Redefinitions 3 – AST VS Popular Memes, Punishment

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





relatedness theory




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


trauma and healing, psychology

Redefinitions – 3. Punishment

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, 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 few entries:

AST, “Punishment”

OK, “ostensibly unintended consequences of our rough control are deeply and vastly consequential in human life,” I said, didn’t I. Of course the biggest failures are easy to see, we all agree it’s the case for people whose abuse went beyond all idea of control or teaching. Outright, illicit abuse we all see as abuse, we count the downsides of that, at least within the lives of the people and those around them, and intergenerationally, within families, even in whole communities we can see the effects quite often.

Regularly, an abuser will have called it punishment or some such, but over a certain line, we all know it’s abuse and we know it has downstream consequences that go on and on. People need therapy and such, a lot of extra love to find their way back to life, and still, effects escape into the stream of time and affect the next generation. We know about the bad feelings, the powerlessness, the anger, the ideations, the need to deflect, all bad things, no-one should be left to feel these awful things, feelings are involuntary and it is abuse to create the crime that induces them.

We know this.

However, I noticed and so AST speaks about the missing cause, the missing feelings, the perhaps less intense bad feelings we all get from the abuse that doesn’t cross our “line.” I intuit that this is a quarter at least of all causality in human affairs that is simply missing, but you know what, I’ve never actually tried to draw it, let’s try a truth table of sorts:

Ha – did I say one quarter, not three?

There are two sides to life, too, the personal and the public.

It seems to me that in human life, as I said, personal abuse stories are told, personal causes and effects are hashed out, but social life is rarely invoked as a cause, we do not talk about society causing abuse, it’s all personal. When it comes to abuse, we are on our own, no-one is planning to restructure society for that.

It’s a “personal journey,” donchaknow. How much of psychology.

So we count one of two sets of effects for outright, illegal abuse, the personal one. Public effects of extreme abuse? Is that a thing?

I’ll have you note, we count neither side of the second thing, no personal remedy is coming for your “normal” punishments, and we certainly don’t talk about negative effects on society from law. So there it is: we ignore three quarters of the information and causation for our self-analysis. And so, Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of Man? We don’t! And we clearly don’t want to know.

Three quarters.

No wonder I avoided drawing it out for so long. Ouch.

There is interplay, extreme abuse easily hides among “normal” abuse, as I said, when I was young, a screaming child brought no curious saviours, it was normal to spank and normal to hear a child screaming. We were surely only hearing lessons, not beating or more. But . . . rationally, scientifically. You can’t use a “deterrent” and then declare it harmless! If it’s harmless, prithee, where is the deterrent?

Punishment makes us quite stupid. It’s not harmless, simple. See? Saved you from that very stupid trap right there.

The harm, the fact of the actual implementation of the supposed “deterrents,” that is half of our possible knowledge regarding ourselves, much of our bad feelings and much of our anger and aggression, this is what AST cannot seem to get through humanity’s thick skull. Calling most of it “legal,” or “normal,” doesn’t stop the cause and effect, you poor, stupid, abused apes!

Meant with love, harsh truth for my fam, I mean unless you happen to be rich. Then adjust the list accordingly.

Calling most of it “legal,” or “normal,” doesn’t stop the cause and effect, Mom! That isn’t better, is it. Harsh truths are harsh, no way around it. Teacher? No, don’t go after Mom, don’t go after teachers . . . cops are an extreme, obvious case. I’m looking for something a little less ham-handed, but really, it’s all of us, in most of our roles, isn’t it. AST tries very hard not to engage in Us and Them stuff. It’s pretty much all of us. The exceptions aren’t affecting the world much, at least not right now.

I’ve talked about this word too long, I have completely forgotten how this conversation is supposed to begin, but punishment is abuse, with a social waiver, “good” abuse, we say, and we only count its downsides in the most extreme failures, while the downsides are, well, I’ll get expansive again. The downsides are we look so bad, anyone would believe some god made us awful on purpose, among other things.

The downsides are pain, propagated endlessly, a huge, repressed and ignored reservoir of anger and pain we all carry that, as I say in the Conflict Theory, drives us forever to hatred and war.

OK. Breaking the “short” rule a little, we’ll stop.

Really, this one and the next one, “abuse,” are one idea, I hope if you don’t read the whole series, at least you don’t read this one without seeing the next one, the other half of this thought. Thanks.


May 3rd., 2022

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