Justice, Ever

The only justice is if we, as a people, we as a species, understand why we do what we do and so then we can make changes.

If we allow hate and conflict to remain completely unchallenged, I don’t mean on the battlefield but everywhere else, in the libraries, then what are we talking about, what are we hoping for? If we don’t know why it is, what changes are we planning to make?

All this wokeness is depressingly for naught if we don’t apply our science to the hate and the conflict, if we think it doesn’t need it. If we think it’s un-sciencable, if we consider it foundational in a way nothing in nature is, if we think it is somehow exempt from real world causation. If we for some reason don’t want to know.

I’m talking about how all conversations about changing the world end, with a sigh and the rule: human nature.

Society – warrior society, a society that runs on hate and conflict – tells science it’s not allowed to follow the hate and abuse exactly the way T told Mueller not to follow the money. It’s Human Nature, we already have this answer, shut uppa you mouth! You can talk about it, sure, you may tend to the sick and injured – over there in the “soft,” human sciences – but don’t be bringing that weak nonsense into the real world where hate and abuse are our premises, like Kant’s time and space.

In real life, we hate. Babies want to be everyone’s friend, but grown-ups kill. This is what the Right means by considering themselves the adults, the “practical” ones, and honestly, I have the meme also, I consider myself aligned with the Left and the babies . . . but today, the point is that it is more that all are following false principles, refusing to grow up and face themselves. Bison Boy looks like a child, and if he were carrying Pelosi’s head, I tell you – still a child, still unaware, still founded in foundationless myth he swallowed whole at an early age. Violence perhaps only defines a maturity of body.

Follow the science of humans, any one of them: psychology, anthropology, bio theory, genetics, pick one, choose them all – follow them to the bottom, it’s Human Nature.

A moral stop light. Go no further! (Shoutout to Tom Waits in the Fisher King.)

This is abdication of their role. Go to a biologist and ask them about “whale nature,” or “ant nature,” and they will ask you why you are trying to cancel their job and natural science altogether. Science has reasons, not natures. Humans are exempt from science – well, human science, I guess. But that is the relevant kind to you and me, isn’t it?

The only justice for anyone, ever, is humanity troubleshoot itself for the first time, learn where the hate enters our lives – so that our children don’t keep killing the natives, FFS.

If you won’t admit why you did it, how can you say they won’t? “Human nature” doesn’t count, you know the bastards had – have – reasons. Real world, human reasons. Unsavoury AF, yes, but reasons. Lies, of course – but lies to hide reasons. When you can’t stop a thing, there are reasons, damn it, what is the matter with you?

When you want to change a thing, I mean if you really do want to change it, you have to know the reasons for it and deal with them. You don’t say “that’s just the way it is.” That is what the people who do not want to change it say. And that’s what human nature means.

Justice is when we stop saying Human Nature and start saying “because” something. Then there is something to change!

If you say Human Nature, your hope and your promises and your apologies are fucking empty.

Human Nature is a myth, the bad guys’ myth.

Justice is truth.

Jeff

June 26th., 2021

Being Mis-moralled

Like all my answers, this one arrived breach, backwards, started with the free-floating thought that I had been personally mis-moralled, treated as hostile when I wasn’t. Will you allow the expression?

I understand mis-gendering, the negation of our own self image and expression in favour of someone else’s idea and role for us, I have always been at some distance from the male end of the gender spectrum and have always felt unseen when someone includes me among the manly sorts of men. I’m a “he,” but of course “they” doesn’t bother me – “bro” bothers me. I don’t feel the solidarity it suggests, don’t want it, I do not offer my support to much maleness, much of it is toxic.

But you know what? Not for reasons of sex. That’s not the part of being gendered or mis-gendered that doesn’t fit, and I really don’t take offence if you think I love the ladies, I want to use a strong expression, an anatomical expression, but you know what I mean. I’m not ashamed of my heterosexual leanings, not horrified to be accused of them. My offense is about the other male things, the strength, the violence. A lot of that is directed towards sexual things, conquest and such, and people generally maybe see the sex in that and maybe manage not to see the violence in it, but I am not that way about it. I have this childish idea that some things are more important than sex and gender and that the violence should be the thing that sets off alarms for us instead.

There is enough love and sex in the world that even a little pacifist like myself should be able to find some love, and I did – although maybe my lovers had mis-gendered me, assumed I was tougher than I was, and perhaps some would like to take it back. I found some on my own terms anyhow, I thought, but the general mis-gendering has cost me far more than it’s paid me in the long run. There is a certain amount of testosterone being sexy, but there is also a lot of pain and resentment around it.

I feel being called “bro” like an accusation, I hear “every man is a rapist” In it. I hear “we are all assholes together” in it, I don’t hear “we all love the ladies here” in it, sort of the reverse. It’s more like “we hate everyone, everyone hates us and we’re winning this fight,” that’s what I hear, and I’m not happy with this situation generally, life as a fight. I’m a man, basically, and a white one to boot, supposedly the pinnacle of privilege – why is my life a war, why am I a soldier, fighting and dying in some war and if we’re winning, why doesn’t it ever end?

I feel mis-moralled, that because we white men are winning the war, everyone thinks I’m happy about the whole deal or something. That because men run the world, people think that my life is an exercise in dominance, I don’t have feelings, and want to hurt people or something.

Of course, being “mis-moralled,” being subjected to treatment that is based in assumptions, in this case not about your gender or sexuality, but about something vaguer and more basic, your “morals,” well, that is a part of all of it, isn’t it, this sexism I try to rebel against, that if I’m a man, I’m aggressive, or of regular misogynist sexism generally, and racism. All of it tends to mis-moral the target group, doesn’t it? All of my life I’ve been frustrated about people’s, ladies’ assumptions about me, that I’m some sexist player, when I have always known myself as a person who always tries to good and no harm.

I am absolutely certain that this is a tiny portion of the same feeling a good, clean living Christian black American feels when some white, bigoted obvious sinner lets them know they consider them to be automatically somehow ‘immoral.’ Women generally, looking after everything and everyone and being told by the evangelicals and the old fashioned doctors that women are somehow less developed or less moral, less fit to run the world than the men. Moral efforts seem to count for nothing in this world of group conflict, all try, none get credit, except that within our racist little groups, we are rewarded for good, moral work within and for bad, violent work outside of the group, all under the name of morality.

Bros before hos is “morality” for the bros. Not an endorsement, hence the irony quotes.

But I think this is what hurts, this is the core of it. Mis-gendering has been confusing me some, how is every stranger supposed to know, and why does every stranger need to be familiar with my complex personal sexuality? But it all makes sense this way, that the point of all discrimination is simply the judgement, and the filthy slide into what we call “morality” from matters of other, discreet things, sexuality, race, gender, age, name it. Red headedness. It wouldn’t hurt, and it wouldn’t serve the dominants’ purposes to say, “you’re gay and that’s weird;” it’s always this “you’re wrong” business, the moral othering that makes things dangerous and awful, and it doesn’t matter to a bigot that I might be working hard at being the very best, most moral gay person I can be, making all the right choices.

It’s like when it comes down to it, morality isn’t about choices, isn’t about making moral choices at all, great swathes of humanity are just born “wrong,” to the very people who preach the most about moral choices.

Interesting to me, that again, as the having it easiest demographic there is, an old white male, that I too have suffered this disregard all my life, that there have been almost no-one that ever acknowledged my efforts to be a good fellow. Not saying “me too, I get it,” of course I’m still in the best possible position. My point as always, I think it’s science. That even the best role in this play comes with a large basic serving of bullshit and being hated, even the best served demographic doesn’t have to look far for a reason to be miserable.

This is a hair’s breadth away from white apologism, and I don’t want it to be, I want to say whites are dominant, in charge, causing all of the trouble and strife and we don’t even have the self defense excuse the racists pretend to, this is all our fault. All I want to add is, most whites are getting screwed over too, yes, even as we continue to screw everyone else around. We do not have some working, racist system where all the dominant race’s members are happy and free, and I don’t want one, of course. I’m just saying, this is not a system, as the trolls on Twitter might have you believe, that makes an entire race happy and free.

This is horrible for all but the .01%.

Most white folks are not with the racist cops, mostly, we too are terrified of them. As I said, social media might give you that awful impression, like all whites are happy with Trump, like it’s all white folks against you, of course it’s not, it’s just a few percent of us, against all of us poor folks, of every shade and sexuality. These are not democratic elections, half of no country ever votes for a plague, do they. Never mind the actual vote tallying, actual democracies do not exist awash in misinformation. Actual, human voters in Canada and America aren’t valid, informed voters, a prerequisite for group rule.

I’m trying for it not to be, it always seems to me that to talk about all of us is far more important than to talk about me, but this is very personal for me.

Like I say, I am not black, or female or any seriously persecuted sort of a person, but I have managed to get myself into that situation, where a life of moral strivings means exactly nothing to someone, to the few someones I dedicated my life to being good to, and looking back, maybe from all the ladies in my life ever. White as I am, I am starting to understand invisibility and erasure. Thirty years, entire human beings came into existence and lived lives, in my house, but not in my world, my good self had been erased before they were born.

There are lines not to cross so as not to incur any further abuse from the world, but there are lines that no amount of good behaviour can ever cross and when you “are” wrong, you can’t ever do anything right.

I can’t keep my blogs separate, it’s all one, humanity and me, we have the same problems.

It’s a little bit funny, out of my white guilt and the privilege I have enjoyed, failing upwards or level, I would say, like any white liberal/progressive that I join the disenfranchised voluntarily, that I defend the LGBTQ folks and all oppressed races and such, happily say it, join indeed on paper, in my writing . . . it’s my privileged chickens coming home to roost that the matter has sort of been taken out of my hands, that I stand now, thoroughly marginalized out of my own life.

Jeff

Dec. 28th., 2020

Racism – the Invention of Hate

  1. AST

Antisocialization theory is the idea that hatred is taught and learned, the same as love is, the same as everything is. Socialization is an accepted idea, a real and obvious thing in the world, and so prosocialization and antisocialization are also, established principles (in the world of scientific principles, whether you, mere human, know it or not). Antisocialization theory is the idea that antisocial traits are nurtured, and that any tendency towards antisociality and violence requires a scientific explanation in the here and now, in life history, and not be accepted as some default.

AST, my acronym for antisocialization theory, starts from the idea that nature and evolution do not have defaults or natures, and that all things can and must be accounted for. I have noticed others’ efforts to understand altruism and morality; the bad things are always some background, the premise behind it all, the setting, not requiring a back story of its own.

Antisocialization theory is science and therefore does not define abuse by what is legal, or by the stated purpose for it, it defines abuse as a choice to hurt someone, that the act of abuse is deliberate hurt, not accidental hurt. Of course it thinks that accidents antisocialize, embitter people also, but antisocialization is generally deliberate, the hurt has a rationale. People report feeling “punished” when they suffer a rare trauma, when they are one of the very few shark attack victims or something, because that is usually the way we get hurt, intentionally.

By this definition, the altogether legal and normal minor abuse that adults do to their children all day long qualifies. The pat on the bum was deliberate, the lessons, the things taken away . . . in adult punishment situations also, prison sentences and executions, all deliberate, all abuse, somebody hurts somebody, on purpose.

Please, I know the story. I am not a child or a Martian. The “reasons” are ubiquitous, inescapable, how could anyone dream I had simply never heard them? I am teaching here, not asking.

Antisocialization theory is the theory that if so much hurt happens through deliberate actions, that the hurt is being selected for, that the hurt is the desired result of all that stimuli. Again, I know the story, I understand deterrents. AST is the idea that when deterrents fail, that this phenomenon occurs in the real world, and that there is real causation around it, before and after. Specifically, repressive blindness before and an antisocial population after (which, also before). AST and its author find it odd and rather amazing that human science manages to work around this, finding science in the virtual thing, the deterrent, but none in the actual spanking/beating/prison sentence.

When we break a rule, science and reason turn their backs on us along with everything else that does. We have a lot of talk and science around when we do what we’re told, but really none for what happens to us when we don’t – but we do have a little science about trauma and the damages of abuse – I suppose someone must be studying the accidents, the collateral damage. The good news is it applies, and we know generally, that a tough life makes a tough human being, meaning insensitive and aggressive.

2. Conflict

So that’s why, that’s what the rules and punishments produce. Sure, the deterrents produce the good things, perhaps, I’ll allow it, but the abuse when the deterrent fails, that’s what produces all the bad things, and we produce them because we love them, we think we need them, we produce them on purpose through our purposeful actions. An angry young man is exactly what the generals want, what warrior society loves, and so abused angry young men are probably not accidents, and their abuse angers them quite reasonably and logically.

The controlled, deterred human makes beautiful porcelain things, the abuse behind the control makes us smash them. The controlled human is civil to our community, the abuse behind it makes us abuse other communities. This is the causality, the true story of group life, this is why it’s “prosocial at home and antisocial at the border,” because we are tortured and wound up at home but forbidden to act out there and sent out to get our release from the neighbors, from someone else. We do not smash our own porcelain, generally, is the idea. This is all group conflict. This is what men and nations call “strength,” their reserve of artificially created or stored anger, and our “strength,” is always and forever the reason for someone else’s.

Again, this is all human group conflict: at home, we take the shit and out and about, we give it.

3. Race

This is racism, race and cultural markings, dress and custom, these signify “not at home,” mode for pre-charged, abused people. These foreign things are what your frustration was arranged for, why it was created, what your antisocialization is for. NOT an endorsement. But this is racism.

There is nothing “wrong” with the other community/race/person, they are perfect for their role, to complete the circle and resolve our abuse. Again, today’s target, American blacks, did not kill Christ, and they do not “own the banks,” none of that was really the point about the German Nazis’ targets, it was simply that they were targets, viable, legal targets for the overly controlled at home Germans’ stored rage.

I see the word all day, “racism,” it’s the scourge, it’s the problem, it’s what you shouldn’t have, and of course I agree . . . what I don’t see is what I offer here, a scientific look at what it is and what function it serves, I mean not from anyone but the Nazis themselves. It seems the bad guys want science to authorize their hate and the good guys worry that it will or something, so they try to keep them apart, science and racism.

I get that.

But they control their kids, same as anybody else.

They say racism is awful and wrong and all that, but then they do all the social control stuff that makes so many people need an outlet. Don’t play with fire kid, but hold on a minute, where do you think you’re going without your matches, kind of thing. Don’t hate anybody, but here’s an ass kicking for you to sit on forever.

Jeff

Dec. 16th., 2020

The Landscapes of Fear

I’m learning the term on an episode of NOVA , “Nature’s Fear Factor.”

I’d heard the story of how it was first studied, the wolves in Yellowstone took some prey, but changed all the prey’s behaviour and protected some of the plants the prey eats, restoring the habitats in Yellowstone in a way that surprised us all, but I hadn’t heard any theory around it.

Now that I have, it’s clear that it’s exactly the same argument I am making about humans, that there is more to life and evolution than selection. There is now the landscape of fear as an established evolutionary fact and factor rolling out across the world of animal biology. Perhaps that’s the simplest way to say it, or aspect of it, although I haven’t heard Sir David or I guess Elder David (Suzuki) say it, that apex predators serve to protect the food of their prey, maybe preventing extinctions, and certainly acting as a control, as they point out.

I hadn’t had the roundness to put “acting as a control” in context before; one needs to hear the details at least once, the nuts and bolts of it, I suppose. If I’m being kind to myself.

The picture of elk eating and so controlling willows and wolves eating and controlling them, it’s organized enough . . . but then, do the apex predators control themselves through their territoriality and antisocial ways, yes they do, wolves and bears and lions and such do appear to serve this function on their own species as well, fending or killing off the other wolves before all the elk are gone, just as they fend or kill of the elk before the forests are gone. Of course you know where this is going, of course that’s us too, our only control on ourselves is us.

I guess this is a call for war and death, because it seems in that function we have failed, let the world down and given up any control and allowed ourselves to drive all the prey to oblivion. It would be if I were that sort, but I’m not so I will point out that control and death are not synonymous and humans show an amazing capacity (for animals) to control themselves by another means, namely birth control. It is inconvenient that we tend towards traditional forms of control and resist this method, as a social animal somehow, as an antisocial one, we find advantage in ourselves breeding uncontrolled and when we see a need for control we think we need an army of our own children to control some “other.”

It seems lions and I suppose tigers and bears all lack this social rule and follow the larger biological rule of territoriality and when even a mother bear’s cub reaches a certain age or size, it is subjected to this control: find your own space. In this way the world is not covered in bears and other things exist, there are still berries and salmon and honey in the world. I’m not saying we have to run game theory on our kids like they do – but we have to do something, control ourselves; we are the apex predator and we need to grow up and realize that no-one is doing that for us.

But we’re not just wrong or bad. This is happening, so there must be reasons. This is every animal’s, every predator’s world, none of it is new, so it’s not that we don’t have a strategy to control ourselves and not eat ourselves out of house and home. We have one, hinted at already, but controlling the other, in a larger, group game of territoriality has somehow morphed into breeding more and more soldiers on our own crowded territory in order to fend off the other and create some space. It’s an irony that tends not to leave anyone the time or peace in which to appreciate it.

My thing, my argument with the world is that we may blame that other, or our fear of them for everything, but this is our strategy. Their existence may be a “scientific fact,” but all this that we do about it is contingent, in Foucault’s sense, not written in stone. Birth control, again, the apparent alternative, is already sort of available. The problem with the old strategy, the group territoriality, is it has a dark side, an unconscious component that carries on uninterrupted and all of our conscious moral interventions simply attempt to mitigate the inevitable results of that less conscious behaviour.

I suppose the idea breaks down for us, because we have become our whole world in that way, humans are our predator, but also one of our prey. Perhaps the same reversal, our crowding inside our castles to try to control some enemy’s crowding of the habitat, means exactly the same reversal of the effect of the landscape of fear our predator selves creates, that our prey selves are not forced away from overgrazing, but forced into it instead.

I’ll wrap up, but I feel I’ve missed it, or at least that there’s more to learn from this newish idea. I expect I’ll be back to it.

Jeff

Oct. 26th., 2020

60 today

Variations on “Proactive Aggression”

More stuff resulting from the EP book, the Goodness Paradox, from June.

Of course you can’t eliminate proactive violence by the application of proactive violence – so there is something else going on. We only say we’re combatting proactive violence and aggression by doing this, but really, doing this, waging this battle, does something else for us instead. Without drawing all the lines and trying to prove the matter, I will simply say that despite these efforts at “morality,” we still seem to organize ourselves on the authoritarian/alpha model and the “crime” and “immorality” we are battling do not seem to be disappearing from the world. Only the reactive stuff did. As I think Wrangham says, capital punishment was our proof against the bullies of the world in the smaller societies, in the past . . . are we not doing that anymore? Is that we call “murder” now, and it’s not for most people to do?

It does seem to be the plot of every movie, the tension between on the ground justice like that and either the modern ideal of the law, or a corrupt law enforcement. We are all wrestling with this problem in some way. His examples of small society executions did sound pretty corrupt. Seems to me that the winners in that scenario are the meanest ones, not the nicest ones. It’s horrible to ponder this stuff as “the roots of morality,” mostly because it means the tree is not what it’s supposed to be either.

OK, so the proactive alphas have beaten and supplanted the reactive alphas.

One – yeah, no kidding;

Two – oh, I forget. Moving on.

OK, I accept the self domestication, and less completely, the necessity of complex language for it – suspicious of the details, but the big picture doesn’t conflict with anything I can think of, anything real, anything I believe that I can think of. I was stupidly ignorant of the depth of language’s existence, most of a million years, I did not know that and I’m fairly surprised, honestly. Not sure what I thought, but now it seems that it must have only been a hundred or two thousand I was guessing. I’ll admit I had drawn a blank on the age of tool use also, which might have given me a clue. I know that is beyond the million year mark.

Waking up another day, and . . . we have a problem, Doctor.

I am worried that we really are conflating reactiveness with alphaism, that alphas may “react” a lot, but it’s not unthinkingly or uncontrollably, it’s just their policy – their winning policy. They say it, write it explicitly, you must react to everything, you cannot allow any insubordination, it’s in the Art of the Deal, guaranteed. Wrangham gives too much credit to this reactiveness. It’s the reason chimpanzees can’t compete with us and organize for a proper temple or a war, of course – but alphas are organization, not reactive chaos. They are a simple, crude organization, to be sure, and yes indeed, the alpha works to destroy more complex forms of organization, so maybe it’s chaos relatively to better organization schemes, but it’s not Jacob’s Ladder, not completely.

I have to check – he may have already said or is going to more clearly, that humans really do not have alphas, genetic alphas? I would still suggest that their system is always accessible and that the modern world is full of alphas by choice, cultural alphas or something. And again, a totalitarian, capital punishment dealing coalition is still rather authoritarian, one could say the alpha functions and rewards are simply being shared some in these egalitarian societies. But the upshot would be that reactive aggression is long gone and now it is simply the way we characterize the aggression of the other, an accusation against those whose proactive aggression we do not like – and pretty much all of the aggression and violence that means anything is of the proactive sort, both the crime we fight, and the aggression and violence of the crime fighting effort. I’m feeling like I often do, like this brilliant person is making a brilliant try, making an elegant case, for someone who isn’t seeing the main thing . . . not fair, and I know he keeps showing me otherwise, maybe . . .

Is reactiveness exactly autonomic mode, the fight or flight response? Again, if so, to test for both responses and call it all aggression seems weird. And are we talking about selection against the animal’s, uh, I want to say “survival instincts,” but it seems archaic, survival systems, its defense systems?

If civilization begins with disabling your defenses, then that makes my whole punishment is mostly just abuse idea a little less outlandish, doesn’t it? And absolutely, of course. Of course our abuser complains about our “reactive aggression,” don’t they? Ha! Suddenly I’m angry, my BFAM is now the enemy! “ . . . thus making cooperation possible,” my ass!

Thus making abuse and slavery possible, you mean. Proactive aggression, remember? Do you really find cooperation easy to come by? Must be nice.

I hope I’m being my usual infantile, think I’m inventing the world self here, I’m really hoping – and hopeful, honestly – that this is Wrangham’s point also. I guess it’s just that a great deal of these books is the author telling you everything that led up to here in this conversation, and I’m reacting to that before I let him tell me his news. So hold on there, Jeff – isn’t this exactly what you were looking for, exactly the science and evidence you’ve been looking for to support your thesis? This is exactly the point in the conversation where AST enters the world and should enter our conversation about it, I think.

. . . but it feels like some structural shift is looming, somehow. He’s talking about selection, call it cooperation, call it slavery, whichever, it was selected for, somehow outcompeted other hominid organizational schemes . . . eesh. You don’t mind saying “cooperation was selected for,” do you? Who wants to say the other thing was?

It has been in other creatures, though, right, sort of, castes of bees and ants – do you suppose the ants abuse the aphids? There’s a matter of freedom, maybe, ha. I’m not confident in that declaration. Things analogous to slavery, perhaps. OK, I’m confident, just not in a documented way. Ha. It’s an abysmal thought, are we, what’d he say, twelve thousand generations down a road of selecting ourselves for slavery?

It brings me back to the only positive I ever find in it all, if we selected this, we are self-created things and so proven capable to create or recreate ourselves and we could always just do it again. Brings me back to authority again, the alpha and the alpha coalitions, they like it this way. As always, the firssst thing we gotta do isss get rid of that bear. He’ssss gummin’ up the whole project! Sorry. And yes, doggone it, he is the project, but he’s problematic, he stands for the fight. If you fight him, his kind is winning. If our counter argument to his proactive aggression is proactive aggression, as Wrangham said, we are still selecting for him. Ah. Brothers again, walking the same mobius strip of hopelessness. Sigh.

Again, he’s said as much, domestication itself implies slavery. One could have pulled the slavery idea from what he said about cooperation, it’s just the other side of a coin.

Peaceful domestication, even slavery, as long as we get a life, get to breed, this I do not think would be enough in itself to set me against the world, all of that . . . without what I see as a lot of unnecessary violence and war. Because of that, I reject the human strategy – well, war and the destruction of the home planet. OK, war, destruction of the home planet and a system of constant, ubiquitous child abuse, except for THOSE THREE THINGS . . .

LOL. OK, I hear you, executions promote morality, sure. All I’m saying, all I think I might have to add to the conversation is, part of the selection problem, is the downsides of the moral murder, we aren’t selecting it out, and we have all agreed we will not have thieves in our midst, but murderers are not a problem. When we opt not to select it out, we go blind to its downsides, three of which I have already suggested. We look after those three, maybe we want to keep the slavery. I do love those pyramids!

Speaking of the pyramids, those were genius, weren’t they? You know why they’re still here? They’re giant piles of rocks. What are you going to do to “tear them down,” move the pile? That is an awful lot of work for reactors and disorganizers. Genius. Those folks knew something about human nature!

Pastoralists do not abuse their flocks. We could abuse our domesticated selves less, I mean if we really are, if we’re not afraid that we’ll all just up and flee our jobs if we stop cracking the whip on ourselves. Ah! There’s something new maybe! Try this:

Reactive aggression is on the downswing, almost finished it with us, and for a long time that has meant less aggression, less violence generally, sure . . . but has the other sort been on the rise? History has been a long process of adding laws, adding restrictions to behaviour, has it not? Prehistory for humans was a long reduction in senseless proximity fighting, surely, in some way, proactive aggression, beyond predation and feeding, was new at some point and has been growing since something like an inception, in longish terms?

Do we expect some counter-force, some reason it hasn’t simply been growing more and more prevalent, and wouldn’t anything just keep growing? I submit to you, that in one way or another, we are utterly obsessed with it, that this moral murder scenario has indeed grown and swallowed all of our lives. Unfortunately, with so many of us about, it’s hard to argue that it isn’t “working,” that whatever we are selecting ourselves for is enabling our outcompeting every other animal on Earth.

So the argument is that we do something that doesn’t “work” as well, on purpose.

Which, environmentalist hat on now, is exactly it, we are too good at this, too good for our own good, we have found a way to kill anything and everything and even dear old Mother earth. We need to be worse, less successful, weaker. We are much too strong; “strength” is social-ese for science-ese’s “proactive aggression,” I think.

Bringing it a little ways back towards earth, I’ll come back to his conundrum, we can’t select ourselves out, we can’t unselect for unselectors, but we try, don’t we? It’s an obsession, as I say, we are forever making plans to bring some kind of pressure to stop some form of violence, and our plans all seem to depend on some sort of proactive violence. It is in fact, my contention that if it ever worked, if we managed to put a halt to all crime and misbehaviour for a time, that subsequent generations would remain vulnerable and subject to it, because socially approved, civilizing proactive aggression would be the lifeboat for all bad things, and even if all unauthorized violence ended, it would still be inherited, mother to child, elders to youngers, as always, in the authorized version.

This is where I might interject my AST and say something about constantly losing this attempt must be working out for us, somehow, all things either having been selected for or coming along as part of a package with something else that was, there must be some net perceived upside for it. I can’t imagine that human proactive violence is a side effect of domestication syndrome, it doesn’t seem to be for all the other animal cases. It’s just supposed to have been a catalyst for ours, right?

In fact, other than as our trigger, I kind of think it’s a different conversation. What I meant when I started with “try this” – so the scourge of reactive violence is way down, and I questioned whether the frequency or effect of the proactive violence was rising still, and this would be my idea for why –

Jeff

June, 2020

The Next Step

Is socialism, otherwise known as politics, the science of people getting along.

For human beings, competition is supposed to be sport, not real life. “Conservatism” means conserving brutal competition, there have been conservatives complaining for three hundred thousand years that we never should have left the jungle, that what was wrong with being a chimpanzee?

Left means politics, group rule, the future, and science.

The Right means none of it.

I know, the Right claims “morality.”

Morality, sorry to tell you, is nothing but a violent response to unwanted behaviour. Morality is violence. Take away the violence from morality, what have you got? Probably just running, right, fight or flight? So morality is aggression, aggressive violence, an aggressive, violent response to unwanted behaviour – and as others have said, in other contexts, that can’t fix itself, can it?

But all you abuse victims believe it can, don’t you? What do you do when you see someone who is in your power doing something wrong? As far as we can go is that it “doesn’t work,” right? It’s “morality,” how can it be wrong?

In this sense, today, there is no Left, not yet. Who doesn’t believe in morality? There is only Right and Righter. Of course, vote less Right, but don’t they all run on morality, morality and “strength?”

When politics was devised to assist the weak, the young, the sick, and the old? Strength also is not politics, again, politics is the science of getting along. Strength and morality, these are the science of war, of warrior society. I have named this branch of science antisocialization theory, because that is what is accomplished in the real world by aggressive, violent morality.

It is a fault of mine that I see no small solutions, that it all looks rather futile to me from here, where most of our efforts to effect improvements only involve more of the moral violence; I haven’t been much help feeding the poor, doing what I can, not as much as I should. On the other hand, I maybe just don’t see mirages and there aren’t small solutions. Do you really think we have all the basics right and all this 1984 style psychopathy is some matter of some small tweaking? Something basic is upside-down and this morality thing is it.

Not “human nature,” but humanity’s entirely artificial response to something in human nature. Unless you’re among the worst of them yourself, you know, the sorts that talk the loudest about right and wrong and morality are the scariest ones of them all. That is not a “perversion.” That’s what morality is. Again, you know more is worse, right? So that’s the next step, realizing that morality is wrong and that we can do better. It starts at the very beginning, when we are first born into this world, and no-one hurts us “for good.” I’m serious.

The next step in evolution, the only move to get us through this selection event of what is likely the end of the world, is this: don’t spank.

Jeff

Sept. 21st., 2020

More about Circuitry

I’ve said that when we discuss human origins, that it’s the evolved “creation myth” circuit we employ, and so we wind up in the same conversations, using the new idea in the same old way. I’ve also tried to describe a circuit, a neural highway for the Nurture Assumption, by any number of names, the reason, whatever it is, that we employ our social control, that we either are rough on our own children or that we allow the older children unfettered access to be.

Maybe this is another one, or some aspect of the same ones here:

Our nightmares are some totalitarian slave system but our dreams are a good job and to contribute to society and that sounds like two ways to talk about the same circuit too, betrayed by a similarity of format, same as the innate/adaptive argument I’m making. This sounds like philosophical tool, an audit for “new” ideas – is the format the same, does it sound like the same factory may be making the “new” product? Ha! Same supply chains? Same market? Wait, yes! Can it be/is it being sold to the same market, the same pool of the same brains with the same circuits? Ha again – if they don’t have trouble adapting to it, maybe there is no adaptation required, and if it doesn’t offend and terrify us, it’s probably nothing new.

Of course, dual memes like that, different sounding takes on the same general, possibly preconfigured memes, this is always the opportunity for groupness and group conflict, , you know, we believe in evolution and adaptation, while they believe some rubbish about innate “natures.” Again, probably the same circuit in both of our brains . . . it’s almost interesting, same hardware, same firmware, maybe all the way out to software, and still we find a way to make a division out of it – in the virtual reality world of our beliefs! Which, sadly, is enough, any excuse for our reason to be, the group and its conflicts.

Jeff

June 25th., 2020 mostly. Intro

Sept. 19th., 2020

Deterrents

deterrents hurt. Deterrents are threats, and frighten us, engage the defense systems, deterrents are antisocializing all on their own, let alone when they fail and the threat becomes an horrific reality. An environment of deterrents is a dangerous, stressful, abusive environment. I guarantee we have environmentally controlled alleles for that, or rather, we have the capability, it’s in our gene suite, and I guarantee we set our lives up to activate them. For years I’ve been arguing that if it were only deterrents, if they worked, that would be fine, but of course that’s stupid, half-measures. Remembering Sapolsky, it is exactly threat and not violence that lasts too long and wears us out from the stress. Laws and deterrents are relentless.

Jeff

June 25th., 2020

Foucault Anthropology

Late night thought: we did not eliminate the alpha, we socialized his power, all the men have it, that’s what Wrangham describes, that’s the patriarchy – but that’s Foucault isn’t it, distributed power, socialized alpha power, I’m saying, but the thing is, I think for evidence that the alpha is not gone, rather everywhere instead, is that the world has been destroyed at the hands of the tyranny of cousins, that in fact what they’ve wrought is the same destruction the alpha does. “Foucault anthropology” again: whatever relief and freedom chimps ever get from their alpha, for whatever reason, he’s occupied abusing someone else, humans do not, the socialized, everywhere alpha has time for all of us, all the time. The technological gains, the knowledge, the culture, the civilization, it all seems to be better and different, not alpha destructiveness, it was a lot of literal construction . . . but if it all ends soon, if the air gives out or something, in hindsight, we will have to say it all served nothing but somebody’s destructiveness. Won’t we?

That either he’s not gone, he’s everywhere, throwing his violent tantrums, or that he did in fact provide some check, some form of organization that at least left us selectable by the rest of the biosphere . . . weird, this may be worth pursuing. On the one hand, it does seem an alpha function to hold us back from progress, to protect his position that way, and it seems incredibly clear today in America where the oppressed citizens are asking for better treatment from the authorities and it is the police and the authorities that are rioting, having a proper alpha tantrum, and lagging behind the public’s anti-violence morality. On the other hand, if he had held us back a lot more, we would still be relatively harmless apes? I’m not getting to it, but there’s something in there. D’ya think?

Jeff

June 2020

Who You Are

I tried this before, sorry for the repetition. I’m deleting the two previous efforts.

Convictions and diagnoses are labels and get used like identities, who you are is defined by your hospital or police record. That bites, but it’s a clue.

They talk about changing “your behaviour,” and “behaviour modification,” but we don’t reward behaviours or punish behaviours, do we, we reward and punish people, so that’s what we change, obviously. Has a bad behaviour, say theft, “changed?” Is theft not theft anymore? We change the people, and the modified people have at least one fewer behaviour, is the theory. It ain’t exactly comprehensive, but it’s the theory. Of course, we are only changed negatively, that’s what science has to say on the matter, whether it tried to say it or not. The rest is folk wisdom, old wives’ tales.

Like Pavlov and Skinner, their work was like pointing out that trees can be used to build things while we drown in the higher level effects of global logging practises, simple, basic, true enough, but willfully ignorant. I have a new catchphrase, a paragraph for every blog for the foreseeable future: “We can increase desired behaviour, we can decrease unwanted behaviour . . . ” the optimism! Yes you can, all you have to do is create systems of aversion and hurt and decide that those are not unwanted behaviours, or not in fact behaviours at all, not subject to scrutiny themselves.

Meaning, we can “improve behaviour” this way only if our own behaviour doesn’t count, meaning in no real world context whatsoever – folk wisdom, as I said. Fantasyland, a highly controlled experimental environment, potayto, potahto.

Convictions and diagnoses become who we are, not because we committed the crime or caught the illness, but because we all know we’ve had the treatment – and we know how human “treatments” work. We all have that much science in us. We might not understand someone’s original malfunction, but we intuitively understand what we did to them to “fix” the problem. I mean, there are new ideas in treatment, and some success – but the human experience forever of “treatment,” of intervention, is what Ms. Rich Harris reported, there aren’t improvements, what is produced is not what you wanted. Our forever experience of intervention is some form of an ass kicking, and of course that’s the priority experience, what sticks.

I don’t think this shady bit of reasoning proves anything, and specifically not this, but I’ll say it anyway, because everything points this way for me: we control behaviour with damage. Every behaviour we kill means a circuit in our brain that we killed and another we reinforced and our cumulative brain damage in the one area and overgrowth in the other is what causes all of our problems.

And you can’t fix that with law and order, law and order is the cause. It is my opinion here at abusewithanexcusedotcom that the abandonment of speech and reason and resorting to rewards and punishments, physical means, takes resources from something like the frontal cortex and regressively redistributes them to the lizard brain.

In terms of identity, one way to know who you are is to make you into a known thing. If you’ve been “raised right,” we maybe think we know who you are, if you’re a veteran, maybe we think we’re nailing you down, and if you are a survivor, if you’ve had the treatment, we have a better idea of who you are, because we think we know what being raised right means (in a very fluid, social way) and we think we know what having been a warrior means and we think we know what any treatment you received did to you. You may have been an unknown before, not so much now, again, because we all have that much science in us, we all know it was not our behaviour or our illness that was modified, but ourselves, our person.

Of course, using this half-logical vector to identify a person to stigmatize the person is gaslighting, the logic says whatever that identity means to us, we forced it on them, it is our shame, not theirs. Folks would have to know this sort of reasoning, though. Again, Antisocialization Theory is mercy, when all else is cruelty, a social environment where cruelty is to be expected. I say the identification of survivors as damaged is a sad truth to be changed, not a thing to be denied and argued, this is society’s crime, let’s not deny that we are victims and let’s not let the systems causing the damage off the hook for it.

This sometimes feels like the end of I Am Legend – let me help you! Admit your victimhood so we can focus on your tormentors, stop acting tough. If you don’t press charges,  no-one is going to stop the bad guys.

Jeff,

Sept. 13th., 2020