Why are specific diseases, disorders and conditions emerging with specific populations at this specific time?  Can the principles that we have recently focused on involving estrogen and social structure lead to clearer answers than those we’ve received until now?

The foundation of this theory I’m calling my “Theory of Waves,” formerly called Shift Theory, is built from social theorist Riane Eisler’s focus on matristic society, Marxist anthropologist Chris Knight’s human evolution theory based on female choice, evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller’s theorizing on sexual selection, Charles Darwin’s work on sexual selection (and Lamarckian selection), Stephen J.  Gould’s addressing heterochronic theory and neoteny, Norman Geschwind’s Cerebral Lateralization conjectures and Marian Annett’s research on random-handedness.  Simon Baron-Cohen’s recent personal encouragement that this theory is significant has provided me the confidence to begin contacting researchers and academics as I seek support and criticism of the Theory of Waves.  I am an amateur theorist with no institutional support.  The concepts herein have not been exposed to peer review.  I am not a scientist.

I view this creation as a work of art.  I pay attention to what seems interesting.  I let myself be guided by what draws me.  I am constantly sifting through patterns, feeling more or less attracted to different connections or paradigms that emerge.  I focus on those patterns that feel compelling.  In the way that I used to design comic panels and strips, I compare and contrast relationships or patterns, looking for the nonobvious, deep connection.

I crave usefulness for the theory.  I crave recognition for contribution.

In the way that I formerly created art, I create theory.  I let my unconscious tell me where to go, what to pay attention to and how to mate elements with each other in ways that what has been created can be understood.

I am unable to conduct experiments, studies or surveys.  The beauty of a theory is far easier for me to pursue than its usefulness.  Beauty and usefulness are the yin and yang, warp and woof, estrogen and testosterone of my world.  Many of the men and women that inspire me are clearly scientists that revere the beauty of the world they seek to know.  I am not a scientist.  As an artist, I seek to uncover connection and seek to share these connections that suggest a whole.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve explored the estrogen/testosterone connections between biological evolution, social evolution and ontogeny.  I see evolutionary biology, anthropology and neuropsychology and medicine connected by the play between estrogen and testosterone that can be represented in a model with predictive (useful) features.  I fear that what seems so beautiful to me–an elegant theory with numerous implications tying together many formerly unrelated patterns–will not be useful.  As an artist, I have little to lose.  Why would I dance a path where music is not playing?  This is too much fun not to pursue.

Neuropsychologist Norman Geschwind evoked the possibility that many human diseases and conditions were tied to lateralization propensities, ethnic backgrounds and hormonal thresholds.

“It is likely that, on the average, populations will differ in brain development, structure, and metabolism and therefore in lateralization patterns.  Some brain diseases show marked ethnic variation; for example, Tay-Sachs disease and dystonia musculorum deformans occur predominantly in some Jewish populations.  In northern Europe there is generally a higher frequency of twinning and of neural tube defects than in southern Europe and the Orient.  Since twinning is associated with lefthandedness in whites, one might speculate that lefthandedness was less common in southern Europe and Japan and that therefore dyslexia and other learning disorders might be less frequent.  There is a high rate of lefthandedness and of twinning in the parents of children with neural tube defects (Fraser, Czeizel, and Hanson 1982; Lemarec et al. 1978).  The line of reasoning suggests that West Africa would have a very high rate of lefthandedness, learning disorders, and possibly neural tube defects, since this area has by far the highest reported twinning rates.  There is evidence compatible with at least parts of this hypothesis.  Stuttering is very common among schoolchildren in West Africa, rates often being three times those found in the United States (Goodall and Brobby 1982).  Blacks in the United States, mostly of West African origin, have higher stuttering rates than Caucasians.  The hypothesis advanced to explain the West African data was the high prevalence of sickle-cell disease.  An alternative interpretation is that in West Africa there is a high frequency of anomalous dominance and therefore of learning disorders, lefthandedness, and the other attendant talents and disabilities.  The very few studies of handedness in Africa have shown very low apparent rates of lefthandedness, but it is not clear whether powerful cultural biases might be present.  The discussion of ethnic differences in handedness thus rests at present on mere fragments of information.  It should be pointed out, however, that the distinctions so far presented are not between the conventional Caucasian, Black, and Oriental groups.  Thus, the blond-haired, blue-eyed, and fair-skinned northern Europeans might resemble West African Blacks, whereas the Japanese might bear close resemblances to southern European Caucasians….” (Geschwind and Galaburda, Cerebral Lateralization, pp. 145-146)

Norman Geschwind hypothesized a connection between ethnicity, lateralization tendencies, diseases and testosterone.  Some of the follow-up studies showed little robust support for this conjecture.  Other studies did suggest connection, but few clear, larger patterns emerged.  For example, asthma was noted as closely connected to random-handedness.  I would suggest integrating the themes that this website has been exploring, specifically an estrogen/testosterone sexual selection/social structure heterochronic explanation for the patterns that Geschwind observed.

We are looking for associations among diseases, disorders and conditions and the…

F te/M TE        Conventional Patrifocal
F tE/M Te        Warrior Patrifocal
F Te/M tE        Contemporary Matrifocal
F TE/M te         Classic Matrifocal

…paradigm of a four-pole, balanced polymorphism that will change from society to society based upon social structure and sexual selection proclivities.  Estrogen and testosterone will be emphasized to different degrees in the varying somatic environment of its citizens.

Two three-step feedback loops allow adjustments of these estrogen and testosterone levels.  Mother’s testosterone level > progeny maturation rate > social structure proclivity > mother’s testosterone level.  Mother’s estrogen level > progeny ability to exercise aesthetic discrimination and caring behavior > social structure proclivity > Mother’s estrogen level.  There are numerous impact points changing hormone levels in the individual and the society over time.  This profoundly complicates our seeking studies with clean results, particularly because of the societal upheavals characteristic of this time of transition.  Annett’s suggestion that we can only achieve probabilistic answers to our questions applies to the proposed four-pole, two-hormone solution at the root of this hypothesis.

Our questions have to do with why specific diseases, disorders and conditions are emerging with specific populations at this specific time.

Let’s start exploring.


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