Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Domi-Nation Psychology

Ok, so I'm watching CNN and Dr. Drew comes on to tease his upcoming interview with Bristol Palin. A few of their topics of conversation were shared with Sanjay Gupta asking basically what-wrong-with-that (how she answered), which gave Dr. Drew the perfect opportunity to analyze Bristol's behavior. I was struck by the number of times Dr. Drew and Gupta criticized Bristol for quote-unquote hiding or masking or being less than forthcoming with her emotions.

Now, as I was watching Bristol, I was continuously struck by how mature and well-spoken and honest she was for someone her age. So, the guys' take on this was stinking a little to me. Something about it was odd. Thinking further, I began to think, can it be that Bristol was being pushed to be more sensational, and because she did have control and maturity, she never took the bait and was subsequently criticized?

I left feeling pretty sure that I was believing that was the deal.

Dang, that line is so blurred and micro-thin that I need to start feeling sorry for people who are interviewed nowadays. Cuz if that isn't already happening, you know it is just a matter of not alotta time before it is. I like Dr. Drew. I want to like him, but it is hard sometimes. Like when he's on Nancy Grace and just nods affirmatively to all her insane nonsense instead of standing up to her. He should analyze her ass. Now, to be fair, he turns around and on his own show builds his own case around the exact opposite of what he just puppy-dog agreed with, but still, geez. No balls on that one.

It makes me think, what's the use, when I get aggravated with him not being fair enough to note in all honesty, what smart person would bare her soul like his producers want. He'll just say it is the price he has to pay to be on TV. And that's pretty sad. What lengths we go to nowadays in order to dominate others.

So, this whole thing reminds me of a French art film with subtitles from 1980 called Mon Oncle d'Amerique (My American Uncle). I watched it the other night and it was quite interesting. A very young Gérard Depardieu does a very nice job as a sensitive cog in a corporate wheel.

If you know what evolutionary psychology is, the movie's plot was about an EP researcher doing lab experiments with mice that illustrate the four human reactions of that theory, and then it showed human examples of them in the characters and their integrated story plots. Think, perhaps, of an R-rated Plaza Suite , but with an over-arching behavioral science applicability.

IMDB describes it as this: "Prof. Henri Laborit uses the stories of the lives of three people to discuss behaviorist theories of survival, combat, rewards and punishment, and anxiety. René is a technical manager at a textile factory and must face the anxiety caused by corporate downsizing. Janine is a self-educated actress/stylist who learns that the wife of her lover is dying and must decide to let them reunite. Jean is a controversial career-climbing writer/politician at a crossroads in life."

Call me crazy, but I find it fascinating to see how differently people react to dominant acts made upon them by others. I do believe that we have physiological hard-wiring in us that tend to make us do things in certain predictable ways, but like William James, I think that is only part of the story, and it is possible for cultural or societal variables to influence us as well.

If I were debating a skeptic of EP, I would defend the existence of EP without it being the sole answer. Rather, part of the puzzle, but I'd insist that EP is not a dead or limited theory since the human brain and body are constantly evolving, including its hard-wired circuit board. Humans' use of language is always given as an example of EP, but we did not and do not start out knowing one.

I read a column this year by David Brooks where he dissed EP as being a dead theory and not accounting for change. I was almost wild with frustration over his assertion, like I wanted to grab his shoulders and ask him what the fuck did he think the word evolutionary meant in the name??? Hello?

This is just another example of where I think some people get all tied up in believing all the politically correct things they think they are supposed to think, and then they either don't see any contradictions or just throw up their hands and say oh well, not everything goes together, so sue me. I still cannot fathom how a Liberal who believes in Evolution to the point that he vehemently opposes the teaching of any other theory in schools, can sit there and diss capitalism for its obvious Darwinian ways. I mean, wft? Or how he might diss someone who believes that Evolution is totally logical and probable, and also believes that God invented it as a way to expedite his creating abilities.

Anyway, once a brain gets to thinking about EP and how we react to being dominated, it begins to notice there is a whole lot of it happening on a daily basis. For one thing, advertising methodology is very much based on it. Political behavior totally is. I would love to know what has caused so much bullying in schools, because I have never seen adolescent children so mean to each other as they are getting to be. Back in my day, we had them too, but were we just better able to do what we were advised, which was to just blow them off and not let them get to us? Really? Like they are the same bullies and the bullied have gotten softer? Maybe it is the reactions that are different now, and EP and this movie are all about that. So, if you ever have occasion to see it, take a chance on it.