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"The Human Condition" ? Alderian!

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  • "The Human Condition" ? Alderian!

    I read this about "the human condition" phrase we sometimes hear:

    http://www.hedweb.com/bgcharlton/psychhuman.html#chap1

    Why should the world be a place of illness and drugs - surely that is unnatural? The answer is that the modern world is indeed unnatural and has been so, for the majority of humankind, for many thousands of years. Unnaturalness is profound, inevitable, unavoidable. It is time that we recognized that �naturalness’ is not an option, and worked hard on how best to cope with it.

    People are not biologically designed to be happy as such. From an evolutionary perspective happiness is an incentive for action, not a steady state of being - a means to the end of reproduction. This is fundamentally why it is so difficult to attain happiness, and why having attained happiness it is virtually impossible to maintain.
    I think Action and Being are synergistic in a way..
    I think we have to redifine what IS natural.
    And we could elevate it to another level instead of using to much force on the social body..

  • #2
    Any argument about humanity's natural state is fundamentally flawed when the natural state is conceived in purely evolutionary terms. Humans are capable of active response in their natural environments, which distinguishes them from most other biological creatures.

    More importantly, humans respond to social environmental pressures, which are much more important and more influential. Sources of happiness (and other emotions), as well as definitions of what is "natural" are subject to cultural and perceptual changes. Reducing emotions to inclusion in debates about their role in natural selction robs them of their much more important social contexts--in their creation, experience, and management.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by TheAdlerian
      That kind of crap Doc.
      I really hope you don't think that, or that you've misunderstood what I was saying, for two reasons:
      1) 100+ years of sociological study of emotions
      2) I think you're saying much of the same thing as I did

      Originally posted by TheAdlerian
      Humans invented the atomic bomb and could set it, and many, off if they so desired. Humans would not be able to survive this invention. So, you could say that nuclear fire is not something that we have evolved to survive nor could we adapt to it. So, human invention can bring things that suppress or destroy the goal of life that logically is a biological aim.
      Of course we can't evolve to survive nuclear attacks. But, as you point out, we can invent something that brings it about. That is a human social creation that has almost nothing to do with evolutionary pressure, even though it has everything to do with death and avoiding it. Our emotions--and our emotion management-- responds to those socially created pressures.

      To use your example...

      I think we're roughly the same age (I'm 36). I grew up learning to fear a nuclear attack from the Soviets. If I would have listened to all of the hysteria about the possibilities of nuclear war (a human creation), I would have lost my adolescent mind. However, I learned, instead to manage the fear into which I was socialized and enculturated. Moreover, all kids of my generation learned how to manage that particular pervasive emotion.

      Originally posted by TheAdlerian
      As I have said before, cultures are human constructs that must be flawed due to the nature of their creators, so there does not have to be a multicultural (thus no real) definition of what is natural. This is because not all humans automatically make decisions about what is best for them.
      Exactly. All cultures are flawed, and all cultures are human creations.

      And we grow and change in response to them, flawed or not. Emotions are not universal. There are immense cross-cultural variations in the experience and management of emotions.

      Originally posted by TheAdlerian
      It is the case that the natural surroundings shaped us, but that our intellect developed is another force almost akin to natural forces. In the past, people may have died from something like lack of vitamin D and that?s why people became whiter in Northern areas. People had to died until they adapted to the natural forces that assaulted them.
      Of course, not all of any emotional experience is a solely minded experience. They are differently meaningful in a social context.

      Originally posted by TheAdlerian
      Meanwhile, the human mind is capable of inventing something like money. Money acts as a force that allows one to gain resources. People that do not gain money may suffer and not thrive for a variety of reasons. Sometimes people won?t mate with someone that does not have money. Sometimes people will be killed for money. So, the point is that what humans have invented can stop a person from passing on their genes.
      Yes, but this is certainly an exception, and not the rule. Moreover, this would be insignificant from an evolutionary standpoint.

      Originally posted by TheAdlerian
      There may be something about the acquisition of cash that is on a genetic level, like say intellectual decision making power. Even race can be influenced by this.
      I'm certain you mean racial characteristics. Race, too, is a social construction, an axis upon which we cluster certain physical characteristics we define as relevant.

      Originally posted by TheAdlerian
      Anyway, one of the things about money and the system around it is that it will not (I don?t think) allow the entire human race to adapt to it. Humans can adapt to weather patterns and whatnot, but not the power of continuously unequal economics.
      Here's where we fundamentally disagree. Humans have dealt with economic inequality since the first person said "this is mine, not yours." I think we've come pretty far since then.

      As a side note, not all societies nor all cultures have a conception of property.

      Originally posted by TheAdlerian
      I guess that one ?unnatural? thing to look for is whether or not humans can fully adapt to the condition presented.
      Of course, you would know as well as anyone that full adaptation has to be a relative thing, and one that is defined by convention. Assuming that there is a well-defined mark to hit is, I agree, unnatural.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by TheAdlerian
        many genetic Africans in this country adopt Caucasian kind of clothing, hair styles, and colors. In their culture it is noteworthy that, sometimes, light skinned people with “good� (meaning straighter) hair are considered to be more attractive.
        The reasons for this are, of course, historical, in that, under slavery, the higher-status 'house slaves' were selected from the lighter-skinned population (who presumably came about as a result of sexual abuse of black women by the slave-owners). Sadly, this hierarchy still persists in the West Indies - including Cuba (where some very conscious efforts to eradicate racism have been made by the revolutionary government) where it has started to rear its ugly head again increasingly as a result of the development of the tourist industry (light-skinned Cubans are preferred to hotel work).

        Some of this discussion is losing me a bit - but I'm picking up on the point about socio-historical factors affecting evolution. Perhaps the point needs to be made that population growth is taking place fastest in the poorer countries - are these people just to stay put and starve themselves out of the gene pool? I don't think so.

        Unfortunately (writing another essay!) i don't have time to read the whole piece we are steered towards, just to note some extraordinary value judgments:
        The Golden Age for humans - such as it was - was the life of a nomadic hunter gatherer. Evidence for this statement is scanty, but what evidence there is (see below) is consistent and unambiguous. This was the time when more of the people were happier for more of the time than at any other point in human history.
        It reminds me very much of Marx and Engels' belief in 'primitive communism', which in itself seems to relate in some manner to Judaeo-Christian myth (the Garden of Eden and the Fall), refracted through Rousseau's 'Noble Savage'. Not to say it isn't true, of course, but there are deep cultural channels diverting our thoughts in this direction.
        However, this seems ahistorical:
        When industrial mercantile societies develop, they are popular with the miserable peasantry of agrarian societies who flee the land and crowd the cities, if given the chance.
        This is a process we are seeing take place now - but this is a far too simplistic view of it. The economic and political processes which lead to industrialisation also lead inexorably to the immiseration of the peasantry and pressures which bring about the collapse of rural society. Is there no resistance? In Britain we had the 'Captain Swing' riots, Chartism, and opposition to the Enclosures Act. English Radicalism was founded on idealised view of 'Merrie Englande' and the rural life - this attitude (counter to that of Marx, of course, who believed very much in the 'miserable peasantry - witness the effects of this strand of his thinking when applied by Stalin in the Soviet Union) continued right through into the Socialist tradition through the works of William Morris, for example.
        Referring to Latin America, James Petras notes:
        The displacement of the peasantry from the land, from the agricultural sector and increasingly across national boundaries is not simply an "individual choice" but a forced system imperative driven by state policy, defined by its dominant classes.
        http://www.rebelion.org/petras/engli...ntry091201.htm
        Are Mexico's Zapatistas, for example, jumping at the opportunity to leave the land?
        Anyway - not quite sure where this is leading me, apart from to reiterate the view that 'natural' is generally a highly value-laden word, and not of much use when describing human behaviour. Evidently some forms of behaviour are more conducive to happiness and wellbeing than others - but surely our great evolutionary advantage has been our ability to adapt? It could, of course, turn out to be our undoing, as we adapt to living in our own (metaphorical) shit. And don't forget that many of our rulers appear to think that they could survive a nuclear war - that was what I found scary about the '80s (and it drove me to live on a 'peace camp' at one point) - the idea that MAD ('mutually assured destruction') was dead and Reagan was signalling that he thought he could actually win a nuclear war in Europe. (In retrspect, perhaps that was part of the game - for nuclear weapons to be truly scary, you need someone who appears to be 'MAD' with their finger on the button - who better than an out-of-work Hollywood actor?) I digress...(back to the essay!!)
        \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by TheAdlerian
          I have to imagine that maybe kids are designed to be needy for both parents, or at the very least, we are a herd type of animal that likes to be together. What separates us then. I think that it’s apartments, homes, money, the spread of antisocial ideas, drugs, and so forth. All of these are human inventions that interfere with humans inability to thrive.
          The changes from hunter-gatherer to peasant to capitalist lifestyle have all been accompanied a narrowing-down of the social unit, from tribe to extended family to nuclear family and, now, to what? I agree with you - it isn't healthy. Also - consumer society manufactures dissatisfaction as a major industry. We've always got to have more, just to keep the wheels turning. How many rich parents even neglect their kids, or put them in the care of some low-paid lackey, just so they can go out and get more stuff.
          What do you think, by the way, of the concept of the 'reptile brain'? Do we have a primitive level to us which just can't keep up with civilisation?
          \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mikey_C
            The changes from hunter-gatherer to peasant to capitalist lifestyle have all been accompanied a narrowing-down of the social unit, from tribe to extended family to nuclear family and, now, to what? I agree with you - it isn't healthy. Also - consumer society manufactures dissatisfaction as a major industry. We've always got to have more, just to keep the wheels turning. How many rich parents even neglect their kids, or put them in the care of some low-paid lackey, just so they can go out and get more stuff.
            Your conumerism example is right on the mark. We're creating a generation of children who think they need something, but instead are responding to the wants that a consumer culture convinces us are needs.

            We change socially in this way. I don't know about physiologically. I think that's where we got crossed, Adlerian. We were saying many of the same things with different emphases.

            Originally posted by Mikey_C
            What do you think, by the way, of the concept of the 'reptile brain'? Do we have a primitive level to us which just can't keep up with civilisation?
            Only as a cop-out. Civilization--or culture or society-- is a human creation. Certainly we can open Pandora's box, or unleash Frankenstein's monster (insert whatever bad analogy works for you), but ultimately humanity keeps up, if not all humans, because we're responsible for it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Mikey_C
              The changes from hunter-gatherer to peasant to capitalist lifestyle have all been accompanied a narrowing-down of the social unit, from tribe to extended family to nuclear family and, now, to what? I agree with you - it isn't healthy. Also - consumer society manufactures dissatisfaction as a major industry. We've always got to have more, just to keep the wheels turning. How many rich parents even neglect their kids, or put them in the care of some low-paid lackey, just so they can go out and get more stuff.
              "We got more places than we got stuff!.... We gotta go out and get MORE stuff!"
              - G. Carlin

              The capitalist quote going around forums these days is that "it's natural", "it pushes away the weak from society".
              I always say: "Which part of nature"? There are sooo many different ways of looking at nature. From god to machine to "Interdependent beings". Which is the real quota of the level of sophisticated knowledge we've attained, or even reinvented. I think a capitalist has to identify his role on this earth, and what he really would have wanted if money didn't exits. I mean.. We can't just have a bunch of entrepeuners in the future?

              Philosophically about nature, I tend to think of Lao Tzu's Tao mostly. But not as a dogma or hype which some prefer to treat it.. Just because it's "Mystical"...
              I think it explains many 'nothing's' about nature and values.
              In that everything is so relative that there is no point trying our own personal values in dividing 'this from that, or that from this'.

              When people ask me what my favourite animal is, it's the Mountain Gorilla. Very humble and inquisitive animals and they just 'are'. Which humans mostly forget to be, and try to find extraneous explanations about "why we are here". Often to the point of stressful existence.

              Originally posted by TheAdlerian
              I used to think that people were just a blank slate, but after watching babies and children it seems like there is a lot of stereotypical behavior that would indicate some inborn tendencies.
              I think you are right in your assessment Alderian. My mother told me about a doctor who told her that I "was the most harmonious child he had met". This is also the way I mostly feel, for better or for worse. In a tribal society. I think I would have been a shaman or some weird sage searching for social cohesion in the tribe. I mostly get this from other people who seem also to remain the same after many years. But on different levels.

              I HATE Survivor... Because a small tribe 'doesn't' vote away it's members.
              I think bushmen would puke at this idea.. If one where able to get it through to them.

              Today we had a meeting at work. Where management was whining about not getting this and that in order in relation to costumer specification.. Yada yada and so on..
              But at the end they showed a company movie expressing "Social concern" and "Enviromental responsibillity"... All this felt very strange and emotionally expressed..
              When we gathered outside. I said to my friends, "Corporate Socialism?"
              Now an American is taking over most parts of the Leaning procedure.

              Can anyone say what people from 'Scranton' are like?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TheAdlerian
                I got one of my masters degrees in SCRANTON!!!

                Please tell me more about this guy.
                He was sick that day and couldn't make it, so i didn't get to meet him..
                His name is John Petry, and has a beard and glasses. A little obes too. Thats all i know..

                I don't know sqwat about scranton... Could you tell me what and how the people are mostly like? I am the guy who speaks fluently so he will probably speak with me i guess.. And the others will probably point in my direction.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Theocrat
                  they showed a company movie expressing "Social concern" and "Enviromental responsibillity"... All this felt very strange and emotionally expressed.
                  Eeek! 'Corporate Social Responsibility'... One of our tutors (who's actually in with the enemy - he advises BP on corporate governance) demonstrated how the transnationals scoring highest on the CSR index also happened to be the ones running the most tax dodges and contributing least to the public purse in the countries in which they operate. He also produced an article by a CSR 'guru' arguing that this was an ethical practice, as the governments would only use the tax to repress the people! The world turned upside down or what?
                  \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mikey_C
                    Eeek! 'Corporate Social Responsibility'... One of our tutors (who's actually in with the enemy - he advises BP on corporate governance) demonstrated how the transnationals scoring highest on the CSR index also happened to be the ones running the most tax dodges and contributing least to the public purse in the countries in which they operate. He also produced an article by a CSR 'guru' arguing that this was an ethical practice, as the governments would only use the tax to repress the people! The world turned upside down or what?
                    Yeah... Here they are calling it in fluffy words "Fair Play".
                    Explain me why the same company i work a dodges taxes and pollutes the water supply.. Idiots I can care less about the chinese.

                    What a bunch of idiots. (Pardon my french)

                    They are all dreaming of the 'freemarket' again. I dont' know why people here are so spitefull against a controlled and managed economy.
                    It is supposed to help everybody. Not just the corporate brats, or their rich families. I really dislike it when they speak about laziness.. I think the stockholders are the most lazy bunch anywhere. Even Adam Smith warned about them. I propose handing out more shares to the workers.. 'Then' you will probably see profits go up, more than they go down.. And maybe they all could start to invest in improvements on the workplace. If they manage it with a money pool and voting with confidence. "Give us our responsability, since you guys can't make it work!" I keep saying to everybody...

                    With the lean going on.. Everyone is getting their heirarchical position comprimised. At least on the mental level. Drunk or stupid Bosses are sending out mails or announcements about "Not wanting to socialize with the blue-collars". I can't help but laugh and think.. "What a bunch of wimps these guys really are"..

                    *Well... Off to work then!* :(

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Theocrat
                      I think the stockholders are the most lazy bunch anywhere. Even Adam Smith warned about them. I propose handing out more shares to the workers.
                      Exactement, Monsieur! A point made by Thomas Hodgkins in in 1825 - http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/ugcm...kin/labdef.txt
                      IN all the debates on the law passed during the late session of
                      Parliament, on account of the combinations of workmen, much
                      stress is laid on the necessity of protecting capital. What
                      capital performs is therefore a question of considerable
                      importance, which the author was, on this account, induced to
                      examine. As a result of this examination, it is his opinion that
                      all the benefits attributed to capital arise from co-existing and
                      skilled labour. He feels himself, on this account, called on to
                      deny that capital has any just claim to the large share of the
                      national produce now bestowed on it. This large share he has
                      endeavored to show is the cause of the poverty of the labourer;
                      and he ventures to assert that the condition of the labourer can
                      never be permanently improved till he can refute the theory, and
                      is determined to oppose the practice of giving nearly everything
                      to capital.
                      \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mikey_C
                        Exactement, Monsieur! A point made by Thomas Hodgkins in in 1825 -
                        Thanks.. I think liberalism has it's faults as well as any other political system. What Marx percieved i think. Is that capitalists are VERY short sighted in gaining profits. And psychologist understand that managers don't really know 'why' the workforce is rocking the foundations from time to time, and don't understand workers knack for organizational talents..
                        And craving for understanding and human respect.

                        Profane individualism is very lonely to the capitalist as well as dictator.
                        Capitalists want details and figures rather than the whole picture i guess?

                        BTW. On top of all this 'leaning'. They are flying in an american to further saturate the bureaucracy with more managers on top of managers.
                        According to the meeting. It sounded like he was cheered for taking charge and doing ol' mighty mouse thing: "Here i come to save the DAYYYY!!!!" A really 'daft' situation if you ask me? :?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TheAdlerian
                          The final type is the stupid ass and that explains itself.
                          i.e. Pretty messed up people then.. He'll probably have a hard time understanding our "The Law of Jante".
                          http://www.waste.org/~xtal/red/jante.html

                          Me and my brother had a hard time reinegrating back into swedish society after we moved back from Singapore. I can't understand that neoliberals like Singaporian society as i heard a guy say on another forum! :x

                          I really don't understand why they are importing more people "from overseas"? Maybe it's for that "Kick in the ass" routine.

                          He works for the same company in Scranton, but another division. The investments should be on the machines and real "quality" really.. Or is it just "anemic apologetica"?
                          Or better conditions for workers. The neoliberal wave is NOT going down well here in Scandinavia i can tell you.. The only people who understand whats happening are the socialists. And they are hard pressed by the media who seem mostly bought or roughly biased in their views..
                          Having a party leader dreaming of Sovjet-Kommunism doesn't do anyone any good either!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TheAdlerian
                            The final type is the stupid ass and that explains itself.
                            Exactly what do you mean by this? :mrgreen:

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TheAdlerian
                              Just curious, do you work for a technical glass company? I'm trying to think of a big business in Scranton and it's escaping me.
                              *Censur*

                              Comment

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