AST and Addiction

How long have I managed to keep this at bay, how long have I been avoiding this completely obvious thing?

I use caffeine, I drink tea with milk and honey all day long, and I’m a pothead, also obviously, all day long – so I’m a quiet, peaceful addict, Mother’s Little Helper sort of thing, not hurting anybody, or anybody but me. Let’s start from there, from the addict’s reason to be. I think life is too sad generally, and my life specifically, that to face it with a sober mind seems overly painful and through the progress of addiction, seems increasingly so and sobriety has become sort of unthinkable.

Why it’s tolerable high, I don’t know, I have ideas, of course, but I don’t trust my addict thoughts all that much more than you do, I think maybe it’s a degree of separation, if I’m high, maybe I’m wrong, maybe things aren’t so bad, I always have that option, that buffer, the suspension of disbelief. Whereas I worry that if I am rational and sober and see my life and life and it’s the same that I’ll have to accept all the bad stuff . . . and I think I’m especially sensitive or something, I don’t think I can deal with all that and carry on, and it’s partly that I don’t want to, I do not want to be the sort of strong person who gets over stuff and gets on with their life. On the one hand, it’s moralistic because things matter and everything isn’t just some obstacle to be gotten over, while on the other, I have never felt there was a reason to live, I don’t understand what propels people forward and the reason we all find, our progeny, was not real for more reasons than addiction and was taken away from me, and even retroactively taken away.

Meaning, I thought I had a reason to live, for a decade or two. Even my selfish genes can’t succeed at making me want to live, even that animal default is not apparently for me. I don’t think it was always the case, but it is for me now, that it doesn’t seem a choice between addiction and life, it seems a choice between addiction and death instead, and if I can stay high and alive it seems like a positive choice, while I and my children still live, perhaps there is hope, as people say.

Yes, my addiction was an issue. The ex was a sober type, you know, like a lot of narcissistic psychopaths. Like, I said. Nobody thinks she’s the brilliant sort that has those sorts of problems. Enough said, too much.

But, having confessed all this, this issue is the same as abuse, I am not the only sad person, I am not the only addict, same as you were not the only spanked child, these are not only personal problems, science owes us that it look at things so common as having common, more than personal causes. That theme is getting its own blog very soon.

I feel if I could be sober and not be afraid of any cliffs because I am seriously afraid I’ll jump – I’m avoiding the ferry, not visiting the mainland, ferries are cliffs – I fear that I would be out of options and have to accept my antisocialization at last, that I have protected my childhood self and wonder, sensitivity and caring for nearly sixty years, but that to rise above this, I must find a way to hate the woman I married, write her off and to forget about my children . . . this was not supposed to be the goal, I was conceived in the first month of the sixties and born in the first year, we are supposed to grow in love and understanding, that’s what I want to do, I do not want myself to be “what’s important right now,” and to get used to this hurt. The self-righteousness says if anything is supposed to hurt, isn’t this it?

I don’t believe in the bad human nature, so nothing is inevitable and so nothing is to be accepted and gotten over, it’s all something to be fixed, or to simply be borne until the truth outs itself and everyone catches up. But I can’t, I need help or something.

OK, maybe I found some progressivism in it, that maybe I’m not the only one whose addiction is a sort of a rope-a-dope with antisocialization, maybe a lot of addiction is indicative of people who don’t want to toughen up, people who would rather not fight. Of course, consuming pain killers is desensitization, it is antisocialization, maybe we’re only talking about different flavours of it. Hey – do I perhaps think of it as a way to desensitize that isn’t permanent?

Another chance to opt out of something, I can chemically desensitize, get through this present pain – and then if things improve, I can sober up and face a real life with a more tolerable level of pain in it?

I think that’s always the theory, and then, as they say, we get caught and can’t escape – but like all things with Antisocialization Theory, the world tells you it’s an error, and a personal one on your part when AST says that in fact it’s a perfectly normal and reasonable response to an overly stressful situation. We “get caught and can’t escape,” because the conditions never improve, do they? Not the general, underlying ones. I will sober up when things get better, which, apparently not anytime soon, huh. This is how AST shines, it is the other side of a lot of stories that didn’t have an other side other than what is wrong with you. It says, “escape” to where?

Here?

2020, as we say on Twitter? Of course, addiction was the escape. When it’s better on the outside than it is in the prison of addiction, I’ll be happy to come out, re-join society, absolutely, and I expect a lot of folks will. That’s just science and evolution, that animals will gravitate towards the less threatening environment, we don’t go in search of other landscapes when our needs are met where we are. Othering of addicts is very anti-evolution, very naïve about biology. You clean sober folks wanna fix the environment up – start meeting people’s needs, or do you just wanna keep trying to sell us complainers and conscientious objectors the permanent impairment instead?

Rhetorical. I know.

Cheers. Here’s lookin’ up your old address.

Jeff

Sept. 8th., 2020

The Odds

When I was young, I wondered if there was anything for it, if things could turn out alright for people and for the world. It seemed a coin toss, lacking any real information regarding the matter; in youth it was a fifty-fifty propositions, even money. Looking into some things as I grew and aged, our ideas about human origins, about psychology, about evolution and biology, I saw my expectations managed downwards from that even money scenario pretty steadily towards a zero.

On my way to zero, I had an idea. I pursued it in various forms and increasing depth, and now I have something I think I can believe about what the trouble is and what the solution would be, and I must say, there is a sense of achievement – but someone else’s zero is happier than one’s own one in a million. A guess of “no chance” is still a guess, and as such is still a coin toss, somehow, enough for denial if you need it to be.

A large fortress of thought built to withstand all arguments that says realistically practically no chance, now why the Hell did I build that again? Will it hold a rope and something short of two hundred pounds? Truth at all costs, I said.

Consequences, schmonsequences, I said!

The first four focus groups just laughed and the fifth one I barely escaped with my life, ending the testing program, you’re just going to have to take my word for it. It’s possible to turn this thing around, but I have been unable to convince anyone about it, so the odds at present are none in what, three hundred followers? If I get one, we’ll have a “one in” number in a very shady study indeed.

The jury is still out regarding the value of truth, philosophy finds it unattainable and biology in particular seems to discount it to nothing, that the only truth is what keeps you alive and any truth not in our interest, we allow ourselves to ignore. I do not understand this, I thought math and physics proved the matter, that the universe makes some kind of sense beyond the human being. Someone like to spell that one out for stupid little me, how the biology department doesn’t know we went to the moon?

So, that was my experience, is there a chance started at fifty-fifty and moved down towards nothing, but I think I saw something and it stopped at one in a million – that is a negative experience, at first glance, certainly one in a million is a great downgrade from even money – but it stopped. I stopped it before zero.

This is a great example of life history and experience being the opposite of reality when a person starts with a bad idea – and fifty-fifty was a bad idea – ninety-nine versus a hundred, that’s not a big difference, a perfect, literal single percentage point, but the difference between one and zero is everything, a perfect infinite percent.

If a reader is perhaps young, perhaps simply not cynical, perhaps not a professional in one of the human nature related fields, maybe they’re still at the even money assessment, and if I offer a one in a million explanation, it must surely feel like a dark lecture, probably feels like Hitler screaming at you or something – that’s how I hear the zero chance voice of EP, honestly. But if a reader is a pro, if you, dear reader have had your expectations reduced to zero somehow, I hope I offer you everything.

And you’re also probably an educator or something and in some position where that matters even more than it does for most of us.

Jeff

Sept. 7th., 2020

Arf ‘n Arf

Guys, you’re not getting it.

This “it’s complicated” version of human nature, this “capacities for evil and for good” business isn’t helping anything. People can still do evil and say “Meh, human nature,” as they always have, you have changed nothing, proved nothing for all your research, the Bible had that much.

I don’t understand the point of this status quo chatter. If you went on a treasure hunt and didn’t find the treasure, why are we buying your book about it? What other rags to rags stories about wasted lives finding nothing litter the bookstore shelves?

Like all abuse, it serves another function, there is no information in “it is what it is and it could be anything,” nothing to learn in this lesson. All there is in that is pain, sadness, and . . . antisocialization. First it tells you we don’t know what you are, but “good” is definitely not it, and then it says if you do evil, we’ll understand. Worse than useless, all this neutered verbiage.

Good people telling this story, from the likes of Sapolsky on down, good people who want good things for people – good people failing at finding the good human nature, as they no doubt knew they would, as I also assumed I would, because we all know about all the previous folks who tried and failed also, and also because we all have the evolved bias to think bad things about ourselves, because that enables us to do bad things to one another.

“It’s complicated” is no different, brings the same results, and why not, it includes bad old human nature, confirms it and only hopes to add a little something good. That’s not good enough. The only thing that will be good enough is some consciousness of the matter of what ideas about human nature do. If you think “it’s complicated” is qualitatively different from “it’s bad,” you must not be thinking about what such ideas bring to the world, and that’s what they are for, to bring their problem and our solution for them into the world. Therefore, to bring good things into the world, we must concoct a good human nature to believe in.

And surprise, that is an easy matter! Turns out it was convincing a creature that it’s bad that’s the trick, the impossible trick evolution has managed with us, talking us out of simple self-preference which is part of most creature’s survival instinct/bias. In fact, I have already concocted it for you. Here it is: we are good, because we break ourselves to make ourselves bad and we wouldn’t have to do that if we already were.

You have an attitude or a bias.

I have logic.

Jeff

Sept. 6th., 2020

About So Don’t Spank

This is pinned to the top of the blog, the newest ones start just after this short one. Cheers.

The entire thing is an argument for reality, for the world of struggling people and the world of everything else over the world of words, the world of false stories and amoral commands. It starts with “the Word,” as an example of myth and a metaphor for our mad tendency to prefer what we say a thing is over what it is.

Thrown in is some gonzo evolutionary biology and a complaint that evolutionary psychology follows older modes of thought and fails to bring psychology to the supply side of things, fails to analyse the alpha or the elders, fails to question their desire for power and control. OK, not quite that clearly, but it does! LOL

I spend a lot of time trying to explain where we might have gotten a positive nurture, or a positive punishment idea, just to show it can’t be done because the proof was in fact negative . . . that in fact the social control of punishing wrongdoers is negative. The mimic meme tries to explain how we abuse ourselves bad while thinking we’re deterring ourselves good, and how the badness must have been a selectable thing in the past. Again none of it this clearly, but more thoroughly.

I want to shorten that part, tear it out and do it again – but I know I’ll just type it all back in from memory. Maybe some day. But bear with me, I think the cheese is there, if you make it through, brave reader.

Antisocialization theory is a definitions chapter, trying to explain how the negative nurturing and the abuse of punishing operates and how it is a strategy we have to be bad and bring pain, not “our natures,” and so that all the bad things we write off to our evil natures are in fact a choice we make, and as such, within our control.

The AST Theory of War says we create repress and store bad feelings as a group selected function, to enhance our own aggression for the group conflict life we lead, that any roughness about our lives charges our frustration etc. for war and that it is a small matter to exploit this reservoir of anger, and this is what the spankings are selected for. There is some more gonzo science, a bit of genetics.

The first two thirds makes the case that we are not born evil, that in fact we hold a worse moral position, that we are actively choosing the evil, for conflict, say for defense if you like, but the ending says that proves that our choices are real and matter, that this state of affairs was not inevitable and we can make other choices – and they will matter too.

Basically, I’m saying anyone who says we are on rails and “human nature,” sorry, we can’t turn around, is stuck in the old creation story, has missed the whole point of evolution which is adapting to problems and changing. If they say, sorry, it’s war and capitalism because you’re still a chimpanzee, they have missed evolution altogether, haven’t they?

This work says that we can and need to evolve. It says that is not vague and out in space, it says not spanking and cutting back on our social control would be that evolution, exactly that evolution that what we have now is because we’ve been dishing out abusive punishments already for a long time – not because God thought you should be born evil.

And certainly not because of your “genetic heritage” as a chimpanzee. I checked into it. They are not doing this shit, world wars and destroying the Earth, it’s us.

Jeff

Aug. 29th., 2020

Here’s the long – 29,000 words, 55 pages – version:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/17953841/posts/2881721280

My Latest

That blog up there now, I must tell you about it.

First, I’m sorry, I’ve kept writing, I published way too soon, if you saw it before sometime yesterday, it was awful. I have big plans to leave it alone now, after Friday evening here in Tijuana time, Aug. 28th., 2020. I’m happy with it, like sort of satisfied, I think maybe I finally got the whole idea out. I’m feeling different than usual after finishing something, I’ve sort of stopped the always writing in my mind thing, it’s gone a bit quiet. For once.

Second, it’s terribly long, this is not a blog but a tiny, rather dense little book, I’m at almost 29,000 words, 55 pages of it, a two hour read, I think.

Does anyone want a chapter release, one or two every Sunday for a while instead?

Anyway, I’m done messing with it, unless I get crazy and take it down and try to sell it instead. Cheers, all.

 

Jeff

Aug. 28th.,  2020

So Don’t Spank

 

Shoutout to Baba Ram Dass. RIP.

Read this like Be Here Now.

 

Why You Shouldn’t Spank – the Antisocialization Theory of War

One – A new Genesis Chapter, #1 Introduction

We are born good and turned bad, just like the French fellow said.

Most of the world doesn’t think so – save your protests, I didn’t ask. I say you don’t think so, I’ll back it up soon enough. I’m from colonizer world, I’m a white north American male, so I’m a cultural Christian and around here we don’t think so as much as anybody, so I have decided that this culture needs a new Genesis chapter.

In the beginning was the Word.

This is not an endorsement, and any philosopher will tell you, words are not things, that this is gaslighting, and this narrative says the gaslighting was there from the very start, before you were, before anything. It was there already, waiting to tell you what things are, even before there were things. Not an endorsement, I don’t think that is any way to start something! The primacy of the Word, and the submission everything else, of the entire world to it is the problem, and what do we expect, starting from such an obvious lie, that the label precedes the thing?

The Word, to my mind, to be clear, is not the Gift of God, but a command, an order, the voice of authority. That’s right, straight up anarchy. Follow the truth and you lose organization immediately, he says, setting the tone and making the excuse for his drop of water on a hot griddle writing style straight away.

There was something before words; that was not the beginning, and whoever said it was not being entirely straight with us, as I’ve said. If God said it, I hope it isn’t news to you that God hasn’t been entirely straight with us – strange and mysterious ways being sort of a theme with Him. Don’t ask Job, though – he found out what’s there behind the strange and mysterious stuff. I say if the Truth is the truth, it will survive an audit.

We can ask what came before the Word!

We can ask why things get said. It is a certain scientific discipline’s job to do it and they’re not though, so it’s down to us. OK, me.

Again, don’t ask that Job fellow, he didn’t have much luck – I hope to do better, but truth to tell, I am already a few miles down that road. Frankly, I can’t stand for what He did to that guy, I’m here for justice. No need to announce it with this opponent, no need for tragic stupid bravado, the ending is pre-ordained. I’m going to do the only thing I can do, passive resistance, make Him do it to me too, because that wasn’t right. Sometimes you have to express yourself even if no-one listens and sometimes you have to fight even when you won’t win.

So don’t spank.

There, done, expressed.

Well, that was easy. How bad could the fight be?

The Book of Job is the triumph of the Word, sometime after we came along and started asking questions, the victory of authority over all else, over life, over humanity, over all reason, and in this book it is made clear that the Word is a command, an order, and a demand for an utterly unearned fealty. In the beginning was the Word – and that is all you need to know.

You have your orders. Wait – kiss me first.

For my purposes here, it seems all part of a single mythological moment, the pre-existence of the Word and Job’s and reality’s denouement, and since that mythological event it has only been a matter of time until we bring about the end of the world, as others have said. Again, what else might we expect after giving our lies primacy in the world? We stopped giving reality a chance, we stopped checking in at all.

The triumph of the Word over reality is the triumph of social things over real things, our mad behaviour that we will destroy or create real things because someone told us to.

Ironic, I suppose, that the Word, in this sense, the incorruptible Word stands in opposition to reason, which could as easily have been the Word, reason before things, I understand that this is a way to read the philosophy of this excerpt, some analogue to the Greeks’ “forms,” or maybe a more direct stoic commitment to reason in words – but this is not what either the Bible, or the Word, the voice of authority is in the world, it is more the argument against reason, more the voice of the one who tamed the leviathan and who tortured poor old Job. I’m not talking about the words of the Bible, the text, this is not belief you’re seeing, I don’t mean any primacy of the Bible’s words, I hope that’s clear, I mean that the Bible gave that primacy to all of our human words, that religion positions humanity above the world and what we think about the world is more important to us than the actual world itself. A large part of that disregarded world is also in fact us, people. Most of the evil done in the world is done because the Word, someone’s orders, took priority over some functioning reality of the world. Often some living, breathing reality of the world.

See, that’s not just Bible people. Everyone clearly has that in their setup, human supremacy over the world. Same with Christian Original Sin, all humans have some analogue for that meme also; all measures of humility are promoted by most of the world’s religions and so most cultures, which, humility means not thinking too highly of yourself, which may be close enough to the born bad assumption to point to its presence. I believe eastern religions have it that if we were sinless we wouldn’t have to be here anymore.

Mostly I think we all have it because we all have the associated behaviour.

The Bible is one expression of the human mind, which is an expression of the genome, and probably all humans have some version of the genetic sequence and the resulting brain circuitry that produces original sin or some other cultural interpretation or expression of the same thing. This idea will be a theme. In fact let’s look at it before we try to continue.

 

Two – Circuitry

 

I’ve said it before, and I expect I will again, that evolution is the new creation. Creation is what that circuit in your brain is called, it’s what has history and prehistory, what evolved in every culture ever, so if you are a human, evolution becomes nothing but the new way we were “created,” the past tense being no accident. The rest of them are always getting new names too: sin is now self-interest in 2020, original sin is now our bestial “genetic heritage,” and military style primate troops are now “cooperative social groups.”

We use the Creation neural circuit when we talk about origins, will you allow it?

We try to make it new, but we know, change is difficult, and this is a big reason why: every new idea some person has does not indicate some new evolved brain circuit, perhaps – and I put no stock in this – perhaps a new thought only indicates a new synapse or several – but more the point I think is that all of our thoughts are interpretations of neural circuits, not the circuits themselves. We are a long way from matching thoughts to hardware – honestly, I don’t know how real my “circuits” or pathways in this theory are and how much it’s only metaphor.

They seem to me to be extremely useful thought experiments, though.

The effect is, as I said with some snark off the top, that a new theory is in danger of disappearing into the old one, because mostly, we’re engaging the same old, well traveled neural pathways and we can slide the new word into the same old conversations pretty seamlessly. As a personal aside, this is a constant battle for me, in trying to roll out my particular vision of the world in a way that doesn’t also depend ultimately on the creation circuit, it is exactly what this idea has to do all day, and the editing never ends, I am forever seeing another way in which my new thought wasn’t new after all and having to try again. I see this all day long; it’s exactly what I’m fighting.

That was an accusation of a personal failing in the past, “evolution is the new creation,” but now I guess it’s a universal of human evolution! I suppose if modern science and evolution is trying to occupy the same space religion and creation did, then it is going to have the same shape and it’s going to have to answer the same questions, and if it walks like a duck and all of that, then you must expect people to treat it like a duck, throwing bread and lead at it and such, stuffing it with dried fruit – all the usual stuff, is what I’m saying.

No-one has to change a thing, is what I’m saying. Specifically, keep on spanking, it’s not sin in there, it’s that “genetic heritage” now, but it still needs to be controlled, doesn’t it.

I think there’s one for that, for human nature and social control. Is it the nurture one? Do we all think we have a circuit for that? What else?

I have argued that nurture is real, the nurture that works, the nurture that shows up in the lab: abuse. So, yes, a real thing in every society on Earth, a logic all seem to follow – that’s one of my pathways. Applying a stimulus and getting an effect – antisocialization, or “goodness,” either way – that would be the circuit I am trying to interpret, or reinterpret, I think. What else? I have this idea, that since we have a dearth of detail about these circuits, that perhaps we can simply think it in either way, frontwards or backwards, sort of thing, inherent evil and punishing being one way around and so it’s see something, do something, or read the other way, it’s inherent weakness and discipline, still see something, do something, same behaviour.

Alternatively, I was thinking a nurture pathway and an inverter circuit, another circuit evolved to turn good old literal nurturing upside down into rough social control.

Invert the circuit, you reverse your output, like if you thought it was cold, so you turned up the heat, that’s an inversion or a reversal if it was actually too warm in the first place. The inverter circuit is the one that tells you all that heat you’re experiencing has other sources, that it’s not just you, messing with the thermostat. Ah – it fouls the input, mis-reports the temperature outside, gives a false Word, causing us to respond backwards to the reality, doing exactly the wrong thing. I’m just saying.

Our creation story and our assumption of inherent evil, these act as the inverter? This is not all something I’m inventing, it’s not up to me. I see a thing, I am trying to describe it and if it’s true it’s true and in a very real way that doesn’t really have anything to do with me. I’m not sure that’s what I’m looking at, I’m still trying to work it out. I won’t lie to you, I think so, but I don’t want to overstep and tell you I know so. That would work against me in the long run, some fuzziness is important when you’re talking about such inherently fuzzy things. I would have nothing without it.

And maybe I think this was the new thing 300,000 years ago? An inverter circuit? It feels to me in this moment like the closest thing to explaining the human difference. I’ve decided there is a circuit for this assumption of inherent evil, perhaps the nurture circuit, perhaps something else, this inverter idea, perhaps the negative assumption is its own circuit. We think it’s a Christian thing, we think Paul or Augustine invented it or something, but it’s not just words, not just a slogan, it’s got some measure of that universality. Try writing a new one, if you think it’s just words, see what kinda traction you get – that’s what I am trying to do!

Check my follower count. Seven years of parenting stuff and four years of this, I’m not getting any traction. “Traction” sounds like sarcasm, I am invisible. Not for no reason, but for many reasons, many sorts of reasons, I know. I’m the only one on this side of this new argument I’ve invented, I’ve got no-one to talk to over here.

I’ve been saying it’s “biology,” which, yes it’s something living things do, that’s not very descriptive. A lot of folks like “cultural” – if you mean cultural, as in a step above bodily functions but still biology based, OK, we can talk. If you mean cultural as opposed to biology or nature, then no, not “just” cultural. Like I say, try to make a new one. Fashion doesn’t touch these sorts of things, they never go out of style.

Well, not until now, maybe.

Unfortunately, it’s a protected thing, we only talk about this circuit or function by its Christian name, I don’t think there is a science term for this assumption of innate evil or violence, is there? There must be, but it hasn’t found me yet. We talk about it like it’s only Catholics that try to beat the devil out of their kids, but I think if we look, it will be a human universal. Wait, checking Brown’s list – I don’t think I found punishment on it before, so I’m not hopeful.

Yeah, none of it. But they should be, these things, and if you ever heard of me, they are going to be, punishment and the assumption of innate evil that drives it, by a better name. Brown and I have a problem, for sure, at this point he’s another brick in the wall.

 

Introduction Part #2

 

In the modern world, it was here before us and we made the words, of course. If words were here first, what’s next, any words we want “came first?” Our mistakes and failings and crimes were all here first too, just waiting for us to show up and take them on? Oh, wait, lookie there.

Is that why the Word is first, so anything can be said about us before we even got here to be described? We say this is how it is, so this is how it is, because what we say wins, please refer back to Rule #1? Who you gonna believe, the Word or your own eyes? Again, we are a part of that reality that we have stopped checking in with, our ideas about ourselves are also apparently more important to us than our actual selves. I think it’s more than just the Bible people who have been told that their own evil and inadequacy were pre-ordained, that evil was always going to be a part of them. It seems a prerequisite for our troubles.

So it’s the problem and it’s what needs to change. I checked in, we are not looking so well. And it can. Things are definitely not what they seem in this conversation. Time to get clear on what “built in” means, or we are going to derail before we get up to speed.

 

Three – Innateness

 

It’s a relative matter. We don’t talk about it like it is, we talk about it like it’s either learned or innate, either you already have it or you don’t, like it’s a matter of one absolute or another, or perhaps a combination, this much was absolutely built in and that much was learned, but if we look at it, we’ll see it’s not so straightforward. I mean, how innate, exactly? In theory there was a time before all life when zero traits were innate, and in theory, species come and go and their traits come and go even faster – what was innate about people before there were people? When there were first people, at the very start, what was innate, how many generations makes an innate?

Innateness is creationism, apparently, it obviously references some “always” meme, otherwise what power would it have around the kitchen table, some relative, malleable innateness to combat its natural enemy . . . checking my notes . . . malleability?

I don’t see a creation moment, but I’m not blind to a relative kind of innateness, I mean that’s the magic of genetics, a thing can be alien and not innate, and then add evolution, meaning time and a changing environment and it can become a regular part of that creature’s life, so, innateness at our timescale seems to be a thing, but at evolutionary time scale, innateness’ material form, gene activation, alleles, even genes, come and go – innate to you, kind of thing again. It might not mean innate to the species at all times, it may be a thing that is coming on, or on its way out.

Depending on whether or not the species has a reason to select for it, right?

I worry that they are formative, ideas about human nature, self-fulfilling things, meaning if you think it, then that trait, that thought is coming on, that we have a reason to select for it, or of course, that we at least think we have a reason to select for it – that we are, wittingly or not, selecting for it, somehow. Well, now, it’s sort of sad when I want to be off in the clouds, in outer space, discussing lofty matters like creation and such and what I run into is apparently simple gaslighting by force, that whatever we want today, that if we are still making the same choices today, then that is what is what we are going to say is innate, again, innate for you.

The innateness meme is something between a simple preference and an unconscious drive, it seems. What is innate is what we think needs to be. We only think we’re awful because it’s expedient to think so, and if you believe in evolution then you can just please stop talking about innateness, the concept is only useful as an adaptive fiction – plenty later on this. In evolution, nothing is innate. I know, same circuit, creation, that’s where innateness comes from. It’s not simple.

I must say, I am not comfortable with this thought experiment at this moment, it’s hard to see any help in it, at this point it looks like some long range hope but not for us living folks, same as everyone else, doesn’t it? Again, we think we have a reason to select for it, and I think we have an established and evolved neural pathway for that – but that isn’t all, there is something else, the inverter function, or the fact that a circuit can simply be read the other way about. Perhaps.

The noun, “It’s his medulla oblongata,” or rather, my “nurture circuit,” that sort of Word, that’s the existing story, and the existing story isn’t really evolution. That circuit is part of it, it’s not the end. Never fear. If this thing is in your hands, it’s because I found the hope. I wouldn’t just add to the problem now that I think I’ve seen it, don’t worry.

 

Introduction Part #3

 

If there were no conflict, if the Word were true, if our words represented the real world, if there were a match, primacy wouldn’t be an issue, the Word and the World would be one. Primacy is for lying, for making your own phony truths.

Our story doesn’t satisfy.

It never has, and as I grow and learn and see things differently, it still never does, from any angle I have ever approached it from, religious or scientific, high or sober, happy or sad, young or old – it just doesn’t. I just read a brand new EP book and all it had was angst, the tiniest silver lining felt like a fictive editorial enhancement. I hear it resolves at the very end, not talking about the book. The book definitely did not ask “why?” of the Word. Our orders were the explanation for everything and you could hear both Job’s and the leviathan’s cries for mercy in the background. I am not with those guys.

It’s not just me either. You can tell it doesn’t satisfy anyone, even the wise old souls telling us about it, they’re quick to tell you there is nothing satisfying about it, most of what they’re doing is debunking pseudoscience and managing our expectations. We’re already doing what we can, maybe things will get better. That’s some micro-management when our expectations are reduced to almost zero.

If our story were correct, it would satisfy, wouldn’t it, like if it were food we wouldn’t be hungry anymore? When you get the right answer, don’t things fall into place, hasn’t a problem been solved? Is that what talk of human nature feels like, like you had a problem and you found the answer and now you can relax and move on to the next one – or does it feel like you complained about a problem and were told to suck it up, why not you, same as Job?

We say it a lot nicer than Job’s attacker did, to be sure.

And isn’t it the end of the inquiry, where all science dies? Don’t most answers in the world produce more questions, endlessly, rather than bringing on an abashed silence?

With this story, this is always the format: questions and answers until we get to the part about needing to have known what we are, then “Bah! Human nature . . . ” then some silence, then we talk about something else. If it doesn’t bring questions with it, if we can’t play the three-year-olds’ endless “why?” game with it, it’s not a real thing, not in this world, not for these hyperactive monkeys. Right? Call me suspicious.

If it doesn’t satisfy, if it wasn’t what we asked for; that’s not our fault. If the Word or the story don’t work for us, it’s not we that are in error, we are not words but real things, so they must adjust their truth. Not what happens, because the Word comes first, but that is what I’m aiming at, that is not an intractable fact of the world but only an error of the human mind and a problem that we not only can solve but are obligated to. I know, anarchy, maybe communism.

I think we need to work it out down here in our origin story first, though. I don’t see political solutions if we still have the bad attitude about ourselves. I think this explains communism’s first attempt’s spectacular failure and why it went so quickly from collective back to authoritarian, why they all do, not because of “capitalism,” as such, it’s older and deeper than that, but because we have this bad assessment of ourselves and cannot trust each other, and again, nothing in words, our bodies have had it explained to them directly, in cortisol, bypassing our thoughts.

So don’t spank.

You destroy trust, people learn not to trust, and so not to expect good things from other people. It tilts the field away from collectivism, formerly known as people living together. Authoritarianism in the home enables it at all levels and what is more authoritarian than forcing pain on a person?

I have a sense for these things, I have a sense for the thought behind the thought or the absence of one, where someone is coming from and that sense tells me that our origin story will never take us anywhere good and somebody needs to write a better one.

As a writer, I know that half the battle is always about what you don’t say, that omission is as powerful as inclusion. I gave up my dream of being a writer rather young, because I saw through myself, I saw the manipulativeness of the art and I moralistically let it go. It was clear to me that I had a knack for the simplest trickery, memorizing powerful clichés, winning word pairs and such and when I caught myself using such tricks, I felt dirty. Turns out, being a writer isn’t something you just turn off, and so I write, more and more, apparently, but I try not to self-promote, I try not to use trickery, I try to be straight, get out of the way and let the truth out.

Of course don’t they all. Mostly, I try to write stuff that no-one wants to hear, so that only the most stubborn folks get hurt, try to minimize the damage that way, ha, if I never get read, at least I’ll never get caught.

As I tear down the world to build a new one. It’s complicated. The point is, that the point of an idea is what it does in the world and some basic ones affect the whole world. At the end of all the art and/or trickery, if the message is something from the bad place, the bad attitude, then those were some dark arts. Most of it is like that, I fear.

I like to tell myself I can write now, because it is not coming from that place anymore, that I’ve found a different place to start from. Of course, I still worry.

Language is dangerous. To speak is a little like wielding a weapon and to sell a book is like spraying bullets into a huge crowd. Producing any world changing philosophy is like pushing the big button, there is some responsibility there. I have a fairly dark assessment of the world, I never wanted to be responsible for any of it, Good Lord, that the world goes on like it is and that I had some part in ensuring it did, this is Hell for me, that this world be my fault. There’s a thing, like a moral rule about it not being your fault as long as you never touched it, it makes it difficult to try to change things. You broke it, you bought it, I want to try to fix humanity, I don’t really want to own it. But you know what? It was broken before I got here, you can see the wear at the cracks. It’s been broken for quite a while.

To Hell with it, let’s have a go.

There is a world of literature in the space between sticking to your point and flat out omission and there are many ways to misdirect but none bigger than false, erroneous, or untestable initial conditions like “human nature,” the perfect catch-all excuse for any dark horrible crap anyone might want to promote.

The point of this document will be to revive Rousseau and goodness and not only that, to make them better than before, stronger, smarter, and scientifically accurate. The six million dollar flower-child, that’s me.

To vanquish their enemies, this is my quest.

The bad guys don’t get to own science. I think it’s more gaslighting that there is this eternal binary, Rousseau VS the world, this duality. Rousseau is for armchair pundits like me and his opponents aren’t pausing to check themselves, they are out there busily destroying the world, because after all, they weren’t made for anything else, were they. They have their get out of jail free card.

In more practical terms, there is Team Rousseau and then there is Team Science, the debate is not happening “within” science. They’re not having this endless debate, either team! They dispensed with it like their hat, on the way to their desks. In science world, Rousseau is in quarantine where he can’t be infecting anyone.

Maybe it’s true that over here in psychology world we would like very much to do the same with Paul and Hobbes and the lot, but we haven’t managed it. We live in their world – our abusers, our caregivers, anyone that left us with pain or questions, at some point they becomes nouns, nothing to be done. It’s not healthy for me to psychologize much about my abuser, any empathy spent on them comes from what little was coming in for me, and I need that, so it’s . . . human nature again, at some point. When the questions end, when we reach a mind we won’t sympathize with to psychologize, when a person becomes a bad noun, we are in Hobbes’ world after all.

In a little bubble of Rousseauvian psychology afloat in a Hobbesian sea. Psychology comes out of Rousseau and folks like him, and the hard science denies the provenance, leaving the social sciences in a state of semi-validation, as semi-science inasmuch as it is not authoritarian, inasmuch as it attempts to treat the damage. Again, a sore point with me, one branch of psychology lines up with the Word nicely, and it seems to count as proper science, as long as it all starts with the alpha or the elders.

My goal is to lift the veil off of the Rousseauvian world. Honestly, I haven’t read him, I may refute him to do it for all I know – but take, it, JJ, it’s good for you. Your comeback will be the biggest thing since . . . Darwin, I guess. I’m not saying he was right about everything, so far, as far as I can see, no-one’s been right about things yet – except for what we all know, his conclusion, or his starting point – probably the same thing, it was for me – the basic, single data point: we are born good. By the end, I promise I will give you an opportunity to believe it.

I have the sense that all the good folks like the idea that we’re good to start, but I do not have the sense that Rousseau convinced anyone, that he made a case for just how we are turned bad, “culture,” is all I’ve heard. I assume if he had made a good case that I would have read of it by now? Ah, OK, I’ve read some. It wasn’t a bad case in the state of affairs we’re in about it, it was as good as we have nowadays, a top-down, forced culture, resulting of our argument with nature – like “culture” comes from somewhere besides us. Like I say, not bad, pretty normal, no more gormless then than now . . . not a bad case, just not a winning one, was it. I’m sorry. I’ve done better, is the good news! I have a sort of proof.

You don’t have to say it. I know it’s what you want.

I am looking at this world where it’s all Hobbes and Augustine except when we’re so broken we can’t work anymore, then we can have a little Rousseau and then back to work. Psychology and progressivism, these are seen as soft, as cultural, as inventions, while everything awful is scientific and real, and I’m saying no! I’m saying there is a world of science starting from the idea that we are born good also, not just poetry, not just mysticism!

In fact, it’s all right there, you know it all already, you’ve just been told it’s not real. In fact we have done most of the work, the thinking and such, it’s just been turned upside down on us, it’s all right there – just through the looking glass or something.

I am here to bring liberal science, progressive science, oh, these words won’t stay put! I am here to bring the science of “born good” into existence or move it forward if it was there already. The good folks of the world need science, not just music and wishes. Part of that will be to discover that social science and psychology can be science too. I know, I’m writing big cheques; go big or go Hobbes. Ha! Perhaps I should attempt an example.

In therapy, we find our father was unavailable and abusive, and we must learn to accept this fact and limit his access to us and hopefully any downstream effects my abuse has on the people I encounter afterwards. In treatment, I adjust my thinking, adapt to the reality of Dad, it was a problem in my mind, and I fixed it. Life is hard, people are bad, learn and adapt. This is our world now, I think. If it were my new world, if we didn’t expect people to be bad – Dad would be the one in treatment, his badness would be the obvious problem to all, not my reaction to it.

I’m serious.

If Rousseau was right and I plan to prove he was, then Dad is the pathological one.

This is the dream I dream of giving you. Science to back up humanism. Dream it with me. Humanism has done surprisingly well flying solo with no science to hold it up, and that should tell us a couple of things, one, that all the science in the world on the other side can’t defeat it, and two, that if we were born bad this could just never be the case, could it, with both our natures and our nurturing either doing nothing or leaning the other way, according to the science folks’ own conclusions?

So don’t spank.

Your kid was good. You’re wrecking it.

That’s real. You can see it at a glance: the arithmetic doesn’t work, the couldn’t be simpler arithmetic of nature plus nurture, one plus one is not here, it’s something mad like one minus one equals one: your nature was bad, there is no mechanism to make people better, but one to make you worse – and you’re still pretty good! Not the proof, but a proof.

Clearly, it makes total sense if you were good to start with: your nature was good, we hurt you some, and you’re still pretty good, except for those wars – perfectly logical, again, except for the wars and don’t worry, I have those covered too, we’ll get there.

Imagine what humanism could do if we knew it was real and weren’t fooled that it was only the dream? There’s your carrot.

Sort of ironic, so difficult to express: we’re not bad, but thinking we are makes us bad – so we’re bad. Sure, as the old joke goes about logging the Sahara Forest. You mean the Sahara Desert? Oh sure – now! And still we look half good, even after we’ve decided we’re bad and so become that way. Sadly and with more irony, it is a Hobbesian world of science out there because it expects and so doesn’t look at much of the bad, and I am sorry that in order to make the case for our goodness, I have to take us to some awful places. It is not positive to ignore what is bad in the world, of course. I am going to drag you through the mud, but I promise to leave you clean and shiny in the sun at the end.

But not yet! More about trickery first.

Another way to obfuscate is to simply foul the grammar.

A diversion here, from the Word, to a class of words, to wit, the Noun.

As a not entirely unrelated example, take the “genes are traits” stuff, or the “genes are behaviours” meme that the science kids are championing. Besides anything deeper, right off the top, there appears to be something of a mismatch between the question and the answer: if the question was “what makes us who we are,” then the answer is likely to be a what also, meaning a thing, a noun, and there it is, “genes.” So what’s the long version – genes make us who we are? The word used may have been “what,” but that was a “why” question.

And that’s a source of dissatisfaction, isn’t it? It’s a certain take when nouns are provided as explanations, generally, or at least it’s a problem for me. It’s a one-step conversation, like human nature: here’s the thing; end of story, sort of. What part of “genes” did you not understand? It’s not wrong, as such, but it is surely not enough to help anything. OK then, we’ll just get rid of them genes then, huh.

We used to say in the business telephone business, the ABC method of training. A, here’s your phone. B, here’s the manual. C, you later.

You have the noun, ‘bye. Like that.

I’m serious.

When we search for an answer, it’s a cause for something that we want – and we might think a cause would be something that happens in this living, moving world, not so much something that simply exists – but often what is given is only a thing. If it fails to illuminate, sometimes it can mean that we don’t yet understand a new, complex noun, even to the point that we maybe missed the shift and don’t understand that it is a noun we’ve been given, that the answer we are offered is not a verb, not an action, a motion, or a process at all, but only the existence of some offending thing.

It turns causality sideways, somehow, but mostly it just puts an end to it.

The world has always been full of lying nouns, coined for the purpose of shutting you up and having their way, history has a list of such things, notorious to our modern atheist, scientific minds, and they include royalty, divinity, infallibility, destiny, fate . . . religious sorts of “things” like that. Closer to today, one might list soul, self, mind, morality, freedom . . . all nouns, all things, with little descriptiveness of what’s happening – punishment. Control, like that. It seems a noun is like a period, you can stop there, if you take my meaning, nouns are less inviting to questions than verbs. It’s easy to see it in that the older list of words, isn’t it?

“Genes,” as an answer, shares this property. Seems to put an end to the “why?” game. Not for this fifty-seven years old three-year-old, though!

“Consciousness,”  is one such noun also, we’re supposed to have that thing – wait, I think this is something that touches on how folks are talking about this stuff nowadays, in 2020. I think I need to talk about the answer folks already think they have.

 

Four – Evolutionary Psychology that Isn’t

 

I had exhausted this subject with myself, or so I thought, but in real time, not the version you’ll see, it keeps coming up, I keep finding myself with a reason to take another shot at it. This document has been full of little passive aggressive outbursts directed at evolutionary psychology, not the generic term like it sounds, but because it isn’t what it sounds like and it’s occupying the place in human knowledge where actual psychology needs to be.

I can’t let it go; it’s what this project is about because from the newest iteration, “conscious evolution,” through EP, back through social Darwinism, it’s all the same, competition and authority and it is no way a different function or neural pathway from creation and original sin and changes absolutely nothing and helps no-one – except authority.

OK, this is the book, I have to say it all, no matter how obvious: same as economics. Helping authority doesn’t help humanity, only a tiny few of them. Trickle down theory is just as poor sociology as it is economics.

Shall I continue with the insults I shouldn’t have to say? I’m afraid I must. It’s the same old deal, same circuit with a new word, and not only that, but the function itself, the bad assumption and the response to it, these are hardly conscious things to begin with. So your new name “conscious evolution” is an ironic joke, it only buries the reality under another layer of denial.

It’s competition, which is all the bad stuff, social Darwinism, because no-one is stupid or primitive or evil or not God’s chosen people – they just couldn’t compete is all! Sorry, about that, old Chap, good game, though!

Time for something real.

In the latest version we see a change of focus, from EP’s competition as a driver, from group conflict looking like brutal competition at the borders, to focussing instead upon the cooperation within the group, choosing to emphasize the cooperation at home that makes for a more competitive group. The nicest meme is that the more cooperative groups internally are better at war, more competitive at the group level, and so the more cooperative groups have taken over the world. Good news, everyone!

I am being unfair here only in that I said, “focus,” and “emphasize,” I think; I suppose they think it’s more. Perhaps they figure they’ve changed the driving factor to cooperation, I can’t imagine how, but it’s sort of the same error all the way through, the psychology never looks up, we’re not supposed to notice that competition is still cooperation’s master in the new version.

If that is conscious evolution’s story, cooperators compete better, this meme’s analogue from EP was prosocial at home, antisocial at the border, and I don’t know how the social Darwinists said it, but they probably did, and here’s the point.

It’s rubbish, Good Lord.

I don’t have their educations, but I read H.G. Wells and how we used to talk about conflict was tough peoples conquer and rule soft peoples, that the process of civilization and the rise of cities was towns popping up and people dedicating their lives to agriculture and new trades and jobs and not being professional soldiers and so being rolled over by wave after wave of tough warrior nomads from the steppes, who then settled into the towns, learned the new way of life, got soft and were sitting ducks for the next wave.

They got a little prosocial at home and got wiped out, over and over and over again.

I know that sounds like the world EP describes, but Wells didn’t try to tell you why. The violent model of EP is pretty close, but when it tries to make explanations, it winds up in our story, creation, where bad things are to be expected and are not required to be explained.

If there is something to learn from that old yarn about the Spartan mother whose son came home with a wound on his back so she killed him, it is that “prosocial at home” is rubbish, blatant, opposite day gaslighting nonsense.

Anybody out there have a military father? It seems really clear that the theorists of EP missed their tours in Afghanistan, that they do not understand anything about being a soldier. In every other conversation that ever happened, everyone on Earth except the practitioners of EP know that you don’t win wars with coddling and being prosocial, that to win the fights at the border, you practice at home. Were the Romans coddled? The German Nazis?

I think “cooperation” in their minds is orders, military hierarchy, the Word, doing what you are told, and again, I’m sorry I have to spell it out, but this is only cooperation from one side’s point of view, guess which side, sorry, no don’t – from authority’s side, obviously. I’ll state the correction: antisocial at home, antisocial at the border.

If we were “prosocial at home,” there wouldn’t be a border, would there? We’d be prosocial there too. I don’t think I’ve proved that here, don’t get me wrong. I just want you to have seen it once in your life before we carry on, I’ll try to make a case further on, but for now, I hope you see that only in the creation story would I even need to, that it ought to be obvious. In a better world or something, right?

I’m not saying there isn’t a difference, I know we’re not generally using our spears at home, my point is this: it is not a binary, not opposing forces, it is only a disparity, more prosocial at home, more antisocial out and about, this I would allow, as long as we can see the function of being antisocial at home, that’s all I want, and this soundbite sounds like the opposite. I know, you can’t fight “sounds like.” Another hint is the new wording, that cooperation rocks because it’s better at competition, they really are pushing this “good things cause wars” thing, the wars are great cooperative efforts, and that’s positive and progressive now, apparently.

The causality of antisocial at the border is antisocial at home and that’s what psychology is for, when your own people, the ones who love you are antisocial towards you. I had to say this early, I haven’t named my theory yet, but this is it, right here, that we do bad things at home and so things are always tense at the border. Telling me you’re being prosocial to me at home sounds a damned threat, you don’t like it? I’m treating you well now.

Gaslighting always has the threat, it never even tries to be believable, it doesn’t have to, the Word came first, it says.

 

Introduction Part #4

 

Self-consciousness perhaps is more malleable, you can be wrong and still be self-conscious. Self-consciousness, navel gazing, for these, the effort is the meaning, and it’s an effort that doesn’t end, we have not yet settled upon just what we are or just what it is we’re supposed to be doing.

It’s a question that there is no getting around. I think we all agree, determining what human nature is and the search for self- knowledge and consciousness are all the same thing. But you’re not conscious until you’ve got it right, and when your whole strategy is having it wrong and not even checking in, well. You’ve got a ways to go. We’re sort of consciously, pointedly unconscious – like I say, expedient. Selectable things happen for us by keeping these ideas, or did at some point.

We’re a social animal, I think I’ve said, a pathologically social animal, social beyond reason and reality, we make a lot of policy sort of decisions about one another, and so it matters we think our nature is. As it stands, what we think we are is the best we have to work with. To the degree that we behave consciously and rationally at least, we behave predicated on what it is we think we are. We behave largely biologically and tribally, and unconsciously to be sure, but to the extent that we plan our behaviour, to the creation and evolution of public policy, laws and institutions – and to the creation of parenting books –  in that much, we base our conscious choices on what we think we are, on what we perceive to be human nature.

No surprises there, right? A table of sorts:

Some think we are as God made us, some as evolution has sculpted us, some think we are born loving and good, some that we are naturally selfish and aggressive, some that we are unformed until the world forms us. I believe the current scientific status of this is the second and fourth things with a sprinkle of the fifth, not an endorsement,  and I guess the religious state of it is the first and fourth, same sprinkle of the fifth. One, two, three and five should be us Rousseauvians.

If I’ve forgotten anyone, I’m sorry.

My experience living and reading in the largely Christian West combined with my interest in punishment-free childrearing led me to think that the consensus in those regards was this: we think some dilute version of Christian original sin, or that evolution means children are untamed, and so we spend a great deal of energy controlling, deterring and punishing children in our efforts to “civilize” them. It was cultural, I thought; most folks have never heard of Augustine or original sin, but it was difficult for me to understand the control and punishment of human children without postulating some negative default condition that the adults were combatting, without thinking that the parents seemed to be postulating one – again, they say you have to teach them right from wrong, and they all say it, so they all think their kids are born not knowing right from wrong. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet and everyone being born amoral smells the same as Augustine’s breath. That idea satisfied me for a time, that it was the Church’s massive influence; it was true enough, close enough for what passed for psychology for me at the time.

It wasn’t close enough for science, though. And biology, that sort of top-down look is powerless. We made that bloody church, it didn’t make us.

Again, most Western folks don’t know or care for Augustine or Paul (neither do I, don’t get me wrong), and at any rate we were all sinners in the Old Testament as well, right from the start: God created the heavens, and saw that it was good, the earth, and saw that it was good, the beasts, birds and fishes and saw that they were good. Then God created man, woman and knowledge, and saw that it was not so good, for the rest of the book! My apologies if that is not funny . . . it only means that at least the Jews and the Muslims will have some version of ‘all humans are sinners’ in their lives too, not just the Christians.

All of our cultures are not so different in these matters, social control is everywhere, authority is everywhere.

Not gonna lie, I think it’s all of us.

 

Five – A new Genesis Chapter, #2 The Broken Story

 

We know the story isn’t supposed to “work,” I mean we know we’re not being literal when we talk about creation and such, even the badness assumption, when we’re talking about it directly and not just giving it a nod, we know it’s not “real,’ but what’s that called again, when your only information is your only information and you have to do what you can with it, even if you think it’s not true? Don’t tell me, I’ll throw it out again immediately, I always do, I have a blind spot there, the name for it probably rubs me the wrong way or something, but I do not deny its existence, not a bit, and despite that we know the myths are myths, they are still our myths nonetheless. We have hardware for them, or for something that underwrites them, apparently.

The story is not just not true, but not “sane” in the logical sense, not possibly true, and we don’t “believe it,” but we have no actual argument. This is why we always give a sigh when we must allow for it: we all know, deep down, that it’s not an answer but the absence of one. I know I’m talking like Ishmael, “our story,” it’s not an accident, all writers are all about stories, we believe in them or something, but I don’t want to mix the metaphors, let’s just assume Quinn agrees and keep trying to say it ourselves. Again, I hope to get further than Job or Ishmael did. Ended badly for them as I recall, and yes, we are not looking great, but we are not dead yet.

So the story. We are artifacts, we have a creator, we rebelled, we had a fall, we chose sin initially and it is our state forever, our punishment for the choice . . .  bah, never mind. I mean, it’s rubbish, but a story is not right or wrong, I bet I could lay mine on top of it, shall we try?

We are artifacts, but also the creator, evolution, we are self-created beings, who is practising selection on us besides us? We rebelled?

Against ourselves, and yes, this is the same meme again, we rebelled against our chimpanzee selves, didn’t we? Hey, so far so good!

Our rebellion caused the creator – us, or our former selves – to punish us and the world is now labour and pain, and our first evil error is always with us, we are always choosing the sin and we will never see paradise again notwithstanding divine intervention . . .  OK this is too much fun, no way I stayed on the straight and narrow there, is there? Who punishes anyone in this universe, us included? Whose lives are labour other than digestion? And who always has a story about how evil he used to be to explain how bad he is now so that he never has to build the new paradise?

Too easy, almost, I sense a trap. Well, it’s not a trap, it’s just another version of the same story, and it’s not all correct, it’s not a rebellion; our former selves weren’t some authority, you don’t rebel against yourself, you just change. It was a bit of fun, though, wot?

Slow down there, Preacher!

I know. I’m what the kids call a hot mess, but hang in there, there is beauty here.

The fruit is the knowledge itself, of course, which I think is something about punishing, or abuse. Do the fruit or the knowledge ever reappear? Am I to understand we ate of it and we have it now, OK, yes, I remember, now we know good from evil . . . it’s just backwards. For being the creature that’s supposed to know the difference, we seem to prefer the evil.

I wonder if the lie was in the fruit, and that’s why we weren’t supposed to eat it, or if it was the truth and God didn’t want us to have it because he knew we’d get it all boxed up?

“Knowledge of” sounds like technology to me, I read that phrase as how to start with the raw material of one and turn it into the other, like “the knowledge of rock and iron,” or of “soil and crops.” We have technology to start with rock and make metal, methods to start with soil and grow food – and a way to start with good and create evil. Correct me if I’m wrong, but most of the book is about rules and punishments, and I agree, that’s how it’s done.

So don’t spank.

It’s how we teach evil, and it’s not just a teach, it’s a demonstration, and it feels like proof. If it’s done exactly “right,” at exactly the “right” time, it is a kind of proof and changes us for life. Of course, “spanking” only occurs at the right time, childhood, while our genes are sorting themselves out, setting your operating mode for life. That’s probably exactly why spanking has its own word, it’s a special sort of attack.

These word games are terribly tempting and I can’t resist them on the theory that word games are interpretations of real brain games. The parenting maxim that would seem to spring directly from the bad assumption, “You have to teach them right from wrong,” it’s another one, I can’t help but get word-literal about it and read it as an explanation of the origin of “right,” that it comes “from” wrong! That’s just silly, but that is punishment, in our minds, isn’t it? Threaten something wrong in an effort to get something right?

This kind of stuff hurts my case, like I don’t want to be taken seriously, I know it and I can’t stop, I feel a need to give the reader a way out, otherwise I’m destroying your world and not even being funny about it. Everyone is wrong about everything, is there a gentle enough way to say that, is there enough self-deprecation in the world to get that by anyone?

That universal saying shows that we assume that wrong is at least as good as right for a human being until someone teaches it otherwise. It shows we consider good and bad, morality to be an invention, taught and learned here, in this life, person to person. At this point, I am not arguing yet, that much seems fine, that could come from a blank slate mindset. I think good and bad are properties of the world, with or without human authorization, I think pain is bad and love and mercy are good among the birds and the beasts too, but it’s OK. We’re just talking, it’s all good.

Until we’re not and then it’s not, until we start taking action. There is this upshot, the possibly universal human truth we say to one another, you have to teach them right from wrong, and there is the behaviour that such memes support.

This is where the story falls apart, where fiction meets stubborn old reality. If we can get clear on what we need out here in life, it may be a simple matter to write a new fable that supports that and I hope to make the case that what we needed the old story for no longer applies, or rather, that it can’t apply anymore, that what it did for us is now more of a problem than the solution it must once have been. That, hopefully will get a little more informative than Ishmael – it’s about our story, but it’s more than stories. We do not learn this upshot from a book, but from pain.

So don’t spank.

Spanking is like torture, you can make any lie into some kind of inescapable truth. They will believe anything to make it stop.

It’s not even a secret, what sort of a society wrote that story or why such a people would, but apparently it’s a secret that we are still that kind of society, despite the fact that we still carry that same story.

We know that most violence is moral, but that is a meme with the words arranged in the least powerful way possible – what those folks are trying to say, whether they agree or not, is morality is violence, morality is a violent response to unwanted behaviour. That’s the truth that is trying to express itself through these folks who are all starting from the wrong place, the ones who maybe just expect violence and are surprised by morality.

We fight evil. We can’t figure out that the fight is the evil, and so we see something bad and we try to do something about it, we try to fight it. I’m talking about social control, about creating negative consequences, about punishment and discipline, about law and order, about morality, talking about it like the biologists do for a moment, with aggression as a noun and a prime mover. We have nothing to fight evil with but a fight and so what is bad is met with an attack, I suppose. It’s a way to look at it, some do, I think. Something about our story says that the initial crime was bad, but that the resulting attack is not. If it’s bad, we are to do our best or worst to fight it, and our worst in this context is exempt, it’s not supposed to also be a bad thing someone is supposed to fight, I don’t know why, I guess it has to stop somewhere . . . it stops, of course at the Word, at authority.

So don’t spank.

It’s just a fight, really, and fighting is one of those inconvenient things you were supposedly trying to stop, wasn’t it? You can’t teach not fighting that way, your words get prioritized down to nothing when something real like a fight is going on. In fact, you devalue words to nothing yourself, when you spank, we may as well tell them never to listen, only to respond to threats. It’s no contest, which is why you do it, and also why they never heard a word you said.

Perhaps the worst that we do to combat it is exempt because of something we’ve talked about in another context – its object was already broken anyway? I mean it was malfunctioning. The assumption of “broken” sounds like another expression of the same neural pathway as original sin. The upshot of this is, we think we can reduce evil and increase good by fighting with it, by beating it up. We’re born bad, apparently, but we think there’s something we can do about it. This is our story, and I’m not buying it, don’t get me wrong. Here’s the trick of it all here.

 

Six – Mimic Memes, the Adaptive Fiction

 

Born bad but manageable or reparable – that’s only what we think we think, and we’re wrong about how we think about ourselves; really, deep down, we know we don’t think we’re so bad. If we did, if we really thought we were as bad as all that we’d walk off a cliff. Again, that’s what we think we think, born bad but under control, but we really don’t believe that – it’s what is called an adaptive fiction, meaning the reason we do it – the reason we think we’re born bad, in this case -isn’t real, it’s not that we’ve proved it or anything, but something else happens when we think it, so the thought is selected for and we keep on thinking it or at least behaving like we do.

So don’t spank.

It’s a scam! Your kid gets worse.

Remember, “selected for” isn’t necessarily good, everything is selected for and the world contains plenty of bad things. Let’s back that up: so, if we did think that, if we did think that evil was intimidatable, and so we try to discourage it with deterrents and punishments, then there may be more to discover about that narrative.

Spoiler alert, there isn’t – but that’s still us learning something.

First, if that’s what we think, then when did we start to think it, and why?

When was probably just always, if it’s a unique human feature, then it is probably bound up with every other unique human feature. Or maybe something ramped up thirty thousand years ago, or maybe again or maybe just ten thousand years back, with the Neolithic revolution. There are clues in the fossil record that something changed at those points, our skeletons made leaps towards this domesticated frame at those times. Wrangham, in his latest said that we were selecting out certain types, certain genes from our very start, that we were attempting to select or engineer ourselves from the start, so maybe that’s when, always, and always for humans means 300,000 years these days and seems likely to stay there.

Like many guesses about the past, it’s bound to be a chicken and egg kind of a thing: does this story have us as an ape that discovered punishment and social control, evolving with time and becoming human? Not a secret, that’s the story they teach in school, I think, and it suggests the above, the full human species lifespan. Or in some other sense, do we postulate a sort of reverse evolution, where we found ourselves evolved, super-complex human adults with dangerous technology whose babies and neighbors still appeared to be nasty apes and so needed to be civilized individually, by force if necessary? Inasmuch as anyone thinks this ever, it sounds like we must think the social control is recent.

Both sounds reasonable, it’s what made us, some change we undertook, and it’s growing with time and it has recent aspects. I am quietly nurturing a theory that our self-creation began as Wrangham said, with selection, but that as time goes by, we execute less and less and punish more and more, that our self-sculpting is evolving also, and that some of what look like binary things we must choose from are in fact more of a then and now situation.

Is it fair to suggest that the current state of our origin story uses elements of both too? Fair, schmair, it’s what I see. We do credit the social control with creating civilization, not the other way around, and we also ride our children and our criminals hard as though evolution never happened and they’d missed it all and were threatening to tear it all down or something. I’m saying there is some assumption that if we didn’t control them, less objectionable regarding criminals than children, to be sure, that if we left them alone, they wouldn’t be right.

Like I say, not sure it’s a human universal, but every one of them I ever met says you have to teach your kids and crooks right from wrong, and they don’t say it but it means they think the kids are not born knowing it and the criminals haven’t learned it either, doesn’t it? So, like I say, we don’t know Hobbes, we don’t know Paul or Augustine, we don’t “believe in Christian Original Sin” – but we are all adherents nonetheless. By default. Apparently.

When we can pull either answer out! I like the “started at the start but more and more” idea, then any place any person chooses is fine, I can talk to them. When is complicated.

So, why, though? If we did think that evil was intimidatable, and so we try to fight it and discourage it with deterrents and punishments, where did we get such an idea, how did we get the idea, why does this meme and its associated neural pathway exist if it didn’t before at some point?

Primatology and EP provide some elements, that’s the trouble with them, you can’t fault all the data, it’s all in interpretation where it’s all gone sideways.

There certainly seems to be an entrenched system of abuse that creates and supports primate social structure and hierarchy usually; clearly primate abuse predates humanity. Most people don’t know much about that, though, same as they don’t know Paul, so although it may be part of a scientific explanation, it probably has no bearing on what human parents or police generally think. If we don’t know or wonder when it began, perhaps that is a clue that our punishing ways, the control, are a behaviour we rationalize from our cultural selves, perhaps we are lazily falling into seeing our child-rearing or our social control from the religious POV where it didn’t begin, it simply is, as though it always was. I think we do think of it as cultural, and in fact every person, every group seems to think they are the only ones who thought of it! Apparently we have a rule in our heads to think that social control is anything but a human universal.

So don’t spank.

It makes you the same as everybody else, they all do. Their problems are not because they never heard of telling their kids what to do and making it happen, they do, same as you. And you got problems too, even though you theoretically know all about it.

Wrangham suggested that we are a species because we began selecting some individuals out and that behavioural rules were set and enforced by the elders and that all conformity followed that . . . that doesn’t give us much of a when still, as before, our whole existence, I guess, and the why – because the elders said so? I’m afraid Wrangham and EP got here after the Word, the elders’ word is their First Cause. The elders were the new thing, the new hazard: the switch from alpha to the elders meant group inequality, there was some mention of it, I think. That’s probably the reason human children need to be controlled, inasmuch as the reasons are all conscious like that. Any ideas of hazards mean nothing , there were always leopards and lions, the new thing, the new hazard that called for a new adaptation was this, inequality and the authority that creates it. I think. It’s not hard to imagine how it grew out of normal primate hierarchy and alpha privilege.

So don’t spank.

It helps your boss more than it helps you. The conditioning you provide, someone else will profit from, someone who hasn’t got any genetic interest in your kids’ welfare and won’t have even your restraint with them.

The evolutionists as parents, it may look counter-intuitive if they seem to spank their kids and call the police as though they were Christian ascetics and believed it all, but again, evolution is the new creation, our genetic heritage is the new original sin, and the researchers are the new . . . Hebrews, I guess. They think they are contending with their children’s wild and primal natures, I suppose.

So, as to why did we begin to think it?

I’m afraid it’s stumped me within this paradigm, and like it or not why is all twisted around when. If it was the day we left our chimpanzee cousins in the woods and stepped out onto the plain, then I think this is sort of reasonable, some adaptation that made us able to not get slaughtered out on the plain, in the open – or culturally, if it’s modern, then it’s mythology, when your people’s Giver of Laws told you to, I don’t know. Maybe it’s been growing for a long time; it does seem to have ramped up when everything else about us did, maybe, since we started keeping track of ourselves, which is one of the intuitive clues I followed, that it has some of the signs of a positive feedback loop.

I mean, hurt makes hurt, violence breeds violence, that sort of feedback loop. We could, in theory, take a person, ask them what they think of human nature, then beat them every day and ask them again at the end of every day, most folks are not Victor Frankl. It’s not a guarantee, but big data and statistics, if you do it to a thousand people, the number of folks who seem to have had the matter proven to them and start to talk like Hobbesians is going to rise daily, towards the total.

So don’t spank.

You’re giving us all a bad attitude.

For the “why,” because I am not satisfied with the Word, we must examine the other side of the coin. A discussion of what we think our natures are perhaps requires some look into the other concept, what we think nurture is, because the idea seems to all hang together, appears to be the product of a single function, probably a single pathway or circuit in the brain. Why did we begin to think there was something bad about us, and what made us think we could change it?

First of all, it’s a positive sounding word, nurture, but that isn’t the only meaning. We think nurture is best stated as the software side of our house, that it isn’t concerned with hardware and biology but thought and speech, with what we think and what we do. To what extent our lives and inner lives affect us and our choices: that, we think, is the nurture principle, at least the version of nurture that seems to be opposed to any notions of hardwired traits and behaviours in the classic old debate. It’s a little jarring to say and hear, but when we are beating our children, we think we are operating in the nurture sphere, hoping to change minds and therefore behaviour.

We’re wrong, but that’s how we talk about it. It was my naïve belief when I first penned that paragraph in another context, coming from the bad place and damaging my arguments, in the time between my insight and my slowly starting to understand it. Also why we’re here.

No? The science kids are saying there’s no such thing, parenting doesn’t actually matter.

Of course, biology, there really is no division to be made between our hardware platforms and our software, turns out, thought, speech, emotions – these are all physical phenomena, neurochemistry. That slides the entire nurture world back under the “nature”’ umbrella and nurture is just post-birth nature, meaning the environment or just simply the world, but it’s still a useful distinction in one small way: at least we’re highlighting the difference between the things we do and the things we’re consciously trying to do.  We can still talk about it.

The nurturing idea, as it applies to childrearing is deeply set. I find myself casting about for a better, more manipulative way to say this, so I’d better go the other direction and de-fang it instead: I have the sense that we must have felt like we proved it to ourselves at some point, and we seem, as Judith Rich Harris said, unable to seriously question it. I do this, perhaps it works against me: I think my case is so strong that its weakest arguments should be enough, delivered quietly. If you can’t refute them, it’s like a first round knockout and I’m going home early, unscathed.

If the nurture assumption is hard to shake, if it seems self-evident or we have the sense I suggest, that it’s been proved already, then the narrative, our story should account for it. How do we imagine we proved it?

I mean, nurture generally, not a question. I think we’ve all told our kids not to leap into traffic and most of them didn’t, so it’s case closed, great job. I’m looking for something more specific, though, something that would cause this division in our minds, some experience of ours that places nurture somehow in opposition to our natures, or nature generally, perhaps – at least something to justify this endless, insoluble argument. Plus, of course, I’m talking about childrearing, our guesses about our own natures and how those impact our childrearing. That aspect of nurture, literal nurturing, childrearing, complete with deterrents and punishments seems to be something we don’t ponder, something we consider time-honoured and proven, so again: proven how?

Well, to back up again just a little, what have we proven today regarding parenting? Amazing to me that any answer this short could be true: nothing good, literally.

As so lengthily and painfully pointed out by Rich Harris and others, parental influence is impossible to detect in people’s adult personalities. We think that half of the variability of our traits is genetic and about half cultural or environmental, but that almost none of the environmental side is attributable to parents or parental efforts. I have questions, like is it personality parents affect or something else, but for now, I’ll go with it: ongoing and historical efforts to demonstrate parents’ influence have turned up squat. We keep trying, because as I pointed out before the nurture principle can’t be non-existent, but so far it hasn’t worked out, there is zero scientific evidence for parental influence.

So don’t spank.

There is no documented upside to parenting at all, let alone to parental violence. There are also reams of proof of the damages of when spanking goes too far, so it’s a game with no winning, only different levels of loss.

There’s a secret though, and all the Rousseauvians should know it, but I don’t think they do! Are you ready? Those serious fools, the Rousseauvians and the Hobbesians both – they were looking for something positive.

I know.

They never had a chance.

Fair enough, I suppose. One assumes that parental efforts are for positive things, though, so perhaps it’s fair to say that  those positive, conscious parental influences haven’t shown up in the lab.

Negative influences from parents, however, the effects of abuse or neglect, that is another matter, there are mountains of evidence for that. So not only do we have no evidence for anything good our parents do for us, but a world of proof for the bad. The evidences for negative outcomes correlated with physical punishment and abuse are myriad and robust – and it’s mostly family stuff, so we even have decades of genetic data, it’s not going to be useless for the lack of that either.

So don’t spank.

There is no winning, and many levels of loss in the game involve the police and the government and some measure of shame and loss.

So: zero proof of positive influence from anything parents do, deterrents, etc., included, as contrasted with all of the evidence pointing to the negative environmental power of some of those same things when “taken too far,” perhaps simply when followed through upon. There are a lot of genuinely nice parents out there – and no evidence of their good influence, only of the damages incurred by the less nice parts of the children’s lives. So perhaps we ask ourselves this regarding the plot we are pitching ourselves.

If we’re telling ourselves that we believe that without our nurturing, our children will be bad or wild, then how do we continue to believe it when we see that the science says all we can do is harm them further? It seems pretty counter-intuitive; I mean, what kind of idiots do we take ourselves for? How do we explain it to ourselves except by using the obvious strategy of simple cognitive dissonance, I mean, of course? I realize, what else can we do with that information but ignore it, live with the conflict pending further discovery?

Yeah, I don’t do well with that; cognitive dissonance is fine for other people, but I am going to fix it, if I can, die trying, no doubt. It’s glare, is what it is, and it’s driving me nuts. I can’t see anything.

 

Seven – A new Genesis Chapter, #3 Core Beliefs

 

What was the question? Oh yes, why would we think that we think people are default some sort of bad and that we can fix it?

I’ve tried to make the point that this proposition is part and parcel of the self-evident nurture idea, and that the nurture assumption is so strong, that we must think we proved it. I then wondered how so, and stated that we have not, even today proved it in a positive sense, but that we see the proof daily of the negative power of what adults and parents can do. Interestingly, today, this proof of the negative power of parenting is split off, and it’s become a popular meme for the biologists to say that parenting doesn’t matter. Tell that to abuse victims, is my answer. But still, somehow, this proof is not a proof today. “Parenting” is defined as a positive influence – but stubbornly refuses to show up like that in the testing.

This very phenomenon, abuse and damage was our proof of the nurture principle in parenting in the beginning, though.

Perhaps there was a time when beating our children or letting them beat one another was new or rare, and it was these real-world effects that proved to us that what we do matters. I have an idea, learned in grade school, that the most beaten of the children are out there beating the crap out of the less beaten ones, and I don’t think that needs a lot of mental lawyering to reconcile with the statistics of abuse. I didn’t see the advantage of it, my naïve self figured they’d all wind up in prison, live short, thug lives – maybe in a more primal, aboriginal situation though, you want your family group to be the ones who win the fights around the neighborhood. (And maybe the children of those bullies in school run the city now, shows what I knew.)

So don’t spank.

It’s why “you don’t think it’s your kid who’s a bully,” but it is, because extreme abuse is not required to produce bad behaviour. Despite the special name, spanking is enough and people get hurt within the law too. Spanking is bullying in every way except that it’s authorized.

If so, if this was perhaps the first thing we ever tried to beat our children into doing – going out and terrorizing the neighbors – that works! The statistics of abuse tell us that that is the one thing that beatings do succeed at teaching, so if that was our maiden voyage into child-sculpting, then the first test worked perfectly . . . perhaps that was our proof. And – fair enough, sort of. That may place the timing of the development of this behaviour before modern times because we have wiped out at least four other homos in the last fifty thousand years and those are only the ones where we’ve found the bodies. I assume that the last man standing was probably the meanest one, the one who had survived the toughest life.

So, with that perspective, let’s review that sentence, where I almost gave it away:

Why would we think that we think people are default some sort of bad and that we can do what we do to make them some sort of better?

Just a few more little tweaks: it turns out that the sort of bad that makes sense of it is sociability, that what we do is abuse one another far more regularly than the other animals, and the sort of better we’re talking about is meaner, tougher, being the sort that wins fights. So again, one more time:

Why would we think people are nice and sweet (which is a sort of bad in a competitive sort of environment) and so we abuse them (which humans do a lot) to make them tough, mean and nasty (a sort of better in a competitive world of male-bonded primate troops like traditional human societies)?

Because that doesn’t clash with everything else we know about violence and abuse today, for starters. Because human and all mammal babies are clearly sweet and loving, for good reasons, they’re helpless. Because isn’t that what your dad told you behind the shed? He was toughening you up, and Dad was a lot closer to the aboriginal, biological truth than the authors of parenting books.

So don’t spank.

Because we know all this already.

I see another truth table of sorts.

Again, I think whichever way we read it, the “born bad” circuit, if we call it that has us trying to punish ourselves good, to solve the circuit’s problem, or if we rename it the “born good” circuit, then we find ourselves abusing ourselves to toughen ourselves up, solving the problem.

Bad + punishment = good – this is our story now, the one that says two wrongs make a right, hurt a bad thing to make it good, shake my head. How hard do they have to beat you to make you believe that?

Good + abuse = bad – this is my new story of humanity, it says when you have a broken thing and you know you broke it, that it wasn’t probably broken before.

– we’ll try to get back to this.

Tomayto, tomahto, we’re all the same on the inside, we are all still firing that same bunch of neurons and these are interpretations all, none probably right on the money, brain circuits don’t probably speak English or any language as such. The same magic goes on here as between our genes and our lives, what goes in changes what comes out but we don’t know exactly how.

So don’t spank.

It does something, changes something, and it’s a mystery what changes we make when we mess with ourselves, except that a hundred years of socialization research has shown that the one change it does not make is that your kid turns out the way you want it to.

I’m renaming my circuit, because the function the second scenario describes is the more dependable one, the not completely illogical one, probably the real reason behind the adaptive fiction, this was my original insight, although it was pretty garbled at the time: judging by the fix, our original sin was we are too nice. And yes, this is still very much with us today, not to say forever, we still think we are overly nice and ought to be stronger. Apparently.

This is my answer, my cure for the glare, the polarization I require to make sense of it all, again that judging by the fix, our original sin was we get along too well and chimpanzees are just sadly inadequate for the job of throwing a proper war or something. If it’s the other way about, if we are an improvement upon the chimpanzee and wars don’t happen or have no worldly causation we can affect, I can’t see a thing.

When that’s all there was, I couldn’t.

I am sorry to suggest that you couldn’t either.

Again, this is a conversation with too many layers: I’m not saying we just aren’t mean enough by default for life on this planet, only that we think so, and so because this is our core belief, we beat ourselves to make sure we’re as mean and tough as the neighbors, who we assume are beating themselves too – I mean we’re not wrong about that, are we. I think it’s a weapon, another weapon for our group  conflicts, a belief that makes us tougher . . . but again, not just a belief. We don’t just tell each other about it, we prove to our cells, make ourselves know it, be it true or not, because in the beginning . . . our Word about it is what matters. I know; that was an “in the end” sort of sentence. And the Word as I’ve set it up is rather mute and just hits you.

But you know what I mean, right? Authority.

I really am not certain how much damage this attitude does or how much nicer we might look if we changed it. I mean, in my own mind I get pretty grandiose, but I don’t want to project or guess. I am saying what direction it would move us though, and isn’t that what we’re supposed to want, ostensibly, isn’t that what all the discipline was supposed to do, make us nicer . . . apologies, this is rhetoric, I can’t use what I am refuting, that’s one of those dirty tricks, use something I don’t believe for my argument because I think you believe it, how shady can you get? Back to reality, if we all wanted this, we could have had it at any time, we don’t, we are in the other story, where the neighbors are monsters so we must be too, and vice versa. But we would like to want this, I think.

If we tweak our story, if we turn that first corner, then we are closer to being the people who really do want that. That’s my plan. Again, not sure how much nicer we would be, but we would surely be nicer, which is sort of another proof that the point of the whole other mode of life must be to become less nice. Circular, I guess, but that’s the whole deal, human nature ideas are circular by their very nature, so to speak.

So don’t spank.

It tilts what we think what human nature is, so spanking is also circular. Your own mother spanking you, or not protecting you from the older kids, that is a most convincing argument. If that never happened, you would be clearer to judge it all yourself, you would carry less bias into it all.

Rousseau was correct in his grand conclusions, but he missed it with the noble savages, the default good human being has yet to make an appearance, and so we don’t know what one might look like. I like to imagine it doesn’t wear war paint, but I don’t want to make his mistake and describe the thing no-one has witnessed, finding out what that might look like is a great pleasure I would love to have, but I’m not going to assume that I, modern, antisocialized thing that I am, could design it. Rousseau’s error was right there in his catchphrase, nobility is hardly docility.

I suspect that life in the noble savages’ children’s group was tough, same as everywhere and at all times, probably.

I am saying that our behaviour, the abuse, reveals a core belief, that we think we are nicer than we need to be, because the behaviour has the effect of creating that change. Plus I’m saying that this story’s genesis chapter seems to provide the proof that the nurture side of the old argument has been lacking in the minds of the biologists, because it is nothing to show that the power of a parent to alter a child is undeniable on the dark side of the parenting coin.

The trick is convincing anyone it matters, apparently.

Our true natures, though?

Good, proven by the logic of what we attempt to do about it and what we get after the process. Evolution means the nature, the core we are looking for isn’t going to be what we were looking for before though, from the created world. In that conversation, in this world, in our minds today, I say, human nature is good, we are born good, again by the logic of what we do about it and what we become from that. We’ll get to the more evolved question and answer further on, perhaps only at the end.

I think we’ve been looking at it all upside down since perhaps sometime in the middle ages and sideways since there have been some number of comfortable, secure (OK, rich) people, like since ownership and possessions that some have and some do not, and so I think we haven’t had much of a chance at this puzzle, in fact, we probably haven’t made a true start yet.  I suspect it is just this, possessions and inequality that our social control was always about, just like it looks today, modern police mostly protecting possessions and the folks with the most of them.

With this better first guess about our natures, however, I’m hoping we can make a better start. There is a ton of epigenetic information becoming known, much of it regarding abuse, and I think this better autobiography may help us to give it all another level of meaning, yes, one that questions authority, if that’s what is required to get to what is true, because I think we are all going to die like all the other species if we keeping living on useful lies – adaptive fictions – and never face the truth. If the boss’ Word is always first, our search for the truth is dead in the water.

Finding the circuit that we call original sin, or the scientists call maximizing your resources or whatever, doesn’t mean we’re uncovering a core belief of ours that is objectively true, only that this is what we think is true. An interpretation of a neural pathway requires more than proving the pathway exists, you have to make a case for what it’s doing, which end is the input and which the output.

So don’t spank.

That is the input, and war and constant strife are the output. It is clear we are an aggressive species, which means biased towards offence, and I am telling you, this is why. It’s what we figured out that stopped us being chimpanzees, and it must have helped and we select for it, but we need to make other selections, and that is not determinist, what is determinist about telling you your choices matter and begging you to make different ones?

Free will is one of those concepts, if you take it, you have it and if you don’t you don’t.

The difference, stated once before in that short truth table above, is our response to the first perceived problem of our default nastiness – the dishing out of punishments to change it, makes no sense because we know abuse enhances nastiness, while our response to the second perceived problem, meaning our perceived lack of aggression – the dishing out of punishments and other abuse, makes perfect sense and is corroborated in every way in many other contexts. I don’t hope that everyone will find this as revelatory as I do, but there are a few implications.

It suggests we could be reading the product of that circuit backwards., that we don’t think we’re inherently bad, but overly good, that in fact, we structure our entire lives around a core belief that we are loving and friendly by default and we spend our lives trying to rectify that perceived situation. If punitive abuse actually makes you meaner, and punitive abuse is practised, still practised and taught, well then meaner was what you were after wasn’t it?

Like Dad said, tougher.

So don’t spank.

We need to stay good now, bad has gone too far, the fight worked, we’re all wiped out and we destroyed the Earth we were fighting on and no amount of strength or toughness is going to turn that around, our always strategy, our aggressive bias cannot win this one. This no enemy anybody evolved for. It is time to evolve consciously or crash and burn, but that doesn’t mean anything except this, stop spanking, stop hurting everyone and everything, surprise, it’s not helping, hurting just hurts and I’m sorry about whoever lied to you that hurting is helping in the first place and especially so if they told you this lie with the wooden spoon or worse.

With all this mad, modern culture around us, we may think we have to guess or deduce our natures, or even discover our core beliefs regarding our natures, and this has been the answer we tell one another, or at least this is the answer I was born into, among the great unwashed of poor white North American culture in the latter half of the twentieth century, this opaque, plausibly deniable sort of Christian original sin. It’s going to be more difficult to picture how we could make such an unconscious error in a more primal state, so much closer to or still in the natural state, predators all around . . . if beatings calmed and civilized our children, one would think that would be a deadly mutation in rough, violent nature and would be quickly selected out.

That is a proof of something.

So don’t spank.

You’ve seen the proof now. You know, and of course we always did, in other contexts, we know, but it’s the bias, isn’t it? The bad assumption, and that comes from spanking.

I’m only saying why I can’t imagine our usual narrative playing out at all, so that as far as I can see there just may be no sensible when or why to it. Of course it was never the quality of the tale, but what it produced, and I say we are drowning in what that one has produced, we gotta get into some new stuff.

That answer again, in quainter terms – that we figure we’re born uncivilized and they try to beat the culture into us, masks the true one, the deeper and nastier one, that it is the damaging effect of our punishments and abuse that we experience, and these actual effects that make it a selected for behaviour. Making us “good” was the adaptive fiction, but making us bad is the awful, hidden truth of the matter.

I miss my own term from before I learned that one, “mimic meme.” It made it all sound alive. The toxicity of EP has made “adaptive” a dirty word, because it has us all adapting, ultimately, to the Word, and just using it makes me look like I’m one of them and so I say again, I am not with those guys.

The truth table again, this logic makes this deeper core belief at least sane if not correct, because it describes a true function with expected results. The core belief we thought we had, some form of original sin is not our true belief, and neither is it objectively true, while the core belief exposed here – that we could be meaner – is borne out by all the evidence of abuse’s negative outcomes, ‘meanness’ and violence being the point of half of them.

I’ve said perhaps three times now that the behaviour with which we respond to our perceived natures makes a world more sense if we are actually trying to create a hard, nasty world where only the tough survive than if we were trying to make anyone nicer or more affiliative – but I haven’t talked much about the power of these ideas and the potential power of a reinterpretation of the function, have I?

Well, I mentioned that abusive fathers would be in treatment having their minds changed instead – OK, as well. If he got you, you need some too, we’re not wrong that victims need it – we’re just so very wrong that abusers don’t. I know, pretty totalitarian, it’s our choice, treatment. Yeah, well, abusers don’t really get to talk about personal freedom and choice, not in my brave new world. Rather, talk, talk it out, let’s work this crap out of your system, in therapy, where you keep your belt in your pants.

Victims need treatment, for abusers it’s a personal choice.

Why don’t abusers apparently need it? Why don’t they feel sick?

Sapolsky saw it all day with his baboons and he mapped their behaviour against their feelings by way of measuring hormone levels: the stress of abuse is lessened, your cortisol production slows when you pass it on, when you abuse someone. I’m not sure he said it quite so starkly. I think for him it was his conclusion, sort of, and it wasn’t what he was looking for, I don’t think that like me, he wanted to draw attention to this awful factoid. Felt a little like he was confessing, honestly, and soft-soaping it, but he was right and I am absolutely no-one to say this, but I will try to take it, that little bit of his world changing body of work, from here and run, me and a million others.

You were your dad’s treatment, is what that was.

So don’t spank.

Unless that’s your plan too.

He’ll still be able to bring home the bacon and keep the lawn mowed if you’ll only let him deflect, he won’t have to start drinking first thing in the morning. This is how we’re managing, how we’re surviving. So how was your session today? Great, Mom, thanks. I’m trying to say that this is more than a personal problem, it’s a system and an unconscious one, I’m saying your dad’s boss’ mom makes exactly the same speech, and his boss’ mom too. Almost nobody is having as good a time as they might and we have no-one to blame but ourselves and our system, so.

Again, this pyramid of deflection, that’s as good as it gets for those poor baboons, hand-me-down abuse for everyone. So sad. Do you suppose they all think they deserve no better life?

Perhaps we have grown and maybe reinterpreted that function through our evolution and the changes we made – directedness, for starters. We deflect, and we get our laundry done – the changes we made to it are what made us to some degree – and this is what I would hope for, that we can do it again, re-interpret that function and that circuit again and take another step forward, perhaps maybe leaving our abusive baboon behind. Again, it’s all a matter of point of view, does language and knowledge all belong to some cabal of leaders? I would never take away your only salve, this deflection, the deflective abuse, as long as it continues to rain down from above – that’s what authority does now, exactly what it does now. I would take it away from the top down, try to give you nothing to deflect.

So don’t spank.

Give your kids nothing to have to deflect. Interrupt and reinterpret the circuit.

All of the available evidence points to the truth of that, that we could be meaner, who hasn’t watched people grow up and get meaner as they do? That’s called normal development and if it were some other creature and not ourselves, we would assume they meant to do that, ha. In the other sense, however, as in ‘I could lose a few pounds,’ that we should be meaner, perhaps half of us can’t imagine thinking about our babies today in that way, but many absolutely do and anyway I don’t think we really could see ourselves the other way either, believing that beige sort of original sin and that violence was the cure for it. I wouldn’t have pegged you for that type either. It all seems rather strange, doesn’t it? Barely conscious, I suppose.

So don’t spank.

We really aren’t in our right minds about it.

It makes for a bit of irony. If you’ve come this far, you may as well follow me all the way to farce: what we have here, what we are, is an adult that tells himself he thinks his children are born to be bad, so he beats the sweet, helpless little dears until they are violent enough to function as an effective soldier for the troop while telling himself he’s the agent of all that’s good and proper, the defender of civilization  . . . ! Again though, sort of true, defense has been necessary and if you need soldiers, babies are maybe a “bad” choice. Ha.

It’s pretty much that we’ve just gotten “good” and “bad” all mixed up, all switched around. I hope that this is a step towards an improvement in our self-awareness, that the “good” we create with our discipline is perhaps not the sort of good we’re all looking for anymore, that antisocial is only an improvement when you’ve given up and settled into a life of endless war. If we want to make the move to peace, we’re going to have to acknowledge this behaviour in order to cut back on it. This is what I would have you take away.

A note here, it seems we are cutting back on it, and I too cannot deny the sense of progress, but there seems to be some ebb and flow in history about it, comes and goes with war, to some extent. I worry that we assume progress when the principle has not changed, when our story has not changed, that it can often look like progress but if we don’t know why, if we can’t just make it happen when we want, then it is ephemeral, if we can’t get our hands on it, then how do we keep it?

You know?

In many ways, evolved behaviours don’t care what we think. It’s still working, the bad assumption, like it must have since it began: we beat our children or they do each other, and we win every conflict we enter into, at least some human does, and it doesn’t matter in that function whether we know why we do it or not. All that talk about why we got whooped, that was for the other narrative, the false one. Really, it’s to make berserkers of us.

Literally all of the evidence says so.

I have named this function, this human nature and what we do about it thing, well, many times, truth to tell, but I’ve settled on one. I call it Antisocialization Theory. It’s just what it sounds like, the science of pissing you off, of making you antisocial.

 

Eight – Antisocialization Theory

 

Just like I decided we needed a new Genesis, I’ve decided we need a new psychology too, one that doesn’t start from the Word but does its job and psychologizes the speaker of the Word, one that thinks the damage rained down by authority might actually be the very damages they’ve been looking for and Holy Moley, anarchism really ties this thing together! We need a psychology with which we can repair the boss, not just be forever up to our asses in victims, trying to repair them instead, while he keeps cranking them out as fast as he can. I want to take the thorn out of the lion’s paw.

This is Antisocialization Theory, or AST, because that is an awfully long word to type a million times: first, it’s become not just one theory for me, but a sort of an environment of theories, like evolution if not on that scale, a school of thought, a point of view – so there are many definitions, or the definition comes in many forms. It is many things, that’s the cliché!

I tried to use a term that would at least try to explain itself, I tried not to invent a whole new word. Antisocialization is a straight mashup of “antisocial” and “socialization;” it’s our antisocial socialization (awful to even say, worse to type), the dark side of our socialization, which is us adapting to our society. Antisocialization is learning to hate, what and who to hate, and how. I had hoped that a psychologist would see it and understand it instantly. I sort of assumed it was already a word.

I suppose it wouldn’t be a thing if you were sure you were already born that way, you’d probably think you didn’t have to learn it – and you probably wouldn’t think you were teaching it either, since it was already there.

But it’s a thing and you do. Like you don’t know that abuse hurts and angers you, personally? It does everyone, and that makes it science, damnit. You’re not some one-off freak about that, you’re not alone. We all feel it.

It’s more than learning, really, because antisocial “learning” alone would be euphemistic and we are antisocialized with more than words. Antisocialization is hurt. Rather, hurt is antisocializing –  it’s a little more self-explanatory that way around, isn’t it? There is a big component of desensitization in it, hurt reduces our sensitivity, a thing we know already in many conversations.

I try to always say “children and criminals,” “child-rearing and social control,” but there may be places where the adults are left out of my arguments and that’s because the environmental control of our genes sorts itself out in childhood. AST says these nasty humans have figured out that there is such a thing and structured its life in such a way as to ensure that humans get the “strong” genes activated, and that is why all children need to learn right from wrong, to activate the abuse genes.

Antisocialization is being hurt and learning to hate and to hurt. It is also being pre-programmed for life, AST is genetics.

So don’t spank.

You’re tilting your kids mind, pre-configuring them for a life of conflict, including with their own, you’re likely pre-spanking their kids and their kids’ kids, etc.

I must have said thinking you are bad makes you bad earlier – it wasn’t metaphor. Thinking we’re bad lets us be rough with each other and roughness in childhood makes you tough for life “because genes” – oops. Maybe worth saying more than once too, that if you are using those genes, ensuring their activation, you are probably selecting them, growing them. It’s only an intuition, but my guess is that doesn’t mean we’re getting badder with each generation, but I think it means it’s getting easier to make us bad with each generation, like we are growing the genes that respond to abuse – like Wrangham said, in a way, the reactive gene that has chimpanzees not taking crap and orders, we are working that out of our system, growing its opposite instead. The logic may be there.

I hate to think about what thing is, no word sounds any good. OK, “cooperation” sounds good – just too good to be true.

“Socialization,” is generic, right, all of it, good and bad, that’s Psych 101, I think. “Prosocialization” would be learning who and what to love and how. It is more though, same for same, because we learn love with more than words too, in theory, love comes with real benefits – food mostly, shelter, so life, growth, health. Antisocialization is the same, taught with real things, pain, deprivation, damage – AST is the theory that these real world things have real world effects, that they are not merely “deterrents,” which designation seems to label them as virtual or something, and seems to let the eggheads off the hook to study or explain them.

When we follow through on our deterrents, science seems to treat that as accidental, as somehow irrelevant to the sciences of life and they keep talking about the deterred – we do not display the horrors, the failed experiments, do we? They’re kept way down in the basement somewhere. It’s glaring enough when flat out criminal abuse is treated this way, as awful but rather expected and not apparently needing an explanation, let alone that we fail to account for the causality of the negative stimuli that is official and above board and we are actually trying to create.

So don’t spank.

No-one even knows how much damage you’re doing.

In some sense, socialization is the entire business of the social sciences. Antisocialization should be most of that, psychology was conceived as medicine for mental pain after all, but it is not, the abuse and such of legitimate social control are un-treated by the existing ideologies, abuse is accidental, hurt is somehow not relevant to science and evolution, selection seems to be their only concern. Whether you are here or not is their only worry, how you feel isn’t apparently a part of reality worth looking at. All of science is as blind as any parent, saying we can treat one another as badly as we can imagine and that’s not supposed to have anything to do with who they are afterwards, as long you don’t kill them before they breed – a catchphrase of mine these days, “I hit him, but it doesn’t hurt him.” Science has taken “deterrents” and run, but missed the reality, the hurt because AST works always, especially in early childhood when your genes are still sorting themselves out, even before school . . . and so they were never going to look for it.

The Word got to them first.

I don’t know why I looked, I just could not reconcile myself to the explanations, but a lot of us might say as much, I don’t know why I thought I could do better, that just seems crazy. Again, though, I wasn’t satisfied, the explanation didn’t seem worth a damn, there was no loss in my view, only a long shot opportunity to solve something that needed solving.

It presented as child abuse! I’m supposed to respect a system that looks like child abuse, not question it, not try? It’s easy to point at my life history, easy to say, “Well, if those folks in his family explained child-rearing to him and they were uneducated abusive hillbillies, no wonder he doesn’t believe it,” and you’d even be right, except I’ve read parenting books, psychology books, popular science books – they all agree with my idiot relatives in all the basics, parents need to be in charge, kids need to be taught right from wrong, limits must be set, etc., Socialization is what it is, it’s not good or bad, it’s just adapt or not, right? We use the catch-all term, the word for all of it euphemistically, saying “socialization” is pointedly not saying antisocialization, avoiding the difficult stuff, the dark side.

I suspect the low quality of the folks that first explained it to me gave me clarity, that if they were better educated, I may not have seen the lie – they aren’t stupid. I’m the dumb one in my family. This is not a poor people problem either. I’m not sure today that I’m glad I saw it, but I wouldn’t unsee it, not for real money. Truth above all.

Still, evidence in hand that there is no other way, that this is what it is, that the intelligentsia did not offer a qualitatively better answer than the adults in my tiny childhood world did, still, I persist. Crazy. I don’t care that there is no way out, that you all think this way, I have even discovered that it’s as close to innate as anything, possibly a human universal,  and I still don’t like you all messing with me and one another, and feelings are evolved things, they are there for a reason, I assume my response to this glare saves my eyes, so I’m following it. Shoutout to Dr. Wrangham again – I think I may have the reactive aggression you say we selected out, it’s back, or it never left: to Hell with all of you!

Ockham’s razor, however unlikely, I’m sorry, all of you must be wrong! Crazy, at least in a technical sense, as a matter of numbers, of course. Only that, I promise! OK, I hope. I hope it’s all of you that are crazy instead because I have a prescription for you and yours doesn’t work for me.

So don’t spank.

That’s mine. Also, eschew strength; strength is bad, strength is violence. Please stop fighting fire with fire, the whole world is burning and most of it is self-inflicted.

I think the big half of the social sciences and maybe even a large chunk of the life sciences are completely missing from the world, and that I need to explain this word sort of proves it. We know socialization, we know what antisocial means, but we do not have the mechanism to join them? It was quite a leap for me, this whole idea, but now, from here, that there is the entirety of social things, made up of prosocial and antisocial things seems logical, almost mathematical, the good kind plus the bad kind makes all of it, all very logical, a disinterested observer might think . . . but the idea that we are made antisocial, that is . . . new? Not available or something?

Again, if you knew that we were all born antisocial, if you already had that answer labeled and filed, this idea might not be all that necessary and so not all that visible to you.

It’s offensive, by the responses I have gotten in the past.

Of course the whole apparatus rings as me being defensive, you made me this way, kind of thing, I am rebuilding the tree of knowledge, disrespecting the whole world for an excuse, to explain my own disgruntlement, how nothing is my own fault!

Ha – all true enough, but not a refutation of anything.

Is the math wrong?

Are you so satisfied with my opponent’s, Augustine’s motivations?

I make no bones about it. This is a victim’s philosophy through and through. You don’t think this if you never lived on the receiving end. On the other hand, the Word, the philosophy of non-victims is the whole problem, the dominants cannot be expected to regulate themselves, philosophically or otherwise. Spray it on the subway walls.

Antisocialization appears to be a blind spot of science, both life sciences and the social ones, the missing link between social science and biology. We all seem to agree that to talk about abuse is fine, on a personal belief level, abuse is thought of like astrology or religion, but it never makes the leap to more than “personal,” it always presents as a personal problem. AST is the science of hurt, as opposed to the science of everything except hurt, AST thinks hurt is a legitimate phenomenon for study, not a meaningless side effect. AST doesn’t think any of us are “just whiners,” AST says the crybabies have a point, that the strong of the world treat the weak as though they were “wrong” or something, but it is not the weak out there killing people and getting rich raping the Earth to death, in human society the weak may be the “wrong,” ones, but in the real world outside of the human mind it is the “strong” humans who are doing everything wrong.

So don’t spank.

It creates a violent strength at the expense of reason, violence has been the more important selection. That’s why the human mind has diverged from reality. We have managed to evolve a response to a threat from ourselves, is that a way to describe this strategy, self-antisocialization? No wonder it’s confusing!

The stronger a human being is, the more of a problem it is and the less rational.

No-one is liberal or progressive enough for AST!

Back to definitions:

Antisocialization Theory is the fact that I may or may not learn my simplistic lesson about theft or whatever, but I will surely be hurt and angry about my punishment – this is the one that suggests I call it Murphy’s Law of Nature instead, the good thing may or may not happen, but the bad thing is dependable. AST takes the attitude that your punishment of me has a greater effect towards anarchy and violence and war than my theft did. AST is me holding onto my anger and being that much more dangerous for it afterwards. Of course, straight-up criminal abuse doesn’t feel good either, and generally we must hold that hurt also, and not seek our own justice.

Meaning, the victim of my theft is also further antisocialized by the loss, as I am by my punishments. Antisocialization is easily accomplished, far too easily, and it seems the same easy negative thing is achieved on both sides of the law, the victim hurt and angered by the loss, and the guilty party hurt also, by his captivity or whatever. What I hope to draw your attention to is the theft is an antisocializing crime and the cure is an antisocializing legal action, and in the real world, outside of the broken human mind, that is the very same function and drives both humans involved towards whatever bad feelings drive us to, same for same. Biology doesn’t read your laws, and two bads don’t make a good.

So don’t spank.

It’s a crime, same as the rest. And it matters, it’s hurt, the same as illicit, improper hurt, and it all does the same thing, it makes us dangerous.

AST is the theory that doing something more is not reducing its frequency or its impact. Call me crazy.

We have actually increased the general harm, but you are a more useful soldier for the group if you are charged up, carrying a load of resentment. That is AST.

At the very top of the theory, where I’ve only maybe gotten this year, is this:

 

Nine – The Antisocialization Theory of War

 

AST is a system of the creation of bad (aggressive) feelings through social control and abuse and the repression and storage of these feelings for use by the group, proactively, when “required,” i.e. during conflict and war. Alternatively, we punish and hope to make evil go away, but our bad feelings, the threat and the pain of punitive abuse pile up without our knowledge and when they have reached some critical mass, we explode into war.

So don’t spank.

Every punishment brings the next war a little closer. Every spanking moves your kid a little closer to being in some enemy’s sights, because you are not the only nation that thought of it. Your strength is not the deterrent, it is not virtual, it is real and it is the driver of all this madness.

Potayto, potahto. These are two ways to express the same dynamic, the same situation. I lean towards the first myself, because we work incredibly hard at social control, all day, every day, it really doesn’t look like an accident to me.

Part of it is that the children are pre-configured for toughness by activating their fighting genes and that tilts their view in the here and now, but part of it is you can’t activate genes that aren’t there, we are selecting for them, and we’re using them, they aren’t going to attrite, in fact – mustn’t it be the case that we are growing them, that this function is probably growing, becoming more and more of our lives? I said earlier, if we think it more than we think the opposite, then we are choosing, growing it. I mentioned some dates in passing, from Wrangham, ten and thirty thousand years back, he says our skeletons made leaps towards this domesticated frame that carries us around these days around those times, that the fossils we find get suddenly less robust then.

His take is a thick skull indicates a thing you can’t mess with that is always ready to fight or already fighting, and that a thinning means less fighting and more getting along . . . less reactive aggression, and I can see it, with a little twist, that the thin skull indicates when we stopped fighting back, started taking our abuse and saving our reactiveness for a rainy day. Maybe it comes on in leaps and bounds, but the point is, this strategy of ours, this unconscious strategy we have is growing, and it’s probably getting worse, which is why wars keep getting bigger.

AST is the human choice, the human difference, it’s what the animals have not learned to use, although maybe those awful wolves and lions show it to us in its simplest forms, it does strike an emotional note to see them sometimes, doesn’t it? See, I try, but it goes from definitions to arguments, it’s a big thing to define and sometimes it seems the whole world is working to hide it from us. It seems to me that it’s all existing words and existing knowledge, just a change in perspective, that the definition is already there but that arguments are required to make it matter or something.

So don’t spank.

No words matter compared to that, that was one of the things that jumped out at me and started me down this train of thought, that when new parents see their words are not “working,” that they abandon speech altogether and get physical and then they spend the rest of their lives complaining that their kids don’t listen. Why would they, when you don’t believe in your own words to do anything, that you often don’t even try words twice? If we wanted words to matter, we would let them work or not, allow their consequences to occur and matter. Down into the mud for an example?

You tell your kid, don’t touch the hot stove, this is a classic, parents love this one. The child isn’t listening, he’s heading for the stove, the parent slaps the kid’s hand and the moral is, better a red hand for a minute than for a month, lesser of two evils. It’s an extreme example, like the road or the river, and even today, if I had no other option and slap would save them, I would do it too. Today I would find other options, but for the purposes of this example, fine. During that minute, though, the kid learned that talk is rubbish. His hand hurts and you’re telling him you stopped the hurt instead, they probably think you’re lying, and they never learned that your talk about the stove was good and true either, not then and there, and when they learn it later, it’s not with the same power or at the same powerful time.

In this way, we undermine all of our own arguments, all human thought, mere words are second class things in a world that is selecting for violence.

As far as I am aware, AST is the only theory out there that postulates an actual cause for war and doesn’t simply shrug and tell us there’s nothing for it.

My prescription again? Stop punishing, stop hurting people to make them good: you are the cause. My slogan again? Stop loving “strength.” Strength is the bad stuff, violence.

 

Ten – Antisocialization Theory Part #2

 

And now we just descend into arguments, random soundbites, more slogans, a shotgun approach, I am going to try to impress you with a straight up preponderance of truth bombs.

The truth is out there, just . . . fragmented. Some fragments:

“The cruelty is the point”

– this is AST. Technically, our reaction to the cruelty is the point, but same.

“What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”

– This is AST, I could hardly make it clearer. Clearly the thing that “didn’t kill you” hurt you, so “stronger” means hurt and desensitized, broken. Stronger means hurt and hurt means broken. Generally speaking, anything that came anywhere near killing you leaves you literally weaker, we all know “strength” in this context is not literal.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke

– this is AST, or it is because of AST that one side of this binary – good and bad, peace and fighting – always seems to us to be the big half, the default half, the inevitable half. Abuse tips this balance. Ask a happy, unabused animal whether his species are good or bad, one might expect an even split, or maybe all good – but ask an abuse victim that question, AST predicts a response upwards of 50% for “bad.”

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that way, and again, our victim doesn’t just “think” so, somebody proved it to him, physically, bypassed him and proved it directly to his genes. I think we have been and still are growing some genetic response that is making it easier and easier to push us to that conclusion.

Abuse tips all such judgements this way, tips our assessment of ourselves this way, it always has, so that the bad attitude, evil violent human nature has ruled our self image forever. It’s nearly impossible to argue on empirical bases, and the field is tilted in the realm of logic, by the abusive life histories of the logicians. All part of AST, at least to my mind.

So don’t spank.

Logicians should be unbiased. It’s a negative prejudice, the creation myth.

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

– this is AST, but it’s hard to see. This quote simply states a thing, doesn’t offer explanations. The reasons, I assume, are Sapolsky’s deflection. “As long as I can pass my pain on to someone else, I can live,” sort of thing, and that’s how we participate even unwillingly in the champagne fountain of abuse that is human life and that I call AST. AST says racism is learned, mostly because the conflict that underlies it is apparently forced and learned, AST suggests hate itself is learned.

It’s not AST, but skin colour racism is not evolved, blacks and whites did not evolve sharing a border. AST says we are abused until we want an enemy and skin colour is just the easiest thing in the world today for picking teams.

So don’t spank.

Folks are out there hunting for people to deflect onto and any excuse will do. Violent racism is exactly AST in action, white people raised violently by their white caregivers and oppressed by their white leaders and rich people, and sent out hunting for some enemy that never was coming for them, expediently, because it is their lifestyle to have an enemy and so a purpose and to deflect the abuse coming from all the white people over them in the world. Last time it was Jews; here, this time it’s blacks, for a completely different set of excuses, proving the mere, squalid expedience of the entire enterprise for some organizational principle or something.

So for nothing. I don’t see organization. OK, it’s a form of organization, but it’s a form we had better lose.

“Opiate of the masses” – Karl Marx

– This is AST, because AST says you weren’t all wound up and needing sedation just naturally, but that your volatility is something controlled, that we are abused nearly to the point of mass violence, so that we are always ready for action. Pressure release valves like sport and liquor are real things, but the pressure they regulate is manufactured. In this way we keep ourselves ready for the worst.

So don’t spank.

Your kid shouldn’t be an outlet, and your frustration is real and probably belongs elsewhere. The revolution is not the answer, it’s just another fight, but if we find the answer, I guess there is going to be one. It’s not the endgame for me just now, survival is, same as for Quinn, but if the revolution is required for that, if our leaders will not do anything to stop the end, then so be it. It’s not going to be anything to do with me when it comes to it, animals will fight to survive.

AST is the patriarchy, because the patriarchy is authoritarian and where abuse is the rule, the biggest are the best. I don’t dislike most men because of their genitals but because of their stupid “strength,” their violence. I do not expect that I would enjoy this violence more if it came from women instead, except inasmuch as average physical strength would be a factor.

So don’t spank.

It makes everybody mean, it makes it all a fight and a tournament and when you can see it just looking at a creature, this is a life based in trouble. I worry that with the ofttimes division of labour that we see, when the females raise the kids, that all of our spankings came from Mom and this can’t be unrelated to patriarchy and misogyny can it, first, from the top, that the men make the women beat the kids and second, that all people have some pain memory involving women, maybe some resentment?

Interestingly, that is misogyny, if child abuse is normal, I hate women if I’m angry at them for that, for just doing the good work of teaching us all right from wrong! I don’t. You’re not bad, you were born good and all of our efforts failed to wipe most of that away and you’re still fair to middling. You’re good, it’s just your behaviour that’s bad. It’s the spanking.

 

Eleven – AST is Warrior Society

 

This is the only benefit I’ve been able to imagine from it, the obvious one, that if we abuse ourselves, we will be a more dangerous bunch, that “toughening you up,” is especially good in this context, group conflict. As far as I can see, AST is the only theory that makes a dent in either racism or war – again, because AST finds hate to be a legitimate phenomenon for study and not something either too sacred or too basic to ponder.

One of those group benefits, then.

Let’s look at it, if it’s a benefit, see what that might have looed like. Africa, sometime between ten and three hundred thousand BCE., early humans, living in their troops, getting territorial, I mean I suppose they always were, whatever they were before too, but living in family groups and maybe breeding until there is just not quite enough resources for them all and they are living in some competition with each other for them. We assume the breeding continues and the competition is chronic. Like the chimpanzees, they start to see each other as an impediment to food and life and take to opportunistically thinning the other groups’ ranks and one assumes that strong groups flourish and grow and weak ones wither and die and that any group with longevity has learned how to be strong.

An abusive culture arose in one group and that culture won the battles and it spread, like ice-9? I think it would, this is the formula: abuse your own, harden them, desensitize them, make their life generally worse so that there is less to lose and more to gain in battle, the people whose own people fight them from the day they were born, these are the toughest people. To win the fights at the border, win the fights at home first, that is the winning formula of antisocialization in a competitive sort of a world.

This is sort of the opposite of how science has been talking about this, and tell you what, you guys do that, prosocial at home and we’ll do this antisocialization business instead and let’s see who wins, OK? Antisocialization is the weaponization of human beings, another weapon in our arsenal.

I’m guessing, to be sure, but I think this is the scenario in which this strategy was selected for, something like this.

This formula, it’s not working, don’t get me wrong! That’s why it isn’t obvious to everyone, I guess.

I’m not describing this to say, sorry, can’t be helped, just be happy we’re keeping the Hun at bay, not at all! This abuse your own to be competitive in war, this is not a functioning, necessary evil, that’s not what I’m saying – that’s what they want you to think, and maybe it was once, as I said but this function has grown beyond all reason and functionality, the salient groups are not the sorts of groups that evolved this way and your leader is not your grandfather. Modern war is between a nation’s rulers and its own ruled as much as it is between nations, the preparation part, our antisocialization and the war itself have merged or something, where this war antisocializes us all for the next one – the warmongers know what I’m trying to tell the good folks: it’s all one, all the same thing.

So don’t spank.

The group advantage isn’t one, it’s just war, modern, pointless war. Ask anyone who’s done it.

Well, it’s “working.” Except “working” means keeping us strong and fighting and probably more miserable generally that any creature that ever existed.

Not only that, but in a battle for survival, which we have apparently chosen to make our lives, everything gets recycled for the war effort, we have melted down the whole world for the fight. There is no environmentalism in warrior society, there can’t be, when it’s back to whalebone arrows the last whale had better be fast. I know, a made up tech, I think. I didn’t want to single any aboriginal group out.

There will be no group rule if every household is an authoritarian structure that antisocializes, it will forever be the tournament. Again, AST as a strategy sort of “worked,” for each little human group, but now it is cumulatively going to kill us all, is what I am trying to say. Even if it doesn’t, even if we make it through the coming times, the life ahead for humanity in front of us isn’t any better than the one behind us until we stop thinking that it’s good and moral, obligatory to hurt one another, for whatever reason. Reasons don’t erase the hurt, they only hide it, and these particular reasons don’t have the power to stop the warring.

So don’t spank.

The world cannot sustain any more of our deflection.

Alice Miller’s, Nietzsche’s, EP’s, everyone’s “need for power” is an effect of the abuse, not a cause – the Word is a cry of pain first and foremost. AST would like to explain authoritarianism, which is going to mean understanding how pain drives it, so it doesn’t start from it, like they all do, like the book of Job does. That seems to be the point of Job, to show us our minds on one side of something and authority on the other, doesn’t it? It’s not true, authority has a mind, and a responsibility to change it once in a while, meaning not just a moral imperative, but simply that authority’s brain is also subject to evolution and not created by some ultimate authority.

AST sees us doing it. I don’t offer direct causality, I don’t think I need to: we have a hate problem and we seem to be hurting our kids and our hungry, the circumstantial case is completely overwhelming. If we could stop, maybe we’d all learn something, but if we think hate and violence are prime causes rather than effects – AST predicts that we would have a lot of wars and such and that we would not be able to find our way out of them. And that we aren’t going to stop, not automatically, not by pursuing what we pursued to get here.

So don’t spank.

It sounds sort of trivial, but it’s really not, really, not spanking is applying the brakes, hard. Spanking is where this unconscious monster shows itself, the only place where we can get our hands on it. The apparent triviality is a camouflage, like carrying your Hasselblad around in an old diaper bag so no-one thinks to steal it.

 

 

 

Twelve – My Beautiful Mind

 

AST is a beautiful idea.

I’ve been keeping that part a secret, I’m not sure why. Really, AST is beautiful, full of hope, a ray of light for the future where none was perhaps deemed possible, a truly unexpected miracle of light and hope in a dark world.

This is not easy for me.

I hate everything. Somebody that knows me hears me talking like this, they are dialling 911, I must be stroking out. My messiah complex has been something of a secret, an embarrassing mental problem I don’t share much.

I will rail all day on your corner about how the world is burning down but to offer hope, to say something positive? That seems to me to deserve the utmost care, that is not a thing to be undertaken lightly. I talked about the responsibility of writing earlier, it’s a little bit of on the terrifying side – see? Like that, I love the stronger word, the dysphemism if I can get it – not coming from the bad place, trying to shine a light on the bad place, but still. I’m always talking about the bad place. Sweetness and light, I imagine folks don’t think that’s my bag, and fair enough, it hasn’t been and if it’s been showing up it’s been sneaky about it.

By being stingy with the hope, however, I think I just come out looking like the rest of the EP crowd, and that’s not it, not at all. I think it’s time to start to roll my vision out and see what it looks like. First of course, a trip through the mud.

I started about parenting and damage, just arguing “I hit him but it doesn’t hurt him” on its face – yes it does, it hurts him! Stop!– so it’s always been hurt and damage, parents look like criminals, it’s child abuse. From there, things only got darker – oh, it’s on purpose, now I’ve got one of these evolutionary biological theories about it, it’s science that we are child abusers. All this under the heading “EP,” so that whatever you say, it sounds like you approve!

Just roll with it, Babe, it’s what you were made for.

Do you know, I used to hear “born good” and brush it off as either religion or psychology and worse, and considered any vector for these sweetness and light sort of ideas to be baseless, simply wishful thoughts, not worth a deep look? I’m sure you do know, I imagine that is some folks’ present thought also. But it’s not true. I mean, if this is a debate between Rousseau and I merely telling you we’re born good and your caregivers and all of society treating all your life with more than words as though they all knew you were born bad and they seemed to have no worry about making you worse, OK, they are going to win the argument. They’re still wrong, is all I’m saying. They win the argument in the broken social world of the human mind, but we can see which side of the argument lines up with the real world with reason, if we start from the right place. Religious scholars the world over are smart people and apply ruthless logic to their scriptures, but they all agree that all but themselves proceed from false premises. Logic needs a fair start, it can’t proceed from . . . imperatives.

It can’t proceed from even biological imperatives if the environment is sufficiently changed, if it starts to look like a behaviour that is going to get us selected out. I feel the authors of popular science books and I differ on this point, amazingly, like they’d rather drive off the cliff than evolve.

So don’t spank.

It’s making us stupid, even the intelligentsia. A falling tide lowers all boats.

Meaning, these shrugs from the men of science aren’t good enough. Who is paying them for no solution? Ah, well, I just bought a book, didn’t I.

That’s what they say logic is, right, a system of biological imperatives – and that is some schizoid stuff right there, living at the university and telling us that the logical structure of the world outside of the bent human mind doesn’t exist or something. I said, right? The Word, the imperative means our social reality trumps actual reality. Here’s science telling you to get used to it. What about physics and math? This logic, these things are biological imperatives? Who are these “hard science” biology fantasists laughing at Rousseau? I assume the physicists of the world are having a great laugh at them!

Logic may exist in the universe, but not for you, not for human matters? We’re living with our genetic heritages, our reason derives from our emotions and so I guess mathematics isn’t real, same as social science? This is new and fun! Logic follows emotion, there is no logic, and why the human world is this way is because forget you, you damned, dirty ape, that’s why – and that works both ways, both as their explanation and as the fact of the matter, because that is their explanation. But look at us fly to the moon!

It cannot proceed simply because the Hun exists in some form – “because insert noun here” – that doesn’t matter, I’m talking to the Hun too, obviously. They are people, not things, same as you, and they can’t carry on this way just because of us, either. Our tribal skirmishes are destroying all of our homelands in one foul swoop. The Earth is dying, and if you’re not sure this is true today, please believe Quinn and I, we are headed there and on this course we will surely get there and much of the world is already there just waiting for rich folks to catch up.

AST can make sense of our behaviour. And it’s here now.

So don’t spank.

I’m taking your excuse away. I see you.

I am not a researcher. I have not uncovered a revolutionary bunch of new facts that suggest a different view of life, I used all the same facts everyone else uses, it’s all right there, and if Quinn might tell you the existing creation story makes it invisible, I might qualify that and add a step and say the bloody glare caused by the existing story’s falsehood makes everything hard to see.

It’s not some new, fictional, wished for world that AST addresses, it’s this one. AST is just a beautiful interpretation and a rational one, a worldview that hasn’t taken its beatings and learned its gaslighting lessons and is still able to imagine life beyond a fight. It’s the next step towards consciousness, it has to be, because declaring your own behaviour beyond your control is the definition of not having consciousness. Keep denying this, your future galactic empires won’t convince the average vervet monkey you are conscious, if you are still writing vast novels about how life is Hell and nobody knows why. Not a mentor of mine, but Pinker gave this nice analogy, he said learning language is a sort of magic trick of the brain, of juggling a million balls until they all find the right place to fall at once, something like that, I like the image.

That’s what AST was like, like a million balls all in the air, all “the world’s problems,” and there it was, from child abuse to world wars, one fractal kernel that described it all. Inasmuch as any painter spends their life trying to perfect one image, or a novelist keeps telling the same story in better and better ways, I am spending my remaining days trying to elucidate this, trying to make all the balls fall together for you too. The analogy is good  for the difficulty of it, the unlikelihood of it, but not only that, it was the same, like language; I couldn’t understand a thing the grown-ups were talking about and now since all those balls dropped into place, I feel I can.

I don’t have a new story, I hope I haven’t said that, it’s been tempting, my childhood writer self hears that soundbite screaming to be used, “my new story,” and I’ll double check my text but even if it’s not there, I feel a little guilty, like it is, like maybe I’m acting like it’s there and I’m just being coy – but I’d be lying. I don’t have the new one, all I have is the awful truth about the old one – we already put my words in the old story, and it is not good news that they all fit right in! Maybe I have a new theme, that we are self-created. Interesting that more would have to change, in that exercise, the only change was us as creator and it didn’t change the creator’s role or the plot.

Of course it’s the story’s tense, isn’t it, it’s placement in time, in the past, it’s not going to matter who the creator is, if creation remains some event in the past. Current, ongoing self-creation is the point, my new theme. We’re still here, is the point of self-creation, we are still “active in the world.”

So don’t spank.

You’re the only one doing anything. It can’t be anyone’s fault but yours.

Evolution has that. It does not have unwanted genetic heritages. It’s not supposed to, I mean. Isn’t the harmful, unwanted stuff selected out? Isn’t that the whole point? Society is narcissistic, uses any new word, doesn’t care for words – you’re still a chimpanzee “because evolution.” Completely backwards.

I’m not cold about it; that makes me angry.

So evolution is what I am at the worst: just a refutation of the creation story, but no new one? It’s all an accident, that’s not a story. It says “not created,” and finds itself absorbed by the creation story, as I’ve said, it’s an old, evolved neural pathway it’s still got to use and all the words fall into old definitions, old roles in the existing story – ah. The creation circuit clearly evolved in a world where we probably had no more access to the creator than we do today, it evolved in the absence of one, so saying there isn’t one – it won that fight before already, at the start. That isn’t going to change anything, as we see it has not.

So don’t spank.

It’s not some new smart thing.

It’s a little bit funny in a pathetic sort of way, if that’s our “work we didn’t show,” some unexamined idea like we used to believe in God because there used to be one or something, I mean, that He used to be active in the world.

I think a more thorough read of evolution would have all creatures as self-created, we all survived, so we actively chose survival, actively chose the new, evolving trait in any given problem situation. The way we talk about it, it’s like we think the desert-adapted animal wasn’t actively looking for a way to survive when the water ran out. Of course it was, and so it found it and what active, living thing in all of it was trying to do anything but it? “Evolution?” “Natural selection?” In this position, they are Intelligent Design, aren’t they, that wasn’t so far a leap. Our magical, adaptive genes are tools we living creatures use, not rules laid out for us by the creator, and AST is a flowering, a maturation of evolution to make this case.

Completing Your Thoughts, was another possible title for the conclusions chapter.

We made ourselves this awful thing, and we can make ourselves something else . . . we just have to try, stop making the old thing, start trying to make the new one. Our social control is not that effort, but the very opposite, the problem, our social control is the old story and the old creature, we need to let it go.

So don’t spank.

In practical terms. Also, don’t jail, don’t punish generally. Start cutting back.

I said before, it is hard to deny that there is progress, another Pinker point, I’m afraid, and I said that I worry we still don’t know why there would be and so it’s not secure, but I suppose a bit of hope is probably what he talked about – afraid I sort of fell out with him before Angels of our Better Nature, so I’m guessing – that even if the story has not yet changed, the evidence of its failings are starting to pile up, that despite some resistance even to the point of declaring it all foundationless, social science is having some success and the outright and unconscious creationists can’t make it go away.

So don’t spank.

Let’s get this ball rolling.

Not enough to calm my fears, empiricism, but something, and it all adds up to inertia or momentum, it’s not all black and white, a tilted playing field is enough to change the world given time, that’s evolution.

Maybe a word about beliefs existing to fill needs.

Look at the world this way and it’s not a happy vision, the old world through the eyes of the new, seeing the awful truth – but it makes sense. It offends the heart and the soul and it hurts to see it – but it is not chaos and it is not insoluble. Reason and science have a chance to help change things from the new view, because they won’t be solely working for the bad guys from Quinn’s bad story. We can turn our minds to solving the problem instead of creating it and explaining to the people, sorry, there’s nothing for it. If we just see that we were born good, that we weren’t bad until we made sure we would be, basically if we just believed our childhood selves that stop, Mom, it hurts and never let ourselves get forced into believing that was “good.”

So don’t spank.

Don’t make your kid swallow that lie.

I’m suggesting if you need a quick fix, a fast happiness, maybe go for religion or something, but if you need sense to be happy, here’s your realism, and I wouldn’t give you negative realism. If I lived thinking happy thoughts were silly, I didn’t assume dark ones were true, that’s the same mistake. The truth is not bad or good, it is equally both, and that surely is what self-creation is, it says oh my God, what have we done, but it also says hey, kids, what do you want to do today?

I repeat: AST, antisocialization theory is a beautiful idea.

AST says that we not born sinners, and that we don’t actually believe we were  because if we were and we aren’t happy about it, why is the entire business of life geared to increase it? It says that our true core belief is that we are conceived sinless, again, because antisocializing us is the result of much of what people do all day long and we wouldn’t do that if we really thought we were so bad from the start. If we really thought it already we wouldn’t be all our lives struggling to make it worse, would we?

AST believes you were good and thinks this proves it. Not born sinners, and we don’t really judge ourselves that way either, because honestly, we may not know what else to do, but no-one really believes you can make a person better with a club, either. Not really. Not in other conversations.

So don’t spank.

You know better. You just think there is nothing else for this problem, the problem of evil, or of misbehaviour, and you’re making do, but it’s more, it’s worse, it’s not just a solution that doesn’t work, it’s actually the damned cause of the problem in the first place.

AST has it that we are not eternally failing at controlling our base impulses for war and other violence as the other stories do – it says that we have succeeded in reinventing ourselves as this thing, even if it is this this deep roots of war creature, from our former state as something probably very like a modern chimpanzee, meaning from a creature living in balance with the rest of them, meaning from a creature that didn’t appear to be about to destroy the whole world. Apologies, more mud, sort of.

AST says that this is an awful state of affairs that we have come to, but that it is not an accident but an accomplishment, an amazing feat of destruction that no-one would have dreamed any species capable of a hundred years ago and many still can’t believe it now.

AST says we are veritable gods among beasts with only the qualification that Death is a god too. Horrible, sure – but not an accident, not inevitable, but in fact the direct results of our focussed efforts, isn’t it? That is amazing, the power we have to . . . to what? I’ll repeat a nasty soundbite. To weaponize ourselves, to turn ourselves into the creature that did that, that created this nightmare from paradise. Sounds like the mud, I know, but this is actually good news.

It says that far from being helpless to our genes and our base natures, that we are in fact self-actualized creatures, that we possess the power to create ourselves in a vision of what we think we need to be, that that is what we did when we became human, war and all.

AST thinks that proves we can do it again.

So don’t spank.

That would be turning around and going the other direction, that would be a real change of stimuli.

AST takes this evolution stuff seriously and thinks that a lot of folks learned it second, after Sunday school, but that all that is required is to complete the thought of evolution. AST says the last piece of that puzzle is self-creation, that we will have that dreamed of consciousness to a much greater degree when we admit the truth of this.

That we can re-make ourselves, this is one hundred and eighty degrees away from where the life sciences appear to be taking us, the determinism they insist is not there but that they know they must continually defend against, but it’s not a conflict, only a misunderstanding, again it’s the same function.

AST comes to this happy vision by finding room within a scientific look at human beings for choices, for free will, for our inner life, because AST says that choices we make matter, that when we choose to hurt one another, that it matters, that in fact there is a cause for our troubles and it’s in our hands. AST is empowering. It says our genes are a clay we manipulate, not some awful load of evil we carry around from our pasts.

Ha – I just mis-typed “the shame circuit,” and maybe that’s a way to look it, for certain breeds of popular psychology.

AST is not your usual scientific theory, and I apologize for my apparent inability to make it sound like one. I suppose I should say that at the start.

AST is the only theory that explains the nurture assumption, the only idea that proves the power of the nurture side of the eternal argument. As such, AST has the potential to bring psychology back to science and to bring biology back to humanity. I know everyone shares this dream, that the caring basis of psychology is not left out of the exploding world of the bio-sciences. I don’t think we all want it this way, having to re-think everything, or that anyone wanted it from me – but we all want it, right?

Right?

So don’t spank.

It drives a wedge between us and our understanding, it harms science, where all things need to be connected just as they are out here in the world.

Here’s a difficulty I had better get familiar with before anyone destroys me with it. In the Nurture Assumption, Rich Harris said all people believe in this (positive) nurture and it’s false, no such thing, parents have no leverage to form personalities, but it seems crazy if she identified a human universal, only to tell us it’s wrong and not to think it. I took off from there, I solved that by finding negative nurturing to be very real indeed . . . but I have pretty much also decided that it’s a human universal. It’s going to be asked, if anyone ever bothers, am I saying the same thing, just “stop that human universal?”

And isn’t it equally crazy and more to the point, equally powerless?

Short answer, yes, I guess.

Long answer, I see a few small advantages she didn’t have, I think the playing field levelling effect of epigenetics might immediately begin to tip back in our direction if it were to be only a debate and not a physical fight, see what I did there, as they say? The short answer is the short term answer and the long one the long term one, isn’t that convenient, or rather, I might be tempted to say elegant, if I were writing my own reviews under an assumed name or something.

Anything we do to make everyone’s lives better tilts the field our way a little, and I would like to say that in an unqualified way, but I must emphasize the “everyone.” It’s not even a part of the same thing if we only make some lives better and not others. That much we are doing now, and even the other guys will tell you, that is no miracle but inherently the problem. I’ll tell you, it means we still like that “good” evil, choosing who not to help, it’s a form of social control. Not an endorsement.

I fell for Ms. Rich Harris a little, it was a vulnerable time when I read it, and she has written more than anyone, her voice was wonderful, so it’s hard for me to shoot her down, but it must be done, that lovely woman will be gummin’ up the whole human project if we let her. She didn’t address the behaviour or the question of good or bad natures, so it was as I said earlier, parenting doesn’t matter, carry on spanking. She didn’t address human nature, but it’s clear which side of the debate you’re on if parenting, with all its negative power, doesn’t matter. I don’t mean to single her out for that, all the voices of biology that have found their way to me say the same thing. I think it’s time for a digression and it’s what I do best anyway.

 

Thirteen – The Quiet Part

 

Rich Harris’ anti-parenting point was that the parents aren’t as formative to the kids because they’re not as brutal about it as the other kids are, and this makes sense. They sold that book to a lot of parents who wanted to know that everything wasn’t their fault, I guess, but this fits other, well accepted ideas like social relativeness theory, that others would be rougher on a creature than its own parents. I don’t think it makes the parents innocent in it all, I mean unless the adults would lose a war with the children they are still in charge, letting the children’s gangs happen. Unless children suddenly have a full share of human rights and autonomy, then blaming even their own abuse of one another on them alone is parental, authoritarian gaslighting.

So don’t spank.

And don’t just make them do it to each other either. Protect your kids.

Like its only a problem if we caught Ms. Rich Harris beating her kids up and as long as some other kid it instead, it’s all good. Anywhere where I talk about parents and kids, if it’s the kids doing the dirty work it doesn’t matter, bruises are bruises, cortisol is cortisol and the formative years are the formative years. Sure, I guess, not the grown-ups fault if they retire in adulthood and let human culture carry on as some violent children’s culture, let the little animals show each other how it’s done well before puberty – this, to my mind explains human violence, the culture is pre-pubescent, it propagates in childhood and hasn’t yet found sex and love. Not what I’m after here, though.

The point of that is she and her readers only seem concerned in their own culpability and do not seem to be all fired up about stopping those nasty kids, when parents are generally very fired up about stopping all sorts of childhood activities  usually. The abuse, the pain is invisible, because like the air, we’re dependent on it, not somehow, but specifically to make us strong and nasty and so deter or outfight all those other nasty humans who are doing all the same evil nonsense. I forget what Quinn said was the nasty thought that drives us but the trouble is we all have it and the answer is we all lose it and that may sound, what did Trevanian say, maximally difficult, but do we really think that if we all just reach that next level of “strength,” that that is going to solve anything? So, Ockham’s razor, we need a new thought, however unlikely.

So don’t spank.

That’s a new thought no matter how many times we say it.

I keep losing track of this digression. The point was, the abuse is invisible, we don’t mind it, we think we need it . . . and it is a growing cancer in us. Our humanism is doubling back on us and we are answering every abuse with more abuse, it’s not apparently going away, because it’s a feedback loop, a self-fulfilling and sustaining thing, do something evil, evil consequences multiply. I said elsewhere, it’s way too easy. Any brutish moron can use this dark magic, it’s not brain surgery – wait, it is brain surgery, that’s exactly what I’m saying, any brute can change your mind with his fists. And he’ll have won that argument being wrong and he wins and the world is wrong – if only half the people didn’t think that brute was a good guy, doing hard but “good” things. The point of this sub-rant, I’m afraid I can’t go through with it.

It was to express some nostalgia for the idea of selecting the bad guys out, executions, not abusive prison terms that only make them angrier – but of course, only some antisocial beast would promote such a thing, I’m not happy that I am sometimes OK with the idea of murder, and not more happy if it’s not just me.

So don’t spank.

I didn’t have it worse than most and I’ve been trying to find peace in my thinking my whole life, and still, look at me! Still looking for violent solutions behind my own back.

Sigh. Don’t kill them. Maybe, though, don’t aggravate them either? Nothing is probably best, in most cases. In the event that we must put someone apart to keep people safe, prison should be a five star hotel, don’t abuse them, don’t give them any more reasons to hate us all, they’ve had enough. We don’t actually require a replacement solution for bad behaviour; it isn’t a solution we have now, it’s a problem. All we have to do is stop. Missed it again, I’ll be honest, I was trying to get to my new, creeping theory that we are making some trade, selection for abuse, that as killing decreases, abuse is on the rise.

I’m going to give it up for now. Today I woke with a bit of an insight that the control and the abuse is pretty old, at least as old as writing, it’s probably the first nonsense anyone ever wrote down, in fact, and so that if such a trade-off has occurred it was somewhere in the past and that conversation has ended.

 

 

 

Fourteen – My Beautiful Mind Part #2

 

The world doesn’t change just because the child abuse is legal, in fact that’s the whole thing, it’s warrior society and peace will never be more than a dream because warrior society runs on child abuse and tends not to pursue laws that contradict its own motivations. Still, we have more to fight abuse with than Rich Harris had to fight attempted parenting with! Humanism exists, somehow, psychology exists, somehow, we are making a start, we have begun. I mean, we have always begun and we never finish, but some of us are trying, there are institutions already, structures made for this, despite the overall flow of warrior society – again, somehow. I want us all to have a good, solid how and why to it and then I think we could see the proportions reversed, a world of harm management with little pockets of violent anarchy instead of the other way about, if only we didn’t think bad made good.

Sorry, I’m a little stuck. Like I said, being positive, offering hope, this is hard for me. Offer doom and you’re wrong, great, but sell hope and something goes pear-shaped? Scary. But, if you have the cure, if you might have the cure, then I guess you’re stuck with it, take a chance or go to your grave wondering if you’ve let all of humanity down, those are a grandiose person’s choices. To put it out there is to invite exposure, but to not is to protect one’s delusion, a comfortable, ineffectual madness that fears critique. I fear I have that anyway, because I’ve made up my mind to try, but I cannot seem to get it out there, and the effect seems to be the same, I am unrequited, unexpressed.

So don’t spank.

I need an audience. I want to write, but I have seen this thing and I cannot write violent hero stories or stories set against some bad or uncaring universe or stories with some awful human nature as the protagonist. I’m down to this, one trick pony.

I’ll try, on the chance, on the small chance that I really have stumbled upon something that can make things better for all of us. God knows I’m trying – the oldest one in the book, but they wrote that one for me.

If you’ll allow me.

We are self actualized, and in control of what we make of ourselves, is that all?

No, as a matter of my new facts, it’s not. Have we forgotten the AST theory of war? AST says the less you spank, the less we’ll war, it puts war in our hands, same as it puts our natures under our control, and I feel I need to say this, even to myself: and it does so with logic, reason, and science, not religion or positive thinking.

OK, there’s sympathy too. These things are not mutually exclusive. AST considers that the abuse of human society, starting with the alphas or the elders on down is a response to pain. AST would treat the pain, AST wants to take the thorn out of authority’s paw.

So don’t spank.

Even you, the Queen or whatever. Leave those princesses alone. Especially you.

Sure, I have the messiah complex, sure I would love for it to be me who solved for war and such, but that’s not the point is it, isn’t the point that somebody does it, anybody? You’re not going to not do it just to spite me, are you? Where is God with why not you now, when it might be something good?

I kid; of course you are.

All part of AST, by me.

 

Fifteen – My Beautiful Mind, Part #3

 

Human nature is not a state, but rather a direction, because in evolution, nature is not a state but a mechanism for change.

I looked for human nature, like so many other white idiots with too much time on their hands, and of course I didn’t find some natural state, what I found was that it had been the wrong question, and in evolution the question isn’t what are you, but what are you trying to be, what adaptations are you making and where might they take you and I’m afraid I’ve found us all pulling in the direction of child abuse and war, trying to get stronger, hoping that if we are stronger we’ll be safe or something.

Of course that is an abuse victim’s rather predictable dream.

Your nature, in evolution, would be whatever you are selecting for right now, whatever strategy you are bringing to a problem, this would be the measure of your nature in relation to a given environment. I think maybe that’s as close to a definition as I’m going to get, the best soundbite for human nature I can believe is “abuse victim,” because we appear powerless against the onslaught, we don’t seem to even dream it may ever end, and we’re down to just wishing we were tough enough to survive it and doubling down on the effort.

So don’t.

If I managed to express myself here, then I think I’ve proven that the onslaught is not a fact of the universe, but only a product of the human mind, the human lifestyle, and that this fact alone proves we have the power do it all, anything we want, including stop the abuse, which means yes, even stopping the wars.

For the record, I never dreamed either, an answer was a total surprise to me too.

A miracle.

 

 

Jeff

Aug. 28th., 2020

Solving Nature VS Nurture

all published before in pieces, just putting this series together, <14,000 words

While the geneticists are telling us the old Nature/Nurture debate has been made obsolete or been solved, depending who you talk to, I just went ahead and solved it.

 

Now that’s a long title, but it’s a great Tweet, isn’t it?

This is convergence, this little essay, for me this is where all the major threads in my mind come together: the ancient classic dialogue, human behaviour, child discipline, and yes – even trolling.

OK, that wasn’t bad, but this is just the bullet point brainstorming stage right now.

  1. A note about “things”
  2. A note about the “Nature” thing
  3. Trolling and narrowing the argument
  4. The “Nurture” thing, the Abusive Ape Theory
  5. Warrior society’s fears, head on, a lethal mutation (too late, we already have several)
  6. Liberals’ fear of science, dark hints
  7. The “Deep Roots of War” thing
  8. Self-actualization

Whups, turned into a Table of Contents. Maybe that’ll work.

 

  1. A note about “things”

 

I’ve written this idea many times, the idea that there are two sorts of mindsets, corresponding loosely with many of life’s dichotomies, one that sees things and one that sees processes. It’s never grown wings before, so I won’t try to force it today, I’ll simply say that I see motion and processes and a mind that sees things as explanations I find completely alien, I can’t fathom it. Things are players, not the play, I say this as self-expression, it’s a fact to me; I understand it’s not to everyone, in fact only to about half of us. But when we ask for instance, “Why are men X?”, I do not feel satisfied with an answer like “testosterone.” I cannot, in good faith to my reason, sign off on all the things that must be presumed and assumed to fit that “thing” into a meaningful sentence that can even be an answer at all to a bottomless question like “why?”

I mean, from that noun as an answer we don’t even know if the noun is an actor or an inhibitor – OK, maybe you do. I have spent my adult life in this misunderstanding here, that when a paper says, “correlated with” or “associated with,” that I have simply dug my heels in and opined that it isn’t specific enough be worth saying, that it indicates obfuscation, some science version of name dropping. I’m distrustful; I have been given to understand it means positive correlation, the presence of the agent in question, it just doesn’t take. The young idiot I was who got it wrong the first time is still screaming “well, why don’t you spell it out?”

I think the reality in this case, is the presence of one hormone indicates the past action of another, it can be a by product and neither actor nor inhibitor.

Hormones have gone through a few roles because of that, because it was produced, because it got used, because it didn’t get taken up again, evolving positions about what its presence meant. Nouns as answers are never the end and never can be. The search goes on for the verbs, what are these things doing? It was a textbook sort of example, to be sure, but, happy accident, it’s turning out to be a good one.

If I ask, “Why are men X?” and someone answers with a noun, “testosterone,” then it’s not fair to say anyone nods and walks away smugly knowing they have the answer, as also anyone reacting like Socrates or Pyrrho, with “I still know nothing,” (like me) is a logical extreme and not a real-life case. In real life, though, most peoples’ reactions are going to have a considerable portion of at least one of those responses, and probably some portion of both – meaning they either feel like they know or they don’t, to some degree – the point being that neither result is optimal by a mind like mine, one seems like empty understanding, a name but no role, and the other like no understanding at all. I need verbs, Man! I know, scientists know it and they’re looking and succeeding, and just because all I’m picking up from my internet connection are these buzzwords, these nouns, doesn’t mean that’s all there is going on, labeling. The point of this, though, is that that is all half of us want is the labels, or all of us are half-satisfied with names. A massive portion of our knowledge is this sort of half-knowledge, a catalogue of labels, that we use like shorthand, and the data compression costs detail.

Wherein, we know, lies the truth. I know, human brains were designed for human goals and the capital “T” Truth was not one of them. It is now, though, right? Has anyone heard the folks telling us the first bit telling us the second? Again, I am a suspicious, twisted little man and I see the general trend, the general voice of biology as sort of dark and . . . self supporting. There is this awful thing that if we identify some nasty, animal biological trait, that it’s some sort of “right,” natural and good or something . . . you see where I’m going, I don’t write novels, this won’t take long; we’re talking about Blank Slate liberals VS Nazi scientists here. Some folks assume a universal truth right around the corner and some folks don’t mind the idea of a relativistic world with only “biological truths.”

You know what? I got faith, of a sort, call it science, call it stubbornness, I think there is one universe, one world, and when “facts” appear to be in opposition, that is only an indication of a larger context, a larger world, and a larger understanding that is required to resolve the apparent conflicts. A single universe with a single complex universal truth may not have been what our minds were evolved to perceive, we would certainly be overqualified for life in the jungle or in any of our jobs were that the case, but it’s out there. If the world isn’t out there, what are our senses even for? If every biological organism lives in its own literal world, then I guess there is no communication, no shared world to try to understand, no social anything, is that it? The things we create exist because we create them, invisible things like rights and laws – the external universe is not one of those things.

Unfortunately, what this organ between our ears did evolve for is very much a part of the kind of mindset I’m battling here, it was evolved to make out friend from foe, and so this is its question, often as not, no matter what the text of the question may be: who are we talking about here? Give us a name. I think that’s why we think nouns are answers. I think we are capable of fighting memes and ideas, but mostly we were evolved to fight people, and the people we’re fighting are things, with names and addresses. This is our address, as some fellow in an est spinoff group that I attended said once, this is where we live, always bringing an amygdala to a frontal cortex fight. We want to reason, but we were evolved to fight. We try to see what we’re doing, and we come back with an endless list of possible actors, rather than actions.

Wow, that connection, nouns with people, why that mindset is so prevalent, that was empirical for me until now, anecdotal, and that just clicked into place here, as you see it and I didn’t see it coming either. This really is coming together, maybe. I am going somewhere even more basic with this argument, but I hope you all see the high-level, social importance of whether nouns pass as answers, as explanations generally, because that is the basic form of racism, xenophobia and scapegoating of all sorts: if “testosterone” is a satisfactory form of answer, then so is “terrorist,” at least to some folks who expect a “thing” for an answer, and of course those nouns get worse and worse from there.

OK, so that’s the limitation of nouns as explanations, and the biological roots of it, as I see it. Maybe a list next, things that have served us as explanations, past and present.

Next, yes

 

Nov. 15th., 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. A note about the “Nature” thing

 

Forget the list, sorry.

Nature – not the great outdoors, but some concept of a thing’s essence or purpose – as in ‘human nature,’ well, forget it, I’ve already given it away, haven’t I? The way it’s presented, it’s an archaic concept, religious, probably related to the idea of spirits being what animates and supports all things, as though a given thing has some single attribute, some fractal core that’s essential to a being or a thing that remains when all other attributes have somehow been wiped away. So, it’s a made-up thing, kind of meaningless. Mysticism aside, as the term has evolved and it’s a more complex human nature that we seek, the nature of the human being has become a moving target, really not more than a collection of empirical observations.

I mean, I know when people speak seriously about human nature, they mean a complex nature, but we don’t appear to have stopped using it in all the same sentences where a simple, pure nature would work better.

Still, perhaps talking about the “natures” of things is something we’re stuck with, part of the structure of our thought – of course, one in sense, it’s a sort of shorthand, we attempt to impose symbols over complex things when we need to visualize many of them in interaction. You don’t need as long a list of human traits as we have developed when there are fifty of them coming over the hill at you; at that point, you need some quick, accessible understanding of their natures. Probably something like that is at the root of the idea of ‘natures’ generally (and of us treating one another as less than complex sometimes), saves memory and therefore calories, which . . . evolution. Of course, the idea isn’t going away, ancient magical baggage and all.

Let’s change tack.

Simple, complex, questions of human natures simply mean “what are we?” really, and we are political for one thing, we’re trying to pass laws, we make sweeping policy decisions for ourselves and one another, and we do have to postulate some default for people, some starting point where we think they might settle into if it weren’t for our policies. An eternal, static human nature would indicate a stable or static world, and conversely, evolution and science suggest an evolving nature, probably a moving target. Nevertheless, “what are we now?” is still something we must at least feel we have an answer for in order to proceed with anything. We’ve always asked it, “what are we?” but we mostly have always had some sort of an answer too – and proceed we have, of course. I feel I have answered the question, but of course, I must play a game to do it.

I’m afraid I’m asking to modify the question.

Rejecting the simple, magical, “essence” sort of human nature Q&A, I am left with few major directions to go, “human nature” as a somewhat arbitrary collection of observations and the entire argument breaks down to details, which traits are “built in/genetic” and which not . . . it doesn’t address the issues our psyches are asking, which is, a short version we can trust. If we get that list of traits right, then it’s our answer – but it’s not a short, useful answer, is it? We’re really looking for some few things, and “good” and “bad” are not personality traits, nor are “friend” or “foe.” This is mostly the data we want in out human nature meme.

So, it’s a collection of traits, and an evolving target, it’s really about values, our interests: if humans are basically “good,” how would we treat them? If they’re mostly
“bad,” then how do we treat them? So, the original question, “what are we?” really means “are we good or bad?” which is sure to be related to a basic friend or foe question. The true answer to both questions is long and vague, both answers true often enough, good and bad, both answers have their proofs . . .

. . . for me, the question became one of nouns and verbs again. Human nature is perhaps not what we are, but behaviour, what we do. With the idea that what we believe has some impact on what we do (debatable, I know), the question has become for me not “what are we?” – again, sort of answered, pretty exhaustively if not satisfyingly –  but “if we do X, then what must we believe?”

It’s like an audit, doing your arithmetic backwards to check your work. I haven’t finished my argument, not by a long shot, this is only Part #2, but I’ll jump way ahead, give you that question with my specifics inserted in place of the variables:

“If we’re so sure we’re born bad, why would we abuse our children, thereby making them worse?”

That idea has me now discounting our default natures, finding the “what are we?” question beside the point; it seems to me now the question isn’t “what are we,” but “where are we taking ourselves?” – wherever we were, whatever we were.

 

Nov. 17th., 2017

Dad would have been eighty-seven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Trolling and Narrowing the Argument

 

I’ve alluded to it to it in each of the earlier parts, that details and a huge catalogue of nouns are not where the important truths are going to be found, not under our microscopes, but back up here, with us, and our somewhat higher concepts.

OK, I spend too much time on Twitter, of course again, I’m talking about racism and Nazi science’s endless search for some genetic detail that is supposed to prove some large social concept like racism. The trend I’m complaining about is quickly apparent if you look at Twitter’s science section, and the crossover there with the alt-Right, and the connecting meme of course is “genetic differences” – literally microscopic science to justify macro-oppression. Weirdly, the same accounts that have given Charles Murray a good read and a fair treatment also find Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos to be unfairly silenced voices.

So besides being just less than helpful to explain the world, this view of the world as a million unrelated, individual things, it has principles, sort of, well, associated memes.

Perhaps our forever search for the postulated atom, the Smallest Division, the base particle of the universe has served to turn our scientific world upside down where now we all think the smallest stuff matters the most, ha. One shitty, life destroying gene that’s negatively correlated with melanin and slavery will have been all right and proper after all or something! That’s what some folks want and some liberals perhaps fear from science, all liberals ain’t PhDs either. But that idea, that the smaller bits are somehow higher in some food chain of causality than the bigger ones, perhaps this is why we end up down in the muck with the rats and the flatworms when we’re theoretically trying to solve complex human problems like racism, abuse, war, etc.

Of course, science doesn’t say that, racist scientists say that, trolls say that – or rather they don’t just say it either, it’s all innuendo, plausible deniability, but this is a bad sign: the argument goes to details, genes, alleles, specific studies. That the truth is in the details, that’s left unsaid, we all believe that in some sense anyway, so it’s easy to buy in, to get dragged down into small specifics. If we don’t follow the argument into microscopia though, then we’re likely to get stuck in another trap, psychology, theories about society and ‘the culture,’ and unfounded moral directives.

There is some unspoken meme that science is on the bad guys’ side, or rather, even that the reality that underlies science is somehow on the bad guys’ side. You know, life is tough, harsh reality, all of that . . . is it only me, that the endless descriptions of life being tough, evolution as an apparently ruthless punisher of mercy or passivity seem to come across as advocacy? Like an argument against all of our higher goals? I expect that many of the best papers don’t sound that way, but Twitter sure does. In fairness perhaps, I’m guessing the science promotion I find on social media isn’t coming from the older professors, but from the younger, cyber-savvy crowd. Much of it sounds like someone sharing the exciting news they’ve only just heard.

(I’ve recently read a paper that explains some primate female’s “strategies for maximizing her reproductive capability” in different situations, I think weaning one early when mating opportunities seemed like they may not be there later, like when she’s aging out of her childbearing years . . . it all sounds reasonable about Capuchins or something, but imagine human females as the primate in question. Suddenly, suggesting that organisms exist to maximize the reproduction of their genes starts to sound a little penis-centric, to put it diplomatically. I think some of the conclusions from science can still be called out. That scenario could better be viewed as that female monkey trying her best to survive the pregnancies that are the price of living with the males and their genes’ desires, and not hers at all. After all, the costs are all hers.

That’s an example of science appearing to be on the bad guys’ team, right, the sort of science that sounds like the Taliban, females want to be barefoot and pregnant as much as possible! – because some male designed the study and found what his search was designed to find? It wasn’t any sort of pro-biology or race-related paper at all, corporal punishment was the topic, it’s a respectable one, I think. I shouldn’t cite it out if its own context, and I won’t even repeat the less reputable sort.)

Environmental control of genetic expression, epigenetics, this I find worth discussing, but again, the details, identifying alleles that respond to specific stimuli, these I find to be nouns whereas the point for me in this topic is that many of these environmental triggers are our own behaviours. We are an intensely social creature; we are the environment our flexible genes are responding to in many cases – this is what I mean by what has become my catchphrase, that we are self actualized creatures. We haven’t been ‘using our powers for good’ yet, but to be completely fair, I don’t think we knew it. Remember how they laughed at Lamarck. The truth is, though, that we have genes that are activated or not by our environment, and we are that environment, we are activating the ones we feel are necessary.

Whups! That’s the next part.

 

Nov. 30th., 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The “Nurture” thing, the Abusive Ape Theory

 

I asked myself this question, “what is punishment,” or more accurately perhaps, “what is up with this punishment business?” (Side note: I want to say, ‘punishment bullshit,’ because that’s how I talk and how I write, but I didn’t ask myself this aloud. Turns out, my inside thinking voice prefers English. I’m surprised too.) This maybe twenty-five years ago, maybe a few more. For the first two decades or more I was convinced that punishment/discipline/consequences were identical to their illicit cousin, abuse, and that they therefore most likely were responsible for the same sorts of effects – which, yes, I’m still there – but during that period I thought it was some sort of accident, or I blamed cultural things, Leviticus and whatnot, for bringing about this state of affairs.

And I argued with people, in real life while we raised our kids, and for a few years online, while producing the early years of this blog and other blogs where the site has since passed on. The persistence of the normal attitudes around it were frustrating, and that people didn’t seem to have a clear definition of “punishment” at all was also irritating, like the language didn’t exist in which to have the conversation. All this against my background of popular psychology type thinking and very little real education . . . I don’t think I was aware yet that I was stonewalled, that further learning wasn’t forthcoming along this train of thought when some online argument challenged me to read Judith Rich Harris and Steven Pinker.

After a very traumatic reorganization of pretty much everything in my brain rolled out, I was able to bring a little more science to the problem, and by keeping basically the goals of social science in mind and not much else from it, and trying to see both sides of that disciplinary aisle, I have this, the Abusive Ape Theory (not married to the name, but I like the homage to the Aquatic Ape Theory), Antisocialization Theory, and the Consequences Mimic Meme – and I’m delusional, capitalizing my own stuff. But who else is gonna do it?

Really, it’s all there, it’s all out there, there is likely some hundredth monkey thing going on, everyone can know this, today, and I expect many do. All the pieces are out in public view.

The Abusive Ape Theory is the idea that we are an ape that abuses its children, leveraging epigenetic effects to said abuse and so we have created ourselves in the Deep Roots of War image, an ape that systematically desensitizes and traumatizes itself for a group-supporting effect of increased aggression and violence, one that supports our intergroup conflict. Dad says he was toughening us up, Twitler says we will be strong, all of this is the abuse that we feel during the genes’ epigenetically active years, and we adjust our internal configurations accordingly, to be less contented, rougher, and perhaps, as the psychologists say, to continue the pattern.

Antisocialization Theory is simply the apparently dark side of socialization theory, the latter being the idea of us all adapting to our given circumstances and society, learning the rules, customs, taboos, values, etc., of the humans and environment we live in and among. In one sense, it simply refers to the nasty stuff we learn, who to hate, how to fight, but in the more important sense, our antisocialization is the one that matters, because it’s the one with measurable, documented effects. It was Rich Harris who exhaustively laid out the socialization researchers’ hundred year long attempt to prove that parents create traits that they consider desirable in their children, and the near utter failure of it. This, while the mountain of evidence for the less “desirable” traits produced from abuse threatens to block out the sun. Abuse is our lever, the one that does something.

What it does is stress us out, make us angrier and more violent, and the only way to release stress is to spread it around. When a person is so stressed and damaged from too much or too chaotic abuse that they cannot function well in the private sector, the military is waiting for them, and that is as near the aboriginal function of antisocialization as you can get. I think also, though, modern armies don’t need every able bodied (and disabled-minded) male, a smallish percentage is enough – but we are all engaging in the function, and I haven’t repeated this for a year maybe – most of our pre-configured ready-made soldiers are just out there walking our streets, not some enemy’s, getting themselves and all of us into trouble. Yes, we’ve been socialized, both prosocialized and antisocialized, but just like in the movie series, it’s the dark side that has the power. It’s something like irony, to be sure, but if the definition of “nurture” in the context of ‘as opposed to “nature”’ is something the parents do to induce a trait in a child, then it’s a misnomer, because the traits we are able to actually effect are not the traits one induces with any “positive” “nurturing.”

I’m sorry to say, but the proof of the Nurture Assumption’s true underpinnings is that we can indeed modify a child’s development – just not in a “positive” way, and not in positive language. These days, it seems the biologists want to tell us all that there is no “nurture,” that it’s all “nature” – and for some reason, the profundity of real and documented negative effects is another conversation or something, parents can’t “affect” their kids. Abuse is somebody else’s job. The upshot, maybe I’ve never actually said it before, or for a long time –

We can’t teach a child mathematics by beating him and then teach him history the same way. You teach math by teaching math, you teach history by teaching history, and you teach beatings by teaching beatings. You cannot beat a child while expounding about history and pretend he won’t learn the beating – this stuff, this is maybe the worst of the blank slate magical sort of thinking there ever was, the idea that we can. Tell you something else too, Dr. Pinker – it predates Rousseau and all this blank slate atheism, this ‘beatings to produce nearly every imaginable and so often even mutually exclusive effects’ idea. This magic, one size fits all tool idea about abuse, this exists in inverse proportion to your dad’s idea behind the shed, though.

On the other side of our split personalities, we know what we’re doing, Dad knows he’s toughening us up. Certainly, the abuse of boot camp shows that the army knows that the purpose of abuse and discomfort isn’t to make us more peaceful. This brings us to the Mimic Meme.

Mom seems to think that when she whoops you, you’re supposed to get more peaceful, doesn’t she?

LOL.

So, antisocialization, that is beating a child to grow him up as a soldier, while let’s call it the “consequences” idea – that’s beating a child to turn him into . . . whatever Mom wants, is that right? Obedient soldier, for starters, I guess, and then obedient everything else after that? Obedient concert pianist, obedient foot masseur? Of course, it’s “good” child, “good” grandchild, student, soldier.

Both these memes, both these functions are out there, we beat ourselves violent and perhaps don’t know it, and we fail to beat ourselves into excellence and maybe don’t see that either . . . point is, we mean two completely different things by that one word, “good.” In half of life it means good about everything, good piano playing, good food, etc., but in the other context “good” means violence.

A mimic meme – a term I’m surely stealing and perverting – I will define by example. It’s when we tell a child, “Don’t make faces or one day, your face will freeze in that position.” We don’t believe the explanation, but if the child does, he stops making faces at the family at the next table, no bench-clearing family fights ensue at Applebee’s, peace is maintained – a real life benefit from a false meme, the idea that sometimes, peoples’ faces just freeze in mid expression, permanently. This is what the “consequences” idea is, one of these useful lies.

We tell a kid not to touch the lamp, he touches the lamp, we whoop his ass, maybe he never breaks the lamp, maybe he does, but he’s learned his beating, and we didn’t “abuse him to make a soldier of him,” we only taught him not to touch the lamp. That’s the consequences mimic meme, we can beat a kid for years, kids all live under this threat, so they are absolutely intractably antisocialized by it – but we have done nothing to propagate violence or war, we are simply teaching them how to live indoors and not break our stuff, right? And a house full of unbroken stuff sure looks like peace and civilization, so who’s to argue? Your face didn’t freeze like that did it?

It’s a good thing you listened to me then.

. . . (surprisingly) to be continued. (I thought I’d lost the will for a bit there.)

 

Jan. 5th., 2018

 

  1. Warrior society’s fears, head on, a lethal mutation

 

More and more, I worry about what I’m doing here.

The way we don’t trust prisoners with writing implements, belts, or shoelaces, you can’t trust people with certain technologies. Case in point, how’d you find me? Social mass media must be one of our greatest mistakes, considering that social stress is the bane of all primates, shortens all our lives as it is. Also, guns, I guess.

I wanted to help the world, I saw something that seemed hurtful and harmful and I figured it out, what was going on, but I’m worried that these things are not meant to be seen and should I affect the world at all, I fear that when the movie gets made they’ll be casting Jesse Eisenberg for my role. Who else but the guy who did such a good job with Lex Luthor and Mark Zuckerberg? Yes, I was the one who saw the emasculation of modern urban men and took it viral, gave it an anti-steroid boost. I was the one who decided that in order to be good, humanity needed to be weak, I am the man who castrated the world. I want to say something about how easy it is for us to slide that intense looking actor with a Jewish name into that cast type, and I want to co-opt the image for myself with a joke, ‘I am Solomon Grundy’ or some crap, so . . . so it all fits, I guess.

I don’t believe any stuff about evil Jews taking over the world, no more than evil Bible people of all sorts, and if Jesse’s somehow perfect in my mind for evil genius roles and it sells movies in the culture generally, then I am a racist, anti-Semitic member of a racist and anti-Semitic society, and I’m sorry, I’m working on it. I wasn’t after any divisive ‘ism’ there at all, the point is, I identify with the evil villain – and so too I identify with Jewish folks, as a not quite white guy, someone who at first glance should be enjoying his membership among the dominant social group but perhaps isn’t. Someone with a grudge forced upon him, someone who deserves some sort of comeuppance and so must never get the upper hand, or even justice, which would be a chance at it.

I mean, I got some bitterness. No more than the average super-villain, but yeah, enough that I might just be trying to destroy the world and someone probably should keep an eye on me. I’ve got a lot of stuff going on here, saving the world and/or destroying it, I don’t think I can do this renovation while worrying about the damage I’m causing, you better protect yourself, keep your gloves up. I can’t do that for you too, I can’t do everything – this is your heads-up here. Honestly, the deep roots of war ape doesn’t need to be told to protect itself, far from it, but I just want it on record that I gave you every chance, publicly, consciously, and out loud. Every chance to put the gun down, put your dick away and talk to me. It isn’t going to be easy, when I spell it out, what I think of you. So far, it’s been innuendo and sound bites in the press, I’ve been meting it out, drip by drip, you might have to have read everything by me to know the true extent of my misanthropy, but here is my indictment. Everybody chill?

We’re a species of child abusers, and it’s what makes us different, the core, not of what we are, we are animals with a large non-human biology, but absolutely the core of what makes us different, the core of our “humanity.” It’s no accident, no new development, and it’s not rare. The fact that we think it’s rare means we spend all day long creating it, we think it’s lacking in the world, so it’s basically all we do.

It’s not for nothing, though.

As in all matters biological, it’s a survival thing. I do not have or represent a high opinion of humanity at the moment, but even from this hole I’ve dug myself, so deep I can see the stars at noon, even now, on the precipice of the Trump administration ‘finding its stride,’ I don’t imagine we would do that for nothing. It’s about security. It’s not complex, and I don’t know if it gets addressed by game theory, but abuse makes you many sorts of tough, because it motivates, one wants to be tough – oops, already writing and still undergoing revelation again! That is punishment, I think I have finally just answered my lifelong question, ‘what is punishment?’

It doesn’t make you self-motivated to obey the rule in question; we still want what we want, it only overpowers our self-interest, you may want that, but do you want this? sort of thing, as we all know, it’s meant to force a cost/benefit analysis. But it gives us self-motivation on the other vector, on the most mission critical thing in life: violence. We will strive to be tough, and the tribe will be tough, because we all feel that if we are tough enough, we are safe, both on the personal level and at the group level. Abuse makes us strong, so, again, we don’t abuse our kids for nothing, it’s to make sure we all grow up “strong,” it’s our security from the other groups. I’m spending time on philosophy podcasts these days, I know it shows, so here’s a thought experiment.

Mom may punish a boy for taking an extra piece of toast off of his brother’s breakfast plate, then take him to hockey practice where the coach may punish the boy for not taking the puck or some real estate on the ice from another boy. Now, how is the boy to learn the first lesson in the face of the second? How to learn the second while retaining the first? Of course, we learn our different contexts, we may solve the apparent conundrum – or we may not, but on a more visceral level, both scenes are the same: boy gets punished, and his solution for the common aspects will be the same: some aspect of toughening him up, from the simple learned experience of surviving pain, desensitization or a dampening of the initial fears to an “aggressive” unloading of it onto someone else. We like to say it’s supposed to be that other boy with the puck, but again, pain, abuse, these are not teaching tools, they change you, is the point.

The prosecution has just completed its opening statement, and this is the charge: we, as a species, abuse our children, to incite violence in them. This is “our group’s” strategy to protect the replication of our genes against those of competing human groups.

If we couldn’t speak to those other human groups at all, then this is the situation one would expect, but we can and we do, and so it’s heartbreaking and endlessly frustrating. If I could just agree, and go along, I surely would, and honestly, if I could go back and avoid the entire train of thought, I think I would do that too. The fate of humanity is way above my pay grade, and I’m stuck now, but if I could have seen the size of the problem going in, I surely would have balked. I may have attempted to say this before – I went from wondering if anything could be done or not, an apparent fifty-fifty proposition, to what I think is an understanding, and my estimation of our odds became sort of astronomical. Like the grass, like the leaves on the trees, one in that number.

We basically have no language that isn’t an expression of inherent group conflict and we don’t know what to say or how to speak without an enemy or a war; I tend to globalize, but if I didn’t, all signs still point in one direction, that every verb is based in a fight and every noun is an adapted version of some opponent. Security demands that we approach all problems at this level and nearly all of our strategies are internal group strategies, with the other groups’ sentience unconsidered, because our strategies must “work” even if the other groups are bears, if you cannot talk to them at all. We have a lot of hopes for our communication, but talking isn’t a strategy in itself, it’s just not dependable enough to be an evolved answer to conflict and violence. At least, other things have not yet aligned in such a way at this point in our history. To date, those two things, conflict and violence have been both our questions but also our answer, our violence as a credible response to someone else’s.

It’s practical, no argument there. Also, the war never ends, active battle or détente, so there never is a safe time, but let me just raise my head above the melee for a second here and try to think in the longer term, as soldiers often try to do at my age, is there a way to not have to do this?

It is not the end of any philosophical roads to see that violence, whether an organism lives or dies, is foundational, our first concern. Even the replication of our genes is a happy, recreational thought when the bear is chasing us, or when the humans next door are feeling uh, expansive, so all biologists, talk a little quieter, go talk to Freud, there’s more to life than sex. I understand that Dawkins made the point that it is our genes’ struggle to carry on that drives everything and not some social animal’s “group harmony,” which, OK, I don’t really see harmony as a powerful force in the universe either – shades of Plato – but group conflict has the power to seriously disrupt the well laid plans of the genes of men and mice, doesn’t it? Surely, some would-be immortal genes go down when species go down, when animals get selected out.

It’s interesting, how we can know it and not know it at the same time, but this is our fear, this is our reaction to any un-punished transgression that we see, it’s a missed opportunity to toughen someone up, and we all somehow intuit that it means we’re in trouble the next time the Hun is on the move. The nurture assumption – the idea that we mold our children – is inexplicable in the conversation about socialization that has tried to account for it, but completely covered by antisocialization theory. It is the dark side of what we have known it to be, and it is unacknowledged, unconscious, but the connection has no extra steps, it is rather direct: discipline is security. Tell someone they shouldn’t beat their children and watch the reaction: it’s a survival issue, and not just their kids’ survival. There’s personal fear behind that too.

So, this is me, the fatal mutation, saying, what about crime, what about rape? What about all the people in the millions and more that would like to see a solution to our solution, to violence and hate? It’s all one thing, violence as a strategy, and violent crimes at home are the evil “side effect” of our strength, so we have a problem. Do we carry on, trying to separate the wheat from the chaff, our “good,” defensive violence strategy from our wish to live peacefully among our own people, which, at least beginning now is no strategy at all, because abuse changes people, at home and on the battlefield? Or do we simply ignore the downside of our methods, after all we’re still here, aren’t we? The last method has always been our way.

Proud, fierce, and brave, this is our model of a warrior, and pride is privilege, fierceness is violence, and bravery is a prioritization of offense over defense. This is the survival instinct stripped bare, and every rat must feel that way to live as well, it’s a good life if you don’t weaken, so my challenge to us is this: find a better model. Your “hero” is an entitled, murderous narcissist. And we wonder, why all this trouble?

I’ve wondered it anyways, and as near as I can see, this is the conflict. If we stay strong, in this way, our life is abuse in a deal that keeps us alive, or so we think, and we think that if we stop abusing our own, that the competition will abuse us in a more permanent way. Perhaps truly, as long as we cannot talk to the other groups, this is the best we can do, folks who live away from the borders can live in some semblance of peace, most of the violence being non-lethal – but again, we can talk, or almost, so we may have options in this modern world that we didn’t before. I would have said ‘any minute now,’ a few years ago, but it seems the world is going in the other direction at the moment. Sometime, maybe. Here I am, worrying that I may destroy the world in my particular way, but as always, world without end, the good ones worry and the bad ones just get on with it.

Leading from way behind, as usual,

 

Feb. 12th., 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Liberals’ fear of science, dark hints

 

I’m sorry – you could probably shuffle the titles and the text in this series and they’d match up just as well, and every chapter looks the same to me too. The part six heading is starting to look like the overall one, the series title as well. Same stuff, I’m afraid. I’ll try to come at it from a new angle.

I’ve been trying to learn biology and evolution, brain science, as well as continuing to learn about psychology and philosophy. Blindly, at home alone, reading, I almost walked straight into the library at the University of the bloody Alt-Right (via a nasty little site dedicated to alt-Right “science” called Quillette). I read a bunch of Steven Pinker’s books, Judith Rich Harris, and although Rich Harris didn’t seem political, I’ve since come to understand that the Alt-right likes her and Pinker, and maybe a little bit of why. I know I differ with them both where they touch upon parenting, but I do with everyone. I’m afraid I may never get to Dawkins, I’m not happy with him politically either, but Pinker summarized him, laid out the Selfish Gene idea. It all seemed like good info, biology seemed to line up with reality a lot better than the ideas I had about popular psychology and such, and my thinking changed.

Unfortunately, it seems that biology in these contexts, behaviour, psychology – has become the territory of racists and Nazis. My thinking hasn’t changed that much!

I am not one of those, I swear to God, but all one need do today is mention some biological concept and it seems that one is choosing sides. No SJW, no good person wants to hear about why the world that we hate the way it is would be that way, it seems to be doctrinal that there mustn’t be any real reasons, or at least not biological reasons.

“Societal” reasons, culture-down explanations seem to be the answers that aren’t proscribed, what I see, every hundred tweets, is some version of “. . . because we live in a society which . . .” which is the formula for a tautology and it really doesn’t matter what words precede and follow it. We define a society is a bunch of organisms in a group and it’s rather circular to only define the organisms that way, as members of the society.

You don’t have to be on the alt-Right – and I’m not – to think this: the society thinks what its members think. Yes, there is plenty of meme flow in the other direction, and I know, some lines of thought are simply not made available in certain societies, but none of this communication or philosophy changes biology. If these cultural memes do not serve our biology, they do not last. Natural selection suggests that our eternal problems, the human condition, has at its roots some cause underwritten by our basic biological necessities. The memes we see and hear to support our never-ending struggles like racism and inequality, to support our sense of group identity and conflict, these, even when expressed by the society, I think we can assume find fertile soil in the individual, in our biological selves. Not the tree, not racism, that is not an evolved trait, which again, might have been the Nazi conclusion – but the fighting and the violence that underlies it.

Racism isn’t why there is violence; racism is one of a number of vectors by which to rationalize the hatred of, and the killing, discounting, dehumanization, degradation, exploitation, etc., etc., of human beings and if you think that would end if we were identical clones, then you’ve been listening to the bad guys. Our long aboriginal existence and the long developmental period our species has undergone did not have us eternally battling, pale Swedes against Nigerians. That scenario is rather new. In the normal human situation, our neighbors are our cousins and we have to create ways to differentiate, for security. Any fighting we’ve done for millions of years has been like that, with those guys next door. So, there you go.

I’m not the Nazi here; I’m not the one who blames humanity’s violence on the fact that people come in different colours. Were you? I mean until now?

So, the Deep Roots of War idea doesn’t support racism, I mean unless you want it to. I mean, it does support war. And if you like war, then I guess you don’t probably mind race war, so the connection is there, if not directly, and the Deep Roots of War is still responsible for all of our ills in the end, it’s still depressing as Hell. Because we’re calling it “biological,” some folks will tell you it’s written in stone, and that’s what we liberals hear when we hear it, some version of “that’s just the way it is” – and Nazism. Remember, for certain mindsets, the “Deep” part might mean something less than six thousand years, which sounds short to a scientist, but that mindset thinks it’s eternity. That framing makes if forever, since the beginning, and literally written in stone. Anyone who has read me before, anyone following this train of thought, knows that I think the Deep Roots of War are behavioural, a choice, and that I’m trying to lay it out for us, bring it into the spotlight.

Again, to say that our troubles are based in our biology, a Nazi could say that, but to say “based in our biology” is not the same as saying I like it, I agree with it, and we should just go with it. That would be the Nazi stand (based in a badly biased “reading” of the science), I think; it is not mine. I am an SJW, I want to change these things. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I am also a truth seeker primarily, and to change these things we need to understand them, and if that goes to some aspect of us being animals, then we need to understand that. Not to “excuse it” as some SJW on Twitter assumed just the other day, which I never said and never do, but I understood their assumption. At least online, again, biology seems to be the province of Nazis and racists. Well behavioural biology and evolutionary psychology, to be more accurate. The SJW person online heard “evo-psych” and was done with the conversation.

That can’t go on, that’s for sure. The good folks of the world need to own that science, those people can’t be trusted with it! (It occurs to one that if the Nazis and racists had any explanation, any science or even theory, that they wouldn’t always be trying to co-opt every new gene, every new insight from science. They’re still searching for their first bit of scientific support. We can’t trust their motivations, and we sure can’t trust their talents.)

A Jehovah’s Witness spoke to me a few days ago, gave me a brochure, and the point of his talk and the brochure was, what would you rather believe, these other theories, or a full-blown resurrection with all your friends and family? Put that way, who could argue? But I fear SJWs are choosing their culture-down explanations with the same criteria as the JWs, going with I’m sorry, blank slate social science, the same sort of thing as the ladies going into psychology and leaving firmer sciences to the men, the ladies and the good men choosing psychology and leaving behavioural biology to the KKK. It’s a sad result, but I get it.

In the most basic terms, we often think of two worlds, the nasty old one we have and the shiny new one we want, and it appears that the humanities and the social sciences reach for the new one while many biology projects seem to drag us back and down into the old one. I’m sorry. The old one is where the troubles are, and we carry it with us. The only real solutions are going to be in there, we have to work through it if we ever want that pretty new one, and I do, I really do. I’ve found something too! The answers really are in there, for those who seek with a pure – non-Nazi – heart. I say again, do not fear the Deep Roots of War ape, that’s what the bad guys want. They’re keeping him in a cage and torturing him, only letting us see him when he’s in a rage. They have gentle secrets to hide, truths that don’t fit their agenda and things that work better when we’re not conscious of them.

We need to advocate for the Deep Roots of War ape. We need to look at him with love, understand his fears and address those. The answer, dear liberals, SJWs, is not to hate that part of ourselves and deny it, and it certainly isn’t to let the bloody Nazis of the world have him to do with whatever they want.

In academic terms, the schism between social science and firmer sciences must end, the good people can’t be ignoring science if they have real world goals and the bad people can’t be the only ones with access to the CRISPR machine.

 

Feb. 20th., 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The “Deep Roots of War” thing

 

Antisocialization is going on today.

If you get the idea in your head like it’s in mine and look around, it’s everywhere, every bit of punishing going on, every deterrent, every bit of gossip . . . it’s a good life if you don’t weaken, so we design everything to keep us strong. Even the “positive” things in life are often so because they exist to oppose some bad thing, it’s a good life if even positive things don’t weaken, if positive things fight for their existence. Evidence is not scarce if you know what you’re looking for, right now.

But I think we all agree, a thorough understanding means knowing where this stuff comes from, how it starts, and this takes us to evolution, development and to evo-psych and its just-so stories. Now, this is a tough row to hoe for me and my theory. I know, the world is full of things and traits that we have no story for, and it often turns out that despite the lack of a story, the thing nonetheless exists – but with human behaviour at least, we want a story. If you can’t come up with a single scenario in which what you’re describing might actually occur, well, that’s a bad sign, isn’t it?

I had a few images, child beatings with more hair and no clothes, some I don’t know, poetry, I guess, “Lucy, that noble little savage, bouncing her babies off the walls of her cave,” but that’s the full-blown behaviour, that image, not some developmental stage.

There are lions and chimpanzees eating one another’s children, there are lions and chimpanzees sending children flying in simple fights, stay out of my food kind of thing – and then there are humans, laying on the pain when not in the heat of the moment, not in protective modes, neither killing and eating the child nor simply competing with it for present concerns, but rather laying on a beating with a view to future concerns.

I’ve said, abuse increases abuse, violence, crime, and somewhere in the deep past (as in the present) it would have meant an advantage along exactly those lines for those groups practising it over those groups that didn’t, but here is where we lack a good just-so tale, for the change. How would such a thing begin? Scientifically, I don’t have a lot of love for this first guess: failed infanticide. I mean, metaphorically, it’s a gift from God! In English, I get to say that at some point human groups differentiated between animalistic eating of children and the humanistic beating of them instead, and that is low level, early humanism in the moral sense, a species of upgrade. I suspect that the blood libel charge of baby eater goes back just that far, to this differentiation, baby eaters and baby beaters, but just how far that is, I can’t imagine. We, the second group, scorn the first, ostensibly for their brutality, but they are gone, and we remain. They were the ones who weren’t tough enough, and we scorn them because we feel if we became them, if we ceased abusing our children, we would be next on the extinct hominid list. How far back? It must have been before the pastoral revolution, I think, because that seems to me to have required some antisocialization, some desensitization about the trapped creatures, but perhaps long before, perhaps this was going on when all the other human groups appear to have been replaced, Neanderthals, Denisovans, etc.

As to how it began, however, perhaps that is to be found in some science detail, and not up here at theory, one of the gene functions that responds to abuse will have a date or something. I don’t know.

Maybe if I can’t find a way to imagine a hominid experimenting with child abuse for a meaner troop, then maybe the advantage I’m assuming isn’t it, perhaps it’s not so straightforward a group effect, perhaps I shouldn’t be thinking about the group at all. It seems so clearly a group-reinforced behaviour in my own life, though! Does that weirdness happen, then, a group-reinforced behaviour for something other than group needs, for some advantage to the individual? Of course, that’s the evo-explanation for groups at all, that members are advantaged, so individuals made stronger by abuse . . . against who? If it’s against one another it’s a Red Queen’s game. Come to think of it, if it’s a group competition thing, it’s still a Red Queen’s game, one of those things, we beat each other just as hard as we can simply to remain in place, in détente with the other groups.

Hey, that was new, maybe! And by definition, these sorts of evolutionary arms races have their drivers in evolved, biological functions on both sides already, in this case, humans being selected for along a vector of aggression against other humans in the same process. Perhaps like some other things, colour in sexual displays, the game was a tiny, random thing at the beginning, and the rules over time produce fantastic results in certain circumstances and environments. Perhaps I don’t need my just-so story after all, which would be terrific, because even for actual scientists with actual facts at their fingertips, those just-so stories are often their downfall.

I’ll just drop that hint, baby eaters and baby beaters, and remind you that I don’t like it either. As science, I mean.

So, for me, and I’m always willing to project it onto everybody else too, the shitty thing about this Deep Roots of War idea is that you know they’re saying “this is reality. This is the way it is, this is what we’re made of.” Like, “period. This is your hardware. Your civilization, your morals, are a dream.” Right?

Again, many haven’t caught up yet, they’re still laughing at Lamarck, unaware that his comeuppance began decades ago. I’m here to tell you it’s complete, and the Deep Roots of War creature is not some condition forced upon us by anyone but ourselves, each other. The static view behind the idea historically, the DRW, – can I use an acronym? It’s getting tiresome – is it’s our nature, and fixed, and what? No-one wants it? It’s our “nature,” but we all agree it’s bad and most of us, at least on our good days, live in conflict with these base natures? “Everything’s changed now, we don’t want that anymore,” maybe that sums it up. We don’t want it, but that’s the hardware.

This attitude has been adapted for conversations about evolution, but clearly, “hardware” is no longer the model in any such conversation. We look to our deep, newly discovered past, an exercise and a view with evolution written all over it, to say “this is our nature,” a statement of stasis. The truth is, when a trait persists over time, it simply means the problem the trait is an answer for has persisted also and our natures are simply a snap shot of our adaptations. Our adaptation for group aggression persists because we have it and so does the other guy, the conditions for the adaptation are still in place. It’s an interesting situation, because it’s not like a temperature limit or something, the condition is us. We can almost talk to it, but we are subject to it nonetheless. Pending, I’m not sure, consciousness or something.

Is it only intuition?

Is it one those stupid, illogical leaps, or a schizotypal one for me to say we are the DRW guy because we want to be, that faced with your aggression, I will willingly choose to be? It’s not all conscious, of course, and in a dangerous world where we’re talking about survival adaptations, we don’t have as much choice as we might like about those issues especially, but on the few occasions when life does permit us a choice? The depth of the DRW might be rather meaningless if we’re creating ourselves that way in every generation and every minute anyways, right up to the here and now.

The DRW, human antisocialization, the warrior society, this is adaptive, because everything is adaptive, but this is a technology too, and a little more sophisticated than chimpanzees sharpening sticks, the payoffs are so far removed from the behaviour – by a generation! Talk about delayed gratification – as to be nearly undetectable, well, at least by us, the ones in the process. But that is a project, a long term one, and that is my evidence to say, we are this because we want to be this, this we feel is our path to security in the world – to be such a security threat to the other guy that he thinks twice before planning a raid. To be human is to behave as though the best defense is a good offense. But that is not the end!

You don’t get to be that just because you “want” it. Your base wants are giving the rest of us ulcers. Me saying we’re not “stuck with” the DRW, that we are the ones always bringing it along, that we like it, this is not the answer, the stormtrooper answer, well, just go for it then. The “want” is still the problem. I mean, most folks know it, it’s just that then we can find ourselves in these other conversations where it becomes an us VS them thing, “they” want it, while we have risen above it or something . . . this is all kitchen table talk. Where the rubber meets the road, is do we want what child abuse produces? Do we want children that have “learned their lessons?” This is when these choices are made, a generation ahead of the war they have to go and fight.

I’m saying we want it, because we’re getting it and we’re in charge. We shouldn’t want it, it’s messing with all of our other desires, this is not an excuse or a justification, and by the way, how could it ever be? Are we all toddlers? Our “natures,” a cry of “I want it?” When did that ever justify anything anyways?

There is some ‘splaining to do to reconcile that when we are not talking about our own immanent murder, we really don’t want that. I don’t. I know we don’t, this conflict is inside us, our better desires against our baser ones, and those baser ones posing as surrogate for our basic ones. If we survive, in some wonderful sci-fi future, maybe we can match up our better dreams with our basic needs and cut out the middle man. That’s sort of what this DRW fellow is, our NRA rep, and he’d like to be indispensable. He sure doesn’t want us going straight to the factory and seeing how humanity gets made.

Hmmm . . . not sure this one’s done, but it’s getting a bit long . . .

 

Feb. 27th., 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Self-Actualization

 

I was very young when I fell in love with the image of a dark, depressed genius, Richard Burton kind of thing, Maybe Judy Garland, maybe Jim Morrison, no-one in particular, the image, really. Edgar Allen Poe. But this isn’t about me. This is about all of us.

We can organize and control ourselves in this one way, we can kill anything and everything, and what we can’t – all of us, yet, at least so far – we can fight forever, or live in détente with, pending new technology.

Wait! Hear me out! This is not the end, there is hope and change in here yet, somewhere, I swear. Damnit, I had it right here just like, ten seconds ago, hold on . . . well, what the . . . OK, please don’t make me have to start with the nasty crap again, every time I lay out the present state of things as a preamble, it depresses my mind and I never get past it . . . it’ll come to me. C’mon, c’mon . . . damnit! Hope and change, hope and change . . . ah! It’s the very first bit, isn’t it?

The “we can” part.

There was a time we couldn’t have done that, and now we can. Evolution makes the impossible possible. Focus on that, not on the scatological nature of my proofs, OK?

I know our apparent specialty sucks, or at least by this point it’s starting to look less like a feature than built-in obsolescence, but we did it, so it proves we can, we did everything the biologists say, out-competed the rest, carried our genes to every corner of the earth and a little beyond. Avoided the predators and located the prey, and except that the ants and Elon Musk also think so, we run this planet. I mean we run it as a madman doomsday fantasy and we may prove it by destroying it, but the point is, we have the power, no-one gave us this world to rule and destroy, we made than happen, we took it. OK, maybe we told each other a story about how someone gave it to us to do with as we would – but it’s not true! We are liars. We took control.

We are presently hoping to hold on to what is left of our external world and its ecosystems, so we perhaps couldn’t imagine it, and many can’t imagine it now, but if we could remember what it was like before we began this techno-nightmare, then we might be able to see that killing an entire planet would be no small task either! Anyone setting out on that quest would surely be the most ambitious ape ever spawned, no? And surely that ape would be laughed out of the tree, considering that there are still many of those who are doing that laughing now, despite that the impossible dream is almost certainly a done deal at this point.

The proofs of our creative powers are all negative thus far, I’m afraid. This should have been impossible, our current state of affairs, that some one of millions of species should take on the rest in some insane death match and actually win!

I mean, it’s not the best thing predicted by evolution, is it? Isn’t evolution the explanation for diversity, quite the opposite function? I think we all understand that many of our troubles stem from evolved functions and their effects changing as our environment changes, that it is some evolved survival strategy of ours that has lost some balancing aspect and has become a new threat in itself that we need to solve now, not just for ourselves but for the whole environment.

Unfortunately, I think many of us think it in just that passive voice, though, functions and effects. I approve generally, I don’t trust our own voice simply speaking in its interests, just as I don’t so much trust my own personal emotional internal voice. I have always been aware of vast dark regions in my own experience, and so I have learned to “black-box” myself to some degree like that. I do think we need to treat ourselves that way to see what’s going on, like some animal we’re observing and can’t simply ask, because our unconscious parts are still important real-world things with causal connections and we need to take all that we can into consideration if we’re trying to find the truth.

If we think of it in only this way, though, we are helpless observers, riders on the storm, and that’s just not it. We have our fingers in this particular function, everywhere we can reach, our DNA is all over it. Again, the proofs are all negative to date – but those proofs are in, we did this by the process we call “nurturing.” If this is your first time with me, maybe you’re thinking – “negative nurturing?”

Yes, nurture, in the sense of influences on children, is a negative thing, that’s the great secret. We decided at some point that the nurturing phenomenon we were looking for was a “good” thing, a positive thing, and why was that? We call it the same thing we call providing food, buy why? Surely the inference cannot be that we humans are unlike any other creature because we feed our children.

Are we so proud of ourselves? Have we looked around and said to ourselves, “look at all this wonderful stuff humans have done! Whatever it is we’re doing, we had better just keep doing at, because who could argue with these results?” Why the hundred-year academic search for positive influences and effects upon human children in a world of strife and struggle seems a saner question, what positive world are we trying to explain? I believe it to be an assumption of something like Christian Original Sin in play here, a core belief that bad things are to be expected by default and it is good things that require explanation, and so that is where our efforts along these lines have been wasted, I mean spent. We are indeed learning from these attempts, and that will all be useful data if we create a sensible structure in which to put it.

I think we need to define our “nurture” idea a little better, and isn’t the point of it that nurture in this sense specifically defines influences upon children that adults actually make, as opposed to what we merely intend, or worse, what we merely say we intend? There is this difference in the definition of “punishment” and probably many other words, between the everyday meaning and the scientific one: in general speech, we can call attempts to punish “punishment,” but in technical terms it doesn’t qualify unless it can be shown to have succeeded and modified the behaviour. I’m sure a scientific definition of this “nurture” thing would have the same sort of requirement. Or, more to the point, as I’m attempting to do, we can redefine the process as unconscious and say the measurable real-world effects we do see reflect the true, evolved, unconscious intentions behind our “nurturing.”

Now, parents all report good intentions, but I don’t really trust these humans when they tell me their intentions are “good,” everything is some sort of “good” for somebody, right? “Good” and “bad” are a little too fluid for that – University of “Hee-Haw” – ask your parents. Maybe if you saw that first weak attempt at the “Ghostbusters” movie, the one with dudes: I’m a little fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing too.

Seriously, though: I think the first meaning of “good” is staying alive, and many, many living things have been known to do some horrible shit in order to accomplish that basic “good,” right? That’s what I’m talking about here, or that’s the space in which I’d like to have a conversation. I’m saying what we apparently want is what we’re getting – well, what we would be getting as traditional hunter-gatherers, crazy, angry, aggressive men that the men in the next village think twice about before they mess with (and crazy, angry, aggressive women who apparently punt their three-year-olds out the door to live at the mercy of the crazy, angry, aggressive adolescents in the children’s’ group to nurse the next child). What we are getting is this human world right here – and I don’t mean right here in a classroom or a library full of well dressed WEIRD people reading and quietly sharing insights, I mean here on Earth, wherever there is conflict over resources, fighting and war, and wherever folks are afraid to go outside. My entire blog has been written in an effort to make the connection between these things. Nice folks, more ladies than men, perhaps, and the psychology minded, many folks intuit this, and while it seems no-one expects confirmation from science, little ol’ I am here to tell you all of that logic and science is really there.

I’ve made the point before: fifty percent of each of us already knows it, Dad said it to many of us: the beatings will continue until you’re tough enough. Well guess what? We’ve “won.” We’re tough enough.

We’re tough enough now – because we don’t think so, and so ever strive to be.

That’s my theory of human nature.

We saw ourselves in the utterly helpless primate baby, and clever, devil-monkey that we are, we figured out how to change it, and boom – just maybe a hundred thousand years or something, maybe only twenty, maybe the entire history of our genus – and we are in the position to affect everything else alive here in the most powerful way. We did that. We saw something, imagined an answer (you could say a process of selection, etc., brought about the answer, but I’ll suggest that evolution does some of these things through the human brain, and that is also evolution), and implemented it, with some spectacular, albeit spectacularly bad, results. Sing it with me –

We are self-created creatures, in the sense of the deep roots of war.

That means we’re not stuck with it, because we weren’t stuck with our lives as some archaic version of chimpanzee just going with the flow of nature, were we?

Sometimes I worry that what we’re up against here is that we haven’t evolved a sense of evolution, and try as we might, we don’t have language in which the world is not static, and things are not simply “as they are.” The “deep roots of war” implies time, and evolution perhaps – or is the point of the phrase that the depth is supposed to intimidate? Things may change, but this is deep, right? Did this concept get coined while we all thought evolution had to be long, slow, and done without our participation? I think this is where my own visceral reaction to the phrase, “the deep roots of war” comes from. It’s a cynical nod to evolution the main thrust of which is, “forget it, evolution, schmevolution, your war is the deepest part of you.” Where have I heard that song before? We are finding evidence of religion as an evolved thing. Further along this line, it is not from a sophisticated, mathematical view that our very brief history – not twenty thousand years of war, right? – looks “deep.” Deep compared to the Hebrew calendar is not “deep” in evolution or biology, at least not for large animals, right?

Sorry, I know – “roots.”

The depth of these roots I will allow back to our common ancestors with the chimpanzees, something deeper than our divergence with the chimps, maybe in the tens of million years, and it’s just a guess or an intuition, but for starters, I’d stop at sixty million, before the mammals got the run of things. All creatures’ “roots” go all the way back to the beginning, and if we’re tracing violence that far, we have to acknowledge everything else that old, like everything. War will be our defining item there when employing archaeology for this question, and the relevant “roots” will likely be specific to primates like us and the chimpanzees – so war is maybe twenty thousand years deep and its roots perhaps in the tens of millions of years deep. It’s not eternity, and it hasn’t been “just the way it is” for very long at all. Things are changing. Something I’d be looking for if I knew how, and I hope some geneticists will pick up the thread, is for the dates of some of these “warrior” alleles, for the advent of particular epigenetic responses to abuse. If my idea can ever show anything like evidence, I guess that would be it.

Plus, we’ve got far less successful/destructive cousins that share all of our “roots” of depth anyway; the difference is in the newer roots, the shallow ones, if it’s there. So. Self actualization?

It’s the science fiction dream, that we outgrow this cycle of abuse and manage our lives consciously, that we perhaps reach an age and a level of maturity where we finally lose our taste for war, of course –as happens for an old soldier in his own lifetime if he lives long enough, but on a species level. It’s a group-competitive function I’m going on about, so all the groups are going to have make the move together, which makes it unlikely, understatement of the year. We’ll be hoping for a hundredth monkey sort of effect, too bad that’s not a thing; as I said, unlikely in the extreme – but quite impossible if we don’t even identify some sort of crazy goal like that, if we don’t even dream it. Again – this present circumstance, that we in a few tens of thousands of years should progress form killing one another to killing everything in order to do it, the whole globe – was also unlikely in the extreme.

I think the way we find ourselves trying to manage what is left of the wildlife is the beginning. In my first draft of this new world, everything is like that, managed, and yes, it’s the Leftist totalitarian nightmare that kept Ayn Rand and keeps so many freedom lovers awake – but I’m just guessing that. I don’t know, I was raised in this system, same as you.

In a mere fifty years or so, I have produced these few thoughts that I think are sort of new; that’s not easy, I’m extremely proud of myself for these few instances of reason, of putting two and two together. I consider these to be rare events and it’s sad that they mostly happen with no witnesses, in apartments where folks brood alone, but so be it. Happy people are not going to be obsessed with solving the world’s problems if it means first proving what is wrong with the world – perhaps if that had been easier; it should have been the preamble, but I’m almost sixty and I haven’t even started school yet. I’m sorry, did I set the whole thing up as if I had the full vision to offer? Self deception in service of deception, I’m afraid. I hoped I would have one, I’ve been trying to have one, write one, staring at this screen day after day, hoping to see what needs to be laid out, waiting for the lightning . . . Gawd, another stop and a restart, like every McCartney song in concert.

We stop implementing our default, evolved solution for our personal security, which of course is a Red Queen’s game, we are constantly in some unconscious battle training and so are “they,” and I’m not sure what happens – but this response we have, our “strength,” it doesn’t solve anything; the whole plan is to be more of a problem than the other guy, no-one is trying to be less of one. It’s never going to go away if this is what drives it, if we are their army’s raison d’etre.

Huh. I find myself wanting to give that the internet’s shittiest boost: “let that sink in,” which is pathetic, I should be driving it in, right?

How about this – if Steven Pinker is right about the world becoming a less violent place, he doesn’t appear to know why, if he had a solid answer to why, I assume we’d have been hearing about it and there would be a debate, but this is why. Somehow, we must be beating our children a little less, on average. Hard to imagine, watching the news, I know, as bad as things are, they used to be worse. This is where we’re stuck, our evolved situation has us split up into groups and being the other group’s problem is our solution. Could some group, some nation, or some faith, make the change, stop abusing their children and so “weaken” themselves and still be all right, still exist and survive through intelligence rather than aggression? I’m asking that if we do not in every generation reinforce every child’s pre-configuration for conflict and war, won’t they still grow up seeing the dangers and attempting to deal with them? Wouldn’t we still protect our lives and our cultures even if we weren’t abused, even if we weren’t set up to attack theirs? Surely, this is one early version of the dream, possibly more likely than the whole world agreeing at once. Of course, Pinker’s improving world isn’t the whole world, nor is it a single church or nation, and if he’s right, then it is happening nonetheless, somehow incrementally, despite that the human tournament has not been suspended, despite that we are still in competition.

There a little hope and change in that, I guess, but time has run out for evolution to do this for us, for this to happen like Pinker thinks, slowly and cumulatively, maybe automatically. My putting improved dramatically and forever the day I finally realized that no-one was moving the thing but me, that I really did have the power and the responsibility to control that putter head myself. I used to try and hope, I really thought it was a matter of chance. That sounds ridiculous and embarrassing, but it’s true, and to carry that metaphor forward, we discipline our kids and hope for the best, and we all agree it’s a matter of chance. That’s fine if what you want is an excuse after the fact, but if you really wanted to control outcomes, you’d be taking conscious control of the process, because there ain’t nobody else holding that belt other than you either.

Same as my putter.

And I was terrified before I took charge of it too! Honestly, if I thought that awful putting was me, and not some element of chance, I’d have sharpened the end and fallen on it. It was a leap of faith, actually trying and fearing failure when I really had applied myself, a kill or cure sort of situation, but like the golfers say, playing well solves everything. Of course, that awful putting was me, who else? But the difference is me conscious about it, nothing else, and again, embarrassing, what could be more obvious, who else did I think was waving my putter around in a jerky figure eight pattern? It’s nowhere near as obvious in the larger conversation, the connections between our discipline and the chaos of the human world, so no shame we’re here, and the fear is exponentially worse. But the experience will follow the same pattern too.

Embarrassment, amazement, and probably an overwhelming sense of “why didn’t we do this years ago?”

That’s the sign of self-realization, right? And you never really know what it’s going to look like until you get there. I’m sorry if I fell short on the hope and change front, if the problem appears strong and the solution feeble – but I guess that puts me in good company, kind of like the real scientists. I haven’t given up for forever, just for today. I’ll get us there, I hope. Eventually.

 

Jeff

April 11th., 2018

No Room in the Warrior Society

. . . for a boy who won’t fight. I thought I read it in The Nurture Assumption, Judith Rich Harris, but I can’t find it. It may have been in one of some shorter papers I’ve read by her, or one of Steven Pinker’s books, I’ll keep looking, but it was in one of those very popular science books, so the idea is out there. If it was in anything I’ve read, then it wasn’t one of those author’s own papers originally . . . I’ll have to find it to cite it, won’t I? Anyhow, I think the story was in support of the Nurture Assumption’s main idea, that parents do not create child culture, and she describes how in some straight-up forest warrior society, that warrior training occurs in boyhood and timid, won’t fight sorts of boys are abused and goaded into fighting. Those that never do, in this group, according to these anthropologists – Mead? The Yanomamo? – those that never return the blows, are killed as the logical end of the process of fighting them to make them fight. I believe it was the author’s punch line I’m paraphrasing in my opening. No room for weak links, we might need you some day.

Not that I think it would have helped, but I wish I’d had a man around to tell me that fifty-some years ago. Between that and a little info on inherent family conflicts, maybe I would have had a chance not to believe everything Momma tol’ me.

I’ve been a good boy, tried hard and mostly succeeded, but by women’s standards, abused women’s standards. In the boys’ culture of game theory, in the warrior society where I’m supposed to be a man, I am useless. I mean, I passed the tests, the boys’ tests, when I was little, I was a fearless little Irish terror for a while there, but that ended at the beginning of puberty, apparently. The fights I got into after I was twelve or so, I never had any interest in, and I talked the fellow down when I could and avoided him if it seemed like the encounter was destined to imprint the warrior life on my pretty young face. I absolutely let fear rule my life, I switched high schools once and wound up giving up school entirely after that. There were other reasons, but that was absolutely one of them. I just realized something.

I never fantasized winning the fights I avoided.

I mean, I fantasize fight situations, I’m a man, I run little simulations, I tell myself that if some badass walked in my door to do me in, that I would have a chance, a plan – but I don’t think I have ever had a daydream where I won a fight against these bullies from my life. Realism may be a factor, I really had zero chance, size, experience, and everything else would have been a hundred to one sort of a thing. My only chance would have been to surprise them with a knife or something, and even then, size and experience. Plus, these dudes guaranteed had switchblades of their own – and experience. But to never fantasize a thing like that? My gonads aren’t working, right? I lived in terror, changed my life – but I wouldn’t want the fight even if I knew I could win it. It’s not like I’ve been going around getting into fights I think I can win either! Are we there yet?

No room for me in this world, is what I’m saying. No room for a man who won’t be a man. Maybe I was nine or ten when I stopped fighting, it was one my childhood experiments, I guess I thought I’d try to unload on someone.

There was this Zeta (I better look that up too) juvenile male, the one everybody seemed to unload on, it seemed that everyone beat this kid, I don’t know why, but he was my age, nine, ten, and he looked like The Battler already, anything that was going to flatten out or break on Rodney’s face already was, you know? This is certainly an unfair characterization; it’s a childhood memory and I know I’m using Rodney now for my own ends. I’m sorry, Rod, if you’re still out there. All I really remember is his wide forehead and hard, sharp nose – he kept his chin tucked, I guess. I’m not happy with my impulse in this story, all I can say is, I’m happy it only happened once.

I decided I would unload on this kid, that I would give beating someone up a try, see if I liked it or something. I don’t think I thought “unload” at the time, that’s how I see it now, having taken from schooling from the Master of Stress, Dr. Robert Sapolsky. I found him after school or something, cornered him and started throwing punches at him, hurting my hands on him and then I just had this WTF am I doing moment right in the middle of it and I stopped, apologized, told him I had no idea why I was doing it and I think I promised him he’d have no more to worry about from me. I think I also realized at that moment that he was five times tougher than me, and to this day I count myself very lucky he didn’t turn the fight around and give me the stomping I deserved.

It looks like deep wisdom to me now, Rodney, you schooled me, let he who is without sin, kind of thing. You were a huge influence on my mind and my life – is it Brown, Rodney Brown? White guy, Mount Pleasant Elementary, around 1970? I was a fledgling bully for a second there, and my first victim was an experienced one, a goddam expert. Maybe I’m giving too much credit, but the last guy in the world who had any obligation to be modelling peace for anybody accepted my apology and that was the end of it, which, in hindsight was Mandela-esque. I don’t know how life’s been or if you’re still out there, but you sure did right by me, even if I’m romanticizing your agency in the matter. You probably had fighting back thoroughly beaten out of you, no doubt what made you so attractive as a victim, right?

You hear that? Me, thanking Rodney and the Academy for my pacifism?

Truth to tell, I lost track a little there, memories intruding; I was supposed to be complaining about my low-T, not bragging, but that’s it, isn’t it? I’m talking about the downsides of my own attitudes. I have a low testosterone attitude, and proud as I may be of it, society doesn’t reward that sort of thing – just abused terrified women like to encourage that sort of thing, for obvious, understandable sorts of reasons, that don’t help me in my situation at all. So here I am today, with a fuzzy, half-formed consciousness of the origin of my passivity, and I know it exists for someone else’s survival strategy and is almost certainly detrimental to my own, meaning my morality is the morality provided for me by abused and fearful women, it’s all based on the idea that men are beasts or something and all their desires should be denied, me and mine expressly included – what are my options?

I’ve said it before: I looked at something I oughtn’t to have. Having questioned punishing, and so force and dominance, all of that, I don’t really think I have the option of just changing my mind, I mean it’s not a change of mind, it’s a learning thing. I am not going to just start trying to dominate anyone (sorry – it’s coming up soon, I mean I can’t start exercising any traditional male power in my family now, having never done so before. I found myself with no place in my female household, and standing up and demanding one wasn’t going to get me one the same way just complaining and asking didn’t), bring the people around me around to my way of thinking, like some young man who simply believes in himself, simply believes he deserves to and should dominate anyone. Even if I need some control to mitigate my own stress, even so, my having some share of dominance may be a biological need for me, I have seen the downside of that sort of attitude in the world, and it is no longer available to me. It always comes back to Bluebeard for me, you’ll never get any killin’ done if you go around thinking all the time – this is a piece of social sort of advice that I simply cannot take. I assume Sapolsky has come to the same conclusion, he seems to be a genuine fellow, despite of, or because of his revelation that he and all his famous professor author peers are alpha types.

In practical terms, it means the MRAs and the howl at the moon sorts of men’s retreats are exactly the opposite of what I’m looking for, save your invitations to the brotherhood. More importantly in my personal life, because those guys are not going to be part of it, it means I didn’t and can’t sit my girls down and tell them how it is going to be, I cannot make anything happen, despite that it seems to mean that the right thing isn’t happening, despite that all our lives are destroyed because an adult has supported a child’s decision rather than making an adult one themselves. I know I’m talking about both of my kids’ parents, I know it was an immature sort of decision of mine to abstain from my male power, a shirking of the responsibility for that power . . . should I have been normal? Should I have dominated my girls, which is normal, to make sure something like this could never happen to me, that I would get voted off the island and my kids would somehow have been used to do it? You know what it means, right?

Maybe my kid would have been domesticated, maybe when her teen conflict came up, she’d have toed the line and submitted, stayed home and in school – and maybe not. How much of the choice I didn’t make is right and proper and works for our goals, and how many of those folks’ kids simply move out into poverty? In those terms, I can’t and couldn’t make a different decision either. I had given up the option to act like a man and put my foot down about anything at the start of the child-rearing experience. That wasn’t going to be a solution at this late juncture, in fact, the girls all seemed to think that’s what I was doing already, or that I was getting ready to, and so any manly thing I might attempt would only prove their case; I did raise my voice a few times and it was over, they feared things were going to get worse and they had me leave, “to get better and then come back.” They’ve made it clear that they feel my attempts to communicate with them as manipulative and aggressive, so for me to prove I’m not trying to hurt them, I am left only the option of never speaking to them again – and I am very committed to proving it to them, so there we are. I love you girls, and to prove it, I’m going to do what you say and take half our money and leave forever.

(To my mind, that is sort of the fatal, mountain to climb to forgive sort of a sin, that they cut off communication with me. It was clear to me immediately that both there was nothing to “get better and go back” to, I’d given away my spot and my voice was forbidden, and that “getting better” from this, being abandoned by the family during a breakdown, wasn’t the most likely outcome. I begged them on this basis, to deaf ears. I know, they were scared, and if I have to tell you that knowing it was their fear, my wife’s fear that was the matter helped me not a fucking bit, then welcome to the second level of the conversation. You may defer to her fears if you wish, they have nearly killed me, and the outcome is not yet assured.)

I’m not looking for sympathy and I’m not trying to recruit anyone to my side of my divorce fight, I’m only laying it out to demonstrate what happens to a man who won’t play the dominance game, a man who recuses himself of authority, a boy who doesn’t fight. OK, there is something under my skin. We’re invisible too, boys who don’t fight. Life sucks for us because we are like Pit Bulls, it’s not what we do, it’s what we can do – I recused myself from the rewards that a strong man receives, but recusing one’s self from the liabilities, that doesn’t seem to be in my power. My soon to be ex-wife never seems to have understood or believed me that that is what I am, despite that I am the only man she ever heard of who wouldn’t so much as “pat a kid on the bum,” as they say.

All men must be treated as armed and dangerous, we must all be muzzled, apparently, and a life of good behaviour doesn’t change that. I gave it up for nothing, a liberal principle, and my daughters are as fearful of men as they were evolved to be, as though I had beaten them spare. There is a whole lot more to it, mostly just more reasons why they couldn’t have felt otherwise and maybe more of me saying I couldn’t have thought otherwise, a lot of reasons why I need to find a new way forward. Men are indeed dangerous and I worry that by responding to my ouster with passivity and obedience, I am teaching my girls a lesson that will get them hurt the next time they attempt it with some more regular fellow. It was an experiment, my life. It was looking like a spectacular success until suddenly it was over.

I hope the results can help someone someday, because the cost of this experiment was the quality of life for all of us.

 

 

 

Jeff

September 15th., 2017

Knowledge of Good and Evil

            A Question for Bible Scholars

            and

            An Answer for Everyone

 

Someone who knows the ancient Hebrew, the ancient Greek, someone help me. Is this a possible matter of interpretation or translation? I refer you to the very second Book, Genesis Two, and

“. . . the tree of knowledge of good and evil . . .” and “. . . the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

My train of thought has brought me to a mindset where a very small tweak to that bit of scripture might have tremendous explanatory power. What if – and yes, only a “just so” story without some support from ancient language experts – but what if the original idea was more like “. . . the technology of good and evil . . .” – like the knowledge of how to work with good and evil?

I’ve said it elsewhere recently, I know.

I also said this was the original sin, gaining this knowledge – or perhaps rather, developing this technology – and if it’s a technology, is it a sin to turn evil to good? It makes more sense to me that our first sin was the other technology, that we learned to turn good to evil, to turn sweet little babies into soldiers, creating warrior sorts of human groups like the ones who wrote those early Hebrew scriptures. Hmmm. Perfect segue, rare for me.

The technology in question is child abuse, and the data is in: rough treatment in childhood makes for rough adults. This is available knowledge today, out there, poised for the hundredth monkey to pick it up, and all before I made a penny off it of course, but here it is again, for free: childhood is rough in the warrior societies, that is an equation: rough childhood = warrior society. “Warrior society,” though, just what is that, really?

Google the term, you’ll see references to American aboriginal tribes, maybe the Samurai culture, maybe you’ll wind up in Klingon space.

What you won’t perhaps see is any reference to white people, to our own WEIRD selves. Apparently, the peaceful societies of England, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Genoa, Venice, etc., mowed down every “warrior culture” on the planet without being warriors themselves. Amazing, isn’t it? Those warriors didn’t know how to fight! It’s a good thing our Christian “religious society” came along to teach them, huh? I guess if I can scream it with sarcasm, I can also just say it.

“Warrior society” is a racist term.

It’s one of those things “they” (people outside of our group or in another group) have and “we” (people in our own social group) don’t. “They” are a warrior society, “we” just desire security. They are a warrior society – one dimensional, all they do if fight – while we “stand to defend” all that is right and proper, all that other stuff that is what we like to say we’re really all about.

If the world has “warrior societies,” then we all are, or those of us who are not are feeding the crops of those who are, game theory one-oh-one, right? They all are, they all must be. Otherwise what’s the narrative – “we used to have all these warrior societies, but we killed them all and now we’re all peaceful?” If you eat predators, you’re a super-predator; if you kill warriors, you are a super-warrior.

You got a border, you got an army? Then “you’re a gangster now, and there are no late starters” – Carlito’s Way. Particularly if you win the wars, you are a warrior society, again – this is real life, not some evolutionary amateur hour. I’m sorry – “you,” I said? I’m sorry, it’s “we, we, us – white people, Europeans.” We are a warrior society, in fact, human societies are warrior societies. And this is why we know in our bones that children must “be taught right from wrong” – because of that lowlife warrior society next door, that we have to keep kicking their asses forever, because the fools never learn. Damnit. I wish I could say “irony” without ruining it, but, well . . . there it is. (“Ian Malcolm,” Jurassic Park.)

It’s not about smarts so much either, aggression is not intelligence and violence is not intelligence. It’s not about smarts, because if you can slaughter an entire continent of warrior societies and still tell yourself you’re a peacemaker, or an “information society,” or some crap, then you’re a great bunch of warriors, but let’s face it.

You’re not too fucking bright.

 

Jeff

Aug. 1st., 2017

A Scientific Foundation (for the Gentle Parenting Movement)

So that’s it then, I’m at the end of it.
The gentle parenting movement – a generic term, not sure anyone’s identifying this way – is largely an emotional response and it seems to restart in every generation. It needs a basis in science, and here’s a secret: if it gets one, it will reign sovereign over all parenting ideas to date because it will be the only parenting idea that ever did get one. OK, that’s not strictly true in a few senses, and even when it’s all laid out we’ll still have options, choices to make, but I’m jumping ahead. We need some science to back us up; I’m afraid a good heart and psychology hasn’t been enough.
When our stories our all told and the old view is unscratched, they are going to hit us with the gotcha question of why, why be so patient and gentle, what is the harm of a “pat on the bum?” This has been difficult to answer, and I’m sorry, our answers haven’t convinced them. Not only that, they don’t convince our kids to do it our way either: if the authoritatives of the world are keeping score, then they are winning a blowout, a no contest. Their story took over the world long before any of us were born. Another secret: science will back them up.
Surprised? Me too, let me clarify. Science will back them up, but it hasn’t yet, as I declared off the top. It will, but they don’t know about it yet, no-one does. My science will make sense of what they are doing, show the punishing parenting behaviour to be logical and biological – and it will show us the options we may have. Back to the question, why? My science, my answers:
Antisocialization is why, our false origin stories are why, and the write-protected status of this behaviour shows it to be terribly important by the near universal unconsciousness of it insured by an obfuscating social meme, the “consequences” rationale. Short version: our punishments do not “control” some default wildness or violence, quite the reverse. Antisocialization Theory shows humans to leverage abuse and our epigenetic options for it to enhance our own violent capabilities and impulses. So, here’s what we can say when they ask why: humans do that to create violence, and we do not wish violence for our children.
It’s what we’ve always said . . . but it’s been, I’m sorry, a belief system. Now, maybe for the first time, we’ve got a capital “T” Theory.
I am amazed, honestly. I never imagined I could build a story to support half of the namby pamby things the psychology and heaven on Earth types imagine, but that’s how it’s worked out. Original sin, even a biological, Darwinian version of it, is false, backwards. The logic of AST proves that we know ourselves to be born lacking aggression and we have found a way to solve that problem. That’s almost funny, that aspect, because today we have this low self image, we imagine our natures to be worse than our dreams because we are born violent, lustful, uncontrolled, when in fact, AST shows that we began this punishing behaviour in the past because we imagined our natures to be worse than our dreams because we were too passive, not violent enough to survive some competitive aboriginal situation.
But again, I’m at the end. It’s been nearly a two-year diversion where I was compelled to take a stab at answering the question, “why not spank our children” with more than blank slate, built-in naïve psychology, and again, surprised and amazed myself, success beyond my wildest dreams.
It remains to be seen whether I’m re-inventing the wheel with it, whether anyone’s doing this sort of work. I keep asking various luminaries if they have heard of this sort of work, and no-one’s suing me yet, so, I’ll carry on.

Jeff
June 7th., 2017