Platitudes drop like bricks from a clear blue sky:
In the same vein, Syme and Hagen go on to inform us, “… what the disease perspective has done is distract us from talking about the source of most mental anguish: adversity, often caused by conflicts with powerful or valuable others, such as employers, mates and kin.”
What? Are they really saying that no counselor has ever paid close attention to the effects of work and relationship issues in triggering serious depression?
The actual difference between typical mental health counsellors and evolutionary anthropologists is that the former do not treat mental health issues as if everyone involved were an animal, lacking reason and moral choice. But the evolutionary anthropologist, at least in Syme and Hagen’s account of their discipline, is obliged to do so. Evolutionary anthropology seems to mean never having to say that reason and moral choice matter.
Here’s a giveaway line: “Our ancestral lineage has grappled with adversity since before the dawn of Homo sapiens.” Yes, and doubtless the trilobite grappled with adversity too. But it wasn’t until the “dawn of Homo sapiens” that self-awareness made unhappiness a philosophical issue (As in, “Why are things the way they are?”)Denyse O’Leary, “Why does “evolution theory” trivialize everything it touches?” at Mind Matters News
Probably, any perspective that sees humans as merely evolved animals will offer platitudes and prescriptions for suffering, rather than insight or inspiration.
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