Nigel Nicholson

Like any other discipline evolutionary psychology gives us insight – a very profound insight. However, it doesn’t answer the question about what we do with that insight – that’s the area of choice. Evolutionary psychology says that our choices are subject to forces and we need to be aware of this. Frequently we give in to these forces. We could argue, for example, that huge corporations are not healthy for the human spirit in many ways. Yet we continue to create huge, monolithic organizations because we want the things that they do. That’s the price we’re prepared to pay. We’re prepared to create, as it were, organizations that make life miserable for many people. We pay them sufficiently to endure that misery in order to produce the things that we want in a competitive market economy. It is for this reason that in my book, Managing the Human Animal, I talk about collisions between psychology and economy – because economy ‘serves up’ psychology in a perverse way. It is all very well saying that this is bad for us – it’s rather like saying we shouldn’t have so much salt in our food – but it still sells. There are many ways in which we battle against our own nature – pitting one part of it against another, e.g. pitting the strongly consumerist part of our nature against the more sensible part that says: hold on a minute, that might not be good for you. None of us is immune to this. As human beings we are all subject to following our impulses.

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