quest


I am a woman of 64 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:
marulaki@hotmail.com


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.


Monday, October 31, 2011

431. Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs And The Pleasure Center In The Brain

Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs And The Pleasure Center In The Brain
 
In the entries 388 and 389 I mentioned the need for homeostasis and the stimulation of the pleasure center in the brain together as the major motivational force leading to behavior.       

But the pleasure center is not independent from dishomeostasis.  The urge toward homeostation can block, filter, reduce, modify the amount and kind of stimulation, the reaches or impacts the pleasure center.    The pleasure center is fully open to be stimulated only in the state of complete homeostasis.   

Dishomeostasis overriding the pleasure center can be:
  • Survival needs for food, air, security etc.
  • Non-vital instincts like sexuality.
  • Unpleasantness and discomfort like a headache or heat.
  • Craving due to an addiction like alcoholism.
  • Emotional pain due to inappropriate and inadequate treatment like a betrayal.
  • Acquired cravings as a result of mental and emotional problems like a narcissist's craving for adulation.  
Maslow in his hierarchy of needs calls those needs, which cause dishomeostasis, deficit needs.  My concept of dishomeostasis is roughly in accordance with Maslow's hierarchy of needs.    But Maslow has based his concept upon the implicit assumption of a general applicability of his model on all people. 
http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/maslow.html
 
Concerning what happens, when there is homeostasis of all the deficit needs, my own speculations are different from Maslow's hierarchy.   I disagree with his simple suggestion of self-actualization as the general top need in his hierarchy.   Instead I consider the top of the hierarchy as being determined by the specific qualities of the pleasure center.  Self-actualization is one but not the only option.       

I have speculated before, that the kind of sensitivity of the pleasure center is distributed as a bell curve.   At one end are those people, whose hedonistic pleasure center is predominantly sensitive, perceptive and responsive to physical stimulation.   At the other end, emotional, intellectual, immaterial stimulation has more impact upon the epicurean pleasure center.   I further speculate, that the subjective relative magnitude of suffering from either physical or emotional dishomeostasis is influenced by the same predisposition. 

Therefore only under strong physical dishomeostasis, the behavior of all people is motivated by the same urge to restore homeostasis as follows Maslow hierarchy.   But under lesser or no dishomeostasis, there will be different hierarchies of motivation due to individual differences in the perceived pressure of needs.   Only the predominantly Epicureans are motivated to strive for Maslow's self-actualization, because this is what stimulates their pleasure center.   Hedonists are only attracted to seek physical pleasures and self-actualizing behaviors do not stimulate their pleasure center.  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

430. Dichotomy, Atheism And The Transition Point

Dichotomy, Atheism And The Transition Point

The following analogy is independent from the subjective human preference for light over darkness. 

Complete darkness is the absence of light.    Light is not the absence of darkness.  
Real atheism is the absence of any faith.  Faith is not the absence of atheism.    

Day and night, light and darkness are dichotomies.   
Faith or the absence of faith, delusion or the freedom from delusion are dichotomies.  

But they are not really dichotomies, because there is a transition phase between them.  
There is twilight, it is either dusk or dawn.  
There is often either a phase of doubts or of the replacement of the content of the faith.   The shift is gradual from the most obvious irrationality like a personal god to more vague irrationality like spirituality, woo-woo, new age beliefs.   

Simple lamps function by the dichotomy, that they can only be either turned on or of. 
Using the lamp requires a dichotomy of a decision, when to consider it as night and turn the light on and when to consider it as day and turn the lamp off.  
The conscious self-labeling functions by the dichotomy of either defining oneself as an atheist or as a believer of something.   In situations, when behavior is either determined by faith or by the absence thereof without any neutral third option, the choice of this behavior depends upon the self-label.    

The transition point is sometimes fuzzy.  
Individuals have different subjective perceptions for brightness, and people linger sometimes before acting, so that they do not turn the light on or off at the same time during dusk or dawn.   
The perception, when rational doubts are as strong as the irrational needs and attractions of faith, is very subjective.   Individuals are under very different external influences, and people linger sometimes before acting.   The trigger for the transition to become an atheist is different for every individual.  

For someone sitting in a room without windows, where the lamps are operated by another person, day and night are truly dichotomous.   That person inside is ignorant of the amount of light outside.   
For a person ignorant of what goes on inside another person's head, this person's belief system is dichotomous according to his self-labeling.   The person either declares to be an atheist or not, but how much or little he really believes is hidden.   

Here ends the simple analogy.

There are many transitions, when proactive behavior, expectations for behavior, expectations towards others and legal rights change in a dichotomous way.    When the transition point is vague and invisible and not clearly defined, this can sometimes cause confusion.    This problem is solved by externally defining and fixing the transition point by a transition ritual.    

Most transition rituals are connected with growing up.   There are initiation rites in tribal groups. religious ceremonies to become a full member of a religious congregation, the reaching of legal age, ceremonies when getting a degree and many more.   

Fixing the transition point by a transition ritual has some psychological consequences. 
1. It defines the subsequent appropriate social role for the individual.  This ends confusion and cognitive dissonance between own inclinations and the role before the transition.
2.  It helps others to know, how to perceive and treat the person.
3.  It hides the information, how much or how little the person really fits the requirements of the new role.    

A transition ritual is helpful also for the transition from faith to atheism.    In Germany, every member of the two major religions is automatically paying church tax along with income tax, until the person formally declares the end of the membership.   Appearing personally in the town hall for this act serves as a transition ritual.  
In other countries, people can decide from one moment to the next to never make use of any religious service anymore, and declare themselves to be atheists at any moment.   But as this is only in their mind, instead of experiencing one clear transition point, they easily continue oscillating between self-labeling themselves as atheists and relapsing to temporary faith.  
 
While real atheism means the complete absence of any faith, the transition point, from where people dichotomously self-label themselves as atheists, is not yet the point, where real atheism has been reached, it is only the point of the predominance of the doubts over faith.    Self-labeled atheists can be either void of any faith or their atheism is only skin-deep, while they are rationally fighting against their wish or need for a faith.      Some of the skin-deep atheists will never really get void of all substitute beliefs, others are still on the way of overcoming all of their previous faith.    

Thursday, October 27, 2011

429. Religion, Atheism And Emotional Pain

Religion, Atheism And Emotional Pain

A while ago I defined the most fundamental difference between humans and animals as the conscious ability to choose between either breeding or not breeding as an individual preference.    This is of course also the case with the choice to override other instincts.

Animals are robots, whose behavior is driven primarily by recurrent instinctive urges to restore homeostasis and secondarily by the pleasure center.  In this pursuit they are reactive to the environment by learning.  

Human have the same robot built into their brain, but the conscious mind having rational control is superimposed.  Impulses for homeostation and the appeals to the pleasure center are modified by checking with the memories of past experience and the expectation of long-term consequences before execution of the appropriate behavior.    
The conscious mind experiences complex and abstract emotions, that can be very strong.   Appreciation, confidence, pride, attachment, joy, elation, betrayal, humiliation, indignation, outrage, grief are a few examples of emotions, that only humans can feel, because such emotions are the result of knowledge conveyed and created by cognitive processes, which animals do not have.    

Since the animal robot in the human brain has evolved earlier, it does not know these abstract emotions.   The instinctive urge for homeostasis is independent of how the resulting behavior impacts or creates these emotions in the self and in the target.   The conscious mind has the capacity to be aware of the emotional consequences of allowing to be determined by the instincts and it has the choice to resist as a result of emotional considerations.     But the conscious mind has no control over perceiving instinctive urges towards behaviors, that would cause emotional devastation on others.

Promiscuity is a very good example.     

When dogs copulate, two bodies as robots copulate with each other, they restore the homeostasis of their instinctive urges, and afterwards their brains are as unaffected as if it has never happened.  They have no mind to recognize a unique personality in the other dog and therefore they cannot feel attachment. 

There are many men - luckily not all - whose animal robot is so strong, that they are driven like dogs to use a female body for homeostasis, while the personality inside the female body is insignificant.  Like the dogs, they copulate with a body without getting emotionally attached, the next day they are emotionally unaffected as if it has never happened.  
But more often than not, the mind and personality inside the female body does get emotionally attached.  The woman suffers emotional pain of grief, betrayal, outrage, humiliation, when she gets dumped and discarded after having been used, especially when the promiscuous male had manipulated her to consent by creating wrong expectations.  

The male human and the male dog do the same driven by the same instinct.   But while the female dog is not affected by emotions, of which her brain is void, the human female suffers strong emotional pain.   
The man, who is driven to copulate like a dog, lacks empathy for the pain of the woman getting automatically attached.   But in contrast to the dog, he knows in theory, that women get attached and have an emotional need for monogamy.  He either knows of the emotional damage done or in the very least always risked by dog-like dumping and cheating, or else he is in denial of available knowledge.    

Consciously he has a choice, how he can feel comfortable about himself and his behavior.   He can either adapt his behavior to be considerate to women's emotional needs and avoid hurting them, or he can find reasons to justify his ruthless and cruel behavior.  
The claim, that men cannot be monogamous, because animals are also promiscuous, serves as a sufficient excuse to accept themselves as being driven by instinct and not fight against it.    But in addition they also need a justification for knowingly inflicting pain on women.   
There is no rational reason to hurt others for personal benefits without the unfavorable own acceptance as and social reproach for being selfish and antisocial.    Therefore the promiscuous men found a very successul solution:  
They invented a god, who appreciates humans' sufferings as a devotion to him, and who compensates people in the afterlife.  The more people submit to suffering on earth, the more they get rewarded later.   Then the men made the women believe all this.  They added monogamy as the alleged preference of the god to make the religion more appealing to the women.   Soon women were manipulated to accept their emotional sufferings as unavoidable fate.   

Promiscuity is just one example.   The behaviors caused by the hierarchy instinct and the ingroup-outgroup instinct like exploitation, slavery and alike also cause extreme emotional pain and are backed up by the same excuse of the compensation by a god in an afterlife.  
 
The consequence of this are tragic.   Because once the social acceptance of suffering as an unavoidable collateral damage of human interaction had been established along with the religiion, this caused a subtle general desensitization towards a growing acceptance of inflicting emotional pain without feeling guilty.   Emotionally hurting someone is not considered an outrage any more, but feeling hurt is instead considered a flaw of the victim.   
Promiscuous religious men justified their emotional cruelty by their victims' hope of being rewarded in the afterlife.   As atheists, men should be aware that there is only a short life until death, and that they are personally responsible for all the emotional pain inflicted by them, and that there is no god on to whom to shift the responsibility.    

But instead of accepting monogamous attachment as the way of being considerate and responsible to women, many atheists wrongly interpret monogamy as a part of religion limiting men's freedom.  While ridding themselves of the obsolete faith in the god, they allow themselves also the relief by getting rid of any moral obligation towards monogamy.   As a consequence of the desensitization during millenia of religious indoctrination, atheistic men just as the religious ones consider feeling hurt as the women's flaw.   They are void of feeling any need for a justification, instead they feel free to allow themselves ruthless promiscuity without feeling guilty for the collateral emotional damage.  

Atheists should wake up to the full awareness, that due to the lack of compensation for pain in the afterlife, taking responsibility to avoid hurting others is of paramount importance. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

428. Selfishness And Identity

Selfishness And Identity

Selfishness as a trait means considering oneself entitled to selfish behavior including the justification for such behavior in the past and the planning or willingness for such behavior in the future.

Selfish behavior is
  1. subjectively beneficial for the one acting selfishly.
  2. subjectively or objectively harmful to the target, either physically, emotionally or materially.
  3. done without the consent of the target and not based upon previous consent as part of a deal.
Most people can agree with part 1 and 3 of the definition.   

But the apparently paradoxical mutual accusation of being selfish between breeders and non-breeders (entry 426) made me aware, that there is a wide discrepancy concerning the target of the behavior in part 2 of the definition. 

Personally I can take two views on breeding.    By projecting from myself to others, I consider breeders as self-harming fools, who waste their life away by their choice of changing dirty diapers, when they could instead read a good book.    Taking a more objective view I consider those breeders, who do raise children in an appropriate way as the heroes, who do the dirty and unpleasant work for the survival of society, so that childfree people like me can enjoy the privilege to avoid the dreary and annoying interaction with children.    Before I was in contact with other childfree people, it never even occurred to me to consider those child raising heroes as selfish.   
 

Of course the following is no claim of any truth or facts, it is a model of speculations.   (It is so much easier to express myself by using simple statements.   Therefore whenever I write 'is', this needs to be read as 'it seems probable to me'.)

I already attempted in entry 426 to explain the childfree accusing breeders as selfish by the discrepancy between their innate attraction to children and their self-restriction and denial to have their own due to some external reason.  

The difference in defining the target of selfishness can be explained by a difference in the perceived own identity.   I am using another pseudo-dichotomous explanation model.   It is a scale of a distribution along a bell curve.   At one extreme end there are the persons with an individual identity, at the other end are the persons with the particle identity.   The majority of people are somewhere in between.

The individual identity means, that a person experiences himself only as an individual person, living his life until death, when the entire existence ends.    A person with such an identity perceives and experiences himself interacting with other individuals.  Morality means the limitation of responsibility and consideration to individuals as the targets of behavior.   
Only individuals consciously suffer pain when harmed.  Not harming according to Epicurus' principle is the reason for limiting the definition of who is the target of selfish behavior to individuals. 
When it concerns resources owned by more abstract entities like society or the ecosystem, the principle is the self-calculated balance of not causing damage without compensating and for not taking more than giving back.    No instance of behavior without any individual as a target can be defined as selfish.  There can only be the trait of selfishness leading to a long term lacking balance of taking more than giving.   Taking long-term responsibility for this balance makes the difference between legitimate self-interest and selfishness.  

The particle identity is different.   Whatever there is innate in the brain as a part of animal instincts, it creates on the conscious level a vague feeling of interconnectedness with something higher, more significant and more valuable than the individual self.  Most probably it is the instinctive identification as being one's eternal genes more than one's individual person in a one time body.  
Feeling interconnected leads on the conscious level to create an image, attitude or idea, of what it is that people feel interconnected with.    This can be anything from the eternal soul of religion and reincarnation, the creation, a system of cosmic powers, mother earth or the ecosystem.   No matter which higher entity they ascribe their being a particle of, being only a particle makes people accept to be externally guided by morals given by and obligations towards that higher entity.
Considering their own individuality as insignificant, they apply this same insignificance also to their fellow particles.   For them, the entire or any part of the higher entitiy is considered as a target in need to be protected from selfish behavior, and everybody else is supposed and sometimes forced to submit to this obligation.
 
When people, who had been brought up religiously and who had so far to their own satisfaction explained all their feeling interconnectedness to their immoral soul, become atheists by rationally discarding the existence of a soul, this does not eliminate their particle identity and their feeling interconnected.   
For them, the ecosystem as something scientifically real and not requiring any faith, is a good replacement to feel interconnected with.   Many of them are somewhere on the middle of the bell curve of the strength of the procreation and nurturing instinct.    
This moderate magnitude of these instincts would motivate them to breed, when encouraged by their religion, even though they are sometimes unhappy with their burden.    Then they call the non-breeders selfish.   
The same magnitude combined wtih the knowledge, that the ecosystem is under hazard of the overpopulation, causes them to refrain from breeding, but they feel deprived of what attracts them to breeding.   So they call the breeders selfish with the ecosystem as the target.   
In both cases, selfish is defined by either god's creation or the ecosystem as the target, but not by the wellbeing of living individuals, who suffer.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

427. The Philistene's Sour Grapes Of Knowledge

The Philistine's Sour Grapes Of Knowledge

http://stevenpaulleivasthisnthat.blogspot.com/2011/09/new-clothes-for-shakespeare-and.html

In this article the author recounts his conversation with someone, whom he describes as anti-intellectual and whom I would also call a philistine.   This guy is proudly declaring, that what he does not like, is not worth being bothered about, he feels not in the least embarrassed about his willful ignorance.  The author of the article quotes his specimen as calling Shakespeare's plays crap.   The author calls it the arrogance of ignorance.  
Such philistines devalue and discard other people's cognitive production not by learned judgment, they devalue, what they themselves are either too dumb to understand, or what they are too lazy to invest effort in to first understand, before they judge.  

But devaluing, what is out of easy reach, is part of a more general pattern.   Aesop's fable illustrates the same pattern:   
"Driven by hunger, a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on the vine but was unable to, although he leaped with all his strength. As he went away, the fox remarked, 'Oh, you aren't even ripe yet! I don't need any sour grapes.' People who speak disparagingly of things that they cannot attain would do well to apply this story to themselves."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fox_and_the_Grapes

This is the pattern:   Someone wants something, but it is either out of his reach or the efforts to obtain it are subjectively out of proportion of his need, wish or interest to get it.    The resulting cognitive dissonance is resolved by devaluing the object to become less or undesirable.  
In the case of the grapes, the object is material.  In the case of the philistine, cognitive achievements and knowledge as a source of self-esteem and self-worth are emotional and immaterial.   
The fox refocuses his attention towards easily available food.   The philistine refocuses his attempts to boost his self-esteem towards less intellectually challenging sources like wealth or physical fitness.  

There is a special constellation, where the arrogance of ignorance is especially detrimental.    It is the behavior and attitude of many men towards intelligent and educated women.
Such a woman expects a man to be a mindmate, a companion sharing with her intellectual intimacy and the reciprocal joy of consent.   For any man, the task of understanding the woman, of making himself understood, of sharing his thoughts and listening to her, of communicating can be difficult or beyond his abilities.   But if a male animal is in addition driven by an urge to get homeostasis, this task is tiresome and a strain on his patience.
When he experiences giving her, what her brain needs, as out of his reach as are the grapes for the fox, he does not even try.   Instead he becomes a commitment philistine.   
With the same ignorance as described in the article, the male animal denies, that the woman even has a brain.   With the same arrogance, he devalues all women to be nothing more than bodies existing as commodities to be used.    They are perceived and hunted as prey.   As a predator and stud, he derives the self-esteem, that he does not expect to get by intellectual attempts.      

 
The pattern of devaluing, what cannot be reached, is known since millennia.   But I see a trend, that the willingness to earn anything with a lot of effort, is dwindling.   Choosing only, what is easy to get and devaluing everything else seems to be a growing general tendency. 
The social development away from the goal of monogamous long-term commitment and towards a male promiscuous throwaway mentality towards women is one example.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

426. Breeders, Non-Breeders And The Reciprocal Accusation Of Selfishness

Breeders, Non-Breeders And The Reciprocal Accusation Of Selfishness

Breeders and non-breeders often accuse each other of being selfish.   This is remarkable, as being selfish means attempting to get benefits for oneself disregarding conflicting interests.    Accusing someone else of being selfish implies the agreement, that the allegedly selfish behavior is indeed beneficial for the accused. Evaluating another person's behavior as self-damaging would lead to call him a fool, insane, irrational, pathetic, anything except selfish.  
Therefore a breeder accusing a non-breeder as selfish implies the admission, that not breeding is more beneficial than breeding, and vice versa.   This paradox needs to be explained.    

So far, I had attributed the decision to breed or not to breed only to the need for homeostasis due to differences in the strength of the procreation instinct serving directly the survival of the genes.   I consider this as distributed along a bell curve, where at one extreme end people feel a strong procreation instinct, while at the other end, this instinct is absent.  

But there is a second scale, which I have up to now omitted, the innate nurturing instinct.  It is also distributed as a bell curve.  The innate difference is between being attracted to spend time with and to care for helpless beings or not.   At one end are those people, who feel very emotionally attracted to babies, children, pets, not only their own but in general.   At the other extreme are those people, who are just not attracted to any beings, who are lacking the cognitive abilities of a sane adult.   

These two scales are not or at least not fully correlated.   To illustrate the problem, I compare the four combinations of the extremes, but the same problem will also be to a lesser degree the case with the majority of people anywhere in the middle of the bell curves.   And of course, people are often influenced and brainwashed, so they are not aware of their true inclinations.  

1.  High procreation and high nurturing instincts:  
Such people experience raising children predominantly as restoring homeostasis and therefore subjectively as their self-interest.   They are those, who rather feel indiscriminate pity for the childless and the childfree and rarely call them selfish.

2.  High procreation and low nurturing instincts. 
Such people discover, that they experience raising children as a burden and a sacrifice only after they have them, when they are unable to undo the irreversible mistake.  They experience cognitive dissonance, they are envious of the childfree and they call them selfish.    

3.  Low procreation and high nurturing instincts.  
Such people are attracted to children, they choose to be dedicated uncles and aunts, to adopt, to be school teachers.  They perceive pets as children.   While they are rationally aware of the overpopulation and other external good reasons for not breeding, they are secretly dissatisfied of not being able to spend as much time with children as would give them homeostasis for their nurturing instinct.   As a result, they secretly envy the people, who have own children in defiance of any rational considerations, and they accuse them of being selfish. 

4.  Low procreation and low nurturing instincts.   
Such people are attracted only to beings, with whom intellectual communication is possible.   They are emotionally attracted to those people, with whom they can share the joy of consent by having something in common, by the intellectual intimacy with a mindmate.  
They can find it interesting to watch other people's kids for a few hours and to enjoy a visit to the zoo, but such beings just bore them after a while and caring for them is not an attraction, but an unpleasant burden to be avoided.  This lack of the instinct to asymmetrically care for the young has of course nothing to do with the symmetrical willingness to care for a sick partner in a committed relationship.    Such people are not driven to find someone as a target for an asymmetrical nurturing instinct, they choose someone to get attracted to by a wise intellectual choice, and caring is a symmetrical part of commitment.  
Such people are aware, that society as a whole needs some procreation to survive.  For them, being free from raising children is a privilege, they are content, that others do the unpleasant chore.  They are grateful to have been spared.   They have no reason to call breeders selfish.   

Sunday, October 23, 2011

425. Self-Interest Or Altruism

425.  Self-Interest Or Altruism

Reading about objectivism, I came across the discussion, if there is real altruism or if all behavior serves self-interest.  

There is a lot of confusion about this question, but I think that this is due to people having very different selves and what is self-interest to some is irrational to others.   

Altruism is behavior, that is directly beneficial for others without any visible return and without any expectation of a return for the self.
Sacrifice is deliberately inflicting damage upon oneself for some goal, which appears out of proportion with the expected benefits.  This can include to inflict damage also upon other persons without their consent.  
I will call both altruistic and sacrificial behavior as apparent self-disadvantage.  

There are three major selves or identities, who interpret and experience apparent self-disadvantage very differently.   

The following is a bit simplified, because while comparing the three selves as distinct, I do not really imply, that people cannot be driven by a combination of or oscillating between different motivational forces.  Also people's behavior is of course also determined by not obvious real consequence outside this consideration, because self-inflicted real or apparent self-disadvantage is defined by the absence of real consequences.        

1.   The delusional-submissive self with mental health problems.   People with such a self are determined by their religious delusion with the core belief in a deity or higher power, compared with whom they feel powerless. 
They expect full compensation for the apparent self-disadvantage as a reward either in this life or in the afterlife.   They feed the pleasure center of their brain with the hope and anticipation of future pleasures. 
In the case, that the person is driven by fear, anxiety and paranoia, the apparent self-disadvantage serves also to influence the deity to either remove the cause of the fear in this life or to prevent punishment in the afterlife.  
The apparent self-disadvantage restores the emotional homeostasis of reducing fear. 

2.   The strength and presence or absence of the procreation instinct defines the identity.  People can identify themselves as either an individual person, who dies, when the body dies, or they can identify themselves subconsciously as being their immortal genes, and consciously as a particle or link connected somehow with the eternal chain of their genes.  
2.1.  Persons with the particle identity are the breeders driven by an urge to procreate that causes them so much dishomeostasis, that the apparent self-disadvantageous raising of children is for them the only method to restore homeostasis. 
2.2.  People with the individualistic identity of non-breeders and no religious delusion often base their behavior upon the basic attitude of a fair balance of giving and receiving and a tit-for-tat strategy.   They do the first step of giving in the hope that the other gives back.  

So people's behavior can be driven by three very different motivations, either to influence a higher power, or to guarantee the survival of their genes or to have a fair exchange with others.   

People tend to project on others, what they mistake for granted and as being general.   This includes the evaluation of the relative disadvantage of a certain behavior compared withe the benefit to be gained.   
Therefore the behaviors of apparent self-disadvantage are considered and experienced as rewarding by some people, depending on the innate inclinations of their brain, while the same behaviors appear as weird and irrational sacrifices to others. 

One example:   Changing stinking diapers is certainly an unpleasant activity.   Nobody would choose to do this as a source of pleasure.   Rationally seen, nobody would chose to do it at all without a very good reason to do so.   
But people deliberately decide to get themselves into circumstances, in which they are obliged to change stinking diapers as a daily chore.  
2.2.  Non-breeders with an individualistic identity consider this as an irrational and incomprehensible sacrifice of the individual wellbeing in favor of the survival of the breeders' genes.  
2.1.  For breeders with the particle identity, the relief from the instinctive urge to procreate, the subjective benefit of homeostation is so strong, that the stinking diapers are a trifle in comparison.
1.  The religious delusion can be so strong, that the expectation of being rewarded for breeding or the fear of punishment for not breeding are so strong, that they again are more beneficial than the apparent sacrifice of changing the diapers.     

Saturday, October 22, 2011

424. Would Epicurus Today Be Childfree?

424.   Would Epicurus Today Be Childfree?

I have already been expressing my personal opinion, that people with an Epicurean brain are especially well suited to get bonded in monogamous long-term commitment, no matter if legally married or in any other form.   I consider persons as having an Epicurean brain, if they are guided predominantly by rationality and less by instinctive needs for any kind of homeostasis, and if they are more sensitive, perceptive and responsive to emotional and intellectual stimulation of the pleasure center and less to physical stimulation.

But according to learned scholars' disagreement about how to interpret, what has been preserved of Epicurus' original writings, he was either completely opposed to marriage or he accepted marriage as acceptable, when the circumstances were appropriate.   

I claim, that if Epicurus would live today, he would be in favor of committed couples as the best way to a happy life.   I can even imagine Epicurus today as a happy member of the childfree movement.  

I attribute his reluctance or opposition to marriage directly to his principle of doing no harm as a primary guidance for behavior.
 
Pregnancy, childbirth and raising children cause a lot of pain to a woman.   Today, women who choose to have children, do this as a consequence of an urge to reduce dishomeostasis due to a strong instinctive urge to procreate.   They suffer, but they subjectively get a benefit from their pain.   But because of the progress of medicine it is their own choice, not a consequence of being involved in any kind of a relationship.     

In the times of Epicurus, the medical knowledge was much less advanced than today, and giving birth, having an abortion and using the then available rudimentary methods of attempted birth control, were all very dangerous and painful for a woman's life and health.   This suffering was not a choice, it was the inevitable and automatic consequence of marriage.    Marriage meant for a woman the risk of being harmed and for a man the risk of doing harm.

It is somehow very logical, that Epicurus wanting to avoid harming any woman, was aware of the serious responsibility, had he caused the pregnancy of a woman, even in the case, that she were willing to procreate.   Even then, with enough empathy, Epicurus would probably still have felt guilty of the suffering of the woman.   

His choice to suggest reluctance towards marriage was the only available method of being responsible and considerate.

Friday, October 21, 2011

423. Mate Search And The Emotional Dynamics Of Consent And Dissent

Mate Search And The Emotional Dynamics Of Consent And Dissent

This continues entry 420.   There I declared: 

Consent and agreement make me feel good, dissent and disagreement make me feel bad.  

I am fully aware, that this is my personal tendency, which I share only with the minority of those people, whose brain is predominantly Epicurean.   That includes the innate trait, that their pleasure center is more sensitive, perceptive and responsive to emotional and intellectual stimulation, and less to physical stimulation.   As a consequence, they are attracted to a mate, with whom they can develop emotional and intellectual intimacy, before they want physical intimacy.  
 
All those people, who get infatuated with a body as a consequence of being driven by the mate selection of their subconsciously acting instincts, seem determined by this and consent or dissent have no emotional impact upon them.  

Sometimes people in profiles on dating sites or on dating advice pages claim, that if two partners were too much alike, this would make the relationship dull.  There are also many people, who are willing to mutually tolerate very contradictory attitudes in a mate, like christians and atheists or the politically left and right wing oriented.  The only explanation for this is the force of infatuation completely overriding anything else.  
For people emotionally reactive to consent and dissent, being alike and sharing interests is important.   If for example two partners both enjoy visiting museums, there are more museums on earth then any couple can ever visit together during a lifetime.   Sharing impressions, pointing things out to each other and agreeing on the opinion is joy.   Why would people need to argue about a different or controversial opinion?   It is the same about movies, books, lectures, theater plays to be shared, which then leads to the joy of consent.    Doing sightseeing in a church or temple and sharing the mockery about that preposterous faith is so much more enjoyable than visiting the same church but being obliged to bite my tongue to avoid hurting the feelings of a believer. 

Logically for all those, for whom consent causes pleasant emotions, the expectation and probability of consent is an important criterion in the choice of a mate,    Experiencing consent requires knowledge about what the potential partner thinks.    Whenever I am in contact with someone, who could maybe be a mate, I am avidly reading, whatever expressions of his attitudes, values and opinions I can find.   I am very motivated to find consent and to discover the red flags of dissent.  
But this is only reciprocal, when a man has the same wish to find his own consent with my expression of my personality too.    That means, a man, who is more attracted to feel consent than to get infatuated, would be as much motivated to read this blog as he is interested in getting to know my person.   

But this is not, what usually happens.   Often when I get in contact with someone and I suggest to him to visit this blog and find out, if we are compatible of not, there is no or little interest.   Instead they demand a picture, or they want just small talk in the chat.   With the same frame of mind, many men are not bothered to fill in their own profiles, or they contact me in spite of clear statements in my profile, that they do not fulfill my criteria.   
Sometimes I am getting reproached for not being sweet.     If a man wants me to be sweet, nice, kind and friendly, the best method is to make me feel good by enabling me to experience consent.    But someone, who instead of cooperating to discover consent, leaves me ignorant and thinks that his attention alone of contacting me or chatting should make me feel good, is not the kind of man, who is compatible with me.   
The world is full with two legged male animals, but mindmates with an epicurean brain are very rare.    

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

422. Epicureanism, Objectivism And The Predisposition Of The Brain

Epicureanism, Objectivism And The Predisposition Of The Brain

It is often assumed, that people either develop or adopt a philosophy and then consciously decide to live in accordance.   

I am convinced, that it is the other way around.   People first feel comfortable with a specific way of life, which is innate in their brain, and then they develop or adopt the philosophy most suitable as a conscious representation.   People following their own inclinations are prone or at risk to experience cognitive dissonance, as long as they consider themselves as deviant from what they are supposed to conform to.   The change of the philosophy allows them to be in harmony and congruence with themselves.

I speculate, that there is a bell curve of what drives human behavior.   At one end, there is the hedonist brain, which has a high urge to restore homeostasis as a consequence of instinctive needs, and which also gets the strongest stimulation to its pleasure center from physical stimuli.    At the other end is the Epicurean brain, which is guided predominantly by rationality and less by instinctive need for homeostasis, and which is most sensitive and responsive to emotional and intellectual stimulation of the pleasure center.    The brains of the majority of people are more balanced in the middle between the two extremes.  

Since the hedonistic and balanced brain is sufficiently in accordance with the Darwinian fitness for procreation and the survival of the species, people with such brains often do not need a philosophy except they just consider themselves as normal.    Only people with the predominantly Epicurean brain feel often compelled to define themselves by a philosophy, because the get marginalized due to their apparent defiance against the animal nature. 

Epicurus has done a very good job in formulating a philosophy fitting this kind of a brain.   He had the wisdom to limit his advice to telling individuals, what they can do to live a happy life for themselves and in interaction with others.    As far as I know, he does not claim, that his philosophy is equally suitable for everybody, he only offered it to those, who choose to share his garden community or who were interested.  
 
Someone suggested to me the objectivism of Ayn Rand.   It seems to me, that she created this philosophy to accommodate her Epicurean brain.   But in contrast to Epicurus, she projects her subjective experience of her own brain upon others and believes that her philosophy is equally suitable for all human beings.  


 "Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself."  
This quote makes a statement clearly against procreation.  Ayn Rand omits to acknowledge, that hedonistic and average brains are not suitable for her philosophy, because these brains are driven by the urge to procreate, which reaches homeostasis by the sacrifice of raising children.   Raising children is a sacrifice.    Not only the childfree, but most parents agree with this, but they consider themselves as doing a duty and earning society's gratitude.  

There is more information about her omitting evolution:
http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Parille/Ayn_Rand_and_Evolution.shtml

Her projecting of her own inclination to all people has lead her to propagate capitalism.   

But capitalism is a direct consequence of the urge to procreate and to favor the bearer of the own genes over other genetically unrelated people.  Capitalism is the greedy expression of acquiring control over as many resources as possible by ruthlessly competing and exploiting others for the sole purpose of supplying the own genetic offspring for as many generations as possible with the advantage of accumulated wealth.    Without procreation, capitalism would be obsolete.   Someone, for whom his own life and his genes die at the same moment, can die poor and he has no need to be greedy.

Therefore I identify as an atheistic Epicurean, but I cannot identify myself as an objectivist.   

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

421. Was Epicurus A Concealed Atheist?

Was Epicurus A Concealed Atheist?

This is a continuation of entry 418

According to this quote from Epicurus' letter to Menoeceus, Epicurus was not an atheist as we understand it today.
"First believe that God is a living being immortal and blessed, according to the notion of a god indicated by the common sense of mankind; and so believing, you shall not affirm of him anything that is foreign to his immortality or that is repugnant to his blessedness. Believe about him whatever may uphold both his blessedness and his immortality. For there are gods, and the knowledge of them is manifest; but they are not such as the multitude believe, seeing that men do not steadfastly maintain the notions they form respecting them. Not the man who denies the gods worshipped by the multitude, but he who affirms of the gods what the multitude believes about them is truly impious. For the utterances of the multitude about the gods are not true preconceptions but false assumptions; hence it is that the greatest evils happen to the wicked and the greatest blessings happen to the good from the hand of the gods, seeing that they are always favorable to their own good qualities and take pleasure in men like themselves, but reject as alien whatever is not of their kind."
http://www.epicurus.net/en/menoeceus.html

In this quote, he completely rejects the deities of his culture, who were the representation of the most evil, most dangerous, most destructive behaviors of what humans were considered as capable of, in addition of having immortality and the power and ruthlessness to harm.  

These gods were a kind of super-jerks.   
They were positive role models of acceptable behavior for those having political, military, financial or religious power.    
They were negative role models for the average people, who compared themselves with the gods.  This enabled them to excuse their own evil behavior as relatively less outrageous.  

But I wonder, if Epicurus' explicit claim of the existence of special gods, who are very different from those actually believed in in his culture, is his true conviction or if he has told this for a purpose.      

To me it seems plausible, that Epicurus' claim of gods was made for external purposes only.

1.  In his letter to Herodotus, his explanation of nature is completely materialistic.   
http://www.epicurus.net/en/herodotus.html.   
While in his entire letter the word 'god' does not occur, not even once, the gist is clearly a view, in which there is neither a function nor a place for a god.    While assuming a god does not seem to contradict, he is just obsolete.  

2.  From what I have understood, the community lived in Epicurus' garden exactly like atheists in the sense, that they lived, as if there were no gods,   They were not bothered about any gods, who may or may not have been hidden somewhere outside the walls.  

3.  Epicurus background is a world, where inexplicable and incomprehensible experiences and effects are a frequent part of everyday life.   Nobody could explain lightning, eclipses, solstice, earthquakes, sickness.   Living with the inability to explain such experiences, assuming the impact of an unknown deity as the cause of incomprehensible phenomena was not as irrational then as it is today to people, who from early childhood on are more informed.   Therefore no matter what Epicurus believed himself, he had much less reason to include the existence or non-existence of gods as something of importance into his philosophy.   He was concerned about the impact of the belief in gods on the human behavior, not about gods without an impact.

4.  Life at Epicurus' time was both, more really dangerous and more appearing dangerous than today.   But there was no modern therapy, neither psychological nor pharmaceutical, against fear, anxiety, phobia and paranoia.   The most powerful remedy was the placebo effect of bribing the gods to benevolence by sacrifices and rituals.    While Epicurus did encourage people to not fear the gods, he probably considered it as wise of not depriving people of the placebo effect.  

5.  In Epicurus' time, some of those, who had acquired political, military, financial or religious power were cruel without limitation, and provoking them meant risking death, incarceration, mutilation or torture.   I consider it at least as possible, that by accepting publicly the existence of gods, Epicurus protected his garden community from prosecution.   

Monday, October 17, 2011

420. The Emotional Dynamics Of Consent And Dissent

The Emotional Dynamics Of Consent And Dissent

I am rational, I am an Epicurean and I can be very emotional.  This is not a contradiction.  Being rational does not impede being emotional, it only influences the triggers and the predominance of specific emotions compared with others.  Concerning human interactions, my emotions are mainly elicited as a reaction to my cognitive evaluation of people.
 
Consent and agreement make me feel good, dissent and disagreement make me feel bad.   

The emotional effect of how people treat me depends not so much on their behavior itself, but upon my consent or dissent with the attitudes causing the behavior.  

Consent and dissent about core values, attitudes and moral principles has a much stronger impact than about superficial opinion.    Atheism is a core value, it is wired into my brain as a part of my identity, therefore consent is of paramount importance as a condition to feel close, while dissent makes me feel a ditch between believers and me.   
Consent or dissent about a political issue like for example nuclear power is of much less significance.  A preference on such an issue is the result of the momentary level of knowledge, which can change, because the problem is too complex for a lay person to ever know enough.      

The emotional effects of consent and dissent differ depending on the kind of relationship.
With strangers and all people of no personal significance for me, the situation is asymmetrical.  Consent can always make me feel good, while dissent has no impact upon me.
Sympathy for an acquaintance or a friend depends on the net result of consent and dissent.   When that result is antipathy, I avoid the person and thus I avoid the bad feelings.
Bliss and happiness in a committed relationship depend upon the sum of consent plus the absence of any dissent in all core values.   

The emotional reactions require the honesty and sincerity of revealing the genuine opinions and attitudes.    The fake consent of 'people pleasers' or 'conflict avoiders' can be temporarily very misleading.   As it is with lies and manipulations, when the truth gets known, the effect is very unfavorable.   Fake consent is as unpleasant as is dissent.

The emotional benefit of consent is a win-win situation based upon the symmetry of both being right and nobody being considered and tolerated as being wrong.   Whether someone agrees with me or whether I hear or read something, that I can agree with, has the same effect.  This is the contrary of the zero-sum situation of the triumph, that some people feel, when they can prove someone else wrong and thus one person pays the price of feeling bad for the other's feeling good.  

This dynamics of consent and dissent are the basis of my search of a mindmate and of the egalitarian rational commitment paradigm.   More about this in another entry.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

419. Epicurean Or Christian Legal Paradigm

Epicurean Or Christian Legal Paradigm
In Christian societies, the legal paradigm is based upon the belief, that real justice is not the task of society, but it is their god's job in the afterlife.   This belief favors the transgressors occasion to become recidivists. 
Their previous and future victims are at a disadvantage.
  • Christian faith postpones the reward for sufferings to the afterlife.   This serves as a justification to expose people to sufferings and to unnecessary risks of suffering without their consent and against their will.   They are not given a choice, if they want to suffer and be rewarded or not.
  • Christian faith requires victims to forgive without justice or amends.  They are not only supposed to yield doing justice to their god, they are even scared to be punished themselves in the afterlife if they refuse to forgive.     
  • Christian faith requires the victims to accept their fate as their god's will.    Therefore society does not take legal precaution to protect the innocent from becoming victims. 
  • Christian faith enables transgressors to have the delusion, that their god has forgiven them.  As a consequence, they do not earn the forgiving of the victims and make no amends.    

The legal paradigm of a society, where justice is truly not biased by religion, should focus on the Epicurean principle of not harming and of a basic right of not being harmed.  Such a legal system should focus on the protection of the innocent.   Persons, who have proven to be dangerous to others by having harmed them personally by crimes like murder, rape, robbery, assault etc, should be locked away forever, not as punishment, but to protect the innocent from becoming victims.
   
Punishment for the evil doer after a crime cannot undo the damage to the victim.  Society's primary duty is prevention and protection, punishment is not a substitute.   Every time, when a victim gets seriously harmed and traumatized by a recidivist, who has been released from jail, this is an outrage.  This crime on the victim has indirectly been committed by the society, that fails to protect the innocent.   

It is a very drastic thing to do to lock someone away for a lifetime.   But comparing this with the plight of the victims, who are damaged, mutilated, traumatized also for a lifetime, the suffering of someone, who has proven to be dangerous is more justified than the suffering of an innocent victim.    The evil doer had a choice, the victim has none.  
There is the legal principle to rather release a criminal than to lock away someone, who is innocent of the crime he is accused of.    This also is an implicit legal choice between two kinds of sufferings.   The unfortunate person innocently in jail suffers less than the victim, who is seriously and irreversibly harmed by the recidivist criminal, because he has been wrongly acquitted.     
In an ideal society, every person can be at any place and at any time of the day or night, without being in danger of becoming a crime victim.     

This is another hen or egg question:    Is the delusion of a god's justice in the afterlife a rationalization to cope with the innate easiness of harming others without a bad conscience due to animal instinctive urges, or do people harm others without a bad conscience as a consequence of the Christian delusion?  

Friday, October 14, 2011

418. The Gods In Epicurus' World

The Gods In Epicurus' World

The reason or triggers to become atheistic differ, depending on the kind and trait of the deity to be discarded and the general level of available scientific knowledge.   
The question, how much Epicurus was a theist and why he did not become an atheist as would be consistent with his philosophy as expected from our modern view, can only be answered by looking at the social and intellectual background of his time.   

1.  It was during the lifetime of Epicurus, that Alexander the Great invaded territories as far away as what is now Pakistan.   Therefore his soldiers certainly brought back vague and phantastic tales of very strange people and animals like elephants in far away countries, tales of outgroups, that appeared capable of anything.   
The Greek gods had not only human bodies.  Instead of having the fame of at least being allegedly benevolent and benign, the were the representation of every atrocity, that is usually ascribed to outgroup members: cheating, killing, raping, abducting, incest, cannibalism.    These gods were predominently so evil, that humans could feel good in comparison, when in reality they were only less evil.    But these gods were also considered as so powerful, that this was an excuse to not interfere.   Usually ascribing evil to an outgroup is the justification for war, extinction, slavery.     
Some info about those gods:
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0197622.html
Therefore it seems probable, that the Greek gods were more perceived and imagined as a special outgroup living on Mount Olympus, whom nobody ever happened to meet personally.
Even a Centaur was probably another tale from far away, comparable to the elephants, that Alexander's army did fight against.
In short, these gods were probably not perceived as divine in the same way as the christian god is by the believers.

2.  As long as the knowledge of natural phenomena and science was very rudimentary, many things were incomprehensible and unexplainable.  Nobody could explain the nature of lightning and thunder, before there was any knowledge of electricity.    Today's skeptical ability of seeing the difference between contingency, coincidence and correlation is enabled by enough knowledge of the rational distinction between natural and supernatural.    When unexplainable phenomena happen as the normal occurrence of every day life, then the difference between incomprehensible and supernatural is blurred.  

Therefore Epicurus' part of his philosophy suggesting to not be bothered about the gods is in his times as good as not believing in the existence of a god in our time.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

417. Speculations About Progress

Speculations About Progress

Agriculture started roughly 15,000 to 10,000 years ago.   But until about 1500, the life of the majority of people, being mostly farmers or craftsmen, did not change very much.  They toiled in hard physical labor, there were animals but there was not much machinery driven by either wind or water.    Farmer worked during daylight hours, after that they were exhausted and needed the hours of darkness to recover.  
Except the idle minority of the powerful class, people's entire time was consumed by survival activities.   

But in only about four centuries from about 1500 until 1900, the combination of mainly three factors started the development, that lead to today's level of technology.

  1. Printed books made more knowledge available to more people.
  2. First bright oil and gas lamps and later electricity replaced fire and candle as brighter light to spend more hours reading the books.
  3. Mass importation of coffee and tea enabled people to keep longer hours fully awake.

This created a surplus of time for people to learn, get trained and focus on reading, abstract thinking, scientific and technological inventions.   
This also gave more people a chance to make use of their talents and skills.   
It reduced the power of beliefs over people's thinking.  
The resulting inventions enhanced overall productivity, which led as a result to even more surplus time.

Of course, this is a very simplified look at history.....

Monday, October 10, 2011

416. An Epicurean View On Conflict Solving

An Epicurean View On Conflict Solving

On a forum about relationships, I read about a conflict between a couple.   While having a cat before, the husband had experienced this as very unpleasant, especially due to feeling disgusted by the smell.   After moving to a new house, the wife wanted to have another cat and he did not.   

What surprised me very much, was the following discussion based upon a general evaluation, that it were a conflict between two equal positions and equal needs.    The discussion centered about the difficulty of a compromise between having a cat and not having a cat. 

But the positions in this conflicts are far from equal and therefore not a basis for a fair compromise.   A compromise means finding a fair balance of giving and taking for both sides involved.   But in the cat example, the wife wanted a onesided benefit only for herself, for which only the husband would have to pay by suffering discomfort.  

In the sense of Epicurus' principle of not harming and not be harmed, his moral right to maintain a life without discomfort is a stronger right than her wish to get an additional benefit.  The wife is already in a situation of wellbeing and without discomfort.     A cat is not a necessity, that causes dishomeostasis when there is none.   The husband's need are much more basic, he wants to maintain the homeostasis of not suffering as a part of daily life the discomfort of disgusting smells.   
 
The fair solution is the reciprocity of consideration.   While she owes to him to refrain from a wish causing him discomfort, he owes her the same consideration of not causing her discomfort or pain.    The balanced reciprocal avoidance of harming and hurtful behavior is much better than balancing sacrifices in the form of suffering for each other.    

Saturday, October 8, 2011

415. Faith - A Mental Disorder Or Misguided Thinking?

415.   Faith - A Mental Disorder Or Misguided Thinking?

Several times already I have declared that I never believe and accept any claims or appearances as true, but that instead I attempt to estimate the probability.  
I got aware, that I omitted to use of the most precise word, faith.    So by not believing I mean, that I principally have no faith. 

I mentioned before, that innate gullibility is a precondition to believing.   Faith is the result, when gullibility has found a content to believe in.  Depending on the need, the content can be a deity of a religion or any esoteric woo-woo or quackery.   The combination of high gullibility, a strong need for the faith and low rational capacities can create a delusion, the is out of the reach of any influences. 

There are two varieties of how atheists and skeptics evaluate those afflicted with a faith.     This is due to the difference between being void of gullibility or having strong rational control over weaker gullibility.   
Those void of gullibility tend to consider faith as a delusional mental disorder.   
The others tend more to see faith as a rational mistake of misguided thinking.    Many of the latter feel a mission to convince and convert the faithful, because of the damage done by religions and quackeries.  

I consider the innate predisposition for faith distributed along a scale distributed as a bell curve.   
  • At one end, there are those, who are completely delusional in their faith, because of strong gullibility and the need for their chosen faiths.   
  • At the other end are those lacking gullibility and the need for any faith.   They live based upon rationality only.    
  • In the middle are people, whose need for faith and whose rational control are balanced.   
  • Below the middle are all those, whose delusion is stronger than a rational ability to overcome the delusion.    
  • Above the middle are those, who are able to be atheists and skeptics, but still aware of the attraction and temptation of faiths.

The distribution of people's actual faith differs, because many people are brainwashed and influenced by education and social norms to have a conscious attitude incongruent with their innate inclinations.  
  • Pseudo-religious people either get shocked out of their faith by some strong experience, or they slowly grow aware of their absence of a real belief.  They are those, who are successful targets for the mission of atheistic rational arguments.     
  • Pseudo-atheists, who have grown up in the atheistic communist countries often succumb to the delusion of faith in a crisis, where the delusion serves a psychological need.  

Only the absence or low attraction of any faith as a psychological solution to personal needs enables someone to have enough distance to consider faith as a mental disorder.   Therefore this evaluation is only held by a minority of atheists.   

The following are two videos giving good reasons for the evaluation as a mental disorder.   It is important to note, that having a mental disorder does not automatically mean, that someone is disabled from living an independent live, or that someone is personally causing direct damage to others or to himself.   

http://neotropic9.livejournal.com/715.html
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/video7.htm

Thursday, October 6, 2011

414. Being Childfree Is Not Being Selfish

Being Childfree Is Not Being Selfish

Breeders often defame childfree people as selfish.   This is not justified, because it confuses healthy self-interest and inconsiderate selfhishness.

Healthy self-interest accepts the importance of one's own legitimate wellbeing under the one condition of responsibility and consideration, that no other person is taken advantage of, exploited, damaged, hurt or seriously desturbed and annoyed.  

Selfishness is putting one's own wellbeing first without any responsibility or consideration.  Taking advantage, exploiting, damaging, hurting or seriously desturbing and annoying others is accepted without any guilt as collateral damage.  

Childfree people follow their legitimate self-interest, their not-breeding does not damage or harm anybody.   Therefore childfree people are not selfish.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

413. The Difference Between Hedonistic And Epicurean Atheism

The Difference Between Hedonistic And Epicurean Atheism

I think there are two different varieties of atheism, based upon very different dynamics in and predispositions of the brain.  
  • Hedonistic Atheism is mainly anti-religious.   It is caused and determined by an aversion to religion based upon observations and experiences of the detrimental effects of religion upon people's lives.    Hedonism comes first and leads to atheism.
  • Epicurean Atheism is mainly pro-rational.   It is one facet and the logical consequence of a personality defined and determined by rationality as its predominant trait and part of the identity.    Epicureanism, atheism and rationality are interdependent and interrelated.
According to evolutionary biology and psychology, on a subconscious level, human behavior is driven or influenced by the same instincts as are animals.    The main instincts are procreation and sexuality, hierarchy, competition and ingroup-outgroup behavior.  

Just as intelligence is distributed along a bell curve, I consider it as probable, even though this is speculation, that the force of the instincts over rationality also differs widely between individuals and is also distributed along a bell curve.  At one extreme there are the hedonists and at the other the epicureans.   
The decisive and fundamental difference is the predominant sensitivity of the pleasure center to either physical stimuli or emotional and intellectual but non-physical stimuli.   (More about these differences of the pleasure center in entries 388 and 389.) 

For the reason of clarification, I will compare the two extremes and why atheism is attractive to both, but for very different reasons.   
All religions, no matter how much they differ, are restricting and channeling the expression of some instincts but are commanding to submit to others.    Therefore I assume, that religions serve best the interests and needs of those, who are in the middle of the bell curve.   When instinctivity and rationality are nearly balanced, people get more benefits from gullibility, because they feel a need to be guided in how to balance being an animal and being a cognitive being.     
This normative guidance of religion is much more of a detriment for the individual needs of both the hedonists and epicureans.

1.  Hedonists are prone to become atheists, because religions deny them the unrestricted and uninhibited pursuit of stimulating their pleasure center as much as they want.   A man, who is driven like an animal by strong instincts to be a promiscuous predator of all female bodies would get into cognitive dissonance, if adhering to a religion prescribing him monogamy, while everything else were considered sin.    
Therefore he resolves his cognitive dissonance by becoming an atheist and henceforth he can practice his 'no strings attached fun' or whatever expression he uses for copulating like an alley dog.  This allows him feeling good about himself, often without consideration for or in denial of the damage done to the used victims.  This kind of selfish and cruel hedonism unfortunately leads to the false claim of religious people, that all atheists have no morals.    Of course not all hedonists are selfish and cruel, some do exercise self-control to resist impulses, that would hurt or damage others.  

2.  Epicureans are persons, whose core trait and whose identity is defined by rationality.   
2.1.  Rationality means the absence of the gullibility to accept any claim or superficial appearance as true, it means instead the skepticism of always evaluating the probability of truth.   This kind of rationality leads automatically to atheism.    
2.2.  Rationality includes long-term and global or general thinking and consideration.   Epicureans are less afflicted with strong momentary impulses with detrimental long term consequences.    
2.3.   Rationality causes the rejection of a deity demanding behavior based upon instincts.   Epicureans, who cannot accept any reason to sacrifice their own personal wellbeing in favor of the survival of their genes, cannot accept a religious obligation to breed.    
For innate epicureans, only monogamous long term commitment gives them, what their pleasure center is especially sensitive to:  emotional and intellectual intimacy with a bonded companion.  
They would experience cognitive dissonance with any religion demanding them to breed against their inclination.   Rejecting religion is the epicureans' freedom to not submit to the norm of behaving as if they were following instincts, which they do not have.   Atheism enables epicureans to feel good about themselves as being less driven by instincts than what society expects from them.     
This does not only concern breeding, but also other instincts like the ingroup-outgroup instinct.   A rational person not seeing any difference between people except in how they treat each other rejects a deity telling him to fight wars.   
2.4.  Rationality bases morals upon a generalised golden rule and tit-for-tat strategy.   Treating others like one wants to be treated oneself, treating others how they express that they want to be treated and always do the good and giving first step and then react.   This is based upon Epicurus' principle of not harming and not be harmed.  This is of course somehow biased and limited to be successful mainly between epicureans.   


Hedonists and epicureans have difficulties understanding and respecting each other, because both take for granted, how their own pleasure center reacts.  
  • Epicureans despise hedonists as primitive instinct driven animals, who are dangerous and repulsive.  
  • Hedonists defame epicureans as inhibited, uptight, repressed, prudish or dysfunctional.  
  • Epicureans experience themselves as the most advanced in the evolution of cognition, they derive their identify, dignity and self-esteem from being as little like animals as is possbile.    
  • Hedonist experience themselves as the fittest of the species according to the survival of their genes and the species, they identify with their bodies, their instincts, this is their source of pride and self-esteem.  
Epicureans and hedonists usually mix each with their own kind.   But in atheist groups and forums, both mix, not aware, that they are atheists for opposite reasons.    
  • Hedonistic atheists want the freedom to follow their instincts.   
  • Epicurean atheists want the freedom to live in accordance with their lack of instincts.    
Sometimes they mutually are unable to comprehend each other, because they only perceive their shared atheism and overlook the differences.   


I can to a certain point detach myself and describe the two groups, but being very much an epicurean myself, I continue to be biased.   As much as I know theoretically, that hedonists are just as much determined by the structure of their brain as I am, I still continue to feel disgust and repulsion when directly confronted with their promiscuity.    

I can only accept a fellow epicurean as the mindmate, for whom I am looking.    

Monday, October 3, 2011

412. Where's A Need There's A Fraud

412.   Where's A Need There's A Fraud

In entry 411 I described the fraud of the PUA (pick up animal) trainers, who defraud nice guys by training them to become jerks, in spite of the nice guys' goal of wanting to find monogamous commitment, which they cannot get with jerk behavior. 

Searching google, I have come across a similar fraud based upon the Ex-Back-Craze.   As a reaction to people discussing their break-up trouble and their pain in getting over it, some crooks have made it a business to sell false hopes to people hoping to get their ex back by buying books and training programs full of allegedly magic tricks.     Some of their customers may even be themselves jerks or narcissists, who want to find out, how to hoover their victims back, who had succeeded to free themselves from their abuser.    Of course I cannot know, who the customers really are.   

When people get involved with someone, who is incompatible and not suitable, the relationship or marriage is doomed to fail.  It does not matter, if they got mismatched being driven by instinct, infatuation, superficial benefits, or if they were the victim of deceit and manipulation, or if there were whatever other reasons.  
If they are capable to learn from mistakes, then they get more mature and more wise as a result of the experience, and their next partner is a better choice.   
But being unhappy and missing someone can cover the unresolved conflicts and incompatibilities with temporary oblivion.  That makes people susceptible to fraudulent remedies.    But would they really get reconciled, the disaster would be resumed the same as it had been, when they split.  
Even when both would really want to restore the relationship, the problems are the same as before.   But when one is not even interested, and the other feels compelled to pay money to be get enabled to use tricks and manipulations as taught by the fraudulent trainings, then it is even less a viable option.    Reconciliation with an ex is rarely a good idea.  


Wise and mature people are as careful and responsible in ending a relationship as they are in choosing a partner.    But once they do end it, this is final, because there was no alternative.   

For wise and mature people, there are only three reasons to end a relationship. 
  1. Both partners have worked hard to communicate and cooperate to solve their conflicts, until they both agree to end the relationship by consent.
  2. The partner has committed an unforgivable transgression.  
  3. One partner considers his behavior as morally correct, as his right and entitlement, while the other experiences and evaluates the same behavior as unbearably hurting and as a serious transgression.   

All three reasons are final, because an improvement in the future is inherently impossible.   For a wise and mature person, this is obvious, unfortunately not for the other partner, if he is an immature fool or jerk.
  1. The first reason can only be an agreement between two wise and mature partners.
  2. A wise and mature person knows the meaning of unforgivable and that some damage is unrepairable and he knows, that only the victim's judgement is valid concerning what is unforgivable for her.    Only an immature fool expects to be forgiven for the unforgivable or disputes that it should be forgiven.    
  3. A wise and mature person refuses to expose herself to hurtful treatment and transgressions, when it is obvious, that this is the unchangeable ingredient of the relationship.  Logically, for her this reason is final. 
    Only an immature fool expects a woman to deliberately decide to suffer from being the target of permanently recurrent hurtful transgressions.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

411. The Myth Of The Nice Guy Syndrome

The Myth Of The Nice Guy Syndrome
"A typical nice guy is perceived to put the needs of others before his own, avoids confrontations, does favors, gives emotional support, and generally acts nicely towards women." 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nice_guy
This description makes a guy attractive as a long-term monogamous partner.   In spite of this, there are countless web pages spreading the myth, that women prefer jerks and that there were something wrong with the nice guys.   

I disagree with this myth.  The problem is much more complex.

1.  Evolutionary biology.

Subconscious instincts for choosing a mate have most probably the same strength for men and women.  But they differ in which instinct is predominant.   The average man's predominant instinct is the recurrent need for sexual homeostasis.  The average woman's predominant instinct is the urge to procreate.   
As a consequence, man's instincts are indiscriminately focused upon a momentary use of any female body.    Woman's procreative instincts are selective and focused upon the genetic fitness and abilities as a long-term provider for their progeny.   
This causes the natural asymmetry of men as predators frequently approaching a variety of prey and getting rejected regularly.   Monogamy reduces the predator prey problem only for those, who are committed couples.    

2.  Attitude towards women.
  
Jerks and nice guys share the same instinctive automatic reaction of consciously or subconsciously drooling over women's bodies, especially when they are not in any relationship.    But their attitude, moral and value system are fundamentally different.

Nice guys respect women.   They take them for serious, they take a no for a no, they respect a woman's wishes and they are honest.  
 
Jerks do not respect women.   They consider them as existing to be used at their convenience.   Jerks feel entitled to use a woman's body by hook or crook.   If a woman rejects the undisguised attempts to be used as a one-night object, jerks lie and manipulate, until they have made the woman yield by the false belief to have found a long-term mate.  

3.  Female stupidity is one cause of the myth.  

Therefore nice guys' observation, that the jerks get the women and they themselves are left over, is not caused by female preference but by their stupidity.   The claim, that women prefer the jerks, is a myth.   This myth is based upon the combination of the jerks' emotional psychopathy of ruthlessly tricking women and the women's stupidity, immaturity and inability to avoid being tricked into a jerk's bed.  

4.  Nice guys' stupidity is the second cause of the myth. 

Those nice guys, who experience being rejected too often, are also in a way stupid and/or immature.   They do not choose wisely, whom they approach.   They are not aware, that they are morally superior to the jerks and that they deserve a good woman, who can appreciate them.   They approach indiscriminately all the women, who subconsciously trigger their instincts, no matter if the women do deserve the nice guys or not.   They get rejected too often by unworthy women, and being sensitive, they get discouraged.   

The less someone is intelligent, mature and self-aware, the more he is a helpless and unaware victim of uncontrolled instincts.   This is true equally for men and for women.   
     
5.  Business

Markets for goods and services grow, where there is a demand and where there is money to buy the goods or services, that are not available for free.   

Men's instinctive needs for recurrent sexual homeostation, which are not met due to the asymmetry between male and female instincts, have created a market of sold services.     This is enhanced by the fact, that financial power has traditionally been controlled by men.   

For jerks, the market sells prostitution and pornography.  This is based upon the conscious acceptance of using women as commodities and merchandise.     

For nice guys, there is also a market, which has been created by PUA (pick-up-Animals) trainers, who are propagating the myth, which they describe as the nice-guy-syndrome.   They have created this market by deliberately blaming the failure of nice guys to find a mate on an alleged deficiency in their personality and behavior,
  
These trainers take advantage of the nice guys to make money, because nice guys have also an urge for sexual homeostation, but they are too decent to even consider buying the use of women's services as a commodity like jerks do.  
These trainers are a big fraud.   The methods to successfully lure a woman into bed for temporary abuse of her body and the methods to successfully get involved into long-term monogamous commitment are very different.    The temporary use is based upon disrespect for women, commitment is based upon respect for women.  
These fraudulent trainers are themselves successful jerks unable to even value or appreciate monogamy.   Instead they make the nice guys believe, that they can learn how to be successful to find a woman for the long-term monogamous relationship they really want by paying for the training of how to become a jerk and learn the tricks how to gain access to the use women's bodies.  
Just as a disrespecting jerk is unable to be committed in monogamy, also a respecting nice guy cannot apply disrespectful behaviors for the respectful goal of commitment.    
Therefore as long as a nice guy continues to respect women, jerk training does not do him any good.   While he may suffer less from outright rejections, he will instead suffer more from painful entanglement of failed relationship with incompatible women.  

6.  Tit-for-tat strategy:

True love and affection are reciprocally interdependent.    Perceived affection and care reinforce and strengthen affection.   Therefore a healthy mature relationship is based upon the proactive tit-for-tat strategy.   Each partner gives as much affection, care, benevolence as a first step, hoping to reinforce the other's genuine wish to give as much back.    This of course is based upon a careful choice of a compatible partner.   This means, that they reciprocally appreciate what they get, because it is congruent with their real needs, wishes, tastes, interests.  

When both partners are guided by this principle, they have a good chance to find committed long term happiness.   But if only one partner gives first, and the other is selfish and takes advantages, this leads to a lot of suffering for the nice partner.    

The constellation of the mismatch of selfish, abusive jerk and a giving woman is unfortunately so common, that nobody ever has called it a nice woman syndrome and nobody has ever offered a training to convert nice women into jerks.    Feminism teaches women to claim equality, not to become selfish jerks.  

But when the man is the perfect caring nice decent guy, who has the bad luck of being rejected by stupid immature women, then fraudulent jerks attempt to manipulate him to pay money to become like them.      

A nice guys is just right as he is.   All he needs to do is choose the right woman, who appreciates him and who gives him in return, what he gives her.  

I am such a woman.   I appreciate only nice guys.