While the geneticists are telling us the old Nature/Nurture debate has been made obsolete or been solved, depending who you talk to, I just went ahead and solved it. Part #3

While the geneticists are telling us the old Nature/Nurture debate has been made obsolete or been solved, depending who you talk to, I just went ahead and solved it. Part #3

Now that’s a long title, but it’s a great Tweet, isn’t it?

This is convergence, this little essay, for me this is where all the major threads in my mind come together: the ancient classic dialogue, human behaviour, child discipline, and yes – even trolling.

OK, that wasn’t bad, but this is just the bullet point brainstorming stage right now.

  1. A note about “things”
  2. A note about the “Nature” thing
  3. Trolling and narrowing the argument
  4. The “Nurture” thing, the Abusive Ape Theory
  5. Warrior society’s fears, head on, a lethal mutation (too late, we already have several)
  6. Liberals’ fear of science, dark hints
  7. The “Deep Roots of War” thing
  8. Self-actualization

Whups, turned into a Table of Contents. Maybe that’ll work.

 

  1. Trolling and Narrowing the Argument

 

I’ve alluded to it to it in each of the earlier parts, that details and a huge catalogue of nouns are not where the important truths are going to be found, not under our microscopes, but back up here, with us, and our somewhat higher concepts.

OK, I spend too much time on Twitter, of course again, I’m talking about racism and Nazi science’s endless search for some genetic detail that is supposed to prove some large social concept like racism. The trend I’m complaining about is quickly apparent if you look at Twitter’s science section, and the crossover there with the alt-Right, and the connecting meme of course is “genetic differences” – literally microscopic science to justify macro-oppression. Weirdly, the same accounts that have given Charles Murray a good read and a fair treatment also find Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos to be unfairly silenced voices.

So besides being just less than helpful to explain the world, this view of the world as a million unrelated, individual things, it has principles, sort of, well, associated memes.

Perhaps our forever search for the postulated atom, the Smallest Division, the base particle of the universe has served to turn our scientific world upside down where now we all think the smallest stuff matters the most, ha. One shitty, life destroying gene that’s negatively correlated with melanin and slavery will have been all right and proper after all or something! That’s what some folks want and some liberals perhaps fear from science, all liberals ain’t PhDs either. But that idea, that the smaller bits are somehow higher in some food chain of causality than the bigger ones, perhaps this is why we end up down in the muck with the rats and the flatworms when we’re theoretically trying to solve complex human problems like racism, abuse, war, etc.

Of course, science doesn’t say that, racist scientists say that, trolls say that – or rather they don’t just say it either, it’s all innuendo, plausible deniability, but this is a bad sign: the argument goes to details, genes, alleles, specific studies. That the truth is in the details, that’s left unsaid, we all believe that in some sense anyway, so it’s easy to buy in, to get dragged down into small specifics. If we don’t follow the argument into microscopia though, then we’re likely to get stuck in another trap, psychology, theories about society and ‘the culture,’ and unfounded moral directives.

There is some unspoken meme that science is on the bad guys’ side, or rather, even that the reality that underlies science is somehow on the bad guys’ side. You know, life is tough, harsh reality, all of that . . . is it only me, that the endless descriptions of life being tough, evolution as an apparently ruthless punisher of mercy or passivity seem to come across as advocacy? Like an argument against all of our higher goals? I expect that many of the best papers don’t sound that way, but Twitter sure does. In fairness perhaps, I’m guessing the science promotion I find on social media isn’t coming from the older professors, but from the younger, cyber-savvy crowd. Much of it sounds like someone sharing the exciting news they’ve only just heard.

(I’ve recently read a paper that explains some primate female’s “strategies for maximizing her reproductive capability” in different situations, I think weaning one early when mating opportunities seemed like they may not be there later, like when she’s aging out of her childbearing years . . . it all sounds reasonable about Capuchins or something, but imagine human females as the primate in question. Suddenly, suggesting that organisms exist to maximize the reproduction of their genes starts to sound a little penis-centric, to put it diplomatically. I think some of the conclusions from science can still be called out. That scenario could better be viewed as that female monkey trying her best to survive the pregnancies that are the price of living with the males and their genes’ desires, and not hers at all. After all, the costs are all hers.

That’s an example of science appearing to be on the bad guys’ team, right, the sort of science that sounds like the Taliban, females want to be barefoot and pregnant as much as possible! – because some male designed the study and found what his search was designed to find? It wasn’t any sort of pro-biology or race-related paper at all, corporal punishment was the topic, it’s a respectable one, I think. I shouldn’t cite it out if its own context, and I won’t even repeat the less reputable sort.)

Environmental control of genetic expression, epigenetics, this I find worth discussing, but again, the details, identifying alleles that respond to specific stimuli, these I find to be nouns whereas the point for me in this topic is that many of these environmental triggers are our own behaviours. We are an intensely social creature; we are the environment our flexible genes are responding to in many cases – this is what I mean by what has become my catchphrase, that we are self actualized creatures. We haven’t been ‘using our powers for good’ yet, but to be completely fair, I don’t think we knew it. Remember how they laughed at Lamarck. The truth is, though, that we have genes that are activated or not by our environment, and we are that environment, we are activating the ones we feel are necessary.

Whups! That’s the next part.

 

Jeff

Nov. 30th., 2017

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Altruism

I suppose Wikipedia is twenty years behind the times, and not a full collection of all human knowledge up to this minute, but I think I’ve got another theory, a better explanation for altruism, at least for some sorts of creatures.

The most basic definition of altruism there says it’s when a creature does something at some cost to itself and its chances in the world to improve the lot of another individual and/or their chances (for survival, reproduction, etc.). The definition itself shows the biologists’ lens for viewing the world, a creature helps another individual – biology views everything as from the point of view of individual creatures, or that creature’s genes.

There was some group talk, the suggestion that groups of creatures that practice this one on one altruism perhaps get a competitive leg up on groups of that sort of creature that behave less selflessly.

OK.

My other theory suggests that other behaviours produce their fruits at the group level, and that these can be higher priority behaviours than “individually” motivated ones, and I’m now trying out the idea that the group will best explain altruism as well – whups, sorry. I haven’t finished the definitions.

Generally, biology seems skeptical, the evolutionists are not sure “real” altruism exists, meaning that they seem to feel it must add up to an advantage to the altruistic giver somehow, or it would not be selected for, or it wouldn’t, what is it, exist. They go to perhaps the group idea above. Trivers’ reciprocal altruism would seem to redefine it that way, a fairly demonstrable quid pro quo between group members, exactly as stated above, giving their group an advantage over other groups. I’m not refuting these ideas, they’re great, and I haven’t developed my idea yet! Here goes.

Continuing the train of thought I’ve been on, it’s about alphas and the age-old problem of living with them. I think I typed it somewhere this week: what if altruism is a strategy developed by non-alphas to limit and contain the violent chaos of the alphas? What if doing unto others is beta society’s answer to the king’s random violence and narcissism, the stuff of the social bond that enables any sort of society at all? It suddenly occurred to me that when we observe the alphas’ rule in nature among horses or primates, that we are doing just that, going outside and observing what the eternal rule of the alphas produces, and then we go back indoors to the world the betas were able to produce, through affiliation and cooperation, to read and write about it, by portable lights.

If this is the function, or an important function, then it’s a group related thing, but not the whole family group, perhaps. Perhaps alphas are full time cheaters and so are left of any deal-making done among the betas, and it is perhaps not so much a group strategy then as a status strategy, a class strategy, and then one can start to ponder what it means across multiple groups. Now it doesn’t appear that among the baboons or the chimpanzees, the other primates, that it’s the king starting the raids, it looks with the chimpanzees like a band of brothers – but perhaps someone can enlighten me? Is the alpha part of the chimp raiding party, and is he an instigator as he seems to be in the human case? It may be difficult to find primate stories of alphas starting trouble and betas working together to control them, but it’s not a hard fantasy to conjure for us, is it?

A couple of alphas, or would be alphas beating their chests and going straight to madman doomsday scenarios before they ever speak on the phone, and betas on both sides scrambling to save their asses and not minding at all cooperating across borders to do it, whenever possible? (Ha! No-one tell Rodman I said he was a beta, OK?)

This is going to be my new filter for a while. I’ll be looking at things this way, alphas and betas, game theory is for alphas and altruism is for betas. There’s a world of dichotomies in there, maybe. America is caught up in an alpha fantasy, amplified by its enemies, and it elected an alpha to the highest office, something that always means a dark period in history. Nations need their alphas, and alphas will find their way to power anyways, but nations are huge things these days, way beyond our evolved meme of the tribe, which is about a hundred and fifty people. You place your alphas in the military, you give them anything upwards of a hundred and fifty people to push around, and the betas get back to the drawing board, trying to also contain the other nations’ alphas. Altruism.

There’s a book in this, but I’m writing jacket covers these days, apparently.

Mind you, the book’s already been written, at least somebody seems to know how some of this stuff works, even if it’s only the Russian intelligence community.

Whaddayathink? Idiocy?

Genius?

This is my note to myself to think about this, write something later. If anybody’s read it elsewhere, I hope you’ll tell me.

 

Jeff

Nov. 29th., 2017

Human nature

ABUSE WITH AN EXCUSE ON A POST-IT NOTE

The kind of “bad” we are born isn’t sin, it’s just what we see when we see a baby, a mammal baby, a human baby: helpless, sweet, loving. Folks have lived in competition forever, so those are “bad” traits, we need soldiers. Soldiers need discipline, so we beat our children. This “abuse” makes all humans that much meaner, like an arms race, and the tribe that doesn’t beat its children and leaves them at some default level of nasty loses on the battlefield.

Prosocial is “sin” to the warrior society, a threat to security. What I love is, peel it away, we don’t think “original sin,” we don’t think we’re evil, in fact we know ourselves to be less capable of war than we feel we need to be, for our security, and the proof is we know how to fix it. Abuse works for that, while psychology has searched for a hundred years for “positive influence” from parents and found zero. Abuse’s evidence is plentiful. That’s my case, except, epigenetics. There are genetic responses to abuse, and the point of that is, with abuse, we get control.

This is Nobel prize shit, BTW. Don’t anybody try to steal, I’ve been publishing online for years already. Spread the word if you like, but mention my name. LOL

It’s Jeff.

 

Forgot the headlines:

Original Sin, solved – we’re born “bad” alright, bad soldiers, way too nice

The Nurture Assumption, solved – Nurture “works” – but it’s a beating, is all

The Deep Roots of War, solved – epigenetics, we are self-created things. If you want out of a hole, the first job is to stop digging.

Three eternal questions, a philosophical trifecta.

I’m sorry.

 

Jeff,

Nov. 27th., 2017

Alpha-ism

Damnit, America, actual elites are bad enough, you had to go and replace them with this gutter slime? That’s what was wrong with our overlords, they were just too damned nice and affiliative, right? Fuck Political Correctness?

I’m sorry. Twitter rage.

It’s all one.

The stolen presidency, the Russian influence on social media, the apparent ubiquity of men overstepping their bounds with women.

America had hypermasculinity before, but the myth of America, anything that was any good about America – it wasn’t this alpha-ism, this brutality that isn’t different from what it is among our primate cousins. The PR version, the face of America was of a benevolent beta, someone who stood as a bulwark against the knuckle dragging alphas of the world. America carried a big stick, but it spoke softly, and friendship and tolerance were possible, apparently achievable goals.

I said it in a tweet, yesterday or today, so I needed to flesh it out a bit: it wasn’t these hammerhead alphas that made humans what they are, that helped us dominate this world and create anything that may have been decent about people, and for evidence, I point to every other species, mammalian, primate, what have you, any species plagued by these alphas and ask you to show me how that caused them these huge brains and these skyscrapers. You wanna organize anything, you need to reign those random, self-serving idiots in, and somehow humans do that, sometimes. We’re evolved that these are our leaders, these alphas, and really, if one of them can get his paws on you, you’d better do as he says, but humankind has moved beyond that bit of our hardware. We know we need better than pre-tool alphas to lead us anywhere we want to go these days.

Except right here and now, in “the West,” apparently. I do think this alpha-ism is imported. I’m not very religious, but I’m a cultural Christian, and I do believe that if there were a Satan trying to lead us off of an eternal moral cliff, that he would play to men and their masculinity, that form of vanity – which, of course, the totalitarian dictates of bronze age warrior tribes naturally support whole-heartedly. So whole heartedly in fact, that modern ideas about statutory rape doesn’t seem to put a dent in it for a lot of people. So, this was the attempted message of my previous blog, that somehow a hundred people at least began to read:

Alphas are not leaders in today’s world.

Your sports heroes, movie heroes, mythological heroes – they have elements of the alpha, and that’s how our patriarchal leaders talk about it, but these heroes are all in combat situations, they are heroes because they win fights, now that is absolutely an alpha trait – this is what alphas do. You elect one of these, or a troop of idiots who think they’re all alphas – and they will take you straight into a fight. It’s the only place they look any good, and that’s all they care about.

Gonna end this one with a question:

Is that the way to divide our politics? Not so much Keynes VS Hayek or Marx VS Smith, but alphas VS betas?

That’s worth its own blog, I think.

 

Jeff

Nov. 24th, 2017

Everything is Violence – or the Whinging of Nice Guys

 

We have people with vast and varied skills and talents, but regardless of the particulars, if a person cannot fight, they are not going to win anything and some less skilled person who can is going to be the one who gets the money.

This situation has many possible names.

‘Warrior society,’ by me, but ‘the patriarchy’ is good too. Acceptable answers also include ‘rape culture,’ ‘male culture,’ ‘culture of violence,’ and ‘male bonded, tournament species primate society.’

Everything is violence, all the words, all the metaphors are violence metaphors: strength, resolve, steadfastness . . . I’m having my usual trouble finding a way in , so let’s jump to the middle. Twitter, you’re breaking my heart. Case in point, I’m sorry I hate to speak the phrase – women in comedy – Goddamn it. I’m sorry.

This isn’t about any genetic traits, or suitability, gender differences, it’s this violence thing. If we have comics competing for work, the tougher ones, the meaner ones will rise to the top. Firstly, comedy is mean, but secondly and more importantly, in any competitive environment, the tough ones do not lose to the weak ones. Success stories all tell about how ‘driven’ the person was, how they ‘wanted it more’ than others – of course that’s euphemistic for who was nastier, who was willing to be nastier, meaner, someone who wins fights – this I mean, when the talent for humour is equal. All else being equal, violence and intimidation are winning out, everywhere.

For the most part, successful people are all of the meaner variety, and we’re having some trouble legislating it away, because of course the same is possibly even more true of our leaders and our lawmakers. If they’re not alpha types, they’re not leaders. Where I’m going with this is, ladies, good men, as big as you think this problem is, you’re not really getting it. The traits for “leader” and the traits for “rapist,” those are the same set of traits, the same set of genes.

Quick level change: rapist genes have taken over the world.

Of course they have, and not just this year.

A certain criminal justice professional from Alabama has me thinking about his type, and lesser ones, and worse ones. The lesser variety of this fellow is what my friends call a dawg, a guy who lives for the conquest, just loves banging every woman he can, and we hope to keep these guys away from our wives and daughters. Respectable people over thirty consider these guys immature at best and dangerous at worst – perverts, basically. These guys spread their seed impressively sometimes, probably producing more offspring than a faithful, married man. The worse kind of these guys do all of that with violence, and rape may not be “about sex” but rapists spread their seed successfully too. Plus, again, many good, male qualities are the rapist qualities, even if he behaves and we choose those traits purely unconsciously and symbolically.

The well-behaved “manly” fellow, the well-behaved alpha/leader/protector, the ostensibly “preferred” phenotype, he’s a product of the rapist’s genes, we almost certainly all are – but he’s the one where the rapist traits are on display: a strong will, knowing what he wants, a plan, a goal, a certain audacity. Not all strong men are rapists – but rapists are not generally pacifists, either. Ladies, you see a “winner,” keep the mace handy, is what I’m saying. Maybe if we stop selecting our leaders on the basis that they’re double “Y” chromosome psychos who will fight anything or anybody, they won’t all be rapists too.

If I drop the mike there, though, I’m still lying, over-simplifying. It’s not that simple “if we/then” statement; those are driving me crazy on Twitter, it’s not so simple. It all goes to our security. Unfortunately, on a basic level, if we don’t have our own violent men, then we’re vulnerable to the next group’s violent men, I mean, we at least think so. This is the definition of a problem, that it’s not easy. The only thing I can say that has any hope in it is that we are self-actualized creatures, that we created ourselves in this way, and that suggests we have the power to re-invent ourselves too.

We will have to get over those so-tempting simple “if we/then” things, though. It’s “if we/then,” but it’s not just some single aspect of our lives, it’s pretty much all of it. Re-inventing yourself is more than a makeover.

 

Jeff

Nov. 19th., 2017

 TRUMP & ANTISOCIALIZATION THEORY:

 TRUMP & ANTISOCIALIZATION THEORY:

 

War is Coming

 

I’m a little burned about it, just as I figure out this antisocialization business, along comes TrumPutin to make it completely fucking obvious to anyone with a TV or a phone, but just in case it still isn’t . . . maybe I am the first and only one to see what it is a monster like Trump intuits so well: abuse makes shit happen. Mock my words, the abuse and the criminal legislation this administration are dishing out only leads one direction, to war. All I see all day long on Twitter, is “why, why, why?” and “it makes no sense,” but I’m here to tell you folks.

It makes sense, in fact, it makes perfect sense.

Not “good” sense, I mean in the moral sense, in the positive sense of “good,” but it makes perfect “bad” sense. People don’t see bad sense, we don’t want to or something, but the logic is clear when you do.

There is a single theme, a single result that is behind everything this administration does, and it is not life, liberals. “Why, why, why?” is death, death, death. What else is common behind these things – healthcare repeal, the potato famine response to Puerto Rico, the talk of war in the Pacific, and then the tax reductions that again bring healthcare negligence? Antisocialization theory says that when a randomly violent alpha male says, “tremendous number of deaths,” we should believe he picked his adjective according to his heart. These are big, easy examples, but look at everything: still calling to execute the Central Park Five AFTER their exoneration – class?

Theme?

OK, I won’t press. As to why, why, why would that be a goal for anyone, in concrete terms, I can’t imagine. I think I have some ideas about the roots of this sort of thing, but why this, now, I don’t know. Guesses include the New World Order conspiracy theory, that our overlords have determined that for life to be sustainable in a good way in this planet, most of us have to die. Alternatively, maybe Trump really is Putin’s mindless, blind weapon to destroy the West that has betrayed Russia so many times. So, I’m not sure, directed, conscious death from the illuminati, or blind, mindless death from the place where Trump’s mind would have been were he fully human, or something else almost certainly, because why would I know? – but follow the signs, see what direction makes sense of it all. Death, death, death. It’s the only common denominator.

Maybe to let “all politicians” off the hook, because like HST, I’d trade these ones in for Nixon in a second, because I’m not saying all the Republicans or all the politicians are death cultists, I’ll share some speculation, my theory that repealing healthcare began as an opposition talking point and never would have been policy if life had not somehow conspired to install Nazis in the White House who pounced on it opportunistically. Negative forces were in play before this, but in hindsight, there was something like balance. I mean, compared to this. It was such an opportunity for deaths!

Tremendous opportunity!

When the head of an organization is an abuser, it’s horrible to work there and everyone becomes irritable. Stress hurts and causes an increase in the stress and pain we in turn dish out when we break down – that is my “antisocialization theory,” a slight re-wording of Sapolsky’s revelations about stress. He said that pain and fear cause stress that hurts out health and that deflecting it and passing it on makes us feel better, and measurably so. It means a horrible simple thing, that abuse makes us abusers, that all anyone need do to make us worse is treat us bad, it’s the simplest, most depressing technology we have. Treat us poorly enough and we will go to war.

This is what it means when we perceive that “the system was here before Trump,” not the existing Republican Party, but the existing human being and all of our institutions. Trump, just like every warlord and fascist and mass murderer before him is the occasional frontal-lobe deficient monster who understands this in the wrong way, as a lever to use, rather than the way the rest of us see it, as exactly what NOT doing is what defines us as being human. Liberals in the broadest sense, meaning civilized, modern people, even conservatives from a decade or two back, live to mitigate our basest urges – but not this administration.

If you still think this is more of the same, if you can’t see the sense in this administration’s activities, the consistency in all that they say and do, try this on – does it promote death? Need more examples?

NRA/gun laws (OK, not new, but already consistent)

Climate change shirking, Paris Agreement

Abortion/BC (not new, but like healthcare, rhetoric now become reality)

 

OK, enough for one sitting. Resist!

 

Jeff,

Nov. 17th., 2017

While the geneticists are telling us the old Nature/Nurture debate has been made obsolete or been solved, depending who you talk to, I just went ahead and solved it. Part #2

Now that’s a long title, but it’s a great Tweet, isn’t it?

This is convergence, this little essay, for me this is where all the major threads in my mind come together: the ancient classic dialogue, human behaviour, child discipline, and yes – even trolling.

OK, that wasn’t bad, but this is just the bullet point brainstorming stage right now.

  1. A note about “things”
  2. A note about the “Nature” thing
  3. Trolling and narrowing the argument
  4. The “Nurture” thing, the Abusive Ape Theory
  5. Warrior society’s fears, head on, a lethal mutation (too late, we already have several)
  6. Liberals’ fear of science, dark hints
  7. The “Deep Roots of War” thing
  8. Self-actualization

Whups, turned into a Table of Contents. Maybe that’ll work.

 

  1. A note about the “Nature” thing

 

Forget the list, sorry.

Nature – not the great outdoors, but some concept of a thing’s essence or purpose – as in ‘human nature,’ well, forget it, I’ve already given it away, haven’t I? The way it’s presented, it’s an archaic concept, religious, probably related to the idea of spirits being what animates and supports all things, as though a given thing has some single attribute, some fractal core that’s essential to a being or a thing that remains when all other attributes have somehow been wiped away. So, it’s a made-up thing, kind of meaningless. Mysticism aside, as the term has evolved and it’s a more complex human nature that we seek, the nature of the human being has become a moving target, really not more than a collection of empirical observations.

I mean, I know when people speak seriously about human nature, they mean a complex nature, but we don’t appear to have stopped using it in all the same sentences where a simple, pure nature would work better.

Still, perhaps talking about the “natures” of things is something we’re stuck with, part of the structure of our thought – of course, one in sense, it’s a sort of shorthand, we attempt to impose symbols over complex things when we need to visualize many of them in interaction. You don’t need as long a list of human traits as we have developed when there are fifty of them coming over the hill at you; at that point, you need some quick, accessible understanding of their natures. Probably something like that is at the root of the idea of ‘natures’ generally (and of us treating one another as less than complex sometimes), saves memory and therefore calories, which . . . evolution. Of course, the idea isn’t going away, ancient magical baggage and all.

Let’s change tack.

Simple, complex, questions of human natures simply mean “what are we?” really, and we are political for one thing, we’re trying to pass laws, we make sweeping policy decisions for ourselves and one another, and we do have to postulate some default for people, some starting point where we think they might settle into if it weren’t for our policies. An eternal, static human nature would indicate a stable or static world, and conversely, evolution and science suggest an evolving nature, probably a moving target. Nevertheless, “what are we now?” is still something we must at least feel we have an answer for in order to proceed with anything. We’ve always asked it, “what are we?” but we mostly have always had some sort of an answer too – and proceed we have, of course. I feel I have answered the question, but of course, I must play a game to do it.

I’m afraid I’m asking to modify the question.

Rejecting the simple, magical, “essence” sort of human nature Q&A, I am left with few major directions to go, “human nature” as a somewhat arbitrary collection of observations and the entire argument breaks down to details, which traits are “built in/genetic” and which not . . . it doesn’t address the issues our psyches are asking, which is, a short version we can trust. If we get that list of traits right, then it’s our answer – but it’s not a short, useful answer, is it? We’re really looking for some few things, and “good” and “bad” are not personality traits, nor are “friend” or “foe.” This is mostly the data we want in out human nature meme.

So, it’s a collection of traits, and an evolving target, it’s really about values, our interests: if humans are basically “good,” how would we treat them? If they’re mostly
“bad,” then how do we treat them? So, the original question, “what are we?” really means “are we good or bad?” which is sure to be related to a basic friend or foe question. The true answer to both questions is long and vague, both answers true often enough, good and bad, both answers have their proofs . . .

. . . for me, the question became one of nouns and verbs again. Human nature is perhaps not what we are, but behaviour, what we do. With the idea that what we believe has some impact on what we do (debatable, I know), the question has become for me not “what are we?” – again, sort of answered, pretty exhaustively if not satisfyingly –  but “if we do X, then what must we believe?”

It’s like an audit, doing your arithmetic backwards to check your work. I haven’t finished my argument, not by a long shot, this is only Part #2, but I’ll jump way ahead, give you that question with my specifics inserted in place of the variables:

“If we’re so sure we’re born bad, why would we abuse our children, thereby making them worse?”

That idea has me now discounting our default natures, finding the “what are we?” question besides the point; it seems to me now the question isn’t “what are we,” but “where are we taking ourselves?” – wherever we were, whatever we were.

 

Jeff

Nov. 17th., 2017

Dad would have been eighty-seven.

Einstein and Self-actualization

 

I’m teetering on the edge here, delusion or success, irrelevance or self-actualization. Things are very bad right now, plus also, my wildest dreams may be coming true. I don’t have a lot of neutral feelings right now, but it’s not the application for words like ‘ambivalence’ either. These two possibilities in no way cancel out, they’re just both in force full time, and I’m . . . stretched.

I think I’m Albert Einstein, that’s a clue that it’s clearly the first of each of these options, but then again, you know: so did Albert Einstein. I’m just watching “PBS NOVA – Inside Einstein’s Mind” and I had to start a commentary. I didn’t realize that my madness had a name, like a regular person’s name. I can’t wait to see how his obsession worked out for him. Maybe that’ll give me some idea what I’m in for. Here’s the introduction:

“It’s a mysterious force that shapes our universe. It feels familiar, but it’s far stranger than anyone ever imagined, and yet, one man’s brilliant mind tamed it: gravity. Using simple thought experiments, Albert Einstein made an astonishing discovery. Time and space are shaped by matter. He called it the General Theory of Relativity. How did one person, working almost entirely alone, change everything we thought we knew about the universe?”

“ . . . General Relativity. It is perhaps the most remarkable feat of thinking about nature to come from a single mind.”

“How did a concept that explains so much come from the mind of one man? . . . the seeds for his ideas were planted when he was just a child. His unique personality was evident early on . . . a rebel, a loner, but deeply curious . . . he was a daydreamer, but he was deeply persistent . . . the young Einstein became gripped by a desire to understand the underlying laws of nature . . .” There is a great story about how the gift of a compass when he was seven impressed him forever with the desire to explain invisible forces.

The documentary then goes on to describe Einstein’s method of visual thought experiments. He wasn’t embraced at the university and did his work at work, while applying himself at his day job in the patent office. Einstein’s world of physics was dominated by two branches of physics, the Newtonian variety and the newer work in electricity and magnetism, and Einstein would set himself about reconciling the conflicts that appeared to exist between the two disciplines. He clearly believed in a single universe that would indicate a single truth, and such conflicts indicated a problem to him, one that needed to be solved.

At least one of the truths in conflict must be wrong, and maybe both; a larger truth is indicated. When he first solved it and published the Special Theory of Relativity, it wasn’t a big splash, but one eminent physicist liked it at least, and asked Einstein to say more, to review and therefore re-submit his work to a journal, which they say pushed him to expand the scope of his work, and got him thinking beyond relative speeds but also about acceleration, which ultimately led to his ‘happiest thought of his life’ and to proving that gravity and acceleration are the same force, the same thing.

“It’s a big breakthrough.”

He formed a new theory of gravity, the General Theory of Relativity.

There were struggles, though. Possibly too confident, Einstein had shared his ideas and when he got off on a bad tangent for a few years, another mathematician he had shared with became a competitor, completing the Theory had become a race, and this while he lived alone, his wife and kids – neglected, no doubt – having moved out. A dark period passed, some years, before he finally solved the whole thing producing those famous, world explaining equations.

Of course, that solved everything for him at the university and in the world and history – oops! I almost Wikipedia-ed him to see if the wife and kids ever returned! I don’t want to know that, depending which way it went. There are some parallels.

“ . . . the seeds for his ideas were planted when he was just a child. His unique personality was evident early on . . . a rebel, a loner, but deeply curious . . . he was a daydreamer, but he was deeply persistent . . . the young Einstein became gripped by a desire to understand the underlying laws of nature . . .”

I would have said of myself, “with a bizarre, one-off obsession,” but sure, I’d take “deeply persistent” in a minute too. I’d say his compass was me watching my little cousin’s regular beatings. There are some invisible forces to explain there too. This also:

“It’s a mysterious force that shapes our universe. It feels familiar, but it’s far stranger than anyone ever imagined, and yet, one man’s brilliant mind tamed it: gravity.

I like this. For me, replace ‘universe’ with ‘lives,’ ‘brilliant’ with ‘mutated,’ and ‘gravity’ with ‘punishment.’

“How did a concept that explains so much come from the mind of one man?”

For that, I’ll refer you to my theory. It’s all about why it didn’t occur to everybody.

I also did not go straight to the university and remain there until my success, ha. Einstein-like, a fair amount of my dreaming, I mean research and development, happened at work too! Plus, I see conflicts between the many branches of thought that might bear upon parenting, and see the need for a truth that can make sense or nonsense of it all. Plus again:

My truth, AST, takes what seem to be two different things and shows them to be one after all, gravity and acceleration for Einstein, and abuse and punishment for myself. Now if my story should somehow crazily carry on in this parallel fashion, then I’m at the stage where I have the Special Theory, and may have the attention of my eminent scientist – I just have to wait. You have to book time in this person’s mind, like booking time on the Hadron Collider. Give me a month, they said, five days ago, but who’s counting. Twenty-six days at a minimum and then maybe the good things start to happen.* I wish I could count on the wife and kids holding off any of their decisions for that long too, again, depending which way it goes.

 

Jeff

Oct. 17th., 2016

 

* …yeah that hasn’t worked out, funny story. Wife and kids either, not as funny, and all for another time.

Jeff

Nov. 16th., 2017

While the geneticists are telling us the old Nature/Nurture debate has been made obsolete or been solved, depending who you talk to, I just went ahead and solved it. Part #1

 

Now that’s a long title, but it’s a great Tweet, isn’t it?

This is convergence, this little essay, for me this is where all the major threads in my mind come together: the ancient classic dialogue, human behaviour, child discipline, and yes – even trolling.

OK, that wasn’t bad, but this is just the bullet point brainstorming stage right now.

  1. A note about “things”
  2. A note about the “Nature” thing
  3. Trolling and narrowing the argument
  4. The “Nurture” thing, the Abusive Ape Theory
  5. Warrior society’s fears, head on, a lethal mutation (too late, we already have several)
  6. Liberals’ fear of science, dark hints
  7. The “Deep Roots of War” thing
  8. Self-actualization

Whups, turned into a Table of Contents. Maybe that’ll work.

 

  1. A note about “things”

 

I’ve written this idea many times, the idea that there are two sorts of mindsets, corresponding loosely with many of life’s dichotomies, one that sees things and one that sees processes. It’s never grown wings before, so I won’t try to force it today, I’ll simply say that I see motion and processes and a mind that sees things as explanations I find completely alien, I can’t fathom it. Things are players, not the play, I say this as self-expression, it’s a fact to me; I understand it’s not to everyone, in fact only to about half of us. But when we ask for instance, “Why are men X?”, I do not feel satisfied with an answer like “testosterone.” I cannot, in good faith to my reason, sign off on all the things that must be presumed and assumed to fit that “thing” into a meaningful sentence that can even be an answer at all to a bottomless question like “why?”

I mean, from that noun as an answer we don’t even know if the noun is an actor or an inhibitor – OK, maybe you do. I have spent my adult life in this misunderstanding here, that when a paper says, “correlated with” or “associated with,” that I have simply dug my heels in and opined that it isn’t specific enough be worth saying, that it indicates obfuscation, some science version of name dropping. I’m distrustful; I have been given to understand it means positive correlation, the presence of the agent in question, it just doesn’t take. The young idiot I was who got it wrong the first time is still screaming “well, why don’t you spell it out?”

I think the reality in this case, is the presence of one hormone indicates the past action of another, it can be a by product and neither actor nor inhibitor.

Hormones have gone through a few roles because of that, because it was produced, because it got used, because it didn’t get taken up again, evolving positions about what its presence meant. Nouns as answers are never the end and never can be. The search goes on for the verbs, what are these things doing? It was a textbook sort of example, to be sure, but, happy accident, it’s turning out to be a good one.

If I ask, “Why are men X?” and someone answers with a noun, “testosterone,” then it’s not fair to say anyone nods and walks away smugly knowing they have the answer, as also anyone reacting like Socrates or Pyrrho, with “I still know nothing,” (like me) is a logical extreme and not a real-life case. In real life, though, most peoples’ reactions are going to have a considerable portion of at least one of those responses, and probably some portion of both – meaning they either feel like they know or they don’t, to some degree – the point being that neither result is optimal by a mind like mine, one seems like empty understanding, a name but no role, and the other like no understanding at all. I need verbs, Man! I know, scientists know it and they’re looking and succeeding, and just because all I’m picking up from my internet connection are these buzzwords, these nouns, doesn’t mean that’s all there is going on, labeling. The point of this, though, is that that is all half of us want is the labels, or all of us are half-satisfied with names. A massive portion of our knowledge is this sort of half-knowledge, a catalogue of labels, that we use like shorthand, and the data compression costs detail.

Wherein, we know, lies the truth. I know, human brains were designed for human goals and the capital “T” Truth was not one of them. It is now, though, right? Has anyone heard the folks telling us the first bit telling us the second? Again, I am a suspicious, twisted little man and I see the general trend, the general voice of biology as sort of dark and . . . self supporting. There is this awful thing that if we identify some nasty, animal biological trait, that it’s some sort of “right,” natural and good or something . . . you see where I’m going, I don’t write novels, this won’t take long; we’re talking about Blank Slate liberals VS Nazi scientists here. Some folks assume a universal truth right around the corner and some folks don’t mind the idea of a relativistic world with only “biological truths.”

You know what? I got faith, of a sort, call it science, call it stubbornness, I think there is one universe, one world, and when “facts” appear to be in opposition, that is only an indication of a larger context, a larger world, and a larger understanding that is required to resolve the apparent conflicts. A single universe with a single complex universal truth may not have been what our minds were evolved to perceive, we would certainly be overqualified for life in the jungle or in any of our jobs were that the case, but it’s out there. If the world isn’t out there, what are our senses even for? If every biological organism lives in its own literal world, then I guess there is no communication, no shared world to try to understand, no social anything, is that it? The things we create exist because we create them, invisible things like rights and laws – the external universe is not one of those things.

Unfortunately, what this organ between our ears did evolve for is very much a part of the kind of mindset I’m battling here, it was evolved to make out friend from foe, and so this is its question, often as not, no matter what the text of the question may be: who are we talking about here? Give us a name. I think that’s why we think nouns are answers. I think we are capable of fighting memes and ideas, but mostly we were evolved to fight people, and the people we’re fighting are things, with names and addresses. This is our address, as some fellow in an est spinoff group that I attended said once, this is where we live, always bringing an amygdala to a frontal cortex fight. We want to reason, but we were evolved to fight. We try to see what we’re doing, and we come back with an endless list of possible actors, rather than actions.

Wow, that connection, nouns with people, why that mindset is so prevalent, that was empirical for me until now, anecdotal, and that just clicked into place here, as you see it and I didn’t see it coming either. This really is coming together, maybe. I am going somewhere even more basic with this argument, but I hope you all see the high-level, social importance of whether nouns pass as answers, as explanations generally, because that is the basic form of racism, xenophobia and scapegoating of all sorts: if “testosterone” is a satisfactory form of answer, then so is “terrorist,” at least to some folks who expect a “thing” for an answer, and of course those nouns get worse and worse from there.

OK, so that’s the limitation of nouns as explanations, and the biological roots of it, as I see it. Maybe a list next, things that have served us as explanations, past and present.

 

Next, yes

 

Jeff

Nov. 15th., 2017