I kid you not. Apparently it exists, according to the “Paradoxical Primate” by Colin Talbot, reviewed by Rick O’Gorman at Human Nature Review (NIBBS). (BTW, despite the current date on the NIBBS page there seem to have been no updates since Feb 07 ?)
The review is pretty negative, on scientific grounds (lack of objective evidence) but there is something attractive in the idea that paradoxical contrariness in human nature is an evolved strategy for dealing with conflict and complexity. Seems to fit other paradox / hypocrisy / neurosis arguments in management and organisational behaviour. Seems to fit a “free-won’t” view of free-will whereby to conflicting dynamic potentials may be in static balance, both inhibited from action, but drop the barrier and the chosen action is off and running.
The suprising point is that something called “paradoxical systems theory” appears to exist in the first place …. a Google search fails to find the term anywhere other than in reference to Colin Talbot’s work. Ho hum.
Anyway his work itself, his book anyway, looks worthy of attention … headings right up my street include “The Tyranny of Boston Boxes” and “White Lies and Social Hypocrisy” and plenty of references to Quinn, Cameron, Huczynski, and E.O.Wilson.
Interestingly (paradoxically) Gorman’s basis of criticism is a great example of the problem Talbot is addressing. As if objective evidence were the sole value of a good idea. This links well to my recent Nick Maxwell piece.