I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

384. Predictability And Pseudo-Compatibility

Predictability And Pseudo-Compatibility

A relationship as a safe haven needs to be reliable and predictable based upon the justifiable trust, that the other will not commit transgressions and will not do harm or hurtful things.   

Predictability means to be able to make a realistic prognosis of future behaviors by the estimation of probability.   In entry 95, I already mentioned the importance of calculating probabilities of the occurrence of behavior in the future.  In entry 173 I elaborated this by including the importance of considering the attitudes, which are causing or modifying behaviors.   

But the matter is even more complicated.  

Estimating the partner's future behavior implies:
  1. It is important to listening to what he declares himself as his attitudes.  
  2. His behavior needs to be compared with his expressed attitudes, if it is congruent or if there are contradictions.   Sometimes people are not aware of subconscious attitudes, that are nevertheless strong determinants of their behavior.   Subconscious attitudes can be incongruent with expressed attitudes, when the latter are superficially learned or imitated and not connected to innate tendencies.  Then behavior is congruent with the true hidden attitudes but contradictory to the expressed attitudes.       
  3. Observable specific behaviors are indicators of attitudes, but attitudes determine usually a wider variety of correlated behaviors, that can be predicted only when knowing the attitude.
  4. Observable proactive behavior allows to estimate probable future behavior.    The absence of proactive behavior is not as much a reliable source of information, because it is not the same as a decision to refrain from a behavior.  

I will use lying as an example.
If a woman catches her partner lying to her, she can predict, that he will lie again.   The more frequent his past lies, the more frequently he will lie in the future.  
His lying is a clear indication, that his attitude towards her is not suitable for treating her as a close and bonded partner deserving sincerity and honesty.   This faulty attitudes makes it probable to expect also other sly, manipulative, deceptive behaviors.   

But if the woman never catches her partner telling her a lie, this does not allow equally good predictions, because this by itself is not an indication of his general attitude towards her.   

Her lack of experiencing a lie from him can be due to
  1. She did not catch him lying because of her unjustified trust.
  2. He had so far no reason or occasion to lie but would otherwise not hesitate
  3. He has a reason or attitude to actively refrain from lying. 

    These reasons are
  • in his person  
    • He is someone, who always blurs out what he thinks, no matter to whom, even with unrelated persons, when it has detrimental consequences for him.
    • His self-esteem requires moral behavior and this includes special rules how to treat closely related persons, like not lying to them and not hurting them. 
  • his attitude concerning her significance for him.   He values and appreciates her enough to enclose her in the ingroup of people, whom he honors with sincerity and honesty.   
  • consideration of the consequences.  
    • He fears to be punished for lying by losing her
    • He wants to avoid the disapproval or other punishment by other significant persons like his family 
    • He fears being punished or wants to be rewarded by a deity due to some religious delusion.

Therefore not catching someone lying can either indicate true compatibility with someone, who is sincere and honest and who values her person in a relationship, or it can indicate pseudo-compatibility, when not having experienced someone's lying yet just does not allow predictions for the future.        

Sunday, August 28, 2011

383. Why I Like Intellectuals

Why I Like Intellectuals

I really like this quote from Aldous Huxley:

An intellectual is a person who's found one thing that's more interesting than sex.

Friday, August 26, 2011

382. Disrespect And Criticizing

Disrespect And Criticizing

Expressed conscious disagreement with any attribute in another person can be either hostile, neutral or benevolent criticizing.  

1. Hostile criticizing is a part of the rat race of people, who are driven by the hierarchy instinct to fight for higher positions for the purpose of gaining power and control over resources.   But this is not my topic, because this blog is mainly about how a relationship can be made a safe haven against the outside world of hostility.   

2. Neutral distance: In entry 377 I suggested that it is possible to disrespect someone for being either morally or intellectually not suitable for close contact, but that by avoiding close contact, people can be civil and courteous with disrespected persons. 

3. In entry 164 I explained, that a couple can only get close and bonded, if they share the same basic values.   If the behavior of each partner is logical, but based upon different values, then criticizing is futile and cannot solve the conflict between incompatible values.   In entry 379 I looked at the difference between disrespect in a couple due to being a mismatch, and feeling disrespect or feeling disrespected by mistake.

Disrespect kills every relationship, except if its purpose is consciously restricted by mutual consent to using or abusing each other.  While discovering incompatible values and losing respect after having got involved by mistake with a mismatch cannot be remedied, it is very important to prevent both, feeling disrespect and feeling disrespected, due to misunderstanding, misinterpretation, misperception.

Only in fairy tales, a couple lives happily ever after having conquered the obstacles of getting together.   Every real life couple has disagreements and conflicts at least once in a while, and the older people are, when they get together, the more they have become individual personalities, the more initial conflicts they have to overcome.  

A person, who wants to improve his behavior in general and as a partner in a relationship, needs the other's sincere feedback.   Feedback includes both the spontaneous non-verbal expressions of how behavior is experienced, and the verbal feedback of either criticizing or approving the behavior.  
Non-verbal feedback is for example the expression of pain in the face.   Criticizing is verbally telling someone, that a specific behavior is hurting.  
As a part of adapting to each other, a person has the choice to focus the attention on observing the non-verbal expressions, to listen to criticizing and to ask for criticizing.   The partner has the choice to give feedback by not censoring his non-verbal expressions and by offering verbal feedback, whenever it is either asked for or when there is a behavior to be modified by feedback.  This concerns both, behavior perceived as disruptive, disturbing and hurting or pleasing behavior, of which more is welcome.   There is the choice to receive or to ignore feedback and to give or to deny feedback.  

Constructive conflict solving to prevent disrespect means, that both partners cooperate as both, the motivated recipient and the sincere giver of feedback, they apply the method of beneficial criticizing.    

Beneficial criticizing is a vital part of the process of getting bonded.    Beneficial criticizing means to name, describe or define a specific attribute of the other, either a behavior or an expressed thought, and to offer support in improving it.   Beneficial criticizing means the full respect for the other based upon the assumption of sharing the same basic values and attitudes.   It is based upon the premise, that the criticized attribute is either something independent of the basic values or something, that is a contradiction to the basic values and the other is either unaware of this or is struggling with it. 

Beneficial criticizing can concern:
  1. Disturbing habits, like for example burping and cursing
  2. Self-damaging habits like eating too much.  Example: The supportive partner distracts and interferes with getting fat. 
  3. Behavior damaging the welfare of the couple:  Examples:  Criticizing for wasting money by buying household items without asking first, if it is needed or already on stock.    Criticizing for spending money on himself with priority over spending it on shared benefits. 
  4. Helping someone to correct errors of contradiction with the own value system.   Example:  Informing someone, who is a skeptic and atheist, that NLP is not a branch of psychology, but pseudoscience and a cult.  
  5. Correcting morally wrong behavior.   Example:  A man with the basic value of equality has grown up with the role model of a macho father.   Or he has been mislead by reading and following the detrimental advice of PUAs (pick-up-animals)   He is not aware, that when he makes a solitary decision and forces the decision upon the partner, he is acting in contradiction to his value system.   He needs to be informed, what a woman expects from him as being included in the process of sharing decisions.     

All the above are examples, where beneficial criticizing is not an act of disrespect, but an attempt to improve the bonding by measuring the behavior by its being in accordance with the shared values.  

If the criticized partner resists, refuses and reproaches the other, each of my examples indicates, that something is dysfunctional in the relationship.  
  1. Disregard and lack of care for how the partner feels.  
  2. Not valuing the other enough to want to be attractive and healthy.
  3. Selfishness and devaluation.
  4. Probable incompatibility either because he is not a real skeptic or because he is unable to comprehend.
  5. Probable incompatibility because there may be psychological troubles impeding the man to treat a woman as an equal. 

Beneficial criticizing is not an expression of disrespect, to the contrary it is an attempt to remove reasons for potential disrespect.    But if there is refusal to react to beneficial criticizing, this destroys the respect of the supportive partner.  Feeling disrespected leads to the reaction of also losing respect.  

Beneficial criticizing can also be a method to avoid misinterpretations and misperceptions and of giving someone the benefit of the doubt before jumping to unfavorable conclusions. 

An example:  A man spends money on buying something, what the woman perceives as very selfish and as an act of disregard for her equal valid needs.  Only be criticizing him, she can find out, if he really is as selfish, as she assumes.  
  • In the case, that he was so convinced, that she would also enjoy his purchase, that he omitted consulting her first, maybe meaning to surprise her, he is not selfish.   This misunderstanding is a step of learning to be more cautious about his assumptions about her.      
  • If he insists, that it is his right to buy, whatever he wants without consulting her, even though they share expenses and he spends indirectly half her money, then he is disrespecting her and his selfishness gets her disrespect in return.
By criticizing him, she makes a step of progress towards either improving their relationship or learning that he is not suitable for her.   Would she keep silent, she would continue to doubt him for being selfish, and he would not even know.   This would undermine the relationship.   The more often someone does not express experienced criticism, the worse it gets.      

Beneficial criticizing is a vital part of creating a bonded and committed relationship.   

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

381. A Jerk With A Halo - 1

A Jerk With A Halo - 1

I happened to find a site with the most excellent virtual walkthroughs I have seen so far.   The first one I watched is Frida Kahlo's museum in Mexico City.

The second one is the Museo Anahuacali

Seeing these walkthroughs brought back my vivid memories from visiting both places.   Frida Kahlo is a great artist, and she had such a miserable and unhappy life.   Having been injured in an accident, she would have needed the love and care of a kind and devoted man.    Instead by marrying Diego Rivera, she got a cheating, cruel, inconsiderate jerk as a husband, who added emotional pain to her already serious physical plight and sufferings, and the emotional pain was probably her worse ordeal.

Diego Rivera was himself also a famous artist.    He was appraised and appreciated.   As an unwarranted side effect of his being famous and admired, his outrageous treatment of Frida Kahlo was never hold against him.    Rivera is one more example of a jerk with a halo.   

In my opinion, people should be judged predominantly by how much pain they cause to others, and nothing should be accepted as an excuse or a compensation.   It cannot be justified to allow to anybody the leeway to buy for himself by any accomplishment whatsoever the right to mistreat and hurt others.  

Like already made clear by Epicurus (entry 131), neither to harm nor to be harmed is a vital principle of life.  

But unfortunately, this is not reality.   People, especially men, are judged by their accomplishments, no matter if they are successful as artists, musicians, actors, politicians, capitalists, scientists or celebrities in other areas.    The more they are accepted as accomplished, the more they get away with cruelty, brutality, abuse without being held responsible, rejected or loathed for their inappropriate and repugnant behavior.     
They are experienced as wearing halos, while they should have big signs on them saying:  'Beware, Jerk!'

Diego Rivera was jerk, who did not deserve a woman like Frida Kahlo.   

380. Atheism In Literature - E. G. Howe

Atheism In Literature - E. G. Howe
In entry 374 I described the difference between innate and converted atheists.      Innate atheists are void of the need for and inclination towards any belief, while converted atheists struggle against a need, that they know is stupid and irrational. 
But under strong influences of the ubiquity of belief and religion, sometimes innate atheists are led to consider themselves as lacking a belief, they should have or would be better off having.   

I am reluctant to fill this blog with long passages of text not my own, but the following text from pages 103 to 105 of the novel 'The Mystery Of The Locks' by Edgar Watson Howe illustrates the situation.   The novel was published in 1885.   

In the following dialogue, a newly wed couple discusses her wish to be reunited in heaven after death, and he expresses his wish, this could be true, in spite of his lack of religious belief.   
"I have never thought about it much, and investigated but little," he answered. "It has always been natural for me to think of the grave as the end of everything, so far as I am concerned. But I have confidence in your intelligence and judgment; if you have investigated, and believe, that is enough for me; _I_ believe. Please do not worry about it any more; I will try very hard to remain with you."

He said it lightly, yet there was enough seriousness in his manner to convince her that his love for her was honest, even if his religion was not.

"Religion is not natural with me: I feel no necessity for it or lack of it," he said again. "But I have no objection to it; on the contrary, I have always liked the idea, but I lack the necessary faith. It would be pleasant for me to believe that, in the next country, a day's journey removed, good gifts might be found; but if I could not believe it, I could not be reasonably blamed for my refusal to attempt the journey. I might even regret that the accounts were not true; but I would not insist that they _were_ true against my honest convictions, because I _hoped_ they were. I am religious enough in sentiment, but my brain is an inexorable skeptic. Nothing is more pleasing to me than the promise of your faith. What a blessed hope it is, that after death you will live in a land of perpetual summer; and exist forever with your friends where there is only peace and content! I am sure I can never see as much of you as I want to in this life, and I cannot tell you how much I hope we will be reunited beyond the grave, and live forever to love each other, even as we do now. I am willing to make any sacrifice necessary to ensure this future; it would be a pleasure for me to make greater sacrifices than are required, according to common rumor, for they are not at all exacting, except in the particular of faith; but that I lack, to a most alarming extent, though I cannot help it. You cannot have faith because it is your duty any more than you can love because it is your duty. I only regret that I cannot be religious as naturally as I love you, but I cannot, though I try because you want me to. I want to believe that men do not grow old and become a burden to themselves and those around them; but I know differently, and while I hope that there will be a resurrection, I know that those who have gone away on the journey which begins with death send back no messenger, and that nothing is known of heaven except the declaration of pious people that they believe in it. I love to hear the laughter of children, but it does not convince me that all the world is in a laughing mood, and that there are no tears. No one can find fault with your religion except that they cannot believe in it. Everything in nature teaches us that we will return to dust, and that we will be resurrected only as dust by the idle winds. You don't mind that I speak freely?"


"I have tried all my life to convince myself that I possessed the spark of immortality, but my stubborn brain resists the attempt. All my reasoning convinces me that I live for the same reason that my horse exists. I am superior to the faithful animal only in intelligence, for in physical organization I am only an animal. When an animal dies, I see its body dwindle away until there is nothing left; it becomes dust again. I _hope_ that I may share a different fate, but I _believe_ that I shall pass away in precisely the same manner. Understand me; I want to be religious, but I cannot be. There are some people--I suppose there are a great many, though I never knew but one personally--who ought to live forever; they are too rare to die. You are one of them, but I fear you will be lost to the world in the course of nature. You ought to be preserved for the good you can accomplish by playing the organ. I never believe in heaven so much as when I am in the back pews listening to your music. There is more religion in the old organ when you are at the keyboard than in all the people who listen to it put together; and I sometimes think that those who write the music and the songs are inspired, though when you know them, their personal characters do not encourage that impression."

She put her hand to his mouth as if to stop him, but he pushed it away with a laugh, and continued,--

"Let me finish, that you may know what I really am, and then I will never mention the subject again. But don't think me worse than other men for my unbelief; they nearly all think as I do, though only the bad ones say so. All good men rejoice that there is a pleasing hope in religion, and encourage it all they can, but only a few of them have your faith."

"All be well yet, Allan," the wife answered. "You have promised to try and get rid of your unbelief, and I know that you will be honest in it. The Master whom I serve next to you--I fear I am becoming very wicked myself, for you are more to me than everything else--"

"There it is again," Dorris said, looking at her, half laughing. "That expression wasn't studied, I know, but it pleases me greatly. You are always at it, though you have a right to now."

"He is more considerate than any of us imagine, and if He knows you did not believe, He will also know that you could not, and did not intend any disrespect."

"There is something in that," he answered. "I loved you before I knew you, though I did not believe you existed."

"But you _did_ find me. Is it not possible that you will find Him, though you do not believe He exists?"

"That is worth thinking about. The next time I take a long ride into the country I will think it over, if I can get you out of my mind long enough. One thing, however, is certain; I want to follow you, wherever that leads me. Let me add, too, that in what I have said I intend no disrespect. It would be impudent in me, a single pebble in the sands surrounding the shores of eternity, to speak ill of a faith which is held by so many thousands of intelligent and worthy people. I speak freely to you, as my wife, my confidant, that you may know what I am."

Monday, August 22, 2011

379. Thoughts About Disrespect

Thoughts About Disrespect

In entry 377, I mentioned that when there is disrespect, the best way to handle it is mutual avoidance.  

But disrespect should be looked at a bit more closely.  

There is disrespect due to a specific, defined reason and there is diffuse disrespect.  
In the case of a specific reason, the disrespectee knows, why he is disrespected, no matter, if he agrees with it or not.  

Some criminals have the insight to have earned to be disrespected.
When an atheist disrespects a religious person due to stupidity, the religious person knows why but disagrees.

When disrespect is diffuse, there are several constellations.
  • The disrespectee perceives to be treated with disrespect, but without any acceptable reason.
    Example:  A narcissist disrespects a person and attempts to press that person into the role of a narcissistic extension.
  • The disrespectee does not perceive the hidden disrespect.  
    Examples:  A manipulator uses a gullible person for his purposes.  A man promises a woman a long term relationship by pretending commitment, but only wants to use her.  
Both cases are reasons for the disrespectees to avoid the disrespector, because they have no chance to ever be respected.

But there is a different situation, when the disrespectee perceives non-existent disrespect.      
  • There is misunderstanding, misinterpretations, misperception.
  • The person feeling disrespected has personal problems.  
  • The person perceived as disrespectful is not aware of how his behavior is received by others.  
In these cases, people have a chance to overcome the difficulties by communicating, until they reach an agreement of reestablished mutual respect.  

If couples are at all concerned about the importance of respect and not just driven by instincts, they get involved by reciprocally respecting and feeling respected.    They have the impression of sharing all the values and attitudes, that are the fundament of disrespect and therefore for a committed relationship.
Disrespect is the result of either getting aware, that the respect had never been justified but had been an error all along, or of losing respect due to experiencing behavior indicating it as an error.  

An example is the pseudo-non-believer described in entry 305.   When I got in contact with him on an atheist dating site, I wrongly interpreted this as him being an atheist worthy to be respected.    When I discovered on his website his praise of the bible as a book of wisdom, and when he admitted to be a cultist of tai-chi and to chant to a Japaneses scroll, I rapidly lost respect.   He did not pretend to be an atheist, he was convinced to really be one in spite of all his irrational religious behaviors.           

Saturday, August 20, 2011

378. Garden


Some people have huge gardens, and all they do is waste money on alternatively mowing and watering a lawn.   It costs a lot of money for zero benefits.   I consider them as fools.

My tiny garden costs me nothing, but the buckets full of berries are delicious.  
Now the grape season has started:    


Friday, August 19, 2011

377. Respect And Disrespect

Respect And Disrespect

Mutual respect is the basis of an egalitarian bonded committed relationship.  

I am not talking about the pseudo respect of being indiscriminately polite and courteous in everyday life.   I am talking about the respect, that is felt and perceived for the personality of someone.    

Before entering a relationship, an instinct driven man or an emotional moron asks himself (consciously or subconsciously) only questions like these:  Do I want that person?   What benefits can I get from that person?

Tolerance cannot replace lacking respect, even though many people attempt to do so.   When a man wants a woman, whom he does not respect but only tolerates instead, he is using her.    Many men are so much driven by their need of homeostasis, that they are not even aware of their lack of respect.  

A mature and wise man asks himself different questions:  Do I respect that person and does that person also respect me?   
These are not always easy questions to answer, but it needs a lot of introspection, self-monitoring and honesty with oneself.    But these are very important questions.   Lacking respect dooms a relationship to become toxic for the not respected partner.  

Respect has two major aspects, intellectual respect and moral respect.   Respecting a person enough to enter a relationship requires both respects.   
Respect is a very subjective and individual perception of another person.    It depends upon how one perceives oneself, what one values as important, and how close someone else has to be if he can be enclosed in a kind of mental ingroup.  
Respect is both a rational evaluation of the other and the emotion of feeling close or feeling separated by a ditch. 
Respect and feeling respected enhance and reinforce each other.    The opinion and judgment of a respected person has much more impact than that of a disrespected person, that is often completely irrelevant.     

Being disrespected hurts and it hurts the more, when the disrespecting person is respected onesidedly.   To disrespect cannot be avoided, but showing it can.   Nobody can force himself to feel respect for a person, who is inferior by any kind of objective measurement or even when only perceived subjectively.    But maturity and decency require to stay away from disrespected persons instead of treating them as inferior.     
A jerk pursues a woman's body, while he disrespects her mind.    A decent man keeps away from such a woman's body, if he cannot respect her person.   
I attempt to follow this, I do not approach for example christians to call them idiots because of their belief, no matter that I sincerely think this.   I prefer to avoid christians.   Only if a christian annoys me like somebody insisting to pray for my lost soul, then he warrants to be called an idiot.  

Once there is disrespect on one or on both sides, there is no rational reason to continue the contact, if there are no external circumstances enforcing it as is in a job.  Both the person feeling the disrespect and the person after having become or being made aware of being disrespected, have reasons to avoid further contact.
The disrespecting person avoids contact by consideration.   For the disrespected person avoidance is the easiest way of disagreement with the disrespect without being further bothered about it.   If a disrespected person continues to expose himself to the expressions of disrespect, this can be interpreted as implicit acquiescence indicating lack of dignity, pride and self-esteem.   

I admit, I am not in the least motivated to deal with disrespect.    I do not want to be hurt by it, I do not want to fight against it, I do not want to be annoyed by or bothered about it.     Whoever disrespects me is welcome to do so as long and as much as it suits him, but I do not even want to know it.   It is his problem, not mine.    Whoever is reading this blog and and respects me for my thoughts, is welcome to contact me with his feedback and comments.    But whoever disrespects me, is asked to move on without bothering me.          

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

376. Rationality, Inquisitiveness, Introspection

Rationality, Inquisitiveness, Introspection

I mentioned before, that people, whose behavior is determined by their beliefs, scare me, because by getting close to them, I expose myself to the impact of their irrational behavior.
A different level of rationality as expressed by inquisitiveness has also consequences on how comfortable people can feel with each other when communicating and interacting.   

Many people feel discomfort, uneasiness and restless, when they are puzzled by a question, for which they cannot find or get an answer.   When the question concerns the reason for another person's behavior, this can cause serious disruptions, when the possible answers imply favorable and unfavorable hypotheses and the decision how to react.   

Many people feel discomfort, cornered, under pressure, when they are asked a question, to which they do not know the answer, because they had either been acting spontaneously by intuition, or it had never occurred to ask themselves this question.    (I am omitting the case, when someone lacks the trust to answer.)

Therefore the same kind of rationality, abstract and complex thinking adds to the compatibility of a couple and facilitates communication, in which both can feel comfortable.    The questions asked by one are questions, that have already occurred to the other as a part of self-monitoring and introspection,   The questions are experienced as logical and comprehensible, because both would ask the same questions under the same circumstances.

But when there are marked differences in rationality and abstract thinking, then new situations lead very often to one of them being doomed to feel uncomfortable.  
The more rational one has the choice between either making the other uncomfortable by asking questions and insisting to get answers, or refraining from asking questions and feeling uncomfortable himself due to the uncertainty of the situation.    

A simple example:

Choosing each other as mindmates is a reciprocal procedure.    I prefer to be chosen for who I am and not just tolerated as a substitute for what I am not.   
When a man contacts me, declaring himself in private correspondence as antagonistic to religion and to breeding, while in his profile he has indicated 'other religion' and 'undecided' about wanting children, then I automatically start to wonder, how to interpret this inconsistency.    

By one possible interpretation, the man is looking for and wanting to be accepted by a haphazard woman, who is attractive to him according to what is important only for him.    To keep all options open for himself, he avoids indicating non-religious and not wanting children.   Such clear statements may be perceived as red flags by religious breeding women, who would at least be willing to find out more, when the expressions are vague.    
Then in an even more unfavorable interpretation, the man has the option to pretend, whatever he considers to be most successful with any specific woman.    (Pretending to be, what the woman wants, is one of the tricks, which the PUAs, the pick-up-animals, are teaching each other.)

The suspicion to be contacted as a hazhazard woman and not because I am a childfree atheist causes me to feel uncomfortable.   I do not want to do the unjustice to suspect a decent man to be a PUAs, so I feel strongly inclined to become inquisitive.   
But when I ask questions, I risk to make the man uncomfortable, especially if he has never even thought about such interpretations, being just careless and unconcerned when filling out the profile.   Then he cannot understand, why the reply is important for me.    Whenever my questions make someone uncomfortable, this trggers him to recoil instead of exploring, how much common ground there is.  
While sharing rationality is a very valuable foundation for intellectual intimacy, onesided rationality with someone, who is not prepared for my inquisitiveness can create stumbling blocks instead.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

375. Burning Flags or Burning Books

Burning Flags or Burning Books
A dating site offers hundreds of questions to be answered by the members on their profile.    One of the questions asks, what is worse, burning a flag or burning a book.   My spontaneous answer was to opt for the book.  So I started to wonder about the differences and my reasons for my choice.    I have come to the conclusion, that both cannot be compared except by looking at the consequences.      

A flag is a piece of fabric, usually colorful and more or less decorative.     It can be used as a curtain, a table cloth, a dish towel, a floor cloth as a few examples.    Burning the flag is not using but discarding it.

A book is paper with printing ink upon it.   The pages can be used to write notes on the margins, to roll cigarettes, as tissue paper, ás wraps for items, to start a fire as a few examples.   The same can be done with newspapers, and nobody ever objects, even though some newspapers contain higher quality of information than some trashy books.   Burning a book can be either using or discarding it.   

Those who do burn either a flag or a book are usually expressing of hatred, scorn, disgust, fear or aversion against either the politics, inhabitants and the entity of a country or the ideas, contents and author of a book.    But in the age of mass media and the web, such non-verbal expression is rarely more effective and efficient than publishing the opinion verbally, and with detailed reasons.     

But there is a very big difference. 

A flag is a piece of fabric, and burning it does no damage to any living individual.   It is a piece of fabric, unless a person feels interconnected with an ingroup of people, for whom the flag triggers the same feeling of that special emotion.    Burning a flag only occurs to persons, who do feel interconnected with their own nation as an ingroup, and who therefore project this emotions upon every member of a rejected outgroup.    If somebody would burn the German flag, I would only wonder, why they wasted the money to buy it, if they have no other use for it except burning.    As a floor cloth, it would at least be of some use.    But the person burning the flag assumes all Germans to feel offended or provoked due to projecting the own feeling his own ingroup's flag.  

Books are a very different case.  Books are written by an author, a real person.  Destroying a book merely as printed paper, as long as it is not the original manuscript, does not hurt the author.   He gets his royalties, no matter, what is done with the copy.   But a book represents the intellectual output of a living individual.  The reader can connect with his thoughts in a much more rational and realisitc form than with a flag.    A strong rejection of a book often goes along with a rejection of its author.   
If this is as bad as wishing or justifying to damage or to destroy the person of the author, then it is not important, how this is expressed.   If some fanatics request the author to be killed and publish this widely, then additionally burning the book as a substitute for burning the author himself does not make his situation much more difficult.      

When fanatics burn a book, the life of the author is in danger, and that is very serious matter.    But burning the book is in itself only an additional warning sign, the threat to the author is the problem, not how it is expressed.
When fanatics burn a flag, they are dangerous in a diffuse way, but not to an individual person.       

Sunday, August 14, 2011

374. The Difference Between Innate And Converted Atheists

The Difference Between Innate And Converted Atheists

Atheism in this context includes all refusal of any belief based upon skeptical thinking, not only in a deity, but also in any kind of higher power or entity.   

First a metaphor:  
There are two kinds of teetotalers.  
  • The relaxed teetotalers are not attracted to the taste or effect of alcohol.   Additionally they are also convinced, that alcohol is unhealthy.    
  • The dry alcoholics.   They rationally know, that they have to avoid all alcohol, but they are struggling permanently with self-control over temptations.  

There are also two kinds of atheists.
  • The innate atheists have no personal need for a deity.   The religious upbringing is never more than skin deep.   The beliefs are abstract and are not experienced as having an impact upon the personal life.   Even though they pray in church as a ritual, it does not occur to them to pray in the expectation of achieving anything for themselves.   They do not consciously doubt the existence of an eternal soul, but when a family member dies, they experience him as perished and lost.   The belief of the soul still being out there somewhere is no consolation.   
    The innate atheist grows out of the religious belief as a part of maturation, until he gets fully aware of having become an atheist.    An innate atheist gets bored, if reading the bible or any other religious books.   There is no reason to read absurd nonsense, when there are so many more interesting books to read.  While religious people can be a nuisance and can be scary, innate atheists feel relaxed in their own complete lack of belief.  
  • The converted atheists are different.   They are very rational, and therefore they are consciously not at any risk to again believe any religious nonsense, once they have overcome it.   But they feel some unspecific need, that they share with the believers and which they were fulfilling by being religious themselves, until their rationality had been fully developed. 
    In entry 348 I defined spirituality as proactive gullibility.    This has something to do with interconnectedness.   The urge to feel interconnected with some higher power or entity causes the discomfort of dishomeostasis, as long as there is no target to feel interconnected with.    The search to find a target is proactive.  
    It is the search for a claim to be believed in, because many other people share the same delusion of the existence of the target.   Interconnectedness includes the need to share the belief, thus feeling not only connected with the target, but also interconnected with the co-believers.    Sharing the belief validates it in spite of ludicrity, it may desensitize people's ability to perceive the ludicrity at all. 
    The personal and unshared delusion of the existence of any kind of a deity may lead that individual to feel connected, but not interconnected.   If someone experiences some kind of spiritual revelation, he starts to proselytize.    If he does not succeed and remains the only believer, he is considered a mental case instead of a spiritual guru.   
    People feeling the dishomeostasis of lacking a satisfactory target for interconnectedness, often experiment with different religions and new age movements, until they find the one belief system, where they feel homeostasis.
    Converted atheists are prone to feel the same dishomeostasis as believers, but their strong rationality has cut them off from the believers' method of homeostation by interconnectedness with any non-existent entity.   Converted atheists live in a conflict between dishomeostasis and rationality.   
    On some atheists forums I have seen fervent discussions about inconsistencies and contradictions in the bible and how to use them in arguing with christians.   But somehow it seemed to me, that they were not really attempting to convince the believers, who are anyway out of the reach of reason.   In reality, they were in a struggle with themselves, using their rationality against their own temptation to succumb to homeostation by relapsing into believing.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

373. Memory Function and Verbal Fencing

Memory Function and Verbal Fencing

I admire those rational people, who are quick-witted and come up with just the perfect repartee in discussions with believers of any kind.   The way, how my memory functions, impedes me from achieving this.    I have no chance in verbal fencing (entry 39) nor in hostile debates with contradictors (entry 281).  

I am a thinker but not a debater.  I can be convincing in constructive communication, but only with those, who are receptive to rationality.  This is a consequence of how my memory is working.    I remember conclusions and forget the premises, once I consider them as obsolete.   

A simple example:  When I need several items to repair something, after buying them separately, I add the prices to remember, how much I invested in the entire repair.   If someone later asks me the price of any specific one of the items, I cannot remember, having forgotten it after having calculated the total.  

But there are more relevant examples:    
In entry 177 I summarized my evaluation of NLP.    To come to the conclusion of the invalidity of NLP, I carefully I read some original sources, I read studies claiming to validate it checking them in comparison with serious scientific methods, and I compared my own conclusions with skeptical sources.    As a result, I discarded NLP as pseudoscience not worth to ever again waste time upon.    I was done with it, therefore I cleared my brain from all the further no more needed details about NLP.   
The situation is similar concerning astrology, except that it is even more obviously nonsense and needs less knowledge and intelligence to get aware of this, so I had already been done with astrology ages ago.

If somebody now mentions NLP or astrology, I have no fast repartee up my sleeve.    I am just annoyed to be bothered with it.   If someone is interesting to learn my reasons, I can do some thinking, check my notes and sources, restore my previous reasoning and explain it.   But the person has to expect from me sound reasoning and to be willing to listen and to take my explanations for serious.   
When I am interacting with any kind of a believer, who wants to continue to believe and considers me as wrong due to my not believing, the situation is very different.    The situation is either annoying or scary, depending on my liberty to avoid further contact with the believer.  
If his belief or delusion is immune to rational reasoning only because it fulfills an emotional need, then a good repartee or none makes no difference.  

But while a believer can never be convinced by a rational repartee, except if he already is prepared by intrinisic doubts, the lack of any repartee can be misinterpreted as an implicit admittance or acknowledgment of the validity of the belief, and this reinforces the believer's feelings of superiority and his disrespect.    His willingness to ever listen to reasoning dwindles even more, if that is still possible.  
This is the case, when a belief serves for someone as a source of feeling superior due to the delusion of having been chosen to receive wisdom or divine enlightenment.   It is also the case, when someone feels superior and justifies this by having a specific belief.    Contradicting to every disagreement with this belief serves the only purpose of having a reason to claim being right and thus feel superior.   

Both the believe in astrology and in NLP are reinforcing attitudes towards and treatment of another person as guided by the belief, while not taking any cognizance of the target's feedback.   

The fallacy of the believer in astrology is mistaking the zodiac as the most reliable information, believing it without a reality check.  They judge and treat a person as if the ascribed personality and traits were true.  The resulting misinterpretations, misunderstandings, misjudgements have the more severe consequences of distrust, accusations and expectations, that are completely false concerning the true personality.  

The fallacy of the believer in NLP is the belief, that if he wants something, using a NLP recipe is a legit, ethically correct and justified method to get it.   Any resistance justifies the application of more drastic NLP tricks.    Failure is attributed to flaws and defects of the target.   
Such fallacies are often as bad as causing the believer to convert a relationship into a power struggle and to belief also in the justification to dominate.     

Believers scare me, and it makes not difference, what they believe in.  

Friday, August 12, 2011

372. Interconnectedness, Asperger's and Social Contact

Interconnectedness, Asperger's and Social Contact
In entry 371 I attempted to explain, why some people feel interconnectedness, even though for me personally, it is something difficult to grasp, since I have never felt it.    I do not feel interconnected with people due to a common native language, nor due to having the same passport, nor due to inhabiting the same territory.    Even less do I feel interconnected with the human species or any elusive higher power.   
I only feel connected to individuals, when I know them personally and with whom I have something of personal importance in common.   The more there is in common, the more I feel connected.   I can only feel connected and bonded with a man, when there is mental, ethical and intellectual compatibility.   Without feeling bonded, there is no reason to have a relationship.   

When I choose to interact with people, I do it, because they as individuals interest me, because talking to them is catching my attention and listening to them is informative.    But I am not by some elusive feeling of interconnectedness attracted to haphazard persons, just because they are humans.   If people are dull and boring, then I better spend my time reading a good book rather than with them.  There is no reason, why I should for example suffer boredom with those women, whose only interest is fashion, cooking and children.    Children bore me too, the younger the more.   The older people are, the more mature they are as a consequence of their life experience, the more they interest me.

There are many people, who are considered as recluses, mavericks, loners and often prejudiced as allegedly unable to have a social life.    In reality, they are educated, intelligent, rational and void of the diffuse need for interconnectedness and just as picky as I am, opting for quality in their choice of with whom to spend their time.   Being different from the majority, they would have much more of a social life, if there were more like minded people, with whom interaction interests them.  They can do without lots of superficial friends and acquaintances, if they have one close, bonded and connected mindmate to be with.    

I certainly do not meet the clinical criteria of Asperger's syndrome.    But I do share the personality traits of being rational and skeptical to the bone, and of being void of interconnectedness.   Therefore I feel some affinity with aspies.    Several times I felt attracted to a man's profile, whom I then discovered to be an aspie, either officially diagnosed or by his own evaluation.    
I am fully aware, how much a relationship with an aspie can be difficult.   But I would rather consider a rational and non-breeding aspie as a partner, while I certainly reject all breeders and all irrational believers, no matter, what they belief in.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

371. Interconnectedness and Breeding

371.   Interconnectedness and Breeding

The following are speculations again.  I prefer to back up my own ideas with evidence from sources of others thinking along similar lines.   But the Internet is getting flooded with the utterings of believers, with weird claims, and it gets more and more difficult to find serious, scientific, skeptical information, even by extensive googling.   

When reading about transliminality, I came across the expression interconnectedness.  But I could not find any serious approach to the question, how or why natural selection and evolution had favored the feeling or perception of interconnectedness.  Millions of woo-woo texts are praising the importance of feeling interconnected, the same sources also make claims of the beliefs correlated on the transliminality scale (entry 367). 

In entries 370, 368 and some others I have already speculated, that irrational behavior can be caused either by gullibility due to the lack of the faculty for consequencity or because a gullible belief fulfills a strong need overriding rationality.   Getting aware of transliminality having been shown in the EEG, I now include in the concept of gullibility also the belief in distorted own perceptions in addition to the belief in others' claims, which also can reinforce irrational interpretations of distorted perceptions.   For example, the vague weird feeling of a presence in the room can become the belief in ghosts, when others express this claim.

As far as I understand the woo-woo claims, interconnectedness is some feeling, perception or sensation of being in some vague, elusive and unspecified way connected with something higher and greater than the own individual self.     It is the raw material to be molded and blended with a wide variety of claims into a belief or belief system, depending on the needs of what to believe and on the social environment.

In entry 74 I defined people of high animality as those, driven predominantly by their instincts and less by rationality, as having the particle identity of perceiving themselves as being part of something superior above themselves.   Their behavior is determined in submission to the alleged role of what specific particle they belief to be.   When I wrote this, it was mainly a construct to explain the puzzle, why people choose to breed.    Interconnectedness now adds the force of an emotion compelling them to identify and act as particles.  
Feeling interconnectedness is therefore a behavior premise coming from the subconscious, if it is innate in the brain determining particle identity, and if transliminality enables this feeling to enter the consciousness.  

Feeling interconnected has had some function in evolution and the following is my speculations, what this could be:

Some animals like lions, chimpanzees and wolves live in groups and prehistoric humans did too.    It had a survival advantage, but when there is food and security in abundance, they continue to stay together as a group.   Obviously, there is not only an instinct to breed, and to form hierarchies and for ingroup-outgroup differences, but beyond the direct purpose of mating there is also a general instinct to be close to and to interact with other members of the own group or species.

A person determined by predominant rationality and consequencity is fully aware, that there is just one limited lifetime to make the best of it without exploiting others, while sacrificing a lot of that time in unpleasant labor for nothing better than the survival of the own genes is absurd.    Only when rationality is lacking or when gullibility and the particle identity as felt by interconnectedness deactivate rationality, people are compelled by instinct to breed.  

Gullibility and feeling interconnected instigate people to breed by two mechanism:
1.  Breeders as particles feel interconnected with some elusive and unspecified higher power, which is in reality the eternal chain of their genes.  By breeding they feel as if prolonging their own existence, but as genes and not as individuals.    Interconnectedness means to feel as one link in the eternal chain of their genes and feeling connected with this chain.    
But this chain is not linear, it is a mesh, because in one direction, the link is connected with two parents and in the other with all the offspring.  The interconnectedness is vague as with the species, but strongest by the obligation to continue the line.  
2.  Gullibility makes breeders suggestible to claims of any imaginary representation of their eternal genes in the form of whatever deity they believe to be the one rewarding them for breeding.   They need such external reinforcement to keep the rationality at bay, if it exists but is repressed.   Once they have become breeders, this is irreversible.   They are caught in the coercion for continuing the sacrifices, at least by paying, once they have succumbed to the irrationality of breeding.      

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

370. Self-Monitoring Against Irrationality

Self-Monitoring Against Irrationality
I am putting very much emphasis on finding a mindmate, who is rational and void of any kind of belief.   Believing claims without doubt, no matter what the claims are, makes a man incompatible and a hazard.   
While I am looking for a man, whom I can accept as he is, when we meet, and not as raw material to change, adapting to each other implies reciprocally changing disturbing habits by giving and accepting support.
But beliefs are a different matter and worse than bad habits.   When someone temporarily and superficially appears to be an atheist and skeptic, but it is only skin deep, then sooner of later he will relapse to needing beliefs as a crutch, and then his behavior is determined by the power of his beliefs.    If the faculty to be rational is lacking in his brain, then someone cannot be influenced by rational discussions and no caring support can replace the crutch. 
In entry 364 I have already explained, that a man, whose behavior is determined by his beliefs and who cannot be influenced rationality is a big hazard to a rational woman, who would be the helpless target of his behavior.   Such a man is neither reliable nor predictable.    There are very good reasons to shun away from all believers, no matter in what.   Whatever advantage the believer has for himself, there is no advantage from his belief for a partner, only disadvantages and hazards.

Without the faculty for rationality in the brain, believers are doomed to continue being determined by their beliefs.   
Those, whose dormant rationality has only been overridden by either a need for a belief or childhood brainwashing are in an unfortunate situation.   Since the believing majority of the population has established the insanity of believing preposterous nonsense as the normative baseline (entry 369), beliefs get reinforced, but doubting is discouraged.    Not even the most  stupid of beliefs are ever generally scorned or ridiculed enough to make anybody feel ashamed of having and admitting them.   Doubts about any belief need to overcome a high threshold, before a person can discard it.     

Overcoming beliefs has to be triggered and initiated by the person's own inner mental process.    Nobody can cure a believer from his affliction, as long as he wants to continue believing, support can only help to enhance doubts, but the doubts need to come from inside.   
  1. It can be a sudden awakening by a shock, someone being disappointed by a deity.
  2. It can be the slow awakening along with the growing rationality as a guidance of life.   

Most sources on the web claim, that the subconscious mind is irrational and illogical.   Already in entry 368 I disagreed with this notion.   The subconscious mind produces many of the premises, that the conscious mind needs for making decisions, emotions, sensations, signals of dishomeostasis, memories including contingencies and pseudocontingencies, and it also sometimes produces conclusions reaching the conscious mind as intuition.    

As a result, the subconscious mind produces impulses to behave, but the conscious mind can act upon the impulses or decide not to allow them.   

There is only one force in the subconscious mind, that is detrimental and hazardous, but evolutionarily logical.  It is the imperative to react by animal instinct to the premises.    
The subconscious mind commands 'breed', the conscious mind is able to know, that being childfree is a better life.   The subconscious mind commands 'eat', the conscious mind knows, that restricting the intake of food is healthier.  

I am convinced that the reasoning in the subconscious depends as much on the rational faculties of the brain as the conscious reasoning.   If someone lacks the faculty for rationality and for consequencity, then the conscious behavior is as irrational as the subconscious impulses. 
The subconscious mind produces impulses to behave.   Sometimes people
  • are not even aware, but act automatically by impulse.
  • repress impulses before getting aware.
  • follow impulses without knowing why.    
  • rationally evaluate impulses before acting.

Rationality enables people to use a very powerful method to avoid detrimental behavior by impulses, and to ascertain consistency and congruence between the behavior and the cognition.
This method is self-monitoring:
  1. Attempting to get aware of every impulse before acting.
  2. Asking questions like these:
    Why do I want to do this?
    What do I sense or feel, that is triggering this impulse?
    Do I consciously have or do I need information, that the impulse has omitted?
    Does the impulse lead to behavior, that is consistent with my values and my long term goals?
    Are there options of more suitable behavior?
    Does the impulse consider the fair deal with a significant other?
Self-monitoring helps to become less a robot driven by instincts, but it also helps to avoid being driven by ludicrous beliefs.    

Self monitoring can become a habit and easier over time.   But of course it has its limits.  It is much easier to do it when there is an impulse for a proactive behavior and no pressure.    When there is pressure to react under stress or in emotionally extreme situations, then one is often compelled to follow the impulse.   But asking the questions afterwards helps to understand the dynamics of conflicts and to learn from it.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

369. Irrationality and the Baseline

Irrationality and the Baseline

When I compiled a list of weird beliefs for the rationality questionnaire page, again as so often before, I was puzzled and at a loss of comprehension, how anybody in his right mind could ever believe any of this utterly preposterous and ludicrous ideas and claims.    How could a person expect something to happen as a result of something as weird as prayer?   It is incomprehensible to me, but people do it all the time.

For an explanation I looked at the baseline of behavior and at deviance.   

In entry 366 I explained the importance of being aware of and of accepting one's own innate, personal, genuine baseline.    A person can feel at ease, when the own behavior is congruent with what he perceives and considers consciously as his baseline.    Otherwise a person feels, considers himself or experiences himself as either externally or internally deviant.    
Of course, different aspects of behavior can have different baselines.   A person can conform in one aspect of life and not in another.   The topic of this entry is the baseline of either irrationally believing or skeptically disbelieving as a result of the faculty for rationality.
The conscious baseline can be
  1. an average person's genuine baseline and also the normative baseline of the social environment.
  2. a person's genuine baseline and he refuses to accept the normative baseline.
  3. the normative baseline and he considers his own behavior or behavioral tendencies and impulses as deviant.  

There is internal deviance, when the person feels deviant only by comparing the own behavior with the conscious baseline, and there is external deviance, when the person is treated as or feels deviant in the interaction and comparison with the social environment.  
Internal deviance motivates people either to learn and to improve themselves or to change their conscious baseline or a combination of both.    
External deviance is a very strong system of punishment or reward.    Feeling embarrassed and ashamed of any flaw, fallacy, inferiority, deficiency, insufficiency or weakness compared with the normative baseline is a very strong punishment, especially when in interaction with and exposed to the feedback of more conforming people.   Attempts to adapt and to conform are usually rewarded by positive feedback and by a reduction of bad feelings about oneself.

People openly display their behavior, they are proud and confident about it, when it is congruent with their conscious baseline.    When they feel deviant and feel ashamed or embarrassed, they attempt to hide their deviance.   Congruent people reinforce each other in accepting their common baseline.  Consciously deviant people reinforce each other to feel more deviant and as a result to enhance the attempts to conform.

Unfortunately, the normative baseline is derived by prevalence, not be quality.    The question, if the brain of a skeptical, atheistic scientist is of better quality and of more value to progress and to the human species than the brain of a clergy man is not asked.   

The following is an illustration of the problem by an analogy of the power of the normative baseline.   In my analogy I am assuming, that my speculation were correct, and that there are people, in whose brain is wired a strong faculty to be rational, while other people are gullible and credulous, because this faculty is lacking.    Assuming also, that the tendency to be angry in a disruptive way is an innate trait of some people, while the majority can stay calm enough to stay out of trouble.   
  1. The normative baseline of the majority is irrationality in one case and calmness in the other.  For both, the innately irrational and the innately calm persons, the conscious baseline is congruent.   The normative baseline is identitcal with their genuine personal baseline.
  2. Those rational people and angry people, who accept their own baseline and refuse to feel deviant in comparison with the normative baseline, have both their own subcultures and they are treated as deviant, without perceiving themelves as such. 
    Skeptical and atheistic scientists become accomplished activists in the education of people and there are groups of like minded people online and offline.  They are above feeling deviant.  
    Angry people often end as psychopaths in jail, if and when they accept their anger as a suitable survival skill.   
  3. Rational people and angry people, who have accepted the normative baseline as their conscious baseline, perceive themselves as internally deviant in the interaction with their social environment. 
    3.1. They hide it to avoid punishment from being additionally exposed to external deviance, but they attempt to reduce the deviance by attempts to conform.  
    3.2. They become group members, where they share the rational and the angry baseline with others.   This gives relief from the punishment of external deviance, while they are sharing the internal deviance.
    Angry people join an 'angry anonymous' group. 
    Those few rational people, who do feel deviant from the normative irrationality join groups for survivors of a trauma, catastrophe, extreme loss and such.   They are those, who have been shocked into discovering their own true rationality by comprehending, that the belief in a god was absurd due to experiencing a drastic disappointment.   But they are still struggling to find back to the irrationality, that continues to be their baseline. 
    Group members have the relief of being able to admit and to talk about, what they need to hide outside the group, due to be considered and punished by the conforming majority.   Being temporarily free from the pressure of external deviance, they can focus upon coping with the internal feeling of being deviant and of supporting each other's attempts to conform.  
As a result, irrational and calm people reinforce each other to remain irrational and calm.   Those rational and angry people, who feel deviant and join self-help groups, reinforce each other in the acknowledgment of the need to change and to become more irrational and more calm.     The normative baseline gets stronger.  

When I am imaging a better world, it is one in which the rational people are the majority, and the normative baseline is rationality, atheism, skepticism and the refusal of any belief. 
For all innately rational people, their conscious baseline is congruent with their genuine and the normative baseline.    The irrational people are those, who are considered and treated as deviant.  Sanity and maturity imply rationality.   Irrationals, who refuse or fail to adapt to rationality, because the faculty in their brain is lacking, are considered as disabled and not fully sane.   
If they attempt to solve problems by prayer or if they refuse a luggage tag number 13 as unlucky, then this is considered as indicating their need of psychotherapy.   
If they do damage to others by behavior caused by their delusion, then their place is in a mental institution.    A man allowing himself cheating as justified by a deity having allegedly written in a book, that it is OK for a man to have 4 wives and countless concubines, is insane and dangerous to trusting mongamous women.  
For those, who accept to have a problem, there are self-help groups like 'irrational anonymous', where they help each other deal with their affliction and support each other in the attempt to learn rationality..   They feel ashamed of the weakness and dysfunction of their irrational brains.  They hide their irrationality, they never admit their weird believes to anybody accept to others equally afflicted.  
Every grown up and sane person allows himself to be aware, that praying to a god is as preposterous as searching in the garden for eggs hidden by the easter bunny.    Rational people would lead and guide and be role models, and the irrational people would be a subculture of those, who are unable to do any better.    They are treated with pity and compassion, but nobody ever sees their believes as anything except a pathetic affliction.  

But my dream world has not much chance to become real.    In the sad reality, people reinforce each other in their most delusional beliefs, and by experiencing the ubiquity of the shared delusions, they loose all sense for the absurdity and utter loudicrousness of the beliefs.    I feel like living in a world, where the mental instituion of irrational people reinforcing each other has spread over most of the territory, not leaving much space for the few rationals, atheists and skeptics.  

I suspect, that rationality has not yet evolved to have sufficient prevalence and strength in the gene pool.   It cannot replace gullibility as the only way of interacting and learning in the majority of the adult population.   Also rationality of the individual is only developed after going through the gullibility of childhood, therefore rationally as the genuine and the conscious baseline not only requires the faculty to develop it, but this also requires unlearning and discarding gullibility.   

Thus rationality has a double disadvantage impeding it from becoming the normative baseline of the majority.   

Sunday, August 7, 2011

368. Intuition, Logic And The Subconscious Mind

Intuition, Logic And The Subconscious Mind

In his concept of transliminality, Thalbourne considers it as having only a thin boundary between the conscious and the subconscious mind.   According to this concept, those misleading and weird perceptions (examples in entry 367) exist in all humans' subconscious mind.   High transliminality makes them available to consciousness, in low transliminality they remain hidden.  The assumption is widespread, that the ability to be logical is restricted to consciousness and that everything in the subconsciousness is automatically illogical.  Intuition is generally (not specially in connection with transliminality) considered as a method of arriving at a decision by a shortcut bypassing logical reasoning.

I very strongly disagree, even though I have no evidence to back up my own point of view.   

I consider the human brain as a complex information processing machine.   
The input are 
  • external stimuli to the senses
  • external information stimuli to cognition
  • physical responses to external stimuli
  • internal stimuli indicating dishomeostasis
  • emotions elicited by the above
The process of how to react to the input uses information stored in the memory.   All of this together are the premises of a logical reasoning and deciding process.    A part of the process is under the focus of a spot light called consciousness, the rest is in the dark.  Conscious decisions are reasoning processes in the light, intuitions are processes in the dark, of which only the results appear in the light.    Both conscious and intuitive decisions are both as much or as little rational as is limited by the reasoning faculties.

The processes in the brain are fully logical, irrationality is in the choice of the premises.   Rationality is a faculty of a person and it is more or less there, but equally in the conscious and in the subconscious part of the brain.   

Every irrational belief is a logical conclusion processing an input.    If A utters a claim, then it is true, appears logical to B.   The mistake is the wrong premise, that A can know something as true.   When a person after a near-death-experience believes, that he has a soul having temporarily left the body, this is principally a logical conclusion, as long as no other information is available except the own perception.   But when someone is familiar with scientific thinking, when he has the possibility to acquire information about neuroscience, then the belief in the soul is irrational, because it is derived from an insufficient choice of premises.  

Therefore I consider the faculty of rational information processing and the sensitivity to conscious distorted perceptions are two different traits.   Telepathy as in item 14 of Thalbourne's 1998 questionnaire is an example.   "I am convinced that I have had at least one experience of telepathy between myself and another person".  
  • A distorted-sensitive irrational person feels and believes it.    
  • A less distorted-sensitive but irrational person believes other's claim of having felt it.
  • A distorted-sensitive rational person is aware of experiencing weird things as happening in the brain without any connection with reality.    
  • A less distorted-sensitive rational person does not believe in telepathy and has never experienced anything misleading.
I call it distorted-sensitive in contrast to the good sensitivity of being receptive to other people's emotional needs.   Rationality can discard weird sensations like telepathy in the subconscious brain, because they are not valid for bothering the conscious mind.    While I cannot know it, I am reluctant to think, that high general sensitivity makes people automatically prone to have distorted sensations.  

The transliminality scale mixes two different things, perceptions and their rational or irrational interpretations.    So far, I have not yet found any questionnaire or inventory separating both.   In the telepathy example, there should be two questions, one about having experienced a perception as if it were telepathy, and a second question about the interpretation as either a belief or a function of the own brain.  

But at this moment, I have not even a speculation, what about transliminality was visible in the EEG in this study.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

367. Transliminality


I have been using the word 'gullibility' for the credulity of accepting any claim as true, whenever this leads to behavior.  I have been speculating, that gullibility is either due to lacking the faculty for rational judgment and skeptical doubts, or that gullibility overrides rationality when there is a strong need to do so.   With this I meant behavior leading to the reduction of fear, insecurity, anxiety.  Examples are praying or buying quackeries.  

But I have been omitting something, due to never having experienced it, something which is not part of my own life and not innate in my brain.   

I omitted the power of being misled by distorted sensations and perceptions, which for some people can be strong enough to override rationality and skepticism.    This power is called transliminality.    People with high transliminality perceive and feel forces, connections, unifications with external beings as so strong and real, that they are unable to be aware, that these perceptions are only created in their own brain.   Instead they believe to be really psychic and in contact with spirits, to have apparently extrasensory perceptions and such.   

There is a 29-items questionnaire:
Transliminality is indicated by agreeing with the statements.   Of those, only 8 could be answered with yes by a sensitive and creative, but nevertheless rational and skeptical person, maybe under extreme circumstances. 
All of the 21 other items imply the conscious belief in some irrational claim like horoscopes.    Out of those, the following eleven are of special interest, because each of them implies an irrational interpretation of a distorted perception of a true or imaginary sensory input.
"3 I have experienced an altered state of consciousness in which I felt that I became cosmically enlightened"
"5 I have felt that I had received special wisdom, to be communicated to the rest of humanity"
"8 I have sometimes sensed an evil presence around me, although I could not see it"
"11 Sometimes I experience things as if they were doubly real"
"13 Often I have a day when indoor lights seem so bright that they bother my eyes"
"14 I am convinced that I have had at least one experience of telepathy between myself and another person"
"16 I have experienced an altered state of awareness which I believe utterly transformed (in a positive manner) the way I looked at myself"
"17 I am convinced that I have had a premonition about the future that came true and which (I believe) was not just a coincidence"
"18 I think I really know what some people mean when they talk about mystical experiences"
"23 At times, I somehow feel the presence of someone who is not physically there"
"26 I sometimes have a feeling of gaining or losing energy when certain people look at me or touch me"

I have never in my life felt or sensed anything not even remotely reminding me of any of these statements.   Therefore I was oblivious of their subjective strong reality to some people.    In entry 315, I was puzzled about how the emotions of the jehova's witness were making her appear as if drugged.    But as much as transliminality is beyond my own scope of experience, it is obviously very real.   

There has been research, that the difference between people scoring high or low on the transliminality scale are visible in their EEG.     
"Individuals high in transliminality possess characteristics such as magical ideation, belief in the paranormal, and creative personality traits, and also report the occurrence of manic/mystic experiences."

"Individuals high in transliminality exhibited lower alpha, beta, and gamma power than individuals low in transliminality over left posterior association cortex and lower high alpha, low beta, and gamma power over the right superior temporal region. In contrast, when compared to individuals low in transliminality, individuals high in transliminality exhibited greater gamma power over the frontal-midline region."

Transliminality will give me a lot more to ponder over.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

366. Compatibility And Personal Baselines

Compatibility And Personal Baselines

What is experienced by an individual as right, good, natural, as a basic value or a personal need is often very different from what the majority of the social environment does or expects.  The individual's baseline is not congruent with the surrounding social environment's baseline.  Instead there are two baselines, the personal baseline and the normative baseline.   Deviance is considered and perceived in comparison to what is accepted as the baseline.    Two baselines define two deviances. 

It is important
  • to be aware of one's own true personal baseline and to accept it as a choice and not as deviant from what society demands or expects as the norm. 
  • to focus on being independent and accepting one's position, instead of being bothered with defending oneself against the norm.   
  • to live according to the true baseline and not submitting to the mainstream baseline against the own inclinations.

People, whose true personal baseline differs from society's baseline, can be in two different incongruent situations:
  • They feel deviant and attempt to become, what they are not.
  • They are not aware of having externally submitted to what is not their true self, of which they are oblivious or in denial.  

Example 1:  
  • Congruent situation 1:  According to the skeptical baseline, nothing is true, because someone else claims it to be true.    Evidence and information can help to estimate the probability.    Skeptics consider all believing as a deviance from rationality.  
  • Congruent situation 2:  In a christian society, the existence of a deity is not doubted, believers feel good because of their  belief, which is agreed upon as the baseline and norm, and atheists are considered to be deviant.   
  • Incongruent situation 1.  People, who have been disappointed by some tragic event and have lost their belief grieving for having lost it.    For them, the baseline still is believing, and they experience themselves as deviant.   
  • Incongruent situation 2.  People taking the belief in a deity for granted without it being of any personal meaning to them.   They would never expect anything from the deity.   They are atheists before getting aware of it.
Example 2:  
  • Congruent situation 1:  According to the childfree baseline, it is good to be without children.   Children make life miserable.   For childfree people, breeding is a deviation from their baseline.  
  • Congruent situation 2:  In average society, breeding is the norm, breeders follow their inclination, childfree or childless people are considered as being in a state of deviance.
  • Incongruent situation 1.  People wishing to have children but having none accept breeding as the baseline and they feel as if they were deviant.  
  • Incongruent situation 2.  People postpone breeding due to the lack of a true wish are not aware of this.  

Compatibility with a partner means compatible personal baselines based in the situation of congruence.  
  • Absolute baselines are dichotomous.   One is either an atheist or one is not.  
  • Onesided baselines.   While there is a minimal education to be equals, there is no maximum education.  
  • Fuzzy baselines.   The baseline like the one of sharing all and being mutually the most important person in the world is fuzzy, there is no general definition for all couples.   Every couple needs to find an agreement of the meaning of this baseline due to limitations by differences in taste and in job requirements.  
A situation, where the baseline only appears compatible, because for one it is congruent, but not for the other, will cause disruption in a relationship.   

Thursday, August 4, 2011

365. Atheism - Skepticism

Atheism  - Skepticism

Throughout this blog, I declared myself a skeptic and an atheist, using both words separately even though I implicitly consider both as related.    But I only defined in entries 305, 60 and 11, what it means to me to be an atheist but I did not explicitly mention skepticism.   Since an interesting discussion lately, in which some people declared themselves as skeptics but not as atheists, I got aware that this topic needs some further elaboration.   

On the level of cognition, atheism and skepticism are distinguishable.    On the level of skepticism as a behavioral paradigm, a skeptical approach to the claim of the existence of a deity can only lead to atheism.   Otherwise the person is applying skepticism only partially without being a skeptic as a personality trait.  

I already made the point, that a-theos means nothing more except to be without a god.  Being an atheist means to live as if I have never even heard of the option to believe or to let a belief determine my behavior.  

When being without a god is the baseline, then this does not even need to be the consequence of a choice due to having an option, it can just as well be a state of oblivion.    A person, who has never even heard of the possibility to choose a belief is automatically an atheist, as is a newborn or a monkey or even a fly.    Believing is a choice, either by a conscious believer or by the parents, who brainwash a child to believe.   Stopping to believe is a choice.    Someone calling himself an atheist describes the awareness of choosing to not believe in spite of this being an option.      

Skepticism means doubting any claim offered as an option to believe as if true.    Someone can as often react as a skeptic as he is confronted with claims.  He cannot doubt claims that he has never heard of.    Skepticism supplies the doubt, but not automatically also the best judgment and evaluation.    The latter depend on available information and upon scientific thinking and empiricism are methods to deal with the doubt.  

But all this would not be of much importance were it not for the unavoidable requirement of making decisions based upon insufficient information as part of the survival of every day life.  Buying food means relying on the claims of the producer of its healthy ingredients.  But we need to buy food to survive.     
Gullibility and skepticism are the two opposite methods of making decisions when dealing with other persons' claims.  
The gullible believes everything and allows himself to be manipulated, he survives by imitating others' decision and evaluations, which are sometimes good, often detrimental but not often lethal.    This is why gullibility persists. 
The skeptic doubts everything, but he is still under the pressure to make decisions or to perish.    The skeptic refuses to make decisions based upon accepting others' claims as true, the skeptic avoids the misinterpretation of his own experiences like apparent contingencies.    A true skeptic does not believe.    A true skeptic estimates the probability of something being true.   If a skeptic is lacking sufficient information to estimate the probability, he does it consciously as a haphazard decision, if deciding cannot be avoided.  

Example.   A gullible person with a headache takes the remedy, that is presented to him with the strongest claim by the most sympathetic or manipulative person.   The gullible person believes, that it helps, no matter what it is.
A skeptic refuses to take homeopathic water.   But if he is a not trained in pharmacology, then the choice between different over-the-counter painkilllers is mainly a haphazard decision.   But as the headache needs a remedy, the skeptic buys one in the full awareness of not being able to evaluate the choice as really the best possible.

Therefore on the level of decisions, atheism is a logical outcome of skepticism.  Applying skepticism upon the claim of the existence of a deity can only lead to doubt this existence.      Someone with a headache refuses to buy homeopathic water and he refuses to pray to a god.   Both are claims of irrational remedies.