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Fw: [xmca] Luria on emotions

>From the book :

[[Although many
human behaviour
(normal) always attempted
to understand its
general structure, they
failed to do this when
they passed
to the
of such
affect, conflict,
neurosis. To
in this
existing structures,
to find lawfulness in
seemed far more
complicated and sometimes more or less senseless
affectis a disease of the
of authors decided
not to examine it as a form of behaviour
its own
and were satisfied with a
simple description
of the
When science attained the
studying objectively
psychological phenomena,
a new
but in the
main there was no
Such authors decided that to
of behaviour as a
psychological subject
fairly difficult,
and that when the
"loses his
equilibrium" the behaviour falls under the influence of certain
physiological processes, losing
specific psychologically organised
character. The same
and this was still more
marked with
psychoses, began
to be considered as
pathological phenomena;
and in its
study they
sufficient a
of the several
physiological symptoms
it. The
James-Lange theory
of emotion was the
of such a
and the transfer of the whole domain of affect to
pure physiology.]]

... seems we still need Luria alive !

{{I've said this many times on the internet. War is a product of class

divided society, civilization.




One of the most insidious modern memes holds that war is innate, an

adaptation bred into our ancestors by natural selection. This

hypothesis—let’s call it the “Deep Roots Theory of War”–has been

promoted by such intellectual heavyweights as Steven Pinker, Edward

Wilson, Jared Diamond, Richard Wrangham, Francis Fukuyama and David


"Killer ape" scene in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space

Odyssey has no basis in fact.

The Deep Roots Theory addresses not just violent human aggression in

general but a particular manifestation of it, involving attacks by one

group against another. Deep Rooters often contend that–as warlike as

we are today–we were much more warlike before the advent of


Pinker claims in his bestseller Better Angels of Our Nature that

“chronic raiding and feuding characterize life in a state of nature.”

In The Social Conquest of the Earth, Wilson calls warfare “humanity’s

hereditary curse.” The Deep Roots Theory has become extraordinarily

popular, especially considering that the evidence for it is

extraordinarily flimsy (see “Further Reading” below).

A study published today in Science, ”Lethal Aggression in Mobile

Forager Bands and Implications for the Origins of War,” provides more

counter-evidence to the Deep Roots Theory. The study’s authors,

anthropologists Douglas Fry and Patrik Soderberg of Abo Akademi

University in Finland, say their findings “contradict recent

assertions that [mobile foragers] regularly engage in coalitionary war

against other groups.”

Fry and Soderberg focus on mobile forager bands, also called nomadic

hunter-gatherers, because their behavior is thought to provide a

window into human evolution. Our ancestors lived as wandering foragers

from the emergence of the Homo genus some 2 million years ago until

about 10,000 years ago, when humans began raising crops, domesticating

animals and settling down into more complex, hierarchical societies.

Fry and Soderberg examine data on deadly violence within 21 mobile

foraging societies observed by ethnographers. The societies include

the Aranda and Tiwi of Australia; Kaska, Copper Inuit and Montagnais

of North America; Botocudo of South America; !Kung, Hadza and Mbuti of

Africa; and Vedda and Andamanese of South Asia.

Fry and Soderberg count a total of 148 “lethal aggression events” in

the societies. The researchers distinguish between violence involving

people who belong to the same group and are often related; and

violence between people in different groups. They also distinguish

between violence involving just one perpetrator and victim and

violence involving at least two killers and two victims.

These distinctions are crucial, because war by definition is a group

activity. Deep Rooters often count all forms of deadly violence, not

just group violence, as evidence of their theory. (They also often

count violence in societies that practice horticulture, such as the

Amazonian Yanomamo, even though horticulture is a relatively recent

human invention.)

Of the 21 societies examined by Fry and Soderberg, three had no

observed killings of any kind, and 10 had no killings carried out by

more than one perpetrator. In only six societies did ethnographers

record killings that involved two or more perpetrators and two or more

victims. However, a single society, the Tiwi of Australia, accounted

for almost all of these group killings.

Some other points of interest: 96 percent of the killers were male. No

surprise there. But some readers may be surprised that only two out of

148 killings stemmed from a fight over “resources,” such as a hunting

ground, water hole or fruit tree. Nine episodes of lethal aggression

involved husbands killing wives; three involved “execution” of an

individual in a group by other members of the group; seven involved

execution of “outsiders,” such as colonizers or missionaries.

Most of the killings stemmed from what Fry and Soderberg categorize as

“miscellaneous personal disputes,” involving jealousy, theft, insults

and so on. The most common specific cause of deadly violence—involving

either single or multiple perpetrators–was revenge for a previous


These data corroborate a theory of warfare advanced by Margaret Mead

in 1940. Noting that some simple foraging societies, such as

Australian aborigines, can be warlike, Mead rejected the idea that war

was a consequence of civilization. But she also dismissed the notion

that war is innate–a “biological necessity,” as she put it–simply by

pointing out (as Fry and Soderberg do) that some societies do not

engage in intergroup violence.

Mead (again like Fry and Soderberg) found no evidence for what could

be called the Malthusian theory of war, which holds that war is the

inevitable consequence of competition for resources.

Instead, Mead proposed that war is a cultural “invention”—in modern

lingo, a meme, that can arise in any society, from the simplest to the

most complex. Once it arises, war often becomes self-perpetuating,

with attacks by one group provoking reprisals and pre-emptive attacks

by others.

The war meme also transforms societies, militarizes them, in ways that

make war more likely. The Tiwi seem to be a society that has embraced

war as a way of life. So is the United States of America.

The Deep Roots Theory is insidious because it leads many people to

succumb to the fatalistic notion that war is inevitable. Wrong. War is

neither innate nor inevitable.

Further Reading:

Horgan, “Quitting the hominid fight club: The evidence is flimsy for

innate chimpanzee–let alone human–warfare“:


Horgan, “Will War Ever End?” (review of Better Angels of Our Nature,

by Steven Pinker):


Horgan, “No, War Is Not Inevitable” (review of The Social Conquest of

Nature, by Edward Wilson):


Horgan, “Worst Column Ever By Times Pundit David Brooks: ‘When the

Good Do Bad’”: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/2012/05/21/worst-column-ever-by-times-pundit-david-brooks-when-the-good-do-bad/

Horgan: “Are We Doomed to Wage Wars Over Water?”:


Horgan, “Margaret Mead’s War Theory Kicks Butt of Neo-Darwinian and

Malthusian Models”:


Horgan, “Is ‘Sociobiologist’ Napoleon Chagnon Really a Disciple of

Margaret Mead?”:


Horgan, “RIP Military Historian John Keegan, Who Saw War As Product of

Culture Rather than Biology”:


Horgan, The End of War, McSweeney’s, 2012.

Douglas Fry, Beyond War, Oxford University Press, 2007.

Image from 2001: A Space Odyssey courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

About the Author: Every week, hockey-playing science writer John

Horgan takes a puckish, provocative look at breaking science. A

teacher at Stevens Institute of Technology, Horgan is the author of

four books, including The End of Science (Addison Wesley, 1996) and

The End of War (McSweeney's, 2012). Follow on Twitter @Horganism.

More »

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily

those of Scientific American.}}


----- Forwarded Message -----
From: mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
To: "ablunden@mira.net" <ablunden@mira.net>; "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu> 
Sent: Thursday, 18 July 2013, 19:58:51
Subject: [xmca] Luria on emotions


This is a link to a Luria book called The Nature of Human Conflicts. Could

you put on Luria page under Luria pubs.


Its great to have this luria book generally available. It is very poorly

known in Russia, where it was published only a few years ago and is very


I will be really glad to have this linked to the Luria page at

luria.ucsd.edu. Among other things, the whole last third is

On Mon, Jul 15, 2013 at 5:20 PM, Andy Blunden

<ablunden@mira.net<javascript:_e({}, 'cvml', 'ablunden@mira.net');>

> wrote:

> Yes. Lius Radford just told me. :) I am moving this one to replace the

> piece I scanned.

> Andy


> Huw Lloyd wrote:


>> You can download the full text here:


>> http://archive.org/download/**natureofhumancon032984mbp/**

>> natureofhumancon032984mbp.pdf<http://archive.org/download/natureofhumancon032984mbp/natureofhumancon032984mbp.pdf>


>> Best,

>> Huw


>> On 15 July 2013 10:37, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net<javascript:_e({}, 'cvml', 'ablunden@mira.net');><mailto:

>> ablunden@mira.net <javascript:_e({}, 'cvml', 'ablunden@mira.net');>>>

>> wrote:


>>     With the upcoming xmca discussion of Part 2 of the Special Issue

>>     on the emotions, people might like to look at Luria's book on his

>>     approach to the investigation of affect.


>>    http://www.marxists.org/**archive/luria/works/1932/**

>> nature-conflicts/luria-**conflicts.pdf<http://www.marxists.org/archive/luria/works/1932/nature-conflicts/luria-conflicts.pdf>


>>     We just have the Preface and Introduction at the moment, but the

>>     methodological discussion here is intriguing, especially his

>>     insistence that it is only *psychological* investigation, based on

>>     detailed observation of voluntary actions and consideration of the

>>     entire system of the psychological and motor functions, and not

>>     *physiological* investigation (as in modern "neuroscience:) which

>>     can shed any light on problems of how human actvity can be

>>     "disorganised" - and in 1932, this from the guy who is virtually

>>     the founder of modern neuroscience.


>>     Andy

>>     --     ------------------------------**------------------------------

>> **------------

>>     *Andy Blunden*

>>     Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/

>> **>


>>     Book: http://www.brill.nl/concepts

>>    http://marxists.academia.edu/**AndyBlunden<http://marxists.academia.edu/AndyBlunden>





> --

> ------------------------------**------------------------------**

> ------------


> *Andy Blunden*

> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/

> Book: http://www.brill.nl/concepts

> http://marxists.academia.edu/**AndyBlunden<http://marxists.academia.edu/AndyBlunden>