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Darcia Narvaez on the Neurobiology of Narcissism, Psychopaths, Sociopaths, Empathy, Connection

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Broadcast 4/26/2016 at 01:16:44
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Darcia Narvaez
Darcia Narvaez
(Image by Darcia Narvaez)
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This is part two of my interview with Darcia Narvaez. Here's her info:

development and moral education. She is executive editor of the Journal of Moral Education.

And she is Conference Chair "Sustainable Wisdom: Integrating Indigenous KnowHow for Global Flourishing ," University of Notre Dame, which I hope to attend.

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Her most recent book is Neurobiology and the development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom, recipient of the 2015 American Psychological Associations William James Award (I've had two other William James Award winners on this show, Dan McAdams and Howard Gardner) Dr. Narvaez is in very lofty company as the winner of that award. Here are the criteria for the award:

a book which "best serves to further the goals of the society by providing an outstanding example of an effort to bring together diverse subfields of psychology and related disciplines. This work must provide a coherent framework that stands as a creative synthesis of theory and fact from disparate areas and demonstrates an essential underlying set of themes that serve to unify or integrate the field."

http://darcianarvaez.com/

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She writes, in her about page on her website:

My academic scholarship has moved from work on nonconscious moral rationality to moral character education in the schools to the neurobiology of moral development, to the study of evolved parenting practices, and the study of small-band hunter-gatherers who represent the type of society in which humans evolved . All this comes together in a moral developmental systems theory that emphasizes the ongoing epigenetic plasticity of how we develop our humanity and our morality.

My concerns are for developmental optimization and fulfilling human potential--actionable communal imagination.

All my careers aim at discovering what it means to be human, to develop and use one's talents, to give more than take from Life, and to live a virtuous life.

Rough Interview notes (very rough notes)

Rob: I have to say that this book is not just brilliant. It is profoundly brilliant. New ideas and new ways of combining knowledge fly from almost every page. This is the kind of book that can change the world. I would expect that the William James Award will be the first of many. Her thinking is the kind that could win a Nobel prize. Yes. I am a big fan. And I love the way study of aboriginal, Small Band Hunter Cultures is integrated with brain science.

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Rob: How does raising the child in the ancestral parental model affect the parent.

The SBHG model parents enjoy raising babies.

It's when agriculture and farming come in that mothers start talking about going into the field leaving the baby. The farmer has to go off and tend the field. That's the initial undermining where the mother starts to give other food to the baby instead of breast milk, which shifts birth interval from four years to two years.

Rob: And that's because breast feeding inhibits fertility

Which raises population which requires the need for more food.

I've heard mothers say they don't want to breast feed because they don't want to get too attached to the baby because they'll have to go back to work.

Parents feel like raising a child is a burden, We've shifted. In the 1930s, John Watson, wrote a book saying that they shouldn't hold the baby at night.

Rob: Watson was one of the fathers of Behaviorism. BF Skinner put his daughter in box.

How does the behaviorism fit in?

DN. It's all about control. You can control pigeons, rats and babies. I think it's very harmful. You divorce your baby and treat them like a plant

Rob: is there a benign version of behaviorism?

they use token economies with autistic kids. But that's very low level functioning. But if you have a high functioning person

Rob: you talk about: Top down vs bottom up imagination

Imagination moral, right brain, vicious, detached, You say, "impaired imagination is behind most of the evil in the world."

DN: I talk about the triune ethics system theory.

When these systems are activated

Rob: Triune Brain

Paul McClean's theory.

reptilian brain-- survival system

2nd is pale mammalian brain with other oriented s ystems

3rd strata is prefrontal cortex neo-mammalian.

Imagination is in the third strata.

When you are feeling stress, or when you are in this survival mode, you are going to use your imagination-- if you are in your protectionist mode habitually, you are going to be more vicious, impose your will on others. You will see missionaries imposing will on native peoples.

when you operate from the survival systems you are not able to be reciprocal it's all about me. It's vicious.

Rob: This is narcissism

DN there's also the dissociative type. You quiet down just to survive. You just try to get through this. When you build your imagination on that you are divorcing yourself from other relationships. WHen you dissociated you can build bombs and don't really care what the consequences are and you don't feel connected to anyone.

Rob: I'd like

Optimal imagination is communal imagination

Engagement ethic-- other oriented capacities. The ability to be in the present with someone else, teaching each person, each tree, each encounter, without categorizing. That's more protectionism. Relational attunement is the ability to be flexible and agile in the moment.

YOu can guide your behavior and planning

Rob: this is

ecological intelligence.

Rob: What about the neurobiology of connection.

DN. You have to not have the survival system in charge. You have to be calm, attuned, in the moment. Then there needs to be the pro-social systems of the brain have to be developed. The pleasure systems of being with others. You have to learn to enjoy being with others-- play, sledding, folk dancing, where you forget your self and be in the moment of the others.

Attention-- attend to things that are more pro-social.

Rob: How is our current culture toxic?

People like to paint all humans as being destructive. But it's not all humans. For tens of thousands of years lived sustainably.

Coming out of Europe and the Abrahamic civilizations, and mono-agriculture--

It's the culture of destruction of coercion, of dominance.

Riane Eisler talks about the dominator vs the partnership culture. And the US is the leader of this culture. We have the elites who think they are in some kind of bubble and that they can find ways to live without animals, fish, clear soil"

Rob: can you talk more about European and Abrahamic

when hebrews switched to single god they separated god from Nature.

Christians took god from being outside (the building) to being inside.

There are creation theologies

St Francis of Assisi and the current pope suggest that we could shift back to nature and god-- the indigenous perspective that everything is sacred. "

This century is supposed to be the probiotic century, after the antibiotic-- feeding the good bacteria in our body. We have to be much more humble about who we are. Humans are the youngest siblings on the block WE can learn from plants.

Rob; You talk about how patriarchy and male dominance is about 6000 years old. What happened then.

Rob: Top down vs bottom up brain

Top down and Bottom up culture

When we follow ancestral caregiving practicing we are building from the ground up.

When you undermine, when you coerce children and don't let them follow their spirits you are creating a self that is empty, distressed and doesn't know where it is so it needs external rules, so you are more likely to hang onto and grab, in a negative way, an ideology that makes you feel safe and that can be more manipulatable.

Erich Fromm talks about this, when a parent coerces a child into doing something they don't want to do that's the beginning of turning her into a manipulatable. We have to get back to following the earth's laws. what helps, the plants, rivers, mountains to flourish. Once we get back there that's the bottom up way to live-- rootedness in the earth. The other way is species isolation.

Rob: kind of like

Rob: George Lakoff

I go back to Sylvan Tomkins who came up with two types of parenting.

Harsh parenting where you punish spank, command. That

Then the warm type of parenting, but even the warm parenting comes up short.

Rob: Deep collectivism aloneness

Rob: engagement and companionship culture.

parent practices

Rob: engagement-- using face to face capacities for attunement, mind meld,

being there, not having an agenda, being present,

Rob: Individualism and competition

DN: Individualism is going to be promoted when you leave the baby alone. Babies are meant to be with somebody all the time

in the first three years or so the Right hemisphere is developing and that's the center for all kinds of connectedness. The right hemisphere is oriented to living things, attuned to vibrance.

Left hemisphere is related to dead things.

Ian Gilbert Master's Emissary

In early life if you don't have companionship care you are more likely to develop one person psychology. you don't trust caregivers, world, self and you learn to get pleasure by your self. You have been left to cry enough that your striving become ingrained. That's very dopamine driven orientation to life. But there's another way which is more serotonin, prolactin way which is being more satisfied with being with your self. it's a different mode, more relational, calmer and less destructive.

We need more of that than this eager beaver.

Rob: America, since de Toqueville has been characterized as individualistic. Thoughts.

Our media has emphasized that "Have it your way" "Just do it" and don't worry about anyone else. It starts with child not cared for.

Collectivist society it is less like ping pong balls and more like marshmallows, sticky

Rob: Collectivist society

have a sense of self that is distributed among your relationships, primarily family members.oriented to making decisions following family's

Small Band Hunter Gatherers are very autonomous and don't coerce. But they also have a high sense of connectedness to the group. In early life your empathy is rooted in all the connections you have, parents, tribe, landscapes,

Age two is autonomy surge-- children are testing their autonomy is tested by that pro-social community. In the left we see terrible twos-- the child wants to do something and they are thwarted and told no. So their autonomy is shaped to be against others. You grow up with a sense of being thwart so you are so eager to do it your way.

In the west we think it is normal to destroy.

Rob: so would you speculate that people who are obsessed with liberty and individual

Rob: so what do we do about all this.

the wealthy who are controlling the media and message use fear and selfishness to get people to shift into protective mode. They will want to dominate or withdraw.

over-reactions kakostatic

You have people who were raised to be manipulatable.

I focus on baby raising.

You can help children to be more calm, to develop more aware of relationships with others.

You can intervene at the adult level and bring support to those parents, help with community play days where people are face to face.

Around age 50 women with empty nest want's to explore the world have adventures

Dan Siegel has talked

Male babies appear to be much more susceptible to bad parenting than female babies.

Man is coming in with right hemisphere underdevelopment. at age 50 y

inability to be emotionally present to enjoy being with other people to be open hearted,

Recommend, take a dance class, play with a baby.

then there's the cultural level

take money out of politics, different types of media, the internet

Rob: you talk about how morality is very much social.

The way our parents treat us is the way our biology is going to be shaped as a social kind of being You have to select environments that tune up your sensibilities in the right way. This is Aristotle. You think you can watch violent movies and play violent video games and that won't affect me. You are less sensitive to victims We have to take our deliberative capacities and make decisions carefully and select things that are going to foster virtue. It's always an

Rob: How do you want to wrap this up.

I'd like people to realize that the kinds of people around them who are distressed, angry, vicious are not the way humans are supposed to be.

We can change ourselves. We have the power to that. it starts with babyhood. They will foster a baby who is resilient and who reaches potential.

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opednews.com

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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