Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pondering Hypothetical Social Morality

This is a bit random but I've often pondered about this idea of what if you didn't raise your kids the way society deems 'fit'.

I automatically think of characters in movies like Se7en or Silence of the Lambs or other such characters that were not just crazy but recluses isolated from society.

The quote 'it takes a village to raise a child' comes to mind and it makes me wonder what would happen in different settings or conditions if you were to raise a child without manners/social graces or even teaching them right from wrong.

1) You have a control where a child is raised as society deemed fit and immersed in a community.
2) Raise a child isolated yet with all the bells and whistles that is expected out of society.
3) Raise a child in a community but don't teach them anything.
4) Raise a child away from society and don't teach them anything
Extra perimeter would be:
5) A child is raised on their own in a community with no guardians or parent figures - not even in the community
6) A child is raised on the own isolated.

Remus and Romulus reared by a wolf.  Hmm...that should be an extra experiment, too!  We have scientific account of that through the Jungle Book and Rome's history so...maybe not.

Just out of curiosity because the Institution Research Board of Human Subject Research would SO not approve any of this but it does make you wonder...

Let's try and walk through some of these just for the sake of thinking
1) Well, it's the control so you see it around you everyday, no biggie.

2) Sound like what people living off the grid would do so no shock there too.

3) This is where things can get interesting and where I started to think about the implications of not teaching you kids basic lessons.  The only think I can think of with this situation is that that child will be a unruly for a while.  Because they are raised in a community, I would think that others would have a huge hand in molding this kid's outlook on what is right or wrong.  Kids are like sponges and are great at observing social behavior and almost have a herd/pack mentality of wanting to fit in because it's in our DNA.  I think in most cases the child will be find and that quote about a village would come into play.

I would say this is akin to how Harry Potter would be like...ish but with more emotional and social ineptitude.

4) This is where I feel anything can happen here.  If you isolate a child away from a community, I feel like it would be like having a clean slate to work with and it can go very bad or turn out pretty good.  Granted, there are some contributing factors that I would say would make a HUGE impact on this study.  Would the parent be kind and loving or would they be just as indifferent as if the child was an object that needs food every now and again.

With the loving and caring parent leave that much of an imprint on this child that they will know what's right from wrong based on what they've observed as 'good, loving behavior' from their parent and intrinsically incorporate it into their behavior if they ever met anyone else.

Or, would the child that was raised indifferently know what it wants and craves for social contact eventually turn crazy because of the deprivation.  There were and maybe still are studies about baby monkeys - for the record, I'm not cool with animal testing of any sort - and what happens when you take them away from their mother.  They would place the baby into a cage with a furry pelt to 'simulate' a mother but the babies are still deprived and show physical and emotional distress.  I'm not sure about all the parameters these test were conducted with but it seems they started off with the baby forming an attachment to the mother and then separating them.  What would happen to a child that didn't have any memory of their parents and were raised indifferently?  I would think they would grow an attachment to the nearest thing to a parent but with no praise or acknowledgment they would stop seeking affection and love and maybe even have a void of emotion when it was never taught to them.  I would think there is a lot of self doubt but after many years, they would not need the reaffirmation of acceptance or acknowledgement even as they would have to seek these things or comparable feelings within themselves.  Now that I think about it, this reminds me of the 'feral child' Genie and how she was raised.

5) I like to think of this scenario as the Naruto scenario...ish.  Naruto without Iruka or any other caring people.  You're just a rock essentially and are completely ignored.  Not even hated.  So what kind of personality or traits would this person have if they technically didn't exist in the eyes of others.  Granted, there were/are groups of people that were almost given this treatment.  Think of minorities or even culturally different groups of people (ie Burakumin, Jews, Syrians, etc).  There were definite psychological inferiority that came with being the ostracized group, but how does that impact a child if that is all they know?  I honestly don't know.

6) This particular child is what I would picture from the movie Se7en because of the way they described John Doe.  It sort of made me wonder about what a person that isolated and out of touch with society to get that fucked up.  You can say that John Doe was fucked up to begin with because he was a sociopath and there's no reasoning with them.  But did he BECOME a sociopath because of his isolation or was it already wired in his DNA to be so out of touch with feelings/emotions as well as right from wrong.  If he was never taught right from wrong, did he think that everything he did prior to being caught and killed was okay because he was just curious or was he really that messed up and just loved to toy with people's lives that way.

It almost makes me wonder how long ago did we start social behavior and morality in the whole evolution of human kind.  We can think even further because I definitely have no clue about this but did single celled organisms have some sort of social behavior or set of rules/guidelines towards others of the same kind.  I would think that thinks like blue-green algae didn't because they could just split and not have to interact with any others of your kind.

Though there were studies in the past few years that record that plants may think on some level we don't understand.  Crazy, I know. Honestly, how do we know if they do or don't because it's just a hypothesis.  We know that plants communicate but not really think and even the author of that article above says he doesn't know.  Maybe we just can't wrap our minds around it or haven't figured it out.  If plants can think and communicate, would you go as far as extrapolating that they have emotion?  Maybe not but who can tell?  That being said, if you have spores from mycology (mushrooms), and they talk to one another and reproduce, it's working its functionality of survival of the fittest by reproducing.  If we think in terms of animals, when did multi-celled organisms not just started to communicate but also form social hierarchy etc.?  I'd say once there was a differentiation between different organisms other than that one has the strongest genes, that would be when they started to form different social structure and from there create parameters.

For the sake of argument, let's think of insects.  There is definitely a social hierarchy especially if you think of those that have colonies.  Termites, ants, bees all have their class differentiation.  I'm more familiar with bees and their social structure and they run like a mini city.  It's very much a programmed structure based on rank, then sex and all controlled by the pheromones of the queen bee.  So there is communication via externally excreted hormones and there actually is a bit of behavior control though those pheromones.  If the colony is in distress or the queen dies or loses its ability to give off a pheromone, it's almost a bit chaotic until a new queen takes over.  The queen controls the fertility of the other bees so that there wouldn't be any competition and if she does, then they need to raise another queen.  Anhoo, my point is there is a definite structure and communication happening between everyone within the colony but I don't know what would happen if someone disobeys.  Granted, they usually don't because they are controlled by the queen otherwise if they are infected by a parasite that makes their inner wiring and everything else go wonky, they'll be killed or just ousted.

Let's talk about bigger multi-celled organisms like fish or even dogs.  They also have communication and you can even say emotions (apparently it has finally been scientifically proven that animals have emotions.  It took 'em long enough to quantify that shit).  Well, when there is isolation, there is a proven stress on the animal but there is also a high mortality rate too when there is no connection.  Think about how many times, we see animals that are isolated from a pack or group, they usually don't have the gumption to live because their purpose was through the group and now they don't have one.  Even loners that were ousted out may eventually fine companionship elsewhere but if not, they would likely die soon after.  It's different if an animal is wired where they are a bit of a loner but you can also say that those loner tendency also comes from nurture - like a honey badger.  They learn those behaviors from their mom or whatever parent.  But it's a whole different story if they were completely on their own.

So what would happen to a human child if it was left to its own devices from childhood.  If it was abandoned at birth, it's SOL because we are so dependent on another to feed and care for use until a certain age.  Let's say that the child was abandoned around 2 or 3 when it was too young to really imprint on someone but knows to feed itself - even if it means shoving anything and everything in its mouth.  Miraculously it survives, like Mowgli or Tarzan but minus the helping animals.  Would that person be feral and unaware of itself as well as other humans?  I wouldn't know.  Think Nell but less communication and even less social contact than Genie mentioned above.  I really wouldn't know what that child would be like but what would prevail Nature v. Nurture?  Would they be just like John Doe from Se7en or would they have some sense or morality?  Not sure.

We can only guess.