LOVE AND HATE: The Natural History of Behavior Patterns by Irenaus Eibl-Eibesfeldt

LOVE AND HATE: The Natural History of Behavior Patterns

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Drawing on both comparative biology and the cross-cultural literature, Dr. Eibl-Eibesfeldt contests a posteriori the theory put forth by such animal behaviorists as Robert Ardrey (African Genesis, 1962) and Konrad Lorenz (On Aggression, 1966) that man's actions are ultimately influenced by innate and destructive aggressive impulses. While not denying the existence of strong anti-social drives in man, Eibl-Eibesfeldt argues that they are ""counter-balanced by his equally deep-rooted social tendencies"" -- altruistic behaviors resulting from phylogenetic (or evolutionary) bond-establishing patterns which begin with the primary mother-child relationship and are strengthened by other family ties, friendships, communal activities, etc. ""The disposition toward intolerance and aggression is certainly innate in us, but we carry no mark of Cain upon our brows. . . we are good by inclination."" This is welcome news of course for those of us who have been brooding recently about our imperative territoriality, but Eibl-Eibesfeldt's optimism will hardly put the controversy to rest: his methodology is at best questionable, at worst reductive. Nor will the essay because of the turgidity of the language find the wide readership enjoyed by Ardrey, Lorenz, Desmond Morris (The Naked Ape, 1967), or Jane van Lawick-Goodall (In the Shadow of Man, p. 914).

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 1971
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston