CAS Inquire Panel Discussion
CAS Inquire panel with Joseph Mendola, Roberto Abadie, Tierney Lorenz, Nora Peterson, and Casey Kelly.
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- [00:00:04.120]Good evening. I'm Dr.
- [00:00:05.640]Taylor Livingston, and I'm
- [00:00:06.840]the director of the College of Arts
and Sciences Inquire program.
- [00:00:10.200]Thank you all so much for coming tonight
in person and also via Zoom
- [00:00:14.000]to the final event of this year's
Inquire lecture series, which is panel
- [00:00:18.600]discussion on the topic of the whole year
pain and pleasure.
- [00:00:23.720]Although the topic for the series
was chosen before the global pandemic,
- [00:00:27.240]it's particularly
given our cultural moment
- [00:00:30.160]and something that I can assure you
that we will discuss tonight.
- [00:00:34.720]So the entire program is structured
around five individual lectures
- [00:00:38.920]and also a panel discussion at the end,
which allows students, faculty and staff,
- [00:00:44.480]as well as the wider public
the opportunity to understand
- [00:00:48.200]and engage with how we, as individuals
- [00:00:51.080]and as a society understand
the concepts of pain and pleasure
- [00:00:56.000]and how their perceptions shape
and are reflected by human behavior.
- [00:01:01.400]Additionally, it creates an opportunity
to learn about the fascinating research
- [00:01:05.800]the faculty members in the College of Arts
and Sciences are conducting
- [00:01:10.160]and enable students
to see the various disciplinary approaches
- [00:01:13.760]to the study of a topic,
as well as the necessity of multi, trans
- [00:01:18.680]and interdisciplinary insights
to truly understand social phenomena.
- [00:01:23.800]Tonight's panel features
all of our speakers, beginning with Dr.
- [00:01:28.080]Joseph Mendola, Professor of Philosophy,
who kicked off our series
- [00:01:32.640]this year on a discussion
of the nature of pain.
- [00:01:37.400]Dr. Casey Kelly, who is a professor
of rhetoric and public culture
- [00:01:41.120]in the Department
- [00:01:41.800]of Communication Studies,
who discussed white pain and melancholia.
- [00:01:46.680]Dr. Nora Peterson, who has faculty
in the medieval Renaissance Studies
- [00:01:50.680]program, as well as chair
and associate professor
- [00:01:53.760]of French in the Department
of Modern Languages and Literatures,
- [00:01:57.960]who discussed narratives of sexual assault
and the French Renaissance
- [00:02:02.840]and how some of these
are still with us today.
- [00:02:06.200]Dr. Roberto Abadie who is assistant
professor of anthropology,
- [00:02:10.000]who lectured on pain
and drug addiction in Puerto Rico.
- [00:02:15.440]And finally, Dr.
- [00:02:16.280]Tierney Lorenz, an assistant
professor of psychology
- [00:02:19.440]and the Department of Psychology
and also the Center for Brain
- [00:02:22.920]Biology and Behavior,
who lectured on women's sexual pleasure.
- [00:02:27.120]Please join me in
welcoming these panelists.
- [00:02:35.920]So the structure of tonight's panel
- [00:02:38.560]that I have given the panelist some
questions beforehand that I will ask them,
- [00:02:44.880]and once we have concluded our discussion,
you are more than welcome to via Zoom.
- [00:02:50.640]Submit your questions via the Q&A or chat
or in person to walk up to the mike
- [00:02:56.320]and ask any of the panelists
or all of the panelists any questions
- [00:03:00.920]that you have on what they've said
or anything from their talks.
- [00:03:04.640]So to begin our discussion
here this evening.
- [00:03:09.080]What is the first thing that comes to mind
- [00:03:12.000]when we say pain and pleasure?
- [00:03:19.840]Don't all answer it one.
- [00:03:31.600]It's maybe it's a joke
that whenever you ask
- [00:03:34.400]any academic something,
they say, it's complicated.
- [00:03:38.560]And especially with philosophers,
we like to say things are complicated.
- [00:03:42.080]But I think one thing
that came to mind through this series
- [00:03:45.120]is that the notions of pain and pleasure
are sort of complicated and fraught.
- [00:03:51.320]I talked about, you know, different either
different meanings of the words
- [00:03:55.600]or different phenomena which pleasure
and pain might objectively be.
- [00:04:00.320]But we also heard through the semester
or through the semester talks,
- [00:04:05.160]we heard some talks which were focusing on
- [00:04:08.800]the odd feature of pain and pleasure
than the one hand there, things
- [00:04:13.040]of which individuals
seem to have some special authority
- [00:04:16.160]talking about their own
pleasures and pains.
- [00:04:18.640]And the other hand, there are more
objective ways to try to assess pleasure
- [00:04:23.320]and pain through interviews
or through experiments of various kinds.
- [00:04:28.680]And the other interesting thing about pain
and pleasure besides its ambiguity
- [00:04:32.640]because it has this epistemic asymmetry
that it's a little hard to know
- [00:04:36.280]if somebody has authority
about whether they have pain or pleasure
- [00:04:40.040]is that it's normatively fraught.
- [00:04:42.200]So that oftentimes a claim that you know
something is painful is immediately
- [00:04:47.160]it seems a reason to against it
and a claim that something is pleasurable
- [00:04:53.120]to someone, even in some cases
where they deny it is sometimes thought
- [00:04:56.600]to be a reasonable excuse.
- [00:04:58.080]And so it's it's a complicated thing.
- [00:05:00.600]That's the first thing
I think, I think the pain.
- [00:05:10.800]I was thinking and this is, I think,
- [00:05:13.240]completely unrelated to my talk,
but I was just thinking
- [00:05:15.720]kind of off the cuff what I think of
when I think of pain and pleasure
- [00:05:18.800]and I think of contradictions and the way
in which we often say, you know,
- [00:05:22.800]I achieved this with blood, sweat
- [00:05:24.360]and tears, and it's something
to be more proud of, almost.
- [00:05:27.640]So that sense that kind of
- [00:05:30.320]suffering or sacrifice
- [00:05:33.200]is kind of intrinsic to achieving
pleasure, which which is something I think
- [00:05:39.160]maybe we'll get into a little bit later
and talking about, as Dr.
- [00:05:42.560]Mandela was saying, the ways
in which these concepts are really tied up
- [00:05:45.440]in each other and difficult to separate
- [00:05:49.800]one comes with a discourse of the other
at the same time in some ways.
- [00:05:54.360]But I was, yeah,
I was thinking of how in our culture,
- [00:05:57.120]I think there's this discourse of pain
and suffering being somehow
- [00:06:00.320]making a pleasurable experience,
often more worth it.
- [00:06:06.120]Again, just yeah,
- [00:06:07.760]something I was ruminating on.
- [00:06:14.800]one thing that comes
to my mind immediately is
- [00:06:19.680]the inability of language
to adequately register pleasure and pain
- [00:06:25.800]I mentioned in my talk that pain tends
- [00:06:29.440]to have a language shattering
effect on the body and that it's always
- [00:06:34.720]in partial in its ability
to communicate felt experiences.
- [00:06:39.160]There's a difference between affects
and emotions and affects are these felt
- [00:06:43.920]bodily intensities that we try to pin down
in language to the best of our ability.
- [00:06:48.480]But they're are always inadequate,
they're always slipping away from us.
- [00:06:52.880]And so even the moment in which
we pin down what is pleasure and pain,
- [00:06:56.560]we still have done so in a language
that cannot adequately capture it.
- [00:07:00.640]And so in that sense, like pleasure
and pain are kind of ineffable.
- [00:07:03.720]We do our best to pin them
down in language, but
- [00:07:07.120]ultimately it's incredibly difficult
for us to do, which is why it's often
- [00:07:11.520]the case that we debate
about other people's pain and pleasure,
- [00:07:15.840]more so than the bodies themselves
actually sort of speak
- [00:07:18.720]about that pain and pleasure.
- [00:07:19.840]We are the ones that kind of give it
meaning, usually the
- [00:07:21.960]the person standing external to the body
in pleasure pain.
- [00:07:25.800]And it's even complicated even further
by the fact that there's sometimes
- [00:07:31.320]pleasure, pain or indistinguishable
in some senses that there's
- [00:07:33.920]a sort of pleasure in pain.
- [00:07:36.400]There's a concept from Jacques
- [00:07:41.720]I always hesitate to mention this
in the context of psychologists
- [00:07:45.080]sitting in here, but I am.
- [00:07:46.720]I'm the I am mostly interested in cultural
theory related to psychoanalysis,
- [00:07:51.880]a concept of science
which is doesn't really adequately
- [00:07:57.360]translate from French into English,
but ostensibly it means something
- [00:08:00.360]along the lines of a
of an ecstatic pleasure in pain.
- [00:08:03.480]And it's one that often can be
found in experiences
- [00:08:06.400]where we brush up against our own
non being in the sense that we
- [00:08:12.640]sometimes there's an ecstasy in pain
and a pleasure in that pain,
- [00:08:18.400]insofar as it's we are encountering
something that exists prior
- [00:08:24.240]to our own sense of self, that it's
something that shatters our egos and makes
- [00:08:28.120]it difficult for us to
- [00:08:30.680]experience. And it's something
- [00:08:31.800]we imagine that we can get access to,
but we never can.
- [00:08:35.240]And so the idea that pleasure and pain
are completely indistinguishable from one
- [00:08:38.560]another is also a difficult thing
to assert and to be more concrete
- [00:08:42.080]and practical about it.
- [00:08:43.040]Like a lot of times,
people become attached to their wounds,
- [00:08:45.760]they become a part of their identity
and who they are.
- [00:08:48.040]Sometimes people get pleasure
out of their own suffering,
- [00:08:52.520]or at least a version of that suffering
that they can put forward,
- [00:08:55.960]and that if one can then use that
as a justification for being considered,
- [00:08:59.840]you know , highly prized
victim of some kind,
- [00:09:02.200]then that gives you a certain
kind of cultural capital, too.
- [00:09:04.320]So the distinguish between both of those
is not necessarily as clear
- [00:09:07.360]as we might think.
- [00:09:14.040]Sort of a functional application
of some of the things
- [00:09:17.800]that you were talking about
there as a clinician,
- [00:09:23.120]I think of pain and pleasure
as the things that actually matter
- [00:09:26.960]when we're evaluating a patient.
- [00:09:29.680]I think one of the great tragedies
- [00:09:32.560]of the way that the American health
care system is built and most health
- [00:09:37.040]care systems are built
is that we function. We focus such.
- [00:09:42.080]We focused so much
of our energies on documenting
- [00:09:46.000]symptoms and conditions and diagnoses,
- [00:09:49.600]and only in the last 20 years
- [00:09:52.840]or so have we all started to think
about pleasure and pain and the sort
- [00:09:58.080]of subjective experience of those symptoms
as worthy of clinical attention.
- [00:10:04.200]And even still, even today,
those are often talked about as quality
- [00:10:08.680]of life indicators with a sort of scoff
in the back of one's voice.
- [00:10:14.720]It is sort of disturbing
because the reason why we care about
- [00:10:20.000]these symptoms, particularly
in the context of chronic health
- [00:10:22.480]conditions, is because of the
the pain that they generate
- [00:10:27.920]and because of the ways
- [00:10:31.840]in which they deny us access to pleasure.
- [00:10:36.080]And so when I when
- [00:10:36.880]I first think about pain and pleasure,
I think about them as they
- [00:10:39.920]are the things to which we should be
always turning our eyes
- [00:10:44.000]because they are the
they are the aspects of
- [00:10:48.240]the human condition that actually matter.
- [00:10:54.480]For me, there's a big a paradox
in relation to pain and pleasure.
- [00:10:59.960]You have to experience
and people experience pain and pleasure
- [00:11:03.640]individually in your brain, in your body,
the dopamine rush for pleasure.
- [00:11:08.680]They say this enters the process
and the signals that process pain
- [00:11:12.920]you feel individually
but is socially produced.
- [00:11:16.640]Each society produces a
certain amount of pain of particular types
- [00:11:20.400]of pain and suffering,
and particularly from social
- [00:11:24.960]isolation, is historically contingent.
- [00:11:28.720]It depends on race, class, ethnicity, age,
- [00:11:32.920]geographical location.
- [00:11:34.640]But it's important to think about that
because our experience
- [00:11:38.280]of faces of pain
and pleasure is fading immediately.
- [00:11:41.440]It's important, but
it's also constructed in a way.
- [00:11:45.360]Let me just give you an example for
maybe are fed up with COVID.
- [00:11:49.960]I have two examples COVID
or the war in Ukraine.
- [00:11:53.560]Which one would you pick that
- [00:11:57.120]I'm going to go with COVID
- [00:12:02.240]with health bodies?
- [00:12:03.520]And it's very clear
- [00:12:04.440]that people that are working class
that are exposed because they
- [00:12:07.920]they travel the mass transportation
and they are in contact with the public
- [00:12:12.600]as a cashier or food
prepare at disproportionately
- [00:12:16.880]and they live in importance
- [00:12:18.480]that are crowded
and in conditions that are conducive to,
- [00:12:22.720]you know, COVID 19 and have been
disproportionately affected .
- [00:12:26.800]And also, it's clear
that as a country with many,
- [00:12:30.080]many resources, we need much fully
- [00:12:33.360]than other countries with fewer resources
and I go one on one names.
- [00:12:37.440]But you know that some countries did
- [00:12:41.120]much better than we did.
- [00:12:42.960]So it's clear that the way
we organize our response or we choose to
- [00:12:47.440]respond to a pandemic really
make things worse and amplify the pain
- [00:12:52.560]for actually 1 million people that died
more than in all the other words,
- [00:12:57.680]that the US fought in the 19th century
in the 19th and 20th century.
- [00:13:02.160]So there's a lot of pain that we inflicted
that actually can be calculated.
- [00:13:06.400]Their estimations
of excess deaths that happened
- [00:13:10.400]as a result of COVID
that could have been avoided.
- [00:13:14.400]So that's a social production of pain.
- [00:13:17.160]That's something that we,
- [00:13:18.800]as anthropologist,
we're always looking at the intersection
- [00:13:21.840]between social and cultural dynamics
at individual events and trajectories .
- [00:13:27.760]It's as I said, you feel the pain
- [00:13:29.840]and you feel the pressure,
but it's also mediated by culture.
- [00:13:33.120]And of course, it depends in
in every particular situation for COVID.
- [00:13:38.240]It's a series of configurations
for addiction, for substance use,
- [00:13:44.120]for sugar rushes, for, you know, gambling,
for internet bone or whatever.
- [00:13:49.160]You have different configurations that
we have to look at and work on addiction.
- [00:13:53.280]So well, that's my
the things that I'm looking at usually.
- [00:13:57.080]So that's my initial response.
- [00:14:00.640]So, Dr. Bonnie, you open the door.
- [00:14:02.760]I'm going to walk through it.
- [00:14:04.520]one of the thing that's sort of struck me
about all of you are your topics,
- [00:14:09.640]and I see this in the introduction is,
- [00:14:12.640]you know, we chose this topic in 2019
before the pandemic
- [00:14:17.720]and a lot of the topics
that you're speaking about.
- [00:14:21.120]We're sort of in reference to a touchstone
cultural moment a couple of years.
- [00:14:27.000]In the past, you know, sort of the
the 2020 election that was upcoming
- [00:14:31.680]or the 2016 election or what
we saw in 2018 with the MeToo movement.
- [00:14:37.160]But I was just wondering if there were a
since we understand these concepts now
- [00:14:42.600]and from your work and how you sort of
see them and how we can apply them
- [00:14:47.520]to this current cultural moment of
- [00:14:52.560]war in the Ukraine of a pandemic of,
- [00:14:56.840]you know, ongoing social injustice.
- [00:15:03.160]I think about this
- [00:15:05.120]fairly frequently
in the sense that, you know,
- [00:15:07.440]COVID 19 is a plague of sorts
and the medieval and early modern
- [00:15:11.080]periods were nothing if not struck
repeatedly by plagues and illnesses.
- [00:15:16.680]And and part of the reason
I'm so fascinated
- [00:15:19.960]by the renaissance in France and in Europe
is because things are really messy.
- [00:15:24.320]There are a lot of things the political
system, the justice system, gender.
- [00:15:30.600]A lot of things are just there.
- [00:15:31.760]There is no clear binary
- [00:15:35.240]of structures of how to read things,
how to understand one's culture.
- [00:15:38.600]And I feel that that moment has become
- [00:15:42.120]not replicated because nothing is.
- [00:15:44.360]No story is the same, but
I think we see a lot of the same patterns
- [00:15:48.400]that have become even more clear
- [00:15:49.840]now to the pandemic
and what and political discourse.
- [00:15:54.360]And one of the things that strikes me is
that pain seems to be also endemic.
- [00:15:59.920]You know, we deal with it
- [00:16:00.800]every day, whether it's confusion,
you know, different variations of pain,
- [00:16:05.040]and there's still this effort
to make sense of it and to interpret it.
- [00:16:09.560]And. And for me, writing literary
history is a way to think through that.
- [00:16:15.600]But certainly the
thing that strikes me is that this is a
- [00:16:18.560]this is a conversation
that's been happening for centuries
- [00:16:22.640]and certain centuries
have had different parallels.
- [00:16:26.880]And certainly the thing I
see now happening is that there is this
- [00:16:30.680]kind of messiness again, where there's
no easy resolution to these questions.
- [00:16:34.840]There's no clear binary because a
lot of them are at work at the same time.
- [00:16:42.960]I'm a medical anthropologist,
so it comes naturally to me
- [00:16:46.360]to think about pandemics
and to think about COVID,
- [00:16:49.800]so way to understand society
because the way we respond
- [00:16:53.600]and that's the value of understanding
and studying pandemics, the way we choose
- [00:16:57.600]to respond the pandemic clearly straight
the way our societies organize,
- [00:17:02.000]socially organize
the kind of things we value, the norms of
- [00:17:06.040]the kind of power relationships
we have, the kind of inequalities
- [00:17:09.160]we have, who lives and who dies.
- [00:17:12.280]Because when you have access to vaccines,
but they are scarce,
- [00:17:15.880]who gets the first vaccine, who gets the
first successful treatment , who does not.
- [00:17:21.920]So it's a very graphic way
- [00:17:25.320]power dynamics, power
relationships and inequalities.
- [00:17:28.040]And there's very clear racial
- [00:17:31.320]dynamics on inequalities
and the inequalities
- [00:17:34.480]in relation to COVID,
but also their national differences.
- [00:17:38.040]And they think that it's more distressing
for me is to witness
- [00:17:42.800]the inability of our system
and our society to come to basic
- [00:17:46.520]agreements and to provide for a response
that is adequate.
- [00:17:50.600]We could have done it
because of what technology is there
- [00:17:53.400]on the resources
of other sorts of software, but we fail.
- [00:17:56.800]Other countries,
as I mentioned, did a much better job.
- [00:17:59.600]I think the capitalist system
and the neoliberal regime,
- [00:18:03.040]it's unfit to prepare for pandemics.
- [00:18:06.280]And that's a worrisome part
- [00:18:07.480]because we're going to have
everybody knows another pandemic,
- [00:18:10.520]maybe five years, maybe ten years,
maybe 20 years, maybe tomorrow.
- [00:18:15.560]Stockpiling things is useless.
- [00:18:17.920]From our capitalist perspective,
you cannot stockpile masks and respirators
- [00:18:23.360]and vaccines just in case
it's a pandemic in five or ten years.
- [00:18:28.680]You know, the logic of the capitalist
system is stipulation.
- [00:18:31.680]So you have to produce something and sell
it, make a profit, make more and sell it.
- [00:18:35.440]Stockpiling stuff.
There's countries that have done that.
- [00:18:38.000]China that said it for COVID
finance. Finland did it.
- [00:18:42.160]There's a lot of countries
- [00:18:42.880]that stockpile resources
- [00:18:44.080]that they might need, but
it's not the best business proposition.
- [00:18:47.160]So one of my concerns
is that our neoliberal regime
- [00:18:51.920]and our political dysfunction rooted
in things that you might be familiar with
- [00:18:56.520]that might explain to you, but it's really
a precursor for the really.
- [00:19:04.440]Fail next response to our next pandemic,
so yeah, I'm worried about that,
- [00:19:09.600]and I know people working on pandemics
and pandemic preparations
- [00:19:12.440]worry about that as well.
- [00:19:13.560]So yeah, I'm thinking about our pain,
- [00:19:15.360]our current pain and our middle list,
which is which we could have avoided.
- [00:19:19.560]And then we can avoid the future pain
because for our future pandemics,
- [00:19:22.880]but probably we want
I don't want other brains to look at the.
- [00:19:31.520]If you want to add to that, the press
- [00:19:33.800]here, I'm certainly happy to join in.
- [00:19:37.960]I think the thing sort of two things
- [00:19:40.840]strike me, one is the degree to which
- [00:19:44.920]how we're capable of
- [00:19:48.320]processing other people's suffering
or caring about it
- [00:19:52.920]as sort of numbers of COVID deaths, you know, accelerates continues to continues to
- [00:19:59.840]accelerate. The numbers
lack a kind of humanity to them.
- [00:20:05.040]That makes it difficult, I think,
to process other people's suffering.
- [00:20:08.600]Look at the numbers.
- [00:20:09.400]We lose sight of the
the actual toll of suffering that happens.
- [00:20:14.040]That's behind those numbers.
- [00:20:15.760]Right. People who had to say goodbye
to their families and their,
- [00:20:17.760]you know, before they died in a hospital
- [00:20:19.320]separated between glass
like the sort of calcul ability of that
- [00:20:22.120]suffering is extraordinarily difficult
to convey to other people.
- [00:20:26.360]And especially with crisis
after crisis of you
- [00:20:30.000]mounting, it seems that it's much easier
to detach to tend to.
- [00:20:34.600]No tenderness decides yourself
to the pain, and I'm guilty of it, too.
- [00:20:38.160]And tonight, I can't watch the news
because I can't bear the, you know,
- [00:20:41.960]the have to occupy my mind
with the suffering of other people
- [00:20:45.600]for my own mental well-being.
- [00:20:48.160]But in that I realized that in that move,
it's sort of problematic
- [00:20:51.000]because I what I'm doing is I'm, you know,
I'm dissociating detaching
- [00:20:55.280]and then denying people's humanity
and my distancing from them.
- [00:21:00.640]The second thing
- [00:21:01.480]that occurs to me about COVID,
too, is the discourse about resilience
- [00:21:05.800]that has kind of come about , which speaks
to to your point about neoliberal
- [00:21:11.040]capitalism is that
it asks us to continually deal with
- [00:21:14.400]structural problems
on an individual level and to do so
- [00:21:18.000]in ways that take on damage
- [00:21:22.080]that we have to sort of solve
structural problems on our own.
- [00:21:25.200]one great part about resilience that I
- [00:21:28.080]that I appreciate
is that people can can go through
- [00:21:31.200]extraordinarily traumatic experiences
and come out the other side strong people.
- [00:21:35.760]That's remarkable.
- [00:21:37.320]But on the other hand, too,
- [00:21:38.680]there's a sense in which talk
being told to be resilient is just that.
- [00:21:43.160]Are we valorize suffering as a as a route
to demonstrating our social work,
- [00:21:48.520]that we survived a trauma,
that we overcame something
- [00:21:52.160]which then makes the damage
we receive noble in some sense, because
- [00:21:57.120]how could we have
demonstrated our resilience
- [00:21:58.960]if we didn't take pain and suffering on
and then overcome it?
- [00:22:02.360]And so then it becomes a virtue
that we take on wounds
- [00:22:05.640]and that we show those wounds as evidence
that we have overcome some difficulty.
- [00:22:10.800]On the one hand,
I recognize that that's an
- [00:22:13.200]at a personal level, a very empowering
kind of personal narrative.
- [00:22:15.840]one can tell about
how they've survived something.
- [00:22:19.200]On the other hand, is it
- [00:22:20.000]the expectation that we all just have to
sort of like accept the conditions
- [00:22:23.520]of austerity and suffering
as somehow things that bring us,
- [00:22:29.000]you know, value?
- [00:22:32.240]That's that's something that I covered
as sort of so kind of really put forward
- [00:22:36.840]is that all this stuff about resilience
is really powerful.
- [00:22:40.880]But on the other hand, like what is the
and what is the route
- [00:22:45.240]to getting to being
that resilient person afterwards?
- [00:22:48.240]Well, it's that we should come to expect
that we're all going to take suffering
- [00:22:51.840]in some kind of way.
- [00:22:53.840]And so that's that's the place
- [00:22:55.760]that I would add
to that conversation, I guess.
- [00:23:01.920]11 feature of patent.
- [00:23:05.800]So. STEM cell culture.
- [00:23:10.640]And oddly, even if it would be
- [00:23:14.400]the only thing of value significance.
- [00:23:17.840]There's an odd way in
which pain and pleasure being immediately,
- [00:23:22.920]which isn't a rational
response to the value.
- [00:23:28.440]So, for instance, mean.
- [00:23:31.520]You ignore people's current suffering,
it's just ignorance.
- [00:23:36.640]But it also unflustered
- [00:23:39.920]to expose yourself
to other people's suffering. So.
- [00:23:44.680]Pleasure or absence of pain.
- [00:23:47.360]Somewhat served by ignoring
sufferings of others.
- [00:23:52.680]And there's also a temporal
aspect to it which marks.
- [00:24:00.040]Talking about planning
- [00:24:01.120]for future. Bang for Buck.
- [00:24:07.480]You don't want to
- [00:24:10.080]because the one you're paying
- [00:24:11.960]right now is a certain
- [00:24:13.960]There are also other current problems that
are very significant, like which? Which
- [00:24:21.040]is immediately connected
to, you know, current suffering, but.
- [00:24:25.880]But still, because of the motivational
- [00:24:31.520]and pleasure know
- [00:24:34.280]this happen, so somehow,
- [00:24:37.040]if pain and pleasure are a source of value
, we have to somehow discipline excel
- [00:24:42.680]so that our own pain and pleasures
that are current.
- [00:24:49.920]Unfortunately, do.
- [00:24:55.280]I'd like to bring on tiny note of light
here astounds me
- [00:25:01.880]because my work really focuses
on the pleasure side of things,
- [00:25:05.960]but something that has come out of COVID,
- [00:25:09.720]which I think is really fascinating
in the field of sexuality studies.
- [00:25:14.680]This is looking at changes
- [00:25:17.680]in people's behavior during the pandemic.
- [00:25:20.760]There have been countless studies
that have looked at that
- [00:25:24.200]and you know, there was a period where
we were all kind of locked in our houses
- [00:25:27.200]with our loved ones and sort of the rubber
met the road for a lot of couples
- [00:25:32.960]because because you had a lot more time
with somebody all of a sudden.
- [00:25:38.520]And one of the really fascinating things
that came out of that,
- [00:25:42.560]the research that in the early days
of the pandemic,
- [00:25:44.680]especially when we were all kind of
- [00:25:45.960]in this lockdown period
and people were starting to think about,
- [00:25:50.520]they were living in a very unpredictable
kind of situation .
- [00:25:52.800]And that tends to get people
thinking about like,
- [00:25:54.480]what's really important to me
and what are my values in life and so on
- [00:25:57.160]so that I can kind of plan my life
in this unpredictable space?
- [00:26:01.840]Is that the A at a national level
or cultural level?
- [00:26:07.040]A lot more people started to endorse
turning to their romantic relationships
- [00:26:12.680]and their sexual relationships
for for a deeper sense of meaning
- [00:26:17.680]than we've ever really
seen in kind of attitudinal,
- [00:26:23.000]you know, national attitudinal
kind of surveys before.
- [00:26:25.960]You know, if you ask people,
why do you have sex?
- [00:26:28.400]Predominantly, they will say,
because it feels good.
- [00:26:30.800]That's, you know, that's
that's a banger all the time.
- [00:26:34.160]That was a poor word to excuse me.
- [00:26:37.280]That is that that is always
a perennial favorite.
- [00:26:40.800]But if you kind of
look at the distribution outside of that,
- [00:26:45.680]you know, people will list
all kinds of things.
- [00:26:47.600]They'll say, you know,
to feel closer to my partner, to feel,
- [00:26:51.360]you know, virile and strong as a person,
- [00:26:54.080]to feel sexy, to feel attractive
to, you know, to access
- [00:27:00.560]intimacy, to express my love, you know,
all different kinds of of reasons.
- [00:27:05.720]And if you look at
like, what are the sources of sexual joy?
- [00:27:08.960]What are the sources of sexual pleasure
for people during the pandemic,
- [00:27:13.120]it really shifted
towards a deeper sense of connection.
- [00:27:19.280]And this is true across genders,
which is really kind of fascinating, too.
- [00:27:23.040]So there was something about that moment,
that cultural moment
- [00:27:26.760]where we were all in sort
of an existential crisis and
- [00:27:32.680]that that orientation
started to kind of slip
- [00:27:36.280]to the top at a much higher level
than we've seen in other time period.
- [00:27:41.360]And I think a lot of really amazing
work has come out of that in kind of
- [00:27:46.320]helping us to understand
what are the conditions under
- [00:27:49.600]which we are able to access
that as a source of pleasure.
- [00:27:54.680]And and again, as a clinician,
and I'm really interested in that
- [00:27:57.680]because can we replicate
that outside of the pandemic?
- [00:28:01.360]And if so, can that be used
as a way to kind of help people
- [00:28:05.760]access more sources of joy in their life?
- [00:28:15.040]So following up on the pleasure
side of pain and pleasure
- [00:28:20.040]a lot of the past couple of years
or even, you know.
- [00:28:25.800]In all of your talks, Dr.
- [00:28:27.640]Peterson, you mentioned contradictions,
- [00:28:29.360]but also what I saw was the intersections
between pain and pleasure.
- [00:28:33.200]Be that a sort of in the nature,
philosophical nature of it,
- [00:28:37.240]you have to have one to understand
the other empty.
- [00:28:40.600]And for the doctor, bodies
work with the nature of drug addiction
- [00:28:45.560]and something that initially starts off
as pleasurable experience
- [00:28:49.400]then becomes painful.
- [00:28:53.120]Dr. Peterson's work the.
- [00:28:57.200]Sex, which is a pleasurable act,
- [00:29:00.000]but then becomes a horribly.
- [00:29:05.200]Painful experience with sexual assault
- [00:29:08.200]and then turning it in
and your work can how
- [00:29:12.120]something that is supposed to be
- [00:29:14.520]painful for some women
and is not as pleasurable.
- [00:29:17.960]And then for Dr.
- [00:29:19.720]Kelly, how you are talking about the
- [00:29:24.400]pleasure of what one group
was used to receiving
- [00:29:28.200]and how cultural shifts have led to
what they perceive as pain?
- [00:29:33.920]And I was wondering
taking all of those sort of intersections
- [00:29:38.280]and thought, how do we sort of focus
- [00:29:42.440]on the pleasure aspect of this concept
- [00:29:46.520]and how do we sort of
maybe find pleasure in the painful
- [00:29:51.840]sort of every day?
- [00:29:55.640]Quotidian experiences
and also the sort of state of the world.
- [00:30:02.440]That's a really lovely
question and a big one.
- [00:30:06.480]I didn't get the chance to talk
- [00:30:08.800]too much about this and in my talk,
but I want to just return to
- [00:30:14.200]because you raise a really good point
about the contradiction.
- [00:30:16.840]The meaning of the word rats. Right?
- [00:30:19.920]The Latin route for rape rap artist,
which can mean both, you know,
- [00:30:25.920]violent rape, but also that's the stem
of our word rapture, right?
- [00:30:29.920]Which have pleasure.
- [00:30:31.320]And so that word in and of itself,
there's traces of two things
- [00:30:36.720]that are inextricable
and pleasure doesn't do
- [00:30:39.760]quite the same thing in French
as if in the early modern period.
- [00:30:44.600]It means a lot of things, though.
- [00:30:46.120]So it's not a contradiction,
but it means both kind of these excessive
- [00:30:49.480]pleasures in acceptable passion,
you know, access.
- [00:30:53.840]But you can also say
- [00:30:54.640]like simple pleasures, things
that mean nothing, really trifles.
- [00:30:57.760]And so I guess I would start
with the words because I'm
- [00:31:00.480]a literary scholar and I think words
are they bear these traces
- [00:31:04.360]and they bear traces
of their own contradictions.
- [00:31:07.120]And so to come back somehow to your
question of how we can take the pain and
- [00:31:12.400]move it into the pleasure a little bit,
because that's a happy thought.
- [00:31:16.520]You know, I think for me, this question
of telling stories,
- [00:31:19.760]you know, the text they chose was written
by a woman who documented her own
- [00:31:25.320]painful experiences, but also who wrote it
into a community of women.
- [00:31:30.280]And so I think that this act of
storytelling and sharing and being open
- [00:31:34.560]about the fact that this word
and these experiences are difficult.
- [00:31:39.040]And speaking them
- [00:31:42.040]in this incredibly messy period,
- [00:31:44.400]drawing attention
to the fact of the ambivalence of words
- [00:31:47.200]and the painful power
that they have that creates.
- [00:31:50.840]I didn't want to go very far into that.
- [00:31:52.400]That creates pleasure because of course,
it's difficult to find that
- [00:31:55.400]in the wake of sexual assaults
and not everyone's experience.
- [00:31:59.280]But I guess I want to emphasize
the communal part
- [00:32:02.280]and the sharing of the stories as a way to
- [00:32:07.320]move forward in some way.
- [00:32:17.400]Maybe I say something for my research.
- [00:32:21.120]After using many years,
it's very hard to find pleasure.
- [00:32:23.800]You will have trouble finding the vein,
finding the money and finding the drug.
- [00:32:27.800]But it's possible,
you know, the drug purity is good
- [00:32:31.200]and you have a good day
and you hit the vein.
- [00:32:33.520]Also, the anticipation
- [00:32:34.840]you know of hitting the vein produces
a certain kind of reward.
- [00:32:39.640]They might have some pleasure
and then they with a dog,
- [00:32:42.280]they have a quiet time at home.
- [00:32:44.200]They, you know, they can have their
gardens and so on and so on to watch TV.
- [00:32:48.520]So Blessure has this place.
- [00:32:52.120]What an aspiration as a desire,
an unfulfilled desire than anything else.
- [00:32:57.080]But in certain configurations
that have been studied
- [00:33:01.080]for leisure, it's
still marginally possible.
- [00:33:04.800]But I was thinking about your question.
- [00:33:07.080]You know, how do we find
pleasure to see the world?
- [00:33:11.920]Maybe it was short, right?
- [00:33:13.320]I have a daughter
when I'm with her and at home,
- [00:33:17.040]I, you know, like just looking at her.
- [00:33:20.280]Yeah, it's amazing. Amazing.
- [00:33:22.680]But sometimes you have to reckon
or I think that's my son.
- [00:33:26.560]We have to recognize that
it's a shitty, nasty word
- [00:33:31.360]that has produced
an enormous amount of pain, some pain.
- [00:33:34.920]It is recognized and something
- [00:33:36.760]some types of things are not,
you know, that's that's
- [00:33:40.480]looking at the war right now in Europe.
- [00:33:43.680]All those refugees, the bombing,
- [00:33:45.800]you know that the suffering is recognized
and we're more like that.
- [00:33:49.960]But if you looking at Saudi Arabia's war
in Yemen, you never hear about that,
- [00:33:54.800]an ongoing conflict, maybe because there
are black bodies and far away
- [00:33:58.480]and it's not a strategic partner of the US
- [00:34:02.240]But sometimes my point is
like, no, it's awful.
- [00:34:04.880]It's painful, it's painful.
- [00:34:07.080]And there's no way around.
- [00:34:08.560]It is success or it's a genocide.
- [00:34:12.080]It's actually the world
that's also got things like my daughter
- [00:34:14.680]or, you know, eating chocolate
or looking at the blue sky or whatever.
- [00:34:17.920]But maybe moving beyond pain
- [00:34:22.040]the that we recognize that, yes,
- [00:34:25.080]it's awful, and we can repeat that maybe
we cannot allow this to happen again.
- [00:34:30.520]And maybe if we part from that,
we start from that recognition.
- [00:34:35.360]We can move beyond pain because we create
new conditions to eliminate pain.
- [00:34:40.600]It's not, I think it's
just an abstraction, but it's complicated,
- [00:34:44.680]as you said, the beginning, right?
- [00:34:49.560]I mean. It's more controversial,
but it's a sensation.
- [00:34:55.680]Greatness, a sensation
some people like pleasures were to be.
- [00:35:01.840]Trying to get that
it is more profitable, but.
- [00:35:06.480]In any case, even
if you talk about sensation.
- [00:35:11.160]It seems quite possible to
- [00:35:13.360]be a state where you get pleasure in.
- [00:35:18.960]And one question is,
- [00:35:22.200]did something that. Desire.
- [00:35:29.240]So if you have the sensation of pain
that you go through, some sort of.
- [00:35:35.040]Attitude adjustment and grow to like it,
it would be a pleasant pain,
- [00:35:38.640]and some people have claimed
that the legitimate desire
- [00:35:43.600]should enjoy, let's.
- [00:35:46.520]On the other hand,
pain is unavoidable as a sensation.
- [00:35:51.080]Maybe there's some bad.
- [00:35:55.720]But that's a different not.
- [00:36:01.320]If we shouldn't enjoy our.
- [00:36:05.240]It's your pain, right,
so you're entitled to
- [00:36:09.320]your opinion, it's your vote, it's yes,
you screwed up, not fine.
- [00:36:14.120]You know you are in your own pain,
but what I think it's unfair
- [00:36:17.520]is that you are subjected
- [00:36:18.680]because of your class, your race
or ethnicity or geographical location
- [00:36:22.000]to do a form of suffering
- [00:36:25.520]As we said in an apology,
we don't talk much about pain,
- [00:36:28.760]but forms of violence,
social production of pain.
- [00:36:31.960]What I just said
- [00:36:33.680]on social situations that formal.
- [00:36:38.160]It's a question as well,
- [00:36:41.720]I mean, that doesn't sound
so good in the way that it once painted.
- [00:36:52.280]To talk about pleasure
- [00:36:55.520]in sort of the class and sense of
who is allowed to experience pleasure
- [00:37:00.760]or have this pleasure matters
to change the conversation, pain matters
- [00:37:05.080]whose pleasure matters.
- [00:37:06.200]And I'm always struck by these bills
that get passed in state houses constantly
- [00:37:10.280]that placed new restrictions on welfare
benefits, particularly when it comes
- [00:37:14.840]to snap benefits and what kind of foods
could be purchased on on those benefits.
- [00:37:20.680]And there's always a foil brought out
that we don't want for people
- [00:37:24.520]to be able to purchase lobster with their
or some kind of like, you know,
- [00:37:28.560]or steak or something like that,
because there's this underlying sense
- [00:37:32.760]that if you're living in poverty,
that it has to be a miserable experience.
- [00:37:37.440]Maybe that there's
some kind of transcendent
- [00:37:38.960]suffering that we learn a lesson about
how to not be poor somehow out of that.
- [00:37:44.480]But it reminds me
that like in the same way that in my talk,
- [00:37:47.200]I talked about different schema
for whose pain matters.
- [00:37:49.680]I'm thinking about the degree to which,
like this pleasure matters.
- [00:37:53.120]And it seems that
in a class and race system
- [00:37:56.400]that certain pleasures
are prohibited or taboo.
- [00:38:02.320]But it's why is it that
- [00:38:04.680]people living in positions of poverty
are not allowed to have any pleasure?
- [00:38:07.640]They're not allowed.
- [00:38:08.480]They're not allowed to enjoy their life.
- [00:38:10.280]There has to be a drudgery as poverty.
- [00:38:12.440]Is there sort of a kind of religious sense
of suffering that's beneath that, but
- [00:38:17.360]or is it just our sense
of our class system
- [00:38:20.280]that is that, you know, if you.
- [00:38:23.840]Don't succeed, it's a personal failing,
and as a result of that,
- [00:38:26.640]you shouldn't be rewarded by being able
to have access to any kind of pleasure.
- [00:38:30.920]It seems quite cruel to say
that people living in poverty
- [00:38:34.560]should be denied joy in some kind of way.
- [00:38:37.560]But for some people that are higher
in class status,
- [00:38:39.720]they say that their pleasure matters.
- [00:38:42.240]And people living in lower
income positions their pleasure.
- [00:38:46.880]It doesn't matter.
- [00:38:48.680]That resonates with
me and the work that I do.
- [00:38:52.040]I think these different definitions
of pleasure to which definition
- [00:38:55.040]of pleasure can be applied systemically
to certain groups of people.
- [00:38:58.960]You know, I would say
in the Renaissance, women.
- [00:39:01.720]Sure, simple diversions and recreations.
- [00:39:04.440]Yes, excessive passion
pleasures of the flesh. No, right.
- [00:39:08.080]So I think that these different structures
of who is allowed to access
- [00:39:12.520]which definitions and which constructs
of pleasure and pain, you know,
- [00:39:16.600]that really resonates.
- [00:39:20.560]You talked about finding value paying.
- [00:39:26.320]There are some bad pleasures,
- [00:39:29.360]but there are other cases
which we might find more intuitive.
- [00:39:34.520]And so imagine a situation where.
- [00:39:37.320]Saying that the person
who would be there for pleasure.
- [00:39:42.480]Maybe that kid doesn't, he doesn't
- [00:39:45.840]think it's maybe that makes
the world worse. You know,
- [00:39:49.360]are there pleasures which we think
- [00:39:51.160]are make the world where somebody finds
pleasure in their cruel
- [00:39:55.560]to someone else?
- [00:40:00.720]So the notion of equal pleasure
- [00:40:02.160]is still applicable, even sexual.
- [00:40:09.120]Something that something that strikes me
as someone who focuses
- [00:40:12.520]specifically on sexual pleasure in bodies.
- [00:40:18.760]With some graphic terms here, so qualities
- [00:40:23.160]embodies with clitoris as.
- [00:40:27.960]It is it is one of the few
- [00:40:31.480]sources of pleasure that is entirely on.
- [00:40:35.800]Inhibited and mapped
- [00:40:39.520]to a designated end point of creation.
- [00:40:46.400]There's there's very few systems,
reward systems in the brain
- [00:40:50.760]that are like that, you know, hunger,
you receive some pleasure from eating
- [00:40:55.880]when you're hungry
because it seeds and underlying need.
- [00:41:00.080]It seats a deficiency
- [00:41:03.040]or you have some pleasure
when you have a good night's sleep
- [00:41:05.760]because again, it's states
some sort of deficiency.
- [00:41:08.040]It removes some sort of
- [00:41:11.760]baseline. Neat sexual
pleasure is entirely unmoored.
- [00:41:18.160]It does not have a known endpoint to it,
- [00:41:23.680]and particularly for
- [00:41:27.200]people with bodies with clearer sense.
- [00:41:30.600]You know, I try not to say women
in that sense because we have reason
- [00:41:34.840]to believe that's true for trans men
with clearances as well.
- [00:41:39.840]And it's so interesting to me,
and I wonder the extent to which
- [00:41:43.960]that fact, the fact that it is not mourned
- [00:41:47.360]by any physiologic
- [00:41:50.680]necessity, it's not,
- [00:41:54.560]you know, anchored
to a known situation point.
- [00:41:58.760]If that is why so much time
and energy over the ages has spent
- [00:42:04.000]in creating systems to control it
- [00:42:07.840]and the and the immense power
- [00:42:11.560]that we have given to it
symbolically and to its control.
- [00:42:16.560]And I wonder if there were
- [00:42:19.800]a an analog satiation point
- [00:42:24.480]in in bodies that had clearances.
- [00:42:29.360]If we would see that same gendered
construction of the importance of
- [00:42:36.080]of constructing or
- [00:42:37.880]restricting access to pleasure
in so many different disciplines? Right.
- [00:42:41.960]I mean, there's a whole historic
discipline of the religious need
- [00:42:44.440]to control sexuality,
gender science, you name it.
- [00:42:48.600]And so they both seem
to be unique in that sense.
- [00:42:53.280]We're going to say
injected into the world with one more.
- [00:42:57.360]So that's also not
everything which you know,
- [00:43:01.040]you don't have associated point
with one more on this.
- [00:43:04.120]And of course, it's illegal.
- [00:43:05.400]Do you have a war on drugs?
- [00:43:06.440]You have a lot of ways
in which drug use disorder
- [00:43:08.520]police, and maybe it's because they stop.
- [00:43:11.160]They are relentless.
- [00:43:12.600]Yeah, from a physiologic perspective,
the reason why those drugs are rewarding
- [00:43:17.920]is because they're hijacking the systems
that were involved essentially to motivate
- [00:43:25.920]these kinds of non
satiation point measures.
- [00:43:31.560]So sexual pleasure being the sort of
foundational system on which
- [00:43:37.640]all other rewards that are not tied to
a physiologic need are based.
- [00:43:43.840]So the reason why drugs make you feel good
- [00:43:47.040]is because our brains evolved
to make sex feel good.
- [00:43:51.800]And those drugs act on those physiologic
systems, those same exact systems.
- [00:43:57.080]And the reason why we have those systems
in the first place is
- [00:43:59.880]because there needs to be a system
that motivates a set of behaviors
- [00:44:04.720]that the individual body
does not need to survive,
- [00:44:08.800]but that the society or the
the species needs to perpetuate itself.
- [00:44:15.280]And I keep coming back to this idea
- [00:44:17.120]that that the fact
that we are able to experience
- [00:44:20.560]any pleasure outside of the most basic
things that we need in order to be able
- [00:44:25.680]to survive the fact that our brains
evolved to have those systems.
- [00:44:30.800]Exists because of sexual reproduction,
- [00:44:33.160]just like blows my little mind
every time I think about it.
- [00:44:39.760]So I want the audience
to have an opportunity
- [00:44:42.480]to ask questions of the panel as well,
so if you have questions
- [00:44:46.040]and you're here in person, you're
welcome to walk up to the mike via Zoom.
- [00:44:50.320]You're welcome to those in the Q&A
or those in the chat.
- [00:45:06.400]It's OK, I have more questions
- [00:45:07.760]for you. People.
- [00:45:21.680]And that's sort of.
- [00:45:34.720]We're. It also. Kofi
- [00:45:41.560]Annan. Once. So.
- [00:45:59.000]But one thing. It does seem like
- [00:46:05.640]you could have been.
- [00:46:17.960]Because of trying to correct.
- [00:46:25.840]Super simple answer to a very small part.
- [00:46:30.920]I'm thinking of shame.
- [00:46:33.200]I think the construct of
- [00:46:36.640]feeling pleasure that then
because again, kind of external constructs
- [00:46:40.880]and discourses, and I'm thinking
in particular of original sin
- [00:46:44.240]in the religious, you know, setting
because I worked on that.
- [00:46:48.200]You know, there's the sense that shame
and this this bad feeling that comes
- [00:46:52.320]from pleasure never existed prior to that
historical cultural construct moment.
- [00:46:58.440]And and so I guess that would be
my initial reaction is
- [00:47:02.840]it's not quite the same as pain,
of course, but it is a bad feeling
- [00:47:08.400]that comes from something that is one
- [00:47:12.120]does not feel good
about feeling good about. Yes.
- [00:47:21.440]So if we if we take
- [00:47:24.600]Freud's pleasure principle,
- [00:47:27.840]the aide is capable
of creating ruinous enjoyment
- [00:47:33.080]and its restraint by the ego
is to curtail or prohibit pleasure
- [00:47:37.560]so that it does not
that excess does not totally ruin us.
- [00:47:42.440]And so if we think that there's
sort of a regulatory mechanism
- [00:47:45.840]of the ego to restrain base desires,
- [00:47:50.840]part of it is to curtail enjoyment
so that pleasure can be
- [00:47:56.800]protected so that there's a way
in which we can experience pleasure
- [00:48:00.080]without it undoing us
as subjects altogether.
- [00:48:04.360]So I think that if you know,
if you subscribe to that idea, then
- [00:48:09.120]certainly the there's a sense
- [00:48:11.240]in which excessive
pleasure can produce pain because it can
- [00:48:14.520]it can literally do, you know, it can ruin
us, it can destroy us.
- [00:48:18.360]It can cause us to do things that
- [00:48:20.040]without any kind of internal regulatory mechanism, would be quite deadly to us. So.
- [00:48:29.160]I think there's also.
- [00:48:31.760]An intrinsic sense within pleasure
- [00:48:35.760]that it is fleeting and the extent to
which you are aware of that in the moment
- [00:48:40.880]that you are experiencing it,
that creates a sort of pain in itself.
- [00:48:48.560]Years ago, I was working with a young man
who had manic depression,
- [00:48:53.560]and he was trying to describe
the sense of being in a
- [00:48:57.680]in a manic state in this extraordinarily
high, euphoric state.
- [00:49:02.040]And he said it's it's akin to like.
- [00:49:05.680]When you're in an airplane
- [00:49:08.000]and it's a cloudy day
and you shoot up over the cloud line
- [00:49:13.000]and you see nothing but sunshine
as far as you can see,
- [00:49:17.880]and you have this incredible sense of joy
- [00:49:21.960]and lightness and excitement,
but always in the back of your mind,
- [00:49:28.080]you know that the
plane has to come back down
- [00:49:31.600]and that you're going
to have to go back under the clouds.
- [00:49:34.240]And so there's this energy,
- [00:49:38.000]this friction that comes from
the recognition of the fact that no matter
- [00:49:42.720]how much excitement and joy
I'm feeling in this moment, it can't last.
- [00:49:48.160]And I think that's sort of the crux
- [00:49:52.080]of the human condition of human life
and human life is coming to terms
- [00:49:57.320]with that in your own way
and and being able to
- [00:50:02.520]embrace that is, I think, the sort of
- [00:50:06.360]the greatest problem of being human.
- [00:50:19.360]So we're living in.
- [00:50:23.920]We are dramatically.
- [00:50:36.080]So what are the most common?
- [00:50:40.480]The family. Right.
- [00:50:44.600]So my more important moment that.
- [00:50:53.560]one thing. That long it.
- [00:51:17.680]I love this question so much.
- [00:51:19.080]Sorry, I'm going to jump on this one
- [00:51:20.120]right away because
this is super exciting to me
- [00:51:22.720]because as someone who uses evolutionary
frameworks in my work rate, I'm
- [00:51:26.360]I'm constantly asking that question of
are the phenomenon that we're seeing
- [00:51:32.560]entirely representative of are
- [00:51:39.000]the ways in which our brains
and our bodies evolved
- [00:51:42.640]under very different systems,
both environmentally and also socially.
- [00:51:47.880]You know, are there are the phenomenon
that we're observing now.
- [00:51:50.200]Do they represent adaptations
to that ancient environment
- [00:51:54.480]that are now being asked to and interact
with systems that are vastly different?
- [00:52:01.400]It's a mismatch.
- [00:52:04.840]Or are we seeing something that actually
- [00:52:07.520]is quite adaptive? Just.
- [00:52:11.840]For a different set of conditions
than what we are observing
- [00:52:17.000]sort of my my my favorite
example of this is the
- [00:52:21.800]the argument that
- [00:52:24.480]depression represents
- [00:52:27.040]a highly adaptive response
- [00:52:30.960]to either loss or
- [00:52:35.120]physiological immune activation,
and that many of the symptoms that we see
- [00:52:40.400]that we call depression, that we call this
maladaptive set of behaviors
- [00:52:44.360]and feelings and conditions
- [00:52:47.640]If you think about the responses
to that person's social environment
- [00:52:53.520]to role changes in their life,
to social losses
- [00:52:57.040]or to some sort of immune insult
to their bodies.
- [00:53:02.520]Many of the physiologic responses
to decreased energy
- [00:53:05.800]that the with the social withdraw
and so on are highly adaptive
- [00:53:11.120]responses if you were physically ill.
- [00:53:14.560]And so what? What
- [00:53:16.760]we have to be really mindful of and really
careful of is not over interpreting
- [00:53:23.200]our immediate context
and trying to find mismatch when actually
- [00:53:29.160]there may be far more adaption
- [00:53:32.680]than adaptability and resilience.
- [00:53:35.400]And then we're immediately
observing in terms of the
- [00:53:38.680]how that reflects the span of experiences
that people can have.
- [00:53:43.840]Again, I keep coming
back to the idea that.
- [00:53:46.480]Our our our brains
- [00:53:50.200]are built on some very
- [00:53:55.440]sort of broad principles of
- [00:53:59.320]the organism has to survive
long enough to reproduce
- [00:54:04.400]and to see its children reproduce.
- [00:54:07.760]And outside of those three
- [00:54:10.800]gives absolute does
not care at all about you.
- [00:54:16.360]And so I think the the amazing thing
about the human brain
- [00:54:22.040]is that it involved systems
- [00:54:25.400]to solve those three problems
under an enormous diversity
- [00:54:31.480]of environments,
including social environments.
- [00:54:36.080]And I actually have
a great deal of optimism
- [00:54:40.560]for our species in the modern environment
because of that.
- [00:54:44.480]I think what we see represented
in the modern world in terms of the range
- [00:54:49.360]of different responses that we see
with a few exceptions, like drugs.
- [00:54:56.040]Really do represent our modern brains,
finding ways to solve those three problems
- [00:55:02.120]and motivating our behavior
through pleasure and pain in order
- [00:55:06.680]to be able to respond to those given
the conditions of the modern world. The.
- [00:55:13.360]Then you have the other side, right,
so you have corporations
- [00:55:16.920]exploiting your brain
and your weaknesses to
- [00:55:21.720]make you more addicted, more dependent
- [00:55:24.120]consumer to use more internet porn.
- [00:55:28.000]They like in the face for,
you know, all the social media triggers,
- [00:55:32.160]you know, they really understand
- [00:55:33.680]how your brain works, which are recluse
and how your brain is.
- [00:55:36.960]You are going to respond to certain groups
that you said in.
- [00:55:40.240]And so we are programed
through these corporations
- [00:55:45.120]to feel certain kinds of pleasure
to be trapped by.
- [00:55:49.200]These are very smart,
very sophisticated devices.
- [00:55:53.080]The same thing with Doritos and voice
- [00:55:56.320]before I try to open a package
- [00:55:58.920]of Doritos, and it's only one
they release point.
- [00:56:02.400]We think that you know
- [00:56:03.840]the point of happiness, the personal thing
about happiness. I'm a cynic.
- [00:56:07.920]I don't think just existing society.
- [00:56:09.960]But the people of the of the bliss point
really think that happiness is a thing
- [00:56:13.840]is what they saltiness.
- [00:56:15.640]The fatness and the shortness of
something is perfect.
- [00:56:19.040]You know, the for the retail,
- [00:56:20.280]there's at this point for Coca-Cola this
and at this point, at this point and so
- [00:56:24.080]and so and so yeah, our bodies
haven't changed in the past 10,000 years.
- [00:56:28.120]Much better, what environment does?
- [00:56:29.960]And so I wish I knew more about the brain.
- [00:56:33.400]I'm a I'm a bad American topologies.
- [00:56:35.520]I should know more about biology.
- [00:56:38.040]You're always welcome at my lab.
- [00:56:41.480]But I know this about the social right.
- [00:56:43.360]So and I know the social determinants
of the social production of addiction,
- [00:56:46.600]and I know how these corporations
are operating in these ways,
- [00:56:49.440]and I think everybody
almost intuitively knows that as well.
- [00:56:52.320]So, yeah, I to some,
I do think there are some important,
- [00:56:56.600]important restrictions to what I said,
and I think that there are definitely
- [00:57:01.840]system that hijack
- [00:57:04.360]the systems that evolved
under different sets of conditions.
- [00:57:07.600]But again, I have great faith
in the resilience
- [00:57:11.200]and the adaptability of the system.
- [00:57:13.000]Our brains are not able to keep
our evolution, is not able to keep up
- [00:57:17.760]with the pace of
- [00:57:21.560]the technological advances
and all of the things that you're talking
- [00:57:24.840]about in terms of food
and novelty creation
- [00:57:28.600]stimuli and so on, so forth. But.
- [00:57:33.480]I think we have to kind of look
at really extended phenotype then
- [00:57:37.560]and not just look at the physiologic
changes in our brains, but rather
- [00:57:41.480]the ways in which are we then
- [00:57:44.280]change our environment. So, so the.
- [00:57:49.880]That that is also included in the broader
consideration of evolution
- [00:57:53.200]is that the evolution
of social systems is included in
- [00:57:58.000]in our ability to respond to the diversity
of different environments, including now
- [00:58:03.240]the existence of various nations.
- [00:58:07.000]We're now for Democrats Counterpoint
Europe more violence. No, no, no.
- [00:58:10.800]It's fair to say more balanced
counterpoint to be optimistic.
- [00:58:14.360]And addiction is awful
because he was always thinking
- [00:58:16.600]about the words aspects
of society, human nature,
- [00:58:20.720]and it really filters the way you see.
- [00:58:23.080]I see all these almost everything.
- [00:58:26.680]Well, my apologies.
- [00:58:29.160]I guess I have to say that, you know,
I don't mean to be so negative sometimes.
- [00:58:35.920]Well, and I think to build on
both of those perspectives,
- [00:58:39.280]I think an important piece is how we think
individuals, what their capacity
- [00:58:43.520]is or the power of individuals to interact
with those things that are programing us
- [00:58:48.000]or to say I can change these structural
- [00:58:50.960]things that are pressuring me to act
in a certain way or that keep me alive.
- [00:58:55.040]The evolution and one of the things
that at least sort of was new
- [00:58:59.920]in the Renaissance
or some people think it was,
- [00:59:02.960]is the idea of the self as an individual
right and saying, now
- [00:59:07.280]I am someone who, despite being programed,
it wasn't Facebook.
- [00:59:10.440]It was the church.
- [00:59:11.200]You know, another thing saying
I had to do certain things a certain way.
- [00:59:14.480]But people being programed
- [00:59:15.640]into making certain decisions and saying,
what is the role of the individual?
- [00:59:19.400]What is the role of the self?
- [00:59:20.680]How am I taking a stance
vis-a-vis these things?
- [00:59:23.120]I'm being told about my own
evolutionary role, gender role,
- [00:59:27.880]sexual role on the planet and taking more
of a subjective view of that.
- [00:59:34.280]That's something that people,
a lot of people associate
- [00:59:38.120]with coming coming
more into play in the Renaissance.
- [00:59:41.800]And just to give you one example,
you know, Shakespeare, for example,
- [00:59:46.240]you know, when he first published
his his first folios,
- [00:59:49.280]his first texts, his name often wouldn't
appear on the cover page.
- [00:59:52.680]Now, would you imagine now right
picking up a Shakespeare?
- [00:59:56.800]And it says, like some guy wrote this,
you know, like, of course,
- [00:59:59.960]he didn't actually say some guy,
but you know, having an anonymous and so
- [01:00:03.720]increasingly attributing individuality
and individual genius or subjectivity
- [01:00:09.480]to the way we take control
of our environment or Kant.
- [01:00:13.240]That's something that I think has been
- [01:00:15.480]at different moments in history,
of course, played a different role.
- [01:00:19.760]And so that also, I think, changes
how we interact with our environment.
- [01:00:27.880]Well, thank you all so much
- [01:00:30.000]for your wonderful lectures
and also for being on the panel.
- [01:00:39.080]And thank you all
so much for attending via Zoom.
- [01:00:41.680]And also in person,
and we hope that you will
- [01:00:44.400]join us in the fall for our next series
as part of the inquiry series
- [01:00:48.400]that is on finding common ground
in an increasingly polarized world,
- [01:00:53.800]which should also be
an interesting couple.
- [01:00:56.200]So thank you all so much again, and I hope
you have a great rest of the semester.
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