Unknown to humans during the Stone Age, the brain was the center of their nervous system, including the center of emotions. A heart beat faster when one was excited, and among the many assumptions that was to endure was that the heart was the center of emotions.
Humans had a six-layered brain, a brain at the inner-level with involuntary and automatic functions common to other creatures: breathing, sexual responses, vision, mobility, taste and smell functions. The outer part of the brain, especially the prefrontal cortex, was larger in humans than it was in those they had descended. About 100,000 years ago ancestors of humans had a brain weighing about one pound. In Humans this grew to three times that amount, a collection of a 100 billion neurons with as many as 10,000 connections that supplied humans with their cognitive skills.
The nervous system is fibrous and glandular. Those with the right chemicals had survived. A person without a proper balance of chemicals had mental aberrations to contend with, madness or a tougher go of it that discouraged a repetition of the survival of this imbalance. Chemical distribution affected mood and emotions. Beneficial chemicals gave humans empathy – without which they could not have survived. It helped them to live in a group not unlike those canine creatures humans domesticated, creatures with a capacity for empathy seemingly in equal dosage to that of humans. An incapacity for empathy was the stuff of psychopathic loners and the black widow spider, the product of another evolutionary line – a loner who ate her mate immediately after fertilization.
Humans had a chemistry that made rage possible, producing aggression and self-defense, and adrenalin, which supplied extra energy when needed. Rage is a function more of the inner brain. Anger involves a degree of reflection and therefore involves the outer layer of the brain.
Within species nature did not provide precise amounts of anything. Near amounts was the likelihood. Variation existed, with one variation creating the difference between male and female. In the 21st century the question would arise whether males were genetically more prone toward aggression than females.
The distribution of differences of various kinds, in height, intelligence of whatever, between people of different races or between males and females were something more akin to what would be called normal curves, pictured below, than they were simple absolutes. If males in general were more aggressive than females in general, it was likely that there were some females that had more of it than some males. This overlapping is depicted below by the color orange – the differences most likely exaggerated.
The biology of the human brain made humans what they are. People made choices within the time and place that they found themselves. The minds of people were the products of the age and culture within which they lived. Change was built upon what went before. Individuals no matter how bright were impacted by people in general.
The course of human history has been affected by the intelligence of humans in general. Other than this, biological determinism as a theory of history is baseless. It is unsupported by biology as a science, and biologists as scientists propose no such theory of history. To ignore choice and to ignore human interaction with historical circumstances would be to deny a big part of what has happened with humanity.
Copyright © 1999-2011 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.