What’s in a Smile

Sometimes it could be anything, bared teeth are bared teeth; sometimes you have to seek other cues, what are the eyes doing? Body language, what is the posture saying?

I have intuited that the smile is intimately intertwined with the snarl. That the difference, whether it’s a smile or a snarl, is whether those teeth belong to your friends or not. A snarl is a threat, and so a smile is one that isn’t aimed at you, a shared snarl among friends, within your group. A snarl says, these teeth are my weapons; a smile says, all these teeth are our weapons.

Like most things human, it is one thing for the in-group and another for the out-groups. Like law and order, law for the out-group, that’s the ‘order.’ Like religions of forgiveness, law for the out-group, forgiveness within.

You Google ‘origins of smiling,’ and you get talk of chimpanzees laughing, but I just watched some and that is open mouth, making noise – that’s laughing, not smiling. My theory here is really the only one there is, I think. Perhaps others have said it and I just don’t know where to look.

Of course it’s all part of the gonzo antisocialization theory suite of ideas, and no-one is there for any of it. I live my life, a naysayer in a life that often seems like a rally, a place where people go to shout together the things I am trying to debunk. Think of the ugly, empty smiles of politicians, and the snarls of the populists that their violent followers pass off as smiles. These lies would never fly if there wasn’t some aspect of it in everyone’s life already. This is what smiles are, is what I’m saying. Violent extremists only make these things easy to see.

That is what a smile is, it’s fierce, a show of strength. I mean, how else could you do it, despite one’s own occasional great fortune, how could you simply smile, happy for all, in this world. A smile draws a circle, right here, right now, within these walls, I am happy, look at me, smiling, perhaps not even knowing what misery you are suffering, you will know that I am feeling good and strong! If you are also, then we are all showing our chompers, a strong and able bunch, look out for us, what can’t we accomplish?

I know, drifting a little off of pure science there, but you get the picture, right? And I’m not saying every smile today is aggressive, only that that’s how smiles began, and what they still are to a great degree. Of course, there are innocent joys to smile about also – any confusion, though, I worry is more of a feature than a bug. The aggressive smilers might prefer some confusion.

I wonder if I ever manage to make it plain enough, does anyone ever get a sense of wonder, that “science” as we know it cannot see much of the world, that things like this oughtn’t be a mystery?

Jeff

Oct. 5th., 2021

Hashtag Weak Together

I started with “Don’t spank your kids,” or, “why do we spank our kids,” and the first answer we all know, you have to teach them right from wrong, and if we will allow that adults hitting kids “accidentally” teaches hitting which may be wrong, then the next argument is strength. Right?

So I’ve been addressing that for a few years.

I detest the cursed “Strong” hashtags, the same bloody day, when are we supposed to cry?

The thing, my thing is, if you talk about resilience and strength, about growth from pain, you are not really fighting the trauma, you’re not really with the victims, I mean not in the sense that you’re actually opposing the trauma.

Desensitization is the social goal of much pain, and the usual result of pain anyhow, whether socially intentioned or not, and so strength and resilience are simply the fruition of the trauma, meaning in line, in spirit with the trauma. It’s been a process of evolution to get us here, all of this has been selected for, your strength is very much the evolved socially desired result of the trauma; your support systems after the trauma and your abusers or whatever hurt you have been partners in producing the stronger, more resilient you.

When you heal, and come back stronger, you are not breaking your programming, as perhaps we like to say, not at all, all of it is a part of human social evolution. The thing about the thing, my thing, is this is all of us, or almost all of us. It is a section of a logical mobius strip that part of the present human condition is that we exist in a ubiquitous state of group conflict and so we always blame some group of people for every problem and really cannot even see a problem that each and every one of our groups has in common. How could strength be bad, right? Resilience, survival – this is bad?

I’m saying, it’s enabling, it’s victim- wait, not shaming, not blaming . . . victim burdening, is what it is. Am I re-inventing this wheel, that’s the term, right? The victims are supposed to solve the situation, and my resilience is supposed to be the answer for my tormentors’ violence, for another’s abuse. There is pain and abuse in the world, and what is the answer, that the victims should complain but move on and accept whatever changes are forced upon them. This is gaslighting ourselves.

And – yes! Anything can be both good and bad! If we are talking about a thing that can’t ever be bad, we have left reality for the social world of taboos.

Which, yes, that could also be bad.

That is not being on the side of the victims, when we only care after the fact, and only enough to encourage them to strengthen themselves, and it isn’t looking after future victims to normalize that requirement. We talk about cycles of abuse, and that is it right there, in minimalist, bare as can be: trauma and strength, yin and yang. Cause and effect, action/reaction – I’m saying we should protect people, try to have fewer victims, that if we care, we should attempt to address causes, stop normalizing, even mythologizing the damage.

Hashtag Weak Together.

Jeff

Oct. 1st., 2021