1.4.3 R(evolution)

In this post, I will attempt to address one of the central questions of this blog. The selective value (fitness) of the maniac effectively tends to zero whilst its dominance seems to be above normal. Indeed we have demonstrated that a lot of manic behaviors suggest dominant or, at least, improved functioning if considered one by one. However the set of dominant or improved functions, that is, the maniac himself, seems to cause a crash of his selective value. How do you get access to reproduction in hospital when loaded with deleterious substances? How can you seriously consider the maniac as dominant while society strongly and brutally disagrees with his behaviors? It has no other choice but to take all legal proceedings to lock him up urgently without any judgment. He is treated with less legal standard compared to criminals. If you “Pleistocene” the milieu a little bit, think of the sharp rejection of the community as well as potential lethal fights against the dominant individual who agonistically defend their statuses. Moreover how can you contribute to your own maintenance (hunt, predators…) when you’re losing grip on reality? These questions are perfectly valid and they will get an answer in this post and in the following ones.

Intuitively, it is obvious that the maniacs are not fit for reality. They have somehow crossed the mirror or the social wall that delimits sanity and insanity. Insanity can then be defined with a Darwinian flavor: What is crazy is what is constantly not fit. And here you can insert the Darwinian concept of fitness in the picture. The flawed behavior does not seem to be correctable. This is a mark of unfitness.

The “volume knob” has reached a level beyond which the maniac loses grip with reality. Whereas dominance was synchronous with selective value, the fitness suddenly drops during a manic episode. It tends rapidly to zero while dominance is still on the rise. This demonstrates a very simple thing: Fitness and dominance are two distinct phenomena which can be barely identified at an average value of dominance. When dominance rises, there is a clear decoupling between them. From a conceptual point of view they need to be indeed separated. Dominance is a catalyst, an amplifier of what you are. It is a pure brain chemistry related phenomenon, it has no theoretical limit and evolution pressure pushes for increase in the trend. However fitness (selective value) is essentially an external evaluation of what you are when you are compared to the milieu. Fitness is not infinite; it is limited by the milieu. If you consider that there is an excess of dominance as regard to what can be handled by the environment, you end up having defined craziness more accurately. Dominance is significant in animals. Suddenly because we’re human, it should not exist anymore? I think we are a little bit arrogant. Especially that we don’t know yet what is human dominance exactly. We’ll disclose that in other posts. But to me, it is in any case not only
based on physical traits but also and doubtless mostly on brain chemistry.

Let’s be clearer by using automotive metaphors. Dominance can be compared to an accelerator pedal. It can be easily compared because any phenomenon with variation will do. The dominance job does not consist in creating directly new features. First it will make things more intense. It won’t create speed, it will make the driver goes faster. Second, the driver will have to manage the speed increase so that it improves his fitness. Here occurs the creative power of dominance. Fitness and speed are in sync only if the milieu validates the behavior. The gap between the two triggers a creative pressure. The road behavior quality can be compared with a measure of fitness. It will result both from the road conditions (The milieu, the cars, the driver) and the speed (the dominance). If speed does not fit the road condition then there is a crazy crash. The more you accelerate, the more likely you are to overtake the other cars (dominance hierarchy). But if you step on it too much, irrespective of the road conditions, you’re bound to undergo a crash. The metaphor is not 100% accurate because maniacs don’t have control over this erratic accelerator which is located in our brain. Whilst normal people drive at a speed which ensures life conservation, the maniac speed up at 500 mph which is totally unacceptable for society on the one hand and one the other hand his chance of survival are very weak. Increased dominance forces the individual to evolve with exceptional parameters which may be or not fit for reality. In order to survive, the overdominant (the maniac) must create to adjust the new parameters to the milieu. It can be and is very gradual process. This looks to me like a typical error and trial based process. This is the kind of thing that nature likes a lot. Most of the time, it fails. Most of the time does not mean all time if you consider millions of years.

Approximately we can assert that the selective value depend somehow on dominance. The latter is an autonomous concept of the self that can concretely lead an individual to craziness if the amplified behaviors are rejected by the milieu. It is possible to describe the relationship between fitness and dominance using a quasi linear function. Intuitively, zero dominance means zero fitness. How can you reproduce yourself when you want to constantly commit suicide? You don’t need a PhD to understand that depressed people are not appealing to women. Maximum dominance means also a zilch fitness because you can’t really flirt when you are psychotic. In between these two states, fitness and dominance are in linear relation. Below is a very simplified sketch of this relation. It will be refined in next posts. This diagram assumed an identical environment and an amplification of behavior that are rewarded by the milieu. All in all, dominance vary and all other things except fitness being equal.


A few remarks can be derived from these simple and intuitive ideas. It is usually thought that fitness or selective value is above all dependent on our genetic heritage. How the dominance fit into that picture? Dominance is a physiological phenomenon. It is controlled by genes coded in the DNA molecules. Bipolarity is a genetic disease. All these arguments validate that DNA and dominance are closely related. However they are not the same. Genes build the body, dominance inhabit it. Dominance fluctuates at identical gene, this confirm my assertion in bipolar ethology. However dominance may be a phenomenon that controls the expression intensity of the genes. This is major phenomenon which is of same significance as DNA. A popular belief goes that we only used 10% of our brain possibilities. The dominance theory may substantiate this folk neurology by revealing an essential fluctuating parameter that regulates everybody, not only the bipolars. We’ll go more in deep in the next articles.

But let’s go back to what matters at the moment. The maniac is victimized by overdominance and cannot adapt to the environment. The milieu of the social animal we are is the community of men and women. I find it not absurd at all to call Darwin and the evolution theory into the discussion. I’m not a specialist but everyone should be in our 21st century. It seems to me that according to this theory, Nature does thing on trial and error basis where error are created in huge quantity. For example, a gene mutation is an error that will be exposed to natural selection. If it brings a selective gain then the error is replaced by another term. Let’s say creation. The winning genes are then added to the gene pool.

The same principle applies for dominance. What the psychiatrist sees as errors or symptoms are in fact Nature trials. Dominance somehow performs stress test on you who is a combination of interacting innate and acquired features. This is aimed at creating new behaviors, new ideas or new functions which are somehow allowed by favorable (as regard to natural selection) mutations in the genetic material. Don’t forget that genes build your brain but environment carves it. There are doubtless multiple possible behaviors for one physical brain model. Dominance encourages new solution even with the same brain structure. Indeed, scanner shows that manic brains look like a Christmas tree. This certainly is beneficial for the long discussed all-round creativity gift of the bipolars. But it goes surely far beyond than just new ideas. Over a very long period, dominance can be considered as new behavioral builder. We’ll go in deep with this idea later. However, unfortunately, in 99.9% of nature trials, dominance triggers unfavorable outcome (asocial or crazy behaviors, sufferings…). We, bipolars, experience constantly these errors. But, again, time will hit the 0.01% gold nugget that will enhance the species. Next posts will discuss in detail the possible mechanism behind this nature wonder. It is surely not restricted to human.

There is another consequence derived from this theory. We are all used to thinking    that natural selection depends on the external milieu. This is just part of the truth because dominance is another factor. Indeed you have to survive to massive surge of manic dominance, and believe me, this is no bed of roses compared to the survival in hostile environment. You need to find new strategy to survive this exceptional internal environment. Of course, the external milieu is the ultimate judge but you need to cope also with what’s inside. It is then possible to assert that dominance also shaped the DNA. Genes will find solution to deal with this excess of dominance that will be converted into selective gain provided the maniac find solutions to get access to reproduction and be sufficiently sane (fit) to raise his offspring. Maybe the incredible brain development is due to overdominance. Humans are the one who were the most subject to it and nature has found some ways to cope, bringing massive selective gain. Nietzsche, bipolar, wrote that you need to be the master inside yourself. He was a vanguard of the dominance theory as we will see later on.

Let’s go back to the automotive metaphor in order to clarify my ideas. If a hyperthymic (elevated mood) population steps constantly on it, it is likely that, after millions of years, the car will be able to bear the speed excess: improved brakes, aerodynamic design, high speed driving help, better shock absorber… This is the DNA job. It will also improve the driver: better reactivity, better anticipation, better risk management, better 3D vision, better trajectory selection… After millions of crash and suffering, the lucky driver will be all set to bring this excess of speed (dominance) under control. He will increase his selective value if the milieu rewards someone who is able to drive at 500 mph. If he manages to turn off the engine and look for mating opportunity, its genes will propagate across the pool genes. This resistance gene will benefit the normal-mooded community as it will increase the driving safety. The average selective value increases thanks to the maniacs!

I do not call natural selection into question. I just add an extremely powerful engine to it. Milieu and dominance are the pillars of natural selection. Now let’s stop with metaphorical explanation and let’s get to the bottom of it. It is obvious that overdominant do not have the neural structure to process the incredible flow of data. The short term memory system that stores new information is completely out of order. The body resists quite well, but the energy needed to sustain such an elevated mood trigger a significant weight loss. There is no one in my brain to command my racing thought to stop so that I’m able to carry out my favorite activities. My sleep is also disrupted by the massive excitation increase. This shows that the human species is still not used to the maximum of dominance it can generate. During my 3rd episode I was very afraid of having a heart attack. I was thinking to myself. “How much power can you sustain?”. Body does not seem to be that affected. Conclusion can be drawn that dominance focus on mind functions. This is its current job.

Natural selection favors genes that increase the dominance. Indeed, bipolar genes were not eliminated from the gene pool because they provide an advantage for the species, unfortunately not for the individual. Natural selection, at the same time, also favors gene that enable bringing dominance to control. This is the basis for new functionality which needs to be permitted by the DNA. Nature is a good mechanic; it improves the engine and the brakes. You can get all the speed you want, if there is no brake, you cannot drive properly. We are radially unequal vis-à-vis dominance because Nature is going to favor different level of dominance control. At a similar level of dominance, one can be called a crazy maniac whilst the other one will be called a hyperthymic, capable of being a locomotive where his passion leads him.

Another consequence of this theory lies in our ability to endlessly improve even if the milieu remains unchanged. Don’t get me wrong, it has been demonstrated that changes in the milieu has impacted our evolution. However and here the theory could be falsified, it should be possible to demonstrate that evolution continues even in the absence of significant milieu change. We improve ourselves constantly as shown by the progress of the last centuries which have significantly changed the model since we’re now able to change the environment, for better and worse.

If you want to understand the bipolar disorders you need this conceptual revolution that takes into account the theory of evolution. This theory reveals an internal barely known mechanism: pure dominance which is an internal measure as opposed to status dominance which a measure carried out by the environment. The bipolars are victimized by it through a phenomenon that no one wants to see or can see because, for example, psychiatrist talks rarely to ethologist. You, normal people, are on board of a train the speed of which is constant. We, bipolars, are in a different train. It constantly accelerates and decelerates. We are able to feel the swaying movement of pure dominance. Depressed and manic are not fit. If the train goes to slow, you’ll never arrive on time. If the train goes to fast, you’ll never arrive. Pure dominance is an algebraic number which is undetermined. All in all, the selective value depends on pure dominance, genes, and environment. The cumulative experience should not be forgotten. It is defined by excluding the other factors; it is in essence your personality. I don’t want to start a discussion on innate and acquired for they are two factors catalyzed by pure dominance. You can derive the following formula:

  • selective value (fitness) = (Innate + acquired)*pure optimal dominance

The optimal dominance is defined as a value maximizing the fitness given the gene and environment constraints. All human tend to optimal dominance. Some amplified traits will bring a selective gain but some others will reduce adaptability. All in all, beyond a certain dominance threshold, disadvantages will prevail on benefits, and the overall selective value will decrease. Sound like a good description of a manic state! For instant, strength can increase but aggressiveness will lead you to jail.

Dominance is not only a result but also a cause!

Dead kennedys / insight
Who’s that kid in the back of the room?
Who’s that kid in the back of the room?
He’s setting all his papers on fire
He’s setting all his papers on fire
where did he get that crazy smile?
Where did he get that crazy smile?
We all think he’s really weird
We all think he’s really weird
We never talk to him
He never looks quite right
He laughs at us
We just beat him up
What he sees escapes our sight
We never see him with the girls
We never see him with the girls
He’s talking to himself again
He’s talking to himself again
Why doesn’t he want tons of friends?
Why doesn’t he want tons of friends?
Says he’s bored when we hang around
Says he’s bored when we hang around
We never talk to him
He never looks quite right
He laughs at us
We just beat him up
What he sees escapes our sight
We’re all planning our careers
We’re all planning our careers
We’re all planning our careers
He says we’re growing old…

Oasis / Don’t look back in anger
So I start a revolution from my bed
Cause you said the brains I have went to my head
Step outside the summertime’s in bloom
Stand up beside the fireplace
Take that look from off your face
Cause you ain’t ever gonna burn my heart out

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