Future Predictions

November 20, 2008 | 1 Comment

Category: Future, Society, Web

This work observes the effects of sexual selection and social structure on testosterone levels influencing changes in maturation rates propelling neoteny in human evolution and then follows that same trail while watching societies transform.  By matching observed matrifocal trends (neotenous males, accelerated females) with the imminent necessity of global societal conversion to sustainable living practices, one can make the following predictions about the future.

Universal health care for all humans will demand right-eating practices.  The community won’t want to pay for individual dietary indulgences that result in costs to the community.  There will be a dramatic drop in animals consumed to make sure there is enough food for all.  The resulting low-fat, relatively low-protein diet will result in puberty returning to 16-17 years old, dramatic increases in brain size and higher synapse numbers and reverence for aesthetics as central to life.  (Early puberty testosterone surges halt brain growth, curtailing synapse production.)

Mother’s testosterone levels will be evaluated two months before birth.  If elevated, embryo ipods will be carried by pregnant mothers providing rhythms and melodies running in sync with variations with the child’s and mother’s heartbeat.  Music will continue to be delivered after birth.  It will be discovered that artificial …

Writing these daily entries, I discover something new almost as often as I record something I’ve earlier discovered. It’s time to collect some of the hypotheses or predictions of this work.

1) Relative testosterone levels in males and females inform matrifocal vs. patrifocal societal structure. High T females choose low T males for their cooperative abilities, creating more egalitarian, matrifocal cultures. High T males choose low T females for their ability to be the complement to male authority, forming patrifocal cultures.

2) Autistic males, from families of left-handers, will have lower testosterone than the norm, and autistic females will have higher testosterone. In any study of autism, those with familial male maturation delay tendencies, families of left-handers, need to be evaluated separately from those possibly traumatized by an environmental effect.

3) Larger penis and testicle size will be associated with autistic, ambidextrous males and the familial left-handed.

4) Autistic males will exhibit more neotenous characteristics while autistic females should show less neoteny than contemporary populations.

5) If larger testicles and increased sperm production are associated with low-testosterone, promiscuous social-structure males, the two variables will be related in that higher-testosterone males will have smaller testicles or lower sperm production.

6) Left-handed …

The American Neo-Lamarckians of the nineteenth century, Hyatt and Cope, explored the evolutionary repercussions of prolonging and accelerating maturation rates of individuals over time as they manifested in changes in descendants.  Stephen J. Gould follows the attempts by theorists to understand these processes in his Ontogeny and Phylogeny.  New features would be acquired, added to an ontological endpoint to the adult of a species, and slowly move backward to earlier ontological stages through descendants.  At the same time, existing features evident early in ontogeny would prolong their way forward to appear later in ontogeny in descendants.  A feature could appear as an adult, move its way backward to an embryonic stage, and then move forward again, having metamorphosed along the way.  There is this inhalation/exhalation aspect of evolution not examined closely for almost 100 years.

In humans, social structure mediates this dynamic.  In a matrifocal social structure, cooperative males and commanding females are highly valued.  Males are maturational prolonged as cooperative neotenous features are selected.  Females are maturational accelerated as commanding attributes are chosen.  Features move up and down the ontogenetic ladder, manifesting earlier and later in descendants.

In a patrifocal trajectory, the reverse is in play.  Commanding non-neotenous …

Researcher Henry Jerison noted in 1973 that there was a consistent and evocative pattern in the brain-size relationship between predator and prey. The predator in any predator/prey partnership always had a bigger brain. Jerison concluded that the demands of catching another animal were far more exacting than eating foliage and avoiding being caught. Hunting required far more brains than running away.

The origin of thought is not about how big a brain humans might have needed to be successful hunters. What humans needed big brains for, as Geoffrey Miller has outlined, was to achieve sex opportunities. The same process that drove predator brain-size increases, in the case of humans, drove them to behave in ways that resulted in larger brains. What drove humans was the dance and the sounds that humans would make to accompany the dance, with the most evocative performers being picked more frequently as sexual partners.

A predator’s brain need be no bigger than what is required to catch prey. There is no biological incentive to add any more brain power than is absolutely necessary to survive. Humans, as far as we know, are the first species to revel in culture, thought, language and all its implications. …

Evolutionary developmental biology is slowly embracing concepts introduced in the nineteenth century, including the possibility that features exhibited by individuals are not randomly selected but emerge in direct response to environmental influences.  The three points of impact are sperm production, egg creation and the uterine environment.  Most obvious is the influence of the environment on the fetus.  For example, clones are emerging from wombs looking and acting differently from their parent.  The effects of the uterine environment are only beginning to be understood.

Physicists investigating how the universe evolved are hypothesizing black holes as the birthplace for new universes.  If there are correlates between the ways biology and a universe evolve, then there needs to be a location in this process that a gestating universe can be influenced so it can exhibit new features.  The gestating universe would also need a dynamic that could mediate environmental influences, making it possible for the impact of those influences to manifest.  If a dying sun becoming a black hole transforms into a universe, at what point in that sequence are environmental influences absorbed and how are these influences transcribed?

Is it possible that a sun’s environment while still shining influences the sun in …

A child’s lifelong maturation rates are set several weeks before birth by the mother’s testosterone levels. A mother with high testosterone gives birth to low testosterone males and high testosterone females. A low testosterone female raises high testosterone males and low testosterone females. Numerous factors influence a mother’s testosterone levels, including age, stress, exercise, smoking, alcohol, drugs, touch, diet and light. Radical elevations in a mother’s testosterone level can lead to extreme maturational delay and autism.

This scheme is part of a larger picture of how humans evolve. Changing maturation rates over generations send societies in one of two directions: matrifocal or patrifocal social structures. Low testosterone males mating with high testosterone females form the foundation of matrifocal social structure. High testosterone males pairing with low testosterone females make up patrifocal social structure. When mothers today exhibit matrifocal features, high testosterone, while exposed to environmental influences that elevate their testosterone further, male children with delay tendencies may shift into extreme delay.

This theory predicts that females with autism will not exhibit maturational delay, but maturational acceleration accompanied by elevated testosterone. When a mother’s testosterone level elevates, she not only influences the maturation rates of her children, she sends them on …

One of the less becoming features of a big chunk of American society is a tendency to revere achievement over the path taken to that success.  Honor in action or behavior is often portrayed as quaint.  I’ve observed this attitude among many of my competitors.  I run a web design or web development firm.  There are many younger males in the web business that behave like Darwin’s theory of natural selection is a business model, not a theory of evolution.

On the other hand, perhaps the left hand, there is strong movement toward exploring and manifesting transparency in the processes and actions of organizations, corporations and personal relations.

In my opinion, these are not two arbitrary societal trends slugging it out.  Long lineages trail behind them.  It’s looking like the patrifocal-dominance model has become self-corrupting as it takes a step away from a Goldwater honorable path conservatism and catapults itself over the philosophical abyss claiming targeted ends justify any means.  In the U. S., we’ve achieved a kind of Zen conservatism where everything is relative; morals are useful when cementing constituencies and ethics are only relevant in relation to how you are perceived.  Whereas in Zen one shifts identity to …

Dance (and song), brain size, testosterone levels, play, sexuality and cooperative behavior are so closely tied as to be undifferentiated when discussing human evolution.  All are closely allied and reinforcing each other, waxing and waning according to the same dynamic of maturation rates influencing social structure driving neoteny.

There is another aspect of the dance/sex evolutionary trajectory–an aspect opaque to an academic understanding of this multivariable process–the possible effects of consciousness itself on our evolution in relation to how consciousness evolved in humans.  This aspect is difficult to explore because the spiritual perspective is not useful in scientists’ world views.  Yet familiarity with an idea of spirit, using an “as if” frame, provides a possible way to understand how we evolved; it could shed light on another facet or perspective on this multidisciplinary, ongoing event.

How we came to be might make deeper sense if we posit the possibility of who we are as a manifestation of spirit or consciousness.

The desire to feel part of something larger than the self, like sex, has a huge impact on the behavior of human beings.  Humans move toward experiences of spiritual oneness because the experience confers such powerful feeling bonuses.  The same …

A child of the 60s, a younger brother in the baby boom family of several million, I was born in 1952. I became politically aware after the 1968 Democratic convention. I was driven more by the desire for social change than political revolution, though of course, the two were allied. Hippiedom seemed divided into political revolution, social transformation and drug use streams. One could easily ally with one of the three and not the others. Some allied with two or three of these social currents. The younger the hippie, the more likely only drugs were the center of the orientation. This effect seems related to the draft becoming less threatening over time.

A colleague organizer mentioned last night the experience many of us had in the 1960s that revolution was just about to happen. For Joe, it was the sense that the political process was about to change. My experience was that social structure was transforming. The feeling of imminence was encouraged by most of us political and social change advocates spending no small amount of time in altered states characterized by revelatory experiences in the now focused on the nature of now. Castaneda’s “crack between the worlds” was opening …

R. A. Fisher hypothesized runaway sexual selection in 1930.

“The two characteristics affected by such a process, namely plumage development in the male, and sexual preference for such developments in female, must thus advance together, and so long as the process is unchecked by severe counter selection, will advance with ever-increasing speed. In the total absence of such checks, it is easy to see that the speed of development will be proportional to the development already attained, which will therefore increase with time exponentially, or in geometric progression. There is thus in any bionomic situation, in which sexual selection is capable of conferring a great reproductive advantage, the potentiality of a runaway process, which, however small the beginnings from which it arose, must, unless checked, produce great effects, and in the later stages with great rapidity.” (Fisher, R. A. (1930) The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. Oxford. Clarendon Press, pp. 136-7.)

David Brin in 1995 posited a relationship between runaway sexual selection and neoteny in humans, emphasizing two-say sexual selection. Geoffrey Miller in 1994 outlined runaway sexual selection in humans without an emphasis on maturational delay or neoteny. In other entries on these pages, you’ll find my hypothesis that runaway …

Impact Points

November 10, 2008 | 1 Comment

Category: Activism, Biology, Political, Society

Among evolutionary biologists, there is an ongoing argument revolving around the specific location or levels among hierarchies of animals (gene, individual, group, species, multispecies community, etc.) where evolution most powerfully occurs. Richard Dawkins and the reductionist sociobiologists focus on the gene as the central station where selection has its greatest impact. Dawkins advocates suggest that no train leaves the station, no gene lives to procreate, that hasn’t first been provided clearance by an environment. Good genes can carry many passengers, many individuals that profit by owning them, and it is the genes that decide how individuals evolve.

Stephen J. Gould was Dawkins’ opposite. Instead of suggesting that evolution occurs at a single location, Gould argued that evolution was influenced by selection at multiple levels at the same time. Biologists often have a favorite scale of selective influence. Classically, evolution was believed to occur at the scale of the individual.

This argument is not an arcane argument. Recent discussions in evolutionary developmental biology focus on the influence of the environment on the individual before and after birth. A consensus is emerging that the environment does not just influence evolution by killing individuals that can’t compete, but that the environment helps install …

When I was a cartoonist, a comic artist seeking to come up with a new piece every day, I used a variety of techniques to generate useful ideas. One technique I often used was that in my mind’s eye I’d create a column of words representing or associated with something specific and sit that column next to another column of words representing or associated with another concept. Then I would run the columns up and down like a slide rule. I was looking for complementing concepts or associations with patterns that mirrored each other. Goofy incongruities would emerge. Showing how things seemingly unrelated had connections, with the connections seeming arbitrary, led to humor.

Gary Larson, who created The Far Side, was a master of this technique. For example, placing a clown in one column with various associations, such as using a cream pie as a weapon, compared to a criminal in the other column creates a panel with a clown in an alley with a cream pie about to mug a citizen. The caption “When clowns go bad” completed the bridge. This kind of humor is all about connections.

How, you might ask, would this technique have anything to do …

There is a thought experiment I engage in on occasion. I imagine trying to suggest to two fundamentalists of two different religions, for example, a Christian and a Muslim, that what connects the two true believers has more weight than what divides them. In my thought experiment, I ask that each imagine two sets of parents, a Christian couple and a Muslim couple, and each couple has a child with no hearing and no sight. Each child is to be raised believing in his or her parents’ religion while only touch can be used to communicate the central tenets of their belief. I then ask how the two children, grown older, could differentiate the two beliefs. How would they know one religion from the other?

Remove the words from religion and truth remains.

I observe the American Left and Right for differences in behavior that would suggest deeper truths than the words that I hear them say.

“You have something to protect. We will help you protect what is important to you. In our community, we protect ourselves from outside threats.” This argument is what I hear the Right say. These words encourage people to experience what is valuable to …

Integrally entwined in a political movement are the specific ways the movement’s practitioners engage in process and issue execution or how things get done and what gets focused on. The degree of congruency between processes used and issues emphasized has everything to do with political success.

The contemporary Right has a process characterized by an allegiance to the belief that the ends justify the means. Though this belief would seem to suggest that the issues are so important that any action justifies the goal, the opposite is true. What is occurring is that an emphasis is being placed upon process over the goal. Right Wing process, as it is mediated through its most heralded practitioners Lee, Atwater and Rove, is about success by any means that work. Being on top is the core principle of the Right Wing. Right Wing ideology has less to do with its various issues. The Right Wing is about winning. And so, the Right has been deeply process-oriented, a process congruent with its behavior, though we’ve often believed that it was the specific issues that were central to Right Wing core values. The issues, supporting corporations, supporting male control of the female body, supporting wealth …

Not Struggling Artist

November 6, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Art, Future, Society, Web

There is a paradox in the way that creativity is expressed in the West.  Many arts are undertaken alone.  For example, the painter, the sculptor, the author and even the musician often compose their work with no one else present.  Yet, the subject of their inquiries often revolves around the nature of relationship.  The relationships explored might be specifically the relationship between individual and god, individual with another individual, individual with society, society with god or even the nature of relationship itself.

I can be a little slow.  It’s only now I realize that working alone exploring aspects of not being alone, exploring relationship, is inherently incongruent.  Working alone, insights tip in the direction of sensitivity to when relationship goes awry.  The artist in the West often chooses a medium and context (working by himself or herself) that predetermines the insight outcome.

That insight would be that we are alone.

I am observing the converting of the young in our society from a culture touting independence with conventions that reinforce individuality and allegiance to feeling alone to a new web-based culture that encourages sharing, reverence for the commons, transparency and doing things in mass.  I anticipate that the experience of …

Teleological interpretations of societal transformation conflict with the reductionist zeitgeist that demands that consciousness not be considered as a variable when exploring biological or social evolution because consciousness cannot be measured. To suggest that history, as it bridges from the past into the future, follows a deliberate path is not a useful conjecture if we seek an understanding of structure and process rather than bowing to the intentions of an outside force.

If teleology has structure, is it still teleology?

Many nineteenth century theorists focused on a specific process as they sought to understand the dynamics of biological evolution and its connection to individual ontogeny. Ernst Haeckel was a champion of heterochronic theory or the study of changing rates and timing of maturation and/or development when species and individuals transform. Neoteny is one manifestation of one of these processes. In neoteny, the features of the young, even the embryonic, manifest later and later in the maturation of ancestors. For example, our chimp-like precursors retained features such as relatively big eyes, small chins, upright stature, curiosity and playfulness that evidenced later and later in the stages of descendants until today we human adults exhibit many of the characteristics of grown-up, chimp-like …

Hemorrhage

November 4, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Auto-Biography

I moved into the one-room studio on Cornelia, near Halsted and Addison, in Chicago in 1978.  The room was about four blocks from Wrigley field, in the building called “The Tuxedo,” which was filled with minorities and poor.  For $125 a month, I roomed with roaches but could paint watercolor abstracts without interruption when I wasn’t working for my dad.  During days, I apprenticed to running a small girdle and bra factory, a family business that was started by my dad’s dad in 1926.  I was being paid $580 a month.  I was saving money to do something interesting with my life.  I had no car.

William and Junior were the sons of the very large black woman, Mary, who managed the run-down apartment complex.  William was maybe twelve, Junior around seven.  A lot seemed to happen in the hallway.  I discovered that if I left my door open while painting, children wandered in.  So I got to know the locals, particularly the kids.

During one stretch, a stench emerged that lingered on for weeks.  Eventually, arriving home from the factory, I noticed the smell was less.  Junior told me they’d found a guy, dead, leaned up against his radiator.…

On the autism rights and neurodiversity blogs in July, fury erupted around the radio show host Michael Savage’s comments that autistic kids were brats.

Savage said that autism was a “fraud, a racket.” He went on to say, “I’ll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out. That’s what autism is.”

The rage of autism advocates communicated quickly. Home Depot, Aflac, Sears, Budweiser, Direct Buy, Cisco and Radio Shack withdrew sponsorship before the end of the month. Radio stations dropped the show.

As an activist and organizer, I feel like what I observed was a social change miracle. Society likes to keep its anomalies and minorities invisible. Savage’s words have revealed the power of a group that will not hide.

Deep into this great transition from a capitalist, hierarchical, patrifocal society to the horizontal, aesthetic-based, partnership society, events occur that provide a window into the future. Neurodiversity is almost invisible at present. It is becoming a central focus of society very quickly. This last July was a coming out party.

Autism and Asperger’s rights represent the third wave of genetic justice. Civil rights, the first …

Conscious Science

November 2, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Unconscious

Physicists studying the origins and evolution of the universe are often more than a little bit perplexed by the astonishing demands of extremely small things, for example, teeny gravitation degrees that, if different, would make the universe fall apart.  When forming theories of how the universe might be organized, physicists hypothesize and pray that an affordable experiment can support their supposition.  The universe is extremely picky.  We don’t know why.  We’re trying to figure out how we manage to exist.

Praying is not usually part of the equation.  Yet, some folks that pray conduct their own experiments, paying close attention to how exactly they’ve communicated with god on those occasions when he seemed to answer.  Noting when a particular manner of supplication seemed to evoke the desired response, the person praying tried that technique again so that the prayee would continue to positively respond.

Systematic behavior, paying close attention to results, is not the exclusive domain of scientists.

What strikes me as kind of odd is that physicists and evolutionary biologists don’t seem to play with the idea of god when running mental experiments of how the world works.  There is the universe hypothesized to have no god, which is …

Lucid Dreaming

November 1, 2008 | 1 Comment

Category: Play, Unconscious

Lucid dreaming is the process of being aware that you are dreaming while you are dreaming.  The study of lucid dreaming was popularized by Carlos Castaneda. Scientist Stephen LeBerge conducted research and published discoveries as he explored lucid dream in the laboratory.  Lucid dreaming might be described as secular mysticism.  Repeated exposure to an experience of being part of something larger than yourself while at the same time identifying with that which is larger than yourself creates a convincing reproduction of spiritual experience.

In the works by Carlos Castaneda, Carlos is encouraged by Don Juan to experiment with the boundaries of dream until he is able to manifest miracles of dream in the actions of the everyday.  Less proactive but nonetheless satisfying, lucid dream over time can help one discover that in the everyday, as in dream, a person can experience a pervasive feeling that the world is being created every moment, in the now.

In Castaneda, lucid dream is passed down as part of aboriginal spiritual practice.  It has been hypothesized that waking life as experienced by the radically autistic may have several features in common with how a conventional person dreams.  Psychosis suggests an experience of being unable …

I’ve sometimes wondered what a theory of human personality and psychotherapeutic intervention would look like if contemporary psychodynamic theory was based on a theory of human evolution that embraced sexual selection, Lamarckian principles and the influence of social structure on societal transformation. Freud was a recapitulationist. Freud believed in a threefold relationship between childhood developmental states, human evolutionary stages and a contemporary societal hierarchy of cultures. Freud hypothesized that a child recapitulates or re-enacts our recent evolution. For example, he estimated that there might have been an actual prehistorical event where a son killed a father that correlated with the oedipal stage in early ontogeny. Freud’s perspective was Victorian and male-centric.

Humans may have evolved according to a dynamic where females picked males for their ability to evoke an experience of feeling part of something larger than the self, part of a matrifocal, dance-driven tribal culture where a craving for this aesthetic drove the exponential increase in our brain size. Females picking neotenic or cooperative males choose maturational delayed males whose brains grow bigger over generations as infant features (such as fast growing brains) prolong into the characteristics of adults. Female brains capable of interpreting the nuanced exhibitions of males …

In the same way that a dream reveals the private life and secrets of an individual, myths tell us secrets about society and our species. The secrets that myths reveal about our species are only beginning to be understood.

I am a practical mystic. I don’t consider something to be true unless I’ve experienced it personally, and even then I accept it on a relative basis. If it’s true for me, maybe it’s true for others. Maybe not.

A life characterized by terror and anxiety propelled me to search for comfort and integration. Studying Castaneda starting around 1971, I launched a nighttime career of lucid dreaming. Not particularly adept, I still established dream as a refuge and a resource that over decades has provided both solace and instruction about myself.

In the 1980s, I explored hypnotherapy after becoming a practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, concentrating on the work of Milton Erickson. Through a combination of deep dream exploration and hypnosis studies, I acquired an ability to shift consciousness fairly easily. Unconscious material would rise to the surface with relatively few barriers. As an artist, this ability is useful. As a mystic, this ability feels nurturing.

Dream themes have started and developed, …

In 1971 in St. Petersburg, Florida, where I was attending my first year of college, I observed a lecture by a visiting academic. I went to a small liberal arts college, Florida Presbyterian, later to become Eckerd College. The lecture was in the chapel, the only venue large enough to hold several hundred students. Evidently, this outside lecturer was well known. He was a biologist.

The talk was about the growth and crash of biological and social systems. With charts he described an inevitable increase in the cost of petroleum until the price would make it unavailable for regular use. He showed a pattern across several systems of a line slowly inclining until, with surges, an almost vertical line results. Then the system crashes.

Lately, I’ve been the signs of acceleration. There is no end to places where this pattern can be observed. Noting how these various signs of acceleration connect suggest ways we might be able to more easily weather the crash.

I first noticed the acceleration in the gift trade where I was a sales rep for 19 years. When I started in 1980, unicorns were big, but fading. The trend had lasted several years. In Rockford, Illinois, …

Acceleration

October 28, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Auto-Biography, Society, Web

In 1999 when I was winding up two years of research on human evolution, beginning to put in the hours to launch a new profession (web design), I was frequently frustrated by the number of papers unavailable on the web.

I could do abstract overviews and note the papers that I sought and go to the library and retrieve them.  I’d visit the University of Illinois Medical Library or a Northwestern University library (there are five) and spend a day pulling journals off the shelves and copying them.  I’d walk out with over 80 papers some evenings after spending hours pushing down on journal bindings against copier glass.  I have tens of thousands of these 8.5 X 11 sheets of papers that I paid top dollar for.

Things have improved in eight years.  Still, walls are up.  A professor friend lent me her password so I could jump in and out of her university access, and then I could engage in relatively unimpeded research.  Not the case.  Though things have improved, much of the research I crave is unavailable unless I make that journey to the library.

Conducting research across disciplines I still run into the barriers that exist among …

Playing

October 27, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Art, Auto-Biography, Play

I am not a scientist.  I was trained as an artist.  Unconnected to an institution, with no allies in academia, and a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in art, I am not in a position to conduct experiments and publish papers.  My art form of late seems to be to create hypotheses derived from information available in the professional literature (published papers) without conducting proofs of what I hypothesize.

I talk in these blogs as if my theories are established because that is how they feel.  As an artist, not an academic, I am not burning allies if I’m wrong.  I’m not breaking academic rules.  I am not jeopardizing my career.  Tenure is not an issue.  The respect of my peers is not an issue.  Making sure I can continue to publish is not an issue.

I am playing.

I am playing and creating while engaged in the study of the nature of play and creation as it relates to human evolution.  Making believe while engaged in a study of make-believe is deeply congruent.  My methods juxtapose comfortably with what I explore.

Working outside of academia, I can ignore both the barriers between disciplines and the theory conventions that decide …