Profiling and Language

A recent ploy of politicians over the last half century has been to attempt to suppress “profiling”.


“Profiling” is a highly sophisticated identity recognizing mechanism. It is inherent in humans and part of an intuitive behavioural mechanism of self-protection and preservation. Its function is as biological as the immune system in humans and could be considered analogous, in relation to the human group, as the immune system is to the human individual.


Profiling is the recognizable compounding of behavioural traits of any individual or group of individuals. Many traits are recognizable as common to a particular group, reflecting a membership of that group.


Profiling is also the base which allows identification of behaviour which is aberrant to the customary behaviour of individuals comprising a group, when these are expressed by the individual. This allows a “moderation” of the behaviour of the individual where it might conflict with the overall “customary” pattern of behaviour of individuals within the group context. Said another way, it allows “antisocial” behaviour to be recognised


The similarities with the immune system as a recognition mechanism are remarkable. Ultimately the preservation of the group depends on the capacity to profile, just as the immune system protects the individual by profiling a bacterial or other health threat.


Subsystems of behaviour in human groups exist to allow intermingling of potential newcomers by assimilation. An example is the Maori Hakka where ritualized appraisals of intending entrants to the group are played out. Again the similarity with the immune system is close.


Analogies in the individual exist in the complex modifications of immune-rejection phenomena associated with the acceptance of spermatozoa by a woman from a genetically and immunologically different male. This same philosophy can be adopted in understanding the immunological modification which enables the woman to carry a child of different genetic and immunological profile.


An extension of the “profile” is language. Both the gross form of language and the subtleties of dialect and phraseology act as a rapid (and arms length) identifier of group origin or membership. Language allows rapid (and arms length) division into “friend or foe”. This might well be the most important aspect of language, trumping the communicative role. A specific (or unknown) language gives the individual the capacity to immediately recognize kinship or otherwise and rapidly establish any potential threat of invasion into held space, threatening to both the individual and to the group as a whole.


President Obama convened a press conference with the specific purposes of reprimanding Euro- Americans about his belief that their tendency was to adversely profile Afro-Americans. This demonstrated the not unexpected deficit of insight and understanding in human behaviour – so commonly displayed by the crude intellectual workings of politicians. He was condemning a group of people for something that is entirely intuitive. Ironically he, himself, was profiling a group of humans and their inherent, intrinsic, biology. This was no different from criticising a group of individuals for displaying profiling characteristics than for displaying a different skin colour.


The evolution of profiles which some groups of Euro-Americans might have adopted towards other races must have had some causative origin. The reality is that the Afro-American had, by their own behaviour, induced Euro-Americans to evolve that profile. Again the analogy with the immune system comes to the fore. Euro- Americans could be considered to have been sensitized by previous behaviour of the Afro-American. The result was a sensitivity or “allergic” reaction – the very biologically appropriate mechanisms of group (and individual) defence.


To suppress this type of group behaviour is or becomes analogous of suppressing the immune system. Where this is illustrated in individual humans, a calamitous biological failure can be assured. Illustrative of this is the suppression of immunity by the HIV virus, another ironic expression of human social behavioural failure. In the HIV example geographical movement, as well as aberrant behavioural patterns have produced massive biological destruction by suppressing defence mechanisms.


About jp

Orthopaedic Surgeon
This entry was posted in Human Behaviour, Humans as social animals, Language and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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