previous.gif     next.gif    

Human Nature and Behavior

by Alfred de Grazia


The elephant's trunk is not a nasal tumor. The androvorism of the praying mantis is not a perversion. The seal's flippers are not a deformity. Nor is the human polyego a tumor, a perversion or a deformity. It is the humble beginning of his claim to rule the world.

In his immediate arrogance, like a newly ennobled baron, man invents his ancestry. The gods created him specially. The event was attended by the shaking of heaven and earth. All the beasts and flowers attended his dispositions. His every blemish became a sign of nobility: fallen hair, clumsy toes, an appetite for everything that sprouted or moved, a jerky gait, a never-ending anxiety, superstition, and suspiciousness. Compelled to count, he summed up everything. Compelled to displace, he permuted all objects into personal associations. When all is done, he looks at his work, and like Elohim, is satisfied.

But he does not rest. He destroys. He tortures himself by inner contradictions. He attacks his fellows – not with the simple anatomical instruments of the beast but with an ever-elaborating paraphernalia and by all media – by the word, the organized onslaught, the manipulation of the whole range of the humanly valued – persons, objects, ideals, subsistence, affection, dignity, freedom and life itself. No insult is too subtle, no injury too enormous. If it can be conceived, it must be developed for use. So goes history; so goes the world. All of man is good and bad, mingled inextricably, beyond separation, beyond therapy, probably even beyond meaning in his brain. What is to be done with this creature?

The chances that an intelligent, sharing, and peaceful creature can be formed of what exists are low, so low that it appears useless to bank upon them. Gross deficits exist in knowledge, in design, and in power. We can imagine three different scenarios. One is organization. Another is selective breeding. A third is cloning. Organization has been the largest hope of theologians and philosophers from our beginnings. By its promise, evermore increasing with the advancement of the human sciences, a leadership would be recruited to promote all observable tendencies in the cultures of the world that elicit intelligence, generosity, and pacifism. These qualities would be so fortified by all that we know or may come to know about discrimination for "good" and against "evil" that opposing individual, popular, and organizational tendencies would be frustrated, and socially extirpated. Eternal vigilance would be required, and every investment provably promoting the three virtues would be jealously protected.

A second scheme is selective breeding. What is now unknown would have to be discovered: tests for genetic tendencies or docility with regards to intelligence, sharing and pacifism. This is not an impossible task. Ever more refined research may eventuate in methods of analyzing genetic correlates of these traits, as has already been done with intelligence. It might even be accomplished with crude means. Such would be the licensing of births, conditioned not only upon prospects of health but also upon the prospects for intelligence, generosity, and pacificity, as judged by ancestry to the extent possible. Where at least some precision were obtainable, for a few if not for all potential parents, a sperm bank might be created whose use would become a condition for birthing, in the absence of positive criteria otherwise.

The third scheme would foster research into cloning, roughly considered as the substitution of certain undesirable genetic material in the egg of potential parents by desirable material. This would have an acceptability in that potential parents, who are often cognizant of their own deficiencies and those of their families, would accept just enough alterations to permit genetic gains while preserving most traits that are their own. All three visions have a probably fatal flaw: homo sapiens schizotypus fears them, naturally, as he fears all things. Fearing them, he will wish to control them. The more obsessive, selfish and violent his efforts at control, the more likely he will succeed in Q-CD vol 7: Homo Schizo II, Epilogue 240 obstructing, or suppressing, or perverting the three types of human reform.

At the very best, a determined group, thoroughly dedicated to the visualized plans, and agreeing to subject themselves ultimately to them, would come to command the power to put the plans into effect, and, once in power, would do so. There are isolated instances of this kind of behavior in the world, but no indications of their having broadened into a world revolutionary movement without losing their raison d'étre. Cincinnatus resigned his post as Dictator of the Roman Republic and returned to his farm and plow. Not only are there few persons like him, but retiring from the scene is forbidden under the rules of the utopian game under discussion. We must conclude that even were science to guarantee high probabilities of success for these proposed solutions of homo schizo, we would not be able to obtain the power for the solutions without losing the dedication to them.

Under such circumstances, only one course can be recommended – that whoever believes, should do what he can, no matter that it may be an iota of the envisioned state of affairs. Devise a politics – call it "kalotics" – and apply it. Invent a therapy and proceed to apply it. What else can one do without doing evil?

We know this: that homo schizo has the capability for anhedonic, obsessive identification with an ideal, and he may as well work to transform himself as to destroy himself. Then, one day, just as a humble change made homo schizo, another humble change may be discovered to remake him. What a great day, when homo sapiens schizotypus becomes homo sapiens sapiens.


previous.gif     next.gif