Not A Chimp

Taylor, Jeremy. Not a Chimp. New York: Oxford University Press; 2009. ISBN  978-0-19-922778-5.

Taylor, a science film producer and director with the BBC Science Department, has written this informative and easily read book explaining the genetic differences between humans and chimps.

The usual  statement that we share 98% of our genes with them and therefore are chimps is as misleading as taking the fact that we share 50% of our genes with bananas to mean we’re nothing but bananas. In fact the genes shared are the basic structural template for all mammals and vertebrates and the differences lie in the regulator genes that control rates of growth and amounts of protein produced.

That we share a common ancestor with chimps 6 million years ago means that since chimps have continued to evolve in their own direction means that there are 12 million years of accumulated differences.

Taylor explains what’s known of the differences, for example, in genes controlling brain size and complexity, showing that contrary to what’s taught our brain isn’t simply a bigger version of theirs but contains numerous complexities and structures chimp brains lack.

He notes that unlike the teaching that primates or at least alone can generate higher brain functions. Dogs have evolved a far better understanding of human language and gesture than chimps despite the latter’s genetic kinship with us. Corvids — crows, ravens, and their kin – as well as parrots have demonstrably far superior problem solving and mechanical abilities than chimps.

He criticizes the primatologist Franz de Waal and other “chimpocentrics” for making too much of their tool making abilities and comparing them favorably to humans, who can send craft to the ocean bottom or the rings of Saturn and discover past histories and the cures for diseases. Indeed, de Waal, after describing how chimps vie for social power by ganging up and murdering even potential rivals and how the alpha males’ females routinely sneak off with lower level males, says chimps may be superior in their social interactions to humans.

This book is informative and easy to read and in my opinion is a good antidote for the current trend in science journalism to discourage and debase humans as “nothing but” fish or apes and dangerous creatures who are killing everything off and destroying the climate.

Read it and not only learn what’s generally not told but get an attitude boost.

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Consonant Reform

English spelling can be simplified not just by spelling words phonetically but by changing the use of some consonants. This can erase the history and origin of words in ordinary writing but English is documented from Late Antiquity on.

C should be used only for the CH sound as in church, which would be written curc. Other spellings would be cop for chop, camp for champ, ciken for chicken.

G would only represent the hard G as in gargle and gaggle, though it would be retained in NG as in words like running, falling, and  eating.

J would represent only the sound of J in such words as jiggle. Gym would be jym, giant would be jiant.

K should be used for all words with a hard C and K. Cat would be written Kat. Car would be kar, cut would be kut, and so on.

Ph would be written with an F. Pharmacy would be farmasy, phase would be faze.

Q would be used for a sound such as the z in azure that has no English letter: aqure.

Qu would be written kw. Quick would be kwik.

S would always represent the sibilant sound. Circus would be sirkus, circle would be sirkle, cinnamon would be sinnamon.

Þ, which was in the original English alphabet, would represent th as in then. That would be þat, these would be þeze, thou would be þou.

Θ would be th as in thin. Θink would be think, thump would be θump, tenth would be tenθ.

X would be used for the sound represented by sh. Ship would be xip, shoot would be xoot, sure would be xure, shin would be xin.

Ks  and kz would represent the x in such words as exam, which would be ekzam, expert would be ekspert, extra would be ekstra.

Z would represent the sound as in zip. Is would be iz, phase would be faze, phrase would be fraze.

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Change Of Style

It’s likely that political violence will change in the near future.

Outsider actions, instead of being isolated incidents or a set of obvious political attacks will likely be difficult to distinguish from ordinary crimes. They may take advantage of the MO of a current crime, such as the style of a particular serial killer, or there may well be a series of seemingly random killings of innocent and unconnected persons carried out in a particular manner before a political murder in  the same style, followed by a couple further seemingly random killings.

There may be a mass killing that will include a political target. The perp may not even know the reason, being a manchurian candidate or a totally crazy individual carefully manipulated into the act.

Victims may not even be primary figures, but supporters. They could be second level or below political actors whose support or abilities are important. Serial killings may be used over a period of years to wear away a party’s support base; several different individuals could eliminate a hundred or more of an opponent’s supporters.

There could likely be a change from weapons from the easily traced and identified conventional firearms to such new technology as rail guns or insect sized robots that could plunge into a target at bullet speed or land in an ear and explode. Such small items could also deliver fast acting poisons.

Hacking can be used to slowly alter the data in a party’s records, gradually moving some individuals into obscurity or making them appear less and less trustworthy or useful. Press releases can be altered subtly to alter what the public knows about some figures and events in ways that don’t appear obvious.

Hacking may also be used to control machinery used by an opponent, including making robots turn on their owners or air conditioning to malfunction or autonomous vehicles to break down or crash.

In no case will any announcement be made as to the purpose of the acts or admitting any connection with them. Nobody will publicly express more than a conventional opinion regarding any act that is discovered. There will be no political theater, merely action that appears ordinary. The essence of these acts will be for them to not appear to be political, merely chance or coincidental happenings.

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21C Exemplar

Supposed mind reading machines, computers that predict intent from body language, omnipresent cameras linked to facial recognition data banks, and other devices — real or fake — are intended to discourage creativity and political action.

These constant intrusions combined with petty regulations and endless quack psychologizing about people and groups stifle genuine communities and personal intimacy. People who resist will do so individually, developing firm identities behind superficial conformity.

They will be largely invisible and at first lacking a shared example.  In a way they already exist as persons who unexpectedly commit crimes, most notoriously mass murders.  Usually unnoticed before the incident (despite the psychiatrists who claim they saw the signs long before), they get little sympathy because their victims are most often random strangers.

That’s the mistake of the most famous recent American terrorist, Timothy McVeigh (1968-2001).  Instead of targeting some pivotal person, in 1995 he and his accomplices blew up the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 and injuring more than 800.

McVeigh appears disciplined, focused, and rational. An account of his execution describes him as “expressionless” as well as composed. He was a man of action, not words, revealing little about himself and his associates beyond the obvious. Except for the scale of his deed he might have gotten little notice.

Liberal media try to bury McVeigh and the issues by not mentioning either while blaring superficial nonsense and celebrity tripe. The issues continue and people understand them.

As the overall emotional impact of his bombing fades victims of surveillance and disinformation might well see him as an example of how to be unnoticed yet strong. As individuals seeking freedom analyze his errors they may well  try to develop a comparable determination and inaccessibility.

 

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Give Them A Choice

There’s a simple legal change that will strengthen marriage and the family and thus society.

While men would automatically become legal adults at eighteen women would be able to choose to then or at a later date.

Females without criminal convictions, repeated divorces or multiple abortions, loss of child custody, or other serious problems could petition for adult status. A judge would check and if nothing’s amiss approve the application.

As adults women could vote, hold office, serve on juries, enter into contracts, andwould have to register for the draft. They could lose adult status for reasons that would bar their application and could give it up except when called to military service. There would be provisions for restoring lost status but limits to the number of permitted changes in both directions.

Women could choose to remain legal minors, free of adult responsibilities though in some ways dependent. This wouldn’t be oppressive since such matters as age of consent, marriage, driving, alcohol purchase, and criminal penalties would continue to be determined entirely by chronological age. There would be no legal barrier to education and most employment.

With their roles clarified, no new anti-sex legislation, and other issues stabilized, girls would see this as an improvement over and even a rebellion against outdated ways. They would continue feeling themselves tough, sensitive, adventurous, and needing protection, too complex, unlike men, for a single life role.

Girls ambitious for adult status would avoid trouble and learn self-discipline and good manners. Those choosing to remain legal minors might be valued as wives for being family oriented, dependable, and cooperative. Both roles being legally sanctioned, neither would be considered as less valuable.

Men will appreciate women being clear about their life preferences. Females couldn’t easily hide the reasons for their choices or why their application is rejected, which would be matters of public record. These could be regularly published like lists of graduates and even, like wedding announcements, at female insistence.

Better able to estimate who is genuinely interested in home and family, men may become less reluctant to marry.

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The Children of Kimball

Persons brought up in religious traditions are generally better judges of character than those from a liberal background.

Moral teachings more usually include slogans, repetition, songs and stories compared to liberal which leans strongly toward slogans and repetition and the appearance of free form learning. Moral instructions, tailored to age levels, identifies dangerous behaviors and situations and shows how to respond. Stories feature persons to imitate and model oneself after while showing right and wrong as universal external principles.

Tales of religious figures give the basics. Increasingly complex and ambiguous stories will deal with more contemporary and adult matters, clarified by basic moral paradigms. Seeming contradictions in scripture are included to provoke thought and widen appeal. Persons who might not otherwise do so learn morality even if they fail to live by it. Most will find life proving moral principles.

The goal is strong autonomous individuals with internal values who are able to function and to maintain their identity. They make up a society that is cohesive through shared values they can if necessary rebuild.

To gain the confidence needed for making effective decisions children need certainty. Liberals ignore that, rationalizing their method as teachng reason and individualism. The few guidelines they give are usually soon contradicted or undermined. They expect children to make adult or at least leftist decisions. Anything original can bring specifically personal criticism.

On the other hand a child’s most trivial act, even a failure, might be praised. It doesn’t have to involve effort or be deliberate or even meaningful. The claimed purpose is to build up “self-esteem” by sparing a child from feeling bad. Thus behavior is deprived of meaning except when used to show the abysmal stupidity of non-liberals or that all people are good and equal.

Liberal childrearing appears random regarding the function of emotions. A comic version of their approach is found in county agent Hank Kimball (actor Alvy Moore) on the old sitcom Green Acres. Kimball would make definitive statements which, as though to cover all possible exceptions, he would repeatedly qualify till he rendered everything null and void.

Yet liberal techniques generate an intended personality type. Lacking true confidence, these persons compensate through a fragile conviction of superiority that often shows as strident arrogance. Their usual social style consists of manipulation and deceit, which they see as proving their supreme intelligence. Under that is an infantile uncertainty and longing to be dependent that makes them easily vulnerable to thought fads and charismatic leaders.

That is, perfect cogs in a bureaucracy and followers for a dictator.

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The Four of Us Are…

Ideas about human improvement include higher intelligence, stronger special talents, even questionables like telepathy. Another might be the ability to intentionally change the personality by mental action.

Created personalities, unlike multiples, would be neither involuntary nor pathological. They would be distinct persons, based in the same memories and abilities, although they might not be as noticeable as it seems.

In fiction Stevenson’s 1886 classic The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde features a potion that divides personalities into opposites. Like case studies recent treatments usually attribute multiple personalities to sexual trauma.

A Twilight Zone episode that aired in January 1960, “The Four of Us Are Dying”, is a better metaphor based on physical change. A man can completely alter his features, taking on the face of anyone he sees. Nobody can tell he isn’t the person copied so he uses his talent to get out of trouble. (In Rod Serling’s implacable morality he unwittingly copies the face of an intended murder victim while doing so.)

Therapy obsessed Western societies haven’t come up with or at least kept the idea as a positive goal though the seed is there. Christianity always held the promise of spiritual renewal and ultimate perfection, possibly one reason the Left attacks it. Psychoanalysis and its spawn held out a materialistic version at the expense of creativity and confidence. Psychedelics did the same. Authorities want competent workers and try to stifle or control whatever might produce wholly functioning persons.

Cases show that some capacity for multiple personalities exists though the line between unconscious responses and deliberate lies is murky. Supposedly the pathological results of emotional trauma, multiples seem an updated version of what used to be called hysteria and conversion reactions.

People have some ways to deliberately change. A few, learning skills or acquiring and dropping habits, sometimes imitating others, are internally controlled. Usually they require going outside oneself: changing environments, joining religions, entering therapy.

Especially if they lack ethical convictions people need an external lever on themselves. A stronger consciousness of one’s own conflicts and of what in others’ behavior are responses to one’s actions would help internalize the process.

Developing and switching separate personalities would require the ability to intentionally reorient emotions and behavior patterns. Personality factors would have to be deactivated without repressing or deleting them so they could be reused. To do all that demands a stronger, more comprehensive ego in the psychoanalytic meaning of reality orientation.

Since they wouldn’t be pathological dissociations the personalities would have the same memories but with different meanings. Their emotional structures and characteristic behaviors would differ as much as those of separate individuals. THey might occupy part or all of ons cell network with synapses activated and inhibited in different patterns.

While the personalities would be recognizably distinct it’s unclear how deep their differences might go. Some elements like the extraversion and introversion dimension might be determined by inflexible structures. So might others such as vulnerability to phobias and addictions. Obsessive-compulsive behaviors may be centered in old brain modules outside the personality.

After a change individuals might become slightly difficult to recognize because of different habits, interests, and to an extent different vocal and kinetic styles. The current personality could truthfully deny having done what another did.

Skeletal and muscular systems limit changes in movement and speech. If the body is color blind, deaf, diabetic, or has other conditions so will the personalities. Hair and skin tones, age, scars, teeth, and such will be constant and so, of course, will fingerprints and DNA.

A stronger, overall identity, separate and likely not apparent to other people would have to control the personalities. This ego would from an early age need more self-awareness and insight into how others respond than now common. Others would deal with it through its and their own personalities.

It would be more rational than the personalities and more so than most people today, more capable of keeping to an ethical code, less given to defensiveness and rationalization, and not as influenced by emotion.

Such persons would be more empathetic than is normal today and recover more quickly from difficulties. They would certainly be more adaptable. They could detect and eliminate negative behavior in themselves rather than maintain them because the ego would be above the identities.

Relationships, even marriage, might be more satisfactory. People could work more effectively together without that effort permanently changing them; employers might specify the personal styles they need in employees.

As children these persons would move quickly from trying out behaviors to experimenting with personalities. Able to distinguish voluntary actions from identity, they could learn early how others not only feel but what they likely know and intend. They may develop personalities that don’t now exist, while some now common  behaviors might vanish; of what use would hero worship be, for example, when one could become the hero by mental effort?

Role playing would alter and people might invent personality games that can’t now exist. People might change in group patterns or agree to take on certain traits for certain occasions. Drama and fiction would change. Individuals would likely have extensive wardrobes for their several personalities….speculation is difficult.

A more complex brain than now common would be required. Early developing objectivity about oneself and a totally dominant ego would probably be more demanding than several personalities, which seemingly can exist today. There will be more neurons but especially many more connections.

The necessary mutations might arise by chance and combine only gradually except in small populations. Except for self-control and intelligence they might not necessarily have immediate survival value.

Smart disciplined persons would become prosperous and powerful in organized tribes. Multiple personalities seen in children might make the latter seem dangerously unreliable. Some might become shamans and culture bearers of various types or be capable of swift adaptation to other tribes. Overall distrust would probably work against developing multiples.

In civilized states with populations too large for everyone to know everyone else bringing various social roles and conflicts they would get less notice and be more adaptable. Empires with extensive bureaucracies, many occupations, religions and cults, and subcultures would enable them to flourish. Setbacks as in the Dark Ages and widespread plagues might limit them but they would have developed ways of being safe and useful. Only recent bioscience techniques could by then detect them.

If genetic engineering can develop such persons they might be seen as having desirable traits. In that case the mutations would spread more rapidly, by both artificial and natural means, though government will try to limit such smart and versatile persons to its own uses.

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The Alienated Bootstrap

People used to call criminals alienated. Some criminals’ apparent alienation, though, is a lifestyle strategy. Others are so superficially normal their uncovered deeds are especially shocking.
In reality criminals are socially oriented and aggressively focused on control. With different experiences the same basic personality type can become among other things successful coaches, military professionals, politicians, or salespersons.
Alienation is a popular 1950s term that was applied correctly in other cases.
In 1989 psychiatrist David Forrest suggested that a genetic glitch caused so-called nerds’ intellectual and social abilities to develop at different rates. All traits vary and some autistic persons seem to almost lack social ability.
These genuinely alienated are baffled by the endless games, celebrity imitations, confusion of reality with wishes and theories, and other behaviors of naturally social people. They find much ordinary behavior incomprehensible, even frightening. They often make up a section of the personality spectrum that includes eccentrics, vagrants, and mental patients.
Others can’t be distinguished from average people and some are accomplished. As a group they have the typical range of abilities, and just as potential criminals become positive individuals the alienated can do more than simply avoid psychosis or ineffectiveness.
Their behavior as children and teenagers can be as chaotic as awkward but will be increasingly effective. They may imagine they differ from others only in being more rational and recognize each other only as persons having similar experiences.
In the long run a lack of ability can be beneficial. Pioneer ethologist Conrad Lorenz noted that humans’ deficiency of instincts gave  intelligence scope to develop.
They can suffer intensely but the alienated lack innate assumptions that aren’t necessarily correct. They don’t make such common errors as believing everything is part of their social structure. Because they compensate for their lack of instinct with reason they can be socially objective.
Paradoxically, while other directed the instinctively social are self-centered. Because they don’t need to understand people few of them are capable of much empathy. If they alone existed life would be wholly about status, hero-worship, bigotry, persecution, style, and fads. Debate and what passed for science would be ad hominem shouting matches, even duels.
Into recent times people tried to treat natural events — eclipses, seasons, storms, tides — as powerful persons. Efforts to understand them rationally were treated as potentially angering those persons while threatening society and its leaders. In fact, modern appearing humans existed for nearly two hundred thousand years before modern behavior is in evidence.
Maybe that change was due to language, a common suggestion, but a specifically cognitive development such as Forrest proposed is more likely. It probably began in a small African population and at first spread only slowly.
The alienated, necessarily objective about people, have done the most to advance ethics and science. They likely invented moral codes to replace rulers’ situational, usually selfish commands. Only they could have the first insights into the cost and suffering of slavery. Science advances through the work of those unable to assume the sun and winds have emotions or that the king’s moods affect crops and tides.
Cultures seem variously alienated friendly in basic principles and over time. Some professions, guilds in earlier times, may attract and prefer the alienated. Certain organizations may seek out and cultivate them and have developed methods for identifying and encouraging them. These and related matters are for scholars and scientists to investigate.
The disjunction of reason and social instinct created modern behavior. Without it humans would have remained upright, verbal chimps sunk in endless social superficialities. Without the alienated, humans like related primates and despite high intelligence would be dwindling away.

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