‘On knowing what you are not supposed to know and feeling what you are not supposed to feel’

You might visit this website because you know things you are not supposed to know and you feel things you are not supposed to feel.

If so, welcome!

Attachment expert Heidi Priebe says in this April 6, 2024 video titled “Good/Beautiful/True: Healing Your Self-Esteem As The Family Scapegoat”: “If you could be responsible for someone’s misery, you have the power to make someone perfectly happy… You are not a god who has the power to fix other people’s dysfunction, trauma and misery.”

A nation is an extended family and Priebe’s dissection of the personal also applies to the social.

Most people don’t care about out-groups. Americans, for example, primarily care about Americans and the Japanese care primarily about Japanese and Australians care primarily about Australians, but if you say publicly what you honestly feel in your heart — that you don’t care about the suffering of out-groups — you will be hurt.

CNN reported Jan. 18, 2022:

Golden State Warriors distance themselves from team investor who said: ‘Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs’

The Golden State Warriors have distanced themselves from comments made by Chamath Palihapitiya, a part owner who said that “nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs.”

Palihapitiya made the comment on the “All-in Podcast” on Saturday, after co-host Jason Calacanis brought up US President Joe Biden’s “very strong” stance on the alleged human rights abuses faced by the Uyghur minority in China.

“Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay? You bring it up because you really care, and I think it’s nice that you care, the rest of us don’t care,” Palihapitiya said, while Calacanis reacted in surprise.

“I’m just telling you…a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things I care about, yes, it is below my line.”

Co-host David Sacks said the average person would care when the topic is presented to them, but Palihapitiya continued: “I care about the fact that our economy could turn on a dime if China invades Taiwan … I care about climate change … I care about America’s crippling and decrepit health care infrastructure.

“But if you’re asking me: ‘Do I care about a segment of a class of people in another country?’ Not until we can take care of ourselves, will I prioritize them over us.”

The 45-year-old billionaire investor also said that the concept of sustaining human rights globally is a “luxury belief.”

“We don’t do enough domestically to actually express that view in real, tangible ways,” he said. “So until we actually clean up our own house, the idea that we step outside of our borders … about somebody else’s human rights track record, is deplorable.”

In a statement to CNN on Monday, the Warriors distanced themselves from Palihapitiya’s comments: “As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization.”

People with high in-group loyalty definitionally have intense feelings about the victimization of their in-group and consequently will have negative feelings about out-groups. Many blacks and gays, for example, will want to primarily associate only with those who empathize with their history of persecution.

On the other hand, white male American Christians might feel social pressure to apologize for their history and to give up resources to heal the dysfunction, trauma and misery of less successful groups. That’s never going to happen. No group has the power to fix the dysfunction, trauma and misery of other groups.

Unfortunately, while individuals and groups have the power to destroy other individuals and groups, they don’t have the power to repair them. Parents can ruin certain kids with abuse but they don’t have the power to fix them.

Priebe’s video focuses on “anyone growing up in a dysfunctional family system.” That’s us. We all grow up in families that have dysfunction (patterns of reacting to stimuli that are maladaptive) and then we go into the wider world that also has dysfunctions (for example, since the end of the Cold War, America has tried to impose liberalism on countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq). So what happens when we tell inconvenient truths? We pay a price. America’s leading International Relations expert John Mearsheimer is effectively shut out of the mainstream media and the halls of power.

All communities penalize people for saying things that violate their hero systems (see the examples of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange). No hardcore religious community will be at ease with its members questioning its foundational principles. Christians are not going to be down with their fellow Christians questioning the divinity of Jesus, Orthodox Jews won’t enjoy hearing from other Orthodox Jews that the Torah is a post-Mosaic composite work, and Muslims will not appreciate other Muslims noting the Quoran is a flawed human work.

There’s never been a society where you did not pay a price for saying things that tarnish the sacred. In religious communities, you can’t point out inconvenient arguments (John Calvin had Michael Servetus put to death for questioning the doctrine of the Trinity, my father Desmond Ford had his ministerial credentials revoked by the Seventh-Day Adventist church for heresy), and in secular communities, you can’t point out inconvenient arguments (depending up on your orientation, you might point to the trials and tribulations of polemicist Norman Finkelstein and his enemy Alan Dershowitz as well as philosopher Nathan Cofnas and legal scholar Amy Wax).

Powerful people in the foreign policy establishment of the United States and the United Kingdom believe that our present policies supporting Ukraine and Israel are a disaster but they fear speaking up.

London commentator and former barrister Alexander Mercouris said March 16, 2024 on his Youtube show: “None of these people are prepared to come forward. It is a failure of imagination and of courage.”

Guest John Mearsheimer agreed. “It’s hard to disagree. Let’s move away from the governments of these various countries in Europe and the United States, if you look at the public discourse about Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East, the West’s foreign policy, there is unanimity among the commentators… In the run up to the Iraq war [in 2003], there was huge opposition for good reason. There’s this groupthink present today at the elite level inside governments and inside the mainstream media and in the foreign policy establishments that is stunning. Anybody who talks about changing anything gets tarred and feather.”

Norwegian political scientist Glenn Diesen: “The problem goes beyond governments. The public discourse has changed. All the language today is expressed in morality. All policies are framed in terms of the good fight and if you don’t agree, you have bad intentions… As long as we [opponents of Western foreign policy] are all evil, there’s no moderation.”

John Mearsheimer: “As the situation deteriorates, you jack up the rhetoric because you are desperate to keep people on board.”

That sounds to me like a dysfunctional family trying to keep up appearances while heading in a self-destructive direction.

Heidi Priebe said: “Particularly those who are more in touch with the truth of what is happening inside of that system. You know things you are not supposed to know, meaning that you know things that you know would get you in trouble or reprimanded for knowing.”

Haven’t we all been part of families and communities where you know things you are not supposed to know (such as affairs, deception, and false appearances)?

Priebe’s analysis applies to famous heretics such as Martin Luther, Galileo, and, depending on your hero system, moderns such as Steve Sailer, Charles Murray and Nathan Cofnas.

Heidi: “We’re going to talk today about those who grew up as the family scapegoat.”

Everybody knows what it is like to be scapegoated for the failures of others, even conservatives.

Rony Guldmann writes in his work in progress Conservative Claims of Cultural Oppression: The Nature and Origins of Conservaphobia:

* Conservatives have thus become the hated Other of liberalism, despised as uniquely parochial, exclusionary, thoughtless, fantasy-prone, and mean-spirited. They are modern-day scapegoats, convenient repositories for liberals’ own sins, the one stubborn obstacle standing in the way of the liberal utopia that their final defeat would usher.

* Conservatives are the new socially sanctioned scapegoats, foils upon which liberals project every social ill and externalize every psychic conflict, rationalizing their projections with an aura of moral high-mindedness to sugarcoat their visceral animus.

* “Religion must be kept under wraps,” observes [Michael] McConnell. The exclusion is the predictable consequence of liberals’ ingrained contempt for religious traditionalists, the new pariahs and scapegoats.

* If earlier dispensations succeeded in projecting vice and sinfulness onto blacks, Jews, women, Gypsies, and assorted infidels, then the new regime of liberalism has merely seized upon conservatism and conservatives as the new target. This is not how liberals see themselves, of course. But their “science,” “reason,” and “progress” are merely ideological stratagems with which to legitimate this new “enlightened” scapegoating.

* [John] Jost’s assessments have become the conventional wisdom of “educated people,” who can now disguise their conservaphobia as “theoretical and empirical considerations.” The Jost study and others like it are merely high-tech scapegoating rituals supervised by the high priests of liberalism, the liberal elites, who are charged with keeping conservatives down.

* The white male, writes Goldberg, is “the Jew of liberal fascism.”37The white male is not being led to the gas chambers, of course. But attacking him affords liberals with the same psychological satisfactions that anti-Semitism afforded Nazis. Just like the Jew, the white male is excoriated as the scourge of all that is good, true, and beautiful, the bearer of illegitimate privileges, someone whose all-pervasive social, political, and cultural influence must be exposed and curtailed for the public good—precisely the mission adopted by liberals.

* The vice of conservatives is scapegoating, but the vice of liberals is reverse-scapegoating. If conservatives single out certain groups to saddle with responsibility for society’s ills, then liberals single out certain groups as repositories of special moral capital. In doing so, they create scapegoats-by-default, which is anyone who opposes these judgments.

“On knowing what you are not supposed to know and feeling what you are not supposed to feel” is a chapter in psychiatrist John Bowlby‘s book A Secure Base. Its wisdom not only applies to attachment theory, it also fits the experiences of dissidents.

Conservatives, for example, generally see the transgendered as mentally ill. That’s a point of view that is largely banned on the biggest social media platforms. If conservatives say these things at work, they can be fired. Conservatives generally view the troubles within minority communities as primarily the responsibility of those minority communities. This can get them tarred as racist.

In their 2014 book The Outrage Industry: Political Opinion Media and the New Incivility from Oxford University Press, academics Jeffrey M. Berry and Sarah Sobieraj note:

[C]onservatives take a greater social risk (or perceive that they do) when engaging in public political discussion than moderates or progressives… The experience of being perceived as racist loomed large in the minds of conservative fans… What makes accusations of racism so upsetting for respondents is that racism is socially stigmatized, but also that they feel powerless to defend themselves once the specter is raised.

What if you know things, such as that different groups have different gifts, that you can’t say out loud? Are you supposed to publicly buy into the egalitarian thesis that everybody is born with the same capability? What if you believe things that are not socially acceptable? What if you are mad that your group suffered horribly at the hands of another group? What if you know that your group has incompatible interests with other groups?

What if you know that salvation is only through faith in Jesus Christ? How are you going to feel about those who don’t have that faith? What if you know that marriage is only between a man and a woman? How are you supposed to feel about same-sex marriage? What if you know that the military is a heterosexual institution? How are you supposed to feel about gay inclusion?

What if you know that your religion is true? How are you supposed to feel about other religions?

Heidi: “If we are disconnected from truth, it is going to be challenging to fulfill our purpose. If we are not fulfilling our purpose, we are not going to be showing up as whole beings. And if we are not showing up from a state of wholeness, it is going to be hard to attract others towards us in a way that is authentic. Those who played the role of the family scapegoat internalized something not true about themselves, that the core of their identity is that they are a bad person, and that they are wholly to blame for the pain and suffering of the people around them. When they go out into the world to try to self-actualize and grow into their adult identity based on that core belief that I am broken and bad and I ruin people’s lives without understanding how, they might be drawn toward situations that are not healthy because they believe they are defective. The way we show up in the world, the way we present ourselves to others, the way we speak, the way we hold ourselves, is all contingent upon who we believe ourselves to be at the core. For the family scapegoat, having internalized all of those negative beliefs about the self bleeds into all of the actions they take later in life and the way they present themselves to the world until they realize that some of the things they have internalized about themselves is fundamentally not true. That’s where the healing process starts.”

Does not this psychological analysis also apply to people with unpopular beliefs about reality?

Priebe: “If you grew up in the family scapegoat role, you may have grown up believing that many or all of my feelings are crazy and have no basis in reality and/or are indicative of me being a bad person. Any time that I want something, I am selfish, or any time that I feel anger it is proof that I am bad. There is something inherently wrong that I experience certain feelings even if I don’t express them.”

What if you experience feelings that various civil rights law squash your humanity and your desire to favor your in-group over out-groups? For example, a grandma may want to only rent out a spare room to somebody in a certain group, or a start-up may only want to hire a certain demographic to promote group cohesion.

Priebe: “You might start feeling that your pain is not real and that any time you experience pain or express pain, you are being over-dramatic.”

I don’t doubt that Palestinians and their supporters feel genuine pain about their group’s suffering.

Priebe: “You might believe that any time something goes wrong in a relationship, it is your fault. It must be your fault if somebody else is upset with you.”

I suspect that many gays growing up in a heteronormative society felt that there was something wrong with them.

Priebe: “You might have internalized the belief that the truth always hurts people. Growing up in a dysfunctional family unit, you probably learned that if I tell other people how dysfunctional my family is, it’s going to deeply hurt my family.”

Polish poet Czesław Miłosz wrote that “when a writer is born into a family, the family is finished.”

Priebe: “You may have internalized this belief that love means keeping other people’s secrets including secrets about how they are behaving towards you.”

“The energy of desire, wanting something that we don’t have, is not inherently selfish. There are more pro-social and anti-social ways of pursuing our desires.”

“All feelings we experience are true by virtue that they are happening. When we put judgment terms on top of emotions, we get into murky territory.”

“You get closer to the truth when you give all of feelings the appropriate name [by] looking at our feelings as raw sensations rather than as judgments. The second step is also to give our coping mechanisms the accurate name.”

The high crime rate in certain black communities in desirable real estate such as central Los Angeles might function to keep out white gentrifiers. Other oppressed minorities might become adept at cheating the system when they feel the system is cheating them. These are coping mechanisms. When they are understood, they can be changed when the situation changes because an adaptive strategy in one situation becomes maladaptive in another situation.

As a child, I became adept at lying to avoid physical punishment. Unfortunately, I carried on the habit in new situations where my reflexive deceit did not serve me.

Priebe: “Instead of looking at our lives as I developed this addiction or I behaved this way in romantic relationships or I chose this path considered dishonorable, we want to look at these things as compensative mechanisms for healthy functioning. When we are not in touch with the truth and when the goodness in us is not nurtured, we become chronically dysregulated. If we are chronically told by the people whose care we are in that there is something wrong with us and that we are morally bad people, we are going to need to go to extremes to comfort ourselves.”

This helps to explain outrage at oppression. Many people believe that most of their country’s institutions are in the hands of those who despise them. Many blacks, women, Christians and conservatives feel this way.

Guldmann wrote:

* The gay rights movement seeks not to uproot prejudices but to mold sensibilities. It promotes not freedom of conscience for all but mind control by some. Limbaugh charges that gay activists want “to systematically normalize the homosexual culture and demonize any who obstruct such efforts.”

* Disney World decided to discontinue its “twenty-eight-year tradition of making on-site religious services available to Christian guests” at the same time as it “went out of its way to solicit the homosexual community, even having an annual ‘Gay Day’ event every year.” Where liberals see the arbitrary juxtaposition of two unrelated developments each of which can be assessed independently of the other, the claimants see varied manifestations of the same basic phenomenon, the supplanting of their moral traditionalism by ultra-liberalism, whose support for gays is inextricably bound up with its hostility toward Christians.

* Given that their anti-gay stances cannot be disentangled from their religion and that their religion cannot be disentangled from their identities, the claimants believe that both homosexuality and opposition to homosexuality are entitled to equal respect. For opposition to Christianity is just as intrinsic to homosexuality as opposition to homosexuality is intrinsic to Christianity. Both can devolve into bare antipathy and should be condemned in those instances. But neither is as such intrinsically more hateful than the other. Since the heartfelt defense of any worldview always risks devolving into personal animus toward the opponents of that worldview, the charge of widespread homophobia is itself a form of animus, a kind of conservaphobia, because the objective is to specifically associate religious conservatives with what is a regrettable human universal.

* Justice Scalia observes: “When the Court takes sides in the culture wars, it tends to be with the knights rather than the villains – and more specifically with the Templars, reflecting the views and values of the lawyer class from which the Court’s Members are drawn. How that class feels about homosexuality will be evident to anyone who wishes to interview job applicants at virtually any of the Nation’s law schools. The interviewer may refuse to offer a job because the applicant is a Republican; because he is an adulterer; because he went to the wrong prep school or belongs to the wrong country club; because he eats snails; because he is a womanizer; because she wears real-animal fur; or even because he hates the Chicago Cubs. But if the interviewer should wish not to be an associate or partner of an applicant because he disapproves of the applicant’s homosexuality, then he will have violated the pledge which the Association of American Law Schools requires all its member-schools to exact from job interviewers: “assurance of the employer’s willingness” to hire homosexuals…..This law-school view of what “prejudices” must be stamped out may be contrasted with the more plebeian attitudes that apparently still prevail in the United States Congress, which has been unresponsive to repeated attempts to extend to homosexuals the protections of federal civil rights laws…”

* The Templars routinely avail themselves of the right to base their employment decisions on “irrational” factors like appearance, demeanor, or personality. These are not directly germane to job performance narrowly construed but are highly relevant to maintaining a workplace environment that reflects the Templars’ sensibilities and self-image. Yet this is a privilege they reserve for themselves alone. They believe themselves more tolerant than the villains, but Justice Scalia was arguing that the Templars’ support for gay causes is an easy outlet for moral preening, not an expression of principled cosmopolitanism. For the cosmopolitanism is nowhere to be found where it would conflict with the Templars’ own prejudices.

* Liberalism is always pushed through indeterminate abstractions like equality, but the equality’s concrete implementation must always engender new forms of inequality.

Historian Alan Charles Kors wrote in his 1999 book The Shadow University: The Betrayal Of Liberty On America’s Campuses:

Imagine secular, skeptical, or leftist faculty and students confronted by a religious harassment code that prohibited “denigration” of evangelical or Catholic beliefs, or that made the classroom or campus a space where evangelical or Catholic students must be protected against feeling “intimidated,” offended,” or, by their own subjective experience, victims of a “hostile environment. Imagine a university of patriotic “loyalty oaths” where leftists were deemed responsible for the tens of millions of victims of communism, and where free minds were prohibited from creating a hostile environment for patriots, or from offending that “minority” of individuals who are descended from Korean or Vietnam War veterans. Imagine, as well, that for every “case” that became public, there were scores or hundreds of cases in which the “offender” or “victimizer,” desperate to preserve a job or gain a degree, accepted a confidential plea bargain that included a semester’s or a year’s reeducation in “religious sensitivity” or “patriotic sensitivity” seminars run by the university’s “Evangelical Center, “Patriotic Center,” or “Office of Religious and Patriotic Compliance.

Priebe: “There is an idea that truth is harmful. There are better and worse ways of communicating truth so that it actually gets through to people and makes the right impact, but truth is completely neutral. Everything is the way it is and there’s nothing bad about seeing how things are and saying how things are. Now saying how things are might lead to specific consequences. If as a child you spoke to outsiders about how the family treated you, you might have been removed from the family or you would have been severely punished by people inside the family or the narrative that you are crazy might have been doubled down on. There might be a fear response that comes up from people who experienced early scapegoating around the truth. They might have internalized that the kind and pro-social thing to do, the way to get by in the world is to lie through your teeth.”

“With more secure families, you see them being more open about things going wrong inside the family and the things each person is struggling with.”

“You know things you are not supposed to know and you feel things you are not supposed to feel. Getting back in touch with the truth as we heal from family scapegoating is convincing ourselves that there is nothing we ought not to know and there is nothing we ought not to feel. We can control what we do with the things we know and feel but we cannot control the knowing and feeling. Realigning ourselves with reality means accepting that there is nothing inherently bad about truth which is likely the opposite of what you originally internalized.”

Back in 2007, Australia found that every child in some aboriginal communities had been sexually abused.

Imagine living with a truth like that!

Aboriginal communities responded to the federal government that it should “engage with incentives rather than punishment.”

Not many Australians, however, were fine with letting child abusers escape punishment.

John Bowlby wrote in his 1998 book A Secure Base:

* Yet evidence that parents sometimes press their children to shut off from further, conscious processing information the children already have about events that the parents wish they had never observed comes from several sources.

* …pathogenic situations of two types, namely situations in which intense guilt is likely to be engendered (not discussed here) and situations in which communications between parent and child are gravely distorted.

* About one quarter of the children studied had personally witnessed some aspect of the parent’s death and had subsequently been subjected to pressure from the surviving parent to believe that they were mistaken in what they had seen or heard, and that the death had not been due to suicide but to some illness or accident.

[Many dissidents think they are witnessing the death of their race or nation or religion but they feel pressure to say nothing.]

* When a child described what he had seen, the surviving parent had sought to discredit it either by ridicule or by insisting that he was confused by what he had seen on television or by some bad dream he had had.

* Their problems included chronic distrust of other people, inhibition of their curiosity, distrust of their own senses, and a tendency to find everything unreal.

* Clearly the purpose of these pressures by parents is to ensure that their children develop and maintain a wholly favourable picture of them.

* There could be little doubt that during their discussion of the pictures some of the parents were, consciously or unconsciously, avoiding reference to the content of the pictures. It was a reasonable inference also that their children’s failure to describe the sexual theme on the first showing was in some way influenced by the ‘climate’ they had experienced in their homes. What the experiment could not show, of course, was whether these children had truly failed to perceive the scene depicted or whether they had perceived it but had failed to report what they saw. Since pre – adolescent children tend to be slow and often uncertain in their perceptions, my guess would be that at least some of the children in the experiment had truly failed to register the nature of what was happening. Others may have known intuitively that the scene was one they were not supposed to know about and so avoided seeing it.
At first sight the notion that information of a certain meaning can be shut off, or selectively excluded from perception, appears paradoxical. How, it is asked, can a person selectively exclude from processing a particular stimulus unless he first perceives the stimulus which he wishes to exclude? This stumbling block disappears, however, once perception is conceived as a multistage process as nowadays it is. Indeed experimental work on human information processing undertaken during the past decade or so enables us to have a much better idea of the nature of the shutting – off processes we have been discussing than was possible when Freud and others in the psychodynamic tradition were first formulating the theories of defence that have been so very influential ever since.

* Studies of human perception (Erdelyi, 1974; Norman, 1976) have shown that, before a person is aware of seeing something or hearing something, the sensory inflow coming through his eyes or ears, has already passed through many stages of selection, interpretation, and appraisal, during the course of which a large proportion of the original inflow has been excluded. The reason for this extensive exclusion is that the channels responsible for the most advanced processing are of limited capacity and must therefore be protected from overload. To ensure that what is most relevant gets through and that only the less relevant is excluded, selection of inflow is under central, or we might say ego, control. Although this processing is done at extraordinary speeds and almost all of it outside awareness, much of the inflow has nonetheless been carried to a very advanced stage of processing before being excluded.

* So long as current modes of perceiving and construing situations, and the feelings and actions that ensue therefrom, are determined by emotionally significant events and experiences that have become shut away from further conscious processing, the personality will be prone to cognition, affect, and behaviour maladapted to the current situation. When yearning for love and care is shut away, it will continue to be inaccessible. When there is anger, it will continue to be directed at inappropriate targets. Similarly anxiety will continue to be aroused by inappropriate situations and hostile behaviour be expected from inappropriate sources. The therapeutic task is therefore to help the patient discover what these events and experiences may have been so that the thoughts, feelings, and behaviour that the situations arouse, and that continue to be so troublesome, can be linked again to the situations that aroused them. Then the true targets of his yearning and anger and the true sources of his anxiety and fear will become plain. Not only will such discoveries show that his modes of cognition, feeling, and behaviour are far more intelligible, given the circumstances in which they originated, than they had seemed before but, once the patient has grasped how and why he is responding as he is, he will be in a position to reappraise his responses and, should he wish, to undertake their radical restructuring. Since such reappraisal and re – structuring can be achieved only by the patient himself, the emphasis in this formulation of the therapist’s task is on helping the patient first to discover for himself what the relevant scenes and experiences probably were and secondly to spend time pondering on how they have continued to influence him. Only then will he be in a position to undertake the reorganization of his modes of construing the world, thinking about it, and acting in it which are called for.

Popular historian Yuval Noah Harari said he wants to help “people focus on the most important challenges facing humankind and bring clarity. One of my main messages in all the books is that our minds are like factories that constantly produces stories and fictions that then come between us and the world and we often spend our lives interacting with fictions that we or other people created completely losing touch with reality. My job and the job of historians generally is to show us a way out.”

Is that really the job of historians?

Harari: “Much of what we take to be real is fiction. We control the planet because we can cooperate much better than any other animal. We can do that because we can create and believe in fictional stories. Every large scale human cooperation whether religion or nations or corporations is based on mythologies. Money is also a fiction. Corporations are also a fiction. They exist only in our minds. The danger is we lose touch with reality and we are manipulated by all these fictions. Stories are not bad. They are tools. As long as we use them to cooperate and to help each other, that’s wonderful.”

“Most wars in history are about stories, fictions. People think that humans fight over the same things that wolves and chimpanzees fight about [such as] territory and food). Most wars in history were not about territory or food. There is enough land, for instance, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean to build houses and schools and hospitals for everybody and there is certainly enough food but people have different stories in their minds and they can’t find a common story. This is at the root of most human conflicts. Being able to tell the difference between a fiction and a reality is a crucial skill. We are not getting better at finding this difference as time goes on.”

Are stories at the root of most human conflicts or are stories manifestations of real conflicts of interest? I suspect the latter.

There are similarities in the causes of conflict among humans and animals and there are differences. Making a list of similarities between the actions of people and chimpanzees does not mean you can’t make another list of the differences between the two groups.

I suspect that most wars are not about fictions, but about blood. Different groups have different interests and when those interests collide in particularly intense ways, you get conflict.

The more genetically related people are, the more likely they are to cooperate. On the other hand, most people don’t like strangers.

You don’t find multiple sub-species living together in harmony in nature because one sub-species inevitably tends to destroy its competitors.

Water is frequently a scarce resource that living things compete over. California eucalptus, for example, are invasive species that often out-compete native species for water.

The San Francisco PBS radio station KQED noted June 12, 2013:

Biologists now count invasive species as a major threat to biological diversity second only to direct habitat loss and fragmentation. Why do they worry when new species enter an ecosystem? More than 90 percent of introduced plants in California have overcome barriers to survival and reproduction in their new home without harming native species. But a fraction display invasive traits, displacing native species and reshaping the ecological landscape.

Tasmanian blue gum eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), a symbol of California for some, never knew California soil until the 1850s, when seeds from Australia were planted, first as ornamentals, then mostly for timber and fuel. The California Invasive Plant Council (CAL-IPC) classifies blue gum eucalyptus as a “moderate” invasive because the trees need certain conditions to thrive. For the most part, they’re not a problem in the drier regions of Southern California or the Central Valley. But along the coast, where summer fog brings buckets of moisture, it’s a different story.

Blue gum invades neighboring plant communities if adequate moisture is available for propagation, state resource ecologist David Boyd noted in a report for CAL-IPC. Once established, the trees can alter local soil moisture, light availability, fire patterns, nitrogen mineralization rates and soil chemistry.

Introduced species can disrupt ecological relationships among species that co-evolved over millennia, which is why many groups work to remove eucalyptus and restore coast live oaks.

To live effectively, most people are better off believing in the reality of money and corporations and nations and religion. When you get down to brass tacks, money and nations, for example, are as real as the wind and the sea.

Guldmann writes:

* Given that the symbolic realism is invariably intertwined with the biological functioning of a symbolic animal, liberalism’s efforts to mark off a sphere of “real” harm-tracking morality from the realm of airy cultural grievances is necessarily parochial, the product of an ethnocentrism that cannot recognize how liberals and conservatives partake of a shared humanity one side of which liberalism discounts. Overcoming this ethnocentrism means recognizing that the reflexive innerness that liberals believe sets them apart from conservatives is not the transcendence of identity, but an identity in its own right, the product of how one particular culture cultivates one part of our evolutionary heritage to the detriment of another. If liberals cannot recognize these costs, this is because doing so isn’t merely a cognitive act, but an expansion of consciousness and broadening of identity. This is what conservative claims of cultural oppression demand and what liberalism taken to its logical conclusion ultimately requires.

* [S]ocial reality…gives our biological substratum a structure that nature alone does not provide.

* Human agency is necessarily extended over a field of social meanings because it is only by means of this that what lies “inside” our skins becomes ordered and integrated. Seen in this light, hero-systems are not idle “symbolic” luxuries, intangible “cultural” concerns, but rather a biological necessity.

Being authentic to who you are may separate you from those around you. A new academic paper says:

Intelligence is correlated with a range of left-wing and liberal political beliefs. This may suggest intelligence directly alters our political views. Alternatively, the association may be confounded or mediated by socioeconomic and environmental factors. We studied the effect of intelligence within a sample of over 300 biological and adoptive families, using both measured IQ and polygenic scores for cognitive performance and educational attainment. We found both IQ and polygenic scores significantly predicted all six of our political scales. Polygenic scores predicted social liberalism and lower authoritarianism, within-families. Intelligence was able to significantly predict social liberalism and lower authoritarianism, within families, even after controlling for socioeconomic variables. Our findings may provide the strongest causal inference to date of intelligence directly affecting political beliefs.

One way of dealing with the pain of knowing things you are not supposed to know and feelings things that you are not supposed to feel is by confiding in others. One problem with this is that others betray us as we betray them. The Amazon summary of the book Betrayals: The Unpredictability of Human Relations by Gabriella Turnaturi notes:

Eventually we all encounter this universal experience of human interaction, but despite its ubiquity, being betrayed can turn our lives upside down and leave us feeling suddenly frail and alone. Betrayal only arises out of sharing something of yourself with another, and its impact speaks to the great tragedy of human relations: at bottom, other people are unknowable.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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