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Norm, Variation, Deviation, Recombination

September 3, 2013

What is norm? In discussions on Evolutionary psychology this question has been appearing permanently.

There is no “just norm”.

But everybody works with norms.

Every science must work with norms.

So, norms must be.

 

This article is made of chapter 5 of book “Sex and rankwith some additions and abridgements.

 

Norm, Variation, Deviation, Recombination

 

Simple ‘normality’ does not exist, just as simply ‘normal’ people do not exist. ‘Normality’ and ‘normal’ people must be defined through what is required of them. For instance, if we ascribe a norm to the evolutionary highway, then there appears the ‘norm of the evolutionary highway’. This means that the individual meets the demands of the evolutionary highway.

If a man is healthy he is healthy for a reason. He can be healthy enough to fly into space, or healthy enough to stick stamps on envelopes. With normality the situation is the same, it is there for a reason. It can be attributed to the social norm or to the religious norm, it is not important, but it must be attributed to something. The norm is always the norm of something. Normality is the compliance of the individual to the norm.

A degenerate society as social norm can have just about anything inflicted on it you care to think up. But biological norms cannot be thought up, because biological norms exist independently of societies and of what people think about them. Theoretically it is possible to try and create a biological norm by devising it in one’s head, but no-one has yet succeeded in creating a community that is capable of survival.

The biological norm is replaced by the social norm. What society considers to be correct is also considered to be a biologically correct norm. But it would be right initially to analyse to what extent society itself conforms to the norm. We should add that in the course of time the ‘social norm’ has included paedophilia, homosexual paedophilia, incestuous marriages, female circumcision, marriage by contract, sacrifice of the first-born, ritual cannibalism. Each society considers its ‘norms’ to be true and final, and regards itself as embodying the highest form of social development.

And it transpires that for society norms do not exist. In other words, for people there can be no such thing as a correct norm. Of course there should be correct norms. But only because of various social relations they cannot be deduced.

 Movement on the evolutionary highway involves the elaboration of certain rules and norms. The norms are adhered to by those who have come down the evolutionary highway and emerged in the present. It would be logical to assume, then, that those who continue to follow these norms have a greater chance of making it into the future.

In modern societies the norms of the evolutionary highway often conflict with social and religious norms, and these conflicts manifest themselves at the level of individual people and families, and then society itself.

All individuals of the same species are different. There are two degrees of difference: variation and deviation. Variation as a feature of the organism is situated within the bounds of the norm, while deviation is outside this norm.

Variation. All people are individual, which is why they are varied. For instance, women have different breast sizes. The size is the variation. Size does not have any fundamental meaning, women can travel the EH with any size that is adequate to feed a child. We see something similar with height, though it is only ‘similar’ because excessive height or excessive shortness are no longer a variation but a deviation in that they create a problem for that individual. But for some populations divergences in height may even be positive variations, depending on habitat.

Deviation. This is the divergence in the organism’s structure or work that cuts it off from the evolutionary highway. An individual with a deviation may have offspring if the process of reproduction is supported by a non-biological instrument, for instance, medicine or social support. In modern societies the process of accumulating deviants proceeds according to parameters and is instant, and through them the accumulation of a genetic burden and genetic problems.

Where the boundary lies between variation and deviation no-one knows. Some divergences through changes in conditions may be positive for the population. With some changes in environmental conditions deviations may become variations, and vice versa. A monkey born without a tail was undoubtedly a deviation. Then tailless monkeys became a variation, then a norm. But the lack of a boundary between variation and deviation does not contradict clear instances of deviations and variations.

All behaviour is divided into biological – that is, programmed by nature – and social – that is, acquired in the process of life. Behaviour programmed by nature is divided into variational and deviational, that is, programmed incorrectly, with a genetic abnormality.

In troops of chimpanzees social relations are predetermined by biological relations, and as a result deviants – and in chimpanzee populations lots of these are born – are removed from the process of procreation. In modern society biological relations are predetermined by social relations. Social relations very possibly may become anti-biological in that they may contradict the biological programs and consequently work against maintaining the vital capacity of the human group.  

The diversity of norms can be seen in the example of homosexuality: it is a social norm for modern Europe, but for the evolutionary highway it is not a norm. The biological norm of breast size has undergone change through time and now any size is an evolutionary highway norm. In other words, large breast size is just as much a variation as is a small breast size. Previously, only small breast size was the evolutionary highway norm because large breast size in the savannah was heavy and created a problem for the woman. For chimpanzees small breast size is sufficient. The breast of a female in a hunter-gatherer tribe is smaller than that of a female who lives in civilization. In other words, a large breast size for these tribes is still a deviation. So, the pattern is as follows. Women with large breasts are less successful with men, their men are of a lower quality, their offspring is of a lower quality and fewer in number, and as a result this attribute is not inherited. Another example: when a lion runs after a group of females, the female whose breast is larger will because of the extra weight be slower than the others, and that will be enough for her to be eaten. It is not necessary to run faster than the lion. You just have to run from the lion faster than the others.

Bias towards intellect or strength is also variation. Progress from the ape to the human shows that selection took place primarily according to intellect. The variation ‘higher intellect’ has constantly and many times become the norm. Physical strength had to be sacrificed on that altar, and observations of chimpanzees confirms this: the alpha and beta males, those at the top of the hierarchy, are not the strongest, but the cleverest chimpanzees, though they also have to display considerable physical strength. Individual chimpanzees with heightened physical attributes are not usually intellectual. The same is true of humans.

A man can try his hand at track and field athletics, or weight-lifting, whatever is his choice. A man with average parameters will achieve success neither in athletics nor weight-lifting. A similar situation arises with intellect and strength. Ideally, a man should have both, but if he has a wonderful intellect, he will not have optimum physical strength. This can be explained by the fact that one gene can carry out one of two functions, for instance, changing eye colour from green to hazel. But an eye cannot be of two colours. Evolution dictates that some qualities are gained while others are lost. Thus, man lost his tail, even though it is a very useful thing to have in everyday life. Consequently, man became weaker than the chimpanzee.

Attributes disappear as a result of recombination, not because these attributes are superfluous or particularly energy-sapping, but because their genetic material and support mechanisms spread to other attributes. Man has to have some useful qualities made from such a useful thing as a tail.

An anthill houses various types of ants which fulfil various functions, such as the queen, soldier ants, worker ants and even different types of worker ant. People are recombinants just like ants. Various types of people in a group complement each other and through their interaction make the group effective. Some variations may exclude others, and this is called recombination.

Variations may be cultivated. The length of a dog’s leg is a variation. Dachshunds were bred from short-legged dogs, while hunting dogs descended from dogs with long legs. All of them are variations of dogs. But in nature neither Dachshunds nor hunting dogs will survive. For nature legs that are either too short or too long are deviations. As we will see below, any society cultivates various human variations, and the majority of these variations can survive only in civilization.

Quality and variability are inter-connected and usually exclude each other. A new rifle has been developed with pinpoint accuracy. Here the range of its accuracy is its variability, and as most of its bullets hit the target the quality of the firing (and the rifle) is high, and its variability is low. The rifle is the norm.

With use, grooves appear inside the barrel. The rifle starts to show signs of wear and tear, and its accuracy declines. Now the rifle may be able to hit the target, but only occasionally the bulls-eye. Being able to hit the target is the rifle’s norm, so it remains within that norm. But because its bullets are now hitting the edges of the target, the quality of its accuracy is reduced. The range of its accuracy has increased, and this is its variability. Its firing quality declines, and its variability grows. This correlation of quality and variability works for a machine-gun, but not a rifle.

 

g5_1_e

 

The rifle suffers further wear and tear. Its accuracy decreases further and not all bullets hit the target. When bullets do not hit the target this is the norm, and the firing quality has become low. Quality does not conform to the norm. This is no longer variation within the extent of the norm, this is deviation.

 


g5_2_e

 

The same is true of people. When the norms of procreation are broken, quality declines, variability increases, and then as quality continues to decline the rate of deviation increases until it is finally triumphant. Different, variable people raise the efficiency of the community if, of course, their abilities are used. Deviational abilities may be very high, but they cannot be used because their owners are of low quality and usually lack the ability to persevere sufficiently for the realization of potential. With the passage of time such people become the majority, and the community ceases to exist.

 

g5_3_e 

 

There is a general rule of system analysis – as quality improves, variability declines. As quality declines, variability improves.

Sergei Morozov is a Russian social philosopher, evolutionary psychologist and author of “Sex and Rank. Modern Man’s Ancient Programs”.

This text is free. You may republish it on any resource without permission of author.

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