Archive for the ‘Ethology’ Category

Dragonflies Play Dead, So Do Our Masters

April 30, 2017

Animal behavior can be extremely intelligent, even in insects. Being an animal means being intelligent. (I was once nearly pushed off a mountainside by a giant sheep which looked innocent, cuddly, thoroughly unawares and stupid enough, until it deliberately, smartly, shoved me downslope.)

A study from the University of Zurich, published in the journal Ecology, reveals that the moorland hawker dragonfly plunges at high speed, a risky maneuver, and then pretends to drop dead, upside down, to escape aggressive males (sometimes, the hovering male inspecting the belle from above, is not fooled, though…) There are instances of other animals faking their own deaths to avoid being killed, for example opossums, who look thoroughly disgusting, foaming at the mouth, as if they had a terrible disease (the disgusted predator, not wanting to catch something, generally walks away).  

I see, therefore I think. And I think playing dead works.

Playing dead is a well documented strategy (even in dragonflies). Yet, this is the only study of female animals faking deaths to avoid mating. 

Researcher Rassin Khelifa was collecting insect eggs in the Swiss Alps, something he had done for ten years, when he noticed that a female dragonfly would fake her own death by falling from the sky and then lie motionless on the ground until the male dragonfly leaves the area.

“While I was waiting at a pond near Arosa, at about 2,000 meter elevation,” he wrote, “I witnessed a dragonfly dive to the ground while being pursued by another dragonfly… the individual that crashed was a female, and that she was lying motionless and upside down on the ground. Upside down is an atypical posture for a dragonfly. The male hovered above the female for a couple seconds and then left. I expected that the female could be unconscious or even dead after her crash landing, but she surprised me by flying away quickly as I approached. The question arose: Did she just trick that male? Did she fake death to avoid male harassment? If so, this would be the first record of sexual death feigning in odonates.”

This is when the philosophical method has kicked in: the mind has one example, a single example, and builds a (putative scientific) theory from it. We know that’s how the visual system itself works (the visual system is mostly stimulated by itself: information from the eyes is less than 10%!)

The human mind is a philosopher.

After making this initial revelation, Khelifa spent the next few months documenting instances where a female dragonfly would crash-land and play dead while being pursued by a male dragonfly. He observed that when female dragonflies arrived at the pond where male dragonflies were “constantly patrolling looking for a mate”, the females would be intercepted mid-air. After copulating nearby, the male dragonfly would fly away, leaving the female unprotected while she laid her eggs.

In 86 percent of cases that Khelifa observed, the females would crash to the ground and fake their deaths. “Those that kept flying were all intercepted by a male but if they were motionless, 77.7 percent of the dragonflies were successful in deceiving the coercive male,” he wrote.

This behavior could have resulted from exaptation, a term in evolutionary biology to describe a trait that has been co-opted for a use other than the one for which natural selection has built it. “Since death feigning already exists in the behavioral repertoire of dragonflies, females of the moorland hawker expanded the use of this anti-predatory function to avoid male coercion,” Khelifa wrote. “On the other hand, the origin of this exaptation is probably sexual conflict where each sex adopts reproductive strategies that best serve its own survival and reproductive success.”

Plummeting to their fake deaths appears to help female dragonflies survive longer and produce more offspring by avoiding coercion. “Sexual death feigning is one of the rarest behaviors in nature, and due to its scarcity, it has received little attention in behavioral ecology. Currently, it is restricted only to arthropods. It would be interesting to know whether this scarcity is true or just an artifact related to the lack of behavioral investigations or difficulty in detecting this behavior.”

***

Playing Dead, and Playing Dumb: How Plutos Rule:

Thus, when I argue that human history is much subtle and infused with human will and machination than official history has it, remember the dragonflies! If they can be so smart, so can we!

My Machivellian philosophy and vision of history extends in many dimensions. Not just Islam, plutocracy, democracy, civilization, and the evil nature of the best humanism. Fortunately, it is gaining credence.

For example, the Egyptian ambassador to France, Ehab Badawi, a self-declared “moderate Muslim educated by Jesuits“, and was once punished by a Father for not having studied the Qur’an well! Ehab Badawi argues that the West is the main sponsor and enabler of terrorist Islam (he puts it a bit more diplomatically than me). Badawi says this: Western satellites carry TV channels which incite to evil interpretations of Islam, and make propaganda for the worst Islam madness. Thus, instead of accusing the Wahhabis from Saudi Arabia, the ambassador accuses the Western plutocrats (who launch and operate the Islam propaganda satellites).

I have explained that the rise of fundamentalist Islam was a deliberate ploy by US  and British plutocrats (more exactly, initially, oilmen). The de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, the 31 year old Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, picked up a nearly three-quarter of a billion dollar yacht in south France last year (previously owned by Russian plutocrat). At the same time, he was imposing fierce austerity in Saudi Arabia. The Serene yacht was made in Italy.

Saudi Arabia is a dollar recycling machine which sends billions to Wall Street in a somewhat similar fashion to the European Central Bank sending 2.7 billion Euros a day to the world’s wealthiest entities. Smart. And when you ask the right questions, they play dead (that’s why I am censored by the New York Times).

Our masters and attending plutos would have to play dead, if one asked them the proper questions (fortunately for the plutocracy, in the USA, the democratic establishment is thoroughly pluto, and craftily replaced intelligent debate by racial and racist invectives, and other posing ways…)

The propaganda has been so intense, all values have been inverted. For example Paul Krugman is viewed as “left”, “liberal”, conscientious, an intellectual, look at him, like Obama, another deep thinker out of that shallow pond, he got a Noble.

Actually, as I have said for years, Krugman is nothing of the sort: he preaches disorienting venom. And this is now slowly starting to be understood by really deep thinkers. In light of what I said above about Muslim Fundamentalism (a plutocratic device), Krugman style thinking is just another plutocratic device. (And even the lukewarm critiques of the ilk of Sanders and Warren can be viewed as suspiciously mild posing…)

Similarly, in France, to block all changes, one accuses the National Front to be fascist. But surely the national Front is not causing the sinking of France? It was never in power. More generally, “populism” is accused of fascism (basically, following the model established in France, in the last thirty years, of calling the National Front, fascist and populist).

Meanwhile the European Union did its best to block in Turkey those who wanted to block Islamism (see Wall Street, above). Conclusion? The Sultan Erdogan has censored Wikipedia, blocked it, just as the New York Times blocks me. (It’s true that lies about Turkey, if outrageous enough, should be blocked; however, that should be done publicly, punctually, and debated. In a case like that, the state should be able to go to the Justice system, something that already exists for books. Worldwide.)

If the masters play brain-dead long enough, imposing their example, the brains of the rabble will atrophy, just as intended. Of course, to start with, a democracy with masters is a contradiction in adjecto. When one starts bad, and deny it, it can only get worse!

Patrice Ayme’

TRANSCENDENTAL INTELLIGENCE: SAPIENS’ ETHOLOGICAL LAW

April 16, 2017

IDIOCY VIOLATES HUMANITY ITSELF

A question pertaining to the survival of civilization: is transcendental animal not to be boxed in, finally?

A biology professor asked: how far do you intend to carry that project of founding morality on genetics? Well, far enough to show how human ethology transcends genetics and epigenetics:

If one uses enough intelligence, the means become the end. The paradox of the human species!  

Maybe Homo Sapiens should be called the transcendental animal. Indeed what is wisdom, but for the ability to transcend problems… mostly by using physics?

***

Being right in matter transcendental, always starts as a first, not by following the herd:

Normal people indulging in mundane tasks feel that being right means to follow the ways of the herd, all over. The result is plain to see. The world is changing ever faster, yet the herd cannot follow itself out of the problems this generates. Going around news, media and Internet, I am amazed by the gullibility, stupidity, and the relish for the masses to indulge that way. Including masses of professionals paid to teach, or to act as medium (the so-called “media”). But what else to expect from the rabble? Supreme thinking was always from an elite, to an elite.

So much stupidity, and full of hatred too: all over. One can understand why so many gave full powers to Turkey’s Sultan Erdogan: out of rage, and the will to do something even more stupid, and more nefarious, yet, bearing the signature of their freedom.

Meanwhile Geneva and the Australia’s Great Barrier go topless. Desultory progress in the Alps, while uncomprehended tragedy is unfolding in the oceans. True human ethology should contest the legality of all what afflicts it: so-called “representative” democracy, which is truly plutocracy unbound, and its obnoxious little whip and distraction, Salafist Islam.

***

Wasteful GDP Corruption Flaunted:

Economists of the “Liberal” type crow that California’s GDP is larger than that of all but the Gross Domestic Products which the rest of the USA, China, Japan, and Germany are endowed with. Yes, of course: the more a country wastes, the higher the GDP. The USA averages 16 tons of CO2 emissions, per year, per capita. The European Union, only seven. Now that massive consumption of quasi-free fossil fuels in the USA has put it, and Canada and Australia, way ahead economically, as I showed.

GDP is not just an indicator of economic growth, but of massive corruption.

Also GDP is augmented when the world’s largest corporations sit in California and pay no taxes. Thanks to Obama, and, soon enough, Trump.

GDP should look as a defect, instead, it’s viewed as glorious. An ethical and intellectual failure. GDP is an indication not just of pollution, but of mental deliquescence, in those who laud it.

***

I was wondering why so many people hate to think. Is it because the Internet has made them increasingly disconnected with reality? Or is in part, because the Internet has made them suspect as they try to think, and fail, that they may feel they are coming short ethically. Hence all the hatred out there. And they are right (to hate themselves):

***

The Concept of Ethological Law: IDIOCY VIOLATES ALL OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS

Ethology can be scientifically defined through experiments. Some will scoff that the human species is too clever to be defined by gene-given, epigenetic-given law, that the ultimate law of Sapiens is intelligence. And whatever flows therefrom. Fair enough.

This point of view has the consequence that any law which is antagonistic to intelligence is inhuman. Examples of this inhumanity abound. One can only conclude that the general tension obvious around the world, and especially in so-called democracies, originate from all too much of society been organized in systematic violation of the Human Intelligence Principle (HIP).

This was the situation a year ago, in 2016. This year the situation has got much worse. The quest for the Golden Calf of Australian GDP Supreme is the proximal cause of this devastation. More generally GreenHouse Gas warming, induced by a GHG density now probably around 550 ppm, the highest since the Jurassic, 100 million years ago. Time to think and sacrifice, guys, and yes, it means you!

***

Puppets owe everything to those who pull the strings:

I was struck by the picture of the National Security Council, with a mysterious lonely pretty woman sandwiched there.

Dina Powell, a celebrity for our times, the sort of people who owes everything to those who created her (as Obama was). Thus, very pliable. All the more with arguably with all too little formal education, here she is at the top of the defense establishment, including extremely educated generals.

The more a civilization falls victim to plutocracy, the more celebritism is pushed onto people. Plutocracy is a form of generalized fascism, and celebritism, intellectual fascism: they reinforce each other. Celebritism is not just a moral flaw, it is a crime civilization is led to engage in.

***

All progressives should be resolute anti-sexists:

Women In Geneva were already allowed  to sunbathe topless. However, a law from 1929 forbade them to bathe in lakes and rivers, in the same attire. This law has now been changed; in the Canton de Genève (total population metropolitan area, one million). As it should have; enabling only men to go topless, was, and is, obviously sexist, wherever practiced.

In Black African “Islam”, women used to go topless, for obvious reasons: heat, hygiene. Something to emulate, as, worldwide, the planetary warming is accelerating:

***

The Great Barrier Reef, greatest structure on Earth built by animals, is dying:

345,000 square kilometers (as big as Germany). It is 2300 kilometers long. Now 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) are white, distressed, much of it dying.

The Great Barrier Reef is overheating, going white. During overheating, algae within the corral get expelled. In 1998, a colossal El Nino made the Great Barrier white. There was another whitening in 2008, and in 2016. The 2016 El Nino was as bad as the one of 1998. Coral gets overheated, and weakened by toxins (from coal, phosphates from chemical agriculture). Algae dies off in the coral with which they live in symbiosis, the coral goes white (“bleaches”). If bleaching happens again and again, the coral dies.

The Coral Great Barrier reef is dying from human action. Or more exactly mostly Australian action, as Australia does in its pursuit of GDP with corral, the same as it did with aborigines: kill all what’s needed, to get richer. It’s smart of the criminals involved, but there are millions. It’s not smart for humanity at large. This sort of things is solved by another great die-off, this time of human beings.

Human species had evolved in such a way that their actions could not put an end to the biosphere. A virus which cannot kill its host, lest it disappear. Sapiens was a virus, and Earth the host. But now, in a few decades, Sapiens has mutated in an industrial form lethal to Earth.

***

Fracking is good for the ecology, say Plutos:

This is the latest from the fossil fuel Plutos: Ban Fracking? Bad economics, Bad Ecology? Following the more genera cynical argument the USA, Russia and Canada have long been making, secretly, that warming is actually a good thing. Except now it’s not secret anymore: Vladimir Putin has said warming up the north will be a good thing (for Russia). And indeed, it will be for Russia. Canada will be less amused when the USA will insist that Canadian coastal water are actually international waterways… with more than the present day smiles. 

Actually we are approaching 550 ppm of GreenHouse Gas (GHG) equivalent. As I already said, but it’s never repeated enough; it’s a number much more astonishing than anything, even the percentage of the human population deliberately assassinated in World War Two. An astounding number, increasing fast. Levels not seen for 100 million years. Spaceship Earth has been highjacked with raving maniacs.

When all hell will break loose, pretty soon, the Plutos will be at home.

They create their own, most sustainable environment.

This is why when real democracy failed in Athens, more than 23 centuries ago, not only it stayed failed to this day, but Greece knew 22 centuries of foreign occupation.

Nowadays, the stakes are much higher: the biosphere itself is facing its sixth massive extinction. The survival of wisdom is in play. It’s a game that was probably lost by wisdom itself in many a galaxy. Now our turn to show if transcendental intelligence can overcome amor fati…

Patrice Ayme’  

MORALITY IS ABSOLUTE, Since Evolution Is God

March 20, 2017

Science has demonstrated the existence of our creator. It’s not a black monolith, a la 2001, Space Odyssey, nor is it a somewhat crazed transgender humanoid with issues, as the so-called “New Testament” has it.

There is a God, and it created us in a little more than four billion years. Its name is biological evolution.  Evolution, this all too real god transcends the ones of all too obsolete religions.

Biological evolution, our Creator, made it so that we come endowed, by naturally developing, a natural morality, ethology. Ethology is more developed, more plastic, more variable and intelligent in human beings than in any other species. Why? Because naturally developing morality depends upon naturally developed logic. And human beings are more logically capable than any other animals (although recent political evolutions may lead one to think otherwise…)

Ethology is experimentally established: Capuchin Monkeys have a sense of fairness, for example. That sense of fairness can override more primal urges necessary for survival (like hunger, or safety).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6OsVUlp7Y0

Tiny Moralists Think Hard: Experimental studies show that Monkeys Stay Away from Mean People.

Capuchin monkeys show biases against humans who deny help to others. This finding suggests that being able to identify undesirable social partners (even in other species) has very ancient evolutionary roots (since our common ancestors with Capuchin monkeys date at least from the separation of South America from Africa. Now that dates to the early Cretaceous: open marine conditions between America and Africa happened by 110 million years ago. This, in particular means that our proto-monkey ancestors, as suggested in some Disney animation movies, enjoyed the presence of dinosaurs for 40 million years; as a reminder, let me point out in passing that those smart primates around, omnivorous as they are, may have found dinosaurs eggs a very handy snack when the world got devastated by eruptions, asteroids, etc… Thus pushing the mesotherms (dinosaurs, etc.)  into extinction…) 

Recently, ethological studies were extended to rats. Rats can override their primal urges to help a fellow rat.

So we don’t need a god invented in the last 32 centuries to explain why we have a sense of right and wrong. There is an absolute morality, but its application can be extremely variable according to circumstances. That is clear when studying the ethology of lions, say, which is all over the place: lions can be fair, tender, devoted, demented, cruel, vicious, selfish, generous, and even protecting of other species… The same pretty much can be observed with chimpanzees (who, after all, have to scare away lions…)

Absolute morality is a mix of what our bodies find pleasurable (that’s the automatic, “genetic” and “epigenetic” part), and what logics compels us to do. Logic itself we learn from the environment, as a sort of proto-physics.

Then, in turn, this learned logics interacts with the ethical circumstances at hand. (Sometimes the logic gets entangled in circumstances to lead to sheer insanity; see the famous Melian dialogue where a maniacal Athens disingenuously explains to Melos why Athens has to be cruel and demented in the Athenian will to annihilate Melos, if Melos won’t submit…)

Logics (again, a proto-physics discovered by the baby, and then the child interacting with the world) is an integral part of what enables us to make our natural ethology operational. Those who “believe” in superstitions which stretch plausibility beyond the breaking point (son of god being crucified, as if that was going to save us, or Muhammad going to Jerusalem, carried by a winged horse, now that the Archangel Gabriel finished instructing him in Arabic, in the name of god…) are violating the law of logic.

Natural ethology is established in part from logic, and the logic each individual holds to be true, depends, to some extent, upon circumstances. Thus natural human ethology is relative, precisely because it’s absolute. In the end, like Brownian motion, it all averages out (absolutely). Moral outliers, like Nazism, get eradicated by evolutionary processes.

Babies discover at some point, that fellow humans don’t always tell the truth, and “belief” should not be absolute, except for excellent reasons (this is one of the point of the fables taught to children: don’t blindly believe others…)

Faith based on unbelievable beliefs deny this learned, mandatory suspicion.

In general, as science has progressed enormously in the meantime, unbelievable beliefs used to be more much believable than they are now. Thus unbelievable beliefs violate logics, the basic of our natural ethics, much more than they used to. Thank god!

That violation of ethics, coming from a violation of basic logic is neither accidental, nor incidental. Instead, it was a Machiavellian plot. Still is, when Obama tells us “Islam is a religion of peace” (which are the religions of war, tell us, please, Oh, Great Bama?)

Violating basic logics is precisely why Roman emperors imposed Christianity (under the penalty of death found in the edicts of emperor Theodosius, 390 CE). That enabled to make god in the image of the emperor, and thus, the emperor’s rule, divine. At the same time it habituated people to violate basic natural ethics, and even basic logic, thus making We The People much easier to dominate, exploit and abuse.

The same basic reasoning established Islam (the ferocious part of the Qur’an was written as Muhammad finally became dictator of Mecca, hence in the same position as Theodosius, 242 years prior).

By violating logic (not believing in anything whatever), the Abrahamic faiths are in violation of absolute, evolution given, ethology.    

Our physical powers are becoming increasingly divine. Our capacity for destruction, annihilation, horror, abomination and infamy, are ever greater, to the point we are in the process of destroying most of the most advanced life on Earth. The only way to stop, or mitigate, this, is by ever more rigorous ethics. Thus it has become a moral imperative more urgent than ever to break whatever threatens logics.

Patrice Ayme’

Alcohol, Sexism, Rape, Hypocrisy

October 21, 2016

Lots of females, and US Vice President Joe Biden (president of vice?), suddenly are all excited about the “rape culture”. Let’s have a toast to their health. Surely they realize they are joking? Did they realize they partake in that “rape culture”? This is a territory, where I prowl and predate: what to do to change the culture. Not just because I was there before (pre-date) but as a predator in the world of ideas.

I am 100% against “rape culture”, but even more against saying no, no, no, while actively collaborating with the exact opposite (as most hypocrites do). Much social activity in the West (and not just in the West) is engineered for rape (or sort-of rape, I-was-not-really-there cop-out) . Let’s say more: without the so-called “rape culture” most of the ostriches out there would not have any fun. And this is exactly why there was little progress on the “rape culture” ever since the concept and terminology appeared in the 1970s.

I will spare you, at least today, the gory psychobiology below all this, where it is explained why the happily enraged male pursues the delightedly scared female, prehistoric style. We are prehistoric creatures, because evolution created us over the aeons, and those time honed ways have a wisdom which millions of years of  survival certify.

Silence Is No Consent, But Drinking Factually Is

Silence Is No Consent, But Drinking Factually Is

Instead, I will focus on two facts. First, there is a lot of sexism imposed on children as young as five years old (for example more in the USA than in France). Sexism consists in gender behavior not forced by psychobiology. Sexism leads to alienation, thus the “rape culture”. Sexism makes females weak, whiny, provocatively passive, too emotional while the males are made tough, resilient, brutal, domineering, coldly rational, ambitious etc. Sexism makes inter-gender interaction naturally violent, exploited and exploitative.

Sexism can be hidden (OK, not so hidden) in activities as simple as dancing (again, with stereotyped roles).

The second fact nurturing the “rape culture” is alcohol injection (“consumption”). To put it bluntly, young people get into the alcohol culture, to partake in the rape culture.

From Scientific American, 2001: Enzyme Lack Lowers Women’s Alcohol Tolerance

…”one of the reasons why alcohol harms women more than men: women, it appears, are deficient in an enzyme that helps metabolize alcohol. The findings appear in the 2001 April issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. “It has been known for a long time that, in general, both women and female animals are more susceptible to the negative or toxic effects of alcohol,” team member Steven Schenker of the University of Texas at San Antonio says. “This is true for the liver, heart muscle and skeletal muscle, and it may be true for the pancreas and the brain. In other words, there is something about the female gender that makes them more susceptible to toxic amounts of alcohol.”

In the past scientists attributed this susceptibility to women’s smaller body size and their relatively higher percentage of fatty tissue. For this study, however, the researchers focused on what is known as first-pass metabolism. Before alcohol reaches the blood stream, it goes through the stomach, where so-called gastric alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) isozymes break some of it down. “In an earlier study we found that women have less of this ADH activity than men do,” notes lead author Charles Lieber of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “Accordingly, women have a lesser first-pass metabolism and, therefore, for a given dose of alcohol, their blood level is higher than it is for men.”

Following up on that research, the team recently turned their attention to the makeup of ADH. They found that one of the enzyme’s three components, glutathione-dependent fomaldehyde dehydrogenase (x-ADH), is deficient in women, thus explaining their lower ADH activity levels. To Schenker, the take-home message is clear: “Women simply need to be more cautious than males in terms of the amount of drinking they do.”

There are other factors: women have more fat (in which alcohol does not dilute) and men have 20% more water (in which alcohol dilutes). In practice, a woman drinking alcohol in the same way as a male will always get more intoxicated, and often much more so. The Blood Alcohol Count (BAC) can be twice in a female relative to the male in the same equal social circumstances.

(By the way, the greater sensitivity to alcohol in women explains why so many women in the USA become alcohol addicts.)

Once the prey is incapacitated, all inhibitions down, the prey is there for the taking. Most “rapes” in the USA, involve alcohol.

43% of the sexual victimization incidents involve alcohol consumption by victims and 69% involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrators.

So let the prey know this. OK, sorry to be a party pooper. How are you going to have fun, looking forward? Screams against the “rape culture” especially in the USA, have become a cover-up for the alcohol culture. The more they scream against rape, the more they are getting drunk on their own fables, and their sorry sort.

I will taunt public opinion with the following proposition: young people get into alcohol, because they want to get laid. The rest is only habituation. Time to get sober, or let the hypocrisy, the show, and the fun, go on. They want no rape? Let them stop drinking, then, and we, or, rather, they can talk, and learn to talk, instead of just getting an uninhibited, inebriated ride on the most basic instincts .

Patrice Ayme’

Europe & Obama: Guilty Of The Syrian Massacre

October 7, 2016

Ultimately, & practically, the Syrian Civil War’s primary cause is not even Islam, or the plutocratic effect, but European impotence (except for the French Republic, which is engaged in half a dozen wars… but financially and diplomatically hobbled by most other European powers… and, of course, its occasionally ingrate progeny, the US). Europeans, Merkel, and especially European youth, talk big about peace, human rights, freedom. Yet, what good is talk when it is not followed by enforcement? Replacing action by the dream?

Refugees, you say? Millions of them? Well, six hundred million Africans and Middle Orientalists want to enter Europe. For starters. Any questions?

I guess not. Shall we reinstate European colonialism, so that Africans want to stay in Africa, as they used to?

Here are further observations of mine: Europeans (semi-) intellectuals talked big about imperialism, decolonization, peace, flowers, bad-mouthed the strong-arm of the USA. So who did they enable? Assad. Assad is smoother talking than Saddam Hussein. But as far as killing his own people, he is much better. Connection with the plutocrats in London made the British Parliament friendly to him. And his kind.

Obama refused, at the last moment, to strike Assad, in collaboration with France. French pilots were in their seats, ready to go unleash Scalp missiles on Assad’s palace, but The One in the White House changed his mind. Annihilating weddings, or Americans on the beach with drones in Yemen, OK. Hitting big bad dictator, whose family holds billions in assets in the West, not OK.

Those Who Do Not Defend Justice & Civilization Are Culprit Of This: Europe and Obama

Alep, August 2016. Those “Leaders” Who Do Not Defend Humanity Justice & Civilization Are Culprit Of Leading The Wrong Way: European Peaceniks and Obama

What happened next? Putin saw the green light from Obama. Putin is an opportunist (see below). A much encouraged Putin invaded Ukraine, grabbing Crimea… which had been Ukrainian for eleven centuries. Now Putin is in Syria, training his army, extending his empire, and helping his fellow dictator Assad re-establish his rule (of terror). (Putin had seized parts of Georgia earlier. However Sarkozy intervened in various spastic ways, and Bush put a few hundreds US troops in the way of Russian tanks, persuading Putin to back off…)

Cynics will observe that the USA is the world’s number one producer of fossil fuels… Followed by Russia. Do those two have interest to see fossil fuel prices go too low for their own comfort? As long as there is a total war mess in the Middle East, most of the oil production out of Turkey, Syria, and especially Iraq, is shut down (by some measure, Iraq has the world’s second largest reserve of conventional oil). That lack of production keeps the prices up much better than the conspiracies from (a much weakened) OPEC.

In this light, Canada, which is trying to build a new giant pipeline, to exfiltrate the planet’s dirtiest hydrocarbons has also interest to extend the mess in the Middle East as long as possible. And sure enough PM Trudeau, that dashing ecologist in words alone, pulled the Canadian Air Force out of the Middle East.

Some will say Canada acted in a spirit of peace, alleluia, let’s save lives from horrid bombardment. By the same token, the Jihadists are all for eternal peace too. One does make peace with those who organize Auschwitz. Aleppo, right now is pretty much Auschwitz for all to see. Aerial bombardment is no panacea, but it remains the ultimate weapon. Who controls the sky and bombs from it has won more than half the war.

History will not be kind to Obama and those Europeans who pay only lip service to humanity, Socrates’ style (See Socrates on the lake of selfishness). To defend the position that one should not defend humanity and humanism is beyond vile, it is also illogical… if one is not a plutocrat of the most ferocious type.  

Trump accused Obama to have founded the Islamist State, ISIS, or words to this effect. Then he explained this happened through Clinton and Obama’s lack of action. Of military action. I agree, and said so at the time. Now I am making the same charge about the Syrian war. I have been making it for several years, if anything Trump is parroting me, and not the other way around.

These are symptoms of the White Flag Syndrome.

Obama maybe vile, from a humanitarian point of view, by refusing to strike a mass-murdering dictator, but, he is in the best American tradition: the US has helped many a dictator during the Twentieth Century, starting with Kaiser Wilhelm II (from 1914 to 1917). Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, countless bananas dictators, and many others more recently (Nasser, the Shah Reza Pahlavi, the Saudis, etc.)

America first, make America ever greater is a policy which has been most profitable. President Franklin Roosevelt in World War Two, following President Wilson in  World War One, refused to come to the help of the French Republic in a timely manner, after being begged to do so. That did not work very well for humanity, but it worked very well for America.

Roosevelt’s refusal to help France in 1939 and 1940 against Hitler, although Auschwitz had just been opened for business by the Nazis, for all to see, was despicable, anti-humanitarian. However, it brought the death of 50 million Europeans, the loss of the European empires, and, not the least, the coming of the so-called “American Century”.

Europeans, though, do not seem to have learned history as well as US think tanks did. Weakness in front of fascism and its associated plutocrats (Yesterday Mussolini, Salazar, Hitler, Franco, now, Assad, Putin, etc.) brought calamity to Europe. Syria, like Libya, should be part of the European empire of justice and peace, because it is the neighborhood of Europe. Actually, Syria was, until it was devastated by the brutal Muslim assault, the richest part of the Roman empire.

The king of Jordan believes World War Three has started. What is sure is that, for World War Three to start, the surest strategy is weakness in the face of infamy. It is known that many in the Russian chain of command believe that a surgical nuclear strike would intimidate the Western Europeans into abject surrender. Whomever the next US president is, Trump, Clinton, Kaynes or Pence, I would not bet on it. Indeed any of these four is clearly more aggressive than Obama. And the US chain of command is very deep.

Here is an example:
Low key and calmly cerebral, four star Admiral Haney, whom some would probably insist to call an “Afro-American” is Commander, United States Strategic Command (four star is the greatest number of stars, aside from times of world war). As such he would be the one talking directly to the president in case of nuclear war, real or potential. Haney commands  not only this country’s nuclear forces but its cyber weapons and space satellites as well.

David Martin, “60 Minutes”: Is it riskier today?

Cecil Haney: Well I think today we’re at a time and place that I don’t think we’ve been to before.

It is Haney’s job to convince Vladimir Putin that resorting to nuclear weapons would be the worst mistake he could possibly make.

David Martin: When you look at what would work to deter Russia, do you have to get inside Putin’s head?

Cecil Haney: You have to have a deep, deep, deep understanding of any adversary you want to deter, including Mr. Putin.

David Martin: So how would you describe him psychologically?

Cecil Haney: Well, one I would say I’m not a psychologist. But I would just say he is clearly an individual that is an opportunist.

[Sell, most politicians are opportunists. The job selects for opportunists. This is the major problem of representative democracy. Any politician is going to be a variant on Trump or Clinton, just those two make it more blatant. However, in the case of Putin and the nationalist mood in Russia, the sky seems to be the same limit as it was for the Nazis.]

David Martin, loaded question: Does it concern you that an opportunist has a nuclear arsenal?

Cecil Haney: It concerns me that Russia has a lot of nuclear weapons. It concerns me that Russia has behaved badly on the international stage. And it concerns me that we have leadership in Russia, at various levels that would flagrantly talk about the use of a nuclear weapon in this 21st century.

Well the psychological scenario for the use of nuclear weapons is in place. It came from weakness. No force, no moral. Only a perspective of great ferocity and fury, in defense of democracy, the republic and optimal human ethology will convince those seduced by the most devilish and oligarchic instincts to refrain from acting up.

Patrice Ayme’.

Essence Of MORALITY: SUSTAINABILITY, Not Just Avoiding Suffering.

September 12, 2016

What is morality? The answer is not in “religions” established in the last few centuries, by self-obsessed elites, such as Islam. Verily, there is just one religion, the religion of man: Ecce Homo.

Past religions could not be sure that man was a religion, so they invented god(s). The idea is that, to distinguish right from wrong, one needs absolute truth, and that absolute truth was called god(s).

However, we now know for sure that there is an absolute, an absolute creator, and an absolute morality, from that long (quantum) computation called evolution.

Right And Wrong Draws Another Line, Across Knowledge Bases. That the All Too Christian Solzhenitsyn Naturally Forgets

Right And Wrong Draws Another Line, Across Knowledge Bases. That the All Too Christian Solzhenitsyn Naturally Forgets

Heart Without Knowledge Is Only Ruin Of Morality

The fact that we, ourselves, are an absolute, is why hysterical “animal rights” advocates have not much standing: animals are not equivalent to us. They are no absolute. That is why Gary Francione, a professor of law at Rutgers and East Anglia Universities is fundamentally wrong.  

https://aeon.co/essays/why-keeping-a-pet-is-fundamentally-unethical

Says he: “A morally just world would have no pets, no aquaria, no zoos. No fields of sheep, no barns of cows. That’s true animal rights.” No poetry, no heart for other species, no alter sentiencism, either. That’s the perfect recipe for the total disappearance of the entire animal kingdom. Animals can survive only if us, masters of the Earth, and soon the Sol-Centaurus system, are interested by them.

True stupidity gives me counterexamples from which reason can bounce. Francione knows nothing. More than once in the mountains I met a solitary sheep, grazing. What did the sheep do? It had a good look at me, and then came to me, so I could rescue it from its predicament. Was the sheep suffering? No. Was the sheep feeling friendly? Yes. Is that a crime? No.

Law professor Francione confuses “what hurts a sentient being” with “immoral“. Pushing his logic further would mean all life of ALL sentient beings should be stopped, as life means hurt, for a sentient being, at one point, or another. (This is my old objection to Fundamentalist Buddhism; at least Buddhism, following Hinduism, is logical, and calls for Nirvana, the extinction of all cycles of life. The extinct Celtic religion was just the same.)

Thus, pushed a bit further, we should not have children: surely they cry as they are born, and that’s just the beginning. Hence we should let humanity disappear.

Leaving animals free to hurt each other.

This is a problem: if we are around, we may hurt animals, if we are not around, animals will eat each others.

Thus the author writes of ethics, while not knowing that the fundamental sense of “moral” is not “avoiding hurt”, but avoiding the behaviors which are unsustainable for our species.

Morality is species dependent. In some species, the newborns eat each other.  Newborn eating is moral in those species.

Thus, there is even worse. The real nature of the group of species known as hominids is that these were carnivorous bipedal apes who rose to dominance, precisely because animal protein and fat is so nourishing. It is moral for hominids to eat flesh, and especially so for the highly carnivorous Homo Erectus and Sapiens.

Many are the species which eat animals, few are those who do not. All primates, even cute, innocent looking Lemurians and Golden Tamarins, grab animals and eat them, whenever they can. Even grazing animals eat meat. The meat of snails, insects, and whatever crawls in the grass end in the stomachs of innocent looking grazers. This is why PM Thatcher made the cows cannibalistic, and, to save money, did not “render” the meat very long, thus causing “mad cow disease”.

In a just punishment, Thatcher herself became a mad cow, and croaked from it.

Meat made humanity, by enabling big brains and their extravagant energy consumption. Indeed, the meat habit came first. By millions of years. Those, like professor Francione, who cry each time we eat an animal raw (it happens when I run), want to deprive us of the very essence of our humanity. Being bipedal made our ancestors in the most efficient savannah dwellers: man is the animal with the fastest, furthest ground transportation capability, especially when it’s noon, and very hot. This (apparently weird and useless) characteristic is explained by an asset: the ability to catch up with any potential prey, especially when it’s very hot in the tropics, and Homo can see very well by mid-day.

Not just this.  Our hominid ancestors accelerated their evolution, by carrying weapons in their arms. Forgetting this and pushing a morality which even sheep would find better for what they eat (grass) will leave those who adopt it, and those that they pretend to defend, defenseless. One may as well advocate pacifism when facing deliberate evil. This sort of nonsense is what enabled the Twentieth Century’s greatest horrors, such as Nazism. And, indeed, the Nazis were fanatically for animal rights. Why? Because pushed to the extreme, animal rights contradict human rights. Thus, promoting the former exaggeratedly, enables  to violate the latter.

Patrice Ayme

Rousseau’s Infamy

May 5, 2016

Jean-Jacques Rousseau famously started his treatise “The Social Contract” with: “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. One man thinks himself the master of others, but remains more of a slave than they are.”

Rousseau claimed that man was naturally good but became corrupted by the pernicious influence of human society and institutions. French sailors implemented Rousseau philosophy in Tasmania: they went swimming in the nude, to show the natives they had nothing to fear. Hundreds of Natives attacked the French, who gathered a vivid impression of Rousseau’s wickedness.

Rousseau’s beautiful tweet is only true as a poetic metaphor, a helpful bleating to a despondent sky. Otherwise, it is erroneous in roughly all ways. Man is not born free, but fatally dependent upon others, and especially lactating human female(s). (Until very recent technological developments.) The one who thought of himself as the master often was, or is, really the master, whose very mind had been made by an ideology of mastery. And thus, cannot be otherwise. Even more surely than Rousseau advanced by seducing judiciously chosen wealthy women. (Say Jean-Jacques: “To write a good love letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean to say, and to finish without knowing what you have written.”)

I Strike, Therefore You Die. Nature Is Not About Goodness, Just Balance

I Strike, Therefore You Die. Nature Is Not About Goodness, Just Balance

[Natural Quantum Supercomputer At Work. The latest on rattlesnakes show them capable of foresight and engineering, in preparation for a strike… a few hours later.]

As New Scientist puts it, April 13, 2016: “It’s a premeditated attack. A deadly rattlesnake seems to be planning attacks by clearing a path for its strike in advance.

Northern Pacific rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus) have been filmed manipulating vegetation near the burrows of ground squirrels. It’s the first time they have been captured on video moving grass in such a way, says Breanna Putman at San Diego State University in California.

Putman and her colleague Rulon Clark recorded two instances of hunting rattlesnakes pushing away grass around them at the Blue Oak Ranch Reserve in California’s Santa Clara County.”

If rattlesnakes can premeditate and prepare their deadly attacks, so can humans. (In particular, plutocrats.)

Chains, around ankles, are a rare sight. Yet ideologies, stunting minds, are common. Actually, the word “ideology” comes short: minds go deeper than ideas. Ideas are anchored in moods. Mentalities are ecosystems for ideas. Rousseau’s basic axiomatic mood, anchoring his entire critique, was anti-civilizational. (He got carried away from the Ancient Regime, not understanding that was not civilization, but plutocracy run amok.)

Rousseau preached returning to nature to live a natural life at peace with neighbors and self. He heaped scorn on civilization: “Civilization is a hopeless race to discover remedies for the evils it produces…Trust your heart rather than your head… What wisdom can you find greater than kindness… The truth brings no man a fortune… Everything is good as it comes from the hands of the Maker of the world, but degenerates once it gets into the hands of man“.

Returning to nature is fundamental, agreed, because that is where the deepest structures of our minds come from. Yet lives in the wild were short, brutish, and cruel. Civilization is a remedy for nature.

We are made, evolutionarily speaking to handle the short, brutish and cruel. Paradoxically this may be what is missing now. Instead, we are slowly been overheated like the proverbial frog in an increasingly torrid bath.

Similarly, too much politeness can kill a proper debate. Calling fools and their stupid ideologies for what they are is a preliminary requirement to think correctly.

Even more paradoxically, politeness can be a diabolical weapon against those who do not expect it, especially our greatest enemies. Had I met Bin Laden, I would have been polite. I would have asked what exactly happened. Bin Laden was initially recruited by the CIA and SIA, to lead an Arab mercenary army against the Afghan Republic. The latter initially had a defense accord with the USSR, but also intended to develop Afghan geology with French expertise. All this became impossible as the White House conducted a secret war, using Pakistan. As that was not enough democratic president Carter gave a secret order of attack, July 3, 1979.

So politeness can be appropriate, or not. In the case of Rousseau, the answer was clear. Rousseau sent Voltaire a copy of his “The Social Contract” and Voltaire wrote him the following:

“I have received your new book against the human race, and thank you for it. Never was such a cleverness used in the design of making us all stupid. One longs, in reading your book, to walk on all fours. But as I have lost that habit for more than sixty years, I feel unhappily the impossibility of resuming it. Nor can I embark in search of the savages of Canada, because the maladies to which I am condemned render a European surgeon necessary to me; because war is going on in those regions; and because the example of our actions has made the savages nearly as bad as ourselves.”

De Sade coldly observed that Rousseau had no idea of the nature of nature (paraphrasing). The argument can be made, and has been made, that there is a direct filiation between the philosophers Rousseau and (the quite similar) Herder, and the Prussianized Nazism which disfigured Europe, after Metternich and Bismarck launched their conquering ways.

Voltaire said that “one must crush infamy!”. But infamy is clever. Even rattlesnakes are clever. Just as it was recently documented that a rattlesnake, preparing for an ambush, will clear its strike trajectory, so it is with most thinking beings, and not just predators. Elephants and rhinoceroses have been observed attacking with enormous fury and persistence even innocent calves. Surely, indeed, the nature of nature is not to be strictly cuddly.

In the end, Jean-Jacques himself had to admit the truth: “All my misfortunes come of having thought too well of my fellows“. Well, after behaving all too long like a rattlesnake of love, striking here, and there, lying in ambush… no wonder.

Patrice Ayme’

HERBIVORES KILL, Therefore They Thrive

March 23, 2016

Islamists kill dozens in Brussels, injuring more than 270, some horribly. As usual when bad people do bad things, people gather and sing John Lennon’s Imagine. A beautiful song I love, but the “Imagine” mentality will not snuff out the mentality of the Islamist State. Only the mentality of the Marseillaise will. As I will show here, in the light of recent science which I had fully predicted, evil is another way to look at intelligence. Or all too close to it.

Recent humanism has kept away from the Dark Side. It may as well have kept away from humanity, and bask in impotence. Ignoring evil, calling it psychopathological is an exception, a vain insult, to the deepest Occidental tradition (let alone to cannibalistic societies, which used to be ruled according to what we view now as evil principles). It’s true that, in normal circumstances, it is progress, to not eat one’s neighbor. However, it’s not progress when one starts from the principle that one’s neighbor could not possibly be a killer, on a matter of principle, and when one organizes society according to this sheep principle (that Nazis, or the Soviets, could not possibly be mass killers was a mass delusion of the 1930s which enabled the 1930s to unfold as they did). The sheep principle is exactly why there is mass murder and mass exodus in Syria: because the West’s leading powers did not exert the necessary evil in the appropriate fashion, in their neighborhood.

Our (cultural) ancestors the Romans, were deeply cynical about humanity: “Homo Homini Lupus” (Man is a wolf for man.) Or maybe that should have been: Lupus Lupis Homo (Wolf is a man for wolf). Roman games’ cruel period lasted at least seven centuries (after Christians took power, the circuses showed animal fighting, the human sacrificial element was removed).

Christianism, invented first by a Roman citizen, Saint Paul, has a very dark side. The cruelty, baseness, disobedience, desire for strife of the genus Homo starts from the beginning of the Bible: brother kills brother, exactly as in the (earlier) fratricide of Remus by Romulus (did the Roman story made all its way to Babylon, where the Bible was written? That’s highly plausible!)

Prairie Dogs’ Dark Side Makes Them Thrive

Prairie Dogs’ Dark Side Makes Them Thrive

[Signature strike: A white-tailed prairie dog kills one of the small ground squirrels that graze in prairie dog towns. John Hoogland.]

After the Christian decline and fall of civilization was over, and the Franco-Romans finally took control, ferocity got reinstituted: the Franks’ standard penalty for false coinage was death by slow boiling. The famous story of the Soisson vase was symbolic of the fact consul-king Clovis had the powers of Caesar, but did not feel it was wise to deploy as much magnanimity and “clementia”.

As Friedrich Nietzsche insisted, the Middle Ages was a tale of two moralities: that of the aristocracy on top, the ferocious mentality of the “blonde beast” (see the armories full of lions),  those of serfs, below, Christian, begging for forgiveness.

Machiavelli a bit, Hobbes, and even much more Sade, pointed out that nature was not behaving like the Virgin Mary (accusing the other guy, up in heavens). Nature is front, center, brutal, indifferent to cruelty, master of all. The lesson was not lost on revolutionaries, from those of 1792, to the countless revolutions which shook Europe in the next 150 years. Therefrom the ferocious “dictatorship of the proletariat” of Lenin.

My thesis on the Dark Side is, of course: horrendous. The Dark Side is as natural to intelligence as the management of the biosphere it is in charge of implementing.

Meaning? Intelligence is god. Intelligence does not just watch the world, it molds it. And it does not have to be human intelligence. All animals do it, even herbivores.

Did you ever wonder why social herbivores fight so viciously? The loser generally ends up weak, and isolated, soon to die. Not that the winner is much better off: it’s pretty weak. The broad picture is herbivores killing herbivores.

White-tailed prairie dogs — those stand-up, nose-wiggling cute chewers of grass — have just been revealed to be serial killers of baby ground squirrels.

It gets worse: serial killing is associated to better motherhood. The “strongest sign of successful white-tailed motherhood” is apparently repeat ground squirrel kills, researchers say.

Females who kill at least two ground squirrels raise three times more offspring during their lives than non-killer females do, says John Hoogland of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Frostburg. The “serial killers”, rarely nibble at the carcasses and aren’t getting much, if any, meat bonus. Prairie dogs and ground squirrels eat plants. So why all the killing? Lebensraum, the grabbing of natural resources: Prairie Dogs are little furry Nazis, and they are right in Prairiedoghood.

The  assassin supermoms may improve grazing in their territories by reducing competition from grass-snitching ground squirrels, Hoogland and Charles Brown of the University of Tulsa propose March 23 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. [J.L. Hoogland and C.R. Brown. Prairie dogs increase fitness by killing interspecific competitors. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Published online March 23, 2016. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0144.]

“This really caught me by surprise,” Hoogland says. “It’s also striking because it’s so subtle”. He had been watching prairie dogs in general for decades and the white-tailed prairie dogs in the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge for a year before he noticed an attack. A female “jumped on something, shook it, shook it hard, kept attacking — and then walked away,” he says. The encounter lasted just minutes. Hoogland rushed from his observation tower to the scene of the fight and, to his surprise, retrieved a dead baby ground squirrel.

Animals compete for resources. It’s actually why they have brains. This, naturally has ethological, thus moral, consequences.

A propensity for killing ground squirrels turned out to be the only factor (once factoring body mass, age and number of neighbors) which predicted a tendency toward lifetime success in raising lots of young. That capability, which biologists call “fitness”, is the most important parameter in analyzing how populations change and species evolve (it’s the core of raw “Darwinian evolution”).

I love John Lennon’s music and some of his ideas. I miss all what he would have said about the evil deployed during the last few decades. However, having a few nice ideas and even greater songs, do not a wisdom make. John Lennon’s lamentable death showed his philosophy was full of holes (and was in part due to this, his assassin claimed at the time: he had condemned Lennon to death for… hypocrisy).

Intelligence has a Dark Side; it’s intrinsic. Denying its existence is a pernicious addiction, which, paradoxically, leads to non-optimal outcomes, the greatest horrors. The failure of the left, in the West, during the last few decades, is directly attributable to forgetting this. We The People were manipulated into our own subjugation, because we became oblivious to the relationship between evil and intelligence.

Patrice Ayme’

Hard Wired? Not So fast!

March 3, 2016

Swallowing is self-taught. Anything else a bit more sophisticated is taught by others. We are cultural animals. Discuss.

Massimo Pigliucci, a (Roman!) biology PhD cum philosophy PhD teaching from an elevated chair in New York, objected to my tweeting aphorism above: “That is contradicted by a number of well established studies in developmental psychology, as well as by research on other primates.”

OK, Massimo, relax, I was a bit quick, thus simplistic in my formulation. Any discourse is incomplete, I was pointing at a direction. Indeed, I am a great advocate of ethology. Ethology, the experimental study of behavior, is an experimental field. That means its fundamental architecture is made of experiments.

Nicotinoid Insecticides Don't Kill Bees Directly, But Make Them Neurologically Dysfunctional Enough To Die From It

Nicotinoid Insecticides Don’t Kill Bees Directly, But Make Them Neurologically Dysfunctional Enough To Die From It

[All scientific fields are like gravity, they are experimentally driven. We basically know, experimentally speaking, not much more than what Newton knew already, as far as gravity is concerned (with the further twist of gravity being a field at speed c, like electromagnetism, hence, waves, etc.). A true revolution will happen in gravity the day we find something completely unexpected (the fact that gravity at this point is also equivalent to a space curvature theory is a triviality consecutive to Bernhard Riemann’s deep differential manifold theory). Some say we already found something unexpected, the phenomenon known as “Dark Matter”]

Ethology is also experiment driven. And our experiments are not as sophisticated as they soon will be. Differently from gravity, the progress in ethology is going to be quick, and very deep.

Ethology discovered already what writers of fables for children, and “primitive” “savages” hunting for survival, have long known: advanced animals care, have a sense of justice, are observant, loving, etc. More generally, advanced animals,, and others, not even very advanced are endowed with many other sophisticated behaviors we used to attribute to humans exclusively, etc.

Ethology has now gone further: ethologists also discovered that sophisticated, virtuous human-like “instincts” are not universal, even in a species which exhibit them: exploiters and freaks are not just a human phenomenon. In prides of lionesses, the same particular individuals tend to do all the work. Worse: lionesses have been observed having no maternal “””instinct”””. Other, experienced and caring lionesses had to intervene.

So animals have been observed to have altruistic behaviors, or behaviors making group life possible. (It’s quite a bit a chicken and egg situation: without apparently “hard wired” behavior, group life is impossible; the “group” could be just mother and child, such as a leopard and her kitten, or a mother orangutan and her child…)

However, ethology has not yet determined systematically how much is learned from others, and from the environment.

Hence the role of other animals, and how much is self taught is not clear at this point (insects such as wasps and bees “think” at least seven times faster than humans, so they can learn fast, and it looks like “instinct” to us!). In either case, when there is learning, there is no “hard wiring”. Or more exactly much of the “hard wiring” comes from the neurological life of the individual, as it does in any… creator. The creature being created by itself as creator of itself. God inside.

Learning is essential for survival of bees. Honey bees make repeat visits only if said plant provides enough reward. A single forager will make visits to that type of flower for most of the day, unless the plants stop producing nectar or weather gets adverse. Honey bees practice associative learning, and standard classical conditioning, which is the same in honey bees as it is in the vertebrates.

In other words, if even insects learn much more than a few tricks, as I have long suspected, we don’t know what “instincts” are really made of. This will have to be determined by further, much more refined ethological studies (differently from gravity, where it’s not clear what new experiments to do, and how to get results, although LIGO and VIRGO may well bring breakthroughs… In ethology, new experiments are just matter of financing, considering the progress of micro-electronics).

A famous example of what I am talking about is Lorentz’s geese (he got the Nobel for that). Young geese were imprinted on Konrad being their mom, and thereafter followed him everywhere, at some point of their development.

Why can’t that happen for all behaviors, and all species with advanced brains? In other words, could not just all our behaviors come, to a great extent, from some sort of imprinting?

Hey, one can self-imprint. When I want to eat more correctly, I starve myself a bit, and then eat the correct foods (say apples, carrots, tofu). Then I repeat a few times. Then I long for apples, carrots, tofu…

So south American monkeys have a sense of justice. But that does not mean that sense of justice is “hard-wired”. It may just have been taught. By others. Other monkeys. Or it may even be a sort of natural monkey science. Indeed natural interactions with others can be a teaching experience (or a succession of experiences, until a theory arises)…

But that does not mean that sense of justice is “hard wired”. It may just have been taught. By others. Other monkeys. Or it may even be a sort of natural monkey science. Indeed natural interactions with others can be a teaching experience (or a succession of experiences, until a theory arises)…

Standing up, and being able to run, is crucial to the survival of herbivores. A casual look at how a new born herbivore stands up shows that it learns to do so in a few minutes. Some moves are learned in a few seconds. However, today’s most sophisticated programmers could not write such a program. Nor does the brain of a small antelope contain a large computer loaded with such a software. Thus the truth: the antelope learns to stand up. That means it hard wires itself through the learning process. The environment in the most general sense imprints it with the appropriate circuitry.

Ethology will enlighten neurology, and conversely. Both fields are just getting started.

Patrice Ayme’

Stoic Me Up!

February 10, 2016
Intelligence Without Patience is Just Somebody's Else Dinner

Intelligence Without Passion is Just Somebody’s Else Dinner

Plato observed that Socrates became so wise, probably because he had tried everything else before. Did he? The inventor of Cynicism, a bit later, went further by claiming there was a lot to learn from dogs, or, by viewing man as a dog. That sat well with Alexander the Great (the creator of cynicism and the creator of much mayhem met), as the latter wanted to show how philosophical he was.

Cynicism, in turn had an offspring, Stoicism. Astounding times: thinkers who knew each other, gave rise to great current of thought (it all broke down with the rule of Macedonian plutocracy, and its heirs, the “Hellenistic Kingdoms”). Stoicism, in turn appearing more than three centuries before Christianism, bequeathed a lot to that faith. In general philosophy, in the most general sense, a discourse, the logos, was made into one of the aspects of the Christian god (so Christianism did not subdue philosophy in a frontal assault, but used a sneaky method).

Massimo Pigliucci, a Roman-New-York biology cum philosophy tenured professor at CUNY runs a site “How To Be A Stoic”, and his latest was “Stoic spiritual exercises: I, from the Enchiridion”. I approve of all the suggestions made 23 centuries ago by the Stoics (and of the comments of Massimo). However I am a baboonist rather than just a cynic. Namely I think all we can learn from dogs, we can learn even better from baboons, and many things baboons do, dogs don’t have the brains for. Thus, in turn, I have higher requirements for Stoicism (as my Stoicism grew from Cynocephalism, rather than simple Cynicism, as original Stoicism did; the Latin name for baboons is “Cynocephalus”, dog-head).

Further SUGGESTIONS FOR UPDATED STOICISM:

[Some may argue that my view of Stoicism is far removed from the texts we have; but we have little of the original Greek texts; instead we have Roman texts focused on Ethics, written 4 to 5 centuries afterwards. Moreover, I view Socrates as (too much of) a Stoic (although he lived a century before the invention of official Stoicism. So, observing official Stoicism is poorly defined, what I generalize philosophically as “Stoicism” arises also from the common meaning of the word “Stoic”. Although I make a scathing critique of Roman Stoicism, I have no reservation against the original Stoics… But for their naivety.]

Original Stoics viewed the life full of “virtue” as the only free life. However, what they view as “virtuous”: was not necessarily so (as the top Stoic philosophers Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, who were both intimately involved with the Roman empire’s dirtiest business demonstrated magistrally, albeit very unwittingly!)

The original Stoics were naive, indeed. Although they understood the importance of practice, they did not understand that passion leads to practice. Only enough passion leads to enough practice.

This is precisely where Marcus Aurelius failed in the education of his imperial son, and thus led the empire to ruin: Marcus gave his son Commodus the empire, instead of giving him the passion for life, ambition, hunger, and thus smarts. By giving his son everything, Marcus removed from his son all passion. But man needs passion to think. So Commodus searched passion somewhere more outrageous. As Commodus had everything, Commodus assassinated everything, from the dignity of the imperial position, to the empire, to his sister, and others close to him. Because that was not passionate enough yet, emperor Commodus joined the gladiators in the circus.

It was all the fault of the naive view Marcus Aurelius had, that acting according to a simplistic view of “virtue” was enough of a virtue. As If “virtue” were easy to define.

OK, let’s cut off the chase, and do some real philosophy:

If one wants to climb a wall, it’s not enough to know where to put the foot. One has to do it just so, pushing into the rock to hold it there, but not so much that it does not provide support against gravity. How does one do this proficiently? Through practice. Plenty of practice. Practice is not just something which happens according to happenstance. One cannot wait for happenstance “stoically”. It’s something one looks for.

One may view the Will to Stoicism a Will to the Mastery of Moods, to optimize… To optimize what? Avoiding to be distraught? Avoiding others to be distraught? Or is it to optimize personal, or general happiness according to some measure? Which measure? And what if one is driven by various shades of sadomasochism?

Don’t laugh about sadomasochism: it’s found in any serious effort the capability for which has been honed by evolution, such as the hunt, or Sisyphus-like activities. A bit of masochism helps for the more dubious pleasure of the chase, or any serious struggle. Thus giving and receiving pain, breathing pain in and out, is ubiquitous in the depths of human ethology. This makes “goodness as minimizing evil” a rather complex, even baffling proposition, as it implies handling psychological, even physiological metastructures.

For example, Rome would have been better served, if Marcus Aurelius had treated his biological son, Commodus, with enough appropriate passion, that means, in this case, enough severity.

So there will be various notions of stoicism, according to what it is one tries to minimize, or maximize. (Or both: in advanced mathematical calculus, there is a method known as mini-max.)

In any case, the question remains: how does one train one’s moods actively (instead of waiting passively for the world to happen)? First one has to ponder: how do moods originate? They do not originate from the digital logic alone (the type of logic found in books on logic, the type one can put in a discourse).

There is another logic, as Blaise Pascal pointed out: “The heart has his reasons that reason does not have”. Well, so does the amygdala. The amygdala has its reasons that reason does not have.

The brain is full of sub-organs generating their own moods. Pascal did not know about the role the amygdala in fear (hence being distraught, among other things; distress was a passion the Stoics viewed as below them, erroneously enough!). And so it is all around the brain: diverse subsystems in the brain have their own reasons. And then, overall, fifty neurohormonal systems or so, can tweak parts of the brain, or the entire mind, this way, or that (pointing then in more than 50 dimensions, among other possibilities).

From this incredibly complex machinery, moods originate. Think of the solo climber, 10,000 feet above a glacier, standing on a square centimeter planted in brittle ice. Pure mastery of moods and logic, otherwise the climber’s life is over after 15 seconds of ultimate pain and terror.

Such a mastery is the fruit of years of training in logic and moods.

How does one acquire such mastery? Through passion. Training driven by passion, again and again and again. Training for solo climbing in the Himalayas, the Italian climber Reinhold Messner would run uphill for hours in heavy mountain boots. He concluded that training the mind was not enough, but he had to train his liver and kidneys (a conclusion Nietzsche would have agreed with, as he pointed out the importance of the gut, in his own solo climbs in Upper Engadin, nearby; yes, I climbed the same mountain).

Thus training for stoicism in full will imply the gymnastic of passion. It’s not enough not to get angry. One has to find oneself in situation where one should get angry, and then optimize, just as the climber’s mind learns by the practice of climbing.

“Discovering” in oneself self-restraint, self-control, and endurance is not enough. One has to train. Train under conditions one has chosen deliberately to learn to become much tougher. Staying calm under ultimate pressure is ultimate stoicism, and it is the attraction of extreme sports. Extreme sports are rendered possible, and acquire meaning, as research in ultimate stoicism (Messner drew a similar conclusion about his own life: it was a research into what a human could do).

If you want to think properly, think in full. If someone thinks in haste, don’t say they think badly, but in haste, and that thinking in haste is often bad.

And if you want to think properly, address in full why is it that you feel the way you do. Don’t just keep the feeling in check, analyze it. Ideas are great, but they live in the universe of moods. Passions educate the latter, and those in turn come from engaging the universe in full. Stoicism has to be understood dynamically. In particular, as a passionate engagement with the world, because only then is dynamics as fulfilling as it can be.

Patrice Ayme’