Dark Social Matter

This will be a sort of a spitballing session. I’m just working through this false social meme thing still. So, Dark social matter.

It’s ninety percent of the social matter in the human universe, the invisible majority of what is going on in our lives, and the reason our equations don’t add up.

Knowing I’m holding back some clarity on this point, I will say that statutory abuse, the abuse we mostly all agree is abuse, meaning abuse over a legal line, is only ten percent of all abuse. The rest is either abuse we don’t see or abuse we don’t mind, like parental or criminal punishments, or wars we condone. This is the dark abuse that we are socialized to, this is the stuff of our antisocialization.

To draw a line between the two, this is not science, and this is the failure of social science, to imagine that only those with documented statutory abuse have been abused and that this premise has any basis. For a science, negative experience must be the measure, not some socially determined list of experiences that are accepted as such. If a stimulus is ubiquitous, then it matters, ubiquitously, we don’t simply reset our base! This sort of relativism is self-imposed, a self-fulfilling meme. If everyone is abused, everyone is abused, it shouldn’t matter to an actual science that we like it this way, it’s a fact, dislike it or not. Every human is ninety-seven percent water; we don’t ignore water in our science.

What I want to do here is a list of examples, how this blindness to dark social matter causes so many of our biggest misunderstandings, how it makes things seem impossible to understand at all. I’ll mine my Twitter feed:


maura quint‏Verified account @behindyourback  39m39 minutes ago


love to live in a world where men complain female ghostbusters ruined their childhood memories but finding out Cosby’s a rapist didn’t


Rape, like all abuse is antisocializing, meaning it produces bad feelings and generally feeds the antisocial forces in society, gearing us all for war. As long as our society feels a threat and is geared for war, abuse generally and rape in particular aren’t going anywhere.


John Harwood‏Verified account @JohnJHarwood  1h1 hour ago


Cosby mistrial

Cop who shot Castile walks

young woman convicted for boyfriend’s suicide


Rape, as above.

Police killing of unarmed blacks being apparently legal shows the prioritization of antisocializing (terrorizing) the citizenry over the appearance of fairness or justice. This follows the basic ratio of dark matter generally: we get ten percent apology (words) and ninety percent intimidation, who kills who. That they never prosecute a cop shows that good will is meaningless against the dark reality. This scenario terrorizes, angers, and drives people mad, exactly what is desired for a wartime population.

Antisocialization Theory has it that if we are a straight-up warrior society, this young woman has strengthened the tribe by taking out a weak link – but women winning these fights, women being in control, perhaps that is more dangerous to the war effort in the long run. I don’t feel that overly, though, I admit. Maybe this scenario runs counter to the general trend, she did what warrior society boys do maybe, but because she’s a woman she just doesn’t get a pass from the law.


Vice President PenceVerified account @VP



It is the greatest privilege of my life to serve as Vice President to @POTUS Donald Trump – a man devoted to American ideals.


  🌈ProvaxShill 🗽 ✌🏾‏ @ProvaxShill  24h24 hours ago


Replying to @VP @POTUS

You’re the VP for the people, not the POTUS. This servile obsequiousness to the president is a mockery of the Constitution.


Here’s an example of people not simply not understanding antisocialization or abuse, but power generally. When a man prostrates himself like this in public, suffers this sort of humiliation, it is not indicative of his free will, and for us to spend our energy criticizing the victim in this bullying incident shows a deep misread of things. This goes a step bigger still: this is how we talk about corrupt politicians generally, as though corruption is rare and voluntary. * This is victim shaming – a staple of antisocialization, of warrior societies. Have we ever broken it down, analyzed it? Or is it another false meme? Here’s what is perhaps this meme:

“Bad powerful people use their money to influence the world and our lawmakers, and some politicians are corrupt, just in it for the money.”

What is missing: bad, powerful people have always engaged in war and conflict. They do not simply offer money, they also make threats, irresistible threats. What does the meme suggest – that if no politico takes the money, they just shrug their shoulders and wait for the next election, maybe we’ll get a scumbag next time? I simply feel that this is not a thing we could misunderstand about politics unless we misunderstand power generally. The salient point is that victim blaming is extremely stressful and antisocializing.



Maybe that’s enough for this Saturday morning. I imagine I’ll be appending this, as my Twitter feed demands.




June 17th., 2017


* This is the signature of dark social matter at the macro level: corruption is rare, paedophilia is rare, physical abuse is rare, suicide is rare. Of course, in reality, societies that are free of corruption, and families that are free of serious abuse and suicide, these things are in the minority.

6 thoughts on “Dark Social Matter

  1. Benjamin David Steele June 17, 2017 / 8:01 pm

    I regularly return to some major examples of large-scale abuse.

    The US war on terror, including an illegal war of aggression and other questionable military actions, has caused several million to be killed and most of those innocent non-combatants (women, children, the elderly, and others just going about their lives). That doesn’t include all of the indirect harm and cascading consequences: displacement, refugee crises, destruction of infrastructure, untreated injuries and illnesses, orphaned children, widowed spouses, those disabled by injuries and unable to work, economies destroyed, governments overthrown, an entire region destabilized, and on and on.

    And this is only the war on terror. Since the beginning of the Cold War, military conflict and covert operations have directly killed between 20 and 30 million. Much of that involved proxy wars that Americans never heard about. Once again, none of that includes all the other vast harms and externalized costs. If somehow we were able to calculate all of the deaths, harm, and problems caused by the US government around the world, we’d be talking many dozens of countries involved and maybe hundreds of millions of people afflicted. Just US sanctions alone have impoverished, sickened, and killed millions in various countries.

    That doesn’t even touch upon what the US government does to its own population. There is vast poverty in this country. Some communities have become essentially occupied territory by militarized police forces. More blacks are in prison now than were in slavery at its height. This is far from being a new situation. It’s been worsening under both parties for decades. Wages for
    most Americans have been continuously stagnating or dropping since 1974, with 20 of those years being with Democratic presidencies. Economic mobility has gone down and the middle class has shrunk. There is a collective mood of trauma falling on large parts of American society, as mortality rates are worsening with key demographics not seen anywhere else in the Western world.

    All of this is big money for big biz: resource extraction, human exploitation, neoliberal globalization, trade routes kept open for US interests and its allies, alliances and trade agreements maintained with authoritarian regimes, military-industrial complex, privatized prisons, etc. Abuse is highly profitable.


  2. Jeff/neighsayer June 18, 2017 / 9:02 pm

    wow, I am trying to respond in a way to bring us into the same conversation, but I’ve tried three times and I can’t seem to do it. I suspect all families and military hierarchies engage in all sorts or power exchanges and authority being asserted that doesn’t count as the 10% of illicit abuse that we’re actually trying to lessen. I think Patton was allowed to torment that soldier, so that was Dark Abuse, meaning it has all the real world effects of abuse, but it’s authorized, so it gets less sympathy and no-one’s trying to stop it. Same with parental authority, police authority. My more specific concern is that psychologists first and any modern behavioural scientists next will also just not see the big picture, and only ever be 10% effective for anybody (well, that and the wars will never end . . . sigh . . . ).

    Hey, I made it. Fourth try.


    • Benjamin David Steele June 19, 2017 / 5:33 am

      I don’t see how we aren’t having the same conversation.

      There is no disconnection with the varieties of abuse in society: between individuals, in families, among peers, from authority figures such as teachers and religious leaders, from public institutions, from police, from military, etc. All parts of our lives overlap. Those people working within the abusive military and abusive police have higher rates of abuse toward their spouses and children. Those who are abused as children are more likely to become abusers as adults and seek out careers that allow them to act on those abusive tendencies.

      Most abuse in our society (in all areas and at all levels) isn’t illegal or at least not easily prosecuted. Stopping or lessening the abuse would mean dealing with all of the abuse, the entire systemic pattern of abuse, instead of narrowly focusing on this abuse or that abuse while ignoring all the rest. It relates to the problems of identity politics where each group wants its problems prioritized over the problems over everyone else, but this misses the point that all the problems are connected.

      This is the only conversation to be had. There are no separate conversations about abuse in society. It’s all of one piece. Either we face this societal abuse or we don’t. Those are the only two choices available to us. There is no other conversation.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Benjamin David Steele June 19, 2017 / 6:30 am

    I saw this article and thought of this post:


    “Are we finally realizing the men who commit mass shootings started by beating women?”

    That is a good question. But there are many good questions:

    Are we finally realizing the men (and women) who work in positions of authority (police, military, etc) that allows them to abuse others often started by abusing spouses and children or else became abusers after learning abusive behavior from their line of work?
    Are we finally realizing that men and women who are abusive as adults often were abused as children, abused by both men and women?
    And are we finally realizing that there is a direct causal link between a society that has high rates of victimizers and a society that has systemic and institutional victimization through militarized police, mass incarceration, oppressive racism, violent imperialism, a permanent underclass, etc?

    This is something that has been on my mind for a long time:


    “Who grasps how massively God-forsaken fucked up the world really is?

    “Even many well-informed people appear to be fairly clueless, including activists directly confronting truly messed up problems. Most just don’t get what it all means. They see some data, if they know the data at all, but almost no one looks beyond their little niche of ideology, interests, and personal experience.

    “Take the victimization cycle. That sounds too abstract. A cycle? To put it in simple terms, suffering leads to more suffering. From one person to the next, generation after generation, century after century, all across society. Fucked up people fuck over other people leading to even more fucked up people. An endless tidal wave of fucked-upness, seeping into every crevice of the lives hit by it. A flood of suffering that leaves destruction and disease in its wake.

    “What is the typical response to this? Blame the other guy, the other group. Scapegoat someone, anyone.

    “What is to be avoided at all costs? Looking at the ugly reality straight in the face.

    “That is a major problem with both partisan politics and identity politics, or really any kind of ideological dogmatism. It leads to groupthink, an us vs them mentality. It is pointless and stupid. It just makes everything worse. The larger problems are ignored, the problems that are so immense that taking them in would lead some to suicidal despair. Maybe many people know on some level how fucked up it is and they want to avoid that awareness at any and all costs, even if it means never dealing with the problems they claim to care about.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff/neighsayer June 19, 2017 / 10:05 am

      the first article, the domestic abuse/mass shooter connection. Yes, I’ve blogged about almost that before too, mine was more that the news always focuses on the identity of the victims, their race or sexuality or something, and never in the ideation itself, the punishment/abuse/mass shooter connection. (My point was that the behaviour, violently punishing wrongdoers, isn’t questioned.) These shooters all seem clearly to be in some mad punishment/wrath ideology, trying to “teach someone a lesson,” which, all of these thoughts are the talking points of domestic abusers. Of course all of that is only one degree separate from violent fundamentalism too. But the “causal link” is bigger than father to son, bigger than personal, it’s our species ‘national narrative,’ our false origin story. It’s propagated not only by outright abusers, but by any parent who will have it their way all the time, even the ones who manage to do it without appearing violent.

      For the second half, yes, us and them is almost all we have for morality. Our most base emotions find their expression in the tragedies of war – but our best sides, heroism, sacrifice, selflessness, these are also shown – in the same fucking war. We know we are at our worst there, but somehow (Dark Reason) we imagine we can only be our best there too. Without high drama like war, how could we aspire to be our most selfless? I support none of this, this is sarcasm, I hope that’s clear. We think that shit, but I sure don’t approve. Again, we are warrior societies, of course we think that. It reminds me of a really great one panel cartoon, my memory has edited it to be a Far Side, but I don’t think it was: two gorillas, sitting around munching on bananas, one’s saying, “You know, I really like bananas. I mean, I know we’re supposed to and everything, but for me it’s more than that. I REALLY LIKE bananas.” LOL

      Yes, violence begets violence – but apparently science and the world need proof, just like they need proof that insecticides hurt bees. I think I’m onto the logical framework, but I may have to go back to school for my remaining years to build the case, find the proof. (Delusions of grandeur, certainly. A necessary plastic carrot to keep me moving forward at this super low point in my life.)

      Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff/neighsayer June 19, 2017 / 10:07 am

      sorry, I’m sure you know – nothing “leads us” to Us and Them thinking, to Groupthink – we are already there, we started there. This would be a classic human nature VS blank slate sort of example.


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