Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Father of Anthropology

Anthropology is catching up to One Cosmos (although not really, because with the reactionary left there is always a backlash against truth):
As any parent knows, human babies are startlingly dependent when they are born. This is due to the combination of a narrowed birth canal -- the consequence of our bipedality -- and our unusually large brains, which are six times larger than they should be for a mammal of our body size.
This has meant that, to ensure the survival of mother and baby and the continued existence of our species, we have evolved to exhibit a shortened gestation period, enabling the head to pass safely through the birth canal. The consequence of this is that our babies are born long before their brains are fully developed.
Without dad’s input, the threat to the survival of his child, and hence his genetic heritage, was such that, on balance, it made sense to stick around. Dad was incentivised to commit to one female and one family while rejecting those potential matings with other females, where his paternity was less well-assured.
The author claims that "until 10 years ago the role of fatherhood had been neglected on the grounds that it is wholly dispensable." However, I myself was highly influenced by a work of anthropology that was published over 60 years ago, The Human Animal by Weston LaBarre. It's one of those books that didn't have to convince me of anything, but rather, simply reminded me of what I already knew but had never completely worked out.

Take away the animal and Homo sapiens is inexplicable; take away God and the human person (and science) vanishes. For it is written: all attacks on God are attacks on the mind itself.

Regarding the latter, man and God are mirrors: The very word “man” implies “God”, the very word “relative” implies “Absolute” (Schuon). Moreover, The transcendent God is not a projection of the one who is our father in the flesh. To the contrary, a reflection of God turns the animal progenitor into a father (Dávila). So, a little perspective please!
To say that man is the measure of all things is meaningless unless one starts from the idea that God is the measure of man, or that the absolute is the measure of the relative.... 
Once man makes of himself a measure, while refusing to be measured in turn, or once he makes definitions while refusing to be defined by what transcends him and gives him all his meaning, all human reference points disappear; cut off from the Divine, the human collapses (Schuon).
In other words, the vertical collapses and we are in flatland, where there are no truths, only opinionated bipeds and tenured apes.

LaBarre: "The family is not a creation of culture: without the family there would be no culture!"

And feminists don't like to hear this, but in the very nature of things, men are responsible for civilization in a way women could never be: to begin with, men are selected for aggressive competition with other men (if only to protect the mother-and-helpless infant), which would appear to pose a barrier to civilization.

In order to overcome this, "a new adaptive mechanism is necessary," and this consists of abstract rules and conventions (there is a reason why men tend to be more abstract than women, and women more interpersonal than men).
Culture is the non-bodily and non-genetic contriving of bonds of agreement that enable this animal to function as human.
Such relationships -- of father and son, and of male and male -- must be forged morally. They can operate only through the discipline [or sublimation or transcendence] of aggression, through identification with one another.... 
Women often wonder that men are so passionately concerned with generalizations and with principles....
But the simple fact is that males do not have female bodies. Human males need principles and agreements by very virtue of their being males and being the kind of animal that necessarily and still usefully embodies the old mammalian male aggressiveness. No amount of feminine example and persuasion can un-teach the honest masculine animal of this knowledge of his nature (emphasis mine).
See our fatherless urban underclass for details. And increasingly our (former) civilization. And of course the systematic anti- and dis-honesty of academia.

LaBarre himself came at things from a purely secular perspective -- or at least he imagined this was the case. But one cannot simultaneously speak truth and avoid God. Thus, he speaks of "the logos that is the endless preoccupation of male metaphysics":
What connects father and son, male and male, is the mystery of logos and logos alone: logos as the literal "word" which conveys linguistic meaning and understanding; logos as laws, agreements, rules, and regularities of behavior; logos as the implicit means and substance of common understanding and communication, and of cultural joining in the same styles of thinking; and logos as shared pattern, within which father can identify with son and permit his infancy, within which son can identify with father and become a man, and within which a male can perceive and forgive the equal manhood of his fellow-man.
Not for nothing is God the Father and not Mother -- and yet there is always a deeper dialectic or complementarity between them; indeed the womb of Beyond Being is in a sense prior to Father, but that's another storey to the metacosmos.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Dr. Godwin:

Kudos to you for this thoughtful post. Not that I have any worthwhile commentary at this time. Prior to the male and female dichotomy arising, organisms simply split in half to reproduce, and some still do. The separation into the two sexes was thought to impart more genetic diversity,and hence sexual reproduction became the norm for most living things. But, as you are saying, there is an apriori principle behind it all that has deeper significance. I would tend to agree.

Gagdad Bob said...

Male and Female are in the nature of things; or rather, vice versa.

Gagdad Bob said...

I agree with Schuon that male and female must go all the way up or back to Absolute and Infinite -- or to 1 and 0 if that's not too salacious.

Daniel T said...

Nice post. Reminds me of this quote I came across in the Twittersphere the other day. "A boy submits to the authority of his father in order that he may win the freedom of being a boy. In turn, a father submits to the responsibility of fatherhood in order that he may win the freedom of being fully a man." Now reading it again with OneCosmos glasses: well besides offering a valuable insight on the relationship between freedom and responsibility that second part might be true on multiple levels. In the sense that early sapiens accepted the burden of fatherhood so that they might become men? Or something like that.

julie said...

I noticed that article this morning as well. First thought was that we are made in the image of the creator, so of course mankind could not be mankind without fathers.

And feminists don't like to hear this, but in the very nature of things, men are responsible for civilization in a way women could never be: to begin with, men are selected for aggressive competition with other men (if only to protect the mother-and-helpless infant), which would appear to pose a barrier to civilization.

There was another comment thread at Insty's yesterday, something about helicopter parenting and how kids don't play outside anymore. Most commenters reminisced about their own free-range childhoods, with Mom sending them out the door in the morning free to play with packs of neighborhood children. None but me seemed to notice that a big part of that equation is that moms don't stay home anymore, and thus neither do kids.

Instead they spend their days shuttling from school to activities to homework, to come home at the end of the day as enervated as their parents, and for much the same reason. When women stopped valuing motherhood as a desirable and valuable calling in and of itself, they destroyed the social fabric that made childhood freedom possible. I stay home with mine, but I don't send them out to play around the neighborhood for the simple reason that most of the time there is nobody to play with. There also aren't many adults home, period, and so the network of watchful mothers keeping an eye out the window and an ear for the phone simply doesn't exist anymore. Instead, the only people around are mostly cranks, busybodies, and the kind of sketchy people you don't want anywhere near your kids. Though most people weren't aware it existed, there was an aspect of civilization for which women were primarily responsible. Having abdicated the position, there is nothing left to take its place and foster the growth of independent, confident and capable adults prepared to navigate a world of challenges.

Gagdad Bob said...

As male and female are complementary and generative, so too are adult/child and father/son.

The child, for Schuon, represents "what is simple, pure, innocent, primordial, and close to the Essence, and this is what its beauty expresses; this beauty has all the charm of promise, of hope and of blossoming, at the same time that of a Paradise not yet lost; it combines the proximity of the Origin with the tension towards the Goal."

And "the man who is fully mature always keeps, in equilibrium with wisdom, the qualities of simplicity and freshness, of gratitude and trust, that he possessed in the springtime of his life."

julie said...

As to that last quote by Schuon, yes, just so. All the best men I know are like that.

Gagdad Bob said...

I bumped into these remarks by Schuon this morning, which relate to the ultimate Male <--> Female polarity:

"The notion of essence denotes an excellence which is, so to say, discontinuous in respect to accidents, whereas the notion of substance implies on the contrary a kind of continuity...

"Substance may be compared to the center of a spiral, and Essence to the center of a system of concentric circles; one may also say that the notion of Substance is nearer to that of the Infinite and the notion of Essence nearer to that of the Absolute; again, there is in Substance an aspect of femininity and in Essence an aspect of masculinity."

****

So substance, continuity, and spiral are female, while essence, discontinuity, and point are male. I think this also goes to the conscious/unconscious dialectic; as we've said before, these are not so much two different things or processes as two ubiquitous sides of the same process. Every thought is nested in a matrix (womb) of unconscious thought, as "I" is nested in "AM" (person + being).

Pathologies -- both psycho- and pneumo- -- occur when these truths are ignored. Seems to me that deconstruction, for example, is the systematic effacement of essences in favor of an indistinct fluid substance; or gender theory, which also abolishes essences. And yet, the latter nevertheless speaks of male and female as if they are essences! Jordan Peterson has pointed out the absurdity of simultaneously maintaining that gender is a social construct (fluid) but the "transgendered" are born that way (essential).




Gagdad Bob said...

It reminds me too of how mothers are often seen as providing a kind of "unconditional love" of children, whereas with fathers it is much more conditional (continuous and discontinuous respectively). In the past we've related this to developmental psychology, and how different is the psychosexual journey of boys, who have to separate from the primary fusion with the mother, whereas girls don't have to do that. With boys there is much more room for psychosexual complications along the way! (Probably 90% or more perverts are males.)

Gagdad Bob said...

Reminds me too of the fluid demonic swarm against the Covington boys. The twitterverse is the dark side of Teilhard de Chardin's "noosphere."

julie said...

In our lesson plan, last week we read an Aesop's Fable called "A Raven and a Swan." Short version: a raven envies the swan's white feathers, and decides he wants to be a swan. Since he isn't a swan, he dies. We've never talked to our kids about transgenderism; nevertheless, the first real-life example that came to my 6-year-old's mind was how unhealthy it would be for a boy to try and be a girl or vice versa. At 6, we don't have to explain to her that changing the appearance (we talked about whether the raven turning his feathers white would make him a swan) cannot change the essence. Anyway, they daily live the struggle between playing boy-style games and girl-style games. Nobody has to show them they are different, and nobody could ever convince them they are the same. They get along wonderfully anyway. God willing, they will carry that healthy sense of complementarity into adulthood, and find partners with the same sense.

julie said...

Re. the Covington boys, the part of the whole horrible story is how their own school didn't hesitate to throw them to the wolves.

This kind of crap is exactly why, though I wish it were different, I would sooner trust my kids to a public school than a Catholic one.
I'm glad the boys are standing up for themselves, and moreso that they have a good lawyer. I hope they sue the pants off of everybody who propagated the lie, and everyone who continued spewing it even after the truth became readily apparent.

julie said...

the *worst* part

ted said...

Gavrilo Princip was the guy who started WW1, and now we have the Twitter SJW's.

When the times are ripe, it doesn't take much to light the dynamite.

Crazy times.

ted said...

Speaking of WW1, I saw the documentary They Shall Not Grow Old this weekend. It is a marvel, and the director Peter Jackson was able to make this old footage come to life in a way that puts you right there.

Despite the holocaust, WW1 was in some ways worse than WW2. It was the first time men came across the modern machinery of warfare. Brave kids, but just awful in so many ways.

julie said...

I'd like to see that one sometime. My grandfather fought in the trenches in WWI. I didn't really know him, but heard family stories that after he came back he could never abide the color red. There was a picture of the men who came back with him; I forget the attrition rate, but it was a tiny percentage who returned, compared to those who had gone to the front lines.

ted said...

Peter Jackson made the film as a tribute to his grandfather who was also in the war.

Gagdad Bob said...

A goodthought dredged up from the blog's distant past strikes me as a novel way to solve the problem of man's "design flaws":

Strict Darwinians like to say these are proof that man cannot possibly be "designed," but it's actually the other way around. When you create anything, there is of necessity an element of "freedom" or "randomness," or else it wouldn't be creativity. Rather, it would simply be logical deduction or machine-like causality.

If Something is to come from Nothing, the Something must have an element of genuine surprise, or else it's not really novel. Is this clear? If A is the total cause of B, then B is not a product of creativity or free will (since there can only be freedom if there is indeterminacy). Nor is B independent, but just an extension of A....

Bob feels that God wouldn't be God if there weren't this built-in aspect of indeterminacy. Otherwise the cosmos is just a machine, so it would eliminate creativity, free will, and morality in one fool swipe. Each of these things only has meaning in a cosmos that is genuinely constituted of nature + adventure, fate + providence, matter + soul, freedom + determinacy, etc.

Gagdad Bob said...

Here's someone with a decidedly One Cosmos slant on "developmental anthropology":

"If life has existed on earth for 3.6 billion years, why does unequivocal proof of the emergence of this differentiated cognition date to only 40,000 years ago? What caused this?

".... narrowing of the pelvis began to prevent the birth of the babies, sometimes killing the mother, the baby, or both.... hominids born slightly prematurely had a greater advantage at birth. With their brains a little smaller, they could pass more easily through the new, narrow pelvis.

"Then, the unexpected happened: the side effect that gave rise to the humans that we are. Those who were born prematurely did not develop all their previously encoded instincts, that is, they were born with free memories.... The more the pelvis narrowed, the more babies were born prematurely and had more free memories."

*****

Some of what he writes sounds a bit crankish. Speaking as one crank to another.

Gagdad Bob said...

I think he misses the most important point, which is not the information, but the intersubjectivity facilitated by prematurity. It's the intersubjectivity that facilitates personhood. Information is more of a side effect.

julie said...

Interesting. It never occurred to me to wonder why humans don't have much in the way of instincts, but that makes a lot of sense. Interesting to think about what effect that could have on the nature/nurture debate (as if there should be any conflict between the two).

julie said...

Though apparently now it's "science" to claim that past lives are also responsible for shaping our personalities.

Science.

Van Harvey said...

Julie, I love the first comment:
"They’re just attempting to make astrology and economics seem like science . . ."

:-)

Anonymous said...

I wish my dad would’ve read this before I was born. As a Christian minister ‘guided by Jesus’, he didn’t bother much with considering the consequences of fatherhood.

At age 4 I’d developed nervous tics, causing dad to publicly proclaim “there’s something wrong with him!”. So off to specialists I went. It turned out that his ‘fathering’ included emotional abuse. Too much for a highly agreeable child to manage. It wasn’t until age 40 after decades of acquiescent submission to other men, that I fully realized that I was ‘as good’ as any of them.

I’ve held up my end of the Christian morality family bargain. I forgave dad and am ethical and loyal in all family dealings. Unfortunately, “there’s something wrong with him” seems to have stuck. In a world where Jesus guides Christian ministers, somebody has to get the blame. Even family scapegoating. And it sure as hell ain’t gonna be Jesus.

I came to be interested in why the video internet seems to be dominated by outspoken atheists. Isn’t agnostic is the more "rational" choice? I wanted to find out where all these atheists came from. Was it the influence of Dawkins and his lefty minions? The broad appeal of devilish tattoos? Digging further, I found that almost every one of these atheists was once a practicing Christian.

julie said...

Makes sense. There's a reason one of the major parables Christ told is of the prodigal son.

There are many reasons why, as many as there are angry atheists. Major themes though revolve around disillusionment; as people go into their late teens and early twenties, surrounded by a culture of worldliness and hatred for Christianity, and being of that insufferable age where they are certain they are smarter than those embarrassing people who raised them, they not only cease to believe but actively begin to hate the faith that they feel would only constrain them with arbitrary rules.

Some eventually come back around. Many don't.

Gagdad Bob said...

Peak internet. It's all downhill from there.

julie said...

O.o

Yep.

Van Harvey said...

Ahh...uhmmm... spellbinding...?

Gagdad Bob said...

I remember reading that Hawkins was drunk during the recording. In fact, according to Wiki,

"Hawkins originally envisioned the tune as a refined ballad. The entire band was intoxicated during the recording session, in which Hawkins screamed, grunted, and gurgled his way through the tune with utter drunken abandon.

"The performance was mesmerizing, although Hawkins himself blacked out and was unable to remember the session. Afterward he had to relearn the song from the recorded version."

Gagdad Bob said...

After that he was typecast as a rather strange dude.

Gagdad Bob said...

Here he is with his spell-casting paraphernalia.

julie said...

I bet. That's some serious voodoo he has going on.

The kind where you smile, nod, and back away slowly... and thank goodness you don't actually believe in hexes...

Gagdad Bob said...

Here's a good thought I found in an old post today:

Imagine beings existing at the quantum level, where all of the richness of our cosmos is bleached out. Through their sophisticated experiments they "discover" our unexpected macro realm floating atop their sea of quantum energy. This parallel world features all kinds of weird and miraculous objects and qualities that seem impossible based upon the laws that govern their realm. "Ah ha!," they proclaim. "We've finally discovered the point of all this otherwise meaningless quantum flux. It's observers conscious of it!"

***

The point I was trying to make is that the human world is the real world and that the quantum world is a prolongation of it, not vice versa.

Gagdad Bob said...

"In a truly evolutionary worldview, we would see a cosmos gradually becoming more interior to itself, until it reaches a point at which this interiority doubles back upon itself in man. As such, man can be a subject for objects, as well as for other subjects. And that is not all. For man can also reconcile himself to the Absolute subject behind the play of phenomena. Thus, just as objects complete their otherwise meaningless existence in man -- the locus of worldly meaning -- man completes his otherwise meaningless existence in the Absolute subject, the locus of cosmic meaning."

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that one of the best research projects and explanations of the biological basis of our intelligence, and how every aspect of our culture systematically shuts down our intrinsic biological intelligence was done by the late Joseph Chilton-Pearce.
All of which is summarized in his two books The Biology of Transcendence : A Blueprint of the Human Spirit, and The Heart-Mind Matrix : How the Heart Can Teach the Mind New Ways to Think.
Appendix B of the Heart-Mind Matrix features an appreciation of Michael Odent and James Prescott. Their work can be found on these two sites.
www.violence.de/index.html
wombecology.com

Michael Odent describes how the strength and prototype of the mother-baby bond is the foundation upon which all other developments occur. That bond is broken all the way down the line.

Joseph Chilton-Pearce also describes how almost every aspect of our violent saturated "culture" reinforces the primitive reptilian brain - especially TV.

julie said...

In a truly evolutionary worldview, we would see a cosmos gradually becoming more interior to itself, until it reaches a point at which this interiority doubles back upon itself in man.

It is interesting that in both the micro and the macro, as far as anyone can tell, what exists is simply matter. There is a very narrow band of scale between two near-infinites in which life lives, and within that an even narrower band wherein exists man, who is not the biggest nor smallest nor fasts nor nor strongest; who is in fact, compared to his closest primate cousins, seemingly a perpetual child in strictly physical terms. Not a pinnacle, but a nexus, and within that nexus an even smaller point that marks the day when the Creator of all the cosmos came in to be one with us.

Gagdad Bob said...

Now that I've reviewed some 1,200 posts, I'm coming around to the view expressed by this observer back in 2009:

"I dislike Gagdad Bob’s stuff. The essay to which you’ve linked provides a good example of my reasons. It’s discursive, incoherent, and unbearably pompous; reading such a thing all the way to the end should entitle the reader to an award for endurance. While speaking of why he’s not peddling his self-aggrandizement out in the world, he postures as an Anything Authority behind the thin cover of a nom de plume.... Give me a plainspoken man who can focus, make his point, and shut up."

doug saxum said...

:o)

ted said...

You gotta appreciate a troll with critical feedback.

Gagdad Bob said...

Nevertheless, it's been helpful, because it's a lesson in what not to do and on what doesn't hold up. Plus, I'm only up to mid-2009, so I'm hoping it will get better. Too much engagement with trolls in those early years. And too much on the political Tempests of the Day. And still too much pseudo-gnostic "evolutionary" thinking -- took awhile for me to make a full break with the "integralists."

ted said...

Yes, I get that. It's amazing as I go deeper into the Scholastics/traditionalists or those influenced but them, how poor in Reason these "progressive" thinkers are.

Corncaster said...

Perhaps the Holy Spirit is feminine.

ted said...

Comcaster: That interpretation is found in many esoteric texts. Much like Shiva/Shakti, Father/Holy Spirit have a masculine/feminine complementary Principle.

Van Harvey said...

Tongans. What can't they do:
"Hunga Tonga emerged from a hidden underwater volcano lodged between two existing islands of the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific...."

Van Harvey said...

(Oops, clipped off) "...The miracle outcrop known as Hunga Tonga has only existed for four years, yet is populated by hundreds of seabirds and flowering plants whose seeds were dropped there in bird poo..."

julie said...

Ha - I wonder how much it would cost to be able to actually move to Upper Tonga? (pretending, of course, that it wouldn't just crumble away in a couple of years...)