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?
Oct. 5th., 2021