The Journal of the Mega Society
Issue #192 December 2011
Ronald K. Hoeflin
The Mega Society was
founded by Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin in 1982. The 606 Society (6 in 106),
founded by Christopher Harding, was incorporated into the new society and those
with IQ scores on the Langdon
Adult Intelligence Test (LAIT) of 173 or more were also invited to join. (The LAIT qualifying score was subsequently raised to 175; official scoring of the LAIT terminated at the end of 1993, after the test was compromised). A number of different tests were accepted by 606 and during the first few years of Mega’s existence. Later, the LAIT and Dr. Hoeflin’s Mega Test became the sole official entrance tests, by vote of the membership. Later, Dr. Hoeflin’s Titan Test was added. (The Mega was also compromised, so scores after 1994 are currently not accepted; the Mega and Titan cutoff is now 43—but either the LAIT cutoff or the cutoff on Dr. Hoeflin’s tests will need to be changed, as they are not equivalent.)
Mega publishes this irregularly-timed journal. The society also has a (low-traffic) members-only e-mail list. Mega members, please contact the Editor to be added to the list.
For more background on Mega, please refer to Darryl Miyaguchi’s “A Short (and Bloody) History of the High-IQ Societies”—
—the Editor’s High-IQ Societies page—
—and the official Mega
Noesis is the journal of the Mega Society, an organization whose members are selected by means of high-range intelligence tests. Jeff Ward, 13155 Wimberly Square #284, San Diego, CA 92128, is Administrator of the Mega Society. Inquiries regarding membership should be directed to him at the address above or:
Opinions expressed in these pages are those of individuals, not of Noesis or the Mega Society.
Copyright © 2011 by the
Mega Society. All rights reserved. Copyright for each individual contribution
is retained by the author unless otherwise indicated.
After too long an interval here is another issue of Noesis.
Several authors have provided us with interesting articles.
First we have “Theories of Truth: A Comprehensive Synthesis” by Mega Society founder Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin in which the author attempts to bring together various conceptions of truth under his own theoretical framework, quite an ambitious undertaking.
Next is “Sexual Energies: Biological Foundations and Human Cultural Patterns,” by the Editor, written just under 32 years ago but not previously published. The version here includes a few minor edits.
Then there is “The ALBAGESI Y-DNA Family,” by Richard May, an interesting account of some of his genealogical research into his family background.
And finally we have “The Trouble with Trouble: From Courage to Complaining,” on the discomfort experienced by people in the presence of others’ suffering and the awkwardness produced by this fact in human relationships.
Once again, elections are overdue. Our Constitution calls for a call for candidates in the September issue of Noesis. Obviously, that’s impossible this year. Mega members, please let me know if you’re interested in running for Editor, Internet Officer, or Administrator.
Cover image: NASA, Arabia Dunes, Mars. Partial figure caption from NASA:
dunes shaped like blue-black flames lie next to a central hill within an
unnamed, 120-kilometer-wide (75-mile-wide) crater in eastern Arabia on Mars.
False colors depict the nature of the ground surface: Areas in bluish tints
have more fine sand at the surface, while redder tints indicate harder
sediments and outcrops of rock.
This scene combines images taken during the period from February 2003 to August 2004 by the Thermal Emission Imaging System instrument on NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter. It is part of a special set of images marking the occasion of Odyssey becoming the longest-working Mars spacecraft in history. The pictured location on Mars is 26.7 degrees north latitude, 63 degrees east longitude.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission.
Ronald K. Hoeflin
This paper proposes a comprehensive synthesis of philosophical theories of truth. The value of such a synthesis is to show how theories of truth cooperate rather than conflict with one another, each emphasizing a distinct and legitimate aspect of truth. By analogy, in the familiar fable of the blind men and the elephant different blind men feel disparate parts of an elephant and arrive at seemingly incompatible notions of what it is to be an elephant, the problem is resolved by showing how all these parts interconnect. Likewise, in modern superstring theory the different theories can purportedly be unified by M-theory. Leaving the disparate notions of an elephant or of superstrings in disarray is obviously unsatisfactory compared to a well-coordi-nated conception of these entities if such a harmonizing conception can be found.
We are in need of two principal factors in order to proceed: (A) a reasonably full and authoritative list of theories of truth, and (B) an organizing principle whereby they can be convincingly harmonized.
Although Richard L. Kirkham’s 1992 book Theories of Truth is comprehensive, it does not list the basic theories of truth in a usefully tidy and concise way. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (1995), on the other hand, is a model of tidiness and conciseness. Its article “truth” in a mere two columns of text (OCP, pp. 881-2) describes eight theories of or perspectives on truth, followed by references to articles on specific ones, including three minor ones not mentioned in the main article. The eight main ones, in the order of their presentation, are (1) the correspondence theory, (2) the semantic theory, (3) the coherence theory, (4) the pragmatic theory, (5) the redundancy theory, (6) the prosentential theory, (7) the performative theory, and (8) the Sophists’ theory. The first four are called “substantive” and the last four “:deflationary,” the former taking truth to be “real and important,” the latter not. Here we shall take a deflationary attitude toward this distinction and treat all these perspectives on truth as real and important, including the three minor ones, which are (9) double truth, (10) logical truth, and (11) subjective truth. The coordination of these theories proposed in the present paper will be dubbed (12) the synoptic theory of truth.
The main article on truth says that the semantic theory is considered by some a “variant” of the correspondence theory, the prosentential theory a “version” of the redundancy theory, the performative theory to be “closely related” to the redundancy theory, and the Sophists’ view of truth to be “in the pragmatic tradition” (OCP, p. 882). But here we will construe each of these viewpoints as having separate and distinct roles to play.
The organizing principle I will employ was suggested by Stephen C. Pepper in his book Concept and Quality as the central organizing principle or root metaphor for a new metaphysical theory. The metaphysical theory he called selectivism and its central organizing principle he called a selective system, one basic type of which is the purposive act. He thought a purposive act held promise as the core of a metaphysical theory, i.e., a theory that is absolutely comprehensive rather than about merely one aspect of reality, because “It is the act associated with intelligence,” and is “possibly the most highly organized activity in the world of which we have any considerable evidence,” from which we can learn about simpler cosmic structures “by a sort of subtraction” (CQ, p. 17). Intelligence, after all, might be regarded as essentially involving learning from the feedback from our actions (or others’ actions) on the world, actions generally aimed at achieving a purpose.
What Pepper called a selective system seems virtually equivalent to what Norbert Wiener called a cybernetic system, the feedback loop being a structure central to both approaches. Pepper and Wiener apparently developed their theories independently of one another, Pepper's book titled A Digest of Purposive Values having appeared one year before Wiener’s 1948 book Cybernetics first introduced the word “cybernetics” to the English language (see the article “Cybernetics” in The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy).
To complete any task in thought or action involves achieving a purpose. Each theory of or perspective on truth will be construed as focusing on one phase or aspect of the task-completion arc or feedback loop. Pepper suggested (CQ, p. 22) dividing the purposive act into four main factors: a drive, D, such as the thirst drive; anticipatory sets, A, which are the tools and techniques by means of which one can anticipate achieving the satisfaction of a drive, as when we anticipate that a cup can be used to convey water to where it is needed; goal objects, G (a letter I use in preference to Pepper’s O for “Object,” which might be confused with the numeral 0), which are the objects that our anticipations anticipate, such as the cup and the water sought by a thirsty man; and the quiescence or satisfaction of the drive, Q, as in the quenching of thirst by drinking water. If the satisfaction is complete, the drive ceases, but if it is incomplete, the drive persists or resumes, e.g., we take another gulp of water. A dissatisfaction, such as the taste of salty water to a thirsty man, would normally lead to the resumption of the drive to quench one’s thirst, unless death or some more pressing drive were to intervene.
We can link these four nodes -- D, A, G, and Q -- pairwise to form the peripheral legs of our purposive journey that we might label DA, AG, GQ, and QD. It is also possible to link nodes across the center of the circle from D to G and from A to Q, linkages we can label DG and AQ. Furthermore, we can label the successful completion of a full task-completion arc or feedback loop DAGQD. Failure to complete a task, achieve a purpose, we might label not-DAGQD.
I propose that we correlate the twelve perspectives on truth with these twelve phases or aspects of a feedback loop as follows:
D: Subjective truth (Kierkegaard)
DA: Pragmatic theory of truth (Peirce, James, Dewey)
A: Logical truth (Carnap)
AG: Performative theory of truth (Strawson)
G: Prosentential theory of truth (Grover)
GQ: Correspondence theory of truth (Austin)
Q: Sophists’ view of truth (Gorgias, Protagoras; Stich)
QD: Coherence theory of truth (Bradley)
DG: Double truth (Averroes)
AQ: Semantic theory of truth (Tarski)
DAGQD: Synoptic theory of truth (Hoeflin)
not-DAGQD: Redundancy theory of truth (Ramsy)
The names in parentheses designate some of the key philosophers who were instrumental in developing these perspectives on truth.
Subjective truth, a viewpoint ascribed to Kierkegaard in his Concluding Unscientific Postscript, is said to involve “a commitment to believe, in the face of ‘objective uncertainty’, in matters which cannot be demonstrated or verified, such as the existence of God” (OCP, p. 857). We can construe such a commitment to to believe to be a drive, D, to believe, a drive emanating from the self or subject. We can accordingly classify this perspective on truth in D.
The pragmatic theory of truth, ascribed to the American philosophers Peirce, James, and Dewey, as in James’s collection of essays The Meaning of Truth: A Sequel to Pragmatism, “urges a connection between what is true and what is useful, pointing out, for instance, that a mark of a successful scientific theory is that it enables us, through associated developments in technology, to manipulate nature in ways hitherto unavailable to us” (OCP, p. 882). We can construe technology as consisting of the tools and techniques whereby we anticipate, A, satisfying our drives, D. We can accordingly classify this theory of truth in DA.
Logical truth, an approach ascribed to Rudolf Carnap in The Logical Syntax of Lanuguage, is said to be “Finally, and perhaps most commonly, [what] is true in virtue of some result in a sound logical system,” so that, for example, “If some men are Greeks, then some Greeks are men” (OCP, p. 510). We can regard these truths as enabling us to anticipate, A, what is true by virtue of logic alone without the inspection of or encounter with actual goal objects such as men or Greeks. We can accordingly classify this perspective in A.
The performative theory of truth, ascribed to P. F. Strawson in the article “Performative Theory of Truth” in Paul Edwards’ Encyclopedia of Philosophy, is said to hold that “the truth-predicate has a performative function, enabling speakers to express their agreement with one another” (OCP, p. 882). Thus, when we say that such-and-such “is true,” we are in effect coaxing others to agree with us, i.e., we anticipate, A, that expressing our views will influence our hearers as the goal objects of our discourse, G, to share our views, just as a crowbar is anticipated, A, to lift or leverage a rock or other heavy object, G. Hence we can classify this theory of truth in AG.
The prosentential theory of truth, about which Dorothy Grover wrote a book titled The Prosentential Theory of Truth, “holds that the truth-predicate ‘is true’ only exists in order to effect economy of expression” (OCP, p. 882). Kirkham provides a bit more detail when he writes: “Just as the pronoun ‘she’ can simply take the place of its antecedent, as it does in ‘Mary loved Dad, but she hated Mom’, so too ‘thatt’ [i.e., ‘that is true’] can simply take the place of its antecedent," as when John says “Snow is white” and Mary responds “Thatt” [i.e., “That is true”] (Theories of Truth, p. 326). Pronouns and their antecedents can normally be said to refer to goal objects, G, e.g., “Mary” and “she” refer to one and the same human female in the example given. If we take this to be the basic model here, then we can classify the prosentential theory in G as well, since the sentence “Snow is white” could be regarded as a more elaborate expression for the goal object called snow.
The correspondence theory of truth, whose “clearest advocate has perhaps been J. L. Austin” (OCP, p. 881), is described in Austin’s essay “Truth” (Philosophical Papers, p. 122) as follows: “A statement is said to be true when the historic state of affairs to which it is correlated by the demonstrative conventions . . . is of a type with which the sentence used in making it is correlated by the descriptive conventions.” The two key factors here are demonstrative conventions and descriptive conventions. The former pick out a goal object, G, and the latter pick out the qualities that are attributed to that object. These qualities fall in the quiescent domain, Q, since it is in that domain that we sample and savor the qualities of an object to assess whether they satisfy our drives. In the assertion that “That apple is red,” the demonstrative conventions pick out which goal object, G, is meant by “that apple” while the descriptive conventions pick out what quiescent quality, Q, is meant by “is red.” The truth of the assertion is based on whether the color or other quiescent qualities picked out by the descriptive conventions match — are “of a type with” — the goal objects, G, picked out by the demonstrative convention. Thus we can classify the correspondence theory of truth in GQ.
The Sophists’ view of truth, which we can presumably ascribe to such noteworthy ancient Greek Sophists as Gorgias and Protagoras but which The Oxford Companion also explicitly ascribes to the recent theorizing of Stephen P. Stich in The Fragmentation of Reason (1990), is said to hold that “we literally should not care whether our beliefs are true or false, but rather whether they enable us to achieve more substantive goals such as happiness and well-being” (OCP, p. 882). We can classify this viewpoint in Q since happiness or well-being are quiescent satisfactions, Q, as when thirst is quenched.
The coherence theory of truth, a leading proponent of which was F. H. Bradley, whose Essays on Truth and Reality (1914) “contains the classic statement of a coherence theory of truth” (OCP, p. 102), holds that truth “consists in a relation which truth-bearers have to one another, such as a relation of mutual support amongst the beliefs of an individual or a com-munity,” whereas opponents “complain that advocates of this theory are guilty of a confusion between stating a criterion of truth—that is, a rule for the evaluation of a belief as being true—and stating what truth consists in” (OCP, p. 881). To evaluate an assertion as to its truth or falsity is to subject a quiescent belief, Q, as in “Aha, this glittery stuff must be gold!,” to a drive, D, to reconcile this conclusion with such common-sense beliefs as “Not all that glitters is gold.”
Double truth is ascribed to the medieval Islamic philosopher Averroes, “who, in his Decisive Treatise, tried to justify a double standard of truth for the masses and truth for the philosopher,” as in considering such issues as “the immortality of the soul,” prompting such philosophers as Thomas Aquinas to seek a more “coherent synthesis” (OCP, p. 205). The masses presumably tend to think in relatively concrete terms, which suggests an emphasis on goal objects, G, whereas philosophers presumably tend to think in more abstract terms, focusing on problems in general terms, i.e., as drives to understand, D, divorced from any particular, e.g., current, situation or set of goal objects. Regarding the issue of immortality, for example, the masses perhaps most commonly think of it in terms of the resurrection of their physical bodies on Judgment Day, physical bodies being concrete goal objects, G, whereas Averroes and kindred philosophers perhaps most commonly construe immortality in terms of the persistence of disem-bodied agents, an agent being a coherent bundle of drives, D. Accordingly we might classify the double truth viewpoint in DG, where D and G are the two contrasted domains of truth.
The semantic theory of truth is ascribed to Alfred Tarski (notably in a paper titled “The Semantic Theory of Truth and the Foundations of Semantics,” published in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. 4 (1944), pp., 341-375), “who was particularly concerned to overcome the semantic paradoxes to which talk of truth gives rise in natural languages, such as the liar paradox” (OCP, p. 820). The liar paradox might be represented by the statement “This statement is a lie,” which seems to be false if it is true and true if it is false. Tarski proposed that the truth-predicate “is true” could only be applied to a lower-level language by a higher-level one. He “believed that the method could not be extended to provide a definition of truth for any natural language, such as English” (OCP, p. 821). In the statement “This statement is a lie” we normally would anticipate, A, that such a statement must be either true or false. To establish the truth value (truth, falsity, or perhaps some intermediate or indeterminate truth value such as doubtulness) would amount to the quiescent satisfaction, Q, of this anticipation. Accordingly we might classify this theory in AQ.
The synoptic theory of truth, which I ascribe to myself, integrates all the other theories of truth by correlating them with the phases of a task-completion arc or feedback loop. These other theories were classed, respectively, in D, DA, A, AG, G, GQ, Q, QD, DG, and AQ. Accordingly one might classify this theory in DQGQD since it spans the entire loop. One might suppose that I might more modestly have dubbed this the selectivistic theory of truth or the cybernetic theory of truth, listing Pepper and Wiener as the main proponents. But in fact neither of them developed a full-blown theory of truth like this one. Pepper did examine four basic theories of truth in World Hypotheses (1942), but in the final chapter he gives detailed reasons for rejecting the possibility of integration of the four theories within a single theory (WH, pp. 344-7). In Concept and Quality (1967) he does develop a theory of truth, alternatively naming it the “operational-correspondence” or “correspondence-operational” theory (CQ, pp. 60, 211, 214ff), but this evidently integrates just two of the four principal theories of truth, the correspondence and the pragmatic, the term “operational” being Pepper’s designation for the pragmatic theory of truth (WH, pp. 268-279). So I feel free to claim to be the originator of the present far more compre-hensive theory of truth and to apply my own designation to it: the synoptic theory of truth.
Finally, the redundancy theory of truth, chiefly ascribed to F. P. Ramsey, notably in his paper “Facts and Propositions,” published in his collection of essays Foundations, “draws on the apparent equivalence between asserting a proposition p and asserting that p is true to claim that the truth-predicate ‘is true’ is redundant, in the sense that it is, in principle, always eliminable without loss of expressive power” (OCP, p. 752). To “eliminate” any and all theories of truth is to apply a “not” to them, to block any further search for a substantive truth theory. We might accordingly classify the redundancy theory in not-DAGQD since “any and all” theories of truth are classifiable in the DAGQD loop, and any blockage or to this loop puts a “not” in front of them, negates them.
Any other theory of or perspectives on truth could presumably be given a niche in this analysis, as by co-occupying or overlapping one or more of the foregoing theories or perspectives by classifying it in the basic loop DAGQD or possibly extensions into subordinate or superordinate loops D’A’G’Q’D’, D"A"G"Q"D”, etc., as a fuller analysis of Tarski’s approach to semantic paradoxes might warrant, for example.
I have applied this mode of analysis to a very wide range of concepts or problems of philosophical interest, bringing purportedly conflicting perspectives into significantly greater harmony, but none of these analyses has heretofore been published in a professional publication.
Austin, J. L. “Truth,” in Selected Papers. 3d ed., ed. by J. O. Urmson and G. J. Warnock. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1961, 1970, 1979.
Kirkham, Richard L. Theories of Truth: A Critical Introduction. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992.
Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Ed. by Ted Honderich. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1995
Pepper, Stephen C. Concept and Quality: A World Hypothesis. La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1967.
Hypotheses: A Study in Evidence. Berkeley, CA: University of California
Biological Foundations and Human Cultural Patterns
In speaking about sex, it is important, first of al1, to estab1ish the bio1ogica1 basis. Sex in the 1ife of animals is the first thing that has to be discussed and the first thing we notice in looking at the anima l world is that different animals re1ate to sex in very different ways. On the lowest leve1s on which sex exists we have a relationship which is basica1ly a mechanical one. The male and female imply fo1low an urge which draws them to one another, or even draws only the ma1e to the female in some cases, and they mate physically and that’s the end of it. 0r, at 1east, that’s the end of it unti1 the offspring come along .
There is very interesting behavior that can be observed in many animals concerning the offspring, so that right away it becomes obvious that there is a set of patterns which are of a wider scope than simply the gratification of pleasure in the genitals. I think that point needs to be made because it’s often missed. Some radical advocates of sexual egalitarianism hold that the entire function of sex is—at least for the lndividual—to produce certain pleasurable sensations. But I think that, even in the animal world, this is not the case.
This, of course, does not prejudice the case as to whether the sensations connected with sex could be separated, in human beings, from reproduction. That’s a separate issue, and one which needs to be treated in somewhat more detail, but that’s getting a little ahead of the subject.
The sex drive, while it is certainly one of the major drives and plays an important part in the motivation of animals, and an increasing part as one goes up the scale of evolution, nonetheless is not the primary drive, and animals characteristically lose interest in sex when their survival is threatened, either physically or in terms of having a social role which they can occupy.
In almost all animal species as well as in the overwhelming a majority of human cultures, the male is relatively dominant, generally is the aggressor in sex relations, and also is the holder of territorial power, although that varies to a certain extent among species. For mankind, it is generally the case that the male holds power in those areas in which he notices the possibility of exercising it, but the male is characteristically unaware; the female is in much better contact with her environment and as a consequence of this the female is in control of many areas which the male simply doesn’t notice or in which he doesn’t care to exercise power—for example, hunting in the lion and nest-building in many species, including humans.
In the society we live in men are generally in positions of power within institutions, almost al1 kinds of institutions. There’s some pattern of change in this, but its significance has been exaggerated. If the social changes connected with the emergence of women are compared with those in the emergence of the minorities, which have a somewhat longer history, it’s seen that there has been a singular failure of the minorities—and I think that this will also turn out to be the case for women, with the exception of a very few—to gain access to the highest positions.
The stratification of power in society is due to factors which are more deep-seated than are the motivations underlying various social changes. These social changes appeal to a certain level of the human psyche, the level on which explicit social interaction is carried out, which has become, in our culture, very much a product of the mass media. But there are also levels of social patterning which go deeper than that and depend on the nonverbal interrelationships among people, and in these areas there’s a great conservatism and resistance to change.
Now, so far, that’s independent of any questions as to where these patterns came from in the first place, but I think it’s also the case that the patterns we see, the patterns of asymmetry between the sexes, are probably biologically rooted, and I will develop that a little further as we go along.
The seat of female power is in the informal and arises through restraint and through making herself unavailable. In gatherings of people, for example, when there are many men and a few women the situation just proceeds, assuming that the women feel reasonably comfortable there and don’t leave themselves, but at any rate the men don’t absent themselves. On the other hand, if a situation develops where there are many women and a few men, the women will leave the scene, because they don’t want to be in the position of seeming to go begging. Women are much more aware of this sort of thing and generally prefer a situation in which there are slightly more men (or none at all).
When a man and a woman begin a relationship, it is usual, assuming that things don’t begin in this way, for the woman to maneuver the man into taking an aggressively possessive step, which she will then rebuff and keep him on the defensive from that point on. Women not only want to be able to have the final choice, but they want to take their time making that choice, and they derive a certain satisfaction from having men subject to them in this way. Very few women are aware of this on the surface, but the patterns of behavior are quite consistent.
Women have a very good reason for playing hard-to-get. Once the relationship is firmly established, the man almost always has the upper hand.
Men,on the other hand, brutalize women, force themselves on them, treat them in a way which leaves out anything but the grossest sexual perception, and they do this in many ways. One common way is by making approaches to women in an indiscriminate way, a way that doesn’t really represent any kind if appreciation for the woman being approached, but simply an appreciation of the possibility through a shotgun approach, of finding a few who will respond.
0f course, the other side of this is that women tease men .Most women are interested when they see a man 1ooking at them, and want to provoke a reaction, and smi1e inviting1y . If the man comes back with a srni1e in return, rnany women wi1l then snub him immediately; if not at this point then certainly at a 1ater point in the deve1opmnent of the cycle of trading of strokes, of moves in the game. There’11 be a certain point at which the woman wi11 retreat.
Women have a much more accurate sense than men of the dynamics of a situation at a given moment, and particularly of how to keep the initiative, how to avoid being under the control of the male, and, of course, necessarily so, because it’s very dangerous for a woman to put herself under the influence of a man. The vibrations of men are much coarser and heavier and when a woman gets involved with a man she takes on a strong coloration of his influence. So women are forced to be much more selective than men to avoid having many different vibrations impinging on them. A woman pays a much higher toll for being promiscuous than a man.
On the other hand, men have a much better sense of the long-term consequences of things than women do. Men are much more accurately selective in choosing a woman as a partner. There’s a much better consensus among men of what an appropriate partner is, what constitutes quality in a woman, than there is with women about men. In fact, it’s characteristic of women to select irrationally, and one of the reasons that things are difficult for a man of quality is that women of quality select men, not completely at random, but with a large random component, and as a consequence there are very few of them free relative to free high-quality men in the population.
I’m speaking here of relative quality, that is, quality as a percent11e standing within the ma1e population or the :female population . There is another factor which is important in this, which is that the quality of females generally is better than the quality of rna1es . This is re1ated to the fact that wornen are generally much better grounded . The sense of connectedness to the immediate moment is a more basic faculty than the planning sense, the sense of what’s appropri-ate in the long run t because long-run planning without contact is useless .
Living involves many other aspects and for the decisions that a person has to face in the course of living the qualities that women possess are generally considerably more important.Living in the human world is a matter of successfully negotiating many split-second timing matters in contact with other people, and, as a general rule, men blow it a lot more than women.
An interesting question is why women are less discriminating than men in choosing a partner, especially when the dynamics of the man-woman interactive game really favor the woman, give her plenty of room to choose, as long as she remains young.
One answer to this may be that a woman’s selection is based on factors that are generally outside her immediate awareness.
Partly, there’s a biological factor in selection; a woman looks for a man who will be an appropriate father for her children genetically. But women are often deceived by men who have a certain external flair which may be mistaken for survivability.
It is also the case that there is a predisposition in females, biologically, to be submissive and in males to be dominant. In the human female this urge toward submission may be contam-inated with a masochistic urge and women may deliberately pick men who will subjugate them in a certain way, men who are a little more brutal and unrefined than they would have chosen if they had done so in a more rational manner.
Still another factor is that women seem to have a greater fear than men of being alone. Many men spend a very long time looking for a woman corresponding to their ideal, whether or not anyone else would consider that ideal reasonable. In relation to their own standards, men are significantly more exacting than women.
The factor of passivity/activity is involved in the causes of the recent increase in homosexuality. In animals, homosexual behavior arises in four contexts: in very young animals who have not yet learned to discriminate, in the form of exploratory play; as propitiatory behavior (as a substitute for taking a beating some young male animals will submit themselves sexually); when females are unavailable (or males are unavailable); and in conditions of overpopulation, where there’s a disturbance of normal patterns of sexual and non-sexual behavior. In Western urban population centers this includes rebellion against established norms of appropriate sex-role behavior and choice of a homosexual life style. The arising of this form of antiselective behavior in such rampant numbers, particularly among males, in human society recently is the result of the interaction of changing cultural circumstances and these same biological patterns.
Males are more inclined to experiment when they’re young because they are less vulnerable and genetically more expendable than females.
Many males feel threatened by the competition of the male world and resort to a propitiatory kind of behavior, taking on the role of the female, being passive, and, in fact, the submissive type of homosexual impulse is more common than the male aggressive one in male homosexuals.
The fact of female fear of being alone results in fewer females than males at any given time looking for a sexual relationship, and so a number of males find themselves in a position where female companionship is effectively not available to them.
The overcrowding of the cities is a major factor also, and promotes deviant behavior of all kinds; the crime rate, the rate of mental illness, and so on, are all higher in the cities.
Another area in which women, and, incidentally male homosexuals, are much more sensitive than ordinary heterosexual males is in the choosing of an aesthetically appropriate physical image projection. Males are generally much less aware of how they look and the effect of their appearance on ether people.*
Many of the defiantly iconoclastic styles of youth, often modeled on functional male work clothes, represent a making of this unawareness into a kind of virtue. The fact that it’s been adopted by so many females reflects the increasing inability of young women in the society we live in to find a way of being comfortable with the traditional female roles. This involves a considerable loss of femininity and with that, as one might expect, goes also a loss of the special sensitivity that is woman’s province.
However, while women are more aware of the projection of sexual image through appearance, they’re also much more cautious about it. One thing I’ve noticed in watching women as they go into a relationship is that when a woman meets a man that she begins to relate to and they become a couple, the woman generally pays much more attention at that point to her appearance, which is contrary to what one might naively expect—that is, that appearance would be used as a means of attracting the opposite sex initially.
The reason for this is fairly clear. Women are afraid of the attentions of men, particularly when they get a lot of those attentions, and this is entirely to be expected because of the predatory nature of men in American society and in other parts of the world where Western values are prevalent (and in other cultures that repress women, some of them far more severely).
* Added note: In addition to the calculated projection discussed above there is also a considerable amount of unconscious projection which is invisible from one’s customary perspective.
This pattern, while certainly reminiscent of the behavior of some animals (male cats, for example), is not at all in keeping with the behavior of men in traditional societies in all parts of the world. The society we live in is a dehumanized one, one in which people see one another in a way which does not really take into account the other person as a separate being at all.
The brutality of men and the defensive, unconscious game playing of women effectively closes both off from the spiritual aspects of the possible development of relationship between the sexes,which I will speak or in more detail in a later essay.
Men and women live in a constant state of sexual frustration because they’re overstim-ulated from outside and generally either involved of the working out of the largely unsatisfying approach/avoidance patterns that constitute dating behavior, trying to pretend that they don’t have the needs which lead to the pursuit of relationship with the opposite sex, or involved in a relationship which is unsatisfying because it does not mobilize anywhere near enough of the energy of the partners to it to avoid very soon falling into a slothful and compromised attitude toward what could have been a commitment which could serve to bring together their energies for the whole of their lives.
In addition to the problems so far mentioned, people tend to live in imagination, particularly regarding sex, and, for many people, this constitutes almost the whole or their sexual experience.
The difficulty in this lies not only in the fact that it’s devoid of real satisfactions, but also in that the images connected with sexuality become distorted caricatures of the real impressions that could come through this function.
When a person who has been living in this kind of imaginary sexual world does go out into the real world and engage in relationship with the opposite sex, he or she meets with the resistances that are a necessary part of living in the real world. Because his or her fantasies do not resist in this way there’s a lack of preparation for dealing with real life.
Generally, women, or men, don’t meet the unrealistic expectations that have been set up through a fantasy life. To compensate for this, sometimes a person recognizes the taste of reality, the taste of the fact that there’s a real human being there, and this makes it possible to discover, after all, some satisfaction in living in the imperfect world of reality with all its difficulties.
The first stage in the development of a relationship is the sexual game, the search, approach and avoidance patterns that people follow as they move through the human world in search of someone of the opposite sex with whom they can establish a bond.
The earliest prototypes for such relationships are established within the family with the parent of the opposite sex, or sometimes, and this is becoming Increasingly common in these times, with another older person of the appropriate sex who comes to fill the place of an absent parent and becomes a role model for the child’s eventual mate.
Children very soon begin developing peer relationships. This happens very early if they happen to have older siblings, but in any case within the first few years of life they are already practicing approach and avoidance and learning about the economics of attention, approval and disapproval.
It is probably impossible, in this process, for a child to avoid at least some catastrophically embarrassing mistakes which expose his naivete, vulnerability, and raw sexual appetite in a way which is unacceptable to his ego. A process of covering over begins, memory of the offending sequences is repressed, and certain areas become sensitized for him. This sensitization, in turn, leads to further embarrassment, at least until the process of sensitization becomes subtle enough that it is not likely to be noticed by those in his immediate environment. This is particularly difficult because it’s the very exposure to persons whose opinion is valued (who tend to be those nearest to him) that creates much of the embarrassment.
At puberty, the awakening of the physical side of sex presents a whole new set of problems. At first, the new physical sensations are simply explored in the same way that the coordination of the arms and 1egs and the functioning of the sensory organs were explored at an earlier age, but before long the child discovers that these strong sensations and powerful cravings lead to the same sort of excruciatingly embarrassing experiences from which he has learned to divert his attention. He also learns that, without a certain alertness, the unthinking expression of his budding sexuality 1eads once again to these same difficu1t experiences .
So he’s caught in a dilemma and forced, over a period of a few years, to redefine a major segment of his way of presenting himself to the world. This is a painful trial-and-error process and is the cause of the characteristic awkwardness of the adolescent. His relations with the opposite sex during this period are very much conditioned by the mass media, bombarding him from every side with models of the right and wrong way to conduct himself in this sort of relationship.
Two separate kinds of models are presented intermixed with one another. On the one hand, models are given of a kind of maturity and savoir faire that has a great deal to do with success in the actual conduct of relationships. On the other hand, models are presented of honesty, loyalty, sincere confession of passion, etc., which, when followed, lead to catastrophic results in the real world.
In the face of these conflicting signals, the cynical have an early advantage. This situation is aggravated by the fact that the cultural elements thought of as more progressive, including such cultural groups as the youth culture, the counterculture, the “new age” culture, the urban minority culture, and the idle rich, all glamorized by the media, hold that the highest cultural value is doing one’s own thing, regardless of previous commitments or the cost to others , in the name of “responsibility.”
In these conditions, the vast majority of those lacking sufficient glamor or status to be in demand, or popular, rapidly become cynical, concealing their true feelings in order to avoid further emotional pain, while those who are popular and are able to get what they want without a great deal of difficulty become shallow, not realizing the condition of those others who constitute the majority. They are often spoiled and self-indulgent, believing that they can afford the luxury of a capricious bad temper.
A young person is fortunate if, in
his first encounters, while he’s still open to it, he receives a hint of the
sweet fragrance of intimate love. For the most part, he discovers a painful
awkwardness in relations with the other sex and is the victim of mistiming,
opportunism and rejection.A little later, older and, if not wiser in the heart,
at least more worldly-wise, he falls into that pattern of approach with mutual
caution which is characteristic of the adult world.
The ALBAGESI Y-DNA Family
Letter to a cousin from an Irish lunatic, descended from Court Jews
By Richard May, a.k.a. May-Tzu, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
DNA is comprised of 22 autosomal chromosomes, and 1 pair of sex chromosomes, a total of 23 pairs. I’ve learned little of genealogical significance from the autosomal-DNA tests, which theoretically allow a person to discover new cousins not in the direct paternal Y-DNA lineage or the direct maternal mitochondrial-DNA lineage. It appears that the algorithms now in use need considerable tweaking for those of Ashkenazi ancestry or admixtures of substantial Ashkenazi ancestry. The historic practice of Jewish cousin marriages or ‘inbreeding’ and the founder effect complicate estimating the degree of closeness of autosomal-DNA cousins for this population. I did learn that our German Jewish ancestors were earlier in Poland and the Ukraine, the former Galicia and also that we have an apparent 4th cousin with Lithuanian roots. The only test I’ve made a significant discovery with was the Y-DNA 67-marker test of my Eb1b1b1 paternal Haplogroup. Eb1b1b1 is a subgroup of Eb1b1, found most commonly in northern Africa and southern Europe. Eb1b1 originated about 25,000 years ago in eastern Africa, propagating into the Mediterranean region following the Ice Age. Incidentally, our most frequent (as a percentage of the population tested) Y-DNA cousins were of Romanian origin. Yet our familial historic connection to Romania is completely unknown. The most interesting discovery was that our Ashkenazi exclusively-male line of ascent was very probably originally Sephardic. This is summarized below.
The father of Ferdinand MAY(ER), b. 1812 in Nierstein, Hessen, d. 1890 in London, UK, was Isaak Wilhelm MAYER, born in ca. 1773, who was originally part of a troupe of Jewish musicians in the Hessen. He later became a merchant or trader and married into the famous DEL BANCO banking family, descended from Jewish moneylender Anselmo DEL BANCO, a.k.a. Asher MESHULLAM, d. 1532, the founder of the Jewish community of Venice. The DEL BANCO family later became the ‘eminent’ WARBURG family, after moving to Warburg, Germany. If our MAYER ancestors were, indeed, the Mannheim MAYERS of the Hessen, then our ancestral line is the MAYERs of the today well-known Mayer-Laudenburg banking family. Perhaps this is why I have a deep-seated aversion to banks and the entire banking system.
Isaak Wilhelm MAYER’s father was Abraham MAYER, born in 1720s and died in Frankenthal. This was his surname, adopted when Jews were forced by local civil authorities to take surnames, because they wanted to more effectively tax them and in order to better draft them into the military. But he was born before most Ashkenazi Jews in the Hessen or elsewhere had surnames. Abraham MAYER was born with the patronymic name Abraham son of MAYER in translated German or Avraham ben M’EIR in transliterated Hebrew.
Abraham son of MAYER’s father's
patronymic name was Mayer son of ISAAC
in translated German or M’eir ben YITZCHAK in transliterated Hebrew, born ca. 1700. Earlier than this we have no individual patronymic names.
But Y-DNA evidence, according to our cousins, Dr. Friedman and a Mr. P. Hollander, indicates that a cluster of individuals with a certain specific Y-DNA signature, on my father’s father’s . . . agnate MAY(ER) line of ascent, were originally Sephardic Jews in Spain with the surname ALBAGESI or AL-BAGEZI. Sephardic Jews had surnames hundreds of years before Ashkenazi Jews typically did. It now appears highly probable on the basis of comparing known family histories of close Y-DNA genetic cousins, some of whom have surviving family oral traditions of having originally come from Spain, that our German-Jewish ‘Ashkenazi’ MAY(ER) family was originally descended from a Sephardic family with the surname ALBAGESI or AL-BAGEZI.
The surname "ALBAGESI" may actually have originated as a toponym in the area around the present day village of d’Albages, in Catalonia (northeast Spain) about 120 km west of Barcelona. There is a royal Aragonese medieval reference to a Jew with the surname ALBAGESI from the year 1285 in Valencia, according to Dr. Friedman. So it is known that the surname ALBAGESI was, in fact, a Sephardic Jewish surname in medieval Spain.
Some ALBAGESIs resided in Toledo, and after the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, emigrated to Amsterdam, Netherlands, perhaps after a sojourn in Portugal. Yet later our ALBAGESI ancestral line emigrated again, this time adopting the toponymic surname “HOLLANDER,” meaning one who has come from Holland, and taking it into eastern Europe, particularly Galicia (now partly in Poland and partly in the Ukraine).
Immigrant Jews with the surname HOLLANDER were especially concentrated in Krakow. I found this significant, because a genealogist in Frankfurt, Germany has learned that before the Hessen, in the 17th. century the MAYER family was in Krakow, Galicia, according to German records.
In the late 17th. century our family emigrated from Krakow to the Hessen, specifically to Frankfurt, Frankenthal, Giessen, Hamburg, Heddernheim, Mannheim, Nierstein, and Ober-Ingelheim. In the transition from Krakow, Galicia to the Hessen to add further confusion the following additional surnames were used at various times and places: KRZEPCZYK, the transliterated Polish spelling of the German GROEBZIG, GREBSIG or GREPZIG, KREBSINGER, MAYER(all spellings), MAYERHOFER, MAYERHOEFER and MAYER-KREBSINGER!
There are two
URLs below which may be of interest.
Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog: Family Tree DNA: 4 . . .
Oct 6, 2007 . . . Surnames currently represented include Abroz, Albagesi, Al-Bagezi, . . . Gold, Goza, Gozhanskij, Henoch, Herzlich, Hollander, Hurroz, Iberian, . . .
“Family Tree DNA -
Iberian Ashkenaz” is a group for individuals whose Ashkenazi ancestors were
Family Tree DNA - Iberian Ashkenaz/EEIJH
Abarbanel, Abravanel, Abroz, Albagesi, Al-Bagezi, Albom, Alfonso, Alvarez, ... Herzlich, Hofmeister, Hollander, Hosse, Hubbard, Hurroz, Iberian, Iofe, Jacobi, . . . Wikipedia is also a reliable source for information on genetic genealogy . . .
By contrast my maternal Haplogroup W1, is a subgroup of the ‘exotic’ Haplogroup W, widespread in the Near East, Europe and southwestern Asia. It arose ca. 35,000 years ago in the Near East and later spread east to present-day Pakistan and northern India.
I wish that I had had better success tracing my Celtic
(Irish or Scots-Irish) ancestry as far back into the mists of memory as my
Ashkenazi ancestry. I have, however, learned that my 4th. great grandfather,
Stephen McGINNIS was almost executed for “treason” in the American
Revolutionary War, apparently only for siding with Vermont in its attempt to
obtain independence from New York State. But fortunately or unfortunately,
depending upon one’s point of view, his life was spared by a pardon from the
governor of New York, granted in part because he consented to execute another
alleged miscreant. Stephen’s wife, known only as the “old Mrs. M’Ginnis,” was a
notorious fortune teller in Shoreham, Vermont in ca. 1792. Members of the local
Congregationalist church were threatened with discipline if they continued to
seek her services, which included selling food and drink to sustain those
digging for buried treasure, predicted but never found. Old Mrs. M’GINNIS and
her son, John McGINNIS are mentioned in History of the town of Shoreham,
Vermont: from the date of its charter, October 8th,
1761, to the present time (1861) by Goodhue, Josiah F., pages
The Trouble with Trouble
From Courage to Complaining
Complain: To give utterance to expression of grief, pain, censure, regret; to lament; to murmur; to find fault. To make a formal accusation; to make a charge. Also, to creak or squeak, as a timber or wheel.[i]
About a year ago I came upon a scene near my house that touched me deeply:
I was walking in the late afternoon and saw a cat cowering underneath a car: torn eared, matted fur, sick looking, leaves, dirt and sores on her body, extremely thin and bony. She cried pitifully, “Meow Meow,” as people walked by and ignored her. She had a plain tattered collar and did not have the look of a true feral cat that was used to the grim struggle for food and urban survival.
I stopped, almost in tears, and started to pet her, knowing she might have this or that disease and might scratch me. Soon she was seated on my knee, being touched by a stranger, feeling some kind of safety for the first time in a long while. Purring happily as she returned my physical affection with her own scraping of her face across my knee. I had not yet rendered practical help, but had already done something hugely valuable: I was willing to be there with her in the reality of her distress, acknowledging it, taking my own chances with what its presence might do to me. She was no longer alone.
Yet this being was attuned to the transience of new blessings. Any cessation of my petting or tendency to stand up almost instantly produced the “Meow” and made her feeling of safety vanish.
I took her briefly to my house to feed her, which engendered, first fear and the return of the “Meows,” but later, a rapid return to perhaps the personality she had before the “fall” — a sense of normalcy, relaxation, and curiosity. She became a normal cat exploring the interesting sights and smells of new territory.
There is a lot more to this story. I found, and returned “Mouse” the cat to her female owner. It turned out she had left the animal under the care of her boyfriend while she was vacationing for a month. But her boyfriend had neglected Mouse, leaving her outside without regular food, shelter, or attention.
This cat had suddenly been thrown into circumstances she could neither change nor control. Her response was simple, “HELP! HELP!” But those that passed her by acted as if they did not see what they saw or hear what they heard. How long would this creature repeat her simple, innocent, message in the face of indifference and abuse?
Under other names, this norm is well known in popular culture. Leadbelly sang about it more simply, “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.” [vii]
[i] Websters 1913 dictionary.
[ii] Sacks, H. (1975) “Everyone Has to Lie,” in B. Blount and M. Sanches (eds.) Sociocultural Dimensions of Language Use. New York, NY: Academic Press, pp. 57–80. “How are you? Fine.” figures prominently in this famous essay on how social requirements prevent forms of personal honesty
[iii] Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth. On Death and Dying. Routledge, 1979. Although Elisabeth pioneered the frank discussion of dying, many decades ago, physicians and loved ones continue to avoid, deny, or minimize the reality of death.
[iv] I originally wrote a short version of this essay for the SOREHAND email group for people with carpal tunnel and other typing injuries of the hand, wrist or arm. They had been discussing how to deal with charges of complaining from relatives and friends.
[v] In the sense below, complaining can be a set of responses we develop to others’ responses. When our original behavior is labeled and stigmatized, it provokes what Lemert called ‘Secondary Deviance’. Social Pathology: Systematic Approaches to the Study of Sociopathic Behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1951
[vi] ibid., Barbara Ehrenrich
[vii] This song was written by Jimmy Cox in 1923 and later made famous by blues singers like Bessie Smith and Leadbelly.