The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Title The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior
Author Ivan Fuchs
Publisher Radius Book Group (April 19, 2019)
Format Kindle, Hardcover, Audiobook     
Page 604     
Language English     
ISBN #10 /#13 9781635766011  / 9781635766011     

“This book is an attempt to explain some of the phylogenetic mechanisms that brought about in humans the innate liability of developing varied forms of dysfunctional or maladaptive behavior, the graver of which are categorized as mental disorders.” The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Functional Behavior. (Fuchs, 2019, LOC 104).

Prescient

Please note, if you are not a psychiatric professional read the summary and then go to the Synopsis and take a look at the diagram I have provided for your understanding. If you are a mental heath professional please read on.

Author’s Bio

Dr. Ivan Fuchs is the author of The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior. Dr. Fuchs retired after 3 decades of experience gained from working as a Practitioner of Clinical Psychiatry. Originally from Hungary, Dr. Fuchs emigrated to Israel early in his career where he currently resides today with his family.  

“In my opinion, these mechanisms, or more exactly, their extreme poles on a diversified scale (as a result of relaxation of natural selective pressures), constitute the inherited foundations of most common mental disorders.” (Fuchs, 2019, LOC 209).

Who is the audience for this textbook?

Dr. Ivan Fuchs forms a thesis in The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior. Dr. Fuchs based his theory on his extensive professional experience; principally psychiatry, knowledge of biology, genetics, and primatology. Dr. Fuchs thesis is not peer reviewed or published in any professional scientific journals. Dr. Fuchs expresses doubt that this publication will have broad appeal and he believes that it will fall into a narrow niche’ primarily for medical professionals. Those most likely to benefit from reading Dr. Fuchs theory would be: Professional Mental Health Clinicians and Researchers; Research Fellows, Students of Psychological Medicine; Researchers of Psychiatric Medicine; Students of Psychiatry, and Clinical Psychiatrists interested in this evolving subject.

Synopsis

Due to the complexity of the Fuchs theory and the myriad of related co-dependencies, I have chosen to focus on the key concepts of his treaty. I’ve done this in order to minimize extraneous issues and to simplify the review to enhance understanding for the reader.

In brief, the author of The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior posits that there are two separate and distinct Natural Selection Pressures that have influenced human development over Phylogenetic Period. The Selective Pressures are the Active and Reactive Mechanisms of Mental Disorders.

Natural Selection Pressures

1. Active Mechanisms of Mental Disorders

Consisting of three key mechanisms; these are as follows:

  1. Forces of Natural Selection
  2. Intra-group Natural Selection Pressures (IGNSP’s)
  3. Late Stage of Human Evolution; Post Agricultural Revolution 10,000 years ago.

2. Reactive Mechanisms of Mental Disorders

4. Relaxation from Natural Selective Pressures due to genetically diverse factors including but not exclusive to: Cross cultural breeding, advances in democracy, proliferation of technology, and interbreeding.

Dr Fuchs volume does not contain any illustrations or models of his theory, so I have created one here to aid the reader in understanding his central concept.

Geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky “It is possible and indeed probable, that occupational differences between human populations usher in some correlated genetic differences” (Dobzhansky, 1962, p. 250). And: “When the environment is highly diversified, as it is in civilized societies, all these genotypes may find suitable opportunities.” (Dobzhansky, 1962, p. 250).

Dr. Fuchs proposes that the relaxation from Sexual Selection Pressures also have influence vis-à-vis the “Good Genes Hypothesis: (Buss, 2008, pp. 190-191), as well as “minor Marriage” custom of third-world cultures (Wilson, 1998, p. 175), where decisions relating to marriage are not made by the couple, but controlled by some authority figure often for the financial benefit of the bride’s family in the form of a dowry. Dr. Fuchs observes that only humans and some primates share aberrant behaviors and responses to Evolutionary Mechanisms. He also postulates that over time incidences and varieties of mental health disorders have increased in humanity arising from the Reactive Evolutionary Forces.

“To my knowledge no evidence exists that the human genome is changing in any overall direction. The big story in recent human evolution is not directional change, not natural selection at all, but homogenization through immigration and interbreeding. Its main consequence is the gradual erasure of previous racial differences. It also increases the range of individual variations within the population and across the entire species. Many more combinations of skin color, facial features, talents, and other traits influenced by genes, are new arising than ever existed before. Variance increases, the extremes are extended new forms of hereditary genius and pathology are more likely to arise.” (Wilson, 1998, pp. 271-273, emphasis added).

Conclusion

The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior by Dr. Ivan Fuchs is likely to be best received by medical professionals. Due to a combination of the complexity and virgin science nature of the subject, there will likely be limited interest from the laity. The appeal could be increased through the utilization of diagrams, images, lists, tables, and chronology; as well as empirical evidence. 

This book is based more on Dr. Fuchs opinion rather than on The Scientific Method. The complete lack of peer review papers, the absence of empirical and other supportive data impedes its worth. However, the theory is an interesting and challenging one. As with many books of its type it provides a very dry read. This dryness could be ameliorated through appropriate use of graphic enhancements. I also noticed a great deal of repetition within the text. The repetition Dr. Fuchs states is an aid to impress elements of his theory in the mind of the reader. 

I found the scattered nature of the sections in this book added to the difficulty of understanding the underlying theory. There was a lack of flow that created confusion at times; not due to the subject matter or the jargon but arising out of the jumps across multiple chapters. I found run-on sentences and the generally poor use of punctuation and grammar impeded the enjoyment of reading. The combination of writing style, lack of infographics, and poor punctuation made this book a beast to read. Happily, these limitations are easily remedied with the aid of a competent editor. To the editor please include a glossary of medical terms for the uninitiated.

Summary

For the layperson, this book discusses the opinions of Dr. Fuchs. In short, the idea is that in the past humanity and some primates collaborated on the basis of natural selection. This natural selection changed across time from Active to a Relaxation of the forces (pressures) that had earlier shaped humanity. In the later stage (Relaxation Phase) the pressures changed by external factors such as technology and interbreeding. As a result, there is speculated to be an increase in the number and variations of mental health disorders. It is also expected that there will be an increase in the numbers of geniuses and other gifted humans. The concept is interesting and challenges traditional theories. If you are interested in this topic, I would wait for the illustrated and re-edited version.   

Suggested Reading

Bake, M. (1998) Darwin’s Black Box: The biochemical challenge to evolution. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Sadock’s comprehensive textbook of psychiatry, 8th Ed., Col. 1 Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-lll) (Fuchs, (2019), LOC 3747). Link to the entire manual: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3176302/  

P. R Adoriaens &A. De Black (eds.), Maladapting minds: Philosophy, psychiatry, & Evolutionary theory. Oxford. OxfordUniversity Press.

Daly, M., & Wilson, M. (1995) The Man Who Mistook his Wife For a Chattel.

Perry, S. (2011). Manipulative monkeys: The capuchins of Lima’s Barbuda. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Acknowledgment

My sincere thanks go to: The Author, NetGalley, and the Publisher, for affording me the opportunity to review of The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior.

The Battle of Britain Broadcaster – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Title The Battle of Britain Broadcaster
Author Robert Gardner
Publisher Air World (September 30, 2019)
Format Kindle, Hardcover
Page 272
Language English
ASIN: B07YCTPNJB

Author’s Bio (from Amazon)

“Robert Gardner worked as a journalist for four years before moving into public relations with the British Aircraft Corporation becoming Head of Publicity and later Vice President of British Aerospace and BAE Systems. Robert Gardner, who is now retired, was appointed MBE in 2001.”

Who is the Target Audience?

The Battle of Britain Broadcaster: Charles Gardner, Radio Pioneer and WWII Pilot will appeal to anyone interested in British WWII history. History students will find the contents of this book revealing and a genuine look into the times of Britain’s greatest conflict.

Synopsis

The Battle of Britain Broadcaster is unlikely to be a populist favorite. I felt whilst reading this book that it was a publication too late in the day to ever be truly popular as it might have been. That being said, the book is resplendent with fascinating nuggets of intelligence on a myriad of subjects. I found the involvement of Gardner with Lord Mountbatten on the matter of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip Of Greece when he was attending The Naval collage at Dartmouth at the age of 18 and the Princess was a mere 13 years of age to be most revealing. Gardner managed to go far on a Gammer School Education and reached the dizzying heights of the Ministry of Information and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). During his service to King and Country he established many of the principals of broadcasting that the BBC uses today.

Conclusion

I really did want to love this book, but it never really happened. It felt trapped in the past like a man living off of bygone glories. People in today’s Britain are more concerned with right now rather than with the future or the past. For this publication; the Britain of World War 2 and the Britain of the Eurozone of today are literally worlds apart.

Acknowledgement

My sincere thanks go to: NetGalley and Air World for affording me the opportunity to review The Battle of Britain Broadcaster: Charles Gardner, Radio Pioneer and WWII Pilot.

THIS IS GOING TO HURT – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Title This Is Going To Hurt
Author Adam Kay
Publisher Picador (Feb 20, 2020)
Format Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover, and Audiobook     
Page 80     
Language English     
ISBN # 1509858636 ISBN #-13 (9781529034035)     

Author’s Bio

This is Going to Hurt was written by Adam Kay. In this book he shares his personal anecdotes as a doctor working in the British National Health Service (NHS) during early 2000s. His recollections come from a diary he kept, detailing the ups and downs of life on the wards. Kay was inspired to write this book after a senior member of the government had made a claim that junior doctors, expecting to work less than 79 hours per week, were greedy. In This is Going to Hurt, Kay shows us the extremes of being a young doctor in the modern NHS. 

Who is the Target Audience?

This is Going to Hurt is suitable for all those interested professionals or amateurs who find the life of doctors to be scintillating reading. Kay doesn’t spare us the gritty facts of life of a junior doctor and later a Senior Registrar. In this book there are some really funny tales and some truly dreadful stories of life and death. If you enjoy blood and guts descriptions of desperately sad and appalling ends, then you may enjoy the wild ride hanging on the white coat tails of Dr. Kay. If you are British, you may also gain a greater appreciation for the young medics that you interact with during your health visits. 

Synopsis

The most significant part of This is Going to Hurt is dedicated to the abuse and neglect that many doctors are exposed to working within the British NHS. Dr. Kay discloses the scarcity of essential amenities required for proper medical care in the NHS. He explains the long hours of unpaid work forced upon doctors. He describes the lack of sleep and the abandonment of family, friends, and holidays. Worst of all, he describes how the enumeration is woefully inadequate for the myriad of drawbacks. Ultimately, after long periods of neglect by his employers a life altering incident prompts a change in his thinking and eventually leads him on a new path.

Conclusion

Adam gives us a view of the true life of a doctor on the wards of a British NHS hospital. He reminds us that doctors are only human. They are not infallible; they need love, care, and respect as we all do. They have the failings we all share and he prompts us to realize that. Most of all he wants us to understand that neglecting those who care for us is dreadful and that we should value and cherish the sacrifices; social, financial and psychological that doctors working in the NHS endure to provide you with world class health service.

Acknowledgment

My sincere thanks go to: NetGalley, and Picador for affording me the opportunity to review This is Going to Hurt.

Manet and Modern Beauty – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

TitleManet and Modern Beauty: The Artist’s Last Years
EditorsScott Allan, Emily A. Beeny, and Gloria Groom (Ed.)
PublisherGetty Publications 1st Edition (25 Jun, 2019)
FormatKindle     
Page400    
LanguageEnglish     
ISBN #1606066048 ISBN #-13 (978-1606066041)     

The editors of this work should be proud. They have managed to create a work of art that Édouard Manet would have considered a fitting epitaph. The publication is dripping with beautifully reproduced works by the brilliant and talented Manet.

Who is the Target Audience?

This book is a must have for anyone who enjoys the Impressionist period of Modern Art. I would especially recommend this volume to students of art history or those with a love of the Impressionist Movement. There is so much information in the book that it could reasonably be considered as an encyclopedia of the artist and his works.

Synopsis

The contents are arranged in an organized fashion with accompanying high-quality photographic images of Édouard Manet’s paintings, sketches, personal letters, and more; much more. The Editors include a useful chronology dating from 1876 until Manet’s death in 1882. You can expect to learn about his background, his years at the Salon (Portrait of Antonin Proust, 1880. Cat. 22). We also learn details of his personal challenges experienced shortly before his tragic death. It is evident from Manet’s works included herein that Velasquez was one of his major influences. I believe that is most evident in Manet’s oil painting on canvas entitled A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1881. The Editors have made it easy to reference the illuminations.

The aspect of the book I enjoyed the most is the personal letters which Manet illustrated with wonderful watercolor sketches. Sketches that elevate an otherwise mundane note to a whole new level (See the Chapter entitled: Manet’s Little Nothings). After reading this “Manet Encyclopedia” I have a more complete understanding of the man and his work. I found the Chapter on Manet’s methods and Materials to be interesting and educational; as any artist would. By viewing the artists’ palette, we can see the insight for the paintings he created. There are close up images of individual brushstrokes revealing some of his methods in applying oil paint; an aspect that I found to be very helpful. I adored the summary of pigments detailed in a table complete with abbreviations, techniques employed, and references. There is even a color chart detailing individual colors that Manet used in his palette. Keep a look out for the Chapter on Manet’s private selection of personal letters 1878-83, for a genuine insight into the mind of the artist. It’s appropriate that the chapter of personal letters is followed by Plates that include a Portrait of Édouard Manet, 1867 (painted by Henri Fantin-L’atour) See Cat. 1. The Plates are resplendent with painting after painting. I laughed when I saw his painting of a brioche with a rose in it. This image in particular speaks of the artist’s outlook on life. I have yet to see a better painting of Irises in watercolor than the one contained in this tome.

Conculsion

The book concludes with a Catalogue of the Exhibition – 1866. Manet was at the height of his power as is evident from the contents of the catalogue. The Editors generously provide us high-quality images of the paintings from the 1866 exhibition.
This is the seminal work in my opinion of the late years of Édouard Manet and is a fitting epitaph to the great artist. I have no compunction in recommending this work of editorial art to you.

Acknowledgment

My sincere thanks go to: NetGalley, and J. Paul Getty Museum for affording me the opportunity to review “Manet and Modern Beauty.”