Redefinitions 1 – AST vs Popular Memes, Human Nature

Still having problems finding a way into AST for folks, this will be attempt number I don’t know any more, another series, I suppose. The plan is to keep them short and manageable, hope to make the point with a barrage from many angles. I’ll start with the definition for AST – here’s the first, it means Antisocialization Theory – and then how it alters the narrative of a number of topics.

AST redefines everything, but we’ll try to show how, specifically, for this list of ideas:

human nature

social life

punishment

abuse

anger

empathy

relatedness theory

evolution

strength

resilience

etc.

Oh, forgot some (and this will be a feature):

racism

trauma and healing, psychology

attention

culture, tradition

control

Redefinitions – 1. Human Nature

AST, a Definition

AST is the theory of our hurt, the human science of not deterrent and socialization, but of abuse, punitive and otherwise, and our antisocialization, which long word means exactly what it sounds like it means: to have been made antisocial. It is about the dark side of our social control, the stuff we supposedly don’t want to happen, beyond that the person maybe did what they were bloody well told.

The AST Theory of Conflict states that the failures and ostensibly unintended consequences of our rough control are deeply and vastly consequential in human life, and its author can get very expansive, imagining it to be the post powerful and destructive force driving us.

The central idea is that structures and ways of being within the human social group – laws and punishments, ordeals, etc., –  add up to pain and trauma for the individual, while laws prohibit simple reactive violence and simple revenge, and so the individual is “charged” with bad feelings, antisocialized and looking for a fight they are allowed to have. The group’s leadership – administrators of the law – can then exploit this reservoir of anger, point it at someone and allow the citizens the “freedom,” – not an accident and not irony, this word choice, we are always seeing this – to deflect and unload their frustrations.

AST asks you to note, that our own people frustrate us, and exploit our frustrations at will in this system, using us to abuse some Other, some human group in a war or a pogrom, or an apartheid. That is what I call the AST theory of Conflict, weaponized by our own, to be discharged in some group conflict.

Hmm. Not sure if that will be the one I use every time, but I like it for our first entry:

AST and “Human Nature”

First – fooled ya, there’s no such thing, AST doesn’t have that. AST needs a reason that humans do bad things, while “human nature” would seem to state that no matter what horrors we perpetrate, no explanation is required: of course genocides. Whaddayamean, “why?” “Human Nature!”

“Natures,” – “essences,” aren’t a thing, not a meaningful actual thing. It’s a made up premise from thousands of years ago. I mean, sure it’s the foundation of all human society and law, but that doesn’t make it true, that’s just the twin fallacies of consensus and tradition. I have a speech about language and neural pathways, that your neural pathways don’t change every time you learn a new word, that mostly new words only re-label old paths – and “genetically determined” or “genetic legacy,” is the new label for “human nature,” which perhaps is a new label for Original Sin.

This function makes it hard to change. We know about things that grow and change, so we surely have a circuit to understand evolution, but I guess it’s not yet the superhighway the “human nature” one is? It’s hard to change, our thoughts want to use the main road or something.

“Genetic legacy,” is antithetical to evolution, it’s used where “human nature” would be used, when it’s time to say “that’s just the way it is,” – when evolution is supposed to mean nothing “is” the way it is for long, everything is becoming something and stopping being something else, ‘natures,’ and ‘determinations,’ are exactly not the point. An evolving creature doesn’t make excuses about what it “is,” it actively adapts, it reaches for the next thing to be. That’s what happens when a real creature adapts to actual reality.

It’s not so clear that’s us, I admit. But the false binary, formerly “human nature,” vs the blank slate is now presented as “genetics” vs the blank slate, and they have their proof, it’s not a blank slate, I get it, there are specific genetics in place – my answer is, yes, not blank, yes, an operating system – still not a “nature,” still not a static thing, still not an excuse! And there is environmental control of genetic options! Even if the genesuite was static (it’s not), are every one of its options “just the way it is?”

The language is not bad, but the thought isn’t up to it.

AST doesn’t need to bust the “natures” myth, Darwin did that, or he tried, we’re still trying. Like I say, change is hard. The problem is, it’s never busted, no-one loses it, “human nature” is our last idea, still there, underneath all of our education, the last stop as our minds trail off, faced with evil we cannot otherwise explain, “bah, human nature.” AST doesn’t stop at rhetorical roadblocks, AST has a rule, no “human nature.” You must explain the behaviour, with science, here on earth, no matter that it’s evil, of course, especially because it’s evil.

AST hates to make threats, but “human nature” seems to keep producing global violent meltdowns and insists there’s nothing for it, don’t even try. That myth is just going to let us kill everything, ourselves not least. You need AST. OK, that’s not enough to get anything, but that, I’m afraid that really is “just the way it is,” LOL.

More to come.

Jeff

April 28th., 2022

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