Schizophrenic Warriors

Scott Holmes (sholmes@NETCOM.COM)
Thu, 10 Nov 1994 19:09:37 -0800

myself actually having to work for a living. To start with, I think
Nancy Much posted a very important piece on cultural relativity vis
schizophrenia. All these possible connections between individuals'
aberrations and talents, cultural contexts and the existence of warrior
classes have been bouncing around in my head for several days now. I
refuse to feel pressured by Mr. Foss, however, as he has yet to produce
my requested treatise on Chinese cultural development in relation to
Sumeria (a smiley face here, perhaps?). He does ask an interesting
question about warriors, though.

A Warrior is a cultural construct, a logical category. It is made up
of culturally determined characteristics, talents if you will, that the
culture has decided upon. It is interesting to note that some cultures
include talents for "visions" and trancelike states etc. as part of being
a warrior. These same traits are likely to result in a medical disability
discharge from our own military. I'm reminded of Cu'Chulainn or the Norse

I'm reluctant to come down too hard on our own culture for not recognizing
all the possible "talents" a human being may have. Just as "we" consider
visions and trances as possibly schizophrenic another culture may consider
an individual with a high degree of entrepreneurial "skill" as socially
delinquent. Cultures, through the process of socialization, tend to
recognize characteristics or talents and cultivate them (a very general
statement and subject to all kinds of exceptions). Other traits will go
unrecognized and may atrophy. Still other traits may have negative
connotations and may either be sublimated or lead to pathological conditions.

I suspect that most, if not all, socialization occurs at Bateson's Learning
II level, processing basic categories within a context. Now then, back to
the warrior class. In the days of proto-war (see PW), a society comes to
recognize the need for group violence (either for attacking or defending)
so it's individuals come together and agree on a course of action. This is
a somatic change in their societal structure. An emergency or extreme case
has arisen that they must deal with. It comes to pass that these emergency
conditions become regular occurrences and reacting to exigency is too
expensive. A "genetic" change occurs within the culture. They determine that
they must maintain some degree of constant readiness - the warrior class
is borne. They already have some experience with group violence and hence
have some ideas about what it takes to make a good warrior. Development of
these traits is then incorporated into the socialization process.
Voila', wars and warriors.

Now then, if you will allow, I would like to try and tie all this into
the discussion of intelligence. We probably all agree that the scope of
awareness of any one society is finite, just as with an individual. And,
just as with individuals a society needs a set of categories defining "reality"
in order to function. If a person is constantly aware of their own thought
processes, their mechanisms for making decisions, they become paralyzed.
The number of contingencies become too great. Society establishes a set
of categories it can effectively deal with just as individuals do. One
possible definition of intelligence is the ability to recognize these
limitations and in moments of contemplation (when you can afford to be
paralyzed) consider them and possibly recognize new patterns and categories.
The sign of a stupid person is that they are unaware or incapable of
adjusting their stereotypes. The sign of a stupid culture could be
described as stagnant political structures, the inabiltiy or unwillingness
to accept the possibility of value for some thingie foreign to their
cultural milieu. I suppose this means I've defined intelligence as

----------- There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, ----------------
Scott Holmes <> Informix 4GL Applications
---------------- Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. ------------------------