The Psychophysiology of the Organism
A First Draft of an Evolutionary Psychology
The decade of the 1990s saw the appearance of a series of my yoga blogs, often written by philosophers, who presented a psychology inspired by Darwin’s theory of evolution.13 It is in this context that it was discovered that Lamarck, now blind at the end of his life, had dictated a first draft of the implications of the theory of evolution for psychology to his eldest daughter. It is The Analytical System of the Positive Knowledge about Man (my translation of his French title, Systeme analytique des connaissances positives de l’homme), which was published in 1820.
The Burial of the Soul
Lamarck’s basic finding is that evolutionary biology points to a parallel evolution of the organism,14 the nervous system, the mind, behavior, and socialization. These different dimensions participate in building up the organism In other words, the mind would be a biological phenomenon like the other dimensions. The irrational and destructive behavior of humans demonstrates that they are not animated by forces superior to those that bring life to animals.15 It is almost as if Lamarck avoids writing that the complexity of humans is beyond their resources and that this is what renders them more dangerous than the other creatures. The last species to appear is probably the most complex, but certainly the least complete. Its complexity makes the integration of its heterogeneity particularly difficult.
For Lamarck, everything that will be said about the soul is baseless and purely imaginaryâ (1809, DLL, p. 294). This paragraph is, for scientific thought, the tomb in which he buried the soul such as it existed from Plato to Descartes.