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  • hardie karges 11:24 am on June 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , evolutionary psychology   

    Buddhism and the Myth of the Alpha Male… 

    Buddhism is a peaceful reaction to an aggressive world. And that is the beauty of it, of course, the fact that some 2500 years ago, situations were such that the increasing aggressivity of the world was obvious, and remedies would certainly need to be taken, better sooner than later, even if the worst were yet to come.

    Because the paradigms are timeless, the aggressivity of men, in their quest to subdue nature to their needs of reproduction and nutrition and survival. So we worship the Alpha male as if there no other choice. But there is. That was then. This is now. The Alpha male is no longer ‘naturally selected’ for evolution the minute that women say ‘no’ and the other males say ‘me, too’. And that is that.

    Cultural evolution trumps the biological survival of the fattest, and history proceeds on a more equal footing. But it was always cultural, wasn’t it? Even in the ranks of the ‘lesser animals’ the myth of the alpha male only rules to the extent that others are unwilling to step up to the fight, and to train themselves for it. But the fight is the problem, now, isn’t it?

    Because fights are destructive, by definition, and many people are unwilling to submit to that, even when it means a possible increase to their dignity. And dignity is more than ego. Dignity is the inherent sense of self-worth that makes life worth living and fights worth fighting, even when they ultimately must be replaced by a better system of discourse.

    Are we ‘psychologically evolved’ for a system that no longer is viable in a world soon to be ten billion souls? The question is circular, because natural selection cannot predict. Natural selection can only rationalize the past. Only free will can create the future, even if none of us are truly and absolutely free.

    Use the illusion. And it doesn’t matter to me if we move backwards into that future with an eye to inclusion, rather than slashing and burning our way into that future with no reference to the past and its by-products, which includes most of the population of this world. Ten billion people slashing and burning will not a better world create, but only with careful and cautious movements designed for long-term sustenance, if not unrealistic permanence.

    Our mistakes are the raw material of evolution, random mutations not a superior product in itself, but the clay from which a better piece of pottery will emerge, whether by conscious design or brilliant mistake. And that is what Buddhism does, suggesting a middle way between aggression and escape, being and nothingness. A better world awaits, neither north, south, east or west, but somewhere deep inside…

     
  • hardie karges 10:51 am on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , evolutionary psychology, , ,   

    Buddhism and the Power of Silence… 

    Many of the world’s problems might vanish if certain people could only learn the power of silence, blessed emptiness. And by silence, of course, I mean self-silence, to the extent that ‘self’ refers to something largely indefinable, but we all know what to do with it, and in this case, as in many cases, the thing to do is simply STFU. Because we are indoctrinated in the arts of debate from childhood here in the Europe-descended West, and so imagine that this is the natural way to be, chomping at the bit, and foaming at the mouth, all for a chance to assert our rights to pre-eminence, and if we’re lucky, maybe even monopolize the deep end of the gene pool. But to pretend that this is normal is where the hubris and the ultimate fraud come to play, simply because violence and arrogance are choices, just as is silence, and ultimately rewarded by behavior, of others, in that everyone has a right to decide whether the behavior they witness is conducive to their cooperation, or not, and so the ultimate submission to power, or not. But the only way to ‘speak truth to power’ is to have other options than reliance upon that source of power for any perceived benefits, whether real or simply imagined, and ultimately the spread of genes, which will heavily determine whether this behavior is repeated indefinitely and infinitely into the distant future, or not. And this is where evolutionary psychology kicks in, because these patterns become ingrained across the generations, and will continue to haunt us far beyond the present circumstances of power’s abuse, whenever and wherever it perceives there to be a vacuum, and thus an opportunity. For ‘Type-A’ male behavior may exist across the range of species, but only humans, and chimpanzees, actually go to war over it. For all others it’s simply the gratification of the urge to merge, and the will for thrill, as the also-rans look on in envy. Human consciousness is capable of changing all that, though, the self-correcting addendum to the will to warfare, an instinct for survival, and the ability to see futures where no clear paths yet exist. And that is the path of silence, now that we have run amok for so many years now, stuffing ourselves on so many unearned rewards, far beyond what is necessary to survive and reproduce. So we over-produced, and now it comes back to haunt us, when the main causes of death are obesity and suicide. We need to relearn how to simply survive. Buddha to his credit discovered this some 2500 years ago, from the twilight’s first gleamings, as the age of cities took hold, and the potential for disaster became obvious. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is another way, the path of non-aggression, and non-cooperation with tyrants. Our silence is our ultimate act of freedom. Whether Homo Sapiens will be a successful species is uncertain still, yet anybody’s guess, and everybody’s choice…

     
    • Tim 3:29 am on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      It is the 70th anniversary of George Orwell … there is some interesting discussions on the disillusionment he had in his engagement with the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. The obsession with not only leftist doctrine but ‘my leftist doctrine’ saw multiple fault lines run through the opposition to the rise of fascism. I find myself withdrawing from political activism for the same reasons … finding my radical voice lost in so many contemporary provisos and caveats … but is silence the answer? But I think that you do not refer to this sort of silence? Perhaps the silence is a listening silence … one that tries to understand, through listening intently, from whence the provisos and caveats emerge … and why.

      • hardie karges 5:02 am on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Yes it’s a bit of a conundrum, how to maintain a noble silence when the world is clamoring for details and opinions, especially when one’s own well-being is being threatened in the process, whether real or imagined. So there is no absolute mandate for it, but I do believe that it is best in many situations, not least of all meditation…

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