Living a Human Life: Coping with What Comes Before Us
by Edward Averill

"The batons that are passed between generations through education and inherited environments can lead to tiny evolutionary steps across the whole world."

This self-help title is an academic yet personalized exploration of the emotional and behavioral responses that all humans display while encountering both new and repeated situations throughout their lives. Averill holds degrees in natural science and geology and started his long and significant career in system and software engineering in 1955. He began to study human behavior and the purpose of human life upon his retirement.

In Averill's composition of three carefully crafted, thematic parts, he often compares and contrasts human behavior in analogies based on his work in software engineering. "Part I," by far the longest section with eleven chapters, is devoted to studying how humans respond to and adapt to "encountered situations," beginning with the pre-modern human era of homo habilis and homo erectus. Averill posits that humans are not as individually oriented as they appear or as they think they are. Humans share the tendency to follow habitual patterns with similar responses. On a personal level, Averill "documents the conceptual realizations that have entered my mind as intuitive feelings… available to all humanity."

The six chapters of "Part II" expertly examine how beliefs in religion, philosophy, and disciplines such as astrology control one's "hierarchy of beliefs" that then lead to one's particular lifestyle—the "practical realities of everyday life." "Part III" comprises four summary chapters that succinctly bring the reader up to date with Averill's ideas on the current stage of human evolution. Overall, the author considers the human condition with a refreshing positive mindset, supporting his assertion that the birth of every human, starting with the development of homo sapiens 500,000 years ago, has the opportunity to evolve and support humanity.

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