Redefinitions 18 – AST VS Popular Memes, Rhetoric

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


culture, tradition




Redefinitions – 10. Rhetoric

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, we are always seeing this word, 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:

New, May 26th., 2022: there seems to be a cyclic aspect to the life of conflict described, we see societies forever moving towards authoritarianism and war, followed by a relative peace and the slow buildup of bad feelings again, as the chaos fades and the social control is re-established, and . . . grows, relentlessly, towards conflict again. AST makes the point that this is a positive feedback loop, that a violent environment gets more so, that the people make adaptations for it that make it all worse in the next year and the next generation.

This feedback loop is not occurring in the wild violence of the chimpanzee, of the past, which, as we all perceive, is still waning in the human world. This is a feedback loop of the violence we like and do on purpose. Back to the “human nature” myth, why would a static nature have feedback loops and cycles?

AST, “Rhetoric”

I’m up to Number Ten in the blog, I think, I’m jumping a few, I suppose I could renumber, but I have a few started already.

This one is mostly to say and demonstrate: you know all this already.

The existence and the common understanding about rhetoric proves the matter, doesn’t it? You know you have a default. You know about the things that are so deep and unquestioned that no-one even has to say them. You know that all we have to do is lay out a problem, mention a name or a type and the rest is understood.

All I’m saying is your defaults, what you “understand,” are not universal truths. There are real world reasons and causes for what you can and cannot understand. I know no-one puts these two memes together in the same place at the same time, for obvious reasons, the reasons being that if you think “mention a name and we’ll hurt/kill them,” doesn’t have a real world cause, then you think that is a created thing – and “our murderousnesss comes straight from God and creation,” well, that is a well worn trope – but science it ain’t. Your defaults are not God’s defaults, they are a matter of your genetics, what sort of creature you are, and your environment, and the interplay between them.

So you thinking that way, that violence is automatic and created, you having this default is indicative of your environment and the sort of creature you are: for this creature, at this moment, with this makeup, “problem,” + “identity” = violence, every time, often enough that the creature’s evolved language doesn’t require the words to be said. You see where I’m going. Genetics.

How is that OK?

How is this creature ever to crawl out of this muck?

I get it, this is the creature that has survived so far, with these genes, but really? “Survived this far?” Does that soundbite come from the same folks who think that hundreds of millions of years of dinosaur life – three times, no less! – was a “failure,” because they’re dead now? If we don’t make it through the coming years, we can count ourselves in mere thousands. “So far.” Bloody visionary, ain’t it?

I’m saying there’s a gene for that and we do have the option to feed that bad wolf a little less, part of which would be to see that simple equation as the “our problem,” it is and not accept this awful default as the way it is and the way it ought to be. That’s the opposite of evolution, where creatures see what they ought to be and become it.


Oct. 23rd.,2022