Beyond the Chimpanzee

While this essentially primate cult has recently led Britain onto the rockiest road that it has encountered since it stood alone against the might of the Nazis in 1940, there is still time for our American friends to step back from their precipice. While events in Britain have propelled a female leader to power to clean up the mess that alpha males have left behind, the US may yet more wisely choose a female leader to prevent them toppling off the edge in the first instance. However, first of all, Hillary Clinton has to avoid becoming invisible as Trump attacks her equally alpha male husband, a (literally) tall order given the human instinct to focus on the male display during adversarial exchanges; a pitfall that she did not wholly manage to avoid in the most recent presidential debate.

Evolutionary psychology has been unfairly criticised as a deterministic discipline, but nothing could be further from the truth. Human beings have an evolved capacity for metacognition– that is to create a conscious awareness of our own thought processes, which protect us against our worst instincts. It is now time for a very public, transatlantic discussion of the damage that the cult of the alpha male leader can wreck on even the most liberal and sophisticated societies, and how this might be avoided in the future. Evolutionary psychology is the thinking tool that can most effectively shine a light into this very dark corner of the human soul.

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