Continuing the journey begun in his acclaimed book The Cosmic Serpent, the noted anthropologist ventures firsthand into both traditional cultures and the most up-todate discoveries of contemporary science to determine nature's secret ways of knowing. Anthropologist Jeremy Narby has altered how we understand the Shamanic cultures and traditions that have undergone a worldwide revival in recent years. Now, in one of his most extraordinary journeys, Narby travels the globe-from the Amazon Basin to the Far East-to probe what traditional healers and pioneering researchers understand about the intelligence present in all forms of life. Intelligence in Nature presents overwhelming illustrative evidence that independent intelligence is not unique to humanity alone. Indeed, bacteria, plants, animals, and other forms of nonhuman life display an uncanny penchant for self-deterministic decisions, patterns, and actions. Narby presents the first in-depth anthropological study of this concept in the West. He not only uncovers a mysterious thread of intelligent behavior within the natural world but also probes the question of what humanity can learn from nature's economy and knowingness in its own search for a saner and more sustainable way of life.
Based on firsthand practical experiences of communicating with natural spirits through meditation, this eye-opening guide to healing the earth teaches how to work with elemental beings by describing each in detail while defining their roles within the web of life. As a result of tuning in to plants, trees, and animals, and illustrating the disrupted flow of energies within the landscape, the true impact of human culture upon the harmony of the natural world is evocatively revealed. Insight into related topics, such as how the long-suppressed Goddess culture embraces these energies to make strides toward healing the earth, can set anyone with earth and landscape concerns—gardeners, growers, designers, and builders—one step closer toward becoming environmental warriors.
Evolutionary psychology and behavioural genetics are two successful and important fields in the study of human behaviour, but practitioners in these subjects have different conceptions of the nature of human intelligence. Evolutionary psychologists dispute the existence of general intelligence and emphasise the differences among species. They argue that natural and sexual selection would be expected to produce intelligences that are specialised for particular domains, as encountered by particular species. Behavioural geneticists consider general intelligence to be the most fundamental aspect of intelligence and concentrate on the differences between individuals of the same species. This exciting book features papers and discussion contributions from leading behavioural geneticists, evolutionary psychologists and experts on intelligence that explore the differences and the tensions between these two approaches. The nature of 'g' or general intelligence is discussed in detail, as is the issue of the heritability of intelligence. The alternative approaches that emphasise domain-specific intelligences are explored, alongside wide-ranging discussions on a broad range of issues such as the biological basis for intelligence, animal models and changes in IQ scores over time.
The "nature versus nurture" controversy dates back to at least the nineteenth century. How much of a role does genetics or environment play in accounting for reasoning skill and other intellectual aptitudes? At a time when the public school system in the United States is under attack, this debate has taken center stage in arguments about what accounts for differences in academic achievement. Maximizing Intelligence convincingly argues that, while both genetics and environment play a role in a child's intelligence, environmental factors, especially at an early age, are of primary importance. Working from this premise, Armor suggests how intelligence may be heightened. Armor presents four propositions about intelligence. His first is that intelligence exerts a major influence on educational and occupational success, following a chronological sequence, from a child's cognitive skills learned before school, to academic success during the school years, to eligibility for college. His second proposition is that intelligence can be changed, at least within limits. There is ample evidence that a child's intelligence is not fully given at birth, but continues to evolve and change at least through the early elementary school years, although at a declining rate. Proposition three is that intelligence is influenced by a series of "risk factors," and most of the influence occurs before a child reaches school age. Risk factors include parent intelligence and education, family income, family structure and size, nutrition, and specific parenting behaviors. The fourth proposition flows from the second and third--that the most promising avenues for maximizing intelligence come from a child's parents. Armor persuasively argues for a "whole family" approach whereby government programs are modified or created to inform parents of risk factors and to reward behaviors that optimize positive outcomes. Maximizing Intelligence is meticulously researched and reasoned, and will be welcomed by those interested in education, sociology, psychology, social theory, and policy studies.