Happiest war best (17 February 2009)
James, the sort of "hyper-adrenalized" state I associate with animal
passions(!), is something I associate with those who have experienced
the sort of brain development that follows a traumatizing/menancing
childhood. Love, empathy (the higher emotions!), I associate with
those whose course of brain development was determined by long
accompanying loving caregivers. I truly do believe that the
marvel of homo sapien sapiens is that their DNA hasn't trapped them
so that regardless of phylogenetic development, they remain
fundamentally, at the core, brutish (I understand that this isn't
quite what you're arguing). Instead, once freed from sadistic threats
(something I believe entirely possible), the homo sapien sapiens’ child
will become, for all intents and purposes, an entirely loving being.
I've read a lot (well, quite a bit) of the neuroscience (though it is the work of Stanley Greenspan which ripples through my thoughts/ feelings right now), and, I feel sure, so have you. But it isn't all this which convinces me: instead, it is my experience of people: I have encountered those it cannot but seem misleading to attend to how parts of them still draw them to be aggressive and such. I'm sure your experience of people has lead you to different conclusions.
You know, what works on the battlefield is really something I'd have to hear more about. I've heard various different generals argue various different things. Moreover, I think a heck of a lot of military officers like to imagine their troups as needing bravery more than they do minds/self determination, to satisfy their own self- assessment needs. Typical managerial (classist) think. Knowing/ suspecting this doesn't mean you're wrong, though. Also, not making a connection between the field of sports and the battlefield might be the right thing to do, but it certainly would go against the (historical) grain.
Intellectualization as a defensive tack to ward of feelings of abandonment, sounds interesting to me. I'm thinking that I associate it mostly with early experiences of maternal emotional excess. What is coming to mind is all the literature I've read where complaints against unreason and for good reasoning (and the spartan life), go hand-in-hand with tirades against (feminine--read: maternal) luxury and indulgence.