Behaviour and civilization

© October 2015 Paul Cooijmans


When observing human behaviour, one can not escape noticing a fundamental dimension that is of relevance to how society is run and civilization develops. This dimension appears to be largely independent of intelligence, that is, to have only a modest or hardly any correlation with g (as can be inferred from statistics of personality tests like Cooijmans Inventory of Neo-Marxist Attitudes, P.S.I.A. Just, and the Openness to experience factor of the Five factor model, which have different degrees of commonality with the behavioural dimension meant here).

Hereafter it is attempted to clarify the dimension through examples of its extremes, classified under the neutral headings Type I and Type II. Then, it is attempted to describe the two types in general terms, and their origins are discussed. Finally, some consequences or conclusions are proposed.

The behavioural dimension

Type IType II
Accepting the existence of an objective reality and absolute truth Accepting only what is relative, subjective, opinionative
Concerned with facts and reason Occupied with emotion, empathy, and social affairs
Concerned with the essence, the true nature of things, matters, people, and oneself Concerned with the appearance of things, matters, people, and oneself, with how they "come across"
Concerned with the verifiable results of actions, sceptical, autonomous Concerned with subjective experience, sensitive to placebo and nocebo effects, suggestible, conformist
Practising science to gain understanding, for discovery and invention Employing science to confirm pre-existing notions and to spread propaganda and indoctrinate the public
Communicate to convey true, factual information and logic Communicate to convey or induce emotion or otherwise achieve some effect on the target individual, with disregard for the truth value and logical validity of the message
Interpreting the verbal, factual, logical contents of communication Interpreting the (supposed) non-verbal, emotional component of communication, "reading between the lines"
Expecting reciprocity in interaction Preaching one-sided accommodation in favour of the other party
Able to see past guises and recognize a person's true nature Being fooled by guises, falling for the superficial charm of the psychopath, the charismatic cult leader, the smooth-talking politician
Wanting to punish evildoers, striving for a safe society with little or no need for security measures Blaming and making responsible the (potential) victim, being unwilling to punish evildoers, necessitating and accepting the need for large amounts of security measures
Advancing through achievement and competition Advancing through socializing, "networking", nepotism, conspiracy, positive discrimination, subsidization
Inclined, prepared, or willing to use physical violence when perceiving a need for that Avoiding physical violence in all or almost all situations
Concerned with the interest of one's own people, culture, society, nation, race, preserving it and protecting it from adverse outside influences Cosmopolitan, belonging only to multicultural multi-ethnic communities, approving of immigration and race mixing
Accepting the reality of heredity with regard to important human qualities Insisting on social-environmental determinism with regard to important human qualities
Preferring the heterosexual marriage as the basis of society's social fabric Advocating the free expression of sexual deviations and the acceptance of alternative family forms such as single-parent families and same-sex marriages
Utilizing animals, ranking them below humans in value Treating animals as equal to or better than humans

Descriptions in general terms of the two behaviour types

It is hard to catch the essence of the behaviour types in one single description; therefore, a number of more or less imperfect descriptions are provided, each having its own angle at, and degree of commonality with, this behavioural dimension.

Type IType II
Dominating the ascending phase of civilization Dominating the declining phase of civilization
Rightist, conservative, down-to-earth Leftist, progressive, intellectual
Masculine, and appealing more to men than to women (without claiming it necessarily concerns male behaviours) Feminine, and appealing more to women than to men (without claiming it necessarily concerns female behaviours)
Coinciding more with Old Testament values Coinciding more with New Testament values
In anti-Semitic (that is, anti-Jewish) theory, these are by and large behaviours that Jews practise when it comes to the interest of their own people In anti-Semitic (that is, anti-Jewish) theory, these are by and large behaviours that Jews encourage in all other peoples to thus weaken them and be better able to dominate them

Origins of the behaviours

It can be speculated that a number of largely inborn personality traits influence one's eventual leaning to either side of this behavioural dimension. That process may last well into adulthood, and takes place under constant pressure to conform, constant indoctrination and conditioning (in current Western countries, the pressure is mostly toward Type II behaviours). The outcome may depend partly on how sensitive, respectively resistant, one is to this pressure and indoctrination, and partly on intrinsic relations between personality traits and behaviours. Below table suggests which traits may dispose for the respective types.

Type IType II
Being attached to truth
Being detached from emotion
Resistance to pressure to conform
Resistance to suggestion
Resistance to conditioning
Resistance to socialization
Being not easily bored
Sense of justice
Being dependent on approval by others
Being open to conditioning
Being open to socialization
Being in need of variety, easily bored
Having higher verbal than spatial ability

Consequences and conclusions

Without passing any value judgment whatsoever, it is clear that a civilization that desires to keep rising and prevent decline will need to control the amount of Type II behaviour in its society. One may see this control as a species of evolutionary hurdle that must be taken to reach "the next level". Societal fields that seem suitable to constrain Type II influence include for instance the following:

In general, and taking into account the nature of the two behaviour types, it can be observed that the current taboo on corporal punishment in the civilized world is a Type II phenomenon and playing into the hands of those engaged in Type II behaviour. To overcome their influence, a lifting of this taboo seems imperative, although most of them will probably require only modest amounts of physical force to be kept in check.