Brainstorming. I’m going to look at the commandments as non-alpha expressions, efforts to contain and usurp authority from the alphas
On this idea that this sort of action is the definition of altruism, containing the alphas and establishing and maintaining an affiliative society of non-alpha control . . .
This from Wikipedia:
The Ten Commandments
Different religious traditions divide the seventeen verses of Exodus 20:1–17 and their parallels at Deuteronomy 5:4–21 into ten “commandments” or “sayings” in different ways, shown in the table below. Some suggest that the number ten is a choice to aid memorization rather than a matter of theology.
My comments in the chart below are in black, in Georgia
|LXX||P||S||T||A||C||L||R||Main article||Exodus 20:1-17||Deuteronomy 5:4-21|
|—||—||—||1||—||1||—||(1)||I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.||2||6|
|1||1||1||2||1||1||1||1||Thou shalt have no other gods before me
– A symbol did this, God did this, not this Moses character, not the leader of the moment. Indicative of competition between the priests (the church) and secular or military leaders – a version of beta VS alpha
– With God as the replacement alpha speaking here, the meaning is clear: you worry about what I’m going to do to you first and worry about the enemy second. Our own alphas are always around.
|2||2||1||2||1||1||1||2||Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
– Again, symbols, not concrete images and therefore not the image of a concrete person, a human leader/alpha
– With God as alpha speaking, perhaps this adds up to “Don’t listen to what I said. Listen to what I’m saying.” We don’t hold alphas to custom, they don’t have to explain to us if their policy shifts.
|3||3||2||3||2||2||2||3||Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
– These so far seem to be the church, establishing its god as the new, symbolic alpha. This sentiment, I believe is explained that we don’t get to say which of the world’s phenomena were God’s and which weren’t, so again, we don’t get to hold the alpha to anything.
|4||4||3||4||3||3||3||4||Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy
|5||5||4||5||4||4||4||5||– I’m not clear on anything specific about this. Maybe having a day to press this set of rules, a day for the non-alphas to meet and reinforce this system. Otherwise, the rest of the commandments are basically “thou shalt not” the alphas’ to do list, adding up to “thou shalt not behave like an alpha.”
Honour thy father and thy mother
– I imagine this goes to the most basic of alpha business, succession, and surviving it. Betas would like to have an old age and this sentiment is part of it – plus again, not an alpha concern, an alpha honours his father by killing and usurping him, so again, “thou shalt not go about behaving like an alpha.”
|6||7||5||6||5||5||5||6||Thou shalt not kill
|7||6||6||7||6||6||6||7||Thou shalt not commit adultery
|8||8||7||8||7||7||7||8||Thou shalt not steal
|9||9||8||9||8||8||8||9||Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour
|10||10||9||10||10||10||9||10||Thou shalt not covet (neighbour’s house)||17a||21b|
|10||10||9||10||9||9||10||10||Thou shalt not covet (neighbour’s wife)||17b||21a|
|10||10||9||10||10||10||10||10||Thou shalt not covet (neighbour’s servants, animals, or anything else)
|—||—||10||—||—||—||—||—||Ye shall erect these stones which I command thee upon Mount Gerizim|||||
- All scripture quotes above are from the King James Version. Click on verses at top of columns for other versions.
Me again now. I know, I lost heart half way through.
I wanted to talk about adultery in terms of Prima Noctis and genes, and bearing false witness as a thing a powerless person can’t get away with like the alpha can, but what seems more important is this.
All these rules, generally, the non-alphas sort of follow more than the alphas do already, and mostly only reinforce that these behaviours are not for you, but for your leaders, for the alphas. It’s a reasonable debate as to whether this is the operative function, possibly more than that the rules control the alphas, and this is the sense of oppression people have always felt from the churches, that they whip the poor in line and support leaders of all quality gradients.
What I am suggesting is this, that altruism is a non-alpha strategy not to eliminate the alphas, but simply to create a society despite them, a society, really, without them. When we – non-alphas, or anyone behaving in non-alpha ways – perform an altruistic act for one another, this isn’t always for individual quid pro quo, and it isn’t always for the human tribal/family group or nation either. We say altruism is for “humanity,” but I think maybe it’s just for most of humanity, a principle held by all but the most blatant and brutal alphas, a second vector for power where the power is shared, and trust develops.
Sapolsky’s cortisol cascade, that is life when the alphas design the game, and it appears that primates are evolved in such a way that if those above you play it, if the alpha at the top, or the fellow on the tier just above yours is playing it, raining random violence down on you to deflect from above or simply to let you know your place, then it’s best if you play it too, for your health, he says. No-one blames the baboon who does that, and I suppose no-one should blame me when I do, or anyone, and I’m not blaming, OK, I am but that’s not the point. The point is the baboons are still battling it out on the savanna and losing ground. That is not the system that got some of us into shoes and using toilet paper – I know, bad examples.
I think this is a normal idea, right, altruism as a force to balance aggression?
It only seems new to me, because I’m coming at it from a different direction, I can’t hear “aggression” as a cause for anything, aggression is a noun, a drive, an attribute. We didn’t evolve fighting words, concepts, we evolved fighting people, that’s what this cranium is for, so altruism isn’t a strategy to fight “aggression,” we really haven’t been in one long peace movement all our history and prehistory.
Altruism is a strategy to fight alphas.
We lesser people, we learn to trust one another a bit, we coordinate, we all agree on these laws, and at least some of these alpha or alpha wannabe types are curtailed. So, this must be the roots of socialism, right? Morality isn’t about siding with your tribe or your nation, it’s about siding with non-alphas, with people not playing the alpha game. I think this may be a biological explanation, and I’m afraid it puts all the combative stuff in the OT on the wrong side of the line because it is so very difficult to claw our way out of our biology. Patriarch is another word for alpha, and while I’ve guessed here that the church of the time was attempting to replace the real alpha with the god symbol, that that is a move within the game, they were keeping and using the alpha principle, co-opting it. That’s just another way of saying it was pragmatic, working within the game. But altruism predates all that organization considerably.
It’s been there all along, it’s observable in nature generally and among primates specifically, and I like that I now feel I know that it’s not some universal principle we are imposing, but an organic one with a logical function. Ah! Having said that, that is quite a nebulous benefit we get from our altruism, “humanism” generally. We intuit that maybe, but it must be sort of impossible to get your hands on and feel. Certainly, it’s been difficult to explain. It’s reciprocal, I guess, but it’s a leap of faith that it is at this level, as a principle among the less than alphas of the world, literally billions of us and most locked away from one another behind borders and cultural walls.
Dec. 4th., 2017