|Rudolph Rocker - Anarcho-Syndacilism
"And his disposes of the theory maintained by Marx and his followers that the state, in the form of a proletarian dictatorship, is a necessary transitional stage to a classless society, in which the state after the elimination of all class conflicts and then of classes themselves, will dissolve itself and vanish from the canvas. This concept, which completely mistakes the real nature of the state and the significance in history of the factor of political power, is only the logical outcome of so-called economic materialism, which sees in all the phenomena of history merely the inevitable effects of the methods of production of the time. Under the influence of this theory people came to regard the different forms of the state and all other social institutions as a "juridical and political superstructure" on the "economic edifice" of society, and thought that they had found in that theory the key to every historical process. In reality every section of history affords us thousands of examples of the way in which the economic development of a country has been set back for centuries and forced into prescribed forms by particular struggles for political power.
Before the rise of the ecclesiastical monarchy Spain was industrially the most advanced country in Europe and held the first place in economic production in almost every field. But a century after the triumph of the Christian monarchy most of its industries had disappeared. What was left of then survived only in the most wretched conditions. In most industries they had reverted to the most primitive methods of production. Agriculture collapsed, canals and waterways fell into ruin, and vast stretches of country were transformed into deserts. Down to this day Spain has never recovered from that setback. The aspirations of a particular caste for political power had laid economic development fallow for centuries...
The assertion that the state must continue to exist until class conflicts, and classes with them, disappear, sounds, in the light of all historical experience, almost like a bad joke. Every type of political power presupposes some particular form of human slavery, for the maintenance of which it is called into being. Just as outwardly, that is, in relation to other states, the state has to create certain artificial antagonisms in order to justify its existence, so also internally the cleavage of society into castes, ranks, and classes is an essential condition of its continuance. The state is capable only of protecting old privileges and creating new ones; in that its whole significance is exhausted.
A new state which has been brought into existence by a social revolution can put an end to the privileges of the old ruling classes, but it can do this only by immediately setting up a new privileged class, which it will require for the maintenance of its rulership. The development of the Bolshevist bureaucracy in Russia under the alleged dictatorship of the proletariat which has never been anything but the dictatorship of a small clique over the proletariat and the entire Russian people is merely a new instance of an old historical experience which has repeated itself uncountable times. This new ruling class, which today is rapidly growing into a new aristocracy, is set apart from the great masses of Russian peasants and workers just as clearly as are the privileged castes and classes in other countries from the mass of their peoples."
"Even in prison, in the cloister or in the barracks one finds a fairly high degree of economic equality, as all the inmates are provided with the same dwelling, the same food, the same uniform and the same tasks. The ancient Inca state in Peru and the Jesuit state in Paraguay had brought equal economic provision for every inhabitant to a fixed system, but in spite of this the vilest despotism prevailed there, and the human being was merely the automaton of a higher will, on whose decisions he had not the slightest influence. It was not without reason that Proudhon saw in a "Socialism" without freedom the worst from of slavery. The urge for social justice can only develop properly and be effective when it grows out of man's sense of personal freedom and is based on that. In other words socialism will be free or it will not be at all. In its recognition of this lies the genuine and profound justification for the existence of Anarchism."
"just as the functions of the bodily organs of plants and animals cannot be arbitrarily altered, so that, for example, one cannot at will hear with his eyes and see with his ears, so also one cannot at pleasure transform an organ of social oppression into an instrument for the liberation of the oppressed. The state can only be what it is: the defender of mass exploitation and social privileges, the creator of privileged classes and castes and of new monopolies. Who fails to recognise this function of the state does not understand the real nature of the present social order at all, and is incapable of pointing out to humanity new outlooks for its social evolution."
"The worst crime of any type of state is just that it always tries to force the rich diversity of social life into definite forms and adjust it to one particular form, which allows for no wider outlook and regards the previously exciting status as finished."
*****The factories needed human fodder, and the increasingly impoverished rural population met the demand by streaming into the cities. The legislature helped, when, by the notorious Enclosure Acts, it robbed the small farmers of the common lands and brought them to beggary. The systematic theft of the commons had already begun under Queen Anne (1702-1714), and by 1844 had taken in more than one third of the tillable land of England and Wales. While in 1786 there had still existed 250,000 independent landowners, in the course of only thirty years their number had been reduced to 32,000.******The Enclosure Acts//Poor Law of 1834//work houses//Combination Acts of 1799-1800 (repealed 1824) and their affect on the development of early industrialism?? (Check out compared to industrial 'Merikah)
"For the Anarcho-Syndicalists the trade union is by no means a mere transitory phenomenon bound up with the duration of capitalist society, it is the germ of the Socialist society of the future, the elementary school of Socialism in general. Every new social structure makes organs for itself in the body of the old organism."
"Organisation is, after all, only a means to an end. When it becomes an end in itself, it kills the spirit and the vital initiative of its members and sets up that domination by mediocrity which is the characteristic of all bureaucracies."
An Explanation of What Anarcho-Syndicalism is actually proposing:
"Their organisation is accordingly constructed on the following principles: The workers in each locality join the unions for their respective trades, and these are subject to the veto of no Central but enjoy the entire right of self-determination. The trade unions of a city or rural district combine in a so-called labour cartel. The labour cartels constitute the centres for local propaganda and education; they weld the workers together as a class and prevent the rise of any narrow-minded factional spirit. In times of local labour trouble they arrange for the solidaric co-operation of the whole body of organised labour in the use of every agency available under the circumstances. All the labour cartels are grouped according to districts and regions to form the National Federation of Labour Cartels, which maintain the permanent connection between the local bodies, arranges for free adjustment of the productive labour of the members of the different organisations on co-operative lines, provide for the necessary co-operation in the field of education, in which the stronger cartels will need to come to the aid of the weaker ones, and in general support the local groups with council and guidance.
Every trade union is, moreover, federatively allied with all the same organisations in the same trade throughout the country, and these in turn with all related trades, so that all are combined in general industrial alliances. It is the task of these alliances to arrange for the co-operative action of the local groups, to conduct solidaric strikes where the necessity arises, and to meet all the demands of the day-to-day struggle between capital and labour. Thus the Federation of Labour Cartels and the Federation of Industrial Alliances constitute the two poles about which the whole life of the trade unions revolves...
In such a case the labour cartels would take over the existing social capital in each community, determine the needs of the inhabitants of their districts, and organise local consumption. Through the agency of the national Federation of Labour Cartels it would be possible to calculate the total requirements of the country and adjust the work of production accordingly. On the other hand, it would be the task of the Industrial Alliances to take control of all the instruments of production, machines, raw materials, means of transportation and the like, and to provide the separate producing groups with what they need. In a word: 1. Organisation of the plants by the producers themselves and direction of the work by labour councils elected by them. 2. Organisation of the total production of the country by the industrial and agricultural alliances. 3. Organisation of consumption by the Labour Cartels."
"[An-syns] recognise that the modern state is just the consequence of capitalist economic monopoly, and the class divisions which this has set up in society, and merely serves the purpose of maintaining this status by every oppressive instrument of political power. "
"One compels respect from others when he knows how to defend his dignity as a human being. This is not only true in private life, it has always been the same in political life as well."
" The sympathetic strike is the collaboration of related, but also of unrelated, categories of labour, to help the battle of a particular trade to victory by extending the strike to other branches of labour, where this is necessary. In this case the workers are not satisfied with giving fighting assistance to their striking brethren, but go further, and by crippling entire industries cause a break in the whole economic life in order to make their demands effective."
"In reality, however, the worker has today no voice in determining production, for this is given over completely to the employer. The consequence is that the worker is debased by doing a thousand things which constantly serve only to injure the whole community for the advantage of the employer. He is compelled to make use of inferior and often actually injurious materials in the fabrication of his products, to erect wretched dwellings, to put up spoiled foodstuffs, and to perpetuate innumerable acts that are planned to cheat the consumer.
To interfere vigorously here is, in the opinion of the Revolutionary Unionists, the great task of the trade unions of the future. An advance in this direction would at the same time enhance the position of the workers in society, and in large measure confirm that position. Various efforts in this field have already been made, as witness, for example, the strike of the building-workers in Barcelona, who refused to use poor material and the wreckage from old buildings in the erection of workers' dwelling (1902), the strikes in various large restaurants in Paris because the kitchen workers were unwilling to prepare for serving cheap, decaying meat (1906), and a long list of instances in recent times; all going to prove that the workers' understanding of their responsibility to society is growing."
He was raised to do a job and raised to do it well. The apprenticeship started at 7 for him, as it does everyone, and he took to it very well. Death.
“My name is Death. Arthur Death,” he'd joke in the mirror.
His hair was sunshine, his eyes were skies, his body slender, his mouth all smiles. You would think, or you wouldn't depending on what kind of person you are, that all of this ugly manslaughter, murder, suicide, disgusting examples of overripe age would make a boy his age macabre, at least. In this line of work, you had two options: submit in despair or agree in glee. You couldn't very well be on an even keel unless, of course, you were a Buddhist. This though was too big a leap for most reapers to take because with the job you did have one buzzing, one obnoxious question in your head: where the fuck do the spirits go? It's one thing for your average Joe to wonder about the afterlife, but once you are technically part of the afterlife, part of bringing people to it, not exactly part of the living world, shit gets really confusing.
Arthur wore pastels a lot but he wasn't gay. He could've done the whole long robe thing like his friend Christie. She says that people have this image in their head and when they learn they are dead, they think, at least we got that right, whatever may come. He thinks she just likes to scare people.
He comes up bedside or curbside or whatever and kisses your face, kisses the fear, no matter how mutilated or ugly you are. Jesus Death, I'm telling you, washing the feet of lepers. This is particularly frightening to the homophobic among us but what are you going to do, yell at someone that could be Death or could be God or could be Satan or could be you don't know what, “is that really my body right there?”
He is also more or less amused how surprised people are with death, even after 80 years in the game. They still seemed shocked that this could happen to them! Them!
Most predictably though, when Christie came to get Arthur, he was just as surprised. Golden hair, bright blue eyes, this fragile boy did not expect to die at the age of 10.
Here I've been going on this long, decent dream. It is not that I didn't appreciate it, or think it would come to an end at some point, because I had heard the stories. The stories of my father growing up this way, pretty okay, not in tip top shape or anything but at least able to fit in; and then it all went topsy turvy around this age.
I did appreciate it, honestly, that nobody said: this is definitely going to happen. If they had, I'd probably be wrapped up in my own head (well, even more so); and if they had, I probably wouldn't have let you love me, would've learned better to push you away.
I feel almost like a witch, honing my craft, one I'd rather not have. More every day. More morbid, more creative, more amused, more scared. I have told people, like you, people I can trust to not send me away.
It isn't exactly magic; it is madness. Once upon a time, it only happened when I induced it, or when I did not drink. Now it is every day and they're so much more vivid, all these hallucinations. It used to be the marble moved and danced within its own lines. It used to be a trash can next to a grill looked like a mother picking up her child.
I listen to the orchestra stuck behind the lyrics of my favorite band called “False Advertising” (this just happened to be the case, I am not being post-ironic). The shadows in the room danced so gracefully, so gorgeously, it could've rocked me to sleep. I wonder what moves I can make them do. Of course, it was the waltz because I used to take ballroom dancing, which blocked me from forcing the salsa on them. Can I make them box turn all at once? All of them, I can.
But everything got bleaker that night, half in my control, half outside of it. I made the fan turn on and go in its circles and push wind at me because I was hot and didn't feel like moving. And a small, shadow man ran around my bed. I felt cuddled to sleep with your hand on my cheek even while you were away. And a small, little voice ran around my head. I can have ten—count'em—ten digits on each hand! This would make typing and using the phone and cooking all a bit more tense, a bit less pleasant, if it was true, but it wasn't, so opening the door when I ran out of the room didn't become a problem. And a small, little shake took over my arms and legs.
None of it is completely useless, although not quite a practical as the Charmed ones have or whoever your model for “magical power fun saving time” is. When the precious are bored, I can tell them all the things I'm seeing that they're not. We saw a light show one day which ended up being bunk for my companions, who I love, so I told them. How the fetus was in red and coming out of the its shell when they talked about the dawn of creation. How there was a man standing, frozen perfectly in the distance, when God brought about Eve and Adam.
In these small wonders, my powers are useful to others. But just please don't tell anyone, because I need to stay here with you, I need to bask in the glory of sanity or else it will get worse. The little man still goes away sometimes, and if he doesn't, and if they put me away, I don't know what he'll tell me to do, don't know how much he'll dominate my thinking, don't think I can entertain all of you.
I knew the rules, but I couldn't help myself and on the first few, I did perfectly well. You've seen it in movies and as if often the case, the movies are right. At least in matters of strange.
I moved to Marrakesh in February, after traveling for so long, and just hoping to settle down. The transient lifestyle is all fine and well until you go baby crazy and then you think: is this the best life I can give? I know people who travel well and raise great but when push comes to shove, if your whole life is unstable, any grain of solid you can give is worth the effort.
We wanted to learn the language, dress the right way, fit in as best as possible. We had pretty untraditional ideas even in our Western countries. It seemed best to keep those closed off and hidden while exuding an air of complete and total conformity, to the extent that we could. We decided, even the home décor should be traditional. I bought the tea pot in light of this fact. I only had Taiwanese New Dollars on me, but the merchant happily accepted them, maybe thinking they were United States Dollars, maybe not thinking.
I get home to clean the thing off, to put it among other gaudy, golden things, tables with tile mosaics, bright colored curtains that assault the eyes.
And ka-blam, very unlike what I wanted to do to fit in, an honest to god genie pops out of this tea kettle. Eric isn't connected to it like in Aladdin or Kazaam! Legs and all.
Eric is gorgeous, Caucasian for whatever reason. He said it is a kind of “trust me” thing, a kind of “let me make it easy to fool you” sort of idea, and laughs at tribe mentality. Overall, I poke fun at him for hating a group mentality when he has to live his whole life alone. It doesn't seem has a choice. It's like getting your heart broken and then thinking love is trite and could never exist, could never be a two way street.
She knew the rules, but it seems she couldn't help herself. Gorgeous porcelain, delicate, delicate and hiding. I thought, for sure, she would never use the third wish. I thought she would keep me around or free me or some other thing that you expect people like that to do: something self-sacrificing, something syrupy sweet and insane.
She worded things so carefully. We are not as tricky or as spiteful as people think, we don't really want people to hurt, we just have something of a sense of humor that might come from being alone, it might have been bred into us. It may have been a message that magic isn't meant for this world—but for what world, I couldn't say.
The one thing that I knew, for sure, the most important rule, was to speak clearly and never wish for things for yourself. Now, in my economic state of mind this made little sense, since anything you wish for obviously has some benefits to you, otherwise you wouldn't want it to happen. Monetary or psychic profit is a line we draw for practical purpose, for analysis, not because it means much in the head. There is: good, not good, neutral. The degrees vary but the principle is the same, profit or loss. Breaking even is better than the latter but worse than the former.
So, she wished something for her little brother. She wished to “stop the pain that made him self-harm without killing him.” I wanted so much to not hurt her but I cannot resist. Like I said, maybe something in the DNA that the environment brings out. Her parents got into a car accident the next day, killing them both on impact.
I have to admit, I kind of giggled. Not because I hate them, or because I am a bad person, but somewhere in my mind, I thought that Eric really, really liked me. I guess he is born all grown up, or I don't know if it is born, but it is something. He came into existence all grown up and knew what was his to do. Which seems sad and comforting. Imagine coming into being, and going “ah, for certain, I know the rest of my life.” I wonder if that is why they get so cruel, like angels do. They don't have a choice and there's very little variation. You see how you can manipulate people and that is really, like personally, all the power you've got. Being able to grant wishes is a “power” but not the kind that you feel inside of your body. It is inhuman, to be forever alone, to have no will to choose. That is, I guess, why they choose to break people with their wishes instead of help them.
Well, I giggled too because I had considered it as a possibility, this outcome. It hurt everyone they knew and was that really worth it? To me, a little bit. They've all become just blades of grass a long time ago and my brothers' flower was just starting to wither. He kept it so long, worked so hard, to keep it, to show his appreciation to the world.
I flew him out to live with me after that. Him, Eric, my husband and I had a great time together. We went to the Bazaar together and haggled over stuff we didn't even want, it had just become a sport. Where we come from, what you see is what you get.
Eric loved being part of a family. He smiled that there were hugs and kisses freely given.
It is longing, that is mostly what I feel when I see them laughing, locking eyes, smiling, and so many displays of affection. I want to marry her and can feel the hunger in my bones.
The second wish was trickier because it couldn't be about me, still, it couldn't, but there are so many things so near and dear to my heart that I want fixed, FIXED NOW, but I wasn't so sure the upswings and down swings. Sometimes, you parents have to die, but how much could I inflict that sort of possibility on the world?
The wish I wanted to make, I couldn't. I mean, I couldn't until the end whence I couldn't hold it in any longer. Eric gave me a chance to correct myself, he knew I knew better, but I honestly don't.
“For everyone to smile more without you making them less happy? That's your second wish?”
She said it while we were drinking scotch in a rinky dink bar, which she called a dive. I think it meant diving down to the bottom.
“This is your second wish?” but she was sure, so I granted it, and honest, try as I might have even my Great Genie Intuition could not find a way to mangle her prayers.
She explained to me in great detail, animated face swinging hips yellow shirt raised eyebrow puffy lips detail, what this meant. The brain sends messages to the body and the body sends messages to the brain. A feedback loop, found by Ekman. If you make your muscles perfectly mimicking those of basic emotions, you have them. Want happy—fake it in the face—except this doesn't work if you're aware.
“But what if nobody knows?” she says “What if they just walk around smiling not knowing why and it makes them want to smile even more, that even if things don't get better, life still feels better?”
Where is she coming from and where is she going to?
Lots of these things I wanted to change, lots of the ideas, they get wiped out by my second wish. The happier people are, lots of times, the less change will happen; although if people are too miserable, this is bound to happen as well because of where your energy needs to go in tough times.
But what is the point? The point of changing things is to make me happier. To make others happier. This seemed like a shortcut but one I'm willing to give.
Showered with kisses, I melted my hands. I ached my bones. I tore my skin. It is not that her husband way OKAY okay with the way things land, but he accepted them. I wasn't okay with the way things were but I accepted them. The addendums, the corrections, additions, subtractions and divisions. They weren't the best we wanted from her but she was what we wanted so you make a compromise here or there. It doesn't hurt so much, the give and take.
It's already been a few years. She had only twice wished. I told you, I thought this could go on for ever, or for a life time, I thought she had decided the I is her and her is mine. Her brother had left, after raised with so much love. Her child had come in just the past few months.
After Atropis came (the name not as in dying, but like transformation for those that she met), I knew I couldn't help the wish. My brother had left. My husband, my home. My sweet baby girl was nothing but grace, and I'm not saying I am broken, but I am not full. There are wounds that leave absence and those that leave extremities and I have both.
I want to feel so bad, I need to feel even, I need to feel close.
Eric has had altogether 7 wishers.
1) Money, true love, death
2) a great poet, no more cutting, death
3) a white America, a dragon title, death
4) Clear skin, thin, death
5) Women, all of the coke, death
6) Classic beauty, famous actress, death
7) “Stop the pain that made him self-harm without killing him”, “For everyone to smile more without you making less happy” and “To feel unconditional love for everyone”
Like I knew at first, it turns out that when I make it for me, it wasn't the greatest of ideas, but I thought I could handle the consequences.
Eric loved me, like I loved him, he washed in me, as I did him. I know he didn't muss it up on purpose or maybe he did. Maybe my husband had opened a wound but the pregnancy had eaten his heart. I don't know if he had a heart, but I think he did, he had loved, didn't he? God, I hope he had love, whatever he has done to me.
It is just too much. I felt unfull because of where I was lacking but now my fullness fills everything. I can only forgive, can never dismiss. I do not get angry, I never yell, never call names.
And worst of all, I don't even get to hate myself anymore. Not even a little bit. What is it like to live without guilt and shame?
More stressful than to live with.
I did become something of a healer. You are not a murderer, you murdered. You are not a liar, you lied. And no matter what you do, no matter how much time, I'll be here. This trust, this love, it feels supernatural—probably because it is. But all the untreated wounds, all those who couldn't trust themselves, I trusted in them. I reparented. I rebirthed. I said, you are OKAY, and that was enough.
But oh, Atropis, I am being everything for you that I wanted to be. The sling on my back, the mother in me, has come into full bloom.
At the end of the day though, I realized I could have done this, for you at least, alone.
I am not trampled over. Unconditional love for myself means I don't care much to be mistreated because I am just as important as all of you.
I could have taken what she said less literally. I said it is my genes, it wasn't.
Her husband rubbed me after she'd gone. We are raising Atropis together. He never makes a wish, not even for her. I never doubt him, I knew neither of them, hell, I knew I couldn't hurt. You get touched by a love so pure, and most hurt is forgotten.
We laid her down in the river that she always loved. Like she did everything.
We laid her down and bathed in the fact that she did not hate herself when she did this. She couldn't have. I cinched the deal.
Somehow, she must have done it for us.
There are some things I want you to know about me and my condition.
I am not necessarily shy, that's not what having a panic disorder is. I am an outgoing person who often feels trapped inside a wall of fear. I get really angry sometimes because what I feel like is the real me is trapped behind my anxiety. I probably want to be affectionate and laid back and fun at any given time but you make me nervous. It's not your fault, it's just people- it's nothing you do or did. I can only become desensitized to people by spending a lot of time with them and even then sometimes it doesn't work. Sometimes, with some people, it works right away.
I know that what I'm afraid of isn't real. I know that the threat is an illusion and that I'm not really going to get hurt, but my body is telling me otherwise. I try to talk myself out of it but "fight or flight" is one of the most basic and powerful instincts of the body, and it doesn't always listen.
I am working really hard to combat my anxiety disorder. Some days I start to give up because I've been fighting for so long and it doesn't seem to change, or I make progress and then I backslide. It's inevitable that I get depressed and may not seem to be working to help myself. Having an anxiety disorder is really hard and I promise I'm doing what I can. Much of the fight that goes on with my condition happens inside the head, so while it might not seem like I am trying to help myself, I am.
I am constantly exhausted. If your body went through intense terror each day (or sometimes, just from time-to-time) and then crashed, you'd be exhausted too. I have to make myself move when I am crashing and sometimes I just have to sleep. My body doesn't present that as an option; it's just an order- "You. Sleep. Now". Sometimes I don't get things done because I am tired. Please don't get mad at me if I don't always do everything I am supposed to do- it can be a real struggle to do little things that most people don't think twice about, like walking into a store, running errands, sometimes even leaving my house.
Some of my behavior might seem pretty odd at times. I might make someone go with me to places I ought to be able to go to alone because I need a "safe" person there. I might come off as clingy and dependent on others, but my reasoning is not what you might assume- "safe" people are our anchors to sanity. Real or not, we assume we can count on them to help us if we become terrified, and that can make the difference between fleeing a place or being able to stick it out. We develop triggers in specific places and that place, as innocuous as it might seem to you, scares me to death. I don't want to feel that way; it's embarrassing, but I do. How would you feel if you were terrified out of your mind in a place or around a person you know is harmless in your heart?
I try many things to combat my anxiety. If you've heard about a technique, I've probably heard about it. I've tried meditation, yoga, acupuncture, keeping active, positive self-talk, cognitive behavioral therapy, regular therapy, and medication, among things. I've probably tried lots of different medication. Anxiety disorder (and depression, since the two are linked- you'd be depressed if you had an anxiety disorder) often get treated with strong medication, and strong medication has side-effects. When I am trying new medications I might be "off" and irrational. Please forgive me, it's not me, it's the meds. Also, some meds make me extra tired or dizzy or any number of other things that aren't my normal or desired state. Most medication used to treat anxiety is something the body becomes immune to over time, so the dosage must be increased. So, occasionally I may relapse when I am not expecting it. I don't necessarily know the cause.
Please don't make fun of me when I am experiencing a panic attack- it's horrible enough without you ridiculing me. You wouldn't be laughing if you were the one whose body was revolting in fear. I'm not making anything up, I'm not trying to use panic attacks as an excuse not to do things, and I surely don't want to be a burden on you or effect your life negatively. Knowing I sometimes am and sometimes do adds to the misery of the condition. What I really need is for you to let me hold your hand or your arm tightly at times, and to humor me and just tell me it isn't real and I don't have to be scared, even if it's the millionth time you've said it. Tell me you'll protect me and I might just believe you, because I want to so badly. I want to be tough and independent and in control, but something (psychological and chemical) inside of me won't let me be free.
Panic disorders are almost always genetic and are chemically related, though they're often triggered by a traumatic event. Before realizing what is happening to us, most panic disorder sufferers go through a terrible period of thinking that we're dying when we're having a panic attack, or that something terrible is about to happen to us, etc. It's impossible to understand when it first happens, unless someone is there to warn you. There usually isn't.
Many of us live in terror of letting other people know we're freaking out, so while we might seem normal, in control, and calm, our insides are often a different story. It's ok to tell us we seem stabler or more confident- we'll appreciate you noticing. Just know that sometimes it might be an illusion, sometimes true one day but not the next. Acting like it's a result of something we didn't do is a double-blow, the first one being our own senses of failure for not being able to just "tough it out", "grin and bear it" etc.
Sometimes, just walking into a room by ourselves is the accomplishment of the day. Sometimes, we could lead a parade. Please, give us the credit for living with something so tough and managing to do anything. Please, just support us and help us, and listen to us. It's natural to get annoyed sometimes, but if you're annoyed, we're probably beating ourselves up because we're a self-critical lot. That's part of how we got this way, by being too self-aware.
We are trying to win the battle, but some days we just want to give up.
|When It Was Fun
I, too, remember when it used to be fun
Before false arms flailing
grasping for the wardrobe, knowing
one was left, you remember
but you were black out drunk
The night your friends told you about
where they took you swimming because, hey
they had seen you worse off
I, too, remember when it used to be fun
when I'd go shot for shot with the boys
ordering Dewar's, straight up
and they'd laugh, and I'd win
and wear it like a badge
Still do sometimes
if you can't stand what you see,
take your glasses off.
I, too, remember when it used to be fun
before the ugliness shined through
and I'd go to work, and I could tie my shoes
I was shaking from birth
but it's become more of a choice
I don't get any pills for it.
I no longer drink with the boys.
It used to be cute, and fascinating
but for now, I drink me under the table.
Now, the bottle turned gun.
I, too, remember when it used to be fun.
There is too much or too little coating,
I am always coming or going,
by choice or force, because?
My personality seems a reason
but my experience, in ways, diverse.
The fall happens everywhere
the colors bright and pure
but when arms reach out to catch me
they're always quite unsure
About where I may be landing
Because my body is disconnected
can't properly discuss
But if it could, I'd let them know
I swear, I love the care
but can take care of it myself
I swear, I lie
And if I could, I'd say
don't leave me here with her
this time, this place
I have already told
but no one can hear.
The whole attachment story,
reparent me so I can reparent myself
Fish me out, catch me
It is, I'd say, terminal
It's a sound
And everyone who tries
is bringing me up while pushing me down
|The Dependent Gene - David S. Moore (the most I have ever typed up for a book, I think)
While we are certainly nurtured by elements of our environment, our bodies (and minds!) are also shot through with that nurture. Every breath we take, every meal we eat, every scene we see is assimilated into the very structures and functions of our bodies, literally becoming us. And these processes of incorporating our environments into ourselves begin at conception and continue throughout our lifetimes; they operate as our bodies and minds are literally built from ¨scratch¨ through the mutual actions of those natural elements that are within and around us. When we first see the light of day as newborn babies, it is already impossible to identify any part of us that does not reflect the environment in which we developed from conception.
Consider a simple analogy drawn from nature: the formation of snowflakes. Snowflakes are formed only in the simultaneous presence of two factors, namely a temperature below 32 degree Fahrenheit and a relative humidity high enough to allow for precipitations. Now, if one a given day, humidity is high at the North Pole but low at the South Pole, snow will fall only at the North Pole, in this vase, the variation in the snowfall across the two locals can be accounted for completely by variation in relative humidity. But such circumstances certainly cannot be taken to mean that temperature is unimportant in causing snow. Thus ¨accounting for variation¨ and ¨explaining causation¨ are profoundly different from each other. Humidity differences alone are enough to account of the differing snowfalls at the two poles in this example, but only because it is always cold enough for snow at both poles, not because coldness is unimportant in causing snow. Whenever a factor does not vary across situations (as temperature does not in the current example), it cannot ¨account¨ for variation in outcomes across those situations; still, this does not mean that the factor plays no role in causing the outcomes themselves.
This analogy illustrates how little an ¨account for variation¨ can tell us about causation. Snow is caused by two factors, even if all of the variation in its presence can be ¨accounted for¨ by variation in only one of those two two factors. The same holds for our trains; it is quite possible, for instance, for genetic factors to ¨account for ¨ 90 percent of the differences seen in peoples heights, without genetic factors being any more important than environmental factors in causing both people´s heights. Regardless of heritability of height, a person´s height is caused both by genetic and environmental factors.
Even if the heritability of a trait is very high—in fact, even it if is 100 percent—numerous environmental factors can nonetheless have overwhelmingly powerful effects on the traits final appearance. The converse story holds as well: a trait with a heritability of zero cannot be assumed to be unaffected by genetic factors...But if perfectly heritable trains are consequently affected by both environmental and genetic factors, and if nonheritable traits, likewise, are consequentially affected by both of these same factors, then what is the difference between heritable and nonheritable traits|? In fact, there is no difference at all, as least, not in the extent to which heritable and nonheritable traits can be influenced by genetic and environmental factors.
If the heritability of traits tells us nothing about the extent to which genetic or environmental factors contribute to the trait´s appearance, what use is knowing heritability? A behavioral geneticist might respond that heritability estimates do, at least, help us understand the source of differences among people. But even this claim is overstated, since it turns out that heritability estimates cannot be generalize dot situations different from the situation originally studies. Instead, these statistics tell us only about the cause of differences among people ¨in a particular population at a particular time¨ and in particular circumstances.
Heritability estimates cannot be generalized because as soon as we start changing situations, the whole story chances, and the factors that once accounted for different outcomes m ight no longer do so. Consider again the formation of snowflakes. When we look at the causes of variation in snowfall at the poles, we find that the variation in accounted for by variation in relative humidity alone. But if we study variation in snowfall at several locations in an extremely humid Costa Rican rainforest, we will find that snowfall variation will be accounted for by variations in temperature alone. Thus what ¨causes a difference¨ under one set of circumstances might not account for any of the variation detected in a different set of circumstances. As a result, accepting that a particular factor is a ¨cause¨ of a difference requires us to hold constant every other factor in that situation.
¨The heritability of number of fingers and toes in humans is almost certainly very low. What´s going on? If you look at cases of unusual numbers of fingers and toes, you find that most of the variation is environmentally caused, often by problems in fetal development. For example, when a pregnant women took thalidomide (a drug later implicated in the production of birth defects)...many of their babies had fewer than five fingers and toes. And if we look at numbers of fingers and toe in adults, we find many missing digits as a result of accidents.¨
But if most of the variation in people´s digit numbers can be traced to variation in environmental factors, then little of the variation in digit number is ¨accounted for¨ by genetic variation; in fact, human genes only rarely—if ever---contribute to the appearance of just four fingers on a hand. Thus, heritability of this trait would be calculated to be rather low. For similar reasons, many common trains—possessing opposable thumbs, four limbs, or teeth located inside you mouth—and not particularly heritable, even though it is inconceivable to most of us that these traits are not ¨inherited.¨ Is is just a minor inconvenience that ¨heritability¨ and ¨inheritability¨ sound so much alike when in facy they mean very different things? I think not; this terminology leaves most of us quite confused.
Consider the opposite side of the same coin”What do heritability estimates tell us about traits that we intuitively sense are not inheritable?? Block addressed this situation as well, writing ¨Some years ago when only women wore earrings, the heritability of having an earring was high.¨ If seems as if this can´t be right; we all know that earring-wearing is very affected by cultural factors, so is unlikely to be ¨inherited¨ according to any definition of this word...
This counterintuitive finding reflects the fact that in mid century America, there actually were certain genes that were found in most earring wearers and that were hardly every found in non-earring wearers. Think about that for a second. Does this mean that there actually are genes ¨for¨ earring wearing? Not at all, because correlation tells us nothing at all about causation; genes whose presence is correlated with earring wearing need not play any direct role at all in causing that behavior. As it happens, the genetic factor consistently found in earring wearers in the 1950s were two X chromosomes, which characterize all women and very few men. But X chromosomes do not cause earring wearing any more than do ovaries (the presence of which were also highly correlated with earing wearing in the 1950s). Instead, since only women wore earring at the time—for cultural reasons—there was a high correlation between the presence of two X chromosomes and the presence of jewelry dangling form the ears.
Under normal circumstance, some of the cells of one-week-old human embryos begin to develop into a membrance calls a ¨chorion¨; ultimately, the chorion forms the embryonic part of the placenta, the organ that allows the fetus to share nutrients, oxygen, and wastes with its mothers. Most identical twins—about two-thirds of them---are formed when a single embryo splits in two sometime between five and nine days after fertilization; since a chorion has developed by this point, both twins wind up sharing a single placenta. In contrast, about one-third of identical twins are formed when a single embryo splits in two prior to five days after fertilization. In this case, no chorian has been formed at the time of the split; consequently, each twin develops its own chorion, ultimately co-constructing its own placenta with the mother. As it turns out, these different prenatal conditions appear to make important contributions to later developing traits differences.
More than 20 years ago, M. Melnick, N.C. Myrianthopoulous and J.C. Christian reported that maong a population of white Americans, identical twins who shared a placenta in utero were significantly more likely to have similar IQs than were identical twins who each developed their own, individual chorion. Reporting similar results in 1995, D.K. Skokol and colleagues observed that among a group of four to six-year-old identical twins, those who shared a chorion as fetuses were more similar to each other on 20 different personality measures than those who developed their own chorions as fetuses.
Since fraternal twins are formed from two entirely separate fertilization events, fraternal twins always develop their own chorions, each twin connected to its mother via its own placenta. Thus, while a relatively large fraction of identical twins share a chorion, no fraternal twins share a chorion. As a result, fraternal twins can be expected, on average, to be less similar than identical twins, for reasons having to do, in part, with the environments in which they developed as fetus.
Although ¨identical¨ twins´ genes are not single-handedly responsible for the similarities of their traits, this does not mean that their genes do not contribute to the twins similarities; they must! After all, according to Galton´s conceptualization of the forces driving trait development, there are only two factors to consider:: nature and nurture. And since ¨identical¨ twins share identical genes whereas fraternal twins do not, it would be extremely unusual indeed if identical twins were not more similar to one another than fraternal twins; two identical sets of genes operating in a given pair of environments should be expected to produce more similar traits than would differing genes operating in the same pair environments. The essence of the developmental systems perspective is that genes are essential, but not exclusive, causes of the development of traits; thus, developmental systems theorists are not the slightest bit surprised that individuals with identical genes are more similar to one another than are individuals with differing genes.
But acknowledging that identical genes contribute to identical traits does not mean that the traits are determined strictly, or even primarily, by the genes.
Cascading events: If a series of 26 equally spaced domino's are arranged in a line, and pushing over domino A (event A) ultimately leads to the toppling of domino Z (event Z), is it fair to say that event A ¨causes¨ event Z? There is a sense, of course, in which even A does cause event Z. However, to me (and to some respected philosophers who have considered this issue in great detail), it does not seem reasonable to call event A the cause of event Z, because many other events are involved in producing event Z as well. My reasoning, of course, is that event A is not sufficient to cause event Z; merely changing the orientation of any other domino would interfere with the cascade that originally topples Z. Moreover, event A is not even necessary for the occurrence of even Z, because we could have toppled Z just as easily by initiating the cascade with some event other than event A (say, toppling domino J). As a result, there seems to me to be something fundamentally wrong with asserting that event A is more the cause of event Z than are events B, J or X. In general, whenever a cascade of events leads to a particular outcome, each and every event involved in the cascade must be understood to have played an essential role in the occurrence of the outcome, since without every single event, the outcome would not have occurred at all...Out traits are outcomes of complex cascades of events.
A proteins´ shape is not determined exclusively by the ordering of its amino acids [DNA strands do not necessarily dictate the eventual outcome of a protein]. As Timothy D. Johnston notes, the shape of a protein molecules also ¨depends on aspects of the intracellular environment such as temperature and pH. Thus, a particular segmnet of DNA merely contains amino acid sequencing information that, when used in a particular environment, specifies a protein that can do a specific job (because of its unique shape). After a collection of amino acids has been strung together in a particular order, all further development is influenced by nongenetic factors. Thus, DNA cannot be thought of as a single-handedly producting complete functional proteins; it certainly cannot be thought of as producing full-blown trains. Johnston reports the reality concisely ¨Between amino acid sequences and behavior is a long and tortuous developmental route, most of who details are at present unknown.¨
An example might be of use here. One of the biological traits commonly though to be ¨genetic¨ is hair color; this assumption probably results from the observation that hair color runs in familiar and from the fact that, at first glance, there are no salient environmental factors that obviously influence it. But because genetic factors can do no more than specify amino acid sequences—and because hair colors are not themselves amino avid sequences—such factors cannot single-handedly determine hair colors. Thus, is we don think environmental factors can influence hair color, it must simple be because we haven´t yet become aware of their effects.
Hair color—like eye and skin color—is determined by the presence of melanin. Melanin is not a protein; instead, it is formed as an end product during the normal biological breakdown of a particular amino acid called tyrosine. What this means is that environmental factors that affect the breakdown of tyrosine also affect coloration. In the case of hair, the degree of natural melanin accumulation turns out to depend, in part, on the relative concentrations of copper in the cells that are producing the hair; dark hairs contain higher amounts of copper than do light hairs. Thus, non-genetic factors such as diet affect hair color.
In RNA splicing, the non-information encoded in introns is cut out by the temporary structures—called spliceosomes-that are formed for this purpose within a cell´s nucleus. When a cistron is to be decoded, a piece of RNA that complements the entire cistron is produced, complete with portions that complement both its introns and its exons. This RNA---actually pre-RNA, because is till contains gibberish thrown in by the introns—then migrates over to a spliceosome that systematically cuts the introns out of the chain and joins ¨splices¨ the exons together, ultimately producing a piece of ¨mature¨ RNA made up exclusively of uninterrupted exons.
As if this arrangement is not extraordinary enough, recent research has revealed something even more astounding. In a process called ¨alternative splicing¨ the spliceosomes in different cells can do different things with the same pre-RNA, thereby generating two or more different proteins from the code of a single cistron. Thus, spliceosomes can edit a piece of pre-RNA in one cell type so as to produce a p particular strand of mature RNA, and they can edit this same pre-RNA in a different cell type so as to produce an entirely different strand of RNA! Upon being transported out of the nucleus and then to the ribosomes, these mature RNA strands would contribute to the production of distinctly different protein forms.
...these researches discovered that the same pre-RNA can be spliced to code either for amino acid chains involved in the body´s regulation of calcium or for a neurohormone. Subsequent research revealed that which molecule is produced depends on the type of cell that is doing the producing. In particular, when the pre-RNA is spliced in cells that make up the nervous system, the neruohormone is produced; when the identical pre-RNA is spliced in other cells, the calcium regulating amino acid chain is produced. Thus, the product built using a given length of DNA depends on the tissue doing the building; that is, different outcomes can be expected when a single cistron is decoded in different contexts. And since specific spliceosomes effectively make different ¨decisions¨ about what product to build, the resulting outcome ¨does not...inhere in the DNA code, but emerges from the interaction of many parts of the cellular machinery¨ As incredibly as this arrangement might be, it is now known that this sort of alternative RNA processing is actually quite common, occurring during the ¨reading¨ of our RNA.
¨Development is not a matter of just growing, or tuning, or refining, or filling in a blueprint. Rather, real causes operating in real time literally make fingers and toes out of processes and stuff that are not fingers and toe...[the undifferentiated cells of a gastrula] are not marked by their internal genetic structure; they cannot be since all the cells are the same. Instead, they are marked by their position in the mass...the processes that make some cells fingers and some cells toes do not start with the genes....The lesson from embryological development is this. Ne forms are created in a history of events, in the contexts they create, and out of the general processes of like itself.
The date suggests that experience plays a major role in giving human brains the structural and functional organization that underlies low-level psychological processes such as perception and actions. Brain structures underlying high-level psychological process (like intelligence, temperament, and personality, among others) are likely to be at least as influenced during development of nongentic factors. [ferret fetus re-wiring ocular perception to the auditory thalamus when the connections were severed to the visual thalamus].
Because certain experiences have consistently characterized the development of certain species throughout their evolutionary histories, these animals have come to require these experiences for their normal development. In this way, organisms can reliably develop traits that appear innate until we look more deeply into their developmental histories [monkey exposure to insects acknowledge snakes as dangerous; mallard ducks and their mothers call, if unexposed to their own; chicken feet and pecking grub worms].
¨the principle governing these developments are epigenetic...The connections among the cells are....not precisely prespecified in the genes of the animal.¨ As a result, ¨even in genetically identical twins, the exact same pattern of nerve cells its not found at the same place and time.¨ Thus, structural characteristics typical of mammalian brains are not determined by genetic factors alone (although these certainly have their imperative influences). Instead, at the most rudimentary level, the development of our brains---the source of our behavioral, cognitive and emotional characteristics—depends unequivocally and integrally on our experience.
To counteract ignorace, we should concentrate...on interdependence¨ -14th Dalai Lama
Given the presence of a testis was the only difference between his normal genetic males (who looked male) and his castrated genetic males (who looked female), Jost reasoned that a factor produced in the male gonads must be necessary for the development of normal masculine traits. Scientists now understand that in mammals, this factor is the steroid hormone testosterone, one of the class of masculinizing hormones called androgens. The masculinizing effect of testosterone can be demonstrated experimentally by injected it into pregnant guinea pigs; as a result of this treatment, offspring that are genetically female (XX) develop external genitalia that are identical to those of normal males. Thus, a Y chromosome is not required for the development of male external genitalia.
Thus, to bring about the development of a testis, SRY has to work cooperatively with other genes located on non-sex chromosomes. The fact that a Y chromosome alone cannot cause the development of male traits is underscored by the observation that, in rare cases, people with an SRY gene can nonetheless develop female traits, while people lacking an SRY gene can nonetheless develop male traits.
Actually, the development of male traits is not even an inevitable result of fetal exposure to testosterone. In a disorder known as androgen insensitivity syndrome, genetic males (XY) can be born (and develop into adults with) an external appearance that is indistinguishable from normal females. While these so called pseudo-hermaphrodites look exactly like a normal women, they have a Y chromosome in every cell of their body, they have (internal) testes, and they are sterile (lack, as they do, uterus and oviducts). Here´s what going on: because they have a Y chromosome, their testes initially develop normally, leading to the subsequent production of testosterone. But because of their disorder, their cells are deficient in the production of receptors for angrogens, so they cannot respond to the hormone bath in which they develop. Therefore, to develop into a normal male, it is not enough to be exposed to testosterone (let alone to have a Y chromosome!); particular cells in one´s brain and body must be able to both recognize and respond to the testosterone as well.
Turner´s syndrome: this condition develops when on parent contributes an XX chromosome to a zygote and the other parent contributes no sex chromosome at all. In such cases, normal ovaries do not develop, so the fetus itself cannot be a source of estrogen. Nonetheless, like Jost´s ¨castrated¨ rabbits, Turner´s infants are born with female genital tracts; they are so similar to normal girl s that they sometimes go undiagnosed until adolescence. The available evidence suggests that female genitalia develop in these individuals as a result of exposure to the maternal- and placenta-derived estrogen in the fetus´s microenvironment. Thus, in this case, the fetus is feminizied by maternal and placental estrogen located outside of the body.
Wallman restricted the visual experiences of chicks in a minimal way. Shortly after they hatched in a dark incubator that prevented them from seeing their feet, he fitted several chicks with cloth ¨shoes¨ that permitted walking but not toe inspection; several other chicks were treated identically, except they were left shoeless. After two subsequent days of otherwise normal experiences in the world, all of the chicks were observed for five minutes while in the presence of a mealworm. During this period, chicks that had never laid eyes on their own toes were significantly less likely to pick up or eat the mealworm than the ¨barefoot¨ chicks; instead, chicks with covered feet mosely just stared at the meal worm, one eye at a time. Thus, the simple lack of visual experience with their own toes was enough to interfere with a response that—because it appears in all chicks hatched in normal environments—had looked ¨innate prior to Wallmanś research. Wallmoan wrote:
The effect of early visual experience is not simple to facilitate perception of those objects present in the early environment, but also to facilitate perception of other objects that have some attributes in common with the objects seen. From this point of view, everything the animal sees might influence...its perceptual development.
The wild-reared monkeys and the laboratory reared, insect-fed monkeys behaved as if they were afraid of the real snakes, the model snakes, and the toy snakes (but not the electrical cords or neutral objects.) In contrast, the fruit-and-monkey-chow-only monkeys behaved fearlessly in the presence of all the test stimuli. Thus, simple exposure to insects led laboratory-reared monkeys to fear the snakes just as the wild-reared monkeys did, even though the life experience of these two groups were extremely different. And, although the only difference between the laboratory-reared groups was their exposure to insects, the insect-fed monkeys responded to snakes very differently from the fruit-fed monkeys.
First, experiences with the macroenvironment can directly affect the structure and function of the nervous system; such experiences, then, can potentially influence any behavior or mental activity. Second, species-typical traits—including those traits that look ¨innate¨--can depend for their development on experiences that are universally encountered by individuals developing in normal environments; all normal chicks eat mealworms, not because their behavior is genetically determined, but because chicks that develop in normal environments always see their toes shortly after hatching. Finally, developmental experiences can affect mature behaviors in nonobvious ways; few of us would have guessed that early exposure to such un-snakelike animals as insects could play a role in the later development of a normal snake fear. Taken together, these observations weigh powerfully against credulously accepting the facile conclusion that a a given trait can develop without experiential input.
Genetic and nongenetic factors influence the biological and psychological characteristics of mature animals just as surely as they influence the characteristics of juveniles.
Even those who realize genes are not exclusively responsible for giving organisms developmental information still sometimes maintain the role of genes in trait development is more important than the environment´s role because genes operate prior to the operation of environmental favtors. However, the ability of macroenvironmental events (for example, psychological stressors and pheromones) and microenvironmental events (for example, hormones) to influence gene activity cripples this argument. Instead, these abilities encourage us to imagine developmental pathways as nonlinear, complex ¨domino trails¨ that can circle back on themselves. In fact, it is a mistake to think that genes are necessarily the firk link in causal chains of biological events. In real organisms, cascades of biological events are often initiated by nongentic factors. From the money of conception, environmental factors and genetic factors are in the ongoing ¨dialogue¨ with one another about building a person. Each of these sets of factors brings its out necessary information to this conversation.
If some traits seems fixe,d it is only because genetic and nongenetic factors co-act to replace with identical cells, molecules, and pieces of molecules, the cells, molecules and pieces of molecules that are damaged as are or undergo certain experiences; this analysis holds for all of our cells and molecules, including those constituting our brains (which is why it applies to psychological as well as biological traits). Thus, the dynamic nature f our traits is sometime invisible to us; this changeability becomes apparent only in the face of genetic and nongenetic change. Some unusual changes in experience can lead to significant changes in the structures of our brains, even through adulthood.
IT is possible of course, that each of our bodies might normally contain several genes that—in the right environmental circumstances—would contribute to the development of some unknown disorders. But if these environmental circumstances were almost never encountered during normal human development, the consequences of having these genes would almost never be felt. Surely, in this case, it would be inappropriate to say that we each actually have disorders of which we just happen to be blissfully unaware. By the same token, it seems unfair to define PKU as ¨lacking the gene needed to break down phenylalanine.¨ Thus, only individuals with symptoms should be said to suffer from PKU. But if some individuals with the genetic defect in question nonetheless remain asymptomatic as a consequence of their specific dietary experiences, then it is misleading to call PKA a ¨genetic¨ disorder and thereby imply that it is caused by gene factors alone. In fact, the severe mental retardation associated with PKU appears only in those people with genetic defects who also have certain experiences.
¨Traits¨ can develop spontaneously in physical systems even if instructed for the traits are not locate din any one of the system´s components; similarly, ¨instructions¨ for biological traits need not reside in any one of the biological system´s components. Instead, the ¨information¨ required for the construction of biological traits can be distributed across all of the components of the developing systems.
¨the cause of development—what makes development happen---is the relationship of the...components, not the components themselves. Genes in themselves cannot cause development any more than stimulation in itself cannot cause development.
¨the question of [which competent] is more important for...development is nonsensical because both are absolutely essential.¨
¨natural selection favors (or discriminates against) phenotypes, not genes.¨
In these studies, white brother and sister mice who had been reared by either black foster parents, white foster parents, or their own natural (white) parents were allowed to mate and then rear their own offspring, who, of course, were also white. A good experimentalist, Ressler implemented the parallel conditions among the black strains: black siblings who had been reared by white foster parents, black foster parents, or their own natural (black) parents were also allowed to mate and rear their own (black) offspring. His results indicated that even though all of the new generation´s pups were reared by their natural parents ¨both strains of pups...responded at a consistently higher rate if their parents had been raised by white rather than black foster grandparents. Thus, it appears the difference in environments provided by black and white foster grandparents ¨is at least partially replicated in the parental environment subsequently provided¨ by their offspring, and that this difference then affects the behavior of the ¨grandpups¨ Michael and Moore offered the following interpretation of Ressler´s important results:
The difference in parental environment provided by the black and white foster parents so affected the development of the young they reared that, when they became mothers, they provided different environments for their own offspring than would have been the case if their mother had come from the same strain. When members of the new generation in turn became adults, characteristics of their...exploration were more like those of the foster grandparents´ strain than like those of their own genetic strain.¨ [white mice are more exploratory than black mice]
¨The final step in the integration of developmental biology into evolution is to incorporate the organism as itself a cause of its own development, as a mediating mechanism by which external and internal factors influences its future...The organism is not simply the object of developmental forces, but is the subject of these forces as well.¨
Orgainism-environment co-evolution:: F.J. Odling-Smee
¨The Galapagos woodpecker finch...is famous for using a tool—a twig ot a cactus spine---which it holds in its beak to poke out grubs from the barks of trees...Probably its novel behavior is based on learning rather than gene mutations...Once apparent result is that these birds have never evolved either the typical beak or the typical tongue of other woodpeckers. The immediate question is Why not? This expands to a more interesting question: What exactly is being transmitted via evolutionary descent among successive generations of woodpeckers? Part of the answer is clear enough. If Alcock is right, a capacity for learning the tool-using skill much be transmitted via genes in the usual way. But that alone is not enough to account for the whole phenomenon. It is also likely that the particular ¨woodpecking niche¨”open up up for these birds by their own behavior is transmitted from generation to generation, not genetically, but via those environments which successive generations of woodpeckers are themselves ensuring the encounter. In that case, a transmitted niche could then explain the modification of the selection forces in the finches environment, which, on the one hand, are apparently selecting for tool-using skills but which, on the other hand, are clearly not selecting for the elongated beaks and tongues of typical woodpeckers.
Nonetheless, Gottlieb pressed on, studying the effects of preventing mallard embryos from hearing embryonic mallard vocalizations and instead exposing them to the maternal calls of chickens of wood ducks. Amazingly, he discovered that with these manipulations, he could induce mallards to prefer the calls of these other species over the calls of their own mallard kin. Perhaps even more important, he discovered that mallard embryos exposed to both the chicken call and embryonic mallard vocalizations did not come to prefer the chicken call. Instead, exposure to embryonic mallard sounds apparently buffered development of the mallard call preference from the influence of the chicken call; consequently, mallard calls came to be preferred even in the face of significant exposure to the chicken call. Gottlieb concluded ¨exposure of mallard ducklings to their [embryonic vocalizations]...buffers the duckling from becoming responsive to social signals from other species. In the absence of exposure to the [embryonic vocalizations], the duckling is capable of becoming attached to the maternal call of another species.
¨It is a well-established fact that language is not only our servant...but that it may also become our master, overpowering us by means of the notations attached to the current words. This fact is the reason why it is desirable to create a new terminology in all cases where new or revised conceptions are being developed. Old terms are mostly compromised by their application in antiquated or erroneous theories and systems, from which they carry splinters of inadequate ideas, not always harmless to the developing insight.¨
[Adaptability] We can interpret what is passed across generations as not a trait per se but a collection of developmental resources that cause the offspring to follow a particular developmental pathway through life, one that entails the emergence of particular adaptive traits at particular times. According to this portrayal of evolution, novel traits emerge when anomalous developments produce animals that differ significantly from their parents; if these animals ultimately reproduce, their offspring can grow up to be like their parents by following the same ¨abnormal¨ developmental pathway that their parents followed. In this way, evolution can be seen to involve changes that alter an animal´s development, changes that are then reproduced in the development of its descendants.
Natural selection operates on traits; my current proposal is that over the course of a lifetime, nature effectively selects traits repeatedly, in every instant that a trait does not contribute to an animal´s immediate demise. AS a result, your offspring---by virtue of being developing systems made of genetic and nongenetic factors similar to those that constituted you when you were their age---will develop through a series of moments that are similar enough to the series of moments through which you developed that they will probably survive as you did. Thus, instead of imagining that nature selects well-adapted animals to contribute to the next generation, we would be more inclusive of developmental processes if we acknowledged that what nature effectively selects is a sequence of event-moments—the developmental pathway—that leads to the appeared of a well-adapted animal. In this way, the development of an animal´s descendants will proceed along the lines that so effectively served the ancestor in its lifetime.
Individual Development and Evolution – Gottlieb
¨Widespread variation affecting morphogenic pathways [the developmental pathways by which anatomical traits are produced] exist in nature, but is usually silent...This provides the plausible mechanism for promoting evolutionary change in otherwise entrenched developmental processes.
¨Experiments disrupting developmental homeostasis by specific mutations of by particular environmental stresses during precise windows of development...have shown that populations contain a surprising amount of unexpressed genetic variation that is capable of affecting certain typically invariant traits. Sometimes very specific [environmental] conditions can uncover this previously silent variation.
Michael and Moore describe troops of Japanese monkeys who llive near the beach and who, for the last several years, have regularly received food offerings from human tourists. Because of this arrangement, the monkeys have
acquired the trait of washing their good, which has led them to spend more time in the sea, which monkeys usually avoid. As a consequence, the numbers and types of marine organisms incorporated into their diet have increased. The animals have also adopted the novel behavioral pattern of swimming and diving.
As a result, should the tourist stop bringing food to the monkeys at some point in the future, the monkeys would not automatically revert to their old pre-human niche. Instead, these previously land-dwelling monkeys would have the option of subsisting entirely on seafood or, as Michael and Moore speculate, of ¨extending their range by swimming to nearby islands.¨ Given the known effects on evolution of the sort of reproductive isolation should behavior could entail, this example certainly makes it easy to recognize how novel behaviors could drive evolutionary change.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. -Martin Luther King, Jr.
The performance of a genotype cannot be tested in all possible environments, because the latter are infinitely variable.¨ Dobzhansky understood that to know the full range of traits that a given genotype would be capable of producing, we would need to let an organism with that genotype develop in every possible environment and observe the traits that develop. So, while a range of reaction might be discoverable in theory I a collection of clones could be allowed to develop in all possible environments, such a range cannot in fact ever be specified since environments are infinitely variable. AS Dobzhansky so insightfully pointed out in 1955, ¨The existing variety of environments is immense, and new environments are constantly produced. Invention of a new drug, a new diet, a new type of housing, a new educational system, a new political regime introduces new environments.¨
Thus, we can never conclude, for any practical purposes, that a genotype circumscribes a range of possible developmental outcomes. Instead, all we can ever know for sure is what the most common developmental outcome is for a given set of genes. Consequently, developmental biologists have rejected the idea that genes specify a range of possible developmental outcomes—a range of reaction—in favor of the idea that genes are associated with typical developmental outcomes in specific environments—a norm of reaction. The distinction between a range of reaction and a norm of reaction might appear at first to be rather subtle, but, on further reflection, its significance will become clear.
Ordinarily, a chicks beak develops out of a particular layer—lets call it layer one—of embryonic tissue. Specifically, the layer underlying layer 1—call it layer 2—induces layer 1 to differentiate into beak tissue. This is the same sort of process underlying the differentiation of teeth in mammal´s mouths; one layer of tissue induces the layer overlying it to being differentiating into teeth. AS shocking as it might sound, Kollar and Fished first removed the layer 2 chick cells from the developing chick embryos and then replaced them with transplanted layer 2 mouse cells taken from 17-day-old mouse embryos. Unbelievably, in the context of the layer 2 mouse cells, the layer 1 chick cells actually differentiate into complete, well-formed mammalian teeth! Consider for a moment how truly remarkable this is: the cells that became mammalian teeth were normal chick cells, complete with normal chick DNA, and only chick DNA. What this means is that in the right context, chick genes—which never generate teeth under ordinary circumstances—are capable of collaborating with nongenetic factors in their local environments to co-construct mammalian teeth with ¨perfectly formed crowns and with root development in proper relation to the crown.¨
Is it possible that measured differences in the IQ among black and white people reflect genetic differences between these groups? Absolutely. Is is possible that this difference reflects differences in the environments in which members of these groups develop? Absolutely. Is it possible that one of these groups possesses a genetic superiority in the domain of intelligence? As should now be clear, this is a possibility unworthy of consideration, because such a superiority could not possibly ascertained. For all practical purposes, it is impossible to accurately conclude that a person—let alone a group of people!--has genes that render him genetically inferior to another person, either in general or in particular domains like intelligence. Nonetheless, it does remain possible that particular sets of genes are at a disadvantage in particular environments.
If you understand how a trait develops, influencing highly heritable traits with environmental manipulations is just as easy as influencing traits that are not particularly heritable. (By the same token, it is equally difficult to affect heritable and nonheritable traits in predicable ways if you do not understand how they develop.) Let me repeat this crucial point: The ease with which a trait can be affected by an environmental manipulation is not a function of the trait´s heritability, but it is a function of our knowledge about how the genetic and nongenetic factors that co-construct this trait interact during its development. Thus, just as heritability estimates cannot help up explain the development of a trait, they are of no use to us if our goal is to influence its development. Both affecting and understanding the IQ disparities that characterize black and white populations require knowledge about how IQ develops. In contrast, heritability estimates off us no guidance as we struggle with what to do about these disparities.
Can we take knowledge of the heritability of IQ (or of any other trait) to have any practical value at all for anyone besides rhetoricians? Definitely. Heritability estimates continue to be useful in helping to predict the outcomes of selective breeding programs (because we can hold environments constant in these situation).
People who have two of these abnormal genes—and so who should definitely show signs of the disorder according to the simplistic genetics we are all taught in high school—still do not necessarily develop the symptoms of hemochromatosis. As a result, the panel wisely concluded that ¨uncertainties...about the percentage of homozygotes that will develop [symptoms of the] disease and the effect of genetic of environmental modified on the [presence of these symptoms], indicate the need for caution in use the use of genetic testings...
The best way to screen for abnormal traits is to turn our attention to the traits themselves and way from exclusive focus on the genes that are touted as causing these traits. [The best test for hemochrotosis is direct testing for blood iron levels; just as the best testing for PKU are not the genes but instead the urine or blood test of phenylaline levels.¨ The panel wrote ¨there may always be an inherent uncertainty in a hemochromatosis diagnosis made of the basis of genotype rather than on evidence of increased iron stores...concluding the section of their report:
As we acquire more knowledge about the molecular basis of genetic disease, it becomes increasingly clear that variable expressibility (i.e., modification of a genetic trait by other genes of the environment) is the rule rather than the exception...It can be argued that a phenotypical screening test is always preferable to a genetic test because phenotype is the clinical concern. In this view, the availability of a phenotypic test should lead to increased caution in the use of DNA-based test.
Studies of the development of both normal and abnormal traits will yield better prescriptions for society´ś ills than will nondevelopmental studies of these same trains. Remarkably, this statement is true whether we are talking about traits within the traditional realms of physicians (for example, disease) or psychologists (for example, intelligence or violence). While many people understand that the latter sorts of traits reflect out experiences, we have all been slow to accept the idea that the former sorts of traits—some diseases in particular--=are just as ¨open¨ to environmental influence. But those scientists who actually study genes know better: even ¨genetic¨ diseases are caused by genetic factors that co-act with nongentic factors. Given this basic truth, the cause of any trait—normal, abnormal, psychological, or biological—can be understood only via study of its development.
A decade of gene therapy failures does not warrant abandoning research on genetic contributes to disease. After all, it is not wonder that getting gene therapies to work has been extremely difficult; as Katherine High of Children´s Hospital of Philadelphia points out: ¨It has proven to be a much more complex undertaking than was initially imagined.¨ Even so, gene therapy research is almost certain to yield marvelous medical breakthroughs; since we all develop in environments that are remarkably similar in regards to certain crucial factors, genetic differences can be expected to be highly correlated with difference sin developed traits. Thus, how certain genes interact with ¨normal¨ environments to produce certain disorders is almost guaranteed to be useful information.
Take George, Charlie and Albert, for instance. The two-year old- Holstein calves...were cloned from the DNA of a single animal. The calves do look similar. They´re all the same size...each is mostly black with a white triangular splotch on his forehead. But where Albert and George have a white spot above their shoulders, Charlie has a stripe stretching all the way down his right side. White patterns on the animals´'legs re different, too.
University of Mass. Biologist Jim Robl created the clones. ¨We´ve had a lot of people look at them and it´s always a question:: these aren´t identical! In fact, I had a person in the beef industry that was trying to convince me that these could not be identical because they don´t have the exact same coat-color pattern.¨ Robl said he expected subtle differences in the animals´ coloration, because the patterning is due to more than just genetics, in the same way identical twins have different patterns of freckles and different fingerprints. But Robl says his cloned calves also have distinct personalities. ¨When they were younger, and there were lots of opportunities for people to come out and take pictures of them, Albert was always much easier to work with than George and Charlie were, because Albert was always more laid-back than were the other two.¨
At the University of Hawaii, researches have found that mice cloned from a single individual don´t always grow the same. Some of the mice because normal sized adults while others become obese, despite being fed the same diet.
And at the Roslin Institute in Scotland, the creators of Dolly also created four Dorset ram clones...The institute´s Ian Wilmut says the rams are noticeably different in size and temperament. ¨These There are these big differences in their behavior, with some being much more assertive than others.¨
¨Why do people ¨want¨ to hear that genes are responsible for behaviors?...On one lee, genetic determinism becomes a useful way both to avoid responsibility and to define certain groups or individuals as being naturally bad (or good). On a deeper level, genetic causation appear so compelling because that many people believe the genes are the essence of our identity.¨
Exploring related ideas, D. Nelkin and M.S. Lindee point out that genes have ¨become a cultural icon, a symbol, almost a magical force¨ and that in popular culture, they function ¨in many respects, as a secular equivalent of the Christian soul.¨ It is not difficult to see how genes have taken on this function; studying biology at this level cannot help but inspire a sense of awe for the miracles of nature. But, ultimately, this sort of ¨genetic essentialism¨ ¨reduces the self to a molecular entity, equating human beings, in all their social historical, and moral complexity, with their genes¨
|Capital and Its Structure - Lachmann
CAPITAL AND IT'S STRUCTURE – LACHMANN
The shape in which new capital goods make their appearance is determined largely by the existing pattern, in the sense that 'investment opportunities' really mean 'holes in the pattern'. pg10
Heterogeneity of Capital means heterogeneity in use;
Heterogeneity in use implies Multiple Specificity;
Multiple Specificity implies Complementarity;
Complementarity implies Capital Combinations;
Capital Combinations form the elements of the Capital Structure. pg12
The ability to turn failure into success and to benefit from the discomfiture of others is the crucial test of true entrepreneurship. A progressive economy is not an economy in which no capital is ever lost,
but an economy which can afford to lose capital because the productive opportunities revealed by the loss are vigorously exploited.
significant change in needs or resources expresses itself in a price change, and every price change is a signal to consumers and producers to modify their conduct. Thus people gain knowledge about each other by closely following market prices.
action based on price messages conveying misleading information is, as we shall see in Chapter VII, often an important factor in the Trade Cycle. For our present purpose it is sufficient to realize:
First, that in a world of continuous change prices are no longer in all circumstances a safe guide to action; Second, that nevertheless even here price changes do transmit information, though now incomplete information; Third, that such information therefore requires interpretation (the messages have to be 'decoded') in order to be transformed into knowledge, and all such knowledge is bound to be imperfect knowledge.
We conclude that the accumulation of capital renders possible a higher degree of the division of capital; that capital specialization as a rule takes the form of an increasing number of processing stages and a change in the composition of the raw material flow as well as of the capital combinations at
each stage; that the changing pattern of this composition permits the use of new indivisible resources; that these indivisibilities account for increasing returns to capital; and that these increasing returns to the use of capital are, in essence, the 'higher productivity of roundabout methods of production'.
|Positive Theory of Capital - Bohm Bawerk
“...in production natural powers are the servants of man, and are directed by him to his own advantage. If this proposition be taken to mean that man in any case can impose his sovereign will in place of natural laws, can at will " bully" natural law into making a single exception at his bidding, it is entirely erroneous. Whether the lord of creation will it or no, not an atom of matter can, for a single moment or by a hair's breadth, work otherwise than the unchangeable laws of nature demand. Man's role in production is much more modest. It consists simply in this—that he, himself a part of the natural world, combines his personal powers with the impersonal powers of nature, and combines them in such a way that under natural law the co-operation results in a definite, desired, material form. Thus, notwithstanding the interference of man, the origin of goods remains purely a natural process. The natural process is not disturbed by man but completed, inasmuch as, by apt intervention of his own natural powers, he supplies a condition which has hitherto been wanting to the origination of a material good.” pg.12
This is the true importance which attaches to our entering on roundabout ways of production, and this is the reason of the result associated with them: every roundabout way means the enlisting in our service of a power which is stronger or more cunning than the human hand; every extension of the roundabout way means an addition to the powers which enter into the service of man, and the shifting of some portion of the burden of production from the scarce and costly labour of human beings to the
prodigal powers of nature. pg.22
Capital in general we shall call a group of Products which serve as means to the Acquisition of Goods. Under this general conception we shall put that of Social Capital as narrower conception. Social Capital we shall call a group of products, which serve as means to the socio-economical Acquisition of Goods; or, as this acquisition is only possible through production, we shall call it a group of products destined to serve towards further production; or, briefly, a group of Intermediate Products. Synonymous with the wider of the two conceptions, the term Acquisitive Capital may be very suitably used, or, less suitably but more in accordance with usage the term Private Capital. Social Capital again, the narrower of the two conceptions, may be well and concisely called Productive Capital. The following are my reasons for this classification.
Capital in its wider sense, and capital in its narrower sense, both mark out categories which, economically, are of the highest importance. " Products which serve to acquisitive ends" possess a pre-eminent importance for the theory of income as being the source of interest; while the "intermediate products" possess at least as great an importance for the theory of production. The distinction between production from hand to mouth and production which employs roundabout and fruitful methods, is so fundamental that it is eminently desirable that a special conception should be coined for the latter. This is done—if not, as we shall see, in the only possible way, yet in a way that is not inappropriate—in
grouping together, under the conception of capital, the " intermediate products" which come into existence in the course of this roundabout production. pg.38
Land is the special object of a kind of production which is economically distinguished by many important peculiarities. Income from land, while subject to many laws in common with income from capital, obeys many distinct laws of its own—land rent, for instance, rising with economical development, while interest falls. On all these considerations, the number of which might easily be increased, it is most convenient to keep land quite distinct from the other kinds of productive wealth. pg. 55
Social Capital, as an aggregate of products destined to serve for further production, covers—
1. Productive improvements, arrangements and dispositions of land, so far as these preserve an independent character, such as dams, drains, fences, etc. So far, however, as they are completely incorporated with the land, they are to be kept separate from capital for the same reasons which made us keep land itself separate from capital.
2. Productive buildings of all sorts—workshops, factories, sheds, steadings, shops, streets, railways, and so on. Dwelling- houses, however, and other kinds of buildings, such as serve immediately for any purpose of enjoyment or education or culture, e.g. theatres, schools, churches, law courts, do not come under Capital.
3. Tools, machines, and other kinds of productive utensils.
4. Useful animals and beasts of burden employed in production.
5. The raw and auxiliary materials of production.
6. Finished consumption goods in the hands of producers and merchants as (warehouse) stock.
Finally, Private capital consists of the following:
1. All goods which form Social capital.
2. Those consumption goods which their owners do not use for themselves, but employ by exchange (sale, hire, loan) in the acquisition of other goods, e.g. let-houses, lending libraries, means of subsistence advanced by undertakers to their labourers, and many others.
If capitalist production led as quickly from the hand to the mouth as unskilled direct production does, there would be nothing to hinder the workers carrying on such roundabout methods from beginning to end on their own account. They would still be dependent on the landowners, who could prevent
them from access to the land which at the outset they require, but they would not be dependent on the capitalists. It is only because the labourers cannot wait till the roundabout process— which begins with the obtaining of raw materials and making of tools—delivers up its products ready for consumption ...But private rights in capital would not, by themselves, do any harm to the labourers, and it would be very easy for them to avoid the toll-bars which the capitalists have erected, if the fatal lapse of time between beginning and end of the lengthy capitalist process did not make it impossible for labourers to adopt similar processes on their own account. pg83
All consumption goods which man produces come into existence through a co-operation of human power with natural powers, which latter are partly economic, partly free. By means of these primary productive powers man may make the consumption goods he desires, either immediately, or through
the medium of intermediate products called Capital. The latter method demands a sacrifice of time, but it lias an advantage in the quantity of product, and this advantage, although perhaps in decreasing ratio, is associated with every prolongation of the roundabout way of production. pg91
For the stock of capital in hand (which, essentially, is nothing else than an aggregate of consumption goods in a transition state) throws off every year a certain quantity of its constituents, which have just completed their transition state and become finished goods, and places them at the disposal of the current economic period for purposes of immediate consumption. In this way the greater the stock of capital, the larger is the share taken by the productive powers of the past in providing means of consumption for the present, and the less are the new productive powers of the present drawn on for the present. Thus a larger proportion of these current powers is free for the service of the future, that is, for investment in more or less far-reaching processes of production. pg93
Capital is an intermediate product of nature and labour, nothing more. Its own origin, its existence, its subsequent action, are nothing but stages in the continuous working of the true elements, nature and
labour. They and they alone do everything from beginning to end in bringing consumption goods into existence. The only distinction is that sometimes they do it all at once, sometimes by several stages. pg.96
It is, first, " productive " because it finds its destination in the production of goods; it is, further, productive because it is an effectual tool in completing the roundabout and profitable methods of production once they are entered on ; finally, it is productive indirectly because it makes the adoption
of new and profitable methods possible. p.99
Let us put the first theory to the test. Is saving by itself sufficient to call capital into existence ? Certainly not. "With the one possession that he has—-his wild fruits—our Crusoe may save and stint as much as he please; he will accumulate a store of berries—goods for consumption—but that will never give him a single bow or arrow. As we can easily see, these must be positively produced...The essential thing is that the current endowment of productive powers should not be entirely claimed for the
immediate consumption of the current period, but that a portion of this endowment should be retained for the service of a future period. But such a retention will undoubtedly be called a real saving of productive powers. A saving of 'productive powers, be it noted; for productive powers, and not the goods which constitute capital, are the immediate object of saving. ..Man saves consumption goods, his means of enjoyment; he thus saves productive powers, and with these finally he can produce
Productive powers may be saved in various ways. (1) Other dispositions remaining unchanged, a smaller portion of the current productive powers—say three instead of four million labour-years—
may be employed in immediate " present-time production." Or (2) the arrangements for saving may have been already made, and the total capital organised in such a way that the circle which is now passing over into the stage of full maturity contains a less quantity of capital, say five instead of six million labour-years. Inasmuch, then, as only five instead of six million labour-years are now required for the replacement of capital, there remains—if, as before, four out of the ten million labour-years which are the current productive endowment are spent in "present-time production"—one million over, available for the formation of new capital. Or (3) it is conceivable that, at the last moment, the disposition of the capital should be so altered that less passes into the stage of full maturity than was originally contemplated. It is a familiar fact that there are many goods which admit of being employed in a variety of ways. This often makes it possible to put back goods which have already attained full maturity, or which stand quite near to maturity, by several stages. Grain, for instance, instead of being ground for food purposes, may be stored for seed, or used in distilling; coal may heat the blast
furnace instead of the domestic oven; iron may build machinery instead of park railings; and so on. If, by thus disposing goods differently, the amount of capital which arrives at maturity becomes reduced from six to five million labour-years, there will, after four million labour-years have been expended in " present-time production," be one million labour- years free for the making of new capital. pg.112
the value of a good is measured by the importance of that concrete want, or partial want, which
is least urgent among the wants that are met from the available stock of similar goods. What determines the value of a good, then, is not its greatest utility, not its average utility, but the least utility which it, or one like it, might be reasonably employed in providing under the concrete economical conditions. ..The law which governs amount of value, then, may be put in the following very simple formula: The value
of a good is determined by the amount of its Marginal Utility. pg.146
he will rightly value a single sack of his stock according to this unimportant utility. And not only one sack, but every single sack; for, if the sacks are equal to one another, it will be all the same to our farmer whether he lose sack A or sack B, so long as, behind the one lost, there are still four other sacks for the satisfying of his more urgent wants. Pg151
Marginal utility itself depends...on the relation between Wants and their Provision. ...That is to say, the more numerous and the more intense the wants demanding satisfaction on the one hand, and the less the quantity of goods available to satisfy them on the other hand, the more important are the layers of want that must remain unsatisfied, and the higher, therefore, the marginal utility. And conversely, the fewer and the less urgent the wants, and the more goods there are to satisfy them, the deeper down the scale goes the satisfaction, and the lower falls the marginal utility and the value. It comes nearly to the
same thing, only in a less precise form, to say: Usefulness and Scarcity are the ultimate determinants of the value of goods. In so far as the degree of usefulness indicates whether, in its way, the good is capable of more or less important services to human wellbeing, so far, at the same time, does it indicate the height to which the marginal utility, in the most extreme case, may rise. pg159
|The Mating Mind - Geoffrey Miller
Start off with the fact that no matter where we begin—like you, or humanity, or life, universes, etc.--it's always one damn thing after another and even more than that, it's one damn thing caused by another damn thing caused by another caused by another damn thing. I'm not stupid, and I think you'd have to be pretty damn stupid to ignore that fact. Some people are so smart that they use really fancy phrasing to deny it, like somehow with all of the evidence, things aren't the way they are. But that is the way things are, and they didn't necessarily have to be this way, but after things got begun they couldn't really help but go to where they are. It's like reality got on this train, and it couldn't stop it or change directions or build new tracks from the inside, and that's it. So, the really juicy point is that not only how it works with all it's intertwined super complex systems, amazingly complex, humblingly complex (I always think I'm too much!) but that it works, or what it is or whatever.
I'm the new age covered in warrior paint doing a mating dance. I've had it up to here (my hand is parallel to my right eyelid, I'm fucking drowning in it) with this thing that we aren't allowed to look at what's wrong as well as what's right. That my choice is between saying my mother was a saint or satan. That my choice is between unenthusiastic acknowledgement that things happen for a reason and utter awe that they do.
T h e wastefulness of courtship is what makes it romantic. The wasteful dancing, the wasteful gift-giving, the wasteful conversation, the wasteful laughter, t he wasteful foreplay, t he wasteful adventur e s. From t he viewpoint of "survival of t he fittest," the waste looks mad and pointless and maladaptive. Human courtship even looks wasteful from the viewpoint of sexual selection for non-genetic benefits, because, as we shall see, the acts of love considered most romantic are often those that cost the giver the most, but that bring the smallest material benefits to the receiver. However, from the viewpoint of fitness indicator theory, this waste is the most efficient and reliable way to discover someone 's fitness. Where you see conspicuous waste in nature, sexual choice has often been at work.
Suppose that the level of fascination, happiness, and good humor that our ancestors felt in another individual's company was a cue that they used to assess the individual's mind and character. If an individual made you laugh, sparked your interest, told good stories, and made you feel well car ed for, then you might have been more disposed to mate. Your pleasure in his or her presence would have been a pretty good indicator of his or her intelligence, kindness, creativity, and humor. Now consider what happens in modern courtship. We take our dates to restaurants where we pay professional chefs to cook them great food, or to dance clubs where professional musicians excite their auditory systems, or to films where professional actors entertain them with vicarious adventures. T he chefs, musicians, and actors do not actually get to have sex with our dates. T hey just get paid. We get the sex if the date goes well. Of course, we still have to talk in modern courtship, and we still have to look reasonably good. But the market economy shifts much of the courtship effort from us to professionals. To pay the professionals, we have to make money, which means getting a job. The better our education, the better our job, the more money we can make, and the better the vicarious courtship we can afford. Consumerism turns the tables on ancestral patterns of human courtship. It makes courtship a commodity that c an be bought and sold
Some male scientists, such as Stephen Jay Gould and Donald Symons, have viewed the female clitoral orgasm as an evolutionary side-effect of t he male capacity for penile orgasm. T hey suggested that clitoral orgasm cannot be an adaptation because it is too hard to achieve. Sigmund Freud suggested that clitoral orgasm was a sign of mental disorder, and counseled his
female clients to learn how to have purely vaginal orgasms. Other male scientists such as Irenaus Eibl-Eibesfelt and Desmond Morris have viewed female orgasm as a reinforcement mechanism for
promoting long - term pair bonding that keeps a female faithful to her mate. They also wondered why clitorises have such trouble provoking orgasm. They assumed that if clitorises worked properly like penises, they should just do their job of promoting marital satisfaction without so much copulatory effort.
Verbal courtship is less fun to think about, perhaps because it may remind us of failed attempts at selfintroduction, disastrous first dates, ardent self-revelations that met with cold, pitying stares, broken promises of fidelity, and relationship-terminating arguments. From the viewpoint of any normal living individual, all of one 's past survival attemp ts have succeeded, whereas most of one's past courtship attempts have failed. (If most of your courtship attempts have succeeded, you must be a very attractive and charming person w ho has been aiming too low.) This, I think, is a useful clue: it is easier to live with language than to court with language.
Despots throughout history have often used a form of social proteanism to maintain power. They have unpredictable rages that terrify subordinates. Caligula, Hitler, and J o an Crawford were all alleged to have increased their power over underlings through this "mad dog strategy," which keeps subordinates in line by imposing stressful levels of uncertainty on them. Imagine a despot who had a fixed threshold for getting angry.
Subordinates could quickly learn that threshold and do anything just below the anger threshold with impunity. If King Arthur only got upset by knights actually having sex with Queen Guinevere,
the knights could still court her, kiss her, and plot with her. But if Arthur's anger-threshold was a random variable that changed every day, subordinates could never be sure what they could get away with. Maybe he was happy for them to carry her flag at the joust yesterday, but maybe he will chop off their heads for even looking at her today.
Against the mad dog strategy, any insult, however slight, risks retaliation. But mad dog despots don't incur the time and energy costs of having a fixed low anger threshold — t he uncertainty does most of the work of intimidating subordinates. Despotism is the power of arbitrary life and death over subordinates. If a despot can't kill people at random, he isn't a real despot. And if he doesn't kill people at random, he probably can't retain his despotic status. Social proteanism lies at the root of despotic power.
T he mad dog strategy is just the most dramatic example of how unpredictaility can bring social benefits. T he advantages of an unpredictable punishment threshold also apply to sexual jealousy, group warfare, and moralistic aggression to punish antisocial behavior. Fickleness, moodiness, inconstancy, and whimsy maybe other manifestations of social proteanism. However, we need more research on human and a perscapacity for adaptively unpredictable social behavior. Given the importance of mixed strategies in game theory, and the fact that many social interactions can be interpreted as games, it would be surprising if randomized behaviors did not play a large role in human social interaction.
|Tyranny of Illusion - Molyneux
whenever I expressed a personal thought, desire, wish, preference or feeling, I was generally met with eye rolling, incomprehension, avoidance or, all too often, outright scorn. These various “rejection tactics” were completely co-joined with expressions of love and devotion. When I started getting into philosophy – through the works of Ayn Rand originally – my growing love of wisdom was
dismissed out of hand as some sort of psychological dysfunction.
When you think of your sweet, white-haired old mother, who sacrificed everything for you, what could
it mean to condemn her for failing to be able to perfectly define the nature and properties of love, a question that baffles even great philosophers?
Well of course it would be grossly unfair to ask the average person to accurately define the true nature of love, just as it would be ridiculous – not to mention dangerous – to grab the average man on the street and ask him to perform your appendectomy.
It certainly is unfair to judge people by standards that they can scarcely be aware of. However, it is not at all unfair to judge people according to the standards that they themselves have set. I cannot alone determine at what price you will sell me your car – but if you yourself put the price in the window, it is not unreasonable for me to expect you to honour it. Thus when people use the word “love,” they are “putting the price in the window.”
The disparity between the mythologies we must invent in order to survive our childhoods and the reality we know to be true is the most fundamental source of our depression and anxiety.
|The Adolescent - Dostoevsky
What was the sense in a hereafter, he wanted to know, of one lost his personality at death? He was convinced tha ta single lifetime was too short a period on which to solve one's problems.
They all had experience of life, even if they never budged from the spot they were born in. For things to happen there must be a suitable climate. And if the climate is lacking, you create one. That is, is you have genius. I never created a thing. I play the game and I play is according to the rules. The answer to that, in case you don't know it, is death.
Anyway, what I want to say is—it's not so terrible to spend your life in prison...if you have an active mind. What is terrible is to make a prisoner of yourself. And that's what most of us are—self-made prisoners.
No, henceforth and for a long time to come we're going to live in the mind. That means destruction...self-destruction. If you ask why I can only say—because man was not made to live by mind alone. Man was meant to live with his whole being But the nature of this being is lost, forgotten, buried. The purpose of life on earth is to discover one's true being—and to live up to it! But we won't go into that. That's for the distant future. The problem is—meanwhile. And that's where I come in. Let me put it to you as briefly as possible...All that we have stifled, you, me, all of us, ever since civilization began, has got to be lived out. We've got to recognize ourselves for what we are. And what are we but the end product of a tree that is no longer capable of bearing. We've got to go underground, therefore, like seed, so that something new, something different, may come forth. It isn't time that's required, it's a new way of looking at things. A new appetite for life, in other words. As it is, we have but a semblance of life. We're alive only in dreams. It's the mind in us that refuses to be killed off. The mind is tough—and far more mysterious than the wildest dreams of theologians. It may well be that there is nothing but mind...not the little mind we know, to be sure, but the great Mind in which we swim, the Mind which permeates the whole universe.
There is no reason to die, none whatever. We die because we lack faith in life, because we refuse to surrender to life completely...And that brings me to the present, to life as we know it today. Isn't it obvious that our whole way of life is a dedication to death? In our desperate efforts to preserve ourselves, to preserve what we have created, we bring about our own death. We do not surrender to life, we struggle to avoid death. Which means not that we have lost faith in God but that we have lost faith in life itself. To live dangerously, as Nietzsche put it, is to live naked and unashamed. It means putting one's trust in the life force and ceasing to battle with a phantom called death, a phantom called disease, a phantom called sin, a phantom called fear, and so on. The phantom world! That is the world we have created for ourselves.
Every wall, every barrier, every obstacle that hems us in is our own doing. No need to drag in God, the Devil, or Chance. The Lord of all creation is taking a cat nap while we work out the puzzle. He's permitted us to deprive ourselves of everything but the mind. It's in the mind that the life force takes refuge. Everything has been analyzed to the point of nullity. Perhaps now the very emptiness of life will take on meaning, will provide the clue.
The only sin, of crime, that man could commit, in the eyes of Jesus, was to sin against the Holy Ghost. To deny the spirit, or the life force, if you will. Christ recognized no such thing as a criminal. He ignored all this nonsense, this confusion, this rank superstition with which man has saddled himself for millennia. He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone! Which doesn't mean Christ regarded all men as sinners. No, but that we are all imbued, dyed, tainted with the notion of sin. As I understand his words, it is out of a sense of guilt that we created sin and evil. Not that sin and evil have any reality of their own. Which brings me back again to the present impasse. Despite all the truth that Christ enunciated, the world is now riddled and saturated with sinfulness. Everyone behaves like a criminal towards his fellow man. And so, unless we set about killing one another off—worldwide massacre—we've got to come to grips with the demonic power which rules us. We've got to convert it into a healthy, dynamic force which will liberate not us alone—we are not so important-but the life force that is dammed up in us. Only then will we begin to live. And to live means eternal life, nothing less. It was man who created death, not God.
Believing that we need love, we cease to give love, cease to be loved.
Love and energy have always been, always will be. Perhaps in essence they are one in the same. Why not? Perhaps this mysterious energy which is identified with the life of the universe, which is God in action, as someone has said, perhaps this secret, all-invasive force is but the manifestation of love. What is even more awesome to consider is that, if there be nothing in our universe which is not informed with this unseizable force, then what of love? What happens when love seemingly disappears? For the one is not more indestructible than the other. We know that even the deadest of particles of matter is capable of yielding explosive energy.
If there be nothing, no one, to harass, betray, degrade or undermine him, he will harass, betray, degrade and undermine himself.
If there is one supreme difference between the living and the dead it is that the dead cease to wonder...For the dead there are universes upon universes to explore. Universes of nothing but matter. Matter devoid of substance.
I would talk to God. Not that I had any specific image of Him; He was just a great Presence. I recognized God everywhere, in everything. How beautiful the world looked to me then! I was overflowing with love and affection. And I was so aware. Often I got down on my knees—to kiss a flower, “You're so perfect!” I would say. “So self-sufficient. All you need are sun and rain. And you get what you need without asking. You never cry for the moon, do you, little violet? You never wish to be different than you are.”
Maybe we had never been anything but actors, even when we thought we were sincere. Or the other way around.
We're all dreamers, only some of us wake up in time to put down a few words. Certainly I want to write. But I don't think it's the end-all and be-all. How shall I put it? Writing is like the caca that you make in your sleep. Delicious caca, to be sure, but first comes life, then the caca. Life is change, movement, quest...a going forward to meet the unknown, the unexpected. Only a very few men can say of themselves--”I have lived!” That's why we have books—so that men may live vicariously.
The very thought of creation—how absolutely unapproachable it it! Or its opposite, chaos. Impossible ever to posit such a thing as the uncreated. The more deeply we gaze the more we discover order in disorder, the more of law in lawlessness, the more of light in darkness. Negation—the absence of things-is unknowable; the ghost of a thought. Everything is humming, pushing, waxing, waning, changing—has been so since eternity. And all according to inscrutable urges, forces which, when we recognize them, we call laws. CHAOS! We know nothing of chaos. SILENCE! Only the dead know it. NOTHINGNESS! Blow as hard as you like, something always remains.
Spare us further instruction! Are we to make green lawns as we advance from trench to trench? Are we to be landscape artists as well as butchers? Must we storm to victory perfumed like whores? For whom are we mopping up?
-Do you know what's more important than doing something?
-But if you're nothing?
-Then be nothing. But be it absolutely. In wisdom is death, you've heard that, haven't you? Isn't it better to be a little meshuggah? Who worries about you? Only you. When you can't sit in the store anymore, why don't you get up and take a walk? Or go to the movie? Close the shop, lock the doors. Enjoy yourself...Nobody asks you to lock yourself in all day. You're a free man. If by becoming more careless and negligent you become happy, who will blame you?
“...Man is no longer at the center of life. He is no longer that flower of the whole world, which has slowly set itself to form and mature him. He is mingled with all things, he is on the same plane with all things, he is a particle of the infinite neither more nor less important than the other particles of the infinite. The earth passes into the trees, the trees into the fruits, the fruits into man or the animal, man and the animal into the earth; the circulation of life sweeps along and propagates a confused universe wherein forms arise for a second, only to be engulfed and then reappear, overlapping one another, palpitating, penetrating on another as they surge like waves. Man does not know whether yesterday he was not the very tool with which he himself will force matter to release the form that he may have tomorrow...”
Nature was something other, something more, than a mere backdrop. Because man, though divine, was no more divine that that from which he sprang. Also, perhaps, because they did not confound the welter and tumult of life with the welter and tumult of the intellect. Because mind—or spirit or soul—shone through everything, creating a divine irradiation. Thus, though humbled and chastened, man was never flattened, nullified, obliterated or degraded. Never made to cringe before the sublime, but incorporated in it. If there was a key to mysteries which enveloped him, pervaded him, and sustained him, it was a simple key, available to all.
Give me to hear them converse as I have ever imagined them to. Let me drink of these keen, roving minds which disport only in the universal, intellects trained from the cradle to mingle poetry with fact and deed, spirits which kindle at the mention of a nuance, and soar and soar, encompassing the most sublime flights.
I could see it clearly—my earthly evolution, from the larval stage to present, and even beyond the present. What was the struggle for or towards? Toward union. Perhaps. What else could it mean, this desire to communicate? To reach everything, high and low, and to get an answer back.
A picture of the world as a web of magnetic forces...No discord was possible. All the conflict, the disturbances, all the confusion and the disorder to which man vainly endeavored to adjust was meaningless. The intelligence when invested the universe recognized it not. The The murderous, the suicidal, the maniacal activity of earthly beings, yea, even their benevolent, their worshipful, their all too humane activities were illusory. In the magnetic web motion itself was nil. Nothing to go towards, nothing to retreat from, nothing to reach up to. The vast, unending field of force was like a suspended thought, a suspended note.
“A tree does not search for its fruits, it grows them.”
|Drama of a Gifted Child - Alice Miller
If society were a single organism, then we could expect it to act as an organism does, that is, each cell will work to its own benefit—appropriating resources, “owning them” to the exclusion of other cells, tissues, or organs—not to the detriment of other cells, tissues or organs but to the benefit of the organism as a whole because the genetic code of the organism is dependent upon the whole system being healthy, as the flourishing of human life is dependent on a healthy, non-destructive society.
I agree with this correlation but it is not to say that human beings are as determined solely by genetic code as cells are—although if you would like to consider responses to nutrition, pathogens, etc., maybe you could more strongly make the case for the position. It is just to say that even without wage slavery, if one thing central to anarchy is always voluntary associations, then outside of catergorizing society as a whole as one organism, this idea of anarchy cannot fulfill its own requirements.
Some Abusive Phrases:
Think about the children in China
This isn't a democracy.
If you don't like the rules, you can pack your bags and leave.
"this is how it should be done".
“can't you just do it yourself?”
“I don't know what happened to you. When you were a kid...”
“you don't need to make such a fuss about it”
“You don't need to be scared of a little thing like that...”
Shame is the fear of disconnection
“When we think that “no” will be the end of the conversation, we tend to get genuinely alarmed because we're afraid our needs won't be met.”
“Instead of seeing requests as an imposition on someone else, we see requests as an invitation for someone to meet their need for contribution.”
“I can be sad or happy whenever anything makes me sad
or happy; I don't have to look cheerful for someone else,
and I don't have to suppress my distress or anxiety to fit other
people's needs. I can be angry and no one will die or get a
headache because of it. I can rage and smash things without
losing my parents. “
If the mother's "primary occupation with her child—her mirroring function during the period of early childhood—is
unpredictable, insecure, anxiety-ridden, or hostile, or if her
confidence in herself as a mother is shaken, then the child
has to face the period of individuation without having a
reliable framework for emotional checking to his symbiotic partner. The result is a disturbance in his primitive self-feeling.
She often said: "Maja can be relied upon, she will cope." And I did cope, I brought up the smaller children for her so that she could get on with her professional career. She became more and more famous, but I never saw her happy. How often I longed for her in the evenings. The little ones cried and I comforted them but I myself never cried. Who would have wanted a crying child? I could only win my mother's love if I was competent, understanding, and controlled, if I never questioned her actions nor showed her how much I missed her; that would have limited her freedom, which she needed so much. It would have turned her against me.
At that time, nobody ever would have thought that this quiet, competent, useful Maja could be so lonely and have suffered so much
A person who suffers under his perversion bears within himself his mother's rejection, and thus he flaunts his perversion, in order to get others to reject him, too, all the time—so reexternalizing the rejecting mother. For this reason he feels compelled to do things that his circle and society disapprove of and despise. If society were suddenly to honor his form of perversion (as may happen in certain
circles), he would have to change his compulsion, but it would not free him. What he needs is not permission to use one or another fetish, but the disgusted and horrified eyes. If he comes to analysis he will look for this in his analyst, too, and will have to use all possible means to provoke him to disgust, horror, and aversion
|I hope you die soon - Sylvester
The sense of being a person is so strong. IT has been with me all my life and it is the strongest addiction of all. It arises in so many ways...I live in a state of contraction tensed against threat and pain. There is an overwhelming sense that I am here and everything else it out there bearing down on m. I have to protect myself against all the pressures that could destroy me. I even have to protect myself against my own dear ones, perhaps especially against those who have seen me at my most open...I a vulnerable, separate, fearful, easily put out, easily put down. I travel between ecstasy and despair, or I remain imprisoned in armored feelings.
Oneness is distracting itself from noticing that it is not two. That is the game. Every thought of separation, each thought that does not notice that there is only unconditional love, simply keeps the game going.
What's happening in the room is simply that awareness is listening to itself talking about itself because that seems to fascinate awareness some of the time.
The mind may not like the loss of its neurosis.
We have to be disassembled. WE can't bear to be a person for twenty-four hours a day. We need to spend at least eight hours in twenty-four not being a person.
|Why Love Matters - Gerhardt
Our minds emerge and our emotions become organized through engagement with other minds, not in isolation. This means that the unseen forces which shape our emotional responses through life, are not primarily our biological urges, but the patterns of emotional experience with other people, most powerfully set up in infancy.
Some writers have called the baby an 'external fetus' and there is a sense in which the human baby is incomplete, needing to be programmed by adult humans. This makes evolutionary sense as it enables human culture to be passed on more effectively to the next generation. Each baby can be “customized” or tailored to the circumstances and surroundings in which he or she finds himself...In the early months of life, the organism is establishing just what the normal range of arousal is, establishing the set point which its systems will attempt to maintain. When things drop below or rise above the normal range of arousal, the systems go into action to recover the set point or normal state.
But first the name has to be established, and this is a social process. A baby doesn't do this by himself, but coordinates his systems with those of the people around him. Babies of depressed mothers adjust to low stimulation and get used to a lack of positive feelings. Babies of agitated mother may stay over-aroused and have a sense that feelings just explode out of you and there is not much you or anyone else can do about it (or they may try to switch off their feelings altogether to cope). Well-managed babies come to expect a world that is responsive to feelings and helps to bring intense states back to a comfortable level; through the experience of having it done for them, they learn how to do it for themselves.
Early experience has a great impact on the baby's physiological systems, because they are so unformed and delicate. In particular, there are certain biochemical systems which can be set in an unhelpful way if early experience is problematic: both the stress response, we well as other neuropeptides of the emotional system can be adversely affected....Early emotion is very much about pushing people away or drawing them closer, and these images will become expectations about the emotional world in which he is living that help the baby to predict what will happen next and how best to respond.
The attitude towards feelings is crucial. If they are seen as dangerous enemies, then they can only
be managed through exerting social pressure and fear. Alternatively, if every impulse must gratified, then relationships with others become only a means to your own ends. But if feelings are respected as valuable guides both to the state of your own organism as well as that of others, then a very different culture arises in which others' feelings matter, and you are motivated to respond. There is a very different assumption that anger and aggression can be managed and kept within limits because they will be heard and responded to. They can be used to sustain the relationship. The emotionally secure person has this belief, a basic confidence in being heard, which facilities inner. This confidence in others help him to wait and to think rather than to act impulsively. But if anger and aggression are taboo, the individual will be in a state of high arousal without any mean sf soothing himself, forced to rely only on his fear of others to hold back: a precarious strategy which may fail, ending at times in destructive disregulated behavior and the destruction of relationship.
In early life individual events are not so important as the gradual emergence of pattern and form from the hubbub of ordinary daily life. The most highly emotional memories from infancy are stored instead in more primitive systems like like amygdala, or in other brain pathways, and either way are not accessible to consciousness. They are the background to our life. But as we grow up, we may need to remember more specific information to guide our decision making. The hippocampus has the task or remembering where and when particular, significant events happened – the context and the place – and can make them accessible to conscious recall. Social self created mainly by: dorsal-lateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate and hipposcampus.
There is a strain of rats that is genetically predisposed to being more fearful than other strains of rat. Left with their biological mothers, these rat pups tend to be fearful and easily stressed. But when experimenters place them for adoption with non-fearful rat mothers, they found that these baby rats grew up without feat. Clearly, whatever genetic tendency might be, it was the rearing that mattered (Francis et all. 1997); aggressive rats (Flandera and Novakova, 1974); babies and secure attachments (Van den Boom, 1994)
Situations that are unpredictable, which take you unawares, which you want to resist but have little power to change, are the defining characteristic of stress. From this point of view, it is clear that babyhood can be extremely stressful without the support tender, protective parentings.... Many sources of stress can be managed if there are resources to meet the challenge...the same goes for inner resources – with enough inner confidence, many situations can be deal with. The evidence is also that it makes a great deal of difference if the individual is supported by secure social bonds. There is a powerful link between emotional insecurity and cortisol dysfunction. So it is not necessarily the nature of the stress that matters, but the availability of others to help manage it, as well as the inner resources of the person experiencing it.
The key feature of insecure of attachment is a lack of confidence in others' emotional availability and support.
It is fairly clear that a child under stress will react with high cortisol. So why do some people have consistently low baseline level of cortisol? One account is that if an organism experiences continuously high cortisol for a prolonger period, it will eventually react by closing down cortisol receptors. This is know as “down regulation”.
The switch into low cortisol mode also appears to be a defense mechanism. It is an attempt at disengagement from painful feelings through avoidance, withdraw and denial of painful experience; better to feel nothing that to cope with relatively continuous painful experience. But this (unconscious) strategy can produce a state of emotional numbness, and even dissociation...By some means, such a child is managing to deny the impact of painful or stressful events even to the extent of switching off his response. Children tend to develop an emotionally avoidant style of relation when the experience negative attitudes towards them which may develop into hostility and criticism, or intrusive parenting which does not respect their boundaries. In return, these children feel angry, but they live in a family culture which does not tolerate the child's self-expression, so find themselves obliged to suppress their own negative.
The paradox is that people need to have a satisfying experience of dependency before they can become truly independent and largely self-regulating. Yet this feels counter-intuitive to many adults, who respond to the indescure with punitive attitude, as if becoming more mature and self-regulating were a matter of well-power. Many therapists frustrated at the slow pace of change, try to activate a patient's will-power.
Even if will-power is invoked to bring about better behavior, often this comes in the form of a 'false-self' who tries to live up to others' requirements to act maturely. Unfortunately, you cannot will genuine empathy for others, or a caring attitude to your own feelings, into existence.
Dependency can evoke powerful reactions. IT is often regarded with disgust and repulsion, not as a delightful but fleeting part of experience. IT may even be that dependence has a magnetic pull and adults themselves fear getting seduced by it; or that it is just intolerable to give to someone else what you are furious you didn't get yourself. AS Ian Suttie put it: the indulgences we have been forced to reounce ourself, we will certainly not permit to other people.
Nina lost touch with her own wishes and her own feelings – in a sense, they got swallowed. The family atmosphere was affectionate and even intense, yet the individuals within it did not clearly speak for themselves. This kind of family has been described as “enmeshed” and Nina's personality often seemed to be merged with her mothers'. Being the focus of her parents' lives may have had some value to her as a young child, but it certainly proved problematic as she approached adulthood. She had difficulty in growing up and separating from her parents because they needed her so much. How would they survive without her?
A striking aspect of depression is how physical it feels. This is perhaps why it is popular to describe it as a malfunction of the brain which has somehow appeared from nowhere, or possibly as a result of genetic tendencies. Professor Peter Fonagy once asked 20 consecutive parents referred to his clinic with that they thought has caused their child' problems. He was not surprised to learn that they all put brain chemistry at the top of the list, closely followed by 'bad genes' (Fonagy 2003). Scientific work has confirmed that depression does indeed involve biochemical changes in the brain's neutrotransmitters. Depressed people do usually have some combination of low seratonin and low norepinephrine. Yet researchers have tried giving subjects doses to the neurochemicals involved in depression, and have found that on their own they do not make people depressed. Even if you create a seratonin deficiency by manipulation someone's diet, a normally balanced person will not experience this as a feeling of depression (Dunman et all 1997). Clearly, it is not the presence or absence of biochemicals alone which creates depression. In fact, it is more probably that these biochemicals are depleted as a side effect of an overactive stress response.
Depressed people seem to have sluggish frontal brain, incapable of managing when a storm of negative feelings erupts from the right frontal brain. In particular, during a depressive episode, they have less cerebral blood flow in the left dosolateral and the left angular gyrus – a state which has been associated with apathy and 'poverty of speech' (Lichter and Cummings 2001). They also have some cognitive impairment correlated with decreased blood flow in part of the left medial prefrontal cortex (Bench et all 1993; Drevets el at 1997). Some studies in rats have shown that stress initially activates the left prefrontal cortex and only activates the right prefrontal cortex once the stress becomes prolonged or uncontrollable. The left prefrontal cortex seems to be a sort of buffer that stops little stress becoming big ones – a buffer depressed people often lack (Sullivan and Gratton 2002.)
Psychologically, the depressed person fails to shake off negative thoughts and feelings. Their negative internal working models are activated...depressive episodes in adulthood are often triggered by a failure to get emotional support, or by some situation that involves a rejection or loss of self-esteem. Depressed people easily feel that that are ineffective...When it is not forthcoming, the need for positive feedback and attention from other feels shameful...[of depressives, it is suggested] that there was some missing element of self-esteem, which made it harder to believe that ' in the end, alternative sources of value will become available'. People vulnerable to depression had little ability to repair the tears in self-esteem caused by psychological injuries.
WE might now see this difficulty in recovering from psychological blows as a problem in self-regulation. Depressed people 'ruminate'. They cannot stop thinking painfully about their unmet emotional needs, yet they are unable to take smaller practical steps towards improving their situation. They struggle to avoid others' disapproval and rejection, yet feel helplessly disempowered and ineffective in winning the support they long for. They are in a self-regulatory bind, unable to give up their goals yet lacking the confidence to persist in achieving them.
It is not just having negative thoughts about oneself – a crucial element of depression is that it also involves the feeling that there is no way of redeeming the self, of recovering others' good opinion or love. Carys often gave up on people or situations, believing that there was nothing she could do to improve her situation. One one occasion, she had forgotten to tell the doctor she worked for that a patient needed nad urgent visit. This was a serious oversight. IT could have had bad consequences for the patient. Carys just knew that she was going to lose her job and she would never find one as convenient. The doctor, whom she admired and who had always been friendly to her, would be so furious with her that he wouldn't speak to her anymore. And who could blame him? She was incompetent and stupid. She let people down. She was so tortured by guilty feelings that she failed to turn up to work. She couldn't face it. She made her situation worse, forcing the doctor to sack her. It didn't occur to her that she could explain and apologize, or that he might understand how exhausted she had been that day because her daughter had woken her up in the middle of the night having a miscarriage. She gave up on her working relationship without attempting to repair it, or at least restore some mutual respect and understanding even if she had to lose her job. Schore calls this the “disruption and repair” cycle. When stress and conflict between people occur, as it inevitably will in every relationship, it is crucial to learn that the positive relationship can be restored. This is at the heart of the attachment between parent and child and is the core of emotional security and self-confidence. It is a repair system that is set up in a child's early life and is established by the age of one year. The secure child learns that the parents figures will soothe and comfort him when he is distressed; they won't leave him to suffer for too long. But it the child instead learns that he cannot turn to mom or dad for comfort when he is distressed, because they ignore him or punish him even more, then he will be stuck in stressful feelings, with cortisol running high, unable to turn it off. That is the parent's job in early life as the child has no capacity to regulate himself.
There is evidence to show that depressed parents, in particular, do offer less good regulation to their children than other parents. Their lack of attentiveness to their children's states may result in a failure to pass on good regulatory strategies. Their children may lack confidence that feelings can be managed jointly in cooperation with other people....These are children who don't expect support, who don't anticipate relief from distress as a result of contact with their parents, and who don't know how to regulate their negative feelings. Because they don't expect ruptures to be repairs, they don't turn to others, Because they have not been taught to focus on solving problems step by step, they cannot imagine any solution. They are truly stuck with negative feelings that they don't know how to disperse, other than by running away.
There is a continuum between milder forms of neglect and emotional abuse and its more intense and sustained forms. They are essentially the same thing – a problem with emotional regulation within the parent-child relationship. In all cases, when regulation is problematic, the bonds between parents and children are throw into question, leaving an inner residue of doubt about their safety and security.
Good regulation depends on feelings flowing freely thorough the body, whilst having the mental capacity to notice and reflect on them, and to choose whether or not to act on them. The mind works with the 'primitive' feelings; it neither submits to them nor denies them. It does not try to control feelings through an act of will, but acknowledges them and uses them as a guide to action within the social context. The earthy self who is connect to other sin a bodily way through sexuality, giving birth, breastfeeding, mutual protection and defense of territory is tempered by the more complex calculations of the higher social brain.
This process can go wrong in many different ways, but it is safe to say that a whole range of people who are depressed, or angrily antisocial, or anorexics, traumatized, alcoholic, or disturbed and insecure, are neither able to accept their feelings nor to manage them well in relation to other people. Their relationship with other people are frequently a source of pain, rather than a source of validation and regulation. I have suggested that the basis of these difficulties is very often the regulatory patterns that are established at the beginning of life. These patterns emerge because they are the best way to survive in relation to parents with regulatory difficulties. But they are a handicap once the child starts to relate to other people outside of the family. A child who becomes very self-sufficient with a hostile parents will take that self-sufficiency into later relationships where it may not serve him or her well. A child whose pattern is to get his mother's attention through tantrums and tears will find that other people don't respond in the same way.
We all try to manage our relationships through the old strategies that are familiar to us, the ones that worked before, up to a point. However, the strategies of insecure children are not very good ones. They lack flexibility and are essentially defensive. They are designed to cope with an unresponsive partner, but they don't provide a blue print for relations to people who are responsive.
The missing experience of having feelings recognized and acknowledged by another person, particularly of having strong feelings tolerated by another person, is provided by the therapist. Most important of all, when the therapist and client fail to understand each other, or disagree about something important and there is a 'rupture' in the relationship, the therapist demonstrates that relationships can be repaired. This cycle of rupture and repair is the key to secure relationships. Knowing that no matter what breakdowns in communication occur they can be repaired it ehs source of confidence in a relationship and the knowledge that regulation will be restored.
Having confidence that important others will respond when you need them makes it possible to get through difficult situations. Knowing how to distract yourself from uncomfortable feelings when you can't do anything about them helps to survive them. Having ways of soothing yourself through words or music can restore equilibrium.
The current situation may be equally oppressive to babies and toddles who are increasingly being shunted to and from nurseries or childminding groups, plonked down in front of videos, fitting around the parent's busy lives which are elsewhere. How are such child learning to regulate their emotions.
The implicit message of such practices is that relationships are not the priority; work is the priority. Relationships have become a kind of “treat”, encapsulated in the concept of “quality time”. The regulatory aspect of close relationships is all but lost in this approach.
The qualities of good parenting (and of close relationships in general) are essentially regulatory qualities: the capacity to listen, to notice, to shape behavior and to be able to restore good feelings through some kind of physical, emotional or mental contact, through a touch, a smile, a way of putting feelings into thoughts and words. These capacities are personal ones, but they cannot be expressed fully in a culture which relegates children to the margins. To be able to notice and respond to others' feelings, takes up time. It requires a kind of mental space to be allocated to feelings, and a willingness to prioritize relationships. This is a challenge to a goal-oriented society.
|Market Process- Lachmann
Gerald P. O'Driscoll, Economics as a Coordination Problem
"Model Constructions and the Market Economy" Lachmann
Static equilibrium models are misleading because they ignore the importance of unanticipated change. Is there any reason to believe a tendency toward equilibrium really exists? The future is unknowable but not unimaginable.. Persons differ in their mental projections, since it is improbable that any large number of persons will ever anticipate the future exactly, expectations will always diverge. According to Lachmann (following G. L. S. Shackle), the forces for the divergence of plans are likely to be stronger than those for their convergence.
For the greater part of the twentieth century Western society has been sustained by the past accomplishments of the relatively unhampered market economy of the nineteenth century; however, such capital consumption cannot go on forever.
A capital structure is an ordered whole. How does it come into existence? What maintains it in the face of change, in particular, unexpected change? These are questions that no\v claim our
attention. A capital structure is composed of the capital combinations of various firms, none of which is a simple miniature replica of the whole structure. What makes them fit into this structure?
Wherever we might hope to find answers to these questions, it must be clear that they cannot be found within the realm of macroeconomics. Capital combinations, the elements of the capital structure, are formed by entrepreneurs. Under pressure of market forces entrepreneurs have to reshuffle capital combinations at intervals,just as they have to vary their input and output streams. Change in income distribution is just one such force. "Capital reswitching" in a world of heterogeneous capital is
merely one instance of the reshuffling of existing capital combinations.
Secondly, the difference has sometimes been traced to a preference for process analysis by the Austrians and for equilibrium analysis by the neoclassical economists, a difference between "genetic-causal" and "functional" analysis.
Austrian economics takes no form of knowledge for granted. The market appears to it as a continuous process, in the course of which the knowledge possessed by some participants becomes diffused to many, while new knowledge is acquired by some; and some earlier knowledge becomes obsolete.
The markets of the real world, by contrast, while at no time constituting an ordered whole, invariably give rise to coordinating forces, reflecting and, over time, generating changes in the pattern of knowledge. In a market economy, as Professor Kirzner stated, "at any given time, an enormous amount of ignorance stands in the way of the complete coordination of the actions and decisions of the many market participants. Innumerable opportunities for mutually. beneficial exchange ... are likely to exist unperceived....
Market processes, to be sure, will reduce such ignorance. But during the very same period in which old knowledge becomes more widely diffused, much of it becomes obsolete, and new ignorance emerges simultaneously with the new knowledge gained by some.
understanding as a theoretical method, that is, as a method for the interpretation of typical courses of action with the aid of thought designs, for example, economic plans. For them the thought design, the economic calculation or economic plan of the individual, always stands in the foreground of theoretical interest.
Third, economic man appears in classical theory only in his capacity as a factor of production. This means not merely that the consumer is not an economic subject, but that homo oeconomicus is always a producer. It means, moreover, that the only transactions of economic interest are those one performs in one's capacity as a factor production: as a worker, as a landowner, or as a capitalist.
Scientific tests are not available to us since they require a complete description of that concrete "starting position" in which the test is to take place. Every human action, however, depends on the state of knowledge of the actors. A verification test therefore would require an exhaustive description of the state of knowledge of all actors, also according to the mode of distribution-an obvious impossibility. Otherwise, however, the starting position is not exactly defined, and no real test is possible. In economics this means that every concrete transaction depends, among other things, on the expectations of the participants. To test an economic theory in concreto, we must, then~ be able, at the point of time of theory formulation, to predict the expectations of economic agents at the (future) point of time of
the verification test. It is easy to see why the representatives of a taxonomic economics are eager to keep the problem of expectations at arm's length as far as possible.
We must always be prepared to ask our opponents the following questions: Whence? By what means? To what end? When, for example, the designers of macroeconomic models present to us their creations, we may certainly admire their elegance: we may not, however, neglect to ask from which actions of the economic agents these models spring. We must also always ask what expectations guide these actions, and what would occur if these expectations were altered.
Partly to natural data, and partly to the actual or expected actions of other people. But there also are certain superindividual schemes of thought, namely, institutions, to which the schemes of thought of the first order, the plans, must be oriented, and which serve therefore, to some extent, the coordination of individual plans. They constitute, we may say, "interpersonal orientation tables," schemes of thought of the second order. To them praxeology, for which until no,,,, the plan and its structure have understandably occupied the foreground of interest, will increasingly have to turn in time to· come.
The absence of a uniform relationship between a set of observable events which might be described as a situation on the one hand, and expectations on the other hand, is thus seen to be the crux of the whole matter. Expectations, it is true, are largely a response to events experienced in the past, but the modus operandi of the response is not the same in all cases even of the same experience. This experience, before being transformed into expectations, has, so to speak, to pass through a "filter" in the human mind, and the undefinable character of this process makes the outcome of it unpredictable. We provisionally conclude that expectations are the result of a variety of factors only some of which are observable events, and only some of which are of an economic nature.
Such a picture of the situation will be drawn differently by different individuals confronted with the same observable events in accordance with psychic differences such as temperament, but the degree of variation between them does not entirely depend on psychic factors. In a stationary world in which the same observable events continually recur this degree of variation would be small although, owing to the psychic factors, it probably never would reach zero. But in a World in Motion it must be large, chiefly among other reasons because here every view of a situation necessarily implies a judgment on the character of the forces producing and governing motion. Two farmers confronted with the same observable event, a rise in apple prices, will yet take different views of the situation and react differently if one interprets it as a symptom of inflation and the other as indicating a
shift in demand under the influence of vegetarianism.
In a stationary World these terms may have an unambiguous meaning, but in a dynamic World what is a resource depends on expectation, and so does what constitutes a want worth satisfying. In a properly dynamic formulation of the economic problem all elements have to be subjective, but there are two layers of subjectivism, rooted in different spheres of the mind, which must not be confused, viz. the subjectivism of want and the subjectivism of interpretation.
But seeing that "that influence may have various degrees of intensity, and work in various different ways, we realise that we need a criterion of classification, and it is for this role that the "elasticity of expectations" is cast. Its great merit is that by making it unnecessary to postulate a once- and-for-all uniform relationship between. changes in current prices and expectations it enables us to deal with variable forms of this relationship. Its defect, we believe, is that, being a measure, it cannot tell us why this relation should take these variable forms any more than the most elaborate thermometer can tell us
the causes of the fever from which the patient is suffering. However, for the greater part of his study of dynamic equibrium Professor Hicks is content to make less than full use of the potentialities of his weapon and to assume the elasticity to be unity; he is in fact assuming a uniform relationship, and as long as he does this the defect mentioned does not cause much harm. But as soon as, in his discussion of wage rigidity, he abandons this restrictive assumption and allows for variations in this relation- ship, he apparently becomes conscious of the defect and feels compelled to give some kind of causal explanation of the forms which these variations may take. Unfortunately, however, the study of these variations is immediately restricted to those existing simultaneously between different groups of persons, after which it is not surprising that the causal explanation runs in terms of a spurious brand of "group psychology." It is sought in the greater or smaller "sensitivity" with which different people
react to identical present changes.
A little reflection will show that if in a market a strong increase in demand does not lead to any appreciable rise in price, not only must supply be extremely elastic, but where large stocks are the cause of this elasticity, holders of stocks must have a reason for selling out. They clearly will do it only if they have reasons to believe that the present strong demand is not only of an exceptional but of a transitory nature, and that for this very reason price will in the long run not be affected by it. If we apply this reasoning to the capital market we find that interest-expectations are most likely to be inelastic in a situation in which the capital market, that is to say, the majority of holders of securities, does not believe in the permanence of the forces exerting pressure on the market and hopes later on to be able to "re-stock" cheaply. It follows that if we find a case in which increased savings do not cause any appreciable fall in the rate of interest this indicates that the capital market has its suspicions-which may turn out to be entirely unjustified—about the permanent character of tis sudden increase in the demand for securities. We are now able to understand the meaning of the “normal level” in the minds of people whole expectations are inelastic: this is a level determined by what are believed to be permanently operative forces. A market will exhibit inelastic expectations only if it believes that price is ultimately governed by long-run forces, and if it has a fairly definite conception of what these forces are. A capital market with inelastic interest-expectations is then a market which refuses to be impressed by present-day demand for securities which it believes to be short lived.
According to this doctrine booms and slumps are engineered by banks lowering the "money rate of interest" below its "natural level," or raising it above it. Whatever the precise meaning of these terms, we know that if banks are to succeed in altering the long-term rate of interest, expectations have to be very elastic. Seen from this angle, the Wicksellian theory appears to be based on a very special assumption, viz. of a capital market without a very strong mind of its own, always ready to follow a lead on the spur of the moment, and easily led into mistaking an ephemeral phenomenon for a symptom of a change in the economic structure. Without fairly elastic expectations there can therefore be no
crisis of the Austro-Wicksellian type.
"In the classical dynamics of the physicist, time is merely and purely a mathematical variable. The essence of his scheme of thought is the fully abstract idea of function, the idea of some working rule or coded procedure which, applied to any particular and specified value or set of values of one or more independent variables, generates a value of a dependent variable. For the independent variable in a mental construction of this kind,time is a misnomer. Time as we seem to experience it has a character profoundly and radically different from that of a mere algebraic abstraction capable of being adequately represented by the symbol of a scalar quantity" (p. 23). How, then, do we experience time?
"In the experience of human individuals each of these moments is in a certain sense solitary.
"Complete prediction would require the predictor to know in complete detail at the moment of making his prediction, first, all 'future' advances of knowledge and inventions, and secondly, all 'future' decisions. To know in advance what an invention will consist of is evidently to make that invention in advance" (pp. 103-104). "Predictability of the world's future history implies predictability of decisions, and this is either a contradiction in terms or an abolition of the concept of decision except in a perfectly empty sense" (p. 104). And "Predicted man is less than human, predicting man is more than human."
the subjective nature of expectations, any more than that of individual preferences, which makes them such unsuitable elements of dynamic theories, it is the fact that time cannot pass without modifying knowledge which appears to destroy the possibility of treating expectations as data of a dynamic equilibrium system.
The task of the
economist is not merely, as in equilibrium theory,to examine the
logical consistency of various modes of action, but to make
human action intelligible, to let us understand the nature of the
logical structures called 'plans,' to exhibit the successive modes of
thought which give rise to successive modes of action. In other
words, all true economics is not "functional" but "causal-
The essence of the matter is that the market process promotes
the spreading of knowledge through the promotion of those
capable of interpreting market data and of thus transforming
them into market knowledge, and the elimination of those who
cannot read the signs of the market.
Entrepreneurial ability is not to be acquired in
lecture-rooms. Here Professor Mises makes an important point.
"It is not generally realised that education can never be more
than indoctrination with theories and ideas already developed.
Education, whatever benefits it may confer, is transmission of
traditional doctrines and valuations; it is by necessity conserva-
tive. It produces imitation and routine, not improvement and
progress. Innovators and creative geniuses cannot be reared in
schools. They are precisely the men who defy what the school has
Mises: Human action stems from the same course as human reasoning. Action and reason are cogeneric and homogeneous; they may even be called two different aspects of the same thing. That reason thas the power to make clear through pure ratiocination the essential features of action is the consequence of the fact that action is an offshoot of reason.
When real incomes per head increase, income recip-
ients do not spend them in the same proportion as before. They
will begin to buy some goods which previously had been entirely
beyond their reach, buy more of some other goods, but less than
in proportion to their higher incomes, and may actually reduce
their consumption of some other goods they have come to re-
gard as "inferior." The pattern of relative demand will certainly
change. For the pattern of relative supplies to adjust itself
instantaneously we at once have to assume that producers
foresaw this change correctly as well as the time pattern of the
change. We also have to assume that costs are constant over the
relevant ranges of output in all industries affected and that wage
rates do not change, otherwise relative prices will change. Such
assumptions about constant costs and wages when relative out-
put changes must be regarded as being already somewhat un-
realistic. But the degree of lack of realism inherent in such
assumptions pales into insignificance when compared with that
Capital, Expectations, and the Market Process
of perfect foresight on the part of the producers without which
we can have no instantaneous adjustments of supply to demand.
In fact it is this assumption of perfect foresight that deprives the
model of growth equilibrium of any resemblance to the market
processes of the real world.
composition of the capital stock in terms of the various capital
resources must be appropriate to the composition of totaloutput
demanded. The capital stock must contain no single item which
its owner would not wish to replace by a replica, if he suddenly
lost it by accident, otherwise the stock cannot be in equilibrium.
Of course, so long as we regard
all capital as homogeneous the problem does not arise. As soon
Lud"wig von Mises and the Market Process
as we face the fact that most durable capital goods, even if not
actually specific to the uses for which they were originally de-
signed, have at least a limited range of versatility, the continuous
maintenance of the equilibrium composition of the capital stock
in a world in which relative demand and technology are bound to
change in quite unpredictable fashion, emerges as a serious
we can never be sure that the
spill-over effects which an equilibrating adjustment in one mar-
ket has on other markets will always be in an equilibrating direc-
tion. They may well go in the other direction. Equilibrium in one
Ludwig von Mises and the Market Process
m.arket may be upset when the repercussions of the equilibrating
adjustments in other markets reach it. There is therefore no
reason why the effects of such inter-market repercussions must
always on balance.be equilibrating. Butour inability to assess the
net result of this interplay of equilibrating forces in different
markets does not amount to the discovery ofanother permanent
force which keeps the market process in motion. It is a process
within the market process.
economists, opposed to Keynesian teaching, should have re-
garded it as either necessary or desirable to argue that in a
market economy the market process, if only left unhampered,
would "in the end" tend to bring about full employment. In the
light of the considerations presented above such a conclusion
appears unwarranted. If the outcome of the contest between
equilibrating and disequilibrating forces is at best uncertain, why
should it be less so in the case of the labour markets, affected as
they are by a variety of factors, many of them noneconomic? If
we have good reason not to believe in the generality of equiiib-
rium, why should we want to assert that in the labour market
alone equilibrium will always come about in the end? The cause
of the market economy is not served by such assertions which a
deeper understanding of the market process and the complex
play of forces on which it rests will show to b-e fallacious. We have
to learn to live with unemployment as with other types of dis-
Complementarity is a
property of means employed for the same end, or a group of
consistent ends. All the means jointly employed for the same
end, or such ends, are necessarily complements. Factor com-
plementarity presupposes aplan within the framework of which
each factor has a function. It is therefore only with respect to a
given plan that we can meaningfully speak of factor complemen-
tarity. Factors are complelnents insofar as they fit into a produc-
tion plan and participate in a productive process.
Substitution, on the other hand, is a phenomenon of change
the need for which arises whenever something has gone wrong
with a prior plan. Substitutability indicates the ease with which a
factor can be turned into an element of an existing plan. 9 A
change in plan is possible without a change of end. The impor-
tance of substitutability lies in that it is usually possible to pursue
the same end (output) with a different combination of factors.
The importance of complementarity lies in that "technical rigid-
ity" (invariability of the mode of complementarity) may often
make it necessary to change the end rather than the means; an
existing combination of factors is used to produce a different
A production plan involving a large number of factors and
with a complex complementarity pattern is particularly vulnera-
ble in case any of them breaks down. We safeguard ourselves
against such occurrences by keeping a reserve stock of perfect
substitutes for the operating factors (spare parts). We diminish
its necessary size by devices calculated to increase substitutability,
like the standardisation of equipment. Where the complemen-
tarity pattern of the plan is complex, a high degree of substituta-
bility between operating factors and factors held in reserve may
be required to keep it going. We have to provide formany minor
changes in order to prevent a major one.
The shape of the capital structure is determined by the net-
work of production plans. Each production plan utilises a given
combination of factors. The proportions in which factors enter a
combination, the coefficients of production, express the mode of
factor complementarity in it. More particularly, the proportions
in which the various capital resources enter it express the mode
of capital complementarity in it, what we shall call the capital
coefficients. The capital coefficients in each combination are thus
the ultimate determinants of the capital structure, at least in
equilibrium. In disequilibrium the degree of consistency be-
tween plans is a modifying factor.
Strictly speaking, of course, a capital structure in our sense can
only exist in equilibrium, where all plans are consistent with each
other, and the network of plans displays the firm outline of a
clear and distinguishable pattern. But in dynamic reality this
structure is in a state of continuous transformation. As produc-
tion plans prove inconsistent and fail, the outline of our pattern
becomes inevitably blurred. Plans have to be revised, new com-
binations formed, old combinations disintegrate, even those
which persist have to undergo an often drastic modification of
their factoral composition. 12 In reality the coefficients of pro-
duction are ever changing. Every day the network of production
plans is torn, every day it is mended anew.
It is clear that the issue hinges on complementarity and sub-
stitution. The "depressionists" evidently regard capital as a
homogeneous aggregate; each unit of capital is a perfect substi-
tute for every other unit, and accumulation means essentially an
addition of further units to a pre-existing homogeneous stock. It
is equally evident that Professor Hayek's view is based on com-
plementarity. The "investment that raises the demand for capi-
tal" is investment in capital goods complementary to those to be
For the effect of new capital
assets on the capital structure is not confined to those sectors in
which they are installed and their immediate neighbourhood. By
its effect on the coefficients of production, the breaking-up of
existing combinations, and the formation of new ones, the ac-
cumulation of capital affects the whole economic system. But its
modus operandi is gradual, depends in each case on the composi-
tion of the factor combinations affected, and is certainly very
different from that usually assumed in capital theories based on
the notion of homogeneity. We shall illustrate it by an example.
Let us assume that there is an increase of capital in the film 20
industry. More cameras, studio equipment, etc., are produced
and installed. The greater number of films produced makes it
necessary to have more cinemas 21 (complements). As film rentals
fall cinema earnings rise. To the extent to which there is un-
employed labour and unutilised resources new cinemas will be
built. But this may be possible only within fairly narrow limits.
The typical location of cinemas is in the central sector of urban
areas where as a rule there are no empty spaces. Any considera-
ble rise in cinema earnings, together probably with some decline
in the demand for other forms ofentertainment,22 will thus cause
existing capital equipment to be turned over to new uses.
Theaters, ice rinks, dance halls, will be converted into cinemas.
Existing factor combinations, house-cum-theatre, house-cum-
ice rink, etc., will disintegrate. But while rents earned on such
buildings will increase, considerable capital losses will be suf-
fered on theatrical settings and costumes, freezing equipment,
and musical instruments. In fact, unless these can be sold to
somebody able to fit them into a new combination, they may
altogether lose their capital character and become scrap. On the
Complementarity and Substitution
other hand, owners of "free" capital instruments complemen-
tary to them are now able to get them at "bargain prices" permit-
ting large capital gains.
We now realise that in a world of
dynamic change unused resources have two functions. Firstly,
they act as shock-absorbers when combinations disintegrate.
Secondly, their existence provides an inducement to invest in
those capital goods which are complementary to them.
We may therefore conclude that the production of new capital
instruments will have different effects on the earnings of diffe-
rent existing capital resources. Those to which they are comple-
ments will earn more, those for which they are substitutes will
earn less and often nothing at all. To ask what is the effect of the
accumulation of capital on "the" rate of profit is to ask a mean-
ingless question, since one of its main effects is to make rates of
profit diverge. If in equilibrium it is possible to speak of "a"
rate of profit, the accumulation of capital will destroy such
But what have we really gained? What does an hour of work
done in Britain in 1957 have in common with one done two
hundred yearsago except that they both last sixty minutes? The
attempt to find in a changing world somewhere an unchanging
entity to serve as a measure of change is bound to fail. Economic
change affects the economic significance of hours of work along
with everything else. Labour hours have no "intrinsic qualities"
which do not change and have economic significance.
Would it be a very long step, one wonders, to the realization
that all progress does nbt start with investment in new machin-
ery, but often \vith thousands of entrepreneurs experimenting
with, and in the process reshuffling, their existing capital comgi-
nations; or that in addition to the innovators and their imitators
there are also those who try to go one bet.ter than those whpse
achievements they emulate, so that a new technique of produc-
tion becomes modified and diversified in the very process of
diffusion? How bold, then, would the next step be, viz. the
realisation that the notion of a stock of capital which invariably
has the "appropriate" com position required by circumstances, is
an obstacle rather than a help to our understanding of the
nature of economic progress?
Divergent expectations, prompting transactions at
non-equilibrium prices, will themselves affect the composition of
the capital stock as well as the interindividual distribu~ion of
it is necessary for us to insist that there
is no such thing as "natural Growth" and that a casual glance at
the economic history of countries like India and China is suffi-
cient to make us understand that industrial Growth is the out-
come of conscious and sustained human effort about which
"dynamic equations" tell us less than nothing. Growth then is the
cumulative effect of individual efforts directed towards the im-
provement of the productive apparatus of society.
Once we have rid ourselves of the notion of capital as a
homogeneous aggregate and bear in mind its essentially
heterogeneous character as an agglomeration of houses, ships,
machinery, etc., it is easy to see that "an increase of capital per
unit of output" does notjust mean the addition of another piece
of machinery to an otherwise unchanged equipment park, but
that as often as not it will entail a complete re-arrangement of the
existing productive apparatus, including depreciation ofspecific
factors, and possibly a change in the character of the final prod-
uct.. This is but another way of saying that the "deepening of
capital" is a non-reversible process by which the conditions of
production are definitely changed.
"The rate of interest relates a future income stream to
a present capital outlay. With a given rate of interest, the inves-
tor's decision depends on the cost of this present outlay and the
size of the expected future income stream, i.e., he has to com-
pare a present outlay exclusively determined by the present level
of costs and prices with an expected income stream which ... is
unlikely to be affected by this at all. It follows that, in the case of
durable investment, the average yield ofwhich is independent of
present conditions, a rise in costs will check the inducement to
invest and vice versa."
On the other hand, it is not often realised what a new situation
it really is that we confront. It gradually came into existence, so
far as I can judge, in the course of the 1920s. Befor~ that time
prices often did fall, even as late as in the years immediately after
the First World War. In that world, so different from ours, it was
generally taken for granted that periods of rising prices will be
followed by falling prices.
The modern consumer· is still in the position of a price taker,
but the modern producer is not. Having assumed the function of
price setter left vacant by the demise of the wholesale merchant,6
he naturally exercises it in such a fashion as to maximise his
long-run profits rather than, as the merchant did, his short-run
turnover. He will deal with an excess supply by reducing his
output rather than by letting price drop. He can afford, as his
forebear could not, to let his conduct at every moment be
prompted by expectations largely reflecting rule-of-thumb in-
terpretations of the contemporary world. He will avoid anything
that might "spoil the market." And since he knows, as we all do,
that he is living in a world of unidirectional long-run price
change, and that any cost economy within his reach will sooner
or later be swallowed up by wage demands, he will be loath to
reduce his price even where he could gain an immediate market
Capital, Expectations, and the Market Process
advantage. To reduce price when one knows very well that
before long one will have to raise it again is not sound business
The institutions of collective bargaining which half a century
ago were so confidently expected to add new luster to the market
economy, have instead destroyed the autonomous price system
on which this economy must rest.
A much stronger case for indicative planning can be made by
simply asking how relative prices in our world, set in most cases
by a "mark-up" on existing wage rates and material costs which
nobody expects to last, can possibly act as guideposts to entre-
preneurial action. Evidently they cannot. Prices, in a world in
which they cannot fall, cannot reflect the forces of demand; they
Capital, Expectations, and the Market Process
are not equilibrium prices. It is true that 'even disequilibrium
prices may guide entrepreneurs, but they obviously can do this
only where they are free to move in response to demand as well
as supply, and it is precisely this which in our world they cannot
do any more.
We simply no longer have a price "system" worthy of this
name. The existing structure of relative prices reflects the his-
tory of past wage bargains and is thus nothing more than the
cumulative result of a series of historical accidents. Of course it is
governed by relative costs, but is no longer affected by dis-
equilibrium of demand and supply.
We have to remember that the shortages and surpluses we are
abl,e to observe in our world are as likely to be the result of
short-run price distortion as of long-run trends. A surplus in the
supply of a certain good and the corresponding excess capacity
in the industry producing it may be simply due to the fact that its
price has recently risen ahead of other prices, while a shortage
may be due to a wage level which has not been revised for a long
time. ...At the moment of
observation itis impossible to tell the one kind from the other. In
this respect the economist-planners are no bet.ter off than the
entrepreneurs. In a world in which quantities and prices are no
longer coordinated by market forces neither can by itself anx
longer serve as a useful guide to action.
It seems therefore that the same event the existence of which
appears to call for a new basis of orientation for the entrepre-
neurial assessment of long-run trends, viz. the disappearance
of a coherent price system governed by demand and supply,
must by the same token deprive this new basis of orientation of
any economic significance it might have.
In this age in
which, the narrower the range of one's speciality the higher the
reputation one is able to enjoy, there are few fields in which his
knowledge can permit him to speak with competence and with
the confidence that he has anything worthwhile to say.
Moreover, where his own field of interests lies on a level of
abstraction to which he cannot very well expect a "captive" audi-
ence to follow him willingly, and not merely for the sake of
politeness, this field, too, is barred to him.
Essay in 1963: In the first place, we have to ask ourselves: Where and when is
this process to end? Secondly, it means that more and more
Cultivated Growth and the Market Economy
economic phenomena will become political issues-with all that
this means in the age of the mass electorate! It is difficult to
contemplate with equanimity a situation in which, whether a
government can stay in power, will depend on its ability to
persuade the electorate that the rate of growth of the national
economy could not possibly have been higher, and in which the
opposition will have to address itself to refuting this claim. Al-
ready it is possible to sense a certain note of hysteria in some
discussions, even academic, on growth. Can we economists relish
the prospect of an era in which the range of political jugglery
with economic concepts is thus greatly extended, until one day
perhaps the question whether a country's "actual growth" was
what was "warranted," not to mention its "natural rate," becomes
a favourite topic for comment in the columns of the daily press?
Perhaps the pages adjacent to the sports columns would provide
an appropriate place for such a feature. 1
The very possibility of making profits stems from the
absence of equilibrium. The Market Economy essentially rests
on a mechanism of adjustment, but of adjustment to ever-
changing circumstances. To put one's trust in the Market
Economy is not to assert a faith in the final attainment ofequilib-
rium, nor even in the efficacy of the equilibrating forces, which
might be hampered or deflected before attaining their goal. It is
to assert a faith in the beneficial results of the continuous Market
Process the modus operandi of which I have tried to sketch.
"Economics is not about goods and services; it is about human
choice and action," Ludwig von Mises has said. To which I would
add, if you will permit me such an obiter dictum as a concluding
remark, that the knowledge we gain from economic study is not
knowledge about things but knowledge about knowledge. This is
the strongest reason I can think of why the study of our disci-
pline must not be pursued as though it were a natural science.
|How Children Learn - Holt
This morning Lisa bent down to pick up a balloon, and as she did a puff of wind coming
through the door blew the balloon across the floor. She watched it go. When it stopped, she
moved close to it, and blew at it, as if to make it go farther. This surprised me. Can such
young children make a connection between the ability of the wind to move objects, and their
own ability to move them by blowing on them? Apparently they can.
This seems to me a good example of the kind of abstract thinking that many
people tell us children cannot do until they are at least nine or ten.
Type writer (turning it on and off through a switch so that the four year old would stop jamming the keys): I kept up the
illusion that I had nothing to do with the machine going off; that is, I did not
show her the extension cord switch. If I had it to do again I think I would have
shown her the switch, though that too had its risks--she was a very fierce and
stubborn little child, and might have become angry with me for turning the
machine on and off. As I have since learned very well, little children strongly
dislike being given more help than they ask for.
he work of Carl Orff and others who
have used his method of instruction suggests that when children are given many opportunities
to improvise, to make up their own chants, rhythms, and tunes, their musical and verbal
growth can be very rapid. we let our hands
move on their own, and listen to and think about what they bring to us. It is
when our muscles, hands, and fingers can improvise with the least conscious
control that we are most truly improvising and have the most natural and
effortless control of our instruments.
Little children do this when they are singing their charming endless made-up
(I like to make up songs all of the time, it seems possible to me that subconciously this came from reading John Holt, and it actually does add a great amount of joy to my life)
She did not like being told to leave the stove alone.
It's impossible for her to see why she should not be allowed to touch what everyone else
touches. It is easy to see how too much of such treatment
could destroy a child's curiosity, and make him or her feel that the world, instead of being full
of interesting things to explore and think about, is full of hidden dangers and ways of getting
child has no stronger desire than to make sense of the world, to move freely in it, to do the
things that he sees bigger people doing. Why can't we make more use of this great drive for
understanding and competence?
it doesn't make much sense, in a family that will later spend tens of thousands of
dollars on the child's education, to get upset, and to upset him because he or she may ruin
something worth twenty-five cents.
It is probably a mistake, anyway, to assume that whatever little children touch they will
destroy, and that we must therefore keep them from touching anything that is not theirs. This
dampens their curiosity and confidence.
he spirit behind such games should be a spirit of joy, foolishness, exuberance, like the spirit
behind all good games, including the game of trying to find out how the world works, which
we call education.
How exciting it must be for a child, playing a game with an adult, to feel that by
doing a certain thing, he can make that omnipotent giant do something, and that he can keep
this up as long as he likes.
The little children would "spank" me--
slap me on the back --and I would pretend to cry. When I stopped, Patrick would say, "I'm
still spanking you," and I would have to start again. Now and then I would say, "I'm a good
boy." He would say, very firmly, "You bad boy."
Children don't mind letting us adults win the game, as long as we let them score a few points.
But so many of us, like some football coaches, seem never to be content with merely winning;
we have to run up the big score.
Each time she began by doing something fairly quickly. As she did it, she checked what she
was doing against what I was doing. Then she made a change in what she was doing, checked
again, and so went on until she was satisfied that what we were both doing was the same.
Watching her do this, I was struck by two things. First, she did not feel that she had to get
everything right before she started to do anything. She was willing--no, more than willing,
eager--to begin by doing something, and then think about fixing it up. Secondly, she was not
satisfied with incorrect imitations, but kept on looking and comparing until she was satisfied
that she was correct--which she almost always was.
Very young children seem to
have what could be called an Instinct of Workmanship. We tend not to see it, because they are
unskillful and their materials crude. But watch the loving care with which a little child
smooths off a sand cake, or pats and shapes a mud pie. They want to make it as well as they
can, not to please someone else but to satisfy themselves.
[Children learning being scared from uncertaintly from adults, either in abrupt traumatisms or in increments. Infants are never scared at all the things around them that they don't understand; this fear of uncertainty has to be learned]
Children, particularly little ones, are very sensitive to emotion. They not only catch
everything we feel, they blow it up to larger-than-life size.
[Children are] cruel to each other; but if they are near another
child who is badly hurt or very unhappy, they soon become very distressed. It is a very rare
child who is capable of the kind of sustained, deliberate cruelty so often shown by adults.
The point I want to make here is that
they began their cure, and first began to establish some faint communication
with their terribly withdrawn child, by making a point, for hours at a time if
need be, of imitating everything he did. This was the door or path by which
they led him or persuaded him to come back into the everyday world.
No one can ever know exactly why this cure worked. But it feels right to me. If
I felt that the world was so unpredictable and threatening and myself so
powerless that I could not risk myself in that world, but had to make a tiny,
safe private world of my own, that outside world might begin to seem less
unpredictable and threatening and myself more powerful if I could make things
happen in it.
When Lisa wants to do something very much, she says, "I have to." When she does not want
to do something, she says, "I can't." It is easy to see where these expressions came from.
When we want her to do something, we say, "You have to." When we want her not to do
something, we say, "You can't." She just turns the words back on us. She is just beginning to
be aware of the conflict of will between her and the giants who run everything.
Many people have by now pointed this out. A hungry two-year-old will often
say no even if you ask her if she wants some of her favorite food. Of course
she wants the food. But she also likes to say no. Let her say no, then give her
the food. If she really doesn't want it, she will soon make that clear.
When people are down, it's useless to push them or urge them on;
that just frightens and discourages them more. What we have to do is draw
back, take off the pressure, reassure them, console them, give them time to
regain--as in time they will--enough energy and courage to go back to the task.
he real point of the story is that the best games with little children flow easily and naturally
from the situation of the moment. We are not likely to get good games by planning them far in
advance, but we probably will get them if we play with children just for the fun of it. And
whatever the game is, we must be ready to give it up, instantly and without regret, if the child
is not enjoying it.
er strategy is
very like that of older children and adults, a strategy of deliberate failure. If you can't play a
game the way it is supposed to be played, turn it into a game that you can play. If you can't do
it right, do it wrong, but so obviously wrong that everyone will see that you are not trying to
do it right, and that you don't think it is worth trying to do right.
Later, back at Danny's house, he put some of his puzzles out on the floor. He had already
done one, and was full of energy and confidence. Suddenly he began doing what the little girl
had done earlier, putting pieces in what were clearly the wrong places, looking at me, and
laughing. This was a big joke; but it was very different from the girl's self-protective,
camouflage joke. He knew he could do the puzzle right, and he chose to pretend to do it
wrong, just because it was funny. At first the importance of this escaped me, perhaps because
we soon were doing other things. But later he was showing us one of his favorite books, about
machines--construction and earthmoving machines, whose names he knew by heart, and loved
to say. Then he turned to the inside cover of the book, where there were a number of Walt
Disney characters. Some he knew; others he asked us. Soon he went back to the inside of the
book again, but now he played a different game. At each page he would show us a machine
and tell us something that the machine was not; thus he looked at the picture of the cement
mixer and said, "Tractor," and at the picture of the steam shovel and said, "Combine," with
great relish and enjoyment. To look at something and deliberately call it something else was a
This seems a very healthy, confident, and powerful attitude toward the world of symbols.
They are ours to use as we wish. We can use them correctly if we want; but if we want to use
them incorrectly, for a joke, we can do that too. We are in charge, not the symbols.
Charlie (just four years old), unlike most of these kids, wants to know what the letters are as
he hits them. He is deliberate, hits one key at a time, and looks at the mark he has made.
Perhaps, in time, he might lead the group to new discoveries.
He would ask where O (or A or E) was; I would show him, and he
would say, "That's not O (or A or E)." There was a trace of exasperation in his tone. Then he
would point to some other letter--remember that he had been able to point to O in the first
place--and say that it was O. I would say, "No that's U (or whatever it was)." He did not insist;
but he did this many times. I was puzzled what to make of it. Remembering Lisa at the same
age, I guessed that this might be his way of resisting and reacting to a situation in which I was
in control and had all the information, all the right answers. He was asserting himself, and his
right to make some of the rules. I don't think he liked the idea that O had to be where I said it
was. Though I doubt if he had any such conscious and definite thought in mind, I think he felt
that if I could name letters, why couldn't he? Why didn't he have as much right as I to say
where O was?
He not only learns how this particular
crank works; he also learns that many actions have regular and predictable effects, and that
the world is in many ways a sensible and trustworthy place.
I feel even more strongly now than then that it is in every way useful for
children to see adults doing real work and, wherever possible, to be able to
help them. One of the many great advantages of homebased education is that
children not shut up in school have a chance to see their parents and other
adults work, and if they wish, as many do, to join in
A trained scientist
wants to cut all irrelevant data out of his experiment. He is asking nature a question, he wants
to cut down the noise, the static, the random information, to a minimum, so he can hear the
answer. But a child doesn't work that way. He is used to getting his answers out of the noise.
He has, after all, grown up in a strange world where everything is noise, where he can only
understand and make sense of a tiny part of what he experiences. His way of attacking the
cello problem is to produce the maximum amount of data possible, to do as many things as he
can, to use his hands and the bow in as many ways as possible. Then, as he goes along, he
begins to notice regularities and patterns. He begins to ask questions--that is, to make
deliberate experiments. But it is vital to note that until he has a great deal of data, he has no
idea what questions to ask, or what questions there are to be asked.
Because you learn things not as a “way to solve things” but just solving/learning how to think—it is easier to apply lessons outside of context.
|Foundations of Morality - Hazlitt
the way to protect the consumer is not to impede and harass, but to encourage the producer.
The only permanent way to cure poverty is to increase earning power.
All schemes for redistributing or equalizing incomes or wealth must undermine or destroy incentives at both ends of the economic scale.
Social cooperation is the foremost
means by which the majority of us attain most of our ends.
It would hardly be more "moral" for a commonplace man to torture or bore himself by reading high-brow books rather than detective stories if the latter gave him real pleasure. The moral
life should not be confused with the intellectual life. The moral life consists in following the course that leads to the greatest long-run happiness achievable by the individual concerned, and leads him to cooperate with others to the extent of the capacities he actually has, rather than those he might wish he had or might think he "ought" to have.
Ethics is a means rather than an ultimate end.
In the long run the aims of the individual and "society" (consider-ing this as the name that each of us gives to all other individuals) coalesce, and tend to coincide
Social cooperation and the division of labor rest upon a recognition (though often implicit rather than explicit) on the part of the individual that this promotes his own self-interest—
that work performed under the division of labor is more pro-ductive than isolated work.
The belief that there is a basic conflict between the interests of the individual and the interests of society is untenable.
Most of us cannot prevent ourselves from valuing a future good at less than the same present and otherwise identical good. We value today's dinner, say, more than a similar dinner a year
from now. Are we "right" or "wrong" in doing so? It is impossible to answer the question in this form. All of us "undervalue" a future good as compared with a present good. This "undervaluation" is so universal that it may be asked whether it is undervaluation at all. Economically, the value of anything is what it is valued at. It is value to somebody. Economic value cannot be thought of apart from a valuer. Is ethical value quite different in kind? Is there such a thing as the "intrinsic" ethical value of a good (as many moralists persist in thinking) apart from anybody's valuation of that good?
One can never disregard the happiness of others without running a risk to his own. To sum up: The distinction between the short-run and the long-run effects of conduct is more valid than the traditional contrasts between the interests of the individual and the interests of society. When the individual acts in his own long-run interests he tends to act also in the long-run interest of the
Moralities are systems of principles whose acceptance by everyone as overruling the apparent
dictates of immediate self-interest is in the long-run interest of everyone alike. We should be moral because being moral is following rules which disregard apparent self-interest in the short run and are designed to promote our own real long-run interest as well as the interest of others who are affected by our actions.
We must act, not by attempting separately in every case to weigh and compare the probable specific consequences of one moral decision or course of action as against another, but by acting according to some established general rule or set of rules. This is what is meant by acting according to principle. It is not the consequences (which it is impossible to know in advance) of a specific act that we have to consider, but the probable long-run consequences of following a given rule of action.
The benefit resulting from [the social virtues of justice and fidelity] is not the consequence of every individual single act, but arises from the whole scheme or system concurred in by the whole or the greater part of the society. General peace and order are the attendants of justice, or a general abstinence from the possessions of others; but a particular regard to the particular right of one individual citizen may frequently, considered in itself, be productive of pernicious consequences. The result of the individual acts is here, in many instances, directly opposite to that of the whole system of actions; and the former may be extremely hurtful, while the latter is, to the highest degree, advantageous. Riches inherited from a parent are in a bad man's hand the instrument of mischief. The right of succession may, in one instance, be hurtful. Its benefit arises only from the observance of the general rule; and it is sufficient if compensation be thereby made for all the ills and inconveniences which flow from particular characters and situations. (HUME)
In any case, there will often be a profound difference in our moral judment, according to which standard we apply. The standards of direct or ad hoc utilitism will not necessarily in
every case be less demanding than the standards of rule-utilitism. In fact, to ask a man in his every act to do that "which will contribute more than any other act to human happiness"
(as some of the older utilitarians did) is to impose upon him an oppressive as well as impossible choice. For it is impossible for any man to know what all the consequences of a given act will be when it is considered in isolation. It is not impossible for him to know, however, what the probable consequences will be of following a generally accepted rule. For these probable consequences are known as a result of the whole of human experience. It is the results of previous human experience that have framed our traditional moral rules. When the individual is asked merely to follow some accepted rule, the moral burdens put upon him are not impossible. The pangs of conscience that may come to him if his action does not turn out to have the most beneficent consequences are not unbearable. For not the least of the advantages of our all acting according to commonly accepted moral rules is that our actions are predictable by others and the actions of others are predictable by us, with the result
that we are all better able to cooperate with each other in helping each other to pursue our individual ends.
The great lesson that moral philosophy has to learn from legal philosophy is the necessity for adhering to general rules. It also has to learn the nature of these rules. They must be general, certain, uniform, regular, predictable, and equal in their application. "Rules of property, rules as to commercial transactions, the rules that maintain the security of acquisitions and the security of transactions in a society of complex economic organization—such rules may be and ought to be of general and absolute application." 10 "The very conception of law
involves ideas of uniformity, regularity, predictability."
[Blind Justice] It means that she recognizes that justice, happiness, peace, and order can only be established, in the long run, by respect for general rules, rather than respect for the "merits" of each particular case. This is what Hume means when he insists that justice will often require that a poor good man be forced to pay money to a rich bad man—if, for example, it concerns the payment of a just debt. And this is what the advocates of an ad hoc "justice," a "justice" that regards only the specific "merits" of the particular case before the court, without considering what the extension of the rule of that decision would imply, have never understood.
YUCKY: the road. Here is an example of a rule that must be obeyed simply because it has already been established, simply because it is the accepted rule. And this principle has the widest bearings. We do and should obey rules, in law, manners and morals, simply because they are the established rules. This is their utility.
Traffic rules, like legal and moral rules in general, are not adopted for their own sakes. They are not adopted primarily to restrain but to liberate. They are adopted to minimize frustration and suppression in the long run, and to maximize the satisfactions of all and therefore of each other.
the unwritten code of rules laid down by good manners in the long run saves time rather than
consumes it, and tends to take the minor jolts and irritations out of life.
I have said that manners are minor ethics. But in another sense they are major ethics, because they are, in fact, the ethics of everyday life. Every day and almost every hour of our lives, those of us who are not hermits or anchorites have an opportunity to practice the minor ethics of good manners, of kindness toward and consideration for others in little things, of petty sacrifices.
A typical example concerns the tradition of what you say to your host and hostess on leaving a dinner party. You congratulate them, say, on a wonderful dinner, and add that you do not
know when you have had a more enjoyable evening. The exact and literal truth may be that the dinner was mediocre, or worse, and that the evening was only moderately enjoyable or a downright bore. Nevertheless, provided your exaggerations and protestations of pleasure are not so awkward or extreme that they sound insincere or ironic, the course you have taken is in accord with the dictates of morality no less than with those of etiquette. Nothing is gained by hurting other people's feelings, not to speak of arousing ill-will against yourself, to no purpose. Technically, you may have told an untruth. But as your parting remarks are the accepted, conventional and expected thing, they are not a lie. Your host and hostess, moreover, have not really been deceived; they know that your praise and thanks are in accordance with a conventional and practically universal code, and they have no doubt taken your words at the appropriate discount .
the sacrifice of an immediate pleasure that does not promise to increase our own or
somebody else's future happiness to an amount greater than that immediately sacrificed "is mere asceticism; it is the very opposite of prudence; it is the offspring of delusion"; it is "folly"; it is not virtue, it is vice....."Remember, on all occasions, that kind costs a
man no more than unkind language" ...What is good for another cannot be estimated by the person intending to do the good, but by the person only to whom it is intended to be done. The purpose of another may be to increase my happiness, but of that happiness I alone am the keeper and the judge. . . . Refrain, then, from doing good to any man against his will,
or even without his consent. -Bentham
The basic cause of the immemorial controversy over Egoism and Altruism, in fact, has been the false assumption that the two attitudes are necessarily opposed to each other.
Mark the consequences if all are purely altruistic. First, an impossible combination of moral attributes is implied. Each is supposed by the hypothesis to regard self so little and others so
much, that he willingly sacrifices his own pleasures to give pleasures to them. But if this is a universal trait, and if action is universally congruous with it, we have to conceive each as being not only a sacrificer but also one who accepts sacrifices. While he is so unselfish as willingly to yield up the benefit for which he has labored, he is so selfish as willingly to let others yield up to him the benefits they have labored for. To make pure altruism possible for all, each must be at once extremely unegoistic and extremely egoistic. -Herbert Spencer
There must even be a sanctity surrounding observance of the moral rules. If this sanctity does not exist, if the code is not inflexibly preserved, it loses its utilitarian value. (This is the
element of truth in the objections to crude or ad hoc utilitism though not to rule-utilitism.)
I have preferred to call the ethical system outlined in this book Cooperatism. But it could almost as well be called Mutualism. The former name emphasizes the desired actions or rules of action and their probable consequences. But the latter name emphasizes the appropriate feeling or attitude that inspires the actions or rules of action.
It is a confusion of thought to think that ethics consists of the rules that "society" imposes on the "individual." Ethics consists of the rules that we all try to impose on each other.
Self-sacrifice is only required or justified where it is necessary in order to secure for another or others a greater good than that sacrificed.
The ultimate end is happiness. Virtue is a necessary long-run means to that end.
T o recognize that something is primarily a means—in this case Virtue—is not to deny that it has a high value also in itself. It is merely to deny that it has a value completely independent of its utility or necessity as a means. We may make the relation clear by an analogy from
the world of economic value. Capital goods derive their value from the consumer goods they help to produce. The value of a plow or a tractor is derived from the value of the crops that it
helps to create. The value of a shoe factory and its equipment is derived from the value of the shoes it helps to produce. If the crops or the shoes ceased to be needed, or ceased to be valued, the means that helped to produce them would also lose their value. What we call morality has tremendous value because it is an indispensable means of achieving human happiness.
[“The Ends Never Justifies the Means”]the reason most of us accept this adage is that we do not believe that really evil means are ever necessary or that they can in fact lead to a really good end.
We must be very slow, in brief, to adopt means that involve evil even to secure the most desirable ends. We must tolerate, for example, even major injustices and suppressions of liberty before we resort to the certain evils of armed rebellion or revolution or civil war.
we strive for intermediate ends that in turn become means toward still further ends. It is therefore not always possible to say precisely how much we value something "instru-
mentally" and how much "intrinsically." But it is always possible to be clear-headed about the distinction. Morality must be valued primarily as a means to human happiness. Because it is
an indispensable means, it must be valued very highly. But its value is primarily "instrumental" or derivative, and it is only confusion of thought to hold that its value is something wholly apart from, and independent of, any contribution it may make to human happiness.
But none of this helps us in any substantive way to determine precisely what our moral rules should be. It might be universally possible, or nearly so, for everybody to smoke cigarettes or
to drink whisky; but this is hardly sufficient ground to regard either as a duty.
There is no way, in fact, to adopt or frame moral rules except by considering the consequences of acting on those rules and the desirability or undesirability of those consequences.
this kind of argument makes the moral case against lying seem weaker than it really is. Lying would not be wrong merely if it were adopted as a universal rule. Nearly every individual lie does some harm. Of course the more widespread lying became, the more harm it would do. But lying no more than murder is to be condemned merely because it cannot be universalized. In fact, either could be universalized; we simply would not like the consequences. Murder could be universalized until only one man was left on earth, and even he would then be perfectly free to commit self-murder. Universal celibacy would also extinguish mankind; but Kant did not therefore regard his own celibacy as a crime.
We are constantly using each other merely as means. This is practically the essence of
all "business relations." We use the porter to carry our bags from the station; we use the taxicab driver to take us to our hotel; we use the waiter to bring us our food and the chef to
prepare it. We all use each other as " mere " means to secure our wants. In turn, we all lend ourselves or our resources to the furtherance of other people's purposes as an indirect
means of furthering our own. This is the basis of social cooperation.
Humanity has, over the generations, worked out moral traditions, rules, principles, which have survived, and are daily reinforced anew, precisely because they do solve the great majority of our moral problems, precisely because it has been found that, by adhering to them, we best achieve justice, social cooperation, and the long-run maximization of happiness or minimization of misery. We do not have to solve our daily moral problems, or make our daily moral decisions, by a fresh and special calculus of the probable total consequences of each act or decision over an infinity of time. The traditional moral rules
save us from this. Only where they conflict, or are patently inadequate or inapplicable, are we thrown back on the necessity of thinking out our problem afresh, without any "guiding principle" or "method of estimation."
All valuation is in origin necessarily subjective. Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. All valuation implies a valuer. Valuation expresses a relation between the valuer and
the thing valued. This relation depends upon the valuer's own needs, wants, desires, preferences, as well as upon his judgment regarding the extent, if any, to which the object valued will help him to realize his desires.
for any given individual it is objective, however subjective it may be in the sense that it originally developed and was formed by the interplay of individual human minds. Moral judgments do have objective binding force on the individual. And moral rules are objective not only in the sense that they call for objective actions but that they call for objective
adherence by everybody.
Now no philosopher, to my knowledge, has held or holds that we know the meaning of words—of black and white, dog and cat, table and chair, high and low—by intuition. But some
philosophers do seem to maintain that we know the meaning of good and bad, right and wrong, by some sort of intuition. They are held to be "indefinable" in some much more mysterious and "nonnatural" way than blue and yellow, up and down, right and left, are indefinable.6
Precedent is of the first importance in law for the protection of individual rights. The law must be certain—i.e., not only must the law be reasonably precise but decisions of the courts, must be reasonably predictable, so that people may know when they are acting within their rights, and may embark on a course of action with reasonable assurance that the rules will not be changed in the middle of the game. This is no less true of ethical laws. The standards of right and wrong, of praise and blame, should change only gradually, slowly, piecemeal, so that people can become accustomed to the new rules. This gradualness assures the maximum of social cooperation and even of progress. This is the element of truth in conservatism, in so far as this reflects a philosophy of gradualism. New rules and standards must be tested by a minority before they are adopted by or enforced on everyone.
Even a rather poor ethical rule is better than no rule at all. This is again because we need to know in our daily actions what to expect of each other, because we are obliged to rely on each other's conduct, and must be reasonably able to count in advance on what the action of others is going to be.
Since the days of Rousseau, a great deal has been said in political theorizing about the "Social Contract." Now there is no evidence that there ever was an explicit historical social contract. Nevertheless, men have acted, from time immemorial, politically and morally, as if there were a social contract. This has been a tacit, unformulated, unexplicit, but none the less real agreement, an agreement reflected in our actions and in our rules of action. It takes the general form: I will do this if you do that; I will refrain from this if you refrain from that. I will not attack you if you do not attack me. I will respect your person and family and property and other established rights if you respect mine. I will keep my word if you keep yours. I will tell the truth if you do. I will take my place on line and wait my turn if you will do the same.
Those who violate these tacitly-agreed-upon rules not only do direct and immediate harm, but also imperil general adherence to the rules. Individual respect for law and general respect for law, individual morality and general social morality, are interdependent. They are, in fact, two names for the same thing
NO: This may seem unjust and paradoxical. But common-sense morality is right in recognizing that special talents do impose special duties. For it recognizes that when such talents are unused, humanity loses far more than it does from the idleness or dissipation of mediocrities.
follow some such Principle of Proximity as the one I have here outlined—a duty of person-to-person rather than of person-to-people, of each-to- each rather than of each-to-all or each-to-humanity, which the classical utilitarians too hastily adopted. For there is much wisdom in the proverb: "What's everybody's business is nobody's business." And a corollary is: What's everybody's vague "responsibility" tends to be nobody's real responsibility.
A chemist who develops a new drug that cures millions (but whose work may involve no
particular risk to himself and may even bring him a profit), is not regarded as an outstanding exemplar of "morality," whereas a Western doctor who goes to Africa to cure a comparative handful of savages, and perhaps administer this same drug to them, gets a worldwide reputation as a "saint" because his actions, while quantitatively far less beneficial to mankind,
involve great hardships and self-sacrifice.
Just where would the dividing line between "classes" be drawn? Who would be the richest proletarian and who would be the poorest capitalist? And would not today's class division have to be changed tomorrow? The problem is not escaped by Marx's customary division of "capitalists" and "workers," employer and employed, "exploiters" and "exploited." For, on the one hand, the highly-paid motion picture star or president of a big airline may be merely an employee, and hence, by definition, an exploited wage slave, while a barber in business for himself, who hired one additional barber (providing him with a customer's chair and a pair of
scissors), would be a "capitalist" and an "exploiter."
[On Freudian Ethics]: he is the victim of "society," with the stresses and strains and repressions that its rigorous moral code puts upon him; and any attempt to make him live in accordance with this moral code will turn him into a complex-ridden, guilt-ridden neurotic. There can be little doubt that this "ethic" has encouraged the spread of lawlessness and juvenile delinquency.
Maugham apparently here uses the word reason as a synonym for purpose. But purpose is a purely anthropomorphic concept. Purpose applies only to the use of means to attain ends.
The means we employ are explained in terms of the end we have in view. Human beings can have a purpose; means have a purpose; but ends cannot have a purpose, precisely because
they are ends. An omniscient and omnipotent Being, the Creator of the Universe, would not have to use means to attain ends. He need have no purpose. He would certainly not have
to use elaborate means to attain some far-off end; He would not require millions of years, He would not even require time at all, to achieve his end; He could simply will it immediately.
T o demand a reason for life is like demanding a reason for happiness. Life no more needs a reason than health or happiness or satisfaction needs a reason.
Ethical judgments and decisions do, after all, deal with facts. They deal with actions, which are facts. They deal with the consequences of actions, which are facts. They deal with the
ends that people wish to achieve (and it is a fact that people do have these ends) and with the means they employ (and these means are facts) to achieve those ends. True, in addition to dealing with facts, or to stating facts—"John stole the money" —ethical statements imply judgments and contain value-words. They are valuative. But this seems a strange reason for objecting to them, or trying to dismiss them as meaningless. They judge the efficacy of means, and the reasonableness or desirability, from the social standpoint, of the intermediate if not the ultimate ends of individuals.
The prescriptions of the moral philosopher need be no more "emotive" (in the disparaging sense in which that term is commonly used) than the prescriptions of the engineer. Both are
trying to answer the question: What is the best thing to do?
A number of highly important practical consequences follow from this recognition of unequal endowments. One of them is inequality of treatment in many respects. It is not "just," but
foolish, to try to give the same education to mentally retarded children and to exceptionally gifted children. We may be wasting our time on the former and failing to develop the
potentialities of the latter. We may be hurting both. In that case we are being unjust to both. Similarly, we are wasting time and energy (our own and that of others), as well as being un-
just, when, ignoring natural endowments or propensities, we try to force a potential scientist to be an artist or a potential artist to be a scientist.
Few persons would need a more rational Determinist to point out to them that the question
whether or not the fire was extinguished would depend at least in part upon whether or not they turned a hose on it, and that this in turn would depend upon what sort of person they were—and perhaps especially upon whether or not they were fatalists!
Determinism in the true sense does not exempt anyone from moral responsibility. It is precisely because we do not decide or act without cause that ethical judgments serve a purpose. We are all influenced by the reasoning of others, by their praise or blame, by the prospect of reward or punishment. The knowledge that we will be held "responsible" for our acts by others, or even that we will be responsible in our own eyes for the consequences of our acts, must influence those acts, and must tend to influence them in the direction of moral opinion.
according to the doctrine of liberty or chance . . . [an] action itself may be blamable; it may be contrary to all the rules of morality and religion: but the person is not responsible for it;
and as it proceeded from nothing in him that is durable or constant, and leaves nothing of that nature behind it, it is impossible he can, upon its account, become the object of punishment or vengeance. According to the hypothesis of liberty [Free Will], therefore, a man is as pure and untainted, after having committed the most horrid crimes, as at the first moment of his birth. . . . It is only upon the principles of necessity [Determinism] that a
person acquires any merit or demerit from his actions, however the common opinion may incline to the contrary.
Competition per se is neither moral nor immoral. It is neither necessarily beneficial nor necessarily harmful. Competition in swindling or in mutual slaughter is one thing; but competition in philanthropy or in excellence—the competition between a Leonardo da Vinci and a Michelangelo, between a Shakespeare and a Ben Jonson, a Haydn and a Mozart, a Verdi and a Wagner, a Newton and a Leibnitz, is quite another. Competition does not necessarily im-
ply relations of enmity, but relations of rivalry, of mutual emulation and mutual stimulation. Beneficial competition is indirectly a form of cooperation.
General Motors and Ford are not cooperating directly with each other; but each is trying to cooperate with the consumer, with the potential car buyer. Each is trying to convince him that it can offer him a better car than its competitor, or as good a car at a lower price. Each is "compelling" the other—or, to state it more accurately, each is stimulating the other—to reduce its production costs and to improve its car. Each, in other words, is "compelling" the other to cooperate more effectively with the buying public. And so, indirectly,—triangularly, so to speak—General Motors and Ford cooperate. Each makes the other more efficient.
Once we have recognized the fundamental principle of social cooperation, we find the true reconcilation of "egoism" and "altruism." Even if we assume that everyone lives and wishes
to live primarily for himself, we can see that this does not disturb social life but promotes it, because the higher fulfilment of the individual's life is possible only in and through society.
In this sense egoism could be accepted as the basic law of society.
As voluntary economic cooperation makes us more interdependent, the consequences of breaches of cooperation or a breakdown of the system become more serious for all of us; and to the extent that we recognize this we will become less indifferent to failure or violation of cooperation in ourselves or in others. Therefore the tendency will be for the moral level of the whole community to be kept high or to be raised
We call Justice (as we have already seen in Chapter 24) the system of rules and arrangements that increase human peace, cooperation, production, and happiness, and Injustice whatever rules and arrangements stand in the way of these consequences.
|Escape from Childhood - John Holt
It is never easy to change old ideas and customs. Someone wrote of her grandmother
that whenever she heard a new idea she responded in one of two ways: (1) it is crazy, or
(2) I’ve always known it. The things we know and believe are a part of us. We feel we
have always known them. Almost anything else, anything that doesn’t fit into our
structure of knowledge, our mental model of reality, is likely to seem strange, wild,
fearful, dangerous and impossible. People defend what they are used to even when it is
hurting them. No one could be optimistic about the possibility of making the changes I
propose in this book. How things will work out, no one can know. I can only say, ;/we are
going to make a society and world in which people will be not only able to live but also
glad to live, and in which the act of living will of itself make them more wise, responsible
and competent, then there are some things we must learn to do very differently.
Those who are sceptical about these changes may ask, “Even if we were to admit that
the change you propose would bring about a better reality, can you prove that it would
stay better? Might it not create problems and dangers and evils of its own?” The answer
is yes, it would. No state of affairs is permanently perfect. Cures for old evils sooner or
later create new ones. The most and best we can do is to try to change and cure what we
know is wrong right now and deal with new evils as they come up. Of course, we have to
try to use in the future as much of what we have learned in the past as we can. But though
we can learn much from experience, we cannot learn everything. We can foresee and,
perhaps, forestall some but not all the problems that will arise in the future we make.
Like many others I used to think that people arrived at truth through argument, debate,
what some call ‘dialogue’. These were kinds of trial by combat. Each person put his
argument on a horse, so to speak, and rafi him full tilt at the other person’s argument.
Whoever could knock the other off his horse won the combat, and the other had to say.
“You win, you are right.” But time and experience made it clear that people are not
changed or won over by being made to see that their own ideas are foolish, illogical or
inconsistent. Now I have a vision - of the world as it is and as it may be - to share with
any who may want to look at it. I can’t plant this vision in their minds; everyone makes
his own model of reality. But the light I throw on experience may help some of them to
see things somewhat differently and to make a new vision of their own.
As I wrote earlier, it seems clear that if these changes take place they will do so in a
number of steps, taken perhaps over many years. They are also not likely to take place
except insofar as other kinds of social change have taken or are taking place. How great
would such changes have to be? Some say very great. What I propose could well take
place in any reasonably intelligent, honest, kindly and humane country in which, on the
whole, people do not need and crave power over others, do not worry much about being
Number One, do not live under this constant threat of severe poverty, uselessness and
failure, do not exploit and prey upon each other. But it might take place even in countries
that do not meet this description. The point is not to worry about what is possible but to
do what we can.
We do not,
like some insects, suddenly turn from one kind of creature into another that is very
Here the fact of childhood ends and the institution of childhood begins. Childhood as
we now know it has divided that curve of life, that wholeness, into two parts - one called
Childhood, the other called Adulthood, or Maturity. It has made a Great Divide in human
life, and made us think that the people on opposite sides of this divide, the Children and
the Adults, are very different. Thus we act as if the differences between any sixteen-year-
old and any twenty-two-year-old were far greater and more important than the differences
between someone aged two and someone aged sixteen, or between someone aged twenty-
two and someone aged seventy. For with respect to the kind of control he has over his
own life, the ability to make important choices, the sixteen-year-old is much closer to the
two-year-old than he is to someone of twenty-two.
In any case there is much evidence that the modern nuclear family is not
only the source of many people’s most severe problems but also is breaking down in
many ways or changing into new forms.
Whatever is strong and healthy in families, whatever meets real human needs,
enhances and enriches life, cannot and will not be threatened by what I propose here. Any
institution that really works is immune to attack, however severe. Reality has its own
strength. People with genuinely strong religious beliefs are not threatened by talk that
God does not exist or is dead. Happily married couples who after many years get great
strength and joy from each other’s company simply smile and go on with their life when
they hear that marriage is nothing but a device for the exploitation of women, or whatever
it may be. Their experience tells them better.
At its very best, the family can be what many people say it is, an island of acceptance
and love in the midst of a harsh world. But too often within the family people take out on
each other all the pain and frustrations of their lives that they don’t dare take out on
anyone else. Instead of a ready-made source of friends, it is too often a ready-made
source of victims and enemies, the place where not the kindest but the crudest words are
This may disappoint us, but it should not surprise or horrify us. The family was not
invented, nor has it evolved, to make children happy or to provide a secure emotional and
psychological background to grow up in. Mankind evolved the family to meet a very
basic need in small and precarious societies - to make sure that as many children as
possible were born and, once born, physically taken care of until they could take care of
Since human energy was both a scarce
resource and a valuable form of capital, a man with a large family was generally felt to be
rich and fortunate. The invention worked, and the people multiplied. How they did
multiply! In short, the family was an institution in which some people were owned by
others. Men owned women, and male and female children learned to own and be owned.
If the family became other things besides, as it often did, it was because people who
live close together for a long time have to find some way to make this somewhat
palatable and workable and because man is a social and affectionate creature who, with
any luck, will become fond of many of the people he is closest to. But the family was not
invented to give people someone to love. To the extent that came, it was extra. Basically
the family was and is a tiny kingdom, an absolute monarchy.
It is the family in this sense that is most heatedly defended. Most of those people who
talk angrily about saving the family or bringing back the virtues of the family do not see
it as an instrument of growth and freedom but of dominance and slavery, a miniature
dictatorship (sometimes justified by ‘love’) in which the child learns to live under and
submit to absolute and unquestionable power. It is a training for slavery.
For many reasons children need a much larger network of people to relate to. The
small family is so often unhelpful or destructive because it is so small. The relationships
are too intense, too much is always at stake. Many parents find it hard to say no to their
children even though they say it much too often, because it seems to threaten their ideal
relationship with the child. They have to get angry before they can say no, and then they
are doubly angry at the child for ‘making’ them say no. The family is so dependent on
these high-powered feelings, so shut in on itself, so non-involved with others or with the
community, so devoid of purposes outside of itself, that it is fragile, easily threatened by
a quarrel. Human relations cannot be only about human relations. If there is nothing in a
family but feelings, if it is only an arena for feelings, if its life depends on everyone
feeling good about or loving everyone else, if the members have no other way of being
really useful to each other, then it is constantly threatened by anything that might upset
the good feelings, and perfectly normal differences and quarrels take on too much
I think of something that happened in my fifth-grade
classroom in about 1959. At a time during the day when the children were free to move
around the room and talk, I overheard one of them in a group of four or five say to the
others, “If I grow up ...” What was this talk? “If I grow up.” Knowing ten-year-olds, how
challenging and sassy they are, how quick to pick up on anything they think is silly or out
of place, I expected one of the others to say something like, “What do you mean, ‘If\
grow up?’ Are you sick, or something?” But no one interrupted. After a while I realised
that the speaker had spoken for all of them.
It was as if the ground had opened up under my feet. “If I grow up.” I could remember
a little of my own life at ten. 1 had my share of worries, problems, fears. But they
certainly did not include any worry as to whether I might or might not grow up.
A generation that does not believe it can make a future that it will like, or trust or love
any future it can imagine, has nothing to pass on to and hence nothing to say to the
young. It might seem a paradox that our society, which perhaps more than any that ever
existed, is obsessed with the need to control events, nature, people, everything, should
feel more than any other that things are out of control. But it is not a paradox; like a
drowning man we clutch frantically at any fragments of certainty we can make or reach.
We worship change and progress, the belief that the new must always be better than the
old. We believe that we can change and improve on anything. And yet, we do not really
believe that in any large sense we can change things to make them come out the way we
Finally, how typical it is of our times that we should think that this problem, that we
are not living our lives well, or do not know how to live them, should be something that a
group of ‘experts’ can fix. This delusion, this modern superstition, lies very close to the
heart of all our problems.
The trouble with modern man seems to me that he has
made himself dependent on institutions that he can neither know nor control. More and
more he is not able, or even permitted, to act to meet his own basic needs. He can’t even
keep himself from getting ‘obese’ - i.e. fat - without a committee of experts telling him
how to do it.
How can we tell children how to live their lives
when we so clearly do not know how to live our own?
From all of this we get the
impression that the source of our health is not in the way we live but in the mysterious
knowledge of the doctor, just as the source of our livelihood, for many of us, is not in our
work but in some mysterious entity called ‘the economy’, which can at any moment and
for reasons which no one can understand or do anything about, condemn us to idleness
How many times must adults,
comparing the lives of their children and themselves, think bitterly, “Why should they
have it so easy when I have it so tough?” Often they say it out loud. It leads to this, that
the people who built the garden to protect the children from the harsh reality outside
begin, in the name of that same harsh reality, to put weeds and stones and broken glass
and barbed wire into the garden. “They’d better learn,” they say furiously, “what the
world out there is really like.”
For a very long time, ever since men formed societies in which some people bossed
others, children have fulfilled this very important function. Every adult parent, however
lowly or powerless, had at least someone that he could command, threaten and punish.
No man was so poor, even a slave, that he could not have these few slaves of his own.
Today, when most ‘free’ men feel like slaves, having their own home-grown slaves is
very satisfying. Many could not do without them.
The Helping Hand Strikes Again!
It is important that we try to understand how the idea of help has been so largely
corrupted and turned into a destructive exploitation, how the human act of helping is
turned more and more into a commodity, an industry and a monopoly. I am troubled by
anyone who wants to make a lifework out of being, usually without being asked, the
helper and protector of someone else.
The person whose main lifework is helping others needs and must have others who
need his help. The helper feeds and thrives on helplessness, creates the helplessness he
needs. The trouble with the helping professions - teaching, psychiatry, psychology, social
work - is that they tend to attract people who want to play God. Some of them, perhaps
most of them, want to play a kindly and benevolent God; others, and perhaps without
knowing it, may want to play a harsh and cruel God, to take out of the hides of others
what some earlier God took out of theirs. In either case the effect is much the same. For a
person can only play God if he can make other people into his puppets. And, as the early
Christians knew, it does not take much frustration to turn a God into a Devil.
Over and over again, we see this cycle repeated. The helper begins by saying to
someone, “Let me do that for you, I know more about it, I can do it better than you.”
Soon he says, “Don’t do that, you are not able to do it for yourself.” Soon after that he
says, “I will not allow you even to try to do that for yourself, you will make a mistake,
hurt yourself or someone else.” For the other to reject his help begins as ingratitude*or a
foolish mistake; it soon becomes a sin and a crime.
The nightmare state of the future, if it comes, and it is well on its way, will be above
all a tyranny of ‘professional helpers’, with an unlimited right and power to do to us or
make us do whatever they (or someone) consider to be for our own good.
Of all people in history who have coerced, threatened and hurt other people there have
been very few honest enough to see and candid enough to say, “I am doing this to you, or
forcing you to do this for me, not for your good but mine.’ Most of them claim, usually
sincerely, to act from the highest motives. Even the Inquisitors pulling people apart on
the rack believed they were trying to save their screaming victims from eternal hell-fire.
Clearly this justified whatever present suffering they might be causing them. Wherever
torturers have been at work, they have almost always been working in the name of some
We cannot assume, just because we hear someone say, “I am doing this to help you,”
that what he does will be good. It may very well be bad. The good intention does not of
itself excuse or justify the act.
In meetings they sometimes accuse me
of thinking that without ‘help’ nobody would make, any mistakes, or of not caring
whether they make them or not. Neither is true. Most people in the course of their lives
will make plenty of mistakes. I insist on their right to do so. What I believe is that given
any real choices and alternatives almost everyone will manage his life better than anyone
else, however expert, could manage it for him and that if and when he does make
mistakes, if he is not lacked into them, he will be quicker than anyone else to recognise
and change them.
In meetings they sometimes accuse me
of thinking that without ‘help’ nobody would make, any mistakes, or of not caring
whether they make them or not. Neither is true. Most people in the course of their lives
will make plenty of mistakes. I insist on their right to do so. What I believe is that given
any real choices and alternatives almost everyone will manage his life better than anyone
else, however expert, could manage it for him and that if and when he does make
mistakes, if he is not lacked into them, he will be quicker than anyone else to recognise
and change them.
JUST A NICE STORY:
I was once interviewed by radio station WBAI in New York City. I talked about the
institution of childhood and of the great potentialities and capacities of young people,
which we do not use or even acknowledge. Many calls came in during the programme,
more than we could answer in the time we had. As I was leaving the studio, a man who
had been trying to call finally got through. The WBAI people said that he very much
wanted to talk to me and asked if I would talk to him, which I did. He told me a most
interesting story. He was a dental technician, head of a laboratory associated with a large
dental clinic somewhere near New York City. Over the years, he had trained the front
office to tell him whenever a young person of about ten or eleven came in with a parent
who was going to have extensive work done. When they told him this, he would go to the
office, spot the young person and say, “Since you are going to be here for a few hours
while your mother/father is getting the work done, would you like to come out and see
the lab?” In almost every case the young person would say yes. Off they would go; he
would take a tour of the lab and show all the kinds of work they were doing. If the young
person seemed interested, as he almost always was, he would then ask, “How would you
like to help me out with some work I am doing?” Again, the young person would almost
always say yes. And he would put him to work. The point was that there was almost
always some real work that the young person could do. Telling me this, the lab head said,
“I wish I could hire lab help as bright, curious, eager and quick to learn, and energetic as
those ten-year-old kids. By the time they do come to me, when the law finally allows
them to work, they have had most of the energy, curiosity, confidence and willingness
knocked out of them.”
anyone to whom we can give affection and love, openly and
physically, any time and any place we feel like it, whenever the mood or need strikes us,
without danger or shame, and indeed knowing we will gain general approval - such a
person is immeasurably useful and valuable to us. We desperately need these love
objects. It is very painful to have more love to give away than people to whom we can
Another quality of children that makes us think they are cute, makes us smile or get
misty-eyed, is their ‘innocence’. What do we mean by this? In part we mean only that
they are ignorant and inexperienced. But ignorance is not a blessing, it is a misfortune.
Children are no more sentimental about their ignorance than they are about their size.
They want to escape their ignorance, to know what’s going on, and we should be glad to
help them escape it if they ask us and if we can. But by the innocence of children we
mean something more - their hopefulness, trustfulness, confidence, their feeling that the
world is open to them, that life has many possibilities, that what they don’t know they can
find out, what they can’t do they can learn to do. These are qualities valuable in
everyone. When we call them ‘innocence’ and ascribe them only to children, as if they
were too dumb to know any better, we are only trying to excuse our own hopelessness
Babies are not ‘babyish’. Up to the age of a year, at least, they are
intensely serious. They like to laugh but when not laughing they are on the whole solemn,
frank and direct. They are not connivers, seducers, tricksters. We might well say that, in
spite of their littleness and helplessness, babies act more grown up, in the best sense, than
they will a few years later. They have to learn to act ‘babyish’.
To sum up, when we think of children as cute we abstract and idealise them, judge
them, exploit them and, worst of all, teach them to exploit us and each other, to sell
themselves for smiles and rewards. This is in every way bad for them and for their
relations with us.
“These are the best years of your life; we are
going to save them for you and keep the wicked world from spoiling them.” What could
be more discouraging? For they are going to grow up, whether they want to or not. They
would like to think that this is something to look forward to.
[my words from thoughts on reading: take children away from “bad parents” that the child wants to stay with but if the child runs away, put him back in a home he considers bad. Both are kidnap.]
A young man asked a wise man, a guru, what made a person wise. “Well,” said the
sage, “it is mostly a matter of good judgment” The young person asked how he could get
good judgment. The sage replied, “By having the right kind of experience.” The baffled
young person cried out, “But how can I get that kind of experience?” The sage said, “By
using bad judgment.”
To some it will seem as if giving children the right to travel (and do other things)
without their parents’ permission would weaken the authority of the parents. We should
note once more the distinction between natural authority, which rests on greater skill,
knowledge, experience, courage, commitment or concern, and that authority which rests
only on force, the power to threaten, punish and hurt. Nothing that I propose here can
lessen the natural authority of the parent over the child or the old over the young; indeed,
it will strengthen such natural authority as exists.
Children are not indifferent to this natural authority. They get from it their sense of
place in the world, a base from which they can move out in wider and wider circles.
"When someone needs help, we don't waste time feeling sorry for them, we help them." -Kenneth, 30 Rock