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What Is Your Frame?

October 24, 2011

It is the context through which you see the world, and through which the world, in response, sees you.  Everybody has one, including you. You may not know it as yet, and for that you have the company of a large number of people in the world.

The fact that you don't know it, and that you have come so far without knowing it however, is no reason to ignore it. In fact, the sooner you come to appreciate the elements of your frame, the core things you believe to be true and false about the world, the better able you will be to pursue the things that matter to you. I'll show you why.

The Love Doctor

The idea came to me as I was reflecting on the writings of Helen Fisher who is a global expert on the science of love. More precisely, Dr. Fisher is a Biological Anthropologist, a Research Professor and a member of the Center for Human Evolution Studies in the Department of Anthropology, at Rutgers University. Her website states that "she has conducted extensive research and written five books on the evolution and future of human sex, love, marriage, gender differences in the brain and how your personality type shapes who you are and who you love."

I found her work interesting, but what amazed me, in my reflection, was how her entire perspective was contextualized by her views on human evolution. I hope I am being fair to Dr. Fisher, but from what I get is that she believes human beings have evolved in a way that will protect and enhance mating and reproduction. Take the description for her book The Sex Contract: The Evolution of Human Behavior that I read on her website.

 Why can a woman have sex all month long, while other mammals like dogs and cats have a period of “heat?” Why do the vast majority of men and women fall in love and form a partnership to rear their young, while monogamy is common in only 3% of mammalian species. In this book, Fisher discusses the evolution of human female sexuality and the origins of the nuclear family—a hallmark of humankind.

What if things were different? 

Perhaps you may not recognize it immediately but, what if Dr. Fisher did not believe in evolution? What would her perspective be on these issues? What If she was a Christian and believe in the creation of a whole and complete man in the image of God, who did not evolve from primates (I do not actually know what the woman believes so lets just assume she does not)? Would that affect her views? Would her perspective still be that "lust", "romantic attraction" and "attachment" are evolutionary inventions for the good mating and reproduction of the species? 

What about her age? What if she was not a woman – would that affect her frame? Also, are there elements of the frame that time and further learning may impact? One reviewer on Amazon, S. Cusick from Columbia, MD USA seemed to think that these were all issues to weigh in reading the book (long before I set out to write this article). 

          This book is well written and easy to read, however it was written in the 80's so some of it is dated. For example, there's been a great deal of study on status as a driving force in social animals in the past decade that is obviously not taken into account. Also, I'm sure female readers would enjoy this book more than males since it is written from a woman's point of view. As a guy, I found myself rolling my eyes at some of rather idealistic portrayals of female motivations. Every book has a point of view so it doesn't take away from the solid research and daring ideas of the author.

What's Your Frame

I hope by my focusing on Dr. Fisher you have not missed the relevance of this issue for your life. The point is everybody has a frame, lens through which they scan and view the world, from the random newspaper vendor on the street corner to a global biological anthropologist. Yes we may scientific and try to be objective, but the very approaches we take to science and objectivity will be informed by what we believe about the world.

So, what is your frame? Let us know?

 

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