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  #1  
Unread May 10th, 2006, 01:30 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Implications of Somatic Behavior Choice

While I'm waiting for Carey to provide a more succint statement of his views over in the Summers Was Right thread, here's something that relates to behavior-choice. IMO the cognicentric view contributes to a great deal of misunderstanding about human nature that has serious - and even deadly consequences.

The recent letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Bush is a case in point. In almost every online discussion this overture is analysed in cognitive terms - as in this must be the result of a carefully calculated sinister plot to gain some advantage over the USA - although experts' speculations as to what that advantage might be vary all over the map. Reading between the lines of diploma-speak, that seems to be the view of Bush and Rice, as well. (Probably Cheney's call.)

Few, if any of the discussions acknowledge the underlying stong emotional (deterministic) forces that are at work here.

It is part of my SBCH that our belief systems are the source for some of the strongest emotions directing our behavior - and our higher level identity beliefs are the source of the strongest of those.

When a head of state insults or humiliates another head of state on the international stage, the people of the insulted state can feel extreme hatred and anger - and will rally around their leader no matter what political differences they may have with them. That is what the Bush / Rice response has done in this case. Ahmadinejad's status in his country has been greatly enhanced and he is now seen as the brave leader by his people - standing up to the Great Satan, who, they believe, now deserves serious punishment for it's sins against mighty Persia.

When Bush came into office I'd bet that a large part of Iran wished that they could have better relations with the USA. A modernisation was underway with the Ayatollahs' future ability to keep their grip on things in some doubt. Now, Iranians are almost united in their desire to see us get what we deserve - and, I suspect some of them have concrete ideas along those lines. To many Iranians-on-the-street, the Ayatollahs are now seen as the prophets they claimed to be.

My purpose is not to point out the obvious regarding international politics, but to show that our underlying identity emotions will not be denied. They are what ultimately determine our own behavior and the behavior of nations. We use our intellect to justify those behavior decisions or to optimize them for advantage - but those emotions will fundamentally direct our choices.

Millions have shown their willingness to kill others and die themselves to satisfy those emotions. I have seen few willing to kill and die for a logical conclusion. If they do it is because that conclusion has become part of their identity belief system.

It may take a little humility to offer some respect to a small nation that has you over the barrel and gloats about that - but a little humility and respect can go a long way when you are dealing with a proud and ancient people, especially when you hold most of the cards.

IMO the current state of danger and deadly tension in the world are largely the result of a failure to understand the emotional forces of personal and national identity - and use them to solve problems rather than enflame them. Instead, we assume that others will make logical decisions for their own benefit. We therefore make wrong predictions about our opponents' behavior (as we did with Saddam) and then when they do otherwise we assume they must be crazy.

That danger is compunded when the most powerful nation in the world seems to have the least interest in understanding that.

Margaret

Just saw this: Great Satan Park Planned

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; May 10th, 2006 at 07:05 PM.
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  #2  
Unread May 10th, 2006, 08:11 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Implications of SBCH and "Understanding"

Quote:
MM: Few, if any of the discussions acknowledge the underlying stong emotional (deterministic) forces that are at work here….

IMO the current state of danger and deadly tension in the world are largely the result of a failure to understand the emotional forces of personal and national identity - and use them to solve problems rather than enflame them.
Well, if it’s all deterministic, then it’s all deterministic, end of story—all behavior, action, reaction, and the results thereof, of all humans, is ultimately as mindlessly predetermined as the behavior of pool balls, planets, insects, etc; and “understanding,” like autonomy, is, at best, an illusion.

But of course you don’t really believe that b/c you, perhaps unwittingly, have recognized here that we humans (unlike lesser creatures) are indeed capable of “understanding” these “emotional forces,” and that we humans are also capable of choosing to “use” that “understanding” to either “solve problems” or “enflame them”—it’s called freewill and/or moral responsibility, not to mention downward causation.
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  #3  
Unread May 11th, 2006, 04:06 AM
Carey N Carey N is offline
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Default Re: Implications of Somatic Behavior Choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Margaret
IMO the current state of danger and deadly tension in the world are largely the result of a failure to understand the emotional forces of personal and national identity - and use them to solve problems rather than enflame them.
How would this conversation actually take place? Do you think heads of state are going to sit down and talk about their emotions with each other . . . ?
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  #4  
Unread May 11th, 2006, 08:35 AM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Implications of SBCH and "Understanding"

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Originally Posted by Fred H.
Well, if it’s all deterministic, then it’s all deterministic, end of story—all behavior, action, reaction, and the results thereof, of all humans, is ultimately as mindlessly predetermined as the behavior of pool balls, planets, insects, etc; and “understanding,” like autonomy, is, at best, an illusion.

But of course you don’t really believe that b/c you, perhaps unwittingly, have recognized here that we humans (unlike lesser creatures) are indeed capable of “understanding” these “emotional forces,” and that we humans are also capable of choosing to “use” that “understanding” to either “solve problems” or “enflame them”
I don't know if you're choosing to miss the point or just can't get the point. But I appreciate the opportunity to discuss my views whenever possible:

The minds of humans are a part of the deterministic universe. So, yes, "we humans are also capable of choosing to “use” that “understanding” to either “solve problems” or “enflame them”". I haven't seen anyone argue that point. The question is, "What causes us to choose to solve or enflame?" I say it's the current state of the chemicals in our brains. Again, there is no "freewill". Unless, of course, you or someone else can prove otherwise.
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  #5  
Unread May 11th, 2006, 09:58 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Implications of Somatic Behavior Choice

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TomJ: The minds of humans are a part of the deterministic universe. So, yes, "we humans are also capable of choosing to “use” that “understanding” to either “solve problems” or “enflame them”".
If indeed it’s all “deterministic,” then any “understanding” and “choosing to use” is as inevitable as the predetermined behavior/action/reaction of algorithms and/or billiard balls—all the "inevitable consequence of antecedent states of affairs." IOW Tom, your brain is essentially a billiard table, and you’re the eight ball, apparently unable to comprehend the distinction between determinism and choice.
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  #6  
Unread May 11th, 2006, 10:23 AM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Implications of Somatic Behavior Choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
If indeed it’s all “deterministic,” then any “understanding” and “choosing to use” is as inevitable as the predetermined behavior/action/reaction of algorithms and/or billiard balls—all the "inevitable consequence of antecedent states of affairs." IOW Tom, your brain is essentially a billiard table, and you’re the eight ball, apparently unable to comprehend the distinction between determinism and choice.
Here we go again! Actually, as much as I'd like to blame Fred, it was Margaret who added the "(deterministic)" that sparked his flame.

Fred, you were doing so well until the IOW. Has your wife tired of editing your posts?

So, you can prove that you're able to override the billiard balls in your brain to choose something that your brain doesn't determine? How do you do that and why does your behavior depend so much on how many meds you've taken?

Freewill is an illusion, albeit a powerful and useful one.
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  #7  
Unread May 11th, 2006, 11:42 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Implications of Somatic Behavior Choice

Quote:
TomJ: The minds of humans are a part of the deterministic universe. So, yes, "we humans are also capable of choosing to “use” that “understanding” to either “solve problems” or “enflame them”".

TomJ: Freewill is an illusion, albeit a powerful and useful one.
Make up your mind, Eight-ball; can’t have it both ways—either we humans are actually capable of understanding and choosing, or it’s all inevitably, mindlessly, deterministic, in which case your “understanding” and “choice” are illusions, tales told by idiots, signifying nothing. And your only point is that you have no point.
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  #8  
Unread May 11th, 2006, 12:33 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Implications of Somatic Behavior Choice

I moved this reply to the correct dangler, below.
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  #9  
Unread May 11th, 2006, 12:40 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Implications of Somatic Behavior Choice

Carey, you ask
Quote:
How would this conversation actually take place? Do you think heads of state are going to sit down and talk about their emotions with each other . . . ?
Thanks for the chance to steer this thread back on-topic.

If two parties have opposing needs that must be resolved (like, because they must share the same Earth) then they can engage in negotiation. The goal for each party in negotiation is to help your opponent realize that their view of the world actually supports your goals - as far as possible. It is not to force your opponent to accept your position by threat, ridicule or intimidation. All that does, even if temporarily successful, is create a stronger and more embittered enemy in the future.

BTW - This stuff works just as well for dogs, children, spouses and co-workers as it does for heads-of-state. You don't need to discuss emotions. You do need to understand them while negotiating. Having done some negotiation in life I don't claim to be any expert. I'm better at talking about it than doing it.

In order to realize one's goals one does not disrespect or humiliate their opponent. It is called diplomacy. It requires acknowledging the goodness in your opponent's position and personhood. That can be difficult when they have a lot of badness as well. But then, don't we all?

The problem is that diplomacy is a cool, intellectual process that requires the diplomat to subjugate their emotions to the ultimate goal of winning something more valuable for their side than their personal strong feelings of the moment. It is easily wrecked by strong, angry emotions such as those that come from our identity beliefs. Ideologues are terrible negotiators and often belittle the process (Bush the decider). By acknowledging your opponent's goodness and stressing commonality of goals you are allowing your opponent to admit you emotionally into their own identity belief system - as far as possible.

That's typically the only way an intransigent opponent will yield ground in negotiations. They must come to see you as not such a bad person after all - and so your goals can become mutual goals.

The problem for nations like our's is that strong and angry emotions can be used to unite the masses behind an ideological candidate for public office - or in totalitarian states it can unite the masses behind "our great leader".

One path (negotiation) leads to peace and both sides getting at least some of what they want. The other path leads to war (or perhaps schizophrenic dogs and neurotic, unhappy children).

The question is - does our Republican government see war as a way to perpetuate their control - and so their behavior is chosen to reach that Machiavellian end - or, do they really believe that threats, ridicule and intimidation is the way to win something (security, economic dominance, whatever) for the USA.

I'd guess that Bush is in the latter category. He just isn't in Machiavelli's league, IQwise. He's been consistently ideological and non-intellectual. Also, I don't think it's easy for an ideological person to switch over to an intellectual decision-making mode.

I don't see Rove as a Christian true-believer at all. He seems to be valued by Bush for his Machiavellian abilities. However, they are both ideologues - persons who have organized their lives and personalities around the strong emotions of their identity beliefs.

Bush's ideology seems to be centered around some vague, non-intellectual notion of rich privilege and God's will. Rove's is centered around a hatred of liberals that I suspect he acquired in college and high school. They make an effective pair.

I have a strong distaste for ideology - not conservatism per se - even though conservatism these days is very far from any intellectual (non-ideological) justification. Much of my distaste for conservatism is now emotional. The trick is to not allow my anti-conservative emotions to become my ideology - I know I get close to that line at times. But, that's the enigma that ideology brings to human conlict. The emotions of ideology are far straonger than human intellect so it is impossible to combat an ideology position without eventually erecting one's own stronger ideology in opposition. How can you effectively combat bigotry without eventually becoming an anti-bigotry bigot?

People don't die for their intellectual conclusions but they will gladly die for their ideology. That's why we have wars. And, that's why wise persons are very cautious about allowing ideology to infect their minds - even though it is sometimes necessary.

Margaret

PS - I'm still looking forward to your restatement of your premise on equality and discrimination.

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; May 11th, 2006 at 12:50 PM.
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  #10  
Unread May 11th, 2006, 12:51 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Implications of Somatic Behavior Choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
And your only point is that you have no point.
I have a huge point, which you can't understand: our brains process information and 'make' decisions but our brains are completely dependent on their chemical state to make those decisions; that chemical state is what it is and so our decisions are what they are. We still process information coming from reading intelligent posts (as well as non-intelligent ones) and those can affect our ultimate, deterministic decisions. Further, we can understand the importance and fallibility of our decisions, this understanding can guide us to make 'better' decisions and accept others' limitations.

It just doesn't jibe with your ideology of a make-believe 'god', and it shouldn't.
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