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Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst



Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

Author: Robert M. Sapolsky

Publisher: Penguin Press

Genres:

Publish Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN-10: 1594205078

Pages: 800

File Type: PDF

Language: English

Book Preface

Behave

The fantasy always runs like this: A team of us has fought our way into his secret bunker. Okay, it’s a fantasy, let’s go whole hog. I’ve single-handedly neutralized his elite guard and have burst into his bunker, my Browning machine gun at the ready. He lunges for his Luger; I knock it out of his hand. He lunges for the cyanide pill he keeps to commit suicide rather than be captured. I knock that out of his hand as well. He snarls in rage, attacks with otherworldly strength. We grapple; I manage to gain the upper hand and pin him down and handcuff him. “Adolf Hitler,” I announce, “I arrest you for crimes against humanity.”

And this is where the medal-of-honor version of the fantasy ends and the imagery darkens. What would I do with Hitler? The viscera become so raw that I switch to passive voice in my mind, to get some distance. What should be done with Hitler? It’s easy to imagine, once I allow myself. Sever his spine at the neck, leave him paralyzed but with sensation. Take out his eyes with a blunt instrument. Puncture his eardrums, rip out his tongue. Keep him alive, tube-fed, on a respirator. Immobile, unable to speak, to see, to hear, only able to feel. Then inject him with something that will give him a cancer that festers and pustulates in every corner of his body, that will grow and grow until every one of his cells shrieks with agony, till every moment feels like an infinity spent in the fires of hell. That’s what should be done with Hitler. That’s what I would want done to Hitler. That’s what I would do to Hitler.

Behave

Contents

Also by Robert M. Sapolsky

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

INTRODUCTION

One THE BEHAVIOR

Two ONE SECOND BEFORE

Three SECONDS TO MINUTES BEFORE

Four HOURS TO DAYS BEFORE

Five DAYS TO MONTHS BEFORE

Six ADOLESCENCE; OR, DUDE, WHERE’S MY FRONTAL CORTEX?

Seven BACK TO THE CRIB, BACK TO THE WOMB

Eight BACK TO WHEN YOU WERE JUST A FERTILIZED EGG

Nine CENTURIES TO MILLENNIA BEFORE

Ten THE EVOLUTION OF BEHAVIOR

Eleven US VERSUS THEM

Twelve HIERARCHY, OBEDIENCE, AND RESISTANCE

Thirteen MORALITY AND DOING THE RIGHT THING, ONCE YOU’VE FIGURED OUT WHAT THAT IS

Fourteen FEELING SOMEONE’S PAIN, UNDERSTANDING SOMEONE’S PAIN, ALLEVIATING SOMEONE’S PAIN

Fifteen METAPHORS WE KILL BY

Sixteen BIOLOGY, THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, AND (OH, WHY NOT?) FREE WILL

Seventeen WAR AND PEACE

EPILOGUE

Acknowledgments

Appendix 1: Neuroscience 101

Appendix 2: The Basics of Endocrinology

Appendix 3: Protein Basics

Glossary of Abbreviations

Notes

Illustration Credits

Index

About the Author


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