I tried this before, sorry for the repetition. I’m deleting the two previous efforts.
Convictions and diagnoses are labels and get used like identities, who you are is defined by your hospital or police record. That bites, but it’s a clue.
They talk about changing “your behaviour,” and “behaviour modification,” but we don’t reward behaviours or punish behaviours, do we, we reward and punish people, so that’s what we change, obviously. Has a bad behaviour, say theft, “changed?” Is theft not theft anymore? We change the people, and the modified people have at least one fewer behaviour, is the theory. It ain’t exactly comprehensive, but it’s the theory. Of course, we are only changed negatively, that’s what science has to say on the matter, whether it tried to say it or not. The rest is folk wisdom, old wives’ tales.
Like Pavlov and Skinner, their work was like pointing out that trees can be used to build things while we drown in the higher level effects of global logging practises, simple, basic, true enough, but willfully ignorant. I have a new catchphrase, a paragraph for every blog for the foreseeable future: “We can increase desired behaviour, we can decrease unwanted behaviour . . . ” the optimism! Yes you can, all you have to do is create systems of aversion and hurt and decide that those are not unwanted behaviours, or not in fact behaviours at all, not subject to scrutiny themselves.
Meaning, we can “improve behaviour” this way only if our own behaviour doesn’t count, meaning in no real world context whatsoever – folk wisdom, as I said. Fantasyland, a highly controlled experimental environment, potayto, potahto.
Convictions and diagnoses become who we are, not because we committed the crime or caught the illness, but because we all know we’ve had the treatment – and we know how human “treatments” work. We all have that much science in us. We might not understand someone’s original malfunction, but we intuitively understand what we did to them to “fix” the problem. I mean, there are new ideas in treatment, and some success – but the human experience forever of “treatment,” of intervention, is what Ms. Rich Harris reported, there aren’t improvements, what is produced is not what you wanted. Our forever experience of intervention is some form of an ass kicking, and of course that’s the priority experience, what sticks.
I don’t think this shady bit of reasoning proves anything, and specifically not this, but I’ll say it anyway, because everything points this way for me: we control behaviour with damage. Every behaviour we kill means a circuit in our brain that we killed and another we reinforced and our cumulative brain damage in the one area and overgrowth in the other is what causes all of our problems.
And you can’t fix that with law and order, law and order is the cause. It is my opinion here at abusewithanexcusedotcom that the abandonment of speech and reason and resorting to rewards and punishments, physical means, takes resources from something like the frontal cortex and regressively redistributes them to the lizard brain.
In terms of identity, one way to know who you are is to make you into a known thing. If you’ve been “raised right,” we maybe think we know who you are, if you’re a veteran, maybe we think we’re nailing you down, and if you are a survivor, if you’ve had the treatment, we have a better idea of who you are, because we think we know what being raised right means (in a very fluid, social way) and we think we know what having been a warrior means and we think we know what any treatment you received did to you. You may have been an unknown before, not so much now, again, because we all have that much science in us, we all know it was not our behaviour or our illness that was modified, but ourselves, our person.
Of course, using this half-logical vector to identify a person to stigmatize the person is gaslighting, the logic says whatever that identity means to us, we forced it on them, it is our shame, not theirs. Folks would have to know this sort of reasoning, though. Again, Antisocialization Theory is mercy, when all else is cruelty, a social environment where cruelty is to be expected. I say the identification of survivors as damaged is a sad truth to be changed, not a thing to be denied and argued, this is society’s crime, let’s not deny that we are victims and let’s not let the systems causing the damage off the hook for it.
This sometimes feels like the end of I Am Legend – let me help you! Admit your victimhood so we can focus on your tormentors, stop acting tough. If you don’t press charges, no-one is going to stop the bad guys.
Sept. 13th., 2020