Tagged: The Intelligence Paradox
Amazing. Leading into a maze.
Under-stand. See what is under.
Woful = woeful, woe + ful => woman, woeman (wretched man, the wretched one, the wretched sex)
In managerial economies like ours, high remuneration tends to accrue to positions held in depersonalizing organizations (cf. The Organization Man by W.H. Whyte). It is therefore surprising that few intelligent people, if the concept of meritocracy is accurate, are facing a motivation obstacle that prevents them from sacrificing personality to remuneration.
The concept of meritocracy ought to be further reviewed. For one thing, it may not be true that a degree is a sure sign of intelligence, insofar as we are now seeing women widely outperforming men in academic achievements while IQ testing does not predict it. – All in all, those who take in earnest the Pygmalion effect (the influence of expectations on performance) are implicitly rejecting the concept of meritocracy as they claim school results depend on third parties’ expectations rather than IQ.
Which, by the way, makes John Stuart Mill’s idea of granting plural voting to intelligent people as deduced from education – ‘The distinction in favour of education, right in itself, is further and strongly recommended by its preserving the educated from the class legislation of the uneducated’ (Considerations on Representative Government) – nonsensical. Do the Millists of our days, then, advocate weighting votes according to IQ?
Veil Down in the West: A Woman’s Convenience
A couple of more quotes from literary documents supporting the thesis of my essay Le Voile en Occident here (en français).
She took those rooms for the pleasure of going there with her veil down, and imagining she was a heroine. She had a passion for secrecy, but she herself was merely a sphinx without a secret. (Oscar Wilde, The Sphinx Without a Secret)
Though it was midsummer Hetta entered the room with her veil down. She adjusted it as she followed Ruby up the stairs, moved by a sudden fear of her rival’s scrutiny. (Anthony Trollope, The Way We Live Now, 1875)
May I not ask you to lay aside your veil, so that we may look at each other fairly? (Ibid.)
The Veiled Lodger, in The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (1927) by A. Conan Doyle: The lodger keeps her veil down at all times to spare people the sight of her scars.
‘A machine-like footman.’ (The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes) ‘Tis how a footman ought to be. Anything beyond machine-likeness would be obtrusive.
It is not being misanthropic to prefer being served by machines. Do not let the condition of our present feudal society think of yourselves as misanthropes.
Drop man from service. The habit of dealing with humans for purely monetary-functional transactions erodes our humaneness.
In terms of service Chinese dealers are closest to the perfection of the machine. This is why I patronize their businesses.
Amusement and recreation are necessary to relax from work; they are not leisure, which is an end in itself.
In Thomas More’s Utopia, the workday lasts six hours. But everybody works. Whereas, for Thomas Aquinas, the surplus of work for some (above, say, six hours) allows others to live a contemplative life (vita contemplativa) – in other words, a leisure life (See Sebastian de Grazia, Of Time, Work, and Leisure, 1962). It is this very notion of leisure life that has vanished from Western conscience, which disappearance makes the idea of the slavery of machines for the sake of living a leisure life sound quite… utopian.
Time-starved and as good as dead.
In our society many a man has no place intended to him as a man – only as manpower.
London subway, Dec. 24, 2014. A prerecorded female voice tells you to ‘alight here for the museums.’ But all museums are closed Dec. 24, 25, & 26 each year – you know why.
According to Marshall McLuhan, colonization has detribalized Africa through the introduction of the written medium. According to Cheikh Anta Diop, colonization has retribalized Africa, where great unified empires existed.
Old-fashioned vs mass-fashioned.
The great man’s mistakes are closer to the truth than the little man’s exactitude.
The craving for dignity, in a deterministic world, leads to absurd work ethics – to an unproductive show of make-feel-worthy.
On a plane with x-axis capacity and y-axis wealth I say we shall find a bell-shaped curve, because mediocre individuals are capacious enough to unite against the highly capacious and prevent them from competing. Not allowed to compete! [However, the main problem, as hinted above, is motivation – motivation obstacles. Competition is time-consuming and its rewards unlikely to compensate great minds for the time lost away from enjoying the company of other great minds through books, and their own inner dialogue, thinking, contemplation, leisure.]
According to Kant, it does not take intelligence to know one’s duty, i.e. the moral law, whereas it takes intelligence to thrive in the world, to be worldly wise. Kant thereby disqualifies this kind of self-serving smartness (Klugheit) as in no way being a noble virtue and in no way central in mankind’s calling. As to Schopenhauer, he considers true intelligence as unselfish, as he posits a trade-off between Wille (will) and Vorstellung (‘representation,’ insight). The genius is detached from nature’s pursuits, finding no higher enjoyment than his own insight at representing the world in his mind, that is, in his own genius.
Perverted into compliance.
What best characterizes the present age of information is that it’s not an information age.
There must be something wrong with the so-called ‘extraversion-dominance’ dimension of psychology (one of the Big Five), as the organization man must be both extraverted/other-oriented and dependent/submissive in his life as a hierarchical team worker. Or it shows the dramatic extent of the strain the organization exerts on our nature.
Cities are no less pestilent than villages. Yet in cities one’s relationships are limited to people one cares to see, whereas in villages one is expected to socialize with all other villagers; the pestilence of social life is thus transferred from interpersonal relationships to some holistic crowd effect, in which the injury comes from unknown passers-by.
Most pets are castrated, sterilized by their owners. Remember we are a domesticated species. A self-domesticated species.
Ubiquitous mass media pornography is externalized delectatio morosa.
Assignment: Carry out big-data survey on scholars’ writings in scientific journals compared to their published books in order to assess the extent of publishers and editors’ intervention in the latter.
The specialized scientist’s worldview is unbalanced. As his worldview manifests itself even in his work as a specialist, the specialist’s work itself is unbalanced. The cold objectivity of facts and figures, so much flaunted by the specialists, is imbalance.
The specialist is an unbalanced man. His activity is knowledge as toil. Toil is what unbalances man’s development. Leisure ensures the balanced development of man’s faculties.
Morals has been replaced by priming, but the latter does not escape the objections addressed to the former, as scientists inevitably sneak priming in their writings.
In developing countries the role of the importune beggar is played by the street peddler.
‘All men are equal’: the legal axiom defies science. It is based on purely moral grounds and at the same time the recognizance of this moral axiom as being the fundation of the civil compact has become, or is becoming, though history, universal. Literally it only means that ‘all men are equal before the law’ but the qualification is immaterial for that the law should treat as equals people who are unequal according to nature is at defiance with nature. Where is the scientific evidence that ‘all men are created equal’? By opposing the civil state to the state of nature, Hobbes stressed the necessary humbling of natural urges before the civil law for the maintenance of civil order and peace, which, in religious terms, compares to the humbling of the natural man before the law of God. As it imposes an absolute restraint on nature, the law may be called moral and any breach of compact is abhorrent to the moral law. The restraint is absolute in the sense that if one is free to contract with others in the way that best suits his own interest, he is not free to violate, in his interest, a contract. The latter is incompatible with civil order. A person caught in the act of breaking his word is not allowed any longer to pursue his interest until a sentence has been served.
If science primes us (psychologically) to indulge in tendencies that are being surmounted by progress, then science becomes an impediment to progress and will be left behind.
When work is through, status via work will be no option anymore.
What is the ultimate cause (vs proximate cause, i.e. sudden rush of air in the lungs or whatever) of human babies being the only species born crying?
Civilization means psychoticism because mass media conditions maladaptive sexuality, and the psychotics, according to H. Eysenck, are the least conditionable.
Admission of the naturalistic fallacy (the tendency to grant indicative statements the value of injonctions) implies that our aims are determined outside natural life. Darwinian theory, thus, gives no account of our aims, and Darwinists who warn against the naturalistic fallacy downgrade their own work and pursuit. And those among them who, like R. Thornhill, do the same while insisting on applying the experimental test to all propositions are inconsistent in the bargain.
I have a doubt on Ronald Fisher’s ultimate explanation of equal sex ratios. Fisher’s principle states that, when females are scarce, siring a male will be selected against as more males will not mate, and vice-versa. It is the vice-versa that disturbs me, because males are polygynous. ‘Whichever sex is in excess will have lower reproductive success, in average,’ yes: for two sexes having equal reproductive strategies…
I have a doubt also on some claims about parasites and evolution. Predators do not weed out the genetically slower individuals but those individuals that are made slower by parasites (for instance, susceptibility to predation is increased thirty times for infected fishes, according to one study). Being free from parasite indicates a better immune system, but I should think parasite infestation has a random dimension too: in some cases it depends on where the individual has been (the wrong place at the wrong time), what he has eaten, etc. If randomness is high, how can selection mechanisms, in the predator-prey interaction, generate adaptations?
The world is not within man’s reach – the world in the physical sense: stars and galaxies. Our thriving on a speck of dust lost in infinity cannot conceal its (our thriving’s) indecorum. We must leave room to a one better suited than us to explore and know the world: Der Geist.
Biology will become anecdotal because the most important for Der Geist will be to know Itself. In biology Der Geist will find what It is not, not what It is.
The profound meaning of political freedom is that political ideas do not matter in the least. The program will apply and Der Geist will awaken.
Subsidizing children amounts to a windfall. It is because children are one’s highest stakes in the system that governments subsidize reproductive success while burdening all other forms of success.
Crime novels are read by practical people who have no time and no patience for things remote from their self-interest. Not because these novels are easier to read – they are not – but because practical people always keep in a corner of their minds the more or less conscious idea that one day to kill someone will be necessary to safeguard their interests.
Lucretius’s ‘unalloyed empiricism’ (Milord Matt Ridley): yet the idea that the world is made of two things only, atoms and void, was not empirical but speculative.
In business they’re always talking about having ideas, but the ideas they have in business are of the kind a thinker would be ashamed to have.
How to pronounce the word ‘read’ when reading it is at times impossible to know before the end of the sentence.
It seems that scientific marketing has been so efficient that only those who underwent some religious conditioning (in part inconsistent with mass marketing) are now capable of being critical toward the current state of the society.
When I was young I was feeling a need for religious belief and I would see the scientist who lacked that need as a defective mind, same as I would see a man without sexual needs as unmanly.
I remember very well that when I used to be an avid reader of classic philosophy I couldn’t shift to more recent material without being highly disappointed by their content, I mean by the thinking evidenced in it. No matter how noted the authors were, Ivy League professors and all, they couldn’t rise any high in my estimation.
Love eternal: about the fourth or fifth time it comes in your life you start wondering. Women as transient objects of love eternal.
Google has decided they wanted to help you search things on the Web. So you start typing a name and their engine completes it, with the closest Hollywood star or soccer player, when you’re looking for a biologist… Am I the only one to think this will reinforce herd mentality?
Mexican film La sexorcista (Satánico Pandemonium) (1975) by Gilberto Martínez Solares takes place in a convent during Mexican colonial times (there are still black slaves, some of them escaping from slavery into convents and monasteries, where they are hardly treated better, and there is plague in the country too). Although the title is a bit of a ‘catcher,’ the film, about a nun falling into sin and consequently becoming a serial murderer is subtle and profound. Once one devotes her life to God in the way a Catholic nun does, that is, relinquishing the most demanding urges of nature, the slightest slip can lead one astray and into the deepest regions of despair and madness via a terrifying logic. If she loses in the slightest the firmness of her faith or faith in her firmness, and realizes in what grave she has buried herself alive, she becomes demented – a demon. Yet the apparences can be preserved, including through murder, and the horrible irony of the film is that by accepting to live in utter deception of others the criminal nun is offered the highest honors, the leadership of her community, whereas the confession of her crimes would have brought her into the hands of the Inquisition and to death after atrocious abuses. It is made plain, however, that her reward will corrupt the whole community and beyond: under the guise of devotion and unbeknownst to them, the believers will be paying honor to Satan, into whose sheep they have been turned.
‘Israel does not suffer from rape’
About the fantastic claim that Israel does not suffer from rape (made by Tobias Langdon, in his essay Fake Jews: Deceit and Double-Think in Britain’s Hostile Elite, Unz Review online, May 16, 2017)
According to Tobias Langdon, as an ethnostate Israel’s blessings include Israeli women’s being spared from rape.
According to A Natural History of Rape (2000) by Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer, rape is at least two different things, 1/rape by a sexual predator (his victims being unknown to him), 2/rape by a relative (including incest on children) or by a known person, that is date rape; and the second category is the commonest by far – very far. Yet rape by migrants is of the sexual-predator category.
(I also believe that the first category has always been more reported than the second one, and if it is found that a statistical increase in rape is due in part to more victims reporting, we will also find that this reporting concerns in large part family or date rapes.)
Rape, being a sensitive issue, comes handy for propaganda. Shock value of violent murders and rapes can cloud the reasoning and then one would swallow anything unsupported by statistics. And I don’t find statistics as much as shock-value cases in anti-migrant internet literature.
As to the fantastic claim that ‘ethnostate’ Israel ‘doesn’t suffer from this crime’ (rape) as she does not allow third-world immigration, it is preposterous, on three counts:
1/The claim assumes that family and date rape does not exist in Israel.
2/That there is no third-world immigration in Israel is not true, as Black Ethiopians and other third-world nationalities have immigrated to and settled in Israel.
To be sure, the numbers of Black people and third-world immigration in Israel may be considered negligible. But as Langdon notes, there are 20 percent non-Jewish Arabs with Israeli (however second-class) citizenship: hardly an ethnostate! Israel is not as ‘sane’ as Langdon likes to, perhaps craves to believe.
3/& finally rape rates in Israel are said to be rather high. [There are problems with international rape statistics, however. For instance, in the article here (wonderslist) about ‘Top 10 Countries With Maximum Rape Crime,’ I can see no reason why Canada has 14 times (!) more sex assaults than similar country USA. Canada: 460,000 assaults each year for a population of 36M =1277 per lakh; USA: 293,000 assaults/year for a pop. of 323M =90.7 per lakh…]
Tobias Langdon is one case of delusional thinking about Israel, combined with an ingrained repulsion toward colored people – that same repulsion that led one of my Twitter contenders to make, in the heat of an exchange, the fantastically preposterous claim that all rapists in Israel are Blacks (see Tweet Anthology 2 here).
Nor was ever the U.S. an ethnostate, as the economy of the South was based on slavery (on the paper, however, it could be said it was, yes, as slaves were not citizens). Neither slavery America nor apartheid Israel are ethnostates. Both are exploitative caste states.
Of course, that ruthless exploitation could be a political aim is not considered proper today, except perhaps to the most unabashed supremacists. For all others, an unarticulated desire to enslave a whole class of people in order to make one’s own life easier would translate as a perceived need, an actual anxiety to defend one’s civilization – where there’s nothing to defend but a heritage of exploitation and misery for the greater number.
It is because of the earnest possibility of such a collective desire for enslavement and exploitation that academia tends to reject IQ studies, as inferior IQs would be deemed a sufficient reason to enslave, say, the Blacks, however shocking this is to our moral sense. Liberals are often snubbed as moralists, but morality is no more to be dismissed from the fabric of man than are man’s lower instincts.
If there exist statistics that demonstrate high rate crimes of Black and other people of color, then I’d like to see them. What some are wont of doing on the internet is tweeting shocking cases of rape and murder, say once every week or two, when heinous crimes happen in the U.S. alone at the rate of dozens a day. So as these highly motivated militants can’t bring more than such numbers of cases to my attention, then I say to myself, wait, I am deeply nauseated by these Black on White crimes, but what about the figures now? Again, if there are figures…
The figure I know is Black inmates in American prisons. There’s no reason to suppose, like many liberals, that this high percentage is per se a proof of racism in American society rather than, say, the criminal nature of the Black man, as the opponents of those liberals would have it. Once this is being said, I have heard that the greater part of these inmates have been sentenced for drugs and I think that changes everything, because even if that might prove one of the Black man’s natural tendencies, I wouldn’t exclude that Blacks are being targeted on purpose by pushers having all the means of scientific marketing at their disposal, especially knowing that they are working in prison, that is, are just like the slaves of old and just like the Black peons of the Jim Crow regime (where they were not allowed to diversify their crops, to take just one instance). This is a pattern.
Some thoughts after reading Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After (2006) by Bella DePaulo, PhD.
For a ultimate cause of ‘matrimania’ (marriage mania), I’d be tempted to look into evolutionary psychology. Bella DePaulo uses a meaningful phrase: ‘intensive coupling,’ or ‘intensive nuclearity,’ and I think it is key to understanding matrimania. Intensive coupling is the current form of mate guarding. Women’s emancipation has made it necessary that both partners couple more intensely than ever in the past, when the relative social isolation of the woman would guarantee some stability to the couple, as mate poaching would be obstructed by women’s reclusion and minority status.
The corollary of intensive coupling is the emotional value attached to coupling, which, as DePaulo observes, has not always been so exclusive in the past. Another corollary is the delusions she describes under the word ‘singlism.’
What she says about the fifties in America (‘Consider … the Americans who were newly wedded in 1956. No Americans on record married at a younger age than they did, before or since. Half the 1956 grooms had not yet reached the age of 22.5, and half the brides were 20 or younger’) also triggered various reminiscences. I see the American fifties as an era of profound change marked by ‘hidden persuaders’ (Vance Packard), ‘affluence,’ ‘reversed sequence’ and the rise of the ‘technostructure’ (Galbraith), ‘managerialism’ (Burnham), and I am led to hypothesize the intervention of technocratic power (more efficient than that of churches!) in normalizing marriage in the American society. There may have been two incentives in that direction for these technocratic ‘persuaders.’ One is social control, as by and large single males would be seen as sexual predators and single females as feebly-inhibited nomads (from eugenicist Charles Davenport – and my understanding is that eugenics was still okay at the time). The other is consumption at the levels required by the newly achieved affluence. DePaulo stresses the response already made to Japanese scholar Masahiro Yamada’s contention that ‘single parasites’ consume less, yet I am not quite convinced that singles consume as much as couples; data should not be too hard to find on that score.
Yamada’s indictment of singles based on their consumption patterns or consumption levels is revealing of a tendency of capitalist societies toward ‘democratorship’ (from German Demokratur: Demokratie-Diktatur).
Evolutionary psychology postulates that we are replication machines for our genes (Dawkins): the goal of life is reproduction. EP scholars insist that the phrase ‘struggle for life’ is actually a misnomer, since survival is in fact at the service of reproduction. The phrase ‘reproductive success’ is key to their understanding of social relations. Now, as DePaulo says, some singles have children (and more and more people with children are singles); but this is still a way to maximize/optimize one’s reproductive success, if one’s partner turns out to be abusive, violent &c. She underlines that many singles and their children are better off single than in pair. But then they are in a typical EP pattern, whereas childless singles are not, and are rather, in that view, well, if the former are successes, then the latter are – the contrary of successes (and unhappy).
One EP scholar (Kanazawa) has come with an ‘intelligence paradox,’ trying to explain why intelligent people tend to commit ‘the greatest crime against nature’ (in his own words), namely voluntarily not to reproduce. Having read his book, in fact I can say this doesn’t even describe intelligent men by and large, only (or more likely) intelligent women. Still, in one other book (Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, 2007, Kanazawa & Miller), he points to a productivity peak for scholars happening later in life in the case of singles than in the case of marrieds. He sees it as a confirmation of the EP view that once you reproduce you’ve done what you were called for in this life (by your genes) and you now concentrate on giving your children the opportunities to reproduce in the best conditions in their turn.
For a more thorough discussion of Kanazawa’s intelligence paradox, see here.
With Singled Out, Bella DePaulo almost made me think good of Oprah Winfrey (I can’t say I know Oprah Winfrey well, it’s just I have no warm notions of TV personalities generally speaking). But I have just been reading she is involved with a cult called A Course in Miracles (a course allegedly dictated by Jesus to a female medium, starting in 1965) and has put her large notoriety at its service. No doubt this has contributed mightily to the cult’s affairs.
In Order by Accident (2000), Miller & Kanazawa claim that, faced with unemployment, women evidence a tendency to join cults. I am pretty sure that cult membership also counts singles in larger proportions.
DePaulo sends a pique to those Americans who see themselves as adventurous and yet dare not go alone at the restaurant. Well observed!
In my experience, in restaurants that ambition to be fashionable, service to singles is extremely poor and as customers abandon themselves to the goodwill of the waiters the experience can be quite unpleasant. It’s as if these restaurants have an anti-single policy that they implement through bad service. They do their best to spare their ‘normal,’ or ideal, paired customers the inconvenience of being seated near a single – looser by definition in the dictionary of singlism.
Alternately, it may be no policy from the management but come from the staff themselves. As union is strength, waiters might hesitate to be inconsiderate and mean to pairs, while it’s fair game with singles, and they release it! If the waiter intends to be mean with a pair, Madame will insult him in soft voice while talking to Monsieur and making sure the waiter hears and his pride is hurt, while the single remains silent, doesn’t even whisper, because then they’re looked upon as having bats in the belfry.
Try the burger parlor.
XXXVII The Evolutionary Roots of the Clash of Civilizations 2
This is a sequel to xxxvi.
Suicide For Sex
The essay on the evolutionary dimensions of civilizations (xxxvi) started by recalling the hot discussion on the relationship between Islam and the West. Regarding this relationship, evolutionary psychology book Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters (2007) by Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa attempts to provide an explanation of Muslim suicide bombings that I wish to discuss presently.
According to Miller and Kanazawa, suicide bombers are 1/ always Muslims, because 2/ Muslim societies are polygynous, which means that some men remain without mates throughout their lives, and 3/ Islam promises virgin mates to the martyrs in the afterlife, which is bound to be appealing to men without mates.
1/ “While suicide missions are not always religiously motivated, when religion is involved, it is always Islam.” (p. 165).
The emphasis on the word “always” is the authors’; they seem to be confident there is no exception. Yet, the statement is incorrect. Even if we dismiss WW2 Japanese kamikazes as a religious phenomenon, although the Japanese government of the time was implementing a policy of State Shintoism that emphasized the divine descent of the Emperor of Japan and thus infused patriotism with a sense of the divine, so much so that one of the first moves made by the Americans after Japanese surrender was to demand that the Emperor publicly declares to his people he was no god, we find “militant” suicides in other religions too.
Albeit the following examples, from Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism, are not strictly speaking suicide missions, that is, acts aimed at provoking casualties to an enemy while sacrificing one’s own life in the very act (of which I see no other historical example beside Japanese kamikazes and Muslim Jihadists), those other suicides are similarly intended to promote the cause and interests of a religion in a confrontational context, and nothing in the evolutionary interpretation of suicide missions by Miller and Kanazawa explains per se why the suicide takes the form of a military mission rather than of something else. The promise of haur uljanati, the houris of paradise, is actually made to all male believers and not specifically to human bombs.
Martyrs are well-known characters of the earlier times of Christianity, especially the Roman times, and the suicide-like indifference to death displayed by these people during their ordeals became propaganda for the nascent religion, which certainly contributed to its success. That these martyrs did not die with weapon in hand while Muslim martyrs die with weapon in hand or rather being themselves the weapon (human bombs) is not to account for by polygyny and/or by the promise of houris but rather by the warrior ethics contained in the Quran and Islamic tradition.
This being said, Muslims can also be martyrs in the Christian sense, that is, allowing enemies of the faith to take their lives without resistance rather than in the act of fighting. Some hadiths tell how idolaters used to submit Muslims to the test trying to force them to pay homage to idols, which is against the will of Allah, and that the Muslims who, being firm believers, refused were put to the sword. This is the same as the Biblical (Catholic and Orthodox) story of the Maccabees.
Fundamentally, contemporary suicide missions are only a variant of such past acts of martyrdom. Knowing that allegiance to one’s God will be, with more or less certitude, cause of one’s death at the hands of God’s enemies and accepting it, is a form of suicide that the history of several or all religions can attest. Again, that this allegiance takes the form of a suicide commando mission rather than more passive or acquiescent forms of suicide is accounted for by the warrior ethics that is present in the Quran and Muhammad’s exemple, whereas it is absent from the Gospels and the life of Jesus.
In Hinduism, the jauhar was a form of collective suicide sanctioned by Brahmans; it was especially frequent among Rajputs during their wars with Muslim conquerors. When all chances of victory had vanished, the women first took their own lives, slaughtering their children on the occasion, and the men then went to fight to death on their last battlefield. The custom insured that no prisoner was taken by the enemy. We find a similar episode in the siege of Masada during the first Jewish-Roman war (73-74 AD): According to classical accounts, the besieged Jews eventually committed mass suicide rather than surrendering to the Romans.
Finally, there is the practice of self-immolation in Buddhism, of which recent history provides a few examples, the best-known being the self-immolation through fire by the Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc in 1963, in protest against the religious policy of the American-supported South-Vietnamese government. The legend says the monk’s heart did not burn and is now kept as a holy relic in the vaults of the Vietnamese National Bank.
So, although suicide missions as such are only found in current Muslim Jihadism and WW2 Japanese kamikazes (who could well have been performing a religious act), the will to sacrifice one’s life for one’s faith is a feature common to the history of many and perhaps all religions.
2/ “Across all societies, polygyny increases violent crimes, such as murder and rape, even after controlling for such obvious factors like economic development, economic inequality, population density, the level of democracy [“obvious factor”?], and world regions. (…) The first unique feature of Islam, which partially contributes to the prevalence of suicide bombings among its followers, is polygyny, which makes young men violent everywhere.” (p. 166)
The reason polygyny increases violent crime is that it exacerbates male competition for females. As the sex ratio is roughly 50-50, by allowing some men to mate with several women to the exclusion of competitors, polygyny forces some other men to remain without mates.
Miller and Kanazawa go on: “However, polygyny by itself, while it increases violence, is not sufficient to cause suicide bombings. Societies in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean are much more polygynous than the Muslim nations in the Middle East and Northern Africa (…) Accordingly, nations in these regions have very high levels of violence, and sub-Saharan Africa suffers from a long history of continuous civil wars, but not suicide bombings. So polygyny itself is not a sufficient cause of suicide bombings.” (p. 166).
The authors are not dealing with institutional polygyny but with what I call (see xxxvi) cryptic polygyny, that is, the practice of polygyny no matter what legal arrangements regarding matrimonial bonds are. Among the most polygynous nations in the world, as they appear listed in note 31, p. 210, we find, for instance, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Haiti (all these with the “maximum polygyny score of 3.000”). These are countries which populations are largely Christian and where the institutional form of pair-bonding is monogamous marriage and institutional polygamy is outlawed and criminalized. So bear in mind that, although the authors do not make it explicit, it is not institutional polygyny that is at stake. Other forms of polygynous practice, that is, cryptic polygyny is not in the least “unique” to Muslim countries; as Miller and Kanazawa write, “All Humans Societies Are Polygynous” (subtitle p. 91).
The violence alleged to be caused by polygyny relates to a “polygyny score” that has nothing to do with institutions and legal systems. Were we to examine these polygyny scores by country, we might find that Muslim countries do not stand particularly high. Among the twenty most polygynous countries listed page 210, I find the following to be predominantly or significantly Muslim: Morocco, Nigeria, Niger, Chad (53%). That makes four countries out of twenty.
Besides, Miller and Kanazawa overlook the fact that a good deal of Jihadists do not come from Muslim countries at all. Some of them come from Muslim communities in Western countries; many of these communities have been secularized in the course of acculturation, and the Jihadists had to undergo a sort of reconversion process from a materialist, secularized lifestyle to radicalism. Some others are even autochthonous converts from these Western countries with no previous family or any other links with Islamic traditions. The number of foreign fighters combatting today in the ranks of Daesh would be about 30,000.
Before conversion or radicalization, these people had the same access to women as other men, that is, in an evolutionary perspective, the same access as other men at the same status level. (Given that a lot of Jihadists had a delinquent career, it may even be argued that their access to mates was in fact greater than that of other men from the same city parts, thanks to the fast money such careers allow.) If the number of people from Western countries willing to resort to terrorist violence is great, then, following Miller and Kanazawa’s idea, polygyny in Western countries – by which more men are prevented from mating – must be high. By stressing polygyny as a factor in violence in general and in terrorism in particular, the authors, again, are not saying that institutional polygyny is the cause.
Institutional polygyny might in fact contribute to reduce the prevalence of actual polygyny in a society. The idea has been broached in xxxvi using the concept of reproductive climate along A.S. Amin’s lines. Institutional polygyny is a long-term institution that promotes men’s commitment to their mates and children. So is institutional monogamy, albeit the data (current divorce rates in the West, polygyny scores in Christian Caribbean and African countries) seems to indicate it fails to curb short-term strategies in some regions.
3/ “The other key ingredient is the promise of seventy-two virgins waiting in heaven for any martyr in Islam. This creates a strong motive for any young Muslim men who are excluded from reproductive opportunities on earth to get to heaven as martyrs.” (p. 166).
There is no denying that such a belief can serve as motivation. Even more than the warrior ethics I have invoked in (1/), belief in houris is doctrinal. Hence, whereas polygyny as such is not associated uniquely to Islam (see 2/), the belief in question clearly is, because you cannot rewrite the Quran, can you? Yet, houris, unless I’m mistaken, are no privilege of the martyrs but are promised to all believers, so the reason some Muslims choose death and others acquire sex slaves as war spoils, as allowed, I am told, by Daesh, remains to be explained. Suicide missions suggest that obedience is extreme in these movements, but so it is in any fanatical group.
Religions promising afterlife describe it as everlasting bliss, and although this bliss does not always explicitly entail incarnated virgins available for sexual acts, it can be appealing enough to induce the sacrifice of one’s life for one’s belief.
As far as Hinduism and Buddhism are concerned, the varied existing heavenly abodes where souls may spend some time during the course of their transmigrations are described in picturesque details, some of them being quite erotic, a fact that suggests the existence of a similar motivation in these religions. The way Apsaras, or celestial dancers, for instance, are depicted in ancient art is unmistakable (picture: Curvaceous Apsaras from the well-known Khajuraho temple). They are spouses of the celestial musicians Gandharvas, and it is possible to reincarnate as a Gandharva or as any other minor deity.
Not only these heavenly abodes entail sexual representations, but the very idea of reincarnation may serve sexual motivations. A Buddhist might be willing to commit a suicide attack in order to be reincarnated as a playboy; what would prevent him, as a playboy, from mating with 72 virgins or more? For the time being, Buddhist clerics do not promise next life in the incarnation of a womanizer in exchange of a suicide mission, although they could do so, inside the very frame of their creed, and the reason why it is only Muslim clerics who promise afterlife sexual gratifications as a reward to suicide attacks is not explained by our authors here.
Buddhists are not known to play this card, although some believers certainly aspire to a more gratifying sexual life after their next birth, as some are wearing so-called charm amulets to improve their sex life in the present already. In Thailand these amulets often depict the legendary character Kun Paen in the company of multiple nude women; other charm amulets represent women in acts of bestiality, some others are in the shape of a penis, at times anthropomorphized (penis man). Thai monks routinely bless such talismans.
As to the idea that Jihadists, on the Iraqi theater of operations, kill more Iraqis than they kill Americans because they are “unconsciously trying to eliminate as many of their male sexual rivals (fellow Iraqi men) as possible,” it is far-fetched. As stated above, Daesh counts some 30,000 foreign fighters, for whom Iraqis are no more fellow men than Americans, and that would be half of Daesh’s army. A simpler explanation is that it is more difficult to kill an American than an Iraqi in Iraq – not only because of numbers, but also because American soldiers are certainly better trained and better equipped, and they probably station their Iraqi allies on the most “strategic” positions.
All these elements suggest that Miller and Kanazawa’s explanation is somewhat shallow.
Jihad vs Panda Express
As explained in xxxvi, Jihad is not parochialism but globalism. I define it “Islam as globalism.” If you want to give Barber a better example of parochialism, I suggest you name France to him. He could have titled his book “La France vs McWorld” or “La France vs Jihad,” and that for sure would have been a better illustration of the opposition he makes between parochialism and globalism. Need I expatiate?
Islam is a global power. Some people deny the existence of “Panislamism,” arguing Islam’s diversity. They do not seem to notice the current movement toward homogenization at work throughout the Muslim world, albeit they know the movement’s name as they appropriately call it Wahhabism or Salafism or fundamentalism.
Islam is a global power. They’ve got human bombs. They’ve got petrodollars and sovereign funds. They’ve got migrant communities throughout the Western world and beyond. They’ve got sympathy among scholars and intellectuals round the world. About this last point, let me tell you the story of Professor Subramanian Swamy from Harvard Summer School.
Prof. Subramanian Swamy taught Quantitative Methods in Economics and Business at Harvard Summer School from 2001 to 2011. As an economist he wrote papers together with Nobel Prize Paul Samuelson. He is also involved in Indian politics and was India’s minister of commerce and industry from 1990 to 1991. He was president of the Janata Party from 1990 to 2013, until the party merged on with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The party is labelled Hindu nationalist.
After the 2011 Jihadist bombings in Mumbai, Swamy wrote an article in an Indian paper that was deemed Islamophobic by a few readers. After a campaign of denigration, he was dismissed from Harvard Summer School, in America, the same year. It turns out I took his class in Summer 2004. I did not know his credentials at the time and I can testify that, as a professor, he never talked about these issues, so I would never have guessed the truth about him had I not discovered it by chance years later on the Web. I disapprove of his dismissal.
Swamy and other Indian politicians are for example accused, including in the West, of demonizing Mughal rule. There is one funny argument in the views of those who defend the Mughals as tolerant rulers. They say Mughals promoted intercommunity marriages, but Hindus claim these marriages amounted to sequestering Hindu women, their war booty, inside Muslim harems. If the latter are correct, then Mughals’ defenders would be praising as enlightened tolerance and benevolent wisdom the age-old practice of all ruthless conquerors throughout history.
Here is how Swamy envisions India’s relationship with the country having the largest Muslim population in the world, namely Indonesia: “Over 90 per cent of the economic world powers’ commercial sea-traffic passes through the narrow (90 miles) Malacca Strait. If we can develop naval power to the point where we can police this strait, it will give India enormous power and leverage to influence international events. This has diplomatic implications. It is obvious, for example, that we cannot control the Malacca strait without the active cooperation of Indonesia. However through proper diplomatic moves we can obtain Indonesia’s cooperation and forge a strategic relationship with that country because we have long historical links with these islands through our cultural links of the past.” (Hindus Under Siege: The Way Out, 2007, p. 97).
Swamy is perhaps overconfident, because Indonesia, albeit often advertised as a model of tolerant Islam (Islam warna-warni, or “multicolored Islam,” as the phrase goes), is undergoing the same process of homogenization through radicalization at work round the Muslim world. One example will suffice to buttress this contention.
The following passage deals with the current situation in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces, whose population is prominently Muslim (>80%), in an otherwise overwhelmingly Buddhist country (92%). “As of September 10, 2008, there were forty-one beheadings according to the Bangkok Post. Terrorism experts argue that the style of many of these southern Thai beheadings is influenced by Muslim militant actions in the Middle East. However, there is more evidence to suggest that Thais are being trained in Indonesia or that the expertise comes from Indonesian-trained Thais who have stronger regional and local connections than countries in the Middle East. According to the Thai newspaper Isrā, in one instance a Thai ustaz (Islamic teacher) who teaches Islam in Yala Province had trained as a commando and studied Islam in Aceh, Indonesia. Among the Thai ustaz’s commando training were techniques for beheading people.” (M.K. Jerryson, Buddhist Fury: Religion and Violence in Southern Thailand, 2011, p. 92).
What is striking in this piece of information, besides the gruesome facts and the trial for incompetence the author is making against “terrorism experts,” is that Thai Jihadists do not train in Malaysia but in Indonesia, although (i) Malaysia is the closest neighboring Muslim country, (ii) whose policy is more Islam-oriented than Indonesia’s. It seems Jihadists find a safer shelter and/or better logistic support in Indonesia, which hints at the latter truly being the soft underbelly of the region with respect to fundamentalist plans, in spite of the showcase of Muslim tolerance. Indonesia is a poor country, ranking 100th as to GDP per capita (at purchasing power parity) (10,517 INT$), compared to 44th for Malaysia (25,639 INT$) (World Bank 2014). In 2002 Indonesian government allowed Aceh province to enforce Sharia law and is now under pressure from other provinces to extend this policy. To summarize, it is in tolerant Indonesia that Thai (Patani) Jihadists learn beheading techniques.
Savanna Park Virtual
As my friend X says, “A life among people who fancy themselves in the savanna is not worth living.” He means that people live in a virtual savanna; they believe in the reality of an environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA) that is no more. To discuss the present point, let us return to Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters by Miller and Kanazawa.
“Since the advent of agriculture about ten thousand years ago and the birth of human civilization which followed, humans have not had a stable environment against which natural selection can operate.” (p. 26). This is why intelligence, that is, as the same Kanazawa defines it in his book The Intelligence Paradox (2012) (discussed in xxxv), the capacity to deal with “novel and nonrecurrent adaptive problems,” has become important in human societies: Human civilization, our man-made environment is unstable and requires dealing with novel problems on a much more frequent basis, almost on a daily basis. Yet, our instincts often stand in the way and prevent us (the less intelligent of us) from dealing adequately with our current environment. For instance, abusing one’s mate is an instinctually adequate behavior to intimidate her into complying and shying away from close contacts with other men that would jeopardize the man’s position; yet, this behavior is criminal and may result in incarceration, ruining entirely the position that the man intended to secure (p. 24).
Therefore, intelligence can be construed as a non-emotional path to knowledge, because our emotions have been shaped in the stable environment of the ancestral savanna in order to make us behave in the ways adaptive to that environment. In spite of some scholarly attempts to discard the dichotomy reason-emotion, no matter how you take it emotions are in the way when you try to solve an equation. This is why for all abstract problems machines will do a better job than humans in the future.
Machines would already have replaced human toil and work if humans were not intent on preventing this evolution as much as they can, out of emotions designed in the vanished savanna. In 1941 already, James Burnham contended: “Using the inventions and methods available would, it is correctly understood, smash up the capitalist venture. ‘Technological unemployment’ is present in recent capitalism; but it is hardly anything compared to what technological unemployment would be if capitalism made use of its available technology.” (The Managerial Revolution). Given the pronounced tendencies toward crime attested by the current, already massive, permanently unemployed “underclass,” decision-makers are doing their best to have low-productivity industries and services subsidized in exchange of the latter maintaining the highest possible figures of human toil, which, from the advent of division of labor through the assembly line and bureaucratic procedure in organizations on, has become unbearably monotonous and machinelike.
It would be unbearable too, in the service sector, to interact as customers with humans playing the role of machines if that would not satisfy some inner savagery and cruelty keen on seeing other people degraded and at one’s mercy – a savanna emotion. The usual person, placed in such a situation as a waiter or shopkeeper, talks back to customers, whereas machines are always well-behaved. Do not bring savanna apes to confrontation when you can have these functional operations processed by machines.
The managerial revolution that has taken place and is the real engine of our affluence has nothing to do with old-days capitalism. Entrepreneurs are gone or they stand in the way. For aught I know, the entrepreneur today is the cleaning lady I pay. The engine of economy is elsewhere, amidst organizations contracting with the state, organizations offered foreign contracts through diplomats’ bargaining, oligopolistic markets, contractors entirely dependent on organizations, organizations that are shareholders, organizations filled with interchangeable organization men whose personal value is nil as measured by their departure or removal or passing away having no effect whatsoever on the company’s market value… The human factor there is the problem – what can make the machine go awry some day or the other. So-called experts sustain the myths of capitalism, but that is spin.
Spin is the word for politics too. The spoils system is over, ended by the Civil Service Reform (USA) and the “rise of the technician bureaucracy” (Aufstieg des fachgeschulten Beamtentums) (Max Weber). Recalling the so-called “Monicagate” in their light-hearted fashion, Miller and Kanazawa explain that other politicians (men) have affairs too. Do they? “It would be a Darwinian puzzle if they did not.” (p. 144). I suggest another “Darwinian puzzle”: Why does not “the most powerful man in the world” (p. 143), as some journalists, and a few light-hearted scholars, like to call the president of the United States, have the largest harem on earth? It looks like the most powerful man is a nice and decent functionary who’s doing as he’s told. He’s there for the cameras, making believe, by his presence, in the savanna tribe. This is monkey dance. Entertainment for the savanna brain.
The profound meaning of democracy, as most high civil servants do not come and go with elections (which is spoils system) but serve any elected person and apply, each in his or her sphere of competence, any program that comes out of the ballot box, is either that bureaucrats, because they put themselves at the service of others’ ideas, live an ignoble life (construing living for one’s ideas as noble), or that ideas don’t matter in the least and our societies follow an inevitable course.
When the once most powerful man in the world named Bill was faced with impeachment proceedings for his whoopees in the White House and his lies, he said please not to make him waste his time, ‘cause he’s got a job to do. May I ask who appointed him to the job? It’s no job at all. At most we’ll have to call it an office, and one is not appointed there by competent persons for one’s competence but by the people as a good monkey dancer or a good person, depending on how you see things.
Do journalists investigate politicians’ private lives or not? If they do, do our authors mean that most affairs escape these investigators’ attention? Well, well… Why not assume that journalists are good investigators, when this assumption, precisely, is made about them in other fields? Because the scarcity of affairs would be a Darwinian puzzle…