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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

622. The Fallacy Of Trusting First Impressions

622.   The Fallacy Of Trusting First Impressions

Sometimes first impressions can be very misleading.    The following is as usually written with the precaution, that anything found online can never be fully relied upon to appear as what was really meant and intended.   There are also too many technical errors, manipulations and fabrications online.

But still, when I see on a dating site a man's profile containing three pictures taken at different ages, each showing the guy with a beard and hair beyond his shoulders, this leads to spontaneous associations with Woodstock, peace rallies and worldwide solidarity.

Today, I was really baffled, when I read such a man's answers to matching questions, which could not have been more the contrary to what his looks suggested.    He defines himself as a "radical reactionary", favors outright racism, has an aversion against any kind of same gender couples, requires women to take the husband's name at marriage and more.  

For a short moment I even suspected these answers to be irony. or a joke or even a provocation at the wrong place.   But nobody answers such a lot of questions as consistently as he did.   So it seems to me, that he really means it.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

621. Politics In The Brain

621.  Politics In The Brain

This continues entry 576.    

Right wing, conservative, fascist political parties have one thing in common:   They all are fighting to establish or maintain inequality by allowing and allotting privileges to a minority of the society by disadvantaging the majority.    

The social class having the privileges can be seen as an ingroup of those, who experience themselves as distinct due to having succeeded in climbing to the top of the hierarchy of wealth and/or power.    They are most probably driven there by any combination of a strong hierarchy instinct and a strong ingroup-outgroup instinct.  Both instincts lead to behaviors favoring inequality.    Different strength of instinctivity would be hardwired in the brain.   

Entry 576 was about possible genetic influenced about some political issues.    
"recent studies suggest that genes also strongly influence political traits. Twin studies show that genes have some influence on why people differ on political issues such as the death penalty, unemployment and abortion."

Recently I read about another study finding indications of differences between the brains of people with known dichotomous political preferences: 
"the brains of self-identified Democrats and Republicans are hard-wired differently and may be naturally inclined to hold varying, if not opposing, perceptions and values."

"The results found more neural activity in areas believed to be linked with broad social connectedness in Democrats (friends, the world at-large) and more activity in areas linked with tight social connectedness in the Republicans (family, country)."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

620. Strangers And Risk Avoidance

620.   Strangers And Risk Avoidance

It can be very difficult to find the right middle between avoiding risks and avoiding to hurt others by unfounded prejudices and racism.

Generally speaking, every first contact with a complete stranger is a risk.    It is often difficult or not possible to correctly predict a stranger's behavior.  

Herman Melville's novel 'Typee' is an excellent illustration of the problem.   In this story, two sailors are running away from the mistreatment by the captain of their ship.   The place is an island in the Pacific, where cannibalism was at that time some tribes' known practice. 
When starving, the heroes of the story had to decide, which path to take towards finding those natives, who would most probably help without having them for dinner.   The had only hearsay to rely upon concerning the location of those tribes considered to be the least ferocious.   
When the two sailors finally did meet some natives, there was no common language.   They were guided to the natives' village wondering what to expect, whether there they would eat or be eaten.  
Later they found out to have indeed met the one tribe, which they had been fearing the most, cannibals in the habit of sometimes eating the captives of tribal wars.   But the two sailors survived without being feasted upon.  
While the narrator of the story was puzzled, for what reasons they were spared, I could think of one possible explanation being the tribe's own definition of who belongs to the ingroup and who is outgroup.   Maybe only bellicose tribes were defined as outgroups, while their guests were enclosed into the ingroup set of behavior.  

Belonging to an ingroup is often a choice, being treated as outgroup is not a choice.

The real risk of being harmed by a stranger requires to be able to protect oneself by appropriate preventive behavior, which in turn requires to estimate the magnitude and kind of the risk.   
Much of today's inappropriate racism and prejudices have their origin in the times, when people living in small tribes and groups in areas of low population density were born into their ingroups.  Every person not belonging to the same community was automatically outgroup.   People mutually having no doubt about who else is ingroup were not prone to make mistakes in judging risks.   

Today in the complexity and globalization of modern societies, people often cannot know, if at all and how strongly they are considered as outgroup by strangers.    They cannot even know, if they are recognized correctly as members of any group or only confounded with members of any especially hated or loathed outgroup.    

Eating outgroup members is certainly an extreme, but when outgroup members are beaten, exploited, stolen from, insulted, socially excluded, ridiculed, abused as prey (entry 619) it is nevertheless caused by the same instinct.   

On that Pacific island, the probability of someone being a cannibal was certainly high only in those, who were visibly natives, while it could be assumed that the Europeans were no cannibals.   But considering them as cannibals because they were racially natives is a fallacy.   It just happened to be a correlation between the foe eating culture having developed, where only the natives were living, while the culture of not eating humans had been brought there by the Europeans.  This fallacy of mistaking a correlation with a genetic predisposition has contributed to deriving absurd assumptions from external traits like the color of the skin.   Such anachronistic fallacy has lead to the irrational, stupid and sick racism disturbing even modern civilized countries with mixed populations like the USA. 

There are two possible mistakes with very different consequences.   

Someone underestimating the risk from strangers just perishes and cannot hand on the knowledge.  Nor would his absence of gullibility to prejudice become prevalent in the gene pool.   Had the sailors in the story been eaten, nobody would ever have heard of to take it as a warning.    
Someone overestimating probabilities or only imagining non-existing ones, perpetuates irrational and unrealistic prejudices and racism.  
The guy, who kills or avoids the strangers, can never find out, if he did this for good reasons or not.    Had the sailors in the story had weapons and had they killed the natives and survived by eating their food, they may have well told later without any doubt to have killed cannibals to prevent being eaten.   They would never have felt to have murdered and robbed people. 

Lacking any knowledge about a stranger as an individual, estimates of these probabilities are based upon pre-concepts, previous experiences and knowledge or hearsay about the group, tribe and society, to which the stranger belongs.   These pre-concepts can be more or less valid or completely invalid.   All pre-concepts, which are not suitable to predict real risks based upon real attitudes and evident behaviors, are a fallacy.  

Both of the above mentioned mistakes impede the correction of the pre-concepts and perpetuate the fallacies.  

To predict a stranger's behavior requires a lot of estimating and guessing.

1.  The probability of specific attitudes leading to, enabling or facilitating specific behaviors.
2.  The probability of the stranger's having such specific attitudes.  
2.1.  The direct probability of specific attitudes being expressed and indicated by attires and body modification.  
2.2.  The two combined probabilities of the membership in a specific ingroup indicating the presence of specific attitudes and of specific attires and body modification indicating the membership in a specific ingroup.
3.  The probability to be considered as outgroup in contrast with an ingroup, to which the stranger is so much affiliated, that outgroup members are prone to be harmed.

Estimating and guessing the invisible is difficult in complex societies.

1. Subjectively felt affiliations with specific ingroups are often by choice.   Shared attitudes and other invisible attributes can cause strong subjective affiliations, which are hidden from and not noticeable for ignorant strangers.    The members of ingroups sometimes know how to recognize each other, while the indicators for this recognition are unknown to the outgroup members.   
Religions, political parties, social associations or sports teams are examples.    Easily defined traditional ingroups as are ethnicities, villages or neighborhoods are not always automatically experienced as ingroups.

2. The stronger someone identifies with an ingroup, the stronger he is prone to feel hostility towards outgroups.    To every ingroup, there can be more than one outgroup, who for a variety of reasons do not all elicit the same amount of hostility.    

The line between either a drastic misjudgment of probabilities towards being merely too cautious or the irrational, stupid and gullible belief in claims with zero probability is delicate and often blurred.
Being aware, that every interaction with strangers is bearing a risk is by itself not a prejudice. 
The real problem is the correct estimation of the particular risk and what harm to prevent.     Not every caution is a fallacy, only because it is denounced as prejudice or racism by those being themselves the hazard.   Both previous behavior and expressed attitudes in favor of specific behaviors are indicators of real risks.   

Examples of
alleged prejudices justified by the probability of a real risk:

1.  Most prisoners are in jail as a consequence of having harmed individual persons, therefore it is statistically probable, that someone just released from jail is not trustworthy.   Not wanting him as an employee or tenant is not a prejudice but a rational avoidance of a risk.    Those few, who are reformed and will not repeat criminal harm, have brought it upon themselves.   

2. Religious people are morally guided by rules established by their religion.    The more someone feels compelled to consider the guide book of his religion as absolutely imperative to his conduct, the more he feels a good person by following the book, no matter what the victims of his behavior experience or say.   

There are many muslim men on French dating sites and chats.   Rejecting them for being muslims frequently leads to the accusation of being either a racist or prejudiced.   Letting aside my general rejection of men with any religious belief, muslim men are especially hazardous to women, who want a monogamous man without sharing him with other women.  

The islam does of not only allow but prescribe unlimited promiscuity to men.   The koran explicitly allows a man four wives and an unlimited number of concubines.    What a non-islamic woman considers and defines as cheating and as a transgression, is therefore normal and morally correct behavior for a male muslim guided by the koran.   
In the possible case, that a muslim restricts himself to only one woman, this is in contradiction to his religion.  It can be due to a lack of either a wish or an opportunity, or it is only temporary, but it is not a moral attitude of feeling any obligation towards a woman to be monogamous.   

The egalitarian attitude, that a woman is equal to a man, and being a muslim, are mutually exclusive.  Any muslim's claim to treat a woman as an equal cannot be trusted, unless he leaves the entire abusive religion behind and becomes an atheist.    Therefore a woman rejecting muslim men is not prejudiced, but acting wisely based upon the awareness of a real risk.    By accepting to be muslims, men bring the rejection by monogamous women upon themselves.     

Monday, November 19, 2012

619. Objectification And The Ingroup-Outgroup Instinct

619.  Objectification And The Ingroup-Outgroup Instinct

The ingroup-outgroup instinct has evolved in many species living in groups.   It provided two sets of behaviors, automatic in animals and as a social norm in humans, which are sometimes very contradictory.   
Outgroup members are prey to be eaten by cannibals, while ingroup members are companions to share the food with. 
Outgroup women are prey to be raped during wars, even by men, who are no brutes to their wives or any ingroup women.

When a previously unknown man in real life initiates contact with a woman, for her this always bears the risk of at least the indignation of being considered as prey to be objectified and commodified, if not the worse victimization by violence.   

But there are two distinctive instinctive urges, which unfortunately add to the number of men behaving as disgusting alley dogs towards women.   

There are not only the general jerks, who driven by their instincts promiscuously objectify all women.    There are also the those jerks sufficiently determined by their ingroup-outgroup instinct, who behave differently towards ingroup women while treating outgroup women as mere prey.     

When younger and traveling alone through some Mediterranean countries, I have experienced the following pattern so often, that it started to cause me nausea.   
Sitting somewhere like on a bench in a park and being approached by a man I hoped for some interesting conversation about the country and its society and way of life.    But I was not treated as a human being with a brain.  Instead I was the target of a predator, flirting and attempting to seduce me, perceiving me as prey, as a body to be used.   

I doubt very much, that all of these predators would have caused the same indignation to local ingroup women as they allowed themselves to do to a tourist.  

Being a foreigner made me unequivocally an outgroup person by nationality.    But on a subtle and diffuse level, any subjective distinction by sorting them into either ingroup or outgroup facilitates some men's selective objectification of women.   
When driven by instinct towards abusing indiscriminately any female body for homeostation, while moral imperatives of their religion and culture forbid them promiscuity, uncoupled men suffer discomfort by either dishomeostasis or cognitive dissonance.   Defining an outgroup of women as such, upon whom moral rules do not need to be applied, is their mental trick to acquire homeostasis and avoid cognitive dissonance.   It is the mental trick of the selfish jerks attempting to acquire homeostasis without accepting commitment as not only bringing a subscription to recurrent homeostation but also meaning monogamy and emotional obligations.  
This mental trick enables jerks to have the sincere delusion to be decent and correct men, as long as they refrain from promiscuous behavior with women of their ingroup, while feeling free and justified to behave like alley dogs with women from any outgroup.   
The social history of an ingroup defined as an upper class, where so called gentlemen abused the servants and other poor and lower class women, is one example.           

Sunday, November 18, 2012

618. What Comes First: Attitude Or Behavior?

618.   What Comes First:  Attitude Or Behavior?

In entry 615 I already mentioned the fascinating web page and work of George Simon.   I spent some hours reading his description of persons who in his words are disturbed characters.  

My writing on this blog is focusing upon my subjective and female preference of what attitudes and behaviors make a man either attractive or repulsive.    While reading Simon's texts, it has become clear to me, that those men, whom I describe as jerks, are a subgroup of Simon's disturbed character.   Jerks are male disturbed characters, whose victims of their disturbed behavior are women.    What I call commodification, objectification, domination, entitlement delusion and more, I found it all mentioned by Simon, in different words and explained in better English.  

Only he has come to a different conclusion concerning what causes, maintains, enables and reinforces the character disturbances.  
"One of the central tenets of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is that there is an inextricable relationship between a person’s core beliefs, the attitudes those beliefs have engendered, and the ways the person’s attitudes prompt him or her to to behave in various situations."

I fully agree with this, because any discrepancy between core values (as I dislike the word belief), attitudes and behaviors causes unpleasant cognitive dissonance.   Getting aware of such a discrepancy motivates towards either changing the attitude or the behavior.   

If I have understood correctly, in Simon's view the attitudes and core beliefs come first and the behavior is the consequence thereof.  
Simon accepts the notion of the free will.   I have not found any explicit statement about this, but implicitly he seems to explain attitudes and core values as mainly or entirely acquired by education, socialization and external influences.  

From my point of view, which is derived from evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology, the free will is a myth.   Behaviors are determined by the combination of the force of instinctivity, the avoidance of punishment and of dishomeostasis and the appetency of rewards and stimulation of the brain's pleasure center.   This is facilitated by the knowledge stored in the memory and anticipatory thinking.   
Subconscious instinctive urges are consciously experienced as the inclination towards specific behaviors.   Instinctive urges are mainly the animal instincts for procreation, sexuality, hierarchy, ingroup-outgroup, gregariousness.   
The cognitive and conscious attitudes follow as a justification when giving in to being driven by the urges, attitudes are formed to avoid cognitive dissonance.    These attitudes are influenced and modified by education and social norms either encouraging or repressing instinctive behavior.    
Attitudes and subsequent behaviors differ between individuals in the same society according to differing strength of their instinctivity and also between individuals with the same strength of instinctivity but living in different societies.  
The worst jerks and worst cases of Simon's male disturbed character are men with a high instinctivity, whose abuse of women is additionally enabled and reinforced in a permissive society.   

Accordingly I also disagree about how, if at all, disturbed characters can be changed:
"Changing some aspect of our behavior is always the first step toward having a change of heart. Just as our way of thinking influences our behavior, so our actions and the consequences that stem from them influence how we think about things, the attitudes we harbor, and the beliefs we hold about how to get along in life. Making meaningful changes in the way we typically do things is a prerequisite for changing the kind of person we are."

I doubt, that attitudes can be changed, as long as these attitudes are an expression of an implicit identity defined by the acceptance of animal instincts.     A change of attitudes would require the conscious choice of an identity derived from the preference for cognition as superior over instincts.    But before someone is able to consider instincts as obsolete and disturbing evolutionary ballast to be overridden in favor of not harming others, he has first to get aware and recognize, how much he is driven by instincts.  
As long as someone accepts himself as an instinct driven animal and thus allows himself his instinctive urges without experiencing cognitive dissonance, he will continue to behave as a disturbed character. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

617. The Irrationality Of Antisemitism

617.   The Irrationality Of Antisemitism

Being German, writing about antisemitism is a delicate topic.   But recently I was very appalled by someone mentioning his personal experience of antisemitism in the USA, which has obviously hurt him a lot. 

The tragic strength of antisemitism comes from confounding a religion to be at the same time also a defining trait of an alleged ethnic group.    Thus antisemitism gets fueled by two mutually reinforcing influences, which both are equally irrational.  
  • Religious fundamentalists fighting and discriminating against any other religion.  
  • The ingroup-outgroup instinct sometimes causing societies to redefine the well to do and intellectual elite into being considered as underdogs.  Thus the disadvantaged classes are manipulated to feel less bad about suffering social injustice and thus they are kept from rebelling.  
    This in my understanding is the main reason for the sad success of Hitler's antisemitism, which would not have been possible without the cooperation of the populace.    
Therefore I see today's antisemitism in the USA connected to the influence of christian fundamentalists, similar to how declaring oneself to be an atheist can sometimes cause strong hostility in some areas of the USA, while here in Germany my calling myself an atheist has no consequences.

Calling someone a Jew in absence of his being religious is a myth.  

Judaism is a religion, and a Jew is someone belonging to this religion.  I have come across the label 'secular Jew' several times.  It is a contradiction.    A Jew is religious, secular means to be not religious.

The following is not about Judaism as a religion.   From my apistic point of view, Judaism does not deserve any more respect than any other religion, as all religious beliefs are an insane deficit of rationality.

Antisemitism is literally not about a religion and not even about Jews.

Literally it is the rejection of people who are ethnically called Semitic.   Several ethnicities in the Middle East are called Semitic, even including the Maltese.   
But those, who are discriminated against by antisemitism as alleged ethnic Jews, are not even ethnically Semitic, because the historical Semitic Jews have seized to exist long ago. 
Persons of the Jewish religion are today ethnically members of the country, where they and their immediately preceding generations have been socialized into, just as are the people of any other or no religion.

A defined ethnicity exists as long as there is continuity. 

Ethnic groups have a name and are defined by
"1. Of or relating to a group of people having common racial, national, religious or cultural origins.

2. Belonging to a foreign culture."
And while this definition does not mention it, the culture also includes a shared language.

Some ethnic groups develop and evolve over a long time and have enough continuity to keep their name.
Example: Greece

There is also continuity when large groups form colonies on different territories. When nations are including large groups of not integrated subcultures of immigrants, then the nation embraces colonies.
Examples: Many Mexicans in the USA have formed colonies. The Turkish immigrants into Germany keep themselves segregated in colonies, in contrast to all other work immigrants from several Mediterranean countries, who have been integrated in the second and third generation.

Many or even most ethnic groups change so much over the centuries, that they develop into distinct ethnicities with different names.
Example: Today's Italians are the descendants of the Romans of ancient times, but they are very different.

But there is rarely any long-term continuity in the case of the migration of individuals and small groups, instead there is assimilation and integration.   Migrants become members of the host ethnicity and country after a few generations.
Example: About a hundred years ago, many people from Poland came as workers to the coal mines and other industry in an area called Ruhrgebiet and stayed.  Names ending on -ski are usually Polish.  But today, people with such names are considered as regular Germans, nobody would call them or even think of them as Polish anymore.

Except the religion, there is no continuity from the historic ethnic Jews. .

Several thousand years ago, an ethnic group called Jews lived in a territory east of the Mediterranean sea.   They spoke Hebrew and were ethnically Semitic.   They have seized to exist.   There is no continuity.  
  • Today, there are no more ethnic Jews just as there are no more ethnic Romans.  
  • In Israel today, Hebrew was reinstalled after having been extinct as a spoken language. 
    The Hebrew speaking inhabitants of Israel are Israelis.  
  • If Israelis are also Jews, it is by their religion.   A shared religion alone, which is the only attribute, which has not changed for thousands of years, does not suffice to define an ethnic group.  
  • After centuries and milllennia of migration and mixing, the descendants of the historical Jews are both culturally and genetically as related to the ethnic group of the country, of which they are citizens by passport, education and shared language as anybody with different ancestors and a different religion.  
    I do not know, if this has been done.   But if someone would compare the genetic code of alleged ethnic Jews, including the immigrants to Israel, I would expect them to be less related to the Semitic ethnicities in the Middle East and much more related to their present or previous ethnic homes.
  • Even the Yiddish language spoken by some subcultures sharing the Jewish religion is no continuity from the Hebrew of the historical Jews.   Yiddish is not even related to Hebrew at all but a different language, while Italian at least has evolved from the Romans' Latin.

Religion is not hereditary. 

To achieve the cure from the insanity of religious beliefs and to succeed in becoming an atheist and an apistic is something, which for some people is a struggle and a difficult process.   They need encouragement, appreciation and respect.   While ex-christians do not always get this, at least they are usually recognized to have left behind christianity, as soon as the label themselves as atheists.   
But when someone leaves Judaism behind and is still called a Jew, it is as if his religion is confounded with a genetic defect, which cannot be rationally overcome.     Irrationality can be considered a genetic defect making someone gullible to any religion, but it certainly does not lead to choose Judaism over any other.   
It is foolish to call someone a Jew, even though he has become an atheist or converted to a different religion, only because some ancestors had belonged to the Jewish religion.  This is not less foolish than to call atheistic descendants christians only because of their christians parents or even grandparents.  

Antisemitism is a two-step mental fallacy.

Conclusions from visible traits like the color of the skin to alleged correlated invisible traits are the simple fallacy of simple racism.   But the conclusion, that an only alleged but not visibly recognizable race or genetic ethnicity is correlated to invisible traits is the double fallacy of generalized racism without even a race.     


 Janurary 21, addition:

This source indicates the genetically mixed background of people with a Jewish cultural and/or religious background.
Further analyses yielded a complex multi-ethnical ancestry with a slightly dominant Caucasus -Near Eastern, large South European and Middle Eastern ancestries, and a minor Eastern European contribution.

Monday, November 12, 2012

616. Thoughts On Volunteering

616.   Thoughts On Volunteering

In Germany as also in some other countries too, actually the social trend is such that the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the public administration lacks the money to fulfill basic needs of the general public. 
Sometimes volunteers fill this gap by self-exploitation.   Considering volunteers as individual persons, this is noble and honorable behavior.   Politically and generally seen, it is nevertheless wrong, because it perpetuates the very reasons, why there is a need for the volunteers.  
While volunteers do help needy persons on a short term basis, they also help to maintain the unjust distribution of income and the success of greed.   Volunteers' work has the side effect of supporting the rich to remain rich.  
Volunteers contribute to avoiding the collapse, which would at least make it unavoidable to require the rich to pay higher taxes.   Unfortunately even in the case of the collapse, as in Greece, the collapse is still not generally attributed to the wealth stolen by the rich from the public and the poor.    

Every person, who works, should rightfully get some payment, unless there is the reciprocity of helping between neighbors and friends.  All public services for infrastructure, culture, education and welfare are expenses to be reliably paid by taxes. 
As long as income, prices of goods and taxes are balanced to supply a moderate income for everybody, this can work.   As soon as some people succeed to get rich, they disrupt the balance.   The rich sit on the stolen money, that the administration rightfully should have for public services.   

I gave one example of the imbalance in entry 402 (Justice By Coincidence).   Here are some more examples.

Recently a German politician has been giving lectures and receiving ridiculously and outrageously high payment.   For one lecture he was paid 25.000 €, and similar payments seem to be quite usual for such vultures.  If he were given a decent 100€ for the lecture, there were the remaining 24.900€ available to pay for necessary community services without the self-exploitation of volunteers.      
Also this money was paid to him by a public company supplying electricity and gas to costumers, including people on welfare.  These poor people are supposed to live for more than two years on what this greedy politician pocketed for a few hours.    Electricity could be cheaper without extra expenses making a greedy rich man richer. 
One man got extremely rich on software, which is used on the majority of computers also in the public administration and other tax paid public institutions.    He has got millions or maybe billions of €uros paid for licenses from tax payers' money in many countries.   This money is lacking for other public services, and substituting it by the self-exploitation of volunteers is not a correct solution but repairing unnecessary damage.

While this greed is legal, morally it is theft.   When the revenue for provided goods rise, because they are widely used on a mass market, the morally correct reaction is to lower the price instead of getting immorally rich.   

The possibility of producing so many goods, that there can be Cockaigne for everybody, is a myth.   Whenever some people succeed to have a life of luxury, others are deprived and pay the price.   Whenever one person consumes more goods and services than can be produced in the same time as it is consumed, another person is deprived of some of his share in the world's total production.  
Even in spite of the growing productivity in mass production, there are many kinds of services, which cannot be provided without human working hours.   Not only are the hours of the day limited, but so is the capacity of humans to function without being physically and mentally tired.     

In a village hundreds or thousands of years ago, the farmer supplies the baker with grains. The baker supplies the farmer, the smith and the lumberman with bread.  The smith supplies the farmer, the baker and the lumberman with tools.   The lumberman supplies the smith and the baker with firewood. 
As long as they all are free to live by such a system of exchange, all is well.    But when there is a feudal owner of the village, who claims to own the fields, the buildings and the forest and who greedily demands to get a portion of all produce while not producing anything himself, then this lowers the standard of living of the farmer, baker, smith and lumberman.  They cannot compensate by producing additionally as much as is taken.  They are limited by not being able to do more than drudge from morning until night.    
This example is of course oversimplified, because it omits many other decisive factors, but the principle is still the same today, no matter how complex the society.   As long as there is a balance in the exchange of the division of labor, all can live moderately well.   
As soon, as too much of the production or its equivalent in money is taken away, the standard of living of the deprived sinks.    Whenever people are rich, their privileges are enabled by the poor people, from whom they are taken.  

In my village example, there were only the exploitative feudals and the poor villagers, so there were not volunteers to intervene.  The rich did not care, when the poor starved to death.   Today, there is a middle class between the greedy rich and the deprived poor.   They are the pool, from which volunteers are recruited and self-recruited.   
Only for middle class people, there is more or less a balance between their working efforts and their standard of life.   This balance instigates them to contribute to improving the situation for the less fortunate, while they are not themselves discontent with their own situation.   They do not see a benefit for themselves in a drastic social or political change.   They have compassion with the needy poor without attributing their misery to the injustice caused by the greedy rich.  

If every work done by volunteers and all public debts were paid out of rich people's assets, the rich could still live comfortably but in moderation.   I do not consider violence a solution.  Every political revolution has caused too much suffering to innocent victims to justify it.   
While seeing theoretically, what is wrong, I am unable to suggest, how the rich could be convinced to give peacefully back, what they have morally stolen from the rest of the population.  

I just discovered, that it rhymes:
The poor are needy,
'cause the rich are greedy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

615. Social Change And Psychotherapy

615.   Social Change And Psychotherapy

I have been mentioning the growing amount of harm done either carelessly or ignorantly by promiscuous jerks as the consequence of the social norm of oversexation and the subsequent desensitization and lacking empathy for the suffering of the abused women.   (Entry 493:  The Social Norm Of The Drooling Men)

In a world, where men have their on average greater physical strength as an advantage enabling them to gain power and control over resources including media by hook or by crook, the instinctive reaction of many, if not most men is subconsciously welcoming the social norm of oversexation.  While some men would not consciously admit this, I have rarely found anybody explicitly pointing out the damage caused by it.   
By considering the appropriate place for sexuality being the privacy of couples' bedrooms I am sometimes even called a prude.   But I consider it as much better to be a prude than an animal blindly driven by instincts.  

Therefore I was very pleased to have found George Simon's web page.  He is a clinical psychologist and therapist, who has described this unfortunate social development with much better words than my limited English allows me to do.     The emphasis in the following quote is mine.
"Character Disturbance is indeed “the phenomenon of our age.” That’s because the intensely socially repressive atmosphere of earlier times has been supplanted with an atmosphere of entitlement, permissiveness, and license. It’s not as common for people’s shame and guilt to be so unreasonably intense and unyielding that they become pathologically debilitated with anxiety. Rather, it’s more common for folks to lack enough shame or guilt to inhibit them from doing harmful things to themselves as well as others. So, it would be fair to say that character disturbance is indeed more prevalent these days, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that significantly disturbed characters are everywhere."

But Simon not only expresses with better words than myself similar concerns about contemporary permissiveness and lacking inhibitions and constraint.   Simon takes this further to a very clever observation, which had never occurred to me:  The assumptions, upon which psychotherapeutic interventions are usually and implicitly based, have become obsolete and are lacking behind and failing to react to the real problems caused by the drastic social changes of the last decades.      

Therapeutic interventions helpful for people being overwhelmed with unbearable negative emotions about themselves are counterproductive to people, whose problems is predominantly the harming and exploiting of others, while harming themselves is only secondary by depriving also themselves of the benefits of close and harmonious relationships.  

Simon explains the example of denial:
"In classical (psychodynamic) psychology, denial is an unconscious ego defense mechanism.  Basically, that means that a person unwittingly puts up a barrier to experiencing what is too painful to consciously bear."

"Sometimes, denial is truly an unconscious psychological state.  Sometimes, it’s a refusal to admit a problem.  Sometimes, it’s a tactic of manipulation and impression management.  And the basic tactic of denial can be expressed in several other subtle variations such as feigning innocence, feigning ignorance, and acting surprised.   But no matter what form in which it comes, it’s most often merely a way of lying. "

"Disturbed characters of all sorts frequently engage in denial.  It’s extremely rare, however, that they do so because they are in such inner distress over their behavior that they simply can’t consciously accept what they’re doing.  Most of the time, they know exactly what they’re doing, but they want you to think otherwise."

"Disordered characters often won’t admit when they’ve done something wrong, and resist looking at any role their behavior patterns have played in creating problems in their lives.  They lie to themselves and others about their malevolent acts and intentions as a tactic to get others off their back.  If their denial is forceful and convincing enough, others will likely be successfully manipulated. "

"Denial is not only an effective manipulation tactic, but it’s also a sure sign someone is not about to change his or her way of behaving.  A person who won’t acknowledge their wrongs in the first place isn’t likely to feel any inclination to correct them.  Habitual denial is the way many disordered characters resist internalizing the values and standards of conduct that could make them more socially responsible."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

614. Changing Role Models

614.   Changing Role Models

For the purpose of reducing the boredom of doing household chores, I am sometimes listening to simple and superficial stuff like old radio shows.  Thus I also listened to a serial about a private detective called Richard Diamond, consisting of several dozen episodes broadcasted around 1950.  
As it is a Hollywood production, the hero was created as what at that period of time was the fictional prototype of masculinity.    Being a prototype, Diamond was certainly the role model for many contemporary young men.   Just as was and is James Bond for the generation of their sons and grandsons. 

Diamond and Bond have a lot in common (, as much as I can know from only having ever seen one unpleasant Bond film without any wish for more).  
Both role models are aggressive and tough, never have any fear, being very apt with weapons, fists and also with verbal flippancy.   Both are not destroyable, no matter how much they get beaten up or injured.  Both are never impacted by any guilt or emotional effects after having killed anybody as an everyday event of no consequence.

But there is one very decisive distinction between both role models. 

James Bond is a disgusting promiscuous women abusing jerk.  Were he real, he would be every decent woman's nightmare.  
Richard Diamond appears to be principally a decent guy.  Throughout the entire series, he has the same girlfriend, Helen, treating her correctly.    Being the prototype of a stud, he is portrayed as catching every woman's interest and as flirting with all of them, but this is the limit.   He is not only a role model of being true to Helen, but he is shown as being true by choice, not by lack of opportunity.   
Diamond is also presented as not merely infatuated with Helen's body but also attached to her as a person, whom he appreciates enough to spend a lot of his spare time with her, including shared non-physical activities.   
Monogamy is an implicitly and indirectly expressed part of this role model.  Whenever Helen expresses jealousy of one of his female clients, he does not reproach her, but defends or clears himself as being true to her.  An such jealousy is a part of Helen's being also a role model, it is not at all shown as inappropriate. 

Richard Diamond is certainly not my ideal of a man, because I prefer non-aggressive intellectuals.   But at least he is not someone abusing women as does his thoroughly repulsive successor James Bond.    

As far as role models have an influence, someone like Diamond can bring out the relatively best in men, but Bond certainly reinforces their worst.   

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

613. Commodification And Objectification Of Women Are A Teleological Fallacy

613.   Commodification And Objectification Of Women Are A Teleological Fallacy
Men commodifying, obectifying and abusing women are an example and specific case of the general teleological fallacy.   

As outlined in entry 612, nothing has an independent purpose.   Any purpose is always and only in a person's mind, while an object is produced, used or considered for use.   

Using something merely because of its apparent and alleged purpose sometimes seems superficially as correct behavior and thus justifiable but it is a fallacy.    No properties of any object, which make it appear as if it were perfect for application in a person's pursuit of a purpose, suffice to automatically justify or excuse the use of this object.  There is even less such justification for the use of a human being wrongly mistaken to not differ from an object.  
To the contrary, the use is not justified unless there are sufficient legal and moral rights.  Moral obligations require to refrain from harming people and damaging their property without consent in exceptional cases.  

The fallacy of commodifying, objectifying and abusing women is unfortunately enhanced by several factors: 

1.  Religion  
According to christian fairy tales, a god has allegedly created the first woman from the first man's rib only as a favor fulfilling his wish.   
This can be translated and generalized easily into the typical male fallacy of believing that 
~in the god's initial plan, men sufficed and women were superfluous.   
~the god consciously created men as beings with the property of recurrent sexual dishomeostasis.  
~a god is perfect by definition and makes not mistake, therefore the recurrent need for homeostasis is something valuable and not a fault in the design.     
~the god created women especially suitable to be used to restore male homeostasis.  He created them for the purpose to supply men with such bodies.  

=>  Therefore these men believe it to be the god's will and plan, that men use women and that all harm to women is justified by being the god's responsibility.   

2.  Natural selection
As sad as it is, procreation and the survival of the human species depends on the physical abuse of women's body by the harm, pain and discomfort of pregnancy and birth.     But the property of having wombs and thus being suitable to reproduce does not automatically imply, that women exist for the innate purpose of breeding.    
The more women are willing to self-abuse and the more men are inconsiderate and ruthless to abuse, the more offspring they have thus contributing to the gene-pool.  

3.  Evolution of the telos drive
Pararajasingham's suggests ( the telos drive as an explanation for religious beliefs.    I would rather explain both religion and the teleological fallacy by the biological fact, that breeding is inherently harmful for women and would not be chosen by women, who are fully intellectually and rationally free.     

The telos drive could alternatively be explained as a co-evolutionary coping strategy due to the emerging cognitive dissonance between men's instinctive urges to use haphazard female bodies for homeostasis and the evolving cognition and ability to have empathy, which enable men theoretically to appreciate women's brains along with learning to solve survival problems by reasoning and to use self-control motivated by consideration.
Would they only solve this dissonance by having an isolated belief of women existing for their use and convenience, this would easily be recognized as irrational.   But a more general dysfunction of the brain towards teleological thinking and a telos drive make the belief of women existing for men's purposes consistent with the more ubiquitous fallacy of imputing a purpose to life, to the universe and to the will of some creator.  

Promiscuity and the teleological fallacy of believing that women only exist for the purpose of maintaining male sexual homeostasis are two sides of the same coin.   Promiscuity is the logical behavioral expression of this false belief.   
The teleological fallacy of ascribing to women the purpose of being used enables, enhances and reinforces promiscuity.    

Unfortunately it is very difficult for some men to gain insight and awareness, that acting based upon a fallacy of an alleged purpose can be morally wrong due to harming the victims.   The denial of the victims' suffering is a part to the fallacy of ascribing a purpose.    In reality, the fallacy of women's purpose to be used by promiscuous men does not diminish the harm to the women, it only disables men from comprehending, what harm they do. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

612. Objects, Purpose And Language

612.  Objects, Purpose And Language

In entries 610 and 611 I have been calling teleology a fallacy, because nothing can have a purpose without a person or entity acting towards this purpose, and the tree producing oxygen has not been created by anybody.   The fallacy of attributing the oxygen production to be caused by the animals' needs for oxygen is connected with the fallacy of the religious belief in a creator.  

I am taking it one step further.   Not even human made objects exist for a purpose. 

No objects, only intentional behavior and actions have a purpose.   The purpose of the objects used during specific intentional actions exists only in an acting person's mind.   An object is associated with a purpose in the cognition of the person producing it, using it or having at least knowledge, which other persons' particular intentional actions it is suitable for.
The entire material world exists without a creator and without a purpose.    Some objects are used as tools in the condition, in which they are found, like stones and sticks.   But also tools like a hammer are not made from nothing.   They are produced by collecting preexisting material and modifying it by the impact of chemical and physical processes.  

The teleological fallacy is related to the often blurred distinction between the real physical specimen of an object and the mere concept defining an object's name in a language. 

Defining a tool and giving it a name starts with a person's attempt to improve the successful performance of a purposeful activity.   A hammer is an example of an object with a combination of specific properties labeled with a word.   There is a cognitive sequence of first intending to drive nails into wood, then finding out, what properties are needed to make a tool for this purpose and then giving the projected object with these properties the name 'hammer'.   Without a need to nail something, the concept of a hammer would not have been developed.     Were carpentry exclusively done by using screws, there would be no purpose using nails and hammers.

Materially existing objects have no independent purpose until and unless someone uses them or considers and plans to use them.  A materially real specimen of an object having all the properties of the cognitive concept of a hammer exists in the absence of a human purpose or need for it.   The real hammer has the properties of the defined hammer independently of what it is used for.   While a hammer is produced to have the properties most suitable to nail, this does not make it unsuitable to be used as a weapon or as a paper weight. 
Any effect perceived as connected with the use of an object, is not caused by the object or by its existence, only facilitated and this automatically implies a person realizing a potential purpose of this object.    Without an acting person, any effect is not the result of a purpose.   

The distinction between the mental concept of a hammer and a real specimen is important to understand the impact of the teleological fallacy.
When as in the case of the hammer, the concept is often realized as real specimens, language reinforces the wrong attribution of the purpose, which is only correctly associated with the concept, also to the physically existing hammers.   
If there is a telos drive, it seems to have shaped the languages.   Languages often mislead to express oneself in a teleological way, because it does not offer sufficient ways to avoid the fallacy.    Even while being fully aware of mere coincidences, the limitation of language makes statements appear to express teleological thinking.   Unfortunately the teleological bias of the language also reinforces the teleological thinking, because language is learned early in life, before the full capacity for rational thinking has also been developed.  .

Conceptual objects can have a name and defined properties as being best suited for a purpose, while they do not or not yet exist as specimens.   There are sufficient examples of this in science fiction, fairy tales and fantasy.   The knowledge about objects can be conveyed by descriptions and definitions, while no specimen is present, in reach or available.  

Materially existing objects have no absolute and ubiquitous purpose.   They are more or less suitable, depending on their temporary purpose for and the individual needs of the person using them.    
The potential of serving a purpose for human use is not limited to what is produced, modified or adapted.    A stone and a hammer are both either tools while being used or merely existing material, while outside the scope of human handling and attention.  

Objects can exist without ever being used by any person for any purpose.    

Objects can be temporarily associated with a purpose by being used and discarded.
A stone is just a stone, until someone picks it up and throws it as a tool for the purpose of breaking a window.   When it remains on the scene after the incident, it again is just a stone.  
When someone uses the stone to crack nuts, and hands it over to someone else, who also uses it for the purpose of cracking nuts, it has temporarily become a nutcracker for them.  But the name nutcracker describes a temporary function, not an eternal property.   When they drop the stone and leave, it again is just a stone.   
Objects can be valuable and suitable for a specific purpose for one person but can be a piece of junk for another, who does not share the need for this purpose.   

Only the properties of objects can be observed, perceived and examined by any person, but not the objects' potential of all or any purposes, which they can be suitable for.   The examination of objects does not automatically reveal any information, for which purpose they have been produced and used by persons in a different culture or epoch.  

Persons from different cultures can use the same object for very disparate purposes.   

Teleological thinking is more than a fallacy distorting a person's cognition.   Even worse, the teleological fallacy unfortunately often leads to the subsequent fallacy of deriving justification of and excuses for behaviors from alleged purposes.  Thus also many harming and hurting behaviors are facilitated and reinforced.   Such alleged purposes can be attributed either to the victims themselves or to the objects, by which the victims are harmed.  

The Epicurean principle of not harming and not be harmed requires responsibility and consideration to be stronger than any alleged purpose of any available object.   The mere existence of any object whatsoever does not rationally justify or excuse its use.