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Thread: social gestalt

  1. #11
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    I suppose it is a guy thing.
    It is. Guys rib on each other to show inclusion in a group. Since guys aren't allowed by social gender expectations to show affection (hugs, compliments, etc.) without being deemed "effeminate" or "gay", they get around it by making fun of each other. It's one of the reasons I love my gay circle of friends way more than my straight circle of friends. In fact I find it to be a harsh transition to go from a group of people who aren't afraid to hug one another to a group that occasionally jokingly says things like "you are such a moron". It's hilariously stupid of males, but it's strongly socialized and expected all the way from childhood, so there really isn't much we can do about it.

    As far as people's experiences priming them up, that is a given. People can only interpret the world through their perceptions, so when those perceptions change, their entire world changes with it.
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  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    I think sociologists and economists usually deal with this kind of situation by talking about "expectations": rising expectations, falling expectations, wages not keeping up with expectations, etc. So if you equate "priming" to expectations in some manner, I'm sure you could make your theory work in that manner.
    I think it runs deeper than just expectations and habits. I think there is a tendency to create a "complex" that self-organizes into an "identity." In a way, the primed expectations and habits take on a life of their own.

    The stories I gave as examples have countless others just like them. Similar backgrounds seem to have a very strong influences in creating similar behavior.

    There was that Stanford Prison Experiment where perfectly normal kids turned into abusive guards and rebellious inmates.

    Quote Originally Posted by lastrailway View Post
    I guess you have a point here (if I understand you well, at least). This can function in various ways, ie, calling a child stupid, one might create a self-image to this child, in which they will adapt later, by acting indeed stupid or by trying too much to prove themselves intelligent.
    But what would happen if this child at somepoint, as an adult maybe, find themselves in an environment that they can play at their own strengths? I think it depends very much of the level of maturity of the person (which is more innate than environmental, IMO).
    Certainly, genetics and will-power can play roles too. I am not denying that. But how do you really separate genetics from environment?

    Sometimes we create the same expectations for people despite being reared apart simply because of their looks and early mannerisms. Considering the mannerisms "genetics" is also a bit of a stretch. There is a rather complex system of interactions. But the predictability of it can often be associated with the situation. An African American growing up in a community with a lot of prejudice has a different set of circumstances than someone growing up in a more accepting environment. Note since we are pretty much a global culture and economy at this point. There are actually few places in the world where people of African dissent won't face the same prejudice (even in other predominantly dark-skinned countries like India). So there is no simple way to control for this bias in studies. There are other biases like this too.

    Quote Originally Posted by lastrailway View Post
    Or maybe you mean that the perceptions other people have regarding ourselves kind of prescribe our behaviour/reactions on several situations?
    I am just saying it is not so clear cut. There is a very complex set of interactions that lead to the way people react. It is a non-linear system, and there are counter-intuitive reactions due to time delays, common stocks and flow. What is an independent variable in one case may become a dependent variable in another. It is not always clear what will affect what. The more predictable something is, the less influence we have over it....etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    It is. Guys rib on each other to show inclusion in a group. Since guys aren't allowed by social gender expectations to show affection (hugs, compliments, etc.) without being deemed "effeminate" or "gay", they get around it by making fun of each other. It's one of the reasons I love my gay circle of friends way more than my straight circle of friends. In fact I find it to be a harsh transition to go from a group of people who aren't afraid to hug one another to a group that occasionally jokingly says things like "you are such a moron". It's hilariously stupid of males, but it's strongly socialized and expected all the way from childhood, so there really isn't much we can do about it.

    As far as people's experiences priming them up, that is a given. People can only interpret the world through their perceptions, so when those perceptions change, their entire world changes with it.
    That's a good way to put it. I am struggling to describe how it is that people's worlds change. There is some regularity to it. But I am not quite able to capture that regularity in words.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    That's a good way to put it. I am struggling to describe how it is that people's worlds change. There is some regularity to it. But I am not quite able to capture that regularity in words.
    We talked about this before didn't we? Back then I called it the "relative reality". It's each individual's reality that is based on their perceptions of the external objective reality. It's relative because it is not absolute or complete and is susceptible to change. However, there is consistency between our individual realities because they are based on the same objective reality which we experience through the same human senses.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
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  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    We talked about this before didn't we? Back then I called it the "relative reality". It's each individual's reality that is based on their perceptions of the external objective reality. It's relative because it is not absolute or complete and is susceptible to change. However, there is consistency between our individual realities because they are based on the same objective reality which we experience through the same human senses.
    I suppose that is important to keep in mind. But there is even a regularity to how the experiences affect individual realities...and a regularity to what "transformations" happen to people.

    Right now, it all seems to follow the same pattern. If only I could capture the pattern in some portable form so that I could keep the hypothesis for posterity.

    These sort of "half-insights" drive me batty. I was hoping someone else had observed something similar and could put words to it.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    I suppose that is important to keep in mind. But there is even a regularity to how the experiences affect individual realities...and a regularity to what "transformations" happen to people.

    Right now, it all seems to follow the same pattern. If only I could capture the pattern in some portable form so that I could keep the hypothesis for posterity.

    These sort of "half-insights" drive me batty. I was hoping someone else had observed something similar and could put words to it.
    I see what you are saying. Self preservation. Our entire concept of self is based on our individual realities because our identity is defined by how we interact with our external environment. For example, in the MBTI, we are extroverted or introverted, feelers or thinkers, etc. But is seems once we accept those concepts of self, those aspects of identity, then our individual realities change around them.

    It seems you have discovered a pattern in which the "self" which was formed from the perceptions of the world, takes on a life of its own and then comes to influence our perceptions of the world. It could be said that the identity we accept shapes how we percieve the world.

    All your examples include characteristics by which the characters define themselves in relation to their external environment, "fanciful speaker" and "creative worker" and those concepts of "self" then turn around and shape or influence their individual realities which is how they perceived their external environment.

    An example would be a boy who won a race one day and as a result his peers called him "fast". So from then on he perceived himself as a "fast" runner. However, the next day he is actually running significantly slower, but since his identity is of a "fast" runner, he can't percieve that he is going slower, and so his judgement would be that everyone else is running faster.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
    OMNi: Wisdom at the cost of Sanity.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    I see what you are saying. Self preservation. Our entire concept of self is based on our individual realities because our identity is defined by how we interact with our external environment. For example, in the MBTI, we are extroverted or introverted, feelers or thinkers, etc. But is seems once we accept those concepts of self, those aspects of identity, then our individual realities change around them.

    It seems you have discovered a pattern in which the "self" which was formed from the perceptions of the world, takes on a life of its own and then comes to influence our perceptions of the world. It could be said that the identity we accept shapes how we percieve the world.

    All your examples include characteristics by which the characters define themselves in relation to their external environment, "fanciful speaker" and "creative worker" and those concepts of self then turn around and shape or influence their individual realities which is how they perceived their external environment.

    An example would be a boy who won a race one day and as a result his peers called him "fast". So from then on he perceived himself as a "fast" runner. However, the next year he is actually running significantly slower, but since his identity is of a "fast" runner, he can't percieve that he is going slower, and so his judgement would be that everyone else is running faster.
    Yes. That's along the lines I was thinking of. We define ourselves in terms of our prior experiences, sometimes by comparison, sometimes by by the results we achieve, sometimes by the friends we keep, or the family we come from. Sometimes we consciously ask "Who am I?", and sometimes we get partial answers. Of course, who was it it that started doing the definition? How much control do we have over our new definition of self each time we ask? If we take more control/more influence, there is less predictability, and this is aspect is counter-intuitive but has a regular aspect to it.

    But I have lost the clarity on the incredible regularity of the phenomenon. Oh well. It may come back to me.

    The thoughts that lead up to it were reflections on consciousness, and how integral the "self" is to being conscious. Even if our concept of "self" isin't at the forefront of our consciousness, those boundaries do exist usually. But in many ways those boundaries are artificial. Our neurons signal each other through electrical impulses, but sound, sight, touch, smell, taste and other "senses," transmit signals between neurons that we would not traditionally consider part of the same "self."


    Realizing we have more influence over the boundaries we initially select actually makes the outcome of the overall circumstances more chaotic and dynamic (though perhaps still better?). We would really only have the tendency to want to influence more behavior if we disliked the predictable behavior of not influencing results (because things are more certain if we exert less influence).

    So getting comfortable in our own identities, instead of shifting the boundaries is often most comfortable, because it is most predictable. It then becomes a trade-off between predictability and affinity towards predictable the outcomes.

    In a way, trying to reason out the consequences of more influence may lead us to take less influence.

    Anyway, I am going in circles trying to describe it more clearly, but I have already lost the clarity I once had in my own formless thoughts (before I could give them form).

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  7. #17
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    I find it to be a fascinating line of reasoning. In essence, human beings are experience. Our experience shapes our "self" and in turn our "self" then shapes our experience, then that experience shapes further "self" and in turn that further "self" then shapes our next experience. In a way, every minute that goes by we become a new person because of that experience. Even as I type this my "self" is being subtlety reshaped based on the experiences I am absorbing and the subsequent changes in how I experience reality based on my new "self". It's an endless, flowing cycle.

    It's a funny thought, but I guess you can tell who you currently are as a person (or who anyone else is for that matter) by how you (or they) percieve the world since your (or their) perceptions are the facets of your (or their) "self". In a way the "self" is the lens through which people view the world and it is shaped by experiences from the world. Thus experiences can come to distort the lens and thus how we view the world. The key to understanding who we are then is knowing how our experiences have shaped our perceptions.

    But distortions are a natural part of this process. Our "selfs" are only as strong as our understanding of the experiences we absorb into them. If we fail to understand how one experience differs from another, then our "self" will deem them the same. If we fail to understand from our experience how the external environment is changing then our "self" will not change with it. Our ability to adapt to the external environment is based entirely upon how well we can alter our perceptions through our experience. Otherwise we will fail because we cannot adapt. It may even be an entirely new dichotomy of self preservation as opposed to adaptability.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
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  8. #18

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    I think Kiddo expressed a great deal of what I was reflecting on at the time.

    I have returned to thinking about this a little more, in the context of "the power of positive thinking."

    I kind-of rejected the whole philosophy of only looking at the positive because it seemed like self-deception. Looking at possitive thinking from another angle make it rather fascinating...

    Consider a fragile and expensive round bobble on somebody's desk. Say you accidentally bumped into the desk, and the bobble pops out of its place and starts rolling toward the edge of the desk. The physics of it is clear. The bobble is rolling along the desk and will fall, hit the floor, and will likely break...this is of-course if you don't do anything.

    But if you do decide to do something, like lunge forward to try and stop the bobble from rolling of the desk, and/or catch the bobble, then the results are less clear.

    Any number of things could happen. Including, but not limited to:
    1) You stop the bobble from hitting the ground, and nothing else of note happens.
    2) You fail to save the boble but nothing else of note happens.
    3) You stop the bobble from hitting the ground, but you knock over the desk and that does damage to the shelf (which you just now notice) behind it with even more fragle bobbles behind it, and many other bobbles break.

    Of-course, this contrived example is not too out of the ordinary, and also not very complicated. Chances are, if you are fairly aware of your surroundings (but unaware enough to bump the table), you can tell rather quickly is you can save the bobble or not, and take the appropriate (in)action. We do this by instinct.

    Imagine now if you put that into a social context where things clearly are not that simple. Suppose also that the insticts aren't particularly clear in this area. You can still watch as things continue to unfold in ways that are quite predictable (and undesirable) or you can do try to affect the outcomes and make things much less predictable.

    Further thoughts?

    I believe training can be a proxy for instinct in many circumstances.
    How can we construct a training program to avoid breaking social bobbles?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  9. #19
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    I only read the first post, so far, so that's what I'm responding to.

    I understand that this may not be entirely what this post is about, but I don't think you are fully understanding the nature of the ribbing. This is common in nomadic groups in which maintanence of social order is a necessity. When someone starts to rise ahead of the rest, the group will playfully tease him to make sure that he does not start to feel superior. If one hunter is significantly more successful than the others one day they may complain about how the meat is poor, or how the animal are smaller than they appeared...etc. etc.

    It's not something that you will typically see in groups of males that are passive. But if you look at groups of guys that consist of mainly dominant/assertive males, there is a lot of teasing going on. It shows respect by saying, "I know that you are strong enough to handle the teasing, but you aren't significantly stronger than me." If you ever witness a group like this where on member doesn't take part, it's obvious that the rest tends to lose some respect for that member...as weaker.

    Furthermore, many subcultures that are outside of the norm will begin to identify people with certain characteristics (such as Brandon with high speech), and then these people feel the need to play up these characteristics in order to receive the same attention. As opposed to "normal" society, where people will tend to play down these traits in order to fit in.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

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    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  10. #20
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    If I were Brandon, I would still use fanciful speech with my old friends regardless. Friends, and acquaintances should learn to respect people's ways. It can't be that annoying/dumb. And if they were in college, they shouldn't find his speech that bad. They should be mature about it. If they're highschoolers, I understand. Highschool is a rough place to be smart, verbally.

    He returns to his old home town to hang-out with his old friends. They start mocking him for his fanciful speech as they used to (again without malicious intent), but this time he blows-up at them. "You guys are bullies-- evil people. You are not my friends. You have never been my friends. You've always mocked me for this." The friends believe "Brandon has changed. He's gone psycho." Friendships are lost.

    If it was without malicious intent, I'd have tried to control my emotions a little bit better. But I understand Brandon's side--he's being harassed physically by people just because of the way he talks, and maliciously. He was pushed by his friends. Sounds like something I would do, but I'd apologize afterwards. He could have asked them to stop, politely. But he's scared of the real bullies, right? So he took out his anger on his old friends instead, since he believes they started harassing him about his speech first, without thinking of the possibility that the bullies found it annoying too.

    I would have stopped my fanciful speech altogether and acted 'normal' if I were Brandon.

    And the friends teasing Brandon without any malicious intent can happen with girls, too. I've been through it.
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