Has "right" evolved from "might"?
outlined above can be formulated in a number of ways, but all derive from
One of the fascinating things about primate evolution is the gradual change from an RHP-based social system to a social attention-holding potential (SAHP)-based system (see Gilbert, 1989) and even more recently to a system in which competition between ideas has (partly, at least) replaced competition between people. To some extent, in this evolution, policies have replaced personalities. Thus, in the example given above, the competition is not only between the war advocate and the peace advocate, but between the war policy and the peace policy. The winner depends not only upon the RHP/SAHP of the contestants but also upon the manifest virtues of the policies they advocate, and particularly the success and failure of those policies in practice. The "one up position" has been gradually shifting from "might" to "right". In other words, there has been gradual evolutionary change in the condition which determines whether an "insult" elicits anger or depression. In the primitive agonic mode, an insult from a higher-ranking person elicits depression, whereas an insult from a lower ranking person elicits anger (as Aristotle observed in his Art of Rhetoric). In the hedonic mode, an insult (or criticism) elicits anger when it is unjustified and one is in the right, but depression when it is justified and one is in the wrong.
Theory not precise enough
In our own theory, aggression and depression are both methods of increasing the RHP gap between two individuals: acts of aggression (catathetic signals) are the means of reducing the other person's RHP, whereas depression is the means of reducing one's own RHP. "Stress" occurs when there is symmetry of power, and conflict cannot be resolved by the usual yielding of the subordinate. Stress is resolved by the induction of asymmetry in RHP between the two competing individuals, and whether it is induced in one or the other, by depression or aggression, are secondary issues. The strategies (fight or yield) and the outcome of the fight if one occurs, are the result of complex interaction between the two individuals involving evaluations of relative RHP and pre-set limits to escalation.
Bourne, P.G. (1971) Altered adrenal function in
two combat situations in
Bowlby, J (1973) Attachment
and Loss. Vol. 2: Separation, Anxiety and Anger.
et al. (1939) Frustration and Aggression. Newhaven:
Eysenck, H.J. (1975) The measurement of emotion. In Emotions: their parameters and measurement ed L.
Gray, J.A. (1971) The
Psychology of Fear and Stress.
Klinger, E. Consequences of commitment to and disengagement from incentives. Psychological Review 82:1-25, 1975.
Scherer, K.R., Wallbott,
H.G., Summerfield, A.B. (1986) Experiencing Emotion: A Cross-Cultural Study.
Selye, H. (1971) The
evolution of the stress concept. In Society, Stress and Disease - The Psychosocial
Environment and Psychosomatic Diseases. ed L. Levi.
Selye, H. (1936) A syndrome produced by diverse nocuous agents. Nature, 138, 32.
Selye, H. (1971) Hormones