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  • 00:06
    So I think this part of the course is always a part I have difficulty with, because the conceptual transformation is very, very large.
  • 00:15
    Because so far we've been talking about, I would say, biological and evolutionary realities, in a sense.
  • 00:25
    And we've been doing that in a relatively standard manner.
  • 00:28
    I mean, there are elements of Piagetian theory that run through it, there are elements of cybernetic theory, there are elements of neurobiology and neuropsychology.
  • 00:39
    And none of it, I would say in some sense, is radically outside the way these sorts of problems might be discussed in a typical scientific or social scientific manner.
  • 01:05
    Except for maybe the fact that we've drawn an explicit distinction between the world as a place of things and the world as a place of action.
  • 01:19
    Now there are consequences to the idea that the world is a place of action that start to become more radical at this point.
  • 01:27
    But drawing the relationship between what I've already talked to you about and the narrative domains that we're going to explore now, requires a… like a radical shift in conceptual focus.
  • 01:44
    And so, the way I'm going to handle that is by hitting it from ten or eleven different directions, and building up a pattern.
  • 01:56
    You know, if you listen to a complex piece of music, or at least this is my experience with complex music, is sometimes, the first time I hear it, I don't really like it, and I think I also don't understand it.
  • 02:06
    I actually can't hear it.
  • 02:08
    You know, maybe a musical genius could hear the whole thing instantly.
  • 02:11
    You know, they say Franz Liszt could sight-read anything on the piano first try.
  • 02:18
    So, you know, some people are so intelligent musically that it's incomprehensible, and I'm sure they hear things just fine the first time they hear them.
  • 02:26
    But then what happens for me is that if I listen to it a couple more times or pieces or chunks of it, they start to fall into place that I can follow, and, you know, I can see the beauty sort of shine through those.
  • 02:37
    And then eventually, the whole thing links together, and then I can listen to it, especially if it's a complex piece of music, many, many, many times.
  • 02:46
    And the more complex, and probably the better, the piece of music, the more I can listen to it.
  • 02:51
    But if I listen to it enough, at some point then I've had enough of it, and it's all a very strange phenomenon.
  • 02:59
    Because one of the things you might ask yourself is, what exactly are you learning while you're doing that?
  • 03:03
    You know, it seems like you want the music to be just exactly the right amount of predictable and unpredictable.
  • 03:11
    If it's too unpredictable then you can't understand it and if it's too predictable it's boring, and so it's just like a conversation that way.
  • 03:17
    It's actually just like life as well!
  • 03:19
    You know, because you want things to be predictable and stable, and you want things to be unpredictable and interesting, and the degree to which you want each of those is going to depend on the time and the context and also on your own intelligence and temperament.
  • 03:36
    Now, I'm going to tell you a bunch of stories and give you a number of pieces of information, and hopefully they'll click together.
  • 03:47
    Now I think the reason this information has always been transmitted in story and image form is because it's very, very difficult to transform it into articulated, like into fully articulated explanation.
  • 03:59
    It isn't really how it works.
  • 04:01
    You know, we're not really accustomed to thinking about the idea that there are certain forms of information (that are valid forms of information) that can't be transmitted verbally.
  • 04:12
    But of course, if you think about it, we all understand this deeply.
  • 04:14
    Well, I can give you a bunch of examples.
  • 04:17
    The first example is that when you speak, not only do you speak in words and phrases and sentences and paragraphs, but you also speak melodically.
  • 04:27
    And in fact, part of the reason that you can understand melodies and that they make sense to you is that what artists have done is separated the melodic elements of speech from the semantic element, and then played with the melodic element.
  • 04:42
    And the melodic element tends to carry a lot of emotion and intent.
  • 04:46
    And so, if you're listening to someone speak, you can tell when they're being ironic, you know, because they raise an eyebrow, and their voice changes slightly, even though they might be using, in fact they are using, exactly the same words.
  • 04:59
    And in fact someone who's very good at being witty or ironic will set the situation up so that you can barely tell that they're joking, and the better they are at that, the tinier the hint they give you that you can still catch on to, the funnier the situation is.
  • 05:15
    So we know that information can be transmitted through non-verbal channels.
  • 05:19
    It even happens during speech.
  • 05:22
    And then, of course, we understand that music presents to us an intimation of meaning that's very difficult to fully grasp.
  • 05:33
    And music for me has always been an ineffable phenomenon in some sense because it carries the intimation of meaning in a manner that can't be rationally dismissed, or that people aren't interested in rationally dismissing.
  • 05:49
    Even punk rock nihilists listen to punk rock nihilistic music, and they find that meaningful even though they don't believe in meaning!
  • 05:58
    And you know, in some sense they're victims of their own rationality, because they do believe in meaning (or else they wouldn't be listening to the music), but they can't understand how they could possibly believe in it, so their rational mind has dispensed with the idea.
  • 06:11
    And sometimes people dispense with the idea of meaning, for lots of reasons.
  • 06:15
    Partly because it's inevitable, in some sense, with sufficient rationality, but also because it's always useful to look for the underbelly of things, because it also justifies not bearing any responsibility for your life.
  • 06:30
    And that's fairly… that can be a very desirable side-effect of the particular ideological rational belief.
  • 06:38
    And then there's dance, of course, and dance is even more ineffable than music, although it's often paired with music, you know, and it grips people.
  • 06:48
    If you see a remarkable dance performance, well part of it is that you're sort of thrilled and excited about seeing just exactly what the human form can do.
  • 06:57
    Perhaps, partly, because you're human and when you see someone extending a certain ability far beyond the norm then it expands your sense of what a human being is capable of, so there's that, there's the pure skill element.
  • 07:12
    And then there's the novelty element, because often if you watch a particularly good dancer there's things they do that you haven't seen before that you didn't know anyone could do and that's pretty fun.
  • 07:22
    And then often the dance is joined with the music and the body is expressing what the music means and even though you can't tell what the music means you can tell that the dance is expressing it.
  • 07:34
    See I think what happens there is that music represents the patterns of being.
  • 07:39
    It's actually because people think of music as a non-representational art, but I think that's wrong, I think it might be the most representational art.
  • 07:47
    Being is made up of layers of patterns constantly interacting, and hopefully in a relatively harmonious way, and music demonstrates that, mimics it in some sense, abstractly.
  • 08:02
    And then the dance is an abstract representation.
  • 08:05
    People adapt to the patterns of being and the dancer adapts to the pattern of music, and so it's symbolic, it's an embodied display of the place of the person in the cosmos.
  • 08:17
    And you could also make that case when you see people dancing in pairs, because you could dance alone or you could dance in pairs, and that's basically standard human adaptation.
  • 08:29
    And music is interesting too because one of the things you'll notice is that there's always music in a movie.
  • 08:35
    Almost always.
  • 08:36
    There's the odd movie that doesn't have it but it's quite marked when it's absent, you know.
  • 08:41
    The movie feels a lot more cold and clinical, although it can work.
  • 08:44
    But we accept the idea that music can be used to fill in the missing context in a movie without even ever questioning it, right?
  • 08:51
    Like, it's very strange if you think about it, that you go to a movie that is doing… at least part of its function is to portray reality in a realistic way, but there's a soundtrack playing in the background all the time.
  • 09:04
    You know it's so useful and so appropriate that you don't notice how strange it is that that's okay.
  • 09:14
    So, my point is that we well, and then of course you can talk about novels and plays the same way, because there's a lot more to a novel than the words themselves.
  • 09:26
    There's you know, a novel is a deeply layered thing, and part of your understanding of the novel is your understanding of the interrelationships between the layers, especially if it's a profound novel.
  • 09:40
    I mean I think that's why we have this sense of depth in artistic and literary works.
  • 09:46
    If the work is deep then it has many, many layers, and the more layers it has interacting at the same time, the more it's a useful representation of the essential elements of being, and so the more meaningful it is to us.
  • 10:00
    So, that's all to say that there are modes of communication that provide us with information that we can't articulate but that we still act as if that information is valid.
  • 10:13
    And you might say, well, valid for what, what exactly is it doing, what is it representing, what kind of information is it offering that's so compelling?
  • 10:23
    And what's so interesting about it is the kind of information that we're talking, that information is so compelling, that you'll pay to expose yourself to it.
  • 10:33
    You know, it's a rare lecture that you go to and have to pay for the lecture itself.
  • 10:37
    I mean, you'll come to the university and you'll get your degree, but if you had your option on a Saturday afternoon, or a Saturday night, let's say, it's relatively unlikely that you would attend a lecture, and certainly even more than unlikely that you would pay to attend one, but you'll certainly pay to go somewhere to dance to music.
  • 10:54
    And, you know, why that is, is not obvious.
  • 10:58
    You say, well it's entertaining.
  • 10:59
    It's like, yeah it's entertaining alright but it's a lot more than that, and I think that dismissing things that are enjoyable as entertainment, which means that they're sort of peripheral, they're unimportant in some sense is a real, it's a real terrible habit of psychologists.
  • 11:16
    So for example, when Steven Pinker wrote his book… it's a book on language and unfortunately I can't remember its name at the moment… he devoted one chapter at the end basically, to non-verbal cultural forms and he talked about them as epiphenomenal, fundamentally.
  • 11:34
    You know, they're just a by-product.
  • 11:38
    And I think that's deeply wrong, I think that our culture actually grew out of dance and drama and music, and science came way, way later than that.
  • 11:54
    I was watching an old video today.
  • 11:57
    It was of The Animals playing House of the Rising Sun in 1964.
  • 12:03
    It's a pretty good video, and it's a great old song.
  • 12:05
    I mean, they didn't write it, it's an old blues song, but it's a great old song and they do a pretty good job of it.
  • 12:12
    And the audience was full of girls and they were screaming madly away.
  • 12:16
    Now it wasn't quite as bad as The Beatles, which was completely unbelievable, but it was still, you know, a fairly continual din of delighted shrieks.
  • 12:26
    And, you know, I think that's extremely interesting because you'd never see that at a scientific conference [students' laughter].
  • 12:33
    Well, it's strange, eh?
  • 12:35
    Like, there isn't anything else that elicits that kind of response.
  • 12:41
    Maybe sports to some minimal degree, but certainly with nowhere near the same amount of enthusiasm.
  • 12:48
    And you know, I mean, that's been happening for a long time, it wasn't merely a phenomenon of the 60s.
  • 12:53
    I mean, I suspect it's been happening ever since there's been wandering minstrels, and that's a very, very long time.
  • 12:59
    And I suspect that those wandering minstrels left many offspring behind them [laughter].
  • 13:04
    And well, what's interesting about that is, obviously part of the reason that human beings can sing is because we've selected each other for that ability, right?
  • 13:12
    I mean there's something very attractive about someone who's artistically gifted.
  • 13:17
    And the idea that women will do backflips for a singer is not necessarily any negative comment on their ability to evaluate what's important, it might be quite the reverse.
  • 13:35
    So anyways, the point is that there's lots of different ways that we can communicate information.
  • 13:39
    And you might say well it's only simple information that can be conveyed that way, and you have to convey the complex information in more formal forms, scientific and philosophical, but I think that's exactly backwards.
  • 13:51
    I think we get to articulate the simple stuff first, which is only what you expect, right?
  • 13:57
    Because when you're mastering something difficult, like the unfolding of being, the probability that you're going to get to the simple things first and the complicated things later is pretty much 100%.
  • 14:08
    And I mean, different fields advance at different speeds, but the artists and musicians get to the complex matters far before the scientists and the engineers.
  • 14:21
    And it has to be that way.
  • 14:23
    One of the deep things I learned from Jung was that, as our knowledge expands out into the unknown, there are people operating at the periphery, and so they really have one foot in the unknown and one foot on dry land, so to speak.
  • 14:39
    And some of them are more in the water than the others.
  • 14:41
    And the ones almost submerged up to their neck, when they tell you what they're seeing, it has to be poetic and musical and artistic, because it's so far beyond our capacity to articulate, that we can't represent it in words.
  • 14:55
    And so all that can happen is that the artist can get hold of it, and maybe the people who are prone to religious-like sentiments, at least experiences, which seems to be associated by the way with the trait openness.
  • 15:08
    To have the actual religious experience, rather than to be an adherent of the dogma, which is associated with low openness.
  • 15:15
    So for Jung, it was the artists and the entrepreneurs, because they're the same people, who were at the forefront of the expansion of what we know into what is unknown.
  • 15:25
    And I think you can see echoes of that in the way in which cities are rejuvenated.
  • 15:31
    Because what happens, you can certainly see this in Toronto, is that a part of the city that has some architectural or contextual interest but is badly run down, starts to get… at some point, you know, the artistic people show up and they think “Hey!
  • 15:46
    This is kind of cool.
  • 15:47
    If we just did this to it there'd really be something to it”.
  • 15:50
    And it usually doesn't hurt that the rents are low because of course artists never have any money.
  • 15:56
    So then they go in there and civilise the hell out of it.
  • 15:58
    And of course, they're renting, and that jacks up the property value, and then the people who are a little less open but kind of interested in art start flowing in behind them.
  • 16:07
    And then soon the whole place is rejuvenated and expensive, and of course the artists have to go somewhere else.
  • 16:13
    But that's a very interesting phenomenon, because what's happening is that even in the cities they're taking chaos and turning it into order, and that's what artists do.
  • 16:25
    Now that's all to tell you that there are different ways of transmitting and representing information, and that you can incorporate the information without any articulated notion of what you're doing.
  • 16:40
    So of course that's the case, because otherwise you'd have to claim that you understand everything that you do and can articulate it, and that's just wrong, you know.
  • 16:51
    You have a theory of yourself but it's not a very accurate theory, which is why you're always doing things that are strange as far as you're concerned, which is also extremely bizarre.
  • 17:00
    It's like, who the hell are you if you can't even control your own behaviour?
  • 17:05
    And what does it mean to control it, and what does it mean to not control it?
  • 17:08
    These are very, very complex and strange issues.
  • 17:13
    Alright, so I think the best way into this is actually from an evolutionary perspective.
  • 17:21
    And I'm not convinced that this is correct but I think there's something to it.
  • 17:28
    So when you think about the nature of experience, then you think, well the nature of experience is quite different for different sorts of creatures.
  • 17:42
    And one of the primary differences between creatures is the degree to which they're capable of social interaction and then of complex social interaction.
  • 17:50
    And primates generally speaking are very social creatures.
  • 17:55
    They live in troops, or packs, like dogs.
  • 18:00
    Which is why we can get along with dogs, because we understand each other.
  • 18:03
    Being hierarchical troop animals, we understand dogs, and they understand us, and they can fit right in, pretty much.
  • 18:10
    And we're very, very good at figuring out where we are in the troop.
  • 18:16
    And by ‘we' I mean primates.
  • 18:19
    I mean that's going back a very, very long period of time.
  • 18:22
    You know, monkeys and chimpanzees have very sophisticated knowledge of the social structures surrounding them.
  • 18:28
    They know who's who, and they know what status they are, they know what rank they are, essentially.
  • 18:34
    And that's also the case with people.
  • 18:37
    And so one of the things you might say about people is that our reality isn't nature, exactly.
  • 18:44
    It's culture.
  • 18:46
    Now, you can make the argument that you can't really distinguish nature from culture, and I believe that that's true and untrue, in a sense.
  • 18:56
    I think you can talk about the human and non-human elements of reality.
  • 19:02
    And you can identify the human elements of reality as culture, even though culture is so old that you can also think about it as an inevitable part of nature.
  • 19:12
    So anyway, so most of our experience in our evolutionary past, at least let's say for the last several million years, we might as well go back to when the ancestors of humans hypothetically split off from the ancestors of chimpanzees.
  • 19:31
    And people know very accurately when these sorts of splits occur, by the way, because what they do is they have some sense of the rate of transformation of DNA.
  • 19:40
    You know it transforms and the rate is fairly constant across time.
  • 19:45
    And so if you take two creatures and you determine how much genetic similarity there is between them, and how much difference, you could calculate how far back they diverged.
  • 19:56
    And so, the fossil record helps with that, although it's very sparse.
  • 20:00
    But the DNA record is not very sparse at all, in some sense, so you can be very accurate about it.
  • 20:06
    We can even tell when people evolved or learned to wear clothing, and the reason we can tell that is because there's certain kinds of lice that can only live on clothing, and they seem to have diverged from the lice that live in hair about 50,000 years ago, something like that.
  • 20:22
    And so the hypothesis is that, well, we must have been figuring out how to wear clothes at that point because the lice figured out how to live in them.
  • 20:28
    So, you know, it probably took them a little while, but I doubt if it took them very long.
  • 20:32
    You know those little creatures that breed fast, man those things can evolve quickly, much to our dismay.
  • 20:39
    So okay, so a big part of the experiential field of advanced primates is the social world.
  • 20:46
    And so we could call that the primate world.
  • 20:48
    And we could also say that another big part of their experience is the non-primate world, which would be, roughly speaking, the natural world.
  • 20:56
    And then we could also say that the other elements of their experience that are very constant are their subjective being.
  • 21:07
    And we don't know much about the subjective being of creatures like chimpanzees, although you can understand, I think, the subjective being of a dog well enough to befriend the dog.
  • 21:19
    And so you have some insight.
  • 21:21
    And I think it's also reasonable to assume that… I mean for a long time people were unwilling to admit that animals had a soul, that was the first problem.
  • 21:30
    But after that, that they were conscious.
  • 21:33
    And even the behaviourists fought that notion.
  • 21:35
    But I think the simplest thing to do is to assume that animals and human beings are the same, except when you can prove that they're different.
  • 21:42
    Because we share so much of our evolutionary past then the logical inference is that if you think a dog is doing something sort of like you would do in that situation, and feeling that way, it probably is, with certain exceptions for species difference.
  • 21:56
    And if that wasn't the case I don't think that you could have a relationship with the dog, or cat.
  • 22:01
    You can't have much of a relationship with a lizard, although there are lizards, bearded dragons in particular, that are social.
  • 22:08
    They like to lay on top of each other and they hang around together.
  • 22:11
    And you can actually have more of a relationship with them.
  • 22:14
    And apparently the same is true for iguanas.
  • 22:16
    So you can go quite a ways backwards in evolutionary time, and still have enough similarity between you and the creature that you're interacting with, so you can get a pretty good sense of at least some element of their being.
  • 22:32
    And so, the idea that subjective, or subjectivity, is a very ancient part of our experience, seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable supposition.
  • 22:41
    We certainly know that it's been around, in all likelihood, for at least 150,000 years (on the conservative side), because there have been human beings that are essentially identical to us, from a genetic perspective, going back 150,000 years.
  • 22:57
    But I think you'd have to be a pretty harsh judge to assume that higher-order primates like chimps don't have some consciousness.
  • 23:05
    And you know, and some limited self-consciousness.
  • 23:10
    You know, if you mark a chimp's nose with lipstick and then show it a mirror, it will, at least sometimes, take the lipstick off its nose.
  • 23:18
    Although I've seen a gorilla try to fight with a mirror.
  • 23:22
    Well no, I haven't personally seen that, but I've seen a very good video of that happening.
  • 23:28
    But I think the gorilla in it would eventually figure out that it was him in the mirror.
  • 23:34
    Dogs will recognise a dog in the mirror, but they seem to ignore their reflection very, very rapidly.
  • 23:40
    And I don't know if that means that they have a very rudimentary self-consciousness, and that they figure out that that dog is them, or if the dog just doesn't smell like a dog, and then the dog thinks “well it can't be a dog because it doesn't smell like a dog”.
  • 23:54
    And dogs probably think that something is a dog because of how it smells, and not because of how it looks.
  • 24:01
    I think that's why dogs don't seem to have any sense of relative size.
  • 24:05
    Because you can get a little Chihuahua barking like mad at a Great Dane and you think, really?
  • 24:12
    That's going to work, is it?
  • 24:13
    But the dog doesn't seem to have a clue about that, like he's perfectly happy.
  • 24:18
    And the Great Dane, weirdly enough, will often back off.
  • 24:22
    Anyway, okay, so we've been in a social world, a deeply social world for a long time, and I'm also going to make the presupposition that we've been in the stratified social world for a very long period of time.
  • 24:37
    And I think you could call that, if you wanted to, and I would never want to, by the way, you could call that the patriarchy.
  • 24:45
    I think that I wouldn't call it that because that's not what it is.
  • 24:50
    But I think that the fact that it's called that, and that that's accepted as a reasonable representation is actually a consequence of the action of an archetype.
  • 25:03
    And the archetype is that, it's the archetype of the terrible Great Father, actually.
  • 25:08
    Because you think, well there's a social structure with striations in it, and that has advantages and disadvantages.
  • 25:13
    And the advantages are that you can live in it.
  • 25:16
    And the disadvantages are that you have to follow the damn rules, and they might not necessarily be to your individual benefit.
  • 25:23
    So, within a social dominance hierarchy, there's always a bifurcated, it also always has bifurcated significance.
  • 25:32
    It can be good, and is good, insofar as it protects you from, say, from threat from without, maybe from other primates invading your territory, for example.
  • 25:42
    But it can also be a very dismal structure if you happen to be at the bottom of the hierarchy.
  • 25:49
    So anyways, as far as I can tell, that dominance structure is typically represented as masculine.
  • 25:59
    And I think the reason for that, although I'm not absolutely certain of this, I think the reason for that is that our social hierarchies are probably more like chimp social hierarchies than they are like bonobo social hierarchies.
  • 26:11
    So, the bonobos are kind of a strange breed of chimps.
  • 26:14
    I don't know how many of you know about them.
  • 26:16
    But the bonobos are extraordinarily sexual and they use sex, pretty much as a standard means of communication and tension reduction.
  • 26:27
    And there's a lot of sex between the females and the bonobo troops, and the use of sex seems to bond them together in a way that keeps male aggression under control, which is quite interesting.
  • 26:40
    But in the chimps the fundamental dominance hierarchy is male, although there's a female dominance hierarchy as well, and some females can certainly be more dominant than some males.
  • 26:51
    But the fundamental structure seems to be male.
  • 26:54
    And then I would also say, well, it's probably dependent to some degree in the primate community, and in other social animals, on other factors.
  • 27:03
    So we know, for example, that the gender that has the highest level of testosterone tends to be the dominant gender.
  • 27:12
    And so in hyenas the females actually have a higher level of testosterone.
  • 27:16
    They're actually bigger and more aggressive than the males, and the price they pay for that is that they have to give birth through a structure that's very much like a penis, which is not the world's most pleasant experience, and might account for the hyenas' temper.
  • 27:30
    But, in human beings, you know, you see sexual dimorphism.
  • 27:34
    Men are slightly bigger than women, and that's also generally characteristic of creatures that have a dominance hierarchy that's tilted towards masculine.
  • 27:45
    And then the other factor seems to be that human beings have… our infants have very, very, very, very long periods of dependence, and it's very difficult to manoeuver your way, doing anything, really, especially anything that has to do with competition and power, if you're taking care of one infant, let alone three.
  • 28:13
    And so, it seems to me that those are all valid reasons why the primary power structures among human beings have typically been male, and why they're represented as masculine.
  • 28:28
    Now there are other reasons too, because this is a multi-faceted phenomenon.
  • 28:32
    I mean, one of the things that's interesting about human females is that they're selective maters.
  • 28:39
    Now chimp females are not selective maters, and what that means is that the dominant males still have most of the offspring, but the reason for that, apparently, is because they chase the subordinate males away from sexually receptive females.
  • 28:52
    Although the sexually receptive females will sneak off behind the rocks somewhere and mate with the subordinate male.
  • 28:59
    But as long as the dominant male is around the probability of that is quite low.
  • 29:04
    So the female chimps aren't sexually selective, whereas human females have concealed ovulation, so that no one knows when they're at their most fertile, and they're selective maters.
  • 29:14
    And women in every society virtually, that's ever been studies, have a typical pattern of behaviour, which is that if you look at the female dominance hierarchy and you look at the male dominance hierarchy, the females will mate across and up dominance hierarchies, and the males will mate across and down.
  • 29:30
    Which works fine for both genders, because their interests align.
  • 29:35
    But it also means that in all likelihood women have exerted tremendous sexual selection pressure on men, and that might be part of the reason, of the many reasons, that we actually… you know the theory is that the common ancestor between chimps and humans was probably a lot more like a chimp, a modern chimp, than like a modern human.
  • 29:55
    So for whatever reason, we've undergone a lot more transformation in the last 7 million years than chimps have.
  • 30:01
    And one possible reason for that, and I think it's a highly probable reason, is that sexual selection operated a lot more viciously, so to speak, among humans.
  • 30:11
    It's operated to the point where you have twice as many female ancestors as male.
  • 30:17
    And you might think, well that can't be possible, but here's how it's possible.
  • 30:21
    It's like, only every second man has children, had a child, while all women had one.
  • 30:27
    Now of course, that isn't what happened, but on average that's what happened.
  • 30:30
    So the proportion of men who are completely childless in any given generation is far higher than the proportion of women who are.
  • 30:39
    So you see an element of expendability in males, and that's typical across the biological community, because you don't need as many males as you need females in order to keep the population moving forward.
  • 30:52
    And one of the things that happens as a consequence of that, at least in principle, is that males are more behaviourally variable and variable across a lot of dimensions, than females are.
  • 31:02
    And that's a plus, because they're more variable on the upside, but it's also negative because they're more prevalent on the downside.
  • 31:09
    Now there's some substantial argument about that in relationship to people, what the actual implications of that are for human beings.
  • 31:18
    One potential implication is that although women and men have equivalent IQs, the standard deviation is slightly different.
  • 31:26
    Which means that there are more males who are intellectually impaired, but there are also more males who are four and five standard deviations above the population mean.
  • 31:35
    You don't need much of a difference in standard deviation in order to produce radical differences at the extreme.
  • 31:42
    So I'll give you an example.
  • 31:46
    Males are more aggressive than females among humans, but the effect is only about half a standard deviation.
  • 31:52
    And so what that means is that, if you take a female and a male randomly from a population and you were trying to guess who was the more aggressive of the two, most of the time, you know about 60% of the time, the male would be more aggressive than the female, but 40% of the time it would be reversed.
  • 32:11
    So you know, that's a lot of overlap.
  • 32:14
    But then here's the rub.
  • 32:17
    So let's say just for example, that among the population of men and women combined, only the most aggressive person out of a hundred ends up in jail.
  • 32:28
    Those are all men.
  • 32:30
    Because that tilt towards aggression is enough, so that when you go way out on the distribution, the only people who are that extreme are men, even though the population difference isn't that great.
  • 32:41
    So anyways, there's a massive debate in the relevant literature about the potential consequences of that for things like cognitive function, because there's some indication as well that men are more cognitively specialised but women are more cognitively robust.
  • 32:56
    Anyways, it doesn't really matter.
  • 33:00
    But what does matter is the fact of this permanent dominance hierarchy.
  • 33:05
    Now, the dominance hierarchy, the male dominance hierarchy, also has another feature.
  • 33:11
    So we already said that, you know, on average, men are half as likely to leave offspring as women are.
  • 33:17
    And so what that means is that all things considered… this isn't… I'm not trying to make this into a circular argument.
  • 33:28
    Because I could say it's the more successful males that leave more offspring.
  • 33:31
    But then you'd say, well that's the definition, Darwinian definition, of success.
  • 33:35
    But I don't mean Darwinian success, because that's self-evident.
  • 33:39
    What I mean is, if you look in the modern world for example, and you try to predict number of available sexual partners for a given male, your best predictive measure of that is income.
  • 33:53
    And the best predictive measure of that is intelligence and conscientiousness.
  • 33:58
    And so, what happens is that males orient themselves in groups, and then they compete.
  • 34:05
    And then women peel off the top.
  • 34:07
    And so the women are in a position of judgment on men, and the judgment is the judgment of nature.
  • 34:15
    Now, from a Darwinian perspective… you know, when we think of nature we think of, well it depends on who you are, but if you're an environmentalist you think of a French impressionist landscape, you know, forgetting that nature is also malarial mosquitoes and cancer, and rats infected with bubonic plague and all those other lovely things.
  • 34:36
    But, from a Darwinian perspective, you can define nature much more straight-forwardly, and more accurately, as that which selects.
  • 34:45
    Now, you know, you hear a lot about natural selection, and natural selection basically assumes that there is a random distribution of alteration in genetic structure, in any population, in any generation.
  • 35:00
    And some of those random alterations will be more suited to that particular environment, suited being they'll live and they'll reproduce.
  • 35:10
    And genetic transformation takes place across the millennia as the organism chases the landscape, roughly speaking.
  • 35:18
    But Darwin, you know, Darwin, who was an unbelievably intelligent person, was also very, very interested in sexual selection, and as far as Darwin was concerned, sexual selection was just as powerful in modifying genetic structure, in driving evolution, as natural selection.
  • 35:39
    And that's been very underplayed by biologists.
  • 35:42
    That's only started to switch in the last… I would say it hasn't switched that much yet, but it started to switch probably in about the last 25 years.
  • 35:51
    And that's because the idea of sexual selection makes things a hell of a lot more complicated.
  • 35:59
    Because, well first of all, in a standard Darwinian account of evolution, there's no place for mind, there's no place for a creator, there's no place for teleology.
  • 36:09
    And teleology is something moving towards an end, a goal, right?
  • 36:14
    But the thing is, if sexual selection is operative, and if consciousness is ancient, then mind has been operating through sexual selection as long as there's been sexual selection.
  • 36:28
    So you think, do you have any choice, do you make any choice in who your sexual partner will be?
  • 36:35
    And the answer to that is, well it's hardly random, you make a choice!
  • 36:41
    And what's interesting is that, you know, if you take 60 people, let's say if you took 60 women, and you showed them a bunch of men, and you asked them to rank them in terms of their attractiveness, there's going to be very consistent rankings.
  • 36:53
    You know, I mean, we know what makes up attractive facial features, for women and for men, it's easy to determine that.
  • 37:00
    What you do is you take 60 faces and you average the features.
  • 37:05
    So you don't get the average person, because the average person is more like a median, you get the averaged person.
  • 37:11
    And the averaged person has perfectly symmetrical features that are nicely shaped, and fairly big eyes, and they're very nice-looking, they're very attractive.
  • 37:22
    And so, that means that there's like a central human form, in a sense, that we find attractive.
  • 37:29
    And we see this in other species, for example there are butterflies who won't mate with another butterfly if it's like a sixteenth of an inch out of symmetry, because it's not a butterfly of that type, you know.
  • 37:42
    And that's how people think too, if you deviate from the averaged person, the less canonically human you appear, and the less attractive you appear.
  • 37:52
    And, you know, we're chasing this ideal in some sense that's an emergent property of the nature of our species.
  • 37:58
    And then, you know, there's certain physical characteristics, wide shoulders in men, and narrow waists.
  • 38:06
    In women, it's waist-to-hip ratio, a very common marker of beauty, across cultures, and across body types, interestingly enough.
  • 38:13
    So, if you take thin women and heavier women, and you get men to rate the attractiveness of the women within that category, the heavy women and the light women who have a waist-to-hip ratio of about 0.68 are the ones that are judged most attractive physically.
  • 38:28
    And so, that actually correlates, by the way, with fertility, because the abdominal fat in a young woman is a sign of ill health and also a marker of decreased likelihood of conception.
  • 38:39
    Now none of this is operating consciously, obviously, it's deeply wired into us, it's part of our mediate perception.
  • 38:47
    But it still does indicate that there's an ideal, like a platonic ideal, lurking at the back of our minds, against whom we compare everyone that we meet.
  • 38:57
    And then you might say, well what's the nature of that platonic ideal, and that's a very, very complicated question.
  • 39:03
    You know, I would say that you could almost literally claim that the… well you can certainly claim that the ideal male is represented in mythology as a hero.
  • 39:22
    And that's actually what mythology is about, it's about representing ideal patterns of behaviour, so it's hardly surprising.
  • 39:28
    And so, you know, if you go to a movie, and it's a romance, and there's the main lead character that you're supposed to fall in love with (if you happen to be the kind of person that would fall in love with that kind of person), then he's going to act out a particular pattern of behaviour.
  • 39:46
    And the pattern of behaviour is quite identifiable.
  • 39:48
    So for example he's going to move forward and explore, and not hide and cower.
  • 39:53
    And the probability that he's going to be creative is very high, and the probability that he's going to be good-looking and strong is very high.
  • 40:00
    And so, those are archetypal features.
  • 40:03
    And those aren't all the archetypal features, because those are, in some sense, those are the self-evident ones.
  • 40:12
    But you know, people are also evaluating each other for things like intelligence, and personality, and character.
  • 40:18
    And you could say in some sense that men are competing to be the best man, and women are watching the competition to take the man who wins on the presupposition that he wouldn't win if he wasn't the best man.
  • 40:31
    It's a very, very intelligent strategy.
  • 40:34
    Because why not outsource the problem.
  • 40:37
    Let the men sort it out, well as I say, it's too cognitively complex to compute.
  • 40:42
    You could say that the male dominance hierarchy is equivalent to the stock market.
  • 40:46
    It's exactly equivalent to the stock market.
  • 40:49
    The stocks are always competing with one another, and with every other commodity, for primacy of price and value, and that's exactly what happens with male competition.
  • 41:00
    So one of the things that we've just discovered in my lab, this is Caitlyn Burton's work, it's very cool, is that we took… we were trying to understand the fundamental sub-structure of conservatism vs. liberalism.
  • 41:13
    And I'm going to speak in terms of conservatism, because that's how we construed the data, although we could've done the reverse if we were going to construe liberalism.
  • 41:21
    And what we did was we took, we got a bunch of people to sit down and write down a bunch of statements that they though conservatives vs. liberals would disagree with.
  • 41:30
    You know, I think we had, I don't remember how many statements, 300 statements, something like that.
  • 41:35
    We had a lot of people generate them and take them from news items and so forth, because we didn't want any bias in the initial question set.
  • 41:43
    Or we didn't want a bias that wasn't there in the actual world.
  • 41:48
    So we had many people do this, and then we gave these questions to many, many people online, in a variety of stages.
  • 41:57
    And we extracted those out that seemed to best fit the data, and then assessed them for the utility in predicting things like party membership or voting behaviour.
  • 42:08
    And so we got a good structure, it makes a lot of sense, and what we found with regards to conservatism was that there was an ethnocentrism factor, it was the third and weakest factor, and that would be associated with in-group preference vs. out-group derogation.
  • 42:23
    So those are anti-immigrant people, fundamentally, you know, and they're, well they're ethnocentric.
  • 42:30
    That's the simplest way to explain it.
  • 42:36
    And then the second smallest factor was religious traditionalism.
  • 42:43
    And most of this was done with Americans, for a variety of reasons.
  • 42:47
    And that was really where the fundamentalist Christians nested.
  • 42:50
    And not everyone… that was not only a factor made up of fundamentalist Christian beliefs, but they loaded heavily.
  • 43:00
    Those were people who weren't for stem cell research, they were anti-abortion, they were anti-gay marriage.
  • 43:06
    Or they were pro-traditional, which is how they see themselves.
  • 43:11
    And then, the largest factor was a factor that we called ‘masculine independence'.
  • 43:19
    And it was more characteristic of men, and what it basically consisted of was an attitude that winners win and losers lose, and that's just how it should be.
  • 43:29
    So it was the men who… the personality predictors, one of them was extroverted assertiveness… hunting and the right to own firearms also loaded on this factor, but it was masculine competitiveness, I think, is the best way of thinking about it.
  • 43:49
    And I think it's a good illustration of the kind of individual attitude that makes you more likely to attempt to climb up dominance hierarchies and dominate them from the top down.
  • 44:02
    And that's not necessarily something that would be associated with factors like compassion.
  • 44:05
    Well, I'll leave it at that.
  • 44:10
    It's just that you can see… I'm telling you that because you can see how these proclivities manifest themselves in all sorts of areas of behaviour.
  • 44:19
    I can tell you something else that's very interesting about men and violence.
  • 44:25
    I don't know if I can get this story straight because it's been a while since I told it.
  • 44:40
    So there's this interesting phenomenon, that's very characteristic of societies, I believe pretty much everywhere it's been studied.
  • 44:51
    Now, you can calculate an index called the Gini coefficient.
  • 44:55
    And the Gini coefficient is a number that represents how much inequality of income distribution there is in a given geographical area.
  • 45:03
    So you could calculate a Gini coefficient for a street or an area in a city, or a city, or a state, or a country, you can do it at all those levels.
  • 45:13
    And what you find is that, you know you always hear this idea that poverty causes crime.
  • 45:19
    That's a classic left-wing idea.
  • 45:21
    But it's wrong, it's seriously wrong.
  • 45:24
    And it's importantly wrong.
  • 45:26
    And it's definitively wrong, not only that.
  • 45:29
    So there's no argument about this, it's already been established.
  • 45:33
    What causes crime, especially aggressive crime, is relative poverty, and relative poverty is not the same thing as poverty at all.
  • 45:40
    It's seriously not the same thing.
  • 45:42
    Poverty is when you don't have enough to eat.
  • 45:44
    Relative poverty is when the guy next door has a much better car than you.
  • 45:50
    And there's lots of relative poverty in the United States, and there's some absolute poverty, but even the absolute poverty in the United States is nothing like the absolute poverty say in places like India or sub-Saharan Africa, where absolute poverty means you have nothing.
  • 46:03
    Now, what's really interesting about the Gini coefficient is that if you go to places where everyone, roughly speaking, is poor, say by national standards… I think South Dakota was often used as an example, or maybe one of the Maritime Provinces… like Newfoundland, where there's low average income but it's pretty flat distribution, there's almost no crime.
  • 46:29
    And if you go to places where everyone's rich then there's almost no crime.
  • 46:35
    But if you go places where there's poor people and moderately well-off people, and rich people, and the distribution is really steep, then the rate of aggressive behaviour among young men, and it's usually within their own ethnic group, starts to sky-rocket out of control.
  • 46:52
    And the reason for that seems to be that, if the dominance hierarchy is too steep, then the young men have no likelihood of climbing to a dominant position while playing the standard social game.
  • 47:05
    And so what they do is turn to aggression, to make their mark on the world.
  • 47:10
    And it works, too, that's the other thing.
  • 47:12
    Make no mistake about it, if you're looking for status where status is hard to achieve, and you're the meanest, toughest guy around, and, you know, around a bunch of people who, like you, don't have much money, then you're going to benefit from that status.
  • 47:27
    It works.
  • 47:28
  • 47:29
    Would that be part of the reason why… because I know that, I think that violent crime rate in the US is higher than it is in Canada, would that be part of the reason why?
  • 47:39
    Sure, yeah, I mean you can make a real conservative argument for making sure that, you know that conservatives are very anti-income distribution, and we figure that's because of the guys that have this male independence, you know they have this male independence factor, they don't want to be distributing resources to people who are down the dominance hierarchy because they want them down the dominance hierarchy!
  • 48:00
    They want there to be a difference between the people on top and the people on the bottom, so that they can be the people on top, so that it increases their relative attractiveness.
  • 48:08
    Like it's a perfectly logical game.
  • 48:11
    And they presume that, well the rules are set up, and like every man can go for it, do his best, and the winner wins and the loser loses, and that's just how it is, and “don't ask me to fix it because I don't want to.
  • 48:22
    And besides that I find it distasteful to attempt to fix it”, more than that, right, because it's a moral issue, it's not just an intellectual issue.
  • 48:34
    So you can make a case, however, from the conservative point of view, especially with regards to, say, beliefs in religious traditionalism, and the desire to maintain social stability, that you shouldn't let income distribution become too unequal.
  • 48:49
    Like one of the big things your society has to do is to make sure that doesn't get out of hand, because it tends to get out of hand, it tends towards a few people having everything and almost everyone else having nothing.
  • 49:02
    In a sense, it's a natural consequence of economic progression, which is actually something that Marx pointed out.
  • 49:08
    Although an Italian named Pareto had figured it out at approximately the same time, and I think with a lot more conceptual clarity.
  • 49:15
    But, the more unequal you let your society get, the higher the probability of death, roughly speaking, through violent causes.
  • 49:24
    But I'm telling you why it is that, you know, men want to climb the dominance hierarchy, and the reason they want to climb the dominance hierarchy is that they get access to women.
  • 49:34
    I was going to, actually ask earlier in the discussion, when you were talking about the familiar and the unfamiliar and the structure.
  • 49:47
    So it seems like we all want to live within a structure, but we don't want the rules to apply to ourselves.
  • 49:54
    Well, we have this contradictory problem, we want to be protected by the structure but we want to advance our position within it.
  • 49:59
    And so that means, what that should mean, and this is I think the definition of civilised behaviour, is that you're allowed to advance your position within the structure as long as you don't disrupt it negatively.
  • 50:13
    And I think that most people do do that.
  • 50:14
    In fact I think people in civilised countries do that so effectively that it's an absolute, incomprehensible miracle.
  • 50:23
    I can't understand how or why it ever got established.
  • 50:27
    But like a psychopath will climb the ladder and cut the rungs off underneath him, fundamentally.
  • 50:31
    He doesn't even care if the damn thing maintains itself.
  • 50:36
    You know, he's perfectly willing to have it destroyed after he's exhausted it.
  • 50:41
    But if everyone acted like that or even if a substantial number of people acted like that, the whole thing would come to a halt, virtually in no time flat.
  • 50:51
    So I mean, why… see, you might… here's a reason… you know, because one of the things we were talking about is masculine violence.
  • 51:05
    Now the thing about masculine violence is that it only tends to emerge in situations where there don't seem to be any other reasonably viable means of advancing status.
  • 51:17
    So it's not reasonable to say that men are aggressive.
  • 51:20
    You can say that on average men are more aggressive than women.
  • 51:24
    And you can also say that if you put men in a situation where they have no, where they can see status differences but they have no means of moving forward, that they're likely to turn to aggression as a way of establishing dominance.
  • 51:41
    And then you can say that, the reason for that is that it makes them more attractive, the fundamental reason.
  • 51:48
  • 51:49
    Yeah, I'd just like to add on, I read this article once that talks about how polygamous societies are more violent than monogamous ones.
  • 52:03
    Yeah, absolutely.
  • 52:04
    I was going to say maybe it's because when one guy has two wives that means that 50% of the population has no wives, no access to sex.
  • 52:06
    Yeah that's exactly right, the evolutionary psychology explanation for the pathology of polygamy is that once you let it establish itself then then men get ultra-violent.
  • 52:13
    So would you say that monogamy would almost be a basis for civilised society?
  • 52:18
    Many people have said that, and yes I think you can make a strong case for that.
  • 52:22
    And I think the fundamental reason is the one you just pointed out.
  • 52:26
    You know the idea is, well, would you rather have one woman, or die, you know?
  • 52:34
    Sorry no, that's not quite right.
  • 52:39
    It's more like, would you be willing to limit yourself to one partner or have a shot at many partners but a much higher probability of dying.
  • 52:48
    Right, and you know, some guys will take that.
  • 52:51
    They'll take the high-risk approach.
  • 52:55
    So now, this doesn't eliminate the difference in individual differences in determining who's going to be aggressive, because what will happen is that as the Gini coefficient pressure rises, the more aggressive men, the men who are more aggressive by nature, will get more aggressive first.
  • 53:12
    So you can imagine, it's a threshold phenomenon, in some sense.
  • 53:15
    And what I should tell you as well is that the relationship between the Gini coefficient and male-on-male homicide isn't 0.2 or 0.3, which is the correlation that you'd get if you were predicting something like that using personality.
  • 53:29
    It's like 0.8 or 0.9.
  • 53:32
    It's like it eats up all of it, it's the explanation.
  • 53:36
    So it's a huge effect, it's so big an effect that you can basically say that oh well, we figured that out.
  • 53:42
    Although psychologists never know when they've figured anything out, and they keep endlessly retesting it over and over and over, because you know, we don't know how to bring our science to a stop.
  • 53:51
    But if you don't accept the Gini coefficient-aggression data, that's like, you might as well throw the rest of social sciences out the window, because the effect is unbelievably powerful.
  • 54:01
    What geographical area does this take place in?
  • 54:04
    It depends… you can do it on any level of analysis.
  • 54:08
    You can do it by county, you can do it by city, you can do it by state, and you can do it by country, and it works on all of those levels Student: Like, it predicts aggression, almost?
  • 54:18
    You bet.
  • 54:19
  • 54:20
    And that's a great question.
  • 54:21
    I mean, the methodologically sophisticated studies have done exactly that, to ensure that it's actually this phenomenon rather than other factors that might be operative in that particular geographical area.
  • 54:34
    So countries with a higher Gini coefficient are more violent, and cities within that country that have a higher than average Gini coefficient for that country are more violent on average.
  • 54:43
    It's a very, very robust finding.
  • 54:46
    Alright, so we're going to say, for the sake of argument, that you've got the male dominance hierarchy, and it's represented as masculine.
  • 55:00
    Now, one of the things Jung said, now he thought that women carried an image of men in their unconscious.
  • 55:07
    And he thought that the image that women carried of men in their unconscious was a group of men, not an individual man.
  • 55:14
    He called that the animus.
  • 55:17
    Whereas he believed that the image of women that men carried in their collective unconscious was of a single woman, and he called that the anima.
  • 55:27
    Now I'm just telling you that, I'm not going to justify it, or even discuss it, but I just want you to keep that in the back of your mind.
  • 55:36
    So I guess part of the reason I'm telling you that, come to think of it, is that I think it may provide some insight into why the idea of the patriarchy has become such a well-accepted notion.
  • 55:51
    Because it is an archetypal notion, but it's a one-sided archetypal notion.
  • 55:54
    Okay, so back to sexual selection.
  • 55:58
    Now, we already talked about the fact that biologists perhaps were uncomfortable with the idea of sexual selection, because it brings a non-random factor into evolution.
  • 56:10
    A seriously non-random factor, because you have to go back as far as you can in history to where there was no choice, on the part of the organism, to attribute evolution to natural selection alone.
  • 56:25
    And you have to go back a long ways back, as I said, even butterflies are perfectly capable of distinguishing between a high-quality butterfly partner, in butterfly terms, and a low-quality butterfly partner.
  • 56:35
    And you know, insects have been around for a very, very long time.
  • 56:40
    So we have no idea, what that actually means is that we have no idea what role choice has made in the evolutionary process.
  • 56:49
    But one thing that you can infer is that the reason human beings are the way they are now, and not like chimps or human ancestors, is because the sexual selection process got started, and it was intense.
  • 57:03
    And so, as a consequence of that, here we are.
  • 57:06
    And so, you know, maybe it was a good thing.
  • 57:08
    Although it's very hard, in some sense, on all those people who failed.
  • 57:11
    And that's, you know, roughly speaking, twice as many men as women.
  • 57:18
    So then that all raises the question, like who exactly is responsible for the male dominance hierarchy?
  • 57:24
    Because you could say it's male competitiveness, but you could also say, yeah well it's an inevitable function of female selection.
  • 57:31
    Which is not an argument that you hear very often.
  • 57:34
    But I think it's a very difficult argument to escape from.
  • 57:36
    And that leads us to our next hypothesis.
  • 57:38
    So we're going to say that the masculine dominance hierarchy is represented as masculine.
  • 57:43
    I'm going to call that The Great Father for the time being.
  • 57:46
    And that's the permanent dominance hierarchy of men, and it's always there, it moves through history.
  • 57:52
    It's different men all the time, but the men slot in and out as they are born and die, but the structure itself stays intact across… forever.
  • 58:01
    It's always there.
  • 58:03
    It's been there at least for millions of years, so for our purposes we'll just call it permanent.
  • 58:08
    It's a permanent part of experience, and it's a big part of it.
  • 58:12
    And you know, as culture gets more and more… covers larger and larger expanses of territory, gets more and more sophisticated, it's an ever larger part of reality.
  • 58:23
    I mean, most of us spend almost all our time coping with the dominance hierarchy, and almost none of our time combatting nature.
  • 58:33
    You know, you get wet for a little while and that's it, you know, but most of the problems that you would face in a purely natural environment, you're so distant from them that you could hardly imagine, you can't even imagine what it would be like, in some sense, to be in an environment like that.
  • 58:49
  • 58:50
    I have a question.
  • 58:51
    Like your explanation of what drives men to become competitive and vindictive of the hierarchy… what drives women?
  • 58:53
    Like for example there's an aggressive nature of women and there's some sort of competitiveness in women, let's say at the University of Toronto.
  • 58:55
    So what is driving women to try to elevate their level in the hierarchy?
  • 59:09
    Well, that's a good question.
  • 59:10
    So the way I would answer that question is two-fold.
  • 59:14
    So the question was what drives women to move to the top of the hierarchy?
  • 59:20
    It's something that's worth discussing.
  • 59:24
    So if anybody objects to what I'm going to say, then please do, because I'm not, you know, dishing this out as received truth, it's… I've been trying to figure this out and this is what it looks like to me.
  • 59:34
    The first thing is that I think there are… male and female dominance hierarchies both exist but they're different.
  • 59:40
    And that females compete with each other intensely, but they don't compete for the same things, and they don't compete the same way.
  • 59:48
    So let me tell you a little story, this is a bit of a divergence, but it's an interesting point.
  • 59:56
    And one of the questions I've always been asked in this class… because I'm going to lay out a hero story, and the fundamental hero archetype, and the hero is masculine in mythology… and so the women always ask, well what about the role of the woman?
  • 01:00:08
    And it's like, it's very, very complex, which of course, all you women already know, because it is very, very complex.
  • 01:00:14
    But it isn't something that… first of all I don't think it's a question that would've been asked before the invention of the birth control pill.
  • 01:00:23
    Because we know what the archetypal female is, prior to that.
  • 01:00:27
    It's the Virgin Mary with child, it's a virgin with child.
  • 01:00:31
    Which means that the unit for woman is ‘woman with child'.
  • 01:00:36
    It's not woman, it's woman with child.
  • 01:00:38
    And, well, it's obvious why that is, because as soon as you become a woman, in most societies, you have a child.
  • 01:00:46
    Before that, you're a girl, and that's, you know, that's in some sense irrelevant, in terms of your destiny.
  • 01:00:54
    Now you might say, well what's your archetypal pattern if you're not a mother?
  • 01:01:01
    Well, the way it looks to me is that there's two archetypes for personal development, for the personal path, roughly speaking.
  • 01:01:10
    There's the hero, and that would be the person that explores the unknown and discovers something of value and brings it back and distributes it to the community.
  • 01:01:19
    So it's like a hunting… it's probably predicated on a hunting platform, because our bodies are hunting platforms, basically.
  • 01:01:31
    And one theory about what men did, which is a very probable theory, is that they went out and hunted for meat.
  • 01:01:37
    And chimps like meat, they'll eat it whenever they can, although they're not very good hunters.
  • 01:01:41
    But they will definitely eat meat.
  • 01:01:42
    And human beings are so good at hunting that we probably… well, for example, we probably wiped out the mammoths.
  • 01:01:48
    And when human beings came into North America, there were as many different kinds of large animal in North America as there were in Africa, and human beings killed all of them.
  • 01:01:57
    And that was just with… you know, like they didn't have our notion of technologically sophisticated weapons, it was bows and arrows and clubs and spears.
  • 01:02:07
    Nonetheless, they got rid of everything, you know.
  • 01:02:12
    Large cats, giant beavers, mammoths… we're very, very, very, very dangerous.
  • 01:02:20
    Anyways, there's another archetype, I would say it's a maternal archetype in a sense, and one of the things that's very interesting about human males is that they're quite maternal, by comparison to other animals.
  • 01:02:36
    So for example, the mother bear doesn't have the male bear, the boar… is it boars and sows with bears?
  • 01:02:44
    I think it is.
  • 01:02:46
    Anyways, you keep the cub away from the male, because he'll kill them.
  • 01:02:49
    Now, not all males will do that but many will, they don't have any filial attachment.
  • 01:02:57
    And that's the case for many but not all complex mammals.
  • 01:03:02
    Pair bonding on a permanent basis is relatively rare, but joint provision of children, that's exceedingly rare.
  • 01:03:15
    And men are pretty good at taking care of children.
  • 01:03:17
    I would say they're not as good at taking care of infants as women are, because they don't have the full range of resources at hand.
  • 01:03:24
    And they're not, I don't think they have the same kind of immediate intuitive understanding of, or attraction to, babies that women have.
  • 01:03:35
    I think that switch is around the age of two or two and a half, when the kids can engage in rough-and-tumble play.
  • 01:03:42
    Because men are much more likely to engage in rough-and-tumble play than women are, and rough-and-tumble play seems to be one of the things that civilises children.
  • 01:03:51
    And it's partly because, you know one of the things you have to learn when you're a child is what actually hurts you and what can be ignored, and what actually hurts someone else and what can be ignored.
  • 01:04:02
    And the best way to learn that is in rough-and-tumble play.
  • 01:04:04
    Because what happens is that if you're playing with a kid, they get more and more excited and they do more and more crazy things, until they do something that either hurts them or hurts you, and then you have to say, look, you can't do that.
  • 01:04:16
    And it's like a dance in a sense, you know, when you're playing with a kid.
  • 01:04:21
    And you have to let them win fairly frequently, because otherwise they don't continue the game.
  • 01:04:26
    And you can tell that because if the game is going well then they're laughing with insane life, because kids just love rough-and-tumble play.
  • 01:04:34
    And they love crazy things and catch them and they think that's just great.
  • 01:04:39
    But partly what you're doing is you're extending their body in all sorts of ways and getting them to learn, in an embodied sense, where their limits are and where the limits of other people are.
  • 01:04:50
    And that's embodied.
  • 01:04:51
    And children who haven't had that, man they're just so awkward, it's unbelievable.
  • 01:04:55
    You know, they might have some hypothetical sense of how to interact with another person, but they don't have an embodied sense of it, and they can't tell the difference between what hurts them and what doesn't.
  • 01:05:05
    Because often a young child, if they're startled, they'll start to cry.
  • 01:05:09
    And then you can say, well that didn't hurt, and then they'll notice, well yeah it didn't hurt, and they'll stop crying.
  • 01:05:15
    But if they haven't had their limits tested, they'll cry at anything unexpected, even if it doesn't hurt.
  • 01:05:21
    And that's not good, because if you cry under all conditions the probability that you'll make friends when you're three is zero.
  • 01:05:28
    Because another kid will start playing with you and maybe playing rough, and if you burst into tears, you know, several times, the kid's just going to go somewhere else and find a different playmate.
  • 01:05:38
    You know, they'll say you're just a baby.
  • 01:05:40
    Which is roughly, exactly accurate… roughly exactly [laughter]… roughly accurate!
  • 01:05:47
    Anyways, back to the archetypal representation.
  • 01:05:52
    I think really the way to think about it is that for men, the hero archetype is the archetype that's dominant and in the forefront, and the maternal archetype is subordinate and in the background, I mean inside their own psyches.
  • 01:06:06
    Whereas with women it's reversed.
  • 01:06:09
    So each of the genders can play the role of the other gender but there's a tilt in each of them towards the… what would you say?
  • 01:06:18
    Well I would say towards typical gender-normative behaviour.
  • 01:06:25
    Now the social constructivists believe that no such thing exists, but those people are so pathological that even considering what they have to say is a mistake.
  • 01:06:33
    So, you know they act as if there is no biology and everything's cultural, and it's like, well no, that's just not right.
  • 01:06:42
    Now what biology means in practice and what you should do about it, that's a whole different question, but to think of all these differences as socially… height differences between men and women are not socially constructed, and they're relevant.
  • 01:06:55
    And the upper-body strength differences between men and women are not socially constructed, and they're relevant too!
  • 01:07:02
    So one of the things I was wondering about, maybe you guys can help me clarify this or tell me where I'm not thinking about this properly, and if you think there's any… if I'm missing something let me know.
  • 01:07:14
    One of the things my daughter said, she watched my son one day have a fight with his best friend.
  • 01:07:21
    It was a physical fight, you know.
  • 01:07:23
    His best friend did something that my best friend didn't regard as appropriate and so he hit him, and then there was a fight.
  • 01:07:29
    And then three days later they were friends again.
  • 01:07:32
    And my daughter said to me that she was very annoyed by that, which wasn't the fight exactly, but the fact that they could have a fight and then they were friends again three days later, because she said that that option wasn't available to women, right?
  • 01:07:46
    And the option is, the option that the men have is, “well if you get out of hand I'll just sock you one”, and then we'll have established where the boundaries of behaviour begin and end.
  • 01:07:58
    And I would say that in my experience, if I'm talking to someone who's self-confident and masculine and accomplished, there's always an undercurrent of potential violence.
  • 01:08:09
    It's an undercurrent.
  • 01:08:11
    And that's actually an undercurrent of respect, which means that there's things that we can do to each other in a civilised way, but there are rules that if you break, all hell's going to break loose.
  • 01:08:20
    And one of the consequences of that is that it doesn't.
  • 01:08:24
    Now the typical bullying pattern for women in high school and junior high is reputation destruction.
  • 01:08:32
    And I'm wondering, what are the implications for the conduct of behaviour if there is no recourse to aggression to solve disputes?
  • 01:08:43
    Because they don't get solved.
  • 01:08:47
    You know, I've tried to analyse what it means to say ‘no' to someone, because ‘no' means something.
  • 01:08:53
    ‘No' means… well if you tell a child ‘no', what you're basically telling the child, as far as I can tell, is if you continue doing that something you won't like will happen to you.
  • 01:09:04
    And if you're civilised and say no what happens is you say no a couple of times and then instead of devaluing the word, which is what you do if you just said it over and over a hundred times with no consequences, you take action that's non-verbal.
  • 01:09:19
    And so one of the things you might do is remove the child from the situation, or you might put them on the steps.
  • 01:09:24
    Or maybe you put them on the steps and they run away, so you have to hold them on the steps.
  • 01:09:29
    But the point is, the point to the child is, there are limits, and if you exceed them, you will be physically controlled.
  • 01:09:37
    What if there's no option for physical control?
  • 01:09:41
    What happens?
  • 01:09:42
    Well I don't know the answer to that, I don't know what women do about that but I also don't know what men do about that in relationship to women.
  • 01:09:50
    So I was watching something the other day, it was this… I posted it on my Twitter account as an example of animus possession.
  • 01:10:00
    So a woman and a man were having a dispute on the street.
  • 01:10:03
    It was a political dispute.
  • 01:10:04
    And this particular woman, the way she was behaving towards this particular man, was such that had she been a man, and had he been a man, he would have definitely hit her.
  • 01:10:15
    Because she was right in his face, and she was cursing at him and swearing and calling him an idiot.
  • 01:10:21
    And really being hyper-aggressive.
  • 01:10:22
    And of course, he couldn't do anything about it.
  • 01:10:24
    So then I was watching that and I was thinking, just exactly what are you supposed to do in a situation like that?
  • 01:10:29
    Because you're screwed no matter what you do.
  • 01:10:32
    If you're on the male side, it's like, you certainly can't intervene physically.
  • 01:10:36
    It's like you're dead in the water instantly, instantly, in your eyes, the eyes of society, and in the woman's eyes, instantly, if you move past the boundary.
  • 01:10:45
    If you leave, well, there's no glory in running away, that's for sure.
  • 01:10:50
    So what exactly is supposed to happen?
  • 01:10:54
    I have no idea what's supposed to happen in a situation like that.
  • 01:10:58
    I think what happens, what will happen over time, is that men just won't put themselves in those situations.
  • 01:11:02
    I think what the male would have to do in that situation is behave like a woman would, in a female dominance hierarchy.
  • 01:11:16
    So he stands there and takes it and afterwards goes off and bad-mouths her to her social circle.
  • 01:11:21
    That's a form of aggression.
  • 01:11:22
    Right, right, but you know that's definitely not seen as an admirable form of behaviour among men.
  • 01:11:30
    I mean, I don't think it's an admirable form of behaviour, period.
  • 01:11:32
    But I mean, you know, aggression is often not admirable, so that's fine.
  • 01:11:35
  • 01:11:36
    I think that when you take away emotion, like when someone's acting really aggressively towards you and you reserve your emotion, it gives them a lot less to feed off of, and that ends up taking power away in a similar way that aggression does.
  • 01:11:55
    Because people react aggressively and they want feedback that gives them more excitement… Oh definitely.
  • 01:12:00
    Oh yeah it would've been a real victory for her if she would've gotten slapped.
  • 01:12:03
    Absolutely, because it would prove everything she said instantly.
  • 01:12:07
    Yeah, but when you dismiss, power's gone.
  • 01:12:12
    So then you have all the power.
  • 01:12:13
    Yeah, yeah.
  • 01:12:14
    Well I think that that would be a reasonably effective strategy for a street confrontation like that.
  • 01:12:21
    I'm not so sure how well it would work in a prolonged competition inside a company, for example.
  • 01:12:27
    In a hierarchy, yeah, because you know the truth of the matter is that men have no idea how to treat women if they're in male power hierarchies.
  • 01:12:36
    They have no idea how to treat them.
  • 01:12:39
    And that's because we have no idea how to do that.
  • 01:12:41
    No one has any idea how to do that.
  • 01:12:43
    It's only been happening, in any pronounced sense, for about, well, on a societal level, really probably since the mid-70s.
  • 01:12:54
    You know, it's three generations.
  • 01:12:56
    It's a drop in the bucket.
  • 01:12:59
    And it's a very, very difficult thing to sort out.
  • 01:13:02
    So, I mean part of the reason I've been thinking about these sorts of things is because I've been very interested in the fact that men have been doing very badly in junior high and high school, and they're bailing out of universities like mad.
  • 01:13:14
    At the rate it's going there'll be almost no men in most disciplines within ten years.
  • 01:13:18
    I mean you can tell that even in this class.
  • 01:13:21
    It's funny because on my YouTube videos I look at the gender distribution for viewing and it's 80% male, which is interesting to me.
  • 01:13:31
    I'm not sure exactly why that is.
  • 01:13:33
    But in lots of fields it's 80:20 women already, and I can't see why that won't… I think that'll accelerate as we move forward, rather than slowing down.
  • 01:13:44
    Alright, so anyways, back to sexual selection and the power hierarchy.
  • 01:13:53
    Now from a Darwinian perspective, one of the things you might do is call whatever selects ‘nature'.
  • 01:14:04
    And so when we think of nature and we think about nature from a scientific perspective, we don't even think about humans as agents of nature, right?
  • 01:14:14
    We tend to think of the human being as something that stands against nature.
  • 01:14:17
    That's in mythology.
  • 01:14:18
    It's like, the human being against the natural world, it's a very common plot in movies and stories.
  • 01:14:26
    So it's man against nature, roughly speaking.
  • 01:14:29
    So we tend to think of those as separate categories.
  • 01:14:33
    But if women do the selection among human beings, at least they do the intense selection, then women are nature, for men.
  • 01:14:46
    And that's exactly what the archetype is.
  • 01:14:49
    It's Mother Nature.
  • 01:14:50
    And Mother Nature has a very vicious element, and the vicious element of Mother Nature is rejection.
  • 01:14:58
    And that can be maternal rejection, which is, you know, certainly something that causes a tremendous amount of trauma.
  • 01:15:03
    But it can also be the most fundamental form of rejection, and the most fundamental form of rejection is sexual rejection.
  • 01:15:14
    Because it means that you are judged as biologically unworthy, roughly speaking.
  • 01:15:23
    And there's other reasons why… so the reason I'm telling you this is because I've been trying to puzzle out… what you see in mythology quite clearly is that the dominance hierarchy is represented as male, so culture is male, and nature is female.
  • 01:15:37
    Well, why the hell would nature be female?
  • 01:15:39
    It's like, okay, well I've given you one reason, and I think it's the primary reason.
  • 01:15:42
    There's other reasons, because nature is also seen as that which produces natural forms, and of course, women produce natural forms, so that's a logical association.
  • 01:15:54
    And then, what's the other one?
  • 01:15:59
    Well, we can leave it at that for the time being.
  • 01:16:08
    So, now let me show you how I think that that's represented.
  • 01:16:25
    I think this is the way the world is structured when you consider it as a place of action.
  • 01:16:30
    So the world as a place of action has characters, like the elements are characters, and the characters are engaged in dramatic behaviour.
  • 01:16:42
    And there are classes of characters, and as far as I can tell, this is a reasonably comprehensive classification of dramatic characters.
  • 01:16:50
    We'll start from the inside and go out.
  • 01:16:54
    And you can think of any of these as primary, by the way, and you'll see that reflected in different kinds of mythology.
  • 01:17:00
    So sometimes the maternal is primary, and sometimes the culture is primary, and sometimes the hero, the individual is primary.
  • 01:17:07
    And I think that's because these three things are irreducibly primary.
  • 01:17:13
    In that, from the perspective of consciousness, in that, to be conscious, there has to be you, but if you're conscious you have to have evolved within a culture and that's culture is necessarily nested in the natural world, and so wherever there's one there's all three.
  • 01:17:30
    And the individual's also the thing… without the individual there wouldn't be any separation between nature and culture.
  • 01:17:36
    So you can see the individual consciousness is the generator of the entire structure, but you can say that about any of the characters.
  • 01:17:42
    So there's the archetypal son, because the hero tends to be masculine, and then, it has a… that character has a positive element and a negative element.
  • 01:17:53
    And the positive element is the good person, and the negative element is the bad person.
  • 01:18:00
    And I would say the archetypal representations of those are, like, the saviour, and Satan.
  • 01:18:07
    And that's basically… there are portrayals like that in virtually every system of mythology and religion.
  • 01:18:13
    Now it seems to me that in some sense Christianity, and this was probably under the influence of the Zoroastrians, developed the most articulated representation of good vs. evil at the individual level.
  • 01:18:30
    And that's why you can identify two fundamental characters in the Christian story, so to speak, that play out these roles.
  • 01:18:37
    And they're seen as eternal adversaries locked in battle across time.
  • 01:18:42
    And that would be, the battle takes place in the natural world, the battle takes place in the cultural world, and the battle takes place within, as well.
  • 01:18:51
    And you can see that reflected in stories all the time, because, you know, it's so frequently the case that the hero, the super-hero has his nemesis.
  • 01:19:00
    And it's the guy that he's extraordinarily well-matched with who continuously tests his wits and whose motivation is essentially destructive.
  • 01:19:09
    So you see that with Batman and the Joker, for example, or you see that with Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty.
  • 01:19:16
    There's always this pairing and that's partly because I think the archetypal realms of human decision-making are something like, are you working to make things better or are you working to make things worse?
  • 01:19:29
    Are you possessed by resentment and hatred, so that you want things to degenerate and burn, or are you hopeful and capable of manifesting faith in the future so that you're working to make things better?
  • 01:19:42
    And then there's a battle in everyone, in their own psyches, and then there's a battle in culture.
  • 01:19:48
    There's a battle everywhere between those two fundamental perspectives.
  • 01:19:52
    And then the archetypal son is the son of the Great Father, and the Great Father represents two things, order and tyranny.
  • 01:20:00
    So there's the hero and the adversary, at the individual level, and at the social level there's order and tyranny.
  • 01:20:08
    And so, roughly speaking, that's either the wise king or the despot.
  • 01:20:13
    And the despot is someone who tries to eat his own sons, which is actually a fairly common mythological trope.
  • 01:20:19
    And you know, you're under the thumb of the despot when you're not allowed, really, either to be hero or adversary.
  • 01:20:26
    You're just a cog in the structure of the social world.
  • 01:20:33
    So that's despotism.
  • 01:20:34
    On the orderly side, well, culture is what we're sitting in right now.
  • 01:20:40
    I mean, this is social order that encapsulates us.
  • 01:20:44
    Everything about it is social order.
  • 01:20:45
    I mean, there are rows, they're roughly linear, you know everyone's in their place, everyone knows what to do, we're unbelievably protected from virtually anything you could possibly imagine.
  • 01:20:58
    And so you know, we're in our father's living room, so to speak.
  • 01:21:04
    And in that living room, it's a safe space… oh God I should never have said that… [laughter] anyways, it's a well-protected space in which people are able to play and explore.
  • 01:21:17
    And it seems to me that one of the functions that fathers play in a family, if they're fulfilling their function properly, is that what they do is they put a perimeter around the territory, so that inside the walls, so to speak, it's safe, and inside the safe walls the children can play and explore.
  • 01:21:36
    And in their playing and exploring they develop their own individuality.
  • 01:21:39
    And so, you know, you keep the darkness at bay, and you can certainly see that that's what the children want, because as soon as you put them in a dark room, the first thing they say is, you know, come chase the monsters away out from underneath the bed.
  • 01:21:52
    And you know they wouldn't be thinking that if they hadn't had an extraordinarily long evolutionary history of being chased by monsters in the dark.
  • 01:22:02
    And there are monsters in the dark, and everyone knows that.
  • 01:22:06
    Which is why you tell your children not to go play at night after it's dark, even now.
  • 01:22:12
    So order and tyranny are the representations of culture.
  • 01:22:17
    And the thing is that there's a constant interplay between those two because you can never tell exactly when order has gone too far and become tyranny.
  • 01:22:27
    Andy you can never tell really when there's so little order that, well the next thing happens which is the emergence of chaos.
  • 01:22:36
    And chaos is the Great Mother.
  • 01:22:38
    And it's creative and destructive.
  • 01:22:40
    And that's nature itself.
  • 01:22:45
    And then on the outside, the very outside, and this is the most complicated category of all, is that, it's the dragon of chaos, and it represents something that's very difficult to conceptualise.
  • 01:22:54
    But it's the un-configured substructure of being that gives rise to these other categories.
  • 01:23:03
    So Donald Rumsfeld at one point made a very famous comment, it became famous because it fits an archetypal structure.
  • 01:23:11
    He said that there are known unknowns and unknown unknowns.
  • 01:23:14
    Okay, the dragon of chaos is the unknown unknown.
  • 01:23:19
    It's so unknown that you don't even know it's there, but it can raise its head at any given point.
  • 01:23:24
    It's the thing that leaps out of you in the darkness.
  • 01:23:28
    It's like, is it Zika, is that the new virus?
  • 01:23:31
    It's like the Zika virus.
  • 01:23:33
    It's like, no one saw it coming.
  • 01:23:34
    It's a completely new manifestation of being.
  • 01:23:38
    And so, known unknowns you can make plans to circumvent, unknown unknowns, they're completely unpredictable.
  • 01:23:46
    And what's so interesting, this is where it's so bloody complicated, because you really have to think about things differently to grasp what this means.
  • 01:24:00
    This is part of the reason why I had trouble with this section of the course on alchemy, because it's so complicated that it's… okay, so here, think of it this way.
  • 01:24:09
    What is the unknown made of?
  • 01:24:12
    That's a pretty weird question.
  • 01:24:15
    So I'll try to walk you through it, and we won't get very far with this, because we'll have to do it 15 or 20 times I think before it starts to become something that you can grapple with.
  • 01:24:25
    Alright, so it's September 11, 2011 and the Twin Towers have just fallen.
  • 01:24:31
    Sorry, 2001, yes, 9/11.
  • 01:24:35
    Alright, what's emerged?
  • 01:24:38
    What's happened?
  • 01:24:40
    Well, one answer to that is that the towers fell, but it's a very, very poor answer.
  • 01:24:47
    Because that was an unknown unknown, I would say, and it traumatised people.
  • 01:24:53
    I mean everyone, even in Toronto, walked around in shock for about two days after that.
  • 01:24:57
    And the reason for that was that we didn't know what fell.
  • 01:25:00
    The buildings fell, but the thing is the buildings aren't isolated.
  • 01:25:05
    Like, they're not some abandoned buildings standing out there in the middle of a field in a barren wasteland in the middle of an abandoned country.
  • 01:25:13
    They weren't buildings, exactly.
  • 01:25:15
    They were only buildings at a superficial level.
  • 01:25:18
    First of all they had 5000 people in them, or 5000 people died, if I remember correctly.
  • 01:25:23
    And then all those people were networked out with all sorts of other people.
  • 01:25:29
    And they were networked at multiple levels.
  • 01:25:30
    So they were family members but they were also elements of the financial and economic machine.
  • 01:25:37
    And in the political machine.
  • 01:25:40
    And then what was hit was of course, not just the buildings, but the economic and political system, whatever that means.
  • 01:25:49
    And of course the people who took the towers down weren't trying to knock buildings down, which is what you saw happen, they were trying to knock down the things the buildings invisibly related to.
  • 01:26:01
    And then you might ask well, what were those buildings invisibly related to?
  • 01:26:05
    And it's a simpler question to actually reverse the question and ask, well what weren't they related to?
  • 01:26:10
    And the reason that people were traumatised in the aftermath was because when we, when our bodies, in some sense, answered that question, the answer was, uh oh, those buildings were probably attached to everything in every possible way.
  • 01:26:26
    And so God only knows what's going to come leaping out of that.
  • 01:26:30
    So what happens when you see the buildings fall, the facts that you see the buildings fall actually blinds you to what's happening.
  • 01:26:40
    It's a very peripheral representation of the actual event.
  • 01:26:44
    Because you could also say, well it was a psychological event, you know, it echoed inside of you.
  • 01:26:49
    Well, you don't see that, you feel it, and you don't really know what it means.
  • 01:26:52
    But it puts a wave of uncertainty, a radical wave of uncertainty, into everything.
  • 01:26:58
    And not only the present, but also the future for sure.
  • 01:27:01
    Because things took a vicious turn after that, and almost immediately, right?
  • 01:27:05
    The whole political system readjusted itself, it became much more authoritarian.
  • 01:27:10
    You know, airports became little fascist enclaves.
  • 01:27:13
    You know for me, for many people, I could hardly go into an airport.
  • 01:27:17
    It just drove me crazy to be lined up like that and then subject to search, you know, by faceless representations of the paranoid state.
  • 01:27:30
    God, that's a horrible thing to have to encounter.
  • 01:27:33
    It's a bloody horrible thing to train people to get accustomed to.
  • 01:27:37
    It's really dangerous to train people to accept that sort of thing.
  • 01:27:39
    It was a way worse consequence I think, than the buildings falling down themselves.
  • 01:27:45
    But that was one thing that happened.
  • 01:27:47
    What else happened?
  • 01:27:48
    Well the one trillion dollar surplus that was projected by the Clintons at the end of Bill Clinton's presidency, which was the prediction for the next ten years, that the economy was doing so well that the US government was going to have a one trillion surplus over the next ten years, turned into a four trillion dollar deficit.
  • 01:28:13
    So that happened.
  • 01:28:15
    Well and then we got tangled up even worse in the Middle East, and of course that, I think that's probably got worse as time's gone on rather than better.
  • 01:28:23
    And we have no idea where that's going to end.
  • 01:28:26
    You know, I mean Russia's involved now, and Russia rattled nuclear weapons at Turkey the other day.
  • 01:28:31
    You know, even though Turkey's their largest trading partner and a member of NATO.
  • 01:28:36
    And then you know, a million refugees flooded into Europe, and God only knows what's going to happen as a consequence of that.
  • 01:28:44
    And it's not like the people who planned the bomb didn't know that, like here's what they thought.
  • 01:28:48
    They thought “oh, the Soviet Union, that was the second greatest power on Earth, and then they waded into Afghanistan.
  • 01:28:56
    And they got tangled up in a terrorist war and oh, poof!
  • 01:28:58
    Ten years later they didn't exist.
  • 01:29:01
    Maybe we could do the same thing to the United States”.
  • 01:29:03
    It's like, well, who knows?
  • 01:29:06
    Maybe you could.
  • 01:29:08
    I mean they certainly… the response to the 9/11 disaster, in my opinion, was much more expensive than the disaster itself.
  • 01:29:17
    I mean, one of the things that's quite horrifying is that here's one statistic: nobody flew in the aftermath of 9/11 for a while.
  • 01:29:27
    Like airplane flight bookings were way down.
  • 01:29:32
    More people died in car accidents (because of not flying) than were killed in the bombings.
  • 01:29:37
    And no one ever noticed that, because people are being killed on the highway all the time, right?
  • 01:29:41
    I mean it's background noise as far as we're concerned.
  • 01:29:43
    But you know, it's a really good example of how not only do you not know what the event is, you can't even tell who the event killed.
  • 01:29:53
    And so it's your apprehension of that, when it occurs, that paralyses you.
  • 01:29:59
    And so that's the dragon of chaos, roughly speaking.
  • 01:30:01
    That's an unknown unknown.
  • 01:30:03
    It's like all of reality, all of the multiple levels of reality that exist around you are all of a sudden altered in an incomprehensible manner.
  • 01:30:13
    And then you could say that well, what happened was the alteration of that reality.
  • 01:30:18
    This is what happened.
  • 01:30:20
    It's that you can only perceive it, essentially, as the explosion in the building and the consequent collapse.
  • 01:30:27
    And so you might say that the Twin Towers were brought down.
  • 01:30:31
    It's like that's such a low-resolution representation of what happened that it barely begins to describe that event.
  • 01:30:41
    And so it's that invisible background of complex interrelationships, like a very, very complex melody, that's always going on around you.
  • 01:30:50
    And as long as it works you don't even notice it.
  • 01:30:52
    What happens is that it manifests itself as predictable and desirable order.
  • 01:30:58
    Which you can understand, and which is the reason we have predictable and desirable order.
  • 01:31:03
    This room is configured so that you can walk into it without being afraid.
  • 01:31:07
    And what that means is that it's a radically simplified version of reality.
  • 01:31:11
    You know, and you can see that, I mean, it's even got padded walls, and that's to stop the sound bouncing so that it won't annoy you.
  • 01:31:18
    You know I mean it's warm, it's comfortable, it's sort of neutral so it fades into the background.
  • 01:31:25
    Everyone here is civilised beyond belief.
  • 01:31:28
    You hear about the radical individualism of the West… I think of all the nonsense I've ever heard that's got to be the most nonsensical, we're so bloody obedient that it's insane.
  • 01:31:38
    If you go to Edmonton at 3 o'clock in the morning and watch pedestrians, they will stop at the ‘don't walk' light and wait until it turns green [laughter].
  • 01:31:48
    Now the roads are wide and so they… but it's still the case.
  • 01:31:52
    It's like, really??
  • 01:31:54
    You think you're an individual, really?
  • 01:31:56
    And I'm not complaining about it, I think it's an amazing thing because you know we can really zip cars through our cities because people don't run out into the middle of the streets and get killed, they stay where they're supposed to so it's incredibly efficient.
  • 01:32:08
    But we're so obedient and well-behaved that it's beyond… if you think about us as chimpanzees with clothes, you know, we're doing pretty damn well.
  • 01:32:19
    And we set up our environments so that they're so simplified that we never have to encounter this multi-dimensional layered reality of patterns that's just moving around us all the time and that actually makes up reality.
  • 01:32:34
    That's reality, that's what the world is made out of.
  • 01:32:38
    That's a way different way of thinking about it than to think of the world as made up of, say, of atoms.
  • 01:32:43
    Because you think, that way you just think, well it's marbles in space, you know.
  • 01:32:49
    And of course atoms aren't marbles, and everyone knows that, like God only knows what they are.
  • 01:32:54
    But that's still the image, that's still the metaphor, of reality.
  • 01:32:57
    But that's not what reality is.
  • 01:32:59
    It's an insanely patterned orchestra of phenomena and that's really what it is and then what happens is that you're in this little orderly sub-compartment in the middle.
  • 01:33:13
    It's like, you're in a box and the box is in a box.
  • 01:33:15
    Well, let's think about it.
  • 01:33:16
    You're in a box, okay, this box is in a building, that's a box.
  • 01:33:20
    The building is in the university, that's a box.
  • 01:33:23
    The university is in the city, that's a box.
  • 01:33:25
    The city is in the province, that's a box.
  • 01:33:28
    Then it's in Canada, then it's covered by the American nuclear umbrella, you know, and then it's embedded in this immense history of individual rights and freedoms that have manifested themselves as part of the political and economic order.
  • 01:33:41
    And all of that's going on around you and people are working like mad, crazily, to keep all of those boxes intact, and here you are sitting and thinking, well, what you see around you is reality.
  • 01:33:53
    It's like it is, yeah, but man, there's a lot of people making this reality so simple that you don't have to think about it.
  • 01:34:01
    You can come in here and think about ideas, you know for like hours at a time, and you don't get eaten by a crocodile.
  • 01:34:09
    It's really… and you know no one comes running through here pillaging, which is of course… the crocodile eating and the pillaging were very, very common occurrences in our evolutionary history.
  • 01:34:21
    For lots of our ancestors going down to get water from the local river was a life or death mission.
  • 01:34:26
    I mean I can't imagine having to get water from a crocodile infested stream.
  • 01:34:31
    Especially when that's where the lions are hanging out too, you know.
  • 01:34:36
    So, that's order.
  • 01:34:38
    That's the positive element of order.
  • 01:34:39
    Now you can say, students say this a lot: “oh my God, I'm so constrained within these boxes, it's destroying my individuality” you know.
  • 01:34:47
    And that's the tyrannical… I mean it's pathetic in some sense, because God, you're so privileged it's beyond comprehension.
  • 01:34:56
    But having said that, it is also the case, and the case has to be made, that you do have to sacrifice your potential to cultural norms.
  • 01:35:07
    And that is… you can argue that that's destructive.
  • 01:35:11
    And sometimes it is destructive.
  • 01:35:12
    Like creative people don't fit very well into nested boxes.
  • 01:35:15
    And in order for them to fit they have to do damage in some sense to their psyches, because they're not naturally made to… that isn't their natural environment, boxes within boxes.
  • 01:35:30
    And so they might say, well I'm being oppressed.
  • 01:35:31
    It's like, well of course you're being oppressed.
  • 01:35:34
    If you're in fifty boxes that's constrain your freedom of movement, but maybe you should be somewhat grateful for the fact that the boxes exist.
  • 01:35:42
    You think, well you don't even notice them.
  • 01:35:44
    The boxes are so effective that you don't even notice them.
  • 01:35:47
    You can even criticise them, and you should, you know, maybe they could be better and not quite as rigid, and so forth.
  • 01:35:54
    And the criticism is justified but you have to keep both of the representations in mind at the same time, you know.
  • 01:36:06
    Your culture is the wise king and the despot at the same time.
  • 01:36:09
    And people hate that sort of thing because… and you know our rational minds and our history of logical intellectual thinking has forced us to assume that a thing can't be itself and its opposite at the same time.
  • 01:36:25
    But unfortunately when you're talking about very large-scale categories, things are what they are and their opposite at the same time.
  • 01:36:33
    Because culture is the wise king and the tyrant, and that means it's very difficult to adjust your behaviour in relationship to it, because you never know if you're talking to the wise king or the tyrant.
  • 01:36:43
    You know, and you feel that.
  • 01:36:46
    If you have to do your taxes or if you have to deal with the university bureaucracy in some way, it's like, you're a number, you know, and you're just annoying, like patients in the hospital, because hospitals would run a lot better if they didn't have any patients in them, obviously.
  • 01:36:59
    And you know, you feel that, of course, whenever you're in a very complex bureaucracy.
  • 01:37:03
    It's like, you're exchangeable, and that's very annoying.
  • 01:37:06
    But by the same token, here you are.
  • 01:37:09
    So you have to criticise… this is also a very complex form of moral behaviour.
  • 01:37:14
    You have to criticise with gratitude.
  • 01:37:17
    And that's something that students should really be taught in university, because the opposite of gratitude is resentment, and there is nothing that's more pathological than resentment.
  • 01:37:28
    The only thing that comes close to resentment, in terms of its capacity to produce misery, is arrogance, and those things are often… arrogance, resentment, and deceit… it's like that's the evil triad.
  • 01:37:40
    You get all those three things going in your life and boy, you're going to be in rough shape very, very rapidly.
  • 01:37:48
    So then, let's take a break, for fifteen minutes, okay?
  • 55:00:00
    Carl Jung thought that women carried an image of a group of men in their unconscious called the animus. Whereas men carried the image of a single woman, called the anima.

2016 Lecture 06 Maps of Meaning: Part I: The primordial narrative

Our experience takes narrative form, under the influence of biological, cultural and uniquely individual forces. This is partly because our minds are based in social cognition. Experience manifests itself comprehensibly as the unknown itself, the great dragon of chaos; the unknown as we experience it, the great mother; culture, the great father, and the individual, the center of conscious being, Each of these categories manifests itself in action. Each has a positive and negative element. Want to support this channel?

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