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Thread: Violence and the Neanderthals

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strudel View Post
    How do you come to this? Please read my post more carefully. No. I said the opposite. It has nothing to do with so-called psychological repression.



    Territorialism, competition, survival, advancement, all of these and many allied instincts explains it well enough. Psycho babble and twisted philosophical ruminations have no business in this area, in my opinion. I have as much use for Nietzsche as I do for Freud.
    Then what is your solution to "chimp-like" behavior? A Skinner box?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyDonkey View Post
    Then what is your solution to "chimp-like" behavior? A Skinner box?
    Well, you are putting me on the spot about having a solution. I don't profess to have one as per the issue of chimp-like social violence by humans. I don't think there can be much more done aside from taking pre-emptory wise measures based on studies* - so I guess you could say this is my position on the subject. If by solution you mean something like eradicate the impetus for the behaviour, than I would say this is impossible. Moreover, I would not be in favour of this, as violence has it's benefits as per survival.

    To answer your question, anyhow. No. The Skinner box is mostly useless for this. It isolates the animal (hence the box) to study behaviour such as operant conditioning without outside influence.

    Violence of the sort we have been talking about is group social behaviour. If we want to understand this better, studying other species with group social behaviour is the way to go.

    Just to give an example:

    http://scitechconnect.elsevier.com/animals-live-groups/

    "Many of our encounters with animals in the wild involve groups. Familiar examples of groups include schools of herring in the ocean, murders of crows in the city and herds of wildebeests in the African savannah. Why animals live in groups has been a hotly debated topic for animal behaviour students for many years. Indeed, living in groups must have provided advantages to individuals during evolution to compensate for obvious disadvantages such as having to share resources with others. The devil is in understanding how a balance is struck for each species between the costs and the benefits of living in groups."


    * example: Many sociological studies (not to mention just basic observation) have shown that too many people crowded into one space can be a tinder box. This has ramifications in many areas, such as large events, urban planning, etc. Controlling large demonstrations of any sort would be a smart place to begin. By it's very nature a demonstration invites mob mentality.
    Last edited by Strudel; 18-11-18 at 02:47. Reason: Clarification

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyDonkey View Post
    Then what is your solution to "chimp-like" behavior? A Skinner box?
    why do you think there is a solution?

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    Nietzsche is the greatest mind

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strudel View Post
    Well, you are putting me on the spot about having a solution. I don't profess to have one as per the issue of chimp-like social violence by humans. I don't think there can be much more done aside from taking pre-emptory wise measures based on studies* - so I guess you could say this is my position on the subject. If by solution you mean something like eradicate the impetus for the behaviour, than I would say this is impossible. Moreover, I would not be in favour of this, as violence has it's benefits as per survival.

    To answer your question, anyhow. No. The Skinner box is mostly useless for this. It isolates the animal (hence the box) to study behaviour such as operant conditioning without outside influence.

    Violence of the sort we have been talking about is group social behaviour. If we want to understand this better, studying other species with group social behaviour is the way to go.

    Just to give an example:

    http://scitechconnect.elsevier.com/animals-live-groups/

    "Many of our encounters with animals in the wild involve groups. Familiar examples of groups include schools of herring in the ocean, murders of crows in the city and herds of wildebeests in the African savannah. Why animals live in groups has been a hotly debated topic for animal behaviour students for many years. Indeed, living in groups must have provided advantages to individuals during evolution to compensate for obvious disadvantages such as having to share resources with others. The devil is in understanding how a balance is struck for each species between the costs and the benefits of living in groups."


    * example: Many sociological studies (not to mention just basic observation) have shown that too many people crowded into one space can be a tinder box. This has ramifications in many areas, such as large events, urban planning, etc. Controlling large demonstrations of any sort would be a smart place to begin. By it's very nature a demonstration invites mob mentality.
    Except we're not simply animals. Yes, the "inner chimp", if you will, or Id, has never gone away, but is, for us, largely, but not completely, restrained and constrained within a psychological/sociological overlay, what might be called the "outer human". The Id/Ego/Super-Ego model is a perfectly valid one (for Nietzsche vs. Freud, just substitute "Will to Power" for "Libido" as the motive power), as long as one remembers that the map is not the territory and that "categories" are not things. To me, it is as much a sociological as a psychological model. Where simple prohibitions (repressions) are futile, sublimations, redirecting natural impulses toward socially beneficial ends, are general: church, sport, art, music, et al. Laws, codes of behavior, rules of decorum, honor systems, etc., less "fence us in" than try to keep us in the right lane, on the high road, and off the grass (and, hopefully, out of each other's business).

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyDonkey View Post
    Except we're not simply animals. Yes, the "inner chimp", if you will, or Id, has never gone away, but is, for us, largely, but not completely, restrained and constrained within a psychological/sociological overlay, what might be called the "outer human". The Id/Ego/Super-Ego model is a perfectly valid one (for Nietzsche vs. Freud, just substitute "Will to Power" for "Libido" as the motive power), as long as one remembers that the map is not the territory and that "categories" are not things. To me, it is as much a sociological as a psychological model. Where simple prohibitions (repressions) are futile, sublimations, redirecting natural impulses toward socially beneficial ends, are general: church, sport, art, music, et al. Laws, codes of behavior, rules of decorum, honor systems, etc., less "fence us in" than try to keep us in the right lane, on the high road, and off the grass (and, hopefully, out of each other's business).
    That's very much my view. I see no evidence, as I said, of any actual "change" in these matters, no "evolution" away from it as Teilhard de Chardin posited.

    So, only repression and redirection work.

    The function of law in our society is to promote the general good but at the same time to protect the rights of the weak and innocent as well as the minority.

    Of course, culture and ideology shape law. When only the elites made laws, they conflated "their" good with the "general" good, so killing a hare on an aristocrat's land could result in long prison stays or even deportation.

    In Nazi Germany laws were changed so as to permit the euthanasia of anyone considered "defective". Young girls of suitable "ancestry" where put at the disposal of the SS and other high ranking elites to create a "master race" (the Lebensborn program). I could go on and on.

    Today, China has and continues to craft whole reams of law prohibiting watching tv, and on and on. It's whole history since the Communist takeover has been about "re-education" camps.

    The "chimp within" profanes and corrupts even the law in order to assert dominance and control. Of course, that's coming from someone raised and trained within the framework of Christian humanism, where every life is precious. Looking at what's coming out of our universities, that may someday be outlawed even here.


    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    That's very much my view. I see no evidence, as I said, of any actual "change" in these matters, no "evolution" away from it as Teilhard de Chardin posited.

    So, only repression and redirection work.

    The function of law in our society is to promote the general good but at the same time to protect the rights of the weak and innocent as well as the minority.

    Of course, culture and ideology shape law. When only the elites made laws, they conflated "their" good with the "general" good, so killing a hare on an aristocrat's land could result in long prison stays or even deportation.

    In Nazi Germany laws were changed so as to permit the euthanasia of anyone considered "defective". Young girls of suitable "ancestry" where put at the disposal of the SS and other high ranking elites to create a "master race" (the Lebensborn program). I could go on and on.

    Today, China has and continues to craft whole reams of law prohibiting watching tv, and on and on. It's whole history since the Communist takeover has been about "re-education" camps.

    The "chimp within" profanes and corrupts even the law in order to assert dominance and control. Of course, that's coming from someone raised and trained within the framework of Christian humanism, where every life is precious. Looking at what's coming out of our universities, that may someday be outlawed even here.
    PCarthago delenda est

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    Quote Originally Posted by exceededminimumso.. View Post
    PCarthago delenda est
    The relevance escapes me.

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    It is a bit convenient to simply blame it all on the inner chimp. After all, all he wants is an endless supply of bananas...

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    3 out of 3 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I see no evidence, as I said, of any actual "change" in these matters, no "evolution" away from it as Teilhard de Chardin posited.
    My view is that there will be no change in such matters as long as men are mortal. The original sin, the Id, whatever you call it, is rooted in the consciousness we have of our own frailty. Philosophy will give you everything and its opposite, from complete determinism (Mektub / Fatum) to total freedom of choice (existentialism). The only one absolute certainty every man, educated or not, carries inside him is this : he will die.

    And Life (capital L), whether you see it as god-given or a mere biochemical random event, simply refuses to accept the notion of its own end. It is the safeguard Life has ingrained in all living creatures to ascertain it will go on. Any living thing will strive to survive, at any cost. Fish will develop legs and lungs and get out of the water. An animal cornered will flee, or fight. Even plants, circumstances helping, will adapt to drought or frost. Life (the instinct of survival) is rooted in the very core of our psyche.

    So we adapt. The cold kills us, we invent fire. Hunger ? Agriculture. Disease ? Medicine. Man, originally a prey to everything, turns into a predator. We make weapons and kill the bear.

    Then we realize that we'd rather kill (other men) than die, and that our fellow humans think alike. So the struggle for Power begins - for land, for money, for women, for influence, for knowledge, you name it. Hierarchies emerge. The higher we rise in the human hierarchy, the safer we feel. The man we have vanquished or submitted is no longer a threat. Money buys comfort and health, ie survival. Conversely, men can't bear feeling inferior, subjected. It implies vulnerability, just like disease or hunger. Power protects. Power is Life.

    Problem is : in that endless competition, an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. Inner strife weakens the group, in its struggle against other groups. So Moses comes down from the mountain with the ten commandments. In our quest for survival, we invent moral rules, laws, etc... We capture the "fire" (to plagiarize from Gaston Bachelard) and hold it under check in the stove.

    But moral rules suffer two limitations : Joseph Conrad, in his novels, described them as a layer of thin varnish over unfathomable depths of millenia-old brutish violence. They are artificial constructs, somehow. Imposed from outside, most of the time. People don't spontaneously adhere to such notions. The rational mind is younger than instincts. Even such basic rules as the highway code have to be enforced by a police force. The fire can be checked, but nurtures dreams of escape. Besides, rules are based on a contract : I play by the rules to ensure you'll play by the rules. What if someone stops playing fair? Should we go on complying, or feel freed from duty? One guy tried to hold on and stick to his own humanistic ideals despite violent opposition : he ended up nailed to a cross.

    A solution? I can see only one : education, always more education. We need to explain the genesis of rules, the chaos they are meant to pull us out of. And incite students to launch into some soul-searching, so they become aware of the beast within. But we should do so without brainwashing youngsters into blind submission. Sometimes violence is the only dignified option, when the alternatives are submission, flight, or death. "Let a man never stir on his road a step without his weapons of war; for unsure is the knowing when need shall arise of a spear on the way without." (Havamal, 38)
    It is therefore worth while to search out the bounds between opinion and knowledge; and examine by what measures, in things whereof we have no certain knowledge, we ought to regulate our assent and moderate our persuasion. (John Locke)

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    Quote Originally Posted by hrvclv View Post
    My view is that there will be no change in such matters as long as men are mortal. The original sin, the Id, whatever you call it, is rooted in the consciousness we have of our own frailty. Philosophy will give you everything and its opposite, from complete determinism (Mektub / Fatum) to total freedom of choice (existentialism). The only one absolute certainty every man, educated or not, carries inside him is this : he will die.

    And Life (capital L), whether you see it as god-given or a mere biochemical random event, simply refuses to accept the notion of its own end. It is the safeguard Life has ingrained in all living creatures to ascertain it will go on. Any living thing will strive to survive, at any cost. Fish will develop legs and lungs and get out of the water. An animal cornered will flee, or fight. Even plants, circumstances helping, will adapt to drought or frost. Life (the instinct of survival) is rooted in the very core of our psyche.

    So we adapt. The cold kills us, we invent fire. Hunger ? Agriculture. Disease ? Medicine. Man, originally a prey to everything, turns into a predator. We make weapons and kill the bear.

    Then we realize that we'd rather kill (other men) than die, and that our fellow humans think alike. So the struggle for Power begins - for land, for money, for women, for influence, for knowledge, you name it. Hierarchies emerge. The higher we rise in the human hierarchy, the safer we feel. The man we have vanquished or submitted is no longer a threat. Money buys comfort and health, ie survival. Conversely, men can't bear feeling inferior, subjected. It implies vulnerability, just like disease or hunger. Power protects. Power is Life.

    Problem is : in that endless competition, an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. Inner strife weakens the group, in its struggle against other groups. So Moses comes down from the mountain with the ten commandments. In our quest for survival, we invent moral rules, laws, etc... We capture the "fire" (to plagiarize from Gaston Bachelard) and hold it under check in the stove.

    But moral rules suffer two limitations : Joseph Conrad, in his novels, described them as a layer of thin varnish over unfathomable depths of millenia-old brutish violence. They are artificial constructs, somehow. Imposed from outside, most of the time. People don't spontaneously adhere to such notions. The rational mind is younger than instincts. Even such basic rules as the highway code have to be enforced by a police force. The fire can be checked, but nurtures dreams of escape. Besides, rules are based on a contract : I play by the rules to ensure you'll play by the rules. What if someone stops playing fair? Should we go on complying, or feel freed from duty? One guy tried to hold on and stick to his own humanistic ideals despite violent opposition : he ended up nailed to a cross.

    A solution? I can see only one : education, always more education. We need to explain the genesis of rules, the chaos they are meant to pull us out of. And incite students to launch into some soul-searching, so they become aware of the beast within. But we should do so without brainwashing youngsters into blind submission. Sometimes violence is the only dignified option, when the alternatives are submission, flight, or death. "Let a man never stir on his road a step without his weapons of war; for unsure is the knowing when need shall arise of a spear on the way without." (Havamal, 38)
    Logically and beautifully explained.

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    For Nietzsche, the basic problem is not a freedom-seeking Id, but errors and misinterpretations (the "human, all too human") which would defame life, nature, and history (or existence, as such), denying them of all meaning and value (or nihilism):

    Nietzsche sketches both the history of Platonism and the steps of overcoming it through its reversal and reinscription in a section titled “How the ‘True World’ Finally Became a Fable”15. This note begins with a narrative of the evolution of the metaphysical notion of the “true world” which passes through a series of stages in which it is firstly attainable by the philosopher and by the virtuous in the case of Plato, secondly promised to the pious in the case of Christianity, wherein the idea gains a religious character, and thirdly it is considered to be unattainable, whereas the contemplation of it becomes a consolation, as in the case of Kant’s thought, as discussed by Nietzsche. The realization of the unattainable and unknowable character of the true world can be seen as a break in the development of the idea, and Nietzsche pushes it further to its conclusion with the suggestion that what is unattainable and unknowable cannot oblige in any sense, and this constitutes the first step of the process in which the true world is deprived of its authority. When it is no longer seen as above life, it loses its power and starts to dissolve, hence becoming a superfluous and obsolete idea. The greatest consequence of this dissolution, as Nietzsche states, is that not only the “true world” but also the “world of appearances” is lost through this process, that is, there is no longer a line dividing existence into two separate worlds, and what we are left with is existence itself. In other words, there is no longer an authority above life, and thus thinking is enabled to see life as the originary and self-happening process. For Nietzsche, this is the beginning of the gradual dissolution of the longest error, i.e., the two-world theory.

    Yet the beginning of the gradual dissolution of the two-world theory does not imply that all the problematic aspects of Platonism, built into the very fabric of the occidental world for more than two millennia, will simply disappear16. Nietzsche is not content with showing that the ‘beyond’ has lost its absolute value; rather, he sees it as the beginning of a tremendous task, which he calls die Umwertung aller Werte: the transvaluation or revaluation of all values.
    http://etd.lib.metu.edu.tr/upload/12616835/index.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    The relevance escapes me.
    For a moment you reminded me of Cato the Elder. Even more after reading up on him. Historian, censor, conservative.. Sorry for off topic

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyDonkey View Post
    It is a bit convenient to simply blame it all on the inner chimp. After all, all he wants is an endless supply of bananas...
    and what is 'it all'
    you're a bit vague

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    Whatever might be considered blameworthy: violence, war, crime, lawlessness, civil disorder, greed, gluttony, hoarding, power-grabbing, libertinage, immoralism, etc. The laundry list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyDonkey View Post
    Whatever might be considered blameworthy: violence, war, crime, lawlessness, civil disorder, greed, gluttony, hoarding, power-grabbing, libertinage, immoralism, etc. The laundry list.
    indeed, not all, but part comes from the inner chimp

    and chimps aren't as innocent as you claim
    they don't just fight for banana's, also females and territory
    it's called the alpha-male, which is probably universal among almost all mammals

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    most think jealousy is a typical human vice

    it is not :


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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    most think jealousy is a typical human vice

    it is not :

    Hilarious, and... telling!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    indeed, not all, but part comes from the inner chimp

    and chimps aren't as innocent as you claim
    they don't just fight for banana's, also females and territory
    it's called the alpha-male, which is probably universal among almost all mammals
    Not claiming that natural instincts, unconscious drives, the Id, or the "inner chimp" is not an issue, but just that repression, prohibition, or "just say no" is of limited utility:

    Modern-day psychologists might not blame Eve for her errant ways at all. Because what’s true today was also true at the beginning of time (regardless of what story you believe in): Human beings are horrible at resisting temptation.

    “Effortful restraint, where you are fighting yourself — the benefits of that are overhyped,” Kentaro Fujita, a psychologist who studies self-control at the Ohio State University, says.
    Indeed, studies have found that trying to teach people to resist temptation either only has short-term gains or can be an outright failure. “We don’t seem to be all that good at [self-control],” Brian Galla, a psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh, says.

    The implications of this are huge: If we accept that brute willpower doesn’t work, we can feel less bad about ourselves when we succumb to temptation. And we might also be able refocus our efforts on solving problems like obesity. A recent national survey from the University of Chicago finds that 75 percent of Americans say a lack of willpower is a barrier to weight loss. And yet the emerging scientific consensus is that the obesity crisis is the result of a number of factors, including genes and the food environment — and, crucially, not a lack of willpower.
    Psychologists Marina Milyavskaya and Michael Inzlicht recently confirmed and expanded on this idea. In their study, they monitored 159 students at McGill University in Canada in a similar manner for a week.

    If resisting temptation is a virtue, then more resistance should lead to greater achievement, right? That’s not what the results, pending publication in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, found.

    The students who exerted more self-control were not more successful in accomplishing their goals. It was the students who experienced fewer temptations overall who were more successful when the researchers checked back in at the end of the semester. What’s more, the people who exercised more effortful self-control also reported feeling more depleted. So not only were they not meeting their goals, they were also exhausted from trying.

    “There’s a strong assumption still that exerting self-control is beneficial,” Milyavskaya, a professor at Carleton University, tells me. “And we’re showing in the long term, it’s not.”
    “‘Want-to’ goals are more likely to be obtained than ‘have-to’ goals,” Milyavskaya says. “Want-to goals lead to experiences of fewer temptations. It’s easier to pursue those goals. It feels more effortless.”

    If you’re running because you “have to” get in shape, but find running to be a miserable activity, you’re probably not going to keep it up. That means that an activity you like is more likely to be repeated than an activity you hate.
    This theory harks back to one of the classic studies on self-control: Walter Mischel’s “marshmallow test,” conducted in the 1960s and ’70s. In these tests, kids were told they could either eat one marshmallow sitting in front of them immediately or eat two later. The ability to resist was found to correlate with all sorts of positive life outcomes, like SAT scores and BMIs. But the kids who were best at the test weren’t necessarily intrinsically better at resisting temptation. They might have been employing a critical strategy.
    “The really good dieter wouldn’t buy a cupcake,” Fujita explains. “They wouldn’t have passed in front of a bakery; when they saw the cupcake, they would have figured out a way to say yuck instead of yum; they might have an automatic reaction of moving away instead of moving close.”
    When Mischel’s marshmallow test is repeated on poorer kids, there’s a clear trend: They perform worse, and appear less able to resist the treat in front of them.

    But there’s a good reason for this. As University of Oregon neuroscientist Elliot Berkman argues, people who grow up in poverty are more likely to focus on immediate rewards than long-term rewards. Because when you’re poor, the future is less certain.
    Researchers are excited about their new perspective on self-control. “It’s exciting because we’re maybe [about to] break through on a whole variety of new strategies and interventions that we would have never thought about,” Galla says. He and others are looking beyond the “just say no” approach of the past to boost motivation with the help of smartphone apps and other technology.

    This is not to say all effortful restraint is useless, but rather that it should be seen as a last-ditch effort to save ourselves from bad behavior.

    “Because even if the angel loses most of the time, there’s a chance every now and again the angel will win,” Fujita says. “It’s a defense of last resort.”
    https://getpocket.com/explore/item/t...rol-1468399267

  20. #45
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    I agree with that.

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    "I can resist everything, except temptation" (Oscar Wilde, I believe)

    Well, in terms of education, this "principle of pleasure" ("I have to like it to do it") seems to me to be highly objectionable. Nobody's life is made up only of enjoyable activities. It takes some running before you can start enjoying the running. You have to get past the first stages of "spitting your lungs out" before you can find any pleasure in it at all.

    Not only that, but if the effort of running teaches you to hold on when you have to, or have decided to, then you can transfer the acquired resistance to other fields of activity. And bravely go through those sleepless nights before end-of-year exams. It doesn't take a degree in psychology to understand that we more readily engage in activities we like than in activities we dislike. What it means (to me) to be human is to get over the dislike, and carry on no matter how we feel - as long as we have made sure the ultimate goal is worth the effort.

    If we hold that self-repression and willpower are to be subordinated to a "principle of pleasure", we'll end up with generations of feckless spoilt brats.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by hrvclv View Post
    "I can resist everything, except temptation" (Oscar Wilde, I believe)

    Well, in terms of education, this "principle of pleasure" ("I have to like it to do it") seems to me to be highly objectionable. Nobody's life is made up only of enjoyable activities. It takes some running before you can start enjoying the running. You have to get past the first stages of "spitting your lungs out" before you can find any pleasure in it at all.

    Not only that, but if the effort of running teaches you to hold on when you have to, or have decided to, then you can transfer the acquired resistance to other fields of activity. And bravely go through those sleepless nights before end-of-year exams. It doesn't take a degree in psychology to understand that we more readily engage in activities we like than in activities we dislike. What it means (to me) to be human is to get over the dislike, and carry on no matter how we feel - as long as we have made sure the ultimate goal is worth the effort.

    If we hold that self-repression and willpower are to be subordinated to a "principle of pleasure", we'll end up with generations of feckless spoilt brats.
    I couldn't agree more.

    Imo, most young people today are indeed spoilt brats, and even worse, a good number are more dangerous than that. Ask any teacher. Every new crop is worse than the one before, all starting in the 1960s. All of this places more of a burden on the schools to try to rectify the mistakes made by parents, and not just single mothers, although that is the worst situation. Then there are those who are incorrigible, totally anti-social. They're warehoused in "special" schools for the hard to control. Then, they're released to wreak havoc on society. Part of the cause is genetics, but part of the cause is also inefficient or absent socialization in their young years.

    People who preach these absurdities should spend a year or two in Family Court. That would knock it out of them.

    It's like the nonsense I was taught in university about how you don't need to "instruct" children; all you have to do is provide them with the materials and they'll explore and learn on their own. Likewise, grades are not necessary, and "all" children should get trophies when they play sports.

    That would have worked for me; it doesn't work for most people. They need not only external rewards but discipline for failure to apply themselves, or they'll take the easy way out, opting for more "pleasure full" activities, or out of sheer laziness.

    The result is abominably ignorant young people for whom the college boards have had to be dumbed down. Superstar kids today get 2400 on the three part test. They wouldn't have gotten 1600 on the two part tests I took, even with all the preparatory courses paid for by their parents. (Now, they're even going to do away with the tests altogether, because otherwise there'd be no diversity of the kind they want. ) Then, people wonder why Chinese kids in the U.S. are so over-represented at the most elite schools. It's not just genetics. It's the "tiger moms" demanding excellence and all the after school schools they attend. (All of those East Asian kids in the elite schools is not the kind of diversity they want.) For the rest, everything is dumbed down for them. It wasn't only native ability that helped me: it was the old-fashioned, strict teaching of the sisters of the order which taught me. University was child's play after the discipline and challenges of my preparatory school.
    Last edited by Angela; 24-11-18 at 00:08.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hrvclv View Post
    "I can resist everything, except temptation" (Oscar Wilde, I believe)

    Well, in terms of education, this "principle of pleasure" ("I have to like it to do it") seems to me to be highly objectionable. Nobody's life is made up only of enjoyable activities. It takes some running before you can start enjoying the running. You have to get past the first stages of "spitting your lungs out" before you can find any pleasure in it at all.

    Not only that, but if the effort of running teaches you to hold on when you have to, or have decided to, then you can transfer the acquired resistance to other fields of activity. And bravely go through those sleepless nights before end-of-year exams. It doesn't take a degree in psychology to understand that we more readily engage in activities we like than in activities we dislike. What it means (to me) to be human is to get over the dislike, and carry on no matter how we feel - as long as we have made sure the ultimate goal is worth the effort.

    If we hold that self-repression and willpower are to be subordinated to a "principle of pleasure", we'll end up with generations of feckless spoilt brats.
    Only claiming that "self-repression and willpower" are of limited utility, not that they have no utility at all. Impulse-control does tend to come down to which is stronger, the impulse or the resolve. Resolve, or willpower, however, is often the result of stronger counter-impulses (positive reinforcements) being brought into play. Aversion-therapy can sometimes be effective, but can also have its own negative consequences, with guilt and shame, for instance, being internalized driving factors behind the behavior.

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    China seems to think the old fashioned combination of punishment and reward works, and not just to tame the chimpanzee within.

    See:
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...by-end-of-2020

    "China’s plan to judge each of its 1.3 billion people based on their social behavior is moving a step closer to reality, with Beijing set to adopt a lifelong points program by 2021 that assigns personalized ratings for each resident.

    The capital city will pool data from several departments to reward and punish some 22 million citizens based on their actions and reputations by the end of 2020, according to a plan posted on the Beijing municipal government’s website on Monday. Those with better so-called social credit will get “green channel” benefits while those who violate laws will find life more difficult.

    The final version of China’s national social credit system remains uncertain. But as rules forcing social networks and internet providers to remove anonymity get increasingly enforced and facial recognition systems become more popular with policing bodies, authorities are likely to find everyone from internet dissenters to train-fare skippers easier to catch -- and punish -- than ever before."

    "Hangzhou rolled out its personal credit system earlier this year, rewarding “pro-social behaviors” such as volunteer work and blood donations while punishing those who violate traffic laws and charge under-the-table fees. By the end of May, people with bad credit in China have been blocked from booking more than 11 million flights and 4 million high-speed train trips, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

    According to the Beijing government’s plan, different agencies will link databases to get a more detailed picture of every resident’s interactions across a swathe of services. The proposal calls for agencies including tourism bodies, business regulators and transit authorities to work together."

    You can't even get phone access without a government ID.



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    Is it changing hearts and minds? I doubt it. Oppression causes resistance.

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