The Pleasure Principle IS Group Circuitry
Occasionally Lee and I get involved in debates with behavioral scientists or at least those that seem to be well informed on the science of behavior since they post anonymously, and the back and forth follows a predictable course that ultimately doesn’t get anywhere because apparently I don’t have any data. I thought I had pretty good data, i.e. the things we see dogs do everyday. But the question persists, and it is at face value a reasonable one, how could a few dog trainers be right about an energetic logic as the basis for learning and complex social behavior, and which stands in complete contradiction with what the very best minds in science have determined? Why, if an energy theory of behavior is so comprehensive and accurate, hasn’t science arrived at the same conclusion? Well, it has, it just doesn’t know it yet.
By this I mean that science is inexorably moving in the direction of an energy theory and there are indications of it emerging everywhere but first it needs to be pointed out. For example, I have caught several episodes of the series “The Human Spark” hosted by Alan Alda. In it some major tenets of the theory are verified by the latest in behavioral experiments and brain research (for example; the human mind processes the ability to entertain another person’s point-of-view, and a point-of-view in the future, in the same region in the brain, and this is a structure animals lack. This is exactly my definition of a “thought,” the basis for how the human intellect constructs a view of reality, the intellect as a “relativity” machine that makes it different from animal consciousness.) Hopefully I will be able to obtain some clips of the various experiments featured on the program and then I will post them with an energy reinterpretation allowing one to decide for themselves which interpretation seems the most reasonable. The "Human Spark" also emphasizes the point that it’s reflexive in the human mind to project intention into everything, even inanimate objects; a proclivity present in young infants. In my view this intellectual reflex is precisely what blinds science to the self-evidence of an energy theory: such notions of competition, survival, territoriality, genes replicating for the sake of their replication, learning by way of reinforcement; are all complex derivatives of this instinctual reflex. Because of this behavioral theory gets more and more complex and based on human reason so that it can't connect the dots with the research that’s already in hand and which the behavior of dogs and the manner by which they learn reveals every day.
For the last six months I’ve been trying to put enough information on this site to develop the model more fully. And while this will continue because we're just getting started, however I want to shift my focus toward creating a section that will feature a series of pictures and/or videos to put the model directly into action by learning how to see the energy through the actual behavior of dogs and animals. Also, I hope to flesh out the training/method section more fully for the practical benefit of these understandings.
However, in answer to the question posed above, why is an energy theory considered anti-scientific? in the following article and from time to time I will bring the reader’s attention to an experiment or book that’s directly speaking to an energy model, even though it might not explicitly recognize it as such. One such book that I ran across while searching the web for Darwin’s illustrations of dogs and emotional expression (the subject of a future article on the “principle of antithesis”), is entitled “With Pleasure: Thoughts on the Nature of Human Sexuality” by Paul R. Abramson and Steven D. Pinkerton. I haven’t read the book but have excerpted some important points from some on-line reviews that I think boil the book down succinctly, with the link provided below. My point with this kind of article is that the data for an energy theory is already in hand, we just need to connect the dots. One such linkage is my thesis (which at first might seem radical) that the mechanics and emotional basis of human love-making is identical to canine prey-making. This is relevant because it shows the universal aspects of emotion as the basis for a networked-intelligence, the logic of which is the basis of the animal mind and the manner by which it learns.
One of the most difficult notions for the current marketplace to accept, and which impairs the advancement of the NDT theory and method in the current climate of the modern marketplace, is the idea of sexuality as a social positive, and which I then further argue is actually information as in the form of animal magnetism that informs animals how to self-organize into social structures. Curiously behaviorism has no problem regarding sexuality in a positive light when it comes to Bonobos, but in truth this seeming openness is really in service to a political agenda (From the book notes I suspect that “With Pleasure” is going to muddle itself as well because by not being an energy theory, it will entangle itself in surface political ax-grinding as well.) rather than straight science because behaviorism and biology does a telling abrupt about turn over the issue of neutering in canines.
In 1978 I recognized the direct linkage between the prey drive and the sexual impulse through a remark that Bernhard Mannel made to me: (“The only way one can appreciate the canine prey making drive is through the human sexual drive.”). Upon reflection it then became obvious to me that sexual energy results from the predatory impulse meeting resistance and yet the individual can still perceive the preyful essence at the same time. (Whereas if it can’t perceive the preyful essence: then the feeling collapses and instincts/habits take over and that’s the end of the elaboration process that potentially could have resulted in a state of social alignment.) Thus, when the emotional energy the “predator” (anything projecting emotion onto something, is acting from the predatory aspect of its being, even a bunny rabbit, and this is also why most animals only manifest predatory reflexes and aggression in regards to breeding because that’s the only time they can hold the predatory and preyful aspect in mind at the same time due to hormones, and which then justifies the old paradigm view of neutering as socially calming) is projecting onto an object of attraction, is then reflected back to it by the predatory aspect of the object of attraction (its head/eyes), this internalized energy of stress is then converted into sexual energy by virtue of feeling grounded via the preyful essence into said object of attraction, and this energy is then internally displaced into other areas of the body so that the individual becomes sensually polarized. Now when two individuals move around each other, this animal magnetism releases a sense of pleasure in affected body parts (due to where they perceive their emotional-center-of-gravity) and this is a group circuit which will serve as a physical memory for alignment on sight. And this is not for purposes of procreation but for creation, i.e. to facilitate more and more complex manners of alignment (social structure) in order to create new energy. So the highest expression of sexuality is a sensual state of attunement with an object of attraction so that in tandem neuro-chemical energy in both brains, affects them as if they are magnetized and which thereby enmeshes them into a new emotional dynamic system, two magnets becoming one electromagnetic dynamo.
Since the primary property of energy is to do work, this electromagnetic dynamo is simultaneously the means by which the individuals attune to their surroundings, and in canines, enables the capacity to hunt a prey they couldn't overwhelm singly or even in numbers but rather through the communication of energy, i.e. "the charge."
This also means that the secondary purpose of sexuality is recreation, the simple pleasure of tactile contact which I suppose is the focus of the book “With Pleasure,” and which facilitates bonding for the purposes of cementing more and more complex expressions of sociability. Lastly, the business of procreation is not only, not fundamental, but rather is merely the tertiary function of sexuality which is of course necessary so that genes replicate and create the physical hardware necessary to implement more and more complex expressions of sociability.
In short, the experience of pleasure is integral to creating the group dynamic so that the many minded become but one mind.
So in 1978 because I was learning how to not project human thoughts into what dogs were doing, which means that I was developing an energy theory for why dogs do what they do, it became obvious to me that human sexuality was likewise the direct derivative of the predator/prey dynamic as well. In other words, the prey/predator module was the main conduit for the transmission of emotional energy be it between predator and prey, male and female, peer to peer, parent to offspring, child to teddy bear, and then this primal means of transfer and medium for synchronization, elaborates into complex social structures. The higher the emotional capacity of a species, the greater its sexual nature and the greater its sexual nature, the more it can project its “self” across the species divide and create trans-species emotional bonds and social ways of living, dogs and humans being the highest examples of this capacity that’s ever evolved between any two species. This book “With Pleasure” is halfway to seeing this connection, and it’s only halfway because it doesn’t yet recognize that the experience of pleasure through the phenomenon of emotional projection and the principle of emotional conductivity, is the organizing principle of animal consciousness and the basis of all behavior and so therefore precedes any genetic agenda for replication, it doesn’t follow from it. In other words, emotion and the experience of pleasure as the implementation of the principle of emotional conductivity is the basis of evolution, it did not evolve from evolution.
Nevertheless this is a huge breakthrough because for the first time that I’m aware of modern science is entertaining the premise that the foremost purpose of sexuality isn’t procreation. So dear reader if you sometimes think that you must walk the plank of intellectual rationality by subscribing to NDT theory and method, it might be helpful to remember that “Natural Dog Training” presaged not only the demise of the dominance theory, but the compelling thesis of this book “With Pleasure” by several decades. (Also note that the book cover is particularly interesting, picture of woman biting a man’s ear, i.e. “making prey.”)
I’ve included a number of blurbs that summarize the book’s thesis and to indicate that science is taking the thesis seriously, and then after these is a fuller review with link provided.
Quote from the book “With Pleasure”
“From the pristine vantage point of religious, political, and evolutionary doctrine, it is sometimes argued that the sole function of human sexuality is reproduction. As a consequence, non-reproductive expressions of sexuality are deemed illicit, immoral, or illogical. However, we believe the primacy of reproduction to be vastly overemphasized, and the insistence on procreation as the end-all of human sexuality to be inherently misguided.”
Challenging everything from the mandates of the Catholic Church to the hotly debated ethics of pornography, and from the controversy surrounding gay rights to issues of gender and feminism, With Pleasure explores a new theory of human sexuality that ignites every hot topic in the public domain. What role, authors Paul Abramson and Steven Pinkerton ask, does sexual pleasure play in our lives? Is the pursuit of sexual enjoyment in our blood? Our brains? Our very nature? Regardless of the source, it can be agreed that the joys of sex are widely appreciated. Why, then, is pleasure so often overlooked in discussions of sexual behavior, and why do cultural, historical, and religious treatises so often fail to emphasize, or outright ignore, this obvious aspect of human sexuality?
Responding to these and many other questions about our most private affairs, “With Pleasure” provides a profoundly original challenge to the cherished truisms of human sexuality. Abramson and Pinkerton proclaim the paramount importance of pleasure, while at the same time overthrowing traditional ideas about gender, pornography, contraception, homosexuality, abortion, and much more. Supported by rigorous research, With Pleasure argues that human sexuality cannot be understood if its significance is limited to reproduction alone. The authors posit that in humans reproduction itself occurs as a byproduct of pleasure--not the other way around--and that it is the strong drive for pleasure that makes people overcome many obstacles--and even life-threatening dangers such as AIDS--to have sex. Ranging from discussions about the church to current debates about pornography, and from evolutionary theory to questions about the future of sex and pleasure, Abramson and Pinkerton argue persuasively that the pleasurability of sex cannot be restricted to purely reproductive behavior.
Stimulating and informative and written with ample wit.... The authors' central argument is that sex is for pleasure, not procreation, because it is usually pleasure that provides the motivating force for human sexual activity."--Scientific American
"A fresh and theoretically enticing approach to the study of human sexuality....Sure to spark intense debate among those concerned with the study of human sexuality."--Kirkus Reviews
"Abramson and Pinkerton amass an array of evidence that sexuality in all of its myriad manifestations is inherently pleasurable. Moreover, they argue that sex-as-pleasure is primary over sex-as-reproduction as the evolutionary and psychological motivator for seeking sexual outlets. Furthermore, they insist that embracing all consensual, adult sexuality will make sex safer and perpetuate the species but with increased pleasure. Thus, With Pleasure is a scholarly, provocative, and brave book that will both evoke discomfort in the sexual puritan and instill hope in the sexual liberal as it increases the tolerance of all to the celebration of sexual pleasure."--Donald L. Mosher, Professor of Psychology, University of Connecticut
"With Pleasure is a thought-provoking, insightful examination that takes pleasure out of the closet and challenges us to rethink commonly-held assumptions about the nature of sexuality. It is a welcome addition to my library that I predict will drive public discussion and future academic research."--Angela Pattatucci, Associate Investigator, National Institutes of Health
Humans evolved to have sex not only for procreation but for pleasure, argue Paul Abramson and Steven Pinkerton, the latter a native of Seattle. As social animals, we use it to enhance love, to make peace after fights, to relieve tension, for social advantage, for recreation and for income.
"Pleasure has evolutionary advantages," said Abramson.
Natural and necessary
This distinction is important, they contend. If sex is seen only to produce offspring, then anything that does not contribute to that goal - oral and anal sex, masturbation, homosexuality, pornography and prostitution - can be seen as morally offensive, unnecessary and subject to censure, legal prohibition or religious injunction.
The psychologists theorize that humans, as social animals who choose mates for a variety of reasons, evolved sexual pleasure. Natural selection may have favored ancestors who developed pleasure centers –
Quote From Review:
“Abramson and Pinkerton discuss evidence from physiology, psychology, and culture in order to demonstrate that pleasure is not an irrelevant byproduct of the drive to procreate.”
“It is probably undeniable that pleasure originally developed in order to promote procreation — the more pleasurable an activity is, the more likely individuals are to engage in it. Those who have sex more will produce more offspring, and so the genes that make sex pleasurable get passed on.”
“That, however, is not the final word on how evolution operates. Traits that develop in order to meet one need can be co-opted to fulfill entirely different purposes. In the case of sexual pleasure, it turns out that this pleasure facilitates things such as interpersonal bonding, promoting interpersonal relationships, and reducing social tensions. These may not have been reasons why sexual pleasure developed, but they certainly helped ensure that it stayed with us and spread through the population. Today, perhaps, reproduction is simply a byproduct of sexual pleasure.”
“There is far more sex-for-pleasure than there is sex-for-reproduction, that is indisputable. It is because of this that one can conclude that, for homo sapiens at least, sex exists primarily for the sake of the pleasure it creates rather than the children which are only sometimes created.”
“It is because of this that Abramson and Pinkerton don’t merely present their observations about human sexuality; instead, they also advocate that we all develop a more realistic perspective on sexuality. We have been misled into thinking that sex is just about procreation, but once we recognize it for being about pleasure, we’ll be able to handle it better and live our lives a bit better.”
KB - - > I would like to hark back to the theory of Symbiogenesis which I mentioned elsewhere, the theory that new species are created when one organism is ingested by another and then its genetic material is assimilated rather than consumed. I believe that on the lowest forms of life this is one of the earliest physical embodiments of emotion moving through the predatory/prey module, and that this has continued to evolve into the complex emotional nature that is fully expressed in the sexual nature of animals. This distinction is important because it means that evolution isn’t a process of natural selection by way of random mutations that then produced pleasure as a function of gene replication, but rather pleasure is the principle by which genes mutate in concordance with shifts in the network and then replicate in order to implement itself.
In my book “Natural Dog Training” published in 1992, there is a chapter entitled “The Pleasure Principle.” It states:
“By grasping that pleasure in canines is defined in terms of the prey drive and is the means by which a canine can learn; we see that it isn't a whimsical or casual state of being in the natural scheme of things. The pursuit of pleasure isn't an act of hedonism or of selfish indulgence on the part of the individual and nor does it have much to do with trial and error. It only flows in accord with a pulse inherent in the drive to bite. It follows a specific rhythm that is time worn and deeply grooved by the genetic imprint the prey drive has etched in every canine's temperament.”
“The group dynamic intrinsic to the pursuit of pleasure is incredibly important to us as dog owners for it is the basis of the canine's ability to learn to cooperate.”
“However, in dogs and wolves there are other and more elaborate releasers which permit action than are to be found in frogs and perhaps any other species of predator - save man. For example, the form of a body, with a bulbous shape and a horizontal back line rather than a vertical line, attracts the drive to bite. And then finally, in the canine species there is available an additional class of emotional releasers which through domestication have been emphasized even further in the modern dog. Without these, which we'll consider below, the wolf and the dog would be much less flexible in their range of responses to the outside world.”
“When canines are emotionally attracted to one of their own kind and yet there isn't a releaser of motion to permit biting, they nevertheless remain attracted. The attraction doesn't just dissipate and go away on its own. As they go forward through the impulse to bite, and they encounter resistance because the object of their ardor isn't acting like prey, an amazing phenomenon occurs in two stages.”
“Right after the charge to bite is internalized, and right before it has the chance to shock the individual out of his biting impulse, the next phase occurs whereby the charge can next serve to arouse the individual sexually. As a result, emotional energy is diverted away from the jaws and radiates into the body arousing it, particularly of course in the genital area. Therefore, two canines interacting socially, even though they are attracted to each other through the prey/predator impulse, because it can’t come out through its primary avenue of expression, i.e. bite and grip, it is displaced into the sexual circuitry. Their bodies grow "polarized" so that they will position and realign themselves in response to this more complex urge quite like stacking batteries positive to negative ends in a flashlight. When so polarized, dogs studiously smell each other from top to bottom trying to ascertain where and how to "plug in." A sexual attraction is a latent charge to bite, internalized and stored when the flow of raw emotion is deflected into social activity. This in turn produces all the leg lifting, nasal investigation, and sexual posturing to be observed within the wolf pack and between dogs. The sexual mechanism is how the simple prey instinct becomes the complex prey drive, sexual/sensuality being the means of making contact. The many become integrated into the one, a complex integration which it is vital to note, includes the prey animal as well. In other words, the sexual nature of canines allows for emotional energy to cross the species divide.”
“Often when puppies play and are observed mounting and thrusting with a pronounced pelvic action, it is interpreted in the Pack Theory as being a reflex occurring out of sequence in the normal adult context. It is recognized as a hallmark of immaturity. Presumably the puppy is working the kinks out of his instincts and when he's an adult he supposedly learns to put the sexual reflex into its proper place in his repertoire. But the reason puppies vigorously mount well before they are able to breed is precisely because sexuality is directly linked to the prey drive and they are responding automatically to this alternative and more complex means of prey making. When they go towards something to bite, and they then meet with a degree of resistance, (the object of their attraction doesn't act like prey) a puppy will become sexually aroused as his nervous system, being highly stimulated by the prey instinct, will then trip on the sexual circuitry through a feeling of vulnerability. This reflects that the simple urge to bite is being channeled into a new and far more complex avenue of pleasure. And if the other individual if of the same mind, it will be receptive to becoming the prey and the two will play as this complex integration is now the only way either of them can fulfill their complex pleasure circuits.”
“Sexuality in canines is primarily concerned with alignment for the purposes of hunting and only secondarily does it have to do with procreation. It is fundamentally concerned with the processing of resistance encountered in simple prey making into group and pack behaviors: the complex aspect to the prey drive. Because the prey drive has a sexual component, and because the prey drive was amplified through domestication, in my view is why the modern breeds of dogs are so much more sexual than the wolf. Wolves breed once a year and in general are not sexually active until about two years of age. Sometimes they even mate for life. Dogs on the other hand will breed promiscuously, they can breed when as young as six months, and females come into season twice a year. Sexuality in the domestic dog is quite detached from the natural rhythm of the earth's cycles as it is more attuned to the magnetic attraction between animals inherent in the simple prey instinct. The emotions of dogs are more weighted towards the active aspects of prey making, searching, chasing, and biting. Whereas the wolf's nervous system remains more attuned to the seasons of the earth and to the migratory patterns of the prey species which themselves are responding to the earth's magnetic field and influences of the sun, moon, and perhaps stars. Wolves are more limited by instincts.”
“Traditionally, sexual behaviors have been misinterpreted as a drive to dominate, or to submit, or to claim territory, and have been seen as causative and the means by which a pack is formed, but that is far off the mark because it merely reflects the projection of human concepts such as survival, territoriality and dominance onto the behavior of animals. The alignment of the group into the structured order of the pack is due to the influence that the simple prey instinct has on the nervous system and temperament of the individual. When the individual is deeply aroused to bite, he is vulnerable and uninhibited. If in sync through the prey drive, he is freed from stress and able to align. Cooperation and order isn't created as the Pack Theory has suggested through a dominance hierarchy.”
Natural Dog Training failed to shift the fundamental thinking on dogs because this notion of the prey drive as overarching mechanism for a group dynamic was criticized as being too simplistic, and of course it contradicted the modern notion of dog as learning machine, or dominance/submissive automaton in the opposing school of thought, the tendency toward neutering and just about every other dogma as well. However today, revealingly, absolutely every high end system of dog training is moving toward training by motivating a dog’s prey drive. Perhaps taking stock of the direction mainstream science and conventional training is moving, with such articles as this, it will become easier to consider how Predator/Prey - - > Male/Female - - > Social follows one from the other via pleasure as the group circuitry.