a reply to: greencmp
It just doesn't work to try to change human nature.
I completely disagree.
Contemporary psychology, behavioral science, genetics and neuroscience gives us very good reason to believe that the human nervous is VERY able to
learn and to change, but of course it isn't easy, as history shows us.
What we see in police abuse is a feedback loop: CULTURE, essentially, IS a feedback loop.
Systems theory is giving all of us, all of the scientific community, a means to understand JUST HOW these feedback loops are established.
You know that Bruce Hornsy song "thats just the way it is"? Heed the wisdom of the second part "but don't you believe them". It turns out Bruce
To fix society we need to fix education. To fix education, we need to fix society. The solution, absolutely, is not libertarianism (as that would
leave the issue at the status quo), but rather, to use the knowledge that we have gained (which have never had before in human history) and apply it
to our educational systems.
I was once a libertarian - and indeed, my bookshelf is filled with Hayek and Friedman and other libertarian thinkers - but this was before a career
change. In the last 3 or 4 years, I have been studying at the University of Toronto, have immersed myself in psychoanalysis, systems theory, social
theory, theoretical biology, traumatology, anthropology and the neurosciences: what you see as "unchangeable", I see as eminently changeable.
What is a human being other a process? The question is, what kind of process? All organisms are, as the palentologist Niles Eldgridge calls them
"eternal ephemera". These ephemera are repositories of a certain kind of cognitive knowledge: what an animal IS - it's body - is a function of what
For the last two years, since discovering "epigenetics", I have been amazed at how unbelievably versatile the human nervous system is.
First, what is the nervous system? When we talk about human behavior, were talking about what people think, feel, and do: and all of this happens IN
the brain. So its important to know something about the organ of our cognitive, affective and enactive BEING, if were going to make political
pronouncements - such as Hayeks pessimism, albeit one justified by the thoroughly ignorant - and patriachal - implementation of social policy - about
what is possible for human beings.
I work in traumatology so I know a lot about what human beings are capable of. And there is nothing more inspiring to both help people change (that
is, to help facilitate change) and then to contemplate, what exactly is happening in their brains?
But of course the dialectics of the process of change are tremendously subtle: and this is precisely what previous social revolutions never worked: it
tried to FORCE change - and that, obviously, is an asinine, uniquely patriachal way of pursuing change.
The therapeutic context is a very good analogy for the change process, both between the working therapist (who is changed by his work with his client)
and the client themselves. What matters, ultimately, is the mirroring: how what happens in you is related to what happens in me. Did any socialist
revolution ever consider empathy in their argument? Of course not. It was FORCE and FORCE alone that entered their minds. Not surprisingly, it
wasn't long lasting.
You may not be noticing (or maybe you are) but society is already undergoing a change process, partly through the influence of social policy, and
partly the influence of the market. A big element in this change process is gender: how power and the abuse of power seems more a foible of the
testosterone fueled (and distracting) male brain than the female brain. And this would make sense, as the difference between the male human experience
and the female human experience hinges on the subject of pregnancy, and later on, attachment. In short, intersubjectivity - empathy - mutual
recognition of one for another mind - is more natural for woman than it is for man. And so a big part of 'healing mankind' of our historical traumas
is to help women into positions of power in business and government, at least on par with men (50%). The beginnings of such a change is already
underway in Europe, which mandated (this being a good use of social power) that by 2016 that 40% of European executive boards be made up of women.
Anywho, if you're interested, I'll have more to write later.