THE RULES OF YOUR ASYLUM
This paper is in a first draft form; Comments and criticisms are welcome.
Once upon a time I read a science fiction short story. It seems that all major spaceships and all colonizing ships carried, as part of their crew, an individual whose job was to do nothing but to read whatever (S)he wished. The idea was that while computers could be filled with data, they could never
be made capable of drawing, sometimes lifesaving, correlations between the data. Humans could
I have always had a desire to know what makes the world tick. Not on a narrow bits, bytes, and atomic particle level, but on all levels and in all areas. I read widely, not necessarily in depth.
One observation I have made is that most ordinary persons - that is to say good competent persons from good families with children who are not pregnant or in jail, persons who do their jobs well and who may complain, but never whine, persons who accept responsibility for their lives - often observe that they appear to be in an institution that is run by the inmates ie the crazies.
This paper will demonstrate that this is indeed the case, and will further
show why it is the case. As a byproduct, it will make suggestions to
prevent the complete destruction of our society as we know it.
Persons use words in funny ways. The more self important they are the more
god like they make their pronouncements, and they less responsibility they
take for makeing their statements. For example they will say "Blah Blah is
'bad', or 'unacceptable', or 'imoral'". They say this as though they had
either the power of God to define values or a direct insight into Gods mind to
know what God thinks. What they mean is "I do not like Blah Blah." But
besides having a vastly inflated view of their relationship to God, they also
are so lacking in guts as to be unable to take responsibility for their
feelings and beliefs by using the word I when making value judgements.
I shall attempt to avoid playing god, making assumptions and garbling the
meaning of words. To that end, some definitions are in order.
Except in a parochial sense there is no such thing as evolution.
Evolution implies some sort of progress. But that assumes that the world has
progressed toward us, so we are in effect saying that change is progress if
the system changes in a direction that we like. In this paper, I will use the
word change in many places that others would use the word evolution.
The conclusions of this paper are based on the following assumptions:
Human beings, as they are today, are the result of the process of changin
happening acting under the laws of natural selection. In summary, natural
makes the rather obvious, almost tautological, statement that in any group of
similar organisms, those who "best fit" the environment are most likely to
have the largest number of descendants. Note that by that definition, one
class of very fit of humans in our current environment are drug addicted
welfare dependent whores and their boyfriends. Although AIDS may be changing
the environment to favor the responsible middle class.
Human behaviour can be explained and understood.
Human brains are complex neural networks, and obey the same basic rules as
simple mathematical or mechanical neural networks. This is not surprising
since such neural networks were designed to emulate the brain. They do this
this very well. (See May 1991 edition of Scientific American for an article on
an artificial 'eye' that has 'optical illusions')
There exist two types of neural networks.
One type is mechanical like the eye. It is what it is and its purpose is
to receive and process information in one direction. Its output is usually
fed into the second type of neural network which is dynamic or bi-directional.
For a mechanical model based on the eye see the May 1991 Issue of Scientific
American. This type of Neural network does not change and does not interact
with the environment.
The second type of neural network is dynamic or bi-directional. It takes
in information (usually from the environment) processes it and then responds.
The environment then responds back. This response by the environment shapes
the manner in which the network responds to further information received by
the environment. There are numerous software models of this type of brain
function on the market at this time. A schematic looks like this:
ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ a ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
³ ³ ³ Neural ³ c ³environ- ³
³ input ÃÄÄÄ>ÄÄŽ NetworkÃÄ>ÄÄtÄÄÄ>ÄÄÄŽ ment ³
³ ³ ³ (Brain)³ i ³ ³
ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ o ÀÄÄÄÄÂÄÄÄÄÙ
^ n ³
Given a specified neural network either software or wetware (A brain) the
initial training can never be entirely replaced by later training. In
software, initial numeric weights are created which can never be reset to zero
without starting all over again from the beginning. In wetware, neural
pathways are enhanced or suppressed initially. These enhancements or
suppressions can never be entirely eradicated. The childs' initial environment
physically shapes the brain. This initial physical shaping can never be
eliminated, it can only be modified.
The processes of change that led to us seem to have resulted in the
installation of some pre-wiring in all human brains. Infants can recognize the
sums and differences of small numbers. If you have ever been involved in
parenting an infant, you know that there is only one way in which an infant or
toddler learns. By mimicking.
Let us consider what evolution would imply about infant behaviour. A
sexually mature couple has a child. Clearly the couple has survived to become
old enough to have a child. While it is possible that a brain is a blank
slate, it is also obvious that all individuals have different brains and
different personalities and different abilities. Thus the assumption that a
brain is a completely blank slate is contraindicated by existing evidence. A
brain that is wired in such a manner to imitate its parents, to avoid
universally dangerous things (fire, loud noises -associated with high energy
processes usually dangerous- heights) and to keep its parents happy will have
a definite survival advantage over one that does not avoid heights, or behaves
in a manner that takes no account of the manner in which its parents respond
to its behaviour.
It is usually a good idea to assume that a living organism is behaving,
at any given time, in such a way as to bring it the most pleasure or the
least pain. An infant brain would have a definite survival advantage if it
was wired to assume that by imitating its parents it would bring them
pleasure. Thus imitating parents is very similar to keeping them happy.
Now let us consider other survival strategies. Clearly lying, theft,
homicide etc are good short term survival strategies. But we do not live in
the short term except perhaps geologically. We live with others, and unless
we, in some way, obtain their co-operation we will not live long. The fact
that with few exceptions, humans live in cultures is clear evidence that
cooperative behaviour has a survival advantage. In fact, recent studies
indicate individuals which behave in a manner called generous tit-for-tat have
the best chance for survival.
The four basic behaviours in a group are always co-operate, always
defect, tit-for-tat, and generous tit-for-tat. In a group someone who
'defects' to get an advantage over another will shortly discover that no-one
will do business with her. Whereas one who always co-operates will be played
for a sucker. One who does tit-for-tat co-operates only with those
co-operate. When an associate cheats, a tit-for-tater will cheat at the next
opportunity. This situation leads to the Hatfield McCoy cultures. The most
successful long term strategies are generous tit-for-tat. Here, a person
assumes that the person who cheated him did so accidentally or that there was
a mis-understanding. Thus she will not retaliate every time someone fails to
co-operate. These groups are the most successful in 'getting things done'.
For more information on this see May 1993 Issue of Discover of Karl Sigmund &
Martin Nowak's paper In Nature magazine last year.
All carbon-water based life systems have like-dislike built into them.
Another way of thinking of this is that like is life and dislike is death.
Single celled organisms in water move toward the area that has a PH compatible
with life, and move away from the area whose PH is hostile to life.
CRAZY: A definition to describe behaviour which is destructive to the self
and is repeated. Non repeated self destructive behaviour is simple
learning. A second definition is expecting different outputs from
similar or identical inputs - ie. expectin different results from the
What, if anything, do all of these various bits of data mean? It is my
belief that this information implies the following:
Human children are basically good. If raised in an environment where
they are loved and respected they will grow up to be healthy intelligent
independent self sufficient adults capable of thinking for themselves.
Sometimes they will grow up to be this way even if they are not raised in a
However, the further an environment departs from this ideal the more
likely a child is to grow up with a warped personality. Now I shall describe
departures from the norm and ways in which the personalities are warped.
Departures from the norm:
1 The child does not get enough PHYSICAL or emotional attention. This
can take various forms such as usually ignoring the child, putting him on
schedules to early, letting her know in word and or deed that she has no
worth or exists only for your convenience.
2 Causing the child physical pain beyond what is necessary to be an
aversive stimulation. I have observed that a child can withstand a
good deal of physical assault in the course of play and ignore it. So
a good rule of thumb is that PHYSICAL punishment should be less than
the level needed to cause a happy playing child to cry. When this level
of physical punishment is administered to discipline a child, you can
be sure that his crying is not the result of the physical pain but
because of the emotional circumstances surrounding the punishment.
Consider my child as an example. I have seen him totally unresponsive
to having blood drawn, or to receiving booster shots. But if he is
doing something wrong, and I thonk him with 1 finger he will cry. Of
course if he is playing and I thonk him with one finger, he is usually
totally oblivious to what has happened.
3 Never rewarding the child. This lets him know that no mater what he
does, he is not good enough.
4. Beating the child
5. Lying to the child
6. Being capricious and arbitrary when dealing with the child.
7. Preventing the child from having a 'safe haven'
9. Sexually using the child.
Remember that the parents are the primary model for the child. The child
will try to be like the parent. As explained above, being like the parent
is almost synonymous with pleasing the parent. As far as he is concerned
the parent is the embodiment of what is good, what is safe, what is right.
From an evolutionary standpoint, the parent has survived, so if the child
mimics the parent than the child will enhance its chances of survival.
What can one expect in the way of child behaviour when one departs from
loving caring upbringing of the child? Lets first discuss what healthy
behaviour is like.
If a person is healthy they will like and be comfortable with themselves.
While they will be interested in establishing competence in some field,
they will not be driven to establish dominance over others. They will be
comfortable with others who are healthy. They will be able to solve
problems, and think independently. Baring specific organic brain
dysfunction, they will not be crazy. A healthy person will have no desire
to control others, and will resist control by others. A healthy person
will accept responsibility for his or her actions
There is a standard chart for describing how children respond to their
environment. It says:
These descriptions may not sound like much But let us look at some more
In the early 1960's a German Psychotherapist, Alice Miller, began to do
research on why Germany did what Germany did in WW II. Among her other
interesting discoveries were that every member of the upper levels of the 3rd
reich was a severely abused child. Almost without exception, every person in
German prisons for violent crimes was an abused child. the more violent the
crime, the more likely the perpetrator was to have been severely abused
himself. This strong correspondence between crimes of violence and child
abuse has recently become evident in this country as well. If you wish you
may read her book, "For Their Own Good".
She expanded the commonly excepted description of child abuse to include
some of the repertoire of behaviour described in the above chart. When I
read her book, I was able, for the first time, to understand my world. Why
persons in power, or who were famous or sought fame, or wealth, were so often
such ass-holes. The recent spate of tell all stories by celebrities simply
reinforced what what I learned from For Their Own Good. Most persons who
have power or money or fame were severely abused as children. They have spent
the rest of their lives trying to prove that they have worth, are loveable, or
trying to gain control of their environment and thus avoid pain.
Unfortunately, for the abused child, this is, without years of good therapy,
an impossible task. They can never gain enough of love, power, fame or money.
The problem that normal persons are usually content to be fair in their
dealings, and competent in their work. They do not crave power or control
beyond competency in their work. What happens to crazies who crave power &
control? They can become criminals, autocratic bosses, or for the ultimate in
power without responsibility, they can go into politics. (I know for a fact
that Roosevelt, Nixon, Kennedy, Regan, & Clinton all came from severely
dysfunctional homes with alcoholic or abusive or absent fathers. I suspect
that George Bush also came from a dysfunctional home) I suspect that a
little research would show that almost all members of all of our legislatures
come from homes where they were treated poorly if they were not outright
Specifically though, what happens when a parent treats a child badly?
Well the child learns that the right way to behave is for big people to use
and abuse little people. She learns that, just like some of the characters in
Alice in Wonderland, when adults use words, these words mean what the adults
want them to mean, and that truth is not in objective reality, but it is
whatever the adults say it is. She learns that she herself is nothing,
compared to the important things of more power, meetings, reports, status,
clothes and good food and money. Remember that the parents behaviour is, by
definition, the 'right' way to behave. So, the child abuse will be repeated.
Since the child never felt safe or secure or loved, the adult will spend
the rest of his life seeking safety, security & love. Unfortunately, without
a lot of therapy, it is almost impossible to make up for the impoverishments of
childhood. The adult never has enough love.
Because most humans are born with some innate wiring, the need to be loved
and cared for example. Because they try & mimic the adults, they will, in a
healthy environment, acquire, if it is not build in, a tendency to care for
others - a tendency to share if you will. For these reasons, it takes a
sustained consistent effort to turn a child into a psychopath or a career
politician, interested only in himself and indifferent to the adverse affects
of his behaviour. When this does happen, the transformation is usually total.
However the transformation is usually no so total as to obliterate the most
basic built in knowledge of the difference between right & wrong. Only
recently have we begun to hear of persons killing others, and saying - "So
what - people die all the time."
In general the knowledge of right & wrong is so deeply wired within us,
that we need excuses to justify wrong action. Almost always when one does harm
to another, either as a person, or as a politician, an excuse, reason or
rationalization is offered, if only to oneself. More often than not the
perpetrator prefers to hide what they are doing. While it is true that the
good must often hide from the wicked, it is interesting that those in power
will often hide their actions from the powerless. This is a testament to the
fact the even the dysfunctional know what is evil & wicked. Sadahm Hussein
did not call in CNN to witness his gassing of the curds. And most politicians
do not call in the press to witness anything they do, except for a few staged
The main problem for society is the following. In their quest for
security, the adult strives for power. We all know that the one institution
that offers the most power and the least responsibility is politics. The
political arena, or government, is the strongest magnet of the damaged abused
personality. Here the abused child becomes the ultimate parent with the
citizens his children. He can lie with virtual impunity. She can and does
treat her citizens like pesky children to be ignored or disciplined, returning
on occasion with bribes of candy to reassure herself that her children still
love her and think she is a good parent.
The abusive parent is in every way like government, and government
officials. Government officials live in their own world, and because of
their pathological upbringing are cut free from any natural tendencies toward
healthy good behaviour. Lying, ignoring their children, assuming that their
children "don't know any better" and an endless struggle among THEMSELVES
is their typical behaviour. One of the more common images is that of a
citizen throwing a screaming fit in a government or at a government office and
being written off as crazy, or not understanding. Unfortunately they
understand only to well. Unfortunately they are like the child who has been
lied to and can only scream "you promised" to an adult who has forgotten the
meaning of keeping ones word, and honesty years ago. Both the citizen and the
child are called childish, and told that they do not understand. But here it
is clearly the inmates running the asylum, and it is the "adult" or
government that 'does not understand', that lies, that has warped and
One of the characteristics of the abused and the abuser is a kind of
isolation, where their logical and moral connections to life, to humanity and
to common sense seem to be totally replaced with connections only to their own
group, family, clan or bureaucracy. Racists can only come from dysfunctional
families. This is why governments are always racist. Which is why we have
laws on the books which, in the last 25 years, have given this country the
hights incarceration rate of blacks and latinos in the world, and have made
them a permanent under class. You didn't think it was an accident did you?
I mean did you really believe that the 4th largest industry in this country
(Drugs) is supported by blacks stealing Boom boxes, cars and gold chains from
And in another 10 years, we will probably have laws which will result in
Asians suddenly becoming a criminal class. As a matter of fact I know just a
law. To help curb the increased incidence of crime we will make it a major
felony for the victim to fail to report a crime. And we will enforce seizure
laws. In a few short years all of those sneaky rich asians will be poor and
or in jail like they deserve. (Asians because they have a closer community
life then we and because they do not trust government - imagine that, often do
not report crimes.)
One should take note of similar authoritarian structures in hierarchical
churches. The minister refers to his parishioners as his children. Creatures
who can not think for THEMSELVES or and are not responsible. The parishioners
are also lambs of the flock. But what is the ultimate relation of the
shepherd to his flock. To fleece them and eat them.
The implications of this behaviour are indeed frightening. While Sigmund
& Novak demonstrated via mathematical models that generous tit-for-tat
behaviour always comes out on top among the four behaviour strategies, they
did not take into account child abuse. This is not surprising, as they were
dealing, after all, with a rather simplified computer model. Frankly, I see
nothing to keep child abuse and government from growing until it consumes the
entire society. Like an abused woman who goes from one abusive man to
another, most individuals seem to think the solution to government caused
problems and abuse, is more government. This, of course, is the typical
behaviour of the abused, who in order to remain sane and survive, attempt to
please, identify with, and eventually become the abuser. Such persons find
it almost impossible to confront the evil nature of their abuser. Like
concentration camp inhabitants, they seek not escape, but appeasement of their
Another implication of the above observations is the viewpoints held by
the crazies ie the abused, and the sane. The crazies see everybody as the
enemy or the victim. They interpret other persons actions in the negative.
While having an insatiable need for love, they drive love away. The best they
can hope for is respect, often based on terror. They see us as foolish,
children or naive. The rest of us usually have no clue as to what drives the
crazies. In many ways we are naive. We to not have to think about what the
correct course of action is. The King of Norway in WW II was an example.
There was a village in France which hid several hundred Jews, at great pearl
to themselves. They did not understand why people asked them why they did
such a thing and why they risked their lives. In fact they were, like
children receiving undeserved praise, slightly embarrassed.
One of the best examples of these different life viewpoints was related by
the Physicist Richard Feyneman. He typifies what I would consider a good
person. He pursues his own course in the best way he knows how. He seeks
the truth out of curiosity.
This story is about a Dr. Al Keel who had, at the time, been working in
Washington for 12 years, most recently with the Office of Management &
Budget. He was getting along quite well in Washington.
Let me Quote from his book "What Do You Care What Other People Think?"
Now, Dr. Keel started out by telling me that he had a degree in physics.
I always assume that everybody in physics has integrity-perhaps I'm naive
about that-so I must have asked him a question I of the think about:" How
can a man of integrity get along in Washington?"
At this point "...he tells me he's never been so insulted in his life, that
he didn't take this job to be so insulted, and that he doesn't want to talk
to me anymore!"
The problem? Well the good rational person would take the question at
face value, and proceed to explain how a person of integrity can get along in
Washington. On the other hand, the masters of the asylum would hear "Since
you are getting along in Washington, you can't be a man of INTEGRITY"
I might add that I believe that these crazies all think the same way. There
is a world view among politicians, most media & show persons, and most
individuals in upper levels of business that is totally alien to honest people.
I have no doubt that Charles Keating believes himself to be righteous and a
"family man", even if it was corporate policy for all of his female employees
to have big bouncing boobs, and even if silicone was required. Lee Iococa is a
similar man. Here is a man who sees nothing wrong about complaining that the
Japanese do not buy his cars, even though Chrysler refuses to make Right hand
drive vehicles. He then demands tariffs on JAPANESE cars, so he can
continue to take in his multi-million dollar salary.
In the future, watch how the media, and business and politicians all
function in the same manner. They almost always do and say not that which is
right or fair, but which will enhance their status & power even if it is, as
the situation with trying to sell left hand drive cars in Japan, totally
absurd. These people always want more power, money and status for THEMSELVES.
And to the extent that they promote citizens having more power or
responsibility, it is almost always simply as a vehicle for they THEMSELVES to
acquire more. No conspiracies are needed when everybody together has the same
There are four basic characteristics that distinguish the dysfunctional
from the healthy.
1.) The Dysfunctional need rules. - The fewer the rules, the greater the
ambiguity, the less able they are able to function.
2.) The Dysfunctional desire to control other humans. If this is not
possible, their second choice is to be controlled.
3.) The dysfunctional use words as weapons, not as a means of acquiring
or sharing information,
4.) The dysfunctional, because they were always punished for being wrong
as children, have an absolute terror of being wrong, and will go to
unbelievable lengths to demonstrate that they are not wrong.
A.) Dysfunctional persons will almost always, always follow the
party line even if it directly conflicts with their own senses
or common sense. The recent judicial decision on Baby Jessica
is an example. This enables one to:
B.) Avoid being responsible since one is always 'just following
orders'. If one is just following orders, one can not be wrong.
Looking at the four items mentioned above, it becomes clear why people
naturally have such negative feelings towards lawyers (3 out of 4), and
politicians (3 out of 4 or 4 out of 4).
I am confident that until we tackle government, and childrens dependency
on it; on a therapeutic level, we are doing the equivalent of putting band-aids
on a malignant melanoma.
So - what do we do about this situation??. I don't know, I thought I
was being fairly clever to clearly define the problem. I do know that abused
children often love and are defensive of their parents. The abused wife loves
her husband, and can not imagine being able to survive without him. Today,
our citizens love their government (only 20% voted for Ross) and can not
imagine life without it.
Actually, I have what might be a good idea. Bear in mind that both the
deceleration of independence, and the constitution were signed off on by
basically simple folk. Not stupid, just intelligent honest people. They
were craftsmen, farmers, with just a few lawyers among them. They wished,
most of all to be left alone. My solution, besides term limits, is to remove
lawyers from all supreme court positions, state and federal, and to remove
lawyers from all appellate court positions.
All professional societies grant their outstanding members awards. I
propose a constitutional amendment that would limit all federal appellate and
supreme court bodies to 1 person chosen from judicial ranks. And to limit all
state supreme courts to 1 person chosen from the judicial ranks. The rest of
the members would be chosen as follows:
Since one can not bullshit mother nature, the names of all national or
international prize winners from any organization that deals with physical
sciences or mathematics - that is math, physics, chemistry, engineering,
medicine, biology, and whatever else seems appropriate, be placed in a hat.
When a vacancy occurs, X number of names will be drawn from the hat, and
submitted to an approval body, say the senate, and that person be chosen to
serve for a period of Y years. We might even limit the eligible members to
Nobel Prize winners, as this would virtually guarantee that the candidates be
untainted by our countries politics.
The book Obedience to Authority by Stanley milgram will be made mandatory
reading for all college students, and every member of the bar - until we
eliminate the current monoply on lawyer representation.
Juries will be removed from the cloud of iligitamate authority of the
judges who tel them that they may not judge the law, and in fact will not only
be told that they can judge the law, but can return a verdict against the
prosecution if they found that the prosecutors acted, to an acceptional
degree, like nincompoops
Constitutions are simple documents, and most of us would conclude that we
would not be in the poor position we are in today, if the supreme court did
not have an amazing ability to give 1000 + reasons and rationalizations for
declaring that black is white except on alternate thursdays. I believe that
exceptionally competent scientists are to dedicated to the truth to go along
with bullshit. Besides, think how much better our legal system would be if
laws had to be written in English. I mean if a rocket scientist can not
understand the law, then it is obviously unconstitutional.
For an idea as to how to make government smaller, how about another
AMENDMENT as follows. Henceforth, each year the government shall spend 5%
less then it did the year before. If a budget is not approved spelling out
appropriate spending cuts, then all existing programs shall be cut by 5%. This
law shall be in effect until an election is held in which 2/3 of the populace
vote and agree that government has been reduced to an acceptable size.
Further, all government pensions shall be reduced so that the recipient shall
have an income no greater than twice the national income for couple of their
age living together. To reduce the deficit, 10% of government property,
real and other, shall be auctioned off to the highest bidder each year until
the government has divested itself of all unimproved land, all of its
buildings that are more than 25% vacant, and all other goods not reserved for
In the future, no person shall be employed for more than 10 consecutive
years in service to government, nor for more than 15 years out of any 25 year
span. (Hey, in todays world, people move from job to job, and even change
industries - what is so sacred about government?) In no case shall a
new employee of government have any pension established for him but by his own
savings and investments.
This has been slapped together
It is not yet well written.
There are generalizations & undefined
terms in here. I am seeking input