Freud Distracted Intellectual Progress As Much As Did Marx


[H]umans are driven by status signals. The purpose of status signals may in fact INCLUDE access to reproduction, but that is only one of the may uses of signals. Without signals we cannot know whom to imitate. Without those signals we literally cannot think. We cannot think without signals any more than we can perceive beyond our fingertips without numbers, counting and arithmetic. We cannot think without signals any more than we can think about the future in a division of knowledge and labor without the tools of time, money and prices.

The human accounting system is status signals. Unlike the properties of the physical world, which we need numbers, measures, counting, arithmetic to sense, and unlike the economic world of our productive cooperation where we need money and prices to sense each other’s wants and needs, we need no tools to sense status signals. They are the only fine measurements we can grasp without abstract tools.

3 responses to “Freud Distracted Intellectual Progress As Much As Did Marx”

  1. This adds to my theory about cognitive development. If the status signals are coming from a group that you dislike or view as hostile then your brain will development in different ways or not develop in develop in certain ways.

    For example, southern whites are considered the “dumb” whites. Maybe the fact that northern whites had cultural hegemony over the US after the civil war had some impact on the cognitive development of southern whites. Same would be said of blacks/latinos. I’ve noticed that most “dumb” groups either don’t like “the system” or as you would call it, patterns of status signaling. On the other hand the “smart” groups either love/accept the system or are completely apathetic to the system/status signaling.

    It reminds me of the old saying “Making peace with the establishment is necessary to mature”, perhaps there is something to that, EVEN IF the status signaling is bad.

    Basically your brain develops in different ways based on where the status signaling comes from. Hopefully we can switch from an IQ focus to a focus on how our environments shape cognitive development in the first place.

    • The interesting thing about your first comment is its logic. It presumes that the emotion comes before the cause 🙂 Instead, You dislike a group because of its signals, because its signals include its actions. (I’m teasing.)

      The interesting thing about your last sentence is that it is counter to the evidence. While the nurture versus nature movement of the progressives had temporary ideological success in suggesting humans were different from all other creatures, the research is pretty conclusive that in the battle between nature and nurture, nature wins. The dispute today is only whether nature constitutes 60% or 80% of the behavioral properties of the individual.

      Even if we made all economic outcomes equal, people would sort by status, because status is the natural human accounting system. We are masters of it. And we have to be. Because it’s how we sort for mating. And to sort for mating we sort by association for both signaling purposes and opportunity purposes. And even more so, for every 15 points of IQ there is a material advantage, especially over 105. For every 30 points, we might as well be different species. Because at that point communication becomes extremely laborious, and at times, impossible.

      I know it is horrific to imagine that one is permanently at some point lower on the stack than everyone else and that it’s immutable. But that’s what it is. I wish I was six feet tall. I would have played football rather than wrestling. I wouldn’t have been so hopeless at basketball. And I would have access to a larger number of possible mates. 🙂

      But these things are not alterable.

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