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Leonard Shlain (August 28, 1937 – May 11, 2009) was an American surgeon, author, and inventor. He was chairperson of laparoscopic surgery at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, and was an associate professor of surgery at University of California, San Francisco.
His books include Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light (1991), The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image (1998), and Sex, Time and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution (2003).
Shlain is a native of Detroit who graduated from high school at the age of 15. After attending the University of Michigan, he earned an MD from Wayne State University School of Medicine at the age of 23. He served in the United States Army as a military base doctor in Saumur, France. Prior to his internship at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion in San Francisco, he worked for a short time at Bellevue Hospital in New York City.
Later in his career, he spoke at such venues as the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, the Salk Institute, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, and the Conference on World Affairs; he also addressed the culture ministers of the European Union. He also contributed to Academic Press' Encyclopedia of Creativity (1999), edited by Mark Runco and Steven Pritzker.
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Shlain had three children with Carole Lewis Jaffe: Kimberly Brooks (who is married to actor/comedian Albert Brooks); Dr. Jordan L. Shlain, M.D.; and Tiffany Shlain, filmmaker and founder of the Webby Awards.
After he and Carole divorced, Shlain lived in Mill Valley, California with his second wife, Ina Gyemant. He died on May 11, 2009 (at age 71) after a two-year struggle with brain cancer. The film Connected: An Autoblogography About Love, Death & Technology (2011), directed by Shlain's daughter Tiffany, is in part a portrait of him.
Sex, Time and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution (2003)
'Why women have little blood than men?' Shlain asks at the front page of the book. In his point of view, women are constantly lack of Fe. Women bleeds every full moon and they bear babies which consumes a huge amount of bloods. But men's hemoglobin still surpasses that of women's in amount. Why? To solve this life-long problem to Shlain, he explains the evolution of men and women. In this book, Shlain is telling us about 'Gyna Sapiens' which is composed of the word 'Gyna'-which means 'woman' in grrek and the word 'Sapiens'-which means 'Mankind' in Latin. He made this word the main theme of the book because he thought women took major part of the evolution of Homo Sapiens, which means present humankind. Shlain constantly makes emphasis on how women are marvelous creatures compared with other mammals. No female mammals bleed like Homo Sapiens Women(Shlain keeps calling women 'Gyna Sapiens') They follow the cycle of moon in their bleeding, they bleed a lot in a long period, and only Gyna Sapiens are threatened to be dead at childbirth. Due to the danger of childbirth, Gyna Sapiens alone has the right to choose whether to sex or not. No other female species have such a choice. Shlain also explains that G-spot is not for women's sexual ecstasy. G-spot is meant for women to forget their pain at childbirth. By the pleasure and ecstasy G-spot gives when the baby pressure the spot during birth, women forget former pain and try to make another babies.
Shlain claims that men and women made a pact to live a better life from prehistoric period. He made imaginary characters Adam and Eve as the couple who signed the treaty in accordance with both sex's benefit. Adam persuaded men not to sleep with their daughters and let the girls marry to the boys out of their own tribe, thus preventing genetic degrade and also making stronger alliances with other tribes. Adam also proposes to live with one woman to secure his children are his own and not from other guy's. By having his own children, a man would be able to get over death and live even after death through his descendants who bears his genes. While men are persuaded by Adam, Eve suggests women the concept of 'marriage' which bonds a man to a wife. By marriage, women could get constant loyalty and hunted animals from their 'husband'. Through the match women could have securer environment to protect her children and grew up the relationship with their husband, making the emotion which is now called 'love'. By marriage, women gets hunted animals which contains a great amount of Fe. And men gets his children, constant love, and caring from his spouse. In this way 'Gyna Sapiens' created the 'Family'. Shlain says that is the reason women are still apt to marry men who is in a stronger position than that of hers until this day, even though biology shows that match with women in their 30's and boys in their late teenage years tend to produce greater sexual orgasm and ecstasy to both of them. Because humans are not evolved only for sex.
He ends the book with the praise for the power of love and the success of Gyna Sapiens with the concept of marriage.
- Stannard, Matthew B. (May 13, 2009). "Dr. Leonard Shlain - surgeon, inventor, author". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 18, 2009.
- Maugh, Thomas H., II (May 18, 2009). "Dr. Leonard Shlain dies at 71; best-selling author and pioneer of laparoscopic surgery". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 19, 2009.
- I served in the US Army in Saumur, France with Dr. Leonard Shlain –Lowell McFarland
- Mark A. Runco and Steven R. Pritzker, ed. (1999). Encyclopedia of creativity, Volume 1. Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-12-227076-5.
- Audio interview with Leonard Shlain
- Leonard Shlain biodata
- Leonard Shlain biodata in Science News article
- Interview with Leonard Shlain on what the alphabet engenders