Monday, July 1, 2013

The power of a label


But what if brown eyed people are really (scientifically proven and by their very definition) stupid wastes of space?

Also, these were the good old days, before it was considered unethical to confront people with uncomfortable truths about themselves.

85 comments:

  1. Children... what can you expect..?

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    1. They behaved just as civilly and as "pro-socially" as you usually do here jessi. Is this a hint as to your real age? Or just a general childishness. Childishness in that sort of manner is an indicator of sociopathy you know, another clue as to your true nature?

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    2. Civilly? Not to think by yourself is "civilly"?

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    3. Behaving civilly is the opposite of the manner in which you typically conduct your self.

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  2. They clearly aligned with the authority figure of the room over their own beliefs. This is fairly typical of humanity in general unfortunately, people always align with power. And of course its a well documented fact that a belief in your own superiority or inferiority will make it so.

    A fascinating social experiment though, I'd be curious to see what, if any, changes would be caused if adult subjects were used. Basing my own guess on the evidence from the Milgram experiment I would say that the experiment would proceed similarly to the one above. Its all about obedience to the authority figure. And humans do so love to segregate and abuse others. Its in our nature.

    And if brown eyed people were absolutely proven to be wastes of space then the Aryan brotherhood would have a field day. Based on the present attitudes towards public discrimination brown eyed people would probably be channeled into separate classes where they could be taught at a lower level. Then they would be encouraged to get minimum wage jobs if any employer would want to hire a "brown eye" and be congratulated on their achievement. However there would be no public, overt discrimination against them, similar to how things are with the mentally or physically handicapped.

    You'd also have the political ramifications, seeing as the majority of africa, the middle east, and asia, are all brown eyed people. The US might decide it was their sacred duty to move in and protect these inferior people from themselves. Some of these people are armed with nuclear weapons and would resent being called inferior, even if it was true. They would also resent any invasion of their land, even if it was for "their own good"

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    1. "They clearly aligned with the authority figure of the room over their own beliefs."

      They had no own beliefs.

      "Basing my own guess on the evidence from the Milgram experiment I would say that the experiment would proceed similarly to the one above. Its all about obedience to the authority figure."

      You give a special credit to a test where that behaviour was shown in 65% of the 40 MEN selected from New Haven in 1963, at the top of the Vietnam war. Is it your Bible?

      "And if brown eyed people were absolutely proven to be wastes of space then the Aryan brotherhood would have a field day."

      If people could be proven to be wastes of space the planet would be very empty... What is a human being for, by the way?











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    2. The Milgram results have been repeatedly replicated.

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    3. With people that didn't know abou it...?

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    4. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201301/the-secrets-behind-psychology-s-most-famous-experiment

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    5. The Milgram results have been done all over the world and its been found that between 61%-66% of people will deliver the fatal shock, regardless of time or place or gender of subjects. Also the first experiment was in 1961, which shows just how educated on the subject you are.

      Though that is an interesting article you post it neglects the bit where about 75% of subjects in the Milgram experiment required extensive therapy during their life due to their involvement in the experiment. And of course any one who "killed" the learner would say they knew it was fake, most people would never want to admit to themselves or anyone else that they could kill somebody, especially over four dollars. That was what the subjects received as compensation for the experiment.

      The Milgram experiment has also been repeated in nations not bound by the american ethics rulings. The subjects in said experiments had no idea what they were going into. The results were the same.

      The children did have their own beliefs, as shown in the beginning of the video when they are asked who they consider their "brothers". And children always have a set of beliefs, children aren't opinionless. Especially by the age of eight years old, which is how old the children in the video were.

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    6. Ok, I would like to point out that the article Jessi provided the link to is in Psychology Today. This is not a peer reviewed journal. It's a pop culture magazine that is not regarded highly in the psychology community. I looked over the article and its somewhat sensationalizing the issue, which is a red flag to me. Also, the point about the validity of the data- did people really think they were shocking others? If you read the actual studies (and by the way, there were many, not just one as Jessi has asserted) the participants had pretty severe stress responses during the experiment and during debriefing, which does not suggest that participants were aware that they were not actually shocking people.

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  3. But what if brown eyed people are really (scientifically proven and by their very definition) stupid wastes of space?


    but it IS true.

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    1. Einstein didn't.

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    2. It's quite possible that if one child were to resist the groupthink in a situation like this that the child would have an autistic spectrum disorder or would have sociopathic tendencies. The autistic kid would likely have little effect on the group, but a charismatic young sociopath who decided he didn't like the game would have the potential to stop a situation like this. Stories like this make me think that sociopaths can ultimately act as saviors (albeit unwitting ones) when an authority figure goes haywire.
      That being said, they might go along with the experiment if their eyes were blue because they enjoyed the power. But if they or someone they had a strong affinity for had brown eyes, I suspect this is the demographic best suited to fighting a groupthink mentality in a population that has immature moral reasoning capabilities.

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    3. You have a point but there are people on the autistic spectrum that have balls and are good with groups. No sociopathiness required.

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  5. I found your post, Mach. EXACTLY. The sociopath can penetrate the narcissistic mask. Hence, out mask is our true enemy. They just know how to take it down. You ARE really smart !

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    1. well clearly you are one step ahead here...

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    2. @ Monica-

      but the interesting twist with SW is how much of the mask that we wear in our everyday lives overlaps with the persona we present ourselves as on SW? Hopefully there isn't a whole lot of that but I can't help but think there is quite a bit of game playing on SW- because those with sociopathic traits like to toy with people. There is shape shifting. There is honesty here, and while you are not necessarily shamed for what you choose to reveal, I am well aware that every bit of info I have shared can be weaponized against the one doing the sharing. In many ways, a situation like SW encourages the clever to "reveal" things that may or may not be true, as revelations are the currency for building relationships.

      It's possible you knew me before... as someone else ;)

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    3. Yes, Mach but I don't care if other people have masks. *I* just want to know how to take off mine. Were you someone else lol

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    4. not on here- but I am an ex socialite - for real.

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    5. Very cool, Mach. Are you famous among socialite circles :)

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    6. no because I live in New England- though I was raised down south I got married at 20 into a financial services dynasty to the crown prince. This family liked my bible belt credentials bc they are incredibly conservative. I was one of those women that inspired phrases like "love to hate" because I looked like a spoiled princess (looks can be deceiving)- have been on a 6 year journey of trying to remove different layers of the mask- I was raised to be a nice piece of a** who was supposed to be happy bc I could spend whatever I want and dress my adorable babies in matching sweaters. I live in a town that is compared to Stepford. My tumble down the socioeconomic ladder in the aftermath of choosing to divorce my cheating trust fund baby (who actually is a pretty decent guy, just not someone I wanted to be married to because of his family culture that I refer to as the Christian mafia) has been humbling. However, the process of becoming real and all the pain it entails is worth it because life has so much more meaning. Kindness matters a heck of a lot more. Honesty is oxygen...

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    7. very curious about your background-you mentioned gardening a while back and I remember thinking that we are on the same page there- and I know we share "difficult" first attachment experiences- the Christian connection is an interesting one, although I'm sure we have our doctrinal differences (actually I don't really appreciate those finer points so much anymore- sometimes I think they are used as litmus tests to tell if you are good or bad. A more reliable litmus test in my opinion is: Are you an asshole? ;))

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    8. LOL I am Messianic Jew. I found Jesus from pure desperation of calling out to the sky.

      I want to let go of the layers of artifice I had to don as the child of a Mal Narc mother who is still a practicing therapist.

      I just want to be me and accept myself with all my imperfections. I am a crazy nut and love to be off the wall.

      I want to be able to be my weirdo self without caring what other people think. I used to be that way and that is my personal goal

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    9. that is really powerful. I found Jesus the night I was nearly murdered 6 years ago, after having been a "good Christian" my entire life and carrying the secret shame of not getting the personal relationship with Jesus thing.
      Someone met me when I was at my worst, huddled in a ball, terrified, broken, and sure I would never see my children again. I like to think it was Jesus. Maybe that makes me delusional but I don't care bc it made me braver and has helped me shed that false self I had been hiding behind. It changed me forever and made me understand that there was no place for EVER scapegoating anybody- there is no good/bad- we are all in need of healing and wholeness. That is also why I am on SW- not because I want to "evangelize" (ew!) - but because I feel like Jesus and sociopaths both have really unbelievable bull shit detectors that make them the ultimate weapons against moralistic hierarchies.

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    10. We have an Evangelist here--Bible Anon.

      Did Jesus actually come to you, Mach? Tell me about it, if you care to.

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    11. um- definitely didn't have a 3D visitation. Just encountered an energy that told me not to be afraid. It changed everything. It was the sort of presence that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and gave me very clear instructions to survive a brutal assault/7 hour hostage situation. I've felt it again a number times, and always in conjunction with the words of Christ- particularly in the Sermon on the Mount. It's a specific sensation that I can't help but notice. What does it mean? "Pay Attention" -for me on a personal level. I don't expect that to resonate with anyone else, I just know that a powerful good stepped in to guide me when I needed it most.
      I am not mocking evangelists - just saw too many know it all false prophets growing up and am all too aware of my own feet of clay to sign up for the job (would be hugely ironic bc I am more like a modern day Hester Prynne)

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    12. Well, I have had many supernatural experiences but I am still a neurotic nervous wreck

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    13. I think that anyone who has been through the sort of manipulation by a primary attachment figure who is not a sociopath would struggle as an adult. Reading ME's book was eye opening for me because I do think that I handled the abuse similarly to the way she did (I learned not to cry no matter how hard I was hit) in the sense that it was very important for me not to show my mom that she "got" to me. While I didn't fight back or act out outwardly, holding onto that sense of emotional control that later morphed into reading psychology books to try to figure her out, I was able to escape my past with damage that has been survivable. I also moved 700 miles away.

      I suspect one of the reasons you find me cold is my tendency to compartmentalize and become hyper rational when dealing with painful emotions. I like it to turning my emotions on and off- be tender with children- be stonefaced with bullies. Who is the real me? The tender me, but it's not always safe to be tender. I learned early to develop a poker face. It's definitely related to surviving a sadistic mom. As off putting as this trait may be to you personally, it helped me survive.

      Someone told me once that to emerge sane from an insane situation suggests a level of insanity. I think being neurotic after what you went through suggests that you are sane. I also have heard that people with personalities that come close to meeting the criteria for BPD often have extraordinary psychic abilities. They are the visionaries who imagine a better world. Their suffering leads to insights others can't conceive of.

      Unlike you I am not gifted this way. I had that sense of warmth during a terrifying moment, and I've learned to connect the wisdom of Christ with that warmth as a touchstone that helps orient me in painful times. Sometimes I think it's "all in my head" but I really don't care- it works for me. I've had to mourn the fact I would likely never be one of those people who could reach a state of transcendence while singing worship songs. I'm just to rational and can't shut my brain off long enough for that to happen. It's a limitation that makes me feel out of place when interacting with evangelical Christians. There are some people (and manyChristians) with gifts more like yours that truly mystify me.

      My conclusion about what having malignant narcissists as caregivers does to you is you can have three outcomes: you become one yourself, you learn to be hyper rational as a way of managing emotions, or you become a visionary who suffers greatly but is capable of spiritual insights that don't come naturally to the rest of us. I think Joan of Arc was like this. You may be as well.

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    14. Aww I am so touched, Mach. Thank you for those kind words. For me, personally, I want to be as far away from BPD as I can.
      My heart goes out to people who suffer with it, but I want to be solid so badly and that is my personal goal. I hope I am getting there.

      I am trying to. I suppose my way is forcing myself to be honest so I can know I can trust myself.

      Thanks for still caring even though I pulled that on you~

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    15. The two of you ^^^ will probably not see this but I snooped and read your comments. Refreshing to see such honesty. Its odd. I find myself terrified of this site and the people who are regular visitors of it. I feel as though I will be judged here more than anywhere else in my life. But I can't stay away. Your comments speak to me and give me personal inspiration. Thank you.

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    16. You sought a deeper connection by being provocative. I get that.
      I didn't mean that you were anywhere close to BPD- I have no idea- but I read a fascinating study that found strong correlation between trauma survivors/ BPD sufferers and psychic ability.
      Someone once described BPD as "living without skin". They perceive everything, and things that don't hurt others hurt them. They are the ultimate "canaries in a coal mine. I have a special tenderness for BPD sufferers because my favorite aunt that I lost to suicide was diagnosed as one, back in the day when it was considered untreatable. She was the kindest and smartest person I knew in my early years. She saw things other people didn't and had a sixth sense for knowing how to heal people.
      Example: My bday is July 4 and as a four year old I was extremely ill- I remember my fever being 104 because I thought it matched the day. My entire extended family was outside at the family compound playing croquet and badminton and whatever else people do. My mom never came once. My aunt Polly sat with me the whole day and put cool cloths on me and said gentle things as I cried.

      Polly had a Mal Narc mom too. In the end, the world was too much for her, and I hate that. She was one of the most beautiful people I ever knew, and her death made me start asking "WTF?" about a very sick religious enterprise at the tender age of five. After I overheard far too many comments about how "this was inevitable due to her immoral lifestyle" I decided it was time to start asking questions. I haven't been able to stop... hence the overanalyzing that exasperates people.

      I think it's interesting that recent studies say that far from being untreatable, BPD sufferers (esp those treated with DBT) have incredibly good prognoses. (better than many mood disorders, which turns the whole "personality disorders are untreatable" party line on its head.

      My theory is that sociopaths/ASPD individuals are the new scapegoat in the psychoanalytic paradigm. My hope is that those on the front lines of treating these individuals will take courage from the recent data on BPD.

      In the end, for me what it all comes down to is: giving up on people is bullshit. People in all their variations have different beautiful things to contribute. To lose one soul because you have written them off is to compromise reality.

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  6. It isn't just children that behave in such manners. There have been plenty
    of social experiments that show adults behave simularly.
    Have you heard of the prisoner/guard social experiment? it involved a
    simulated prison atmosphere where one group of men played the role of
    prison guards and another played the role of prisoners.
    The "guards" were certain at the beginning of the experiment,that there were
    moral bounds they would not transgress. It didn't take long before they
    voilated all the social taboos of indignity and brutalization.The
    experiment was then flipped and the prisoners became the guards. The
    same thing happened again.
    We're aware of the Abdu Grey prison scandal in Iraq. The prisoners were
    subjected to various indignaties. This seems to be a human charateristic.
    Remember the experiments of 30 years ago, when a lab enviorment was set
    up, and people were instructed to administer increasing levels of
    electric shocks to a "heart patient," if he answered questions incorrectly? As the level of shocks escalate, the victim complains he
    can't take the pain anymore, but the "authoritative" scientist conducting
    demands that the partisipent administrating the shocks continue. Most
    continued giving increasing voltage even when they no longer heard the
    victim crying in pain. The man conducting the experiment drew the
    conculsion that a system of "death camps" could be established right here
    in the U.S.A.
    In the book "Influence: Science And Practice," Robert Cialdini reveals 6
    key methods that people use to win compliance. They are: reciprocation,
    commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity
    Using these methods, everyone from prisoners to politicians can
    manipuale unsuspecting people to do their bidding. ATTENTION MUST BE
    PAYED!

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    1. If that prison experiment you're referring to is the Stanford prison experiment then its and excellent, albeit short, example. It was ended after six days due to a concern that the prisoners were in mortal danger. To clarify that means that it took six days for regular people to abandon all their morals and start inflicting horrible abuses on the prisoners.

      However, the Stanford prison experiment didn't include a flip on positions, and neither did the less successful BBC prison experiment. And I'm not aware of a prison experiment that did include such a flip.

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    2. The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo is a great accounting of the Stanford prison experiment. Anyone who doubts the empath capacity for evil would find it very enlightening.

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    4. I haven't read or heard of that, but that's definitely something I'm interested in. Thanks Mach

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  7. Does anyone know where I can find M.E's Dr.Phil episode? It's not on youtube

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    1. It was7n the forum.

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  8. Better be careful M.E. The final comments of your letter put you in
    dangerous terriotory. You must be well aware that the true date on the
    calender is 1984. Not only are "they" aware of everything we're posting,
    but we are already in the mist of a Soviet-type show trial involving
    trumpted up racial charges against George Zimmerman.
    Paula Dean's empire came tumbling down in a twinkling of an eye, and so
    can yours. This land is "free" in name only. Don't get cocky.

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  9. Been thinking about this.

    Aesthetically speaking, the brown-eyed really are a waste, because they are vastly over-represented among the eye colors. If we really wanted greater diversity of aesthetic options, relatively fewer brown-eyed people phenotypes (myself included as a split B-G genotype) would be optimal.

    I think this is born out in the choice of color contacts, blue being most popular, followed by green. (When I opted for contacts, I chose a light color, called "honey" but which more closely matched the amber of a lion's eyes. I leave the brown alone now only because the contacts were tedious to maintain.)

    I don't think this is because other colors are necessarily more attractive than brown, just less common and therefore having more relative value due to scarcity. In that sense (and what other sense is there by which to judge the color of the iris?) brown eyes can accurately be characterized as a waste of space.

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  10. Blue eyes are pretty fucking common too, especially in European countries. In some parts of the world, blue eyes are more common than brown.

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    1. Very true, but due to the huge population of asia, brown eyes are more common globally.

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  11. Leave it to a bunch of delusional aspies to get hung up on the eye color part of the post...

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  12. What most people think of as "uncomfortable truths" are "bullshit I made up to show how I'm superior and you're inferior." I am quite happy we don't have "scientific" experiments anymore that prove black people are inferior based on the shape of their skulls or whatever equivalent nonsense someone makes up.

    As for the post you linked, I don't really see the connection. If a student is incapable of defending their worldview against a single professor, they either haven't thought much about it, or they are particularly bad at debate. Either way, I don't see any moral issue with a professor "manipulating" them to question their worldview. In the Milgram Experiment, it was about hiring someone under the assumption they would do one thing, while using them to do a second thing.

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    1. To determine the nature of a man, you cannot simply ask him, or test him directly. You must put him in a situation where he thinks he is in control, when in reality he is the subject of experimentation. Obedience to authority is clearly an innate trait of humanity.

      I do not precisely know the planning and outcome of subsequent experiments done by Dr. Milgram, but I do recall that the presence of the scientist, the authority figure, was necessary for the subjects to shock their victims. In addition, being able to see the victim reduced the likelihood of shocking them.

      Essentially, if a police officer hands you a tazer and tells you to shock an unarmed man in his presence, you may be unlikely to do it. If the officer leaves the room and then tells you over the intercom to shock someone, you will be even less likely to do it. If, however, he is in the room with you and the victim is not, and he tells you to press a button that will shock someone, you very likely will press that button. The officer has accepted responsibility for your actions, and the victim is removed from the situation, existing only in an abstract sense.

      How is it that so many corporations and financial institutions seem sociopathic? It's because for 99.99% of the people in the company, responsibility for their actions is claimed by the one at the top of the corporate ladder. Also, the people negatively impacted by your decisions are so far removed that you will never hear a peep from them. But then, it's not really sociopathy, is it? It is simply abdication of personal responsibility combined with the absence of victims in the vicinity of where the work is done.

      Even at the very top of the company, the CEO's who rake in millions of dollars a year are not necessarily sociopaths. Above even them lie the shareholders. The shareholders want more and more money for essentially doing no work other than putting it in a box and watching it miraculously multiply. And so, responsibility for the actions of corporations falls squarely on the the shoulders of the public who fund them, expecting and receiving something for nothing, and the victims are all around them.

      Imagine the person who invests money in a company pressing a small red button, sending a shock that is conducted from the very top of the corporate ladder that travels all the way down, and spreads thinly throughout the population, who feel a slight tingle in their toes. The person who pressed the button receives his award, his dollar, and walks away. Now imagine the same thing happening thousands and thousands of times, all day every day. The rich get richer and the poor get shocked into submission.

      You think sociopaths are the only ones capable of hurting others? Separate any person from the responsibility of their actions, give them a reward, and blind them to the suffering of their victims. They will commit any act.

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    2. Andy, this is very well written and (imo) would make a great column/letter to the editor. Do you have a local media outlet that you could contact to see if you could publish this?

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    3. I appreciate that, Mach. However, I feel that the topic would require a more thorough detailing of Dr. Milgram's work, in addition to some reference to why corporations are considered sociopathic. If you think that the connection between the Milgram experiments and 'evil corporations' is interesting, you're welcome to use anything I've written however you like :)

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  13. What to "get" out of the Milgram experiment is still hotly debated today. One critique of applying the experiment to the "real world" is that in the experiment, participants were assured that "no permanent physical damage would result from their actions." Thus whether the Milgram results suggest that there are no limits to the average human response to authority is still open.

    Moreover, prestige of the experimenter makes a difference. One replication replaced "Yale" (the sponsor of the Milgram study) with a commercial entity with a generic name. The rate of compliance dropped.

    Note that I'm not saying there's not something going on here--that is, I do think that the Milgram experiment, and the Stanford prison experiment, uncovers a lot about how the average person behaves. All I'm saying is that it can be quite complicated and context-dependent.

    Finally, I wanted to express some frustrations with your discussions here. It would be helpful for folks to disentangle "sociopath"/"empath" (pertaining to the spectrum of "feeling" others" emotions), and "altruistic"/"nonaltruistic" (pertaining to the degree to which one gears one's actions to help others). These are different concepts, and any sophomore philosophy major who's taken a basic ethics/moral philosophy course would be more careful about this.

    Plus it would help avoid some of the confusion and debates that I see happening here. One can feel few emotions and act altruistically, due to perhaps some reasoned system of ethics. And one can feel many emotions and act nonaltruistically, due to an active desire to cause negative emotions in others (perhaps finding the feeling of those negative emotions pleasurable--aka schadenfreude). And, in some instances, the most rational "selfish" action can overlap with the most altruistic action.

    It'd also make conversations less ambiguous (in my vision, less "weedy") if folks also disentangled the nonemotionality that is supposedly a key feature of sociopaths with their discussions of rationality. That is, just because someone is nonemotional does not mean they are rational, or if they are, it does not mean they are intelligently rational. For example, one could feel few emotions and engage in many impulsive random actions. Or one could feel few emotions and want to act rationally but still lack the intelligence and forethought to apply any form of rationality "well." (See, e.g., M.E.'s so-so legal writing.) Or one could feel many emotions but choose, based on some personal valorization of rationality, to act based on rational insights, even against their personal feelings.

    Disentangling these concepts would help the discussions in this blog get beyond the sophomoric level that currently exists here. I don't mean "sophomoric" as an insult, btw, even though it's often used as one. I just like seeing conversations get more refined, rather than reiterating the same debates (caused by ambiguities in the ways terms are used) over and over again.

    -no dog in this fight

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    1. I always thought the world could use more self-righteous, pretentious assholes who think they're smarter than everyone else and get their kicks from judging others rather than meaningfully contributing to a discussion by demonstrating mastery of the knowledge and wisdom they claim to possess.

      Fuck, that was one hell of a sentence! Welcome to the club, friend!

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    2. hey dog-

      I actually think Andy is showing affection- SW is the sort of place where a jab indicates a desire to "go deeper" rather than just say "whatever" and walk away with a superficial peace that is pure illusion.
      No one likes to be told told by an outsider that something they value is "sophomoric". There's more to discussions here than the sociopath/empath dichotomy- BUT- you actually articulated something that is very helpful. We've been touching on altruism by throwing out topics like "prosocial", but I like the idea of having 2 dimensions for evaluating motivation rather than to focus on the degree of feeling an individual might be experiencing. In particular- I really liked what you said here:

      "Finally, I wanted to express some frustrations with your discussions here. It would be helpful for folks to disentangle "sociopath"/"empath" (pertaining to the spectrum of "feeling" others" emotions), and "altruistic"/"nonaltruistic" (pertaining to the degree to which one gears one's actions to help others). These are different concepts." (pejorative sarcasm omitted)

      This insight makes me imagine plotting moral action on a sort of graph rather than a line. The level of affect would be one axis and the level of intended altruism could be the other. It is a good refining tool that is helpful in the larger debate of understanding the moral possibilities of sociopathic action.

      To build upon your point- if we wanted to really locate the value of a particular action, then a third dimension of positive outcome vs negative outcome would round things out, because we all know people who mean well but are so locked into their way of thinking the real world application of their best intentions often ends in a disappointing outcome.

      Finally, (and this is probably making things too complicated but I'll state it simply for arguments sake) - there's the fourth dimension of the role reasoning/cognitive empathy plays. There can be action that is carefully thought out via sophisticated logic and mindful of potential mitigating factors versus acting on impulse.

      My sense if that even the "coldest" sociopath is capable of choosing to act on the better end of dimensions 2,3, and 4. I can't speak for everyone, but I'd much rather be stuck with that individual that a deeply empathic, illogical, self absorbed individual who lacks the ability to produce results that are in alignment with his deeply felt emotions.



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  14. Hey, Mach said this was a place to be honest. I appreciate yours, young grasshopper.

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    1. As a concession, I'll admit that I was turned off by the tone of your post, rather than its content. You're used to people taking what you say at face value, aren't you? Are you a professor of some sort?

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    2. @ Dog-
      not to split hairs but my sons do not respond well AT ALL when I call them "Young Grasshopper". It communicates condescension, not affection- neither being really appropriate for people you don't know. Why not cut the paternalistic bullshit? You have good stuff to say but if you are up on your high horse it's impossible to here you. ;)

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  15. I could be.

    And, since we're conceding things here, I've been told my tone could be more congenial, so--in the words of people on this site--I put on a "mask" (I do not think of it that way; I call it "improving my general communications skills.") But given the nature of this site, I figured I didn't have to. Guess not! #alanismorisettesongtitle

    -no dog

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  16. The "young grasshopper" was my attempt to participate on the same lines as Andy. But that's the problem with the internet: jesting tones are not easily conveyed. And while I see what you mean about the seeming condescension in the use of the term sophomoric, I really did mean it in the most literal way; this is the kind of thing that gets discussed in college sophomore level philosophy classes. I don't mean that insultingly, just descriptively. It's still a bit better than many internet conversations, but only moderate in academic environments. Take that as you will; I don't really care. If this place is so "honest," then should I really need to couch my words in euphemistic terms the way I often do? (My personal answer is probably so, because I'm not sure how strong this commitment to "honesty" is, but because I'm on here more as a vicarious observer, I care less about being persuasive than I usually do.)

    But yeah, I do think that the discussions here could get to a deeper level if people talked about the different dimensions, as you reframe it, explicitly, rather than assuming they are interrelated. What you describe above, Mach, seems to be useful. If someone else thinks they are related (Jessi seems to), then discussing their observed relationships explicitly rather than having different participants working under different assumptions would allow this conversation to move in a more productive direction.

    -no dog

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    Replies
    1. We could call you cat if you prefer... or something more suitable if you'd give yourself a name.

      As for sophomoric. I'm 38- but some of the best, most authentic, thrilling, and exciting conversations I had were when I was a college sophomore. The way I remember that year is that everyone was so alive and had not receded into a shadow of themselves...

      So could we broker peace by agreeing that to be sophomoric is not a bad thing? And that we should drop the labels and simply explore topics without anyone actin g like someone's superior? I have a 16 year old daughter who swims far closer to the deep end of the gene pool than I do. She teaches me every day. Age is a number- and anyone acting as if they have moved passed needing a dose of sophomoric wisdom needs a good cup of "shut the hell up" as far as I am concerned.

      We like distinctions that add to the discussion (not) Dog whose name is still to be determined. Are you in?

      Delete
  17. Dog,
    People on this site are pretty direct with each other. I think that's a strength of the environment here. What I would like to point out is the difference between being direct and being honest in a condescending sort of way. You can be direct without being condescending. Just because this is an open place, doesn't mean that others won't react negatively if you have a paternalistic tone to your comments. For example, why the comparison to the academic environment? This is clearly not one, and while people on this site do discuss many nuanced topics, this is, in fact, not a class. Your point out that people are getting stuck in their discussions of labels is a valuable one. I agree with this point. I know you said that you don't care that much how you are perceived on this site, but if you are interested in your comments being considered more for their content, I suggest losing the condescending tone.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Damn it I just read my last comment and in my saying dog should 'lose the condescending tone' I realized that that in itself sounds condescending. Let me try that again- if you remove the condescending tone from your comments, people might better focus on the content and point of your comments, rather than their reactions to your tone.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Like I said, I'm only moderately interested. In environs where I actually am interested, I know to exert more effort at structuring my writing for reception. Not to diminish folks who are on here (hey, but am I inserting this phrase in order to enhance reception, or out of honesty? we can go round and round), but for me this place is more a recent vicarious pastime.

    ReplyDelete
  20. p.s. I agree, "sophomoric" is not necessarily a bad thing. I had good discussions as a sophomore, too, though also ones I'd be ashamed of now. It doesn't seem to be that difficult a way to approach the word, given how devoted this group is to disentangling the word "sociopath" from negative connotations.

    p.p.s. I'm a bit older than you (and M.E., for that matter), it sounds like.

    -no dog (and I'm happy to be called no dog)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ok- no Dog-
    IF you decide we are a "cool" enough audience for you here's a tip:

    If you get all fussy trying to structure everything your narcissism will show. Let the typing errors happen. Go off message. Just shoot from the hip, i dare you ;)

    ReplyDelete
  22. " Let me try that again- if you remove the condescending tone from your
    comments, people might better focus on the
    content and point of your comments, rather
    than their reactions to your tone."

    I'm curious: why is suggesting that I remove an allegedly condescending tone any different from telling me (in the parlance of this site) to "put on a mask"? Why are some removals of masks (being honest about sociopathy) more acceptable here than others?

    -no dog

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    Replies
    1. The removing of some masks doesn't irritate the hell of of some people. I'm not actually bothered by your tone myself though, I just think its cute that you expect to be listened to with that tone.

      Delete
  23. " If you get all fussy trying to structure
    everything your narcissism will show. Let the
    typing errors happen. Go off message. Just
    shoot from the hip, i dare you ;)"

    Uh, I don't understand this at all. What are you trying to say? Like I said, I don't really have a dog in this fight over the meaning of various alleged psychiatric diagnoses. Your labels, including "narcissism," are up to you. I just prefer to discussions go somewhere, rather than around and around, which is what I've seen in the short time I've been here. But I've got lots of other places to go, too, so I'm only half-hearted, as it were, in my comments. Just curious what an acquaintance of friends is up to.

    As for the dare, I'm too cost-benefit-analysis for that, much as I do feel emotions.

    -nodog

    ReplyDelete
  24. @nodog
    Fair point. I suppose it's not any different. However, there are general group norms that have been established (as will be with any group), which is what you're bumping up against. It really relates to what people in the group are willing to tolerate. Being honest/direct,etc, fine. Being talked to in a condescending manner- that's not generally received well.

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  25. what I mean is: if you sit around trying to structure a message that is ostensibly about one topic (the stated one) but you agonize about wording that you might be more interested than our perception of you than following the thread of a discussion as a contributor. (hey, it's an error I have made so no condemnation here- simply noting that it's more fun when you STOP)
    By pulling the only "half invested" line you come off as someone desperately trying to pretend they don't care... but your continued comments suggest that you do...

    NoDog, if you want to play, cool. But if you want to lecture/shame/whine- I suspect that you will not find many acolytes.

    Wishing you well.

    ReplyDelete
  26. " However, there are general group norms that have been established (as will be with any group), which is what you're bumping up against. "

    Interesting. I noticed a number of earlier threads where people were lambastic "empaths" for imposing their own norms on others, and for thus being "harmful" in their own way. Is your reaction here just related to the particular norm at issue (for example, some norm against "condescending tones" versus expressing identification with sociopathy)? If so, what's the underlying principle behind that? Does it go beyond "I like this one thing" (expressions of sociopathy) "but not this other thing" (perceptions of condescension)?

    -no dog

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    Replies
    1. I'm a realist. When I first started posting here, I wrote in my 'native tongue' so to speak, and my comments were not well-received. So, I translated what I was saying into a language that was more accessible. Tone is everything when you're trying to get your point across. You're more than welcome to use your preferred tone when you comment here, nobody is going to remove your posts. However, you're unlikely to find someone who will respond to the content of your posts (besides the endlessly patient and understanding Mach) rather than mock you for its tone.

      As for the 'young grasshopper' comment, I wasn't offended at all. It just indicates to me that you're an old fart who considers age to be equivalent to wisdom. Sure, there's a correlation, but I find it hard to believe that someone as old as yourself never picked up how to communicate ideas effectively.

      Well, that was my shot at being nice and helpful. Do you really appreciate honesty? You came in here acting like you're God's gift to sociopathworld. Do you want to educate us, to treat us like students? Fine, but recognize that not one of us but the weakest of will is going to acknowledge you as our teacher and as our superior. If you were looking for the obedience of a lecture hall, you've come to the wrong place. If you want to mold our opinions, our 'young' minds, you're going to have to play nice, speak cleverly and sweetly as you slip in your unctuous ideas. A pinch of sugar will make the medicine go down nicely, whereas a squeeze of lemon will make us spit it back in your eye.

      You've got a good vocabulary, a sharp mind, and years of experience beyond anyone here. The ideas you have to offer are useful, will be appreciated, and will likely raise the bar for quality discussions, though this is not difficult due to the fact that the bar is low enough that we often trip over it. Should you decide to continue discussing your ideas with us, you may find that the thinking processes of low empathy individuals are quite interesting, and that the topic covering the separation of empathy level and behavior is recurring and hotly contested.

      Delete
  27. *lambasting. There's your typo, Mach!

    (But is it real or is it intentionally placed? I say it's real, but on the internet, nobody knows you're a dog. Or no dog, as it were.)

    I don't really need acolytes here, but thanks anyway. I "care" in the sense that I have some real-world projects to finish, but am procrastinating. My continued presence is me not wanting to get on with those more tedious tasks. But this is a good reminder. Thanks for that as well.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Still procrastinating, apparently. " If you want to mold our opinions, our 'young' minds, you're going to have to play nice, speak cleverly and sweetly as you slip in your unctuous ideas. A pinch of sugar will make the medicine go down nicely, whereas a squeeze of lemon will make us spit it back in your eye."

    Oh, do I know that. It's the usual utilitarian perspective of writing/speaking in a certain way to best advocate one's thoughts (which, as an aside, is part of a larger debate in communications/writing departments). But that's why this site is kind of a luxury to me, in that unlike many other areas where I do have personal preferences regarding the substantive outcomes of arguments, the particular "fights" that happen on this site are not my own. Hence my chosen moniker.

    So while your advice is well-suited for someone who wants to mold people here, that someone doesn't happen to be me. It was an opportunity to express frustration at a phenomenon that frequently annoys me (this could very well make me an "aspie" in the terminology of this group), but usually I cannot gripe against, because in other areas I do happen to care more unintended effects of my gripes. Your reaction had the added benefit of juxtaposing very different reactions to "sociopaths" versus "condescents" (I would use "elitists" or "snobs" here, but that seems too vernacular to put next to "sociopaths, so I made up something medicalized), even though both involve violations of societal norms.

    Whether anyone chooses to do something with my suggestions (to stop conflating empath/altruism and sociopath/nonaltruism and all those other things) is up to you all. I'm probably back to lurking, at least for tonight, because procrastination can only go so far. Toodles.

    -nodog

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    Replies
    1. I chose a bad day to quit SW, the day a reasonable person arrives (comes back, I think) and places an alias. I hope you pass again Nodog. You had to take the sharks complaining at your tone and telling you to mold to persuade better. Hahaha. Such a classic.

      Jessi

      Delete
  29. Ok I just have to say that your 'toodles' just made me laugh out loud. Good luck with your boring stuff.

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  30. I can't help but think all girls who have blue eyes have aspergers. Crazy how many do but of course you would have to date them for 90 days while they hide it. Lol

    ReplyDelete

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