1.3.4 Social Animal

We established in the previous posts that individual manic symptoms suggest increases in fitness. This is demonstrated by sudden variation of seduction skills that lead to hypersexuality and improved physical dominant trait like strength, absence of fear and resistance to internal needs such as hunger, thirst and sleep. One should not forget that Man is not only an oversexed dumb brute it is also a social animal. Thus, a dominant has to show its rank vis-à-vis the community. For a male, the status in the hierarchy of dominance is essential because it allocates access to females and thus to reproduction. The male is obsessed by its rank in the dominance hierarchy. He competes with its members to obtain a status within the social organization which appears to be an objective construction or an imperfect reflection of this dominance hierarchy. At the moment, we cannot go much farther than this vague comparison. However, there is no reason to think that man is suddenly living a sissy la-la land because of the advent of the civilization. I mix human/animal notion on purpose here. Dominance hierarchy is a concept that applies to human. This will become clearer and clearer why I’m doing so in the next posts.

Even the innocent who don’t want to take consciously part in the rat race are naïve because they do so, should they want it or not. There’s no escape from evolution as we will see in the next posts. The fact that there is an agonistic competition for beauty among woman and for rank among men is a fact. Of course that does not mean that a woman will not be a good manager or a good director. But from evolution perspective, it is not an agonistic competition in this case. Motivation will be else, like maybe contributing to the community. Indeed woman have a different perspective as regard to power than men. Maybe this will change due to…competition! Similarly, a man can be thorough in the way he wants to appear. But here again, there won’t be agonistic competition. Or could be in the sense that mean wears his money in a sense. Men build a huge variety of dominance hierarchy forms. Likewise, women are constantly put under pressure to be more beautiful. I was struck by these obvious facts when I was listening to a private detective interview. This guy was verifying the schedules of man and woman in extramarital suspicion investigation. He was saying than when someone got caught red-handed there were two situations. If the cheated was a man, he was more interested in the social rank of his rival. If it the cheated was a woman, she was more interested in the beauty of her rival. That’s life.

You have to bear in mind that dominance behaviors are expressed within a statistical framework. It qualifies what was previously said in the sense that they are in essence a probability, a statistical behavioral signature. You cannot assert upfront that a particular individual are going to act in a determined way because of its gender. All that we can say it is that a certain behavior will have more chances to express itself in a woman than in a man. The man and the woman are not statistical. They are an instantiated reality. It would be then foolish and vain to deduct an ethological heuristic which would conceptualize an unchanging individual mechanical model. It would contradict then the statistical reality based on samples or groups. Men and women are not numbers. We are, at the individual level, undetermined. On the other hand, at the level of the group, it is completely possible to come up with behavioral models such as the relation of the women vis-à-vis beauty or the relation of the men vis-à-vis rank. I just wanted to point out that when it comes to behavior, things are not simple. There are some profound evolutionary currents that express themselves in our mind. However we are also made up of rational thought and behavioral cognition.

Let’s go back to the main topic. Some manic symptoms must highlight the capacity of man to ascend the dominance hierarchy. Irritability is a landmark manic symptom. If you link it to what Price said you conclude that manic irritability is a dominant behavior. “For their stability, hierarchies require certain behavior patterns from their members: irritability towards inferiors”. Irritability can get amplified and turn itself into a full blown aggressiveness. Aggressiveness in animal denotes a rank assertion in the dominance hierarchy. All these traits emerge from the manic instinctual overflow. As far as I’m concerned, I was irritable in my first episode. I was not aggressive though. However I was far from happy when I understood that I would be locked up for a while. The most fascinating symptom of mania is (hyper) syntonia. This is a word used by French psychiatrist to describe not only a symptom but a full blown change of relationship with the world. I did not find any satisfying translation. Maybe because the word is a little bit mysterious.

Source: Psychiatrie : Edition 2001-2002 (translated)
When a patient is « syntonic » , the contact is easily established. His mood is adjusted to the interview environment. There is neither excessive familiarity nor distance or indifference. Hypersyntonia refers to a fusion state, to a harmonious connection between the patient and his entourage. This is a feature of a manic state. The subject reacts to the atmosphere excessively. This entails excessive familiarity with the entourage or the doctors.

You have to be clever as a pdoc to decide when syntonia ends and where hypersyntonia starts. Given the definition and its vagueness, it is completely arbitrary. However, it is recognized here that the bipolar undergo a shift as regard to its relationship with others. Once again I do not try to say at the moment if the symptoms are bad or good, I content myself with observing, once again, a link between certain symptoms and the dominance: all that we can say is that syntonia, attached to normal behavior is a selective gain for everyone in so far he can navigate in the social currents like a duck to water. But the hypersyntonia excess seems to be harmful. There is here an amplification of an attribute that normally is of paramount significance in social relationship. The normal level is a selective gain, but the amplified version seems to harm the bipolar. Excess of something good is bad. But when do you decide when exactly good is turned into bad? When dominance turns out to be not adapted to the environment? Having gathered all individual dominant symptoms into attributes of a full human being, the question is why the maniac wreaks havoc? This is the heart of the matter!

The opposite for hypersyntonia is hypersyntonia. Here you’re cut off from the world. You cannot “connect” with the others. This leads to solitude and isolation. This is not good for mating opportunity.

Source: La maladie bipolaire expliqué aux souffrants et aux proches, Dr Raphaël GIachetti (French Psychiatrist)
Some patients, in order to protect their relations with their friends, with colleagues or others, isolate themselves completely. Isolation from society is a typical symptom of depression. Patients do not respond any more to any social stimuli like phone call. He wants to stay alone. This desire for loneliness can be comprehended in the sense that everything is tiresome and difficult : talking, listening, showing a friendly social face.

Trust / Antisocial
You work all your life to pay your tombstone
You hide your face behind your newspaper
You walk like a robot in the subway
Nobody touch you, you need to do the first step
You’d like to talk without defending yourself
However, impossible to move on without bulletproof clothes


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