04-10-12, 05:16 PM #1
In the social sciences: what is our social behavior based on?
Neurologists, physiologists and geneticists like to think human social behavio is based on genes, hormones and neuroloigical synapses. But that is no help to social theory when it comes to understand how human social behavior moves and is moved by society.
So, why not simplify the task, isolate out our social behavior from like-us primates and mammals, then simply call them "instincts" which are, in turn, conditioned (affected or shaped somewhat) by our ideological systems?
04-13-12, 04:04 PM #2
05-06-12, 04:10 PM #3
Those are all very nice and informative links, but they really do little to help us, for example, understand history. In social theory, all that detail is superfulous. We have to use broader generalizations. The gene-neuron-hormone relationship can well serve to account for an "instinct" but one that can be "conditioned" or adapted by the needs of the environment---as is usual among mammals. Us, with better mental skills and speech can adapt the instincts better than any others, but there is a definite limit.
For example, we instituted monogamy even though we are a polygamous species. The establishment of the patriarchal-monogamous system some five thousand years ago in the mainstream enabled us to develop civilization, but none of those civilizations lasted. The patriarchal-monogamous systems always tended to break down. When they did, barbarians would invade and restore patriarchal-monogamous rule.
05-08-12, 07:15 PM #4
In fact I've seen it asserted several times that H. sapiens became monogamous no later than the Agricultural Revolution, but possibly tens of thousands of years earlier.
Since our young require parental care for almost two decades, every mother needs lots of help. We are one of very few mammals whose females are physically capable of copulation outside of their estrus cycle, even when pregnant or nursing. This encourages her children's father to stay with her and help instead of looking for another female who's in heat.
Now it's true that in the Paleolithic Era we lived in tiny communities in which everyone was related and had known each other since birth, so it could be that everybody raised all the children, regardless of who was sleeping with whom. But 11KYA once we began integrating multiple tribes into larger Neolithic villages (division of labor and economy of scale make larger farms and herds more productive), we weren't all so tight and it would have been possible for a family to be missing its father figure if his wife wasn't sexually receptive. Some of these towns got so big that it's quite possible that all the residents didn't even know each other and it would have taken a house-to-house search to track down a missing father.
Your date of 5KYA was the early Bronze Age. We had been living in Stone Age cities for four or five thousand years before that, among anonymous strangers who might not provide a lot of help to a woman whose children's father ran off. Monogamy simply has to have been established much earlier than this.The establishment of the patriarchal-monogamous system some five thousand years ago in the mainstream enabled us to develop civilization, but none of those civilizations lasted.The patriarchal-monogamous systems always tended to break down. When they did, barbarians would invade and restore patriarchal-monogamous rule.
The Bronze Age Collapse eventually happened anyway, but it was the Iron Age in which the barbarians became a nightmare. Iron ore is everywhere. Once they learned how to build fires hot enough to smelt it, every barbarian tribe became a "kingdom" overnight, armed with the same iron weapons the civilized folk had.
05-08-12, 10:32 PM #5
Human behaviour is based on needs. Needs are an evolutionary bi-product.
I need to feel significant, doing things that make me significant are more times than not evolutionarily advantageous.
Same applies to other needs which fuels other behaviours.
05-09-12, 10:51 AM #6
05-10-12, 10:51 AM #7
We have physical evidence of the continuous habitation of many ancient cities. In cases where they were abandoned, the usual cause is exhaustion of nearby resources.
Perhaps the most famous case is the Mayans, although they are not exactly "ancient" since they achieved the Bronze Age relatively recently compared to Old World civilizations. They clear cut the forests in an expanding radius from their cities and used the wood to build temples. Then they wondered why the peasants were having trouble growing enough food for everybody in the distressed land that was left.
But this can be and has been done by more prosaic means of simply growing a city larger than its surrounding environment can support.
As for ideological belief systems (you call them "religions," I call them "superstitions," regardless of the era being studied), we don't have very good ways of getting into the heads of people who lived before the Bronze Age when the technology of writing was invented. We draw inferences from their art, second-order inferences from evidence of ceremonies they appear to have held and places where they appear to have congregated, and third-order inferences from myths passed down to successor superstition systems.
All this has given us is Jung's set of archetypes, which appear to recur in every society in every era. This strongly suggests that they are instincts programmed into our DNA by evolution, although we can't imagine why they are there. Unlike practical instincts such as fleeing from a large animal with both eyes in front of its face or not stepping off a cliff, they appear not to be linked to survival. They may be random mutations passed down through a genetic drift or a genetic bottleneck, although the possibility must be held open that they may indeed have been survival advantages in a Paleolithic environment whose dangers we cannot reconstruct with unerring accuracy.
To refocus on the central issue of monogamy, we both agree that it is a survival trait for the species, if not the individual. Therefore if a mutation occurred that prompted us to be mongamous, it would simply have reinforced the ease of being monogamous for a species whose females are not bound by their estrus cycle.
All of this together would certainly have encouraged monogamy to be included as one of the archetypes that comprised the religions of the Stone Age and every era since then.
If its power is weakening now, the reasons are obvious. To just cite two major weakening forces in my country:
- Society is larger, wealthier and more structured than in the Bronze Age. Children with no father-figure are not at the same disadvantage they were 500 years ago, much less 5,000.
- The War on Drugs has imprisoned a large percentage of the men in some communities, leaving many women to raise their children alone.
05-11-12, 01:53 AM #8
05-11-12, 09:40 AM #9
However, when the nation-"group" is held together by a splitting and fracturing secular ideological system, they slip into trying to achieve status from within their secular splinter "group," be it either that of the Libertarians, the animal liberation activists or those of the Tea Partiers, women's right militants and all the others. That leaves the politicans no "group" other than their own families. So, that is what they seek their status with, who they serve. Society or the nation then becomes the "game" that the hunter vanquishes for feeding his own family. We call that "corruption."
05-11-12, 09:56 AM #10So, that is what they seek their status with, who they serve. Society or the nation then becomes the "game" that the hunter vanquishes for feeding his own family. We call that "corruption."
“The more there are riots, the more repressive action will take place, and the more we face the danger of a right-wing takeover and eventually a fascist society.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.”
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
“I began revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and plan of action.”
05-11-12, 10:05 AM #11
To refocus on the central issue of monogamy, we both agree that it is a survival trait for the species, if not the individual.
At a cost of a few billion lives, we could give all that up and go back to "free-love" and live in small hamlets again all over the world. . . We would still survive, but civilization would not.
05-11-12, 10:55 AM #12
We have mostly serial polygamy. But I am still on the first wife after 30 years.
05-11-12, 11:18 AM #13
It is the same with our Secular Humanist ideological system.We are a polygamous species . . . .and managed to build a new type of society by adapting our ideological system to achieve it, the monogamous-patriarchal system, all "in order to" enlarge our group size to encompass cities, then nations, and then nations together, such as The Christian-secular West, Islam, Marxist East Asia and the Hindu world. (It was not a conscious process but the result of social evolution).
- a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like.
- a system or collection of such beliefs.
- a custom or act based on such a belief.
- irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious, especially in connection with religion.
- any blindly accepted belief or notion.
Nonetheless, as I have written before, each paradigm shift represents a transcendence over both external nature and our own internal nature. So the conflict between our inner caveman, who wants to live among people he's known and loved since birth, and our civilized persona, who lives in harmony and cooperation with people on the other side of the planet who are not just anonymous strangers but pure abstractions, continues to fester and occasionally erupts. When it erupts in a whole community at once, overwhelming and co-opting their authorities, it results in war.
Which brings us back to religion, since it is one of the primary causes of war.
05-11-12, 02:10 PM #14
FR, it seems clear to me, as it must to you, that we do not and will not agree, so I for one am happy to leave it there and go on to other threads. I think in terms of social evolution, not consensus social theory. I spent decades pouring over history, animal behavioral studies, anthropology, and more than a dozen other social and natural sciences, and you want me to come up with some single "authority" supporting my understanding? All I state is consistent with social science data. I just interpret it differently than do social theorists because they necessarily have to tip toe around how it is interpreted in order to keep from offending the religious faithful.
Social Evolution as I have developed it is that ideological systems bond people into large groups but as the group's knowledge progresses, the ideology becomes outdate, divides and the ideological system---such a Christianity, Islam, etc.---is ultimately replaced.) It is explained in my web page.
05-27-12, 05:30 AM #15
You can read about much of the research here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/006...SIN=0061707813
On Love and faking orgasm, you could see here: Mialon, Hugo M., The Economics of Faking Ecstasy (October 25, 2010)
05-27-12, 11:20 AM #16
My opinion is based on some simple logic. Animal instincts optimize the animal's form with function. For example, the instincts of an animal with fast legs, will take advantage and optimize this functionality. On the other hand, if the animal is huge his instincts will optimize function in the context of this form. If you have a sports car or an SUV, each has an optimized function. We can pretend the SUV is a sports car, I suppose.
If we compare human form/function, to ape form/function, the biggest differences are humans are physically weaker but mentally stronger. Any two year old human can learn more than an ape. But any two year old ape can kick ass on any human. This reflects differently form ratios of body to mind.
This different in form also reflect differences in function, and therefore reflect difference in the instincts needed to optimize each functionality. One set of instincts will not optimize both sets of function/form, especially since each is on the opposite side of body/mind proportion.
The goal of human instinctive form/functionality is slanted toward the mental, compared to the ratio associated with apes, which is slanted physical. Relative to instinct, breeding, and offspring, the goal of human instinctive form/function should be slanted and optimize toward the mind compare to ape. The ape functionality will be slanted to the body, since that is is strong suit.
To reflect this form/function, optimization for humans, human cannot be optimized with ape instinct, but rather would need instinct that put more weight into the mind. Apes are different since the body is stronger than the mind, so you optimize the body with natural selection and promiscuity. This does not make the mind stronger, that takes a personal touch.
Getting back to social science, these mutant science fads are connected to using the human mind to pretend what is natural without using the litmus test of form and function. These fads will change when the money train dries up.
One way to prove thesis is to consider ape overpopulation versus human overpopulation. We are told to use one set of instinct for both, even though there is different form and function.
What the apes are doing appear to be working fine since they have a natural balance when found in the wild. There is optimization of form and function in the context of nature. The same is not true of humans who are being told ape instinct is natural for humans too. If was not for the human mind able to compensate (social prosthesis) this mutant science behavior induction, would create total chaos in the natural world; It only works because we artificially prop it up at great expense.
If we based scientific instinct on form/function and use apes as the normalized base point, we can infer natural human. It would need to be modified from there to include the slant toward the mind; out best asset. Monogamy is better of the mind of children than promiscuity, especially if we were to remove the social support to prop up the negative result of promiscuity. If we were in nature without any social safety net monogamy would have natural selection. Promiscuity might make a better body but monogamy would create a smarter race who would outthink the ape brawn.
Last edited by wellwisher; 05-27-12 at 11:32 AM.
05-29-12, 12:07 PM #17
Instead of running away from any large animal with both eyes in front of its face, we can capture him, tame him, and leave him in charge of protecting our children. We can step off of a cliff and glide to earth on a parachute without being overcome by panic. We can go home to the same house every night and use a microwave oven to cook food that has never seen the soil (apologies to The Fixx for stealing their lyric) instead of wandering across the landscape hunting and gathering and starting fires by rubbing sticks together. We can make peace with other tribes instead of treating them as hated competitors for scarce resources (well okay we're still working on that one). Some of us can even question our instinct to believe in the supernatural and trust science to give us a more accurate understanding of how the universe works.It only works because we artificially prop it up at great expense.
To be sure there's an Inner Caveman lurking inside each of us, but we keep him mollified with beer, air conditioning, motorcycles and football games so that he only bursts forth on rare occasions and most of the time manages not to do any serious permanent damage. Only when an entire community erupts into stone age behavior at once do they overpower or co-opt their leadership, and we have wars.Monogamy is better of the mind of children than promiscuity, especially if we were to remove the social support to prop up the negative result of promiscuity. If we were in nature without any social safety net monogamy would have natural selection.. . . . monogamy would create a smarter race who would outthink the ape brawn.
As a linguist I'd like to point out that the speech center in our forebrain is one of our most important advantages over all other animals. Our ability to communicate is a thousand times, a million times, greater than theirs. This is what has allowed us to form "packs" that include people on the other side of the planet whom we only know through the internet, and even some who are nothing more to us than anonymous abstractions.
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