Thursday, October 26, 2017

Illustration of why our minds develop but our culture evolves.

Maybe this illustration will help. A young person predictably develops their cognition from pre-operational to concrete operational by say age 8. What mutated? And if this is a transition that virtually all uninjured brains make in pretty much the same way - why does it make sense to call it a mutation? 

Similarly - a fertilized egg develops into a fetus in a mammal. Where is the mutation involved in this transition? There isn't one. So we don't say the egg is "evolving", we say it is growing or developing. Even if there is a mutation that changes the physical development, we don't say they are evolving, we say they have a genetic mutation. If the mutation proves to be beneficial, then we say the species is evolving because they pass the mutation on and their descendents thrive.

So - while at different points in our lives, we may develop mutated ideas and communicate them - we don't say our ideas (memes) have evolved, we just say someone had a new idea. But over time if these ideas take root - essentially if they find a reproductive home in other minds - they propagate and become something that is reproduced in large swaths of our species. And then they are no longer mutations - they are features of the culture, and the culture has evolved. 

But if the ideas aren't ripe for reproduction in other minds - they don't transmit - they whither and die on the vine. The mutation wasn't adaptive and is not propagated in the culture. Evolutionary forces pruned it out. 

If that doesn't illustrate the difference, I'll think about it. Maybe I'll come up with something else. Like I said - if one is using evolution and development as synonyms that is fine - but I think its instructive to consider the ways in which evolution is different from development and so, which word is actually the better descriptor of the process. Does one of them leave something out? Does one of them imply something is taking place which isn't? 

There's not much difference here to the conventional way we think about AQAL UL & LL - but I think there's some underlying theoretical structure here that can tie together the parallels between the evolution of culture and the development of individual minds, in terms of all quadrants and traditional Darwinian ideas of evolution through mutation and natural selection.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Every 8 months whether I need it or not.

Here we are in April.  I will turn 51 soon.  I'm certainly feeling many of the shifts that seem to come with this age.  I am lower energy, I have less concentration, I don't learn as easily, etc. But on the plus side, I find that I am less and less concerned with pleasing other people.  I have fewer effs to give, if you will forgive the expression.  The field in which I grow them is barren as they say.

I am lowering my hours at Capital Area Counseling, which continues to be a wonderful place to learn and get experience with kinds of therapies and kinds of clients I haven't encountered before.  I may take on some couples at Capital Area Counseling to get some experience with them under my belt.  I have counseled many individuals on relationship issues, but helping a couple is an animal all its own.
To orient anyone who may be reading, when we counsel a couple or a family, there is a way in which our client is none of the individuals involved, but the relationship itself.  The point is to help that relationship become more functional.  Many come to couples counseling looking for a therapist to be "on their side" or to "fix their spouse" - but this is not what you are going to get from most therapists. Even if after sufficient experience with a couple, we may privately think that one or the other members is behaving in the most problematic ways, that is not something we would probably bring into the therapy room or into the relationship with the couple.  The more relevant question than "Who is at fault?" is "How can this relationship heal itself and thrive?" and that almost always involves effort and skill building on all sides.

If you are approaching your relationship as a question of "my partner either fixes this list of things about themselves or I'm out of here" then you might as well call it quits.  Human relationships are hard.  You have to learn to deal with what is in front of you - not the thing you wish you had.

Now - if this is how you feel - I encourage you to seek counseling for yourself and for your relationship rather than quitting.  It might be possible to shift your perspective to see your challenges in a new way.  It might be possible for you and your partner to learn new skills that will shift your experience and make that list irrelevant.

Now - all of this is about relatively safe relationships - not abuse.  That's a topic for another day. If you think you are being abused, please seek help, and if necessary sanctuary and physical escape.

I have appointment times open so give me a call if you want help.