Posts Tagged ‘group’

About Darwin’s Superorganism

Saturday, May 8th, 2010
Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin

Many people believe that the theory of Evolution is based on the concept of competition. They believe that every gene, every cell, and every organism is designed to promote its own evolutionary success at the expense of others.

The big problem with this concept is that it does not explain the enormous amount of cooperation that is visible in Nature.

Atoms cooperate in Molecules. Molecules cooperate in Genes. Genes cooperate in Chromosomes. Chromosomes cooperate in eukaryoticcells. Cells cooperate in Multicellular Organisms. Multi Cellular Organisms cooperate in Humans. Humans cooperate in Families and Tribes and Families and Tribes cooperate in Organizations and Nations.

The question of how natural selectioncan lead to cooperative behavior or reciprocal altruism has fascinated evolutionarybiologists for several decades.

When Charles Darwin was writing his famous book the Descent of Man (1871) he was already highly puzzled by the social structures of the ants. Their cooperative behavior was “one special difficulty, which at first appeared to me insuperable, and actually fatal to my theory”.

To solve his problem Darwin proposed that in the case of ant societies natural selection applies not to the individual, but to the family or group. The ants were part of a “Super-Organism”, that consists of genetically similar individuals.

Although many individuals showed altruistic behavior in the group the “genetic code” was replicated because the individuals in the group were all “look alikes”. The Ants were “the Same” (Similar) and therefore every Ant that survived promoted the Genes of the Community.

To explain his theory Darwin wrote ‘sympathy is directed solely towards members of the same community, and therefore towards known, and more or less loved members, but not all the individuals of the same species’.

Darwin’s Theory of Group Selection was  later transformed into the theories of Genetic Kin Selection, Group Selection and the Genetic Similarity Theory. There is dramatic evidence that plants, animals and humans detect and act on genetic similarity.

For humans, both Spouses and best Friends are most similar on attributes with higher heritability.  People join clubs and societies that contain similar people and adopt ideologies that work in their genetic selfinterest. Genetic similarity also explains voting behaviour.

The Human Detection Center of Genetic Similarity is situated  in  the amygdala a part of the Limbic Brain System that is involved in Fear and Arousal.  The Amygdala activates the Sympathetic Nervous System responsible for the fight/flight-response of the Body. It prepares the body to get into action.

The recognition of another person depends on a long series of fast electrophysiological and slow biochemical reactions to the stimuli particular to that person or situation. These stimuli include seeing the other person’s face, hearing his voice, feeling his touch, and smelling his personal odors.

The reaction patterns of Humans to a fearfull situation are different. Some people, the Hawks, re-act very fast. They Fight and Compete. Some people, the Doves, re-act very slow. They Freeze, Flight or  Cooperate.

To find the appropriate reaction-pattern every one of our senses works hard to identify “the other” or “the others“. The detection of “dangerous others” has to happen very fast. This is the task of the electrophysiological pathways.

A fast detection is unreliable therefore a second “slow” cognitive pathway is started. In the cortex the frightening stimulus is analyzed in detail, using stored information from many parts of the brain, and a message is sent back down to the amygdala.

To detect stimuli that are really dangerous the amygdala uses a memory. This memory contains learned and inherited, imprinted, situations. The imprinted situations are highly related to the detection of genetic similarity.

If an animal or a human is frequently attacked the memory contains many Painfull Situations and the amygdala reacts more specific to a situation. The older a person gets the more difficult it becomes to erase this memory.

If people or animals are unable to make a distinction between their Own Whole and the Whole of the Others it will result in a Blurring of the Identity. The Whole of the Observer Merges or Overlaps with the Whole of the Observed. If this happens people act in a “friendly“, Emphatic,  mode and experience others as more “the same” than others do.

A Cooperative Strategy is highly related to the possibility of the Cognitive Part of the Human Detection-System to Move into the Other and Imagine what will Happen. The Hawks lack the ability to Imagine.

The most interesting concept that came out of Darwins Group Selection Theory is the Idea of the Super-Organism.

This Super Organism shows itself in many ways. Examples are the Family, the Tribe, Society and the Earth.

There is a similarity between the roles played by different organizations in Society and the functions of organs, systems and circuits in the body.

Industrial plants extract energy and building blocks from raw materials, just like the digestive system. Roads, railways and waterways transport these products from one part of the system to another one, just like the arteries and veins. Garbage dumps and sewage systems collect waste products, just like the colon and the bladder. The army and police protect the society against invaders and rogue elements, just like the immune system.

If we take the concept of the Super Organism a little bit further we could imagine the Super-Super-Super-Organism that contains all the other Organisms.  In some way every Organism is Genetically Similar (“the Same“) to this Organism.

If this is true and the Theory of Group Selection is Right every Organism is an enfolding of the “Architecture of the Whole“, the Tree of Life,  and a Majority of the Organisms (the Doves) will have an Altruistic Tendency to this Super-Organism.

The Doves Love, want to Unite With,  the Whole and the Hawks dislike the Whole because they want to be a Whole themselves.

Some Scientists call the Super Organism, Gaia,  Mother Earth, but there is no reason why we should not include the Bigger Structures in the Universe until we have reached the Boundary.

On every Level the Same Pattern appears.

On every level the Whole is splitted into Individual Parts. The parts  live a Life of their own (Agency). When we Move UP the Parts are United (Communion)  into a Bigger Structure.

When we look DOWN we interpret the proces of Splitting as a Competition. When we look UP we see a different pattern we Name “Cooperation“.

If we look at the history of the splitting process it looks like the wholes were splitted without any reason. It just happened. If we believe this Evolution is based on pure chance. Life is just a coincedence.

When we analyze the process of Evolution a Pattern emerges. This pattern is Cyclic, Leveled and Self-Referential. The process is almost invisible because with every Name we Utter we carve out a portion of the world and create a Boundary.

Every Time we Divide the World with Words the World becomes more complicated. Every New Concept that is not created without a View on the Pattern of the Whole generates a higher level of Confusion and increases the Complexity of Something that is really very Simple.

We create distinctions between Animals and Humans, Humans and Plants because the Hawkish Genes Want Us to Believe We Are Something Special.

Because of their Special Status the Hawks treat their fellow organisms in a very brutal way. They Exploit (Desire) them because of their Need to Control their Environment. They want to Control their Environment  because they are Afraid to lose Control. They are Afraid that their Identity (Their Ego, Their Agency, Their Whole) will disappear when they Commune with the Whole.

The Effect of the Behavior of the Hawks is the Destruction of the Environment that they Fear so Much. They are destroying their own Mother Earth who is certainly one of the Super Organisms that gave birth to the many wholes that are just there to Enjoy her Care.

The big problem we have is Naming. What we don’t see or don’t want to see is that every Split is a Split in two Opposite Complementary Parts (Yin/not-Yin= Yang, Male/not-Male = Female, Cooperate/not-Cooperate = Compete) that Share  the Void, the Empty Set, the State the Universe was in before it was created.

On every level the Nothing, the State of Infinite Potential and Love,  is still there but it is hidden because we started to use Words, to describe what meant to be an Experience.

This brings us to the final conclusion.

The big problem that is treatening Mother Earth is Hawkish Behavior. In the long term this kind of behavior is not helping the Human Gene at all. It not only destroys  the Human Gene. It destroys  the complete group of genetic “Look-a-Likes” of the Human Gene.

Darwin was Right.

Altruistic Behavior, Cooperation,  is the Only Way for the (Human) Genes to Survive.

Let us Help the Hawks to Erase their Fearfull Memories.

LINKS

About Genetic Similarity Theory and the Cyclic Universe

About Ethics and Genetic Similarity Theory

Edward O. Wilson: A video about the Super Organism

About the role of the Amygdala

A discussion about Morality and the Superorganism

A Mathematical Model that Explains the Evolution of Cooperation

Why Non-Cooperative Humans (Hawks) always Win and Cooperative Humans (Doves) always Lose

An Article in American Scientist about the Superorganism

How Multicellar Organisms cooperate in Humans

How the Void is able to cure Addiction

The Social Effects of Genetic Similarity

Genetic Similarity in Mate Choice and Friendship in Twins

Wittgenstein about Families and Language

An Article in Wired About the Super Organism

About the Super Organism and Systems Theory

About the problem of Naming and Dividing

About the Void

About Addiction & Burn-Out

Monday, July 6th, 2009

addiction2

When you are highly dependent on something, you are addicted to this something.

You can be addicted to chemical substances like Alcohol, Nicotine and Drugs but it is also possible to Addict to the feeling of Power, a Concept (Dialogues, Cycles), an Activity (Work (Burn-Out), Gambling, Sex, Games), an Emotion (Extacy, Power, Sadness), a Person (Being in Love) or a Group (A Sect).

This Blogs shows you what an Addiction really is about and how you can get rid of an Addiction.

In 2000 I became involved in all kinds of projects to Prevent People from Addiction (including Work-addiction, Burn-Out). To prevent addiction you have to start when people are young.

Young people are very dependent on (addicted to) others. When they are very young their parents are dominant but later and certainly when puberty starts young people are heavily influenced by their peers (peer pressure).

To help Young Adults to resist Peer Pressure we developed a Story Based Game that Simulated Real Life Situations. The Real Life Situations were found by interviewing (Depth Interview) Young and Old People that were able to stop their Addictive behavior.

The Whole Idea about this project called, Virtual Enjoyment, was that people Learn from their Mistakes. They share these experiences with others (Friends, Family) by Story-Telling.

The project was aimed at sharing these failures (and their solutions) with everybody. A very good example of this approach is the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). The main feature of the System we developed was an Automated Story-Teller (A Simulator).

Later the same approach was used to help people that were Out-of-Work because of Work-Addiction (Burn-Out).

Children are for 50% determinated by their genes. The genes contain many factors that influence the ability to addict to something. A huge percentage of the human race is unable to use alcohol so they will never get addicted to this chemical substance. The other 50% is related to the Social Context they live in.

According to Judith Harris the Emotions contain three different modules for collecting and responding to information from the Social Environment, the Socialisation System, the Status System and the Relationship System.

The Socialisation system Adapts the child to his or her Culture. This involves acquiring the local language and accent, the appropriate behaviours and customs, and the prevailing attitudes and Belief-Systems.

Peer Group

Peer Group

The purpose of the Status system is to enable children to Compete successfully with their Peers.

The Relationship System motivates us to form new relationships, to maintain existing ones if they’re going well, and to find out as much as we can about new people we meet. It contains the Relationship Patterns of the Parents.

The majority of young adults want to be part of a group (a Tribe). They do almost everything that is necessary to make this happen. Some of these tribes are dominated by a small group, the bullies.

The leaders use all kinds of rituals to make sure that their dominant position is not at stake. When you want to become and to stay part of the tribe you have to show that you are not an asshole.

One of the ways to show is the intake of an excessive amount of alcohol and/or other drugs (Binge drinking).

Binge Drinking

Binge Drinking is the Nordic Way of taking alcohol and is controlled by Peer Pressure. To become and stay part of the group you have to prove you are capable of exceeding the limits.

It is very clear that one of the effective ways to avoid addiction is to help young people to resist Dominant Peer Pressure.

To make this happen they have to Learn to Accept Themselves As They Really Are.

The Personal Power to Resist Peer Pressure is highly related to the way parents Raise their Children. Humans are Copiers and one of the most important periods of copying is early childhood. In this period children copy the Relationship-Patterns of the Parents.

When the relation of the parents is a Dominant Relationship (Master/Slave) young adults are easily manipulated by others or manipulate others. A Dominant Relationship-pattern is sadly enough propagated from the Parents to the Children. Dominant Fathers breed Dominant Suns who Marry Dependent Females.

Addictions are highly Cultural Dependent. When you live in a state dominated by Muslim Culture, drinking alcohol is strictly forbidden. Binge Drinking is a normal activity in the Northern Countries (Sweden, Norway).

Moderate drinking of alcohol (mostly Wine) occurs in the Southern Countries of Europe (France, Spain, Italy,). In this case the drinking of alcohol is part of a Social Activity.

In the Italian Culture Alcohol is related to Food

In the Italian Culture Alcohol is related to Food and excessive intake is prohibited by the Social System

When you are Addicted you are Repeating a Harmful Pattern. This pattern was started somewhere in your life. It was copied from your Parents or copied when you were part of a Peer Group (A Status Group).

When a Pattern is not Accepted in a Culture it is very difficult to Start the Pattern.

When a Pattern is a Cultural Accepted Habit (a Status) it is very difficult to get rid of this pattern.

When the Body produces Negative Physical Sensations (Withdrawal) it is very difficult to stop a pattern.

What is Happening?

In the Beginning the Universe was just a Rotating Void. Suddenly the Void was Penetrated by the Force of Creativity, The Spirit. The Explosion of Creativity started a phase of Expansion and Desire came into existence.

Soon Desire was compensated by Control (Contraction) to makes sure that the Expansion would stop at a certain moment. That is why Control and Desire are Opponents.

In the last step of the first step of Creation Control (the Father) and Desire (the Mother) were Merged and the Emotions (The Child) were created.

In the First Step of Creation a Stable Pattern, the Trinity, came into existence. The Trinity is the Enfolding of Spirit and contains Desire, Control and the Emotions (Soul). The Trinity is the basic Fractal Pattern of the Universe. With the Help of the Trinity-Fractal, Spirit has enfolded itself into many levels.

The Force of Creativity wants to find out about everything. Especially young adults are therefore highly interested in drugs because they are forbidden and the forbidden has a huge attraction to young people. They want and have to find the Limits in Life.

Control stimulates Desire and Desire stimulates Control. When Others try to Control Desire, Desire is stimulated to the Extreme. Desire and Control can only be balanced by the Emotions. The Emotions, the Child, are looking for Shelter and Love.

When Love (Communion) is not happening or impossible because people are unable to connect, Control and Desire are in Control and and start their Eternal Fight to avoid the Void. When this happens the Contact with Spirit is Lost.

When you are no longer in Control of Desire, and when your Happiness depends on something Outside yourself, you are Addicted. When Desire takes over Control you are caught in a Rotating Addiction Pattern, The Cycle of Destruction.

The Highly Positive Emotions of Desire (Pleasure) are Voided by the Highly Negative Emotions of Control (Pain, Fear). To stop these Negative Emotions you need the Next Shot to Experience the Positive Emotions of Desire. This is called the Opponent Process Theory of Solomon.

The Emotions, are the Balancer of the Body. They always Take Care of the Body and will find a new Equilibrium. They start to compensate the negative effects. In this case the Body becomes Tolerant to the drug and needs more to get the same effect. The Downward Spiral of Addiction is on the Move. This is called the Allostatic Model of Koob.

What to Do?

When you are Addicted to Alcohol, Work or Power you have to find an e-Motivation (an Impuls from the Emotions, the CareTaker) to Stop the Pattern.

You could ask Spirit to help You.

When you Stop it will take a long time before you are Back to Normal. In this time the Downward Spiral is moving Up but the Negative Emotions will come back.The Negative Emotions, the Pain-Body, are the Negative Emotions of Control.

Control Fears the Future and has a very Nice Story to tell. It wants to convince you that the Drug is the Best Solution to Avoid the Pain. Just take a little bit and You will be Happy Again.

At a certain moment the contact with Spirit is established again. When this happens You will feel the Penetrating Power of the Creative Force. You will start to Explore the World and New Opportunities will show themselves every day.

The Emotion of Spirit, The Joy of Life, you Missed so long is back.

Enjoy.

LINKS

About the Project Virtual Enjoyment

Een Boek over het project Virtueel Genieten (in Dutch)

Het Projectplan Virtueel Genieten Fase 3 (in Dutch)

About Alcoholics Anonymous

About the Master/Slave-relationship

About the Human Social Context, Judith Harris

How to Manipulate Adults by Peer Pressure

Why Peer Groups are very important in the Development of Children, by Judith Harris

About Disconnected Children

About Dominant (Strict) Parents

About the Opponent Process Theory of Addiction of Solomon

About the Allostatic Model of Koob