previous.gif     next.gif    

Human and Cultural Hologenesis

by Alfred de Grazia



My story of the "hopeful monster" is nearing an end. Given the physique of an ape and a troublesome miniature computer, he has harried the whole Earth, scuffed about on the Moon, and can sing "Aida." I see no signs of the angelic in his origins and history, only in his delusions and pretensions -- but what can one expect from a schizoid?

Nor have I discovered substantial grounds for any theory of the origins of human nature except that of homo schizo. Aside from special issues and errors of fact, none of which, it may be hoped, are fatal, four major criticisms can be aimed at the theory. These can be stated as follows: first, that the catastrophes of the human creation scenario did not occur; second, that humanization was not a hologenesis but a process occurring point-by-point; third, that the human species appeared much earlier than 13,000 or even 50,000 years ago; and, fourth, that mankind is not genetically schizotypical.

Any one of these criticisms can be offered by itself, while with-holding the others. Moreover, all four of them can be advanced together. At the same time, I can be correct in any of these four regards and also in all four of them, to wit, the catastrophes, the hologenesis, the recency of humanization, and the schizotypicality of human nature.


On the issue of catastrophism, I should repeat the thesis. There are three kinds of disastrous intervention in the process of humanization: First, catastrophes are invoked as requirements for mutations, biosphere destruction, and atmospheric transformation, without which the human species -- and many others -- would be most unlikely to evolve. I have sketched the evidence and the character of such disasters and shown how they would enter into the quantavolution of mankind.

Second, the metaphor of catastrophism is applicable to the hominid mind as it was destroyed and the human mind composed. In this sense, the human came about as a schizophrenic psychological disaster. To sharpen the point, one can imagine that a team of scientists, knowing much more than we do now, and expert with drugs and surgical instruments and experimental environments, might convert a hominid mind into a human one. The team could then announce, metaphorically, "We have today fashioned a fearful, power-seeking, disaster-prone maniac interested in everything in the world."

The third form in which catastrophe intervenes is once more in the non-metaphorical mode. Natural catastrophes occurred after humanization on a grand scale and at intervals of time. These provoked and reinforced the catastrophic character of the human mind, entering, with 'unfortunate' compatibility, upon the interior and transpersonal melee of individual and collective psychology.

It would be unwise to place the burden of proving the true natural catastrophes entirely upon this one book. At the least I may refer to my books of the Quantavolution Series for more theory and evidence and then to the classics and rapidly growing literature of quantavolution, as cited in those books.

The human mind -- an itself that perceives itself as a disaster emergency -- is sandwiched between natural catastrophes that preceded it and natural catastrophes that succeeded it. We are not surprised, given the catastrophic interfaces, that the human is often an unreliable observer. Still, although the world is ultimately to the mind a coded set of illusions, and although this mind must always possess a great many delusions about these illusions, there does exist a sense of reality, a pragmatic mechanism simulating the animal's instinct to respond to a stimulus. The pragmatic mechanism permits humans to distinguish between more or less delusionism. Legend, myth, history, and thought can be reality-tested for their degree of 'excess delusionism. ' The mind of homo schizo, in sensing the outer world, can build a battery of tests to discriminate more disastrous from less disastrous conditions.


Whatever one's ultimate judgement on the issue of catastrophism, a second criticism may be leveled against the general theory of homo schizo, namely, that humanization was a point-by-point process, not a hologenesis. In this regard, one can review the psychological theory of this book and of its companion volume, going beyond the evidence, which is thus far scarce, concerning both quantavolutionary and evolutionary theories. Our theory here says: the critical change in the pre-human creature was probably small, a significant depression of instinct-response speed, but the effects were an avalanche, pouring into all aspects of behavior, internal and external, and prompting an immediate culture.

Our position, disregarding the evidence momentarily, is logical and theoretical; it is well illustrated in the scenario of the simple club-carrying creature: he has to be a fully human person. No matter by what door one enters into human behavior, one enters upon the domicile of the human being. The central nervous system, mentation, and culture are holistic -- all must be related to all.

Whereupon a third criticism is ventured, that the human species is known to be very old, even though human behavior and culture are not demonstrable until the Upper Paleolithic age. This criticism usually is brought in to support the second criticism, but is logically independent: one may have rapid-fire point-by-point evolution occurring in a short time. The question here is how long ago did humanization occur. My position is that the time scales are grossly distorted, that 'three-million-year- old-hominid bones' are perhaps no more than thirteen thousand years old. I have indicated signs of weakness in the tests of time upon which so much faith is placed.

Either we are dealing with a hominid who is humanly incapacitated, or we must drastically shorten the time scales. A human who is distinguishable three to five million years ago, who then disappears for three million years, and who then emerges with a culture, is a contradiction in terms; he was not human. But could he have become clandestinely a human only 100,000 or 200,000 years ago? If one has to speculate in this fashion, then the debate will become a free-for-all, no holds barred.


The fourth and last major objection to the theory of homo schizo is this: however he came about, man was born a rational animal, in whom signs of schizotypicality are abnormal, even if frequent. If someone will argue along this line in the face of the abundant evidence and citations advanced in this book, not to mention its companion volume, then that person is ready to accept the implantation of a soul by intelligent beings from outer space, or by a god of his choice, as the critical step in human genesis.

Ironically, the ethologists are on the proper track: man in his 'rational' nature is most like an ape, seeking the simplest solutions and fastest decisions that a brokendown instinct apparatus will allow. As Blaise Pascal said, long ago, "There is no man who differs more from another than he does from himself at another time." It is in one's erratic attitudes or values, in one's conflicts, and in one's unsatiable curiosity that a person is most human. No other animal species is so ineluctably schizotypical. The so-called irrational element of people is therefore their authentically 'normal' constitution.

Surprisingly little systematic scientific theory of the genesis of human nature exists. We know rather well, in this age, what constitutes a general scientific theory, and if theories of human origins are scarce and defective it may be because their empirical foundations are absent. In such circumstances, we can offer the theory of homo schizo with greater confidence, realizing that it is not just 'another theory. ' Let us repeat then the theory, in summary form:

Given the conditions that must have attended human creation, human nature must have been of necessity schizoid. Furthermore, judging from what is known of his early behavior, culture, and history, he was in fact schizoid.

As to the first point -- what 'must' have created a schizoid human in the process of nature -- we allude to the constitution of the primate, from which man derives so many mental and physical attributes. The fascination that crowds humans into the monkey house of the zoo reflects the intuitive recognition of similar species. An unending stream of detailed studies just reinforces the resemblances of physiology, anatomy, and behavior. But reflectiveness, symbolism and reasoning on widely displaced subjects are missing.

The forces that generate species by mutation are constrained by the necessity to work on what is already potential, in order for the species to survive in a physical, as well as environmental sense. Mutations are not purely random, not quite blind, but strike the target like poor archers, off center. In the case of humanization, the key mutation produced directly or indirectly a fatal indecisiveness, whose first outward evidence would be a crazy, that is, misbehaving, hominid. The preconditions for mutation included natural particle or viral storms of sufficient scope, intensity, and duration to cause a great many mutations.

To fix by conventional chronology a certain date for the birth of mankind is risky and might mislead; the compression that we force upon the usual timetables reduces millions of years to mere hundreds. The boundary line between some pair of ages that run from the Cretaceous to the Holocene (a sixty-million year interval in conventional geochronology) might have witnessed the first humans. On such occasions the skies changed, the atmosphere was turbulent, the Earth was deluged, the lithosphere was refashioned, and great numbers of species were extincted. Thereupon might the human, whether by mutation or radical adaptation, have originated.

In themselves, the changes from hominid to human may have been anatomically negligible. Even the swollen cerebrum is scarcely distinctive. Hence what happens inside the brain is all-important, for that is what translates into uniquely human mentation and behavior. We have argued that what happened had to happen at once, in a hologenesis of mind and culture. We have demonstrated that little time was needed to permit the speciation of man and that probably little time was actually available, the current geochronometry notwithstanding.

Further, the speciated man was genetically predisposed to culture. Culture was inevitably and promptly determined by the human quantavolution. Recognition of this process has been blocked by the same evolutionary and uniformitarian ideology that insists upon point-by-point speciation; point-by-point cultural evolution is impossible. Culture is species specific behavior of homo schizo. He finds culture as he finds a water hole or a mate. And this culture is a monstrosity of nature, whose very existence proves that man is the only species that dwells outside of itself, out of its mind.


The primate ancestry, the turbulence of the environment during the birth throes of the species, and the basic human culture all point toward a creature who is perennially distressed from having to invent his own mind. He had now to behave in the pattern of what is today called schizophrenia.

He was depersonalized. He constructed a multiple personality and operated under a confederational ego. He was fearful and anxious continuously and without sufficient cause. He has remembered a terrible past which, inconsistently, he has forgotten and displaced.

He had an unceasing and unbounded need for control of himself and pursued all semblances, fakes, illusions and self-deceptions that seemed to give such control. He displaced madly. He has always thought by displaced association and projection. He animated nature. He sought the eternal. He had immediately to establish the trappings and rituals of culture. He suffered religious delusions and made and unmade gods, under the illusion that these gods were busily making and unmaking him. He killed and ate his kind.

He was obsessive and compulsive. He has consistently disliked himself and others, and has been characterized by aversiveness to people and ambivalence. His ambivalence extended to himself, to others, to the gods, to all of nature. He has loved and destroyed all of these.

Nor has he been happy. Anhedonia, the 'joy' of suffering, has always been a major human trait, though often so deeply buried in his culture that he can go about 'happily' denying its presence. He has been typically paranoiac; never could he manage to build more than a narrow crust of trust, even though paranoia unleashed the most self-destructive kinds of behavior.

He symbolized internally and then extruded portions of his code for external communication. The symbolist process expanded enormously to take in the whole of his world and of nature. Everything perceived and conceived received its code name. The linguistic process was done not once and for all, but repeatedly, thousands of times, in thousands of cultures and at different periods of the culture. He made fetishes of signs, words, and symbols.

He has always envisioned a future, but the future squeezed in and out like an accordion, from the next beat to forever, dragging along a ragged melody, out of time with everyday behavior and history, and changing its tune from one moment to the next. He could add and subtract, which from time to time amounted to marvelous intricacies of mathematics and logic, yet these formed always a limited, not powerful, element of his character. He designed and valued decision in many forms as the substitute for the instinctive behavior that he lost and would dearly love to relocate. Great mythologies and sciences of decision emerged. He ventured into totally 'unproductive' fantastic and philosophic contemplation. For dreaming so much while asleep and awake, he is uniquely distinguished among all creatures. In the beginning, as ever, he became mythographer and historian, the schizoid recorder of his own schizotypicality.

To conclude, we have found no symptom of mental illness, or schizophrenia as that is broadly construed, which has not been an important and 'normal' part of human nature from its inception. We find, also, that there has been no large general and persistent pattern of human thought and behavior that cannot be subsumed under the symptomology of schizophrenia.

The name, homo sapiens, and especially homo sapiens sapiens, given to him, is a misnomer and he should more accurately be called homo sapiens schizotypus. Indeed, there may turn out to be, by tests refined beyond those that are presently validated, a mixture of human natures, including hominidal forms that cannot survive or regenerate as humans without instant heavy administrations of culture, and then several others, one or more of whom was responsible for the invention of culture and the great changes of history. Possibly there may be, among the latter, some genetical structure that is so fully cerebral and ego-controlled that it can be called "sapiens sapiens."

It is, after all, mainly a convention that bids us call all people by the same species name. There is no natural law that demands that all people be of the same species in that they apparently can interbreed. Even at that, some humans can interbreed only under high risk circumstances, at some risk to themselves and their progeny, owing to genetic differences.

We may also suspect that the stress on species intra-reproducibility may be an offshoot of the peculiar sex-sublimated English nineteenth century environment, in which Darwin and his friends were heavily immersed and in which animal breeding was of large interest, as Darwin himself evidenced, and in which 'good breeding' and genealogies within human groups took on a sacred aura. By contrast, many peoples of the world, including Greeks and Hindus, have claimed that the human soul could migrate, in all or in part, hither and yon in the animal kingdom, transcending zygotic barriers.

Genetic differences among individuals become minor or major by definition, by public policy, by fiat, one may say. While ordinary people, societies, scientists and the intelligentsia have their eyes upon certain visible differences of culture, upon skin color, stature, and certain other differences, not apparent but tangible, such as blood groupings, other more basic behavioral and mental differences may stand unattended. These latter may appear to be so important, when ultimately perceived, that they will erase not only the traditional insistence that all people are of one species but also the thesis of this book that all people are to be presumed schizoid. More likely to occur would be the uncovering of genetic differences that are too "minor" to suggest drastic eugenics.

The worst possible occurrence, which would at the same time be the best possible, would be the discovery of a trulyhomo sapiens sapiens among the population in 'pure' or 'diluted' form. Even to be able to recognize scientifically such a type would be difficult if not impossible, since we should have to recognize something that we are not, to lift ourselves by our own bootstraps, so to speak.

If it were recognizable, presumably it would be a person whose self-awareness is infinite but at the command of a calm will of a solid genetic ego. It would be a person who can displace without anxiety, but who also has a will to displace infinitely. This person would make and unmake habits with only instrumental motives in mind, could believe in causes without bias and prejudice, could emotionalize warmly without commitment to irrelevant choices, utilize large portions of his or her cerebrum for calculations according to a presently unknown logic, control his nervous system and physiology at will (that is, by perfect psychosomatism), be prudent but fearless -- in short do many things naturally that we have here come to believe cannot be done without contradicting nature. Such would be an 'ideal' species, as we would megalomaniacally describe one, without reference to the reality of homo schizo. We construct this ideal, in fact, with as little appreciation of its possibilities and likely genetic mechanisms as we imagine the 'intelligent beings from outer space, ' with only the vaguest ideas of how such beings might be anatomically and behaviorally designed. There is, I would conclude, only a rare chance that such a species exists among us and, if it did, could be found, and, if found, could be eugenically engineered and maneuvered into commanding position in the development of a real homo sapiens sapiens.

Most probably we are confined to homo schizo in ourselves and in society. Our tactics, and to some unknown degree our eugenic policies, must be to trick ourselves and others into certain ways of behavior whose consequences we desire and accept. These tricks can carry us a certain distance towards utopia.

In addition, as we discover the right tricks (I realize that I should be calling them applied social science or humanistics), we can be alert to discover certain quantitative genetic differences that reliably distinguish those human schizoid constitutions that prefer our tricks -- our solutions -- and are docile respecting them. These can be genetically assisted.

So a cultural and genetic kit-bag may eventuate that will give us a new typical homo schizo, ideal in these senses rather than in the unrealizable megalomaniac conception that was hypothetically formulated above, which, incidentally, resembles the far-flung schizotypical visions of man that are commonly voiced by philosophers and politicians.


previous.gif     next.gif