Saturday, September 17, 2016

Neurobiology & Epigenetics Applied to Politics, Policy, Psychopaths & Narcissism

Podcast and transcript:

Professor Darcia Narveas studies children and how they develop is mainly epigenetic; where certain genes can be switched on an off which is specially crucial when we are growing up. She believes that psychopaths are made when they get bad parenting. For people to become happy and relaxed adults, good quality parenting required.

I have often wondered how very young people cope with being parents when many of them are not very mature but Darcia Narveas says that when we lived in in small hunter-gatherer groups the extended family looked after the children and so it wasn't all piled onto the mother. The mindful and wise older grandparents and great grandparents would also have a big role in looking after the children.

Darcia Narveas says that people don't fully mature until they are about 40 years old and it was that which really struck a cord with me.

Toddlers need a lot of attention with the mother constantly mirroring this back and this dedication can be too demanding for just one mother. We evolved to live in groups where babies not only get attention from their mothers, but they would also get it from their grandmothers and great grandparents and this causes their brains to grow in a healthy way so that they mature into a happy relaxed adults. This is known as neroplasticity and this is why it is important to spend sufficient money on the underclass so as to break the cycle of learned helplessness which they are caught into; a cycle which can get passed on to generation after generation.

I would argue that the same thing happens when people get old too. They are often put into old people's homes where might get a visit from their children once a week if they're lucky.

So  Darcia Narveas would like us to gear our society to be more communal, where families get to live nearer each other. Young children need lots of attention from all the family members which will be a delight for the older people. And when people do get older they can more easily stay in touch with their families. I think this is what makes us happy: family life, our friendships, spirituality, awe of the world, work as leisure, and lots of chatting, yep, we love that. Now I'm thinking of the very sociable Bonobo's again. What a life?

You can read this in full on the site but at the end is a podcast, which I had to download to listen to.

Darcia Narvaez is a professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame, specializing in ethical development and moral education. She is executive editor of the Journal of Moral Education.
And she is Conference Chair "Sustainable Wisdom: Integrating Indigenous KnowHow for Global Flourishing," University of Notre Dame, which I hope to attend.
Her most recent book is Neurobiology and the development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom, recipient of the 2015 American Psychological Associations William James AwardShe is also co-editor of Ancestral Landscapes in Human Evolution and Evolution, Early Experience and Human development.
Rob: can you give a summary of your work
my overall big picture, orientation is that humans are mostly epigenetically shaped. There are certain parenting practices that parents provide their young shape us as adults. When we get what we need we turn into a person with well functioning neurobiology". that kind of adult creates a society that supports that kind of human development and lives sustainably on the earth. Part of that requires that the wise elders help the adults and young children, so there are layers and layers of support and mentoring of wisdom. We've turned everything upside down giving power to young people. WE've sort of undermined all of that for generations. People don't fully mature until around 40.
 My goal is to focus on a few topics-
1- changing policy to reflect your model.
2- viewing politics through your model's lens
3-viewing major pathologies, like narcissism, psychopathy and sociopathy through your model's lens.model is based on small band hunter gatherers, not tribes.

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