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social versus innate constructs (need help)

morelos

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#1
welcome to "dan takes advantage of his stress-related insomnia" session number one. if you're up for the challenge, i could use a little help with a quite philosophical topic.

i'm trying to identify for comparison the differences between the social constructs of man and the instinctive or basic constructs of man. it's hard to do. i'd like some help.

first, what do i mean? a "construct of man" is some rule that we follow. i am piecing together an essay discussing mankind's natural behavior, sort of reverse-arguing the standpoint that our purpose in life is to compete genetically (reproduction) and not much else except maintain the oxygen / carbon dioxide balance we were put here to maintain with plants.

here are a couple examples and if you could help me think of any, it would really clarify and help me write.

an innate construct of man: socratic thirsts (hunger, slumber, imbibition, sexuality). that is to say you desire to eat, sleep, drink, and, well, be merry. not 'married' (discussed in a bit). not a one of us who is not genetically flawed does not alternatingly thirst for all these things. no amount of 'civilization' will eliminate this desire. remember "demolition man?" the sex machine and permit? social constructs. and may i say, "nope." we'll never allow it. the underlying innate construct that we thirst for these things implies that we will never voluntarily allow our access to these things to be denied. thus, no 'sex licenses' or 'reproduction licenses' will ever be successful or appreciated programs. (optional digression: china has a rule about one kid. their population is collapsing, they have a 4-2-1 syndrome of spoiled children with two doting parents and four doting grandparents, and did i mention that since girls are left to die they're all boys? give it fifty years and china is rendered back into warring city-states, with clans trading guns for wives)

a social construct of man: monogamous relationships. mankind inherently wants to breed as much as sustainably possible. we have trained ourselves away from this behavior and have thus become self-destructive: if we were pre-programmed to be monogamous, why would there be so much infidelity?

an innate construct of man: to be dissatisfied with his surroundings. have you ever noticed it's always, always easier to see how much better your life could be than it is to see how much worse your life could be? regardless of this, your life could be worse but you only pay attention to the fact that it could be better. what's really happening here is instinctive behavior: you are trained to become dissatisfied with things as you become accustomed to them. in this fashion, you are kept mobile by your own desire to better yourself in perpetuity. this, in turn, brings you to new breeding opportunities, new eating opportunities, etc.

once you start categorizing constructs as social or innate, it becomes painfully clear that we really are only here to serve one purpose. it's actually scary.

a social construct of man: suicide. you think you want to die? think again. if you are seriously pondering suicide, and not one of those cry-for-attention-failed-suicide-attempts, you are just looking for a way out of your current situation because of the underlying innate construct i've already mentioned. your instinct is to better your surroundings constantly and something (usually the way society denies youths freedoms) prevents you from acting on that instinct. so you think of killing yourself as a way of easing the pain. let me tell you something: nature doesn't provide a gun, or a knife. the natural world around you doesn't have many sharp edges or firearms available. it's actually really hard to kill yourself in nature. most of the world is flattish and non-toxic. and your innate feeding construct prevents you from starving yourself (really, this is true; it's as near-impossible to force yourself to starvation as it is to kill yourself by holding your breath until you suffocate). thus, you decide suicide is an answer only because it is an accessible answer, when what you really desire is a better surrounding and are just too impatient with the world around you for its lack of drive to provide it.

wow, sorry that got so long, but it's a good beginning, if you ask me.

~ dan ~
 
#2
morelos said:
welcome to "dan takes advantage of his stress-related insomnia" session number one. if you're up for the challenge, i could use a little help with a quite philosophical topic.

i'm trying to identify for comparison the differences between the social constructs of man and the instinctive or basic constructs of man. it's hard to do. i'd like some help.

first, what do i mean? a "construct of man" is some rule that we follow. i am piecing together an essay discussing mankind's natural behavior, sort of reverse-arguing the standpoint that our purpose in life is to compete genetically (reproduction) and not much else except maintain the oxygen / carbon dioxide balance we were put here to maintain with plants.

here are a couple examples and if you could help me think of any, it would really clarify and help me write.

an innate construct of man: socratic thirsts (hunger, slumber, imbibition, sexuality). that is to say you desire to eat, sleep, drink, and, well, be merry. not 'married' (discussed in a bit). not a one of us who is not genetically flawed does not alternatingly thirst for all these things. no amount of 'civilization' will eliminate this desire. remember "demolition man?" the sex machine and permit? social constructs. and may i say, "nope." we'll never allow it. the underlying innate construct that we thirst for these things implies that we will never voluntarily allow our access to these things to be denied. thus, no 'sex licenses' or 'reproduction licenses' will ever be successful or appreciated programs. (optional digression: china has a rule about one kid. their population is collapsing, they have a 4-2-1 syndrome of spoiled children with two doting parents and four doting grandparents, and did i mention that since girls are left to die they're all boys? give it fifty years and china is rendered back into warring city-states, with clans trading guns for wives)

a social construct of man: monogamous relationships. mankind inherently wants to breed as much as sustainably possible. we have trained ourselves away from this behavior and have thus become self-destructive: if we were pre-programmed to be monogamous, why would there be so much infidelity?

an innate construct of man: to be dissatisfied with his surroundings. have you ever noticed it's always, always easier to see how much better your life could be than it is to see how much worse your life could be? regardless of this, your life could be worse but you only pay attention to the fact that it could be better. what's really happening here is instinctive behavior: you are trained to become dissatisfied with things as you become accustomed to them. in this fashion, you are kept mobile by your own desire to better yourself in perpetuity. this, in turn, brings you to new breeding opportunities, new eating opportunities, etc.

once you start categorizing constructs as social or innate, it becomes painfully clear that we really are only here to serve one purpose. it's actually scary.

a social construct of man: suicide. you think you want to die? think again. if you are seriously pondering suicide, and not one of those cry-for-attention-failed-suicide-attempts, you are just looking for a way out of your current situation because of the underlying innate construct i've already mentioned. your instinct is to better your surroundings constantly and something (usually the way society denies youths freedoms) prevents you from acting on that instinct. so you think of killing yourself as a way of easing the pain. let me tell you something: nature doesn't provide a gun, or a knife. the natural world around you doesn't have many sharp edges or firearms available. it's actually really hard to kill yourself in nature. most of the world is flattish and non-toxic. and your innate feeding construct prevents you from starving yourself (really, this is true; it's as near-impossible to force yourself to starvation as it is to kill yourself by holding your breath until you suffocate). thus, you decide suicide is an answer only because it is an accessible answer, when what you really desire is a better surrounding and are just too impatient with the world around you for its lack of drive to provide it.

wow, sorry that got so long, but it's a good beginning, if you ask me.

~ dan ~
man im sorry to say this but the title of this looked like a spam letter to me. You know, those emails, where they say like quail,qualm,find,addequit? stuff like that. here is a spam letter i got - urania,let me give,insomniac,and he almost,oxide,but suddenly spring.schnapps,the cap flew,student,administrator was lying.
 

morelos

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#3
wait, are you serious?

like, the formatting or the content? :/ i'm just asking because i figure my brain vs my brain + everyone else's brain here, y'kno?

~ dan ~

at least i'm not claiming to be a nigerian banker who needs desperately to transfer funds through your checking account so you can become a millionaire...
 

morelos

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#5
well i'm completely sober. this is what's amazing. i'm completely sober and either what i've written doesn't make sense to you or you just don't want to read it because it's long and/or intellectual for the time of day at your locale. i could completely understand the latter but i know you're intelligent, so what i've written must make sense to you.

what to infer?
 

morelos

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#7
fuckin' heard that. like i said, i'm stuck awake. got shit to do at 8. until 6. and it's 3. argh.
 

morelos

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#9
what's the difference? you missed a few others in my time zone, though ;]

if your attention span were longer than one thread, you'd know i live in a town called 'castro valley,' in california. near oakland, where too $hort is from.
 

Skorch

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#11
Sorry, but this is going to be long.
Not sure how accurate this is but I think I can add my perspective to your theory on monogamous relationships. Basically it springs from the fact that mankind is actually made up from two different base cultures, male and female. Males have the innate desire to spread their genes and procreate with as many mates as possible whereas females, who have to deal with the pregnancy and then afterwards a child, want to find ways to ensure that they have someone around to take care of them and their baby while they are weak.
So it was mostly the female pressure to keep their males around for themselves that probably brought about monogamy, and then as civilizations formed it developed into a more social construct by such ritual formalities such as marriage. This is why males are still much more prone to infidelity than females, and why females are so much more naturally less trusting of each other; because they have to compete with each other over men.
In some cultures it developed slightly differently where the male desire for multiple partners won out and polygamy prevailed (these are, to my knowledge, mostly in extremely male dominant cultures), but as males are territorial by nature, there were still marriage rituals that marked off specifically who 'belonged' to who. Very few societies, if any, have ever survived with any concept of open relationships and no sense of family units. However, almost all societies have catered to the male desire for sex and lots of it (with lots of people) by way of prostitution, which in many older cultures was perfectly acceptable for married males to partake in, but any female philandering was severly punished.
Now this is not to say that males are incapable of loyalty, or females of disloyalty, it's just a theory to attempt to explain the phenomenon. Sorry it went on so long, and any holes in the theory I appologize for, it's been a while since I had to discuss this formally with anyone.
 

morelos

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#12
thanks, skorch. you're definitely on the right track.

but be careful in downplaying the role of women in this process: women are the distributors of reproductive rights. truly it is the case that men are seed-spreaders, like bees which carry pollen from flower to flower.

the social construct is quite in conflict with our nature:

man wants to impregnate every woman around him. why? LONG, LONG GESTATION PERIODS. in other words, i can have every woman around me simultaneously tied up incubating babies of mine (that may or may not survive; who cares?) for NINE MONTHS AT A TIME and therefore be COMPLETELY USELESS to all other men for those nine months. they become 'my' property because they're incubating my babies. thus my genes are literally preventing anyone else's genes from propagating.

woman wants to find the healthiest man she can and make as many babies of HIS as she can. in her biological programming, she doesn't care if she has to share him as stated above because her babies with him are still more fit and therefore more likely to reproduce to continue to propagate HER genes. woman, however, ALWAYS seeks the healthiest man (as in the innate construct of bettering your surroundings i described before) and is biologically ready IN AN INSTANT to pack up her children (yes, the kids come with the mom even though the dad provides their food) and go breed - repeatedly - with a new, more fit male specimen. woman can only have so many children in her incredibly short fertile period, and she wants naturally to take advantage of that for the propagation of her genes into healthy offspring which will in turn create more healthy offspring.

but to contrast you, there have been as many female-dominated societies as male-dominated ones. the reason it's now an almost entirely male-dominated world is a social construct: infrastructure has made it available for the first guy who said "hey, i'm bigger than her; i can force her to do my will" to communicate that idea to others. this behaviour was inevitable but i cannot believe it to have been an accident of humanity, as all life is incredibly ordered and every bit of it has reason. i believe the "damaging disharmony" (RIP Wesley Willis) is caused by socialization -- the fact that we're born with these very strong (but very few in number) INSTINCTS and then we have to program social constructs in, beginning at birth, which often contradict our innate constructs.

so the male-dominated nature of the world into which we are all born has to do with things like axes, then religions, then sailing ships, then the telephone and finally the television -- all social constructs or products of social constructs.

savvy?

~ dan ~
 

Skorch

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#13
Yeah, I remember hearing something like that as well, but as I said it's been a while. I have a few more ideas on this particular issue, but will save them so this discussion doesn't get too one track on the monogamy thing. What other social or innate constructs have you thought of, as this is actually a topic I've been interested in, but unable to study for a while.

Also, if this fits into the discussion at all, where do you think the desire for entertainment comes from? It seems far too pervasive not to be innate, yet I can't think of much of a good reason why such a desire would exist naturally, from an evolutionary standpoint. I know entertainment is basically a by-product of civilization, but still this natural desire and our natural understanding and affinity for music and humor always fascinated me.
 

morelos

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#14
entertainment is an interesting word in the first place.

its original meaning was "to think about something or reflect on something" which is basically metacognition, or thinking about your own thoughts.

"i'm going to entertain that idea."

i think it's something that we desire to do to keep our minds and/or bodies busy, but why is an excellent question. could it be simply that entertainment is another primal human thirst, which drives us to socialize with one another, which in turn drives us to interact and ultimately to breed?

in that case, 'entertainment' becomes 'social interaction' and becomes a socratic thirst: sex.

~ dan ~
 

Icarus

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#15
But not all entertainment is social.

For instance: Video Games, WTF.com (alright, its social, but I doubt it'll get any of us laid), books, I'm sure there are tons of others.

Sure, you can get social things from these (read a book, join a book club, and socialize), but that isn't the original intention of these things.

Could it simply be because we function better and are typically happier when busy? If the whole purpose of our being is to breed, then living more efficiently obviously leaves more time for the pursuit (and act) of breeding. Moping around being sad isn't efficient... maybe our want for entertainment is actually just to sharpen our blades to return to the grind of every day life?

But I don't think evolution would take that in to consideration. Perhaps we are just wired that way by chance? I hate chalking things up to chance.
 

Skorch

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#16
Well, it could be that the entertainment stemmed from social interaction and communication, but then as it developed, it grew into something that can be used as a substitute for those. But even then I find very few activities are completely non-social; even the ones you mentioned can, and often are, used as a socializing tool. Most people do activities to congregate with other people with similar interests so they can discuss them, and this socializing is often almost as important as the activity itself. I know that as often as I've ever watched a movie by myself, I've been just as happy to later discuss that movie with my friends who've also seen it. Hell, half the time it was probably on their recommendation that I even bothered to see the movie. So it all breeds interaction, though perhaps the computer screen has taken some of the face to face elements out of it (making it seem more anti-social in many cases).

This is of course just me speaking for myself, and obviously I can't cover every possible case, but I think that get's the majority of it. And in any case, entertainment is almost always a form of communication on some level, be it someone trying to make or express something (from music to art to video games) and that piece of expression then being experienced by someone else.
 

Icarus

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#17
Perhaps the computer screen is just the next level of entertainment... I.E.:

Social Entertainment => Partly-Social Entertainment (books, etc) => Even less social activity (computer) => Anti-Social Activity?

We gradually lost the social aspect as entertainment evolved, perhaps soon (as in Fahrenheit 451) we won't ever need to leave our houses (unless we have a job), and all social activity will be lost, and with it our whole purpose of living (or assumed purpose for this thread).

But then, in effect, we'll be evolving backwards, away from living (breeding) most efficiently. And if/when that happens, will we gradually die out, or will we begin the process all over again (just with obviously better technology)?

As for entertainment being communication, this is getting less and less true as the art forms grow more and more commercial.

Perhaps television fan clubs are the only social activity we'll have in the future... my, what a thought that is.
 

Skorch

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#18
NoSubstance said:
We gradually lost the social aspect as entertainment evolved, perhaps soon (as in Fahrenheit 451) we won't ever need to leave our houses (unless we have a job), and all social activity will be lost, and with it our whole purpose of living (or assumed purpose for this thread).

But then, in effect, we'll be evolving backwards, away from living (breeding) most efficiently. And if/when that happens, will we gradually die out, or will we begin the process all over again (just with obviously better technology)?
Well, I wouldn't worry too much about it going that far. I think in most cases, if entertainment pushed people that far from social interaction, the people who stopped breeding would just naturally eliminate themselves from the gene-pool and Darwin gets to scratch another notch on the inside of his grave.

Even with the increasing commercialization of entertainment, it is still largely a form of communication, though intended for profit, which we the consumers, are happy to pay (or pirate) for our precious electronic crack. It may not be as artistically pure, but it is communication and expression nonetheless. Also, don't forget that there is a whole lot more to entertainment than the commercial entertainment industry.

Jeez, is anyone else sick of hearing the word entertainment now after all that?
 

Icarus

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#19
Skorch said:
Well, I wouldn't worry too much about it going that far. I think in most cases, if entertainment pushed people that far from social interaction, the people who stopped breeding would just naturally eliminate themselves from the gene-pool and Darwin gets to scratch another notch on the inside of his grave.

Even with the increasing commercialization of entertainment, it is still largely a form of communication, though intended for profit, which we the consumers, are happy to pay (or pirate) for our precious electronic crack. It may not be as artistically pure, but it is communication and expression nonetheless. Also, don't forget that there is a whole lot more to entertainment than the commercial entertainment industry.

Jeez, is anyone else sick of hearing the word entertainment now after all that?
Heh heh. This is all hypothetical. I'm not worried at all.

Alright, we've established that entertainment is primarily a social activity. So, what's the deal with hermits? Do they take the partly-social activities and remove all social aspects from them?

The thing that's most interesting (to me) about society is what would seem to be the "flukes," because they go in either direction. Hermits, with no contact, and people like my sister. If she isn't in constant contact with her friends, she's immensely self-destructive.
 

morelos

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#20
i'm among the "modern-day entertainment, as a result of technology, is a REPLACEMENT for the naturally occurring socially-interactive entertainment" school of thought.

:D

television brought us to video games, which only brought us all back to the internet where we learned to make connections again.

our behavior is so deeply rooted in our innate constructs that it's not even funny.