Litkicks Message Board Archive

Darwinian Notes from the Underground

Posted to WritersAndGenres

Are there any LitKickers into evolutionary psychology/behavioral ecology/behavioral genetics who cannot help but apply Darwinian thinking to literature? I found Dostoevsky as a teenager, and although I was a physical anthropology major as an undergraduate, I took all the literature and poetry classes I could. When I reread Brothers Karamazov and Notes from the Underground in a Russian Lit class I thought--of course there are underground, weird, illogical, self-defeating, against-your-own-will tendencies in thought, feeling, and behavior. Evolutionary thinking explains these psychological phenomena with much great parsimony than any other 20th C. psychological approach. Intragenomic conflict too, has fantastic potential for elucidating conflict within one's consciousness. For example, Paternally versus maternally derived genes can, under recurrent evolutionary conditions, receive disparate cost/benefit outcomes for incestuous matings. Intrapsychic conflict over whether or not to have sex with one's libidinous cousin may have more to do with Charles' theory than with Sigmund's! Anybody out there interested in this line of thinking?