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Sex, Time, and Power: How Woman's Sexuality…

Sex, Time, and Power: How Woman's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution

by Leonard Shlain

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although the main position is simplistic in its assumption by glossing over practicalities of execution the supporting research is fairly solid in itself, should be required reading for dudes ( )
  EhEh | Apr 3, 2013 |
Shlain's hypothesis is that early humans' dawning comprehension of time passing is what jump-started the Creative Explosion -- the Upper Paleolithic Revolution -- 40,000 years ago. That, along with women's ability to say no to sex and men's realization of paternity, fueled art and science and culture and everything else humanity has accomplished since. It's very interesting to read, and Shlain's ideas are worth considering.

I had one problem with this book: Too much poetic license. Shlain personifies evolution as Mother Nature and has her metaphorically "designing" humanity. This obscures the reasons why certain things, such as homo sapienns' sense of time, evolved. It can also be very annoying, especially in his waxing poetic about the insights of Unknown Adam and Unknown Eve. Yes, it fit a lot of ideas into a concise format, but it was too "cute".

Shlain ends with the hope the recent developments and acceleration of human development will lead to a metamorphosis in the species. It'd be nice if he was right. His section on the origins of misogyny and patriarchy would have been too depressed a note to end on. The optimism of the last chapter was a nice counterpoint.

Good book. Worth reading. ( )
  SwitchKnitter | Jul 10, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0142004677, Paperback)

This book sets out to explore why and when people evolved so far away from other mammals in several key ways, all of which Dr. Shlain ties to the biological differences between men and women. As in his excellent prior work The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image (which holds that there are links between the ascendancy of patriarchy and written language and the descent of matriarchal societies and goddess-based religions), some of the concepts proposed in this book might seem a bit of a stretch. And they are—whether or not they turn out to be factual. Shlain contends, for instance, that women essentially invented the concept of time due to their experience of menses. Whatever conclusions the reader comes to, the author exposes the underlying gender biases in so many scientific assumptions; the result is one of those books that cannot help but alter one's perceptions. A consistently engaging writer, Shlain traces the course of his own evolving ideas with what might be called a didactic wit: bold statements are first writ large, then Dr. Shlain reveals how he came upon them, frequently with colorful anecdotes that show these are questions he's been wrestling with for many years. It's difficult to tell whether this fascinating thinker will be viewed as the next Darwin or as a crank, but there's no denying this is an audacious work in the realm of evolutionary biology. --Mike McGonigal

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:03 -0400)

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Explores the mysteries of human evolution and sexuality, addressing such issues as birth, love, homosexuality, menopause, and death, arguing that female sexuality has ultimately shaped the course of humanity.

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