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Mon, 03 Oct 2022
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Science of the Spirit

Eye 1

Psychopathic men have an extreme focus on mating at the expense of other domains and tend to be "parasitic" fathers

Why do psychopaths become parents? A study published in Evolutionary Psychological Science suggests that people high in psychopathy focus primarily on mating, but often avoid parental or somatic investment (meaning the growth and maintenance of oneself).

Psychopathy consists of traits such as selfishness, grandiosity, callousness, and impulsivity. People who are high on these antisocial traits can be very harmful to the people around them. This can oftentimes include short-term mating and less parental investment. Somatic investment is another key part of mating that has not been heavily explored when it comes to people high in psychopathy. This study seeks to bridge that research gap and examine investment patterns when somatic investment is included.

"We were interested in this study to expand on how psychopathic personality traits in men can be understood from an evolutionary perspective," said study author Kristopher Brazil (@brazkris). "From a broad evolutionary perspective, individuals spend time and energy investing in survival and reproduction. Reproduction is typically partitioned into mating effort (i.e., seeking out mates) and parental effort (i.e., taking care of offspring)."

Comment: Over and above looking at why boys and young men may become psychopaths (or sociopaths, more accurately), the researchers would do well to keep in mind that many are just born that way. This may be a limitation of the evolutionary model, treating mating strategies as somehow strategically advantageous. Born psychopaths haven't decided, consciously or unconsciously, to be psychopathic. It's what they are.

See also:


Ignorance of Evil

evil, demons
Rolo over at the Slavland Chronicles invited me on to discuss the nature of evil. Head on over to his Substack to listen in.

I had a lot of fun. Rolo's a great conversationalist, has a lot of interesting things to say, and challenged me on some of my more half-baked ideas, which provided a lot of food for thought. No doubt we will continue the conversation at some point!

Among the topics discussed:

The necessity to start with experience. Much theology and philosophy is mere speculation — games of logic using untested assumptions. As Rolo argued, logic isn't the place to start. Like the left hemisphere, it must only be used in service to the whole of experience, bringing it into order. In this case, that means the reality of evil: on earth and as is presented in mystical experience.

Many people have a tendency to deny the reality of evil. In the world, this may mean denying what our lying eyes plainly perceive. This may also extend to thinking of evil not as really evil, but merely as good in disguise — a type of optical illusion. Anyone who has come face to face with evil will have trouble buying that one.

Comment: See also: Evil is Real: What do J.P. Sears and UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld have in common?

SOTT Logo Radio

MindMatters: The Memes Will Set You Free: Apocalyptic Conversation and American Gnosis with Arthur Versluis

Arthur Versluis is back to discuss his recent book 'Conversations in Apocalyptic Times' (a dialogue with Robert Faas), and his forthcoming 'American Gnosis.' Tune in for a wide-ranging discussion on our current spiritual malaise, the hidden theosophic tradition within Western Christianity, continuity of consciousness, the mystery of mysteries - the Holy Grail, and Arthur's new and upcoming courses with the Hieros Institute. Keep listening: Arthur also recommends a handful of mind-blowing books you may never have heard of.

Running Time: 01:25:42

Download: MP3 — 81.2 MB

Book 2

How to read philosophy

© Edvard Munch, Munch Museum, Oslo
Caricature of Friedrich Nietzsche (1905-06)
The first thing to remember is that the great philosophers were only human. Then you can start disagreeing with them.

Need to know

It might seem daunting to read philosophy. Giants of thinking with names like Hegel, Plato, Marx, Nietzsche and Kierkegaard loom over us with imperious glares, asking if we are sure we are worthy. We might worry that we won't understand anything they are telling us; even if we do think we understand, we still might worry that we'll get it wrong somehow.

So, if we're going to read philosophy, we need to begin by knocking those giants down to size. Every one of them tripped and burped and doodled. Some of them were real jerks. Here's Arthur Schopenhauer on his fellow German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, for instance:
'a flat-headed, insipid, nauseating, illiterate charlatan, who reached the pinnacle of audacity in scribbling together and dishing up the craziest mystifying nonsense.'
I'm not sure whether this paints Schopenhauer or Hegel as the bigger jerk.

The point is that each giant of philosophy was a human being trying to figure out life by doing just what you do: reading, thinking, observing, writing. Don't let their big words intimidate you; we can insist that they make sense to us - or, at least, intrigue us - or are left behind in the discount book bin. They must prove their worth to us.

Eye 2

The Devil Incarnate (Part 1)

Satan the devil
Please allow me to introduce himself...

Toby Rogers recently published a piece regarding the mystery of "they", referring to the key players within the cabal that is currently bulldozing the foundations of prosperity, civility, autonomy, objectivity and more. At times "they" seem to be at war with truth itself, so it seems prudent to learn as much about this project and its authors as humanly possible.

This is no doubt an important mystery to unravel. Dr. Rogers approaches it like a laboratory dissection, slicing up the beast and carefully arranging its parts on labelled trays. I believe he is quite thorough in his deconstruction, and such an approach certainly serves a tactical if not strategic purpose. However, I suspect he may be missing the forest for the burning trees.

The article was actually a follow up piece to one he posted several days prior (also well worth the read) which focused on the potential motivations behind the actions of "they". I like this approach; investigating motive before naming suspects may seem counterintuitive, but the evidence and scope of their crimes has become so overwhelming that the why is possibly the only riddle left to solve.

Alarm Clock

Effective Altruism: Cringe Alarm!

islamic geometric art decorations wall
Looking into the Effective Altruism movement feels a bit like the intellectual equivalent of witnessing a giant car accident: the only reasonable reaction is to avert your eyes, slowly shaking your head, mumbling something like "oh dear, oh dear."

That being said, it seems like this movement has gained some traction, and is somewhat supported by the likes of Peter Thiel and even Bill Gates. So let's have a look.

The idea of Effective Altruism is very simple: if you want to do good, spend your resources on the most effective cause: the one that leads to the greatest increase of well-being and the greatest decrease of suffering. Don't trust your instincts or your interests, but dispassionately look at graphs, calculate which cause (or program1) is objectively the best bang for the buck, then execute. If it means you need to invest time and money into helping an African tribe fight deadly pandemics, so be it — even if your neighbor might desperately need some money to buy her child new shoes.

Oh dear, oh dear.


Evil is Real: What do J.P. Sears and UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld have in common?

J P Sears political ponerology evil bookshelf

Book Political Ponerology is circled on J. P. Sears' bookshelf
J.P. Sears has made a new addition to his bookshelf. Be like J.P. Sears. I'm no psychic, but perchance it inspired this recent video of his, which I recommend watching — and not only for the flowing ginger locks.

J.P.'s prologue reminded me of this, which I had just read in Henning Melber's book, Dag Hammarskjöld, the United Nations and the Decolonisation of Africa:1
... in mid-June 1961, his friend Bo Beskow asked him — as he usually did when they met — if he still had faith in the individual. While previously the answer had always been positive, he now responded: "No, I never thought it possible, but lately I have come to understand that there are really evil persons — evil right through — only evil." (p. 46)

Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's:

Take 2

Why Are Leftists Obsessed With Destroying Hero Culture?

Cast photo
© screenshot
Cast of Lord of the Rings/Fellowship of the Ring
In the movie 'Batman: The Dark Knight' the well regarded district attorney Harvey Dent makes a statement that has since woven itself into our popular culture to the point that we often hear it quoted as if it was said by some ancient philosopher. He noted:

"You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

The most predictable interpretation of this is that there is a fine line between doing good and doing evil with the best of intentions. People can start out as heroes and quickly fall to darkness in the name of serving the "greater good." I think there is more meaning behind the quote, however.

There is also the issue of historical revision and the fact that the heroes of yesterday might be considered the terrorists of tomorrow given who is in charge of writing the history books or reporting the news. Sometimes heroes become villains through their own mistakes, other times they are just rewritten that way.


Understanding the tyrannical mind and how it operates

All people seek to control their environment to a certain degree. They want a reliable level of management over their world, and to remove whatever doubts they might have about their survival in the future. If they can, people will take measures to remove any potential pain or struggle and establish a life of perpetual comfort. The easy road is the dream for most, and in order to get it human beings see power as a formidable tool.

I'm exploring this common condition because I want to make it clear that almost ALL PEOPLE desire power to a degree. Sometimes this even means controlling the actions of others to prevent them from disrupting the oasis of comfort we construct around us. Sometimes there are destructive people that we feel we are forced to inhibit and cage in self defense. And still other times, we try to control those around us out of irrational fear.

The tyrannical mindset is not exclusive to the Stalins, Maos and Hitlers of history, it is a deep rooted shadow that lurks in the majority of us at times. It is this condition that political tyrants try to exploit to their advantage, because no authoritarian government can ever be successful without the help of millions of little tyrants supporting them. They find a way to feed our desire for control and predictability while simultaneously enslaving us.

The point is, tyrants need us. We all have a little dash of tyranny in our souls; we are linked, but we are different.


How to grow your soul

sky sunset
© L.P. Koch
Here is something all of us can do.

Every day, make an effort to rejoice in the success of others: particularly success with things that you want for yourself.

Think of someone and imagine him or her having a breakthrough, and find that place in yourself that makes you feel happy for that person.

Pierce through the pang of jealousy. Let your love for humanity shine through and dispel the darkness of meanness: the close-mindedness, the Gollum-face, the hardened ugliness of being petty and ungrateful.