Altruism

I suppose Wikipedia is twenty years behind the times, and not a full collection of all human knowledge up to this minute, but I think I’ve got another theory, a better explanation for altruism, at least for some sorts of creatures.

The most basic definition of altruism there says it’s when a creature does something at some cost to itself and its chances in the world to improve the lot of another individual and/or their chances (for survival, reproduction, etc.). The definition itself shows the biologists’ lens for viewing the world, a creature helps another individual – biology views everything as from the point of view of individual creatures, or that creature’s genes.

There was some group talk, the suggestion that groups of creatures that practice this one on one altruism perhaps get a competitive leg up on groups of that sort of creature that behave less selflessly.

OK.

My other theory suggests that other behaviours produce their fruits at the group level, and that these can be higher priority behaviours than “individually” motivated ones, and I’m now trying out the idea that the group will best explain altruism as well – whups, sorry. I haven’t finished the definitions.

Generally, biology seems skeptical, the evolutionists are not sure “real” altruism exists, meaning that they seem to feel it must add up to an advantage to the altruistic giver somehow, or it would not be selected for, or it wouldn’t, what is it, exist. They go to perhaps the group idea above. Trivers’ reciprocal altruism would seem to redefine it that way, a fairly demonstrable quid pro quo between group members, exactly as stated above, giving their group an advantage over other groups. I’m not refuting these ideas, they’re great, and I haven’t developed my idea yet! Here goes.

Continuing the train of thought I’ve been on, it’s about alphas and the age-old problem of living with them. I think I typed it somewhere this week: what if altruism is a strategy developed by non-alphas to limit and contain the violent chaos of the alphas? What if doing unto others is beta society’s answer to the king’s random violence and narcissism, the stuff of the social bond that enables any sort of society at all? It suddenly occurred to me that when we observe the alphas’ rule in nature among horses or primates, that we are doing just that, going outside and observing what the eternal rule of the alphas produces, and then we go back indoors to the world the betas were able to produce, through affiliation and cooperation, to read and write about it, by portable lights.

If this is the function, or an important function, then it’s a group related thing, but not the whole family group, perhaps. Perhaps alphas are full time cheaters and so are left of any deal-making done among the betas, and it is perhaps not so much a group strategy then as a status strategy, a class strategy, and then one can start to ponder what it means across multiple groups. Now it doesn’t appear that among the baboons or the chimpanzees, the other primates, that it’s the king starting the raids, it looks with the chimpanzees like a band of brothers – but perhaps someone can enlighten me? Is the alpha part of the chimp raiding party, and is he an instigator as he seems to be in the human case? It may be difficult to find primate stories of alphas starting trouble and betas working together to control them, but it’s not a hard fantasy to conjure for us, is it?

A couple of alphas, or would be alphas beating their chests and going straight to madman doomsday scenarios before they ever speak on the phone, and betas on both sides scrambling to save their asses and not minding at all cooperating across borders to do it, whenever possible? (Ha! No-one tell Rodman I said he was a beta, OK?)

This is going to be my new filter for a while. I’ll be looking at things this way, alphas and betas, game theory is for alphas and altruism is for betas. There’s a world of dichotomies in there, maybe. America is caught up in an alpha fantasy, amplified by its enemies, and it elected an alpha to the highest office, something that always means a dark period in history. Nations need their alphas, and alphas will find their way to power anyways, but nations are huge things these days, way beyond our evolved meme of the tribe, which is about a hundred and fifty people. You place your alphas in the military, you give them anything upwards of a hundred and fifty people to push around, and the betas get back to the drawing board, trying to also contain the other nations’ alphas. Altruism.

There’s a book in this, but I’m writing jacket covers these days, apparently.

Mind you, the book’s already been written, at least somebody seems to know how some of this stuff works, even if it’s only the Russian intelligence community.

Whaddayathink? Idiocy?

Genius?

This is my note to myself to think about this, write something later. If anybody’s read it elsewhere, I hope you’ll tell me.

 

Jeff

Nov. 29th., 2017

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Alpha-ism

Damnit, America, actual elites are bad enough, you had to go and replace them with this gutter slime? That’s what was wrong with our overlords, they were just too damned nice and affiliative, right? Fuck Political Correctness?

I’m sorry. Twitter rage.

It’s all one.

The stolen presidency, the Russian influence on social media, the apparent ubiquity of men overstepping their bounds with women.

America had hypermasculinity before, but the myth of America, anything that was any good about America – it wasn’t this alpha-ism, this brutality that isn’t different from what it is among our primate cousins. The PR version, the face of America was of a benevolent beta, someone who stood as a bulwark against the knuckle dragging alphas of the world. America carried a big stick, but it spoke softly, and friendship and tolerance were possible, apparently achievable goals.

I said it in a tweet, yesterday or today, so I needed to flesh it out a bit: it wasn’t these hammerhead alphas that made humans what they are, that helped us dominate this world and create anything that may have been decent about people, and for evidence, I point to every other species, mammalian, primate, what have you, any species plagued by these alphas and ask you to show me how that caused them these huge brains and these skyscrapers. You wanna organize anything, you need to reign those random, self-serving idiots in, and somehow humans do that, sometimes. We’re evolved that these are our leaders, these alphas, and really, if one of them can get his paws on you, you’d better do as he says, but humankind has moved beyond that bit of our hardware. We know we need better than pre-tool alphas to lead us anywhere we want to go these days.

Except right here and now, in “the West,” apparently. I do think this alpha-ism is imported. I’m not very religious, but I’m a cultural Christian, and I do believe that if there were a Satan trying to lead us off of an eternal moral cliff, that he would play to men and their masculinity, that form of vanity – which, of course, the totalitarian dictates of bronze age warrior tribes naturally support whole-heartedly. So whole heartedly in fact, that modern ideas about statutory rape doesn’t seem to put a dent in it for a lot of people. So, this was the attempted message of my previous blog, that somehow a hundred people at least began to read:

Alphas are not leaders in today’s world.

Your sports heroes, movie heroes, mythological heroes – they have elements of the alpha, and that’s how our patriarchal leaders talk about it, but these heroes are all in combat situations, they are heroes because they win fights, now that is absolutely an alpha trait – this is what alphas do. You elect one of these, or a troop of idiots who think they’re all alphas – and they will take you straight into a fight. It’s the only place they look any good, and that’s all they care about.

Gonna end this one with a question:

Is that the way to divide our politics? Not so much Keynes VS Hayek or Marx VS Smith, but alphas VS betas?

That’s worth its own blog, I think.

 

Jeff

Nov. 24th, 2017

 TRUMP & ANTISOCIALIZATION THEORY:

 TRUMP & ANTISOCIALIZATION THEORY:

 

War is Coming

 

I’m a little burned about it, just as I figure out this antisocialization business, along comes TrumPutin to make it completely fucking obvious to anyone with a TV or a phone, but just in case it still isn’t . . . maybe I am the first and only one to see what it is a monster like Trump intuits so well: abuse makes shit happen. Mock my words, the abuse and the criminal legislation this administration are dishing out only leads one direction, to war. All I see all day long on Twitter, is “why, why, why?” and “it makes no sense,” but I’m here to tell you folks.

It makes sense, in fact, it makes perfect sense.

Not “good” sense, I mean in the moral sense, in the positive sense of “good,” but it makes perfect “bad” sense. People don’t see bad sense, we don’t want to or something, but the logic is clear when you do.

There is a single theme, a single result that is behind everything this administration does, and it is not life, liberals. “Why, why, why?” is death, death, death. What else is common behind these things – healthcare repeal, the potato famine response to Puerto Rico, the talk of war in the Pacific, and then the tax reductions that again bring healthcare negligence? Antisocialization theory says that when a randomly violent alpha male says, “tremendous number of deaths,” we should believe he picked his adjective according to his heart. These are big, easy examples, but look at everything: still calling to execute the Central Park Five AFTER their exoneration – class?

Theme?

OK, I won’t press. As to why, why, why would that be a goal for anyone, in concrete terms, I can’t imagine. I think I have some ideas about the roots of this sort of thing, but why this, now, I don’t know. Guesses include the New World Order conspiracy theory, that our overlords have determined that for life to be sustainable in a good way in this planet, most of us have to die. Alternatively, maybe Trump really is Putin’s mindless, blind weapon to destroy the West that has betrayed Russia so many times. So, I’m not sure, directed, conscious death from the illuminati, or blind, mindless death from the place where Trump’s mind would have been were he fully human, or something else almost certainly, because why would I know? – but follow the signs, see what direction makes sense of it all. Death, death, death. It’s the only common denominator.

Maybe to let “all politicians” off the hook, because like HST, I’d trade these ones in for Nixon in a second, because I’m not saying all the Republicans or all the politicians are death cultists, I’ll share some speculation, my theory that repealing healthcare began as an opposition talking point and never would have been policy if life had not somehow conspired to install Nazis in the White House who pounced on it opportunistically. Negative forces were in play before this, but in hindsight, there was something like balance. I mean, compared to this. It was such an opportunity for deaths!

Tremendous opportunity!

When the head of an organization is an abuser, it’s horrible to work there and everyone becomes irritable. Stress hurts and causes an increase in the stress and pain we in turn dish out when we break down – that is my “antisocialization theory,” a slight re-wording of Sapolsky’s revelations about stress. He said that pain and fear cause stress that hurts out health and that deflecting it and passing it on makes us feel better, and measurably so. It means a horrible simple thing, that abuse makes us abusers, that all anyone need do to make us worse is treat us bad, it’s the simplest, most depressing technology we have. Treat us poorly enough and we will go to war.

This is what it means when we perceive that “the system was here before Trump,” not the existing Republican Party, but the existing human being and all of our institutions. Trump, just like every warlord and fascist and mass murderer before him is the occasional frontal-lobe deficient monster who understands this in the wrong way, as a lever to use, rather than the way the rest of us see it, as exactly what NOT doing is what defines us as being human. Liberals in the broadest sense, meaning civilized, modern people, even conservatives from a decade or two back, live to mitigate our basest urges – but not this administration.

If you still think this is more of the same, if you can’t see the sense in this administration’s activities, the consistency in all that they say and do, try this on – does it promote death? Need more examples?

NRA/gun laws (OK, not new, but already consistent)

Climate change shirking, Paris Agreement

Abortion/BC (not new, but like healthcare, rhetoric now become reality)

 

OK, enough for one sitting. Resist!

 

Jeff,

Nov. 17th., 2017

A Little Blow-back from the Nurturists

                                                or

            A caution for the Behavioral Geneticists

 

. . .  until we hear one of these PhDs say, “people used to think everything came from the environment” or some such thing – a whole century.

Robert Plomin, in a 12-minute introduction to behavioral genetics, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGsgA5mldZw&feature=youtu.be&spfreload=1

The irony is a screw, we come around the circle to another circle, one layer further along: genes are traits now, but what people “used to think” is a micro-niche environment that has existed for four or five generations, the psychology departments at universities. “The environment is powerless!” they scream to the academic environment, to free themselves from the century old environment of left-wing academia that has apparently disenfranchised our genes and the nature-heavy truth of the universe.

We need to stop doing our anthropology on our own very WEIRD selves. Humans did not “used to think” this, our subjects never thought this, only the few in the psychology departments, and that is not representative of human behaviour and belief. Find me a grandfather who doesn’t believe in heredity, find me a family where they don’t have a lot of firm ideas about who among the young is just like who among the old. People have always thought “nature” in this argument, except in one aspect, one vector, and that is discipline – sorry, my thing, not the subject today.

I’m a little frustrated and pissy today, so I’ll spell it out: nature is not some new discovery in this debate, everybody knows it, everyone has always known it, what do we think all this bloodline and inheritance stuff is about?

We have not discovered Nature, nor invented it, and so behavior geneticists are not so clearly on the new and secular, science and truth side of this argument.

It’s a serious liability to our optics that apparently, we brilliant scientists think the world is only a hundred years old and we think the liberal sciences are the world’s ancient evil that needs to be destroyed. Long before the ancient voices screaming against all modern science, social science included, have begun to quiet down, it looks miserable and fractious that the most recent scientific disciplines have added their voices to that prehistoric chorus. They’re coming for the universities in America, the fundamentalists and the fascists are coming for them, and the biologists are literally inviting them – yes, talking about the new Berkeley riots.

Please, nerd, boffin biologists, we’ve been looking through the microscope too long, let’s pull back, let our eyes adjust and have a look around. We’ve somehow wound up on the wrong side of the important debates. Do we not know there’s a war on and an election coming? Do we think that now, when fascism is on the rise, this is the time that humanist science requires criticism from on-campus as well? Ancient forces, the perpetual human warrior society, these forces are using you. “Nature” is new?

Seriously?

How old are you guys, talking and arguing, and spreading the word? Still in school? Keep your battles on campus, it’s science, don’t we say that? It’s not supposed to be about public opinion.

 

Jeff

July 12th., 2017

The Carrot and the Stick – The Irony of Deterrents Part #5

This series is intended to clarify the role and the efficacy of our use of deterrents, both in our households as a parenting tool and in society as a major premise upon which we have based our approach to criminal justice. Here’s the rest of the series:

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/10/22/law-and-order-the-irony-of-deterrents-part-2/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/11/06/the-irony-of-deterrents-part-3/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/11/27/prisons-and-bad-neighborhoods-the-irony-of-deterrents-part-4/

(Part #1 sucked . . . you can find it on my blog, there’s a search button – but you’re not missing much.)

My premise is this:

When a deterrent works, when someone chooses not to engage in ‘naughty’ or criminal behaviour, then that’s terrific, it’s all good. A child may feel some betrayal at hearing that his caregivers are prepared to hurt him, and in a better world that would be a problem to solve, but in this world we have bigger fish to fry, namely the actual hurt that happens all too often.

It is when the deterrent fails that needs to be looked at, because actual, real world punishments have been shown to increase childhood misbehaviours in the longer term, and it follows that this is also the case in the world of adult criminality. In fact, our “legitimate” punishments cause the very same suite of damages that we all know illicit abuse causes, and so the failure of a deterrent isn’t simply a failure and the lack of a positive outcome, but a net decrease in the quality of life in our families and in our society. It’s a negative.

Our punishments are hurting us. Sounds like a no-brainer when we say it like that, doesn’t it?

We like to talk a lot about rehabilitation, the non-liberals consider that its success rate isn’t good enough and that as such, simply means a waste of money and resources, while the liberals consider it to be important, and if it gets a few percent of people out of the criminal life and the criminal justice system, then we owe to all criminals to try it. I’m here to tell you that rehabilitation isn’t what is failing.

What is failing is not the carrot, but the stick.

If someone wants to explain to me why giving someone an education or a trade won’t work, they’ll need to do something.

They’ll need to show that rehabilitation, when administered alone, without being accompanied by abuse, is failing. We know what abuse and fear does do people, and what it does, how to put this . . . what it does is not this: make people happier, less violent, less addicted and smarter. Personally, I see all punishment as abuse, but for this argument, I’ll settle for this: prison is abuse. Prisons are violent, terrifying places where there is danger in every shadow. We mostly think that’s a good thing, because that is where the deterrent lies, but this being my point in this series: when it’s a threat or a promise, it’s a deterrent. When it’s reality, it’s abuse, and damaging to those living in it.

Rehabilitation is an attempt towards improvement in a person’s performance in society; the abuse of life in prison is almost a guarantee of no such improvement, in fact, as stated in the film “Blow” as well as everywhere, prison is Crime University. That is the education many convicts get, along with the abuse that we know is the best way make people meaner and less interested in the legitimate life of lawful society. So these two ideas are diametrically opposed: if we really wanted to rehabilitate anyone, we wouldn’t abuse them before, throughout, and after their rehab program. Think of it in terms of how the kids in school with the most abusive, violent parents don’t all grow up to be the doctors and leaders, how abuse and corporal punishments have been shown, over and over, to negatively impact cognition and grades. In that sense, the hard-liners of public policy are correct: doing both of these things is mostly a waste of our money and time. It’s just that it’s not the rehab that’s at fault. It’s not the carrot that’s eating all of our resources. It’s the stick.

All that money we’re spending on abuse, and it’s creating crime, making criminals worse, because that’s what abuse does. If we want to see what can be done with the carrot – with an offer of a life for these people – we need to give the carrot without employing the stick at the same time, rehabilitation OR abuse. We need to make our prisons safe for our inmates, is what I’m saying. Sure we need to lock some dangerous folks up, but let’s spend that money a little smarter, and lock them up in such a way where they have a chance to improve themselves, make them safe from one another, more space, individual quarters.

Sure it’s more money, but it’s money with a return. The money we’re spending now is only creating crime in the long run.

Authority is the Problem.

Muslim extremists, Zionist extremists, Christian ones, Buddhists – people, the extremism is in the authority, not in the flavour. This one takes your refusal to eat what they allow as a reason to punish or kill you, that one some other reason, the common denominator, the really bad thing with all these attitudes is the punishing part, the killing part, the authority. So the Christian authorities decry Muslim “extremism” (read “authoritarianism”), but they won’t ever decry authority, because they enjoy their own too much.

Folks, let’s don’t be divided and conquered in this way. Eyes open – it is authority that is the problem, power and force. If you are going to kill me for some behaviour of mine, then it is irrelevant to me what the name of your God is. What is relevant to me is that you are a killer, that you think you have the right to bring punishments down on me. The brand of psychosis you have is a minor detail, Christian, Muslim, whatever. Authority – the idea that some people have the right to control others – that is the problem. That is the core belief all of our authorities share, Christian, Muslim, whatever. And they’ve all struck a deal with one another that they will never talk about that.

(The above argument regarding authoritarianism versus the world’s great religions’ versions of authority also applies to political systems. It is the nearly impossible to kill kernel of authority that turned the great Communist experiments into oppressive dictatorships, just as it has with so many non-socialist societies. Muslim, Christian, Capitalist, Communist, doesn’t matter: the common thread, and what should be the obvious evil, is authority.)

I hate to tell you: belief in authority, that is even more impossible to cure than belief in religion. It’s the basis of religious belief. All religions are a set of rules to follow to achieve some spiritual end, and acceptance that life is about authority is a prerequisite to believing that, a rule, and a punishment or a reward for it. Now here’s the thing.

Authority is a necessary evil. Adults need to control their babies, for their own good. We’re responsible for them, and they’re helpless and clueless, so there’s no talking to them. Sometimes parents need to act unilaterally, and in that way, authority can be a necessary thing for the survival of babies and young children.

After that?

After that, authority exists in a state of arrested development, or rather, it has us trapped in a state of arrested development. If we raise our kids right, they don’t need someone telling them what to do and how to live. A human being that has successfully matured to adulthood should be able to operate autonomously and cooperate autonomously. If we raised each other right, we could live in a world run with reason and communication alone. The reason we can’t is because we are all damaged and made stupid by authority and its abuses. The science is in regarding abuse and corporal punishment which are the tools of authority: it’s damaging us.

Without this damage, the world would not be full of screwed up, evil people who can only get the things they want done by way of authority, because the things they want to do aren’t supportable by logic, reason, morality or communication. If the things you want are social or economic inequality (power or wealth), then you’ll need authority for that. Healthy, mature, intelligent human beings probably won’t give you that willingly and consciously. For a world with lessening inequality, for us to develop normally, individually and collectively, we need to wean ourselves off of this belief in authority. It’s holding us back. Individually, and as a species, we are not growing up as long as we’re buying into the system of authority.