Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
Edification Wednesday
How the Mind (Still) Works – Plus:
Steven Pinker on Our Uniquely Peaceful Age

So I recently had occasion to re-read Steve Pinker's How the Mind Works. It was very slightly less thrilling this time around – only because, I'm sure, I've taken onboard so many of its revolutionary ideas and they are now indispensible mental furniture for me – but of course it's as relevant and revelatory as ever. It's also damned funny (despite a few slightly sloggy sections, which are more than made up for by the many soaring sections). It is, I genuinely believe, the most important book of the 20th century.

Just as a for instance, it solves – and I mean puts to bed – what's probably the most important and pernicious problem in the history of philosophy: the mind-body problem. Moreover, this book provides the first draft for an actual understanding of who we are, where we came from, how we got this way – and why we act in the wacky ways we do. Can you think of a more important set of questions? Well, after about five millennia of poets, priests, and philosophers gnawing away at them without effect, the scientists (particularly cognitive neuroscientists and evolutionary psychologists) have recently made enormous progress on this. This book spills it all. It is like reading a holy book, except it's all true.

If you yourself have a mind, you should give your mind a big treat and learn how your mind works. It's a powerful device to be operating without the manual. (buy from amazon.com)  (buy from amazon.co.uk)

I've also been thinking I should post some TED videos. If you don't know TED, well, TED is TED. I'll use one to innaugurate our new "Edification Wednesdays" – see, we're not all frivolity and viral hip-hop videos here on DftRE!

So here's Steve Pinker, on winning form, with an extremely edifying – not to mention reassuring – bit on why "we are living in the most peaceful time in our species' existence." Nineteen minutes, but I promise you won't be bored.

See? Things really are getting better!


  books     evolutionary psychology     science     steve pinker     video  
about
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (2014); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of spec-ops zombie apocalypse dark action thrillers. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

THE MANUSCRIPT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
PANDORA'S SISTERS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
DON'T SHOOT ME IN THE ASS, AND OTHER STORIES by Michael Stephen Fuchs
D-BOYS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
COUNTER-ASSAULT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book One - Fortress Britain, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Two - Mogadishu of the Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Genesis, by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Three - Three Parts Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Four - Maximum Violence, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Five - EXODUS, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Six - The Horizon, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
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