Mature human nature: The evolved nest




On Tues Oct 3, 6:30pm London time, Prof Darcia Narvaez will speak @UCLAnthropology on The Evolved Nest:

“There is something even more than WEIRDness that separates the west from the rest of the world—a mismatch of its modernist-hegemonic-industrialized culture with human species normality. Species normality involves deep nestedness, a factor that affects child raising and child development, human nature, and adult capacities. Earthcentric societies (nomadic foragers and others) over the last hundreds of thousands of years, exist(ed) in nested cooperative companionship (Hrdy, 2009; Narvaez, 2014). In fact, humans evolved to be deeply nested at multiple levels, horizontally, developmentally and vertically. Horizontal nestedness refers to being attentive to traditions developed across generations, connecting to ancestors, and living responsibility to maintain the group into the future. Developmental nestedness relies on a sense of human potential—what optimal human functioning looks like and how to foster and maintain that optimality through humanity’s evolved developmental niche, applying knowledge of dynamic biosocial plasticity in shaping the nature of the individual in community. Developmental nestedness is the central component of nestedness because it shapes the other forms.  Vertical nestedness refers to entangled relationality, honoring one’s interbeing with Earth, Cosmos, and all relations, human and non-human, manifest and unmanifest.

What does nestedness at all these levels do? It cultivates and supports relational consciousness and relational knowhow. Relational consciousness refers to the sense of existing in a web of living, dynamic relations with multiple entities, including the unmanifest—the spiritual, the ancestral, and the future. Relational knowhow for getting along well—respectfully and responsibly with humans and non-humans—is cultivated in a fully nested community. Behavior in real time constitutes holistic cognition, a know-how instead of a know-what, a contextually-situated, embodied enactment of practical knowledge developed via movement, relating, touching.

Humanity’s heritage is to be deeply nested. The dominant culture has unnested itself from humanity’s adaptive heritages, impairing its evolved capacities and potential in a feedback loop of greater disconnection and destruction. Illustrations of nestedness will be provided from ethnographies and reviews of nomadic foragers and other groups. Sample neurobiological and psychological effects will be briefly mentioned when appropriate.”

This talk will be LIVE in the Daryll Forde Seminar Room (2nd Floor) and on ZOOM. Register here to get the ZOOM ID on the morning.