Running a web development firm, growing a national organization that now has almost 1,000 participating organizations, involving myself in many local social-change (peace, environment, justice) organizations and making daily contributions to this blog, I’m not left with much time to study.  Having disappeared into the rabbit hole of academic benders several times in my life, I’m left at this point with examining my environment for patterns, reading the occasional book and referring to my several hundred pages of digital notes (mostly excerpts sorted by subject) and a database of mythological motifs.

During my last intellectual binge, I transcribed notes and abstracts from several hundred papers and almost two hundred books, sorting the notes by subject.  I was planning to go back to the notes while writing a book on the practical and philosophical applications of a new theory of biological evolution.  The start of that book is located at sexualselection.org.  Almost 200 pages into this blog for over six months, I’m concluding that this work is that book, having crossed a line from science into art.

A problem with an examination of my personal experiences is that once I form a hypothesis and seek support for that hypothesis with what I come across in my everyday experience, I can almost always find evidence to support my position.  Information that does not fit into my frame does not stick in my consciousness.  So, I have to pay close attention to when things don’t fit.  Because I am not conducting experiments, I don’t have percentages or totals to provide high quality information or a proof fashioned in a way that would garner much support.

I have to pay attention to those times when I may be fooling myself or letting myself be seduced by a nonrobust idea.  Because I am not an academic, there are no repercussions for coming to false conclusions.  I have no laboratory.  I have no experiments or surveys from which I can derive statistics.  I watch.  I listen.  Tentative hypotheses come to me.  Sometimes ideas emerge accompanied by powerful positive feelings, what might be described as revelations.  On occasion, a notion subtly pops to mind that grows with time to feel like certainty.  Some concepts surface, look for support and then fade.

For example, I am hyper alert to the presence of left-handers.  I watch and listen closely to how they behave and I note the gesture systems that they use when communicating.  Women lefties tend to be powerful, often domineering, personalities, with exceptions.  The exceptions don’t tend to congeal into a group.

Male lefties mostly fit into one of two groups.  One group is charming, talkative, creative and very social.  The other group is grouchy, sensitive, creative and unusually nonsocial.  The first group is almost always from families with left-handers.  The second group, at least sometimes.  So, over a period of years, I have been looking for evidence of why male left-handers would naturally divide into these two groups.  To say some are familial left-handers and others left-handed because of trauma seems too pat a conclusion.  So, I watch and listen for information that would suggest a solution.

A satisfactory solution is one that not only satisfies the riddle at hand but that offers answers in other places in this multifaceted, multiscale theory of evolution.  The best solutions leave aspects unanswered, which are doorways in new directions and anomalies that suggest that there are hidden friends bearing gifts.  Every piece in a puzzle is a part of another puzzle that builds off in a new direction.

Asperger’s and autism continue to compel me to pay attention.  I look for evidence of communication patterns common to individuals I know with particular kinds of difficulty when communicating and compare that to what I understand of these conditions.

I watch and listen for common features and patterns among people that I know that are musicians, people with passions for music, gays, gifted athletes, left-handers, very overweight women, those with communication problems, those that are gifted communicators, those talented at gesture during communication and those exhibiting extremes of maturational delay or acceleration or evidence of particularly high or low levels of testosterone.  I watch and listen a lot.

Often when talking with someone, I’m watching, listening, feeling for variations in their communications, comparing their behavior to others that I know and noting their position in this constellation of evolutionary variables that I follow, paying particular attention to the anomalous features of their personalities and what might suggest an answer to the riddle of who each one is.  Every person is unique.  That uniqueness informs my understanding of evolution.

One of the other riddles that has followed me for years is the influence of estrogen on biological and social evolution in humans.  I have a powerful suspicion that many of the patterns I observe that I can’t quite figure out have to do with variations of estrogen within men and women.  This variation may be the variable responsible for the two groups of left-handers.  Or maybe testosterone variations explain that.  There would seem to be four groups for each sex, based on testosterone (T) and estrogen (E) that could explain variations in personality and maturational delay and acceleration manifestations.  Both males and females would exhibit TE, Te, tE and te, with the capital representing high, the small letter noting low.  Tracking these eight groups offers potential benefits as I seek to understand biological and social evolution.  With a large amount of my work resting on neuropsychological studies from the 1980s and 1990s, and there being very few works tracing the effects of estrogen during that period, I sometimes feel bereft of knowing exactly where to begin.  It feels like trying to play a violin with no bow.

Clearly, testosterone has massive effects upon autism, particularly the influence of mother’s testosterone levels and the nonbrain-pruning repercussions of low testosterone during early childhood.  What are the effects of estrogen upon autism?  What are the effects of estrogen upon evolution?  For me, it’s relatively easy to trace the effects of testosterone through the personalities of people I know, but it is more difficult to monitor estrogen, which has more subtle effects.  I bet if I were a woman that monitoring estrogen would not be a problem, and then this theory would have a whole different slant.

I look for clues.  I look for clues in the people I know and come across.  Like the boy in The Sixth Sense, who sees dead people, everywhere I look I see living people.  It’s no wonder I often feel overwhelmed in crowds.


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This entry was posted on Friday, October 3rd, 2008 at 7:05 am and is filed under Auto-Biography, Biology, lefthanded, Society. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
1 Comment so far

  1. Heresiarch on October 3, 2008 9:28 pm

    Dear Friend, I’m so glad I found your site(s). I’ve also been researching the role of neoteny in human evolution, having been led down the path by S. J. Gould, though pursuing a different slant than you. Nonetheless, I think you will be intrigued by my synthesis, which is your for perusing at
    http://www.starlarvae.org/Space_Brains_Neural_Neoteny.html

    and

    http://www.starlarvae.org/Star_Larvae_Addendum_Cyberfetus_Rising.html

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