Ecological Anthropology: Addiction and Adaptation <ul><li>Environmental degradation and restoration are examined in relati...
The Cybernetics of Self:  A Theory of Alcoholism <ul><li>Based on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Combination of ideas from clinica...
The Problem: The Style of Sobriety <ul><li>A style of  sobriety  drives alcoholics to drink </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An error...
Alternative hypothesis to Conventional Alcoholic Treatment <ul><ul><li>Sober alcoholics are more  sane  than most members ...
Sobriety Though  Will Power <ul><li>In modern Western culture friends and relatives of alcoholics encourage them to be “st...
A.A.: Sobriety Through Surrender  <ul><li>The struggle of the will by alcoholics for “self-control” and  personal power  i...
Surrender and Cultural Assumptions <ul><li>Fist step is a change in epistemology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Alcoholics and all ...
The Epistemology of Cybernetics <ul><li>The stability of living systems, including alcoholics and other humans, depends on...
Alcoholic Pride <ul><li>Alcoholics repeatedly attempt to  control  their drinking, in combat with a real or fictitious “ot...
Alcoholic Surrender <ul><li>AA provides “a dramatically shift from away from a symmetrical… epistemology, that pits an alc...
Hitting Bottom <ul><li>For AA complementary relationship formation for alcoholics depends on them “hitting bottom” and suf...
AA and Environmental Restoration <ul><li>Recognition of and surrender to  A power greater than the self  by members of  ep...
Effects of Conscious Purpose on Human Adaptation <ul><li>What is the role of consciousness (awareness) in the ongoing proc...
Living Systems <ul><li>Living systems consist of complex cybernetic networks that are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inherently co...
Conscious Purpose and the Environment <ul><li>Consciousness, driven by culturally mediated purpose, systematically selects...
Consciousness and Environmental Distortion <ul><li>Purposive consciousness forces a lineal structure on the environment th...
Conscious Purpose and Advanced Technology <ul><li>Modern Western Culture is now able to devastate the environment with the...
Correctives to Conscious Purpose <ul><li>The most important is  love , can move relationships, including between modern hu...
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Addiction & Adaptation

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Ecological Anthopology: Addiction and adaptation

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Addiction & Adaptation

  1. 1. Ecological Anthropology: Addiction and Adaptation <ul><li>Environmental degradation and restoration are examined in relation to addiction in modern Western culture through: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Steps to an Ecology of Mind by Gregory Bateson [2000, 1972] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Part 3 No. 9, The Cybernetics of Self: A Theory of Alcoholism; Part 5 No. 4, Effects of Conscious Purpose on Human Adaptation </li></ul></ul></ul>
  2. 2. The Cybernetics of Self: A Theory of Alcoholism <ul><li>Based on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Combination of ideas from clinical psychiatry and theoretical cybernetics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Scope: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Examination of underlying premises of alcoholism and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ethnographic research: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>VA Hospital Palo Alto, CA. 1949-52 </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. The Problem: The Style of Sobriety <ul><li>A style of sobriety drives alcoholics to drink </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An error or pathology is present in their style of sobriety </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Because sobriety is flawed, intoxication provides correction of this error and is in some way right for alcoholics </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Alternative hypothesis to Conventional Alcoholic Treatment <ul><ul><li>Sober alcoholics are more sane than most members of “ epistemologically flawed” modern Western culture, thus the situation they experience becomes intolerable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ The AA member was never enslaved by alcohol. Alcohol simply served as an escape from personal enslavement to the false ideals of materialistic society.” ( AA Comes of Age , 1957) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Sobriety Though Will Power <ul><li>In modern Western culture friends and relatives of alcoholics encourage them to be “strong” and to “resist temptation” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sober alcoholics agree with this view of their “problem,” that they should be the “ captain of their soul ” through the power of their will </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The battle is waged between the “ self ” and John Barleycorn </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. A.A.: Sobriety Through Surrender <ul><li>The struggle of the will by alcoholics for “self-control” and personal power is replace in AA by “ surrender ” to a power greater than themselves . </li></ul><ul><li>The first two steps state: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Surrender and Cultural Assumptions <ul><li>Fist step is a change in epistemology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Alcoholics and all other members of a culture are “bound within a net of [self-validating] epistemological and ontological premises…which govern adaptation (or maladaptaion) to the human and physical environment.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In remainder of article epistemology refers to both how we know the environment (epistemology) and what sort of world it is (typically ontology) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. The Epistemology of Cybernetics <ul><li>The stability of living systems, including alcoholics and other humans, depends on oscillation through self-corrective feedback </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Feedback derived from the [semiotic interpretation] of the internal and external environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No part can have “unilateral control over the whole” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The stability of the living system is “immanent, not in some part, but in the system as a whole” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The human Self = human + environment </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Alcoholic Pride <ul><li>Alcoholics repeatedly attempt to control their drinking, in combat with a real or fictitious “other” outside of themselves, i.e. the “bottle.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A symmetrical relationship based on similarity and mutual competition forms so that more of A stimulates more of B, then escalates to schismogenesis (creation of division) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>As alcoholics increase their tests of will power to their ever failing battle with the bottle (based on a flawed epistemology of control over the greater system) the relationships that support them (spouse, employer, friends) increasingly deteriorate </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Alcoholic Surrender <ul><li>AA provides “a dramatically shift from away from a symmetrical… epistemology, that pits an alcoholic against the universe to a complementary relationship </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A complementary relationship based or dissimilarity but mutually fitting together of the alcoholic and the universe is formed to eliminate the schismogenesis (creation of division) within the alcoholic’s sobriety state that lead to the manifestation of alcoholism </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Hitting Bottom <ul><li>For AA complementary relationship formation for alcoholics depends on them “hitting bottom” and suffering enough pain to totally abandon the epistemology of “self-control” that lead them to alcoholism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In consonance with cybernetics and living system theory, AA asserts that the effect of any intrusion upon the system depends on timing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hitting bottom differs according to the alcoholic’s previous state and integration of feedback </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. AA and Environmental Restoration <ul><li>Recognition of and surrender to A power greater than the self by members of epistemologically flawed modern Western Culture, similar to what occurs in AA can be a effective model for environmental planning and activity because it engenders: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Humility in regard to technological prowess since the creature that destroys its environment destroys itself </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Awareness of the need to incorporate larger systems into any environmental project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hope in the face of massive environmental degradation because modern society may need to “hit bottom” in before surrender to the greater system prevails </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Effects of Conscious Purpose on Human Adaptation <ul><li>What is the role of consciousness (awareness) in the ongoing process of human adaptation? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First, a description of living systems, which includes humans, their societies, and the ecosystems in which humans are embedded, is presented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Following this, the effect of the conscious purpose-driven human adaptation process on the environment is discussed </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Living Systems <ul><li>Living systems consist of complex cybernetic networks that are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inherently conservative, tending to maintain a steady state of dynamic homeostasis through oscillation based on feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Humans and their cultures as living systems, exist and evolve not as an isolated units but as interdependent components of larger living systems. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Conscious Purpose and the Environment <ul><li>Consciousness, driven by culturally mediated purpose, systematically selects information from the “great plethora” of environmental possibilities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Because consciousness “deals only with a skewed sample of events…there must exist a systematic (i.e.,non-random) difference between the conscious views of the self and the world, and the true nature of the self and the world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This difference distorts perception, the process of corrective feedback, and environmental adaptation </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Consciousness and Environmental Distortion <ul><li>Purposive consciousness forces a lineal structure on the environment that tends to make cybernetic circuits in the environment imperceptible </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A change in a given variable is thus undertaken without comprehension of the homeostatic network surrounding that variable </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Conscious Purpose and Advanced Technology <ul><li>Modern Western Culture is now able to devastate the environment with the “very best of conscious intensions” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-maximizing entities: companies, trusts, political parties, unions, commercial and financial agencies, accentuate this massive environmental devastation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Given greater status than biological persons, “these entities are precisely not persons and are not even aggregates of whole persons. They are aggregates of parts of persons </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Correctives to Conscious Purpose <ul><li>The most important is love , can move relationships, including between modern humans and ecosystems, from the I-It to the I-Thou </li></ul><ul><li>Epistemologically reframing humans and their cultures as “ servosystems ” whose purpose is to provide feedback for the benefit of the greater environment </li></ul><ul><li>The arts, poetry, music, the humanities, “The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing” </li></ul><ul><li>Contact between human and animals </li></ul><ul><li>Religion, i.e., Job’s purposiveness, common sense, worldly success are stigmatize by the Whirlwind: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dust thou know when the wild goats of the rock bring forth? Or canst thou tell when the hinds do calve? </li></ul></ul>

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