The 1000-year-old novel The Tale of Genji, written by Murasaki Shikibu around 1002 CE, shows the operation of general principles of sociobiology. Isolated from western influences and cloaked in Japanese traditions, the common traits associated with reproductive processes are clearly evident. The novel depicts the differential investment of males and females in offspring, male competitive behaviors, and concerns for paternity, kin selection, reciprocal social exchange, species-typical emotional expression, female mate choice, positive assortative mating, and acknowledgment of hereditary transmission of physical and psychological traits. The nature of human behavior in Genji’s time seems a little different than now and has all the attributes of species-specific and universal traits. Indeed, it can be argued that the fundamental characteristics of Homo sapiens have never changed, being influenced only in form by culture. The qualitative and quantitative evaluation of ancient texts is a strong methodology for understanding the invariant nature of human behavior.
Research Professor. Director at Learning Change Project – Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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