There is no such thing as “tough love.” There is only love. Training, coaching, modeling, and helping people adjust to difficult or dangerous coming circumstances is not tough love. It’s not love at all. It’s a formative procedure to gain reactions attuned to those of someone who already knows, who’s been there, who knows what you are going to have to face…and how to do it. There is no “holding ourselves together while distancing us apart.” That phrase, and the others like it in the same vein, is as oxymoronic as the phrase “tough love.” We are extremely social animals, and our very survival on the planet is wired directly to our getting together physically. Putting distance between humans will definitively change humanity for all time. Doing so for a long period will kill humanity, deader than any disease. There is no “trust with verification.” The verification part of that presupposes a lack of trust, unless, somehow, the definition of the word trust is changed. We labor over coming up with, as a strong part of the social order, expressions that will justify the kind of conduct we feel we must or want to follow…while making it sound like something else entirely.

As a credentialed anthropologist, I want to pass on to you the best descriptor of the human condition I ever came up with. I delivered that descriptor in response to a question from the audience in a speech I gave to a large audience in Hawaii back in 2009. “We are all shaven lemurs, come down from the trees above, having knocked the fruit from those trees to the forest floor. We climb down to gather the fruit, fight over it, and lie about what we are doing.” Deception is such a core ‘value’ of all human survival, and the greatest deception of all, practiced everywhere and all the time, is the constant and steady deception about that deception. No doubt, some will comment about these particular parts of this article, about how they do not lie, they do not deceive. These commenters should be revealed as what they are, the best and most effective deceivers around.

There is no “truth” in science. There is only a repeat performance of experiences and experiments to confirm that things tested give every appearance, over time, of rendering the same result as the initial tests or experiments. Quantum theory, followed by the application of quantum mechanics, has allowed us, those of us who study and choose to believe, to understand scientific results are subject to vagaries of change and chaos seemingly unestablished by any stable force in an ever-changing and only vaguely understandable physical universe.  But, the verification process of repeatable experiments, religiously applied, allows humanity to advance into an uncertain future grounded with the background and experience of those humans who have come before…and taken the trouble and (many times the pain) to gift usable knowledge to future generations that might not know, or understand, or have been able to try it themselves.

There is no “truth” in the human social order either. Everything in every human speck of rationality and motivation, is genetically hard-wired to curry favor, to help those humans known closely, to invest in family members…unerringly, constantly and without any reservation, except in denying that that is the basal motivation factor in almost all human endeavor. The ‘numbers’ most everyone sees on television or in the mass media, to prove the facts presented, are almost always wrong. They are deliberately wrong to favor one side, one family, one group, or even one individual. Those numbers can be bank balances, interest rates, political results, polls, and even numbers of measurement. In the social science of sociology, there came a theory that explained all this and how it came to be, back in the seventies and eighties.

That theory was called sociobiology, and the monumental and stunning conclusions with respect to it were deemed likely to affect each and every sub-discipline in all social sciences. That didn’t happen. Instead, sociology was pulled down, out and apart, and then stomped to death…its genius level creator marginalized and sent to some environmentally safe pasture. Quietly, because of what E.O. Wilson studied and wrote about, the very heart of sociology was removed and then sent to the same pasture Wilson has been consigned to. The reality Wilson uncovered and then explained quite simply hurt too much.

~ James Strauss



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