This hefty debut explores an all-embracing theory of evolutionary psychology.
For their first book, Bajramovic and LeMay attempt to forge a theory of social psychology, evolutionary biology, spirituality, politics—in general, all the activities of the human race. This sounds ambitious—and the scope of their explanation certainly is—but the theory Bajramovic and LeMay expound is (once it’s parsed out) surprisingly basic, focusing on the interplay of three Primal Mindsets: fighting, appeasing, and defeated—three factors Bajramovic derived from his work on victimization. The pair believes that these states—in addition to the Primal Games they engender, the “Integrating Self Function,” and the four “force factors” (i.e., recognizing needs and the possibility of fulfilling them)—have sufficient explanatory power to cover the whole spectrum of human behavior. Bajramovic and LeMay recognize that, of course, human behavior is complicated; yet they describe systems emergent from these simple factors, including the development of life on Earth and major historical moments. To prove the primacy of these mindsets, the authors use a range of sources, mining neuroscience and psychology on brain function and finding examples of the three Primal Mindsets in history and pop culture. Some of this data rests on shaky foundations—the brain is mysterious even to top-tier neuroscientists—but the authors, gripped by their theory, are capable of seeing it wherever they look, so that no loose strand compromises the whole. Ultimately, their purpose is in self-help: “Understanding the process can help us more fully ‘humanize’ our environments. It can help transform how we operate our institutions, how we educate children. It can help us conduct politics and the affairs of business in a more humane fashion. If nothing else, it can help an on-going evolution of our consciousness by opening doors to ourselves.” Though this theory involves some reduction of higher-level cognitive processes—for instance, it’s hard to imagine where the pursuit of aesthetic pleasure fits in—Bajramovic and LeMay present an extensive, if occasionally jumbled, case for the pervasiveness of victimization in social and personal spheres and how we might harness and refocus that energy for good.
Not the whole story, but the psychology discussed here could aid many in evaluating their places in the world.