“In a study of alcoholism, it was noted that alcoholism is a significant health concern for lesbians, with an incidence rate perhaps three times that of the general population.  The relationships among the development of alcoholism in women, the experience of stigmatization and the complex facets of lesbian identity and lesbian community are explored.  This exploration provides for a more comprehensive and critical analysis of alcoholism in lesbians.  As a phenomenon of women’s health, alcoholism is examined using the perspectives of developmental theory, symbolic interactionism and critical theory.  The author offers insights and implications for health care, research and theory building.”  (Hall, J. M., “Alcoholism in Lesbians:  Developmental, Symbolic Interactionist, and Critical Perspectives,” Health Care for Women International 11(1) (1990):89-107.)

“Yalom et al. (1973) studied 20 16-year-old boys of diabetic mothers, who had received estrogen or progesterone during pregnancy.  These boys showed less heterosexuality and less masculinity than 20 control boys.  Netley and Rovet (1982) showed that among 33 males with 47,XXY syndrome, 24% were nonrighthanded, compared to 10% of a control group. …  In the present study, as well as in Lindesay (1987), only homosexual men were studied.  In Rosenstein and Bigler (1987) and McCormick et al. (1990), both

Getting Wet

January 27, 2010 | Leave a Comment

Category: Art, Society, Unconscious, Web

Exploring human origins and social change paradigms is far more than the specialty of evolutionary biologists and anthropologists.  To understand our origins, it is necessary to understand human consciousness, human consciousness as it relates to prehuman consciousness, and whatever alternative consciousness is necessary to put the other two in context.  In other words, to understand ourselves and our society’s changes, let’s consider an alternative intervention.  Let’s try less dry explorations.  Let’s get wet.

What began as a creative exercise several years ago has evolved into an unconscious routine.  I used to make believe, or run an “as if” frame, that said that if society is changing according to a hidden yet overarching dynamic, the future could be intuited or predicted by patterns or trends observable in the present.  I’d place myself in a meditative space and listen.

The deepest, most impact-filled presupposition that I live with is Descartes’ conclusion that because I am aware, I’ll accept that I exist.  Next in importance is this presupposition:  Because I experience feeling part of something larger than myself, I will accept the experience as valid, even though I began meditating almost 40 years ago with that experience as a goal.  In other words, …

There is a tacit assumption or consideration that underlies much of what I write here.  Occasionally, I’m not subtle about this belief.  The idea is that art and science can be closely allied.  Perhaps they often are closely allied, except at present science seems rather obsessed with the idea that theory formation should be engaged in with the same obsession with detail as is necessary in the proof of theory.  That tends to keep artist/blogger/theorists writing for nonscientists.

Artists are just as obsessed as scientists, except their focus is usually on internal experience and the translation of that internal experience in a way that provides visitors something new.  Often, artists are exploring what it is like to be human, tasting and evaluating consciousness as the artists produce varying treats from the particular kitchen that is their medium.  Sometimes the artists attempt to put the concoction into words.  Some artists specialize in words.  For many artists, part of being an artist is having a unique experience without having to use words.

I am an artist, trained in watercolor and pen and ink, who now works in the medium of storytelling, collecting patterns from different science disciplines and showing how the different …

One of the deeply peculiar things about being human at this particular point in history is our tendency to ally ourselves with split consciousness or self awareness, deeply identifying with an identity at a single level.  We exhibit little desire to shift scales by assigning identity to levels beneath or beyond that of our body.

From a Hegelian point of view, we’ve emerged from a present tense consciousness characterized by no self awareness.  We used to be locked into a single time and single place, with no ability to intuit something’s opposite.  Before language, we lived in primary process.  This is the consciousness of animals, very small children, the unconscious, the severely autistic and hypnotic trance.

Acquiring split consciousness, we obsess on our peculiar station in existence, featuring existential isolation and an ability to view everything as separate.  We not only focus on our own self interest, but we do so in a step-by-step, focused, goal-oriented fashion that often fails to notice the direct, indirect or larger repercussions of our behavior.

That ability to obsess is integral to being human.  I’ve proposed that we sexually selected each other in the context of choosing the best dancers as copulation partners, growing …

Camp Thunderbird

January 22, 2010 | 1 Comment

Category: Auto-Biography

When I was a boy, I went for two years to a summer camp in Bemidji, Minnesota.  It was almost all Jewish boys, many from Chicago’s North Shore.  My second year, I was put back into the cabin with the kids from my first year.  I requested that I be put back with younger kids.  The kids from my first year had all reached puberty.  I wasn’t close.

One of the cabin counselors, the cabin I requested I be removed from, was a middle-aged cartoonist named Pogo.  All the other counselors were college students.  Needing a summer job was not a surprise for someone seeking to make a living as a cartoonist.  I was fascinated by his craft but didn’t understand his humor.  He specialized in dirty jokes on cocktail napkins.  Still, I was in awe of his ability to create a spontaneous likeness.

My first year, I had been placed in Wild Thing’s cabin.  Each counselor had a nickname.  Wild Thing was a 19-year-old.  All the 19- and 20-year-old counselors felt to me to be some other species.  I had no older siblings and so had nothing to compare them to.  Music, alcohol and sex were on all their …

Strip religion of mythology and the discussion revolves around consciousness, awareness and identity.  Darwin was sensitive to his theory being received in a context that it would be used to support or deny the existence of god.  Darwin himself struggled with how exactly he understood god. After150 years, discussions of evolution often still focus on the battle between the theory of natural selection and Judeo-Christian myths.

The particular kind of consciousness that a normal human experiences and displays is what I’ve been calling split consciousness.  This understanding is premised on primary process consciousness–the one time, one place, no opposites consciousness of infants, animals, dream, the unconscious and the autistic–being what we evolved from and still retain while sleeping, while small or while in hypnotic trance.

I’ve hypothesized that the transition from primary process consciousness to split consciousness was compelled by runaway sexual selection focused on dance, which eventually resulted in a unique brain structure exhibiting two hemispheres of unequal size and a smaller corpus callosum.  This process was perhaps encouraged by a bridging of language from gesture to speech, enhancing an ability to represent a thing with a sound instead of a sign and motion.  Nevertheless, at this point we …

A professor recently wrote me that she introduced the ideas described in my blog to her class on Neanderthals and Human Evolutionary Theory.  Her email asked or suggested several questions or expressed her class’s confusion in the following areas:

Are you proposing that testosterone levels are driving evolution of mammals in general or primates specifically?

The evidence that testosterone is driving evolution mostly comes from anomalies emerging in neuropsychology around progeny maturation changes that result from environmental influences upon a pregnant mother and other studies in the neuropsychological literature.

An interesting primate study was as follows…

“In a 5-year longitudinal study, we examined the effect of disrupting the neonatal activity of the pituitary–testicular axis on the sexual development of male rhesus monkeys.  Animals in a social group under natural lighting conditions were treated with a GnRH antagonist (antide), antide and androgen, or both vehicles, from birth until 4 months of age.  In antide-treated neonates, serum LH and testosterone were near or below the limits of detection throughout the neonatal period.  Antide + androgen-treated neonates had subnormal serum LH, but above normal testosterone concentrations during the treatment period.  From 6 to 36 months of age, serum LH and testosterone were near

I received an email from Jon Gluckman, who follows this blog, suggesting that there is another interpretation of human developmental stages and political milieu, one that suggests that Right Wing orientations and perhaps fascism have their origin in the maturationally delayed.

My interpretation of the power of neoteny to impact culture holds to the view that the prolongation of infant features into the adult of our species can be observed to be influencing society as aboriginal aspects emerge in contemporary times.  I describe the horizontalization of society, with female frames of reference and bonobo-like qualities.  Horizontalization is fanning out from its source among young people, the Internet.  In other words, many features of the very young, including playfulness, curiosity, affection and sociality, are becoming primary features of current society, particularly when examined from the view of the new communications technologies.

One could also view contemporary trends to withhold information, engage in secrecy, offer reverence to the leader, engage in systemic selfish behavior and associate only with those who are like you as traits exhibited by children, traits which many adults also exhibit.  That being the case, the neoteny premise of a horizontal society being one featuring the traits of young …

Finding Tortoises

January 18, 2010 | Leave a Comment

Category: Auto-Biography

The rat returned to the backyard this October.  This time she made the tortoise house her home.  It was hibernation time for the box turtles and so they were doing their autumn disappearing act.  They were digging down into the dirt beneath their multilevel home, a wood structure inside an about 6′ X 4′ X 4′ pen.  Rat, in the meantime, was collecting dirt and making dirt mounds to seal off the open walls, making a nest, I figured.

The tortoise house is right below the bird feeder.  I was not feeling comfortable with the rat coming out in the daytime to eat birdseed with the squirrels.  It finally got to the point where my opening up the back door of our row house and stepping outside was not driving the rat back into the house.  Like the squirrels, Rat continued to eat the birdseed.

Our home and yard are 17 feet wide.  It was only a matter of time before the row house neighbors noticed we were housing and feeding rats.  Our yards are all contiguous.

So, I tried putting out mouse poison and stood and watched.  I had to watch because if a squirrel approached the poison, I …


January 15, 2010 | 4 Comments

Category: Art, Auto-Biography

One of the most challenging things about producing unique theory in an amateur context is the necessity of embracing the amateur milieu.  The academic and hobby environments are very different on several levels.  As an amateur, it is easy to believe that your audience is at least partly academics if what you are producing is the kind of product, unique evolutionary theory, for example, that an academic would produce.  That is a nonuseful perspective.

The academic and amateur environments operate on different premises and come with different appropriate behaviors.  I have relatives, friends and colleagues that are professors, so though I don’t speak from the experience of being an academic, this is not an unfamiliar world.

In academia, though the concept of the commons is integral to the idea of a learning community, knowledge sources are closely associated with individual contributions.  Struggles for recognition or for being a knowledge source are integral to institutional and discipline respect.  There are very specific conventions for how knowledge is shared and contributions are made, beginning with getting a degree in the area where you are seeking support for your ideas.  Criticism and analysis of contributions are part of the system, so it is …


January 14, 2010 | Leave a Comment

Category: Art, Auto-Biography, Society, Unconscious

I have a friend whose dad was a famous guru and whose brother was a mathematics professor at a prestigious college.  My buddy chose a profession that surrounded him with art.  That’s how I met him.  I provided him illustrations.  Thirty years ago he made it to an endocrinologist to discover that he didn’t have schizophrenia as diagnosed.  He needed his hormones adjusted.  Pills taken, life settled down.  He was always going to be obsessive-compulsive, but the terror and paranoia went away.

Every autumn, my diabetic stepdaughter goes through endocrinological hell as her auto-immune system goes haywire.  Most years she spends some time in the hospital.  Doctors don’t know what to do other than to address the symptoms.  Gwyn is an artist of the palette, inventing new tastes and flavors and sharing them with those that visit her in her restaurant.

Where I live in Chicago, one of the most common topics of conversation is the weather.  When we ask each other how we’re doing, we respond with the conventional answer, fine.  Yet, somehow, discussing the weather is also a way to discuss how we are doing, but it is done in such a way that we aren’t getting sidetracked …

Amateur Status

January 13, 2010 | Leave a Comment

Category: Biology, Society, Web

I’m in the process of refining a nearly 100-page introduction to what I’m now calling “The Orchestral Theory of Evolution” or maybe “Neoteny, Evolution and Autism”. I haven’t decided yet.  The 13-page introduction to “The Theory of Waves,” posted last February, has been made less condensed and more accessible, with societal applications included.  The name has been changed with the integration of estrogen as the hypothesized agent controlling the timing of maturation.  I see estrogen as the conductor of the symphony of evolution.

Whereas most not-particularly-grounded amateur theorists with big ideas usually find themselves thinking of Einstein, I wonder about Darwin.  A couple things come to mind right now.

I often write about the nature of the Internet and its future.  It’s not just my profession, but it feels to me to be a particularly evocative part of the contemporary manifestations of neoteny-driven social structure transformations.  A half dozen blogs pick up my pieces regarding the Internet, some with respectable circulations, such as Counterpunch, The Public Record, BuzzFlash and The People’s Voice.  In the world I see forming, the amateur is gaining influence insofar as a person with few or no credentials now has an ability to acquire a relatively …


January 12, 2010 | Leave a Comment

Category: Biology, Myth/Story, Society, Unconscious

It has now become clear that neo-Lamarckism has always been a reasonable theory, and it has stood the test of time for more than a century.  Once some misunderstandings and inhibitions are removed, the theory can be regarded as a more complete theory (than neo-Darwinism) in that it analyses the evolutionary process in terms of both the proximate and ultimate mechanisms, and in that it is especially suited for analyzing the origin of macroevolutionary change.  Through the analysis of the proximate process we come to know the cause of variation and the presumed initial stage of evolution of the structures upon which natural selection has worked.  In traditional neo-Darwinism natural selection is considered to be involved throughout the whole evolutionary process (of structures), which is indeed untrue, as Mivart (1871) already knew.  In practice obvious cases of over-extension of the theory of natural selection, which actually results from neglect of the proximate process, have often been criticized in terms of their falsifiability.  Yet the critics have never offered a solution for this dilemma.  Indeed, evolutionary biology has been in a state of constipation caused by the neo-Darwinian constraint that inhibits exploration of the proximate process of evolution.  It should now

I read pretty much nothing but fiction until I was 30.  I’ve read almost exclusively nonfiction since then.  Whereas when I was younger I’d enjoy reading to feel the impact of a complete story that I could immerse myself in, these days I jump from book to book, tracking the larger story of evolution, a story I feel surrounded by almost all the time.

With each book I read I feel I’m exploring this evolving world.  I’ve developed reading habits that encourage that experience.

I often refer to Freud in evolutionary theory.  Freud was a recapitulationist, paying close attention to how the different scales of evolution interrelated.  I spent much time studying Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), hypnotic therapeutic intervention and the humanists, such as Fritz Pearls, Rogers, Maslow, Janov and their contemporaries.  From 1980 to about 1984, I studied and read everything published by the NLP School of psychology and communication, becoming a licensed practitioner in 1981.  My artistic sensibilities were deeply influenced by the sense-based model.  I learned to interpret and understand relationship dynamics by observing behaviors.  Interconnection became a reality rather than just an intuited possibility.  Studying NLP, exploring how modeling worked and how models were developed, I felt …


January 8, 2010 | Leave a Comment

Category: Society, Web

Google is nothing like a seamless citation system though it has lately improved its ability to find academic papers when certain searches are conducted.  I’m wondering what the effect upon academia would be of a search engine that intuitively displayed the sources of concepts cited in academic and nonacademic works.

No doubt Chomsky would reveal his influence in even more papers than he does now, Chomsky being the most oft-cited of living academics.  What I’m trying to get a feel for is how academia would change if the lineage of influence evident in the citations that accompany a paper were generated by an algorithm instead of the author.  What would emerge would be similar to what we observe now on the web, with a proliferation of very specific, nonrandom links connoting respect and influence.

I look at things evolutionarily.  I seek connections over time that suggest influence directions, and I seek to find out how interconnection propels the behavior of individuals.  An academic, when creating citations in a work and seeking respect among peers, is creating a lineage tree, or evolution history, by describing the precursors to his or her idea.

There is that delightful diagram of the relationship of …

Possessing Knowledge

January 7, 2010 | Leave a Comment

Category: Society, Web

Perhaps 150 academics have contacted me over the last 11 years after coming across one of my websites or this blog.  Some were directed to my work by my having contacted them.  Others happened across it on a search.  Others by referral.  Almost universally, they leave no comments online.  They email me directly with comments or questions.  I receive maybe one email for every three posts by nonacademics.  With academics, I receive maybe 200 emails for every one comment post.

I don’t think the issue is that they feel like they are performing or speaking to a group when commenting online where other visitors can observe a conversation.  What I believe is happening here is partly a hesitation to become associated with concepts they themselves have not signaled that they support.  Perhaps they are concerned about association with an individual that will tout the visitor’s support when it was not provided.

The horizontal, transparent, diverse world of the Internet does not exactly occupy the same behavioral space as academia.  Academics are carving out territories where their names are associated with various disciplines.  They are building walls around a place where their expertise has been established.  This is so they can …

“Environmental factors can be an important source of nongenetic influences on laterality.  Since the effect of a gene is to play a role in some form of chemical reaction, it is not surprising that genetic determination is not absolute.  Every chemical reaction can be modified by alterations in pressure, temperature, pH, light, the presence of other substances, the availability of chemical precursors, and the rate at which products are removed.  With growing sophistication of molecular genetics, it has become increasingly clear that nongenetic effects can play a powerful role; methylation, for example, has been shown to suppress expression of many genes.  We will now consider some of the random effects that might modify lateralization.  One implication of our hypothesis is that even if the genetic endowment of any particular fetus were known precisely, it would not be possible to make predictions concerning the distribution in a population basis.  One of the reasons for this relative freedom from genetic determination is that if hormones do play a role in determining laterality, then the effects of testosterone or related substances on the developing brain will be modified by factors not under the control of the fetal genes.  Androgens are produced not only

Share Not Educate

January 5, 2010 | 8 Comments

Category: Society, Web

I’ve been noticing that Stumbleupon, the web service that directs participants to interesting sites, has been directing more and more visitors to this site, sometimes more than 100 a day.  For several years, Stumbleupon has been directing some days several hundred visitors to my original evolutionary theory site, serpentfd.org.  I’ve never been able to quite figure out what Stumbleupon is, and yesterday I drilled down a bit after finally joining the group, telling the application my interests and starting to follow where the site directed me to go.

I soon discovered that the reason my original evolution site, posted in 1998, gets so much Stumbleupon traffic is that it has been both a featured site in the evolution section and a site that receives five stars.  The review section of the site gathered almost 30 comments in almost six years; some of those who commented were confused, but many seemed impressed.  I was astonished that my site received respect.  I’m just so used to feeling invisible.

A recent email from an author whose work I deeply respect, his books having introduced me in the 1970s and 1980s to such concepts as sociobiology and matrifocal society, noted the near impossibility of …


January 4, 2010 | Leave a Comment

Category: Auto-Biography

I’ve been experiencing some frustration communicating difficult-to-explain concepts and experiences.

In just the way that a musician-songwriter writes and composes pieces that describe his or her experiences, the theorist seeks ways to make embraceable ideas that feel foreign at first exposure.  I heard Paul Simon describe his having left Bridge Over Troubled Water in a drawer for over half a year, unaware that the piece could be effective.  It finally crossed his mind that the lead voice didn’t have to be his own, but Garfunkel’s, and the composition clicked.

I’m trying to cross that bridge that achieves the goal of describing a holistic theory in a way that the audience experiences the theory as a whole.  I adore blog format, the over-time narrative, with its small chunk introduction of concepts.  It makes possible an experience of the audience accompanying me, the theorist, as ideas emerge and are expressed.  By accompanying me on this bread crumb journey, the visitor to these pages may sometimes experience the “Aha!” that the author feels.  This is wonderful.  This is one of the things that makes this medium special.

Nevertheless, it seems to often feel to the visitor that there are many ideas that are …

Elia is in his last year of getting an undergraduate degree in anthropology at Loyola.  Tuesday evenings we often meet over supper and talk.  He shared with me last night his feeling that he’d like to specialize in mythology and what mythology suggests about a society and spirituality.  I could relate.  After evolutionary theory, I’ve probably read more mythology and spirituality texts than anything else.

It amazes me how little I remember of what I read.  I’ve conducted three book purges over the course of my life, getting rid of hundreds of volumes each time.  I’ve read hundreds of science fiction books, maybe 150 books on mythology, dozens of books on spirituality and dozens of books on psychology.  I’ve read many books I’ve barely understood.  I’m reading a book now on the endocrinology of relationship, another called The Ontogeny of Information, and in both cases most of the concepts are going over my head.  I’m approaching 1,000 lectures watched, put out by the Teaching Company, while exercising.  I remember almost nothing of maybe 100 lectures on philosophy.  Nevertheless, I expect my own ideas have been influenced by those hours.

I guess the point I’m making is that I vacuum up …


December 31, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Biology, Society

Every once in a while, when I receive a complimentary email regarding my theory, the emailer notes how complex it is.  It feels to me at this point like my job is making the theory easily understandable.  A problem is that as I seek to refine an explanation, new aspects get revealed and the theory deepens.  I can see how others interpret deepenings as additions in complexity.  I experience the deepenings as new subtleties revealed.  It’s not clear to me how to tell this story so that the meaning is clear.  I expect I’ll have to tell it in many ways and see what sticks.

Several of the concepts seem unfamiliar to Western ears.  Perhaps the most confounding is that to understand human evolution, a transformation characterized by a change in consciousness, it is useful that the theorist have at least a working definition of what exactly “consciousness” is.  I suggest that just stating that consciousness is a contingent or accidental result of a process, and it can be ignored as if not relevant to the transformation, is a little odd.  Also, there are the theorists that do say that consciousness is integral to how we evolved, but they often …


December 30, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Auto-Biography

I went to my grammar school’s 42nd year reunion this last October, the first one my class has had.  It was at the Cubby Bear in Lincolnshire.

I’ve kept in touch with several friends from that period in my life, but when I walked into the party room I saw none of them.  There was a room of about 60 people.  None of them looked familiar.  Dozens of strangers I had supposedly spent a sizable chunk of my life with.

Before driving there, I resolved to keep conversations on the present, and to some degree, away from profession.  I wanted to stay away from hierarchy posturing and the successes we’ve had in life.  It worked.  It worked in no small part because that seemed to be the frame of reference adapted by most people in the room.  These were people humbled by life.  They were nearing retirement age, and there were few signs of people seeking struggle.

We talked about our kids, their finishing college and the professions they were choosing.  There was some talk about the difficulty of the economy.

Posted on the wall were pictures of each student at eighth grade graduation, and at one point I closely …


December 29, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Biology, Neoteny, Ontogeny, Ouroboros, Society

Maturity is not the same as progress.  To pass through a series of ontological stages evidencing the look, sound and behavior of the personal epochs that have been experienced is not progress.  It is life.

All mixed up in contemporary theorizing are three things:  the exact nature and difference between that which transforms over time that is changing as a result of random interconnections, that which is changing as a result of progress or improvement over time and that which is changing as part of a larger pattern of maturation.

Evolutionary biology tends to take the position that evolution follows Darwin’s wedges metaphor, with every feature of every being emerging as a direct or indirect result of what is necessary to survive to procreate.  Features acquired by individuals are random, unconnected to the environment or the parents’ experience, making random feature survival the central focus of evolution.  There is no such thing as progress.  There is no larger picture to inform what survives to procreate.

Society, religion and spirituality tend to focus on the idea that either we are on a pathway toward improvement or we are not.  Those saying not are often atheists, and often they find themselves sympathizing …

Anthropology Barriers

December 28, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Biology, Society

One of the paradoxes of contemporary anthropology is the hesitation to examine different societies as different stages on an evolutionary trajectory.  For those of you that visit this blog relatively regularly, you know that I can’t be conversant in as many disciplines as I purport to know something about.  I skim disciplines, looking for patterns that transcend disciplines.  This may be one of those places where current trends make what I am about to say make little sense.  Nevertheless, what familiarity I have with anthropology suggests that the default natural selection frame of reference is almost useless when discussing humans.

In an effort to display equanimity, theorists have mostly purged from theorizing the early discipline prejudices that Western civilization was more “evolved” than non-Western or aboriginal societies.  Two things got stripped during the purging process, and they have inhibited contemporary theorizing.

First, the word “evolve” has come to mean progress, or trend in a positive direction.  This was not Darwin’s definition, nor is it the definition usually used by current evolutionary biologists.  A result has been that there is an enormous epistemological muddle as regards what exactly evolution is.  Because a judgment accompanies the definition of “evolution” that suggests that …


December 25, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Auto-Biography, Society, Web

I’m a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist by profession, in addition to running a web development firm.  This is in no small part due to the fact that SEO requires little technical expertise.  I’m one of those people that never did figure out a VCR, has trouble with cell phones and is easily stymied by unfamiliar technology.  My running a successful web development firm is based on my having a superb staff and a solid business model based upon serving very small businesses.

In 2002, I figured out Google’s algorithm, long before the competition, pretty much by chance.  I was immersed in creating web directories.  My firm’s website achieved position #1 for “web site design” and maintained that position for over a year.  I was getting top ten spots for items such as “lingerie,” “mortgage” and “airplane tickets.”  By achieving such high positions, the firm was bringing in many clients.  At the time, I had a two-person firm, minuscule compared to my competition.  On November 15, 2004, Google made a dramatic adjustment in its algorithm, penalizing what it had been formerly encouraging.  My expertise dramatically diminished.  To reproduce what I had accomplished would take resources a two-person firm did not …