The Human Animal - The Human Zoo

Continuing his fascinating study of the human species, Desmond Morris explores the evolutionary and psychological implications of modern city-living, a kind of environment to which our genes have not yet had time to adapt. In the process, and despite seemingly vast cultural differences, Morris reveals a very odd species replete with arbitrary beliefs, rituals and traditions that work as mechanisms of social cohesion and group identity.

If you've ever thought that most traditions and cultural mores are arbitrary and ridiculous, you'd be totally right, but these kinds of behavior begin to make sense when you think of them at the meta level, as the social glue that binds a particular group of people together and provides a sense of identity and belonging to its members. And as you'll see, people go to insane extremes to maintain a balance between their individualism and their group identity.

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