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, July 24, 2012

541. The Distinction Between Utilitarianism And Commodification

541.  The Distinction Between Utilitarianism And Commodification

I am not very learned about the standard philosophical theories.   My paradigm of a rationally based commitment of two egalitarians as presented in this blog is the result of extensive pondering over my own relationship needs.   
I just discovered, that my own commitment paradigm coincides a lot with the philosophical theory called Utilitarianism.

"Utilitarianism is a theory in philosophy about right and wrong actions. It says that the morally best action is the one that makes the most overall happiness or "utility" (usefulness). This is not limited to the happiness caused by a single action but also includes the happiness of all people involved and all future consequences."

"Bentham wrote about this idea with the words "The greatest good for the greatest number", but did not use the word utilitarianism. It was Mill, a follower of Bentham's ideas, who named the idea."

There are two ways of calculating the total costs and benefits.
  • Pleasures and pains are all put together in one overall calculation. 
    This principle is accepted and lived by those people, who consider exposing oneself deliberately to serious hardships for the purpose of earning pleasures as an option.   Extreme sports are an example.
  • Based upon the reasons, why the impact of suffering is comparatively much stronger than that of missed and renounced pleasures, both are considered separately and independently. 
    This calculation accommodates my own inclinations, which I consider as important to be shared with a mindmate.

1.  Limitations of the application of the utilitarian principle

Applying the utilitarian principle to maximize the happiness of a couple has limitations.   If these limitations are ignored, the possible benefits of the utilitarian principle are reversed into a situation even worse than that of two persons basing their interactions upon bartering and bargaining.  

1.1.  Every utilitarian decision how to behave requires the correct knowledge of the other's subjective perception and experience of this behavior depending upon individual differences of sensitivity, endurance, resilience and needs.   

The utilitarian principle only works for both partners, when
  • shared decisions are based upon a correct assessment of the impact of every decision upon both.
  • each partner's independent decisions are as valid as if shared, because the assumptions about the impact upon the partner are correct.  
  • people are a match concerning their evaluation of the meaning and magnitude of the impact of specific behaviors.  

1.2. Haphazard people with very different individual needs and situations applying the utilitarian principle upon their shared decisions cannot expect this to lead to a fair balance of giving and receiving.
But the subjective experience of justice due to a fair balance is one important factor in what makes a relationship stable and durable.   

Therefore only two persons being a match in their needs, priorities and sensitivities are prone and able to have the combination of both, the benefits added by the utilitarian method of shared decisions and the overall long-term balance of giving and receiving.

This requires to focus upon the careful choice of a suitable and compatible partner as a matching criterion of paramount importance.    The attempt to enhance happiness by utilitarian behavior fails with a mismatch. 

To sum it up:  
The more two partners are compatible and a good match, the more the utilitarian principle can enhance happiness for both of them.   Otherwise the relationship is doomed as either a never ending battle over unresolvable conflicts or as an asymmetrical situation, where one has the power to benefit and the other has the disadvantages.   
The more there is for example a discrepancy between a man's instinctive urge to use a female body and the woman's emotional needs for a committed safe haven, the more the utilitarian principle is a onesided hazard for the woman.  

2.   The baseline of wellbeing

The neutral feeling of the absence of both pan and pleasure is the logical baseline, the state of homeostasis, of being at ease.    People can experience this baseline as sufficient wellbeing without missing anything, as long as they are not aware of its existence.   
The difference between suffering pain or displeasure and the baseline is much more drastic and significant than the difference between the baseline of homeostasis and pleasure.  

Example 1:   When air does not contain any olfactory stimulating content, this is neutral.  People would feel perfectly fine, if there were never anything to smell.    
Being exposed to stink is worse than to be deprived of fragrance.   Someone exposed to an equal mixture of stink and fragrance would most probably prefer to have none rather than both.
Without knowledge and previous experience of the fragrance of any specific flower like a rose, nobody would be attracted to walk over to a bush of roses for the pleasure of smelling them.

Example 2:   Silence is the neutral base line, suffering from noise is worse than only lacking the pleasure of hearing the favorite music.  
Someone exposed simultaneously to the same loudness of an electrical drill and of his favorite music would most probably prefer both to end.  
Someone can only actively choose a specific music for the pleasure of listening, if one has discovered the pleasure by having heard it at least once before.   

Habituation effects the prolonged exposure to pleasure and to pain or discomfort, but with different long-term consequences.  While habituation just reduces the perceived stimulation by what initially was a strong pleasure, the habituation to lasting or repeated pain, displeasure and discomfort often results in harmed health.  

I personally include the neutral experience of neither suffering nor enjoying as the baseline in my definition of human rights.  
  • It cannot be justified to impose harm, displeasure or discomfort upon others.   If there is a purpose considered worth to be earned by suffering, it is only justifiable as a personal choice.      
  • Nobody is entitled to have pleasures, if the price is paid by another's sufferings.  

3.   My understanding of utilitarian commitment

For me, utilitarian commitment includes the Epicurean principle of the priority of not harming and not to be harmed.  I perceive suffering by being harmed and hurt, both physically and emotionally, as much more drastic than pleasures missed, renounced or deprived of.

Based upon the reciprocity with a mindmate being a match, I am willing to be guided by the following utilitarian behavior:
  • Renouncing and abstaining from a small pleasure, whenever this results in the partner's much bigger benefits.
  • Suffering small pain or displeasure, whenever this results is sparing the partner a much bigger harm, pain or displeasure.  
When a man is guided by these two principles, this is an indication of his being an egalitarian partner.

4.  The distinction between utilitarianism and commodification

But I refuse to accept the sacrifice of suffering any pain, displeasure or discomfort, as long as this only serves to give or enhance the partner's mere pleasure.   This is out of proportion.   Maintaining the baseline of neither pain nor pleasure is more justified.   

When a man expects and demands a disagreeing woman to suffer for his pleasures, this indicates his attitude to commodify women.

When a man uses any power and advantage to coerce and force a resisting woman to suffer for his pleasures, this is active commodification and abuse.