the bad animal myth"" back to Hobbes and Social Darwinists, she applies a deadly mix of humor and hard science to the pop ethology of African Genesis and The Territorial Imperative. Those who depict man as a creature of aggression, a predatory hunter always striving for dominance, are, she notes, inordinately fond of the mean, truculent baboon -- a species whose connection with man is far more remote than that of either the chimpanzee or the gorilla, both of whom are gentle, gregarious creatures and largely vegetarian to boot. Tiger and Fox, enamoured of the very macho Great White Hunter, completely ignore the mounting evidence that prehistoric men (as well as most primitive peoples today) were primarily gatherers of roots and berries. Extending her argument to modern psychology, Cook notes that both the Freudians and behaviorists see human beings as prisoners of blind, often destructive, instincts. By way of contrast, she points to what she terms ""Third Force Psychology"" best expressed in the work of Maslow who is more concerned with healthy men than neurotics, one of the few who dares to interject value-oriented questions (what is a good man?) into his work. An entertaining and astute polemic, Cook's book is a welcome exploration of the conservative bias of today's social scientists, whose ""brutish"" view of human potential paves the way for economic selfishness and political repression.

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1974