The Double-Bind Formula

I’m feeling nostalgic. Here’s a post I might have made ten or more years ago, back to childrearing.

The double-bind proves the matter, the noise cancels out when Mom and Dad make conflicting demands, make it impossible to do the right thing, the ostensibly right thing, and all that is left is antisocialization. We know it’s a game played upon the subservient person or the child, an unwinnable game for us when we are subjected to it.

But do we know it’s the entire point of all the punitive abuse?

That it’s not some game outside of what is presently a parent’s job, but possibly the most important and causative thing we do? Not an endorsement, important, I didn’t say in a good way. The impossible bind is antisocialization theory in a nutshell, that fairness and actual equality are not the point, the point is that you are altered by the experience, not for the nicer. The naked, public humiliation of the impossible bind only works to embitter us even more, or faster.

Jeff

July 3rd., 2022

Rough Drift

Not a typo, I’m trying to be clever.

Diversity is the first half of evolution, you don’t get selection without providing options, right? The most common versions of traits and genes, we assume are so because they match the most common environments, they have had the broadest success, but species appear to retain some diversity so that when that common environment changes, other traits and genes have their chance to shine and species carry on, changing in relation to the environmental changes, not necessarily quickly enough or without some serious trouble, but that’s the idea.

If they’re here, they did that, that species does that, right? If something had happened that a species had no capacity to deal with, then those ones are not here. Diversity is flexibility, which is viability when you know that environments change.

The human neurodivergent population knows this about themselves, that they are perhaps spare parts to some in the current environment, but crucial future spare parts for the species.

Personally, my mission in life seemed obvious at maybe six years of age, it seemed plain as day to me that the lifestyle of abuse and control I was born into couldn’t possibly be sustainable and I am spending my life ‘explaining shit to people’ about it, as young Master Hunting didn’t want to, I mean, if anyone is listening. And I mean, I didn’t know about neurodiversity until, well, now. I thought they had the same brain as me and were simply in error, and I could explain it to folks.

Hey, I think that’s nostalgia. It did look much simpler back then, and I just felt smart. I knew I was the odd one out, but perhaps from a more extreme stupidity, I never dreamed that it was me that was disabled. I was looking at adults raging out on little children, I never dreamed it was me that was broken in all of it. My moral outrage ruled me, even when I’d step on a hundred rakes, at least I wasn’t beating children. The whole world was disabled, they couldn’t seem to understand the simplest morality. I still feel the need to say this every day: everything is a crime except that, except hurting people who can’t fight back, on purpose. Only irresistible violence is not a crime to normal people.

Starting to see, demographically at least, by the numbers, this is my disability.

Crucial future spare parts for the species.

The dominant culture, and perhaps the current dominant genetic option, doesn’t think so. It’s rather conformist, hold on, that’s really not strong enough, it’s rather selective, in the deadly, evolutionary sense. Only intuition perhaps, sadly informed by a lot of Twitter propaganda, but I am fighting an awful creeping sense that the dominant thing, mainstream society, neurotypicality is a bad mutation, violently taking over the species by drift, and by fighting diversity, it is setting up to go extinct with the next crisis . . . but that the ‘next crisis,’ is it also, already here. I’ve tried to say, the fighting genes and our social strength are a conundrum. The genetic response to this hazard – humans – wait.

That’s the point, we are the primary hazard that humans face now, not tigers or freezing, and I suspect typicality describes the genetic response to that most typical hazard – strength, social control, “defensive” violence, this is the conundrum. The neighbors response, genetic and behavioural, is our environmental hazard and ours is theirs. This awful drift can be seen, heard, and felt whenever all humanist gains are jettisoned for the next war: if it doesn’t help you win a fight, lose it.

Right?

I think all genes are not “selfish,” but I worry that there are genes operating in error, that the defensive gene is also the genocide gene, that whatever genetic combination it is that wins the wars will sacrifice the crucial, God-given diversity to do it. That even if billions survive the next decades, if they are billions of warriors, that this was a genetic bottleneck where much of what was good in us is lost, because what almost kills you leaves you broken, not “stronger.”

Strength is weakness. Diversity is life.

You know what I think, that all this genetic talk is not determinism, I think the lifestyle change would change the gene options, and I think it’s a two step function, you have the gene options, so our power is to arrange not to activate the troublesome ones, not to create the environment that needs them activated and selecting themselves – stop the violent social control, most importantly stop “spanking” which is a word that means “creating an abusive environment for a child to set his genetic fighting options to “on.””

“Strength,” in the bad gene’s words.

I swear.

Jeff

June 30th., 2022

The Philosophy of AST

AST is not a philosophy of First Causes, or absolutes, its basic premise is a rather high-level observation that works, despite an entirely fuzzy world in which anything, any word can be twisted into various shapes or viewed from various angles.

To wit, it begins with the observation that punitive abuse of humans that is supposed to improve us has real world effects and an improvement in overall behaviour is not one of them, that bad behaviour and all of its associated pain and suffering abound in the human world, more so than in the worlds of other creatures, who do not practice this self abuse.

I mean, those philosopher folks are right, idealism and all, we really can’t know “things,” “in themselves,” and all that, only the echoes of our minds and senses and all, but I’m sure there’s a school that points out that when these things only exist in our minds, that in those cases that we can. I think everything in my statement of AST’s loose “basis,” are those sorts of things, our behaviour, abuse, pain, “the human world,” all constructs and as such, all proper fodder for thought. Idealism can make none of those things disappear, can it?

AST won’t be dragged down into the minutiae of either genetic chemistry or philosophical idealism. All these things exist.

Absolutes, First Causes, these are likely unknowable – after all, you and I are not God, are we? The limits of the universe are not our limits anyway, so AST dispenses with the idea, let God worry about absolutes – and as for the opposite, the supposed impossibility of relativism, AST thinks it has an answer for that too, my argument about direction. Again, from the premise, AST’s First Observation, we see a direction – which, in a limitless, relativistic universe is really all there is, since we are all moving in time, as evidenced by the sense of gravity, says Einstein – and we do, we have the data with which to fill the only data field, we see the direction, we see what our abusive control does. Well, I do, anyway.

OK, AST – Antisocialization Theory – has some definitions it prefers too, mostly it argues that “strength,” is not an unassailable boon. Strength as sacred, this is the top moral thought of a social group, of a village, or of a nation, and the Earth is all dying together, all at once, we need to crash through that glass ceiling to a morality that doesn’t make the Earth a toxic battlefield. We need to define a morality for all of us, for the world. Group preservation will be the end of everything.

But that’s what we call the direction, strength. That’s the goal, a goal is a direction, in the absence of absolutes. That is our data point. AST sees the direction you are going, I see what you are making of yourself, and I see you insisting nothing you do matters, that you were made this way by something else, but I can see your feet moving and the way you are heading.

In this sense, AST is probably disqualified as philosophy, that it computes using constructs as facts (as the social facts they are), and probably removes it from science proper for the same reasons – but science it is, because it deals with observable phenomena, and doesn’t need to overstep – I should point out that AST’s enemy, the equal and opposite meme, Human Nature, not only also has no good philosophical grounds, rather it’s the assumption underlying most schools, forever unanalyzed, but that Natures themselves have long been the object of ridicule, “essences,” indeed. Human Nature, like AST, is considered “observable,” but the first part, the essence, obviously can’t be. That is only an ancient and much loved circular bit of nonsense. AST, in the real, relativistic world, begins with no such embarrassing error, requires none. Inasmuch as directions exist in nature, “Natures,” cannot.

Jeff

June 25th., 2022

The Myth of Control

Yes, it’s what they want.

No, they can’t have it.

Their “methods of control” are simply not, they are only abuse. They are not some authoritarian magic that gives you anything you ask for. They are a stimulus that produce a predictable response – fighting.

No actual stimulus in the real world produces “whatever you say you want it to,” and who or what are you that I have to say that?

Yes, your mom and your dad wanted “control.” Yes, the government wants “control.” This is a single vector in the world, a single stimulus produces a single response, a single cause produces a single effect, and what is actually produced in these “control” scenarios is one thing, fighting.

What sort of a broken child are you that you think there is some magic you can say or do to get you anything you want? This isn’t Bewitched. Sorry, kids – this isn’t Harry Potter. Magic isn’t real.

Your mom, your dad, the police, the government, I’m sorry, they’re just wrong, absolutely wrong and mostly just lying to one another and to us all that anything about any of it “works” to produce anything at all but humanity’s endless strife. They don’t say “strife,” of course; they say strength.

Morons, all. What do you need “strength” for? Harmony?

We have applied this control – and this is us, “controlled,” – a global meltdown.

There is one path of actual causality in the social control, and it is that violence breeds violence. The true effect of tossing coins in the wishing well is that the water becomes metallic and less drinkable, and the details of your wishes do not enter into it. I . . . . I cannot speak to you. The conversation has moved on, the conversation reality is having, and you have opted out. I feel like a squirrel would understand this, but a human being cannot.

If you cannot see this, what conversation are we going to have about your wishes?

Jeff June 9th., 2022

This is Hell

Hi, welcome to Hell. First time?

Well, this is Hell, and I’m Jeff, I’m the demon assigned to remind you constantly that it’s nobody’s fault but yours that you’re here. I’m sorry, for what it’s worth; this is Hell and no-one is happy, not you, not us, not even management.

I mean, logically. This is the afterlife. I know, I know, you thought this was life. So did I for a minute there but hear me out. You’ll see how that couldn’t possibly be the case.

First, I don’t know that you believe in all that, the premise, I didn’t really believe it either, but that was when I thought this was life. From here, I need to re-evaluate, it’s not quite the same leap of faith from here! From here, it’s not such a hard case to make. If you are a Christian sort, if you do approach life from this premise, judgment, Heaven and Hell, then perhaps I am not altogether wittingly making a serious argument and if so, I apologize in advance for failing at that level. If like me, you are more of just a north American and a cultural Christian, call it metaphor if you must, but it’s more than that too.

Hell is where you go if you’ve been bad, right?

And weren’t you born bad, didn’t the judgment happen before, as part of the same premise? You know what I’m talking about, Christian Original Sin, or the generic nasty Human Nature.

I understand that for the Christians, Jesus solves this riddle, this isn’t Hell, it’s more like Purgatory, you were created and judged as bad, you can’t perhaps just choose good yourself and override your Maker, but you can choose Jesus, who forgives. For the cultural Christians – and Christian believers are cultural Christians also, they can perhaps see the picture I’m trying to paint for the purely cultural ones too – that for the unsaved, there isn’t an escape, you’re bad and either forgiven or not, and if we accept the judgment and decide that we were created as bad, no choice – then by this cultural Christian premise and context, this is not our life, where there is free will and we get to choose from good and evil, this is the logical afterlife, where our choices have already been made.

And we do, mostly, almost universally, accept the judgment. While the modern, smart-assed materialists consider the escape, salvation to be ridiculous religious fantasy, that they have moved beyond sacrifice and spirits, they almost to a person accept and endorse the rest of the premise, up to the point where we all fail judgment except that some escape, this is not where we are alive and free and making meaningful moral choices.

 And it’s not Heaven, is it?

I see more prisons than I would expect in Heaven, for starters.

I imagine much less violence in Heaven, but rather than seeing people with the hate removed and love and peace in their hearts, the reward for having done the impossible and been good, rather, I see an elaborate system of moral gaslighting that absolutely insures violence forever repeating, an insanely complicated system of “morals” and laws in which violence is a sacred cure and not one of the crimes at all. When there is a fire, our world and Hell look identical, an all encompassing system of punishment and pain – plus fire.

I imagine we don’t have to be strong in Heaven, that Heaven doesn’t have all the awful things we have to be strong for, I like to think it’s a good life in Heaven even if you do weaken. I assume nothing tries to kill you and so makes you stronger in the sweet by and by. This is not that, is it?

Not even close. Just make the fires of Hell the obvious metaphor for violence and it’s all true, even the forever part, because there is no end to the foolishness of fighting violence with violence, fire with fire and the effort is the very definition of Hell and gives no hope of an ending ever. In this premise, born bad, all the judgment and punishment, all the hate and strife is for naught and none of it makes anyone better, in the end, you are still human, still born to be bad, and endless violence for nothing, that too is a definition of a mythical place, also not Paradise.

Whups, almost ten minutes, I haven’t said it – and this is all on you, you did this to yourself.

I mean, it’s your premise, isn’t it?

Have a nice eternity, fool. I’ll be right here.

Jeff

Feb. 12th., 2022

No Spanked Atheists

I wrote this on Twitter, didn’t think I was “writing,” or something, but it’s as least as good as most of the entries here. It’s the same, but there’s a little something new, I think.

Another Human Nature Thread:

An evil (avaricious, violent) Human Nature – is the fascist position on the question of Human Nature, or the question of ‘why are we humans this way.’ I mean, it’s everyone’s, but it’s theirs too. If you believe in it, you are on the same side of the question as they are, you are fascism ready in that sense, you – we, it’s almost ubiquitous – have the first prerequisite, the foundation.

It is religion. “Natures” are not a thing. It is the ubiquitous human religion, the foundation  of all things uniquely human, this . . . faith. “Human Nature,” it is our moral judgment of ourselves that enables all the evil we do to one another.

The Human Nature Question has faded – but not because Natures aren’t real. They’re still not, but it’s because we have our answer, the whole human world is on one side of a debate. What is on the other side?

The Tabula Rasa? All the causality, all the science is now in support of the only model anyone has. Evolution is just “how we got this Nature.”

No science, no institution seeks a reason why we should be this way, they have one already, Human Nature – why poke and prod?

I have read many,  many books, trying in vain to prove the negative, trying to find the author that doesn’t in the end, give it up to Human Nature. Brilliant people who “tried,” but never could go back to that first error and correct it, is all I’m finding. Maybe Trivers doesn’t say it. Bob seems comfortable in an unmoored conversation, I think he’s careful not to require it, but I’m not sure he’s fully replaced it. Maybe. I’m not smart enough to be ahead of him, obviously. Mad hubris to make it a question.

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for, the full denial of Natures, in colour and Dolby, you know, fleshed out, what it means. It’s what Pinker maybe said he was after in the Blank Slate, but if he succeeded about the brain, he never approached the larger question. It was clear in the only mention of child-rearing that he was minimizing the power of it, made some analogy about dropping your phone, sometimes it breaks, sometimes it doesn’t.

As with specific religions, the question is this rule – an evil Human Nature – or real world causation? We are all living in the world of the rule now, can you see it, try it on? I know it seems like an obvious truth, people are awful, they certainly can be, but it is all empirical, it has to be, because we know platonic Natures aren’t a real thing. Truth, as Tim Rice said speaking as Pontius Pilate (I’m obsessing over JC Superstar at the moment), may simply be unchanging law, artificial, human made law. We have “eternal questions” because the gaslighted always do and always will, when we cannot apply reason and causality to our problems.

Let’s call this the end of the good part, the shareable part.

Of course, it’s hard not to believe it, hard not to accept the dogma of it, hard not to agree about an evil Human Nature when you are a spanked baby, when the source of life and love starts attacking you long before you can defend yourself. I think this experience provides the bias for believing it, and then we all share and amplify it all our lives, prove it to one another all day long. The lessons ring true, because the infantile experience is preverbal, buried, but sits waiting, a truth that has “always been there.”

Over and ouch. Can I get an Amen?

A couple of notes, because I like this rant enough to repeat it. One, I meant it in the most obvious, surface, unsophisticated and literal way, but “seems comfortable in an unmoored conversation” would be a lovely, Mark Twain polite way to call someone crazy, wouldn’t it? Not what I was doing, though. I’ll say, it’s an aspiration that someone might ever say it about me.

And that was new for me, the base religion idea. I want to get expansive – this is a way that “atheism is a religion too,” if it accepts the nasty Human Nature as a matter of no dispute, this is a way that there really aren’t many atheists, especially in foxholes, where the evidence overwhelmingly supports such an assessment. I mean, I suppose that to be an atheist or a materialist in this sense, a non-believer in our abuse deserving Natures, perhaps means even more than matters of immaterial beings, I mean of course it does.

Hmmm . . . good morning.

That was new too, about the Human Nature Question. You know they SAY the question dried up in their hands and blew away, disappeared into a million smaller questions, more meaningful and concrete questions – this is basically saying that the Nature is in the details, the Nature – the impossible, not a real deal thing – is behind many, many questions, and as I say, when they too run out of facts, nearly all of them pull Human Nature out in the end. Eternal recurrence, like Moe throwing Barney out of the bar, they turn around and there it is behind them. And the judgment remains, it’s no longer Selfish Man, but it’s the Gene now, and surprise – still selfish.

Who predicted the Generous Gene? Who would believe it? Our belief in our undeserving Natures is behind the science that identifies genes. The Question has not changed or morphed – we just stopped asking it, because when only one answer is permitted the question soon disappears. Maybe people used to know it was religion, but now it’s bloody science too?

Ha! Back up a few, this is the way in which science is merely another church again, if it proceeds from the fictional side of the Human Nature Question.

AST is the next “correct” theory because it makes sense of the previously mysterious and of conflicts in common wisdom. I’m an atheist, I am supposed to say it is NOT just another religion or a church, I know the public discourse – but AST is such a better theory, such a better context, that it explains it all, both sides of a popular debate that is deadlocked by myth.

A better theory.

Jeff,

Feb. 8th., 2022

Perceptions

There are two ways people view the world, the troubles of the world, one is something like software, culture, education and the other denies all of that, culture and education, the first I would call secular and perhaps liberal, perhaps progressive and the other I would call religious, despite that perhaps few really believe the whole religion, but these are the folks who think people cannot and do not change. I’m not saying these are two well defined camps, most folks probably believe something between, some combination of the two, education helps, but basically there’s not much for “human nature.”

Surely I’m not the only one sees the trap of it?

As always, if there be readers, please, if you know of someone who has already invented this wheel, please, tell me.

I think we are caught between these two paradigms, frozen into powerlessness.

As always, something is missing, the third leg of the table is not described. Education helps, but not apparently enough, or we can’t pre-educate them to want it, we can’t force it on anyone, and to what degree we believe the second thing, a flawed or evil human nature, it means we know the first thing cannot work. We do it anyway, it seems like the only thing, seems to work a little, we are playing the long game, but again:

If we know the other thing, then we know that isn’t it – these principles are opposing, and cancel each other out, but we haven’t identified the third possibility, that there is another explanation, the larger context in which the apparent conflict changes.

I am convinced that were the mechanism of antisocialization more visible, if we stopped discounting it, we could see the falsity of the second thing. As long as this isn’t allowed to be visible, as long as our never ending punishments and threats are exempt from the causation of reality, we shall be trapped in this endless bait and switch: education, yeah, doesn’t work, human nature.

It is a terrible thing to see, once you see the game, you can’t believe in the long game of progress anymore. The long term application of a small pressure, in the absence of no opposing force – no reason for the evil human nature, no causation resulting from our rough social control – that’s a plan, albeit a slow one, but once you see the opposing force, once you realize our long term tiny progress of education is up against threats and violence that begin in infancy, well, then we can see an imbalance in psychological, emotional and social power.

I’ll take your tiny hope – but I offer a bigger one, a real one: stop the violence, stop the social control, stop the spanking. If your kid won’t go down the coal mine without a beating, here’s a new idea: he doesn’t go down the coal mine. Spoil your magic trick, did I? I’m not saying the world wouldn’t change radically. Isn’t that the idea? Eventually somebody will figure out a way to do what we use the coal for without beating anyone – if we stop just settling for that, if we stop pretending the beating isn’t hurting anything. I know.

We think some beatings are OK, makes you strong, that way our team wins the rugby and our country wins the war, and I’m telling you, the thing that makes you win the war makes you fight the war, makes you need the war. The way we think it ends, a “war to end wars, a battle to end battles” – don’t you think it’s time we tried something else? That hasn’t worked out in a few thousand years, maybe ten. Again, the thing that makes you win the war makes you fight the war, makes you need the war – this is quickly obvious when punitive abuse has causality, when human nature requires an explanation.

Jeff

Jan. 11th., 2022

The Abused Ape Theory – Mission Statement/Premises

That’s a change. When I started, I toyed with the other version as my title, my catchphrase, before I settled on Antisocialization Theory, ‘the Abusive Ape Theory,’ like that, like the Aquatic Ape Theory, with the connotations of that theory’s history – and it turns out that it’s the whole point that that isn’t it, that the entire order of operations, the natural order of causality is that the abused ape child precedes its abusive caregivers. At least that’s the change I’m going to make, a rule for AST (antisocialization theory in short) that says the child’s experience precedes and breaking it will mean we have left the bounds of AST.

I plan to proceed as though there were an open marketplace where ideas compete for proximity to reality and therefore usefulness, and try a setup where it doesn’t begin with an adult Adam and Eve, or with the Elders, or with the  old man God who we acknowledge as a ritualized symbolic actual old man, the meta-alpha, where it doesn’t begin with full grown humans created or released from some mythical bondage, like the Raven story from around here – unless that place of bondage is childhood, then that metaphor might fit. Origin stories that begin with adults, that’s been tried, AST wants to try the other side of that choice, make sure we haven’t missed something.

It’s a chicken and egg story – the chicken and egg story, the reason we love that story – and the chicken came first. Until that chick was hatched, it was a proto-chicken egg, perhaps an odd looking one, but until the chicken inside came out and started acting strange, there were no chickens. When we arrived in the world, our progenitors, our caregivers were already here and every child’s story begins with that – but our story does not begin with all the characters’ back stories. Our story begins, when we, the child, begin to sense things, less literally, when we open our eyes and start reading it.

Antisocialization Theory intends to take this view, that life’s causality begins when our experience begins, with the experience of receiving abuse, prior to perhaps all understanding of anything, after all, slaps and deterrents exist specifically because the little ones ‘lack language and reason,’ these tools are directed at the lizard brain, directed at parts that predate all of human experience, so that is the start. In terms of uniquely human origins, again, AST starts with uniquely human experiences, meaning not feeding, or predation, or reproduction, things many creatures share, but rather social control, punitive abuse.

I’m not sure how I would respond to an objection that finds ‘human nature’ precedent to the lizard brain, to pain receptors, these things, while classifiable as ‘nature,’ absolutely predate humans. I understand that from a social point of view, on the social measure, our parents’ ideas or something come first, as though they didn’t have parents and as though we can’t simply carry that on back to the beginning . . . which, again, AST posits, insists: the chicken exists first.

In a human life, the child exists first.

Perhaps, all the origin stories themselves are infantile, baby stories of the adults we first saw, upon finding ourselves in this life. Perhaps in this corner of mythology, we never grow up and take the other view, never look with adult eyes instead at our infant selves for origins. If we were looking from our grownup selves, I imagine that is where we would start.

Jeff

Dec. 25th., 2021

Goes to this one next, logically:

King of the Forest, Part Two

Continuing . . .

And that is my thesis – that by reaching for strength, by making surviving our group conflict by way of superior violence the goal and reaching only for that, we are forever eating the seed corn, forever eating the first marshmallow. I mean, that was Dr. Strangelove, I think, the entire planet going up in a fight over the first marshmallow, surviving a fight by fighting and winning. We can’t trust each other not to do the stupid thing . . . so we do the stupid thing. What’s a response you can’t explain or control?

Genetics. Specifically, some active gene in the players, specifically, some gene with this version, the fight first version activated – activated by your Momma. By your Dad. Vicariously by all the adults by way of their deflecting children, if not directly by authorized or semi-authorized adults, teachers, preachers, coaches. To say nothing of the professionals, the doctors, the police, the guards.

Your genes, your body knows everyone else is going to take the first marshmallow – the win, and so the fight – when your mom and your dad take the first win – from you. And your genes write the lesson more or less in stone. Isn’t that right? I mean if we as children took the literal marshmallow test and grew out of taking the first one, what have we really learned to trust? Something about that the adults wouldn’t destroy their own test by reneging, perhaps. Something like object permanence, I suppose, in these circumstances, I am probably going to get more marshmallows.

OK, maybe it’s as they say, for individuals, we learn how to wait for the reward.

I think the entire paragraph, both those scenarios happen in a single person, indeed, in all of us. I think the gene gets programmed as a group function, for an aggressive default response (antisocialization), and the individual can learn the exceptions table, for within their group (pro- or simply socialization). Ah, it’s the same as last week’s blog, isn’t it, the child learns a hard binary from the magical, human only social engineering practice of the child abuse we call “discipline.”

It was my hope, my dream, and even my plan to raise my kids without ever doing that, without ever just winning battles with them, and to see them grow up and escape the marshmallow test metaphor, to see them seek something better than the wins and so the fights, but I have no results to report, of course, the world interfered with my test. I wonder if I am making this complaint now, I wonder if there is some germ of truth to my fantasy of my own mother perhaps having some gentleness with me and I can say these things because the activation of my warrior genes failed, somehow?

Highly unlikely. I’m antisocial, sometimes I lose hope and would burn the whole world down and start over. More likely, these days I think my differences with the world are a spectrum matter, some unnamed neuro-divergence on my part, and anyway there was plenty of abuse in my family. But I think it’s a theoretical possibility, again, I had hoped to arrange that for my children for real, and unabused humans, homo sapiens with the warrior genes dormant – I want to see that.

Don’t we all? I mean, wouldn’t we, if . . . ? Don’t we want to want to see that?

I wasn’t thinking about whether they would grow up “strong,” honestly, I was putting all my hopes in the “good” kind of strong, if they had all the love and support and no abuse at home, they’d be resilient, I was more concerned about their mental capacities, I feel we trade truth and so intelligence for activating the strength genes. My idea was to not threaten them and so not perhaps dull their minds with cortisol and fear, I was pretty sure they’d be brilliant. While the experiment was compromised from the start – Mom had unilateral ideas and methods – it looked like that for a while, the kids had terrific grades and such.

But yeah.

We’re stuck here, as long as strength and security are as high a goal as we are allowed to imagine, with the fantastic, unreachable goal of somehow gaining enough strength to be invulnerable to our own species’ strength, we as a group, lack the capacity to wait for the reward of peace – again, it’s almost the first thing we were taught, is not to, and no-one seems to remember there was ever another option, because spanking, because they didn’t wait for us to learn it in peace and save the relationship, they wanted the marshmallow now and didn’t seem to mind making us hate them over it, like it was all part of the plan or something.

Ouch. Damn, sometimes I feel like Joyce, just rattling off syllables until it hurts.

Jeff

Dec. 20th., 20121

King of the Forest, Part One

The spectacular, miraculous looking ways in which the human being can be evil doesn’t require a mad Creator or a plan no human can grasp, it’s genetics. That’s magic enough.

You reach for “strength” for aeons, you will amaze the other creatures with your strength, the giraffes have been reaching for the top branches for how long, a few million years? And honestly, I don’t think they’ve been quite as obsessive about it as we have about our . . . specialty. I always say “strength” – but today, it seems like “courage” would fit better.

Because I have the Wizard of Oz playing in my head.

How?

Genetics! What makes the aurochs into a cow?

Genetics! What makes the chimpanzee human now?

Genetics! What makes the giraffe as tall as a tree or makes the salmon traverse the whole sea?

Genetics! What makes the bear smell the falling leaf?

Genetics! What makes the tiny coral a reef?

Genetics! What makes your poor belly sore? What puts the “ape” in apex predator? What do I got it, but I want more?

Genetics!

I am sorry, for what it’s worth. Ha.

It can and does look bloody miraculous, have you seen what human dog partnerships can do, the speed of the viper strike, the hi-tech looking visual and colour displays of so many creatures, birds, fish, insects? One wants to declare that anything is possible, anything at all, simply from what we can observe today!

So I’m thinking, considering all this fantastic complexity, why not perhaps something from the dark side, perhaps inabilities that are also nearly magical in their improbability, things we are incapable of that perhaps amaze and surprise us. Honestly, it’s how I feel, combatting the idea of punishment, y’all just haven’t got the software support for “no punishment,” the whole world goes blank, deer in my headlights.

I’m currently reading a scholarly work many steps above my grades and the author seems to be taking on the same thing, breaking down the urge – Achilles’ urge, in the Iliad – to do something when a bad thing has happened. It’s about how grief drives the hero to slaughter, perhaps the Iliad is already an attempt to connect those dots, and this scholar is auditing that effort, but it’s sort of the same as being unable not to punish generally, I think we’re after the same thing, the same glitch in the human code that turns every detected crime into two crimes and turns murder into more murder . . . . and this is my answer.

Genetics! What’s a response you can’t explain or control?

Genetics! When is an individual only playing a role?

Now, I know how we hear this, and no, I’m not telling you this is what you are, because of your programming, because of all that came before, I’m saying this is what you are because this is what you want to be right now, and if you’re having second thoughts, think maybe we ought to be something else, I’m telling you: go for it! All you have to do is want it – well, maybe to want the right things, we need to understand some things too. But don’t follow your heart, not this creature’s heart – that’s what we’re doing now! Don’t practice selection and epigenetic activation for the job you have, practice selection and epigenetic activation for the job you want!

Ha. Fun.

So not a static genetics, not a “you’re born that way,” genetics, and not even a “you still have the chimpanzee in you,” genetics either.

That talk is the very opposite of evolution, it tries to say nothing changes, ever, when of course chimpanzees aren’t and weren’t ever the problem, it’s us, the new guys, and our new genetics that are responsible for the world we have today. Those are evolutionary Satanic Verses, when evolution becomes some evil Nature from the past again, our narcissism gaslighting us about the old world with the new words we taught it. Evolution as “human nature,” that is a reversal, that sort of discourse never learned evolution at all, hasn’t really processed it.

No, the point is, the giraffe has been actively reaching, not remotely simply existing in some sort of conformity with its Nature. The bear’s nose brain has been growing probably since the entire creature was smaller than that part of its brain now. Evolution means time plus desire make magic. We too have been active, have been actively chasing something, wanting something too, something it seems that chimpanzees lacked, and I think popular science is all in agreement, that something was group conflict, or rather, success in/survival from group conflict, and we have chased it perhaps from Lucy the Australopithecus to today’s human being, I wanted to say to the Universal Soldier.

I’m saying the one that wins/survives the group conflict, we want to be that; we are that because that is the goal. I feel that’s what evolution means, that if a thing exists, it’s because someone wanted it, someone chose it from the options available to them. I’m saying when you want to be the warrior, you get the war; and I’m saying, the things we want get us it – again, though, there’s a disconnect, of course, a complication, in that we are not fully conscious of what we want or why we want it.

No, it isn’t new or interesting or helpful to use the new words and talk about inherence or natures or any such old thing, but to say that because it is evolution it is no-one but us, we that are in control of our changes, we that choose from options presented to us when the environment changes. We may have used it badly, that is my thesis, but it is a transformative miracle, evolution, even selection, and it has brought us to this unlikely possible ending and so it can take us elsewhere also, anywhere. Again, it looks like magic, it can take a creature anywhere, given a desire, that is perhaps better to call a direction, and time. I mean, sure, we could take more responsibility, analyse and own our desires better. The giraffes had only that, a direction – up – and they changed radically to get there, several innovations. I don’t think we can say for sure that they didn’t have other options, a change of diet or something and that they didn’t actively also choose reaching higher over other paths. Why assume creatures fight evolution, kicking and screaming into the future? Perhaps the giraffes are as proud and as “I meant to do that” about their stature as we are about our dominance.

Or, more to my sort of point, perhaps they aren’t, perhaps it is a bit of an unconscious goal, perhaps they have an unstated, limitless goal of height that none of them ever feel they live up to, not so much a point of pride as a universally experienced failure – like us and our always reached for and never fully realized “strength.” That’s how a direction feels, a journey with no destination, right?

I sort of think our short term wants destroy our long term wishes, maybe that’s why the manipulative marshmallow test struck such a chord with us, we are stuck there in a much bigger way; it’s not a demonstration of a developmental stage for a child, but a metaphor for the human condition in this sense, that as a group we tend to eat the marshmallow in front of us and do not so much engage in long term trust projects?

More about an arrested stage of societal development than individual development.

I think this next section is a digression, even a derailment of this talk, but somehow unavoidable. Wish me luck, I hope to see you on the other side.

Jeff

Dec. 19th., 2021