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.

Friday, April 10, 2015

733. Motivation For Behavior: The Difference Between Deficits And Benefits

733.  Motivation For Behavior:  The Difference Between Deficits And Benefits

I value rationality as one distinctive and superior quality, by which human individuals differ from instinct driven animals.  This is a premise, which many people do not share with me.   I am fully aware that those, who value being guided and determined by unconscious instincts and inclinations more than by rationality, cannot and will not agree with the following application of rationality on how to live.      

As I myself am both a non-breeder and non-religious, both are for me expression of the same rationality.   As a member of a non-breeders' group, I asked some puzzled question to religious non-breeders.    
In the entries 656. The Placebo Church  and 441. An Ingenious Self-Deception I have already expressed my wondering about the weird Unitarian Universalist placebo church.   My question to a member thereof concerning what needs and deficits were met, ended as an impasse.  

I did not get an answer, I did not even succeed to convey my question.   The exchange has inspired the following thoughts.

A rational person has an awareness for the importance of evaluating behaviors and actions by the consequences and by comparing them with alternative options for its causes and reasons.

1.  One important factor is the baseline.   Behavior improving the subjective wellbeing can have one or both of these effects:  It either restores the baseline to the neutral state of neither pleasure nor displeasure, or it adds pleasure above this baseline.  
This is an important distinction, because I consider only this baseline of not suffering as a human right, while seeking pleasure can only be justified when nobody else is harmed or taken advantage of.  

2.   People, whose behavior is caused by a deficit, often get additional benefits above the baseline.   Sometimes they consciously only recognize the benefits as if gaining these were the original purpose of the behavior.   They are unaware or in denial that the initial purpose was restoring the baseline.   

3.   Another factor is the experience of cognitive dissonance, when people want to be more rational than they really are.  They want to consider themselves as rationally seeking benefits and not as if they were helpless robots succumbing to urges.   The denial of urges and deficits is a method to avoid experiencing cognitive dissonance.

4.   There are different kind of subjectively perceived deficits.   Deficits can be innate or acquired, they can be physical or cognitive.   Rational behavior requires thinking about all relevant factors and about the long-term consequences before coping with the perceived deficit.   Just following the urge is often irrational.   

A rational way of life requires people to scrutinize carefully all their inclinations to behave.   For this purpose they ask themselves several questions.   The ones in the not comprehensive following list are important
  • Which is my baseline? 
  • Do I only get benefits or are there needs, deficits, urges, wishes, discontentment, dishomeostasis hidden behind the experienced benefits?
  • What would happen, if I resist the inclination to this behavior?
  • What alternative behaviors are there?   
When interactive behavior includes reciprocal impacts by and upon others, rational persons apply these questions to others as much as upon themselves.   Not only the choice between respect and disrespect depends upon this, but also the choice between supporting and refusing to become a victim, between continuing the interaction and avoiding the person.

A few examples:

1.  Food
When a hungry, not obese person eats, this is rational.
When a not hungry but also not-obese eats something for the pleasure of the taste, it is unnecessary but not irrational.  
But when an obese person eats because of boredom, stress or a similar reason, then this is irrational.

2.  Alcoholism as an addiction
2.1.  There is no physical or real need for drinking any alcohol at all.   Not drinking is completely rational behavior. 
2.2.  When someone drinks restricted quantities of alcoholic beverages with sufficient intervals in between, this can be be considered as rationally enjoying the taste.  
2.3.  But in the case of someone feeling an urge for alcohol intake to reach the baseline, then this is an addiction.  
In the case of denial, the addict claims to drink for pleasure and does not recognize and acknowledge the urge.   He is not aware of the irrationality of his drinking.    
2.4.  An alcoholic having asked and answered the questions can admit, that his urge to drink alcohol needs an approach, which is anything between self-control and therapy, but not drinking. 

When irrational behaviors are reinforced or even instilled by a social norm, they become an even more devastating problem.   This is unfortunate for the many people, whose life would be better without acquired, harmful urges.   
There are special dynamics at work.  People are trapped, because they are allowed to consciously experience some benefits.  These benefits do not suffice to rationally justify the amount of sacrifices, which are required.   But unconsciously these people also experience the additional relief of some urge, of which they are consciously in complete denial.   This denial impedes them from considering and attempting other, more rational methods to deal with the urges.  
The urges instilled by the social norm lead to behaviors, which override any healthy individualistic approach towards living in a balance of giving and receiving in the exchange with the social environment.   By these social norms, people are deformed towards willingly allowing to be exploited and taken advantage of while being mistaken as being important and useful.   
These victims are not aware that the social norm serves only the interest of those, who use their power, influence and greed to usurp more such advantages. 

Two of these instilled behaviors are breeding and religious behaviors.  Breeding and religion have one aspect in common with alcoholism.   There are enough non-drinkers, non-breeders and non-religious people as evidence of the existence of alternatives.

3.  Breeding
3.1.  In modern western societies and even in some others too, there is no individual need for breeding.   Not breeding is a completely rational behavior. 
3.2.  Under some limited circumstances in the past and in some remote places, the survival of old people depended and depends on raising children.   These people have no need to belief in alleged benefits of breeding, they are succumbing to a necessity.  
3.3.  But someone feeling an urge to breed only for reaching the baseline has a serious problem, like an addict.    
As children cannot be undone, once the mistake was made, breeders are usually in denial of any remorse.  They insist that breeding has brought them benefits.   They do not recognize and acknowledge to have succumbed to an instinctive or instilled urge.   They remain unaware of the irrationality of breeding.     
3.4.  While breeders are consciously in denial, they implicitly often show a glimpse of belated rationality, when they stop further breeding after the first child.   But this is not a conscious change to rationality concerning breeding. 

4.  Religion

4.1.  A rational way of life is not deranged by any religious behavior.   A rational, responsible and considerate treatment of others requires rationality and the absence of any religious behaviors.   No rational person is religious.   No religious person is rational.
Religion manifests itself by observable religious behaviors, which not only include personal sacrifices of money, time and comfort, but even worse it also determines how others are treated.   
Weird ritualistic body movements only impact one person.   But often religion can cause as much damage as an alcohol addiction.     When someone wastes the family money on church donations and his time at the church service instead of with his partner, he inflicts damage on others for irrational reasons. 
Worse are those, who transgress, acquire religious forgiveness and feel free to continue transgressing.   A man, who by following his polygamous religion copulates with other women, deeply hurts his monogamous partner who experiences this as cheating. 
4.2.  Religious behavior is an expression of a belief, which can never rationally be justified.   What is based upon science and evidence, is not a belief.    Only pretending by outwardly imitated religious behavior can sometimes be rational self-defense, when needed for self-preservation.   
4.3.  Religious people's denial is extreme.   I have repeatedly asked religious people, which urges, deficits and experienced dishomeostasis causes them to be religious.   Asking this questions seems futile.  They just seem not to understand.  They enthuse about all their emotional benefits and even feel offended, when I keep on asking about the deficits.  These deficits are the core of what makes them religious and distinguishes them from rational people.     
4.4.  Some religious people overcome their denial.   When they finally get rational, the only possible reaction is to free themselves of all the religious beliefs.   But while remaining a believer, no religious person will ever admit, that they feel urges towards merely reaching a baseline of basic wellbeing, which rational non-religious people already have without any religion.      

Therefore, breeding and religion are as irrational as alcohol addiction, the only real difference is the social norm, which encourages breeding and religion, while alcoholism is considered deviant.