I think perhaps a creative recap first, a summary with some adjustments.
I plagiarized Dawkins’ idea of the meme, the social construct or metaphor (but there, I’ve cited him now, sort of. Honestly, I thought I’d simply deduced it myself in this instance, but “meme” was Richard’s word and concept. I still confess to plagiarism only jokingly and with respect. I think the idea is so clearly a great and true one that no-one gets to own it for long. Part of the logos now, Richard, congratulations and sorry about the money). I imagine Dawkins came to the same conclusion as I did regarding these memes: they are goal-oriented demons and the impartial, universal truth is rarely one of their goals. I then tried to describe the meme that our child-rearing seems to exist within, and expressed it as follows. I wondered, and I asked:
what is the goal of this meme – what must happen and how consequences make it happen and about how what must happen might never happen without our consequences -? What happens because of this story?
The first thing that jumped out at me was that believing it brings us a sense of control, that this is what the meme offers us, and this seemed to take us to the next link in the chain, what does this confidence, this sense of control mean, what happens because of it more than its opposite? That would seem to be that we bring the consequences with something between bias and faith, and so I thought, perhaps the consequences themselves are the most salient thing, the thing the meme ultimately supports, or rather the effects of our “consequences.”
I said elsewhere recently, what we’ve proven to date regarding the effects of parenting generally, including parental discipline, are literally nothing good, meaning nothing, or bad things. The desired qualities of parental efforts do not show up in adult personality testing, that’s our nothing, after a hundred years of searching, as per Rich Harris. What we do have for evidence, however, is the bad things, as per Elizabeth Gershoff and Joan Durrant, for a good start.
Evidence from the dark side is overwhelming, good evidence of what we call the negative effects of physical punishment and abuse. These documented effects, increased incidence of violence, crime, addiction and self harm, and poor grades and cognition, these are what we are left with as the real, measurable effects of what adults can do to children. All that is required to complete the calculation is to realize that if positive parental nurturing counts as “parenting” despite a serious dearth of evidence, then negative parental abuse must also count as “parenting” and if it could be, then it surely would be even if it carried only a small portion of the evidence that we know it does. Also stated elsewhere recently – “Parenting” is defined as a positive influence but stubbornly refuses to show up that way in the testing.
Socialization researchers, there’s your proof, just step over to the dark side, we’ve got piles of the stuff out back.*
I know we don’t like it, I know we all need to think we have a positive effect on our children, but this is the data. My boss explained it to me once, that it doesn’t matter that I fudge my timesheet, that the reality of what I produce for the company and the data I provide them for their micro-management of me do not match. In conflict, the reality is not considered, only the data. That is the data that the accountants must use if they are to justify their positions, so the official story, the politically correct, phony paper version of reality is what moves the world. The only data is the data we must work with. If it were science, if there were any chance that the truth of my timesheet really mattered to anyone and might change the world for the better, I’d worry about it, maybe pull up my socks. But in this case, the data that abuse is what parents can do to leave measurable effects on children is not pulled out of my or anyone’s backside. This is the data, and it’s real.
I know, I hate it too, I would love to think I had a positive effect on my children, but there has been a reversal in our motives. The humanist gains we have made place us at odds with our aboriginal behaviours; it seems that what our “nurturing” does for us is produce these documented effects, increased incidence of violence, crime, addiction and self harm, and poor grades and cognition . . . that’s what it looks like today. This is what warriors look like in peacetime, and that is what has changed: we’ve specialized, we aren’t all soldiers and many of us today have more peaceful goals. (Maybe what I left out of the list of effects, depression and mental illness, maybe these are exactly what we may expect for an organism raised to be a warrior but in that way benched for life.) This is sort of a new problem, maybe inside a few hundred thousand years old, that big bunches of humans for whom this propensity for fighting is less of an asset and more of a liability exists, and perhaps it’s a very new problem that they have begun to outnumber the warriors.
The consequences meme is the child-rearing model for groups in conflict, this is what I’m saying:
. . . what must happen is people must be antisocial enough for fighting the antisocial neighbors, and how consequences make it happen is by hurting and maddening people in childhood and about how what must happen might never happen without our consequences because however rough, tough, and unreasonable people were before, they will be more so after the consequences . . .
This is my answer, this is the goal of the current (and evolved) paradigm for parenting: it means we bring the consequences, and the kids grow up crazier, tougher and meaner than they would otherwise have done.
Kind of the opposite of what you tell everyone, isn’t it, Mom?
Whoops! That wasn’t the artist that time. Who gave that bitter, pissed off little child victim a microphone? I guess we’ll just wind it up there, hope to cut our losses. Have a great day, Folks.
March 7th., 2017
*Monty Python, “The Life of Brian.”
Here’s the whole series:
and a bonus nipple-twister:
Instead of ‘meme’, I prefer speaking of ‘mind parasites’. They invade your mind, dig down deep, and commandeer your very sense of reality and identity. Dislodging and purging them is no easy task. And the damage they cause is likely permanent. Your psyche is permanently altered.
You and I have been thinking about similar things lately.
There is an interesting relationship between hyper-individualism, anti-socialization, addiction, and depression. Johann Hari discusses some of this in “Chasing the Scream”. I also see a connection to Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Dancing in the Street” where she connects the rise of depression with the decline of social activities such as ecstatic worship, carnival revelry, etc.
Group identity, cohesion, and absorption have disappeared (along with social capital and culture of trust). We are now isolated individuals who have lost the capacity to relate deeply and fully, as we never even for a moment lose our sense of individuality.
Addiction is now the normal state of modern humans, whether addicted to drugs, alcohol, television, internet, work, or whatever. It is through addictive behaviors that we simultaneously seek to escape individual self. Yet addiction further entrenches hyper-individualism, making the longing for escape ever stronger.
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yeah, you know I just followed what I considered generic logic which brought me to where ‘discipline’ and abuse seemed to be one and the same and I’ve been baffled and amazed that no matter how long I talk, I can’t break through with so many folks about it. This meme/paradigm/parasite thing – oh, I get it now, you start out like ‘paradigm’ then you zag into ‘site!’ Cool – that explains it in a preferable way than that I’m crazy or some sorta autistic or shizotypal . .
sounds like you’re giving fewer fucks there, rough day, huh.
I suppose I’ve been giving fewer fucks for a while. My fucks are riding on empty. LOL
For some reason that reminds me of a scene from A Scanner Darkly, one of my favorite movies:
Medical Deputy #1: You know, Fred, if you keep your sense of humor like you do, you just might make it.
Fred: Make it? Make what? The team? The chick? Make good? Make do? Make out? Make sense? Make money? Make time? Define your terms. The Latin for ‘make’ is facere, which always reminds me of fuckere, which is Latin for ‘to fuck’, and I have been getting jack shit in that department as of late.
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honestly, I think I had a pretty major breakdown escaping the blank slate/ghost in the machine/naive psychology parasite and trying to make the switch to biology, hopefully just ending.
My response, as always, is that it’s complicated. This point was emphasized for me in a book I was reading today, “The Trouble with Twin Studies” by Jay Joseph.
There is too little high quality research and too much low quality research. And there are too many people willing to base ideologically-motivated conclusions on the low quality research.
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I get his point that differences between identicals’ sameness of environment is more than non-identicals’ and see how that threatens the Naturist view, but I’m not sure it does actually, concretely. I think my old point about that is a better one than Jay’s, surprisingly to me, that for similar phenotypes to be, it takes both similar genes AND similar environment, so that proves that separating twins into different households does not necessarily change the environment in a meaningful way. The amazing match of these separated phenotypes proves it, a simple truth table.
I’d recommend reading the book. He goes into great detail about the research.
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never mind, I joined and asked him.
As I often say, I don’t take sides in the nature vs nurture debate. The entire frame is false and misleading.
Based on present scientific research, we know too little to conclude much of anything. All that we know is that it is immensely more complex than previously assumed, according to older ideological thinking. We don’t fully recognize or understand most of the (confounding) factors involved nor do we know how to disentangle them and control for them.
Anything we say at this point is shaped as much by our ignorance as our knowledge. There is nothing wrong with that, per se. That is simply the state of being human. But this realization is particularly important at times like these, when one paradigm/mind-parasite is dying and a new one has yet to take hold.
Still, there is much interesting recent research that is pointing in new directions. And there is nothing wrong with speculating about any of this. But we should acknowledge that our biases are likely to misdirect and confound our thinking, considering that it will likely turn out that much of what we thought we knew isn’t actually true or only partially true.
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I mean, hopefully the meltdown is over
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