Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Leftism is not really a religion - but it is a metaphysical system

*
Metaphysics is the theoretical frame within-which everything is explained.

Leftism, political correctness is not really a religion (it has so few features of a religion, that such a description is misleading) - but it is a metaphysical system.

The word ideology is a partial, confused, incoherent synonym for metaphysics - indeed ideology is metaphysics for those who do not wish to acknowledge the vital role of metaphysics; who want to conceal that they are preaching metaphysics- who want their metaphysical system to be invulnerable because its existence is denied.

*

For example the Left used Science against all religious metaphysical systems, but science itself had depended on a metaphysical system which (for example) regards truth as a virtue (i.e. Christianity or Judaism) - so by using science against religion, Leftism was destroying science: indeed, Leftism was destroying even the possibility of science.

http://corruption-of-science.blogspot.co.uk/

Specifically, the theory of evolution by natural selection was used to destroy Christianity; claiming that natural selection was empirically-validated science; when in reality natural selection is formally a metaphysical system: that is, an explanatory framework within which science may be done, but not itself a science.

(That is why the theory of evolution by natural selection formally cannot be refuted. Nor can it be supported.)

Leftism has used (and then discarded) various ethical principles to break-down Christian metaphysics - for instance Equality, or Justice, or Economics, or Freedom, or Democracy.

These are deployed as frameworks within-which reality is to be understood, explained, manipulated - therefore they are functioning as metaphysical systems (albeit small, feeble, partial, incoherent, fuzzy, ludicrous metaphysical systems) - but their real nature is denied, and it is asserted that these principles are derived from experience, knowledge, effectiveness... 

*

When a new metaphysical system has been implemented, when a person or a culture is inside a new metaphysical system - then everything else is constrained by that system - what counts as knowledge, truth, beauty, virtue is defined; the possibility of motivation and purpose; almost everything is constrained by metaphysics.

There is no argument against a new metaphysics from observation, from experience, from logic - which is why the Left never learn.

(Metaphysics does not learn - it is that within-which learning is defined.)

They never learn because they are inside a metaphysical system while denying the reality of metaphysical systems.The fly in the bottle.

Once the new metaphysics is in place - reality is framed by it, evaluations are constrained by it,the battle is won. 

*

Probably, Satan's greatest triumph has been the destruction of real metaphysics: purely free; but with profound and universal consequences.

Satan's greatest triumph has therefore been metaphysical - he is the most successful career philosopher in history (certainly, the most highly-cited).

And the triumph has been made possible by the mass media: the modern metaphysical system derives-from and is propagated-by and enforced-by the mass media.

http://addictedtodistraction.blogspot.co.uk/

*

How should the modern metaphysical system be evaluated? The answer is - only from the basis of another metaphysical system.

All possible evaluations, criticisms, are based on metaphysical assumptions. So if we point-out that modern Leftism is incoherent, that assumes that incoherence is a problem - while for Leftist metaphysics, its own incoherence is not a problem.

If we point-out that Leftist metaphysics is unfit for use: leads to despair, has destroyed science and the arts and education, that it cannot motivate or provide meaning - then such critique is based on the metaphysical assumption that these are bad things; which Leftist metaphysics will not accept.

If, indeed, we point-out that Leftist metaphysics is almost-wholly negative and oppositional - and therefore must lead to a human life and society which is almost-wholly negative and oppositional; then Leftism merely responds that (from where Leftism is standing, which is implicitly inside its own metaphysic) that is just the way that things are - and Leftism is merely honestly reporting on the inevitable reality of the situation. 

*

So Satan has the West in his grip, inside his metaphysics; and part of Satan's metaphysics is to cloak its own metaphysical nature - and to derive its (pseudo-) validity from what were previously regarded as sub-metaphysical domains such as science, politics, economics - even 'ethics' regarded as a free-standing discourse (i.e. 'ethics' when discussed without even an implicit reference to life's nature, purpose, meaning!).

The answer? A different metaphysics.

One can only fight metaphysics with metaphysics.

*

But which metaphysics can beat the Left? Not a made-up thing, for sure. Satanic Leftism cannot be defeated at the level of philosophical discourse - of course not!

It can be beaten and will only be beaten by a metaphysics based on a realer, deeper, more motivated, more meaningful basis... 

In other words, Leftism can be beaten, and can only be beaten, by a religion.

And that is our choice - Leftism or Religion.

*

If not Leftism, then CHOOSE YOUR RELIGION.

Simple as that. 

thoughtprison-pc.blogspot.co.uk

*

Note added: The mantra 'choose your religion' is predicated on the fact that only a religion will work, only a religion is capable. Many have noticed that the traditional Western religion of Christianity is substantially a fake among those who profess it (i.e. self-identified Christians are mostly first Leftists, and only secondarily Christian). Others have noted that - as a matter of fact - the West is not re-adopting Christianity, and as a matter of probability there seems little chance that the West will re-adopt Christianity.  However, these facts and probabilities do not affect the argument that only a religion can combat Leftism - they merely suggest that there is little evidence for, and little prospect of, the defeat of Leftism by religion in the West. I is very simple: if people choose to reject religion, then they simply will not defeat Leftism.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Our animistic world - alive, communicating, universally

*
To respond to the world as alive is an index of spiritual health, and there is no real boundary to the perspective. Once trees become the subject of a relationship, so does grass; and before you know it - so do bricks and plastic.

The whole things is alive (although in greatly differing degrees and with different qualities) - and not just alive but in some manner of communication with us. So we arrive at the concluding simplification that life is communication.

*

Communication is not the purpose of life, but it is the basis of life - it is the medium in which meaning, purpose and relationship can be established.

(How could there be meaning, purpose and relationship without communication? And why, then, would communication be arbitrarily restricted?) 

But without communication, or with communication restricted to one or a few species or only biological entities - then the world is only partially-meaningful, which means the world is NOT meaningful- which is a reductio ad absurdum - ergo communication is universal.

*

How is this? Well, there are the things created by God - organized by God - and for God's purposes (which are very much to do with us, as individual persons) - and the rest is sub-created by Man (Man being comprised of Sons and Daughters of God, and containing some of the divine spark).

So how could there not be universal communication?

There could not not!

*

Of course some of Man's sub-creative capacity is used with evil intent; to destroy. Therefore communications may be of suffering as well as of joy. The landscape (as well as the beings) of Mordor communicate suffering (mostly) - and so does earthly mutilation and defacement and inversion - which is why these are painful to behold. There is a crying-out.

Against this we can and must recall the possibility of healing: there is no suffering so great or complete as to be beyond divine healing - and divine complete healing is promised. So all suffering can be met with hope: a hope that is certainty.

And that hope comes from communication which goes beyond this earthly mortal life - communication with the other realm, the spiritual realm, including Heaven.

*

This is the magnitude of our task! - of the vast change in perspective which is necessary!

To cease to deny the reality of a living and communicating world; and to dwell, instead, in the actuality of a completely-alive and universally-communicating world!

*

Note added: The animistic world is not an hypothesis nor a discovery - it is a metaphysical assumption; and, as such, the framework for all possible hypotheses and discoveries - that framework within-which empirical evidence is gathered. And it is the basis for a whole way of life: a whole mode of living. 

Such metaphysical assumptions cannot be proven, nor disproven - they are chosen (or passively-accepted). The choice of metaphysic has consequences, consequences flow-from it; but these neither confirm nor refute the metaphysical assumption. 

If you want to hold the assumption of an animistic world; then that is simply a choice: your choice. The choice may then be validated or disconfirmed by divine revelation (or maybe neither); or your state of happiness, goodness, spirituality (etc.) may change (surely will change) - but these are the only species, kinds or qualities of evaluative feedback possible. Nobody can prove you are wrong (or right). 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Improving Doctor Who; The Doctor as (implicitly) a Mormon Merlin

*
The Doctor archetype in Doctor Who is (or ought to be), as I have previously argued, a Merlin type wizard.

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/doctor-who-from-wizard-to-superhero.html

This fits the basic plot of a chap who is not a warrior nor a ruler; but does a behind-the-scenes job advising and assisting a variety of King Arthur type people, dotted around time and the galaxy - and fighting various monsters and supernatural foes using (techno-) magic, intelligence, lateral thinking, creativity and humour.

*

The weakness of Doctor Who has always been the feeble moral basis for The Doctor doing this - the lack of any answer to the question of - on what authority The Doctor is acting? And why should his moral evaluations be regarded as correct as, or better than, the evaluations of the enemies he fights?

The only given answer is a kind of (supposedly) common-sense ethic of the Doctor taking sides to protect the weak and non/less-violent, to prevent (more) suffering, to free (suffering) slaves etc; combined with a utilitarian ethic of doing this for large numbers of people (which is why he has to, week after week, keep on 'Saving The World' - or even The Universe).

*

But these motives don't bear much examination, especially when the sufferings of 'the baddies' are put into the equation (and who says they are baddies anyway?)

So, to improve Doctor Who it would be necessary to provide a solid cosmic metaphysical structure and narrative within-which Good and Evil are real and objective, and within which the Doctor can operate in an ethically objective way: so that he really is on the side of Good.

*

A Mormon Merlin would be a good basis for this - so long as the Mormon framework was not made explicit, since that would scare the horses!

But Mormonism is already a cosmic and Who-like religion, at least in some of its non-canonical folk aspects - with worlds upon worlds 'rolling into existence' and recapitulating analogous processes of salvation and spiritual progression.

https://www.lds.org/ensign/1971/04/the-king-follett-sermon?lang=eng

*

Furthermore, Mormonism has a view of Time and Space which is compatible with that of the type of modern theoretical physics most used in SciFi - with General Relativity for example.

(By contrast, mainstream Christianity often has a non-dynamic God's-eye-view vision of Time as static and universal - with God seeing everything past, present and future simultaneously: a model not much use for any kind of Time adventure.)

Doctor Who could take its place in this scheme, with The Doctor as (implicitly) an exalted human angel (like Moroni),

http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Moroni,_Angel

or one of the 'immortal' translated men such as the Apostle John or one of the Three Wandering Nephites

http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Three_Nephites

*

Whether implicitly-Mormon or (more likely!) not; Doctor Who would surely benefit from a solid, objective theistic religious morality; to make The Doctor a really-Good person; not just a self-styled-goody.

*

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Satan is a process (in the modern world)

*
A personification of Satan for modern times would be the voting committees that administer almost everything – from supreme courts and parliaments down to peer reviewers and job interviews and casting committees, and the millions of casual votes of ad hoc groups here and there to decide this and that.


Satan works at the level of the invisible, indefinable committee decision; because none of the participants in that decision feel responsible for it.

*

What would very obviously have been a moral decision when made by a single person, is apparently moved into the level of pure abstract necessity by the simple fact of taking a vote.

'The group' is treated on the one hand as a responsible moral agent, capable of reason; and yet none of 'the group' need actually believe in the rightness of that group decision, that it really was the proper and best decision in that situation. Indeed, as individuals, every single member of the committee may disagree with the decision of the group - yet that decision stands.

*

Who, then, has made that moral decision? The answer is the process has made that moral decision (the group dynamic process, the committee procedure, the voting process - whatever).

But how can we hold a process morally responsible? For instance, how can we hold 'democracy' (i.e. any specific system of voting and counting votes) responsible for electing an evil person as President or Prime Minister; or for implementing an evil law; or for unjust persecution of the innocent?

The answer is we cannot, so we do not, so evil is done by processes; and this happens countless billions of times every day.

What is remarkable about bureaucracy is that evil has been, apparently, conjured ex nihilo – from nothing.

Yes - Satan is bureaucracy; or vice versa, perhaps.

*

Christopher Tolkien's regret at the way he published the Silmarillion of 1997, and Bilbo Baggins as the framing factor for Tolkien's world

*
http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/christopher-tolkiens-reflections-on.html

http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/from-eriol-and-aelfwine-to-bilbo.html
*

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Why can't we remember our pre-mortal existence? - Why are we out-of-contact with Heaven?

*

We lived pre-mortally as body-less spirits in the presence of God and chose our mortal incarnate lives on earth - that is, we chose to be born with bodies, live where we live, and we chose to die.

https://www.lds.org/manual/the-plan-of-salvation?lang=eng

So, why can't we remember our pre-mortal existence - and why are we out-of-contact with Heaven?

The short answer is that we are not: we do remember that we had pre-mortal existence, and contact with Heaven does happen.

But the memories are imprecise and the contact imperfect.

*

Why? Why are memories unclear, why is contact unclear?

Because of the necessary qualitative difference between earth and heaven, and between spiritual beings and incarnate beings; necessary difference, due to the function of earth and incarnate life and mortal death.

If we are to have a chance (a chance; not certainty) of spiritual progression beyond what was possible in out pre-mortal life, discarnate, spirit-life; then we must be incarnate, and we must live here (and therefore not in Heaven), and we must die; and all of these were and are choices - for incarnate mortal earthly life to 'work' then we must continue to choose it.

(Even death. If we do not willingly choose to die when it is our time to die - and we will know this time - then by that failure to accept death as both necessary and good, we will be rejecting our destiny.)

*

But earthly, mortal, incarnate life is qualitatively different from Heavenly, spiritual life (whether pre- or post-mortal); and to communicate across this difference is necessarily imperfect.

It is (analogously) like the imperfect communication between an adult and a three-year-old child; or trying to understand a related but different language (like a modern American person listening to Old English/Anglo Saxon); or like trying to understand a tape recording slowed down a hundred-fold.

So, time runs differently for us, space has a different quality, and in our lives there is noise and distraction, and our bad choices, to contend-with.

*

So there are memories and there is communication; but these are necessarily difficult.

Necessary not because the difficulties are in and of themselves necessary (clearly, God wants us to remember and to communicate - and his revelations are full of reminders and advice on communications such as prayer); but necessary because of the necessary nature and quality of this earthly, mortal, incarnate life - which we chose - and the necessary difficulties of which we accepted.

*

The transcendent importance of marriage

*
President Henry B Eyring CJCLDS


*
Former English Chief (Orthodox) Rabbi Jonathan Sacks


Note - Both of these are wise, stirring, moving, fine speeches on a subject of supreme importance here and now.

Things have come to a point of clarity and polarity: Marriage is either of transcendent importance (as Eyring and Sacks state), or else if this transcendent importance is denied (or the possibility of transcendence of this world itself denied) - then marriage will be destroyed utterly and the world, human life, will be drained of value (not completely drained, but decisively, qualitatively, tragically).

*

Friday, 21 November 2014

Holiday palimpsest

*

When I am in the best mood and magic for a holiday - such as when I went on a day trip to Staufen in Germany, near to where we were staying in  Freiburg im Breisgau - it is as if the modern, often mundane, surface is transparent and allows the romantic past to shine through.

I can recall the contrast between the cozy (gemutlich) restaurant where we had coffee and cakes (served by sturdy and pleasant, uniformed middle aged waitresses), and the neat and well ordered town square - with the claim to fame of being the place where Faust was drawn-down to hell; as depicted on the wall of an inn:



All this was fourteen years ago, and my son was a small toddler who could still be carried on a front sling. But his tolerance for being carted about was limited, and we tended to work around his tempo and preferences. So when we set out to look at the romantic ruined castle, which involved weaving through vineyards, pushing a buggy; we didn't actually make it to the top - but stood gazing up at the castle with a kind of yearning...


I recall not being too concerned about our 'failure' to ascend the little hill, but trying to project my 'spirit' up to that castle, and succeeding; and coming away feeling I had experienced the place very deeply and completely in just a couple of hours.

That hypersensitive mindset is characteristic of my best holidays and visits - and indeed of life in general .

*

Note: the above photographs are not mine, but were harvested from Google images. 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Beware! - of men in leather Trilby hats

*
 


Stay away from men wearing leather Trilby hats; there is no excuse for it; such men are not to be trusted - trouble (or at least embarrassment) will ensue.

You have been warned!
*

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A two factor model of current Western elite behaviour

*
The two factors about current Western elites is that they are both incompetent and suicidal.

It is hard to explain what is distinctive about them, and what contrasts with previous elites of several generations ago, by invoking just a single factor.

*

By the way, I am not taking account here of the factor that all elites everywhere and at all times share; that they are - to some extent - self-serving, a gangster class, demagogues, a kleptocracy; who are exploiting one set of the population to expropriate another; feathering their own nests, and preparing the ground for their own family and friends/ supporters.

This, however, is not distinctive to modern elites; indeed, although modern elites are to some extent self-serving, what is striking is the extent to which instead of feathering their own nests, they are actually fouling their own nests.

Current elites are wrecking things so fast and so comprehensively that they can themselves expect to live long enough personally to experience the problems they have inflicted on society; and certainly their children (what few children they have) and their extended family and friends will suffer greatly from the effects of what current elites are doing.

*

The current elite are very obviously stupid, incompetent, ill-educated, unskilled and in general rubbish at doing things compared with previous elites. This is due to a multitude of factors including the decline of Christianity, the decline of schooling and colleges, the corruption and inversion of selection mechanisms, the growth of democracy, bureaucracy and the mass media.

In other words, the modern elite are broken: they have lost the adaptations that would enable them to rule.

To some extent, they look helplessly on, as they are helpless to prevent civilization collapsing around them. They just cannot do the job.

*

What is most strange and disturbing, however, is the extent to which current elites are also self-hating and suicidal: they have a covert wish for extinctino which comes out in many ways.

So it is not only that they cannot do the job, but also that they do not even want to do the job.

This applies both in terms of the self-hating suicidal ideology of Leftism in the form of Political Correctness - by which the elite are replacing themselves with 'other' people (people born in some other place, other ethnicities, other classes, other sexes and other sexual preferences - for example); and extending also to their own personal lives; in which the elites have all-but abandoned having children; and are focused instead wholly on feeling good, and feeling good about themselves - with the hope of being humanely murdered ('euthanasia') as soon life stops being enjoyable and there is a risk of misery.

*

This is a very dangerous situation, because when the elites are self-hating and suicidal, then insofar as they act upon this will; they inflict extinction on everybody else.

I think this self-hatred is partly biological and a warped kind of altruism. Its roots may be genetic and group-evolutionary. The elites have been accumulating mutations, and their fitness declining, for about 200 years, since the child mortality rates began to plummet with the advent of the industrial revolution. And some versions of group selection theory predict that unfit individuals will tend not to to struggle to survive and reproduce, and may even de facto kill themselves (usually indirectly) to prevent themselves consuming scarce resources.

*

At some level, perhaps, the current elite sense that they are damaged people who are not up to-the-job, that they lack even the will to rule with justice wisdom; that they are wrecking things for everybody else, and are indeed consuming scarce resources without benefiting the ruled; and they know that the proper thing to do would be to sacrifice themselves for the general good - even unto death.

But this they will not do in any kind of wholehearted fashion (they will not even stand-aside, nor resign their power; nor will they give away their wealth). There is no follow-through, because they are conflicted both within-themselves, and also between-themselves - changing sides and one pitted against another.

So the elites vacillate and squabble and are torn between despair and selfishness. Partly they are trying to be real rulers, partly  they are failing in their job due to intractable incompetence, and partly they have given-up and yearn for oblivion.

*


The above analysis comes from a conversation with Michael Woodley - who likened the modern elites to a nest of cancer cell - mutated and damaged normal cells that mostly try to exploit their host even unto death; but also have a tendency to self destruction (apoptosis) which can at any moment emerge and lead to localized tumour destruction and partial remission.

Male versus female IQ in a pioneering study from 1923

*

Pioneering studies of IQ by G.H. Thomson and J.F. Duff – An example of established knowledge subsequently ‘hidden in plain sight’ Bruce G. Charlton. Medical Hypotheses. 2008; 71: 625-628.

http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/pioneering-studies-of-iq-and.html


Summary

Perhaps the earliest authoritative measurement of a social class gradient in IQ, with a stratification of occupations among the parents of children with different IQs, is seen in two fascinating papers published in 1923 and 1929 in the British Journal of Psychology. The authors were GH Thomson and JF Duff (both of whom were later knighted) and the papers’ main findings were confirmed by later researchers. Results of an intelligence test administered to 13419 children aged 11–12 were analyzed according to parent’s occupation. The average children’s IQ at extremes of social class among their parents included clergymen-121, teachers-116 and bankers and managers-112 at the upper end; while at the lower end there were ‘cripples and invalids’-94, cattlemen-93, hawkers and chimneysweeps-91, and the ‘insane, criminal’-88. More than 100 specific categories of parental occupations were then combined into 13 social classes, with their children’s average IQ as follows: Professional-112; Managers-110; Higher Commercial-109; Army, Navy, Police, Postmen-106; Shopkeeping-105; Engineers [ie. apprenticed craftsmen, such as mining engineers]-103; Foremen-103; Building trades-102; Metal workers, shipbuilders-101; Miscellaneous industrial workers-101; Miners and quarrymen-98; Agriculture-98; Labourers-96. A follow-up study compared an ‘intelligent’ group (IQ 136 plus) with a matched IQ 95–105 ‘control’ group. IQ testing at age 11–12 was predictive of teacher’s reports of higher levels of intelligence and health at age 16; and better performance in official examinations. The occupations of fathers, grandfathers and uncles were consistent with occupation being indicative of ‘an inherited quality’ (i.e. IQ) and there was regression from parents to grandparents and uncles among the ’intelligent’ but not among controls. Other findings included a wider variance in intelligence among boys than girls, and descriptions of the predictive value of IQ in estimating future education, examinations and health. Although the distribution, heredity and predictive value of childhood IQ measurements was once quite widely understood, for the last few decades IQ research has been regarded as morally-suspect and IQ scientists subjected to vilification, persecution and sanctions. Ignorance and misunderstanding of IQ is the norm among intellectual elites in schools, universities, the media, politics and public administration. Consequently IQ research is actively-shunned, and has near-zero influence on public policies. Since this area of science has been so comprehensively ‘disappeared’ from public consciousness as a result of socio-political pressure; it seems probable that other similarly solid and vital domains of scientific knowledge may also be ‘hidden in plain sight’.
***

EXCERPT...


The 1923 Duff and Thomson study began when an intelligence test was administered on February 24 1922, to all children aged 11 and 12 at state elementary schools in Northumberland excluding Newcastle and Tynemouth; yielding an enormous sample of 13419 children (6930 boys; 6695 girls)...

Average IQ was 99.6, 877 children had an IQ of 120 plus and 1337 had an IQ less than 80.


Boys exhibited a slightly larger apparent standard deviation than girls (no specific numbers were given by the authors), with a greater proportion of the most intelligent children being boys (IQ 130-9 - 80 boys, 49 girls; IQ above 140 – 12 boys, 4 girls) and also a greater proportion of the least intelligent being boys (IQ below 80 – 715 boys, 622 girls).


NOTE added - No information was given on how the IQ was calculated; but it is likely that it was the old ratio system, so that an IQ of 140 at age 11 is generated by the child of 11.5 years old scoring at approx. the level of the average 16 year old (i.e. 16/11.5 = approx. 1.4 or an IQ of 140).

It has since been almost universally confirmed that there is a higher proportion of boys and men in the highest IQ and lowest IQ levels.

See Refs at: http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/do-elite-us-colleges-choose-personality.html

*

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Geniuses are "vulnerable and fragile" and "need to be looked after"

*
Quoted from an article in The Daily Telegraph

Dr Michael Woodley of Menie, from the Free University of Brussels, believes that individuals who can be classified as geniuses have brains that are wired differently and are programmed to be unable to deal with small details. “They’re incapable of managing normal day to day affairs,” says Dr Woodley.
 
“History is littered with anecdotes of geniuses who fail at the most spectacularly mundane tasks. Einstein got lost on one of his sojourns in Princeton, New Jersey. He went into a shop and said, ‘Hi, I’m Einstein, can you take me home please?’ He couldn’t drive and the small things that most people take for granted were totally beyond his capabilities.”
 
Dr Woodley believes geniuses are “literally not hardwired to be able to learn those kind of tasks. Every time they attempt to allocate the effort into dealing with the mundanities in life they’re constitutionally resisted; their brains are not capable of processing things at that low level.”
 
Genius, Dr Woodley says, can be found in people with modestly high levels of psychoticism [often typified by interpersonal hostility] and very high intelligence, with IQs scores of more than 140 or 150. Furthermore they are, he says, often asexual as their brains use the space allocated to urges such as sexual desire for additional cognitive ability.
 
"You have a trade off between what Freud would have referred to as libido and on the other hand pure abstraction: a Platonistic world of ideas,” he said. The evolutionary reason for this may lie with the theory that geniuses have insights that advance the general population. “It’s paradoxical because you think the idea of evolution is procreation, and that might be true in a lot of cases,” he explains. “But what if the way you increase your genes is by benefitting the entire group, by giving them an innovation that allows them to grow and expand and colonise new countries?”
 
The lack of common sense is in keeping with the idea that a genius exists as an asset to other people, and so: “They need to be looked after,” he says. “They are vulnerable and fragile.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/11232300/Why-do-geniuses-lack-common-sense.html

*

Michael Woodley makes an important point here. Far from being high in reproductive fitness, in biological terms many geniuses or vulnerable and fragile, and benefit the group rather than themselves; and therefore they often need to be looked after.

The corollary is that when geniuses are not looked after, they do not fulfil their potential, and everybody loses.

If you look at the geniuses throughout history, which obviously only detects successful geniuses, and not those who were thwarted or crushed - there are a very large number who had some kind of 'minder' - typically a specific person who looked after them; whether an influential colleague, a sympathetic employer, a patron, or a monarch - or else their family or a group of close friends.

*

So, the reclusive poet Emily Dickinson was 'managed' by Colonel TW Higginson; and Jane Austen flourished in the obscurity of her family. Thomas Aquinas was looked after by his brother Friars; and Mendel in his monastery. Pascal by his family. Plus many a genius was sustained by a capable wife.

When there is a close-knit and idealistic community, this may also do it - for example, the community of mathematicians looked after Paul Erdos, who never had a home and camped out at in the house of one mathematics Professor after another for decades, while collaborating on research papers. The Indian genius mathematician Ramanujan was discovered and protected by the Cambridge Professors Hardy and Littlewood.

But poor William Sidis was exploited rather than protected by his parents, and was a sensitive man who had to survive in a hostile and mocking world; so his achievements were limited, and indeed largely unknown and unappreciated.

*

Modern society is dominated by 'bureaucracy', that is by voting committees and formal procedures - rather than individual humans making personal judgments.

And committees do not look after geniuses - rather they ignore them, or persecute them.

It is no coincidence that English genius very suddenly all-but disappeared in the era (from about 1955-1980) in which bureaucracy waxed dominant in national life - and nowadays geniuses are absent, invisible, or fighting for survival against the forces of mass media, committees, peer reviewers and other faceless officials.

This is sad for the geniuses; fatal for our society.

*

The Creative Triad - and a new, adaptive concept of Eysenck's Psychoticism trait

*
http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/the-creative-triad-need-for-new-concept.html
*

Monday, 17 November 2014

Evolution of Empathizing and Systemizing personality traits - a draft book chapter, request for comments

*
The following is a draft book chapter I co-wrote for a book on Systemizing and Empathizing which was to be edited by the originator of these terms - Simon Baron-Cohen.
 
In the draft, Patrick Rosenkranz and I put forward some new hypotheses for the evolution of these personality traits - and these may be of some general interest.
 
However, the original contract for this book fell-through, and a new publisher is being arranged. This means that there will be time, and need, for the draft chapter to be revised considerably before publication.
 
Therefore, if anyone has suggestions and comments for how this book chapter might be improved these would be gratefully received.
 
**
 
Evolution of Empathizing and Systemizing:  Economic specialization and the sexual division of labour
 
By Patrick Rosenkranz and Bruce G Charlton
 
 
Draft version February 2013: , Psychology
 
Email: brucedotcharltonatncldotacdotuk
 
 
Introduction: What is it that needs to be explained?
 
The first purpose of this chapter is conceptual clarification. In other words, we first aim to clarify what an evolutionary theory of Empathizing and Systemizing needs to explain. In other words, we need to be clear what has evolved, before we can suggest why and how it may have evolved.
 
Therefore we need to define the nature of both Empathizing (E) and Systemizing (S), and to emphasize that they are personality traits rather than abilities. We consider E as the disposition to apply ‘theory of mind’ (or social intelligence) reasoning to experience; while Systemizing is a disposition to apply non-social, abstract and systematic reasoning to experience. Therefore, E and S are distinctive modes of thinking – in an identical situation, an Empathizer would use one mode of thinking, while a Systemizer would use another – even if both had the same underlying cognitive abilities, their preferences or dispositions would be different.
 
To put matters simply, E and S describe a fundamental orientation towards either People or Things. An orientation could be understood in terms of a spontaneous focus, a preference. The reason for an orientation may be sought in terms of motivational systems of gratification and aversion: a concern with either people, or things, will tend to give more pleasure (or less pain) than its opposite.
 
But the situation is not symmetrical for Empathizing and Systemizing, because man is a social animal: thus a focus on people is to be expected, while a focus on things in preference to people is unexpected, and invites specific explanation.
 
In evolutionary terms, we need to explain how it was possible that a preference to deal with things rather than people was able to arise, specifically in men more strongly than in women (Baron-Cohen, 2003)– in face of our presumption that a preference for things over people would be likely to provide a selective disadvantage in terms of social relationships. In particular, this would probably be a disadvantage from the perspective of sexual selection in its major form of female sexual choice.
 
In a nutshell: we need to explain why ancestral women could have ended-up with a mate who was more interested in things than they were interested in other people (such as herself). 
 
The second (and main) purpose of this chapter is to describe specific hypotheses as to how and why E and S traits may have evolved in ancestral humans, what may have been their pay-offs in terms of reproductive success under specific conditions, and to clarify the reason for the reciprocity of these traits and the existence of sex differences(Baron-Cohen, 2003).
In brief we regard Empathizing as the default human personality since, as the application of social intelligence,  it reflects the great importance of social relationships to reproductive success. By contrast, we regard Systemizing as having emerged later in evolutionary history as a result of novel selection pressures due to changed economic conditions - especially the development of more-complex humans societies (such as agriculture and trade) with a variety of socially- essential, specialized jobs for men. 
 
These evolutionary hypotheses are, at this point, necessarily speculative and intended to serve as a guide for future empirical research rather than to provide definitive answers.
 
Empathizing and Systemizing conceptualized as personality traits
 
Empathizing and Systemizing are conceptualized as personality traits, dispositions or preferences to behave in certain ways; therefore not as cognitive abilities. E-S variations are this not-necessarily correlated with cognitive abilities – and indeed in some studies there is no significant measurable correlation with cognitive abilities. For example, there is neither a strong nor consistent association between the ‘reading the mind in the eyes’ test (a test of a cognitive ability), and scores on a self-evaluation Empathizing scale (a measure of disposition or personality): so that an individual may score highly at reading the mind in the eyes but score low on an Empathizing scale, or vice versa (Lawrence, Shaw, Baker, Baron-Cohen, & David, 2004; Voracek & Dressler, 2006).
 
A disposition is a personality trait: understandable as a sustained tendency, an individual’s characteristic of habitually deploying a mode of cognition. A disposition can also be seen as an individual’s preference for using an ability. (In the sense that preferences can only select between a certain set of abilities; one cannot characteristically be disposed to act in any way that one is incapable of acting.).
 
And preference to behave in certain ways is (presumably) based on a motivation, and motivation is associated with a psychological reward (or gratification) from doing something – or else a psychological punishment (or aversive consequence) of not doing something.
 
Ultimately, therefore, a disposition reflects that certain types of behaviour lead to increased gratification (increased pleasure or diminution of suffering). Individuals differ in the types of behaviour which lead to gratification, and in the degree of gratification associated with a specific type of behaviour.
 
In sum, individual and groups variations in Systemizing and Empathizing can be understood as variations in the type of behaviour that (on average) lead to gratification. Put simply, Empathizers gain enhanced gratification from Empathizing behaviour, while Systemizers gain enhanced gratification from Systemizing behaviour. For example, a High-Systemizer may have the ability to understand and empathize with other people, but prefers to spend most of his time doing crosswords; while a High-Empathizer may be able to do crosswords to a high standard, but she would prefer to converse with a group of friends. 
 
Naturally, the disposition to be Empathizing or Systemizing requires that there be the cognitive ability to do these; to empathize requires the ability to empathize and to systemize requires that ability. And at extremes of disposition there may be a deficit in such abilities, so that the extreme Empathizer may be defective in systematizing ability and the extreme Systemizer may be defective in theory of mind ability.
 
However, deficiencies in either E or S ability are not necessary to the finding of variations in E-S, and it seems that there may be a wide range of E-S dispositions even when both abilities are fully intact. Therefore, these abilities must have evolved in order that there be a disposition to use them.
 
Evolution of the Social Brain
 
The social brain hypothesis sees social selection pressures as the driving force behind human brain growth: higher cortical functions have evolved to deal with the adaptive problems of complex group living{Dunbar, 1995 #47} {Dunbar, 1995 #47}{Dunbar, 1995 #47}{Dunbar, 1998 #48}{Adolphs, 1999 #1}{Humphrey, 1976 #74}{Dunbar, 1995 #47}{Dunbar, 1998 #48}(Adolphs, 1999, 2009; Dunbar, 1995, 1998; Humphrey, 1976). The relative neo – cortex growth in humans and other primates is due to the demands on executive brain function required by living in complex social groups. Evidence in favour of this hypothesis shows that as group size increases across primate species, neo-cortex size also grows(Dunbar, 1995, 1998) {Dunbar, 1995 #47}{Dunbar, 1998 #48}. The set of cognitive adaptations that enables successful group living such as the abilities to perceive, recall and process information about others and act according to this information, is often termed social intelligence (Dunbar, 1998), Machiavellian intelligence (Byrne & Whiten, 1988) or social cognition (Brothers, 1990).    
Group living poses a number of adaptive problems for the individual: attracting and maintaining a mate, monitoring and manipulating social interactions, outwitting rivals and forming alliances, inferring dispositions, motivations and intentions of others, etc . Selection favoured those individuals who were the most successful at solving these adaptive problems of group living. In order to successfully survive and reproduce within a social setting, an individual requires the cognitive ability to react adaptively to social challenges and to affect others positively(Byrne & Whiten, 1988){Byrne, 1988 #122} {Byrne, 1988 #122}.
 
Amongst the cognitive abilities enabling complex social interaction are face perception, emotional processing, theory of mind (TOM), self-reference and working memory (Grady & Keightley, 2002). These abilities are mediated by interplay of activity of networks of interdependent brain regions which support the behaviours necessary for social interaction (Grady& Keightley, 2002). Amongst the neural architecture that contributes to social intelligence are the amygdala ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the right somatosensory related cortex (Adolphs, 1999; Grady & Keightley, 2002).
 
An individual clearly benefits in terms of reproductive success by being able to predict the behaviour of others within the group, maintain beneficial social relationships and even manipulating social situations to her own advantage(Byrne& Whiten, 1988; Humphrey, 1976). A lack of the faculties required to function adaptively within the group can have negative reproductive consequences for the individual. The inability to positively affect others, at least to a degree, and to adaptively interact within a group can lead to negative emotional effects for the individual, social ostracism and ultimately, reproductive death .This can most clearly be seen in the devastating effects of lesions and or disorders to the social functioning of the individual(Ylvisaker, Feeney, & Szekeres, 1998). For instance, individuals with the autistic spectrum disorder have abnormal face perception (Klin et al., 1999) as well as strong deficits in the theory of mind mechanism (Grady& Keightley, 2002). Autistic individuals have difficulties in adaptive social behaviour, avoid normal social contact and are generally indifferent to social encounters (Baron-Cohen, 1997).
 
At the core of social intelligence lies the ability to “mind read” or theory of mind: this is the ability to infer  the contents (beliefs, desires, intentions) of the mind of other individuals, predicting behaviour based on these inferences and empathizing with others states of mind (Baron-Cohen, 1999, 2000, 2006b; Baron-Cohen, Leslie,& Frith, 1985; Dennett, 1971; Premack & Woodruff, 1978). Mindreading is often seen as a predominantly cognitive ability, however emotions play a key role in inferring other agent’s content of mind and reactive adaptively.
 
 
 
Empathizing has evolved to represent the affective states of others and to react with an appropriate emotion. The importance of emotions in adaptive social behaviour is extensive; and they are pivotal in successfully modelling social behaviour. Relevant here is the somatic marker mechanism suggested by Antonio Damasio (Damasio, 1994, 1996, 1999) and further elaborated upon by Charlton (Charlton, 2000, 2003; Charlton & McClelland, 1999).
 
At the outset, Damasio (Damasio, 1994, 1995, 1999) makes a distinction between emotions and feelings: Emotions are changes in body state (and non-conscious brain state to a secondary extent) primed by either external or internal stimuli. Feelings are the conscious awareness of these changes in body state (Damasio, 1994, 1995). Primary emotions are those that are innate and triggered automatically in certain situations (Charlton, 2000, 2003; Damasio, 1995).  For instance, a “fear” response can be triggered in the presence of a snake. The somatic response in this case would be an increase in heart rate, higher frequency of breathing, dilated pupils etc. This pattern of somatic changes constitutes the emotion of fear which can prime and initiate behaviour, such as a flight or fight response. These changes in body states can be observed in most mammals, however, it’s probably only primates and certainly humans that can be aware of emotions – that is, experience feelings (Charlton, 2000)
Secondary emotions are those emotions triggered by internal events such as remembering an encounter with a snake. Secondary emotions are induced by cognitive representations, i.e. internal events that have previously been associated with a primary emotion. These representations are dispositional in that they include evaluative information about the object/event priming the emotion in the first place. Thus, remembering an encounter with a snake can invoke the same changes in body state as the initial encounter. Secondary emotions can therefore be seen as being acquired through experience and are built upon the foundations of primary emotions (Damasio, 1995). In a nutshell, secondary emotions occur in response to cognitive modelling or cognitive simulations – such as memories or plans (Charlton, 2000).
 
Feeling an emotion is the conscious awareness of this pattern of changes in body state in relation to the representation that primed these changes. Thus, representations are juxtaposed with relevant somatic states, i.e. emotions, to the extent that these representations are associated or marked with a particular emotion. This juxtaposition of representation and emotion is what constitutes the somatic marker mechanism (Charlton, 2000; Damasio, 1994).
According to Damasio (Damasio, 1994, 1996) the somatic marker mechanism is fundamental to human reasoning and decision making especially within the social and personal realm. The neurobiological site which is critical for the somatic marker mechanism to function is the prefrontal cortex, more specifically the ventro-medial sector (Damasio, 1996). Individuals with damage to this section of the cortex have strong difficulties making appropriate social decisions, while still retaining most intellectual capacities (Damasio, 1996).
 
Ultimately, a good decision for any organism is one that is advantageous for the reproductive success and survival of the organism, as well as the quality of survival (Damasio, 1994, p. 169). Somatic markers assist and guide the decision making process by modelling outcomes of decisions through changes in somatic state. A possible bad outcome of a decision can manifest itself as an immediate negative feeling such as fears, misery or disgust. The representation of the negative outcome of a given response option is marked with the unpleasant feeling, allowing the organism to reject a possible decision from the outset. Thus, in Damasio’s words “somatic markers are special instances of feelings, generated from secondary emotions. Those emotions and feelings have been connected, by learning, to predicted future outcomes of certain scenarios.” (Damasio, 1994, p. 174). The somatic marker mechanism functions as both a warning and incentive system for possible negative and positive outcomes.
 
When somatic markers operate consciously, they can assist in the modelling and planning of behaviour towards other organisms. By thinking about previous social encounters and being aware of the emotional /somatic responses that are evoked through these deliberations, dispositions and intentions of others can be inferred (Charlton, 2000; Damasio, 1994) .This means that somatic markers are pivotal in internally modelling social behaviour.
Representations of others are linked in working memory with an appropriate feeling, thus associating own emotional reactions with the representation of others. For instance, the perception of a rival male can invoke the emotional reaction of fear.  The perceptual representation of this individual is then marked with the somatic state of fear. At a later point in time, thinking about this individual, i.e. drawing upon the representation from long term memory can similarly produce the same emotional reaction. Inferences about the disposition of the other individual can be modelled upon the own emotional reaction to the encounter (Charlton, 2000).
 
The somatic marker mechanism can be seen as being the underlying neurobiological mechanism of the theory of mind mechanism and the empathizing system .Where Baron-Cohen (2005) describes the development and function of these two systems, Damasio’s somatic marker explain the underlying neurobiological mechanism by which both dispositions and inferences about another organisms’ mental as well as affective  states can be made.
 
Because human intelligence and consciousness have fundamentally evolved to deal with the social world, the spontaneous and immediate experience of the environment is infused by social information. Humans are primed to interpret ambiguous situation (like the fluttering of leaves) as being caused by agency (Barrett, 2000; Guthrie, 1995) and to reading social meaning into natural events  (Bering, 2002). This tendency to anthropomorphise the significant environment and to imbue it with social agency may underlie the evolution of religious beliefs (Charlton, 2002a, 2002b; Guthrie, 1995; Rosenkranz & Charlton, in press).
 
Empathizing evolved to focus on people, Systemizing to focus on things
Evolved function of Empathizing – social focus
 
Empathizing is based upon the ‘theory of mind’ ability. Theory of mind refers to the ability, found in some social animals, to infer metal contents such as dispositions, motivations and intentions in another con-specific.
 
We conceptualize Empathizing as the disposition to apply ‘theory of mind’ cognitive ability – this can be applied to the social situations for which the ability (presumably) evolved, and also to understanding the world in general (and not just the social world). In other words, Empathizing is the spontaneous tendency to focus on people.
 
Since humans are social animals, and in line with evolutionary concepts such as the Social Brain and ‘Machiavellian Intelligence’, we regard social intelligence as probably deriving from primate ancestry, and closer to the spontaneous form of human interest than is an interest in things. We therefore regard the highly Empathizing personality type as underpinned by an evolutionarily more-ancient personality type than is Systemizing.
In other words, Empathizing is more fundamental to humans than Systemizing and intrinsic to the species: Empathizing came before Systemizing. Further, it is possible that a preference for Systemizing did not evolve in all populations, and may be weak or absent in some human groups still extant. But in ancestral hunter gatherer situations – perhaps including pre-modern hominid ancestors – we would assume that all reproductively successful humans were not just able to infer theory of mind, but disposed to focus on other humans and their mental contents: almost everybody in these circumstances was probably a high Empathizer and it is likely that the the Systemizing trait was low, and that there may have been few or zero high Systemizers.
 
Empathizing – in its evolutionary origins - is therefore personal in its application, being specifically directed towards actual human relationships. To have an Empathizing disposition is use this cognitive style (evolved to deal with humans) as a general model of understanding. Therefore be a high Empathizer is to see the world through social spectacles: a tendency to focus attention on social relationships and to understand the world as analogous to social relationships.
 
Empathizing seems to be the natural and spontaneous way for humans to deal-with phenomena they regard as important: this is seen in the tendency to anthropomorphise large and important animals, significant places and landscape features, treasured possessions and so on; and to treat human groups (or modern institutions) as if they were unified, conscious and intentional organisms.
 
Re-defining Systemizing as a preference for focusing on linear sequences of things
 
The usual definition of the trait of Systemizing relates to a preference to analyze the world in terms of the rules which govern systems: such that the Systemizer is a person who sees the world as composed of systems, and is interested in categorization and understanding the rules, patterns or principles that underlie these systems(Baron-Cohen, 2010; Baron-Cohen, Ashwin, Ashwin, Tavassoli,& Chakrabarti, 2009).
 
However, while this is an accurate description of the interests of a high Systemizing personality who also has high general intelligence, it is a potentially misleading description of the Systemizing trait since it refers to the understanding of complex systems, that is systems of processes that are governed by rules.
 
Yet it seems plausible that an interest in the abstract understanding of the processes of complex systems is underpinned (and evolutionarily preceded) by the simpler abstract task of learning linear sequences. So in terms of a personality trait, the interest in complex systems which is measured by Systemizing questionnaires may be considered a more advanced type of an elementary interest in simpler ‘strings’ of facts, names, numbers, tasks or procedures.
 
To create categorizations, to infer a pattern, and to extract the rules from a system are in fact higher-level cognitive abilities; possible only to those of relatively high general intelligence. Abstraction of rules is, indeed, one of the main attributes of ‘g’ which is measured in standard IQ tests: for example in supplying the next member of a number series, or establishing group membership, or performing a task like Raven’s matrices (Deary, 2001; Gottfredson, 2005; Jensen, 1998).Those of low general intelligence are poor at these tasks (which is why they are used to measure IQ), and this implies that a focus on understanding the rules of systems is a high-level definition of Systemizing.
 
Therefore, while inferring categories, patterns and rules certainly count as Systemizing, we would favour a more basic and less cognitively-advanced basis for defining systematizing: that the Systemizing trait is seen at its most basic in trying to learn linear sequences of abstract facts or actions.
 
The two main aspects of Systemizing, we suggest, relate to the nature of content which is not-social i.e. abstract; and to the content being understood in terms of linear sequences of facts. Therefore Systemizing relates to:
 
→     Abstract phenomena (things not people)
→     Of a specific identity (these particular things)
→     In a specific order (in this order, or categorized thus)
 
A modern example of the Systemizing preference, would be the kind of crazes and ‘obsessions’ which are characteristic of people on the autism spectrum or with Asperger’s syndrome: learning lists of names and numbers from the telephone directory, or certain types of dates, or pictures make by highly-literal copying, or learning all the facts on a non-social themes such as automobile performance or the performance of a sports team, or literal recollection of sequences from favourite TV shows or passages from books, or hobbies involving collecting and arranging – such as stamps, cards or train-spotting.
 
These and other pastimes such as crossword or other puzzles, or some types of computer games, are often about assembling sequences of correct facts or procedures (united by theme or category) in a correct and specific order or pattern – yet these facts or procedures may not have any rule-based ‘systemic’ structure. Typically, one cannot learn these kinds of activity by learning and applying rules; rather, the activity consists in performing exact sequences of correct responses on specific material.
 
Interestingly, an explanation of Systemizing in terms of the disposition to focus upon ‘close-up’ consideration of abstract linear sequences, bears striking similarities with the concept of left cerebral hemisphere dominance as described in Iain McGilchrist’s The master and his emissary concerning autistic traits and ‘attention to detail’ (Baron-Cohen et al., 2011; McGilchrist, 2009); although at the same time McGilchrist’s evidence and argument renders implausible any direct equation of left hemisphere with male, right with female. The argument is complex and we flag it here as a matter deserving further and detailed consideration.
 
Systemizing and psychological neoteny
 
Indeed, this kind of behaviour focused on linear sequence of abstract knowledge is characteristic of children; for instance when they insist on a fairy story being told with exactly the same words and details. Many pre-adolescent boys, in particular, have periodic ‘crazes’ on various subjects (aircraft, trains, a type of book, a type of construction model, a particular sport) about which theme they voraciously learn everything they can manage.
 
These pre-adolescent boy’s crazes are typically not focused on people nor on social relations, nor are they focused on rule-based understanding; rather they are fact-based, convergent activities involving listing, collecting, categorizing, memorizing – based on learning sequences and patterns but not often complex or dynamic ‘systems’.
 
This similarity between pre-adolescent boys and high Systemizing men does not tell us why high trait Systemizing may have evolved – does not tell us how high Systemizing may have improved differential reproductive success in our ancestors - but it may suggest how high Systemizing evolved: by perpetuation of pre-adult behaviour into sexual maturity. In other words high Systemizing trait in adults may be a neotenous phenomenon.
 
(Neoteny is one type of the more general class of ‘heterochrony’in which evolutionary change is brought about by alterations in the timing of developmental events (Horder, 2001)
 
And this may provide a clue to the proximate mechanism for the evolution of higher levels of trait Systemizing. Natural selection usually works by quantitative modification or amplification of some already-existing trait (as when a hand, or an arm, evolves into a wing in a bat, or a bird; or when a neck, or a nose, become lengthened in a giraffe, or an elephant). In humans, the evolution of the high levels of Systemizing seen in modern people suggests that there was some original trait which underwent evolutionary adaptation.
 
In other words; if neoteny – or something similar – was the proximate mechanism via which natural selection led to Systemizing, then we need to consider the trait which was present in immature humans that may have provided the basis for the evolution of adult Systemizing.  
 
E-S reciprocity and sex differentials generated by selection pressure from economic factors
 
What are the main observations concerning E and S which an evolutionary hypothesis must explain? One is the reciprocity between Empathizing and Systemizing – that when one is high the other is usually low.
 
In a sense, reciprocity is an intrinsic property of some personality traits: one cannot be both highly extravert and highly introverted, cannot be both highly neurotic and very stable. Similarly, one cannot be fascinated by social relationships such as to spend most of one’s time and energy on that matter, and at the same time fascinated by learning about abstract facts and figures and systems so as to spent most of one’s time and energy on that matter as well.
Most strong personality traits can, in principle, alternate in dominance over time and with circumstance – but they cannot dominate simultaneously. So it is an intrinsic property of E-S being descriptive of a personality trait that the predisposition towards one extreme of the trait is itself a predisposition away-from the other extreme.
 
However, the E-S personality traits have been persistently observed as different, on average, between men and women. And most of the most highly empathic people are women, while most high systemisers are men. This observation invites an evolutionary explanation. 
 
We suggest that the ultimate (evolutionary) cause of sex differentials in E-S lies in the ancestral sexual division of labour among humans; men and women having different characteristic roles: women focused child care and food gathering and preparation, men focused on whatever other tasks require doing: e.g. hunting, fighting, crafts(Lee & Daly, 1999; Lee & DeVore, 1968; Ridley, 1997).
 
Specifically, we regard Empathizing as a baseline state common to ancestral men and women, and Systemizing as having been selected-for at a later stage of human evolution, primarily among men due to the ancestral economic division of labour, and the economic benefits of having some men who are high Systemizers. We assume that there were significant material rewards for those men who were both able and willing to perform Systemizing tasks, and that these extra resources would have enhanced the survival of the offspring of successful Systemizers.
Evolution of the Systemizing trait
 
To recapitulate, the Empathizing trait refers to theory of mind abilities, which would be expected to be more evolutionarily ancient than the Systemizing trait, since they are found in non-human primates. Therefore a disposition towards Empathizing (theory of mind) are hypothesized to be a feature of pre-human primate and ancestral hunter-gatherer societies. We believe that Systemizing came later in human evolutionary history, and was an ability and disposition that (in a sense) displaced pre-existing Empathizing in some men.
 
By contrast, it is hard to see any need for, or evidence for, high levels of Systemizing trait in ancestral-type hunter gatherer societies, and it is hard to imagine a plausible benefit for a personality type which is characterized by high Systemizing. Ancestral hunter gatherers were (it is assumed) well-equipped by natural selection to deal with most of the non-personal/ ‘thing’-related problems they would encounter, since they had lived in the same type of environment for up to hundreds of generations. The social brain perspective suggests that the most cognitively-complex tasks our ancestors confronted were related to understanding, predicting and manipulating human social interactions (Byrne & Whiten, 1988). And for these problems, humans were prepared by their theory of mind abilities, and the ‘Empathizing’ personality was motivated to apply theory of mind abilities in relating to the world. 
 
Furthermore, ancestral hunter gatherers were generalists: apart from a sexual division of labour, essentially all women were involved in gathering and child care, all men were warriors and hunters. Any other activities needed to be fitted-around these requirements, but because the usual group size was small (probably around 15-35 including both the young and the old) there was only a little scope for specialization of function except in terms of sex and age (Charlton, 2000; Lee & Daly, 1999)
 
Systemizing abilities and interests seems likely to be most beneficial in post-agricultural, more complex, less ‘natural’ human societies. Indeed, agricultural societies are usually characterized by some degree of economic specialization - especially among men (Woodburn, 1982). This is necessary because of the greater need for learned knowledge and technology – agriculture is itself a specialist expert activity requiring not just invention but significant preservation and inter-generational transmission of knowledge (which is why it was not invented as a stable and continuing social form until the past 10-15,000 years)
 
The evolution of Systemizing can therefore be seen in the context of life history (Rushton, 1985). Woodley (2011) sees ancestral hunter gatherer societies as characterized by a relatively fast life history – with high fertility, rapid maturation of offspring and early maturity – and this leading to an un-specialized type of human – with a narrow range or ‘manifold’ of abilities. This situation may be associated with strong sexual selection – men investing on average little in their offspring but competing for multiple promiscuous matings (with uncertain paternity); presumably men would tend toward early maturity, high vigour and physical prowess, but a short life and a mainly social intelligence (e.g. men being charming rather than Systemizing).
 
By contrast, as agriculture emerged, and population density increased; it is probable that life history was slowed due to greater competition between humans (Woodley, 2011) In such a situation, men especially would seek a niche in which they could excel, and this would be associated with slower and later maturation – and a wider range (or manifold) of abilities between individuals - which meant that some people were better at one thing while other people were expert at different things. The trend would be towards lower fertility but higher level of parental investment per offspring – and the father contributing economic investment to their offspring (about which they would need have had a high degree of certainty of paternity for this behaviour to be adaptive; Wilson and Daly (1992), Charlton and McClelland (1999).
 
In ancestral ‘simple’ hunter gatherer societies there were probably a few tasks which focused on dealing with ‘things’ and where a personality preference for such tasks might be adaptive: problems such as navigating across a desert,  manufacturing a spear thrower or stone axe, or preparing poison for a bow and arrow. Typically such jobs require (in pre-literate societies) learning and precisely remembering an exact sequence of steps.
 
But such tasks are far more numerous, and more important, in agricultural societies where there is more technology, and where farming and the preparation and storage of food must be learned and repeated exactly year after year(Woodburn, 1982) . Such societies also typically develop specialists in religious ritual (priests) and in various crafts – and craft expertise in particular becomes absolutely essential to the survival of societies(Ingold, 2000; Ridley, 1997) .
Yet such crafts must be devised, remembered, and transmitted between generations. Our assumption is that it was this kind of selection pressure in agricultural societies which led to the evolution of high levels of Systemizing seen in some members of modern populations.
Systemizing was therefore a kind of expert ability and disposition; indeed Systemizing was exactly the trait that would enable expertise to develop; because expertise was (we infer) mostly a matter of learning and memorizing accurately precise sequential facts and procedures.  Thus the development of expertise is only partly about ability to perform a type of task – equally (or more) important is the personality which is motivated to do such tasks.
 
In other words, we suggest that until the development of agriculture, humans were originally towards the Empathizing end of the trait and that sexual differentiation was probably very limited; that the characteristic observed modern pattern of E-S is primarily a product of economic selection pressures following the development of agriculture; and furthermore that the sexual differentials in E-S are a consequence of historical differences in economic selection pressures as they operated on men and women since all ancient human societies display very considerable sexual specialization in terms of economic roles (Indeed, humans are among very few species exhibiting economic sex specialization;(Ridley, 1997).
 
We suggest, therefore, that the primary evolutionary cause of the range and reciprocity of E-S and also the higher average levels of S in men, was the sexual division of labour in a context of post-hunter gather economic systems. One implication is that men and women in hunter gatherer societies were probably more similar in the E-S dimension than are men and women in agricultural and post-agricultural societies (a prediction that may be partially-testable in modern descendants of these populations).
 
Sexual selection
 
Personality clearly affects sexual attractiveness, and may therefore be subject to sexual selection. On the one hand, common sense, personal observation and theoretical considerations suggest that, on average, women do not find the highly Systemizing personality (with its preference for things rather than people) to be (of itself) sexually attractive in men. On the other hand, female sexual preferences are not necessarily an important factor in determining sexual or marriage partners. Many human societies have not allowed much scope for individual female choice of sexual or marriage partners – for instance when young women are allocated to husbands as when marriages are arranged by parents, religious leaders or the wider community (Wilson & Daly, 1992). And in these societies, sexual selection, most often female choice, may be greatly attenuated or insignificant.
 
Individual sexual choice seems, in particular, to be very limited in most stable agricultural societies – and it is our assumption that it was precisely these stable agricultural societies in which the Systemizing trait is likely to have arisen and been amplified in men.
A further factor is that one of the most powerful factors affecting female sexual preference is male status. Insofar as a high Systemizing trait leads to higher status in a man, then it may be indirectly sexually attractive – unattractive in itself, but associated with a higher status that is attractive (Buss, 1995; Symons, 1980).
 
But – at the first level of analysis – we suggest that Systemizing trait may have arisen despite sexual selection, rather than because of it.
 
* 
 
If the Systemizing trait is probably (on average) unattractive to women, this suggests that - when women are allowed to choose freely, sexual selection probably works to reduce or eliminate the Systemizing trait. This would imply that – under modern conditions of independent femal choice of sexual and marriage partners, Systemizing would be under a negative selection pressure; and that this aspect of male personality may well be experiencing a ‘selective sweep’ in which the representation of the trait in the gene pool will be changing from one equilibrium towards another (Miller, 2010).
 
Another aspect is that a highly Systemizing disposition would presumably (like all personality traits) be substantially inherited by female children as well as male children – even when there are sex differentials (Miller, 2000). So that highly Systemizing trait women would become more common, as well as highly Systemizing men – simply as a by-product of the economic selection pressure on men.
 
Then, since Systemizing reflects a person’s interests, and shared interest may be a factor in mate choice; it would be expected that highly Systemizing women would tend to regard highly Systemizing men as relatively more attractive – especially if the woman was expecting to spend a lot of time with her husband. This would be a form of assortative mating, whereby sexual partners are chosen on the basis of similarity (Miller, 2009)  . And assortative mating between high Systemizers could plausibly be a mechanism by which ultra-high Systemizing might become a feature of populations – especially in men (Baron-Cohen, 2006). Therefore this is a plausible mechanism for the emergence of Asperger syndrome at a high frequency and severity – as a by-product of high Systemizing women choosing high systematizing men as partners.
 
Summary
 
Our hypotheses concerning the evolution of Empathizing can briefly be summarized:
1.      The baseline state is that (since humans are social animals) ancestral human hunter gatherers are assumed to be high Empathizers: more interested in people than in things.
2.      Economic changes, especially related to the development of agriculture, and also other technologically dependent societies (requiring complex tools, weapons, equipment, housing etc) mean that it becomes useful for some men to become more interested in things than in people, as a motivation for them to learn and practice socially vital skills.
3.      This selection pressure applies mainly to men since in the sexual division of labour it is typically men’s role to perform such tasks.
4.      The Systemizing trait is amplified by natural selection in men – perhaps by a neotenous mechanism where childhood traits are retained into adulthood. High Systemizers emerge: men who are spontaneously more interested in things than in people. 
5.      High Systemizers are rewarded for their socially vital work by high status (and supported with resources).
6.      Social arrangements develop (or already exist) that allocate women of high reproductive potential (young and healthy) to successful high Systemizers (for example by arranged marriages, dowry payments or bride price settlements) – these mechanism suppress or overcome the sexual selection mechanism by which women choose sexual partners or husbands who are Empathizers. 
7.      The marriages of economically successful high Systemizing men will experience greater-than-average reproductive success (with more surviving and viable offspring due to differentially increased access to economic resources such as food, shelter, technologies etc.) – thus amplifying the representation of genes that cause high systematizing in the population. 
 
Predictions
 
The theory has a number of testable predictions:
 
Systemizing may be undergoing (in developed societies) on the one hand assortative mating which amplifies the number of very high Systemizers (Baron-Cohen, 2006a); and on the other hand a selective sweep that is reducing the average level of S, due to the greater operation of sexual selection in the form of female sexual choice.
 
The male female difference in E- and S may have been less in hunter gather societies  than in agricultural or modern societies – and this may be measurable in the societies which have recently been hunter gatherers and have not yet experienced many generation of the selection effects of complex societies.
 
The theoretical model suggests possible methods of measuring Systemizing and Empathizing by developing instruments that quantify people’s spontaneous preferences as expressed in choices between focusing on either on people or else things.
 
References
 
 (pp. 289-322). New York: Oxford University Press.