Monday, August 06, 2012

Convenções sociais dos antigos (da pré-história) e dos modernos (para aí do neolitico até ao século XIX)

Rousseau vs. Descartes and incest, por Razib Kanh:

 Evolutionary psychology gets a bad reputation for positing adaptive explanations for everything under the sun, from dancing to migraines. But, if there is anything which is the target of adaptive constraint and selective pressures, it is the suite of traits which relate to sex and mating in a direction fashion. It is sometimes stated that sex is about power, but the bigger reality is that power is about sex.

But reducing human behavior purely to one explanatory framework is too reductive even for me. An individualist framework where singular males and females operate as evolutionary versions of rational H. economicus, always optimizing fitness through subterfuge and inducement, leaves something to be desired in characterizing the true rich tapestry of human behavior. And this tapestry is not arbitrary; rather, its general shape and topography is anchored by particular innate parameters.

For example, the story of Tristan and Iseult seems clearly to be rooted in a common human archetype, an evoked aspect of human complex societies where cultural necessities can work at cross-purposes with individual biological dispositions. Humans evolved as a species in relatively small-scale groups. Though I am skeptical of the idea that pre-Neolithic societies were atomized down to the level of only small bands, I do think that the rise of agriculture resulted in the emergence of new cultural forms and complexities. Hunter-gatherers clearly have their own taboos and social constrictions, but civilizations have transformed this segment of the cultural toolkit into massive and baroque scaffolds which constrict our impulses. For thousands of years it seems likely that young women such as Deirdre have been “given” to older men of power such as Conchobar. There is benefit in this arrangement for all. Men of power can breed with nubile young women, transforming their status into reproductive value. And, as Chinese history and the life of Anne Boleyn tells us there is much gain for these women and the families of these women who subordinate natural impulse to rational calculation. Yet still, impulses do quite often break free and negate rational calculation (see: Catherine Howard).

I have stated before that the customs and traditions which many Westerners perceive to be “conservative,” a fixation on female honor, elaborated patriarchal lineages, complex familial and social hierarchy, etc., are in fact innovations of the age of agriculture. They were cultural inventions designed to manage and control humanity in an organized fashion, as a scattering of souls congealed into vast rivers of people. The past few centuries, and in particular the past few decades, have seen a collapse of much of the old institutional order.
Já agora, há uns tempos o "psicologo evolutivo" Satochi Kazanawa perguntava-se "Why Don’t Teenage Girls Swoon for Middle-Aged Billionaires?" (depois propôs uma eventual solução, mas que continuava com um mistério por resolver), partindo do pressuposto que durante a maior parte da história evolucionária humana o normal seria as raparigas, mal entrassem na adolescência, casarem-se com algum homem poderoso da tribo e serem a sua n-ésima esposa. Mas talvez isso seja, não a verdadeira ordem tradicional, mas sim uma das inovações surgidas com a invenção da agricultura (uma sociedade de caçadores-recolectores não produz riqueza suficiente que permita a existência, pelo menos a níveis relevantes, de uma elite com rendimentos suficientes para sustentar várias famílias), logo por isso esse comportamento ("rapariga adolescente casada com homem adulto respeitado e rico") não foi incorporado nos genes (uma nota de biografia familiar: algures na primeira metade do século passado, o meu bisavô - um comerciante relativamente abonado de Loulé, penso que viúvo - apareceu em casa com um rapariga - creio que com menos de 20 anos - que ele tinha arranjado numa viagem de negócios à Beira Baixa; ao fim de pouco tempo ela "fugiu" com o meu tio-avô, mais ou menos da idade dela...).

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