Thank you for reading. Honestly, I think the psychological advantage of essentialism is that it provides a simple explanation for complex phenomena. Not least among these is our own experience of being in the world. It really does feel as though there’s an essence in our head somewhere directing the whole show. It’s a lot easier to just go with the feeling than it is to confront the far more complex and often mysterious reality. Likewise, nuance and context require more time to work out than just going with the simplest explanation that works under the circumstances. To get through the day, we don’t typically need to understand all the nitty gritty details. Having a good enough explanation will usually do, so from an evolutionary perspective essentialism serves us pretty well as a cognitive shortcut.

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US citizen residing in British Columbia, Canada. Degrees include anthropology and environmental studies. Activism, politics, science, nature.

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