Nurturing Our Humanity Book Review from @kleffnotes

Riane Esler challenges the notion that human beings are prone to acts of violence and greed in her upcoming book, with anthropologist Douglas P. Fry, Nurturing Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives, and Future. What she argues is that caring behavior is actually the default reaction humans will have and that through this we can build more humane and sustainable societies. This interdisciplinary approach to the topic of society and how it is shaped examines how the flexibility of the human brain can be used to create a more positive world.

With increased desires voiced in a variety of places, including the media and social media(the distinction being made here is that social media is a networking system and is a sort of online community that can act as a sort of composite for human society), in connection to changing the current social dynamic of human society, this books looks at how such a change could be possible. Not only does this work look at just society as a whole, but it breaks it down into smaller elements including parenting, romance, intimacy, politics, social justice, and values. This work delves into the micro elements within the larger macro of global society. Esler, with Fry, is able to provide a path for how we can create a more egalitarian, gender-balanced, and environmentally balanced future.

The idea of partnership and domination as the two designations for society allows for pre-assumed divisions of gender, East and West, and so on. What this does instead is make it possible to look instead and early life and how predispositions for some behaviors are not maintained in certain types of societies. Domination systems have historically appeared under rules of terror and partnership systems strive to enforce caring and helping those within the larger community. This book opens the examination of culture up to a larger lens by also discussing women and children. While there are studies that have been done including these two groups within society, larger discussions of culture often focus on male viewpoints and masculine behavior. This ties into a larger issue of male focused history reporting as those were primarily the people doing the research and also the people that were more often written about and could write due to the patriarchal nature of standardized education for so long. This work instead brings women and children into the larger narrative, without making them just a subset. There are discussions of how the human mind evolves and admittedly providing a deep analysis of each chapter would lead to a much longer review than I am sure you would like to read. Nurturing Our Humanity is a thought provoking read that will reveal to you just how much can be changed  if we just evolve societies to fall more in line with partnership systems. This is not a light read, but instead a work that you should set aside time to really digest and understand. If you are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of psychology and culture this is a book I highly recommend. You can pre-order your copy of Nurturing Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives, and Future today.

Share your thoughts with us in the comments or on Twitter, @thenerdygirlexp. You can find me on Twitter, @kleffnotes, on my blog,, and on my kleffnotes YouTube channel.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s