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Language & Socialization…

The acquisition of a doctorate in psychology (PsyD) gave me more than a nice piece of paper to hang on the wall. There’s actually method behind the madness of racism, nativism, sexism and corporatism.

We all come into this world as infants totally absorbed in our own needs and wants: true individuals where we are the only person that is the focus of existence. Growing beyond that is the essence of civilized social behavior.

Before I go into other aspects, allow me to connect with a brief foundational view of neuro-evolution.

Most of us think of the brain as an evolved singular organism, when not otherwise believing in superstitions such as gods, demons and the superiority of humans (which always turns out to be themselves and their family-ethnic group, of course).

The brain is actually a series of discrete developments that overlap previous ones. One can say that, in fact, we have at least five brains, each having evolved both independently and interdependently over the other. This helps understand how we function, learn and behave.

Consider the body and brain as analogous to a spaceship and its captain. The ship has automatic systems in order to avoid threats and hazards, maintain life systems, navigation, monitor energy resources, etc.

The body and brain act the same way. If a projectile (or a tiger on the trail) comes flying at you, you jump or flinch away. There’s a part of our previously evolved brain (the Limbic System) that facilitates that.

If we had depended on our reasoning consciousness to survive these millions of years, we would never have evolved as our current species. Most predators are faster.

As new systems evolved, older ones continued some functions or found new ones, albeit, there is some redundancy.

The Limbic System (the amygdala and associated organs) performs another critical feature for the captain’s (pre-frontal cortex) consideration.

Every perception and sensation we have is conditioned with an emotional input by the amygdala. Everything we think contains this input.

In other words, for the fleetest of moments, our brain diverts (or splits) part of all incoming messages. The Limbic System instantly analyzes potential threats and colors the sensation with emotional input before passing them forward to the cortex, according to what it emotionally learned in our early development.

Often, we simply go with the flow and rationalize afterwards as to why we behaved in such a way, especially when an instant response and/or highly charged emotional one is apparent.

I can add that the emotional baggage one developed in infancy and beyond can be viewed as a discrete language and emotional intelligence on its own.

In other words, a lot of what we “think” and do is not specifically thought out and carefully considered.

Language as a spoken (or signed) communication is learned somewhat later. Just as reading and writing is learned even later still (or not). We often find ourselves thinking in that learned language, even visualizing the writing, but that’s only a conscious superficial aspect of our inner communication and autonomous processes.

The manner in which we acquire spoken language is so early and seamless that we’re usually not even aware of it as a learned product.

While the brain is hardwired to acquire spoken language, emotional language is an autonomic biological feature and remains with us, mostly subconsciously, throughout our lives.

As we grow and develop, we advance thru various stages of social and moral development. Essentially, we learn the social lessons that others are much the same as ourselves and we develop a sense of social connectedness. No man is an island…

Carrying the analogy to a socio-economic frame, one can see that Henry Ford and Bill Gates, for instance, could only have developed their inventions with and thru the socio-public infrastructure of previous engineering, bridges, roads, railroads, and (for Gates) the Apollo space program, computer parts miniaturization, etc.

There are, of course, a variety of circumstances that impact on normal human development. Some are genetic, others bio-chemical, but mostly we learn to believe and behave through the teaching and examples of others.

Problematic in this process is when acute or chronic trauma is present, including excessive authoritative punishment and discipline, further development tends to arrest and fixate at a stage of infantile behavior: self-centered needs, wants and desires.

In the most extreme cases, the individual becomes psychotic or sociopathic (the absence of social maturity).

This vicious cycle thus continues into adult life. The 1% and their fellow travelers, as another example, are not simply practitioners of an alternate socio-political belief system. They’re either acting out their developmental pathology, or they’ve split their behavioral consciousness given that the ideo-capital system affords them (indeed, encourages them) to do so.

The individual imperative: I got mine, fuck you! 

(I won’t burden this article with the psychopathology of, say, Mitt Romney’s public statement that he considers himself a “severely conservative governor,” or Rick Santorum’s support for the medieval Crusades and his especial long-term focus on “homosexuality, incest and bestiality.” Such projections speak for themselves…) 

Given this overall bio-socio-psychological frame, one’s attributional belief structure—conservative vs. liberal for instance–can be perceived as an artifact of the developmental process: Authoritative vs. nurturant, and an individual vs. social orientation.

The condition becomes pathological in its extreme expressions. The drive for profit, privilege, superiority and power are among its most overt manifestations.

Obviously, normal people are both individuals and social beings. The more we excessively emphasize the one, the more we impoverish the other.

Dr. Publico

Category: Evolution, Psychology
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