Is the purpose of research to define opportunities for interventions?

In this 2014 review, a social scientist first presented an interpretive history of what he found to be important in the emergence of epigenetics. He proceeded into his view of “a possible agenda of the social studies of the life-sciences” in the “postgenomic age” with headings such as “Postgenomic biopolitics: “upgrade yourself” or born damaged for ever?”

This view included:

“The upgradable epigenome may become the basis for a new motivation to intervene, control and improve it through pharmacological agents or social interventions.

An important trend is the use of epigenetic and developmental findings in the so-called early-intervention programmes.

It is possible that epigenetic findings will become increasingly relevant in social policy strategies.”

I work in Washington DC, a town that’s a magnet for people who want to exercise control over other people’s lives. Interventions in various forms are something I see and hear about every day.

In this blog I often highlight research that may help us understand details of how each of us is a unique individual. It’s my view that insofar as research helps each of us understand our unique, real self, we may be able to empathetically understand others’ unique qualities.

A clinical study is typically designed to test within defined parameters whether a specific intervention will be effective. This approach may be counterproductive, though, when assessing epigenetic factors in “social studies of the life-sciences” as a vehicle to promote opportunities for interventions into others’ lives.

Click “individual differences” to see a sample of how researchers explain them away in order to converge on the study’s desired objective. The researchers seldom attempt to further understand what caused each subject to develop their unique qualities.

Why would a person employed in the social sciences, their funders, and someone employed or involved in social services intentionally disregard another individual’s unique qualities? This reflexive action derives from a person being unable to face the facts of their own life.

Several relevant fundamentals of Dr Arthur Janov’s Primal Therapy are:

  1. Pain motivates a person’s unconscious act outs of their underlying problems.
  2. The behavior that caused a problem is sometimes also the act-out behavior.
  3. Act outs enable a person to re-experience the feelings of their historical struggles, in a vain attempt to resolve them.
  4. Due to pain barriers, people seldom become consciously aware of and – more importantly – address the causes for their problematic behavior.
  5. “The patient has the power to heal himself.”

A consequent hypothesis is that a person will often glorify their unconscious behavior and surround themself with justifications for it. For example, a person who can’t sit still may refer to their incessant activity with socially acceptable phrases such as “I’m always busy” or “I love to travel.” They’ll structure their life to enable their unconscious act outs, never questioning how they were attracted to an always-on-the-go occupation such as flight attendant, only vaguely feeling that they were made for it.

The behavior relevant to the current review may be exhibited by a person with a history of having no control over their own life. Following the above first two fundamentals, the pain of historically not having control over their life may motivate them to control other people’s lives.

Unfortunately for everyone who’s affected, such unconscious behavior doesn’t resolve anything:

  • The initiator may achieve some symbolic satisfaction by controlling others’ lives.
  • The temporary satisfaction doesn’t make the initiator’s underlying problems less painful.
  • The motivation driving their unconscious act outs isn’t thereby reduced.
  • The initiator repeats their controlling behavior, stuck in a loop of unresolved feelings.
  • Since the self-chosen interests of someone who’s being controlled are lesser concerns to the initiator than exercising control, the controlled person may or may not be helped by the controller’s act outs.

Research provides abundant evidence that we are unique individuals. It’s a strong indicator of who is best qualified to figure out what to do with each of our unique lives.

A person who’s driven to control others’ lives usually won’t accept research into epigenetics as instructive for understanding themself as an individual. They’ll unconsciously use research as a way to enable their act outs, and as such, view it as offering opportunities for interventions into the lives of others.

So “pharmacological agents or social interventions” are often the intended “use of epigenetic and developmental findings.” Interventions receive justifications with “a possible agenda of the social studies of the life-sciences.”

Becoming aware of one’s own act outs, and then individually addressing one’s own underlying problems, often take backseats to employment and other concerns to keep enabling one’s own behavior. That makes it likely that interventions justified by “epigenetic social policy” will continue, regardless of whether the subjects agree that they’re being helped.

For examples, take a look at a few of the presentations by people employed in the social sciences and social services on a topic of epigenetics. Compare them with the topic’s update to the current state of epigenetic research in Grokking an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) score.

What did you notice? How many presentations emphasized disrupted prenatal development, a period when problems can be prevented? Did you instead see that many more of the presentations emphasized controlling behavior? “The social brain meets the reactive genome: neuroscience, epigenetics and the new social biology”


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