Saturday, 17 March 2018

Alan Alda, Mai Lai and Robert Sapolsky...

This lovely video of a walking chat between Alan Alda and Robert Zapolsky presents some very interesting insights, based on current proven research, that raise serious questions about behaviour, power, punishment and justice.. The Brain on Trial.

It's also about observing patterns across a population, and understanding that the patterns can never describe an individual with any degree of accuracy - that protocol must be capable of responding to each case, as it presents, and as the evidence provides.

One cannot say "all Americans...." or "all Russians'... or "all Muslims" .. or "all women".. or "all men" or "all psychopaths" etc etc with any degree of accuracy.

Such phrases always precede a caricature, which is a manipulative device...

I have read Robert Sapolksy's book "Behave : the biology of humans at our best and worst" which is a holistic review of all available evidence regarding the biological processes associated with behaviour, and in particular, with those where healthy self regulation is undeveloped, where sociality has few experiential neural networks to fire with, and instead the focus is on regulating others to meet one's perceived needs.
His assessment is that structure is largely genetic, and behaviour is lagely learned, and both are also affected by past generations experience, not least in epigenetic terms - our genetics are responsive to environment and experience.

Eskimos do not learn to carry fat, they learn to hunt and live, and heal and thrive...

That kind of core behavioural dynamic of hierarchies, using power over others, is learned.

As a behaviour, dominance over others is far from innate.

There are many bio-chemical and physiological dispositions that can underpin vulnerability to becoming more controlling, dispositions that start in pre birth conditions, or later on in any area where healthy development is undermined,  but invisible because it's a social norm, and that may well be partly a matter of how the inherited epigenetic changes  affected that particular child...  that and the  environment and the lives of long dead ancestors..

There is nothing innate about it. We are evolved to be social, connected, co-operative, creative... to thrive by living and working together..

We are not that well evolvoed for violence, because it undermines our health, even for the 'victors'.

The argument that  the Alpha Male is biologically mandated is a cultural construct, rather than a biological fact.

That kind of competitive predatory behaviour is learned largely through the sensory and the environmental experiential afforded the child, and as we know, that varys from family to family , as much as culture to culture...

If control and punishment are habitual, the child's body and mind can become automatic, unconscious, with a layer of justification and rationalisation crafted in the external world, as part of the controlling behavioiur set.

When a few people with these habituations gather and organise, and gain more power they will build an institution, a family, a hierarchy...  and seek to protect it, for the power, t

Experientially loving becomes automatic,  defenciveness and insecurity becomes automatic for the child exposed to love or insecurity.... that child will act out, and if that is misinterpreted, and the child is 'regulated' that deepens the child's alienation, anger and frustration.... if that child does not receive support to heal, then more regulation will deepen the wounds... add to that additional trauma potentials created by the systems of hierarchical violence and authority..

On a societal scale, this has huge implications, and it is by neccessity an exercise of compassion, informed by science, evidence, good health and common sense to deconstruct these processes, and disentangle our institutions from replicating or propogasting those patterns... as adults gifting the next generation of children, I see no finer work.

If the child does not learn loving self regulation, his or her brain will not create a neurology of loving self regulation - if then that child as an adult behaves in ways that cause harm we have to look at the past, to look at all the evidence, to then be able to decide how best to proceed, in terms of society and health and safety...

These are generalised outlines, and I would urge readers to go to Sapolksy's book, and his videos...

We dearly need some calm, evidence based assessments of behavioural issues, not least because the political ruling class are presenting that they are a behavioural problem, on all sides.... that fact that trolling is a standard politcial tactic in mainstream public discourse rather proves the point, elegantly. 
Understand this : Politics is the struggle for power, Healthy Civil Governance is the careful and diligent administration of a community's shared resource(s) for the equity of the entire community.....

The accepted norm, the fundamental concept of international relations as materially the struggle for primacy among militarised states, who utilise war fare in pursuit of policy objectives absolutely afflicts a nations domestic governance, with bills, costs and losses that are all wholly avoidable.

That is psychopathy. 

Institutionalised. Given a lick of paint, some gold plate and a few fancy bits of cloth and bling.

The obvious lies and caricatures of material reality that abound in various Governments justifications for wars, the talk of punishment, sanctions, 'humanitarian intervention' all speak to people whose ability to self regulate thjeir urge for power is undermined, aand whose goal is ever more power over a majority of people, at whatever cost, borne usually by the ordinary folk ..

It's nuts.

It must be diagnosed before there is any possibility of dealing with it..
. and the best way to deal with it is tio de-legitimise it wholly, and defund it within each social cultural institutional organisation unit at home - we in the UK deal with ours, those in Russia and anywhere else deal with theirs.

We have to stop allowing the justifications and accepted norms of international war fare be taken at face value, and let the victimised, the survivors lead our concerns and let prevention be our concern, as citizens and humane patriots/matriots/fraternities/sisterhoods... it is our money they are using to fund these wars.

It is a behavioural issue.
And that means that it is ultimately a resolveable situation.


Mai Lai -
Mai Lai's happen in all wars. It's what happens when a military in theatre moves across a landscape.

People's homes become battle grounds.... Mai Lai's happen when artillery and missiles are launched at built up areas, no matter who is launching them.

For the majority of people, these wars are none of their business, they have no say, no power, no claim within these wars, they are wholly innocent.

The one's who make war must be made accountable by the innocent.

There is no other way.


Kindest regards


"Do what you love, it's Your Gift to Universe"

Thank you for reading this blog. All we need to do is be really honest, responsive to the evidence we find,and ready to reassess when new evidence emerges. The rest is easy.

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