Saturday, January 12, 2008

Emotions

There was a discussion on Feministing that moved from talking about why men can't cry to a discussion with a single poster about how he, personally, cannot feel emotion and thinks that the human race would be better off without it because they would not feel suffering.

Here's the thing. I believe that there is a powerful value to emotional suffering. We may not realize it at the time, but emotional suffering can give us strength and make moments when we do not feel it all the more powerful. If you never suffer, you never really fully live.

What's more, there is a lot more to emotion than pain. Most emotions are not painful. The poster I was discussing it with says he does not need love, though it's not really a question of needing. When you feel love, anything is more bearable. Starving? That's okay. Poor? You can bear it. Ostracized from society? Sucks, but you can pull through. The emotion doesn't just tie you to a person, it makes all the negative aspects of your life no longer seem as bad while still making you want to eliminate those aspects-- not for your own sake, but for the other person's. And yeah, love can end in pain. But unless it was an unusual amount of pain-- like you break up and they burn down your house and kill your brother, which is why I don't recommend dating people who are batshit insane-- in the end, the remembered emotion and the drive to find it again, to make the parts of your life that you can't control better, makes the pain worth it.

And passion, which is literally the driving force behind science, medicine, and art. Why study ecology, for example, especially if you're not doing it for money like most early ecologists? Because you have a passion for nature. You are passionate about what you are learning. Why travel the world and learn about other cultures? Because you care about the people, because you feel awe at the natural and man-made wonders. Most early scientists made no money except what they got from patrons, but they loved what they did, they wanted the prestige of discovery (pride) and they were passionate about their work. Otherwise everyone in Ancient Greece would have been landowners or farming serfs, and there would have been no interest in the arts or science, thus eliminating our basis for modern scientific method. Most of our inventions in daily life are born of necessity, not passion, but they could not have been made without practical application of theoretical ideas that gave no material benefit to the scientist who came up with them-- only the thrill of discovery. And even if you say "They do it because they will get more support from benefactors" keep in mind, what gain are benefactors getting, besides learning more about that which they are passionate about?

To an outside observer, suffering seems to be the most common emotion. And I guess if you're a starving orphan with AIDS in Africa maybe it is. But suffering's not the most common emotion, just the most visible. I feel very powerful love every single day for my family and my boyfriend. That doesn't mean I'm always singing it's praises or doodling hearts in my notebook. I feel passion every time I write or read something I'm interested in that makes me want to read on, but that doesn't mean I'm telling everyone about it. Suffering is lessened when there is emotional support from others, so we complain about it so that others will sympathize. So I guess to one who feels no emotions, it would appear to be the most prevalent simply by virtue of the fact that that's the one we seek support for. That's the one we talk about.

A person who feels no emotions is only living in the biological sense. If you can't see natural beauty, if you can't wonder at the cosmos or feel passion about your work or get angry with a friend about the idiocy of some politician; if you can't lessen the pain you can't fix through love or experience joy when something wonderful happens to you, you're not really living your life. You're just... living.

36 comments:

88mph said...

Well, to continue on from where we were, and also address things here that are new:

Every time I've known a person to have gone through great emotional suffering, they are less for the experience. Sure, they summoned some strength to survive the event, but they're a little less than they started out. Every time, a little less again.

Eventually you find people that have run out of that strength, and they end up as a news blurb about a suicide.

Besides, if you place so much stock in happiness and such, don't you find it should be defined as more than "the state of not-suffering"?

You're right though, it's not a question of need, but I can look at it and say "I would not need that". Like I said, it fails a cost/benefit anaylsis.

I find if you need to define your own situation by what you feel towards another person, then you may very well be as equally flawed as you find me to be.

Yes, it can end in pain, and even simple things like a separation with no enmity, I've seen crush people.

Now imagine the more vicious separations, complete with cruelty, malice, and the like. It would only get worse for those involved. Then all the time invested rendered useless, all the money spent becomes wasted, and those are weeks, months, years of your life that will never be returned to you to use on more useful things.

On science, many things that are done via science are completely without any driving passion except one that is endemic to most all species: Self-preservation. Much like the drive to reproduce, etcetera, self-preservation is deeply seated in the brain.

Ecology? Save the planet (for us.) Medicine? Many people who donate mass amounts of money to a cause for a condition, do so only when they get said condition. Even if not that, it still falls under the general drive to ensure survival of your own species.

Art, music, film, etc. could easily even be summed up as the knowledge that people pay quite well for these things. You don't need passion to create something if you know you'll get paid. Money is a valid reason for doing a lot of things in life, as it's a tangible, beneficial thing that greases every wheel in society, from the smallest cog on up.

"if you can't lessen the pain you can't fix through love"

Ah, but see, that pain isn't be there.

I also see no real purpose in getting angry about politicians. A politician is like a lawyer, they can never be anything but what they are, and what they are is a normal human who has the primary concern of self benefit.

When it comes right down to it, is "just living" really that bad in your eyes?

Basiorana said...

Ecology was not about saving the planet until very recently, because it was not understood that the planet was in any danger. It was about learning about the natural world just because it was there. And actually, a fairly hefty chunk of, say, leukemia research comes not from leukemia sufferers (mostly children) but from their parents and families, who are emotionally attached to them. It's not about a drive to ensure survival of the species, the species will survive without cancer research, and let's face it, that's one of the few factors left working against our drastic overpopulation. It's about saving individuals to whom you are attached.

Film I'll agree is for money, at least modern ones. But art? There are people who created amazing works of art and never were recognized in their lifetime. They continued because of their passion. Some art is commissioned, but artists and writers and even many musicians in our world get paid jack shit almost all their lives and they continue simply because they are passionate. They could make a lot more money doing something completely different. Often after they die, when they no longer gain anything from it, they are appreciated and their work is considered important to human culture. The knowledge that that could happen is enough for many of them.

Happiness is not not-suffering. That's contentment. Happiness is joy, excitement, that sort of thing. Not just feeling that your life is okay and maybe even good, but feeling that your life is wonderful and you are special and unique, even if objectively it's not true.

Suicides are always unfortunate. But the truth is, many people who I've talked to who have had problems with suicidal thoughts will attempt suicide when they feel so apathetic that they think it's more practical to just die than bother with everyday things. My sister was like that for a while-- fortunately she decided that despite the advantages to dying, there was enough of a chance that she would regret it that it might be a bad idea. People are weakened after emotional suffering if they respond by closing off their emotions and suppressing them, instead of embracing them. People who respond by embracing the event and seeking help from those around them to come out of their situation are made stronger. It may be that you know weak people, because I know many people who, many years after something terrible happened that nearly broke them, look back on it and realize it made them stronger and more capable because they were given support and love when they needed it most.

You keep talking about cost-benefit, but you don't seem to get it. The benefits of love and happiness ARE WORTH the suffering that come with them. You haven't felt it, you don't know. But ask someone if they would rather never feel love or joy again or feel suffering (when they're rational and calm, not when they are crying over a lost boyfriend). 99% of people will say they want to experience love or happiness again. Why would we want it if the suffering was so bad? Surely if we were all so miserable we'd think your position sounded more appealing.

Real, physical hardship-- oppressive regimes, struggling for survival, physical pain due to illness-- is easier to bear when one can feel love or joy. They make our lives better and bearable even when objectively our lives suck.

Just living is a bit like eating porridge fortified with all the nutrients you need for survival every day. Truly living is a bit like getting all the same nutrients from a varied diet of foods that appeal to the senses, mostly good but yeah, some unpleasant. Technically, fortified gruel would be cheaper and more efficient, yet it is more enjoyable to eat foods that appeal to our sense of sight, smell, taste and texture. It's not that "just living" is so abhorrent, it's just that it is not the same, it is not better, than truly living and experiencing the world.

88mph said...

It was about learning about the natural world just because it was there.

Still, self-benefit. A lot of our knowledge over the centuries was done to better manipulate our environment. We studied the earth, and found gold, oil, gemstones.

Especially in the era we are in now, very few things are done out of some pure curiosity. Everything tends to be done because it benefits who is doing it.

But art? There are people who created amazing works of art and never were recognized in their lifetime.

Many, many artists might not have been world famous in their time, but they were still paid for it. Some paid quite handsomely.

but artists and writers and even many musicians in our world get paid jack shit almost all their lives and they continue simply because they are passionate.

Or perhaps because they want to be paid.

but feeling that your life is wonderful and you are special and unique, even if objectively it's not true.

Seems a diaphanous thing to chase.

People are weakened after emotional suffering if they respond by closing off their emotions and suppressing them, instead of embracing them. People who respond by embracing the event and seeking help from those around them to come out of their situation are made stronger.

See, you could look at it like that, but eventually people, especially those that I've seen, wear out from this. If you subject a person to emotional trauma after trauma, eventually they're just going to lose the will to keep fighting it.

You keep talking about cost-benefit, but you don't seem to get it. The benefits of love and happiness ARE WORTH the suffering that come with them.

This is a highly subjective statement. When I say cost/benefit, I analyze everything. Costs? Money, sometimes in huge amounts, time, also in huge amounts, energy and effort that could be spent doing something useful and productive, the near-inevitable risk of misery, and for what? Intangible, largely hormonal, illusory "benefits".

But ask someone if they would rather never feel love or joy again or feel suffering (when they're rational and calm, not when they are crying over a lost boyfriend). 99% of people will say they want to experience love or happiness again. Why would we want it if the suffering was so bad? Surely if we were all so miserable we'd think your position sounded more appealing.

Logically, people simply spend that time afterwards convincing themselves it wasn't really as bad as it was. It's like when someone is hanging over the toilet at 3 a.m., vomiting their guts out, and wailing that they'll never drink that much again.

Give them a couple weeks, and they've convinced themselves that the atrocious illness they went through, all the puking, feeling like death in the morning, wasn't really as bad as it was, so they do it again.

Same concept applies.

Technically, fortified gruel would be cheaper and more efficient, yet it is more enjoyable to eat foods that appeal to our sense of sight, smell, taste and texture.

You'd hate my eating habits. I eat whatever I grab at the moment I do, because I'm aware that should I not, I will expire. I don't like wasting money on fancy restaurants, and the like.

I tend to eat what can be obtained for the lowest cost that will still provide necessary energy.

It's not that "just living" is so abhorrent, it's just that it is not the same, it is not better, than truly living and experiencing the world.

"Better" is still subjective. You find your situation better than mine, likewise, I find mine preferable to yours.

Basiorana said...

You say intangible, illusory benefits like that means they aren't there. That's not really how the human mind works. If you give a schizophrenic psychotropic medication, the result is an intangible benefit-- a change in behavior. A change in behavior results from a change in emotion, as well as a change in how the person looks at something. When emotions are good, they make things not just interesting or tolerable, but fun and all-consuming. It's no longer a sense of "I do this because it benefits me" it's "I do this because I love it." Why do atheists do charity work? Because it makes them feel good to help other people. Because caring for people who have never done anything for them, never will, makes them happy.

You don't understand how emotions can color a person's world. Completely involuntarily, the same pile of work that seems insurmountable when I'm frustrated and not worth my time when I'm apathetic is something I can breeze through when I'm happy. Real, tangible benefits. I can approach anything-- social interactions, physical work, mental work-- and it's NOT just a means to an end. It's more. It's something I want to do, not something I have to do, and life is more enjoyable when you want to do everything.

Also, you say useful and productive like it's not useful and productive for a normal person to be able to regularly blow off steam and improve their health via sexual intercourse with one person who they know is not likely to make them sick, and it's not useful and productive to have two incomes to live off, and it's not useful to the species as a whole to propagate it via a child that two people invest time and energy into to make sure that child is intelligent, healthy, and most likely to contribute to the world in a positive way.

I really don't think you've met many scientists and talked to them about their work. It's very common to hear them talking about doing experiments that they're not technically allowed to be doing, simply because they want to know what happens. They could actually lose from doing the experiment. They don't expect to ever receive acclaim. Yet they do it because they find it fascinating. And from that, we get some very interesting information. If you ask a scientist why he goes into his field, it's to help people or because he finds it really interesting or both. Not money. Research scientists don't make the big bucks unless they're indispensably good, and 85% of them never make the news.

Wanting to be paid isn't the same thing as being paid. Someone who didn't care about what they were doing would not continue if they were not getting any immediate benefit. There are a thousand starving artists in the world, who sell maybe three pieces a decade, or are still waiting for their novel to be published, and have to do a second part-time job to survive. It's not that they don't have any other skills that would benefit them more. They just love what they do.

Repeated and severe emotional trauma can overwhelm a person, of course. It's also rare. Your average person has only a few truly severe emotional traumas in their life, more if they're poor or were abused as a child. And yes, people who are emotionally battered are weakened. It's a bit like getting calluses on the hands-- if you keep opening the blisters before they are allowed to heal, calluses can't form and the skin is weakened. Similarly, if the traumas are far apart, the skin never calluses.

I don't know anyone who drinks to get drunk except people who have social disorders or those whose brains are not yet fully developed, or people who have an addiction to alcohol. 90% of the people I know did that once and never drank that much again or never did it in the first place because they saw their friends endure it.

The thing is, I've lived in total apathy, just doing what I needed to do to survive and continue. When you know how your own mind feels when you have emotions-- good and bad-- a life without such feelings is NOT preferable. It seems better to you because it's all you know, and you can't see what it's like to actually have such variety in your life. And this is not just my own opinion. I've known many people who had similar problems due to medication as I did, some of whom had a great deal of emotional trauma in their past. In every single case, no matter how severe their pain, they chose the pain over the apathy. My sister once in her most depressive, downswing time, when she was miserable beyond belief, was offered the chance to go back on the medication she had before, which would suppress her emotions. She said she'd rather be depressed. As it is we have to fight with her to get her to take any meds at all because she found apathy so horrible.

It's not just convincing ourselves that it wasn't that bad. We don't need it to survive, but we need it to relate to others, form meaningful relationships, come together as a community after tragedy and yes, reproduce, and even though you don't like children surely you can understand the importance of actually investing in the future of one's child. And before you say "Having children has benefit" yeah, it does, but people aren't sitting there saying "I want to give up 18 years or more of my life into raising someone into a successful and contributing human being because I want to continue the species and have someone who might care for me when I am old, if I'm lucky." The cost-- lots of money and time, lots of emotional struggle-- would not be worth that. So the advantage of evolution giving us emotional attachment to a child is that we have kids because we WANT kids, we want someone to love and be proud of. We're programmed to find babies cute as a sort of incentive to actually putting in the effort, otherwise more infants would have been lion food.

Frida said...

I posted this over at Feministing, but I think it got modded out:

Expressing feelings is good for your health. Repressing feelings is bad for your health. Poor health reduces your productivity and efficiency.

In other words, what basiorana just said, but with a few citations. Leaving aside the issue of what love &c. are worth to you or anyone else, I'll agree wholeheartedly that efficiency and emotional self-discipline are both good things. But the extent to which emotional control and efficiency are correlated has a limit beyond which more energy is expended in stuffing the emotions down than would be expended in expressing them.

Every time I've known a person to have gone through great emotional suffering, they are less for the experience.

Logical fallacy. Your personal experience does not equal an accurate representation of the range of human responses to emotional trauma.

88mph said...

You say intangible, illusory benefits like that means they aren't there. That's not really how the human mind works.

I simply mean to compare "feelings" vs real, touchable, measurable benefits.

When emotions are good, they make things not just interesting or tolerable, but fun and all-consuming. It's no longer a sense of "I do this because it benefits me" it's "I do this because I love it."

It's still a very subjective thing. Naturally, if you talk about something from the perspective of someone who is in a constant state of flux, everything you do will be colored by it. On one hand, you could have a constant, unbroken line of, say, 100% productivity, and on the other, you vary, based on emotional state between 50-75% productivity, with the occasional boost to, say, 110%.

Which is preferable? Does the occasional boost of being overproductive outweigh the loss of it? Or will the steady 100% average out better?

Why do atheists do charity work? Because it makes them feel good to help other people.

Same reason most anyone else does, I think, which is basic "ensure survival of species".

You don't understand how emotions can color a person's world. Completely involuntarily, the same pile of work that seems insurmountable when I'm frustrated and not worth my time when I'm apathetic is something I can breeze through when I'm happy. Real, tangible benefits. I can approach anything-- social interactions, physical work, mental work-- and it's NOT just a means to an end. It's more. It's something I want to do, not something I have to do, and life is more enjoyable when you want to do everything.

As above, are the losses worth the gains, when you average everything out? I don't think so, personally.

Also, you say useful and productive like it's not useful and productive for a normal person to be able to regularly blow off steam and improve their health via sexual intercourse with one person who they know is not likely to make them sick

Well, to be perfectly frank, masturbation achieves the same end, the same release. It does it faster, with no risk of offspring, and without having to carry on a costly (in measures of time, effort, energy, and money) relationship with another person.

and it's not useful and productive to have two incomes to live off, and it's not useful to the species as a whole to propagate it via a child that two people invest time and energy into to make sure that child is intelligent, healthy, and most likely to contribute to the world in a positive way.

Well, two incomes is lovely, sure, but if you're good with handling business yourself, you shouldn't need them. Besides which, in relation to the second point, when you mix a child into it, regardless of all standards of equality, feminism, or what have you, for at least a year, someone is staying home. There will be a loss of that dual income. I say that because most people that are interested in having children, even if they fully believe in daycare, are not willing to break the first year of parent/child contact.

That, and everyone thinks their child will improve "the world". Most people's children only end up improving "their world". Even that, surveys done show that most people with children assumed they'd be more happy, and are actually less so than their childless contemporaries.

It's very common to hear them talking about doing experiments that they're not technically allowed to be doing, simply because they want to know what happens.

Because an accidental discovery still brings great acclaim and merit. Also the potential for profit.

It's like saying the current crop of doctors went into the field to help people. They're still willing to charge 70,000 dollars for a procedure.

Or actors saying they do it "for the craft of acting", while accepting a 30 million dollar paycheck.

Or sports stars playing "for the love of the game" that get paid more than every member of the Senate combined, each year.

Repeated and severe emotional trauma can overwhelm a person, of course. It's also rare. Your average person has only a few truly severe emotional traumas in their life, more if they're poor or were abused as a child.

Perhaps, perhaps not. If serious emotional traumas were rare, psychologists would also be rare. They are not.

And yes, people who are emotionally battered are weakened. It's a bit like getting calluses on the hands-- if you keep opening the blisters before they are allowed to heal, calluses can't form and the skin is weakened. Similarly, if the traumas are far apart, the skin never calluses.

Even still, putting time between the traumas changes little. A boxer, even if he only fights rarely, and heals well after each bout, will still accumulate damage over time that will result in serious later problems. It will just take longer than a fighter that steps into the ring regularly.

I don't know anyone who drinks to get drunk except people who have social disorders or those whose brains are not yet fully developed, or people who have an addiction to alcohol. 90% of the people I know did that once and never drank that much again or never did it in the first place because they saw their friends endure it.

Lots and lots of people drink to get drunk. It's why we have bars, college parties, and the like.

The thing is, I've lived in total apathy, just doing what I needed to do to survive and continue. When you know how your own mind feels when you have emotions-- good and bad-- a life without such feelings is NOT preferable.

Still subjective. You might find it preferable, someone else might not. Someone like me might observe someone like you, and find that their situation is preferable to yours.

You don't have to experience something you observe as bad to know it's bad. To use something I heard someone say once, "I don't have to eat a turd to know I wouldn't like it.".

And this is not just my own opinion. I've known many people who had similar problems due to medication as I did, some of whom had a great deal of emotional trauma in their past. In every single case, no matter how severe their pain, they chose the pain over the apathy.

Still, you're comparing people outside of my situation.

It's not just convincing ourselves that it wasn't that bad. We don't need it to survive, but we need it to relate to others, form meaningful relationships, come together as a community after tragedy and yes, reproduce, and even though you don't like children surely you can understand the importance of actually investing in the future of one's child.

Well, a lot of it is. I can still associate with people insomuch as I am required to. You'd be surprised how well one can learn to approximate the facial expressions, attitudes and the like, that other people expect you to present in a given situation.

I can understand why people think it's important to invest in their child, but in general, not why you'd say it actually IS important.

"I want to give up 18 years or more of my life into raising someone into a successful and contributing human being because I want to continue the species and have someone who might care for me when I am old, if I'm lucky."

Take a survey of people some time, ask them to list exactly WHY they want to have children. Most people can't even answer it. They just do. Biological imperative is less emotion, and more simple drive to propogate the species.

The cost-- lots of money and time, lots of emotional struggle-- would not be worth that.

We've made a lot of the financial costs ourselves. It didn't use to be so, and within only a couple hundred years. No time for evolution to really alter that imperative. Life wants to make more of itself, always has, always will.

So the advantage of evolution giving us emotional attachment to a child is that we have kids because we WANT kids, we want someone to love and be proud of.

Animals reproduce simply because, like I said, life wants to make more of itself. There is no "want" for their offspring, no love or pride.

We're programmed to find babies cute as a sort of incentive to actually putting in the effort, otherwise more infants would have been lion food.

I know a lot of people, myself included, do not find them cute. I find them awkward, strange, hard to look at, and largely unappealing.

But the extent to which emotional control and efficiency are correlated has a limit beyond which more energy is expended in stuffing the emotions down than would be expended in expressing them.

Not if those emotions were never there in the first place. There's nothing to stuff down.

Basiorana said...

How a person feels and how they think are the ultimate benefit. Beyond the basics of food, water, and shelter, we have no real needs to survive. EXCEPT emotions.

You clearly consider children a detriment to people. I concur. Most people lose when they have children, in time and money. If we operate logically, there is no reason to have children ourselves. Our neighbors can have children. Someone else can give up their life. But if, as you suggest is ideal, we all thought purely by logic and not by emotion, no one would ever bother to have children themselves.

But survival of the species, you say. We have an instinctual need to save our own self, this is true. That's common to all living things. But non-social creatures will kill or drive off members of their own species unless they are being driven by an instinctual drive to mate. They'll even kill their own young. Social creatures have an emotional bond to each other that keeps them from acting that way. What's more, they have an emotional bond to children which evolved because genotypes that cared about their children worked towards their children's survival and thus a greater percentage of children survived. People can't tell you why they wanted children because reproduction is a biological imperative. For hominids, raising kids is one too-- and the way our bodies tell us that we should raise our children is through an emotional response to them. You talk about "ensuring survival of the species" and "emotion" like they are completely separate. And yet, I doubt Stone Age men were sitting around reasoning, "Hmm, I should take care of other people to ensure my species' survival." They didn't understand that sort of thing-- what they did understand was that they had an emotional response when something bad happened to someone they were attached to, and another emotional response when something good happened. Emotions are our bodies' way of telling us things that we can't automatically know on a logical level. Emotion and instinct are the same. Lust is an emotion that drives us to reproduce. Familial love drives us to raise our children instead of letting them fend for themselves. Compassion drives us to ensure the survival of our species. None of this could be accomplished without either emotions or highly advanced logic that we could not have had at our early stages of development.

Organisms that simply release spores or seeds are responding to a chemical or electric reaction in their body. But organisms that have to actively do something-- seek a mate, engage in an activity with that mate, etc-- need something more, something occurring in their brain or brain-like area to change their behavior. That's emotion. Instinct that changes voluntary behavior is emotion. Ours are just more sophisticated and thus, delicate and as a result we are able to tinker with them, intentionally (ie psychotherapy) or unintentionally (ie all the neuroses that parents can mess up their kids with). We could not have developed to the point at which we are capable of logic at all if we did not invest time and energy into working as a group and helping to raise our children so that those who were capable of intelligence would be able to survive long enough for the highly complicated human mind to finish it's development, which takes over a decade to get to a functional point and doesn't fully stop developing until we're in our twenties. With a developed brain, we are capable of using our intelligence to hunt and protect ourselves and survive over other species, but a child cannot do that, so if we did not have the instinctual, emotional need to preserve the lives of our children the ones that devoted more energy to speedy development of physical might would have survived over the ones that devoted more energy to mental capabilities.

You mentioned earlier that you smoked (and thus were not worried about burdening society with age). I'm curious. Smoking has obvious health detriments and costs a great deal of money that could be spent on other things of more use. The only value of smoking that I have ever heard is that it releases chemicals in your brain that correspond with pleasure-- an emotional response. It would cost you less money and be a more efficient use of your time if you quit. Why continue to smoke, if you truly feel no emotional connection to the act? If you are simply addicted, why did you start smoking in the first place, and why do you not quit understanding the waste of money and problems to your health that smoking provides?

I'd write more but this comment is already too long.

88mph said...

See, I think you're beginning to confuse emotion and instinct. Instincts are not an emotional response. Those cavemen protecting their own kind were acting on instinct, just like a mother cat will kill something to defend her kittens. It's not because she loves them, or cares about them, at least not in the human sense.

It's because instinct gives her the imperative to ensure they live.

You have the instinct of self-preservation. It's why you'll gasp before you pass out from holding your breath, it's why unless there is something seriously wrong, you won't ever intentionally harm yourself. Things like that are purely instinct. Lizard brain type stuff. Not really emotion at all.

By instinct, I clearly mean "reaction that requires no thoughts about how it feels". Emotions are feelings, instincts are pure, clean reactions.

I wouldn't call lust an emotion. More a reaction, instinctual. Most people can't really define why a member of the gender they're attracted to, is attractive to them.

Try to get a man that likes large breasted women to tell you WHY he likes that feature. You can only speculate. It's just a reaction.

Familial love drives us to raise our children instead of letting them fend for themselves.

Again, animals will raise their offspring without any notion of "love".

Compassion drives us to ensure the survival of our species. None of this could be accomplished without either emotions or highly advanced logic that we could not have had at our early stages of development.

It's worked for the animal kingdom for countless millions of years, completely lacking any emotion or advanced logic.

Still, now, we HAVE advanced logic. Just as emotion replaced instinct, so too, should logic replace emotion.

I'm curious. Smoking has obvious health detriments and costs a great deal of money that could be spent on other things of more use.

Where I live it's actually one of the lowest cost places. The cost is also, in my general scheme, quite negligible. The health detriments are not particularly immediate, either. On average, from what I've observed, a regular smoker will take 50 continuous years of the activity to finally result in death.

If one starts at, say, 18, they'll be almost 70 when they die from it.

Dying before you become a senile, dementia-clogged burden isn't too shabby, no?

Besides, many people never actually become ill from it. The woman who reached the longest confirmed lifespan in history (122 years) smoked for over 100 years, and only quit at 117 because she found her failing eyesight made it embarassing to ask for a light.

The only value of smoking that I have ever heard is that it releases chemicals in your brain that correspond with pleasure-- an emotional response. It would cost you less money and be a more efficient use of your time if you quit. Why continue to smoke, if you truly feel no emotional connection to the act?

Nicotine, much like caffeine, is also a potent stimulant. Stimulant equals energy. Energy equals use, purpose, function.

Using a combination of the two, I can eat less, sleep less, and generally be more useful, and save money, and do it for longer periods of time.

If you are simply addicted, why did you start smoking in the first place, and why do you not quit understanding the waste of money and problems to your health that smoking provides?

No, I'm not addicted. I've put them down for a period of some months previously. I found I could not get away with skimping on sleep, or eating less often. I had to supplement the loss of energy with much more costly things, both in terms of money and time.

3 dollars for a pack of cigarettes enables me to skip two meals out of a day, and not feel tired. Two meals cost much more than 3 dollars.

I can also get away with 5 hours of sleep, roughly, instead of 8. As you can see, I've already weighed this out in terms of cost and benefit.

Basiorana said...

I'm not confusing emotion and instinct, you're not understanding that emotion is how we, as higher animals, feel instinctual needs that are not reflexes or involuntary movements. Gasping for air is involuntary. So is pulling your hand off a hot stove. Seeking out a person you find attractive and having sex with them, or risking your own life to save your child, are voluntary actions. The only thing that makes people want to act that way is their emotional responses.

Cats feel emotion. Not at our level, of course. They do feel some emotion, though. They simply have less complex emotions. Even lizards have some very simplistic emotional response. Anything with a brain or a ganglia does. Or if you'd rather, "emotions" is nothing more than our word for instinct that humans feel. It is more complex than animals because our brains are more complex. But it's still instinctual responses. Instinct to care about other people, instinct to seek out companionship, instinct to fear things that are dangerous and desire things that are good. But what a cat feels towards it's young is simply a more primitive version of what humans perceive as familial love. If you look at animals that mate for life, like swans, there is no doubt that they are feeling an emotion towards each other that is a simplified version of what two humans feel for each other when they consider that they are in love. Animals can certainly feel fear, even if it is quickly forgotten, and fear is one of the most basic emotions there is.

Lust is every bit an emotion. Your big-breasted explanation doesn't fly because if you ask someone why they love their kid or their parents, they can't describe it and if you ask someone who's partner is an obvious scumbag why they love that person, they may list some good qualities but in the end, they just love them and they're not sure why. People can speculate as to why they feel the way they do-- "Cute animals make me happy because humans often tend to see soft, cuddly things as good"-- same as they speculate as to why they are attracted to something-- "I like big breasts because big breasts have always been shown as very attractive." That doesn't mean they know. Your definition of instinct as a pure, clean reaction does not include lust. Arousal, yes, as it's response to a stimuli. But lust-- attraction to a specific type of person-- is completely subjective and no more clean and pure than happiness. By your definition, the only "instincts" are things like reflexes or the ability to nurse-- muscular responses to stimuli.

Animals have emotion. Humans are animals, with more developed brains. Maybe logic will someday replace emotion. But do you honestly believe we are sufficiently evolved mentally for that? I mean, think of the average person. Do you honestly think that a person of average intelligence is going to be capable of the incredibly advanced logic required to put aside personal needs for the greater good without some emotional, inexplainable need to do so? And what about children? They certainly aren't capable of advanced logic required to think of things like "I might be in danger if I checked out that loud noise without a person who is larger and more capable than me, so I should hide until my parents return." Give them a fear response, and they are made afraid when things are dangerous even if they're not developed enough to understand why something should be feared.

It takes conscious thought and effort to use logic when faced with things like a danger, or a choice between having children or not, or choosing to work together with another person to raise a child properly when you have no particular attachment to them. Life is simply easier if the important things-- liking something that is good, fearing something that is bad, working towards helping others even if it is at a personal loss-- don't require conscious thought. Yeah, that comes at a price. But the average person who did not have a strict logical code instilled into them from day one as well as the mental capacity to understand and implement that logical code would not be able to live a life without emotion. And that's not even talking about whether they would enjoy it. It's saying that they would not be able to, they would not be able to do things like reproduce or help others or even function in a society.

I can't say reading your self description of yourself that you seem like a good model for a species. You don't like children and don't want them. You do not seek out partners who would help you raise children. You do not make an effort to help raise another's child or to adopt children (which would have a net benefit on the earth, and is the potential advantage to having a certain percentage of the population be homosexual). Ultimately the point of a species is to propagate itself, as you say. If we all were like you, we would fail as a species. Do you honestly believe if there was not a problem with overpopulation you would want to have a biological child and raise them with another person to best ensure they were healthy and well-rounded and likely to help the world? Spend all that time and energy knowing you would get no personal benefit? It seems implausible at best.

As to the smoking, I take it you never considered the cost of the ostracizing that smokers receive in the modern world or the growing impracticality of having to find places to smoke. I am still curious as to why you started smoking, since I am told that the initial few times a person smokes it is vastly unpleasant and can even lead to vomiting. Most people I know who smoked started because they wanted to be liked by their peers, wanted to lose weight (and be liked by their peers), or had an emotional attachment to the smell because family members had smoked.

88mph said...

I still believe there is a marked difference between emotion and instinct.

To quote:

Instincts are unlearned, inherited fixed action patterns of responses or reactions to certain kinds of stimuli. Innate emotions, which can be expressed in more flexible ways and learned patterns of responses, not instincts, form a basis for majority of responses to external stimuli in evolutionary higher species, while in case of highest evolved species both of them are overridden by actions based on cognitive processes with more or less intelligence and creativity or even trans-intellectual intuition.

I think a lot of how people see and do things is conditioning, especially towards love. If there weren't millions of love songs, romance subplots in movies and television shows, inundations of Hallmark cards, people would place infinitely less importance on it.

Much like a great majority of women who expect to get a diamond engagement ring, and a great majority of men who expect to have no choice but to dump two months salary on one. No one had that drive or interest one hundred years ago, until De Beers stepped in and created that connection.

Your big-breasted explanation doesn't fly because if you ask someone why they love their kid or their parents, they can't describe it and if you ask someone who's partner is an obvious scumbag why they love that person, they may list some good qualities but in the end, they just love them and they're not sure why.

How do those two relate? I'm showing how lust, attraction, sex, are very instinctual, and free of any sort of conditioning. Most men that are attracted to large-breasted women don't tend to do so because society said so. Much like a heterosexual female being attracted to men. She's not so because society tells her to be, she just is.

Emotion is something largely influenced by perception and society and more. Parent/child bonding can be easily achieved without a single emotion. In many animals, especially lower ones, chemical response is triggered in order to ensure the parent doesn't kill or eat the offspring.

It doesn't mean the parent "loves" it's offspring.

Cute animals make me happy because humans often tend to see soft, cuddly things as good"-- same as they speculate as to why they are attracted to something-- "I like big breasts because big breasts have always been shown as very attractive." That doesn't mean they know. Your definition of instinct as a pure, clean reaction does not include lust. Arousal, yes, as it's response to a stimuli. But lust-- attraction to a specific type of person-- is completely subjective and no more clean and pure than happiness.

See, there's my point though. If something is presented to you as good, you'll inevitably see it so. Something doesn't need to be shown as attractive for you to still be attracted to it.

For example, men that are attracted to overweight women, specifically. Society says that is unattractive. They're still attracted to that trait. They have no say in that, and never did. Instinctual behavior.

Life is simply easier if the important things-- liking something that is good, fearing something that is bad, working towards helping others even if it is at a personal loss-- don't require conscious thought.

Personally, I think it's easier if you never have to deal with those things in the first place. Minimal disruption, and inconvenience.

And that's not even talking about whether they would enjoy it. It's saying that they would not be able to, they would not be able to do things like reproduce or help others or even function in a society.

Whoever said that life was somehow supposed to be enjoyable? I don't recall signing a contract at birth that guaranteed enjoyment.

Besides, reproduction as stated, is an instinctual drive. It's why a great majority of men are sexually attracted to pregnant women. Most of us are designed to be aroused by that, in order to ease us towards wanting to make a woman pregnant.

Reproduction is still generally instinctual anyway. Besides, I function in society perfectly fine.

I can't say reading your self description of yourself that you seem like a good model for a species. You don't like children and don't want them. You do not seek out partners who would help you raise children. You do not make an effort to help raise another's child or to adopt children

Well, I have no interest in being a doctor, but someone else might. Much like children. It could simply become an occuption you choose to get into. The raising of children.

I don't seek out partners who would help me raise children, because as you said, I don't want children, and as I've said, I have no interest in dating/romance/etcetera.

Do you honestly believe if there was not a problem with overpopulation you would want to have a biological child and raise them with another person to best ensure they were healthy and well-rounded and likely to help the world? Spend all that time and energy knowing you would get no personal benefit? It seems implausible at best.

Well, no, even if there were not an overpopulation issue, I would still be uninterested in children.

As to the smoking, I take it you never considered the cost of the ostracizing that smokers receive in the modern world or the growing impracticality of having to find places to smoke.

What people think of my activities doesn't affect whether or not I do them.

I am either at work, or at home. At home, naturally, no one will tell me not to smoke. Outside my workplace on a break, no one will tell me not to smoke.

I am still curious as to why you started smoking, since I am told that the initial few times a person smokes it is vastly unpleasant and can even lead to vomiting.

First out, that's generally an urban legend, tied to the "mom/dad found me smoking and made me smoke a whole pack". Not really true.

The first time I smoked was very similar to any other, except the first introduction of the stimulant to my body was much more potent than later uses.

Most people I know who smoked started because they wanted to be liked by their peers, wanted to lose weight (and be liked by their peers), or had an emotional attachment to the smell because family members had smoked.

I started for much the same reason as I started drinking coffee. I was aware of the benefits given by ingesting stimulants.

Basiorana said...

"Instincts are unlearned, inherited fixed action patterns of responses or reactions to certain kinds of stimuli."

Okay, fine. A startle reflex is an instinct. So is getting an erection. But by your definition, fear is not an instinct, it is an emotion. And yet most mammals, many reptiles, and many birds have the same neurological fear response as humans do. Emotions are one step above instinct as you define it, but they are every bit as innate as instinct. With effort, a person can suppress their emotions AND their instincts (people who train their muscles can force themselves not to startle). But considering that in most cases, emotion can do immediately and instinctively what logic tells us to do after much thought, why bother?

Actions based solely on cognitive processes cannot occur without intelligence at a level higher than the average human possesses.

"If there weren't millions of love songs, romance subplots in movies and television shows, inundations of Hallmark cards, people would place infinitely less importance on it."

If that were the case, surely some culture, somewhere, would not value love. Even in cultures where marriage for love is rare and people are more likely to marry someone because of a good alliance or because they are likely to produce children, love is idolized. Every culture has love stories. If it were the result conditioning, some culture, somewhere, would not romanticize it and portray it as something to aspire to.

I agree that the modern Western ideal of romantic love is largely manufactured, but romantic love itself is not. Every single human culture on earth values romantic love, even if they interpret it as growing to love your spouse after you're married and that sort of thing. Diamond engagement rings are not love. That's a cultural manifestation. But the feeling of love is not, it is universal to humans. Just because the way we show an emotion is a cultural manifestation doesn't mean that the emotion itself is.

"Most men that are attracted to large-breasted women don't tend to do so because society said so."

Not true. In Ancient Greece women with large breasts were considered less attractive than women with medium or small breasts, because the latter looked younger and more virginal. Men in the US value hairlessness; men in Europe, hair. And it goes the other way too-- the notion that a big penis is more attractive is a very new one, only known in Western culture, because in many other cultures and times a large penis meant more pain to the woman. We can't control what we are attracted to, because the conditioning is subconscious and from a young age. We all feel attraction the same way, same as we all feel love the same way, but what we are attracted to and what type of person we find loveable is influenced by society. Homosexuality is much more complex than that as it involves genetic tendencies (which is like the tendency to prefer youth in partners) as well as environmental influences early in life, and hormones the body is exposed to in pregnancy. Big breasts, not so much.

"In many animals, especially lower ones, chemical response is triggered in order to ensure the parent doesn't kill or eat the offspring."

You really don't understand at all. Emotion is a chemical response. That's exactly what it is. Chemicals are released in the brain. Our chemical response is a bit more complex than theirs but the principle is the same. What those animals feel is very close to what humans feel, except it's harder for them to suppress or manipulate it. The parent does "love" it's offspring same as humans "love" theirs. It's just that they don't think about it.

"For example, men that are attracted to overweight women, specifically. Society says that is unattractive. They're still attracted to that trait."

Many people rebel against what is traditionally considered beautiful; also, less important than society as a whole is immediate surroundings. If a person's mother is overweight, or people who raise them are overweight, it doesn't matter if society says it's ugly, they can still see it as attractive.

"Personally, I think it's easier if you never have to deal with those things in the first place."

So... people shouldn't avoid things that are dangerous? They shouldn't help others? They shouldn't do things that benefit their body?

"Besides, reproduction as stated, is an instinctual drive."

And yet, oddly enough, one of the common traits of people who have limited or abnormal emotional response is a lack of desire to have sex, and even more commonly, a lack of interest in raising children.

"It could simply become an occupation you choose to get into. The raising of children."

So people are going to pay them? Who? The government? That would only work if you had a communistic government, which has been proven to fail. Besides, what kinds of salaries would you need to have to have someone have a 24 hour job raising a child for 18 years? Or are you basically advocating massive daycares? A child without emotion would need a strict moral code. That's not the sort of thing that comes out of institutionalization.

Raising a child is such an incredibly thankless job that the only reason that a person would ever be inclined to continue it is if they felt an emotional attachment to that child. It's kind of like how you never hear a teacher saying they went into it for the money.

Anonymous said...

Alexithymia - a lack of emotions, seems to limit a person's ability to react effectively to people, places and things, leaving the individual utterly lacking in the fundamental skill of emotional intelligence. Discriminating among emotions as well as between emotion and bodily sensation is reliant upon the ability to develop a mental representation which adequately contains these differentiations. Goleman cites Henry Roth's novel Call It Sleep in regard to the power of language. "If you could put words to what you felt, it was yours."

While strong feelings can create havoc in reasoning, the lack of awareness of feelings can also be ruinous. The intuitive signals that guide us come in the form of what Antonio Damasio, neurologist calls "somatic markers" - literally, gut feelings. More often than not these markers steer us away from some choice that experience warns us against, though they can also alert us to a golden opportunity. Emotions that simmer beneath the threshold of awareness can have a powerful impact on how we perceive and act, even though we have not idea they are at work.

The goal is balance, not emotional suppression: every feeling has its value and significance; feeling proportionate to circumstances. Maintaining a reflective posture during a reflexive incident takes energy and skill. We may have little or no control over when we are swept by emotion, nor over what emotion it will be, but we can have some say in how long an emotion will last and how we will act under its onslaught.

Chogyam Trungpa, a Tibetan teacher, perhaps has best summarized the difficult balancing act that must be learned for emotional control - "Don't suppress it. But don't act on it."


Source

88mph said...

But by your definition, fear is not an instinct, it is an emotion.

Not necessarily. Fear response in animals is largely run from the sense of "if dissimilar thing is not prey, it is danger".

It's why my 30 pound Maine Coon will hiss, spit, and run away from a 3 pound puppy.

But considering that in most cases, emotion can do immediately and instinctively what logic tells us to do after much thought, why bother?

Emotion is a flawed response system, that's why. It causes people to make decisions that would otherwise be considered illogical, and downright foolhardy.

Emotions make someone kill their lover. Emotions make someone cheat on their lover. Emotions make people do very ridiculous, ill-advised things. If those things had been logically thought out, they would be avoided.

Actions based solely on cognitive processes cannot occur without intelligence at a level higher than the average human possesses.

Not necessarily. People have never tried, because so far, they haven't needed to.

If that were the case, surely some culture, somewhere, would not value love. Even in cultures where marriage for love is rare and people are more likely to marry someone because of a good alliance or because they are likely to produce children, love is idolized. Every culture has love stories. If it were the result conditioning, some culture, somewhere, would not romanticize it and portray it as something to aspire to.

See, you proved my point: "Every culture has love stories". It's romanticised because people made it so.

Just look at Rome. Killing, violence and the like, were treated as entertainment, and it became so ingrained into the population that people just assumed that watching people die in unfair fights was "fun".

Just because the way we show an emotion is a cultural manifestation doesn't mean that the emotion itself is.

I don't think it's as universal as you say it is. I'm certain I'm not the only person that doesn't value it.

We can't control what we are attracted to, because the conditioning is subconscious and from a young age.

Only partially. This argument can't always work. We say gay people are attracted to the same gender because they are. I don't know any gay person that would accept being told they only like what they like because of social conditioning.

If it were ENTIRELY social conditioning, people wouldn't be attracted to things outside of what society says is attractive.

I wouldn't consider it being intentionally rebellious.

Nor do I think it's conditioning. I know a few males that are deeply attracted to overweight women, who have thin sisters, thin mothers, thin female friends. They still prefer overweight women.

So... people shouldn't avoid things that are dangerous? They shouldn't help others? They shouldn't do things that benefit their body?

You sort of took me out of context.

I'm saying if one never had to deal with the situations involved.

Logic would keep you from having to be in situations where emotional response is needed to get a result.

And yet, oddly enough, one of the common traits of people who have limited or abnormal emotional response is a lack of desire to have sex, and even more commonly, a lack of interest in raising children.

Because there are so few people like us that it doesn't matter. Besides which, none of us would want to do that sort of thing with some overly emotional person.

So people are going to pay them? Who? The government? That would only work if you had a communistic government, which has been proven to fail.

Well, first off, I fail to see how a government job is communist. The postal workers are paid by the government. So are the police, fire, and emergency services.

Doesn't make us communist. Call it a public service, like the cops or 911.

Besides, what kinds of salaries would you need to have to have someone have a 24 hour job raising a child for 18 years? Or are you basically advocating massive daycares? A child without emotion would need a strict moral code. That's not the sort of thing that comes out of institutionalization.

You might think that, but schools manage to instill various things in multiple people at once.

Let the office that organizes it figure out the salary.

Raising a child is such an incredibly thankless job that the only reason that a person would ever be inclined to continue it is if they felt an emotional attachment to that child.

It's not thankless if you're paid for it. That's why people work in daycares.

It's kind of like how you never hear a teacher saying they went into it for the money.

Ah, but professors do.

Basiorana said...

"Fear response in animals is largely run from the sense of "if dissimilar thing is not prey, it is danger"."

Yeah, but your cat does not go through the logic of "I do not recognize it. It does not seem edible. Thus it might be dangerous." Instead, it sees the stimuli-- a puppy-- and it's brain registers it as a a potential danger and thus triggers a fear response-- dumping emotions into it's system. Same thing as with humans.

"Emotions make people do very ridiculous, ill-advised things. If those things had been logically thought out, they would be avoided."

I'm not saying that people should just go by their emotions all the time. Logic is incredibly important for a balanced society. But so is emotion. Both are important. Ideally, a person feels emotion, registers it, and decides if it is a good thing to act on. They get the initial response-- say, fear of the dark-- and then they think, "Well, why am I afraid of the dark? Dangers can hide in the dark. So, if I make sure my house is secured, I don't have to fear the dark." And yet, they're still going to have an immediate response to things where they have to act quickly, before they can think, like someone jumping out at them or when they fall on train tracks. What's more, they are able to feel things like love, happiness, etc. Yeah, that's hard to obtain, but it's generally considered (both by people who study the brain and by people who have mastered controlling their own minds, like yogi) better than either not having the emotions at all, or acting on everything that pops up in your head. Balance.

"See, you proved my point: "Every culture has love stories". It's romanticised because people made it so."

There are almost no constants across human cultures. Emotions are one of those constants. What a culture finds beautiful, how it raises it's children, how it shows it's emotions-- none of those are common across cultures that were never exposed to each other. And yet, love is. Anger is. Jealousy, sadness, happiness, fear-- all constants. The emotional response, if not neccessarily the trigger, is identical. If it was truly a cultural construct, people from different cultures would feel emotions differently; some might not feel them at all. Yet you can take an Aboriginal man and a Japanese man and a Mexican man and ask them to describe what they feel when they feel a given emotion and they'll describe the feeling about the same way, if in another language. The love stories came after the love, not before.

And Rome had gladitorial fights; Medieval Europe watched knights clash swords; we have wrestling, boxing, etc. The enjoyment of watching violent competition has not died. Romans just put a different value on the lives of someone they did not know than we do. And when popular gladiators were killed, they were mourned by their admirers.

"I'm certain I'm not the only person that doesn't value it."

Yes. Other people with antisocial personality disorders that make them unable to feel emotions probably feel the same way you do. I'm talking about people with normal emotional intelligence.

"We say gay people are attracted to the same gender because they are. I don't know any gay person that would accept being told they only like what they like because of social conditioning."

It's partially biological and partially environmental. That's the most common explanation. But the truth is, scientists really don't know what causes homosexuality. Just because it's un-PC to say that environmental influences while in utero or in earliest development could cause homosexuality doesn't mean it's impossible that that is the case.

It's not entirely social conditioning. But it's strongly influenced by it. For example, humans have a biological tendency to prefer youth. That's programmed into us and fairly universal, like love, fear, or anger. But a preference for large breasts comes from society (it was not seen in some cultures, for example among Asians, until Western influence). Another example would be circumcision vs. not; in some cultures a circumcised penis is beautiful and an uncircumsized one is unattractive. That's obviously not programmed in.

Same way we are programmed to feel love for family members, but social conditioning tells us what our family is-- almost always partner, children and parents but often siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or anyone with the same family name. Initial programming is universal, how it is applied is affected by our society and our choices.

"I'm saying if one never had to deal with the situations involved."

Right, so we never have to worry about dangers if we have logic. You can cross the street and a car could come around the corner with the driver watching something else, like another pedestrian, and that's a danger. Dangers can be completely unpredictable and happen in an instant. Fear is faster than logic.

And what if you pass an injured person who asks for your help? Logic says move on, because they aren't likely to help you in return, unless you're trying to fit into a society where people are compassionate and would cause negative repercussions if you didn't help. Compassion tells a passerby to help even at their own loss.

"Because there are so few people like us that it doesn't matter. Besides which, none of us would want to do that sort of thing with some overly emotional person."

You want more people to feel the way you do, the only way to do it is to outbreed everyone else. Evolution says the group that has the most children will surpass the groups with the least. Since people who can't feel emotion do not reproduce or raise children, they are nothing more than mutations that are absorbed back into the system. That's why humanity could never lose it's emotions. The emotional people will always outbreed those who cannot feel and those who cannot feel will remain abnormalities, occurring only when there's a bad parent, trauma, or simply a biological mutation. Especially since emotional people look at the lives of those who cannot feel what they feel with pity, and would never want that for their children, so they would not intentionally suppress their offspring's emotional development.

"Call it a public service, like the cops or 911."

A public service that requires either a few people to have many many children (requiring even more payment for each) or almost the entire population having one or two children (requiring that you pay your entire population a salary). The staff would need to be enormous. Taxes to pay them, as well as for the children's needs, would be astronomical.

"You might think that, but schools manage to instill various things in multiple people at once."

1) It's different with small children. Very different. They need personal, specialized attention. The most toddlers one person can effectively care for at once is maybe five; for infants, it's three and newborns, one, maybe two if you plant their schedules right.
2) Schools are more ineffective the more students they have. The most effective programs give students individual projects and assignments tailored to their own creative and intellectual strengths. Without that, parents have to do the same thing for their kids for the kids to develop intellectually and creatively.

"It's not thankless if you're paid for it. That's why people work in daycares."

Spoken like someone who has never worked in a daycare. I did, in high school for a few years. The subject of why they did the job came up. Salaries are very low (basically enough to live off of), you need a college degree to be alone with the kids, the job is not prestigious and the kids pee on your shoes and eat dirt. Every single person who worked at that daycare said the same thing-- they were doing the job because they loved kids. I have never met a daycare employee who had any other reason behind chosing that feild. Many even had to leave it eventually because it was so poorly paid, not respected and we had a high rate of contracting illness, and they were heartbroken about it because they loved the children.

Professors are a little different from primary or secondary school teachers. Professors are given respect and their students are interested in learning. Plus, they are paid more. Teachers of high schools are treated terribly by students and administration. They are paid next to nothing (though more than daycare providers) and have to try to get students who have no interest in learning about a certain subject, or no aptitude in it, to actually work and learn something so they can eventually contribute to society.

88mph said...

Yeah, but your cat does not go through the logic of "I do not recognize it. It does not seem edible. Thus it might be dangerous." Instead, it sees the stimuli-- a puppy-- and it's brain registers it as a a potential danger and thus triggers a fear response-- dumping emotions into it's system. Same thing as with humans.

Which is why it could be argued that a very base, primitive fear reaction is in fact, a fear instinct.

It's the immediate response, usually without any thought or feeling, of either fighting or fleeing from danger/the unknown.

Like I said earlier: "Instincts are unlearned, inherited fixed action patterns of responses or reactions to certain kinds of stimuli."

Fear of the unknown isn't learned, it's innate.

I'm not saying that people should just go by their emotions all the time. Logic is incredibly important for a balanced society. But so is emotion. Both are important. Ideally, a person feels emotion, registers it, and decides if it is a good thing to act on.

People rarely work this way. They usually get hot with emotion, act badly, and then are filled with more emotion,(regret) later.

Logic is simply a better system.

What's more, they are able to feel things like love, happiness, etc. Yeah, that's hard to obtain, but it's generally considered (both by people who study the brain and by people who have mastered controlling their own minds, like yogi) better than either not having the emotions at all, or acting on everything that pops up in your head. Balance.

Why shoot for an unattainable goal? Most marriages end in divorce, most relationships simply end.

Very, very few people exhibit any sort of balance, or at least, they don't have anything resembling perfect, or even good balance.

Women stay with men that beat them, people cheat on each other, people kill others for shoes, of all things.

Balance is pretty hard to find, apparently.

There are almost no constants across human cultures. Emotions are one of those constants. What a culture finds beautiful, how it raises it's children, how it shows it's emotions-- none of those are common across cultures that were never exposed to each other. And yet, love is. Anger is. Jealousy, sadness, happiness, fear-- all constants.

If someone "feels" something, they'll write about it, express it to their offspring, etcetera. Naturally, they're a constant, because people are built of the same stuff.

I'm saying each culture, considering they all feel the same things, will place the same amount of importance on them, especially in the romanticising of them.

Yes. Other people with antisocial personality disorders that make them unable to feel emotions probably feel the same way you do. I'm talking about people with normal emotional intelligence.

Well, I think it's false to label people different from yourself as inherently "disordered".

Besides, I'd much prefer, and am far more benefitted by, logical intelligence, instead of some nigh-upon fallacious thing like "emotional intelligence".

It's not entirely social conditioning. But it's strongly influenced by it. For example, humans have a biological tendency to prefer youth. That's programmed into us and fairly universal, like love, fear, or anger. But a preference for large breasts comes from society (it was not seen in some cultures, for example among Asians, until Western influence).

A bit of both. If certain people, say, in Asian countries, were attracted to lithe, thin females, that's what they would breed with. It would eventually breed that into the majority. Thus, if people that like that trait were bred more often, WITH people of that trait, eventually people would simply be biologically attracted to that.

Then, the people liking, say, large breasts, would be the occasional rarity.

I believe it's more genetic than social.

Another example would be circumcision vs. not; in some cultures a circumcised penis is beautiful and an uncircumsized one is unattractive. That's obviously not programmed in.

That's a largely unrelated thing. Breasts can be large, small, teardrop shaped, round, flat, whatever, it depends on the woman. Penises are never circumcised by nature.

Right, so we never have to worry about dangers if we have logic. You can cross the street and a car could come around the corner with the driver watching something else, like another pedestrian, and that's a danger. Dangers can be completely unpredictable and happen in an instant. Fear is faster than logic.

With truly logical people, stupid behaviour would be largely avoided entirely, so people would not be in situations where a knee-jerk emotional response would be required.

You want more people to feel the way you do, the only way to do it is to outbreed everyone else. Evolution says the group that has the most children will surpass the groups with the least.

Evolution also has a way of making traits pop up regardless. If a trait occurs in me, and someone else, and someone else, even if we don't breed, it will keep popping up. It could be environmental stimulus on the DNA, who knows.

Hominids popped up all over the place, in vastly separated regions, without ever interacting with the other tribes thereof.

Especially since emotional people look at the lives of those who cannot feel what they feel with pity, and would never want that for their children, so they would not intentionally suppress their offspring's emotional development.

I look on people who are forever chained to those same emotions in a similar manner.

I imagine life would be quite awful to be bound by the rules of a game you aren't allowed to know, that change at random.

A public service that requires either a few people to have many many children (requiring even more payment for each) or almost the entire population having one or two children (requiring that you pay your entire population a salary). The staff would need to be enormous. Taxes to pay them, as well as for the children's needs, would be astronomical.

Not when you factor on a ZPG mentality, which I would support.

Zero Population Growth, if you didn't know already. No more couples having 15+ children. Adults will be replaced on a 1:1 ratio, to ensure the population wouldn't become overblown.

It could easily be done.

Spoken like someone who has never worked in a daycare.

I know someone who does, and she makes a very considerable amount of money, along with full coverage insurance benefits.

Not a bad shake.

Basiorana said...

Fear isn't learned. I wasn't saying it was. I'm saying that all our emotions are as unlearned as fear. Love is an instinct to protect and care for those one is attached to. Anger is an instinct to fight against that which is unfair. They are all primal feelings, as important and instinctual as fear. How we express them and what triggers them is all that varies.

"People rarely work this way. They usually get hot with emotion, act badly, and then are filled with more emotion,(regret) later."

True, they don't. But they can, if they are raised properly. The trouble is that we Westerners do not take care of our children as we should. Buddhist child-rearing, for example, tends to result in a more peaceful, controlled person.

I could say the same thing about people without emotion. Some people without emotion learn to act in ways that help them fit in. They learn to mimic emotion and they learn to think quickly to make up for the lack of immediate response. They learn to weigh cost and benefit and consider all angles.

But other people without emotion don't understand logic as you do. Some are wholy self-centered, completely incapable of doing anything that doesn't given them immediate results. Others respond to their apathy by not bothering to get up in the morning or work, because they do not feel a need to. And some do not understand the value of life, or understand the suffering that others feel, and that leads them to do things like tear the wings off flies or kill cats. The difference is, the people who are emotional and do something wrong will regret it, and it is possible for them to then understand the gravity of their crime. The people who do not feel emotion cannot understand the gravity of their crime even with logical appeals. Rehabilitation is unlikely at best if you can't make a person feel remorse.

"I'm saying each culture, considering they all feel the same things, will place the same amount of importance on them, especially in the romanticising of them."

You admit all cultures feel the same thing and yet you still think that it's a cultural manifestation? Every single human being feels physical pain unless they have a nerve disorder. Is pain a cultural manifestation? People talk about their physical pain all the time.

They all feel the same things because they are programmed to feel the same things. It's in their brain chemistry. Thus it is not a cultural manifestation.

"Well, I think it's false to label people different from yourself as inherently "disordered"."

That wasn't me, that's the general term for it according to neurologists and psychologists. People who have studied the brain consider a lack of emotions a mental disorder. I might as well say "Well, I think it's false to label people different from myself as inherently disordered, so I don't care what medicine says, anemia is not an illness." But another term is alexithymia, is that better?

"If certain people, say, in Asian countries, were attracted to lithe, thin females, that's what they would breed with. It would eventually breed that into the majority. Thus, if people that like that trait were bred more often, WITH people of that trait, eventually people would simply be biologically attracted to that."

And yet now that they are mixing in with Western culture so freely, in only a generation or so Japanese men have moved from preferring thin, relatively flat-chested women to those with a curvy figure. With exceptions, of course, there are always exceptions.

"That's a largely unrelated thing. Breasts can be large, small, teardrop shaped, round, flat, whatever, it depends on the woman. Penises are never circumcised by nature."

That's not quite true, there is a condition called aposthia in which the foreskin is not present at birth, but that's not really relevant. And yet the fact remains that circumcision is a very important quality in sexual attraction, where women who believe that a foreskin is unattractive will be disgusted by an uncircumcised penis. How do you explain this, if sexual attraction is purely biological?

"With truly logical people, stupid behavior would be largely avoided entirely, so people would not be in situations where a knee-jerk emotional response would be required."

There are always situations. You're crossing a bridge and a cord snaps. You're a vet and a dog attacks you. Your house is hit by lightning and it catches on fire. There are always dangers that happen quickly and need a knee-jerk response, unless you live in a utopia where absolutely nothing breaks ever, you control the weather, and animals use logic too. And that's ignoring the fact that not everyone will use "true" logic, there will always be people whose brains aren't wired right.

"Hominids popped up all over the place, in vastly separated regions, without ever interacting with the other tribes thereof."

Incorrect, hominid ancestors originated in Africa from a single strain and migrated to those separate regions in varying points of prehistory. We may have followed similar evolutionary lines but that's just because those lines had some sort of advantage in survival.

"If a trait occurs in me, and someone else, and someone else, even if we don't breed, it will keep popping up."

Evolution cannot just happen. Have you ever taken a college-level biology course? You have to have a biological advantage, greater fitness (aka more children that survive long enough to mate), to proceed. Yes, mutations occur regardless, and if they are side-effects of another, good trait or they do not affect reproduction they are passed on (hence why we have more genetic diseases now, since the infected are living long enough to reproduce more often). However, lack of emotions clearly does affect reproduction, so it will constantly be reabsorbed as a sort of failed experiment. That's assuming that it's not a result of long-term repression and emotional abuse as a child, as it sometimes is-- something that an emotional parent would not intentionally inflict on their child unless they were sadistic.

"I imagine life would be quite awful to be bound by the rules of a game you aren't allowed to know, that change at random."

They don't. I know the rules. I know what I am afraid of, what makes me angry, what makes me sad. Only exception is when I have a hormonal imbalance, which I go to a doctor for. I know the rules. Most people know their own rules as well, unless they encounter a completely foreign situation. And really, logic falters in the face of completely foreign situations as well.

"No more couples having 15+ children. Adults will be replaced on a 1:1 ratio, to ensure the population wouldn't become overblown."

That's what I was talking about. That's still a large number of children to care for. Almost 20% of your population, assuming an 80 year lifespan. To properly care for that many children, you would have to be employing 5-10% of your population just for their immediate care, not to mention their medical care, clothing, food, housing, schooling, and specialized classes for those who would do better in jobs that require different strengths than the norm. Plus every single disabled or mentally handicapped child would need to have private care and their own aide, and special health care and schooling; you'd also need individual aides for students who are mentally disturbed, plus intensive therapy. That's a lot of money. Taxes would be astronomical.

"I know someone who does, and she makes a very considerable amount of money, along with full coverage insurance benefits."

Aka she works in a private, for-profit daycare taking care of wealthy people's children. Public or not-for-profit daycares pay next to nothing. The one I worked in was not-for profit, which is what any government funded daycare would be-- and the tuition was still incredibly high compared to, say, a daycare in a poorer area, where such high tuition is difficult or impossible and the workers are untrained and the care is substandard unless you happen to get a person who cares a great deal about children and thus doesn't care that she's paid jack to take care of screaming, needy children all day.

88mph said...

Fear isn't learned. I wasn't saying it was. I'm saying that all our emotions are as unlearned as fear. Love is an instinct to protect and care for those one is attached to. Anger is an instinct to fight against that which is unfair. They are all primal feelings, as important and instinctual as fear. How we express them and what triggers them is all that varies.

A lot of emotion is societal, though. If it was socially acceptable to murder people that angered you, it would be a common occurance. It's not, so it becomes a social indoctrination to weaken the anger response.

True, they don't. But they can, if they are raised properly. The trouble is that we Westerners do not take care of our children as we should. Buddhist child-rearing, for example, tends to result in a more peaceful, controlled person.

Perhaps, perhaps not. I do not take part in the raising of offspring, so it means little to my overall outlook.

I could say the same thing about people without emotion. Some people without emotion learn to act in ways that help them fit in. They learn to mimic emotion and they learn to think quickly to make up for the lack of immediate response. They learn to weigh cost and benefit and consider all angles.

Which is a preferable situation. Though, in all honesty, most regular people don't even need to be shown perfect mimicry. Even a very flimsy simulacrum of what they want/expect to see is good enough to set them at ease.

But other people without emotion don't understand logic as you do. Some are wholy self-centered, completely incapable of doing anything that doesn't given them immediate results.

There's nothing wrong with being self-centered, really.

Others respond to their apathy by not bothering to get up in the morning or work, because they do not feel a need to.

If they don't feel a need to, then they have some emotional variance.

And some do not understand the value of life, or understand the suffering that others feel, and that leads them to do things like tear the wings off flies or kill cats.

Doing random violence to other things implies an unbalanced state, especially if enjoyment is gained from it, which is usually the reason for animal torture. It's not that they don't understand it, they enjoy watching it. Which implies an emotional state again.

The difference is, the people who are emotional and do something wrong will regret it, and it is possible for them to then understand the gravity of their crime.

But they still do it. Some will continue to, repeatedly.

The people who do not feel emotion cannot understand the gravity of their crime even with logical appeals.

True use of logic would weigh the cost/benefit of such a crime. If you do murder, you will most likely be arrested, and be in jail. This is not beneficial, therefore doing murder is not logical. Simple as that.

You admit all cultures feel the same thing and yet you still think that it's a cultural manifestation?

I'm saying choosing to place so much importance on it, thus causing future generations to be indoctrinated with it is cultural. As I said, if we didn't continually write love songs, poems, stories, plots in shows and films, would people place nearly as much importance on it? No.

Every single human being feels physical pain unless they have a nerve disorder. Is pain a cultural manifestation? People talk about their physical pain all the time.

Pain is neither an emotion nor an instinct.

It's a nerve response to alert the brain that the body is taking physical damage. It's an electrical impulse.

They all feel the same things because they are programmed to feel the same things. It's in their brain chemistry. Thus it is not a cultural manifestation.

Treating it as vastly more importance than other things, however, is cultural.

That wasn't me, that's the general term for it according to neurologists and psychologists. People who have studied the brain consider a lack of emotions a mental disorder.

Yeah, and homosexuality used to be considered one, and people used to think phrenology was a valid science.

Things change over time.

I might as well say "Well, I think it's false to label people different from myself as inherently disordered, so I don't care what medicine says, anemia is not an illness."

That's different, and also the fallacy of false analogy. Anemia is a physical condition, completely other than anything of the mind or mental state. Anemia can also be shown to be detrimental in all cases if left to run it's own course.

Being in an emotionless state does not compare to anemia, because, at least in this case, detriment is in the eye of the beholder.

And yet the fact remains that circumcision is a very important quality in sexual attraction, where women who believe that a foreskin is unattractive will be disgusted by an uncircumcised penis. How do you explain this, if sexual attraction is purely biological?

That's a very distinct feature, and as I said, not entirely relevant. You can be taught to approve of things that don't occur inside nature, such as makeup, circumcision, and various other things. This does not mean the innate attraction of a heterosexual woman to a penis in general is somehow completely social.

I am speaking of attraction being biological in it's rawest form, not in concepts of cultural aesthetics, and fashions of the time.

There are always situations. You're crossing a bridge and a cord snaps. You're a vet and a dog attacks you. Your house is hit by lightning and it catches on fire. There are always dangers that happen quickly and need a knee-jerk response, unless you live in a utopia where absolutely nothing breaks ever, you control the weather, and animals use logic too. And that's ignoring the fact that not everyone will use "true" logic, there will always be people whose brains aren't wired right.

A logical person would have a plan of action in mind for just such an occurance, ahead of time.

I plan all my own actions at least 2 steps ahead. There are also contingency plans for most occurances, already filed away.

Incorrect, hominid ancestors originated in Africa from a single strain and migrated to those separate regions in varying points of prehistory. We may have followed similar evolutionary lines but that's just because those lines had some sort of advantage in survival.

You know what I meant. Incredibly early strains of hominid are incredibly far removed from us, to the point also, where skeletons found all over the world show varying stages of evolution.

Some regions having forms that never became part of modern humans, some being at different levels of advancement than others.

The point is, they still all ended up at the same final form.

Evolution cannot just happen. Have you ever taken a college-level biology course? You have to have a biological advantage, greater fitness (aka more children that survive long enough to mate), to proceed.

Ah, but it does. Evolution is also determined after a fashion, by the environment. If the sun became dimmer in 1000 years, children would start randomly being born with eyes more suited to lower light conditions.

Even if you didn't breed these children together, offspring would still continue to gain this trait. It might happen vastly slower than controlled breeding of such traits, but it would still happen.

That's assuming that it's not a result of long-term repression and emotional abuse as a child, as it sometimes is-- something that an emotional parent would not intentionally inflict on their child unless they were sadistic.

Well, you're free to theorize on what you like, but even still, it's not like none of us have ever had sex.

Accidents can happen, children can be born, genes can move on.

That also doesn't account for the fact that if it were familial, it could very well be carried by any children the parent had. If you had 5 children, and one came out like me, you may very well have given recessive genes to the other 4, who could potentially pass it on as well.

They don't. I know the rules. I know what I am afraid of, what makes me angry, what makes me sad. Only exception is when I have a hormonal imbalance, which I go to a doctor for. I know the rules. Most people know their own rules as well, unless they encounter a completely foreign situation. And really, logic falters in the face of completely foreign situations as well.

Ah, but those rules change at random, situations can cause an emotional rise in you that would leave you unprepared and bewildered.

Logic would simply attack the situation head on, define it, and solve it.

Taxes would be astronomical.

Not necessarily. In a world of logic, where no one fights over meaningless emotional causes such as "My god is better than yours" or "You have something I want, so instead of trade, I'll just take it", countries would be saving billions upon billions of dollars.

How much money would the US have if we had never gone to Iraq?

Taxes wouldn't be any worse than they are now, the money would simply be spent more wisely.

Aka she works in a private, for-profit daycare taking care of wealthy people's children. Public or not-for-profit daycares pay next to nothing. The one I worked in was not-for profit, which is what any government funded daycare would be-- and the tuition was still incredibly high compared to, say, a daycare in a poorer area, where such high tuition is difficult or impossible and the workers are untrained and the care is substandard unless you happen to get a person who cares a great deal about children and thus doesn't care that she's paid jack to take care of screaming, needy children all day.

Well, these would be places that wouldn't be some low income, bad neighborhood type thing. Remember, logic world. People wouldn't drop out of highschool because they think they're going to be a rapper, or for any other illogical, stupid reason.

Plus, if we can assume we're simply sampling DNA from people, sperm, eggs, these facilities could be placed anywhere.

Basiorana said...

"A lot of emotion is societal, though."

Yeah, never said it wasn't. Triggers and expression vary based on culture. But the actual feeling does not. I can feel angry and do nothing about it, and another person can feel equally angry and assert their needs, stand up for themselves and make a change, and another person can punch the offender in the nose.

However, the underlying feeling was the same. And it's a powerful one, because it gets people to make changes and to not just let people trample over them. Completely suppressing anger can make people into doormats. Wantonly expressing it is just as bad and sometimes worse.

"I do not take part in the raising of offspring, so it means little to my overall outlook."

Raising offspring isn't just something you do. It was also done to you, and done to those around you. I consider raising of offspring to be vitally important on the grounds that I don't want to have to deal with spoiled princesses or people who have developmental disorders.

"There's nothing wrong with being self-centered, really."

Yes, there is. An ideal person can balance the needs of many (long-term overall benefit) over the needs of one (themselves, personal short-term benefit). If a person can improve society and the world overall at a personal cost, they should.

"If they don't feel a need to, then they have some emotional variance."

They don't feel anything. That includes feeling ambition to do work. They just eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, that sort of thing-- absolute minimum to survive.

"Doing random violence to other things implies an unbalanced state, especially if enjoyment is gained from it, which is usually the reason for animal torture. It's not that they don't understand it, they enjoy watching it. Which implies an emotional state again.'

Not exactly, many sociopaths kill cats that annoy them. Some get enjoyment out of it, usually because they have suppressed all other possible methods of getting enjoyment. Others simply do it because they feel it is more practical than dealing with the minor annoyance.

"If you do murder, you will most likely be arrested, and be in jail. This is not beneficial, therefore doing murder is not logical."

Many serial crimes are still not solved because the murderer was capable of completely covering their tracks. A person who watches crime shows and is capable of calculated, logical action could easily find an opportunity to kill another without the cops ever being able to trace them. Most murderers are caught not because the cops are particularly good, but because the murderer messed up their logic and was using emotion instead. Our methods of crime solving are almost entirely based on the understanding that people are emotional and make mistakes sometimes-- a criminal who uses logic instead of emotion has very little chance of getting caught at all. Thus, with the ability to prevent any repercussions and a potential motive like "they were annoying" or "I am next in line for their job," why not commit a murder?

"As I said, if we didn't continually write love songs, poems, stories, plots in shows and films, would people place nearly as much importance on it? No."

Different individuals place different values on love. But if we are capable of it, we still want to feel it. Maybe it's something we're okay without or maybe we want it more than anything, but still, it makes people's lives better, overall, even with the potential downsides, so even if it's not necessary, it's still considered good.

Does our culture influence this? Yeah, sure, which is a good thing as it helped the shift from "trade women like cattle" to "let people chose their own spouses." Making love culturally more important to a relationship than how much money you can get from the bride's father was the first important step towards women having equal rights, because it meant that they were attracting men on their own merits rather than being commodities to be bought and sold. If sappy Hallmark commercials are a side-effect of that, so be it.

Valuing love over material gain (tangible benefits) gave women more control over their own lives. At the time, no "logical" person predicted that there would be real, tangible benefits to women who were treated better, controlling the number of children they had, and even working in the real world because they were valued as more than producers of children.

"It's a nerve response to alert the brain that the body is taking physical damage."

It was an example of how a natural process that is felt by all people cannot be entirely a cultural manifestation. What's more, how do you think emotion works? A stimuli (say, a bad smell) is transmitted to the brain via electrical impulses, where it is analyzed and causes the brain to dump a hormone to give a proper reaction (disgust, to discourage us from eating spoiled food). Pain's basically the same thing, except instead of dumping a hormone, the brain signals motion away from the pain, or signals to the active mind that there is pain it should consider fixing.

"Anemia is a physical condition, completely other than anything of the mind or mental state. Anemia can also be shown to be detrimental in all cases if left to run it's own course."

I have mild anemia. I have no side effects and it's not getting worse. It's not a problem for me, and ignoring it is easier than treating it, although I find it mildly bothersome that I can't donate blood. As far as I'm concerned, my anemia's not a problem, though doctors tell me it is. How is that different from your lack of emotions, again?

The mind and mental state are every bit as capable of having illness and deficiency as the physical body. Unless you think pneumonia is an illness, but schizophrenia isn't?

"I am speaking of attraction being biological in it's rawest form, not in concepts of cultural aesthetics, and fashions of the time."

It is biological in it's rawest form, same as every other emotion. I wasn't arguing that. I was simply arguing that triggers and expression of attraction are every bit as variable as triggers and expression of anger, or love. They are all emotions.

"I plan all my own actions at least 2 steps ahead. There are also contingency plans for most occurrences, already filed away."

So you have a plan for every single occurrence? Every possible thing that could happen to you? That's a heck of a lot of different plans.

You can always be surprised by something. That's just the way life works. Emotions are catch-alls for the things we don't know how to plan for.

"Ah, but it does. Evolution is also determined after a fashion, by the environment. If the sun became dimmer in 1000 years, children would start randomly being born with eyes more suited to lower light conditions."

Not how it works. Instead, if the sun became dimmer, children who randomly had eyes more suited to lower light conditions (beyond natural variation that we can experience now, if we, say, live our lives underground) would be less likely to, say, fall down the stairs and die before we had children. More would survive to adulthood and more would have children than the people who were adjusted to stronger light. Or we would just use lamps, and there would be no evolution.

We would all be better off as a species if our backs weren't designed so poorly and were less prone to pain. That would be good. BUT it doesn't improve our chances of survival and reproduction to do so-- people with back pain still have just as many kids. So we don't evolve.

A common misconception about evolution is that something that is better adapted will just spontaneously evolve. In fact, it only evolves that way if a) there is a reproductive advantage to having it or b) organisms with the same trait seek each other out and mate together, not with other unlike organisms. And an adaptation has to occur at all for us to evolve it, which is why humans can never mutate to have feathers instead of hair-- the mutation does not occur.

"If you had 5 children, and one came out like me, you may very well have given recessive genes to the other 4, who could potentially pass it on as well."

Sure. But their children would be heterozygous for the trait unless the other parent was also heterozygous for the trait, or homozygous. The children who were heterozygous for the trait would have children with other heterozygous types or with those who are homozygous lacking in the trait. The ones who eventually turned up homozygous for it, and thus expressed it, would have few children or none at all; they would still be out-bred, by a lot.

I'm not saying it's going to stop occurring, ever, just that it can never gain a serious percentage of the population because it does not offer a reproductive advantage.

In a world of logic, where no one fights over meaningless emotional causes such as "My god is better than yours" or "You have something I want, so instead of trade, I'll just take it", countries would be saving billions upon billions of dollars.

I'll give you the religion bit, but there will always be wars. Say a neighboring country controls your water supply. They use the water as they need for their land, to maximize efficiency and give the most benefit. You thus don't have enough water to sustain yourself. You talk to the country, they basically say "We feel it is more important that our own people have the most benefit for their efforts, and we control the water." War breaks out over the water supply.

Wars are actually very rarely fought over anything besides money, land, and power-- things that are still relevant even without emotion. Religion, personal offense-- those are secondary to other reasons, in most cases (some exceptions) and are primarily used to get a populace to back a war.

Even though Bush is an idiot with a personal vendetta, we wouldn't have gotten to Iraq without support from businesses looking to capitalize on the oil there.

"People wouldn't drop out of highschool because they think they're going to be a rapper, or for any other illogical, stupid reason."

Some people are not as smart as others. Fact of life. What's more, you need people to do the laborer work that requires less imagination and intelligence, the fruit-pickers and the factory workers. A genius will never consent to picking fruit their whole life, they could make more money at a more comfortable job. The only way that you can have an entire population of middle or upper class is a) you finally invent a cheap robot that can pick fruit without bruising it (best of luck with that) or b) you have a communist government where everyone gets told what to do and is paid the exact same (which would never work on an educated populace).

Even if they aren't placed in a poor area, they are going to be state-run, which means low salaries (only government workers who have ever gotten high salaries are those who could do the same vitally important job for more money elsewhere or those who are determining the size of the salaries), and insufficient funding (people often think of themselves first and if they don't have an emotional "think of the children!" response they will want money taken away from such programs and put into things that directly benefit them-- and there's nothing wrong with being self-centered?).

88mph said...

Yes, there is. An ideal person can balance the needs of many (long-term overall benefit) over the needs of one (themselves, personal short-term benefit). If a person can improve society and the world overall at a personal cost, they should.

The only person who will truly place your needs as most important is you. Always has been, always will be.

You will never be as important to another, as you are to yourself.

They don't feel anything. That includes feeling ambition to do work. They just eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, that sort of thing-- absolute minimum to survive.

You had said they didn't "feel" like going to work.

Not exactly, many sociopaths kill cats that annoy them. Some get enjoyment out of it, usually because they have suppressed all other possible methods of getting enjoyment. Others simply do it because they feel it is more practical than dealing with the minor annoyance.

In general, animal torture is a sign of very serious problems, not a simple lack of emotional variance.

Thus, with the ability to prevent any repercussions and a potential motive like "they were annoying" or "I am next in line for their job," why not commit a murder?

Because nothing is to be gained from it. Why do something that is not beneficial? Killing for the sake of killing, implies that someone takes some measure of benefit or enjoyment from the act itself, which is an emotion.

but still, it makes people's lives better, overall, even with the potential downsides, so even if it's not necessary, it's still considered good.

Subjective.

There are, I'm certain, many people who feel they would be better off if they hadn't fallen in love with some particular individual(s).

Many people suffer miserably because of it. I don't see how their lives are improved.

My life is perfectly acceptable lacking it, you see.

Does our culture influence this? Yeah, sure, which is a good thing as it helped the shift from "trade women like cattle" to "let people chose their own spouses." Making love culturally more important to a relationship than how much money you can get from the bride's father was the first important step towards women having equal rights, because it meant that they were attracting men on their own merits rather than being commodities to be bought and sold. If sappy Hallmark commercials are a side-effect of that, so be it.

Valuing love over material gain (tangible benefits) gave women more control over their own lives. At the time, no "logical" person predicted that there would be real, tangible benefits to women who were treated better, controlling the number of children they had, and even working in the real world because they were valued as more than producers of children.


Many earlier cultures found marriage for love to be a foolish concept, and a very bad reason for marrying.

Part of this was that marriages founded on love were expected to fail.

Marriage based on love is a fairly recent concept, and, ironically enough, in our "marriage for love" society, we have one of the highest divorce rates in the entire world. More than half of these marriages end in failure.

Marriage for money, or the combination of assets at least makes some logical sense. It serves a purpose.

They also figured there would be no real, tangible benefits to marrying for love, and love alone.

They were right.

Though, it appears many women are backsliding into the old system of marriage for financial gain.

It was an example of how a natural process that is felt by all people cannot be entirely a cultural manifestation.

Still a false analogy, as a physical sensation is not the same as a mental one.

You don't have an emotion of pain when struck, you have a physical impulse to the brain as a damage alarm.

I have mild anemia. I have no side effects and it's not getting worse. It's not a problem for me, and ignoring it is easier than treating it, although I find it mildly bothersome that I can't donate blood. As far as I'm concerned, my anemia's not a problem, though doctors tell me it is. How is that different from your lack of emotions, again?

Anecdotal evidence. Also, even mild anemia will cause the sufferer to have even slightly less energy, and be slightly easier to tire than one who does not. You might not even personally notice it, but it's measurable.

My lack of emotions has not ever, and will never, have any bearing on my physical state of well-being. That's why it's a false analogy. It's like comparing cancer to schizophrenia. Both are negative conditions, both can be treated, but neither can be compared to the other.

So you have a plan for every single occurrence? Every possible thing that could happen to you? That's a heck of a lot of different plans.

When one doesn't waste time dating, or spending money on fancy dinners and theatrical outings, and limits their interaction outside of the boundaries of work, one has fantastic amounts of time to devote to thoughts and ideas.

If I'm not at work, the remaining time is purely my own, and I spend it in thought, by and large.

You're used to a different kind of life, I'm sure you go home, speak to your boyfriend (assuming you reside together), if not, call him, talk to him, do various things, chitchat with friends, what have you.

I don't even speak aloud unless I'm at work.

You can always be surprised by something. That's just the way life works. Emotions are catch-alls for the things we don't know how to plan for.

You'd be surprised what one with great amounts of time to their thoughts can prepare for.

A common misconception about evolution is that something that is better adapted will just spontaneously evolve. In fact, it only evolves that way if a) there is a reproductive advantage to having it or b) organisms with the same trait seek each other out and mate together, not with other unlike organisms.

Not necessarily. Blue crabs are a common mutation cited, when one speaks of purposeless, non-beneficial mutations.

Light colored eyes are more sensitive to sunlight, and provide a distinct disadvantage, yet they haven't ever been bred out.

And an adaptation has to occur at all for us to evolve it, which is why humans can never mutate to have feathers instead of hair-- the mutation does not occur.

Feathers are pretty far outside our genetic code.

Emotions could be thought of as an accidental evolution, after a fashion. A completely brutal, low intelligence, animalistic hominid species would function just as well as we do, just in a different fashion. They would simply function like other animals.

they would still be out-bred, by a lot.

Lots of recessives add up over time, which is one reason light eyes have a hard time being bred out, and can even show up in a long line of brown eyed ancestors.

I'll give you the religion bit, but there will always be wars. Say a neighboring country controls your water supply. They use the water as they need for their land, to maximize efficiency and give the most benefit. You thus don't have enough water to sustain yourself. You talk to the country, they basically say "We feel it is more important that our own people have the most benefit for their efforts, and we control the water." War breaks out over the water supply.

War is heated emotion. "I want this!" "No, I want it!", "WE NEED IT MORE", "NO WE DO!".

Sure, that's greatly simplified, but there is a huge emotional content to war.

Two logical countries would find a way to run irrigation, create a storage plant, even out the resources, desalinate a salt lake, etcetera.

Something logical would be worked out, as war would be considered costly, stupid, illogical, and inefficient.

Wars are actually very rarely fought over anything besides money, land, and power-- things that are still relevant even without emotion. Religion, personal offense-- those are secondary to other reasons, in most cases (some exceptions) and are primarily used to get a populace to back a war.

Perhaps, but religion has always been a very driving force in war, and one of the more popular reasons humans kill each other.

Even though Bush is an idiot with a personal vendetta, we wouldn't have gotten to Iraq without support from businesses looking to capitalize on the oil there.

There's also the emotional matter of (in my opinion) personal offense at them "insulting" his father, and probably some component of wanting to show his father he can do something that would make him proud.

Emotions make people do stupid things.

Some people are not as smart as others. Fact of life.

This is true, but a lot of that could very well be genetic. A logic society, were it as you say, reproductively beneficial, that benefit would be in vastly more intelligent offspring. Intelligence usually equals a greater measure of success.

The only way that you can have an entire population of middle or upper class is a) you finally invent a cheap robot that can pick fruit without bruising it (best of luck with that) or b) you have a communist government where everyone gets told what to do and is paid the exact same (which would never work on an educated populace).

Or, you cycle the school age teenagers through the menial jobs. A lot of jobs people do COULD be easily done by robots, or similar.

Look at the auto-checkouts at grocery stores. The person who invented that just saved countless stores minimum wage times X cashiers per hour, completely eliminating one use of lower class worker.

Similar could be done in many places. I've purchased fuel at a completely automated gas station that had no human attendants.

they don't have an emotional "think of the children!" response they will want money taken away from such programs and put into things that directly benefit them-- and there's nothing wrong with being self-centered?).

Again, logic society would see benefit in a properly educated replacement class.

That's basically what children are. Replacements.

I've spent a lot of time thinking these things through. When one isn't sitting about, pining over a lost love, they can do that.

Yet, I'm certain you still think I'd be better off, were I more like you.

Basiorana said...

"The only person who will truly place your needs as most important is you."

So people shouldn't pay taxes if there are government programs that do not directly benefit them; that's a personal detriment without gain. They shouldn't volunteer to help the less fortunate, though that saves money for the government and will give those people a chance to become productive again.

A stable society needs some selfless people to help it run smoothly.

"You will never be as important to another, as you are to yourself."

And that is why the inability to feel love seems so horrible to people.

I vary in how much I value myself. Sometimes I think of myself in relation to the universe and I think I'm actually very unimportant, which is true-- we're all kind of unimportant.

But to my family, to my friends, I am important, always. Often they think I am more important than I think I am. Because they love me. That support system is amazing because I know that no matter what happens to me, I break my leg or get ill or whatever, I will still be so important to them that they will sacrifice their time and energy to help me without expecting anything in return.

"You had said they didn't "feel" like going to work."

Yes. Because they didn't "feel" anything. They felt no ambition.

"Because nothing is to be gained from it. Why do something that is not beneficial? "

There are many times when killing a person will give benefit to the murderer if he can get away with it. A person with a different belief than you who is in a position of power, for example. A person who has a better job that you are next in line for, that would give you more benefit for less effort.

"There are, I'm certain, many people who feel they would be better off if they hadn't fallen in love with some particular individual(s)."

Sure, but ask them if they would rather have never felt love at all.

"Marriage for money, or the combination of assets at least makes some logical sense. It serves a purpose."

If marriage is done for money, women lose rights. This has always been true. The less importance a culture places on love the more likely that women are abused, controlled, suppressed, treated like second-class citizens. We are physically weaker, so it is always us. As it is, women who marry for financial gain are little more than trophy wives, and are not treated as equals to the men they marry.

I consider a certain level of divorce rate to be a good thing. It means that women are able to control their own destiny, including getting out of bad relationships. Marriages for money are not "happier," it's just that the woman is financially dependent on the man and thus feels she cannot leave. Is that a successful marriage? One partner feels she dare not do anything wrong lest she get kicked out and the other partner does whatever he likes to her?

want real, tangible benefits? Women's rights could not have happened without marriage for love and the increased importance on the woman herself rather than her father's financial benefits. Women's rights meant decreased birth rate and doubling the work force without doubling the population. I'd say that's a real, tangible benefit.

"You might not even personally notice it, but it's measurable."

I could say the same thing to you and you would deny it.

"Both are negative conditions, both can be treated, but neither can be compared to the other."

Yes. The same is true for my mild anemia and your lack of emotions. Both are negative, though not severely so, both can be treated (lack of emotions can be treated through therapy). Are they the same thing? No.

"If I'm not at work, the remaining time is purely my own, and I spend it in thought, by and large"

I spend most of my time with my boyfriend debating and discussing ideas. We bounce theories off each other. My friends and family and I have intellectual discussions and I learn from them as they learn from me. The time I spend alone is usually devoted to thinking of such things myself. I think just as much as you do, I just have the advantage of second, third, and fourth opinions and suggestions.

Often other people can think of things you might not consider, or give science or technical advice on a topic because they have a different background. I am a biologist; my boyfriend is a psychologist and a writer; my mother understands English literature; my sister is a math expert. Thus we all have access to all that knowledge and advice because we talk to each other.

"Light colored eyes are more sensitive to sunlight, and provide a distinct disadvantage, yet they haven't ever been bred out."

Because nothing can be bred out unless it has an REPRODUCTIVE disadvantage. As long as people with light-colored eyes have as many children as those with dark-colored eyes they cannot be bred out.

Purposeless mutations occur all the time, even the same ones again and again, but the point is they either are reabsorbed into the general population or they are passed on because the mutated individuals interbreed.

"Emotions could be thought of as an accidental evolution, after a fashion."

Emotions increased our reproductive advantage because they kept us as social animals. Emotions only got more complex the more complex we got. Also, evolution is never anything but "accidental."

You're consistently using the No True Scotsman fallacy. Logic has proven many things that are later proven untrue. A person can use logic to prove the existence of God if they try hard enough. There is a reason why logic is secondary to evidence in science-- everyone uses it a little differently. Logic is as dependent on the preconceived notions of the user as anything.

To one person, logic says, "Help that person because it's not a great cost to you but it helps society." To another, logic says "Don't bother to help that person, it is a personal cost and they will never help you in return." To one person, logic says "Keep women equal to men to have an increased workforce;" to another, it says "Keep women as lesser citizens because they are less physically strong than men."

Logic has been used to validate slavery, to support completely ridiculous evolutionary theories, to justify self-centeredness and support religion. Have you ever debated with another person who thinks without emotion? No matter how alike you are, you will disagree on some levels. An entire population will disagree on MANY levels. You don't want a world in which everyone thinks logically without emotion, you want a world in which everyone has the exact same logical thought process as you.

Which we all want, to an extent. I'd love a world where everyone agreed with me. But it's a fantasy.

I'd also strongly suggest you take an class in evolutionary theory before you start debating evolution again. You clearly don't understand modern evolutionary theory well enough to effectively debate it. Of course, I say that to 90% of people on the internet-- at least you weren't trying to say we evolved from chimpanzees.

88mph said...

And that is why the inability to feel love seems so horrible to people.

When it comes right down to it, no one will care more about you than yourself. That's simple fact. Self-interest will always tend to win out. That's why I think the ability to feel love is so horrible. You actually believe other people care more about you than themselves.

There are many times when killing a person will give benefit to the murderer if he can get away with it. A person with a different belief than you who is in a position of power, for example. A person who has a better job that you are next in line for, that would give you more benefit for less effort.

It's still illogical behaviour.

Inevitably, an employer and the police would look into anyone that stood to benefit from the death of the employee, etcetera. It would not be an acceptable risk.

Sure, but ask them if they would rather have never felt love at all.

I have, and some have said just that.

If marriage is done for money, women lose rights. This has always been true. The less importance a culture places on love the more likely that women are abused, controlled, suppressed, treated like second-class citizens. We are physically weaker, so it is always us. As it is, women who marry for financial gain are little more than trophy wives, and are not treated as equals to the men they marry.

Misconception. If a poor woman marries a rich man for love, that is somehow granting her more rights than a poor woman marrying a rich man for money?

As I said, there's a reason why marriage for love was a concept assumed to cause failure in marriage. It does. In vast amounts.

I consider a certain level of divorce rate to be a good thing. It means that women are able to control their own destiny, including getting out of bad relationships. Marriages for money are not "happier," it's just that the woman is financially dependent on the man and thus feels she cannot leave. Is that a successful marriage? One partner feels she dare not do anything wrong lest she get kicked out and the other partner does whatever he likes to her?

First off, this is a bad argument, and every time it's used, I have to call the user out on it.

The majority of divorces have nothing to do with "women getting out of bad relationships".

A great deal of them are women that have succumbed to society's over-reliance on "love".

That is, from them simply thinking "Since I'm not as in love as I was when I first met him, I might as well divorce.".

I say women, because men, by and large, place far less importance on romantic love in relationships.

With so much literature and media telling the happily ever after nonsense, you end up with people divorcing 5 years in, because they believe it's supposed to be perfect, and if it's not, they aren't willing to put work into it.

Finally, she wouldn't be "afraid" of being kicked out. I would assume you notice that when a lower income woman divorce a wealthy man, she takes a vast amount of his assets, and sets herself up to receive alimony payments.

It's not as though she becomes destitute when she gets 50%+ of her wealthier husband's assets.

want real, tangible benefits? Women's rights could not have happened without marriage for love and the increased importance on the woman herself rather than her father's financial benefits. Women's rights meant decreased birth rate and doubling the work force without doubling the population. I'd say that's a real, tangible benefit.

Thus, these benefits were gained at the expensive of a population who believes marriage should be magic, a massive divorce rate, and thousands of men taken from a comfortable life that they earned and placed into a substandard apartment, forced to pay a monthly salary to someone.

I could say the same thing to you and you would deny it.

Anemia has measurable physical detritments, that have been studied and proven. Your theories about me are not similar.

Yes. The same is true for my mild anemia and your lack of emotions. Both are negative, though not severely so, both can be treated (lack of emotions can be treated through therapy). Are they the same thing? No.


Again, false. Yours has been proven to be negative. What you think of me is purely opinion. Also, I place no stock in psychological 'therapy'. Even still, I would not wish a "cure" of how I am. I would immediately use those newfound weakness to offer forth hatred to whomever ruined my standard of living.

Often other people can think of things you might not consider, or give science or technical advice on a topic because they have a different background. I am a biologist; my boyfriend is a psychologist and a writer; my mother understands English literature; my sister is a math expert. Thus we all have access to all that knowledge and advice because we talk to each other.

To that end, I have the internet.

Purposeless mutations occur all the time, even the same ones again and again, but the point is they either are reabsorbed into the general population or they are passed on because the mutated individuals interbreed.

Or, they are carried as recessive.

Emotions increased our reproductive advantage because they kept us as social animals.

Many species on this planet reproduce in vast numbers, completely without emotions. There's no true advantage to them.

You're consistently using the No True Scotsman fallacy.

I fail to see how, but perhaps that makes us even, as you seem to be a fan of the false analogy.

You don't want a world in which everyone thinks logically without emotion, you want a world in which everyone has the exact same logical thought process as you.

Doing everything with pure, emotionless logic would result in a peaceful society. You can debate that, but it'd be difficult to prove otherwise, without some factor of emotion.

I'd also strongly suggest you take an class in evolutionary theory before you start debating evolution again. You clearly don't understand modern evolutionary theory well enough to effectively debate it.

In your opinion, that's fine. Though, I notice you leave out vast sections of my statements, which, naturally, when you pick and choose things to make one's argument look more frail, that's an effective tactic.

Besides which, you don't seem as informed as you'd like to claim. Something doesn't need to provide any reproductive advantage at all in order to be passed on. The only thing it takes is that the mutation does not kill the creature.

Besides, as I've said, for a recessive carrier, they only have to breed to pass it on. For a dominant, they might reproduce to fit in, they might have an accident while having sex to learn the experience, etcetera.

Though, while we're making suggestions, I'd strong suggest you take on the understanding that psychology is not an exact science, nor a true science. It's more of a pseudoscience, as the scientific method cannot be applied to it.

How you "feel" is not exactly a rigorous standard. It's why so many "psychological conditions" have such tenuous symptoms and treatment ideas, and why so much of it is in a constant state of debate and flux.

If pure medicine says a condition is physically detrimental, it most likely is. If psycholgy says something is detrimental, they aren't really certain. It's a complete field of total guesswork, with no true testable hypotheses.

Basiorana said...

"You actually believe other people care more about you than themselves."

My mother firmly believes that her entire function on this planet is to make sure her children grow up and then die before she is a burden on us. She cares nothing for herself, to a detriment, but suffice it to say that we, her family, value her for who she is, not what she does, and we care for her far more than she cares for herself. My father, who loves her dearly, would sacrifice his own life for hers.

When you love someone, you value them over yourself; they value you over themselves. Most importantly, they value you more than you value yourself. Self-interest only applies when emotion is weakened-- and even then, people will make many sacrifices for those they care about even if those sacrifices are not as final as their life. If you were capable of an emotional relationship you would understand that. Trying to explain it to you is clearly impossible because you have no basis of comparison.

"I have, and some have said just that."

Really? Did you ask them when they were feeling regret and anger, or when they were calm and rational? Did you ask them if they never want to feel love again, or simply if they regretted one particular relationship?

"If a poor woman marries a rich man for love, that is somehow granting her more rights than a poor woman marrying a rich man for money?"

The important fact is if the man loves the woman. If he loves her, he will respect her and treat her as an equal. If he does not, she will mean nothing to him and he will treat her as a servant.

"That is, from them simply thinking "Since I'm not as in love as I was when I first met him, I might as well divorce."."

Usually because she feels that she can no longer think of him as an equal, or because he can no longer think of her as one.

Marriages usually end because partners realize that they cannot tolerate living together on a day-to-day basis-- because they realize on a logical level that they won't work out and then the emotions follow. Many couples still love each other after they have done nothing but fight for years. They just eventually realize on a logical level that they are not going to get along, and then after fighting with it, fall out of love.

Other people go into marriages with unfairly high expectations, this is true, but those expectations are usually things like "He'll change," "She'll never change," or "Love makes everything perfectly easy all the time and people who are in love never fight." Reasonable people understand what to expect form their partner and understand that love makes things easier-- but not perfect, not by a long shot, and that you have to work at relationships.

That is a failure of our society. However, it is not because people value love, it is because they do not understand the true nature of it.

"I would assume you notice that when a lower income woman divorce a wealthy man, she takes a vast amount of his assets, and sets herself up to receive alimony payments."

That is a very new phenomenon, almost completely unique to Western culture, and only because people felt bad for the women who are abandoned by their husbands. Any society that values money over love in marriages does not include that feature.

"Thus, these benefits were gained at the expensive of a population who believes marriage should be magic, a massive divorce rate, and thousands of men taken from a comfortable life that they earned and placed into a substandard apartment, forced to pay a monthly salary to someone."

1)Marriage is believed to be magic because people today have entitlement complexes and are not taught that a loving relationship does not mean an effortless one, simply a more enjoyable one.
2)I disagree with alimony. It's a throwback to days when women did not work when they were married and thus people felt they needed to be cared for, since they were often unemployable after not working so long.

"Your theories about me are not similar."

They are not my theories. They are the theories of psychiatric medicine ("theory" being closer to "theory of evolution" than personal theory).

"What you think of me is purely opinion. Also, I place no stock in psychological 'therapy'."

You may not place any stock in it, but scientific research proves you wrong. Psychiatric medicine and psychology are proven methods to combat and decrease the effects of mental disorders. Disagree all you want, but in my mind you are now in the category of Scientologists and anorexia advocates.

"To that end, I have the internet."

Right. Despite the enormous amount of false information out there-- not to mention you color everything you read with your own opinion or dismiss it as false, whereas with another human being they can discuss their own opinion and change yours through logical discourse. You cannot get the same level of interaction talking in chat rooms or reading web pages as you can, say, talking to someone in person who is an expert in the subject.

Besides, you have clearly shown that you reject all opinions that disagree with your preconceived notions. Through discussions with others, I have learned how to set aside my biases long enough to ponder everything, read what evidence there is, and reject only that which I genuinely cannot accept after much study and discussion with those on both sides.

"Or, they are carried as recessive."

A mutation that is recessive will never be all-present unless people prefer that trait (like five fingers) or there is a bottleneck to evolution (like inbreeding resulting in higher prevalence of genetic disorders).

"Many species on this planet reproduce in vast numbers, completely without emotions."

There is not a single species that scientists consider to have anything close to intelligence or sentience that does not have emotion. Intelligence and sentience are reproductive advantages-- that's why humans are so prevalent on this planet.

"Something doesn't need to provide any reproductive advantage at all in order to be passed on."

That's not what I was saying. You were suggesting we would evolve to the point where we would lose emotion. I was saying that while people without emotion will always occur, they will never out-breed those with emotion and thus a lack of emotion will never be more common than emotion in humans. Something needs to have reproductive advantage to surpass other traits in frequency of occurrence.

---

Psychiatry is a proven scientific field. It is medicine. Tested, proven, the scientific method can be applied. Psychiatry says that the inability to feel emotions is a disorder. Whether that makes it a dangerous one is irrelevant. Lots of disorders have little noticeable impact on an individual.

Psychiatry-- medicine-- says that a lack of emotion is detrimental. Yes, psychiatry varies person to person in symptom and treatment. But you know, I don't run fevers when I am ill, and many people do not respond to certain types of medication or they respond badly. Medicine is variable because no two humans are identical, in body or mind.

Many forms of psychology have also been proven, through the scientific method, to be incredibly effective at correcting problems that are a result of influences during early development. Psychology is also an effective means of predicting human behavior and criminal psychology is vital to police work. It's not as concrete as, say, chemistry, but neither is cancer treatment or veterinary work.

---

"I notice you leave out vast sections of my statements"

Because my posts are too long. I also dropped parts of the discussion that I realized were not effective approaches, such as the smoking. You also did not quote my every word and address my every point; I simply assumed it was for similar reasons.

The fact that you will not consider any position I have offered indicates to me that this debate is pointless. You do not accept proven scientific processes that contradict what you wish to believe, especially if you feel it contradicts your logic. And yet I will point out that logic told people evolution was impossible as well. Science often disproves the conclusions humans have obtained through logic. That is why science is invaluable, and logic is pf little use without evidence. As long as scientific research continues to show the value of emotion in human society and development I will continue to consider it as such. However, the major difference between you and I is that if at some point in the future, science proved the contrary-- that emotion was actually a bad thing for human society and development-- and the evidence for that surpassed the evidence for the current scientific stance on the matter, I would change my mind. I have done so many times in the past when I realized that my personal opinions disagreed with the evidence.

Thus, I think that we should end this discussion; you clearly have no interest in thinking about another's point of view. I will tell you that you made me think a great deal over the last couple days about the nature of emotion and how it relates to human behavior. My conclusions were that it was even more invaluable than I previously thought. I thank you for that, but don't worry; I don't presume to think that I made you consider your position with equal care.

88mph said...

When you love someone, you value them over yourself; they value you over themselves.

Perhaps in your (anecdotal) experience. Love is, like every other emotion, highly temporary. As such, at the end of the day, a person is still more important to themselves than someone else.

A lot of people say they'd give their life for another, it's a whole other thing when it comes down to actually doing so.

Really? Did you ask them when they were feeling regret and anger, or when they were calm and rational? Did you ask them if they never want to feel love again, or simply if they regretted one particular relationship?

I asked after they had separated. If one waits too long, they risk reaching the same situation as I mentioned earlier: They spend enough time convincing themselves that it wasn't as bad as it actually was.

The important fact is if the man loves the woman. If he loves her, he will respect her and treat her as an equal. If he does not, she will mean nothing to him and he will treat her as a servant.

It's not treating someone like a servant, to expect them to clean your house, and/or prepare food, if you are funding their entire life, and all aspects of it through your hard work.

I think it would be quite ludicrous for a woman to expect a man to support her while she stays at home without working, and not actually contribute anything at all in the process.

Or are you of the mindset that even if a man fully supports a woman staying at home, that she shouldn't have to actually DO anything except be there?

Usually because she feels that she can no longer think of him as an equal, or because he can no longer think of her as one.

Or more commonly, that someone else caught her emotional attention, and gave her those "in love butterflies" that she was taught by countless Meg Ryan movies to always assume will be present.

That's one of the high risks of a culture obsessed with love. Ask just about any person who truly understands marriage. Butterflies don't last. Now, though, the minute they wear out, you find one half of the relationship looking to get them again, and assuming the relationship is broken because they are no longer present.

1)Marriage is believed to be magic because people today have entitlement complexes and are not taught that a loving relationship does not mean an effortless one, simply a more enjoyable one.
2)I disagree with alimony. It's a throwback to days when women did not work when they were married and thus people felt they needed to be cared for, since they were often unemployable after not working so long.


Well, that doesn't change that marriage for love encourages #1, and that #2 is no better or worse than assuming that 50% of what a man has earned has to go to his wife on divorce. Where's the equality in that?

You may not place any stock in it, but scientific research proves you wrong. Psychiatric medicine and psychology are proven methods to combat and decrease the effects of mental disorders. Disagree all you want, but in my mind you are now in the category of Scientologists and anorexia advocates.

There is nothing especially scientific about psychology. According to it, anything that differs from the currently fashionable pre-determined "norm" is considered disordered, bad, and detrimental. It's why the DSM is constantly altered. Up until fairly recently, homosexuality was considered a detrimental mental disorder, and considered to cause serious harm to the "sufferer".

Also, ad hominem attacks, especially this late on, are not productive.

Right. Despite the enormous amount of false information out there-- not to mention you color everything you read with your own opinion or dismiss it as false, whereas with another human being they can discuss their own opinion and change yours through logical discourse. You cannot get the same level of interaction talking in chat rooms or reading web pages as you can, say, talking to someone in person who is an expert in the subject.

I simply read things written BY experts. Various scientific, peer-reviewed journals and the like.

Talking to people at length is tiresome.

Besides, you have clearly shown that you reject all opinions that disagree with your preconceived notions.

As do you.

that's why humans are so prevalent on this planet.

It's more because as a species, we have no natural equilibrium with the environment. Given the chance, we will most likely breed ourselves into extinction.

Psychiatry is a proven scientific field. It is medicine. Tested, proven, the scientific method can be applied. Psychiatry says that the inability to feel emotions is a disorder. Whether that makes it a dangerous one is irrelevant. Lots of disorders have little noticeable impact on an individual.

It's not medicine. It's guesswork. No other medical field is subject to more controversy and debate than those of the psych persuasion. Even Chiropractics are given more seriousness.

It also said that homosexuality was a disorder. It was what came up with the disorder of "frigidity" for women, or "hysterics", or what have you.

Most written assessments of any disorder they name, give a few random symptoms that could apply to almost anything, and then state that not all sufferers will exhibit these particular symtopms, and then go on to say "It'll all be fixed with one of these drugs that we're paid a lot to sell to you.".

Many forms of psychology have also been proven, through the scientific method, to be incredibly effective at correcting problems that are a result of influences during early development. Psychology is also an effective means of predicting human behavior and criminal psychology is vital to police work. It's not as concrete as, say, chemistry, but neither is cancer treatment or veterinary work.

A study of "how you feel" is inherently flawed in comparison to something that rigorously holds to the scientific method. Scientific method involves making a hypothesis, testing it, and attempting to prove it in a repeatable manner.

Nothing in psychology can be predicted with any accuracy. It's a vast amount of guesswork.

Besides, if mental conditions are an actual genetic difference in the brain, talking to someone about how you "feel" isn't going to change part of your genetic code to suddenly be what's currently accepted as "normal".

Thus, I think that we should end this discussion; you clearly have no interest in thinking about another's point of view. I will tell you that you made me think a great deal over the last couple days about the nature of emotion and how it relates to human behavior. My conclusions were that it was even more invaluable than I previously thought.

So, in other words, at the end of the day, you considered nothing more than to think that you're still right. So what's changed?

In this case, your personal opinions DO disagree with the evidence. The evidence I present, is look, I am not a danger to myself, nor society, I live a perfectly function life that is exactly what I expect it to be. Where's the detriment?

thank you for that, but don't worry; I don't presume to think that I made you consider your position with equal care.

Well, no, because, no offense, you didn't really say anything to sway me in any meaningful manner. You said the same things emotional people always say, which, (obviously you cannot help it) come out as appeals to emotion.

Basiorana said...

Some mental conditions are genetic, like schizophrenia, and are treated with mind-altering medication. Others are the result of issues in development, like poor anger management, and while medication can help, there are also techniques that can be taught to manage it without medication. And if a person undergoes therapy for a genetic mental condition, it's usually to make sure they are taking their medication and helping them adjust to it, sort of like regular checkups for people with chronic conditions.

For example, a person who gets depressed when they are stressed doesn't just go in and talk about their feelings. They are taught methods to cope with stress, both simple applications like how to keep organized, and more advanced techniques of altering their thoughts and controlling how their body responds to stress, like meditation and relaxation techniques. A psychologist also will point out what stressors can be reduced or eliminated and which ones shoudl be dealt with, as they approach the matter with the eyes of a rational observer and can see the bigger picture.

You have a very naive view of therapy. It's not just a person on a couch telling Freud about their mother or their dreams any more. And like any science, it is continuing to develop new techniques and experiment with them every day. Techniques used in therapy sessions have been tested with in a similar manner to the way a scientist would test a technique to improve muscle function through physical therapy.

If you truly want to believe that psychology and psychiatry are some kinds of pseudoscience, fine, just do so understanding that anyone who is truly educated on the subject and has seen what psychology and psychiatry can do to patients, as well as seen how they can predict human behavior, understands that while it is still a young science, it is most definitely, undeniably, science.

----

Everything you have suggested I have considered, read various articles about, and decided that science does not agree with you. I have not been stating my personal opinions except in a few cases where there is no scientific backing for either position.

"The evidence I present, is look, I am not a danger to myself, nor society, I live a perfectly function life that is exactly what I expect it to be. Where's the detriment?"

And I was not saying you, personally, are in terrible danger and a risk to yourself or others. You can be perfectly content with your life but the truth is, most people with similar problems with emotion are not. Just because you, personally, have developed a way to live your life without emotion does not mean that most people are not worse off. If a teen mother came to me and said, "Look, my child is well-adjusted and happy; we are living our lives successfully; clearly there is nothing wrong with teen parenthood" I would still tell her that I thought teens should not be pregnant, because in most cases, it is a detriment.

I enjoy my life. I love my life. Sadness and all. You do not hate your life, but you do not enjoy it either. Anyone who knows what enjoyment feels like would rather have the chance to feel enjoyment than not.

You dismiss anything an "emotional" person says as an appeal to emotion. Even if it is the conclusion of much scientific study on the matter. In other words, you will listen to two kinds of information-- that provided by other people exactly like you, who similarly know about as much about what life is like with emotion as a turtle knows about flying, or that which agrees with what you already believed. I actually listened to what you said and thought about it, and researched it, a great deal before replying. I also read some articles that agreed with you, but they were few and far between amongst those that disagree.

I was willing to approach your point as something valid and worthy of consideration. You clearly consider anything I say to be nothing but emotion. You also dismiss widely accepted science. You have not once considered that you cannot perceive the benefits not because they are not there, but because you have absolutely no basis for comparison, no way to understand what is actually going on. I, on the other hand, DO know what it is like to live without emotion in addition to what it is like to live with it. I DO have some basis of comparison, because I have personally experienced it. I have also talked to many other people who have experienced both the inability to feel emotion and the ability to feel it. Yet clearly my statements that one is preferable to another are just a result of my emotional state-- even though I held the same position, and actually my position originated, when I was NOT in an emotional state.

I do not care one way or another if you live your entire life without feeling emotion as long as it does not impact anyone else, which seems to be the case for the most part. But you are very judgmental of those who are not like you. That is my only objection. You judge people for something you cannot possibly understand.

88mph said...

Well, first off, I place about as much stock in meditation techniques as I do acupuncture.

If you truly want to believe that psychology and psychiatry are some kinds of pseudoscience, fine, just do so understanding that anyone who is truly educated on the subject and has seen what psychology and psychiatry can do to patients, as well as seen how they can predict human behavior, understands that while it is still a young science, it is most definitely, undeniably, science.

As I said, it crumbles under proper, rigorous application of the scientific method.

It's very much a pseudoscience.

I have not been stating my personal opinions except in a few cases where there is no scientific backing for either position.

You have been, though. Continuously mentioning that how I am is somehow bad/wrong/negative, etcetera. Or that what you are is better than what I am.

And I was not saying you, personally, are in terrible danger and a risk to yourself or others. You can be perfectly content with your life but the truth is, most people with similar problems with emotion are not. Just because you, personally, have developed a way to live your life without emotion does not mean that most people are not worse off.

Inversely, just because you find that living with emotion makes you better off, doesn't make it true, either.

Anyone who knows what enjoyment feels like would rather have the chance to feel enjoyment than not.


Subjective conjecture.

You dismiss anything an "emotional" person says as an appeal to emotion. Even if it is the conclusion of much scientific study on the matter.

Study of "feelings" is inherently nonscientific. It's all guesswork, based around what society currently accepts as "normal". If everyone was emotionless, except you and a few others, you would be considered abnormal, a possible danger, and living in a way that was detrimental to your life. They would tell you were disordered, and in need of medication.

The psychological definition of "normal" is whatever society deems fit at the time.

I also read some articles that agreed with you, but they were few and far between amongst those that disagree.

Naturally, as emotional people would not understand how I am, and would think it would be "just horrible", or the like.

You clearly consider anything I say to be nothing but emotion. You also dismiss widely accepted science.

Psychology, you mean? It is not as widely accepted as you think.

I dismiss things that are highly subjective.

You have not once considered that you cannot perceive the benefits not because they are not there, but because you have absolutely no basis for comparison, no way to understand what is actually going on. I, on the other hand, DO know what it is like to live without emotion in addition to what it is like to live with it. I DO have some basis of comparison, because I have personally experienced it. I have also talked to many other people who have experienced both the inability to feel emotion and the ability to feel it. Yet clearly my statements that one is preferable to another are just a result of my emotional state-- even though I held the same position, and actually my position originated, when I was NOT in an emotional state.

In my mind, the benefits are not there. Very simple.

Also, as I said, you know what it's like to live without emotion, while regretting losing them, and missing the feeling.

It's not the same as if they were never there. So, no, you cannot understand. I don't fault you for that, it's impossible for you to truly understand it.

You were not in an emotional state when you drew that conclusion, but you must have had some, enough to miss the feeling, and regret it's loss.

I do not care one way or another if you live your entire life without feeling emotion as long as it does not impact anyone else, which seems to be the case for the most part.

Then why be so intent on telling me how wrong I am, and how much you "wish" I could feel as you do?

But you are very judgmental of those who are not like you. That is my only objection. You judge people for something you cannot possibly understand.

As do you.

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