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This topic contains 18 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  Conrad 2 weeks, 4 days ago.

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  • serento
    Participant

    Im interested in anyone’s thoughts about Griffith’s ‘Love Indoctrination’ theory. The idea that selfish genes could give rise to selfless instincts! Anyone got any thoughts on that part of Griffith’s books. And bonobos and fossil evidence too I suppose.


  • Jakey
    Participant

    I don’t understand why the ‘selfless’ / ‘selfish’ thing? If Neg Entropy is legitemate (and I’m not suggeting it’s not) and therefore everything is moving towards greater order, then genes aren’t ‘selfish’, as Griffith says are they? Are they (if we’re in the business of personifying) not just creating more ‘order’ by producing more ‘selected'(natural selection) individuals? i.e. a more efficient/ adapted species which is ‘order’ and not selfish at all?


  • serento
    Participant

    thats a fair point I think Jakey. Griffith does say that genes are a tool for creating more order (thats a big idea right there), but with a limitation, which is that they have to be selfish because selfless or sacrificial traits dont reproduce. Is that what you were talking about?


  • Jakey
    Participant

    Thanks serento, I guess… but yeah I get the whole selfless traits can’t reproduce bc they’ll self eliminate (much more clearly thanks to Griffith), my question in light of that is mute but I guess I was just thinking about Natural Selection and how the more successful a trait is the more it will be selected for and that will in turn create a more efficent/adapted species which is in-effect creating more order, more ‘stable wholes’ and therefore not ‘selfish’ at all, or in fact a limitation, it’s the necessary tool for creating more order (in instances where selflessness (which will create the most order) is not going to be successful (bc it’ll die)) and so therefore should not carry the [implied] negative, “selfish”. ?????


  • able921
    Participant

    I recommend chapter 4.4 of Freedom to get a good background on genes and how they are a tool for developing order, but with a limitation which is that “unconditionally selfless behaviour normally cannot be developed between sexually reproducing individuals”. And then chapter 5.4 about how humans got around that. They never taught me this in school.


  • PaulM
    Participant

    Love the thread folks. All of this science is fascinating. The love-indoctrination part of Griffith’s theory is unique in my experience. But it is plausible, and then there are the bonobos, which evidence the process. Thats what clinched it for me. In addition to 4:4 and 5:4, make sure you read the chapter on bonobos in 5:6. Bonobos aren’t like any other ape (except for us I guess), and the love indoctrination theory provides a very clear explanation for their behaviour.


    • Bailey Fiona
      Participant

      I was just thinking the other day THANK GOD FOR BONOBOS! Griffith would just be so disregarded if he didn’t have them to refer to, how could you argue that cooperation could be instincitve AND SUCCESSFUL without them, surely impossible? Have you seen the footage on YouTube from that chapter 5:6 (the same chapter others have mentioned) DO YOURSELF THE FAVOR! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs71s6oGxpQ . Watching bonobo footage brings me to tears, they are just so sensitive, the Garden of Eden indeed!

  • Stefan
    Stefan
    Participant

    Hi Jakey! Have you ever read Jeremy’s original submission to Nature and New Scientist? I’m asking because it was only after I had read the original paper too, when things really clicked for me. Here’s the link to the 20-page document: https://www.humancondition.com/submission-to-nature-and-new-scientist/

    I think the parts that could be most interesting to you will be number 2, in which Jeremy describes the limitations of genetic refinement and number 3, in which he shows the solutions to these limitations. As far as I get it, the only reason for selfless behaviour was that at a certain size (development stage), species (genes basically) had to sexually reproduce to create ever more complex forms. In the beginning there was no consciousness noticing it, but it was already at this stage when mothers were starting to nurture their infants. And after millions of years of natural selection and integrative meaning – and of course nurturing – consciousness was developed about 2 millions years ago in our human ancestors. As Jeremy explains, this rise of consciousness was only possible through the nurturing because it allowed the perfect conditions for our brain to develop. Just think of it, you’re more likely to develop a conscious brain if you’re having a safe childhood (like for example bonobos) rather than fighting for survival from your early days (like for example crocodiles). It’s been a long way since then, but the moment when humans got conscious, our infants started interpreting their mothers’ behaviour as unconditional love. You can say the mother behaved selfish (it was just nurturing its offspring), but the infant experienced this behaviour as selfless, because it wasn’t doing anything to deserve all of this love, care and nurture.

    Having said all of that, I think you’re right. Ultimately none of this is selfish, nor is it selfless. It’s just integrative meaning at work.

    I hope this helps and if there’s anything in my writings that you know is flawed, please let me know. I wrote the above explanation from the top of my head and only to get you excited about the 1983 proposal. I can still remember the day when I fell in love with its table of contents. I was reading the document for the second time and just staring at the toc and thought to myself that this is the most beautiful thing in the universe. I still get this feeling when I’m looking at it right now :)


    • Jakey
      Participant

      Hey Stefan, this is great, just what I need. I’ve been on the Group Selection V’s Kin Selection V’s Multi-level Selection Rollercoaster and I need some clarification.


  • richard
    Participant

    I love how Griffith handles these modern theories like Group Selection. EO Wilson trying to say that the human condition is just about having cooperative and selfish instincts. And that our mind is the heroic mediator between them. What BS! Read chapter 2 of FREEDOM. Or read ‘What is Science?’ in the ‘book of real answers’. Here is the link: https://www.humancondition.com/what-is-science/.


  • Dave
    Participant

    I agree that Griffith is right and Wilson is 180 degrees wrong on the issue of selfless instincts. However, there needs to be a lot of science work done on this. I think of it kind of like Darwin. He had the right idea and some evidence (fossils and finches etc.) to back it up, but he did not even know about Mendel, DNA and the many other lines of evidence that would come along and change Darwin’s hypothesis into today’s very solid, well accepted Theory of Evolution.

    It will be a long time before there are enough confirmed hypotheses and lines of evidence to make the jump from Griffiths hypothesis to a solid well accepted “Griffiths Theory of the Human Condition”. Please tell me there is a “Wallace” out there somewhere.

    We need people’s lives to change to show Griffith is right as much as we need the science. I know my life has changed for the much better. As suggested in Freedom, the HC idea is what science has been looking for all this time!!!

    I am very grateful to find this information.


    • Oliver
      Participant

      I like how you’re thinking Dave. The possibility of “a Wallace” hadn’t occurred to me; food for thought!


  • nomad
    Participant

    People have levelled the ‘its not a testable hypothesis’ charge at Griffith. Thats some BS right there Richard. How about scientists apply the scientific method to the operation of nerves and instincts and see what happens when the intellect overrides reestablished instincts. How about they test for resignation before and after. I could imagine psychological tests and neuroscans would show something. Or how about they test the love-indoctrination hypothesis on bonobos and see if it doesn’t explain them better than any other theory.
    Purely on the explanatory power of these ideas, mainstream science should have rushed to test them in every way they could think of. That they haven’t is a disgrace.


    • Keith
      Participant

      Love your work Nomad


  • Lazarus
    Participant

    Enjoy the title of this thread ‘selfless genes’ there’s something paradoxically stupid yet fascinating.
    Just read Griffith’s little book ‘Transform Your Life’. His opening assertions about ‘selfless genes’ is an interesting one to debate.
    I recently read quite a bit about considering other points of views before reacting and so I carried forth despite my initial skepticism (inner revolt?).
    I’m not necessarily convinced, by any measure, but I’m certainly intrigued to continue this education further.
    It takes a while just to get Griffith to tell me his opinion because he uses many references to make his point about our ‘cooperative past’ but once he does you see he has a point. It is a bit of a ‘hand book’ to his bigger book (which I haven’t read yet) and he references it a lot, so you might need it at hand to get a handle on what he’s saying completely, so I’ll start there I guess.


  • pixie
    Participant

    There is a huge nurturing element to Jeremy’s selflessness theory in that his love indoctrination theory is based on nurturing. Its very interesting to hear him say that nurturing is what made us human. And then we had to become patriachal when the human condition became the main focus for humanity. I have to remember that when dealing with egocentric men!


    • Michael
      Participant

      The “human condition” which Jeremy talks about in combination with the concept of loveindoctrination would imply that egocentric men are egocentric simply because they haven’t yet realized how their own mothers were egocentric when they nurtured them…so, the human world consists of egocentric mothers (and egocentric mothers-to-be), their loveindoctrination-ignorant and therefore egocentric sons, plus the intermediate proportion of humanity who are neither egocentric nor ignorant, but curious and balance-minded…


  • RJ
    Participant

    As well as the extraordinary evidence bonobos provide of the love-indoctrination process (Freedom Chapter 5.6) as others mention above, I’ve recently read the preceding chapter 5.5 in Freedom which outlines the very recently found fossil evidence of our ape ancestors. It’s absolutely fascinating reading. For example the evidence confirms the early emergence of bipedalism and the ‘presence and influence’ of more maternal mothers. Learning about ‘Ardi’ and the other individuals anthropologists have unearthed and what they confirm regarding our collective infancy is a deeply humbling experience. What an extraordinary journey humanity has been on.


  • Conrad
    Participant

    it’s very very interesting to read & understand how unconditional selflessness (or love) was able to be developed from within a system (genetics) that only “rewarded” or “fostered” selfishness. As Griffith explains, it required very unique circumstances (ideal nursery conditions, ample food supply, low or no predators etc) which allowed for the long infancy/matriarchal/emphasis on nurturing that enabled the love-indoctrination process to take hold and eventual develop into full blown consciousness (see Freedom Essays 21, 22 & 24). I just love thinking about how, way back in our species primate past, there was a period of about 8-10 million years that we lived in an environment/society/situation that was completely and totally dedicated, 100% of the time, to selfless love and nurturing. We humans have been fully conscious for approximately 2 million years so the true history of our species, and as Griffith explains, where our cooperative moral soul or conscience comes from, is that incredible period of our species past – which turns out to have been much longer than the time we’ve been conscious. It’s just amazing to think about and, along with the explanation of the human condition and of how consciousness emerged, it’s so illuminating of so many aspects of human life that it’s no wonder it takes some time to get your head around it!