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       editors' musings

tim horvath   |   poetry editor








Tim Horvath received his MA in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and will soon finish his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of New Hampshire. He taught high school English for nine years, and currently teaches Creative Nonfiction at UNH. Tim's story "The Understory" won the 2006 Raymond Carver Prize sponsored by Carve Magazine, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His interest in cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary psychology has led him to give talks at various conferences, including ones with Jason Ronstadt on the dreaming brain and literature. His novel-in-progress, currently entitled Goodbye in Many Languages, involves conservatory musicians, goth kids, chemists, potters, alienated actors, and rhesus monkeys. His stories have been published or are forthcoming in pacificREVIEW, Seventh Quark, The Journal of Caribbean Literatures, Cranky, and The Abiko Annual. He can be found at www.timhorvath.com.






Evolutionary Tao?


 Lise Carlson. Enso. 2006. Oil on canvas, 20x24.     







When Alice coined the term “evolutionary tao” for this latest issue, my gut reaction was, Hmmm, catchy, but what does it really mean? I’m still not sure I know what it means, but as soon as I mouth the words, I feel them start to spar with one another, vying for something. What? A fundamental view of nature? Indeed, nature in an evolutionary perspective offers up a rather different template for joint-cutting than does Taoist nature. Randomness and natural selection are decidedly different forces from yin and yang, the dynamic tensions traced by Taoism. What they share is a perpetual flux, but the differences appear to be more salient than the common ground.
Still, maybe in spite of their foreignness to one another, maybe because of it, the juxtaposition of these words and ideas is worth pondering. Both terms are adept at mingling with other words, attaching themselves readily in the agora of ideas, altering whatever they come into contact with. Thus we get Evolutionary Politics, The Tao of Physics, Evolutionary Game Theory, The Tao of Sex, The Evolution of

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Goodbye in Many Languages



Considering that Tim's team of muses have been singularly occupied with his novel, Goodbye in Many Languages, there's no musing to spare this time around. In fact, the novel revolves around music, but that's another story. Here, however, is a brief passage that pertains to some of the themes of this 8th issue of Entelechy, in the point of view of Elena, a (somewhat-frustrated) chemist.

And that was what marriage was for, for the stuff you couldn’t get on your own, no matter how resourceful you were. A penis was too obvious and probably you could get one of those nowadays if you went through the proper channels; no, it had to be more than that. Matter was made from atoms clinging to others that had what they lacked. Lack and compensation: the fundamental driving forces of the universe. She’d think this way, and then she’d catch herself, thinking People are different. They’re not sulfur and chromium and vanadium.  But, the internal argument would continue, it’s One Universe, not Two. What if people weren’t altogether different from the elements that, at some level, comprised every bit of their being? There were, after all, enough elements that sometimes she imagined you could find a version of every human relationship somewhere in there. Maybe even understand them. She’d pictured herself as the Chemical Astrologer, cranking out a weekly column. “How to Figure out What Element You Are,” and “What to Do If You Find Yourself Dating a Noble Gas." It made as much sense as the zodiac, and probably a lot more, although she was convinced too that one day some astrophysicist would become the world’s premier astrologer, citing arcane equations and the spectral properties of stars instead of just pointing to the sky and trying to feign conviction that twins, crabs, and scales dwelled there.




By Way of an Introduction









Let’s say you’re a writer, just suppose, that has heard a little something, or more than a little something, about evolutionary psychology. Maybe you tanked in high school science classes and found your niche on the school literary magazine, fled to a liberal arts school like a conscientious objector on draft day, and never took so much as Physics for Poets. Maybe you even lived with a bunch of science folks and, well, you kind of liked their approach, not necessarily to matters academic but to meal preparation, their way of perceiving the world around them, their wonderment at real, living things like bats and cormorants, the way they tricked you into eating raisins because they offhandedly told you they contained vasopressin, the memory hormone. Let’s say you picked yourself up from the toilet seat

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The Understory

First prize-winner in the 2006 Carver Awards (Carve Magazine's fiction contest),
judged by Bill Henderson, president and editor of Pushcart Press.







Anyone but Lear, Schoner thinks. He hobbles across the pebbled path, toward the periphery of the woods, where he can still plant the walker almost flat. On he goes, “Let not…to true mind’s marriages…admit…impediments.” Even as he pitches himself forward on hard end-consonants, he senses the quote is off: the right author but the wrong words, the right words, the wrong play, maybe not even a play. Not only wrong but ironically wrong. Anyone but Lear, he has vowed for a long time, and he is none other.

As he pauses to survey the woods, he feels them staring back, judging, rejecting his desire for entrance. Like he is some illegal, trying to cross a border without the proper papers. The sun catches him as he curses the wood that he wants to be in. This is the most devastating part of age,


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alice andrews   |   editor/publisher






Alice Andrews (with philosophy and psychology degrees from Columbia University) teaches psychology with an evolutionary lens at the State University of New York at New Paltz, where she is helping to implement an Evolutionary Studies program modeled on David Sloan Wilson's EvoS program at SUNY Binghamton. She is an editor and writer (books and magazines), and was the associate editor of Chronogram from 2000-2002. She is also the author of Trine Erotic, a novel that's been used in various college courses nationwide because of its exploration of evolutionary psychology among other things. Alice is currently working on a book (based on her essay with the same title, published in The Global Spiral) called An Evolutionary Mind (to be published as part of Imprint Academic's series: "Societas: Essays in Political and Cultural Criticism"), and plans to begin writing another novel soon.



                          photo: rick lange



A Theory of Fitness

Musings for the 8th issue on 'love and power'

When I was putting this issue together and soliciting contributions and submissions, an oft-repeated response was: "I get 'sex and power,' but 'love and power'? " Yes, love and power. There are many relationships between these forces of nature, and "A Theory of Fitness" (among other things), explores one.






That estrogen is love
and testosterone is power.
That yin and yang exist
in a socially constructed, naturally and sexually
selected, epigenetic cosmos.
if I were
If I were a man with about 20 times more T than I have and a smaller
corpus callosum
Maybe this would be formatted differently
and I’d write it differently
and it would go in the discourse section

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An Evolutionary Mind

Alice is currently working on a book based on this essay, to be published as part of Imprint Academic's series:
Societas: Essays in Political and Cultural Criticism."




Not that long ago, for about a year, I dated a cute, left-wing economist off-and-on (though mostly off). We found each other attractive and exotic and perhaps even fascinating, but we didn’t get along or get each other one bit. It was a frustrating and futile experiment in the chemistry and mathematics of pairing with someone so different in every way — even our horoscopes said we were disastrous for each other. (That a pretty smart girl like me would even mention the word horoscope in a piece for public consumption would probably make him cringe and clear his throat a few times.) But in the process of going toward something so foreign and at once attractive and repellant, I solidified my worldview that there really are two different kinds of minds.

Recently, the New York Times ran an article titled “The Political Brain.” The piece suggested that the liberal mind and the conservative mind are quite different and that this difference is related to the differences in the way their limbic systems (in particular, the amygdala) respond to particular stimuli — particularly suffering and violence. The author made clear to point out that it was difficult to parse if liberals were born with more sensitive/reactive amygdalae or if their experiences, etc., shaped the patterns of response; and that indeed it was probably a little of both, as these things often are.

Of course, in the game ‘the nature/nurture debate,’ where anyone over the age of 13 knows the answer is: “it’s both,” you are really being asked: To which side do you lean or, perhaps, which side do you defend? And in this game my answer is nature; though I consider myself an interactionist; and am informed by an epigenetic, adaptationist

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Playing with Myself: On Trine Erotic

A self-interview about Alice's novel.






Q.  What are some of the major questions you try to deal with in Trine Erotic?

A.  Well, there are quite a few: Is there free will? What is ‘the will’? What is and is there a single ‘I’? — a self? Are we determined by our genes? Can we (and how and what affect does it have to) go against our ‘nature’? What is the unconscious? Is it what evolutionary psychologists refer to as our universal human nature? Or is it something else? And how does it work? And is there a universal human nature? How does culture influence us? What is art? What is love? And is there something beyond our evolutionary, deep reflexes — some kind of ‘global brain,’ as Howard Bloom suggests, that is motivating us?


Q. You dedicate the book to every woman’s desire and the art within her and to alpha males everywhere. Does that mean it’s not for other males — say, beta?

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read what people have said about TE
An interview with Shalla de Guzman

Alice on Myspace






 Meta-Commentary: A Response to Ben A. Barres' "Does Gender Matter"

sophie andrews                 2006

Alice's response to Barres' commentary published in Nature 442, 133-136(13 July 2006), where he explains "what's wrong with the hypothesis that women are not advancing in science because of innate inability."







I agree with Barres. But I also agree with Pinker.


 How can this be?


Many of us get uncomfortable with fuzzy unreconciliation because when we're in this place ourselves, it feels awful. We are also distrustful of such a position--we want to know where a person stands--are they in the in-group or out-group? If you are sitting on the fence, or worse, enjoying fruits on one side of the fence and going through the gate and enjoying them on the other side too, well then, you really can't be trusted. I think that's fair to say, actually, from a practical standpoint. But we are all often in these states at one time or another; and through a dialectical process we try to reconcile the opposing positions. I think Colin Talbot, who wrote The Paradoxical Primate (I reviewed it, see www.metapsychology.net ) might call this fuzzy state a paradoxical state. As we know, this culture’s good at ‘either-or’ but not so good at ‘both-and’ when dealing with dichotomies. 


Sometimes we’re lucky enough to go through a Hegelian triadic dialectical process, where we pass through thesis to antithesis to synthesis. It's a very male and positivist thing to want to do--and I understand it, as well as I do wanting to stay in the land of abeyance, in the land of the murky, in the land of the unsure; that fairly feminine land of making no claims, wielding no power, trying to make nice with everyone, trying to have it all, wanting to cooperate. I'm very much of the belief that it's my nature that I'm like this, but I know that I can learn to go against this natural tendency. And I try sometimes. And will here.


As an open-minded and free-speech loving evolutionary feminist, I was initially unhappy with


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Pesticide-free New Paltz






Not Alice's musing, but Alice's "brainchild."


Lawn care
Environmental Commission seeks pesticide ban in village
by Erin Quinn

Members of the village's Environmental Conservation Commission (EnCC) are calling for a lawn-care pesticide ban in the Village of New Paltz as well as the "immediate reduction of -- and eventual phase-out of -- consumer and agricultural pesticide-use in Ulster County." In its request, the commission added that it understands that this call for a prohibition of lawn-care pesticides in the Village of New Paltz represents a first step towards this goal.

Citing many adverse impacts to health, the commission is currently sending out a petition that within only a few days has more than 100 signatures. To read the entire petition, which notes that "pesticides are poisons....many of them are known carcinogens, neurotoxins and hormone disruptors," log onto

The move to eliminate pesticide use is the brainchild of Alice Andrews, a village resident, faculty member at SUNY-New Paltz and volunteer on the village's EnCC. Andrews said she was pondering the vast number of

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Meta Review: Reactions to a Review of  The Blank Slate

A dialogue, of sorts, between Jeff Miller and Alice Andrews, on the merits of EP.









After reading H. Allen Orr's review of Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate in The New York Review of Books, a friend political philosopher, Jeff Miller wrote: 

EP <Evolutionary Psychologist>: The desire to rape is evolutionarily hard-wired. It's an inescapable part of ourselves.

RP <Reasonable Person>: Okay, that sounds plausible, seeing how widespread the phenomenon is. It's a good thing that we have an ethical system, grounded in certain conceptions of the person that stem from Enlightenment philosophers, which allow us to morally condemn rape and attempt to prevent it from happening.

EP: That's a result of evolutionary development, too!

                            RP: Oh . . . Well, would the desire for human autonomy — which in its current articulation I would trace back again to the Enlightenment also be hard-wired? Would the desire, for example, of African-Americans for freedom prior to the Civil War and equal treatment during the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s also be something linked to hard-wired traits?

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                               photo: alice andrews       


Being Brave:

In Defense of Naturalism and Essentialism



Often enough, and recently quite often, I hear (or hear behind my back) that someone has dismissed EP — and me — as ‘conservative’ or reactionary. The truth is, EP and its adherents probably cover the political spectrum quite well. But my guess is — contrary to the opinion of many—the majority of evolutionary psychologists will be found hovering somewhere in the center and on the left of the political spectrum. Peter Singer, who wrote, A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution and Cooperation is not alone! And frankly, I can't think of one evolutionary psychologist who is on the right (though I'm sure there are a few).

And here's Daniel Dennett in his latest book Freedom Evolves:

 "Where I think they go wrong [detractors of naturalism] is in lumping the responsible, cautious, naturalists (like Crick and Watson, E. O. Wilson, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, and myself) in with the few reckless overstaters, and foisting views on us that we have been careful to disavow and to criticize." [p.20] 1


 This idea of the unjustified attack on naturalists from the left is a major theme in Pinker's The Blank Slate. And he explains that the essentialist/social constructionist battle during the 70s, where many sociobiologists were the targets of picketing, name-calling and water-dousing, was particularly rough.

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The Semiotics of Shoe Shapes

A halfway serious piece about shoe shapes and what they reveal about personality.

photo: alice andrews, 1992

I showed some of Warren Beatty’s Reds to my sociology class a few weeks ago, to give them a flavor of left and right wing ideology and to give them a little historical perspective. In the film, the revolutionary journalist Jack Reed, who wrote Ten Days That Shook the World, who wrote: “All I know is that my happiness is built on the misery of others....and that fact poisons me, disturbs my serenity, makes me write propaganda when I would rather play” comes down on his beloved Louise Bryant for writing a piece about the Armory Show which had occurred three years prior, while the country is in the midst of war and the possibility of changing the world is imminent. Reed has this deep sense of social responsibility to inform and radicalize readers and he’s irritated with Bryant for her lack of interest in, passion for, and commitment to the ideals of the workers’ movement—for being interested in stale ideas about nothing and which would do nothing.

Well, I must confess, I feel a little like Louise Bryant here. Alas, I have no Warren Beatty (Jack Reed) to rail upon me—but I have internalized him—and he’s angry! My writing about sex and shoes right now feels a little like Bryant writing about the Armory Show of 1913 when it’s 1916, about dead art in the wake of fertile revolution.

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Beyond Paradox

 Alice's review of Colin Talbot's The Paradoxical Primate in Metapsychology.




At first it was hard for me not to be gleeful reading Colin Talbot's The Paradoxical Primate: here was Talbot, an ex-Trotskyist (I grew up the daughter of Trotskyists) with an evolutionary psychological view of human nature (a perspective he and I share) writing in a light and personal style (my favorite); telling me I was about to read a "creative synthesis" of many disciplines: management and organizational theory and research (his current field), public administration, economics, evolutionary psychology, chaos and complexity theory; about a topic that fascinates me--our paradoxical

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wenty years ago, while I was an undergraduate studying philosophy at Columbia, I wrote a paper for Arthur Danto and Herbert Terrace that entertained the possibility that ordinary folk intentional states and propositional attitudes could one day be replaced (in a somewhat eliminative materialist way) by a more scientifically informed lexicon, e.g.,
"Do you remember what you said to her?"     "Sorry, no, bad hippocampal day."
How do you feel today?"     "Oh, very low on serotonin and dopaminergically challenged."

At the time it was fun and almost absurd to suggest that one day we might speak in such

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Meta Study: Reactions to a Study on Female Sexuality

Megan JZ. Muu Birth. 2007. Melted Crayons on Paper.

On the Yahoo Evolutionary Psychology forum, I read that a study done at Northwestern University suggested a difference between female and male sexuality: "In contrast to men, both heterosexual and lesbian women tend to become sexually aroused by both male and female erotica, and, thus, have a bisexual arousal pattern." So I posted my reaction to this and soon found myself in a fairly heated debate with some pretty big and small fish in the field (pool), via private e-mails, as well as on the forum.

From:  "Alice Andrews"
Date:  Fri Jun 13, 2003  1:54 pm
Subject:  Bailey backwards?

When it comes to these issues, I generally take an EPish view (with a
nod to 'Nurture' always); am pretty much of an essentialist, and
though sympathetic to a social constructionist position, basically
find some of SC's arguments flimsy....

However, isn't it possible that since Woman has been objectified
sexually, etc., that we as women have LEARNED to do it as well? That
is, because it is NOT in our nature to 'get off' on things VISUALLY
relative to men...that when it comes to the visual, we have learned
to adopt the male point of view?

John Berger, in WAYS OF SEEING writes:
"Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves
being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men
ansd women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor
of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns
herself into an object–and most particularly an object of vision: a

It seems to me that when it comes to fantasizing with emotions,
stories, feelings, etc....most heterosexual women will not be able to
get sexually aroused about women. Is this just because we've been
socialized into these heterosexual patterns, and that, as Bailey is
suggesting, what in fact turns us on visually is our essential
nature? Or, again, is it that Bailey is a bit biased in his
methodology; that his method to understanding our essential sexuality
is really not appropriate because women's sexuality isn't about
visual stimuli in the first place? Perhaps he's really just studying
the affects of a dominant ideology/gender...and what happens to
certain systems due to plasticity

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 *The researchers, J. Michael Bailey, Meredith L. Chivers, Gerulf Rieger, and Elizabeth Latty have made their paper "A Sex Difference in the Specificity of Sexual Arousal"  which is in press (Psychological Science), available.






Alice's letter responding to Jason Stern's 'Esteemed Reader' column in


Esteemed Reader of Our Magazine:

I start by acknowledging and thanking Dennis Kucinich for the above quote and for making a sound that is extraordinary amid the clatter of the political noise machine. This is a man I would be proud to call my president.

And I proceed by addressing a related subject that has been much in my thoughts. Since it has been in my thoughts I assume that the subject has been making the rounds to the thoughts of others as well.

The subject is: relationship.

What is it to be related — to be in relationship?

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Love is "one's ability, through demonstrative acts, to confer survival benefits on others in a creatively enlarging manner."  
 - Ashley Montegue

 Love is "a wonderful example of long-term focused attention."
 - Lucy Brown

 “The aim is not to choose the right but to become the sort of person who cannot choose the wrong and who no longer has any choice in the matter.” 
 G.M.A. Grube 

Dear Jason,

 I liked your letter about relationships. It made me think. I think attention and attending to the other is what it’s all about. But here’s the problem.

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Unstandardized Minds

Alice's letter to the New Paltz Times supporting the Board of Education's decision
to get rid of standardized testing for 2nd graders.







Love Leaves


It may be that the deep necessity of art is the examination of self-deception. - Robert Motherwell (



In the fall I found two leaves. They were yellow/brown, not my usual favorite color. In fact, this particular muted yellow/brown was a color I had never cared for at all. It was as if suddenly, over night, my nervous system had matured. Whereas before such color on a leaf would have depressed me, now it actually lifted me not to elation, but to a strange contentment and peace. I was actually appreciating its wabi-sabiness, finding its understated, decaying hue quite beautiful.
Had I 'learned' to love this yellow/brown? I don't think so. I think it's deeper than that. I think it's more as if a developmental bioprogram kicked in, an indication of my neurohormonal profile at this stage in my life-history (four decades now).
But something about their roundness and their largeness and their papyrusy shape also made me want to pick them up. I took them home and pressed them in
The Blank Slate. It's 528 pages, so it's a good one for

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editors' soundings





On EPs Potential Usefulness and Other Stuff


Alice's first radio interview on WDST, November 2005; she's so nervous, she can't even remember where Cosmides and Tooby teach, or give a decent definition of entelechy!


hear it




O'Keeffe Flower


The only song Alice ever recorded; recorded at Funkadelic, NYC, 2000.

hear it









Copyright   ©   2006  Entelechy: Mind & Culture.  All rights reserved. New Paltz, NY.