Directions, expanded

Just an update, I’ve tried to stretch this for clarity.

I wasn’t going to write this blog – and I didn’t. It’s just a Twitter rant. But it’s a clarification, certainly an important part of antisocialization theory.

 

  1. Sorry for teasing, if anybody was. I’m afraid this trailer signified the end of my output for now. Anyway, like a lot of it, I’ve already laid this idea out before. But rather than send you back to an earlier, dumber me, I’ll give it to you in point form, Twitter style. /more

(This referring to a teaser tweet from a few days ago with the following text)

Well, I’m almost sixty.

I guess it’s time I stop all this infantile radicalism and start spouting some long-winded lullaby about some stupid middle of some boring road. Have we met? LOL, you’ve met me now! I can’t imagine anything that would capture me better than that with all the time and ink in the world.

How about some compromise between Man the Rational Animal and Man the Meaningless, lost in relativism and adaptations to adaptations to we don’t even know what anymore?

Shouldn’t need our teeth for that. Grab your cardigan, put the kettle on for a nice Ovaltine and watch this idiot finally stop trying to tear the world down for some rebuild that he should have known since statutory adulthood was never coming.

(Then on to Point Number two. From here, I’ll try to expand, stretch out the shorthand to something someone can follow.)

 

  1. The point of antisocialization theory is that our punishments schemes and abuse push our personalities in a DIRECTION, and perhaps that direction is the opposite direction to where our schemes push our behaviour for the most part, meaning we LOOK better, but we FEEL worse. /more

What I’m after here is the idea that while use of punishments does control some behaviours, making life better and safer at home within our group for the most part, where our most egregious individuals are controlled, exiled or killed, there is a cost and a downside, and that is that each of us are participating in fighting him and so to some degree the violence we are trying to stop him from we are now all involved in.

It’s hard to imagine that we have a technology that makes this negative energy (these negative causes and effects) disappear, energy doesn’t disappear, it is converted, moved – stored, perhaps in this case, the individual murderer’s violence is traded for our group violent control, we lose a murderer and we all become police, jailers, executioners, and share the load of some violent constant, nothing created and nothing lost. This goes to conscious evolution, and self-domestication. I don’t think you can beat yourself passive. I think if we are domesticated, we are also the slavers as well as the domestic labour pool, it has to be a process of splitting, and for us to be getting more sheep-like, we must also be getting more wolf-like. It would seem that the existing state of evolutionary psychology is focussed upon the success of our conscious efforts and our growing sheep-like traits, they are writing books to explain our decreased violence and our ability to work together.

I think they’re ignoring the dark side. I accuse them in my heart of leaving human pain, misery and mental illness to the “blank slate psychologists” they say will never solve anything. I worry that for them, just as for parents, none of which ever went to parenting college, this punishing business is a magic bullet, no cost, no downside. I say this a lot, and if any of them think I’m wrong, none of them are engaging me about it. Of course, I’m no-one and unpublished. Social media is a place to talk, not necessarily a place to be heard; I can’t know any of them have read my complaints.

Frankly, as things have been, group conflict almost always being our biggest problem, my “dark side” is a feature, not a bug, makes us strong and we’re still here, not selected out. But if it’s a feature, why can’t we talk about it? Conscious evolution is going to require that we don’t have huge areas we aren’t conscious enough to talk about.

 

  1. There’s a lot of stuff to say and fight about there, but for now, this: abuse produces more crime, and discipline produces more effective armies, and so the DIRECTION pain drives our personalities in is towards fighting, violence, defensiveness, aggression. /more

Just to clarify, violence is a large component of all those vocations, the common factor. When attempting to engage in science, we try to get beneath social constructs like dividing violence into criminal and law enforcement violence, because there are common elements that predate ideas like law and crime, things to know about it beyond the current value attachments. Abuse is a component of both criminal abuse and military discipline.

 

  1. “Abuse,” when I say it in these contexts, includes punishment and discipline, because those things include the use of abuse. But, addressing this question, we have a PRINCIPLE, a near species-wide behaviour, that pushes us in a particular DIRECTION, so – /more

By this I mean to agree with Richard Wrangham and any before him that have traced the progress of our civilization and seen the role of our majority rule, punishments and capital punishment, I agree that yes, this is a human trait, perhaps universal. People know the power of punishment, for me, people know the power of abuse. I agree, we all know the power of conscious punishment to reach some of our conscious goals. I believe myself, that we also unconsciously know the power of abuse to reach our perhaps less conscious goals. And maybe this less conscious part is the less malleable part, and so the more universal part.

I think where our conscious efforts take us, Wrangham probably tells this story very well, but being conscious and overt, perhaps this is flexible, sort of steerable what we teach, what we punish for, what crimes we designate and what behaviours are mandatory, and cultures certainly vary. But abuse, this provides direction, pretty thoroughly documented by all sorts of social science, and while things are being debunked, the whole general direction isn’t likely to be. That direction is violence, fighting, and it springs organically from the application of abuse, regardless of the lesson intended. Statistically, I mean, by Big Data.

 

  1. – so determining initial conditions, like some “human nature,” with its connotations of innateness, isn’t either the point, possible, or necessary. We know what DIRECTION we’re swimming. We know where we’re TRYING to go, where we are working to TAKE our natures to. /more

Hmmm . . . this bit’s clear enough, maybe . . .

 

  1. So much for origins and innateness, but also the more nuanced position of endless relativism, of adaptive fictions and constructed realities – again, maybe we can SAY we don’t know which way is up or which DIRECTION we’re swimming, but look at us: /more
  2. When you see all the salmon struggling in the same direction, maybe they don’t have a clear idea what it is, or maybe they wouldn’t tell us and give away their ancestral homeland to us predators, but they’re all swimming the same DIRECTION and so we can glean it. /more
  3. You must know where I see us all swimming to: strength, discipline, and never-ending war and strife. This adaptive behaviour works for the last group standing, I suppose, and we’ll be down to that soon enough if we don’t see where we’re trying so hard to get. /done

This is where the rubber meets the road for me, that we talk about either our static “natures” getting us into this pickle, or the never-ending conflict is an accident, some default we fall into because we’re just not trying hard enough or something – when I’ve had this insight that it’s what we do the most, the things that we never let up on for a second that have brought us to this state of affairs, and those are our punishments, and again, I think we can’t beat ourselves passive.

 

 

  1. you ever get tired and sad and give up and try to beg off and NOT write something brilliant? SMFH. 🤓🤣🤣🤣

 

Jeff

May 12th., 2019

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2 thoughts on “Directions, expanded

  1. Jeff/neighsayer May 12, 2019 / 11:50 am

    “Frankly, as things have been, group conflict almost always being our biggest problem, my “dark side” is a feature, not a bug, makes us strong and we’re still here, not selected out.”
    by “us,” I mean living humans, and a huge part of my thing that I forgot to mention here is that many, many, MANY human groups have indeed been selected out, BY US. I think we have identified upwards of five ancient human groups different enough from us to have their own names that have gone extinct in the last fifty thousand years, and the extinct tribal groups of our species are probably innumerable.
    I’m sorry. “Not selected out” was exactly NOT the point. My point is, our dark side is always working to select out some other, and we don’t appreciate how hard we work to maintain the situation, the time and energy we spend pushing our violence into the dark.

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  2. Jeff/neighsayer May 17, 2019 / 11:07 am

    New thought here, that crime and murder have done a sort of an end-run around our answer for it. It’s not just that we are slavers and slave, wolves AND sheep, not that we are all morally compromised to some low percentage of our entire selves. Humans specialize. Some of us can be mostly good, some of us can be as upright as we can imagine ourselves to be even, but some of us engage in the low percentage side of humanity’s fight against crime full time, forty hours a week and more.
    These folks don’t have some low percentage of involvement in some of the very sort of activities were supposed to be controlling for, for military and police, many must be all in on activities that we are theoretically trying to stop: armed and forced abductions and confinements being the least violent outcomes of much of their work. In this way, criminal acts are not criminal acts in and of themselves, only depending upon circumstance and a huge part of circumstance ends up as a matter of who is doing it.
    And so yes, we are all morally compromised, we allow this for “the greater good,” in fact we insist upon it for the greater good, just as Wrangham (and probably Skinner) will tell you, but Orwell will tell you that a greater good is not guaranteed, once we have allowed circumstance and identity to define crime.
    And that is the language of authoritarianism and I think we’re all getting familiar with it.

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