I am a woman born 1949 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.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

661. Comparing Disturbed Characters And Chimpanzees

661.  Comparing Disturbed Characters And Chimpanzees

I already mentioned George Simon before (entries 615, 618 and 629).  After having read his book 'In Sheep's Clothing' with unencumbered fascination, I just finished reading another of his books:  George Simon: Disturbed Characters.  

As far as he describes and analyses disturbed characters, it is also an excellent book.   But it seems that between the two books, he has relapsed into the grasp of religion.  He preaches submission under a god as an important ingredient of his suggested alternative to being a disturbed character.  This is annoying.  
I also disagree with his claim, that there is a free will, which gives people an option to either be a disturbed character or not.    

Two other books already mentioned are:
Martha Stout:  The Sociopath Next Door (entry 137)
Robert Hare:  Without Conscience (entry 160).         

All these books implicitly consider socially acceptable, considerate and responsible behavior as the baseline of what can be expected of all sane humans.   They have no answer, why and due to what reasons disturbed characters are deviant from such an baseline.

I doubt, that the qualities constituting this assumed baseline, are sufficiently frequent to justify this assumption.   With a realistic view at the amount of atrocities regularly forced by beings of the species homo sapiens upon suffering human victims, the ability to live by little or not harming others is only found in a minority.   Only they have the privilege of deserving to be called true humans.   Even they are not born like this but get there only after a long process of maturation and socialization. 

My explanation of disturbed characters is derived from looking at the power of instincts and at different levels of the evolution of cognition and rationality.

1. Human evolution as a process.  
Phase 1: 
There were early ancestors, who just like animals were automatically and fully driven by instinctive urges, which had evolved for optimizing procreation.  Due to lacking any mental capacities for comprehending the consequences of behavior, instinctive behaviors of animals are not at all impacted by any awareness for harming, hurting and suffering.  

Phase 2: 
The cognition started to evolve.   Rudimentary intelligence became a powerful tool supporting and serving instincts.   But instincts still continued to completely determine the entire behavior, including the overall goal of breeding.  
Phase 3:  
The unique human theory of mind evolved.   This capacity of anticipating or evaluating the effects of behavior upon others or upon the own person in the future with the additional help of a memory gives a unique option only to human.    The unique ability to act in defiance of instincts, to override momentary instinctive urges in favor of cognitively preferred alternative behavior is the decisive distinction between humans and animals.    This includes also the unique ability of humans to prefer and decide to not procreate as the result of a cognitive evaluation and perception of the own identity.    Only humans can be childfree by choice.   There are no childfree animals.  

2.  Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees and humans started to evolve separately about 6 million years ago.   Either the common ancestors had at this time already reached the threshold towards phase 2, or chimpanzees continued to evolve at a slower pace in the same direction as humans.   Today's chimpanzees are a good illustration of phase 2.  They show some amazing skills, which nevertheless always serve instinctive goals.  

In entry 648 I presented the chimpanzee Ayumu, who does better than humans on a task requiring fast perception and short term memory, as can be seen in this video:
While Ayumu's abilities are amazing, they yet are only isolated and not connected to any higher cognitive control.  He only does the task, because he is immediately after every run rewarded with a treat.   He cannot apply his talents for any abstract or generalized goal.  

Solving the elaborated and complex task on the screen is not different from the more simple achievement of other chimpanzees using tools to get food as is shown here.

But chimpanzees also kill and are aggressive.

They are even cannibals

Other amazing skills and behaviors have also been observed in chimpanzees, but they have never reached any ability as found in humans in phase 3.  Ultimately the chimpanzees are completely determined by instincts, and all their amazing capacities only support these instincts.    No cognition has evolved, which would enable them to act in defiance to instincts by consideration or empathy.

3.  The evolutionary level of disturbed characters

I think that the human evolution is in a state of transition.   The evolution of instincts has been established millions of years ago, while the cognitive evolution is still continuing.   I see the determination of the behavior as distributed along a bell curve between phase 2 animals at one end and phase 3 humans at the other.   The majority of people are somewhere in the middle.  They are acting by the combined impact of both subconscious instinctive urges and some cognitive control. 

Whenever persons, mostly men, commit atrocities of any kind like murdering, torturing, raping, cannibalism, slavery, they seem puzzling, when compared with what is required and expected from humans.   But if they were instead compared with animals, they would appear as healthy and sane chimpanzees. 

I consider severely character disturbed persons, including those labeled psychopaths and sociopaths, as beings, whose cognitive evolution has relapsed, failed or is delayed and retarded.    In spite of belonging genetically to the species homo sapiens, they are not less animals than are the chimpanzees.   Their cognition only suffices to serve their instincts and to enhance their being a hazard.  But their cognition is insignificant as a determinant of personal goals.    

Chimpanzees use skills to acquire food.  Disturbed characters have a more advanced cognitive knowledge about other human and their behavior, but they use this knowledge also only as a tool.   They succeed to get more than food, they also abuse woman, gain power or pursue other instinctive and selfish goals.   While chimpanzees just lack rationality, these disturbed characters are instead determined not only by instincts but also by irrational beliefs, which serve to excuse and allegedly justify the consequences of instinctive behavior.  

It is a very sad and unfortunate reality, that the survival of the human species depends on the worst and most devastating forces in people, their instincts.   
While the extreme disturbed characters are a hazardous minority, the same instincts are virulent to a lesser degree also in the subconscious mind of the majority of the non or less disturbed people.   This lesser degree of the impact of the same instincts leads to an unfortunate bias towards too much tolerance for and condoning of harming others.  Many damaging behaviors are thus considered as still in the scope of normality, in spite of the extreme suffering of the victims,   Their suffering is not recognized as an outrage, but as unavoidable collateral damage.   

4. Distinguishing animals from humans

It is an unfortunate fallacy, that the distinction between humans and animals has always been only drawn along the genetic borders between species. 
In the christian tradition, humans are believed to be special, because a god allegedly created them to be so, and thus, there is a thinking taboo to reconsider and recognize anyone as an animal, no matter how much he behaves as one. 
In recent times, some people are debating, if there is really any decisive distinction at all. 

But to my knowledge, nobody has ever suggested, that the quality of being human, let alone of being more or less human, is an individual trait of the level of the individual cognitive evolution..
I claim:  To be considered as human requires more than the genes of homo sapiens, it also requires sufficient cognitive control over the instincts.  

This has far reaching implications.  

The concept of a general human dignity and basic human rights can rationally only be valid for humans, it is a fallacy to automatically attribute and assign it to all members of the species homo sapiens.   When someone acts like an animal, he should be treated as one.   An animal with the liberty only suitable for humans is too much of a hazard.    

The home of chimpanzees is in the wild, but in the zoo or lab, they are for good reasons kept in cages.

If extremely disturbed characters would be recognized as animals lacking the basic human capacity of cognitive control, then this could lead to realistic methods of dealing with them.  Once disturbed characters have done serious harm, they should be recognized as animals and treated the same as dangerous chimpanzees.   The need to be protected against becoming a victim is independent of the species of the animals, which are dangerous predators.

The innate predisposition for instinctive or cognitive determination is not carved in stone, but malleable by education and social influences.    Socialization can enhance the cognitive control over instincts, when there is something to enhance.   When there is no rationality and cognition as a constituent personality trait, then no upbringing can convert an animal into a human, no matter the genetic species.   

All children start as instinct driven beings, they need socialization to develop the capacity to use cognitive control, when this talent is innate.    
When a chimpanzee is raised like a child, as in the tragic case of Moe, this does not stop him from biting off someone's finger.  
I doubt, that a completely instinct determined disturbed character could ever become more human than Moe, no matter the quality of education.   Such a child may not bite off fingers, but bully other kids instead, before committing worse atrocities as an adult.    

Any person is entitled to be given the benefit of the doubt to be human, until he behaves like an animal and thus demonstrates, that he is an animal.   Committing atrocities as an animal forfeits the privileges reserved to humans.  Treating and considering an animal nevertheless as if he were human is an unjustifiable slap into the face to his victim(s).  

4.  The brain

Brains scans have shown differences between the brains of psychopaths and those of non-psychopaths.  

"So, once again there’s some convincing evidence that the brains of psychopaths not only work very differently from those of non-psychopathic individuals, but also may even be ‘wired’ differently than most human brains."

I wonder, what would be discovered, if the brains of psychopaths were compared with the brains of chimpanzees.