The emotional keys to history
José Antonio Marina unites history and psychology to take a precise X-ray of our journey as a species.
I think I had to write more than fifty books to be able to write this one, which is a synergy of various disciplines––psychology, anthropology, economics, sociology, philosophy, history. This multidisciplinary approach is clearly unorthodox.
We’ve long known that passions move mankind. Herodotus said that history is a succession of acts of revenge. Thucydides saw fear as the cause of the Peloponnesian War.
The great passions are a powerful unifier, and are at the origin of social movements. “Hating is part of humanity. To define and mobilize ourselves we need enemies,” Samuel Huntington.
If individual or collective passions move history, we clearly need to apply psychology to the study of events to develop a psychohistory. Can anyone understand the Spanish Civil War without knowing the emotional challenges, beliefs, fears, hatreds, sufferings, and hopes of the Spaniards at that time?
The protagonists of history are not exclusively rational beings, they are beings moved by passions.
For years now, an “emotional turn” has been taking place in the social sciences. “Behavioral economics” has appeared, knowledge of individual and collective emotions has made progress, evolutionary psychology is revealing the fascinating relationship between biology and culture, and we have valuable monographs on the motivations behind historical events. For all these reasons we are now in a position to outline a history of humanity through its motives.
This book is part of the science of the evolution of cultures which we began with The Biography of Humanity and The Biography of Inhumanity. It closes the circle by attempting to reveal the unseen history, desires, aspirations, fears, and hopes that have driven human beings.