The Community Organism
A community is a self-organizing being. These posts focus on the connection between our ordinary behaviors and the way they knit together a “superorganism” via unconscious participation.
I have a theory that the reason that many different neurological types maintain consistent percentages per capita year after year is that somehow it’s useful for constructing human communities. As an incomplete example, I’m talking about:
- High functioning sociopaths (cold-hearted leader/organizer types) 4%
- Bipolar disorder (frequently leaders or very creative) ~2.6%
- Autism Spectrum (technological and scientific innovation) 1.7%
- ADHD (novelty generators) 5% to 11%
- Schizophrenia (visionary thinking in any discipline) 1%
I’m not certain how the predictable gay and lesbian* population percentages factor into this exactly but as a guess, they have historically not been focused on raising children. As a predictable percentage of the population not absorbed in raising families and often positioned as outsiders in their own surrounding cultures, they would almost guarantee the existence of an alternative subculture where they might generate new ideas not approved of by our final group. 3.5%
Everyone else is good old standard human stock who mostly just want family and security. I think the neurotypical brain which defines this group, is every bit as much a specialized filter as the atypical types mentioned above, it is simply specialized to keep things simple and inside the comfort zone. They respond to social pressure far more seriously than atypicals which makes them a kind of cultural cement. Neurotypical breeders are the low center of gravity for every community that ensures stability. They are neither better than our atypicals, or worse, they are the dominant percentage because life wants a solid base to grow from. There are three structural divisions in this last group. ~90%
- Male and female. ( the transgender variations and shadings of male and female are very small in number compared to “standard issue” they might be classed with the gay and lesbian populations for our purposes. 0.3%) There are obvious cultural roles and practical roles determined here. One astounding but well-documented fact is that during and after wars, a higher than average number of boys are born. The mechanism driving this effect has no useful model within current science but the reason for it is easily understood: “I guess we better make a few more boys to cover losses”. Whatever the mechanism is, it perceives large events at a community level… and adjusts via individual pregnancies. Males ~51.9% Females ~49.1%
- Progressive vs conservative viewpoint, which is strongly linked to personality type metrics and as I’ve explored elsewhere in this blog their “Tension force” creates the defining zeitgeist of every culture. In a polling in June 2010, 40% of American voters identify themselves as conservatives, 36% as moderates and 22% as liberals, with a strong majority of both liberals and conservatives describing themselves as closer to the center than to the extremes (Wikipedia).
- Age-based focus and attitude within the general population. From child to teenager to young adult to middle-aged to elderly there is a predictable staged transition through age-based societal roles***: Student, soldier, young married, worker, settled parents, judgemental elders. In a way, this echoes the division of labor within bee and ant colonies. How do they decide what job to do? As the individual insect ages, it progresses through a series of preset “vocational” roles within the hive. For humans, the most basic example of the age-based behavior difference is the openness of the young to change and the resistant defensiveness of the old. This mechanism makes a cultural shift possible, then limits the amount of change.
According to my half-assed theory, being Neuro-Atypical or sexually atypical is not a random failure to create a normal person. Rather it is a structural role predictably of some benefit to the general population. That would explain why the percentages of these varied types are so reliable. Everyone from the most boring normal person to with wildest transgender bipolar radical conservative has a structural purpose in the diverse needs of the human hive. This points to a real-time reproductive algorithm affecting the population as a whole and somehow sensitive to such temporal events as war. It would be no shock if such a mechanism exists, for it to show other concerns about population balance necessary to keep the community organism in good repair. We see a similar balancing mechanism in other hive creatures. In a sense, it’s like a body generating replacement cells of the right kind as needed.
- * I’m not claiming to have discovered an atypical neurology specific to gays and lesbians. They are here because their population percentage is very consistent over time and they tend to occupy a unique reality niche.
- ** I’m not mistaking transgender folk for gay or lesbian. I’m just placing them in a sex/gender outsiders group.
- *** William Shakespear on this preset aging process:
At first the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms; And then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier, Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice, In fair round belly with good capon lined, With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances; And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slippered pantaloon, With spectacles on nose and pouch on side; His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
The most intractable problems of this jittery moment come from the human sweet-tooth for conflict and excitement. The sweet-tooth is natural, it is good or bad by context. If you are an ancient human and opt to look at the exciting thing, you are better at staying alive. If you are an ancient human and your clan starts getting pumped up over increasing tension with another clan, you are your clan are more cohesive and motivated. In this context the “sweet tooth” is a healthy (pro-survival) relationship to your environment. It’s a bit like our love of actual sugar, fat and salt: That love becomes destructive when these go from rare, random windfalls to a superabundance. When we can have as much of something as we like, we keep mashing the button till we find out how that ruins us. Morbid obesity is what THAT button does. What does this other one do?
Our hunger for excitement and conflict became more complicated when our “news” input went from direct observation and word of mouth to massive information pumps like newspapers that could flood a large city in a day with a single message and point of view. Thousands of opinions could be massaged and tweaked at once. “Yellow journalism” was the click-bait of that time. The radio hit people like a massively purified version of the newspaper drug. Music and voices could hit sweet spots in our monkey guts that letters on paper could only dream about and rather than the isolated one-at-a-time experience of newspapers, radio could flow like a connecting current though everyone in earshot. And everyone was within earshot. Then the television became a cultural charging station in the center of every home. At night we were quietly filled with a homogeneous informational snapshot of the day. Of course we felt more united, any axes we were grinding were not wirelessly communicating with all the other axes. You couldn’t make that world combust because there was no connecting medium of petrol fumes.
The issue now is that we are a different organism as flashing, participating virtual neurons on a network then we were as slow-moving, disconnected creatures who got the news from kids on bikes, or in the mail, god help us, or arriving on the TV like a friendly little train at the same time every day.
The organism we are now is constantly lit up, alert and watching for movement like meerkats on crack. The news equivalent of plasma waves erupting from the sun flare and sweep endlessly across the internet. Our new atmosphere is a highly combustible, volatile medium. The ignition behind these flare-ups is mostly outrage, as one group or another does a “football stadium wave” of alarm in response to some stimulus. Tsunamis of cortisol are washing over us 24/7, leaving us feeling hypervigilant and weary.
Why? Because we are idiots who like that sort of thing. We can’t help being idiots who like that sort of thing…BECAUSE WE LIKE THAT SORT OF THING. Part of the rush is certainly negative but part of it is the fun of holding hands with like-minded neurons and cascading as a gigantic wave across the world. It’s thrilling because we are playing with a new level of complexity and connection.
We are a new species variant of humans and we are figuring out what this human is, what it does and what it can do.
And because we are the only animal enemy we have left, we are looking for its weaknesses; feeling around for its windpipe, thumbs and eyes.
The danger from this all-out competition for eyeballs and clicks is low except where real territorial stuff is on the line. There, virality means masses of people losing control of themselves and losing all sense of proportion. You know, like angry mobs.
The original meaning of the word outlaw was a person excluded from the benefit or protection of the law.
“Although humans exhibit strong preferences for equity and moral prohibitions against harm in many contexts, people’s priorities change when there is an ‘us’ and a ‘them,'” says Rebecca Saxe, an associate professor of cognitive neuroscience at MIT. “A group of people will often engage in actions that are contrary to the private moral standards of each individual in that group, sweeping otherwise decent individuals into ‘mobs’ that commit looting, vandalism, even physical brutality.” (MIT Parent Herald When good people do bad things. )
This is intuitively easy to grasp but we are so naive in regard to our apparent rationality that most of us don’t think we would caught up in the madness. The couple pictured here (below) are Jose Ismael Torres and Kayla Rae Norton. They terrorized a child’s birthday party with shotguns and confederate flags and vicious racist threats. The picture links to an article.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they are lovely people momentarily caught up in madness. I am saying they are kind of shitty people momentarily caught up in madness. She is a mother of two kids and her contrite sobs in court are not simply convenient, at least they don’t sound convenient to me. She’s lost everything; she’s lost her children, she’s done being happy. And at this moment in court she is honestly baffled at how things got so out of control.
She had a pre-existing condition as someone closely aligned with an “ethnic identity” group. She had a head full of terrible ideas years before this but the crucial vulnerability was her lifestyle of pack-bonding with this group and against the outsiders defined as such by the group. It’s easy to imagine she was nasty and insulting to random black Americans all her life but she was probably rather passive, giving the “stink eye”, muttering just above a whisper and such. The peaceable social norms of individual people in public places protected her from herself until she stepped outside of them with her pack to proudly show off the confederate flag only a little over a month after Dylan Root’s Charleston massacre of black church goers. Continue reading
Let’s get our subject clear by defining the term.
- Meme: an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.
- Meme: a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.
Memes didn’t begin with Richard Dawkins, Dawkins didn’t raise them and release them into the wild, Dawkins pointed out the existence of memes: He coined the term and the concept. The word meme ITSELF is a meme that spread quickly and burrowed into our collective intellectual DNA. Memes are often described as viral, but why?
Viruses are self replicating genetic mechanisms which are not alive. They must find living cells to highjack and use their machinery to replicate themselves. Imagine a computer virus as a script instructing itself: “Look for places to copy yourself and copy yourself to them. Loop.” Likewise a meme must find a living and communicating host to live and replicate. Memes are contagious human ideas and behaviors. Left at that level of definition it’s too broad. We need to understand the roles they play in the ecosystem of human behavior and establish a taxonomic ranking of types.
The universality of memeing is obvious. We share things on purpose and even joyfully. “Look at this!” It’s innate to share ideas and to mirror behavior. From an evolutionary perspective it makes sense as a way of enhancing survival (hey this plant is good to eat!) both for yourself and someone you likely shared genes with. But just as important, Memeing is critical to defining the cultural “self” of human groups. Every group of people unconsciously begin mirroring each other and a context and a style evolve, mapping out a behavioral grid. We’re very good at catching on to these invisible but obvious rules and sort of domesticating our own style to fit in. The group systematically begins developing stories and injokes that reinforce the culture in miniature. It also starts to establish a dominance scale, cliques, gossip and social outcasts. When we are face to face, this mirroring and blending of styles is at its most intimate and powerful. Teenagers often agonize as they struggle with this new matrix of social complexity, and in this we can see our own exposed heart and how very much it matters. A good bit of comedy involves violating or mistaking these social rules. These are social/behavioral memes but there are many kinds. Continue reading
Or: Why it’s sometimes OK to hate your neighbor.
The apparent flatness and hard edges of the world we see masks a strange, fluid, flickering dimension between humans. There is no accurate measurement of this dimension except perhaps for our ability to imagine it. Since it isn’t our nature to imagine things this way it takes a little effort.
Please imagine an odd idea; imagine that:
Interaction is embodiment
Imagine that people who engage in any way become a corporate organism for that period. These virtual organisms can flash into existence and straight out again with a speed like subatomic particles in a cloud chamber.
Begin: “Hey, is the Courthouse this way?” “Yeah, just a couple more blocks!” And we’re done. Imagine that exchange as a very short lived individual, existing like a burst of flame.
But two other beings might meet up and eventually celebrate 70 years of marriage, and they were a sort of organism too. In marriage we have some beliefs about this corporate organism that run very deep. “One flesh”. It’s a pretty weird sounding idea to sanctify but it’s honored by religious people and atheists alike. Completely secular people get married with every intention of honoring a mystical contract that defines them as a dual entity. That’s because this idea is deeper than science or religion, it’s core human. This composite organism is the couple’s life together… and I mean IT IS the time and energy they share.
Families also have a special status as a kind of group self. When you think of your own family, you can easily feel the very real lines of connection flowing between you like living tissue and often pulling and kinking in uncomfortable ways. We know that we somehow OVERLAP and that this is one of the most important things about us. Our loves and friends and families are a kind of Venn diagram. But the center of the Venn is you. Subjectivity and individual experience define this thing. Continue reading
Natural does not equal good. “Natural” includes violence toward outlanders and controlling women’s lives. I suspect “100% Natural” is a phrase Hitler would have liked.
Some questions we ought to ask:
- Why is there war? Why does xenophobia appear in every culture? Why does everyone have a culture? Why does virtually every culture come with a religion? Why do most cultures/religions form defensive barriers against each other?
- Why is it so common for people (men and women) in so many different cultures, to feel that they have a vote in how women should dress and behave, but almost never show that kind of concern about men? (The general exception being harassing effeminate men).
- Why are the young predictably liberal, and the old generally conservative?
- Why are liberal and conservative political stances universal within technological societies but always relative to local cultural details? (“I treat my slaves gently, they last longer that way”: Is that a progressive or conservative statement?)
- Why are people predictably kind to the rich and famous…but cruel to the poor? (Spoiler alert: It’s because we’re self-interested bastards who do it automatically.)
All of these behaviors are core hardwired human group traits that support a strong and stable primate hive. These behaviors aren’t beautiful or right philosophically, they are bits of scripting preserved by the natural selection of group behaviors. These are traits that helped us out-compete the good, the bad and possibly the ugly, over the last 200k years.
We are virtually blind to our nature as a species because we are so busy being individuals of our species. We are neurologically immersed in the matrix of these behaviors to the extent that they are not noteworthy. We feel like peripheral players at best to the great events of our time even though these movements are composed entirely of peripheral players. The larger picture is composed of us “pixels” forming the colors, shapes, and gradients, with our massed actions. And just as a cloud doesn’t exist without micro-droplets, human events don’t exist without us in our drifting collective groups. Every notable trend in our world emerges from the scaling up of the actions of individuals who generally feel no personal control over what is happening around them: Most people feel they are just tagging along trying to keep up and figure things out. The mirror of current events is too broad for us to recognize ourselves. It’s as if the sky was a mirror where we could see our city reflected but not our own little face peering up from it.
The behavior of large human groups is almost opaque to us in the same way that a cell knows nothing about the particular body it devotes every moment to supporting. We plug away at our daily business in much the same fashion. For many decades science fiction writers have explored the issues of robots and their programming and the nature of free will. I think it’s one of those ideas that is compelling because it echoes something deep and unresolved in ourselves, a bit like a profound but confusing dream. In a world where the first semiconscious robot has yet to ask if we want fries with that, the subject is clearly ourselves. Are we…free? Continue reading
It’s hilarious how much cultural “values”, the dos and don’ts, are exactly like the preferences and peccadilloes of a particular person. These Japanese “no-no”s sound like a description of things that one random person might have very strong feelings about… but in fact, a whole country is ready to be very disappointed in you.
You have your likes and dislikes; your quirks and peccadillos. Put enough of them together in a somebody and you have a personality. You and your love have a relationship, with predominating moods and flavors, things you both love and hate, as recognizable to both of you as each others faces. That is the personality of your relationship and you could almost call it a culture of two. You and your family have a kind of extended self, absolutely made of individuals, but having a corporate nature. Again, moods, styles, activities, and traditions: The personality of your family: The culture of us, ourselves.
Your town and state have cliches and classic types, local foods, music, religions, sports, and jokes. Your area may even have unique social faux pas. You have your classic regional moods, so well defined that Hollywood can set a story in your area as shorthand for the tone of the movie. Your country likewise has these same locally famous traits but pulled from many distant points and due to this diversity, the warmth of these traits is much more diffuse. Americans from Maine might enjoy funny Florida cliches but they don’t evoke the tenderness of good old home-cooked cliches. These taste of home because they are the personality of your region: The self that you are actually a piece of even when parted. If you have been away a long time from the place that is unquestionably your home, odds are that the sight of some hideous local billboard or despised local celebrity might well thrill you and soften your heart. This is you, a tiny particle of that place sensing the correct SELF of belonging and yearning toward it.
Culture is personality flowing bottom-up from a community. It’s the basket holding that composite soul together and in place. It is also the background that makes outsiders visible against it. It’s the recognizable border between us and them. Humans produce culture as naturally as spiders weave webs. The tension force within the culture creates the tone of inclusion tempering exclusion and vice versa. Tension force determines the “temperature” of how cold or warm the welcome is to outsiders.
I don’t associate warm with progressives and cold with conservatives as a political bias, but in this context, conservatism means suspicion, standoffishness or even hostility. Conservatives play the role in the cultural ecosystem of tightening the borders while progressives loosen them. And it isn’t always about a literal border, the border can be about how purely insiders display their cultural loyalty. It can be about disapproving of behaviors becoming less hidebound to cultural authority (often acted out by grumpy old people). Either wing, without the other, is dangerously out of balance. Either wing, deprived of this balancing opposing force, becomes a runaway monster seeking enemies within when it can’t find them without. That’s how desperately important opposition really is. When deprived of it the isolated wing has a panic attack and seeks everywhere for enemies to counter itself. The steady opposition between a healthy left and right results in a cooperative outcome: A tension force that protects the community from the weaknesses of each. This is the community organism as a healthy individual with a well-balanced nature.
Donald Trump is the perfect president for this moment, in fact, it’s uncanny.
Obviously not in a good way.
I talk a lot about complexity on this blog. Complexity changes things in incremental ways until there comes a POP of some new emergent thing which is categorically different than all the things it is made of. In fact, that IS Emergence. You can not look at any organism without seeing just such a result. As usual, I’m asking you to put up with me talking about things that appear crushingly obvious.
But listen, single-celled organisms lived contentedly, I’m guessing, for a multiple BILLION years without once feeling the desire to fuck. Suddenly fucking became a fad, a craze. Everybody was sharing genetic material and things got WEIRD. Suddenly there were strangers moving in all around with a bunch of different characteristics. The good old simple ways were gone. Sex was the first sacrifice of autonomy and the first cooperation of individuals making something new and sharing risks and benefits. That’s right. They were cells with benefits.
And then more complex cooperations in the form of more and more complex organisms began to cover the world. But each new multicell organism and lifestyle was a gamble and a loss of autonomy. And there were cells that said “Hell No!” They stuck to the good old proven ways as they have to this day.
Cooperating to build something more complex is the story of evolution. Human beings in their journey to now have reinvented their understanding of “My Group” over and over. This redefining requires flexibility toward the borders of the self. If someone creepy and unattractive asks you to share life’s journey, you pull away, securing your borders. You might say “No thank you” or “Back the hell off!”. Because in so very many ways you don’t want any sharing or blending with them. But even a new friend who takes too much for granted about how good friends you are will elicit at least a bit of the same response. We are scornful when someone suggests an “Us” that we feel is a bad fit. Who we are with is who we are…at least that is it feels inside us, and how we will behave operationally for the life of the contract.
And for people in times of change when the community is being redefined, and always becoming larger and more complex, there is a similar issue triggering acceptance or rejection. At such times there have always been people who balked and rejected the change as not only wrong for them but wrong for everyone. Their gut tells them it’s crazy and wrong. These are conservatives, basically. The tides of human change are strong enough that conservatives are mostly pulled into these new arrangements against their better judgment. Then within one generation, the new situation will be the one they are defending from change and radical new relationships that redefine that SELF.
Communities of people actually ARE some sort of organism, certainly in the sense that bees are. I believe a couple or a family or a town and so on, pop into existence at some level as an autonomous meta-being brought into existence literally by the interaction of the parts. And that when we are busy performing these parts, we have great difficulty perceiving this truth.
And I have a belief system weirder than that. I will admit a little shamefully that I call it reality weather.
Even I am agnostic about this but it’s something I perceive. It is the shifting and scaling up and scaling down of issues and moods and events in the human world. It was visible in the new nations rush to world war one. It’s visible in the wildfire of fascism (and other isms) in the 1920s and 30s. It’s there somehow visible around the sixties and seventies. I think it’s there in mild times as well, but we don’t notice a quiet sunny day. Yep, it sounds dangerously close to astrology but it’s not. I have no dogma around it and I assert no understandable cause. But there’s something there. And we’re in some heavy damn reality weather right now in case you hadn’t noticed.
So why is Trump the perfect president for right now? Because he is absurdly unaware of anyone other than himself. Because he would never have any relationship where he blended and shared with another person. His wives are things. Other people are things. He can’t even hold the concept of what our government and nation mean as a collective and why he shouldn’t just rewrite everything to please himself. He’s that selfish.
Literally the only thing he wants to build is a structural impediment to cooperating and synthesizing at higher levels. A wall. He is the reverse Santa Claus of trust in each other and in our institutions. His mission is to Grinch-ishly take down as much of our system AND faith in that system as possible before the clock runs out.
Every country chooses leaders in a semi-conscious way that mixes the issues of the day with a tribal totem. Trump was chosen to represent the part of America that doesn’t want to blend, or share or care or change. The Trumpenproletariat. As such, he is an embodiment of not letting ourselves synchronize with others at higher levels of complexity. He symbolizes pure self-assertion and rejection of relationship and cooperation. Any place beyond the borders of our nation has become a rejected OTHERNESS. Just as it also has in England, Turkey, Russia and elsewhere. And all just about simultaneously. As a country enters this kind of period of self-assertion and push-back it reaches into a bag of domineering regressive nationalistic bastards and places the biggest one on its head like a horrible tiara. It doesn’t last forever and it can unfold in surprising ways. The United Nations and the European Union owe their existence to the 360-degree horror of WWII. That’s probably not a comforting thought right now but don’t assume the worst. To some degree, optimism is a self-fulfilling prophecy, as long as we back it up with action. Stay cool and take a reality umbrella, it’s really coming down out there.
As you remember, when the neolithic farming revolution went viral our ancestors all reformed their social arrangements in a staggeringly short period of time. They found themselves living together in numbers never known before. There was a short period where the archaeological record shows egalitarian communities sharing without the evidence that points to wealth and poverty.
All of a sudden, there is a transformation, the birth of the State. Power was amassed at the top, allowing poverty to flow down onto the masses. In his 1977 book Cannibals and Kings, anthropologist Marvin Harris explores human culture and society and their evolution. In it, he devotes a chapter to the origins of the state. This paragraph nicely describes the harsh change:
1. Self Asserting
Like the articles on Tension Force and the balance of Progressive to Conservative, this is about the population pattern spread of personality types that defines the way a group behaves. Although it might seem like I’m simply being pro-self-transcendence, this isn’t a moralistic issue and there are unexpected outcomes. And while it clearly overlaps a teensy bit on the subject of right and left-wing politics it only has a solid connection to that out at the edges where the saints and sociopaths hang out. It’s hard to talk about this without paying the most attention to the extremes but the wide middle of this spectrum is in “normal” range. A healthy happy person probably has a good balance, but there’s more than one kind of happy you can be.
There are satisfactions that come from looking out for number 1 and the kind of people who make a point of only looking out for number 1 assume that these are the real and even ultimate satisfactions. Coincidentally, Donald Trump is an exaggerated archetype of this point of view. There are obviously rewards for self-assertion but self-transcendence on behalf of something you love can be a full time high, filling you with renewed energy. Only in people who are cartoonishly on one side of this spectrum or the other are these traits expressed as absolutes. Trump is cartoonishly self-asserting in the manner of a spoiled child. But self-assertion is more than short term self-indulgence, it also powers your serious goals and ambitions. It’s the oomph of aspiration. Gandhi and M.L.K. would have gotten nowhere without it. Any poor, hardworking kid who made something of themselves, has used this power. Actually Gandhi and MLK were well supplied with both impulses, it doesn’t HAVE to be just one or the other.
Here we start to encounter those unexpected outcomes. In fact, consider this: Have more of the horrors and tragedies of the human race come through self-asserting behavior or self-transcending behavior? Self-transcending can be beautiful and saintly but it also drove the selfless nazi and it drives the true believer ISIL volunteer. Extreme self-assertion might rob banks or investors. But for true horror and cruelty, self-transcendence is the big winner. Selfishness doesn’t generate armies of minions. There is no genocide without people who give up everything to kill whoever the great plan points to. Giving yourself wholly to a powerful cause is a transcendent experience and also, in the abstract, an amoral one. In MLK it was moral, but only because of the framework of that transcendence. Passionately pursuing a personal goal is also amoral. The internal values of the goal determine the good or ill.
The strongly self-asserting are often callously disinterested in what happens to anyone they don’t personally know and love. Dick Cheney for example only began giving a damn about gay and lesbian rights because his daughter came out. If she hadn’t, he never would have seen any point in supporting that position, after all, what was in it for him? Strong self asserters aren’t necessarily aggressive or intense but the bottom line important question for them is “How does this affect me?”