Archive for the ‘Ethology’ Category

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).

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.

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).


[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’








Ancient vs modern ethics: a comparison

September 17, 2015

Ethics As The Enlightenment Of The Dark Side

Morality is about the behaviors (“mores”; from “mos” genitive, “moris”; one’s disposition, manners, customs) which have long been viewed as best to the group. Thus morality is the software which (is viewed as) enabling group survival best. The word “morality” was coined by Cicero, and duplicated the etymology of the term used by the Greeks for the same purpose: “ethics”.

Ethics is the most important field for our times, as the power (kratos) of Sapiens is reaching some sort of singularity, from creating transgender people to wrecking the climate, let alone soon making quantum computers (and thus Artificial Consciousness).

All humans come equipped with an intrinsic, default ethics: human ethology, selected by millions, tenths of millions of years, of biological evolution. It’s the divinity inside. Still, culture enables it.

Our lives are influenced by, and, to a large extent made of, how we act. However, “life” is more general than just “acts”. It’s also all what was, and is experienced, felt, all what is imagined, dreamed for, and desired. Thus, our actions are often predicted by our inclinations. Indeed, one should go back to the Ancient Greek notion that philosophy and ethics are all about how we live. More than simply how we act.

Socrates is widely viewed as the father of, all too much of philosophy. All too much, indeed, because Socrates made a huge mistake. Socrates believed that lack of goodness was just about ignorance. Well, true, ignorance can cause a lot of evil. But was Stalin just ignorant? Ignorance is not what defined Stalin. Malevolence is more like it. Malevolent enough to crush Hitler, among other feats.

Hence malevolence does not need ignorance. It often does better without it. Had he been smarter, Hitler could have killed much more people: ignorance curtailed his achievements.

Evil is its own divinity, its own fundamental cause. Socrates, who valued knowledge so much, completely ignored the Dark Side. And that ignorance was, indeed, evil.

Ignoring the Dark Side is a mistake that neither Christianism nor Islamism committed… Perhaps to excess (as they both seem to laud it: both the Bible and the Qur’an have “verses of the Sword”, which, in both religions, required to kill “unbelievers”; see Luke 19; 27, and Sura 5 verse 9).

In any case, the Dark Side is real, and not very surprising in a species which reach supremacy by eating other animals. Ethics always ignored it at its own risk. As Socrates found out when he had to die, for his naivety in ignoring the Dark Side. Of his own students!

There are more comments to be made about the essay below:

  1.  Kant’s silly metaphysics of the “moral imperative“, up in the air, yet brought to ground as obscene submission to authority, helped to bring Nazism… In view of not just the blatant evidence, but according to what the Nazis themselves pretended (Nietzsche seemed to have guessed Kantian “morality” would lead to this unfathomable disasters, hence his wild attacks against what he condemned as German herd mentality).
  2. Not only did Nazism sink nearly all pretense to ethical authority that most of German inspired philosophy could have, but it revealed ethical problems similar to the famous Melian Dialogue, but writ much larger, and even more ominous.
  3. The discovery of ethology, and in particular human ethology, (ought to have) changed the entire field of ethics. No serious philosopher can pretend otherwise. And this brings us right back to the contemplation of the Dark Side, one of the two pillars human supremacy rests on, as if Atlas on two legs.

Patrice Ayme’

How to Be a Stoic

ethicsEthics — as a branch of philosophy — means a very different thing today than it did once. And that, perhaps, is a mistake. There is an excellent article over at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, by John-Stewart Gordon, discussing the topic, that is very much worth checking out. Here are the highlights.

The first, and arguably most important, thing to understand about how the Greco-Romans conceived of ethics is that they regarded it as the study of how to live a happy life, not (as in the modern sense) the study of which actions are right or wrong. Gordon mentions the example of “justice,” which the ancients saw as a character trait (a virtue), not as the idea of people having rights.

Accordingly, it is interesting to note that the words “ethics” and “morality” have revealing roots: the first one comes from the Greek êthos, a word related to our idea of character…

View original post 1,388 more words


August 26, 2015

Forget Sisyphus’ Dreary Myth, Embrace The Happiness Strategy:

Far from being a sin, could happiness be not just fun, but a duty? I will propose that happiness is, indeed, a duty. Happiness is both a cerebral and social necessity. Let’s start with its social link.

When an animal suffers, or at least, when an animal is not happy, it is likely that it is either under aggression, and, or, needs to get into some significant action (taking some risk to go somewhere unusual, even if that animal is only an herbivore).

In either case, action, and, a fortiori, suffering put the animal, human or not, into an aggressive neurohormonal state, or cocktail of aggressive states (notice in passing that it is not always a bad thing: action, or even suffering, are often needed for everybody’s good!). Thus, someone’s unhappiness often ends up as somebody’s else suffering. Unhappiness is not just immoral, and asocial, unhappiness starts a chain reaction of unhappiness.

No Laugh, No Love, Nor Mind In Full

No Laugh, No Love, Nor Mind In Full

In human life, suffering is ubiquitous, unavoidable: born in pain, die in pain, with quite a bit of pain, Sturm und Angst, aging and degeneracy in between. So suffering always stands at the ready. Ready to help us not to settle too hopelessly into routine. Suffering, or the threat thereof, is always ready to enrich our minds, be it only with appendicitis, or a broken ankle, we don’t need to encourage it too much.

Happiness, though, precisely because of the ubiquitousness of suffering, is more tricky: it requires more of our enthusiastic cooperation, and encouragement. Happiness calls onto creativity to exist, and overwhelm the pain out there. Not by eschewing the world, as monks and Buddhists propose, but by engaging it enough, to bring up the neurohormones of happiness (Endo cannabinoids, Dopamine, Oxytocin, Endorphin, GABA, Serotonin, Adrenaline, Nitrogen Oxide, “laughing gas“, etc.).

Happiness cannot tolerate too much moderation (consider the Adrenaline above, a chemical known to make a dead heart jump into action, or Dopamine, which cocaine, methamphetamines, boost, to create effect).

Moderation is debilitating, especially in large quantities. Happiness instead embraces immoderately the best aspects that life has to offer, and run away with them. (Creation, in particular necessitates to run away; as our society tries to run away from the encroachment of robots and plutocrats, creation will be needed ever more. Socially good creation is entangled with happiness, while unhappiness is entangled with war hormones and neural patterns and organs.)

But what of the other cerebral consequences of happiness? Happiness is a facilitator of survival. Epidemiological statistics show this.

Wisdom is, first of all, about being as smart in one’s behavior, as one can be, given the circumstances. An example is the six passengers in the Thalys train who just fought the heavily armed terrorist. They acted wisely, and, in this case, it meant that they acted decisively, fiercely, and with maximum violence: first two Frenchmen engaged the fanatic in combat, as it came out of the toilet. A Franco-American professor in his fifties, grabbed the AK 47 automatic machine gun, and ran away with it, and got shot through his entire left side for his trouble. Then the two U.S. servicemen, helped by another American, and a Brit followed, while the terrorist’s two guns jammed. The latter four heroes already got the Legion of Honor. As the 62 year old Brit pointed out, jumping on the terrorist, and hitting his head and choking him until he got unconscious, was the wise thing to do. Sometimes, extreme physical violence is the right activity to bring survival. This is a truism. Yet, in that case, happy meant punchy.

But what does the will to survival in the individual or the society have to do with? Happiness. Who wants to defend a sad life?

Salvador Dali noticed that the Nazis’ will to start a world war had to do with the desire to lose it. I agree. It was not just hatred, cupidity, and the stampeding of the herd, which characterized Nazism. Germans had long been unhappy, and had long built a cultural anthropology of unhappiness (thanks to the fascist and racist political system which ruled them, much of it straight from Eighteenth Century hyper-militaristic dictatorial Prussia and its ingrained hatred against Jews and Poles). German unhappiness brought forth the cultivation of a war-like society (a poisonous, but delicious fruit of which is higher efficiency).

Something striking about the four Anglo-Saxon heroes of the train above, is that they all seem happy in life. This is reflected by the inner strength they exhibited after the harrowing circumstances they had been through.

Without that inner happiness, the four heroes would have valued their lives less, thus valued life in general less, hence would have been less keen to defend theirs, and other people’s, lives (remember the connection of happiness with Adrenaline).

Happiness is not just a luxury, a reward, it’s a safety, even a security. not just for the individual, but for the community at large.

Socrates said the unexamined life was not worth living. Indeed, it never was, and never will. For a human being, to live is to examine. But with what is life examined? Intelligence. And the better examination is rendered possible only by greater intelligence. And what brings maximum intelligence? Experiencing the world in full.

The Romans knew this well. Even in their baths, they had a frigidarium, an ice-cold bath. And a caldarium, a very hot bath. Life, even at the baths, was not just all about the tepidarium, the tepid bath.

Sadness, unhappiness, or the tepidarium, a tepid life, only brings the input of just part of the world. Thus they make minds which are only partial (for example, only war-like). Such half minds are legions. Hitler was typical: more or less a quasi orphan, failed artist, bum, and then a shell-shocked, gazed soldier, his experience from the world, lots of unhappiness, and war, was all what his mind was made from (Stalin, or Lenin had somewhat similar war-like, dejected, unhappy backgrounds).

Sadness brings up the war-like instincts, hence the fascist reflex (to make one out of the many). Here is the answer Estienne de La Boétie was looking for, when he wondered why people accepted to live in servitude to an oligarchy. In Discours de la servitude volontaire ou le Contr’un (Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, or the Anti-Dictator), La Boétie asserted that tyrants had power because people granted it to them. I have proposed a mechanism to explain why it is so. And lack of happiness is central to it.

Happiness brings other aspects to the interaction with the world, which sadness can never reveal. Happy aspects, unhappiness alone never brings. Happiness allows to learn more form the world, it makes the mind in full.

The happy mind is a mind in full.

In a nuclear chain reaction, each nuclear fission, which is caused by a neutron’s impact, in turn creates, in the average, more than one neutron, which strike other nuclei, etc. Nobel Laureate Irene Curie discovered the chain reaction in the particular case of Uranium 235 in 1937 (although many sexist males preferred to attribute the discovery to Otto Hahn, who got the Nobel for it, it’s clearly Irene who taught Otto, through years of heated epistolary exchanges).

Unhappiness has a much more devastating amplification potential than its equivalent with radionuclides. Indeed an unhappy human being can make many other human beings suffer. Not just a couple. This is all the more true in a representative democracy, that is, an oligarchy. After he was elected Chancellor in January 1933, the pathologically unhappy Adolf Hitler was in good position to make hundreds of millions suffer, and not just his niece (who escaped through suicide, with her uncle’s gun).

If happiness is so important socially and for the blossoming of the individual mind, should not it be viewed as more than a right, but even as a moral duty?

The preceding was inspired by the neurohormonal theory of the mind, according to which neurohormonal states do not just characterize the mind, but are determined, with immense inertia, by exterior and inner circumstances. Given the neurohormonal theory of mind, it’s rather self-obvious that happiness is a duty. Without it, it is not that obvious. It’s probably why the notion, that happiness is a moral duty, not just for kicks, seems to have been ignored by the main philosophical ideologies.

Happiness is right in all ways. It even enables to learn. How? The road to truth is paved with errors, painfully learned. Only happiness makes us willing to embrace errors with an open mind. And wish for more, more errors, as we wish to learn more, learning to happily bounce from pains and disappointments to some new, unexpected, more exciting, freshly instructive errors.

No pain, no gain, yet, no happy, no bouncy. If one wants further gains, one has to accept further pain, and that’s possible only with a sunny, happy disposition. To learn ever more, means to be able to suffer pains gladly, ready to bring some more. Happiness is not just about preferring fun to dread, or about blocking reprisals of hatred against doom and gloom. Happiness is an epistemological need.

Patrice Ayme’