Letter to the Editor 11,1
Thank you for calling our attention to Daniel Goleman's best seller Emotional Intelligence. We need a good review of it by a competent person. While ostensibly not directed either toward violence or preand perinatal psychology, it nevertheless has a lot to say on both subjects. It has contributions on two things that have puzzled me for many years:
1. What is the origin of sado-masochism which lies at the root of so much violence? AND
2. What is the neural circuitry that causes people to shut down their higher brain centers when under the influence of great stress, fear or deep emotion?
In discussing matters related to the first question Goleman does not mention either Grof or Prescott, however. I hope in future issues of the Journal you will find space to give some of what Dr. Prescott gave us at last fall's Congress. For me I found that Goleman did especially well in suggesting answers to the second question.
I have one problem with Goleman's book. He is obviously playing to the grandstands when he suggests to parents that they need not be concerned if the apple of their eye obviously doesn't have the endowment for a high IQ, they can nevertheless make it to the top in the race of life. I do commend Goleman for making a polite reply to Herrnstein and Murray's book The Bell Curve, but both books miss the point. Dominance is a game played by all social animals going back phylogenetically at least to lizards, and humans are no exception. It is probably one of the prime dynamics that drive human society. Most species manage to play this game without lethal consequences. Not so humans. This "Scar of Evolution" (with apologies to Elaine Morgan) promises to put a speedy end to the human race. Reading books on chaos theory, I surmise that we perhaps have no more than a decade. It could be called the Achilles heel of the human race. Can we in a decade learn to deal with a genetically programmed drive that runs back to lizards? I doubt it. I am depressed. Aren't you? But perhaps the most depressing thing is that so few are even talking about it.
Roger S. Lorenz