[Paleopsych] What's the survival value of posttraumaticstressdisorder?

Alice Andrews andrewsa at newpaltz.edu
Wed Apr 27 21:07:35 UTC 2005

Hi paleos and Steve...I sent this this morning but I don't think it made it. If it eventually shows up 2ce, please forgive.

Steve wrote:

  Nothing valuable is learned from being raped.

  I think this distorts the question. A better way to put the question is:
  When rape occurs, a woman (though men are raped, too, but not at such high rate, so I will write re women) will undergo certain emotional responses that are not within her control. Again, the EP/Nesse model that we have emotions for a reason is one that I believe in just as well as I believe I'm sitting here on a rainy day typing away when I should be doing other stuff...
  There is, as there is with all these types of questions, a proximate cause/goal and an ultimate cause/goal.
  When writing about the value of something in evolutionary terms there is not an evaluative sense or normative one, either. It is not good when a woman is raped. Nothing good is learned from rape. But a woman through her emotional response to the terror and horror of such an event will learn something! Her chemistry will change, and depending on where she is developmentally (her life-history), her personality may actually change! (Pre, say, 25 years of age). 
  She will approach people and situations in a different way. None of  this may be valuable in the sense of good--but from mother nature's eye view (ultimate), it is valuable. 
  And, again, as Howard, Lynn and I have been discussing, there is 'value' for  the group. 
  Finally, I have to say, I teach a class called "Psychology of Women" and last night some students presented some statistics on rape....Those statistics are also warning signs...and they have been amassed by the brave women who report and tell their stories. (Students were quite intrigued and glad to learn of fact that a good amount of rapes that happen 'outside', happen in parking garages.)
  It is not good to be raped. There is no value in being raped. But the chemical and emotional responses women have after such an event are probably adaptive--and 'valuable' for them and 'valuable' for the group. 


  Telling the story may reduce the pain but it never
  goes away completely.  And our society has little
  interest in going to the root cause of the anger
  against women that motivates rape.  So we
  learn nothing from it, any more than we do from
  the suffering of war.  

  A part of us loves suffering, and loves to inflict it 
  on others.  Pleasure is fleeting, but pain can go
  on forever- a much more reliable source of
  energy for those who feed on it.

  Creative people constantly learn from the
  "accidents" in their work.  But although an 
  accident in a painting can be useful, an accident 
  in a car is useless.

  Steve Hovland

  -----Original Message-----
  From: HowlBloom at aol.com [SMTP:HowlBloom at aol.com]
  Sent: Tuesday, April 26, 2005 10:26 PM
  To: andrewsa at newpaltz.edu; paleopsych at paleopsych.org
  Cc: gradientor at yahoo.com
  Subject: Re: [Paleopsych] What's the survival value of post traumaticstressdisorder?

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