May 12, 2017 – Mind & Human Nature

My guest on this program is Daniel Everett, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He is the author of many books, including Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes; Language: The Cultural Tool; and Linguistic Fieldwork: A Student Guide. His life and work is also the subject of a documentary film, The Grammar of Happiness. His most recent book is Dark Matter of the Mind: The Culturally Articulated Unconscious, in which he argues that human nature as normally conceived does not exist. Flying in the face of major trends in evolutionary psychology and related fields, he offers a provocative and compelling argument that the only thing humans are hardwired for is freedom: freedom from evolutionary instinct and freedom to adapt to a variety of environmental and cultural contexts.

Dan’s next book:
How Language Began: The Story of Humanity’s Greatest Invention (To be released November 7, 2017)

Dan Everett’s definition of culture:
“Culture is the abstract network shaping and connecting social roles, hierarchically structured knowledge domains, and ranked values. Culture is dynamic, shifting, reinterpreted moment by moment. Culture is found only in the bodies (the brain is part of the body) and behaviors of its members. Culture permeates the individual, the community, behaviors, and thinking” (66).