The Most Dangerous Animal asks what it is about human nature that makes it possible for human beings to regularly slaughter their own kind. It tells the story of why all human beings have the potential to be so cruel and destructive to one another. Why are we our own worst enemy? The book shows us that violence has been with us---in one form or another---since prehistoric times, and looking at the behavior of our most common relatives, the chimpanzees, it argues that a tendency for group violence has been bred into us over millions of years of evolution. The Most Dangerous Animal examines how and why the human mind can both be appalled with killing and yet still perform such horrible acts against one another. David Livingston Smith presents a very persuasive argument with a multifaceted approach that covers the topic of human behavior from every angle.
The Most Dangerous Animal takes the reader on a journey through evolution,history, anthropology, and psychology, showing how and why the human mind has a dual nature: on the one hand, we are ferocious, dangerous animals who regularly commit terrible atrocities against our own kind, on the other, we have a deep aversion to killing, a horror of taking human life. Meticulously researched and far-reaching in scope and with examples taken from ancient and modern history, The Most Dangerous Animal delivers a sobering lesson for an increasingly dangerous world. Morris 2
While Smith presents extremely strong arguments in terms of psychology, they're are a few concepts which in my opinion are dated and are not accurate. He frequently cites Sigmund Freud, A prestigious psychiatrist from the early 1900's. For the most part, his theories and his model for Freudian psychology (for which he is the namesake) have been debunked and show to not be accurate. However, some of Freud’s ideas still ring true and help fuel Smiths argument into the psychological processes of human beings. This quote of Freud used by Smith is one of...
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