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 30, 2011

454. Narcissism Explained By The Hierarchical-Gregarious Brain

Narcissism Explained By The Hierarchical-Gregarious Brain

I suggest to first read entries 452 and 453, where I defined the differences between an egalitarian and a hierarchical-gregarious brain.   The psychological differences between the two brain dispositions are different causes for dishomeostasis and differences in what stimulates the pleasure center of the brain, and how strong is this stimulation.

People with an egalitarian brain have a strong need for respect, appreciation, dignity.   Disrespect, depreciation, humiliation, indignity cause them a strong dishomeostasis of emotional pain.    
People with a hierarchical-gregarious brain and the aspiration for a high position have a strong dishomeostasis for power, praise, prestige, veneration.    They are attracted to find as many inferior people as possible to give this to them.   They are void of any empathy or awareness, that what they want is a source of dishomeostasis for egalitarian people.   
People with a hierarchical-gregarious brain but with the acceptance of gaining benefits by having a low position experience this position as being in homeostasis.  They are also unaware, that egalitarian people suffer dishomeostasis, when forced into the same position.     

People with an egalitarian brain gain self-esteem and confidence by comparing their own achievements only with their own goals.   Therefore they have no reason to become narcissists.

People with an hierarchical-gregarious brain, who feel a strong dishomeostasis for the emotional benefits of a high position without being able to earn such a position by appropriate achievements are prone to become pathological narcissists.   Their bluff fails sooner or later and they lose their temporary source of narcissistic supply.   Then they fall back to enforce domination on the women in their lives, who are the most vulnerable and the least able to end the ordeal. 

In entry 453, I mentioned already the situation, when legal and external circumstances like slavery force people with an egalitarian brain in an unwarranted low position.   Chosen alliances are a different situation.  

1.  Memberships in ingroups, which are chosen without any external necessity, are chosen only for the attraction and benefit of the group itself.    Such groups are for example sport clubs, sects, cults, political initiatives, charities, self-help groups. 

1.1.   In hierarchical groups, leaders with a hierarchical-gregarious brain have earned the position by hard work and talent, but they acquire special benefits as an incentive.   
1.1.1.  Power reduces the dishomeostasis of fear and anxiety.   
1.1.2. Adulation, admiration, veneration fulfill narcissistic needs, that can either cause dishomeostasis or at least have a strong impact upon the pleasure center.   
As long as these benefits are earned by real achievements, rejoicing and indulging in them is different from pathological narcissism.  
Followers with a hierarchical-gregarious brain in such a group have a realistic view, that they either cannot become leaders or that the effort to strife to become leaders is too much.    They accept their lower position as a consequence of accepting hierarchy as the unavoidable structure of any group.  
But being a part of the group also reduces their dishomeostasis by giving protection against fear or by catering for some special need.   
In addition, they generalize the achievements of the leaders as if they were achievements of the group, which justify the prestige of the group.   Then they identify themselves with the prestige of the group.   They enhance their own self-esteem by experiencing themselves as partaking in the achievement of those, whom they follow.  
The fans of a football team are proud of the victories, as if they had played themselves.  The members of a cult, who have in reality paid a lot of money to be allowed in, feel as if they were the elected and privileged few.  

1.2.  When someone with a strong hierarchical-gregarious need for a high position lacks either the abilities or the motivation to invest efforts and cannot achieve such a position, he sometimes becomes a pathological narcissist.   Where he fails to achieve, he develops a grandiosity delusion, where he does not earn adulation and veneration, he develops an entitlement delusion.  When he does not get the admiration he feels entitled to, he blames this as the fault of those refusing to give him enough narcissistic supply.  A pathological narcissist is able to bluff people for a while, but he usually gets soon unmasked.      

1.3.  Egalitarians in egalitarian groups are joining for the benefits of the shared purpose, and by giving special functions to members, they do not give them power nor do they put them upon a pedestal.  

1.4.  When egalitarians do join hierarchical groups for a special purpose, they do this without accepting the hierarchy as justified.   They follow their own purpose, as long as they can do this without being required to show adulation or veneration, that they do not feel.   

1.5.  Sometimes a pathological narcissist chooses an egalitarian group as a stage to bluff competence in the hope to establish a hierarchy.   He considers it as an easy endeavor, because there are no competitors for a high position in an egalitarian group.   The pathological narcissist is unaware of the egalitarian group's rejection of a hierarchy, because he mistakes hierarchies as something ubiquitous.   But the entitlement delusion and the treating of egalitarian people as inferior causes the egalitarian group members to feel insulted and they soon end his attempts.   

2.  Couples are a special form of a group, they are the smallest and closest ingroup consisting of only two members. 
2.1.  Traditionally, while men were given education and earning possibilities, of which women were deprived, there were couples of two hierarchical-gregarious brains, in which real differences caused a woman accept an inferior role under a patronizing man.   The engineer marrying his secretary is an example.

2.2.  Two egalitarians choose each other for shared traits based upon reciprocal respect and appreciation.

2.3.  A man with a hierarchical-gregarious brain, who feels entitled to dominate and patronize a woman with an egalitarian brain, causes her serious suffering.    Sometimes the man feels entitled to the top position by the mere fact of being male, sometimes he is a pathological narcissist and has the delusion of superiority, that he does not have.  

But there is a big difference between being a member of a group and being half of a couple.  
The person, who has a strong need to gain the benefits of a high position in a group, but who is earning it does not automatically assume the same role in a relationship.   When he succeeds to get his needs met in a high position in his job or in a chosen group, he is not driven to establish a hierarchy also in a relationship with a woman, who prefers to be an equal partner.   

The pathological narcissist is the real problem.   He has such an urge for adulation and veneration, while he is unable to earn it, therefore he is eternally driven to manipulate, bluff and coerce people to comply with his delusion of giving him his narcissistic supply, but it never lasts.   When his narcissism becomes disruptive in a group, he can either be removed or the person feeling disturbed can leave the group unharmed.   Only the egalitarian woman, who had the bad luck to have become emotionally or legally tied to him is suffering a pain, that does not end, until the relationship has failed. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

453. The Egalitarian Or Hierarchical-Gregarious Brain Scale

The Egalitarian Or Hierarchical-Gregarious Brain Scale

This continues entry 452.  

I speculate that there is a bell curve of the innate strength of the gregarious instinct.  

1. At one extreme end of the scale are the people with the hierarchical-gregarious brain.   They are very much driven towards other people by a strong gregarious instinct.   They accept domination, deliberate and enforced submission as morally acceptable.  They perceive the acquiescence with any position in a hierarchy as a natural part of life.  They accept this not only concerning positions due to individual differences, but also to externally ascribed and enforced differences, that are sometimes haphazard, irrational and not justified by any trait or quality of the individual.  
They are equally prone to accept disadvantages from having low positions on the hierarchy and to ruthlessly inflict suffering upon those, who are on a lower position.   They inflict such pain on those, whom they have pushed down by competition and by power struggles and on those, who have such positions by haphazard circumstances.    They are often either not aware of causing pain or they are in denial.

2.  At the other extreme of the scale are the people with the egalitarian brain.  They are void of the gregarious instinct.  They consider all people as entitled to have equal chances in accordance with their individual traits, talents and skills.    They accept only individual differences as reasons limiting what someone can get and achieve in life.   They do not want to form hierarchies, they prefer a just exchange between people.   They choose to interact with some individuals and to avoid others.    They prefer to stay away from hierarchies and to cooperate selectively.    By consideration and responsibility they refrain from pushing people down to a lower position, because they are aware of the pain of being forced into an undeserved inferior position.       

Unfortunately, the innate inclination on the scale often does not correspond with the possibilities and circumstances.  The position in the hierarchy of external options is not a choice.  Racism, slavery, discrimination by gender, discrimination by the place of birth are examples of reasons morally accepted by those with a gregarious instinct as a justification to force a low position upon individuals without allowing them an alternative.   
A person with an egalitarian brain, who happens to be born in a privileged position has the choice to refuse the option of a high rank.   A person born into an underprivileged position does not have any choice.    
This has very detrimental consequences:  A person with an egalitarian brain suffers emotional pain when forced into a low position for unjustified reasons.    This person feels humiliation, indignity, abasement.   But the person with the gregarious brain, who has a high position and who is well meaning, caring and patronizing is unable to understand the pain of the egalitarian brained subordinate. 

Slavery is a good example.   A master and a slave of equal intelligence and talents experience the hierarchical situation very differently.    While the slave with an egalitarian brain suffers extreme pain from being in such a predicament of unjustified indignation, the master with a hierarchical-gregarious brain is oblivious of doing any harm, if he subjectively treats the slave with care and consideration for all his ascribed and alleged needs.   Instead he feels to be a good person for treating the slave better than required by law and social norms.   He may even feel entitled to gratitude from the slave for such mercy done to him.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

452. The Gregarious Instinct

The Gregarious Instinct
The respect for another person's knowledge and appreciation of another person's achievements, is psychologically very different from veneration and reverence for an entire person.    
The person with superior knowledge can be chosen as a teacher, and learning from him is intellectually beneficial.   It is a rational choice to acquire knowledge selectively.    It does not cause blindness for the teacher's limitations. 
But venerating disciples and followers put their guru and master upon a pedestal and blindly take in every of his words as ultimate wisdom.  They submit to him in totality and consider any criticism as a sacrilege.    Whatever wisdom he has is mistaken as a justification to put a halo upon him and deny henceforth any of his manifestations of weakness, shortcomings, errors or limitations.  

I have been very puzzled, why people are so prone to follow gurus and get sucked into sects and cults, because I did not comprehend, what benefits they get from such a blind submission and acceptance of inferiority.  This is so much in contrast of the hierarchy instinct driving people to compete for superiority.  

But finally I got aware, that I have completely omitted to consider the impact of the gregarious instinct upon human behavior.    I am personally void of the gregarious instinct, so I did not recognize it in others.   I am not attracted to people in general, only to people, with whom I have something in common.   I am only attracted to people, who make me feel the joy of consent.

I had mentioned before some people's elusive feelings of interconnectedness and that people have an identity as particles.   I did not see the full implications of this.    Interconnectedness and being a particle are more than only conscious feelings.   They are representing the powerful subconscious gregarious instinct.  
Like any other instinct the gregarious instinct causes urges and dishomeostasis.  The urges are to belong to herds, the dishomeostasis is lacking the protection by the herd.   Being deprived of interaction with group members, indiscriminate as individual personalities, causes discomfort.   The loss of feeling protected causes fear.   
In humans, the herd can be any ingroup, any social group, where the gregarious person feels protected in and to which he is attracted to belong to.   

If there were only the hierarchy instinct, people would compete and attempt to gain a high rank and if they are not able to do so, they would give up and move away.    But due to the gregarious instinct people feel so much need to belong to the herd, that they experience even the submission to the lowest position as more beneficial than to be expelled.   There cannot be a hierarchy, unless there are all ranks, high and low.  
Therefore I have to define the hierarchy instinct as not being the instinct to only fight and compete for a high position, but as an instinct to attempt taking the appropriate place in the hierarchy in accordance with the innate genetic fitness.   By the hierarchy instinct, the individual accepts the most suitable position for serving the survival of the herd.   The gregarious instinct urges the individual to do this.    Therefore there cannot be a hierarchy instinct without the gregarious instinct.  

This is an excellent source:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

451. Attitude And Performance

Attitude And Performance

My profile text on dating sites contains this sentence:   
Men, who are cheating or who are promiscuous and looking for uncommitted physical affairs of any kind, evoke my nausea.

Sometimes I am getting feedback from men pointing out to me, that in my age group, men would have grown out of such behaviors due to a reduction of the instinctive urges.   
This feedback indicates a lack of comprehension of the real issue.  My rejection of promiscuous men is more than the mere worry of getting hurt by a jerk's behavior.   It is a criterion for the mental and intellectual quality of a man being suitable as an equal partner. 

Promiscuous men perceive and consider women predominantly as bodies to be temporarily used.   They feel justified to do so.   They degrade, depreciate and disrespect women.   I perceive them as repugnant and repulsive.
Monogamous men perceive and consider women predominantly as personalities and companions with physical intimacy as a side effect.    They appreciate and respect women.   I am attracted to this attitude.  

Promiscuity or monogamy are not just different sets of behaviors, they are different attitudes motivating different behaviors.  

A man's promiscuity is defined by his attitude to women, even when there are circumstantial obstacles impeding to perform the promiscuous behavior.     When a promiscuous man becomes (nearly) impotent by age or due to health issues, this does not change his repulsive attitude.   As long as he continues to consider women as bodies to be used, it makes not difference if he physically succeeds to use female bodies or if he only wishes to do so.      

I am looking for a man, who is able to perceive a woman as a companion and for whom monogamous commitment fulfills his own intellectual and emotional needs.    I am not looking for a man, who appears superficially as pseudo-monogamous, because he is not physically able to perform according to his promiscuous attitude and wish.  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

450. Self-Labeling And Self-Deception

Self-Labeling And Self-Deception

Correct self-labeling is important for people, who are selective in the choice of with whom to interact.   Self-labeling helps to make a fast preselection for the decision, with whom to spend time, what to share, whom to trust, what to expect, whom to avoid.   

Therefore self-labeling has to be specific enough to draw a line between like minded people and mental aliens, but it has not to be too specific.   A label, that is too specific to be generally known does not serve the purpose.  A suitable label is a kind of an umbrella to include people with a fuzzy understanding of the label.  

Also the meaning of the label has to be roughly agreed upon by those using it for self-labeling, it is much less important, how much it is sometimes used incorrectly by others.   Someone using a certain self-label upon himself needs to be able to recognize with a low probability of error any other person as like minded due to using the same self-label.   But It is rarely possible to recognize someone as like minded, if the label is merely attached by others.     

Atheism is such a label.   Mistaken christians interpret is as the belief in the non-existence of their god.   Those using it upon themselves are usually better informed even though it is also a fuzzy label.   Not believing in the existence of a god does not automatically imply the absence of other weird beliefs.    
The absence of all beliefs is called apistia.   But would I call myself only apistic, some people would not understand this not widely used word.    But it is at least probably that a self-defined atheist really is one.  When the adherents of one religious creed use this label for anybody, who is not, they only define the absence of their specific belief, but not of any.

The correct use of a label is based upon the full understanding of the core of its definition.  Many ex-christians have partially adopted other religions as a substitute.  A good example are those, who call themselves both atheists and buddhists, based upon the claim, that buddhism were not a religion.   
The core of buddhism is the belief in reincarnation. That implies the unscientific religious belief in an immortal soul.   The buddhistic religious practice aims at influencing the sequence of the reincarnations.   This practice has some side effects, that are also beneficial before death and therefore without the belief in an immortal soul.   Meditation is an example of a method with such side effects.  
Buddhism stripped of the non-scientific beliefs is a conglomeration of exercises, some physically beneficial, some psychologically beneficial, some merely ludicrous.   But without the belief in the rebirthing of a soul it is not buddhism by its core definition. 

Somebody calling himself a buddhist without believing in the reincarnation of his soul, is using a label, of which he has not really understood the meaning or is in denial of it.   In this case, using the self-label buddhism is misleading.   The majority of buddhists in the Asian countries with traditional buddhism do believe in reincarnation without one moment of hesitation.   This justifies to assume that anybody using buddhism as a self-label is a religious person with an irrational belief, who does not really fit under the umbrella of atheism.  

People simultaneously defining themselves as atheists and as buddhists show a similar psychological mechanism as I already described in entry 441 about the unitarian universalists.   
They succeed in feeling good about themselves as having overcome the stupidity of the belief in a god.   But they also succeed to continue to feel good due to the security and protection of a religion promising them benefits when following in submission to rituals and exercises prescribed by others.    If they would make the mental step to mentally separate beneficial exercises from the label buddhism, they would lose the subjective feeling of security.    

Friday, November 25, 2011

449. Skin Deep Non-Believers

Skin Deep Non-Believers

There are people, who are skin deep christians, because they have been brainwashed to adhere to the religion in contrast to their innate apistia.

But there are also skin deep non-believers, who have been influenced to attempt or pretend to be such in spite of their remaining innate psychological need for the subjective benefits of believing.   A good example is a person's reply, when asked about the belief in a horse shoe at the door bringing luck:   "Oh, I don't believe in it. But I am told it works even if you don't believe in it."  

This event is either ascribed to Niels Bohr himself or else to him as the one asking:

"Of course not ... but I am told it works even if you don't believe in it.
Reply to a visitor to his home in Tisvilde who asked him if he really believed a horseshoe above his door brought him luck, as quoted in Inward Bound : Of Matter and Forces in the Physical World (1986) by Abraham Pais, p. 210

In most published accounts of this anecdote such was Bohr's reply to his friend, but in the earliest account thus far located, in The Interaction Between Science and Philosophy (1974) by Samuel Sambursky, p. 357, Bohr was at a friend's house and asked "Do you really believe in this?" to which his friend replied "Oh, I don't believe in it. But I am told it works even if you don't believe in it.""

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

448. The Impact Of Christianity On Western Culture

The Impact Of Christianity On Western Culture

My wish is to live in a society, where apistia, egalitarianism and Epicurus' principle of not harming and not to be harmed were the basis of a life in cooperation, justice, security, consideration and responsibility.    Only there is no such society.  
Unfortunately people can free themselves from the childhood christian indoctrination and brainwashing, while they continue to be implicitly influenced by the secondary religious thinking.

1.  The acceptance of and tolerance for suffering
Christianity claims that people get rewarded and compensated in the afterlife for the sufferings before their death.   As a consequence, christians are motivated and feel justified to irrational behaviors:
1.1.  They are prone to endure suffering without feeling outrage, protest or rebellion.
1.2.  They Inflict suffering upon others without feeling guilty.  
1.3.  Sometimes they consider inflicting suffering as beneficial for the vicitms due to creating their alleged entitlement to be rewarded after death.    

2.  The value of life
Life is considered as a gift from the god, belonging to him and being at his disposition only.   The individual is not considered as having an own right to subjectively evaluate if life is worth living or not. 
2.1.  Abortion is not socially accepted and/or forbidden by law.
2.2.  People are not considered to have the unrestricted right over their own life including the evaluation of the quality of life.  They are not allowed the option to decide, if it is worth living or not.  Terminally ill persons are not given the right and help to end their sufferings.  
2.3.  But taking lives in favor of any cause serving higher goals than the individual is accepted, as is in forcing men to be soldiers and women to risk their lives in child birth.

3.  Injustice combined with the acceptance of suffering
3.1.  Forgiving is considered a positive behavior, even without the transgressor's remorse, insight or amends.  Transgressors feel entitled to be forgiven.   Victims are morally coerced to forgive.  They are brainwashed to believe that forgiving benefits themselves.  This kind of forgiving is dangerous, because the transgressor is indirectly condoned for his evil and is prone to repeat damaging others as a consequence of getting off the hook too easily.   
3.2.  The legal system does not focus on protecting the innocent from becoming victims of transgressions.   According to christianity, only the god is entitled to do justice.   This god is presented as someone more in favor of the repentant sinner than of the innocent, who never hurts another person.   
Evil is an imbalance between the transgressor and the god.   Gaining benefits by doing evil is considered as a deal between the god and the transgressor.  The evil is a debt to the god, until the price is paid, the account balanced, and god and transgressor are even again.   The christian sins, pay for his sin by rituals, prayers, sacrifices.  As soon as he feels forgiven by the god, he can be oblivious of the victim.   The victim is insignificant.  
The law focuses on the breach of rules and evil is something paid for by the penalty, by which it then is legally undone.   The victim of physical violence like rape, assault, robbery is often traumatized and damaged irreversibly.  The culprit goes to jail for a few years, is only limited in his freedom, gets maybe even the benefits of training for a job.    After the release, he is considered as having paid his debt to society.   For him, it is over, while the victim still suffers.    The suffering of the victims is often much worse than the legal penalty for the culprit. 
The culprit is enabled to damage another victim.    This is considered the next victim's bad luck and unavoidable fate.   Nobody really sees the outrage of the lack of protection for the innocent.   

4.  Inequality
Inequality is a part of the teaching of the bible.   Atrocities to outgroup members are not only accepted but commanded as service to the god.  Women are not accepted as equals, but as wombs serving to supply more lives to the god as due to him.   Slavery is accepted too.  
4.1.  As a consequence, while discrimination by explicit behavior is often outlawed, subtle and implicit discrimination is prevalent, condoned and tolerated. 
4.2.  A god being the top being and the clerical hierarchies serving him are the model for the general acceptance of hierarchies of power and access to resources.   Forming such hierarchies is done by ruthless, cruel and devastating competition, which has general social acceptance.

5.  Restricting rules
When the rules of specific religious behavior are fixed as laws, they also restrict the life of non-religious persons.   An example is the law in Germany forbiding shops to open on Sundays as being holy.   Laws against blasphemy are another example.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

447. Oxytocin, Testosterone, Promiscuity And The Plight Of Women

Oxytocin, Testosterone, Promiscuity And The Plight Of Women

I have already written before, that I consider promiscuity as a scourge of humanity.   A recent study allows me to have a more thourough look at the reasons, how the 'kindness gene' in combination with testosterone and the christian norm for behavior and thinking cause the women's plight from male promiscuity.     
"An earlier UC Berkeley study looked at three combinations of gene variations of the oxytocin receptors AA, AG and GG."
"Widely known as the "cuddle" or "love" hormone, oxytocin is secreted into the bloodstream and the brain, where it promotes social interaction, bonding and romantic love, among other functions."

"Kogan said. "What we found is that the people who had two copies of the G version displayed more trustworthy behaviors -- more head nods, more eye contact, more smiling, more open body posture. And it was these behaviors that signaled kindness to the strangers.""
""It's remarkable that complete strangers could pick up on who's trustworthy, kind or compassionate in 20 seconds when all they saw was a person sitting in a chair listening to someone talk," said Aleksandr Kogan"
 I was curious and googled for the prevalence.
AA: 6 (11.5%)
AG or GA: 18 (34.6%)
GG: 28 (53.8%)
n = 4 AA,
n = 22 AG,
n = 19 GG)

Promiscuity means the perception of other human beings not as persons, but as a commodities to be used.   Promiscuous behavior is mainly dumping after use and cheating.  

The monogamous bonding victim gets deeply emotionally hurt.   But in our culture, which is implicitly based upon christian thinking, invisible harm is condoned and tolerated as the god given fate.   People are supposed to suffer without complaint or protest.   They are promised reward and justice in the afterlife.    They are brainwashed, expected, coerced to submit to the postponed compensation. 
This is aggravated by the fact, that christian religion was invented and shaped by men, who considered their own promiscuity as their entitlement.   The implicit christian demand for women to suffer the damage of promiscuity is not a contradiction to the god's outspoken declaration of promiscuous behavior as sin.   The sin is between the sinner and the god, the suffering of the victim is not considered.    A christian cheater has to repent and earn his god's forgiveness by expiation and penitance.   Once he has paid or prayed enough, he is free to sin again.    The sin is not the damage to the woman, the cheater's sin is the unauthorized use of another man's right to the exclusive use of his property.  
As a result, most women are desensitiezd and damaged in their own self-esteem.   They do not consider the attitude and practice of promiscuity as an outrage and violation to their dignity.   
Instead they either attempt to adapt to it and even to imitate it.   When the vicitms of promiscuity suffer pain, depression, damage, not only the men, but even many of the women consider this themselves as the woman's flaw and weakness.   Women cope by taking psychopharamceuticals or alcohol and they get sick.   Cheated upon wives withdraw and use their stock of oxytocin to bond only with their children.  

Testosterone is known to be the main hormone influencing the strength of the male instinctive urge for promiscuity and of the male tendency towards aggression and cruelty.  

This leads to several constellations of GG genes and testosterone with different impacts upon women:
  1. Women with GG genes and men with the GG genes and a low level of testosterone (LT) are able to get monogamously bonded by their oxytocin.   
  2. Men with GG genes and a medium level of testosterone (MT) are able to be monogamous, if they consciously are aware of the destructive consequences of promiscuity.
  3. Men with the AA genes and high or medium levels of testosterone (HT) are jerks, who can be easily recognized and avoided by monogamous women.  
  4. Men with AA genes and LT may be monogamous for lacking the urge for promiscuity but without getting bonded.   
  5. Women with AA genes can agree on reciprocal using each other without being emotionally harmed.    But as AA genes have the lowest prevelance, such women are a minority, who unfortunately contribute to the myth of female promiscuity.  These few women, who truly remain unharmed by being used, serve as an excuse for the widespread ruthless and inconsiderate use of and harm to monogamous women. 
  6. The tragic hazard for GG women are GG/HT men.    They attract women by appearing kind, empathetic, considerate, responsible and monogamous.   This causes women to make the mistake of getting involved with a temporarily monogamous man, who sooner or later succumbs to his testosterone, and the painful consequences thereof.   The combination of the high testosterone causing urges to be promiscuous and a tendency to cruelty together with the christian brainwashing condoning women's suffering overrides the beneficial effects of the GG genes in these men.    The women's own christian acceptance of the suffering makes them then prone to submit to the fate.  

My personal conclusion:  Theorectically, my mindmate is a man with GG and preferably LT, maybe MT, but certainly not HT.   But as we have not yet arrived at the times, when everybody has his genome printed out, I will have to continue to avoid jerks by more traditional methods of scrutiny.   

Sunday, November 20, 2011

446. Varieties Of Epicureanism

Varieties Of Epicureanism

This continues entry 442.

Epicurus lived about 2300 years ago. He and his writings were a product of his epoch, valid under the circumstances of his own times   He developed a philosophy, that included a compilation of his view on topics of natural science and suggestions for a form of live.   He and some companions lived in a garden community in accordance.   

There are several variations of being an Epicurean in our times:

1.  Theoretical Epicureanism
His writings can be studied as an example of the history of science and thinking as a theoretical interest without any practical purpose or application.   The exegesis and the literal meaning of his texts are important.

2.  Epicureanism as a cult.  
His writings promise some form of a good life.   Depending on general inclinations, some people perceive him as a flawless, never erring guru of absolute and timeless wisdom.   They put him upon a pedestal and prostrate mentally in front of him as his disciples.  They take the submissive role of veneration and reverence.   They take his writings literally, any interpretation is considered as a sacrilege.  

3.  Modernized psychological Epicureanism.
This requires the clear awareness of his writings as having been progressive and valid concerning science only in the context of his own times.   Any non-historical interest in his explanation of nature is obsolete.  
His suggestions for a good life are critically evaluated as reactions to the specific circumstances of his epoch.   Nothing can be automatically applied to modern living conditions.   None of his suggestions can be adapted without reevaluating it from the perspective of our epoch, taking into account evolutionary biology, psychology, neuroscience, introspection, tit-for-tat strategy, apistia, egalitarianism, history and modern technology.  

4.  Innate Epicureanism
Some people have a brain predestined to feel most comfortable with a way of life that is congruent with Epicurus' principles.   People with such a brain are guided by the timeless essence of his writings, even if they have never heard of Epicurus.  Anybody, who has this kind of a brain, is attracted to his suggested life style.  
  • The principle of not harming and not be harmed.  Valuing homeostasis more than pleasure.   
  • Rational self-control is stronger than instinctive urges.
  • Apistia.  
  • The predominance of non-physical, emotional responsiveness and sensitivity of the pleasure center.   
Epicurus had such a brain, therefore he was able to develop his ideas, suggestions and attitudes in the specific form influenced by the circumstances of his times.   Would he live today, his writings would be different, but the essence would be the same. 

I have such a brain myself and I discovered the principles of Epicurus as fitting my own inclinations.   Only later I got fascinated by adapting, what he had written himself, to modern life.    It is a creative task to figure out, what he would write, were he to live today.   

Saturday, November 19, 2011

445. Epicurus And Inequality

Epicurus And Inequality

In entry 442 I explained, that while philosophy suggests goals for a specific way of life, it needs psychology to understand the dynamics of reaching the goals.   

But to understand the definition of goals by a specific philosopher, it is also important to understand the sociological and psychological background, which influenced his thinking.  

A philosopher, who lived 2300 years ago, can only be evaluated by understanding his historical context.

Epicurus omitted to include any concept concerning equality into his philosophy.   He also seems completely void of either mentioning or noticing the harm caused by inequality.    
To find an explanation for this omission, I googled about the social situation in Athens in Epicurus' times.  A boy like Epicurus grew up into a world, where there were three different categories of people:  Free men, free women and slaves.   He grew up to take this for granted, as if there was no alternative available to get aware of.    It was a natural and normal condition of life.
He also grew up by seeing the outward behavior of women and slaves, who had submitted externally to their plight.    How much they suffered harm, was most probably not directly visible, especially not to a child. 

Free men were the only people, who had the choice, how to live.   They were the only persons, who were free to decide over their own lives and which philosophy to follow.   Schools admitted only boys, who thus had the option to read books and make choices.     

Women were excluded from public live, they were considered to exist for the purpose of procreation or as a utility for male use.   They were denied public functions and the access to many public buildings and events.   They were excluded from education but taught to do household chores.   Women from rich families, who did get education, were an exception.  Women were impeded from developing their potential and excluded from where they could give evidence of their abilities. Then they were considered as not equal, based upon having been made so.  

I read an estimation that about 30% of the population of Athens were slaves.    The life of a slave in the Roman empire is well illustrated in the move Spartacus.   I have no doubt, that a slave's life about 200 years earlier in Athens was not much different.   Those beautiful Greek temples were certainly built by slaves, and most probably also the people's houses, including the one, in which lived Epicurus and his community.   Even if a slave did not physically suffer from hard toil, the lost dignity of being owned like an object is certainly a form of emotional harm.   

The admittance of women and slaves into Epicurus' garden is used as an evidence of his progressive thinking.   Obviously, Epicurus did not hesitate to own slaves or accept his community members to do so.  Without first owning someone as a slave, nobody could have ever brought a slave into the garden community.   

In the absence of any expression of his disagreement with such blatant and brutal inequality, I consider his merely making exceptions as inconsistent and a contradiction to his principle of not harming nor being harmed.   Allowing women and slaves into the garden was a humiliating act of mercy, of generosity and a condescension, as long as he did not doubt their ascribed general inferiority as justifiable.  
Making exceptions without vehemently condemning inequality was obviously the limit of how progressive and humane Epicurus was able to be as a product of his social environment.   
But I am convinced, that would Epicurus live today, he would include equality in his philosophy.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

444. Generalized Projection

Generalized Projection

Projection in the limited meaning as a defence mechanism describes the tendency to blame own faults and weaknesses upon others and judge them accordingly.   The projector is not aware, that in reality he blames his own problems on the other.   He is also not aware, that the projectee usually does not really have them.

There is a different kind of behavioral dynamics, that for lack of a better word, I will call 'generalized projection'.   In this case, the projector is fully aware of his own tendencies to behave due to traits and attitudes.   
The projection is not directly between two individuals.    Instead the projector considers his own tendencies as to be found in all humans.  He assumes this behavior, trait or attitude as normal, average, general and a part of human nature.   The projectee in any interaction is an individual specimen of this generalization.

The dangerous flaw in this projection is the projector's ignorance, oblivion and sometimes denial of individual predispositions and differences.  He does neither notice nor consider the possible harm of allowing his own behavior be guided by this projection.     
There are four varieties. 
  1. The projector justifies his proactive behavior, because he expects the same from the projectee. 
    The behavior is acknowledged as unpleasant and unsatisfactory, but considered as necessary, unavoidable and justified to prevent becoming the victim of someone else doing the same.   Most selfish behaviors fit this pattern.  
    • People compete for scarce resources instead of cooperating, because they expect others to otherwise take advantage.    While some get the benefits, others get nothing.
    • People lie because they expect to be lied to, because trusting more is a risk.
    • People dump a partner to prevent or preclude being dumped.  
    Competing, lying, dumping are considered as universally acceptable due to the alleged lack of a better alternative, even though nobody wants to lose, be lied to or dumped. 
  2. The projector justifies his proactive behavior, because he wishes for the same from the projectee.
    The projector perceives the behavior as beneficial for himself and projects it to be also beneficial to others. 
    • Religious missionaries and gurus, influence people to make sacrifices, donations and ritualy for a common goal, like praying for rain.
    • Users believing in quackeries insist to help others by propagating the quackeries as remedies due to their misguided empathy with another's pain.
  3. The projector justifies his proactive behavior, because he wishes for the same from the projectee.
    The projector perceives the behavior as beneficial for himself and projects it to be also beneficial to others.   He is aware, that the behavior is sometimes perceived and considered as harmful.  But those, who do not perceive it as beneficial, are considered as deviant, ignorant or flawed.   This is an expression of a self-centered lack of empathy. 
    • A promiscuous man lures a woman to allow him to use her body, projecting that she profits as much from promiscuity as he does.   He considers her wish to have a monogamous relationship as her flaw.
    • Someone advices to take illegal addictive drugs as a remedy against grief and unhappiness, while this still works for himself.
  4. The projector does not justify his proactive behavior, because he does not even conceive it as a choice requiring a justification.  Alternatives are unthinkable and beyond imagination.
    The projector does not evaluate the impact of his behavior at all, neither as pleasant or unpleasant, because it is taken for granted, that both the projector and the projectee are equally the target.
    • A stupid person, who is unable to understand another person's communication, considers the other automatically as even more stupid than himself.
    • A religious person projects the need for a religious faith upon others and cannot even imagine, how it is to be apistic.
    • A parent pities a childfree person without any comprehension, that being childfree is a preference.

These are just a few examples to show the hazard of projections.   It is very important that any behavior concerning another person needs to be scrutinized before acting.   Proactive behavior needs to be based upon the consideration, how the impact upon the other is subjectively experienced.   Only the own experience of the target is of importance, not the projected alleged effects.   

A close committed relationship is especially vulnerable to being disrupted and damaged by projections.    Individuals choosing each other as compatible mindmates for the joy of consent can only make a wise choice, when they are aware of the real personality of the partner and not misled by projections.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

443. The Benefits And Hazards Of Humor

The Benefits And Hazards Of Humor

Sometimes I am suspected to be void of any humor.   Once again I was just asked, if I have any humor.   Therefore it is time to explain this impression.  

I reserve humor to the unambiguity of the interaction with persons, whom I know personally.    I already mentioned the joy of consent in entries 420 and 423.   Reacting to the same triggers for sharing laughter is certainly a good source for the joy of consent.  

But with strangers, the situation is completely different.   Humor can be a big hazard impeding constructive communication.  

There are different possible errors:
  • Humour can be misunderstood as serious and the recipient feels offended.   This can either start unnecessary hostility or the avoidance of further contact.  
  • A serious statement is mistaken as humour.  The message is not understood and can lead to many misunderstandings and misinterpretations.   
  • A person, who needs the clarification of either of the two possible misunderstandings, feels embarrassed.   
Reasons for these errors are often:
  1. Cultural differences cause special problems, when people of different cultures or different nations embark in written communications.  The line between what is considered funny or offensive is elusive and fuzzy.   
  2. Humour can be associated with references commonly known by everybody in one culture, but incomprehensible to outsiders. 
  3. Different use of the language between native speakers of different nations, regions, dialects or between people using a common second language can cause misunderstandings.
  4. Apparently innocent expressions of humor can touch someone's sore spot and the person feels hurt and insulted.    Even if this person is aware of the problem and avoids to show any reaction, this can nevertheless lead to subtle feelings of resentment.  
  5. In personal contact, the non-verbal reactions of a little known person help as clues to get aware of blunderous humor.   This enables to avoid frictions by an apology, while this is not possible in written contact. 
My strategy with strangers is to always take statements for serious, whenever in doubt.  I prefer to be accused of lacking humour as the price for avoiding misunderstandings and involuntary offences.   

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

442. Psychological And Philosophical Epicureanism

Psychological And Philosophical Epicureanism

Epicurus is a philosopher, whose writings and teachings roughly cover three main areas:  
  1. Explaining nature and science in general
  2. Suggestions for values, attitudes and a way of life as an individual being a part of the physical and social surroundings.
  3. Suggestions for the interactions and communication with other individuals.  

2300 years ago, psychology did not yet exist.   But areas 2 and 3 are today psychological topics.  
The focus of philosophy is the definition and evaluation of goals.       
Psychology uses a wider approach, it looks also at the choice and the process of reaching the goals.    Therefore adapting Epicurus' suggestions concerning a way of life to modern times requires converting them into psychological concepts.  

The following is an example.  
"This led one to attain a state of tranquility (ataraxia) and freedom from fear, as well as absence of bodily pain (aponia). The combination of these two states is supposed to constitute happiness in its highest form."
Ataraxia and aponia are goals, states, ideals.    Both are words beginning with an 'a', describing a negative, an absence of something unpleasant and unwanted, in this case turmoil and pain.   

The psychological concept considers the cycle of dishomeostasis, homeostation and homeostasis as a recurrent process, in which homeostasis is the baseline.      
  • Dishomeostasis is the felt urge of any unpleasant and unwanted state.   There are wide individual differences between how possible causes elicit a stronger or a weaker subjective perceptions of dishomeostasis.
    • a physical need like hunger
    • a physical pain like a headache
    • a mental need like boredom
    • a simple emotional need like loneliness
    • a complex emotional need like justice
    • a simple emotional pain like grief
    • a complex emotional pain like humiliation
  • Homeostation is the behavior chosen to reduce, whatever is felt and sensed as dishomeostasis and to restore homeostasis. 
  • The resulting temporary homeostasis is the ideal state, which Epicurus considers as a good life.
Merely defining goals is not enough.   The goal of restoring and maintaining homeostasis implies for every individual to be conscious and knowledgeable of the causes of subjective dishomeostasis, how to avoid them and of methods for homeostation.  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

441. An Ingenious Self-Deception

An Ingenious Self-Deception

When the attraction of succumbing to religion and the displeasure of feeling stupid are equally strong, this leads to cognitive dissonance.      

Some people have found a ingenious mental trick to solve this cognitive dissonance.  

They created the unitarian universalist church.  

They claim it to be an atheist church.  That is as convincing as a non-money bank or a non-rail railway.   A church is a place of religion and faith instead of skepticism, even when avoiding the word 'god'.   The unitarian universalist church has all the characteristics of a church, ministers, sermons, church buildings.   

It certainly is not atheistic in the sense of apistia, of the absence of a need to believe and of living as if the option of a deity has never been considered.    It is not an atheist church, it is a wanna-be-atheist church, a kind of mental halfway house for those, who are already playing and learning how to be rational atheists.  But they still lean heavily on the mental crutch of the religion, that they have not yet really left behind.

The unitarian universalist church is not a church without a god, it is the church of the hidden and unmentioned god.  An empty placeholder fills the space reserved for this elusive god.   There is an empty frame for to the members to fill with their own imagination of the god.  The existence of the god is a taboo subject.  
The members of such a congregation avoid deliberately to deal with the question of the existence of a god.  This taboo of avoiding any clear statement concerning the existence of a god allows the wanna-be-atheists to perceive it as an atheist church, while believers are never challenged in their beliefs.  The believers take the existence of a god for granted, and the wanna-be-atheists consciously the non-existence,  Both can thus avoid to ever face the fundamental differences between their respective assumptions.  
They are encouraged to think and believe, whatever suits their needs.  This enables the wanna-be-atheists to attend a church and not feel stupid, they can thus avoid to feel any conscious conflict with their rationality and intelligence.    

They continue to enjoy all the emotional benefits of the christian delusion, while they label themselves as atheists.  Their consciously discarded god has been moved to the subconscious level.   Attending a church continues to have the same soothing effects as if they were still practicing their previous religion with an openly revered god.

It is one of the most ingenious self-deception I have ever come across.   It is an amazing mental construction for having the cake and eat it.   They enjoy the good feeling of having conquered the stupidity of religion.  But they also enjoy the good feeling derived from the delusion of a god, which is triggered by being in a church so much resembling an explicitly christian church.   They still enjoy the emotional benefits of the delusion, which at the same time they believe to have given up. 
But as ingenious as this self-deception is for those, who need it, it has no appeal to real atheists and apistics.   For them it is just pathetic and ludicrous.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

440. The Benefits Of Giving In The Balance Of Giving And Receiving

The Benefits Of Giving In The Balance Of Giving And Receiving

I claim, that only a balance of giving and receiving leads to maximized total happiness in a couple bonded by caring love.  Today I read about scientific research about the emotional benefits of giving:

'Tis Better to Give Than to Receive? Life Scientists Find That Giving Support Offers Health Benefits -- To the Giver
'"When people talk about the ways in which social support is good for our health, they typically assume that the benefits of social support come from the support we receive from others, but it now seems likely that some of the health benefits of social support actually come from the support we provide to others," said Naomi Eisenberger'

"The life scientists found that when women gave support to their boyfriends in pain, the women showed increased activity in reward-related regions of the brain,"

"In addition to being a pleasure center, this region plays a role in threat- or stress-reduction by inhibiting other regions of the brain that process threats, such as the amygdala. Researchers found that the women who showed greater activity in the septal area also showed less activity in the amygdala."

But of course this does not imply, that people, who only give, while receiving nothing, would be the most happy.   The subjective benefits of giving are not indiscriminate of whom they are bestowed upon.   Giving is most beneficial when based upon experienced and expected reciprocity.   The conscious evaluation of the partner as someone worthy, benign, decent and trustworthy is crucial to the experience of the own giving behavior as subjectively beneficial.   

When one partner is selfish and only takes all benefits obtainable from the other, while giving nothing or too little, this has consequences.   The giving partner experiences this as being used and exploited, as being disrespected, depreciated, devalued.    This causes pain, that outweighs the benefits from giving.
Happiness in long-term commitment is only possible, when giving and receiving are balanced. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

439. Communication And The Meaning Of Words

Communication And The Meaning Of Words

Communication can only work, when the receiver of spoken or written text subjectively receives the same message as was meant by the sender.     One reason for distorted communication is the implicit discrepancy concerning the exact meaning of the words used.  

Language is flexible.    People only share a common fuzzy meaning of the words they use, but they often differ in the exact and subtle meaning.    Dictionaries can only standardize a basic and fuzzy meaning of words.   Sometimes people are unaware of using words differently and of the resulting misunderstandings.
  • When a language and its vocabulary is used by many people, this leads to differences in the subjective meaning of words.   
  • The meaning of words changes over time.   Novels written 150 years ago bear enough examples.   
  • There are regional differences between native speakers.    
  • When a language like English is used as a second language by many people, their understanding of the meaning of words is even more fuzzy and different due to the influence of their native languages.  

There cannot be a right or wrong decision about one exact meaning of a word as carved in stone.   When people get caught in an argument about the only correct exact meaning of a word, this sometimes keeps them from ever discussing the content, that the words were meant to convey.  

Words are only the raw material of communication.   When a dyad or a limited number of people communicate, they can create new words and agree on the meaning or one person can create a word and inform the others of the meaning.    This enables them to communicate successfully between themselves, even when others cannot participate.   

Communication does not depend on one absolute meaning of the words used.   It only depends on the awareness, how the sender of the message uses the word.  
Personally I am more interested in communicating than in agreement about the meaning of words,  Therefore I like this as a workable strategy for discussing any topic:   
The sender of a written or spoken message first defines, how he uses ambiguous words.   The receiver or reader processes the message by using the given definition.    This allows both to communicate, even when they do not agree on the exact meaning of the words.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

438. Accepting Or Rejecting Friend Requests?

 Accepting Or Rejecting Friend Requests?

On social networks like Facebook, people declare themselves mutually as friends.  It is public information, who is accepted as a friend.   
My own page on Facebook only serves the purpose of creating a link to this blog, for the case, that my mindmate to be found discovers my Facebook page.    

I have decided to principally refuse all friend requests anywhere.   Having a public list of chosen contacts on a profile has no benefits whatsoever for me.    When a total stranger on a page like Facebook wants to become a friend, he is a haphazard contact and certainly not somebody, who qualifies to be called a friend in the full meaning of the word. 
When I discuss topics on any public forum or blog, I reply to a topic, not to a person.   Everybody on the web or at least every member of the forum can read it.   
When I talk to one specific person only, I do this in private emails.    If I want to address several persons, I can send an email to a group.  
Nothing of this requires a public list of contacts.   

But there are several reasons, why having persons as apparent friends can be disadvantageous for my search for a mindmate:
  1. The choice of whom someone accepts and declares as a friend is generally an indication of personality.   For my main objective of finding a mindmate, I need to present myself as correctly as possible.   Any careless acceptance of haphazard contacts as 'friends' can give a very wrong impression of me.  
    I could for example make the mistake of adding someone as an atheist, being ignorant of his promiscuity admitted elsewhere.   This bears the risk of giving the wrong impression of promiscuity tolerance.   This would enhance the problem of being contacted by the wrong men.  Even worse, being mistaken as tolerant or accepting for what I find repulsive bears also the risk of deterring those non-promiscuous men, whom I want to find.  
  2. To be carefully selective, whose friend request to accept, is very difficult, usually lacking the information needed for an appropriate decision.
  3. By selectively accepting friend requests, I would offend all those, whom I reject for reasons not obvious to them.    Avoiding offending people makes it easier to have discussions in a factual way about topics.  
  4. Starting the friends list with only one man can be misleading.   He can be mistaken as special and significant to me, even though he really is only a haphazard contact.   This could possibly deter the shy and reticent possible mindmates from contacting me.  But refraining from competing is a quality, that I appreciate in a man.        

Sunday, November 6, 2011

437. A Case Study Of A Prototypical Jerk

A Case Study Of A Prototypical Jerk

A man disclosed the following story about himself somewhere on the web.  

He has the inclination to get infatuated with a woman for about a month, then he loses all interest in her.   With another woman, the cycle repeats itself.    He had been married, had lost interest also in his wife, and continued the pattern of short lived infatuations with other women, while he was married.   The marriage ended with a divorce.   Since then, he experiences himself as hated by his ex-wife, his children and his family of origin.  

He has revealed enough to justify the conclusion, that he has been the cause of a lot of suffering.  

So far, this is certainly not an exceptional story.   But what he reveals about his subjective perception of his situation is remarkable.   It makes him a prototype of a specific kind of jerks.

He does not lack the intelligence to fully understand on an objective level the causality of the consequences of his own behavior.  But in spite of this full awareness, his emotional evaluation is completely incongruent with his rational description.   

He acknowledges without any hesitation, that the feelings of his wife and of any other woman did not matter to him.   Women are in his perception commodities for his goals.   He states this in a completely factual way, as if it had never occurred to him, that there could be any difference between needing shoes and needing a women.    He is void of any guilt for not being bothered about the feelings of others.   He even admits that his behavior was selfish, but as if there is nothing wrong with being selfish.  

He suffers himself severely by being hated and by being deprived of all the benefits, he wanted to continue getting from having a family.   Only his own pain exists as real in his perception.    His reaction to his own pain is self-pity, not empathy or recognition for the pain, that he had caused.   In his emotional perception, he suffers from the inclemencies of a hostile world and from bad luck, but not from anything, that he is himself responsible for.

He does not suffer remorse and guilt for the transgression of having hurt his wife and the other women.   He suffers from being a loser and from the failure of not getting, what he wants by treating women according to his entitlement.   He sees his own behavior merely as a weakness, for which he suffers himself.    He feels entitled to his weakness and to be forgiven without earning forgiveness.   He blames his ex-wife for not forgiving him.  

In spite of the harm done by him, he claims to be a good, kind and caring person and he believes it.  

Objectively seen, all his own pain are his ex-wife's reactions to the pain caused by him.  Had he not hurt her first, she would not have reacted.   He alone has brought pain upon others and upon himself.   But instead, he feels himself the victim of unwarranted hatred.   

Would he feel responsible for hurting others, he would know, that his own pain is of no consequence upon the suffering of others nor upon his own responsibility.    But his thinking is distorted by the frustrated entitlement to omit being bothered about other people's feelings, to never be blamed and to be forgiven for all weaknesses.   
He blames his own pain as much upon his ex-wife, as he perceives himself blamed by her.   His perception of the pain as balanced serves him as a justification for refusing responsibility.  

This guy is a prototype, because he bluntly acknowledges his attitude.   In a less drastic or obvious degree, many jerks behave like him.   

It is a pattern:
Jerks feel entitled to use a woman as a commodity, in denial and oblivion of her feelings.   
Jerks do not understand, when the hurt woman's behavior is a reaction to this inappropriate attitude.
Jerks consider the woman's reaction as the woman's defect.
Their own suffering from the woman's reaction serves as the jerks' justification for not taking responsibility.

436. Religion As Entertainment

Religion As Entertainment

For those, who are still struggling with getting emotionally free from religion, enjoying other people's religious behavior as a spectacle may be difficult.   But when being completely void of religious feelings, other people's religious expressions and rituals can be very entertaining.    Some religious behaviors are really hilarious.  
I experience churches, mosques and temples as museums.   Some of them contain excellent works of art.  Paintings, sculptures, artistic crafts, creative decoration and great architecture are fascinating when looked at only with the perception of their beauty.    Their artistic beauty can be appreciated as detached from any meaning and message only existing for those having the faith.    Pictures and statues are not less interesting to look at, when they happen to represent a mother with a child instead of something else.  
Sometimes there are even weird exhibits like mummies in glass coffins and bones in jars.

Religious rituals are often funny spectacles.   
Lourdes is amazing.   People travel long distances driven by their weird belief.  They buy plastic bottles in the form of a madonna with the lid in the form of a crown.  Then they queue to fill the bottle with water from a tap.
The Semana Santa in Seville is even better.  
A crowd is waiting outside a church at midnight.  The door opens.  First comes a band playing sinister sounding music.   Then comes a group of men dressed like Roman soldiers, followed by hooded men, barefoot, with expensive candles and carrying heavy wooden crosses.   Finally the float with the statue of the madonna is carried out, she is adorned with richly embroidered clothes and lots of flowers.   
Everybody shouts: Macarena, guapa, guapa!, until the idol is carried out of sight.    
In a warm night in spring, with no other light except lots of candles, this spectacle has its fascination. 

The day of Sant Antoni in Palma de Mallorca.
Two richly adorned priests, each holds a kind of a silver wand in his hand.   Between them stands a silver bucket filled with water.  
Along the street comes a procession of goats, donkeys, dogs, some with costumes and hats, people carrying rabbits, and mice in cages, cats and chickens in baskets and even something looking like a mussel on a cushion.   The priests are engaged in a vivid conversation, while they routinely dip the wand in the water and distribute the drops over the passing creatures.   
That beats a day at the zoo.

Friday, November 4, 2011

435. Mate Selection, Dishomeostasis And The Pleasure Center

Mate Selection, Dishomeostasis And The Pleasure Center

This continues entries 431 and 434.   

Behavior is generally motivated by a combination of physical dishomeostasis, emotional dishomeostasis, physical stimulation and non-physical stimulation of the pleasure center.   I am convinced that the relative predominance of each of these forces depends upon innate differences between hedonistic and Epicurean brains.  
Animals react immediately to perceiving dishomeostasis and to the recognition of possible stimuli for the pleasure center.  Human cognition allows people to choose between either an immediate reaction or delayed gratification and stimulation.   The memory of past experience allows the anticipation of enhanced stimulation in the future.
Dishomeostasis impedes or diminishes the stimulation of the pleasure center in both humans and animals.   But it does not impede the humans' general knowledge of what they are able to experience as stimulation of the pleasure center.   Even while under the pressure of dishomeostasis, they are capable to ascertain future control over stimuli without immediate attraction.   They act in anticipation of the future and as part of long term goals.  
Dishomeostasis causes an urge for immediate action.   The stimulation of the pleasure center allows the conscious choice between different stimuli according to individual preference and depending on the circumstances.

The mating strategy follows this more general description.  Proactive behavior to find a mate is usually and mainly triggered by the perception of instinctual dishomeostasis.  The state of sexual dishomeostasis triggers the male to approach a female, who is driven by her own dishomeostasis of the procreation instinct to accept him.   
But humans can also consciously initiate the mating process in the absence of physical dishomeostasis.   They are able to consciously choose the most suitable partner.  In this case the mating strategy is based upon long-term anticipation of the best mutual stimulation of the pleasure center according to individual preferences.   

There are several constellations of what determines the male selection of a female:
  1. Male animals choose a mate by instinct only for the immediate restoration of physical homeostasis.

  2. Promiscuous jerks are like animals, they are only driven by their immediate urge for physical homeostation.   But they have the cognitive ability to anticipate the additional stimulation of the pleasure center as a side effect of restoring homeostasis.  Therefore they choose the female body most appealing to their instincts.

  3. Hedonistic men's choice of a mate is determined by the same instinctive urge for immediate homeostation.  They too choose the body evoking the strongest infatuation.   But they prefer to continue the use of the same body as long as the infatuation lasts.  Their choice is also guided by the anticipation of the availability, which they prefer over recurrent hunting for new prey.   But they will replace the chosen body, as soon as it seizes to stimulate the pleasure center.

  4. Monogamous men experience their need for physical homeostasis and the physical stimulation of the pleasure center as the decisive reason to get involved in a relationship.  But they are also aware, that homeostasis and physical stimulation is not sufficient for happiness.   They choose a mate by long term thinking.  They anticipate also the important non-physical stimulation of their pleasure center.   The choice of the mate is influenced by both partner's personality, which determines their individual preferences of physical and non-physical stimulation of the pleasure center.  

  5. Epicurean men are guided predominantly by long-term thinking.   Their choice of a mate is at least as much influenced by emotional dishomeostasis like emotional end intellectual loneliness as by physical dishomeostasis.   They choose a companion in anticipation of non-physical stimulation of the pleasure center like intellectual intimacy.    The concept of self-arranged commitment is attractive to them.   The Epicurean principle of not harming and not being harmed includes to avoid causing emotional dishomeostasis as a form of harming a person.   Therefore the monogamous epicurean man selects a mate also by the criterion, that he is able to cause her as little emotional dishomeostasis as possible.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

434. Transgressions And Emotional Dishomeostasis

434.  Transgressions And Emotional Dishomeostasis

Human behavior is motivated by a combination of the urge to restore homeostasis and of the wish to stimulate the pleasure center.    Such behavior can be an immediate response or it can be delayed in anticipation and imagination.   Dishomeostasis diminishes or eliminates the responsiveness of the pleasure center to stimulation.   But once homeostasis is restored, the stimulation of the pleasure center becomes a strong incentive for behavior.  

Dishomeostasis can be either physical or emotional, it can be either caused by the person's self or by external agents. 

The following examples are implicitly accepted by most people.
  • Intrinsic physical dishomeostasis:   While a person has a splitting headache, nothing can stimulate his pleasure center, until a painkiller has restored homeostasis.   
  • Extrinsic physical dishomeostasis:  While a person is restrained in a straight jacket, nothing can stimulate the pleasure center, until the person is set free.
  • Intrinsic emotional dishomeostasis:  While a person grieves for something out of reach or has just failed at a task, nothing can stimulate the pleasure center, until the period of grief is over.  

There is another special form of emotional dishomeostasis, that is often overlooked, denied or ignored.     
  • Extrinsic emotional dishomeostasis.    This is caused, when a person is the victim of a transgression.   Feeling hurt by being betrayed, manipulated, cheated, lied to, causes a state of emotional dishomeostasis.  
The only way of restoring emotional homeostasis is the transgressor's earning forgiveness.   This requires his showing insight, guilt and remorse.   The emotional dishomeostasis persists, until the victim perceives the transgressor's changed attitude as enough justification to forgive.
But transgressors often are not aware of this.   They attempt to outbalance the effects of the transgression by buying gifts or pampering the victim in any other way aiming at the stimulation of the pleasure center.   This does not work.   While suffering emotional dishomeostasis, the victim's pleasure center is unreceptive to stimulation.  

This leads to an impasse.   The transgressor believes, that he has paid for his transgression a hundredfold.  Therefore he feels entitled to be forgiven and to move on.  The victim of the transgressions did not experience any effect of the attempted compensation upon her pleasure center.     The victim continues to suffer from emotional dishomeostasis and to feel an unreduced need for the transgressor's proactive restoring of her emotional homeostasis.  

Epicurus' principle of not harming and not being harmed include the proactive avoidance of causing emotional dishomeostasis as an importatn part of the responsibility in the interaction with others.   

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

433. A Skeptical Use Of The Words BELIEF, FAITH And TRUST

A Skeptical Use Of The Words BELIEF, FAITH And TRUST

In atheistic and sceptical discussion the words belief, faith and trust are often used with implicitly different meanings and this leads to misunderstandings.   My solution is to define, how I use these words.  

Faith and belief are to me synonyma, because they both translate to only one German word, Glaube.   If there is at all any difference, belief may be more connected to a specific content, faith may be more a general predisposition to belief in the case of available content.    But the main meaning is the undoubting gullibility.   

Faith (and belief) mean taking a claim or appearance for true without doubt.   As a skeptic, I have never any faith.   There is no truth, that I can be certain of, there is only a probability, that some claim or assumption could be true.   As a way to handle everyday life's requirement of making decisions, estimating probabilities cannot be avoided.  

Long ago, I have eliminated the phrase 'I believe' from my language use.   Instead I am using 'I guess', 'I estimate', 'it seems', 'I assume' and such.  

Trust is very different from faith.   
  • Faith means basing the own proactive behavior upon accepting something without doubts as true.   
  • Trust means exposing oneself to another person's behavior as a consequence of accepting something without doubts as true.  

Many people become atheists by discarding the belief in a deity, but they still are prone to base other decisions upon implicit assumptions and inclinations.   According to christian morals, people are expected to have blind trust in other christians.  Allegedly christians are automatically trustworthily while behaving as commanded by their deity.      
Becoming an atheist implies also the necessary logical next step of replacing blind trust with the estimation of trustworthiness. 

For me as a skeptic, trust means the estimated trustworthiness.   

Trust is a necessity in close human relationships.   Trust is the expectation, that another human being will do no harm.   Nobody can predict another person's behavior with certainty.  Therefore trust is the estimated probability of expecting beneficial treatment.  
Realistically this expectation is based upon the past experience with this person.   It cannot be based upon accepting the person's proclaimed intentions as true.   The longer the person's behavior is beneficial, the higher the estimated probability, that this will continue.  
A high probability of being harmed instead of being treated beneficially is a reason to avoid or end the contact.  

With strangers or persons of only short or superficial acquaintance, there is no previous experience.   There is not yet the possibility to make an accurate estimation.  
In this situation, two mistakes are possible.    One can either wrongly overestimate the trustworthiness and get harmed.   Or one can underestimate the trustworthiness and miss a chance of a beneficial contact.    
The ignorance concerning the trustworthiness makes the interaction with strangers a risky endeavor.   But humans need social contact, risky or not.  

It is a dichotomous decision to either interact with someone or not.   This is based upon the personal threshold of the minimally required estimated trustworthiness.   This threshold is where the probable benefits are expected to be higher than the risk to be harmed.    

In the situation, when a realistic estimation of trustworthiness is not yet possible, tit-for-tat trust is an option.   One starts the interaction based upon an arbitrary estimation of average trustworthiness and behaves accordingly.   The experience of the other's behavior is then the basis of adjusting this as the basis for further decisions.    

Blind trust is the trusting person's individual predisposition as something to decide and to demand to have.  When trust is understood as estimated trustworthiness, it is interactive and adjusted following experience, it can be earned and forfeited.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

432. APISTIA Is More Than Atheism Plus Skepticism

432.  APISTIA Is More Than Atheism Plus Skepticism
In entry 365 I declared myself to be both an atheist and a skeptic.  But I have come to the conclusion, that I should better define myself as apistic. 

Skepticism means to doubt any claim or appearance and never accept anything as true.   Instead of believing anything as true, I always estimate the probability, that it could be true.   But skepticism is limited to not believe something, when I am aware of its being an option to be believed. 
Therefore in a society, where I am confronted with the alleged existence of a deity, my skepticism leads me to be an atheist and to label myself as one.  This means to live as if I had never even heard of the possibility of being under the impact of any imaginary deity.   In this sense I am an atheist in contrast to the theist people around me.   It is comprehensible, even though I do not really like to define myself by the absence of something as weird as the belief in a god.   I prefer positive definitions like being rational and logical.   

In a feedback to another blog entry, it was pointed out to me that my use of atheism as not having any faith is not exact.  Literally this criticism is justified.  I should better call myself apistic.   Unfortunately this is not practical, because apistia is not a commonly used word.   It makes not much sense to call myself something, that nobody understands.  

Atheism is practical as a widely accepted and in a fuzzy way understood umbrella definition.  I am using it meaning an extended skepticism precluding any unknown faith.  I am not only doubting the claims, when I am confronted with them.    I am also doubting all possible beliefs, even those, of which I have never even heard of.    I live as if nothing exists, that besides lacking scientific evidence also has no impact upon myself, no matter, how many other people believe in it.   

Calling myself a-theos, without a god, does not mean, that I am bothered to define, what is a god and what is not.  I let theologians waste their time with such obsolete questions.   I do not belief in any personified deity figure, christian or other, not in an immortal soul, not in cosmic powers, ghosts or astrology.   It really makes no difference, because all these beliefs are equally preposterous.  I see no reason, why I should make a distinction between not believing in something, that can be defined as a god, and something, that can be called woo-woo but not a god. 
Atheism in its more limited sense means only refusing the suggested or discarding the previous belief in a specific deity.   In this sense, someone can be without the belief in a specific deity, but he can continue to feel a need to believe.   Atheism does not exclude the shift to a replacement faith, which is more vague than a deity, anything like chi, mother nature or reiki.  

After consulting a Greek dictionary and then googling, I discovered Apistia as a much better word for the absence of all belief.   Correctly I should define myself as apistic.   Apistia is more than atheism and more than skepticism, it includes both.    But there can be atheists, who are not apistic.       

Therefore I really am apistic.   But as long as this word is not widely known and used, I will continue to call myself an atheist.