We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.
Despite these critiques, the popularity of evolutionary psychology in mainstream media has only increased with the rise of Internet journalism throughout the new millennium. The headline of the typical story on evolutionary psychology entices us with a question. Usually it’s a question that the writer seems to imagine we have scratched our heads about—or wrung our hands over—before: “Why Do Men and Women Talk Differently?” “Why Do Men Cheat?” “Why Do Men Find Blondes So Very Attractive?” “Why Do Men Show Off Around Women?” “Why Do Nice Girls Fall for Bad Boys?” “Why Do Women All Seem to Want Taller Men?” But some headlines are more frivolous: “Can Evolution Explain High Heels?” (Spoiler alert: it can!) Still others pose questions that we never thought to ask: “Why Do Women Have Sex?”
In each case, we are presumed to believe in the phenomenon under analysis already. All we require is an explanation, a story that tells us why we are the way we are. Ultimately, the explanation is always the same: evolution—i.e, reproductive advantage. Click on one of these stories and you will find two things: first, the results of a recent psychological study that verifies an observation about a common human behavior; and second, an evolutionary explanation for why that behavior was advantageous for our ancestors. Because their standard operating procedure is to begin from behaviors that they perceive as universal (despite the fact that blond hair, for example, could hardly be considered universally valorized), evolutionary psychologists tend to confirm received wisdom. Many EP studies tautologically assert that widely held social values are… well, widely held. Study finds that most men are attracted to women who are deemed conventionally attractive by society!