3.9 Notes for Chapter 3


[1] It is worthy of note that oriental religions, as well as the Indian shamans in their trances, and the whirling dervishes of Iran, have put greater emphasis on the subjective emotion of state of mind, whereas the objective, extravert West, in Christianity and Communism particularly, has put greater emphasis on service to fellow man and the maintenance of a healthily functioning society. Our contention, however, is that these are only differences of emphasis arising from differences of temperament and social need rather than indications of any true separability of religions into "types."

However, the beatific state of mind can exist only as long as it functions (except where societies charitably support schizophrenic or beatnik aberrations). The religious state of mind in a well-functioning society is essentially peace of mind, from accepting and expressing in life the moral imperatives. Other states of mind than this may be appropriate in an ill-functioning society, where state of mind and condition of society are locked in a sad cycle of cause and effect. For example, a state of narcissistic withdrawal may develop as "religion" in a social chaos where no good action can lead to good results. Thus Gautama Buddha, in his desire to escape from the misery of a confused society, other than by committing suicide, arrived at the goal of a "state of mind," which he defined as one of elimination of all personal desire. This goal in many ways so similar to that of the schizophrenic does not so much as create a society as allow the religious individual to live in any kind of society and almost any kind of moral or political system. The spread of monastic withdrawal in the Dark Ages, though similar, offered the more constructive alternative of a morally functioning sub-society. Instead of disengaging a state of mind from community action, it disengaged a viable sub-society from the outer chaos. This may need to be done again at the present juncture of society.


[2] The person with free choice has a wide spectrum of religio-moral styles of living initially open to him ascetic or sybaritic, criminal, drug addicted, schizophrenic, bourgeois, priestly, and so on but only a small fraction are compatible with what, under some rubric or other, he views conceptually as a tolerable society (let alone the City of God). Most successful societies have had to stimulate fairly definite sets of values, such as, for example, have stabilized themselves in the Mediterranean Christian world, and its derivative colonies. These imply (1) a certain pattern of behavioral reaction, (2) a deep, permanent style of emotional adjustment, and (3) a state of mind.

A number of historical and philosophical debates have concentrated on the issue of which really comes first causally, a state of mind in the individual or a certain structure and character in society, as discussed in note [1] above. In some cases it is obviously the former, as when Christianity started as a personal style of life, propounded by an individual, and undid the Roman Empire, shaping a society "nearer to the heart's desire." In others and we will leave the economic determinist to cite his examples the converse has happened. The material and political shaping of society has apparently been responsible for the emotional adjustments that later became stereotyped in the molecules within it. Normally causality weaves both ways.

For our present pursuit, the causal direction is a less central issue, but recognition of the inner-outer correlation itself is vital. Later, in Chapter 6, it will become necessary to examine more sharply the claim which constantly recurs in history, that the state of mind in the individual is more important than "good works" and the structure of society. Something not far from this has been noted above, in Buddhism, and is evident in some degree in such diverse historical streams as the Christian mystics and the modern "hippy" taking his drugs. For the moment we shall assume that preoccupation with emotional state is an extreme, aberrant form and that in general the religious consciousness and the moral behavior of a group in a structured society stand balanced in importance, as face and obverse of the same coin.


[3] Modern followers of Marx will doubtless protest against classifying dialectical materialism with the tradition of Hegel, claiming that Marx rejected the metaphysical content of the latter. To a modern social psychologist he seems to be indulging in a "reaction formation," to distinguish himself relatively superficially from a tradition in which he had earlier been raised and from the main characters of which he never escaped. His argument leading to "a final stage of history" remains teleological, mystical, and bereft of that analysis into biological, genetic, economic and psychological causes which a strictly scientific analysis would require. As Darlington (1969, page 546) well says, Marxian inference "went beyond ordinary rules of scientific evidence. It had [supposedly] an ultimate inherent validity. It was dialectical!" And Hegel was convinced of "an inherent goodness of intellect," whereas Beyondism is content to see intellect as only one of several survival aids, to be evaluated by its survival contribution.

The distinction from Schopenhauer, and more clearly from Spencer for Spencer was more clear resides in the latter seeing life itself as creating evolution, whereas Beyondism sees life as geared only to continue, while the creativity comes from the impact between life and demands of the independent universe. If we wished to turn the microscope on evolutionary mechanisms per se we should have to give greater emphasis and consideration to the primary fact of "persistence" above (emphasized, for example, by Monod (1971) as "replicative invariance in DNA"). Living matter does not "aim" at evolution. Its property of primary persistence with secondary susceptibility to shifts is merely a precondition: evolution is forced by the impact of the environment on living matter.

Hegel and others of his persuasion are, of course, correct in singing hymns to the importance of wholes, and the Gestaltist psychologists likewise did well to shake the classical bivariate experimentalists out of their complacency, but one does not have to transcend science to do this. Wholes and patterns are being successfully handled by suitable mathematical models such as factor analysis, and their complex causal action is beginning to be understood. These distinctions need to be drawn clearly here because reviews by philosophers of the briefer, earlier presentations of Beyondism and "cooperative competition" (Cattell, 1933a, 1938, 1944, 1950b) which have heralded the present systematic presentation, have made the mistake of concluding that the present position leans on Hegel and Fichte. The wholes and patterns we recognize here are measurable and operate principally on the fact that evolution of the single organism is dictated by the pattern of community in which it lives, and by the teleonomic (purposive integration, not teleological or purposeful intent) pattern of coherence required in the genetic basis of the elements of its own behavior.


[4] Paley's (1802) famous "argument from design" included not only the notion that so marvellous a creation must have a creator, but also that we may consider the motives of the designer benevolent. However, one is not, logically, compelled to assume the creator to be kind. He might, if a peevish boy, create only to break or torment; but we have the rooted prejudice that a great artist rejoices in and loves his creation.


[5] The advance of the human species, in sheer brain capacity, during the next few thousand years may well make the difference between survival and catastrophe, since quite complex problems from the crowding of our own planet will challenge our intelligences. Such a demand for genetic selection in a comparatively short time can certainly be met, granted a readiness to re-evaluate our values in favor of evolutionary goals. Surely, if we do not perceive the whole plan now or know to what goals we are moving, the rational response is not indecision or fatalism. Rather it is the decision to progress culturally and eugenically toward levels of evolution where we may hope better to understand. For, let us make no mistake, it is biological evolution of mental capacity, and not merely an accumulation of scientific research data that is needed. The time must come strange as the idea may seem, even to scientists when, unless man himself evolves greater mental capacity as such, a "principle of diminishing returns" will show itself in relation to research effort. All that is discoverable and comprehensible at our level of intelligence may soon have been discovered and comprehended.

In education, psychologists are compelled to recognize upward limits to teachability. Nothing in the way of repetition, visual aids, verbal analogies, or anything else will enable a man of I.Q. 80 to understand Einstein's special theory of relativity by any realistic, operational test of understanding. Indeed, we need not go so far; but can conclude that many millions living today can, by no lengthening of education, understand the principle of logarithms, the logic of Euclid's fifth proposition, the use of the subjunctive, or make appropriate distinctions in communication between such words as to repel and to repulse, extenuate and exonerate, humiliation and mortification, etc. (These are examples wherein persons of high and equal exposure to verbal education show systematic differences in percent of correct responses according to intelligence.)

In just the same way, outside culture, a point is reached where the message written on the cloudy face of nature will span too complex a set of relations for us to read them. Our scientific instruments may record them sensitively and our scientists may debate the riddles offered, but perhaps in vain. There will always be geniuses, one hopes; but just as a genius among homo neanderthalus, or among the primates, might not, in our culture, get beyond recognizing one-syllable words, so the genius of the next century may find himself unable to read any further in the open book of science. One hopes that scientific research will go on indeed, on a far greater and more organized scale than we now manage. But it should be clear that when we speak of "progress" to that greater understanding which will tell us more about where our world is going, this ideal of progress is going to require both genetic and cultural programs. New mutations are needed beyond the genetic ranges which give us our present leading brains. Community commitment to biological evolution is thus the most basic and more novel step we have to take in answering the question of the nature of the evolutionary goal.

Thus, whether it be by the almost aesthetic argument that we must keep in harmony with that evolution which we find as a central principle in the universe, or via the more urgent and realistic argument of human survival, or through the simple logic that if one does not know whither the road leads, one should gamble on following it a little further to know better, one finishes by embracing the ideal of evolutionary progress as the most fundamental goal.


[6] The laws and mechanisms of natural selection are at present worked out far more adequately for biological than for cultural evolution, and cultural evolution as we have just seen has extra mechanisms, e.g., culture borrowing, reinforcement and adjustive assimilation, not operative in biological evolution.

Enough is formally in common in both, however, for natural selection to be used as a concept for defining the main determiner of evolution in both. Cultural natural selection becomes an important topic for social scientific research. With special reference to history, such as Darlington (1969), Deutch (1965), Merritt (1970), and Rummel (1966) are now giving it, the concept becomes vitally important to Beyondist understanding.


[7] When the Plains Indian said, as Margaret Mead records "the cup of our culture is broken" one recognizes that the biological life which it contains tends to run away too. Sometimes, as in this instance, the culture is broken by impact against a stronger more developed culture; but archaeology is beginning to suggest that intrinsic cultural decay, without outside pressures, can occur far more frequently than we have imagined.

If one is prepared to take the Old Testament as approximate history, it offers numerous instances, from Noah's contemporaries to Sodom and Gomorrha, of biological group natural selection being associated with virtues and defects of internal group cultural values.


[8] "Cooperative competition," as I have found from its earlier statement (1933), creates immediate emotional difficulties for those (a) who mistakenly assume that it connotes war, (b) who think of it as a team game in which their own individuality would be lost, and (c) who turn their backs in neurotic withdrawal, on all serious group demands.

Although it does not connote war, and is indeed a means of avoiding war by more freely expressing emulation in other directions, if war accidentally occurs we need not fear that it will "weigh" nations by performances totally different from those involved in other forms of competition. Indeed, it would be a serious mistake to suppose that, in the main, the more adaptive, progressive communities are the countries that fail by the test of survival in war. When we document the sociology of war in more detail in Chapter 5, it is clear that both involvement in war and success in war are associated with, for example, higher levels of general education and with greater capacity to handle the problems of peace. There is a very high correlation of success in the peaceful arts of science, social organization, education and literary creativity with formidableness in war. It was the greater productive capacity and material well being of the democracies that mainly decided victory in the Second World War.

As to the narcism which sees emphasis on group performance as hostile to its individualism, one can only point out that several misconceptions are involved in it. First, few narcists realize how much of what they call themselves is actually group property. A good antidote to such egocentrism resides in the careful factual and technical writings of a sociologist like George Mead (1934) showing how extensively the mind and individuality of the individual is a loan from the group, commonly unconsciously plagiarizing individuals of the past. Often when borrowed finery is set aside there is little left but a "visceral individuality." It is an individuality which simply emphasizes wants, by subjective visceral choices, in an already almost totally supplied kingdom of cognitive ideas.

As to the third, much could be said on a form of withdrawal from group interests which is not introversion but neuroticism. A highly developed group form of this reaction is seen in the disillusioned Existentialism of Sartre disillusioned because it starts with fundamentally wrong premises. These premises today are not exactly the premises of Kierkegaard, but Kierkegaard mixed with a decadent phase of French culture prevalent before World War II. In this and similar projections of neurosis into social philosophy nothing is left but concern for the loneliness and uniqueness and all-importance of individual experience. This system has been unable to spare any attention for either the group economic realities of Marxianism or the biological realities consulted here in understanding the adventure of groups. Consequently, in such philosophies the importance of group individuality and differential survival is either unrecognized or is resented as an intrusion on the individual's essentially morbid degree of Existentialist introspection and narcistic self-concern.


[9] However, it can be briefly made clear here that the evolutionary action in human groups is substantially different from that which the biologist is accustomed to think of in biological evolution. In the first place the role of natural selection among organized groups is very different from that among species, as commonly discussed in Darwinian selection processes in animals and plants. Species rarely show any species-wide organization, e.g., bird migration is in groups of a species but not including the whole species. The individuals in the species mostly survive as individuals. Indeed, as Lorenz documents (1966), most animals are more hostile to members of their own species than to others. Even when, as seen more in birds and lower mammals, groups of individuals combine, it is only in a quite rudimentary way compared with primates, and, especially man.

In the highly organized cultural human groups considered here, the whole survival differential of group and group is tied up with the goodness of the internal organization per se. Because of the relatively high technical development of the modern study of ecology and the complexity of the dynamics of survival of species, there is a real risk of leaning on the animal concepts there used and importing them, without the necessary changes, into the present discussion. Two distinctions are actually involved: (1) that in man the cultural differences in any case play a far larger role than the simple biological differences in determining survival, and (2) that the survival on biological traits alone is tied up more with biological traits that have social importance.


[10] However these three classes are likely to be found by statistics to be interactive. The connection of the moral with the genetic is most likely to be overlooked by contemporary one-eyed sociology. But clearly the evolution of a powerful system of within-group cultural moral habits must proceed in association with genetic evolution of tendencies and sensitivities favorable to those values. This is usually completely overlooked in the average historian's account of cultural development (except in Darlington, 1969, McDougall, 1924, and a few others). Yet it is extremely important, as our discussion in Chapter 6 on the culturo-genetic lag principle shows. In clinical terms the implication is that what has been called the superego must have genetically as well as environmentally determined differences of level and force among groups.

The idea will surprise no psychologist, for every measured behavior yet investigated by nature-nurture variance ratios has shown some appreciable genetic component in individual differences and therefore in differences of selected groups. (Thurstone's twin studies showed even a genetic component in so obvious a culture acquisition as ability to spell!) In any case there is direct psychometric evidence (Cattell, Blewett, and Beloff, 1955; Jinks and Fulker, 1970; Cattell, Stice, and Kristy, 1957) that superego strength roughly "altruism" and "sensitiveness to obligation or guilt" is partly genetically determined. This is what we should expect from its rise through natural selection. But the fact has consequences that have not been expected or discussed in ethical domains (see Chapter 6). For example, the re-establishment of a cultural ethical system, after some temporary breakdown of civilization, should prove to be much harder in some populations than others.















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