Generation Shift

December 15, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Auto-Biography

Our row house, in addition to being the place that I conduct business, is where meetings occur for local peace, justice and environmental organizations.  Three days ago when I got home from the hospital, there was a meeting of one of the local groups.  Folks had heard about the aneurysm.  I answered questions.

Some folks are close friends.  Others I’ve known for years.  There are some people I’ve known for a long time but haven’t had a conversation with outside these group discussions.  While we were eating Marcia’s meatloaf, Charlene’s fresh garden tomatoes with basil and homemade soup, Dick approached me, noting that he’d heard about my adventures.  Dick is in his early to mid-80s.

“I heard about your, your….your…”

“Aneurysm.  It’s not serious.  No symptoms.  Scary, though.”

“Which hospital did you go to?”

“Evanston.”

Dick observed, “You know, the food over there isn’t that bad.  I was surprised at the variety of alternatives available on the menu.”

“Indeed, you live close enough to the hospital that you could consider walking over there for supper.”  Dick lives almost across the street.

Dick and I started talking.  We hadn’t really talked much before but for short exchanges on various political actions …

Group

December 14, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Auto-Biography

When I was 16, my parents sent me to a psychotherapist, Nina Blinstrub, to address the possible psychological dynamics behind my difficulty with speaking in circumstances outside of talking to family and friends.  Evidently, I was not just shy but hardly understandable.  Two years later, when I moved to Florida to go to college, I continued therapy with a gestalt therapist, Mike Gardner.  With Mike I attended a therapy group and individual sessions.  After three years, I stopped seeing Mike individually and continued the group for three more years until I moved back to Chicago in 1977.

In 1985, during a particularly troubled period in my marriage, I started therapy again, group therapy, with Jane Jacobs and Tom Goforth.  After a couple years, Tom split off and I continued group therapy with Jane.  Twenty-three years later, I’m still in group with Jane.  More than half my life I’ve been in group therapy.

When my first marriage ended in 1989, the group offered the safe place my soul desired.  When things were worst–bad enough to be the most distressing time of my adult life–I’d find myself imagining myself in group telling my confidants about what was occurring.  I had and have …

Aneurysm

December 13, 2008 | 1 Comment

Category: Auto-Biography

If it wasn’t enough that my frequent headaches were a painful distraction, now they are reminders of my mortality.  Maybe that’s a good thing.  Right now, that’s not feeling like the case.

On Saturday night, I briefly passed out after eating Indian food, after one beer, while deeply fatigued.  I left the restaurant at the point I felt like I might pass out.  I sat down on a chair on the sidewalk.  I woke up lying on the sidewalk, having just hit my head.  I then threw up.  Marcia was inside the restaurant taking care of the bill and had not seen me topple or hurl.

Twenty-four years ago, deeply fatigued, I had a glass of wine, Indian food, then passed out and threw up.  This time, remembering the circumstance and sequence, I got myself outside so I would not throw up in the restaurant.  Last time, by the time an ambulance arrived, I felt recovered.  An EEG a couple weeks later suggested no cerebral issues.

This time a passerby using a cell phone had an ambulance there in maybe two minutes and then ran into the restaurant to retrieve my wife.  I was still weak, pale and sweating, though …

Politics and Identity

December 12, 2008 | 2 Comments

Category: Activism, Society

Passion for exploring underlying presuppositions is useful when offering attention to how things work.

My father is a Republican.  His affiliation is based upon what he determines is best for him, personally.  Issues are not important in the context of his allegiance.  He views himself as a person with something to protect.  He estimates that Democrats don’t really care about people that are well off and he wants to make sure that he stays well off.  An underlying presupposition of my father’s political leanings is that he makes his decisions based on what’s best for him.

This is not just a Republican assumption.  Many people that vote Democrat support the party they believe is best for them, personally.  A person with few resources will often estimate that Democrats will more likely make it possible for him or her to have access to resources.  The difference may often be incremental, but a real difference exists.  Whether it’s my father voting Republican or a person with few resources voting Democrat, an underlying presupposition is that both people are voting based on what is best for him or her at his or her economic level.

Republicans and Democrats can share underlying assumptions.  The …

I noticed in my stats that someone found this site by typing “patrifocal” into Google.  This struck me as strange.  Getting high rankings for single word searches is notoriously difficult.  Then I noticed that the word “patrifocal” has less than 5,000 sites using that word, a tiny number.  “Matrifocal” revealed almost 40,000 sites with that word, still a miniscule number.

How does the academic world discuss issues of social structure and mate selection?  Evidently “matrifocal” and “patrifocal” are not frequently used terms.  It seems to me an important distinction sleeps beneath the notice of most academics studying social change.

Scanning the literature, there doesn’t seem to be a very deep intuition for the relationship between sexual selection and social structure outside discussion of lineality, as in matrilineal or patrilineal frames of reference.  Perhaps this is why fundamental changes in Western society characterized by a dramatic surge in the direction of female choice go mostly unremarked.  Lineality issues are not involved.  Folks mostly know who the father is.  Lineage is traced through the father’s last name regardless of matrifocal or patrifocal proclivities.  There was a brief time in the 60s where hyphenated last names were experimented with, providing matrilinealists the opportunity …

Peace Island Conference

December 10, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Activism

I attended the Peace Island Conference (PIC) that took place in St. Paul during the Republican National Convention.  Marcia, Laurel and I, as co-directors of the Peace, Justice and Environment Project, attend several conferences over the course of the year.  We are usually tabling, sometimes conducting workshops, occasionally speaking.

The usual format is speakers and workshops.  Workshops are usually constituency-based with topics designed to appeal to the folks attending the event.  Often there are eight or more workshops running concurrently, resulting in several with 2 or 3 people attending.  It is not uncommon that workshops are created to encourage a particular group or interest to attend the event.  Far more workshops are created than is reasonable to beef up the attendance numbers at a conference.  For example, 40 workshops can mean at least 40 more conference attendees conducting workshops.

At the Peace Island Conference, there were no workshops.  Instead there were breakouts.

The unique way (in my experience) that the PIC was designed was that a speaker’s section with four speakers was followed by breakout sessions with each speaker assigned a room.  In the speaker’s session, one person was assigned about 45 minutes to talk, followed by three additional speakers …

RNC ‘08

December 9, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Activism, Society

Way back before the election, I was a marshal for the protest march that occurred on September 1, the first day of the hurricane-impacted Republican National Convention.  I was assigned to follow the 45-minute long stretch of several thousand people with several other blue-shirted organizers.  From where we were, things were peaceful.  On TV that night, I watched video of pepper-spraying police, anarchist confrontations, unlawful arrests and varying degrees of chaos.  This conflict was all happening at other places in or near the march, which from the back end seemed characterized by calm.

In one mildly surreal moment during the march, I looked up to read the news ticker trailing across the side of a skyscraper.  In the blinking lights of the ticker I read that seven had been arrested in the march.

As an organizer, a lot of attention is devoted to designing events and preparing advisories that will draw cameras.  At the RNC, I observed more media in one place than I was aware was even possible.  Anybody that wanted to be interviewed could find one several times.  I read that there were 15,000 reporters, producers, camera people, lighting specialists and talking heads at the RNC.  That was …

Several things contribute to an evolutionary understanding of small business formation, health, difficulty and demise.  First, there is the examination of the business model and an earnest exploration of the likelihood that the business will find its niche.  It is also important to address how the business can best get the word out that it exists and will perform its services seamlessly so that buyers will return.  For me, there is the examination of the person I am working with, noting the person’s talents, strengths and challenges, and understanding who the person is as a social being in the larger picture of the contribution the individual is seeking to make to the business community at large.

In other words, how exactly is the person I am working with complementary to the pathway he or she is walking?  What makes the person attracted to the job?  What makes the person I am working with unique?

Discussions with prospective clients usually occur in my living room.  I work out of my home.  Talking websites, we sit surrounded by books on evolution and related disciplines.

Immersed in an evolutionary theory characterized by how social structure evidences itself in behavior, physiology and neurology, I …

Business of Evolution

December 7, 2008 | 2 Comments

Category: Auto-Biography, Society

When I was young, in college and before, I collected work experiences.  I’ve been fired from two jobs in my life.  The rest I quit when I got bored.  Working to make money felt like an adventure.  At one point, I counted 40 different jobs that I had tried.  I was taking an artist’s path through my family’s business frame of reference.  With hard-working, merchant/business Jews on both sides of my family, with almost every male running his own businesses, I sought a path where I could work and yet enjoy it.  After graduating from college, this work-as-adventure frame continued as I proceeded to work my way through several professions.

1 Girdle and Bra factory vice president (I worked for my dad out of college for a year and a bit.)
2 Free Lance Illustrator and graphic design
3 Greeting Card Manufacturer (publishing my paintings as greeting cards)
4 Greeting Card Independent Representative (ran a firm working for more than 100 businesses over 19 years)
5 Cartoon Strip & Panel Artist (Off the Deep End & Lehman were in almost 200 fringe publications)
6 Comic Art Syndicator (represented 12 comic artists to the alternative press)
7 Comic Art Publisher (Free …

For the second time this week, I couldn’t sleep as my mind wrestled with better ways to explain the principles outlined in this blog.  I feel constricted by the two-dimensional nature of the monitor-as-stage and the narrative nature of spoken language that forces me to communicate in a single thread.

One option seemed to be to divide the principles into several websites, connected in various strategic fashions, allowing for spontaneous concept bridging as each visitor creates his or her own narrative thread while traveling from site to site.  Sites might divide the central thesis into:  psychology/personal, evolutionary biology, primatology/language, anthropology/social structure, consciousness/spirituality/teleology, cosmology/molecular biology, neuropsychology/autism, autism/matrifocal society, Internet/contemporary society and art/spirituality/society.  Overlap would be unavoidable and desirable.  By traveling from site to site in whatever way the visitor chooses, perhaps he or she might find that the tyranny of narration would be less intense.  Still, not everyone likes treasure hunts.  The whole thing might feel like a tease.  What other ways are there to communicate an evolutionary thesis characterized by many and subtle interconnections?

The Peace, Justice & Environment Project is facilitated by 15 activists working with over 1,000 organizations in 36 states so that those organizations can communicate and …

Practical Paths

December 5, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Society, Unconscious

Having a religion may or may not mean someone has had an experience that he or she describes as a spiritual experience.  A nonreligious person can have an experience that someone who has a religion might describe as a spiritual experience.  From some spiritual experience perspectives, such as Zen, the landscape I’m outlining is nonsensical.  Consciousness is characterized by spiritual experience.  The nature of your experience has to do with where you choose to identify in any moment.

I would like to posit that choosing to identify with a larger sphere than the self provides a more useful or enhanced experiential model when exploring the ways the universe and the world works.  Consider that presupposing that everything is connected and choosing to identify with that everything–expanding the definition of the self–provides a deepened, more immediate access to solutions characterized by many interconnections.

What I am suggesting is that scientists constrain both their hypothesizing capabilities and their abilities to note solutions to difficult problems by behaving as if consciousness is unimportant when seeking to understand the world.  Where a theorist or researcher chooses to lodge his or her identity or sense of self has an enormous amount to do with his …

These essays or blogs are an unconventional way to share evolutionary theory. This is not a peer-reviewed journal and I am not an academician. There are the less obvious reasons why this blog is unconventional. For example, I share some ideas before they are fully formed.

Many of the ideas expressed on this blog had their origins ten years ago. Click here to travel to a site that goes into those details. Those ideas have been fully cited (click here) though no peer-review process has presented them to a community that might absorb them. This blog offers me an opportunity to share those ideas in the context of contemporary events that might suggest their utility. The most obvious example is that the theory hypothesizes that autism has evolutionary origins and is a direct result of changes in our society’s transformation from patrifocal to matrifocal social structure. Almost thirty predictions come from the hypothesis. Click here for details.

Writing these blogs often led to insights. Since starting these entries last April 1, a number of ideas have occurred to me that bridge off of the original theses. Some of these ideas are appearing on this website without the benefit …

Disappointment

December 3, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Auto-Biography

(Written 8/27/08)

I couldn’t sleep last night.  We’ve a bed on the third floor, high enough to be above most bugs, so we leave the window open behind our heads.  A huge oak waves and whispers all night long inches from our ears.  Crickets accompany the moving leaves.

Two days ago, the Google alert on autism that gets emailed to me daily had three articles on the surge in autism among Somali children.  By chance, the next day, yesterday, I was publishing a blog on the influence of light on the pineal gland influencing testosterone levels impacting maturation rates that cause some autism when there are changes in latitude.  When this theory came to me ten years ago, it predicted high percentages of autism among equatorial populations immigrating to northern climes.  The Somali cases were exact examples of the prediction.

I’d written the piece 100 days before.  It takes that long, after multiple revisions and review by an editor, before a piece posts.  The last three autism pieces I’d posted all appeared in that day’s Google alert.  Google spiders my blog after I post around 6:30 a.m. and ranks the new posts later in the day, linking to them from …

Road Stories

December 2, 2008 | 2 Comments

Category: Auto-Biography

Hitchhiking back and forth across the country, unique things happened frequently enough that the experience stayed attractive.  Still, the emotional swings of depression/elation were intense, the most intense I have ever experienced.  A hitcher is very vulnerable on the road.  Joy and despair are constant companions.  Though uncommon, there were times when I’d feel both at once.

I lucid dream.  This means I sometimes am aware that I am dreaming while I dream.  There was a period in my life where I gave this much attention, and on occasion I’d awake from dream into this world and carry with me the sense that this world is being created moment by moment by something-larger-than-myself.  A profound aspect of lucid dream is the awareness while dreaming that every detail is being manufactured by the unconscious.  It feels miraculous.  The dreamer in a lucid dream often feels joy.

Traveling about the country in the 1960s and earthly 70s, whether by car picking up hitchhikers or as a hitchhiker, there was the sense of the world being a friendly place, even a safe place.  One’s thumb was a ticket to the subculture.  In the beginning, many of us felt part of something larger than …

Hitchers

December 1, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Auto-Biography, Society

I’m starting to see hitchhikers.  Just a tiny trickle.  I saw two pairs while driving from Chicago to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Now that I think about it, it would seem inevitable that thumb travel would become viable, what with the rising cost of transportation and increasing difficulties buying cars.  There are many of us out there that used to hitchhike.  We could get used to picking up hitchhikers again.

The last time I tried hitchhiking was 1978.  I hitchhiked from Chicago to Florida.  It took far longer than what had been the case in the past.  It was not uncommon to wait an hour or two between rides.  Hippiedom was completing its transformation from political/social statement to person-that-did-drugs.  The longhairs I was meeting on the entrance ramps were street people, runaways and carneys.  There was no sparkle, no feeling of feeling-part-of-something-larger-than-the-self.  I arrived in St. Petersburg after several days.  I haven’t hitched since.  The 60s felt over.

I started hitching in 1969, locally, around the northern suburbs of Chicago.  In 1970, I took my first shot at hitching across country with Lee Goodman, who did so without his parents’ permission.  We were both in high school.  I remember arriving …

“Edward Westermarck in his early classic A Short History of Marriage (1968: 126-155) discussed consent as a condition for marriage. Females, he noted, most often were married off at the will of some male–father, family elders, uncle. It is to be noted that the male partner in such marriages, also, had little personal choice. However, Westermarck pointed out that females in the simplest hunting and gathering societies could–and did–refuse the assigned mate. Sometimes she could do this directly and in other societies by subtle, indirect action. She lost much of this freedom in technologically more advanced societies. Some of the strongest arguments against male dominant choice of females as sex partners can be found in the statistical, cross-cultural work of George Murdock (1949: 20-21). Out of 241 societies where his criteria could be applied, 163 involved some consideration: bride-price, bride service, or exchange of women. In other words, families made the decisions rather than the individuals involved. Regarding divorce, Murdock (1969: 175-76) found, somewhat surprisingly, that in thirty of forty societies there were no substantial differences in the rights of men and women to terminate a marriage. Only 15 percent actually had the stereotyped view where men controlled the action. …

Information

November 29, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Future, Society, Web

If opinion is the social equivalent of creating a theory or model and information is what you use to form an opinion, a theory or a model, then the mainstream media has pretty much given up on providing information.  It provides opinion.  Where do we go to gather the information to form an opinion or our own personal theories of how the world works?

To the web.

Before the election, listening to the NPR show Talk of the Nation, a radio hour was devoted to the character of the candidates.  Listeners were told to go to the candidate websites if they wanted to know their position on the issues.

It strikes me that the decades-old trend to dumb down the news to keep viewers always entertained is being accelerated by an Internet that provides an additional excuse to the mainstream media to not spend time sharing information.

The mainstream media is shifting to behaving like they assume that the web is where information lives.

There are repercussions.  Eventually, services similar to Google News will offer a selection of video excerpts from stories emerging across the country and around the world.  The selection services will pitch information from a variety of …

The time we live in, the society that we are a member of and our personal lives and experiences deeply determine the productions of the artist, the theorist or even the athlete. When, where and who we are inform what we can create.

There are very few studies on the influence of the environment on estrogen. There are no studies on the influence of the environment on male hormone levels tracing how those changes might manifest in the features of progeny. Wakening from our patrifocal slumber, we will discover many things we did not consider paying attention to. We do not have studies in those two areas that trace the influence of environmental variables and sexual selection proclivities on human evolution. Theorists are left to focus on what we do know about the influence of environmental variables on the testosterone levels of mothers.

What haunts me is a deep-felt certainty that changing levels of estrogen, modified via sexual selection and environmental influences, have influenced, and continue to influence, our evolution. Clearly, individuals exhibiting a low level of testosterone allow for a more influential role for estrogen in their lives. I suspect there is more to it than that. For example, …

As a Left organizer, it’s not about making things happen but about appraising conditions in order to be in the right place in the right time, with the right tools, with the right allies, with robust contact lists, a powerful message and a unique presentation. Listening to the changing of the times, one becomes a specialist in currents and waves.

Sitting on the beach, with an eye always on the ocean, you see a wave, run out into the water, position yourself and let it carry you toward your goal. Rarely are waves so big that you can see them from far away. Usually, you need to linger at least waist deep in the surf.

We are in a unique situation, what with the slow-motion toppling of our hierarchical society, to be observing a tidal wave of change approach the beach. The usual activist interventions don’t apply. To catch this wave requires an understanding of the change in societal currents, the shift from patrifocal to matrifocal paradigms and the profound effect that communication technologies are having upon this changing seascape.

It’s as if the moon had not risen for 6,000 years and only now has appeared above the clouds. Currents …

Charles Darwin, referencing Morgan’s writings, suggested the possibility that humans were descended from tribal cultures characterized by matrifocal social structures that were driven by female sexual selection. After suggesting the possibility, he rejected it as being incongruent with his experience of contemporary and primitive society, which featured a focus on male hierarchical dominance patterns with a complementary pattern of female compliance. Darwin was a Victorian. It is possible that if Darwin had instead embraced what he rejected, then the history of evolutionary theory would have been at least slightly changed. Regardless, after being proposed by Darwin, female sexual selection was almost ignored for 100 years. And it is only with the work of Geoffrey Miller (2000) that sexual selection theory in the context of human evolution gets its articulate advocate.

If humans evolved through matrifocal societies, driven by female sexual selection, what would have been the origin and nature of that dynamic?

“All at once Evered charged forward, leapt up to seize one of the hanging vines, and swung out over the stream in the spray-drenched wind. A moment later Freud joined him. The two leapt from one liana to the next, swinging into space, until it seemed the slender …

In just the way that human evolution has twisted and turned with varying emphases on patrifocal vs. matrifocal social structure, the transformations of societies can be observed as they mirror how humans choose their mates.

Though humans have been propelled in a neotenous direction over the last several million years, we could surmise that this trajectory has not been a seamless surge in one direction.  Just as we observe the contemporary sudden surge in maturational delay among our males and maturational acceleration with females, ancient precursors to our current species no doubt produced progeny that skewed off from the maturation rate convention.  Different bands exhibited different maturation rate proclivities based upon environmental influences, band interbreeding and sexual selection aesthetics.  The dramatic variations in the fossil record of even relatively contemporary finds testify to the breadth of variation among our ancestors.

We did not arrive here via the evolution express but via a very fast vehicle that made numerous stops and that took many routes along the way.

A highly refined aesthetic developed during millions of years of runaway sexual selection characterized by performers (dancers and singers) being chosen by discriminating mates.  Having arrived at language, our ancestors got off the …

Old Grief

November 24, 2008 | 1 Comment

Category: Auto-Biography

Three evenings I played with Elia on the floor of his bedroom.  He had recently turned five.  The marriage to his mother had slipped into the abyss a while back.  What was left was for me to leave.  Somehow I had to explain it to my son.  I was unable to tell his mother until I was gone.

Three evenings we played on his bedroom floor.  With “guys,” I acted out the two homes he would be having in the future.  I acted out with toys his Daddy moving to another nearby apartment.  My son seemed confused.  Devastation had been stalking me day and night.  Those three nights, I could see that darkness creeping into Elia’s eyes.

The morning after the third evening, I took Elia to kindergarten.  Climbing out of the car, I opened the back door and leaned in to unbuckle him from the seat.  I explained that I wouldn’t be home when he got home from school, but I would see him frequently.  As I said it, I saw in his eyes that his life had changed.  I could see that my lifelong distress was appearing in the psyche of my son.  My worst fears were being …

Beach Music

November 23, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Art, Auto-Biography, Play, Sand Castles

Elia and I occasionally jump into rented convertibles and go traveling to warmer climes where I make sand castles while surrounded by the sound of the ocean.

Elia is my 24-year old son.  This August we drove to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  I missed my turn in Indiana and we ended up taking the long way around through central Ohio, but that was OK.  The conversation was excellent moving through the wee Ohio hours, driving ‘til 3 a.m.  These cruises feel like the last of the days where I can afford the gas for the long haul.  Burning that much fossil fuel for pleasure also feels like a tenuous trade.

We were going to drive down to the Keys, but Elia suggested somewhere closer.  Good choice.  When we arrived in Myrtle Beach, we discovered that a tropical storm was headed toward Cuba and South Florida.

This trip continues a tradition I established in August of 1991 when I rented a Mustang and drove 3,000 miles in six days working out the emotion of a devastating divorce.  I was on a sand castle tour creating towers on beaches from Pensacola to St.  Pete and then back up through St. Augustine and …

Mildly Paradoxical

November 22, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Unconscious

At some point, we’re going to start monkeying with our own evolution.  I mean consciously.  Clearly we’ve been playing with our evolution, unconsciously, from the start.

One premise of this work is that we in the West have created an arbitrary division between our unconscious and conscious mind, no doubt born from the evil/good split we’ve carried for a few thousand years that is part of the whole human/gods split.

I suspect this is a direct result of most of us having the modern split brain, two hemispheres with language functions tending to congregate in the left hemisphere, with the other hemisphere slightly diminished in size accompanied by the reduced corpus callosum inhibiting hemispheric communication.

With the return of the old, nonsplit brain and the re-emergence of matrifocal social structure, surges in autism and males featuring maturational delay and females featuring maturational acceleration, there is also a return of nondifferentiated consciousness points of view.  It would be useful if the differentiated consciousness characteristic of modern humans and nondifferentiated consciousness featured by the matrifocals appearing in our midst could achieve a synthesis and provide some perspective on nondifferentiated consciousness.

To achieve nondifferentiated consciousness and not be aware that you know that …

Chauvinists of Time

November 21, 2008 | 1 Comment

Category: Ontogeny

I’ve been reading Lee Smolin’s The Life of the Cosmos, where our universe is estimated to have been born from another universe’s black hole.  Smolin hypothesizes that the laws of our universe may have been naturally selected over time as universes gave birth to new universes with slight variations.  Those universes with laws providing for ease of black hole creation were the universes that proliferated.  Smolin advocates applying Darwin’s theory of natural selection to understanding universe reproduction and galaxy ecologies.

The scale of these events is unfathomable.  A thought that comes to mind is the strangeness of physicists’ assumptions that the unfolding of these events is not characterized by life or consciousness.  Whereas life and consciousness fill the lives of those of us who inhabit a planet, consciousness does not operate at either the scale of the molecular processes that make up our bodies or at the scale of the galaxies and universes that transform the star stuff that provides the molecules that we’re made of.

Whereas the mystic differentiates between life and nonlife while he or she notes that consciousness invests both the living and the not, I’m starting to wonder how we can so blithely differentiate between …