I am a woman of 64 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

333. Hortensia


Thursday, June 23, 2011

332. A Mythological Winner of the Darwin Award

A Mythological Winner of the Darwin Award

Someone mentioned the Greek mythological story of Hero and Leander in an email and we disagreed about the interpretation.   He perceives the story as romantic, blaming the tragic end entirely on the carelessness of Hero, while I think that Leander is a fool, who deserves the Darwin award.  
"Hero and Leander,  two lovers celebrated in Greek legend. Hero, virgin priestess of Aphrodite at Sestos, was seen at a festival by Leander of Abydos; they fell in love, and he swam the Hellespont at night to visit her, guided by a light from her tower. One stormy night the light was extinguished, and Leander was drowned; Hero, seeing his body, drowned herself likewise."

There is a longer text, from where the following quotes are taken:
"This unstable arrangement did not last more than the warm season."
He obviously continued his nightly swimming for a considerable time without even considering to improve his method of seeing her.  
"in AD 1810, by the English poet Lord Byron, who swam from Sestus to Abydus in one hour and ten minutes". 
Someone doing this twice every night, needed rest in the day time.   That means, that Leander was certainly not a hard working laborer, but had enough money to have options. 

Therefore he had alternatives to risking his life:
  • He could have bought a boat and rowed or sailed.  
  • He could have moved to live somewhere near her, so he could visit her without crossing the water.
  • He could have eloped with her to a place, where nobody knew about her obligation to remain a priestess.   
Seen from a rational perspective, he was a fool, who brought his death upon himself.   That is, why he deserves the Darwin award.   And if she never suggested less risky options, she was as much a fool as he.

But this is a mythological tale, and only interpreting it like I did above is missing an important aspect of reading such old tales.   As much as its message of Hero and Leander being role models is obsolete, the story is an interesting illustration of how the subconscious animal instincts are represented consciously by attitudes. 
A mythological story tells, what is commonly accepted as normal at the times of its origin.   
By animal instincts, female breeders are driven to prefer the genes of the strongest and most daring studs, surviving all risks to his life before being allowed to procreate.  In this story, Hero's instincts did not allow her to choose a prudent, intelligent male using the safety of a boat, just as Leander's instincts drove him to risk his life to win her favors, instead of wooing a woman preferring intelligence.   
The first known written sources of this story date back not much more than 2000 years.   But maybe the tale is much older and dates back to the times before the evolution of rational thinking had an influence upon the choice of a mate.   Here I am speculating again.  
If I would start to analyze more old myths, fables and fairy tales, many could probably be reduced to a positive attitude towards instinctive behaviors not only of breeding, but also of ingroup-outgroup, of hierarchy forming, enhanced by gullibility.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

331. The Railway Metaphor of Behavior

The Railway Metaphor of Behavior

In previous entries I have compared the human behavior with the movements of a car.    Acceleration being the instincts, the brake being rationality, both together determining, how much someone is driven by instincts, with the stirring wheel modifying the direction according to external influences.  
I have been made aware of the fact, that this is an insufficient metaphor.   Because it restricts the force of rationality to controlling the instincts, without being a positive force by itself.

Here is a better metaphor:  
Humans are like a train with two locomotives, one at each end.   The rail has two directions, one towards rational, individual goals, the other towards the instinctive goals of the survival of the species.    Upon the rails, the direction of the train is determined by the net strength resulting from the relative power of both engines.  This is determining the behavior as either more instinctive or more rational.     
There are many rails and many junctions.   Decisions are like the switches on the junctions, they are operated by education and by circumstances.   Switches are either between rational alternatives in one direction or between instinctive alternatives in the other.
Both engines have an innate maximum power, but they also have an accelerator and a brake built in, which are operated by education and circumstances.  
If one engine is much stronger than the other, the train moves in one direction only, with varying speed.  
If both engines are of similar power, the train oscillates between both directions.   
If there is no junction, the train does not get very far, else the train changes rails and goes on a zigzag course.   
Dishomeostasis (entry 330) is a force on the accelerator of either of the engines, depending if it is a physical, instinctive need or an emotional and intellectual need.    The impact of this force seizes, when reaching homeostasis and is reactivated at the recurrence of the dishomeostasis.   
In the case of the zigzag course, there can be rational decisions, while moving in one direction, alternating with instinctive decisions when moving in the opposite direction.

Monday, June 20, 2011

330. Homeostasis and Compatibility

Homeostasis and Compatibility

When people experience dishomeostasis, it is an unpleasant state of discomfort, which causes urges, drives and compulsions to restore homeostasis.    Homeostasis is a neutral state.  
The process of restoring homeostasis is called homeostation.     Attempting to change from the neutral state to a state of pleasure, joy or bliss is not homeostation.   
Focusing in this entry on homeostasis does not in any way deny the importance of a couple sharing fun, joy, pleasure, bliss or any form of happy feelings as an additional benefit of a relationship.   But homeostasis is needed as the base line.   No matter, how much pleasure and joy a man may bring to a woman, there is a disruption, as long as he also causes her dishomeostasis.    A couple needs to first create homeostasis for both partners, before they can start attempts to add happiness to it.

Dishomeostasis disturbs, disrupts or disabled other motivations, interests, perceptions, behaviors, even morals.  
An example.   A very hungry person has difficulties to focus the attention on processing any information like reading or communicating.   Hungry people steal or become cannibals in extreme situation.   A person, who is not hungry, is capable to rationally decide at any moment, if he prefers to spend money on food or on a book or a concert ticket.  

Homeostation can be:
  1. painful:
    Being freed from tooth ache requires the painful treatment by the dentist.
  2. neutral
    Headache can be ended by taking a painkiller.
    In the case of an addiction, what previously caused pleasure, only reduces the suffering of withdrawal.
  3. pleasant
    Eating is usually experienced as pleasure.
    Solving puzzles, a good book or a movie are reducing the dishomeostasis of curiosity and need for information.
  4. stressing
    When someone ends a situation of danger by flight or fight, this reduced the dishomeostasis of fear.
    When two persons solve a conflict by communication, this improves the relationship, but can cause a lot of stress.

I claim:
One requirement for compatibility of a couple is the successful homeostation for both partners.  
Two persons are incompatible, when there are unsolvable conflicts between their homeostations.    

A compatible couple shares activities, that serve the homeostation of both and fulfill the relationship needs of both.   The homeostation of only one partner is of no or of little cost to the other.   
It is banal to mention, that eating together, physical contact and enjoying a good movie together and communicating about everything enhances shared homeostasis.    Also it is obvious, that the homeostation by visiting a dentist or by taking a pain killer is not interfering with the other.   Spending time with differing hobbies and interests can also be neutral, if it is balanced, not expensive and based upon agreement, like for example when one wants to go jogging and the other prefers to read a book.  

An incompatible couple has conflicts, because either the homeostation of one partner causes dishomeostation of the other or they compete over limited resources for the homeostation of either of them.   One partner is not able to supply the other's homeostasis by fulfilling the relationship needs.   
Example 1:   A man has a costly and dangerous hobby, like riding a motorcycle or climbing Mount Everest.   For him as a thrill seeker, this reduces his need for stimulation and is homeostation.   But it creates dishomeostasis in a woman, if she is someone, for whom it creates fears and worries, while she needs the homeostasis of feeling safe with a man, who is reliably there for her.    It also is a competition for money, which she wants to invest in something else, that reduces her fears, like having her own car to be safe when working late at night.   
Example 2:  A woman wants a monogamous relationship.  A man wants a form of polygamy, either by cheating on her or by continued contact with exes.    If he is driven by his instincts towards the other women, this is his homeostation, which causes dishomeostasis in the woman, who wants to have mutual exclusivity.  
Example 3:  One partner has the need of the emotional homeostasis of harmony by resolving conflicts by communication.    The other wants the harmony of avoiding conflicts.    For one partner, the attempt to communicate is the attempt of homeostation, which is causing dishomeostasis in the other.   For the other partner, the avoidance to communicate is an attempt of homeostation, which is causing dishomeostasis in the other.   

Homeostation conflicts can only be avoided by a wise choice of a partner.  
  1. The partner has the same needs, interests and hobbies, so that the main homeostation in the relationship is by shared activities.
  2. The relative importance of a relationship compared with other aspects of life is about the same for both partners. 
    2.1.  The partner is someone, for whom being a partner in a relationship is of vital importance.   He is someone, for whom the relationship, the partner have priority over anything else.  He resolves conflicts in favor of the relationship and experiences this not as a sacrifice, but as the fair return for the benefits of being together.  
    In my examples above, a wise choice for a woman like me is to avoid a man, who needs his dangerous hobbies, who needs his exes and who does not value the relationship enough to invest time and stress to resolve problems by communication.   
    2.2.   Equally for both, the partner is only of minor importance. 
    For example, if only one partner has children, then the homeostation of the partner, who is emotionally addicted to the contact with the bearers of his genes, reduces the place available for a partner in his life.    For a childfree partner, this creates dishomeostasis in the relationship need of being important.   But when both have children, there is a balance, because both get their homeostasis from their offspring and do not expect it from a partner.
  3. The partner is aware of his own individual dishomeostasis and of the effect of it upon others.  


Thursday, June 16, 2011

329. Lunar Eclipse

the lunar eclipse ending

the full moon again

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

328. The Evolution of Gullibility

The Evolution of Gullibility

This again is speculation.

I have been wondering before, if the mental development of children could be a fast repetition of the evolution of cognition over the 6 million years since the time, when the evolution of our ancestors branched off from that of the ancestors of today's chimpanzees.   
Seen from our perspective, a contemporary child at the age of four has both the mental and the physical development of this age group after having been alive four years.  
I consider it as possible, that at some time in the past, there had been human ancestors having the same mental abilities as for example has a four year old today, but having an adult body and being much older and having reached full maturity.    While their survival and procreation was determined by animal instincts, their cognition enabled them to adapt better to their environment than mere animals.   

To simplify and illustrate this, I compare three phases of the evolution of acquiring the knowledge of what to eat and what not.  The survival of the fittest and natural selection depended on eating, what is beneficial, and avoiding to eat, what is poisonous.    

1.  The phase of simple imitation
In this phase, our human ancestors learned like other animals from observation, when others ate berries and showed delight, and they learned by observation, if someone was killed by a poisonous snake and died immediately.   Learning was restricted to the observation of contingencies.   They could learn to avoid such snakes, but they could not learn to avoid poisonous berries, that had effects only hours later.

2.  The phase of cognitive imitation
In this phase, humans had evolved a memory and a simple way of communication, either by signs or by a rudimentary language, like the four year olds in the above example.  Thus they were able to learn delayed contingencies, and they could copy the memorized contingencies engraved in other people's brains into their own and imitate the apparently adequate behavior.  
If several humans had eaten poisonous berries and got sick or died hours or even days later, the survivors and the observers were able to learn the delayed contingencies.  They learned to avoid these berries in the future.
The knowledge, which berries are edible and which are poisonous, was transmitted not only by observation, but also by communicating the information, as was other information about where to find food, how to make the best tools, use fire and other survival skills.

This had two consequences: 
  • People learned not only correct contingencies like what berries are poisonous, but also coincidences as wrong contingencies. 
  • Those who believed, what they were told, and based their behavior upon the belief, increased their chances to survive and to procreate.

That was the beginning of the natural selection favoring gullibility as a temporary advantage for fitness.  
  • The persons, who followed in their behavior the blind belief not to eat the berries indicated as poisonous, no matter if they understood the reason or not, lived longer than those, who did not follow the belief. 
    But it made no difference for the survival and fitness of those, who refrained from eating the poisonous berries, if they also prostrated to the sun every morning or not.    
    As a consequence, those who believed too little were eliminated by natural selection, those who believed too much, survived the same as those, who only believed, what was essential for survival.  
  • The inability to discriminate between coincidence and contingency led to the false religious believes to be able to control the future and the environment by rituals, sacrifices, prayers and magic thinking.   In the absence of better survival strategies, these served as a powerful psychological crutch, because it
  • reduced anxieties, insecurities and led to more daring behaviors, adding fitness to the survivors of the endeavors.     
  • served as a placebo effect for healing.
  • instigated irrational behaviors leading by coincidence to beneficial discoveries.  
This evolution of a simple cognition was sufficient for the life of hunters and gatherers, who were using fire and making simple tools.   The ability to doubt had not yet evolved, therefore instinctivity was in full power over the behavior, it was only aided by gullibility.  

3.  The phase of rationality
When agriculture started about 10,000 years ago, this required more rational cognition than the simple acceptance of every coincidence also as a contingency.   Those who were too much guided by wrongly believed coincidences risked starvation.   The survival depended more and more on rational procedures to develop elaborated tools and skills like metallurgy.  

Gullibility as a survival skill had become obsolete.   But unfortunately, the development of the infant's brain had still to go through the phase of gullibility before reaching the ability of fully rational cognition.   Therefore, the evolution of the brain could not eliminate gullibility, instead it branched inside the brain into the parallel evolution of rationality alongside with coexistent gullibility.   Rationality thrived only in the limited sphere of practical life, where evidence was available to be experienced, while the power of gullibility as a psychological crutch was not overridden.   
As a result, farmers were able to learn, that (in the German climate) they needed to plant vegetables in spring and not in autumn, if they wanted to harvest food.   But they never evolved enough rationality to fully discard unproven believes like the one to pray for a good harvest or to do the planting under the full moon.     

Since rationality is still a fairly recent result of evolution, human brains have two incongruent tendencies, gullibility and instinctivity as the older forces competing with the contradictory force of rationality and complex cognition.   For a minority of the vanguard of having evolved the farthest, rationality is stronger than gullibility and instinctivity, but the majority of people is still determined by the same gullibility as in the phase of mental imitation.  

One important step from gullibility to rationality is the ability to doubt, not only the input from the environment including other persons, but also the doubt of the benefits of the own urges and impulses.  The most rationally evolved people are those least determined by instinct.    The doubting person, who ate the poisonous berries, died and did not contribute the ability to doubt to the gene pool.   The doubting person, who started to experiment by feeding the berries to an animal or to the captives of another tribe, survived and added rationality to the gene pool.    (He also added the cruelty to outgroup members, but that is not the topic here.)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

327. Dopamine, Risk and Migration

Dopamine, Risk and Migration

In the entry 326 I attempted to explain, why I fill the gaps of my knowledge with speculations to complete my theory of mind.   
But once in a while, I find delayed justification for my speculations.   In entry 106 (on Migration, Evolution, Cultural Differences), I was wondering, if what I perceived as a cultural difference between the higher risk tolerance in the USA compared with Germany, could be explained by the self-selection being a consequence of migration.   

Today I watched course 16 of the lecture by UCLA Prof. Jay Phelan on Life, Concepts and Issues.   He mentions a genetic difference in the effect of dopamine receptors in the brain upon the personality influencing the risk taking tendencies.  

His mentioning a study on migration made me curious and I found the research paper connecting DRD4 (DR=dopamine receptor) polymorphism with migration:
According to the authors, the genetic disposition was found in 22% of Europeans in the US, but only in 16% of Danes, 19% of Swedes, 10% of Finns and 18% of Spanish.

I have crudely distinguished between Hedonists and Epicureans as being more or less driven by instinct rather than guided by their cognition (entries 131, 157, 158, 222).   I called it instinct, but it seems also connected with the DRD4 polymorphism.   I have to ponder about this.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

326. Theory of Mind

Theory of Mind
I have just been reading a discussion about the quality of the research in evolutionary psychology, and about the misrepresentation of results.     Sometimes research is presented on the web or by the media in a way, that does not enable the readers to evaluate, if it is flawed or based upon careful procedures and highly significant statistics.    

In my own stance, evolutionary psychology is the foundation of my theory of mind.   
"Theory of mind is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own."

The better people's theory of mind, the better they can understand and predict other people's behavior, and the better they can protect themselves.

About 15 years ago, I started to learn about evolutionary psychology, and the result was a drastic change of my theory of mind.  

Before then, I thought that most men were good and decent.  I projected, that they would also want a monogamous relationship, getting automatically bonded by entering a physically intimate relationship.   I considered promiscuous men as an unpleasant minority of animals, whom I perceived as sick.   I had the wrong impression, that the majority of men were decent and monogamous, but hidden somewhere, while I experienced it as my personal misfortune, when I was too often targeted as prey by disgusting predators hoping to gain access to my body.   (Stories in entries 318 and 119 are examples.)    My flawed theory of mind caused me to feel puzzled, why I was not honored by men with the intellectually valuable communication, that I craved for.

Since my learning about evolutionary psychology, I have developed a much more realistic theory of mind, which I have been elaborating in this blog.   I know by now, that the majority of men are driven to some more or less detrimental extent by the same instincts as animals.   Only a minority of men have the rare talent of being able to treat a woman as an equal, of being fully aware of her having a personality and of being able to communicate with her intellectually.   Only a minority of men have the rare quality of not being blurred by the instinctive trigger of a woman's body.    My quest is finding one of them as a mindmate.

Evolutionary psychology supplied me with the paradigm for my new theory of mind.   I have been reading a lot about this subject, I have attempted to attribute some probability to whatever seems plausible.   Where I have not yet found better information, I have even been speculating.    I make no claims about scientific truth of any kind.    

A relationship cannot be better than the theory of mind, upon which it is based, and this implies, that both partners need to share the same theory of mind.    

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

324. Garden

Blackberry Blossoms


323. Postscriptum to Entry 321 (The Backlash)

Postscriptum to Entry 321 (The Backlash)
This is one more example, that I often experience thoughts as my own ideas, but others already had them before me.   The loss of originality is the gain of knowing, that there are likeminded people out there.  

I just discovered an article, that has a similar ideas as I wrote in entry 321
Welcome to the New Paleolithic, where tens of thousands of years of human mating practices have swirled into oblivion like shampoo down the shower drain and Cro-Magnons once again drag women by the hair into their caves—and the women love every minute of it. Louts who might as well be clad in bearskins and wielding spears trample over every nicety developed over millennia to mark out a ritual of courtship as a prelude to sex: Not just marriage (that went years ago with the sexual revolution and the mass-marketing of the birth-control pill) or formal dating (the hookup culture finished that)—but amorous preliminaries and other civilities once regarded as elementary, at least among the college-educated classes.