Here’s me first getting the idea of the human workaround, our system to have more abuse than we might want to give our own children. It starts a bit slow, but since I’m thinking out loud maybe it’s clearer, you can see the steps I often fail to show.
But it’s here below, in short form. Don’t torture yourself.
Variations on the theme . . . not mandatory:
This has the idea in it and an example of ‘workarounds for Nature.’ I’m embarrassed, there’s some stupid petulance in here about a great person, and I’m an idiot. It has more of the foolishness than the good stuff, but the good stuff, unfortunately seems important.
The idea is, folks want to be nice to their kids, but our lifestyle seems to require humans that have learned a lot of hard lessons – so we have institutions, professional teachers and childminders to deliver them. Unrelated adults are utilized for this, allowing many parents to live in line with relatedness theory, bringing a prosocial mix to their children and their childrearing, while still insuring that most people are tempered for the rough purposes of the group. I mean, it’s what the children’s group does too, and it too is many times larger today in many places than in the deep past and full of entirely unrelated kids.
You know, that needs a name.
I have already coined the antisocialization theory of war, this isn’t quite on the same order, let’s see, it’s a workaround to defeat a natural, evolved trait, specifically social theory, so it’s an ‘anti’ again, like antigravity, antidepressants, and surely not antisocial, so it’s anti-relatedness? The antisocialization theory of surrogacy?
Maybe, I don’t hate it immediately. OMG, why do I love these moments, this is my problem, that I love to say the opposite of what everyone wants to hear –
It takes a village – to brutalize a child, when social theory says the parents alone might not have the stomach for it.
– this view of life – mine, not Darwin’s, though his includes mine if anyone knew it – this view of life turns everything upside-down. But put those two things together, this is what you get, all the common wisdom that is supposed to keep us peaceful is all in place, and we are not peaceful, it’s all like this, and means the opposite of what we think it does. Was ‘it takes a village’ supposed to mean it takes that many to control a child? That many to teach empathy? I’m afraid the sad, dark outlook of AST is what explains it, it takes those more unrelated people to abuse, to grow a useful, ‘mature’ human – oops, that’s leaking into part four, that ‘maturity’ for us is a matter of our antisocialization and not really a breeding thing at all.
I say it often, I need to, it’s not happy – but at least things make some sense from here.
I think maybe we’ll go with that accidental segue, the links are long, this was intended as a cliff notes version.
This is a change, this blog is previously published, under the second title, perhaps in the middle of part two, I’ve just been confused about where it belongs. I announce in what is now the second one, part one, that I am beginning, well, this must come first, first as the mission statement, but also that the content simply precedes, there is some past event before we meet our fist modern baby.
The mission? To debunk the Human Nature myth and write a new beginning, a new origin story, where we are innocent and do not deserve the nightmare we have created for ourselves and everything else.
It comes up regularly, a few times a year I try to imagine how all this human nonsense began, how we chimps learned to spank and war. I was on about it again in the very latest blog, part two of the current series, trying to convince myself that the details of the First Spanking, the beginning of our human invention, self-antisocialization, don’t matter, declaring that it happened, accept it, move on – ha. There’s always some point where every crackpot fails, isn’t there.
Actually, it matters greatly in one sense, not in particulars, but in the sense that it was an accident, this might be the entire point of my whole deal, the kernel of innocence I require to write my new origin story. Something like this, an “innocent,” or accidental First Spanking, First Abuse story, and our difference, our uniqueness, our Fallen State, if you will, is only a response, our response to abuse that, hey, perhaps as today in a sense, abuse no-one really meant to do? That response being scar tissue, desensitization, perhaps the repetition of repression as per Alice Miller and such.
I mean, not that infanticide is innocent (one of my guesses, and continuing from the latest blog), I only mean accidental in that the effect, that rather than being dinner, some kid grew up to be a tough one – but any other situation where some little proto-human got a hard time from their parents will do, perhaps mental illness was involved, of course I don’t know . . . but the point is, some accidental First Abuse story – myth – might make us innocent, might make all the trouble a regrettable reaction we’re allowed to talk about and work through, instead of our own, baked in original pro-active badness for which we say nothing can be done.
I need a myth of perhaps demonic/divine/trickster possession, where a parent is unaware of or unable to stop some abuse and watches with tears and regret and confusion as the child grows up as a warrior, perhaps plunging their peaceful life into war. Ah, mixing my mythologies, but perhaps then some story of seven generations of sacrifice and piety restores this family and this countryside to peace.
Oh, wait. Ooh. What if it was like my story, one parent terrorizes the kid in secret? I mean, elements of both, madness, or duplicitous marriage? A Medea tale!
I really want to contract that out, I am no classicist, plus, it sounds painful.
So, the point I would correct is that all is pro-active, that it begins with an act of evil (why reading the book of knowledge is an act of evil in one such story is a question for another blog) out of no-where, out of Adam’s choice – hey, did the authors have some similar goal, in making it Eve’s idea, trying to make Adam innocent? Seems an odd back eddy of intent, when the point seems to be Original Sin, none are innocent. Hmmm. Whups, another time, again – some First Ancestor’s act of will, pulled from their backside, meaning, no explanation necessary, beyond his own qualities, inherent evil and whatnot.
It’s a defiance story for the believers; for me the point is, it’s one Authority, or this guy just decides to be his own authority, God’s will, Man’s will, all will, will, will. No damage, no reaction, no life history, no context, no psychological compulsions anyone earned in life, just the Nature you were born with (which, of course is classical Platonic nonsense, Natures aren’t a real thing). We are presented with Man, having no explanation for himself and thinking and acting like he’s a god, like he needs none. Like so many say nowadays – a man wrote that crap, and a comfortable one, the boss.
Who didn’t write it – a child, a wife, a slave, someone who knows that will for them is meaningless, that their own will is almost no force in their lives at all – the vast majority of humans. I mean, ‘children,’ that’s more than a majority, no matter the adjective, that is all of us. We were there at the beginning too, we children.
Mixed feelings writing this, happy to have gotten here ever, I suppose, sad it took me this long to clarify this point. Ha! This point –
We haven’t Fallen. We were pushed. Meaning, like in Good Will Hunting, it’s not your fault. Abuse is self propagating, and classic chicken and egg – both exist now, it’s quite academic. You are not the born bad creature hurting people, you are the poor, innocent kid getting hurt, why not? – the egg, I suppose if that was supposed to be a metaphor.
Why not? Well, origin stories have purposes, which is my whole point, and us all being told we’re the Man makes certain things happen, enables certain things, makes other things less likely, right? I’m afraid my likely divergent mind has determined that no less is required, and without refocusing our view of the beginning, without noticing that we are that hurting child, nothing gets better, and contrary to popular belief, it really, really needs to.
You are the victim here, and you don’t need to defend and deny and bluster and sputter, none of it. It wasn’t your grown up original sin that created us, it was your pain as an innocent victim that did that. Why not? It’s not your fault.
So, the control begins early, and it’s a slippery slope from bite the teat, lose the teat to bite the teat, take a nip or a slap, and by toddlerhood the parents have slid down it, and “spanking” is for two year-olds, because they aren’t talking and reasoning yet but they are starting to get loud and also to get up and run.
This is where I have more questions than answers, I’m afraid. I try to imagine this age and how we deal with the kids in early stages of human prehistory, and I don’t have much luck, there are many blind alleys provided by my own random logos: first, I thought we would get strict around the fire, but of course long before that we and our babies lived high in the trees, with danger always even closer. The still wild primates, they hang onto the kids until the kids are old enough to understand, is that right?
Then I think, maybe things changed when we built the fence, the village wall? Maybe the kids could roam a little before they understood anything and not get predated for it? Then Mom’s hands start doing other things and the time formerly spent carrying them about until they understood language and dangers got reallocated and a “more efficient” sort of control crept into our lives? Ha – I never hate these just so stories when I first jot them down, this one seems reasonable at the moment – but it doesn’t matter, just so stories don’t matter however reasonable they seem.
I want to quit trying to draw this picture. Frankly, these stories hurt more than they help, these are myths, aren’t they, and if we say they happened in our deep past – the Before Time, same thing – then they gain the respectability of tradition and necessity. I am not looking for a “reason” we beat our children, not a reason that the world can just decide is a good reason, or a good enough one.
Somewhere along the line, we started this behaviour. My attempts to uncover the evolutionary accident that made it a selected for behaviour jumps past an answer to get to a question – we need to think of it as a selected for behaviour, rather than a logical and inevitable one, that’s not the same thing. I often try to make the point that how is a thing inevitable for only one of a million species? But I end up seeing the sense the other way about, from why would it be selected for, why would the effects of child abuse be selected for, and when the effects of horrific, illicit abuse are considered, then the effects are clearly what a moralist might call “bad” effects, anger, frustration, madness, aggression, poor cognition.
So the question is now, why that would be selected for, and I’m afraid there is some crossover with the EP boys and their game theory, but that would be selected for the same reason those twelve angry, mad, aggressive lads in the Dirty Dozen were – the fight, war, conflict.
Again, a reason perhaps – not a good reason. I don’t push my just so stories, or I try not to, but I do imagine that the two behaviours are one and that spanking coincides with more organized group conflict than the chimpanzees engage in, that the two phenomena arose together. The accident has to have been that someone discovered the magic, that a tough life at home makes for a tough adult on a raid, somehow, somewhere, somewhen. After that I fear it’s just drift, the sort of behaviour that takes over the species.
But there are more meaningful questions than what exactly brought about the First Spanking (another just so I have tried is that it was simply failed infanticide, why not, but again, doesn’t matter), like what does “modern” Indigenous or aboriginal child rearing look like?
In the purely WEIRD books I have cracked, I see Chagnon’s portrayal of Yanomami childhood, a warrior society in childhood, and I know and don’t disagree with the criticisms of the tone of it all, the apparent bias. I don’t take that as what “traditional childhood” is or was, or not necessarily, and I think if children live that way, the adults are guilty of not fixing this situation.
Maybe, though. It was a little that way when I went to school too. So maybe all his awful portrayals are real but limiting them to brown people in the forest was the lie. I must admit, from what I see of humanity today, it seems likely to be the dominant thing today in the world that kids are tempered into adults by either peer violence or adult violence. But today seems like everything has gone terribly wrong.
Could it really have been this way for a million years or whatever?
It sounds nightmarish, dystopian forever.
A huge dream of mine, of this project’s is to discover the childrearing that was perhaps hinted at in the Chalice and the Blade, the childrearing before the age of wars, to discover a version of human childrearing that does not send them straight to war and conflict.
I saw Tweets from somewhere in Africa recently that called the system of child abuse a colonial thing, suggesting things were different there and that perhaps they know how. I imagine the Indigenous all over feel that way, and it’s true to a huge degree – but to what degree, and what is the other model, if there is one – I’ve asked before, if any reader has an idea, please, tell me.
Chagnon’s – Meade’s? – story would seem to serve a purpose like the Clovis People rules about human habitation in the Americas – to lie and say there was nothing good we replaced with our awful systems, the cursed terra nullius. So I’m still looking. It’s possible that Chagnon has thrown out the baby of Indigenous childrearing wisdom with the bathwater of his colonial bullshit and documenting warrior behaviour is what you are going to document when you invade to do it. They may not have been living that way until the threat of us came along, we document their natural immune response to our invasion and call them savages for defending themselves.
Ah, I learn as I talk, sorry.
So I would like to think there is another way, but OTOH I think we activate warrior genes with this behaviour and we wouldn’t have just gotten those yesterday or anything. – So again, his racist mistake perhaps wasn’t in describing this lifestyle – it was the boys growing up fighting and any boy who wouldn’t fight would be goaded until he did or died – or even ascribing it to unindustrialized, brown people, but in not including us all, if he suggested our boys don’t do that and we are not a warrior society also.
But I would like to learn that I am being the same negative cynical bastard he maybe was and both things are true, it’s everywhere, but it’s only everywhere because war makes it that way, that child abuse exists as much as a response to a state of war as a prerequisite for it that we always carry with us. Again, suggested already, they go together, hand in hand, child abuse and conflict, as of course do chickens and their eggs, neither is really “first.” It seems the nature of evolution that as an environmental hazard’s likelihood increases, a creature has a mechanism to activate its genetic options to evade it – it’s just really sad that we are caught up making genetic adjustments for a growing hazard – war – which, also us.
I’ve been following this train of thought for a long time now, and frankly, I never could follow yours, or the usual thoughts about these things I think about, I mean. While I struggle publicly to make the point, while I complain that I am forever failing at it, honestly in the privacy of my own thoughts, I think I have a system, I think I have the key and it all falls into place – or it would if I could find the language, or would in a world that would allow things to fall into place.
This sense of totality, it is surely false, I mean everyone else’s is. It occurs to me that if I think I have closed any circles, then I need to draw that. I suppose it’s going to be a series.
I’ll try chronologically first, with the newborn?
The baby arrives and if it is human, it is subjected to forms of control, bite the teat, lose the teat, sort of thing, if the parents have these ideas of control and deterrents, and if they do, there are punishments and deprivations for the child to match every bit of its growth, every increase in its powers to affect. As the child emerges from primordial preverbal life into speech and culture, it meets a powerful, all judging, all punishing god that controls its parents, and all this is familiar, and was always there for the powerless human child, it has no reason to doubt it and all the usual reasons not to question the all powerful beings telling them about it.
This is Christianity, probably all the bible religions, and I suppose probably all of them, and any effect we ascribe in human life and history to the churches is all downstream of human infanthood, which comes first chronologically and logically and no-one would follow and fund these institutions if everything important about human life wasn’t part of the same sad function. And if a child were raised this way, with the control from the beginning and no such punitive god was offered, they would be likely to feel the same way, and perhaps replace the all powerful god who set it all in motion with “society,” or perhaps just the dominant social groups. You see?
Both groups, the science Democrats and the religious Republicans, victims, coerced into a way of life by some large insensate entity, that what or whoever that is, sure isn’t their own parents!
Huh, that might have been sort of new, which suggests I drop it and run before I go back to repeating myself. Cheers.