Conflict, War and the Real World

What follows is the third part of my discussion about conflict and war in relation to the novel In the Real World as well as our psychological dispositions.

In the Real World full cover

The story is one of war set in peace time. All the stages, divisions, emotions and moral views of war are played out in a school setting. It starts when a boys-against-girls prank war gets totally out of hand and spreads to the school and eventually the neighbourhood, involving all the members of the school community and the police. Each of the factions includes some teachers, some students and some parents, because social position and age are not decisive when it comes to compliance or rebellion, but psychotype (personality) differences are.

By means of the classes of their history teacher and the stories of their grandparents, the protagonists learn about the two world wars, but rather than battles and politics, it is the human aspect that is highlighted. The story begins around April 25th (Anzac Day), remembrance weekend for Australia and New Zealand, and it ends around November 11th, which is Armistice.

This post comprises a general discussion about war and conflict, interspersed with comparisons to what happens in the novel, while two related posts deal with an explicit psychological character discussion of behaviour and motives, and a brief introduction to the psychology, so as to support this discussion.

I am sure not everybody will agree with my stance in this, and that is fine, for we are all different psychological types and cannot interpret the real world in the exact same manner; this is what conflict is based on, so, even if I have tried to remain as fair as possible, I am still only one personality type and cannot crawl out of my own perspective.

Conflict

There are different sorts of conflict:

  1. Grand scale international conflict, we call “war”
  2. Small scale conflict between interest groups within a society, like religious or discrimination issues
  3. Conflict of individuals with the society they live in, usually with the authorities
  4. Interpersonal conflict; conflict between individuals
  5. Internal conflict; conflict individuals experience within themselves (dilemmas).

Conflict arises when people’s sense of future (hope), reality, truth or justice – their existence or existential belief – is perceived to be in danger. This sense (or belief) is objective to their Self, which is how information works to keep us alive, but not identical for all people; each type has a different ‘objective’ sense of real, of just, of true. – Nations and cultures also adopt a set of core beliefs, which become their identity (or ‘self’), as do interest groups, such as those based on ethnicity, culture, religion or orientation.

However, because defending this Self is a survival necessity, people try to convince others, judge others or impose their beliefs (using fear, guilt, shame, criticism), often with the best of intentions, and the emotions get involved, notably anger and resentment, which are related to our sense of justice.

Especially where it concerns the relation of the individual with authority – whether parents, teachers or social institutions, including the judicial system – injustice is felt when one personality type is treated with the responses suited for another type, so that treating all people the same in any social setting cannot work, because what is Self-evidently fair or just to one type, is Self-evidently unfair or unjust to their opposites; the inner Self experiences this and that cannot be changed. All attempts to justify, reason and mediate in conflict are jeopardized if this basic psychology is not understood.

Internal conflict or dilemma can happen to any person, especially when they are forced to compromise their own conscience and when feelings of guilt and shame are involved, but those personality types that experience either normative beliefs or reality as binding (objectively and necessarily the same for all), but not both, are more prone to this. It occurs when the demands of either of these objective experiences is non compatible with their subjective senses or beliefs. These types clash with other people over events, mutual feelings and situations rather than global beliefs. Their clashes are personal and they either make up or the relationship is terminated.

Those personality types that experience both normative beliefs and reality the same – they either experience both as objective (or binding) or both as relative (or optional) – have less of a problem with inner dilemmas, but they get in conflict with each other and with the society, in which one aims to maintain the status quo and traditions and the other wants to change those. They base their stance in the world on beliefs, they voice their ideas and they fight over the long term and often in groups.

Likewise, those who experience the group as prior (Js) feel justified in asking of the individual that they sacrifice themselves; they accept that the group’s representatives as authority are in a position to say so and the group needs to survive. Those who experience the group as arbitrary (Ps), see that as some self-important individuals trying to tell everybody what to do. For them, there is no justification in favouring some lives over others, and “the group” has no life, so it has no need to survive.

Large scale conflict has four common prerequisites: nationalism, militarism, imperialism, alliances. Individuals or their beliefs are of no consequence in war, because the fighting factions, which have neither emotions nor a sense of justice, are bigger entities, and individual people are mere numbers that make up such entity, no differently than that people are collections of body cells; we don’t consider them when we act as a person. Even if these bigger entities acquire a sort of a ‘self”, this self does not have the same sense of justice as people, because it lacks emotions. The goal of these bigger factions is power, not justice. That is why Mr Fokker uses the example of the Portuguese Man of War, which acts as if it has one mind, and all the individual parts that stray are eaten.

I have previously written about the need to remain within the right level when discussing information and objectivity; to keep in mind the difference between system and part (Homological Composition: 199). In that case it was about bias sampling (in psychology), but it applies to social issues as well. Our entire society is about comparisons, competition and fighting. This starts in schools, which are meant to educate, as in “bring out latent capabilities”, which would be people’s natural talents, and a society needs diverse talents. Yet, as Nikos explains, schools go against nature in trying to get those who naturally compete to get along and measure everybody to one standard, thus ignoring the much-needed diversity.

Regardless of how many fashionable slogans are used to imply the opposite, the system (or bigger entity) measures by standards important to its own self, not that of its parts. Even if a society needs diverse talents, it cannot consider the individuality of its parts, and will therefore treat all individuals as if identical – individuality can only be experienced within a level, not across levels or dimensions. We cannot consider the needs of our individual body cells, because we need to function as a whole; the same with entities to which we are mere parts. That is why Grandpa Will says that nations can win a war, but people can only lose in them.

In short, competition and combat are ingrained in people by those institutions that exist on behalf of the bigger entity that needs its parts identical, because it can control them that way. Whether deliberately or not, our language is filled with war terminology. Even ill people are said to “battle cancer” and the kids immediately use military terminology in their prank war, even when things are still fun, words like ceasefire, truce, guerrilla, war rules, sneak attacks, deserter. Later, at school, even the adults join in.

Nationalism is the identity of the group, imposed on its subjects, and therefore the segregation of people according to these bigger factions, usually nations, which cause people to look at each other as “us-them” and identify by common traits: clothing, language, flag and so on. Schools are a bit like nations, but within the school, teachers and students are segregated, as are students of different ages – as Nikos says, second graders will look down on first graders because they are a few months younger – and the older grades have different uniforms, as does every school, so that members are recognisable and identified by their uniform, by the group they belong to, not as individuals. Parents and teachers are also supposed to stay out of each other’s turf. There are clear boundaries of what each is supposed to do and each group has their own rules.

Militarism is the presence of tools for aggression, in the form of soldiers (human tools) and weapons for defence (technological tools), but also weapons of mass destruction, which are meant to reduce the number (power) of the opponent, because it is about numbers. Soldiers are tools to this bigger entity they represent, because they act as a group without individual choice. Soldiers who disobey often lose their life or freedom. Conscripted soldiers excepted the rest agree to exchange their individuality to become such tools. Without having numbers of tools, the bigger entity cannot compete.

At school, the expectation is that students do as they are told or risk detention, expulsion, or other punishment, which are the tools for compliance – compulsory education is like conscription. By taking out the few that cause problems, schools then guarantee that the rest of the students will do as they are told, just as soldiers were executed as deserters if they did not comply as an example for the rest. Besides that, in some countries, including New Zealand, the military go to schools and teach kids about weapons and militarism.

Uniforms are not only an identity that makes individual people numbers in a set, but they become a measure of behaviour. It is known that kids of non-uniform schools behave better in public places, even if in groups; those in uniform feel they can vandalize or threaten, because the group protects them that way. Same with soldiers taking liberties with civilians. Being in a uniformed group makes people a part of a bigger machine (a tool of war).

Imperialism happens when one faction increases its control beyond its own boundaries (invasion, colonization) and thus a tendency towards bigger and fewer factions – like we saw the USA and USSR or east-bloc countries –  and as they invade the other’s home and privacy, they annihilate the others, if not literally then their culture and beliefs, and often based on race, gender, religion and other outward traits.

Likewise, the school in the book assumes that it has the right to invade into student’s private life – they use the counsellor for that – but also put the public street and shop under their control; it attempts to make the shop keeper report kids who come and buy from them, and they send letters to coerce parents under threat of social services. The only choice the subjects have is to submit or they lose their chance of a future (or life).

Alliances or “mutual defence agreements” are promises made to support each other in their pursuit of power, which we also see in gangs – Robert Nozick has an interesting explanation for this. Such ‘friendships’ among nations are usually presented as something positive, but apart from a bigger faction, imposing its “us-them”, it is about the expectation of belonging, no matter what they do – as Charlotte says to Mariette, you are “supposed to stick with your own team”.

We see this not just in nations, but in political parties: ministers are not to go against the pre-agreed stance of their party even in their own special field, regardless of consequences for the people or common sense; same in many other social subgroups. People often like to be in factions, which is why we talk about “the Allies”. Of course, the allies in one war become enemies in the next, usually because they start bickering among each other.

In the school, the third term saw teachers against students, but after the break, Mr Fokker and Kathleen’s dad, among others, change allegiance and later Charlotte does as well, while Mr Shriver and Jerome try to remain neutral. These changes of allegiance change the numbers and suddenly Mariette finds a huge force against her. Most students in the story follow without thinking, which is what the comparison to the crucifixion is about. They follow the group, even if the allegiances change; they first obey the school, later Mariette and in the end Charlotte, but none act as an individual; those who do are removed.

No war without soldiers

Without most of those prerequisites (power, promises, weapons, factions), war would not be impossible. The presence of “us-them” thinking and militarism are possibly sufficient on their own. Today most people understand that where guns are present, they will be used, and so for tools of war. As Mariette says: “soldiers do not exist because there are wars; wars exist because there are soldiers” – the concept, the universal “soldier” makes war possible and the same for tyrants, which cannot exist if there were no people to do their dirty work for them.

The First World War (The Great War, or “the war to end all wars”) was a war over power and (oil) money, resulting in 15 million deaths and another 20 million injured. People actually believed that this war could ensure peace, which is a contradiction in terms, but they bought it anyway, because they believed the propaganda, and more than anything, it provided them with hope.

Like Charlotte at the end wants to emphasize her win, so the WW1 allies wanted to put Germany into the ground completely, so they took everything, to feel better, which resulted in extreme poverty and lots of hate, and thus, an easy way for a disgruntled Hitler to win votes. The Treaty of Versailles was a forced signing of submission, and, obviously, they did not feel obliged to honour that.

The Second World War was therefore a direct result of the first one, which resulted in another 70-80 million deaths, which is about 3% of the world population at that time. But those were “casualties” (numbers), not considered individual people. It was the faction that won or lost, the Alliance, not the people; they all lost no matter what side they were on.

So, WW2 was a direct extension of WW1, which was about money and power, which means that claims to noble justifications are excuses. The real reason, in both cases, is power fuelled by emotions. Note that I am not taking sides – like Mr Fokker’s so my family lost many people in the war – and had Germany won the first war, and done this to the Brits, the result would have been exactly the same.

Likewise,  the prank war (which the boys decide has to come out in their favour no matter what and will “guarantee them peace in the future”) was over power and hormones, resulting in several injured, and the second war (the one at school) is a direct result of the first one, when Mariette is disgruntled for being punished (“where two fight”) and left bankrupt (her values and privacy were taken), so she looked to blame someone, resulting in one death and many injured or without jobs. She says all men are stupid for fighting in wars, and yet, she plunges herself straight into one; it is that easy when the emotions get involved.

In the real world the power of teacher and parents, who could stop things getting out of hand, has been removed by the politicians, who today give all power into the hands of the kids, which is equivalent to the soldiers in World War 1 being led by incompetent boy officers.

The adults standing by and doing nothing is like the European politicians allowing Hitler to get so much power. Except one or two voices, they did nothing, because they lacked the insight, and they dismissed the people who had it.

Mr Moralis does not feel guilty about Mr Shriver; he was just doing his job. “I was only doing my duty” is the phrase most soldiers use to excuse their own role in the world wars. They do not look at the others as people, but as toys, as numbers or uniforms, and so they behave themselves; they are not individuals, so they do not take individual responsibility. Obviously, they can also not be individual heroes then. The problem is that the stories we tell our children are about brave individual soldiers, but as Grandpa Will explains, those do not exist; individuals are silenced; there is no place for individuality in an army. Those stories are propaganda to entice the next generation.

Mister Moralis, when he discharges or scolds Miss Coven, is like a government that disowns its soldiers if news of atrocities or incompetence gets out, and his using the year sevens as spies is like the soldiers in WW1 using children as shields against snipers. They are not seen as people, but as objects.

Mariette uses the metaphor of sheep in a herd, who run after the leader and straight off a cliff. She understands PM wanting revenge; it is the soldiers, the pawns, who agree to be tools for destruction, she cannot get.

The truce was the stupidest thing Mariette had ever heard, yet she went back to battle after the funeral.

The day the police is present in the school, the situation is like a time of occupation, as Grandpa Will describes when he was little, when the soldiers walk the streets and the civilians are frightened, but everybody pretends to go about their business.

Like the boys in the prank war, so Mariette starts looking at the teachers as being “all GG lookalikes” – ignoring their individuality. The difference is that she does it on purpose, while most stereotyping is unconscious, which is why people don’t notice they are doing it, but it underlies this “us-them” mentality, which we also saw with regard Jews, gypsies and so on and which is also responsible for bullying and discrimination issues. For peace, we need to treat people like individuals and hold them responsible as people, not as groups.

As long as we agree to be mere parts, the entities that control us will continue to fight. You cannot talk about a “just war”, because this justice is a human concept, and the war is between the bigger entities; their justice cannot be compared to ours.

Obviously, I have explained that some types are more inclined to accept “the greater good” and it may sound like I am blaming them for war. But the greater “good” is that which benefits the members of a society as well as the society itself. Wars do not benefit individual people. You might say it is for peace or freedom, but if a government can order you to give your life for its freedom, you don’t have much of it to begin with.

However, as said above, I will admit that I cannot step outside of my own type perspective any more than anybody else can, which is why my words may have angered some readers. Yet, even if “the greater good” does not exist for my type, I can recognize that these bigger entities are real. Likewise, those who natural support the greater good can recognize that a bigger entity can be beneficial or harmful.

My point is that even if thinking in “us-them” comes natural to people, schools and other institutions do not have to emphasize it; they make the choice to do so, because it benefits the bigger faction to treat all people as if identical – what counts is the whiteness of the wool – but identical people do not benefit a society or progress; we need all talents, diversity, yet, until we understand our psychology, we cannot stop this.

In other words, we could take charge and make our institutions work for progress for all people instead of setting them up against each other, but only once we understand the difference between us (all individual people) and them (those bigger faction that claim to rule us).

If people are honest about wanting peace, they have to change the stories they tell their children.

The stories we tell our children

I would like to start a collection that features different stories about war, so as to instil in our children a mindset towards tolerance and peace instead of competition and combat. I am not trying to dismiss those who died in the wars, but I am sure that, if they had the choice, they would prefer being seen as an individual with a real story rather than a number in a uniform. I am proposing that we collect stories that tell of individuals, regardless of whether they became soldiers, and not about superficial acts, medals or bravery, because from a psychological perspective, most of what is today labelled as brave, is simply not considering consequences, or it is achieved with ridicule, force or threats and mixing up the concepts that apply to people with those of bigger factions.

We consider ourselves an intelligent species, then let us step away from the yolk that keeps us mere numbers and start acting that way. We need to understand that peace is only possible if we stop thinking in groups and not let bigger factions take away our humanity.

  • We need to tell stories of those who crossed the borders of us-them.
  • We need to tell the stories of those who stood out without wearing a uniform.
  • The stories must be of peace makers, not combatants.
  • They must tell children that being afraid is not something negative and brave is not its opposite.
  • We need to emphasize that only individuals can be heroes.
  • That there are individuals in every place and they are no more alike than those in our place.
  • Stories of humanity, of feelings, not of acts.
  • That we need to identify people by their name and not by their uniform or country; the moment they have personal named, the animosity goes away.
  • We need to emphasize our humanity, not our belonging.

If I do get enough responses, I will publish these stories as an eBook anthology. We might also create a list of positive books or movies for libraries and schools.

write to judgmenthurts@gmail.com

Thank you for reading.

Nōnen Títi (INFP)

 

When do people notice that moral values change?

Today, if somebody is commanding or direct – which, unless it is due to stress, tends to be the natural way of expression of some personality types – if it is a man, it will be commented on and explained as male chauvinism; if it is a woman, it is more likely to be go unmentioned or, even explained as being assertive or intelligent.

In the past, if somebody was commanding or direct – for the exact same personality reason – if it was a man, it would be explained as a strong character; if it was a woman, she’d be called a bitch, not just by men, but by women as well.

People were ignorant of their biases, because they grew up with them. Yet, if you point this out to people today, they will accept that people then were ignorant, but will deny that they, had they lived then, would be like that.

In the past, the vast majority of white people believed that black people had lower intelligence, and they had university studies to support that belief. They were also afraid of black people, based on similar studies about violence. Black people had similar fears of white people – and probably more justified, especially if these white people were the police.

Today most people consider themselves non-biased. They will feel outraged if you suggest that, had they lived earlier, they’d have agreed with the university studies of the time. They cannot imagine that they’d have accepted the beliefs and values that are today unthinkable. –  I know of an older English person, who had little experience with interracial communities, simply because of where she grew up, and when visiting California, she made a remark using the word “blackies”, giving those hosting her almost a heart attack. It was just a word, but it was the wrong word for the time and place.

Of course, the word was a generalization, which is exactly what discrimination is based on. Today, the generalization is directed at people with Muslim backgrounds or those wearing head scarfs. It is no more justified, but the same emotions underlie it.

A third example is that of sexual orientations. Not too long ago, anything but heterosexuality was considered abnormal. Then came the push for equality. For a while homosexuality was acknowledged, but not asexuality, which was scorned by homosexuals as much as by heterosexuals. Next they all got together and even included those who were outcast for reasons other than their sexual orientation, and today, we have young children declaring they are homosexual or bisexual or whatever other term they hear connected with this, for no other reason that that being heterosexual is no longer acceptable – and this happens at primary schools, where most kids are just repeating the general opinion without having any experience to justify their beliefs. We’ve almost reached the level of bias of the ancient Greeks, where all men were supposed to be interested in pretty young boys, even those who couldn’t care less – hence “platonic”.

Of course, this is in itself a sign that none of these orientations is really accepted yet, because if truly considered equal, nobody would have to mention it or feel pushed in any direction.

Then there are the contents of beliefs, like evolution theory and climate change, which much more recently had people denying what they today support, simply because the group beliefs have changed. Even if this change came in their own lifetime, they will still deny having believed the opposite.

I use these examples, because they are, today, clear in people’s minds, and I use them to point at another form of discrimination, which is less obvious, goes much deeper and happens at every level of society, in every community, no matter where and when they live: that of psychotype discrimination. At the current moment, as said before, I will still accept that most people discriminate against certain personality types unwittingly. They are ignorant of the existence of these differences; hence they judge others according to a false image of acceptable, without knowing that they are doing so because the university studies tell them there is only one sort of acceptable psychology and the rest of the people have “disorders”. But I will not accept that ignorance for much longer, or I’d acknowledge writing in vain.

But in this post, the link to the psychological types is just an aside. The main message is that we start realizing that moral values are values that change, because they are the values of the group. Moral values are not identical to ethical values (which are personal values), although, in some people, they are the same. Moral values change over time, but they do so slowly as the ideas spread from person to person and start to influence people’s behaviour and responses. Exactly because moral values spread slowly, people often don’t realize that they changed their beliefs until later. We can look back in history and condemn the Spartans for throwing babies off a cliff if they were not physically ideal, but we cannot see how the ingrained values of today’s society cause similar judgments and behaviour towards children who are psychologically not ideal.

People who are immersed in a culture, seldom notice that they are influenced by the moral values of their group and take those for granted. But moral values are “should” values – they are values used to judge according to the standard. Once people accept them, they start telling others to behave accordingly; they judge others by those values, like ex-smokers making a big fuss about somebody who smokes and denying that they would have felt annoyed being told the same thing only a few years earlier.

We have to remember that social institutions, such as government, judicial and schools exist to keep people compliant, and that means having them believe in the values that the group stands for – and universities are still part of the education system – so they will keep denying diversity for as long as they can and the moment they can no longer deny it, they will start claiming always having had these values and that everybody else is wrong. We are clearly seeing this with climate change today. The media will support this change, as always reporting what “scientists say”.

But “should” is a judgmental word. It is a word that causes hurt in others, and this hurt is either turned inwards, causing stress, or outward, resulting in revenge. So, if we want to be truly tolerant and truly accept equality, we have to stop judging – or, at the very least, stop proclaiming that judgment is something positive that we have a right to using. As I explained in other posts; judgment is the equivalent opposite of manipulation, so if we can be aware that manipulation is harmful, we can be aware that judgment is.

Judgment hurts, that’s all there is to it.

You’ve Got to be Realistic

Sure!

But what if being realistic is different for each type of person?

The big problem of our society is that it promotes ideas like truth, reality and logic as if these are self-evidently the same for all people.

Courtrooms base their judgments on truth, yet three thousand year of debate has never delivered such a truth, and even academic psychology is finally starting to admit that witnesses all notice different things according to their existing beliefs, regardless of what happened.

The school system, including academia, is based on logical reasoning, factual knowledge and empirical evidence with methods designed for inanimate objects, to the exclusion of understanding and holistic reasoning.

The democratic political system is based on popularity contests, funding and unsubstantiated votes, meaning that numbers, not ideas with explanations, are counted.

This means that the western judicial system is inherently unjust, because it favours those people who created it in their image and are good at dealing with inanimate data, but do not understand human motivations. In actuality, the judicial system exists to control the largest amount of people with the least possible effort and to silence those who are different.

It means that the school system is inherently discriminatory, because it favours those children who are alike to those who run it and medicate or label those with other (perfectly healthy) personality types, because they are different. In actuality, schools are created to mould the children to fit in, based on the idea that most people will not later question what they are told when young.

It means that the political system is inherently mediocre and oppressive, because it silences born leaders with insight for the long-term future in favour of the ignorant masses. In actuality, people are silenced with the deception that a vote equals a voice, so that those who protest it are told to shut up because they had elections.

Did you notice that I don’t equate lawfulness with justice, school skills with education and democracy with freedom? Those deceptive equations are spooned into people from the day they start school, but they are almost opposites.

The Groupmind

Sure, I understand how the groupmind works, and I understand that the vast majority of people truly believe in these misgivings, exactly because they internalize their beliefs from outside. I am not blaming them.

It is very difficult to turn the groupmind  around, which is why we still have racism, genderism and why today, still, genes and brains are assigned all power, despite evidence to the contrary. The groupmind is that of the masses, which means that those in the fields who discover new things are not heard until decades later – if that soon.

Sure, if you spread fear or negative messages and reasons to blame somebody, it moves a lot faster through the groupmind, because it is the emotions that spread them. But positive messages, such as the notion that people are diverse – not just superficially in things like ethnicity, gender, orientation and culture, but especially in their deep inner Self (their psychology) – and that we need to celebrate that diversity instead of ignore, deny or suppress it, those messages spread slowly. It is easier for most people to point the finger at those who are different and blame them for what goes wrong, than to accept the complexity of the group.

Should Ignorance be Held Responsible?

Ignorance means not knowing something.

From a psychological point of view, it is not possible for everybody to know everything. All people have certain beliefs and ideas ingrained in them, those that are part of the group mind, and these are seldom learned consciously.

But since we all deal with information differently – this being our true or psychotype diversity – these ideas and beliefs are different for all of us.

Half the population will see what they already believe; unconsciously they simply do not notice what is not already a possibility in their mind, even if it is right in front of them.

The other half  of the population, equally unconsciously, will explain things or find the explanations according to what they perceive, regardless of any other information or reason.

This results in misunderstanding and contradictions most people don’t even notice.

School children are given double mind messages, like that they have to be individuals, but if they dare act on that, they get sent to the counsellor for labels and tranquillizers. This has been going on for at least twenty years.

Based on this, and the idea that all there is to people is what can be measured from the outside, there is a tendency to pre-emptive incrimination. With the best of intentions, some people are interviewing mass murderers and other criminals, who explain something about their personality. This then gets put into lists, taken to schools, and every child that ticks a number of boxes is deemed a potential criminal and medicated. This kind of conclusion can only be drawn by those who do not understand psychology.

Yet we know that every personality can turn out really good and beneficial people and every personality can turn out monsters. Hitler would have been a model student at school.

Therefore, not only is everything that happens in a courtroom flawed, because it believes in facts, which are interpretable, but all scientific evidence is equally influenced by wishful thinking, and it is exactly those people who experience (perceive or reason) according to objective criteria, who cannot see those subjective influences, and, hence, are more susceptible to them.

And as politicians have been raised in that same school system and rely on the judicial system to enforce their laws, they take the word of those with academic degrees on faith, even if the person expressing it comes from a discipline that has absolutely nothing to do with the topic they are talking about – like an English professor talking about psychology, only because she belongs to Yale University.

They gather their committees of ‘experts’ from those who have their titles because they repeated what they learned at university. After all, if you don’t agree with your professor, you are unlikely to get your degree and acquire a teaching position.

The academic system has abandoned psychology in favour of “neuroscience” (the study of the brain) – the hardware as opposed to the software – and it denies the existence of unconscious motivations because they cannot be tested by brains scans. Hence, it only measures according to outward behaviour and reasons that is all there is to people.

Consequently, where in the past children were expected to behave or be punished for misbehaving, today we attack their inner person instead of their behaviour. We send them the message that they are flawed as a person, based on measurements of brains and hormones, even if we know that the brain and hormones are responses to habitual behaviour, not the cause of that behaviour. We found some superficial chemicals and use them as an excuse to silence those children who are born different.

Politicians throw handfuls of tax payers money into creating more medications to silence more children and the judicial courts are used to punish more parents who try to respond to behaviour.

And all that, because of the naiveté of those who do not understand people, but believe that people should be studied in the exact same manner as inanimate objects and that the results can be concluded in a similar manner, and they are (still) running the academic system and have everybody believe in objectivity, truth and reality the way they see it.

Their ignorance comes from having been supported by like-minded people. Only those with the same type and background get to write in “peer review” journals. All other evidence is dismissed. This is NO different than white skinned males sitting in courtrooms and governments and deciding that only their perspective is worthwhile, because they all agree.

Okay, that sounds all very bleak and radical, and I do back these statements up with explanations and examples in my books and in other posts.

The short of it is that we are psychologically diverse, and those who work in the hard sciences are simply not capable of understanding human motivations any more than those who naturally understand psychology can understand the complex mathematics to do with the hard sciences.

But, because people cannot help their psychology and some are bound to that objective view – and, as that is shared easier, they assume they have the right to impose it – I am not blaming them for their ignorance, like I hope they don’t blame me for not understanding mathematics.

Of course, I am not working in the hard sciences, and I don’t impose my mathematical skills of the space program or on engineering.

So, who takes responsibility?

In that light, my question is, can we hold people responsible for the disasters that come from misinformed decisions made by people who are in the wrong job for their inborn talents?

In New Zealand, politicians keep getting a substantial salary, even if they no longer work, while people are begging in the streets. Those who (after having been informed about the dangers) pushed their laws of obedience on parents and children, following the USA where there were already school shootings as a direct result of that, can live a life of luxury, while around them those they caused harm are falling apart. We recently had a shooting in New Zealand.

These politicians were informed but not open to new ideas, because they lacked the long-term insights. After all, most of those who become politicians do so because it provides them with instant gratification (celebrity and a salary) regardless of the consequences of their mistakes. The few that do have the bigger view get tangled in the red tape the system is made of.

Did we hold the politicians responsible who allowed Hitler to rise to power? Did we hold the governments responsible who detained entire generations of native children in many countries, because only white people were deemed worthy?

Who is responsible today for all the destroyed families, who have to live with anxiety and tablets, because without those they risk the police coming and taking their kids into state homes?

Who is responsible for those kids who get medicated for being a different healthy personality, and then, after more than a decade of getting these negative messages in schools, start shooting?

I know that those who make the decisions are stuck in the group mind. None of us can completely avoid that. But supporting a system that destroys people, even if it is in ignorance, is not something I can excuse. To me, nobody is totally responsible, but as soon as somebody takes a social role (and the benefits) of being in a position of power, where they could make life better for everybody but they buy into the discrimination, even if ignorant, they are accountable.

To me, academics need to start realizing that they are not gods because they follow the scientific method. Politicians need to acknowledge that they are not gods because they won a popularity contest. Judicial representatives need to stop acting like gods, because they wear uniforms or memorized law books.

The basic flaw that causes all this misery, the flaw the groupmind has internalized as reality, is that we are diverse in our physical appearance but inside we are all identical. Despite using words to the contrary, this is how the system behaves.

This flaw reasons that what can be seen is real and the rest is not. This flaw has created an image of a conceptual person, created from the abstract averages of countless observations, in which the individual is ignored in favour of this theoretical mean. All individual people are then expected to match up to this mean, which in the eyes of today’s academic neuroscientists is a rational being that takes no action but that which they base on logical reason and have weighed up patiently, and who does not display emotional “neuroticism” or anything else that scares such academics.

The problem is that this being does not exist. Those who uphold that ideal, do so, because they see themselves through those lenses, no differently than an anorexic person sees fat where there is none. They assume identical beings and claim equality to justify that.

Psychologically, it is natural to measure standards to our own inner perceptions and beliefs, and to deem others faulty if they think differently, which is how our Self must survive. However, this nature must be seen in the context of diversity and the understanding that others see this the opposite way and, therefore, that it is about perspective. In other words, we can acknowledge that we are all equal but not identical.

Sure, currently, there is a trend in academic psychology to accept The Big Five personality types, which is the academic alternative to the psychotypes. They buy themselves into the publications, saying they have empirical evidence and those outside of academia (those who practice it) do not, which the politicians, teachers and judges blindly accept.

The problem is that they have no theory, so their empirical evidence is literally evidence for nothing. They cannot explain why those five groups, except that they recognize them in their own psyche or in others from their own (psychotype directed) observations. They then label some types positive and others negative (like neuroticism for those people who express emotions). Sorry, but that is still discrimination.

In short, we all experience the shared realm differently, but some believe that what they observe must be the way everybody else does, so they call it objective and they call those who see differently wrong or flawed, and they run the academic system, the school system, the judicial system and the government.

And for me, that makes them responsible. They claim a position of power, but they abuse it. For now, I will admit that they do so out of ignorance, but I have been writing for more than two decades; others have been writing similar messages for almost a century, and my patience is running out.

Yes, you have to be realistic, but that includes understanding that your ideal is not a real human being, and that what you see on the outside is not all there is to people.

 

 

 

 

The Good-Advice Threat of Failure

I can only speak as a writer, but I am sure the same pressure exists for most other artists and also for independent podcasters and scientists, who are trying to have their voice heard.

The pressure I am talking about is that of “good advice’ and how to go about success.
For every podcaster or writer trying to get their voice heard about a certain topic, there are countless others ready to tell them how to do that.

I started writing blogs because the general message was that marketing via blogs would get you noticed and if you did not have a blog, you would never make it as a writer. Of course, writing blogs is still writing and not marketing, so that I actually enjoyed doing it. I found that I could express my immediate ideas that way – as opposed to putting it in a book  that often takes years to finish. I now have four blogs.

Then the advice became more specific: you should write your blogs regularly. Like newsletters – which I tried but found tedious – the message was that, if you did not write at least once a week, you would not get the followers you were after, your books would fail.

I am sure similar pressure of regular podcasts is made for those who have chosen that medium, and I know that a lot of writers are ‘forced’ into podcasts, as the newest way to be guaranteed success. Of course, by the time they are all trying that, something new will come along or there will be so many using that medium that it no longer makes a difference.

Regardless of the target or advised medium, however, the idea remains the same: it is presented as a given, as if there is only one way to do it right and the subliminal threat is that if you don’t do it, you can thank yourself for being a failure.

This misconception does not only concern marketers, but it is what publishers used to do, when they started telling writers how and what to write instead of supporting them. And it is a strategy employed in health care advice, diets, school success and so on.

Even if it is not meant that way, the reasoning comes across as judgmental and threatening, because the advisers promote only one formula. They have, either from personal experience or from having learned it from others, assumed that, if it works for one, it must work for all.

Yet, only those people who believe that we are all clones and respond identical to outside stimuli can possibly think that what works for one person must work for everybody. The society (governments, schools, judicial system) benefits from using moulds to put people in, and thus, any research or advice that supports that message is promoted or taught to children, while individuality (despite the mis-use of the word in schools) and psychological diversity is dismissed, or ignored.

People who cannot be pushed into the moulds , end up medicated, imprisoned or jobless. That they create an unhappy population that way, is usually not the concern of the politicians, who are there for the short term only.

In any case, judgment, even in the form of good advice, can be destructive to people. We have seen this in so-called advice about parenting and diets, how to look, how to be healthy – every few years a new food is attacked as detrimental.  And always, this advice is accompanied by numbers or slogans, “scientifically proven”, “a million copies sold” and so on. The problem is that, most of those millions did not read the book; they just fell for the peer pressure. From those who read it, most did not benefit. And scientific research is based on a few volunteers, usually similar types of people, but that those who did not partake would not have benefited, is not mentioned.

The simple explanation is, of course, that most people don’t benefit from good advice, because  the sender is not the same type of person as the receiver. Not only are their circumstances different, but their personality probably is as well.

My main topic in both fiction and non-fiction is our inborn personality differences, which explains why we are not all alike, and in that light, it is NOT possible for everybody to succeed in the same manner.

We must all learn from their own mistakes; nobody is perfect and that is okay too, and so, each person should be allowed to discover what works for them without social pressure and guilt messages, no matter how well-intended the jacket they are put in.

You can tell people, “this worked for me, maybe it will work for you”, but you cannot not present it as a definite answer. Sadly, if you advertise your books with the honest message that it can help some, or (as I do) that the very premise of the book is that we are not all alike, it won’t sell as well. People seem to want promises of guaranteed success, even after countless failures; they jump on the new idea. This is similar to what gamblers do, always hoping that the next coin you put in, will bring you the jackpot. We all know how that tends to work out.

What we need, therefore, as consumers in this ‘avalanche of information’ age, is to become aware that we have become addicted to the promise of instant success (which is instilled in us when children) and the flawed message that we can all achieve the ideal that only some have set. We need to start supporting each other in the acceptance that we cannot expect the same results; that diversity is something to celebrate, not suppress.

The point I am trying to make is that we should leave each other alone about how we go about our natural talents. Writers write; they don’t need to make podcasts, which lends itself much better to topics that require visuals, like the wonderful journeys of the independent archaeologists and geologists.

My topic, being human psychology, does not lend itself to podcasts at all. What am I going to do; sit there and talk about what people are like on the inside?  Beside that being useless, my personality type is meant to write, not talk. On the other hand, it is perfectly okay for extraverted writers, who like podcasting, or others to take that medium if they enjoy it.

The same with regularity. People are forced to write or broadcast weekly or more often, and, as a result, the topics come across as forced or repetitive or irrelevant, while they could be very interesting if less often. And I don’t know about you, but I simply do not have the time to read daily or weekly posts, no matter how fascinating the topic, or else I’d never get around to my own work.

So, I write a post when I feel I have something to say, regardless of whether that is every day, once a week, once a month or once a year, and so far, at least for this blog, regularity and frequency do not seem to matter. The topic and the title of this blog speaks to people.

As long as we measure success by sales or by numbers, we are causing people to fail, especially with our ‘good advice’. You can succeed with a small audience, even if that audience is just your family or a neighbour. Numbers don’t matter, because ideas spread slowly through the population. Big success tends to come to those who proclaim something the mob already believes. New ideas take time, but, in the end, they are the most beneficial for the society as a whole. So, if you don’t get the big numbers, consider it evidence of being an original thinker.

Thank you for reading.

 

Fatal Flaw in Human Reasoning

 Question: What can be more fatal than a flaw in reasoning the power of humans?

Answer: A flaw in the reasoning power of humans.

Just when, after decades of trying to convince people that we are experiencing global warming and finally seeing some movement among the masses intended to stop our polluting ways, a new way of thinking reveals that, no, actually, climate change is not caused by humans after all. We made a fatal flaw in our reasoning.

Apparently, the debate was based on a simple equation with on one side solar influences and on the other side human influences, and what could not be accounted for by what they knew about the sun, was automatically assigned to human causes.

I won’t go into detail, which can be found on this video.

Apart from the big-headed assumption that their current knowledge was complete, the flaw in reasoning came from the reductionist belief that it was a simple matter of cause and effect. They dichotomised the issue, setting nature against nurture (or maybe anti-nurture, in this case) and reasoned from there.

Of course, it was unlikely from the start that people had the amount of influence on the complexity and immensity of Gaia as was claimed, and this recent discovery did not come as a surprise to many of us. After all, humanity has always been proven wrong about the power it claimed to have: The Earth was not the centre of the Solar system, The Milky Way not the only galaxy, the galaxy not the only one with habitable planets; people not the only ones to have a language or intelligence, white men certainly not smarter or more civilized than other humans, and so on.

This overstating of the power of humans is, of course, not limited to the discussion about climate change, nor is it new.  I previously discussed archaeology, and so with and genetic determinism in biology.

Every time the old beliefs, which had been accepted as a final truth, must make place for the new ideas, which are similarly believed to be the final truth.

Let me first say that I am not attacking individual researchers with this post. I am merely looking, from a psychological perspective, at the way academia reasons, because the flaw is inherent in the system of which individuals are part, but not in the individuals themselves.

Today, we base our lives and livelihood on academic reasoning, as well as the lives of all other living beings and the Earth herself. We use it to try and convince others of our beliefs and we’ll use any means to try and get our message across. In the name of science, of truth and of “being realistic”, we’ve scared an entire generation of kids into believing they have no future – if not for global warming, then because of super volcanoes, asteroids, diseases or over population and war.

The problem is not that science can be wrong – because science is the finding of evidence for new ideas and new ideas come from scientific discoveries, so that it is part of a perpetual evolution – but the problem is its assumption that it is right in the current moment. Although it acknowledges past mistakes and proudly claims that it “improves upon itself”, new ideas are always presented as a final truth.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with drawing conclusions from research, or even with using those to influence the way we live – even if the momentum of that comes decades later than the original research, so that new discoveries (as the above example shows) always come at a politically inconvenient time. My issue is that the fatal flaw is in our scientific reasoning itself; this is the flaw that underlies all assumptions on which political motives are built, and the unwillingness of many people to give new ideas a chance before it is too late.

Protagoras is quoted as saying “Man is the Measure of all Things”, which tends to be interpreted in a negative light, because it is connected to relativism, which is frowned upon in current academia.

First of all, I am not sure that Protagoras was a relativist, which I explain in my book, but Protagoras was merely making an observation with his statement; it was not an ought, but an is.

In other words, Protagoras was not proclaiming that people should be the measure of all things, but simply that they are. And that they are, not because they have any justification for making that claim, but because people are the creatures making these measurements and observations they rely on, and they consider themselves objective. Man measures according to its own perspective and it projects its conclusions on the world of other beings.

In principle, there is nothing wrong with that either, because nobody, no creature, can crawl out of its own perspective. It is the only means of measurement we have.

However, it may be inherent in ‘human nature’ – and I refer to this nature without assuming that every individual has the same nature – to see everything from our own perspective, so that, naturally, we believe ourselves the centre of the Universe, the ones with the biggest picture, the most civilized, the most objective, the most intelligent and so on, but if we were truly intelligent, we would learn from past mistakes and not make those claims for every new idea or impose them on other beings.

And it is not just academics who make this assumption. Even independent researchers, who tend to be way ahead in their own topic of interest, still quote the word of academics in the topics in which they do not specialize – especially health and psychology – using it to back up their own view.

That, of course, is also flawed reasoning.

Some people are comfortable with exact data, with mathematics and inanimate objects that always respond the same way, and, therefore, with the hard sciences. They can often work with complex formulae and systems, and that works to the advancement of our technology.

Other people are comfortable with human motivations and the non-exact interactions and information exchange between living beings, which never respond the same way, because they can react and initiate communication. They can also work with highly complex systems, but those are systems of gradations in relationships.

It is fair to say that neither feel comfortable with the other aspects, but, although it is widespread accepted that some people are not as good at math and the hard sciences, because that can be objectively measured, and, therefore, those who are good at it consider themselves smarter, the opposite tends to be dismissed. One reason for that is that human motive is not measurable objectively, so that everybody feels they understand all there is to understand about it, and because the current academic climate favours the methods and beliefs of the hard sciences.

Although there is a difference between experiencing an objective reality and reasoning objectively, the ingrained academic belief is that if it is objective, it must be absolute. Students are told from day one, that there is one correct way of reasoning and that evidence or argument can convince anybody if it is just clear enough; that people who do not agree with the accepted views are wrong or dumb or obnoxious.

This idea is equally accepted outside of academia and children are brought up with the message that they are all individuals, but nonetheless must all be able to see and think in identical ways or be labelled with syndromes.

However, we are not psychological clones of each other, for if we were, humanity could have never survived. Diversity is the vital ingredient of evolution – and this applies equally to the evolution of ideas.

Where, for many people, “objectivity” is a given; it exists, just as do truth and reality, for others that is simply not the case: they see reality and truth changing according to the circumstances. Why that happens, and why we have these disagreements, I discuss in my psychology blog and books, but the short of it is that we each have four information filters that allow us to communicate with the world around us, and each of those filters can be ‘set’ objectively or relatively, so that people do not all experience every view the same. They can have any one or all of those filters set for the objective or the relative perspective. This is inborn and not changeable, and it ensures our survival as a species and our intellectual progress.

Note that this is not about understanding or being smart, but about having a perspective.

Those who naturally reason objectively – use logic, reductionism, deduction and cause and effect – are attracted to the hard sciences, and believe there must be an objective truth out there. Those people have dominated all of academia for most of the last century, because mathematics was considered a measure of general intelligence, and hence, those who were more naturally drawn to the humanities, and usually not as good in mathematics, were not considered acceptable for academia. Consequently, all of western academia suffers from a bias toward the methods of the hard sciences, the expectation of argument and deductive reasoning as a road to the only truth and, although this is an appropriate manner of reasoning for those topics that must rely on hard data and deal with inanimate objects, for the humanities this reasoning is fatal. It is fatal in psychology, and exactly there, those academics who understand how people work, have been edged out of their own field, because of the methods that are applicable to inanimate objects only.

Some people can use their reasoning to include other viewpoints and others cannot, yet those who would be able, are often unwilling, because they have been raised in a system that outright states that there is only one right view.

The problem, the real flaw, therefore, in human reasoning comes with the expectation of objectivity for all people and in all topics. And exactly those who are not interested in psychology tend to dismiss their humanity and thus miss their own subjectivity, because their own inborn psychology inclines them to experiencing objectively. They accept only one standard and ‘scientific method’ for studying humans. In other words, the study of psychology is performed with the expectation that people behave like inanimate objects, thus making themselves and their psychology  the measure of all things academic and, inanimate objects the measure of all things human.

But, like it or not, as long as different people experience differently, objectivity is a subjective viewpoint, which is a statement that will make exactly those who are stuck in their own view recoil, but which becomes evident when, in every argument, both sides claim to have objective evidence, objective reality, objective truth and so on, yet they disagree.

Objective experiences, obviously, exist, but note that I say experiences, and if we share them, you could say they are objective for the sharing group, whether species, beings on earth, all humans or just a few academics, but we experience objectively, because of our position; every creature experiences objectively, in the sense that they consider their perspective self-evidently in congruence with reality or truth, because they have experienced nothing else all their lives. That goes for ants or cats as much as for humans. The key thing is that objectivists experience reality or truth as mind independent, while relativists experience it as mind dependent. That is not to say that relativists believe there is no reality, but only that we all experience that reality differently, and, therefore, we cannot agree on the way we describe it or deal with it. The example of the three blind men and the elephant can help here, because it demonstrates that something can be real  but simply bigger than one person can see.

And because this topic is about existence itself, it is metaphysical in nature, it tends to hinge on existential beliefs, which causes people to get really emotional in defending their viewpoint.

What we need to understand is that this difference between the relative and objective perspective is part of our mind, which is, itself, not objective and not tangible – the mind is not the brain. Yet, those who experience objective reality, and who dominate in society, and those who reason objectively, who dominate in academia, seek the explanation of their mind outside themselves, in reductionist brain cells for example, because those are ‘objective’.

But, dominating in a field is not evidence of being right – although it is often claimed to be as “most scientists agree”, which is a logical flaw. To quote an example from my book, if eighty percent of people were born colour blind, this would not be a good enough reason to say that certain colours don’t exist. Just because the majority of people claim some objective perspective, does not mean that the other perspectives can be dismissed as non-existent.

Yet that is what our current academic climate does – no differently than some centuries ago the church claimed their own objectivity in God – and this constitutes the flaw in human reasoning that is going to prove detrimental, not just for mental health issues and the hopes of the younger generation, but for our ability to deal with nature induced natural climate change events.

 If we want to have a hope of surviving the next global disaster, like those before us, we are going to have to radically correct the biggest reasoning flaw of all: that (some) people can be the measure of all things.

Thank you for reading.

The Objective of Language and Debate

My last post, on human origins, resulted in a debate with an objectivist, who ended up calling my perspective (and philosophy as a whole) nonsense and saying he did not debate things with people who did not share his perspective.

Obviously, debating things with like-minded people is going to keep the views very narrow-minded and within a discipline this can lead to dogma and assumptions.

Now, I should have probably avoided this situation. Because of his earlier position, I had a pretty good idea what type of person he was, and therefore, where he was likely to go with his argument. He argued that the speculation he presented was based on statistics, which is mathematical and logical, and therefore his perspective was objective and followed the “scientific method” and everybody who understood the math must agree with him. My objection was that, even if the math was correct, the premise was a speculation and not subject to the math and it was the premise I did not agree with, at which he suggested I had simply not enough education in mathematics. As an objectivist, he considers the premise part of the scientific method and accepts logic as leading to truth, but “logic” is a system of exact symbols and formulae that can be used only for deduction, which can therefore not include the premise, because deduction is a system of reasoning from one premise to the next. The premise is always a speculation or a basic assumption, and it is always subject to belief.

The reason I could predict his arguments has to do with our psychology, which is the way we experience the world according to how our mind uses its information filters, and these direct us to either the objective or relative viewpoint. We cannot change that, which accounts for our long history of endless academic debates without conclusion – we are still debating the same issues the ancient Greeks did – and the endless cycle of declaring something as fact based on scientific research, only to see new ‘facts’ prove those earlier ideas wrong.

Academic libraries are filled with arguments and counter arguments and for every idea or position, one can find evidence in that earlier writing. In fact, when I was at university, which I did at a mature age and already well-versed in psychotype theory, I didn’t need more than an hour to find all the references and quotes I needed to back up my position. Where my classmates, almost all of whom were just out of high school, complained and moaned about the amount of reading they had to do and how hard it was, I would scan abstracts, introductions and conclusions, then pick the ones I needed, go to the index, find some key words, and the rest I could extrapolate, knowing what they would have said, without having read the book.

I could do that, because people don’t change; we keep debating the same issues and the same types of people are always going to be on the same side of these repeating arguments. Sure, the details change, but if you can see the context, you can infer those.

Of course, I went to university expecting it to be about open-minded people and new ideas. I started out trying to argue my perspective to the lecturers. Some were open, most were not, because they, too, had learned that argument and evidence is objective, that progress comes from studying and that we are more intelligent than ever before. Once I understood that, I gave up, because we cannot change the beliefs people have inside them, and being a relativist, I could allow for our differences.

The relative view, by its very definition, can include the objective view as one of many, but the objective view, also by its very definition, cannot, because if it would acknowledge other perspectives, it would lose its own existential ground. In addition, we live in a society that accepts and promotes the objective view, and only in very few instances (like the experience of pain, taste or the perception of beauty) will it allow that not all people experience those the same. Add to that that there are a majority of objective views in the world (75%), which not only think that everybody should agree with them because “it is obvious”, but many won’t hesitate to say so.

Some of you might object to this statement, saying that majority should rule, but that is a political phrase that cannot be used in science, and, additionally, 25% of people is not a number than can be conveniently ignored.

Nevertheless, those of you, who have this objective perspective, will most likely dismiss my words; those of you who naturally experience the relative perspective will recognize it, and that is all we can hope for.

But it is not quite that simple either, because all of us perceive as well as reason, and so our objective or relative experience can be in either of those, in both or in neither, so that we have four different human perspective groups, and thus, there will be those of you who can see a relative viewpoint in one aspect, but not in another. Those are the people who might be able to bridge the gap between the extreme types.

Without going into detail, we need to realize that diversity is a precondition for adaptation, progress and survival. If this applies to our physical existence, then it most certainly does to our mental existence, which needs to be able to adapt much more rapidly. If we were all alike, even potentially, because outside forces would cause people to follow the group mind unconditionally, we’d have a stagnant society; if we were all unique, we would not be able to communicate. Instead, we are, a combination of nurture and nature, because even if our filters, our inclinations, are inborn, the personal experiences allow us free will and unique behaviour – as long as we realize that this behaviour is limited by our inclinations, no differently than that a human being is limited to living on land, because they have neither gills nor wings.

Our mind is our filters of information and, therefore, it is what we experience, feel, think, perceive and so on; we cannot step back and observe it and we cannot get around it. That makes psychology different than other topics, because every observation is through the eyes of one perspective, unless you believe all people clones.

So why did we develop language?

Obviously, to communicate with each other.

But it isn’t quite that obvious, because most of our language is non-verbal and depending on the filters, some pick up body language better and others symbolic language, some naturally and automatically relate to numbers, data and maths, while others naturally pick up empathic messages and can read between the lines of what people say.

Verbal language helps to communicate within groups, but that does not mean that it is objective and every person must be able to understand each word in the same way. In fact, almost all abstract words can be interpreted and those interpretations vary not only with personal experiences, but with our filters (our psychotypes).

I speak of psychotypes, because that is a biological term equivalent to genotype and phenotype, but others will use psychological type or personality type. What this is not, is our outward behaviour that can be observed or our specific actions or beliefs; types are inclinations.

Now, between like types, communication is easy, but the more filters vary between two people, the harder it is to understand each other, and it is this that can explain all our conflicts – the other side of the progress and diversity coin. This ease of communication or understanding is irrelevant of spoken tongue, culture or era. We connect with like types, regardless of all superficial differences. Somebody once said that if you’d remove all culture, gender, social and visual aspects, like types would still find each other.

In  short, the difference between the objective and relative perspectives is that some of those experiences appear to come from outside of us, which are the objective experiences, and some appear to be mind-dependent, which are the relative or subjective experiences. Those perspectives are inborn, so we cannot even imagine what the other experience is like; we can know that other people experience differently, but we can never experience it.

Communication was never intended for academic debate; it was not even intended to convince other people. The filters, which direct which convincing strategy people naturally employ, also influence which convincing strategy they are open to.

Academia dismisses ‘rhetoric’ as an appeal to the emotions and not objective, because their own strategy is to put the object of their reasoning outside their mind; they see it as something independent, which is why they are chasing a truth. They rely on impartial data and numbers, which they believe to hold convincing power on their own merit, but for those types that naturally allow the human aspect into their reasoning and keep the topic close to their heart, those who use empathy to convince others, numbers and data alone are not convincing, while they can pick up if somebody is sincere or true without needing truth tables, because they ‘feel’ it. Likewise, for the experiences of reality and morality; some people experience those as independent objects outside themselves and others as mind-dependent.

You can debate all you want, but you cannot convince a person with the wrong strategy for their mind or somebody who is not already open to an idea.

Changing views spread slowly through humanity, from one type to another, which is a good thing or we’d live in perpetual chaos.

But since academia cannot accept the possibility of people being psychologically diverse, they refuse to include psychological perspectives in their research, on the basis of which they say they do not exist because their research does not show it. Thus, the authority many people base their trust in for knowledge (academia), in the name of objectivity, refuses to consider all possibilities.

Personally, I accept that other people are as honest as I am in expressing their experiences and therefore, if we do not agree, there must be more than one possible perspective. And it is on this premise that my philosophy is built, a philosophy that is dismissed out of hand by academic philosophers, because it goes against the word of their scientific colleagues (the authority they believe in), and because they have a steadfast belief in the power of rational argument. In fact, their belief is so great that, after 2500 years of endless arguments and never agreement, they still keep hoping that the next argument will flatten them all, no differently than that Christians continue to believe in God and salvation, and exactly how all people keep hoping – hope springs eternal – that one day they will find the ultimate good, justice, truth, beauty or enlightenment.

In short, science, which is believed objective, keeps being wrong about things. That is not a big deal, because it is said to improve all the time, but academics state that as a matter of fact about previous beliefs, but do not apply it to their current beliefs. And it is one thing to do that among academics, where arguments and scientific theories are forever debated and reviewed in order to fill libraries, but some of those beliefs and statements of fact are ruining lives before being reviewed.

 

The American Psychoanalytical association recently apologized for having labelled homosexuality a mental illness. Now that is nice, because homosexuality as normal is very popular at the moment and you have to say what people want to hear if you want to keep your association in the good books. Previously they didn’t need to say this, because it wouldn’t affect their credibility.

If I am going to respect them, however, it is not for what they say about their previous mistaken views, but about what they do about it for the now. Because homosexuality is not the only thing that they labelled and treated; today hundreds of thousands of people are labelled with ‘disorders’ of their personality, which basically tells them they are broken or flawed (mentally ill), for what is a perfectly healthy, natural psychotype, which they can no more change than the homosexuals could change their orientation. The only difference is that these types are not accepted by the current academic and political rulers, just like homosexuality was not a few decades ago.

I would hope that the psycho-analysts, at least, are insightful enough to acknowledge this.

In a future post, I will come back to the objective view with regard perspectives on reality and science, but for now, I conclude that statistics, logic and the scientific method are strategies of reasoning; they are used by the objective standpoint to eliminate possibilities (deduction) and by the relative standpoint to accumulate possibilities (induction).

Like religious believers only debate within their own church or the contents of their own scriptures and use that to declare other beliefs wrong, so academics stick to their own specialized field.

Many objectivists, either openly or by implication state that psychology is not a real science – unless they have a colleague who points at the brain (which is neurology, not psychology) – because it is by nature mind-dependent, and so they dismiss philosophy if it questions their assumptions.

Of course, just because it is philosophy’s job to find assumptions does not mean that philosophers do not also have assumptions and some are very dogmatic about them. In short, we are all human, and we all have a naturally objective or relative perspective and we will judge everything we hear accordingly, regardless of argument or evidence.

As a relativist, I dismiss the objectivist, absolutist, materialist, reductionist and moralistic attitude that tries to impose their perspective on me, even if I understand why they do that.

 

Searching for Human Origins

science, conspiracy or psychology

To all the wonderful independent and academic researchers, intent on discovering the true origins of humanity, excuse me for butting in.

As a writer and philosopher with a special interest in psychology, I have been following your progress with fascination, but there are some aspects I would like to draw your attention to.

In the field of psychology, we are dealing with a similar situation as the one you are in, namely that there is a community of independents with a massive amount of research and evidence to support a different perspective than that which the academic establishment upholds, and we are running into a similar wall of resistance.

Although I am sure you’re not interested in the psychology itself, I would like to briefly discuss how different people approach archaeology, investigation and new ideas, because that can help in understanding where we stumble over assumptions and dogma, or end up in endless arguments, animosities or dominance from one discipline over another.

First things first: psychology is non-judgmental. It acknowledges the natural differences in people and considers no one personality or no one person’s interests as better or worse than those of others; they are simply different and that is a good thing.

I have two personal premises, which I uphold when assessing or creating a theory:

  1. That people are not all identical (psychologically) and therefore that we cannot all agree, notice or believe the same things, and consequently, that these psychological differences need to be taken into consideration in research and theory, because they colour what people accept, and people in the same discipline tend to have a similar psychology.
  2. That every theory needs to be internally consistent, comprehensive (it needs to show that what is proposed is both necessary and sufficient to explain what is observed), supported by complementary theories in other disciplines, and supported by empirical evidence. In any case, empirical evidence has to have a theory to be evidence for; just observing something, even repeatedly, is not sufficient for explaining things.

Background

As it is becoming more and more clear that another intelligent humanoid species inhabited the Earth before the end of the last ice age, and that most of the stories we had so far considered myth, rest on facts, the academic and general public is forced to change its mind about where we came from. Some do that easier than others.

There is a growing community of independents studying archaeology and human origins, who are gathering information, usually paying out of their own pockets and spending many hours creating podcasts and doing research, because it is their passion and without any doubt, they are doing their research with the greatest possible care. Yet, the academic establishment upholds the traditional view, which is what we all learned when growing up, that the Egyptians (or the Mayans and Aztecs) built the enormous structures found around the world and that this was done to bury their kings and worship their gods. The independents hold the view that these structures are way older than that and that one of the main interests of the builders was astronomy, while their demise came with a global catastrophe that happened at the end of the ice age. Mostly, their views are dismissed, officials do not want to cooperate, and evidence has disappeared in several cases.

Conspiracy?

If it were only that easy…

Of course, it seems like a conspiracy, because those in power all dismiss the independent thinker, and, as an ignored independent myself, I totally understand the anger some of you express – some more than others – but it goes both ways, because the Egyptologists also feel anger.

Yet most of that anger is a result of misunderstanding each other’s motives.

And I am not denying that some governments deliberately withhold information (or destroy it), especially where they take advice from those who by their very nature are not intellectuals, but military servants whose objective is protecting the status quo.

And yes, there is no doubt some political motive, because those countries, like Egypt, base their identity (and often their income from tourists) on their heritage, and here come some people who try to declare that identity worthless (in their eyes).

Countries, like people, have identities and they will do whatever it takes to protect that, because without, they cannot exist. In people, wilful ignorance is not possible for psychological reasons, but institutions can deliberately keep things from their members, although, as we know, with You Tube and the internet, this has become a lot more difficult.

But we need to remember that the intellectual community – that is academics and independents alike – are here to try and understand our origins. Their conflict is psychological.

Natural Differences

Independents bring information together across disciplines; they provide the connections the academic specializations cannot. Independents, by their very nature, tend to the multidisciplinary view, because it allows them to speculating possibilities, seeing connections and gathering information from many places and they tend to feel confined in academia. Academics, in this day and age certainly, tend to be specialists, some because their nature directs them that way, others because the institution gives them no choice. So, we’re talking different types of people, with different natural talents; specialists dig deep, independents look wide, but we need all of them.

Independents share their knowledge via podcasts and the internet, and so, naturally, involve all the people with an interest, regardless of their location or education. Consequently, they have to take each contribution at its own merit and decide whether it makes sense.

Where academics share knowledge, they do so in peer reviews, and the rest of the population is excluded (at least from commenting), which makes theirs a small and elite community, usually made up of people with a similar background, education and a similar personality, and hence, they are likely to come at an idea from the same basic assumptions, those that are prevalent in their field at that time. If that basic assumption turns out to have been wrong, whole edifices of knowledge can come crashing down. Obviously, if somebody has their career built on that view, they are going to resist that.

And that is why somebody from another discipline can sometimes see something they all missed, which seems to be the case in archaeology, where geological evidence was not noticed because archaeologists have no training in that field; they were not specialists. But don’t forget that every field has such situations; geology, physics, astronomy, biology, you name it; they have all had a “paradigm shift”.

And what would you feel or do, after all, if a wave of outsiders invaded your topic and started pointing out how wrong you were? Just like independents feel angered when ignored, so those in the field feel anger when their self-worth is attacked. Just like countries, we are talking about a person’s identity, and often their existential beliefs; beliefs one bases their life, livelihood or self-esteem on, and nobody gives up their existential beliefs, no matter what the arguments, the logic, the reasoning or the evidence. This, of course, is an unconscious process.

However, today’s Egyptologists may also choose to ignore the independents, because they have to navigate through the avalanche of new information into their field and distinguish between serious independents and those who shout conspiracy or the end of the world, or are simply repeating what they hear for reasons of popularity. Is it a wonder that the people who so far relied on credentials and peer reviews, do not know where to start? They don’t know who to believe, so they stick with what they know.

You could ask why some people do that and others not. That is where the psychology comes in, the details of which go beyond the scope of this post, but can be found in my books and on my psychology blog, but the gist of it is that different people use their information filters differently, which leads some to sticking with tradition and others to venture to new places, which leads some to rely on material evidence and others on possibilities, which leads some to understand people and gravitate to the humanities and others to prefer hard data and the exact sciences. New ideas, new information, spreads one person at the time, usually between like types, so that, depending on the topic, new ideas start in different fields and take a long time to reach everybody. This is a good thing or else we’d live in perpetual chaos.

But these differences also influence whether somebody is more likely to accept the word of an authority or the idea they encounter, and it influences how people go about doing their investigations and what kind of methods they use. More importantly, it influences whether somebody feels that their project is something that stands outside of them (object) and for which they gladly accept critique, because the goal is to make this impartial object better, or that they consider their projects a part of their self, and therefore, when somebody critiques their work, they feel it as a personal attack. And I am sure that every one of you has some experience with somebody of the opposite type, if not at work than certainly at home. “Don’t take it personally” will not help, because it is personal to this type and these type differences are inborn.

Having a completely different mindset, therefore, those who gravitate toward the soft sciences automatically and instinctively, include the people aspect, the understanding of human motivations and that they can be many. This helps them in the soft sciences, where truth is not as important as understanding; they do not need truth tables to know if somebody is sincere; they feel it. Likewise, the exact scientists instinctively search for a truth and therefore eliminate and deduce until one answer is left, which of course, is very important in the hard sciences – you wouldn’t want me coming in and generalize the calculations for space flight, after all – but it can turn into a disaster elsewhere, as we have seen when the rules of the hard sciences came to impose on psychology.

In short, there are different ways of doing research and different fields require different methods; the approach used in the hard sciences will bring no or very weak results in the humanities and soft sciences and vice versa.

Additionally, because of the heavy reliance on statistics nowadays – statistics is a mathematical tool, and hence mostly favoured by the hard sciences – we need to understand that such data never stand on their own as long as people interpret them. We need to understand that it is not just the case that people in the humanities are weak at dealing with numbers, but that those with mathematical skills tend to lack the natural insight in people motivations.

So why is that important?

Most independents are cautious in how they present; they don’t push their opinion, but a more recent influx of academics from the hard sciences into this topic has brought expectations as to which method should be used.

Now, the multidisciplinary approach is vital, but if you are simply going to translate the approach of one field and impose it on the other without understanding the differences, you are not helping. The constant references to “the scientific method”, “science is objective” and “deduction” with the implication that archaeologists do not do their science properly, is trying to force the methods of the hard sciences onto them. But this is missing the point that “the scientific method” no more exists than “the scientist”. Those are not one entity; a geologist is not an archaeologist and a chemist is not a psychologist, and so, the hard sciences, which work with inanimate data and objects that cannot respond but only react, and consequently always produce a similar reaction – cannot impose their methods on fields that deal with people, where the subjects do respond and have a story of their own.

Now, archaeology is not quite as people dependent as psychology, but it is still a soft science and interpretation, storytelling and induction are way more important than analysis and deduction – and get better results. So, let’s not get big-headed. We live in a society that favours the hard sciences and their methods (reductionism, materialism, empiricism, categorization and analysis), a society that holds on to a steadfast believe in objectivity (despite the evidence to the contrary), and that, too, is an academic bias.

Sometimes, even the independents use this terminology when starting a podcast, often when they are talking about or introducing somebody from a different discipline than the one they are criticizing. For example, all academics working in Egyptology are meant when mentioning that they don’t accept the geological evidence. The implication is that having academic credentials in that field is being narrow-minded. Then they introduce a geologist or physicist, quoting his university and PhD or some other fancy title.

But is that independent thinking or is that doing the same as the archaeologists do: accepting what somebody with a degree says, because they have the degree?

By all means say they are a geologist or that they studied geology, like you are studying those topics, but we need to be consistent; we need to quote individuals based on their ideas and the research they have done (regardless of whether they did that in or out of university), but leave the social status out of it.

In short, “the” scientific method does not exist; there are different methods appropriate for the hard sciences and for the soft sciences, the earth or life sciences, the humanities, and not following “the scientific method” is not equivalent to accepting things on faith, which is also a bias ingrained in most people. As I explained before, belief is a necessity, dogma is not, but academia and church are equally dogmatic, and science and religion depend on each other.

 The other misconception is that if one person says something it is subjective, but if many say it, it is objective, and therefore, if many people agree then that is scientific and leads to reliable facts. That is actually acknowledged as a logical fallacy in academic philosophy, and it should be, because, after all, the Egyptologists were many and shared everything in peer reviewed papers, hence they used science, which means their conclusions must have been objectively true.

But even academic psychology is starting to admit that most people follow the lead of others, which makes agreement no more factual or objective than the view of an insightful loner. Again, this is applying the measures of the hard sciences where every object is identical.

And, how many times do not two theories oppose each other, one trying to debunk another, and each presenting the opposite result, both based on extensive (and expensive) research with credentials. That is because nobody can find what they are not looking for and every experiment is set up with a certain belief in mind. The scientific method begins with an assumption, a speculation – even if you call it a hypothesis or axiom; a different word does not make it objective.

Objectivity is giving more power to the object or the impartial data than to the relative viewpoint, and again, people have no choice in this; it happens as a natural result of the way they filter information, and therefore, those who are naturally drawn to the hard sciences and to empirical evidence will deny this statement.

Therefore, objectivity is possible only in the hard sciences, where the subject is inanimate, physical and non-responsive, but archaeology is not a hard science, and you cannot “make” something objective if it was made and inspired by people, as long as people are not clones of each other. We cannot take for granted that the few artefacts, inscriptions and paintings we have today, are representing the thinking of all the people who lived then. Maybe there was much more; maybe all their people were literate and writing like we are today. The surviving structures (except the Great Pyramid, which is clearly mathematical) are no guarantee that all they made was on the same topic.  Maybe Gobekli Tepe  was built in response to the disaster; maybe they only inscribed the stone then; maybe it was not in response but because they were predicting it; maybe it was the prediction of a doomsayer. My point is that we are dealing with people and there is no one answer. All of the above could have influenced it and we will never know. The statistics are just that; maybe they provide a likelihood, but that is not the point here; the numbers are irrelevant if the rest is interpreted.

There is no truth to be found in this field, because we cannot go back to ask them; we can only speculate and come up with most likely propositions. Objectivity does not span tens of millennia when we cannot even understand each other today. Even with a much smaller global population – and I do accept that it was a global civilization (but so are we) – we cannot assume that what we find in one location also applies to the others, or that only one or two expressed their ideas in stone or cave paintings. They were no more one unit of identical personalities than we are now; they had different interests and expressed those differently. In the soft sciences, you cannot rely on small samples and statistics. People are not all identical.

 To summarize

 Having been “peer reviewed”, having objective status, having statistical data based on “random sampling”, having been found by way of “the scientific method” are all nice phrases, but they guarantee nothing. You cannot equate objectivity with scientific, you cannot find proof (which is a mathematical term), only evidence. Deduction can bring validity to an argument, but it cannot make the speculation valid. Science cannot ever find what it is not looking for; science is investigation.

All change stumbles on resistance; that is the nature of change; if it didn’t, we’d live in compete chaos. Nobody is free of biases, and we need to work together to find out who those people were, who lived before us, survived a massive cataclysm and gave us all their wonderful monuments and myths. They are the ancestors of all of us.

 You can, of course, dismiss my perspective and ignore the overwhelming amount of evidence brought in by the independent psychological community, because traditional, academic psychology says differently. They dismiss the possibility of different personalities based on their research, which did not include that possibility. Science only finds what it is looking for.

We all belong to the mob in some fields, meaning that we follow the popular views, because we can, none of us, study every topic. For example, Robert Bauval in one of his brilliant lectures, quoted a popular physicist on how the human mind works – he was quoting Michio Kaku, who, in turn, only took the word of academic neuroscientists. In this way, we are building edifices that will come crashing down. The pyramids still stand, because their foundation is solid.

So, accepting academia, just because it is that, is not a necessary and sufficient reason for accepting a theory. And let’s not forget Carl Sagan’s notion that the “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”.

 Appreciation helps open doors

Although knowledge always changes and we move from one accepted truth to the next, it does not always come in such big strides as the internet is allowing to happen today, and it is true that the foundations of many beliefs need to be reconsidered. That, however, does not only apply to history and archaeology but to science as a whole, including the way we seek and accept data.

The key is that the academic who rejects the new ideas does not do this to be difficult; we are all here to discover humanity’s past, but we need to first understand how humans work, so we stop accusing each other. The best chance you have to get the archaeologists on your side, is to make them feel valued, not berated.

So, let us remember that archaeology is not an exact science. Any science that deals with people cannot be an exact science, but that does not make it subjective or unreliable, but simply a science that measures according to other standards; the standards of those who understand people better than impartial data.

Thank you for reading.