same on issuu:
interesting ie sentence used.. perpetuating the very mindset that is killing us
Human nature refers to the distinguishing characteristics—including ways of thinking, feeling, and acting—which humans tend to have naturally.
The questions of whether there truly are fixed characteristics, what these natural characteristics are, and what causes them are among the oldest and most important questions in philosophy and science. The concept of human nature is traditionally contrasted not only with unusual human characteristics, but also with characteristics which are derived from specific cultures, and upbringings. The “nature versus nurture” debate is a well-known modern discussion about human nature in the natural sciences.
These questions have particularly important implications in economy, ethics, politics, and theology. This is partly because human nature can be regarded as both a source of norms of conduct or ways of life, as well as presenting obstacles or constraints on living a good life. The complex implications of such questions are also dealt with in art and literature, the question of what it is to be human.
One of the defining changes that occurred at the end of the Middle Ages was the end of the dominance of Aristotelian philosophy, and its replacement by a new approach to the study of nature, including human nature... “human nature” became not a special metaphysical cause, but simply whatever can be said to be typical tendencies of humans
human nature talk (2011) with Robert Sapolsky, Gabor Mate, James Gilligan, Richard Wilkinson
to view the entire production this is excerpted from zeitgest‘s moving forward, go to http://youtu.be/4Z9WVZddH9w.
1 min – robert: it’s virtually impossible to understand how biology works outside the context of environment
2 min – robert: genes are unchangeable.. sheer nonsense.. and very dangerous thinking
2 min – gabor: adhd/schizo.. genetically programmed.. the truth is the opposite.. nothing is genetically programmed.. (w exception of handful of diseases).. predisposition not the same as pre determination
3 min – gabor: whole search for cures in genetic genome.. failure.. most diseases are not genetically pre determined… heart disease; cancer; stroke; .. mental health conditions; addictions; … none of them genetically determined .. ie: breast cancer.. only 7 in 100 carry breast cancer genes.. and out of 100 women who do have the genes.. not all of them will get cancer
richard: genes aren’t responsible.. just give us diff ways.. ie: kind of child rearing effect gene expression
4 min – gabor.. ie: study in montreal looked at suicide victims.. if victim had been abused when young.. abuse caused genetic change in brain.. absent from ones who had not been abused.. that’s an epigenetic effect.. epi means on top of.. so that the the epigenetic influence is what happens environmentally to activate/deactivate certain genes
5 min – james: study in new zealand.. 1000 individuals from birth to 20s.. found.. could id a genetic mutation.. abnormal gene .. which did have some relation to the predisposition to commit kind of violence.. but only if the individual had also been subjected to severe child abuse.. in other words.. a child with this abnormal gene would be no more likely to be violent than anyone else.. and in fact.. actually had a lower rate of violence.. than people with normal genes.. as long as they weren’t abused as children..
6 min – robert: ie: a study.. take out gene in mouse.. that has to do with learning/memory.. and have mouse that doesn’t learn as well.. media ran with that.. ooh. a genetic basis for intelligence.. what was much less appreciated in that landmark study.. is take those genetically impaired mice and raise them in a much more stimulated/enriched environment than your normal mice in the lab cage.. and they completely overcame that deficit..
rat park ness
so.. when one says in a contemporary sense that oh this behavior is genetic.. to the extent that that’s even a valid phrase to use.. what you’re saying is.. there is a genetic contribution to how this organism responds to environment.. genes may influence the readiness with which an organism will deal with a certain environmental challenge… that’s not the version most people have in their minds.. and not to be too soap boxing.. but run with the old version of .. it’s genetic.. and it’s not that far from history of eugenics and things of that sort.. it’s a widespread misconception.. a potentially fairly dangerous one..
7 min – james: one reason the bio explanation is potentially dangerous.. not just misleading.. it could really do harm.. because if you believe that.. you could very easily say.. well there’s nothing we can do to change the predisposition people have to becoming violent.. all we can do if somebody becomes violent is punish them.. lock them up.. or execute them.. but we don’t need to worry about changing the social environment/preconditions that may lead people to become violent because.. that’s irrelevant
8 min – gabor: the genetic argument allows us the luxury of ignoringi past/present historical/social factors.. quote from new yorker:
“it’s all in the genes”: an explanation for the way things are that does not threaten the way things are.
why should someone feel unhappy or engage in antisocial behavior when that person is living in the freest and most prosperous nation on earth? it can’t be the system. there must be a flaw in the wiring somewhere. – Louis Menand
so the genetic argument is simply a cop out which allows us to ignore the social/economic/political factors that in fact underly many troublesome behaviors
case study: addiction
9 min – gabor: addictions are usually considered drug related.. but looking more broadly.. any behavior that is associated with a craving.. a temp relief..long term neg consequences.. along with an impairment of control over it.. so that the person wishes/promises to give it up but can’t follow through.. and when you understand that.. you can see there are many more addictions than simply those related to drugs..ie: to work/shopping/internet/videogames/power/acquisition/… oil.. and look at what that’s doing to our planet.. these addictions are far more devastating in social consequences than cocain/heroin.. yet they’re rewarded/considered respectable.. higher profit gets bigger reward.. respected member of board.. but kill5.5 mill a year.. and these people are addicted to profit.. but in denial.. so what is acceptable/respectable.. highly arbitrary phenom in our society.. and it seems.. the greater the harm.. the more respectable the addiction..
11 min – gabor: myth that drugs in themselves are addictive.. war on drugs predicated on this.. but.. see that nothing in of itself are addictive.. so the real issue is what makes people susceptible.. because it’s the combo of a susceptible individual and the potentially addictive substance/behavior.. that actually then makes for the flowering of addiction.. in short: it’s not the drug that’s addictive.. it’s the question of susceptibility of the individual to being addictive to a particular substance/behavior
12 min – gabor: to understand what makes people susceptible.. you have to look at their life experience.. the old idea.. although it’s old it’s still broadly held.. that addictions are due to some genetic cause .. simply scientifically untenable.. what the case is actually .. is that certain life experiences make people susceptible.. life experiences that not only shape the person’s personality and psych needs.. but also their very brains in certain ways.. and that process begins in utero
13 min – robert: environment does not begin at birth.. environment begins as soon as you have an environment.. so fetus subject to any info..coming thru mom’s circulation.. great ie: dutch hunger winter.. 1944 – nazi’s take all food .. 3 months.. 10s of 1000s of people starve to death.. if you were a fetus then.. your body learned something during that time.. 2nd 3rd trimester.. your body programs forever after to be ie: stingy with sugar/fat.. 1/2 century later.. more likely to have high blood pressure obesity or metabolic syndrome..
14 min – gabor: can stress animals in lab when pregnant and offspring more likely to use cocaine/alcohol as adults.. stress human mothers.. ie: british mothers.. abused during pregnancy.. higher levels of stress hormone cortisol in placenta.. and their children are more likely to have conditions that predisposed them to addictions by age 7 or 8
15 min – gabor: ie.. mothers pregnant prior to 1967 war.. offspring higher incidence of schizo.. plenty of evidence now that prenatal effects have huge impact on developing human being
gabor: point about human development.. specifically human brain development.. is that it occurs mostly under the impact of the environment and mostly after birth.. compare horse to human.. can run day 1.. human 1.5 yrs.. because brain development of the horse happens in the safety of the womb.. in the human being it has to happen.. after birth… and that has to do with simple evolutionary logic.. as head gets larger.. which is what makes us into human beings.. narrower pelvis.. larger head.. so have to be born prematurely and that means brain development… neural darwinism: the circuits that get the appropriate input from the environment will develop optimally and the ones that don’t will either not develop optimally or perhaps not at all… if you take a child with perfectly good eyes at birth.. and put him in a dark room for 5 years.. he’ll be blind thereafter for the rest of his life.. because the circuits of vision require light waves for that development and w/o that.. even the rudimentary circuits present and active at birth.. will atrophy and die.. and new ones will not develop..
17 min – there’s a significant way in which early experiences shape adult behavior.. and especially early experiences for which there’s no recall memory.. there are two kinds of memory 1\explicit – which is recall.. but the structure in the brain.. the hippocampus.. which encodes recall memory doesn’t even begin to develop fully until year and a half.. and not fully developed until much later.. which is why.. hardly anyone has any recall memory prior to 18 months 2\implicit – an emotional memory.. where the emotional impact and the interpretation that the child makes of those emotional experiences is engrained in the brain.. in the form of nerve circuits ready to fire without specific recall
18 min – gabor: ie: people who are adopted have a life long sense of rejection very often.. they can’t recall the adoption.. the separation of the birth mother… there’s nothing there to recall with.. but the emotional memory of separation/rejection is deeply embedded in their brains.. hence.. they’re much more likely to experience a sense of rejection and a great emotional upset when they perceive themselves of being rejected than other people…. that’s not unique to people who are adopted.. but it’s very strong in them..because of this function of implicit memory… people who are addicted.. according to all research lit.. certainly in my experience.. the hard core addicts.. virtually were all significantly abused as children or suffered severe emotional loss.. their emotional/implicit memories are those of a world that’s not safe and not helpful.. caregivers are not to be trusted.. and relationships that are not safe enough to open to vulnerably.. and hence their responses tend to be to keep themselves separate from really intimate relationships.. not to trust caregivers..drs.. and other people who are trying to help them.. and generally see the world as an unsafe place.. and that sense is strictly a function of an implicit memory which sometimes has to do with incidents they don’t even recall
19 min – gabor: infants born premature are often in incubators.. for weeks and perhaps months.. it’s now known.. that even if these children are touched.. stroked on the back for just 10 min/day that promotes the brain development.. so human touch is essential for development and in fact infants who are never picked up will actually die.. fundamental need to be held
20 min – gabor: in our society.. parents being told to not pick up their kids.. not to hold them .. not to pick up babies who are crying for fear of spoiling them.. or to encourage them to sleep through the night.. you don’t pick them up.. which is just the opposite of what the child needs.. and these children might go back to sleep because they give up and their brains are shut down as a way of defending against a vulnerability.. or being abandoned really .. by their parents.. but their implicit memories will be that of a world that doesn’t give a damn...
richard: a lot of differences are structured very early in life.. in the way like parental experience of adversity.. ie: depression.. stress.. have very powerful effects programming children’s development.. not even an evolutionary mistake.. but for humans.. the adaptation is to the quality of social relations.. a taster of the kind of world you may be growing up in .. parenting .. almost unconsciously.. is a system for passing that on
22 min – gabor: winnocot said: fundamentally two things can go wrong in childhood.. 1\ things happen that shouldn’t happen 2\ things that should happen but don’t… 1\ traumatic/abusive/abandonment experiences of my (?) patients.. and of many addicts.. 2\ non stressed/attuned attention they don’t get .. no presence of available parent.. alan shore calls proximal abandonment – parent is physically present but emotionally absent.. from ie: stresses of world..
23 min – james: i have spent the last 40 yrs working with the most violent people our society produces.. murderers/rapists// and so on.. in an attempt to understand what causes this violence.. i discovered that the most violent of the criminals in our prisons.. had themselves been victims of a degree of child abuse that was beyond the scale of what i ever thought of ever applying the term to.. i had no idea of the depth of the deprevity with which children in our society are all too often treated.. the most violent people i saw were themselves survivors of their own attempted murder.. often at the hands of their parents or other people in their social environment.. or were the survivors of family members who’d been killed
24 min – gabor: buddha argued.. you can’t understand anything in isolation from its environment.. true for human development.. the modern term for it: the bio psycho social development: the bio of human beings depends very much on their interaction with the social/psych environment..
25 min – specifically.. the psychiatrist/researcher daniel siegel coined a phrase: interpersonal neurobiology: the way our nervous system functions depends very much on our personal relationships… true throughout lifecycle.. particularly true when dependent/developing.. but also throughout rest of life
26 min – richard: human beings have lived in all kinds of societies.. h&g most egalitarian.. based on food sharing.. gift exchange..
robert: small bands of people living off of predominately foraging.. little bit of hunting.. predominately with people you have known most your entire life.. where there is a great deal of fluidity between diff groups.. not a whole lot in terms of material culture.. this is how humans have spent most of their hominate history.. and no surprise.. makes for a very diff world.. one thing you get as result of that..is.. far less violence.. organized group violence is not something that occurred at that time..so… where did we go wrong..
voluntary compliance et al.. to make us more efficient.. et al.. (if we ever had that common ing ness.. )
27 min – james: violence is not universal.. it’s not symmetrically distributed throughout the human race… there is a huge variation in the amount of violence in different societies.. there are some societies that have virtually no violence.. others that destroy themselves.. some antibaptist religious groups.. that are complete/strict pacifists..like amish/mennonites/hoterites.. in some of these.. there are no recorded cases of homicide.. during major wars.. like ww2.. they would refuse to go to war.. they would go to prison.. in the kibbutz in israel.. the level of violence is so low that the criminal courts there will often send violent offenders to live on the kibbutz.. to learn how to live a non violent life
28 min – robert: so .. we are amply shaped by society.. our societies in the broader sense including our theological.. metaphysical.. linguistic.. help shape us to think whether our life is basically about sin or about beauty.. about whether the afterlife will carry a price for how we live our lives our if it’s irrelevant…. in a broad sort of way .. different large societies could be termed as individualistic or collectivist and you get very diff people in diff mindsets.. and diff brains come along with that.. we in america are in one of the most individualistic of societies.. capitalism being the system that allows you to go higher and higher up a potential pyramid and the deal is it comes with fewer and fewer safety nets.. by defn the more stratified a society is.. the fewer people you have as peers.. the fewer people with whom you have symmetrical/reciprocal relationships.. and instead all you have are differing spots and endless hierarchies.. and a world in which you have few reciprocal partners is a world with a lot less altruism..
i’d question the reciprocal ness.. i think that’s a measuring game.. no matter how kind..
29 min – robert: this brings us to a total impossible juncture.. to try to make sense of perspective sciences as to what the nature is of human nature.. on a certain level.. the nature of our nature is not to be particularly constrained by our nature.. we come up with more social variability than any species out there.. more systems of belief.. of styles of family structures.. of ways of raising children.. the capacity for variety that we have is extraordinary
30 min – gabor: in a society which is predicated on competition.. and very often the ruthless exploitation..of one human being by another.. the profiteering off other people’s problems.. and very often .. the creation of problems for purpose of profiteering.. the ruling ideology will very often justify that behavior by appeals to some fundamental and unalterable human nature.. so *the myth in our society is that people are competitive by nature.. and that they’re individualistic.. and that they’re selfish.. the reality is quite the opposite.. we have **certain human needs.. the only way you can talk about human nature concretely is by recognizing that there are certain human needs.. we have a human need for companionship and for close contact.. to be loved.. to be attached to.. to be accepted/seen.. to be received for who we are.. if those needs are met.. we will be developed into people who are compassionate/cooperative/.. and who have empathy for other people..
31 min – gabor: so the opposite.. that we often see in our society is the distortion of human nature.. precisely because so few people have their needs met.. so yes.. you can talk about human nature.. but only in a sense of basic human needs that are instinctively evoked.. or i should say.. certain human needs that lead to certain traits if they are met and a diff set of traits if they are not
We need more understanding of human nature, because the only danger that exists is man himself — he is the great danger, and we are pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man — far too little.
Man cannot stand a meaningless life.
humanity – get closer