From Atoms To Bits
Culture, Collaboration and Global Sustainability
David Leevers, BA, MIET,
VERS Associates, Virtual Environments for Real Societies
CDS, Clinic for Dissociative Studies, London
Based on the presentation “From a Psycho History to a Sane Future”,
International Psychohistorical Association, 27th Annual Convention, New York, 3rd June 2004
Draft 16 18/3/10 This web adaptation of the presentation has been continually amended in
the light of comments. Slides now discuss how culture breakdown can lead to dissociation,
how collaboration breakdown can lead to schizophrenia and how learning from these failures
might help us work towards a Sustainable Global Network Society
Underlined words are active Web links
Most references and active links to references have yet to be added.
Some slides still to be translated into intelligent layman language.
For best appearance print one slide per page in PowerPoint,
then set 4 pages per A4 sheet in the Print: Properties: window
To make useful predictions about the future we have to understand what went
wrong in the past. This presentation started 5 years ago as an attempt to build an
optimistic path towards global sustainability by drawing on the two unique
strengths of humans:
- the symbolic thinking that has created substantial cultures
- the ability to collaborate in large groups against the “other”
However the current message is more pessimistic and the world may have gone
backwards in the last 5 years.
There is still hope. We know more and more about how to increase collaboration
and about how to switch the other from other communities to a common enemy:
Destruction of global heritage in general
Global warming in particular
Introduction 1
In the beginning was a universe of physical materials. Then the information store of
DNA emerged and organised this material. Only then could the word emerge:
symbolic thinking and language allowed one species to collaborate as well as
compete and thus adapt rapidly through generational transmission of behaviour rather
than through genetic change of instincts. Adaptation was further accelerated with the
transmission of behaviour from peer to peer via mass communication technologies.
Social change has increasingly been triggered by new technologies; firstly the
material technologies of boat, wheel and steam, later the information technologies
of printing, broadcasting and Internet documents. Humans have now multiplied to
over-fill the earth and the global warming consequences of material technologies are
more than cancelling out any further benefits. Information technologies further
exacerbate the problem because they speed the dissemination of material technologies
and, through centralisation, can amplify an unsustainable and unethical polarisation
between rich and poor.
The collaboration technologies of the peer-to-peer two-way broadband multimedia
internet might be able to offer a way out.
Introduction 2
Collaboration technologies are not restricted by distance, language or age group, and
tend to subvert traditional cultural barriers. Collaboration technologies augment our
social capabilities and offer sustainable “immaterial” alternatives to the western desires
for ever larger homes and ever more travel.
The collaboration technologies of instant global media can speed up the culture changes
necessary to enjoy less travel and smaller homes because peer to peer culture can change
faster than generational transmission from parent to child
If sustainable cultures can be introduced fast enough it may be possible to
prolong the survival of humanity by decades or perhaps even centuries.
A human life:
Years 0-4
Acquisition of the non-verbal cultural framework and the consensus
reality of the attachment figures , usually immediate family
- culture
Years 4-8
Wider social interaction, learning how to
- collaborate
Years 8-80 Acting out the attachment and collaboration skills acquired earlier to learn
about society as whole in adolescence and then to apply these skills in adulthood
- global sustainability
A deeper understanding of this lifetime process can be reached by exploring the extremes:
Infanticidal behaviour against the infant between 0 and 4 that can to dissociation
Neglect of the child, primarily between 4 and 8, that can lead to schizophrenia in
later adulthood.
What happens in years 8-80 when people are supported by the new collaboration
technologies of the internet and multimedia communication?
It is hoped this approach can transcend the cultural and parochial differences that
delay the inevitable next stage – sustainable lifestyles within a global perspective.
Summary 1: Technology
A Short History of Technology
Before 1900: agricultural & material technologies empowered the body
20th century: information technologies empowered the mind
21st onwards: collaboration technologies empower society
The material technology and information technology eras have taken the West
- from tribal life: infanticidal, miserable and short:
45 years, 7.5 years or 15% with some form of disability
- to western liberal democracy: 80 years, only 6 or 7.5% with some form of disability.
Homo sapiens emerged as the most successful hunter-gatherer of the homo genus
because our enormous and highly connected neocortex and our integrated mind allowed a
unique quality of collaboration and planning. This “prehensile neocortex” more than
makes up for the weakness of our bodies.
Unlike the material and information technologies, the new collaboration technologies of
information and communication have the potential to fully realise our uniquely human
moral and social capabilities – from homo sapiens sapiens to homo democraticus.
Summary 2: Collaboration
This evolutionary and historical perspective on technology draws on the psychological
understanding of culture and value change articulated in Chris Knight’s “Blood Relations”
and Lloyd deMause’s “History of Childhood”. Chris Knight identified how culture first
emerged and Lloyd deMause charts our progress from a primate-like “Infanticidal Mode”
culture in tribal societies to the most humane “Helping Mode” that is now emerging in
prosperous western countries.
This slow but accelerating social progress is difficult to recognise because it can be hidden by
the “Geography of Childhood” (the enormous differences in childrearing in different cultures)
and obscured by the roughly 50 year (two generation) cycle between war and peace, economic
progress and recession.
The ever-increasing understanding of the process of culture transmission during childhood
that has come from large scale longitudinal studies is now being captured in ever-improving
social models. These models are needed to identify and avoid deleterious side-effects of the
new collaboration technologies and ensure we take full advantage of their benefits.
Because these technologies can encourage socially responsible lifestyles they can dramatically
reduce energy and material consumption and offer a credible route to global sustainability,
probably reached via a “global network society”.
A Mental Health Warning
The following material on the painful evolution of childhood and of humanity may be
triggering. Don’t read on if you find it difficult to accept • that we cannot turn away from the sufferings of those in other cultures
• that we, the human species, has already killed about 10 billion infants,
usually girls, often through neglect, and killed 25% of the men in tribal cultures
through violence in tribal cultures
• that our chosen leaders can now wipe out the planet by killing a far smaller number
• that our nearest neighbour in evolution, the bonobo, is the most
hetero- and homosexually active higher animal
• that our collaboration abilities - empathy, communication, imagination, ability to
anticipate pain - imply that language barriers inhibit collaboration. These abilities
are most fruitfully manifested in a fair and equitable society
• that a holistic/systems perspective backed up by social simulation and modelling can
identify a path to global coexistence rather than global annihilation – but perhaps
not how to get there?
The Super Ape
A particular set of circumstances allowed prehumans to evolve extremely rapidly over
the last 6 million years into modern homo sapiens. The raw material was remarkably
unpromising: the chaos of chimpanzee teams compared with the elegant team hunting
of dolphins, wolves and lions!
The first step on the path to humanity was honing fruit eating biped groups into big
game hunting teams.
Language enabled the group to act as a team
(one man one mastodon – bad; 20 men one mastodon - good)
Tools were required to allow the team of 20 physically limited prehumans to act as if it
was an endlessly reconfigurable transformer superman, red in tooth and claw.
One sharpened flint was equivalent to 10 claws, one thrown missile equivalent to 10
bear’s fists, one well aimed spear equivalent to 10 well sharpened canine teeth and one
cooked meal the equivalent of 10 hours endlessly chewing raw food.
The Human Revolution
Perhaps we can work out how to evolve to the network society by learning how we got
where we are now - the last few million years.
Prehuman teams learnt more and more how to operate as a superorganism. (premature
birth/neoteny, the heel, long legs loss of hair, cooking food, hidden menstruation,
clothes, tools, etc.)
As gains from operating as a team became greater than those from natural selection of
“fit” individuals, genetic selection of instinctive behaviour became a drawback rather
than an advantage and instinct parts of the human genome started to deteriorate,
especially in a small group of prehumans in the rift valley. This gave new flexibility and
may have allowed them to supersede similar hominims when the climate changed about
75,000 years ago. Then they proliferated to fill the planet - and the rest is history!
To work towards global sustainability we need to understand:
1, Evolution of homo sapiens
2, Evolution of childhood
3, Evolution of technology
4, Simulation of future social evolution
And finally: 5, How to match collaborative hunter-gatherer capabilities to a
10 billion humans – one planet challenge
The Collaborating Team
The slow running and the poor eyesight of the 20 man superman could only be
enhanced by “cheating”: by hunting for up to a week, at night after the prey had fallen
asleep, by hunting by the light of the moon, i.e. in the quarter before full moon when
the evening sunlight needed for preparation is immediately followed by enough
moonlight to hunt by.
The tribe could only survive the other three quarters of the moon’s cycle if the prey
was big enough and the cooked meat did not rot. The biggest game, the animals that
had earlier lost their competitive edge because there were no bigger predators, were
actually the easier target for the 20 man “superman” monster.
Because big game evolve slowly they could not adapt as fast as “homo collaboraticus”
expanded to reach their territory, and they were eaten. The giant wildebeest
Megalotragus of the rift valley was the first to go, then the mastodons of Siberia, the
giant kangaroos of Australia, the giant sloth of South America, etc.
The Lunar Cycle
Meat could only last a month if it was cooked. As prehumans learnt to cook so the
disgust instinct was co-opted to protect them from raw rotting meat. A side effect may
have been to be repelled by menstrual blood.
Apes menstrual cycle was already close to that of the moon. It did not take much
selective pressure for women’s periods to synchronise with each other and with the
moon. This synchronisation was then used to reinforce the several day collaboration of
the male hunting team that was required to track and kill big game. If synchronised, the
females could augment their old tool of rejecting the male when not fertile with the new
tool of disgust to encourage men to go out hunting in the quarter before full moon AND
bring the food back.
With the spear the men could strike 20 times as effectively as a lion or bear. By
withholding sex during menstruation the women could strike as effectively as the men
could strike. Thus ensuring all the able bodied men joined the week long hunt.
This lunar synchrony might have taken the last million years. No one factor was
decisive but all the factors conspired to achieve exceptionally rapid protohuman
evolution. In 6 million years, prehuman DNA changed by many times the change in
bonobo and chimpanzee DNA. (to be checked).
“Detachment Theory”
Given that the protohumans were already walking on two feet when they diverged from
apes the problem of the narrow birth canal was already raising its ugly head, i.e. the big
brainy head required for progress towards language made birth more difficult. One
solution was for females to grow closer to the size of men, another was to grow even
wider hips but this slowed them down and may have excluded them from the several day
big game hunt.
A more effective solution was neoteny - earlier childbirth. But such babies could only
survive if people other then the mother were co-opted to care for them. Attachment by
grabbing the mother’s fur had to be replaced by attachment by results. Detaching the
baby from 100% physical contact required the collaborative power of language so that a
gossip linked attachment group could support the neonate baby, firstly the grandmother
then father and elder siblings and eventually anyone in the tribal group.
“Premature” birth and the lunar timetable provided the opposite of contraception.
Protohumans had babies almost twice as often as other hominids:
1, An opportunity for rapid evolution with brain power as the primary selection criterion,
2, BUT an opportunity for rapid population growth after moving to new territory.
Neoteny is for Life, not just for Christmas
It was neoteny that really released the human genie. No longer was the baby born with
a ready-made set of instincts and capabilities. The capabilities it learnt from its inner
circle of carers when the baby ape is still inside the womb included the unique culture
of the tribe. Thus transmission of behaviour by learning from the previous generation is
taking over from transmission of instinct by DNA. Large fractions of human DNA are
becoming superfluous as demonstrated by the comparison of human DNA with that of
other mammals.
In the wide range of two legged hominins that occupied the rift valley area in the last 6
million years there would have been many alternatives to our big game hunting
forbears. Some would have gone for smaller game and more frequent hunts and would
not have been under such extreme evolutionary pressure. Others would have avoided
the pressure by moving to more fruit laden rain forests. But when the 75,000 years ago
climate disaster hit only those who had learned how a monthly hunting cycle survived.
By then they had acquired most human capabilities: early birth, huge neocortex,
hairless body, powerful language, cooking skills and complex rituals.
And when the climate improved again it was they who expanded to fill
- and now threaten - the planet.
Childrearing Defines Society, Not Vice Versa
“The main problem is that the evolution of child rearing has so far been a slow,
uneven historical process, depending greatly on increasing the support given innovative
mothers and their hopeful daughters. Unfortunately, in a world where our destructive technology
has far outrun our child-rearing progress, where a single submarine can now carry a sufficient
number of nuclear warheads to destroy most of the world with the push of a button - we do not
have the luxury of just waiting for child rearing to evolve. If we do, we will certainly blow
ourselves up long before child abuse disappears enough to make us want to disarm. What we
need now is some way for the more advanced psychoclasses to teach child rearing
to the less evolved parents, a way to end child abuse and neglect quickly enough to
avoid the global holocaust that is awaiting us.”
Lloyd deMause (originator of Psychohistory) “The Emotional Life of Nations”, p 431, 2002
I suggest that Collaboration Technologies might offer a more neutral, less capitalist, less
colonial, way for “the less evolved parents” to learn sustainable child rearing - the
Helping Mode defined below.
The emerging global network can disseminate such information much faster and less
offensively than generational transmission from “the more evolved psychoclasses”.
Can dissemination of a new network assisted culture be fast enough
to prevent nuclear war holocaust, or global warming holocaust,
and thus ensure long-term global sustainability?
The Death of Evolution and the Birth of History
Psychohistory is the study of the psychological motivations of events since the magic
moment when Hagen takes over from Siegfried, when Lloyd DeMause takes over from Chris
Knight. Psychohistory combines the insights of attachment theory and psychoanalysis with
the research methodology of the social sciences to understand the emotional origins of the
social and political behaviour of individuals, groups and nations, past and present.
Psychohistorical understanding of history comes from areas that tend to be ignored by
conventional historians - parenting practice and the level of child abuse. Equally,
sociobiological understanding of prehuman history comes from areas ignored by conventional
anthropologist such as menstruation and the moon.
Psychotherapists in general now recognise that wars and other destructive social behaviours
can be re-enactments of very early abuse and neglect. Memories and flashbacks to early fears
concerning destructive parenting are often triggered by very reasonable fears concerning the
potential actions of others.
Particular successes have been in identifying the brutality of all but recent childrearing, the
processes that led to the World War II, and the acting out of his childhood humiliations by
President Bush.
Alas psychohistory is not popular with politicians, religious leadersand any others
who may well have acquired power and influence through such acting out.
Evolution of Childrearing Modes in Western Elites
Psychohistorians see the West as having evolved from the “Infanticidal Mode” childrearing seen in other social animals (and in most tribal societies) to the “Helping Mode” of
the privileged, prosperous and educated, but resource-intensive and fragile, nuclear families
that now require the resources of 3 earths if current western technology is extended to all 7
billion occupants.
The “Helping Mode” culture could spread rapidly to all children if the new
collaboration technologies were used to introduce this culture to resource
starved and fragmented families, providing a safe and
nurturing environment for every child everywhere.
This spread of the Helping Mode could be very fast
because it takes full advantage of new
Collaboration Technologies
Lloyd deMause 1975
Evolution of Childrearing Modes in the West
Carer’s Wish -
Historical Manifestations
Early, late
Mother: "I wish you were dead, to relive
my fear of being killed by my own mother."
Early = random infanticide,
Late = ritual abuse and child-sacrifice,
intolerance of child's anger, no empathy, use ghosts and magic to
control child, child as a sex toy, child sodomy, child sale
Mother: "I must leave you, to escape the
needs I project into you."
Longer swaddling, fosterage, outside wetnursing, monastery,
nunnery and apprenticeship, dehumanising the child
Mother: "You are bad (because I have put
erotic and aggressive projections into you)"
Shorter swaddling, early beating, enemas, mourning possible,
child as erotic object precursor to empathy, physical control
Mother: "You can have love when I have
full control over you."
End of swaddling & wetnursing, early toilet training, repression
of child's sexuality, empathy now possible, rise of paediatrics,
psychological control, the enlightenment and reductionism
Mother and Father: "We will love you
when you are reaching our goals."
Use of guilt, "mental discipline", humiliation, rise of compulsory
schooling, delegation of parental unconscious wishes , guilt
Mother and Father: "We love you and will
help you reach your goals."
Children's rights, de-schooling and free schooling, child therapy,
birth without violence, responsibility rather than control. Selfactualisation?
Major Caregivers: “We will help your
development towards our shared goals and a
stable and enjoyable life”
Values and culture acquired via global media as well as local
community. Tailored schooling. Technology supported
“pretherapy” for all supersedes therapy for the few.
Hunt.gath. – Tribal
(Dates are for West)
From 400AD,
State Christianity
From 1200, feudal
From 1700,
Physical Science
From 1870,
Universal Education
Helping Early
From 1950,
Margaret Mead, etc.
Helping Late
Comments on the Childrearing Modes
These modes start when the men in prehuman hunter gatherer and trader groups start to
apply the leadership concepts of small family groups to larger and larger human societies.
The symmetry of the 100% attachment between ape baby and mother has already been
broken but the mother and family are effectively treating the child as an object until child
mortality drops to a level where a multigenerational perspective brings payback, then the
child starts being treated more and more as a human, a future adult, and less and less as a
comforter, an addiction.
It is extremely difficult and of doubtful value to attempt to map these six modes on to
non-western cultures. Other cultures have been so interfered with by the earlier western
prototype – and there is so much that can be learnt by avoiding the problems of the
A three stage evolution might prove more universal:
Beginning: Abandoning - it is not safe to care about infants , and few will survive
Middle: Intrusive – the parents are recognising the child as an investment
Helping – the child and parent are becoming equal members of wider society
Tribal Life and Death
The early anthropologists fantasy of the noble savage has been eroded by ever
improving observation of hunter-gatherer and tribal life. An understanding of
generational transmission in early cultures is making sense of the increasing
evidence of the painful history of tribal childhood, adult violence and ruthless
We are no longer taken in by the public face of tribes who are as intelligent and
proud as ourselves. The homicide rate of the “peaceful” Kalahari bushmen is
higher than in any US inner city, Samoan teenagers demonstrated fantasy
storytelling skills when talking to Margaret Mead, and the sea of happy young
smiles in a tribal village may show that both unhappiness and old age quickly lead
to death when modern medicine is not available.
Neglect and isolation can leave children stuck in Abandoning, Ambivalent or even
Infanticidal Childhood Modes and, given the psychological holding power of
tribal communities, isolation is likely to lead to the implicit suicide of a death due
to violence or starvation than to a conventional schizophrenic breakdown.
Ignorance and War
In social animals such as humans violence is likely to occur when the trading of
goods or emotions fails due to lack of information about the material or
psychological capabilities of the other. No wonder the peacock has the gentleness
of a thousand eyes.
But when the animal is human and the other is a nation the violence is war. A
primary benefit of the rapidly expanding neocortex of pre-humans appears to have
been an increasing ability to engage in complex trades: no longer an eye for an eye
but a tooth for an eye, a flint for a meal, a marriage for a dowry.
Animals rarely fight to the death because their fighting capabilities have evolved to
be totally visible: the size of the peacock’s virtual antlers, the dexterity of the
courtship dance and the symmetry of the body. With language and technology our
power to deceive and damage grew so much faster than the visibility of our
intentions and our weapons.
Information and Peace
It was not until material and information technologies were superseded by the
new collaboration technologies that we could hope to achieve comparable
visibility of our intentions and military strengths. We are already trusting larger
and larger numbers of other people: clans, then tribes, then nations, and now
power blocks. Absolute numbers of deaths from violence grow, but percentages
have dropped dramatically.
New studies in the 1990’s indicated that the almost universal 25% male death
rate from violence in tribal societies dropped to 3% in Germany across the
whole of the 20th century and to more like 1% in other Western countries. A
violent death in 25% of men is equivalent to one violent death every 180 manyears. Although a rare event it is still enough to ensure a lifetime of fear.
This dramatic reduction in violent death rates is consistent with the fact that
collaboration technologies, unlike earlier material and information
technologies, encourage greater understanding of the relative capabilities and
absolute intentions of those around us.
We are now approaching global visibility of capabilities and intentions.
A Contemporary Window on Tribal Extremes
Everyone is different. Not every family has been able to progress through the 7 modes of
childhood in the last few hundred years. Very small numbers of western families remain
stuck in the Infanticidal Mode. In a modern society this mode can take the form of ritual
abuse – witchcraft and the secret sadistic cult fetishes of blood and body fluids.
The effects of abuse starting at birth, before the brain has fully integrated, include trauma
and dissociation. It may be easier for therapists than anthropologists to understand these
effects because, in general, they spend many more years with their subjects.
Universal schooling has been an important part of progress to the more advanced
childrearing modes, particularly the move to the Socialising Mode with universal
schooling in the West from the late 1800’s onwards. The cloak of family secrecy is hard to
maintain when children go to school and so the number of Infanticidal Mode ritual abuse
families steadily decreases. More recently mobile telephones and the Internet are lifting
further veils of secrecy from what goes on in abusive families.
However many of the 3 billion people living on less than $2 per day are trapped in the
Infanticidal or Abandoning Modes. Such a childhood can lead to dissociation (psychic
separation of mind and body) and, in extreme cases, DID, Dissociative Identity Disorder
(previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder).
DID: Infanticidal Mode Is Still Relevant
DID reduces and contains the experience of pain when both love and torture are
experienced from the same attachment figures, usually parents, grandparents and elder
siblings. DID is most easily acquired before the modules of the unfinished infant brain
integrate into a single personality. The infant can survive pain if it can be confined to just
one personality. A mother who is 10 times less abusive than the father can be equally as
damaging because she is with the infant 10 times as much.
As childrearing improves the alters become weaker. But at times of war and fear of death
the anger and fear encapsulated in Lloyd deMause’s “Killer Goddess Alter” and “Killer
Mommy Alter” can overwhelm rational decision making, particularly in war leaders.
Understanding the extreme of dissociation can help define the scope and limits of the
human mind and its pathologies in individuals, in groups and in society as a whole.
Such an understanding is essential if models of mind and society are to be accurate enough
to ensure that society is not destroyed by the accidental side-effects of accelerating culture
changes (e.g. ADHD a result of babies and infants watching too much hyperactive TV)
Ritual Abuse Research in the UK, 1
1993: A study of court evidence was used by government to
claim that “Satanic Abuse” did not exist in the UK.
This was achieved by defining “Satanic Abuse” to be unsubstantiated abuse,
“Ritual Abuse” to be abuse proven in court.
This denial of Satanic abuse was helped by the fact that ritual material is removed from
court evidence to avoid traumatising juries.
1994: In response to protests from professionals, the UK Department of Health, DoH,
funded a one year study of 51 survivors of ritual abuse – no government response.
Only bullet points from the study can be published.
• No survivors had recovered memories
• No survivors belonged to evangelical churches
• No survivors suffered from Munchausen Syndrome
A major problem in this study was that the survivors traumatised professionals when they
described their expreiences– e.g. a Christian therapist hearing a victim say “We are
honest because we use real blood and real bodies, not bread and wine, the fake flesh
and blood of the Christian mass”
Ritual Abuse Research in the UK, 2
14 of the 51 cases in the 1993 study were deemed suitable for police investigation.
However the only case brought to court did not include satanist ritual elements. This
raises the following issues:
• Police have no training in dissociation and abuse.
Those who successfully investigate are ridiculed and sidelined, not promoted
• Although the survivors experiences were consistent and credible
they were often expressed in childlike terms by DID child alters
and thus would not have convinced a jury who did not understand DID
• Sadistic paedophiles add ritual elements to confuse the children and so to protect
themselves from prosecution – humans have evolved to love
• The police see their role as making middle class citizens feel safe in the here and
now, not reducing the very traumas of deprived children that lead to crime, often
directed at the middle classes, in subsequent adulthood
• The Justice System assumes crime is rational, not social:
a lone rational neocortex,
not an amygdala of emotional drives embedded in a social network
Clinic for Dissociative Studies, CDS
DID Therapy, 1998 onwards
CDS was set up to honour therapy commitments made to victims contributing to the
Department of Health study, and to support new referrals. Few other clinics were prepared
to take the victims when the study ended because they traumatised therapists.
• Over 400 ritual abuse survivors have been assessed.
• Long term therapy has been provided for 40 of these over the last 15 years.
Like all belief systems, family cults are multi-generational expressions of attachment
processes. Most victims come to the clinic for help in early adulthood after they have left
the parental home. Such victims have improved and recovered after several years therapy.
Those who were unable to escape the cults found it harder.
Men with DID usually end up in prison rather than in therapy, allowing them to pass their
anger and values on to other less damaged prisoners.
Current understanding is sensitively conveyed in the 2004 BBC drama “May 33rd” by Guy
Evidence of Abuse is Leaking Out
Obviously cult children are afraid to talk. Some clients who disclosed abuse received
punishment rapes, and far worse, after talking. Some have been tricked into believing
they have participated in murder. In many cases they subsequently withdraw evidence
out of fear of and attachment to parents, or because an alter loyal to the cult comes out.
Perpetrators control victims via their mobiles, but mobiles can now be tracked.
Cult members use the web and evidence does leak out into public areas.
Direct records of sadomasochistic rituals in BDSM clubs and paedophile activities are
now appearing on the internet.
Only if one assumes no BDSM club member is a paedophile and no paedophile enjoys
torturing can one believe that ritual abuse of children does not exist!
Many people have a need to record what excites them, and this need has helped to
convict many paedophiles. However a start to finish record of a specifically satanic
ritual, including abortion, infanticide or murder does not appear to have become public
yet. Because military torturers have better brainwashing technology and are more
socially acceptable they may well be recorded first! Three cheers for Abu Ghraib.
Dynamics of DID
Many of the late abortions and early infanticides carried out in cult ceremonies appear to be
genuine - the need for moon/menstruation rituals, the purifying power of innocent blood.
97% of those with DID can remember a history of childhood trauma and abuse.
The level of DID in prostitutes is about 100 times higher than in the general population
indicating the extent to which child abuse underlies prostitution. Parenting that prevent the
early childrearing modes that lead to the need for prostitutes in later life may be enough to
prevent the abusive side of prostitution.
A child alter in an anorexic woman’s body can be as good as the real thing to less
discriminating paedophile customers.
But creating a dissociative sex and torture slave can be a risky investment because one of
the alters may become suicidal. Abusers implant loyal alters that come out if the victim
attempts suicide. If the victim starts to talk or becomes old and muddled the cult can
remove the protective alters - with expected consequences
Some anthropologists try to prevent the modern world changing tribal cultures based on
DID behaviours such as speaking in voices and bloody and torturous initiation ceremonies.
Hippocampus shrinks with the Stress and Abuse
that lead to Dissociative Disorders
Ehling, Nijenhuis & Krikke, 2002
Hippocampus at the centre of the brain handles memory processes. NB London taxi
drivers have large hippocampuses, conversely, abused children try to suppress memories!
Hippocampus Expands during Recovery
Hippocampus volume decreases by 25% with DID
increases after recovery from DID: Left side +9%, Right Side + 18%
Parahippocampus volume decreases by 19-20% with DID
increases after recovery from DID: 6%
Ehling, Nijenhuis & Krikke, 2002
An increasing number of brain differences between DID and average
brains, not all of which can be expected to return to normal after therapy.
New memory tests that use word lists measure interference
between the memories of different alters and cannot be faked.
They show complete separation of narrative memory, but only in
patients with full DID.
Professor John Morton, UCL, unpublished, 2004
Ritual Abuse and Attachment Theory
The baby and infant 0-4 years need consistent, caring and supportive one-way
attachment relationships to a small number of people.
If the carer appears to or actually has several contradictory personalities or then the
baby’s brain adopts this culture by splitting into two or more personalities, (just as a
baby’s brain develops to reflect the deep religious and moral aspects of any culture). Part
of the reward for this splitting is being able to confine pain to seldom used personalities.
Psychosis and “Collaboration Theory”
The older child, from 4 to about 8, needs to internalise the nature of wider society by
interacting with the family and friends
- sharing, obligations fairness, games, body language.
Schizophrenia: Abandoning and
Ambivalent Modes Still Relevant
Families with abandoning and ambivalent modes as demonstrated in their
collaboration style can, in a modern society, turn the child towards a path to eventual
breakdown and schizophrenia.
Three dysfunctional family cultures in which this process is stultified, UCLA project,
Goldstein 1987:
EE, Expressed Emotion: if EE is high in parents then the probability of an already
troubled child becoming broad spectrum Schizophrenic rises from 6% to 73%
AS, Affective Style: if AS ios negative, i.e. criticism, intrusiveness and guilt
induction then the above probability rises from 4% to 56%
Extreme Negative Affective Style can lead to “Infanticidal Attachment”
CD, Communication Deviance: a shared failure to communicate in the child's
family. If high then above probability rises from 9% to 50%
DID or Schizophrenia?
The preschizophrenic child is brought up in an incomplete culture of distorted and
inadequate communication.
As with the DID child there are substantial and measurable brain changes. Survival is
such a family culture comes from not thinking too much.
DID: Hippocampus shrinks because communication between different parts of the
brain is painful and is avoided
Schizophrenia: thinning sensory cortex and overall shrinkage, perhaps through lack
of use because the model of society acquired from family is out of step with the outside
world of the teenager and adult. Higher level thinking is painful and is avoided. Thus
the last area to develop, the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex that handles executive
functions, is small.
The Preschizophrenic Quiet Years
in the high Expressed Emotion, the negative Affective Style
and the Communication Deviance family
Between 4 and 8 the child in such a family handles the conflict between society and
family by cutting off. A cascade of knock-on effects, loss of friends, loss of social
abilities, retreat into self, fantasy world diverges more and more from reality. The child is
failing to learn how to negotiate the even greater changes that will occur when they
leave school.
Strong correlation between this type of child and subsequent schizophrenia.
Increasingly cut off from the outside, the child fills the sensory vacuum by continuing
the infants world of imagination.
Children who were sexually or physically abused suffer verbal hallucinations based on
the words and voice of the abuser. Social delusions are more likely in those from
dysfunctional families.
How to identify schizophrenic risk?
“That which does not kill us makes us stronger”.
From Attachment Theory to “Collaboration Theory”
Attachment theory emerged from studying the relationships with the immediate carers
of the very young. It gave rise to specific hypotheses that could be tested in the
“strange situations” experiments. For this reason it was accepted. It has not helped in
understanding the far more complex two-way give and take that lies at the heart of
mature multiway human relationships.
Our primary survival strategy as an ape that is far weaker and more vulnerable than any
other is the ability to collaborate rather than compete within our own species. The
competitive advantage of a species with a brain that can handle theory of mind and
symbolic communication compensates for its excessive size and energy consumption
(2% of body weight 20% of energy consumption)
The dynamics of collaboration in groups are extremely complex and have not been
substantially explored in psychology and psychiatry. Only when the nature of
communication was profoundly changed by multimedia technologies was its nature
recognised and explored. Ethnographers working with engineers in this field were not
held back by psychiatrists’ rejection of family influences.
It was Del Ray, a MIT Media Lab professor, not a psychiatrist, who was the first to
document every moment of the first three years of a child's life.
“Collaboration Theory”
Future Experimental Evaluation
There is still virtually no record and analysis of long term collaborative communications
in small groups. The most complete data covers the text chat records of internet
discussions but these conversations are emotionally impoverished compared with
multisensory real life communication in families with children. New technologies such
as Alex Pentland’s “Sociometer” are at last capturing the nature of unconscious
communication and predicting how people will behave in different complex social
Longtitudinal studies are already showing that Expressed Emotion, Affective Style
and Communication Deviance in childhood show that these are the dominant factors
in determining later schizophrenia and other psychoses. Early nonritual physical and
sexual abuse is also significant. Early ritual abuse produces high functioning DID
individuals who are strong enough to avoid schizophrenic in spite of the dysfunctional
communication in their families.
Genetic propensities appear to be a minor contributor and, estimating from recent family
studies (excluding early faulty twins studies), would indicate that at least 20 genes are
involved, none of which are decisive.
“Collaboration Theory”
Escalation into Psychosis
These results would also show that so called psychosis is not “loss of touch with reality”
but emergence of a “personal reality”, a belief system that starts off from the family’s
dysfunctional reality and then, because it is rejected by peers and mentors, isolates the
With lack of social stimulation the sensory input and executive function parts of the
cortex start to atrophy. The increasing loss of complex and challenging sensory input
from social interactions can cause an escalating landslide into isolation. The hungry
brain searches for stimulation and grasps what were originally minor links from the motor
to the sensory parts of the brain (normally used for dreaming and rehearsal processes).
As these links replace the links to sensory inputs they become confused with external
The victim becomes well aware that it is inappropriate to talk about “reality” (they often
assume everyone has such hallucinations but do not talk about them). Finally there is a
life event trauma that is so out of step with their reality that they have to talk. Others
realise they are odd, there is breakdown and then sectioning. If their brain is scanned it is
far too late in the atrophying process so Tim Crow and others carelessly assume the brain
shrinkage is genetic not environmental.
Test Case: Afro-Caribbean Schizophrenia
Afrocarribeans in UK are about 10 times more likely to suffer from Schizophrenia than
average. In the Carribean they are only 2.5 times more vulnerable. This is consistent with
the higher level of schizophrenia in other impoverished groups.
Many desperate and devious attempts have been made to explain this away within the
genetic paradigm. Ignoring the issue was the most widespread. For instance only one out
of 500 studies of schizophrenia looked at the contribution from economic class.
A “Collaboration theory” model explanation could be:
1, The culture of their attachment figures is Christian and western
(unlike that of Arab and Asian immigrants)
2, Thus only when at school, from about 5 onwards, do they meet
racial prejudice in their immediate collaborating social network
3, They make the mistake of interpreting prejudice as Negative Affective Style
and Communication Deviance in their peer group and shut down to avoid
perpetual subtle low level humiliation
4, The landslide into isolation starts
Sexual and Physical Abuse
60% of boys diagnosed as schizophrenic before the age of 18 have been sexually
80-85% of schizophrenic patients have suffered childhood abuse compared with:
26% for panic disorder,
30% for anxiety disorder
42% for depressive disorder, Friedman 2002
Identical Twins
The primeval myth of the 50% cross correlation between identical twins reared
apart.Used to justify the genetic thinking that peaked 20 years ago
This cross correlation drops to 22% in good modern studies
- easily explained by shared family culture, Joseph 2004
Mental Liberation
Evolution is a mathematical theorem under conditions which apply to living things
1, Replication – each generation is a copy of the previous generation
2, Variation – the new generation differs slightly from the previous one
3, Survival – more of some types of variation survive than others
Humans are the only species on earth in which variation in the genes has been
augmented by substantial variation in culture. Symbolic thinking and language are the
tools that enable one generation to convey variation in lifestyle or culture to the next.
DNA based transmission of body and behaviour has been augmented by
generational transmission of culture.
Mental Liberation through atrophy of superfluous instincts
Traditional Intelligence
Grammatical speech greatly reduced our need for the enormous photographic memory
found in closely related apes. This freed up a large fraction of the cortex at a time when it
was growing for other reasons. At the same time prehumans were becoming increasingly
specialised - the right brain continuing the parallel sensory and motor activities while the
left side developed identity and consciousness and the new skill of language.
The recent technology of writing has taken us to yet another level of abstraction by taking
over parts of the brain that were previously used to the vast network of pathways in a
traditional hunter gatherer territory.
It is wrong to underestimate traditional tribal skills but it is wrong to overestimate
their effectiveness.
Modern humans can be in awe at the level of skill in traditional areas: medicinal herbs for
healing, horses for transport, even darkness to support the television of the mind in the
imagery evoked by storytellers. These skills are not belittled when new technologies carry
out the same tasks in different more efficient ways. The car and plane are more
sustainable than the horse (for equal distances travelled). Modern medicines are more
effective for physical ailments and modern psychotherapy for psychological ones.
However there can always be cracks in the modern concrete, for instance the arbitrary
division between physical and mental illness that has trampled over the traditional healer’s
integration of the two.
Neoteny and the Integrated Mind
Problem solving in advanced social animals is very context dependent. Without the
integrating and abstracting power of a large prefrontal neocortex and symbolic
language they find it difficult to transfer experience from one type of situation to
The flexible integrated mind of humans appears to have started emerging about 2
million years ago. Its evolution appears to have been rapid because it required little
more, genetically, than a progressive neoteny in which our adult ancestors became
more like infant apes: mental flexibility, playful, fragile bodies.
The neoteny process also included being born when the human brain is
exceptionally undeveloped (yet is still so large that the narrow hips required for
upright walking cause more mothers and babies to die in childbirth than in other
At the development stage when the structure of the ape brain is being defined
by the secure and boring womb, the human brain is already being influenced
by the social and cultural activities of the immediate family
Lamarkian Evolution of Culture?
A brain tuned to social interaction rather than immediate problem solving may have to
be far more integrated than that of our nearest relatives, the apes. Advanced
consciousness may well be a side effect of this integration. It is of course
unexplainable because we cannot step outside it to observe it.
All we can do is be aware of our own consciousness and , perhaps, that of others?
If the mother is alternately loving and sadistic, e.g. suffering from Dissociative
Identity Disorder, integration and empathy are hindered and the child reverts to the
hypervigilant and dissociative behaviour of prey species such as antelope. Brain scans
have shown that they are dissociative - one part of the brain sleeps while another
watches for predators. In the case of infanticidal humans the predator is the parent but they are usually consuming the child's feelings, not the child’s flesh.
Occasionally a parent captures a glimpse of a slightly better life, and this aspiration
can be passed on as a new element in the culture of their children.
Thus generation by generation advance through the
childrearing modes may be a form of
Lamarckian evolution – the child acquires the aspirations of the parent
The Prehensile Neocortex
Prehensile – ability to grasp any thing (or any concept)
Recent prehuman evolution has prolonged childhood characteristics into adulthood. As we
have become physically weaker our increasingly childlike adult selves need the protection
of increasingly large social groups (one man v one lion - bad, 100 men v one lion - good).
In addition to the above neoteny there was evolutionary pressure to enlarge the neocortex to
handle the social complexity of large groups. This rapid evolution has left a few loose ends:
Back pain – result of insufficient skeletal evolution since standing on hind legs
Trauma from physical pain – side-effects of the expanded neocortex include advanced
consciousness and the integrated mind that brings with it the ever-present memory of past
Existential pain – the cries and prayers of those infant mammals that do survive to
adulthood were answered by their very much larger parents. A side effect of retaining a
neotenous childlike brain may be the religious instinct - adults still need the support of a
relatively large and powerful parent
1, God the parent, 2, God the tribal ancestor,
3, God the humanity ancestor, 4, God the universe ancestor
The Psychohistory/Attachment Perspective
on Childhood Abuse
In a 1994 study it was found that every member of a sample of 164 learning
disabled patients that required psychotherapy at a London clinic had early
trauma… – but their behaviour was seen as part of their learning disability.
The earliest trauma comes from realising that society wishes they were dead.
Child patients acted out earlier sexual abuse as inappropriate sexual behaviour;
more socially aware adults acted it out in violence. None of them had an illness as
such, just their response to earlier experiences.
Valerie Sinason, unpublished PhD thesis, 2004.
Non-disabled children are not so carefully monitored. There are increasing indications
that a substantial fraction of mental illness is a result of childhood events that were not
seen as abusive at the time (and may only have a deleterious effect on the most
vulnerable children). Large scale longitudinal studies are giving results but take about 20
years. Reviewing the extensive home videos of the childhoods that started to be recorded
about 20 years ago may give quicker results.
What might be possible if there was a digital record of all childhoods?
Perhaps all unintentional childhood traumas could be diagnosed or even avoided?
Increasing Visibility, Reducing Abuse
The “peaceful” Kalahari bushmen have a higher homicide rate than Western inner cities.
They appear peaceful because they only know about murders in their own small group. They
cannot avoid pain and suffering, and so learn to dissociate from it.
The more advanced child-rearing modes inhibit such dissociation. Without dissociation
people cannot stand much physical pain and so try to reduce the suffering of others
Improving media and mass communications give an impression that abuse and murder are
rising. Fortunately this leads to social responses that do in fact reduce the level of violence.
This “virtuous circle” or “runaway morality” drives advance through the childrearing modes
Unfortunately “geographic or physical dissociation”, everything from gated communities to
refusal to visit the starving villages and Dickensian sweat shops of the third world,
undermines attempts to make globalisation tfair and humane. Only when some progress has
been made can society face how bad things were in the past, for instance:
1970s - UK government stated there were ony 300 cases of incest in UK
1990s – Acceptance that there are about 10 million survivors of incest in UK
1990s – “There is no Satanic abuse in UK” – UK Health Minister
2000s – about 2000 survivors of Satanist abuse have contacted professionals in UK.
The Golden Age?
Longing for a misremembered childhood
If only the 6 ft high adult could be cared for by a 12 foot god
in the same way that the 3 ft child was cared for by a 6 ft parent
The Unconscious Mind - The Moral Instinct
“Blind Sight”, there can be unconscious visual awareness if the visual cortex is
damaged. Visual information is routed through the early brain, bypassing the
conscious mind.
“Blind Morality” (Moral Instinct) uses early unconscious reciprocal altruism brain
structures that evolved as a form of fitness for a very social species that has a big brain
but a fragile body. Excessive respect for the logical conscious mind by leaders of
society may explain a reluctance to accept the emotional roots of “Blind Morality”.
Hence the many academic muddles over the concept of freewill, the conflict between
the existence of evil and an all powerful, all good God, and the inevitable but
forbidden question “Who created God”.
The Global Sustainability Conundrum:
How can a global society based on new and rapidly changing technology
trust a moral instinct that evolved for survival in small hunter-gatherer groups?
The 6th Sense: Brain as a Prediction Machine
Perhaps we do not show enough respect for our 6th sense - the unconscious social and
moral instincts that evolved for survival as a very social animal. Perhaps clairvoyants and
healers have given the 6th sense a bad name amongst the rationalists and reductionists?
Clairvoyants and healers have often had an abusive childhood. The resulting
hyperawareness and dissociation effectively strengthens the ability to unconsciously sense
other peoples feelings and drives. In most people this sense has been overwhelmed by the
single track logic and language of the integrated conscious rational mind.
For half a billion years neural networks have helped animals to survive by learning past
patterns and recognising them when repeated – Pavlov, etc.
These networks evolved into brains under three levels of evolutionary pressure:
1, Recognising repeating patterns in the “Environment of Evolutionary Adaptation”
2, Predator-prey feedback, each species learning the behaviour patterns of the other
3, Within-species feedback between competing neighbouring groups in social animals.
This is faster than predator-prey feedback because the more successful genes can spread to
all groups of the same species. Related to sexual selection and culminates in the
Machiavellian or social brain.
The Social Brain and the Outcast
The average size of a social group in a species of ape is roughly proportional to the
neocortex/brain volume ratio (Robin Dunbar). Extrapolation shows the maximum trust
group for humans is about 150, up from about 50 for chimpanzees.
This matches the size of tribes and the maximum size of small organisations. Above this size
trust weakens and rules are required. Trust is primarily built in apes by grooming, in humans
by gossip. In a tribal group the same 150 person social group is shared by every member.
Side-effect: it is safe to classify outsiders as sub-human and dispensable.
Technology increases the openness of society (wheel, then paper, then printing, railways, the
telephone, then airplanes, now Internet) and thus increases the uniqueness of each person’s
150 person social group. Tyranny becomes impossible, everyone is connected to everyone
else and my enemy might be my friend’s friend (6 degrees of separation).
The telephone, perhaps the most powerful collaboration technology ever invented,
encourages democratic values and appears to discourage war.
There has never been a war between two countries
each with more than 1 telephone per 20 people.
(Only 1 telephone per 30 people in Iraq - they nearly made it!)
From Artificial Intelligence to Society of Minds
Early AI researchers tried to implement the mind half of the Cartesian body-mind duality
and failed. Recent research, starting with evolutionary thinking and “Society of Mind”
by Marvin Minsky in the early 1970’s, is increasingly successful.
Animal brains comprise fairly separate problem-solving modules. Even in social animals
the modules have limited interconnections. The human neocortex grew enormously
through rapid social/sexual selection in an evolutionary race between competing social
groups. (The DID brain has partially reverted to the modular structure). This growth
included the long distance pyramidal neurons that are related to our substantial working
memory and integrated consciousness. Perhaps the global mind now needs its own
pyramidal neurons - the long distance optical fibre cables now girdling the earth.
The efficiency of language freed up much of the neocortex for imagination and
increasing ability to forecast the future - including awareness of death.
We can now forecast the physical world with incredible accuracy. However, to survive
on an increasingly crowded planet, we need to forecast the behaviour of our “society of
minds” better than before. This will require learning from our history as well as from the
new research areas of Artificial Life, Social Robotics and Social Simulation
New Technology –> New Culture?
Useful technologies stimulate the emergence of new cultures, e.g.
Writing and Wheel, ~ 3500 BC: stability of written concepts and mobility of physical
location eventually led to the concept of a universal non-localised non-tribal God
Industrial Machinery, ~ 1800: the first metaphor for mental power and complexity
- the mind-body duality of Descartes and the tidy world of the enlightenment
Computer Languages, 1950s: helped to escape behaviourist thinking, Chomsky etc.
- but treated the mind as logical machine, not a collaborating organism
“Society of Mind”, 1970s: superseded early reductionist Artificial Intelligence, 1975 showed a mind includes emotion as well as thought, helped understanding of DID and
dissociation as a dysfunctional society inside the head, 1985 on.
Artificial Life, 1990s: integrated approach to mind and body, acceptance of the body therapies,
indicated how both thinking and emotions are mediated by the body, Rodney Brookes et al.
Artifical Society, 2000s: Social Robotics, statistical evidence poised to supersede ideology,
evidence-based social change guided by social simulation
The New Magic: from Desire via Fantasy to Reality
New science is developed into new technology if it can turn old fantasy into new reality
Desire, expressed as Fantasy, is superseded by
Talking to deceased spiritualism
superseded by
superseded by
superseded by
superseded by
superseded by
long healthy life
life prolonging medicine
Morality based on fear of God (early childrearing modes) is being replaced by one
based on respect for humanity. (group selection) This progress is encouraged by the new
collaborative technologies that support Helping Mode child-rearing.
child’s questions as it tries to understand society and the environment can be used to create
fear and a need for God, or to create admiration for humanity and wonder at the universe.
Children whose attachment and social needs have been satisfied tend to internalise a more
humane secular/rational culture that does not need God(dess) or afterlife.
and technologists are, perhaps surprisingly, the primary precursors of this human-centred
culture. In 500 years their numbers have risen from a handful to millions, and their culture
is the first to have become truly global. Sadly the politics that pays for the science is not
always so enlightened.
Declining Belief in God and Hell
400 “Greater” Scientists
General Population
Belief in God
Belief in Hell
1914 1934
A collaborative culture is needed both for
effective scientific secular-rational thinking
and to achieve global sustainability.
Acceptance of imminent apocalypse is emerging
in US and other fundamentalist cultures. Perhaps
this is panic at the declining power of their gods
rather than a rational expectation of the
imminent end to this species?
Larson, etc.
“Heaven, we have a Problem”
Religion makes us happy.
War makes us happy
But haven't we forgotten something – history is written by the winners
Both religion and war create enormous amounts of unhappiness
– most of it in those on the losing, the invisible side
If we adopt a global perspective rather than an egocentric one and include the destroyed
and the defeated, the injured and the killed, we might find:
religion and war decrease the happiness of others by far more
than they increase the happiness of the believer!
The suffering in the loser is invariably greater than the happiness of the winner (the nonlinearity of Kahlman and Tversky’s Prospect Theory!). When the believing winner is in
the first world and the loser is in the third the contrast can be extreme. For instance the
spiritual happiness of some first world Catholics has been slightly increased by forbidding
African AIDS sufferers from using condoms. The sum total of global happiness is
obviously decreased when the Africans are included.
Technology to Culture Transfer in Europe
The European Community funds the short term inefficiencies of people of different
cultures and languages working together on research and development.
Indirectly this also helps to spread the secular-rational culture that includes science and
There is increasing EC concern over social issues as the scope of digital technology has
expanded from self-contained gadgets to the global social infrastructure.
A few early projects explored how computers could increase collaboration and reduce
conflict during the 9-5 working day of the 40 year working life,
e.g CICC - Collaborative Integrated Communications for the Construction industry
Now there is a need to address the 24 hour day and the 80 year long lifetime and most of
all, personal attachments to young and old, alive and dead.
Post-Kyoto (1992), global sustainability was added to the EC research agenda.
However assimilating East Europe countries has become the new priority.
Some in Western Europe do understand the wider message of psychohistory and are
prepared to invest in protecting childhood from the damaging effects of poverty
Europe: Escaping Impoverished Childrearing
The proportion of children brought up in poverty
is 8 times higher in the US than in Western
The social support systems of Western Europe
recognise the importance of advanced
childrearing modes in achieving socialised and
secure personalities, and that this can be
achieved by protecting childhood from poverty
This huge difference has damaging
consequences throughout life, e.g.
• proportion in prison 10 times higher in US
• unhappiness in US life made bearable by
greater belief in God and afterlife
(only 1/5th as many agnostics in US)
• US social inequity accepted as a precursor of
inequity in the afterlife
(3 times as many believe in Hell in US)
& Sweden
to Family
Help from
State plus
born into
in Poverty
Ref: Richardson, 1994
“Things are getting better all the time” – so far
How can a species that evolved in hunter-gatherer groups, with an infanticidal mode
childhood and all that implies in terms of subsequent behaviour, have the ability to live
sustainably in peace and harmony as a global community of up to 10 billion people?
The necessary social progress may be a side-effect of the emergence of the integrated
mind, spoken language and symbolic thinking. Self-awareness allows us to stand
outside ourselves and understand the dynamics of conflict and the long term
consequences of aggression.
We appear to switch between good times and bad times over a double-generational
Blaffer Hrdy grandmother or Kondratieff economic cycle of about 50 years. There is
also a long term improvement in quality of life (averaged across all countries, not just
the current successes) as we progress through the child rearing modes.
Of course, on the longest timescale this progress is irrelevant - eventually we will be
blown away by the sun or prematurely by a cosmic interloper such as a meteor.
On the shorter timescale there are new dangers in
wilder manic-depressive oscillations of an increasingly synchronised global society
The Four Societies Paradigm
A graphical framework for expressing western and global social change,
developed in European “Information Society Technologies” project ASSIST.
In the following this paradigm is related to Lloyd DeMause childrearing modes
1, Tribal – Typically 150 member closed social group, Closed, Abusive, Infanticidal
2, National – Transport technologies, economies of scale. Dark Satanic Mills
Rise of hierarchy and individuals, weakened social obligations
3, Multinational – Information technologies, empowered citizens but fragmented families.
Only works well if there is peace between countries, freedom of information and effective
international law and regulation of capitalism. Otherwise open to abuse and unstable.
4, Global – Collaboration technologies: the Internet and media support a worldwide social
network in which the average person’s Dunbar group of 150 people overlaps less and less
with their friends groups. No one can be ostracised or treated as sub-human because
everyone is connected to everyone else in the interlocking mesh of social relationships. (the
number of friendship links to reach everyone on the planet may be dropping below 6)
Restores the social advantages, avoids the risks of abuse in traditional extended families. 68
The Western Route to the
Sustainable Global Network Society?
Focus on Community
1, Traditional
Closed Societies
Open Societies
2, Industrial
4, Network
The Western Route
Focus on Individual
3, Information
The Drivers Towards the
Sustainable Global Network Society?
1, Traditional
Closed Societies
Up to 19thC
The Drivers
4, Network
Open Societies
20th C
Information Technologies
3, Information
1, Industrial
Lloyd deMause Childrearing Modes
4, Network
1, Traditional
Helping, from 1950
Closed Societies
Open Societies
Abandoning, from 400AD
Socialising, from 1870
2, Industrial
Ambivalent, from 1200
Intrusive, from 1700
Western Childhood
3, Information
Third World Short-Cut To
Sustainable Global Network Society?
Avoiding the temporary switch from collaboration and community
to competition and individual during western industrialisation
1, Traditional
4, Network
Third World Sustainable Path
at 2000
Closed Societies
Open Societies
at 2000
First World
Unsustainable Prototype Socialising
2, Industrial
3, Information
Beyond the Four Societies
The western middle class prototype of 300 million people, 5% of the worlds population, is
demonstrating some of the benefits of the rapidly changing stone age environment that
humans were genetically selected for over perhaps a million years and we are slowly
learning to avoid the social inequalities caused by the global economies of scale that was
not selected for.
Part of this selection process was the ability to change far more rapidly than any other
animal. By combining the flexibility of generational transmission with the even greater
flexibility of peer to peer transmission via collaboration technologies we may be able to
combine the equity advantages of tribal life with the quality of life advantages of all
We may be able to create the illusion of collaboration within the tribe, plus competition
with neighbouring tribes, without a lethal relationship with real neighbours. Tools include:
The enemy can be virtual
The cult of celebrity creates pseudo close networks
Respect is the least costly tool
We understand the moral instinct better and better
Play becomes and end in itself, not a rehearsal for lethal conflict
“Contraction and Convergence”
towards Sustainable Global Network Society?
The material and energy gulf between rich and poor has to close
1, Traditional
Third World Sustainable Path
4, Network
at 2000
Closed Societies
Open Societies
at 2000
First World
Unsustainable Prototype Socialising
2, Industrial
3, Information
An Inconvenient Truth?
2009 - US society is still focused on
individual not community and is feeling
the need for retribution for recent
4, Network
Hence the acceptance of
imminent global apocalypse
- and lack of desire to prevent it
Open Societies
Europe continues
towards Helping Mode?
US reverting to
Intrusive Mode?
3, Information
Where is the Social Glue?
Social Changes over Last 30 Years (UK)
Five times as many births outside marriage:
8% in 1971, 40% in 1999
Then: Dissociation as protection in dead marriages?
Now: Adult fulfilment but child suffering?
Three times as many children brought up by lone parent: 7% in 1972, 21% in 2000
What replaces attachment to the other parent and the extended family?
Are there enough helpers for “Helping Mode” childrearing to work for everyone?
Nearly three times as many suicides per 100,000 in young men ages 15-24,
7 in 1971, 17 in 1998
NB 50-75% of male suicidees were brought up by a lone parent
Smaller increase for girls aged 15-24,
3 in 1971, 4.5 in 1998
(But suicide dropping for 65 and over,
25 in 1971, 15 in 1998
perhaps showing that more people reach retirement without disability)
Combining the above:
suicide rate for the son of a lone parent in 1998 is 10 times the average in 1971
The $10,000 Knee of the Happiness Curve
Happiness /
Quality of Life
Income per
Ronald Inglehart 1997 78
The $10,000 (year 2000 $) Happiness Plateau
Jeremey Bentham’s criterion:
“The greatest happiness for the greatest number”
This implies social and economic differences are reduced but not eliminated.
The current convergence of average income and quality of life
between advanced western countries is striking.
This “Happiness Plateau” suggests that post-materialist lifestyles could be the
sustainability answer - income has a small but positive effect on happiness above
about $10,000.
But income inequity within countries and between nations has doubled in the last
30 years. This foments fear in the rich and envy in the poor and fragments
communities, hence
Quality of Life, Happiness, has not increased in the West in the last 30 years.
Terrorism and Increasing Inequity
Conflict is no longer between nations but between the western hegemony and envious
and educated outsiders who were brought up in earlier childrearing modes
– fundamentalists, terrorists.
Social globalisation has blurred national boundaries and encouraged western/global
liberal democracy and cultural flexibility. But the move towards democracy has stalled.
The percentage of electoral democracies rose steadily from 41% in 1989 to 62% in
1996 but has remained stuck at that figure since then.
But there is a new danger of cultural polarisation. While most individuals are becoming
more open and collaborative, those who feel bound to defend the culture and
childrearing practices of their parents can become more closed, more sexist and more
Will the conflict between the culture of the harem and the culture of wife stealing be
fought out in global war or on a South African football pitch?
The benefits of economic globalisation (more years of life, less years of disability)
may be lost if the Western emphasis on individual not community continues.
Cultural Evolution: The Virtual Reality of the
Parent becomes the Reality of the Child
Personal values, aspirations, culture and the social construction of reality are absorbed in
infancy. Thus Disneyland is fake to grandparents, reality to parents and obsolete to the
children brought up on virtual reality and networked computer games.
To Abraham’s parents, sacrificial blood and flesh had to be real. Abraham’s legacy was to
recognise the humanity of “virtual reality” - using animal sacrifice to simulate infant
sacrifice. His Christian descendents’ legacy was further virtuality, using wine to simulate
blood and bread to simulate flesh.
Perhaps this generation can draw even more inspiration from Abraham and switch from the
unsustainable material and energy extravagance of Disneyland theme park to sustainable
post-materialist lifestyles made up of:
Immaterial Experiences – neighbourhood (walking distance of home) plus multimodal
augmented reality (all senses, all activities, combining virtual and real,
achieving far more with far less)
Collaborative Relationships – avoiding the inefficiency and unsustainability of war
– competition replaces conflict, global football replaces global war
“Virtual Extended Family” VEF
Even the apparently benign “Western Nuclear Family” is an incomplete foundation for
Helping Mode child-rearing.
The “Virtual Extended Family” is a proposed robust framework for achieving Helping
Mode childrearing regardless of the particular circumstances and culture of the family. It
includes technology-based alternatives for absent members of an ideal extended family
The VEF includes the attachment advantages of the traditional extended family but avoids
the abuse and narrowness of closed patriarchal tribal families.
The VEF has to include protection from virtual reality sexual and physical abuse, from
unexpected side-effects of unproven technologies and from commercial and religious
pressures, e.g. ADHD from TV, addictive food, drugs, tobacco, demonisation of other
religions, corporal punishment, abuse by figures in authority.
Our response to global warming will have to include population reduction, preferably by
choice. Virtual children will be needed to satisfy the parental instincts of many adults – the
virtual siblings of Chinese one child families?
Current Status:
Enhancing the Fragmented Family
The fragmented family of today, perhaps only mother and one child, is rapidly acquiring
technology assisted and technology based alternatives for members of the extended family
Multimedia awareness of remote members of family – family video calls, etc.
interactive computer based substitutes for storytelling by members of the family
Computer gaming is an exceptionally social activity for children
Virtual pets are already encouraging social and caring skills in city children
Robot pets, e.g. Paro, the furry robot seal, are craved for by the elderly
Early pre-school replaces the extended family peer group of other infants
Precursors are US Head Start and UK SureStart programmes, etc.
There is steady progress towards consensus values but there is a danger of adopting
inadequately researched quick fixes, ones that have rebound effects in later life,
e.g. fast food for kids can be liberating for adults,
but can be lethal for the kids decades later
Toys “rn’t” Us
Toys are rapidly becoming more collaborative and more interactive. They will soon be
able to help the child’s mind develop helping mode post-materialist lifestyles.
Future toys will be more and more lifelike, blurring the boundary between toy and
networked computer game and continuing to provide support and pleasure throughout
It is essential that intelligent dolls act out a Helping Mode culture because, in a
fragmenting family with few peers or adults, children will increasingly learn how to
socialise from such toys. Baby talk and bending down are rather limited ways for an
adult to adapt to the developing mind of an infant but they are all that tribal societies
could offer. Our predecessors had to make the best of them. The new toys can be scaled
and programmed to be an optimum match to the child's capabilities at every stage in
their lives.
Pets “rn’t” Us either. They satisfy some of the needs of people brought up in earlier
childrearing modes and they do prolong the life of their adult owners, but they can
reduce their owners’ rapport with other people and need for society. Like many
psychiatric drugs they hide rather than solve the underlying problem
Moore’s Law: Sustainability Without Conflict
Current material and energy consumption trends are unsustainable and, unbelievably,
the IT world have been hiding the solution for 40 years:
Moore’s Law – computer power doubles every 2 years or, in sustainability jargon,
resources needed for a given amount of computer power halve every 2 years
The 2% per annum drop in consumption of resources for material-intensive products
such as cars is too small to compensate for the increasing numbers who can afford a car
because prices drop.
But the 20% per annum drop typical of computer based products and services is more
than enough to reverse the destruction of non-renewable resources and thus achieve
global sustainability
Virtualisation is the process of switching from a material-intensive satisfier of a human
needs to a computer-based or virtual alternative.
Before the “Virtualisation Switch” products and services follow the 2% curve
After the switch they follow the 20% “dematerialisation” curve
The Virtualiastion Switch, The Hope
From Material-Intensive Satisfier to IT-Intensive Satisfier
The Switch
2% per annum
20% per annum
e.g. Travel to meetings virtualised as telephone and Internet discussions
Physical photographs virtualised as images from digital cameras
The Virtualisation Switch
if only life were that simple!
The Reality
By reducing prices, improving quality of life and thus stimulating demand, most
virtualisation switches so far have increased overall material and energy consumption.
These interactions are complex and need to be comprehensively modelled before
promoting virtualisation as a universal panacea for sustainability
Virtualisation will only work if the reduction in material and energy resources is
combined with changing values, e.g. realising that quality of life increases when time
wasted in travel is reduced.
But at the moment most people associate travel with success, status and a high quality of
life. Far more is invested in making travel enjoyable in itself, e.g. making the airline seat
more comfortable and better serviced than the living room armchair, than in developing
virtual replacements for travel.
Social Simulation Research, 1
Civilization rapidly descends into anarchy when people feel crowded. The classic examples are
Germany and Japan growing beyond their limits when there were no more countries left to
colonise. Cyberterritory is unlimited, as demonstrated by Second Life and other Massive
Multiplayer On-line Role Playing Games (MMORPG). Can we turn this virtue of
virtuality/immaterialisation into a psychological reality?
Clearly, this cannot be done at the basic levels of Maslow’s pyramid of human needs - food and
shelter, even though global warming is already shrinking our food parcels and space cages. Further
up the pyramid there is enormous scope for replacing direct social and physical contact with long
distance equivalents. They are usually different in nature and can often be better – there are many
situations where telephone and e-mail are preferable to face to face discussion.
Increasingly collaboration technologies are becoming better than cultural constraints at allowing
people to find exactly the right level of closeness, both physically and emotionally. In the past the
cultural constraints were often imposed by those in authority to hold on to power for as long as
possible. They contributed to the readiness of youth to sacrifice themselves for the sake of tribe,
nation or religion. However this very stable formula for social cohesion and control is now being
undermined as horizontal peer to peer transmission of culture within an age cohort is taking over
from vertical transmission from authority figures and parents to children…..
Social Simulation Research, 2
….the risks of new networking technologies and of apocalypse are moving too fast for the
wisdom of the ancestors to guarantee the survival of the descendents.
However there are enormous dangers in peer to peer transmission of unproven and novel culture.
It has not been tested over several generations and on a small scale before it goes global. There
are already concerns that children are losing the ability to integrate mind and body because of
the technical limitations of today’s virtual reality technologies. Already some games have been
shown to encourage an aggressive mind set (but so does the gun culture that was born in the
Wild West and is now being exported to every part of the world).
In a world where habitable space per person is contracting, the potential benefits of virtualisation
and immaterialisation are obvious. However the dangers of rapid culture change are equally
great. The only way out is to proceed by accelerated trial and error, not small scale multigenerational trial such as early Christianity or even the single country Victorian English trial of
nationwide industrialisation. We have to find the right mix of social experiments and social
simulations that will enable us to raise and synchronise community values in a few years rather
than over many generations.
Raising and Synchronising Community Values
Double generation attachment between grandchildren and grandparents is a 30 to 100 years
cycle which tends to get averaged out and lost in the wider community. However, community
attachment processes take place between children of a particular age cohort and a small
number of iconic leaders and heroes, some real, some virtual. Moods become synchronised in
a roughly 50 year depression-elation cycle - the Kondratieff Cycle of economists, the GroupFantasy Cycle of psychohistorians, the grandmother-grandchild transmission of Sarah Blaffer
Hrdy. The universality of this double-generational transmission is not yet well recognised.
By assimilating more and more culture and values from new media rather than from double
generation transmission from community elders it may become possible to escape this 52 year
depression-elation cycle of economics / war-hedonism cycle of psychohistory?
By relying on digital technologies which halve in cost every 18 months it may be possible for
Helping Mode child-rearing to reach a future peak global population of 9 billion without
jeopardising global sustainability.
Urgent Problem: How to prove that technology supported Helping Mode has no hidden long
term flaws - without requiring large scale longitudinal studies that have to take a lifetime?
Long Term Problem: How to slay the oxymoron “Hedonism does not make you happy” 92
How to Simulate and Validate
“Sustainable Global Network Society”
Physical scientists can experiment. Historical scientists can observe. But evidence based
social science has to wait a lifetime to understand a culture change. The network
society has to be rolled out to the whole planet within a generation to avoid global
warring or global warming apocalypses. But if the planners get it wrong, there might be
no one left after 80 years! It will be necessary to simulate future society, perhaps by
increasingly including real people as part of the simulations and presenting the
simulations as networked computer games.
Affective computing (computers with emotions and feelings) is addressing the very real
complaint “Why can’t a computer be more like a (wo)man”. In fact, as computers
behave more human so they become less visible. Already we frequently interact socially
with computers and this technology is already changing the culture of the the young.
Because few politicians and leaders of society recognise this, culture change is now
very much in the hands of commercial forces. Many of the changes could be very
damaging, e.g. internet paedophilia and sadism
From Networked Computer Game
to Social Simulation
Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life techniques are becoming as effective at modelling
and simulating social groups as they are in simulating the “society of mind” inside one head.
The computer game SimCity is already being used to teach social responsibility in the
community. Computer games such as Creatures and “The Sims” indirectly teach genetic
and cultural transmission and the attachment processes of childhood.
Children are learning about mentalization (theory of mind) in virtual reality where they can
experiment safely. As with any games or toys, the more convincing the fantasy the more it
fills its role in allowing learning and rehearsal of adult life.
By building up from simple games for babies in year 1 to more advanced network activities
that mix the real and the virtual for teenagers 15 years later, increasingly sophisticated
collaboration services can be tested and evaluated as the technologies improve over this 15
years. As these games mature so they become an integral part of the collaboration society
Social advance funded by an adequately regulated enormous networked games
From Attachment Theory to Social Interaction
We need good models of the dynamics of human relationships over the whole lifecycle,
not just the mother-child attachment
from other Adults
Influences on
from Peers
Theory is
confined to
this corner
from Secondary Carers
– Father, etc
from Elder Siblings and Grandmothers
from Mother
An Example of Social Modelling
This model of social interaction has been
used to explore how new digital services
can be interleaved with existing social
Avoids problems such as:
• introducing video telephones too early
• failing to recognise the need for texting
The six stages are designed round the
working day but are fractal in that they
are applicable at any level from the
process of formulating and uttering a
single sentence to our journey through
life, from exploring child via
collaborating adult to persuading elder.
The Cycle of Collaboration
The Cycle - more poetically:
All the world's a Cycle of Collaboration,
And all the men and women just collaborators:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven stages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking nursed in the Home.
And then the whining school-boy, with his Map
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, from the social Landscape
Made to his mistress' Doorway. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even cross the meeting Table.
And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
In the Theatre of his court. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd Home-stead,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste,
sans collaboration.
Immaterialisation is Already Here
- from Material-Intensive “Car-Fetish” to media based Immaterial Experience
Readership of top five magazines, UK
Car and DIY magazines
Immaterial satisfiers
(One soft porn
(Two soft porn magazines
Three TV programme guides)
Thus material-intensive satisfiers such as cars and DIY are already being replaced by
more direct, more immaterial experiences for the body-mind.
When it comes to culture change, commercial interests and the neophilia of the young
may well be ahead of the policy makers and the professional middle classes?
They are definitely ahead of the moralists!
A Credible Route to the
Sustainable Global Network Society?
The third world is to some extent bypassing the dark satanic mills of our Victorian past. The
West has become a 500 million people prototype that had to include the unjust and damaging
intermediate stages of the Industrial revolution and the Information Society..
World Values Survey, etc.
Societies with the greatest sum total happiness have a modest difference between rich and
poor (Richard Wilkinson), but the West is heading in the wrong direction - fast
Inequality between rich and poor people and between first world and third world countries
has doubled over the last 30 years and is increasing even faster in the poorest countries.
Michael Ashcroft’s fortune is greater than that of his homeland, Belize.
The West may have left it too late to include the third world as partners. The breaking point
may be intelligent outsiders on the boundary between a westernised playboy ruling class and
the traditional cultures in third world countries. Many terrorists have mixed extended families
that cross this boundary.
But, by leapfrogging the West and liberalising millennia old extended family culture:
India and China may well reach the Network Society first.
Length of Life &
Quality of Life
Average lifetime increases and fraction of
life spent disabled decreases with prosperity
• 7.5 out of 45 years in Sub-Saharan Africa,
15% of lifetime
• 6 disabled years out of 77 in the West,
8% of lifetime
•As experience of disability reduces so the
dissociation needed to make it bearable atrophies
and empathy towards others strengthens.
•But the remaining disabilities become even more
difficult to bear.
•This triggers a “runaway morality” in which an
ever-increasing value is placed on preserving life
and avoiding disability.
Life Expectancy
Relationship between Life Expectancy and
percentage of life spent with disability
From “Global Burden of Disease”,
Murray and Lopez 1997
From Closed to Open Society
UK “leads” with one CCTV surveillance camera for every 15 people, 4 million out
of 25 million cameras worldwide (2002). What is safe in a liberal democracy can
be very dangerous in a tyranny
e.g. if homosexuality is seen by everyone as a lifestyle choice influenced by
early environment and genetic predisposition (as it is with other animals), then
CCTV is not a blackmail threat to the gay community.
In an Open Society whistleblowers ensure that power is not abused. Photos of
abuse of Iraqi prisoners indicate that the US may be more of an open society and
the UK les of one than is generally assumed!
Smart cameras are already recognising unusual behaviours better than people, e.g.
intoxicated behaviour before getting into a car, suicidal behaviour on a platform,
An open global network is a catalyst towards higher quality of life
•Because privacy hides abuse abuse
•Because openness encourages cultural tolerance
Over the last 50 years technical innovation has shifted
• from the material and energy based technologies that have exacerbated our
aggressive and competitive instinct
• to the digital technologies that can amplify our democratic, collaborative and
social instincts and reverse our escalating demand for non-renewable resources.
Digital technologies may now speed the spread of Helping Mode childrearing fast
enough to achieve global sustainability and a high quality of life for all
• by drawing on our growing understanding of the evolution of the human mind,
• by exploiting the collaborative potential of new “immaterial” digital
• by “what if” simulation of proposed collaborative social structures to ensure
that they do not have unfortunate side effects
The “Sustainable Global Network Society”
To continue please turn to my web site:
Outline References
Robin Dunbar – Human and prehuman nature, Social Group Sizes, levels of intentionality
Chris Knight – Blood Relations
Lloyd deMause – History of Childhood, Emotional Life of Nations
Christopher Boehm – Infanticidal tribal society
Andrew Oswald, Richard Wilkinson – Economics and sociology of happiness
Ronald Inglehart – World Values Survey, Modernization and Postmodernization
Valerie Sinason – Attachment, Trauma and Multiplicity, Dissociation
Richard Benthall, John Read – Madness Explained, schizophrenia
Duncan Watts – 6 Degrees of Separation and the New Science of Networks
Clive Bromhall – Neoteny
Steven LeBlanc – Constant Battles, Why we Fight
Lawrence Keeley – War Before Civilisation, the Myth of the Peaceful Savage
Sarah Blaffer Hrdy – Grandmothers as a step from ape to human
Alex Pentland – Honest Signals, via collaboration technologies
David Leevers Background
40 years designing collaboration products and services; telephone exchanges,
the world’s first smart phone, multimedia hard-hat, etc
15 years prototyping the social Internet in industry,
including managing European Community project CICC,
Collaborative Integrated Communications for Construction
10 years exploring how IT and Communications Technologies could contribute towards
global sustainability – little progress because projects were confined to
the secular/rational 9-5 world,
ignored fear, hatred and childhood
10 years at the Clinic for Dissociative Studies, London
an engineer’s experimental and creative approach to understanding
the scope and limits of human mind and society,
the 24 hours - 80 year culture of real life:
fear, hatred, childhood - and self-fulfilment.

Towards the Sustainable Global Network Society?