Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Disgust and Biocognition

Following up on the last post on disgust, I thought I would follow up on it with some comments on the link between disgust and political orientation.

The a growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating a difference in disgust sensitivity between liberal and conservatives. Evidence suggests that Conservatives have a increased sense of disgust and the following are a few studies that I've pulled from Google Scholar that demonstrate the point.

Study 1.
Study 2.
Study 3.

Indeed, the link appears so strong that fMRI responses to disgust can quite accurately predict political orientation. From the the same paper;
Accumulating evidence suggests that cognition and emotion are deeply intertwined  and a view of segregating cognition and emotion is becoming obsolete. People tend to think that their political views are purely cognitive (i.e., rational). However, our results further support the notion that emotional processes are tightly coupled to complex and high-dimensional human belief systems, and such emotional processes might play a much larger role than we currently believe, possibly outside our awareness of its influence. Despite growing evidence from various fields, including genetics, cognitive neuroscience, and psychology, many political scientists remain skeptical of research connecting biological factors with political ideology, arguing variously that biology is irrelevant to central political questions, that the theoretical basis for expecting biology to be relevant is weak and murky that acknowledging a role for biology is reductionist, and that recognizing the relevance of biology to human beliefs and behaviors is potentially dangerous. We hope some of this skepticism can be alleviated from our demonstration that fMRI data, even from a single stimulus, can serve as a strong predictor of political ideology.
Smarter neuroscientists are beginning to see that a lot of the political divide is due to a phenomenon known as motivated cognition, in other words the rationalisation hamster justifying emotional response.  And a lot of the Left/Right divide may have nothing to do with principled opposition to certain positions rather they are a rationalised gut response to them. Liberals intuitively respond differently to conservatives on many issues. It is not thought per se which is driving the political debate rather it is biocognition.

Furthermore, repeated scientific studies which that conservative and liberals tend to differ on a host of personality factors. Broadly speaking, conservatives prefer order, authority and homogeneity and regularity whilst liberals are more messy and independent. The bottom line is that temperamentally the two groups are different. But it needs to be remembered that this difference needs to be seen as differing along a spectrum rather than being strictly polar.

The philosphical treatment of Rationality tended to view it as a sort of single entity of varying potentcy. i.e. Man was rational, but some men were better rationalists that others. What's becoming apparent in in psychocognitive reasearch is that there are different "modes" of intelligent action and there appear to be different types of intelligence.

Now, here I'm not talking about social or emotional intelligence, rather, there appears to be modes of thinking within the class of activity that we call rational which are different in their natures. The Dual Process theory of the mind postulates that there is a difference with System 1 and System 2. With System 1 being the "intuitive" mode of thought, and the modality of "thought" employed by the average cognitive miser.

The concept I want to explore is the idea of an emotional response being a type 1 type of process, as is the cognition generated by it. So for example, disgust is a type 1 response, as is hypergamy, threat perception, order and novelty preference and so on. Indeed, what makes the difference between liberal and conservative is the type of type 1 response generated by a specific stimulus. One could almost say that conservatives and liberals have different "operating systems" or different "natures" as the old philosophers used to say.

Take for example hypergamy. One of the startling things about the features of the female response to Alpha males is just how consistent it is across cultures. Women prefer the stronger, taller and socially adept male in all cultures and the question is why? The response, much like the response to disgusting stimuli, is not consciously thought out (System 2), rather is intuitively felt. The point being that hypergamy, much like disgust, homophily, preference for fairness and colours are hard wired into our brains. Hypergamy and disgust are a form of "machine cognition" where our biology does our thinking for us with our sensation of it being an emotional (hedonic) response. One way of thinking about it is that the "software" that ensures hypergamic response is front loaded onto the female genome as is part of the female operating system. System 1, to a large degree is what gives us our "natures."

So why is System 1 so important? Because human beings are, by their natures, cognitive misers, and the nature of System 1 "thinking" is to a large extent going to determine the responses humans give to a given question.  More on this in later posts.

But it also appears that this type of thinking seems malleable to some degree, particularly through the process of conditioning and can be influenced by externalities to a degree.

Study 4.
Study 5.
Study 6.

I think when all of this stuff is finally nutted out we will see different levels of System 1 malleability. With primal needs which are vital for replication being strongly resistant to change while less "replication contingent" elements of our natures will probably have a significant degree of malleability. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Given events in the U.S. in the last few days, I felt it would be pertinent to revisit the subject of disgust.

Disgust was a long overlooked emotion but recent psychological research into the subject has shown that it plays an important role in many facets of the human person.

Firstly, with regard to the subject of female sexuality, there is a growing body of research which suggests that it has an important role in the regulation of female sexuality.  From this paper,
In addition, the stimuli involved in sexual encounters are in general (at least out of context) strongly perceived to hold high disgust qualities, with saliva, sweat, semen and body odours qualifying among the strongest disgust elicitors . Clearly then, disgust may be an important interfering factor in sexual activity which may help to explain the mechanisms involved in sexual dysfunction  The finding that many of the strongest disgust eliciting stimuli are also involved in sex (e.g., saliva, and sweat) may not only help explain how disgust may be involved in sexual dysfunction, but it also raises the critical question of how people succeed in having pleasurable sex at all
The growing research evidence suggests that arousal is the key disgust suppression mechanism which facilitates sexual activity. In other words, women are quite literally disgusted by the idea of sex unless sufficiently aroused. This is an important finding, especially with regard to its theological implications. Traditionally, the marital debt was supposed to be rendered by each spouse on demand--within reason--yet the arousal dimension, a dimension which appears to be necessary in order for the normal functioning of the act has not been an object of consideration. There appears to be a need for a theology of desire (Eros: Ed).

The implications of a lack of arousal are clear. (from the same paper) 
From a clinical standpoint these findings can indicate that lack of sexual arousal (perhaps due to inappropriate stimulation) may interfere with functional sex, as it may prevent the reduction of disgust and disgust related avoidance tendencies. Consequently, if sexual arousal is low (for a variety of possible reasons), the disgusting properties of specific stimuli, which are relevant for the engagement in pleasurable sex, as well as the hesitation to approach these stimuli are not attenuated. As a result, this could lead to problems with sexual engagement, and lack of vaginal lubrication, which in turn could increase friction and cause problems such as pain with intercourse. It is thus possible that in extreme cases the woman might acquire negative associations with sex and might start to avoid sexual intercourse altogether. Relevant to this, our previous studies with women suffering from vaginismus (Genito-pelvic pain disorder/penetration disorder) have shown that they experience disgust responses towards erotic stimulation at the subjective as well as at a more automatic level. Moreover, the fact that sex related stimuli appeared to elicit disgust rather than arousal in women suffering from vaginismus might further worsen the problem. This is relevant here, since a typical response to disgust is avoidance behaviour in order to create distance from the disgusting stimuli. Thus, it is highly possible that these sexual problems can be directly or indirectly related to low sexual arousal, which as a consequence gives more room for the elicitation of disgust, resulting in a downward spiral and continued maintenance of their difficulties and sexual dysfunction.
As I've mentioned before, "Biblical Christians", whom insist that a wife must submit to his wife without any reference to the qualities of desire are cultivating conjugal trouble.

Recent research into the subject of Vaginismus and Dyspareunia have shown that women who suffer from these conditions have a higher disgust response to sexual stimuli than other women. Furthermore, normal morally conservative women have a higher disgust response than liberal women. (There appears truth to the notion that liberal women are easy and more tolerant of dirt.)

Now treatment for this condition varies in effectiveness with most approaches being based on a systematic desensitisation approach with quite variable success rates. Interestingly, this small and highly ethically dubious study, used "surrogate partners" with 100% success. After reading the about this latter study, I wanted to know a bit more about the characteristics of the surrogates, no details were forthcoming, but this dissertation, which reviewed the literature with regard to male response to vaginismus, is, as they say, very...very interesting.
The male partners of women with vaginismus are typically described as gentle, timid, inexperienced, overly considerate, and passive-dependent men who are unassertive with lower than average sexual desire (Fertel, 1977 cited in Leiblum et al., 1980). The female partner is seen as the more dominant personality in the majority of the cases (O’Sullivan, 1979). A psychometric study of both partner’s personality by Kennedy et al. (1995) found the male partners “to be reserved rather than outgoing, sober rather than happy-go- lucky, shy rather than  venturesome, trusting rather than suspicious, tense rather than relaxed” (p. 16).
A high proportion of the male partners are described as gentlemen, who are kind and polite, display a good deal of tenderness and concern towards their partner, and show much consideration and understanding for her condition (Puxon & Dawkins, 1963;Stanley, 1981). These qualities of support and empathy may help with the continuation of the relationship, but some partners experienced supportiveness without an appropriate level of assertiveness, as an exacerbation of the difficulties caused by vaginismus in a study by Canin (2006). 
Roissy's shadow is ever present in the dissertation.
Several manosphere commentators have noted the link between disgust and non-alphaness and it would appear that there is a sound scientific basis for it.  Arguing against the notion that there is something wrong with women for wanting an alpha male is not just anti-woman but it is anti-nature as well.


I'm not saying that both these conditions are caused solely by a lack of alphaness in the male, rather it would appear that recent research suggests that the that failure of desire arousal (for whatever mechanism) may be responsible. Epsecially, in cases of dyspareunia, organic factors may be at play and need to be excluded before "desire failure" should be considered as a cause.
Seek proper medical advice.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Lucky Guy

Unlike a lot of this segment of the blogosphere, I'm pretty ambivalent on the subject of a hereditary aristocracy or Royalty. It's a sort of backhanded tribute to Marx when one accepts the notion that those born into a life of privilege are actually morally better than those less fortunate.

I must admit that I have strong sympathies for this view of Jefferson in his letter to John Adams,

For I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents. Formerly bodily powers gave place among the aristoi. But since the invention of gunpowder has armed the weak as well as the strong with missile death, bodily strength, like beauty, good humor, politeness and other accomplishments, has become but an auxiliary ground of distinction. There is also an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents; for with these it would belong to the first class. The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift of nature for the instruction, the trusts, and government of society. And indeed it would have been inconsistent in creation to have formed man for the social state, and not to have provided virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of the society. May we not even say that that form of government is the best which provides the most effectually for a pure selection of these natural aristoi into the offices of government? The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in government, and provision should be made to prevent it’s ascendancy.
A cursory read of European history will show that princes have been corrupt, kings bad, dukes dissolute, Earls treacherous and Queens promiscuous. In England, we have the virtue of Elizabeth matched by the prolishness of his Son Andrew and former daughter-in-law Sarah. There have been exceptions of course, but hereditary aristocracy is no guarantee of virtue. I'd be far more accepting of it, if we could rid ourselves of the worst offenders without slipping into war.

Which brings me to Sweden. Nothing really surprises me about Sweden and those superior Aryans Nords anymore. It appears that they have had a Royal Wedding and whilst marrying commoners is not the breech of precedent it was before, I must admit, I'm a bit surprised with Sweden's newest princess, Sofia Kristina Hellqvist.  Her credentials are impressive (NSFW). Topless model, Reality TV show contestant,  admirer of  Jenna Jameson.  The picture in the Wiki link shows her just about to hit the wall.

Clearly, some commoners are more common than others. That prince, he sure is a lucky guy.

Welcome to our new overclass.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Carnal Lite II: The Virtues of Eros.

One of the most important concepts in biology is the concept of conditioning. First described by Pavlov, conditioning is the learned association between between an innate response and some other stimulus. It is a powerful mechanism of learning in aversion therapy, i.e. when you want to teach a patient to avoid a certain behaviour. It is worth keeping in mind in my comments to follow.

Now, the reason I bring this up is because of a recent post by Dalrock, Don't blame Heartiste for the equation of Alpha with virtue, which I believe raises an important question with regard to the relationship between the two. Now, in order to help those who suffer from concept conflation,  I want to distinguish between alpha male traits--traits which women find sexually attractive--and the the PUA lifestyle, which involves the bedding of multiple women.  The two concepts are separate and when I speak of Alpha male behaviour, I'm speaking of the specifically of the traits, not the lifestyle.

Now the reason I raise this point is to pose the question: Is it possible to be properly masculine without reference of alpha traits? Or is alphaness something that forms a component of masculinity?

If you look at it more closely, many of the alpha traits which women find attractive aren't explicitly sexual traits but are rather personality factors, which demonstrate a strong internal locus of control combined with a strong sense of social awareness. Can a man be manly without these factors? Personally, I don't think so and am more of the opinion that a man needs to posses some alpha factors in his personality to be properly masculine.

In other words, Alpha behaviour is a component of masculinity and sexual attractiveness is a sort of virtue. A better way of thinking of it is as an Arete, an excellence of masculinity.

As I've argued previously, Christianity has downplayed this excellence and has sometimes been out-rightly hostile to it, and has in may ways laid the foundation for the current sexual dystopia, by blurring the sexual dimensions of the person, seeing moral goodness as sexually androgynous. When we tend to think of a good man for instance, we don't tend to think of him as a attractive muscular personage, rather we tend to dismiss this aspect and evaluate him solely on his character traits. Likewise for women. Christian goodness or badness seems to seems to evaluate the "vessel" in which the moral actor subsists as morally irrelevant. It's hard to develop a theology of sexual polarity when the underlying religious assumptions regard physical sexual identity as if it didn't matter.

The problem with taking this approach is that it become very difficult to then to analyse deficiencies or excellences of sexual polarity within any type of moral framework. Even Christian conceptions of Eros, tend to "decarnalise it" seeing it as an appetitve element, a thing of desire, rather than as a thing of desire for the opposite sex. If anyone doubts this, have a read of Benedict's speculations in his Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, and Benedict is not stupid. This Christian approach to Eros deforms it into a meeting of souls instead of a hedonic delight in the carnal nature of each other. Eros is primarily concerned with the flesh.

Eros is a type of love that brings the opposites together and therefore it's virtues are those which facilitate union. Masculinity under such a framework  must posses qualities which are attractive to the opposite sex, likewise femininity is composed of the qualities which attract the male. The Erotic virtues are those which conform to this ideal and a good man under this analysis is not only a man who is pleasing to God but is also attractive to women. Furthermore, masculinity in this construct becomes a matter of empirical observation instead of some philosophical construct. A component of masculinity must include what women like.

This "carnal lite" view of the sexes leads to other more profound problems. It tends to analyse intersexual relationships without reference to actual human biology, tending to evaluate male female relationships on a "platonic" dimension instead of an "erotic" one. Marital dysfunction is seen more as a "friendship" failure rather than a failure of Eros.  Now by erotic failure, I don't just mean an explicitly sexual failure--i.e a failure in the bedroom--but rather a more inclusive failure of either masculinity or femininity. Wives come home to men who can't make a decision and men come home to whiny bossy wives.  Marriages fail not just because men and women don't posses the character traits to be friends, rather marriages fail because the partners fail to maintain their sexual polarity.
Christianity just doesn't operate on this level of analysis.

Now the reason why I think this is important is because many Christian types feel that the institution of marriage would be all right and dandy if wives would just simply" submit to their husband" as per Paul's command. Paul says much more than this on the subject of marriage and is, in fact, quite explicit that both partners should try to please each other. But what's important here, amongst those who love to emphasise this passage of scripture, is the usual accompanying disregard for the erotic component of male-female relationship, and given the anti-carnal tendencies of Christianity, "pleasing" is quite readily assumed as not including the broader sexual dimension. Therefore Christian marital advice focuses on "understanding" and "patience" instead of losing weight and property maintenance without nagging. Furthermore, Christianity does not seem to grasp that their may be a class of "erotic sins" which wound a marriage.

Now telling women to "submit" without reference to their carnal nature leads to some very interesting and poisonous after effects, especially in light of recent psychological research on the subject of disgust. Accumulating evidence suggests that the emotion of disgust is the sexual gatekeeper in women and it's inhibition through the mechanism of arousal is what permits sexual activity to occur.

Which brings us back to the subject of conditioning. If a women is compelled to have sex without arousal, her innate response will be to associate the act with disgust, The thing that needs to be remembered is that this is a "hard wired" biological response not some choice. Over a while,  a conditioned response will occur and avoidance behaviour will set in, resulting in the marital aridity of folklore. Now the good woman may choose, out of her love of God, to grit her teeth and perform for the husband but she will be acting against her nature and gradually, as the cycle is repeated,  the conjugal aspect of the marriage will become dysfunctional. No matter how you cut it, arousal and disgust matter. Eros is more than just desire, it's about the qualities of the other.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Jezebel President.

George Bush may have been an idiot but he never left his country impotent, like Jimmy Carter did. How does the most powerful nation in the world get bought to its knees without a shot being fired? Perhaps it's when they elect, through their deliberative and shrewd judgement, an idiot man of God.

Anyone trying to understand the malaise at that time would do well to reflect on this latest piece by Jimmy Carter as an insight into the "mind" of the man. One doesn't expect high intellectual standards from the Left but Jimmy is proof that age does not necessarily give wisdom, nor "faith" intelligence.

Guess the men who fought and bled on Guadalcanal and Tarawa died so such a man could rule.

Give me Tricky Dicky any day.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Pope Francis Appeals to Roissy. (Sort of)


In further proof that the Traditionalists are the intellectual equivalent of Liberals, only at the opposite temperamental pole, Pope Francis, who is "persona non grata" amongst them, has once again confounded expectations by laying the boot into Feminism and Gender Theory. Quelle Surprise!

In his THIRD condemnation of Gender studies during his Papacy, Francis makes a shout out to the Manosphere!
The marital and family bond is something serious; it is for everyone, not just for believers. I would like to urge intellectuals not to abandon this topic, as though it had become secondary to commitment in favor of a freer and more just society.
To be quite honest though, Francis once again goes into traditional Platonic Love mode.
"To resolve their relationship problems, man and woman need instead to talk more to one another, listen more to one another, know one another more, love one another more. They need to treat one another with respect and cooperate in friendship. With these human foundations, sustained by the grace of God, it is possible to plan a marital and family union for the whole of life.
Perhaps a better solution would be for men to act like men and women to act like women and then do the talking. This implies knowing how to act like a man and knowing how to act like a woman something which the Church itself has considerably muddled.
As I've argued in previous posts, the Church has in many ways been the midwife of Gender theory by pushing a view of human sexuality that downplayed the carnal component of it. Eros became desexualised. The moderns, simply took the cultural capital they inherited and amped it up, and the way to look at Gender theory is that it is a type of Platonic love only on steroids. Spirit disconnected from body as opposed to Aristotlean hylomorphism where spirit and body are one. You Churchy types reflect on The Word made Flesh for a moment.

Pope Francis seems to be proof that the Traditionalists will do all the possibly can to let the Liberals win. The Liberals are the Catholic Church's Sefton.

Bonus Link.

I don't agree with all the things that Zmirak says because I don't think Francis is an enemy of the Right, he's opposed to Traditionalists.  The way to think about what is going on in the Catholic Church is not a Right/Left dichotomy rather, it is a Tradtionalist/Right/Left trichotomy.  With the Trads and the Left both working to undermine the Right.

Perhaps we have our first Reactionary Pope.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Easter Homily.

Perhaps the best homily heard during this Easter period was not heard from the pulpits but from inside the reactionary sphere.  Now, I don't agree with everything over at Alternative Right but there is a lot to agree about in this piece.

But why are Christian Conservatives so weak, so feeble, so unable to stand up on their two hind legs, except to beg for mercy? Some will say it's because they are too nice, too meek and mild "like Mary's holy child," too in love with love, and too at peace with peace to ever kick up a fuss. But the funny thing is that that is more or less exactly how their Liberal opponents like to see themselves – the good guys, the lovable peaceniks, everybody’s friend, etc. Their humanitarian totalitarianism and Twitter hate lynch mobs draw moral strength from the certainty that they are.
 Cook was blamed for his hypocrisy, but this is a little unfair. Hypocrisy usually means you treat identical cases differently, but there is every difference between Saudi Arabia and Indiana, as there is between Islam and Christianity. In Christianity, Liberals merely see a faith that is weaker then their own; one that can be pushed around by their zealots with little fear of reprisals. With Islam they see a faith that is stronger than theirs and accordingly tread much more carefully and respectfully.
The problem revealed by the RFRA debacle in Indiana is not that Liberals exist and want Liberal things, but instead that Christians are not fully Christian and have no idea how to get Christian things. They are at best lukewarm believers in their supposed faith, incapable of acting to defend their beliefs.....
.....A more likely explanation is that Christianity in the modern West is only capable of inspiring a faith that is feeble, doubt-ridden, passive, and essentially worthless – except as a means of enriching its ministry. Perhaps that is where all its enthusiasm has gone, and why there is none left over to fight back against the rampant rival faith of Liberalism, which in itself is a fine example of just how potent comparatively small numbers of religiously motivated White people can be.
Testify Brother, Testify!
The astonishing march of the Left Wing through Western Culture has only been possible because of the lack of opposition to it. It was only in the 90's that Gay marriage was regarded as a joke and now we see Christians being persecuted by mobs for their feeble opposition to it.
Belloc was right, Europe is the Faith and the Faith is Europe, and if the idea of European Civilisation is dying it's because the faith is dying as well.  Part of the reason I suspect this is the case is because the faith we have had handed down to us has had all the testosterone washed out of it. Christianity still believes in its mission, but it's mission has been redefined as being just another NGO, albeit one that has to comply with Ceasar's bidding.

Another part of the reason is that the Christian teaching on Courage has tended to emphasise it's passive component. Lauding the courage of forbearance and the acceptance of pain whilst downplaying the role of righteous defence and attack.  Doubling down on prayers and fasts may improve ones "spirituality" and ability to bear suffering, but it does nothing to diminish the hurt from the opposition. It's so much easier to withdraw than attack, and justify it as "carrying your cross".

After reading the article, I must admit the first thought came to mind was the Parable of the Talents. Many people have been given the Talent of Christianity only to squirrel it away and do nothing with it. "Accepting Jesus" was quite clear on what was going to happen to them. God expects you to have a pair.