• schopenhauer1
    2.7k
    There again, maybe birds don't complain about their jobs because they actually enjoy them. Making love in the trees, eating healthy food outdoors, no schedules to keep, only having to look after the kids for a couple of months and no college bills to pay. Humans would not bitch about those working conditions.Sir2u

    Ha, birds got the better deal when you put it that way. There is a reason I have a bird as my avatar. But I would say unless this is tongue-in-cheek, this is not the case. Birds just don't have the capacity to register whether they enjoy what they are doing, and then have to override the dissatisfaction. They may experience an emotion in some way, but not self-reflection on that emotion, and certainly not related to its survival tasks. I never said they didn't have other capacities like using tools, and problem-solving. That isn't in question.
  • Sir2u
    1.7k
    I never said they didn't have other capacities like using tools, and problem-solving.schopenhauer1

    What would be the motivation to use these skills? Or do they just use them because they can?

    So many people insist that animals don't have the capacity to register whether they enjoy what they are doing but I have never seen proof of this. That they do not reflect on enjoying themselves has not been proven or dis-proven simply because we do not know how the think. We do not understand properly how humans think still.

    I see animals playing games, my dogs play what appears to be a rather sophisticated form of Tag, why would they do this if they don't enjoy it. I have seen birds, again a crow, sliding down a snowy roof and them going back and doing it over and over again. Why would they do this if it was not because of the fun of it?


    There is little information about what wild animals do, most of what we know is from specific small group studies that cannot show everything all of the animals of that species do nor what they do while not being studied, or from one off observations like the videos we see on youtube.

    Personally I give animals the benefit of doubt when it comes to whether they really think or not and treat them as if they do.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.7k
    So many people insist that animals don't have the capacity to register whether they enjoy what they are doing but I have never seen proof of this. That they do not reflect on enjoying themselves has not been proven or dis-proven simply because we do not know how the think. We do not understand properly how humans think still.Sir2u

    I am of the belief that most other animal species cannot reflect and evaluate whether they like or dislike their current emotional state and then, have to justify continuing doing an unpleasant task for expediency. That is not to say that they don't experience joy, anxiety, etc. in the moment, as a primary experience. I am not disputing that. Of course you have your outliers in rudimentary forms..the great apes, dolphins, that have certain self-reflective capacities, but really what I'm talking about takes a linguistic brain.

    The main point though is that humans do do this. I am giving other animals the leg up here. They don't need to evaluate their like or dislike and then justify to themselves the continuation of the dissatisfying activity. We are the only animals that are aware of our situation and but muddle through. We are the animals that continue despite the understanding of an unpleasant state of affairs.
  • T Clark
    3.2k


    Those of us who have mostly fulfilling jobs that we mostly like recognize that 50%, more or less, of what we do is what you call "the daily grind of unwanted and unsatisfactory tasks." We know that those tasks have to be completed in order for the whole enterprise, which we value, to work.

    And even if the job you do doesn't have any particular interest or value for you, there is still value in making money to support yourself and your family. There might be value in performing your job well, supporting your coworkers, or making your customers happy.
  • Joshs
    645
    "Other animal species cannot reflect and evaluate whether they like or dislike their current emotional state and then, have to justify continuing doing an unpleasant task for expediency."
    Why does this require linguistic capacities? What do you think reflection is? Describe its mechanics for me.I think the key here is your term 'current', as if the current emotional state stays static, just sitting there waiting for this pristine mechanism of linguistically mediated reflection to turn back itself around to survey the picture. It implies that we need word concepts to store and preserve meanings such that we can manipulate meaning and defy the passage of time. It implies that we need a word concept for our current emotion, that we need word concepts for the reflective acts which turn back to examine our emotion word concept.

    But the advantage of word concepts is not that they store and preserve, but that they express more complex and abstract meanings than those that other animals construct.The act of reflection is not itself dependent on word concepts. Reflection is a function of the way that human and animal consciousness of time carries the immediate past into the present and also protends the present into the future, making our experience of the present anticipatory. These three aspects(retention, the present and anticipation, are all simultaneously a part of the experience of the 'now' moment We reflect naturally in that what we have just experienced continues to be carried over into our current 'now'. It's not so much that in reflection wwe turn back to what we just experienced, but that what we just experienced automatically carries itself forward into our present thinking.

    So reflection in its primordial sense is not a function of will, choice, deliberation. It is automatic, with or without word concepts. What word concepts do for us is expand our options when we reflect, and, by organizing a meaning context into a richer whole, that context remains for us to reflect on in a more consistent and continuous manner. If there is 'freedom' of the will, it is not due to the capacity for reflection, it is a function of the complexity of the concepts that our words express. If humans are freer than animals, than modern humans must be freer than neolithic humans, and adults freer than children.

    Time consciousness is what allows animals to do this:

    "There is a famous psychology experiment in which children are left in a room with one marshmallow each. They are told that if they wait and don’t eat the sweet straight away, they will be given a second one. On average, preschool kids resist for less than 10 minutes.
    What happens if animals are given a comparable test? A group of chimpanzees performed roughly as well as children — some resisted for up to 18 minutes. They even used the same tactics as children, distracting themselves with toys. Meanwhile, an African grey parrot withstood temptation for up to 15 minutes. " (Frans De Waal)
  • schopenhauer1
    2.7k
    We know that those tasks have to be completed in order for the whole enterprise, which we value, to work.T Clark

    Right and that taking on the value comes from a lot of sources. It doesn't happen in a vacuum.

    And even if the job you do doesn't have any particular interest or value for you, there is still value in making money to support yourself and your family. There might be value in performing your job well, supporting your coworkers, or making your customers happy.T Clark

    Again, all things we take on.. It is a choice, though subtly it becomes less so if habituated. We are freer than we think, and at the same time we are not.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.7k
    It implies that we need word concepts to store and preserve meanings such that we can manipulate meaning and defy the passage of time. It implies that we need a word concept for our current emotion, that we need word concepts for the reflective acts which turn back to examine our emotion word concept.Joshs

    Yep it does.

    But the advantage of word concepts is not that they store and preserve, but that they express more complex and abstract meanings than those that other animals construct.Joshs

    That's what I'm driving at- not the nuances to the degree of less complex reflection. I don't see it as much as degree as you do. I certainly think it came about evolutionarily, it is a change in kind, not just degree. As much as we want to bridge that gap with other animals' minds, we can't. We are the lonely conceptually-linguistic creature. Sorry to say.

    These three aspects(retention, the present and anticipation, are all simultaneously a part of the experience of the 'now' moment We reflect naturally in that what we have just experienced continues to be carried over into our current 'now'. It's not so much that in reflection wwe turn back to what we just experienced, but that what we just experienced automatically carries itself forward into our present thinking.Joshs

    I have no problem with this conception of phenomenology.

    So reflection in its primordial sense is not a function of will, choice, deliberation. It is automatic, with or without word concepts. What word concepts do for us is expand our options when we reflect, and, by organizing a meaning context into a richer whole, that context remains for us to reflect on in a more consistent and continuous manner. If there is 'freedom' of the will, it is not due to the capacity for reflection, it is a function of the complexity of the concepts that our words express. If humans are freer than animals, than modern humans must be freer than neolithic humans, and adults freer than children.Joshs

    Fair enough I can agree with this. Now this thread is about the implication of conceptual complexity that we have that allows for what we can do (evaluate dislike and then overcome the dislike by narratives, strategies, coping, etc... all examples you gave which I validated, so that we agree in that regard). Other animals don't contend with their own existential evaluations. They deal with threats sure, but that's not the same thing and to say so would be to conflate two ideas. They deal with stimulus response, sure. They deal with changing conditions that trigger certain hardcoded reactions sure. They deal with problem-solving certain task, sure. They deal with complex social hierarchies (depending on the species) sure. But this existential evaluation they don't do and we do. What does that say about our species that we can do this. I see an absurdity in the fact that we even evaluate that we dislike a task and yet we still do it. I think we should explore that implication about our existential situation as a whole.
  • T Clark
    3.2k


    "Again, all things we take on.. It is a choice, though subtly it becomes less so if habituated. We are freer than we think, and at the same time we are not."

    It's not about having freedom, it's about taking responsibility.
  • Joshs
    645

    Your notion of a difference in kind between human and animal cognition seems to rest on your understanding of linguistic conceptual complexity not just as sophistication ofcontent but as a different kind of mechanism of organization of concepts relative to animals. It seems for you to have something to do with a supposed human capacity, thanks to language , to survey a situation as a whole, something that other animals can't do. Maybe you subscribe to theory-theory approaches in cognitive science, which model human understanding in terms of consulting internal conceptual structures in order to reflectively understand the world and ourselves.

    Enactivist approaches in cognitive science disagree with the theory-theory approach, positing instead that in interacting with others, either empathically or in other respects, we dont consult an inner script or internal cognitive-linguistic structures in order to understand the actions of others. Our apprehension is direct. This is because our entire history as it is represented in mental-bodily meaning structures encounters the world as an integral whole. that is to say, we bring our whole existential history to bear on the current situation , whether we do this in explicit contemplation of our 'existential situation as whole' or not, and whether we are concerned with just one trivial particular or ontology. So this is not a capacity or skill, its a given.

    This would be a capacity not unique to humans, and therefore this notion of exploring 'our existential situation as a whole' would not be unique to us. Chimps experience the world moment to moment in relation to the cutting edge of their history with it as a whole, and if they dont conceptualize it linguistically, they feel it meaningfully. The deep affective capabilities of higher animals attest to this holistic comportment toward the present. Musicians create in this way, relying not on word concept but on intuitive feeling. One could say, then, that the animal's "existential situation as a whole' is registered as an art in the way it forms the continual background directly informing and shaping their meaningful engagement with the world moment to moment. I question whether explicitly linguistically conceptualizing something like existential situation as a whole is necessary in order to know it, and thus act on it meaningfully as a whole..
  • schopenhauer1
    2.7k
    It's not about having freedom, it's about taking responsibility.T Clark

    Another value you are taking on :). Albeit a common one.
  • Sir2u
    1.7k
    I am of the belief that most other animal species cannot reflect and evaluate whether they like or dislike their current emotional state and then, have to justify continuing doing an unpleasant task for expediency.schopenhauer1

    Maybe we are over complicating things. What tasks do most animals actually have to justify doing, whether they like them or not? Apart from putting themselves in danger to acquire food I can think of nothing else. But it might even be possible that they just decide not to do the things they don't like or want to do.

    Why would an animal return to a place were a mate was killed if they knew that danger was there? Could it be that they don't know the danger is there(they forget), or that they have forgotten the mate or that need forces them to return? None of these seems plausible when there is no reason to go there except to visit the place. Dogs often revisit places that they went to with their mates and seem to remember them.

    Lost pets often find their families after weeks or months of traveling, sometimes to unknown places. There has to be some sort of motivation beyond momentary happiness.

    While I lived in the USA a friend moved house from Kenner, New Orleans to the other side of the lake near Covington. About half way across the bridge the cat escaped its cage and jumped out the window. There was absolutely no stopping for any reason on the then very narrow 25 mile long bridge so they had to continue. Two weeks later the cat turns up at the new house, that she never even new existed. Following the scent might explain how she did it, but it does not explain why she did it. What possible motivation would she have had to make the trip instead of just finding a new place to eat. She must have made the decision that it was worth trying for some reason.

    What I would consider more important is explaining the fun and unusual things they do. What motivates them to enjoy doing things? Can it be nothing more that momentary joy, that would not account for cases where the animals repeat the actions on other occasions. To repeat the action would mean that they in some way evaluated it and made a decision to do it again, this would mean that they do self reflect upon their emotions and memories.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.7k
    Apart from putting themselves in danger to acquire food I can think of nothing else. But it might even be possible that they just decide not to do the things they don't like or want to do.Sir2u

    I don't believe that animals even know they like or dislike something over and on top of the primary emotion they feel. So, they may enjoy a type of berry, but it's doubtful they have a representation of themselves in their head (an "I") that knows it is liking the berries. It is that secondary level of consciousness I am talking about.

    But, for the sake of argument, let's say they had a level of self-representation in their minds and they do reflect like humans, certainly if birds choose not to do things they don't like, and humans do, that is an interesting thing about being humans. Why do you suppose that is? Isn't it values, habituation, and other cultural things that are making it so we can override our initial dislike? Also, notice how inefficient that is to know you don't like something, and have to use coping strategies to override it. This is unlike a bird that just gets things done and perhaps doesn't even have the ability to not like what it is doing.

    Lost pets often find their families after weeks or months of traveling, sometimes to unknown places. There has to be some sort of motivation beyond momentary happiness.Sir2u

    Better tracking systems don't necessarily amount to "liking" something. Their instincts to stay with the pack and track where the pack was, is not comparable to human varieties of liking and disliking tasks.

    While I lived in the USA a friend moved house from Kenner, New Orleans to the other side of the lake near Covington. About half way across the bridge the cat escaped its cage and jumped out the window. There was absolutely no stopping for any reason on the then very narrow 25 mile long bridge so they had to continue. Two weeks later the cat turns up at the new house, that she never even new existed. Following the scent might explain how she did it, but it does not explain why she did it. What possible motivation would she have had to make the trip instead of just finding a new place to eat. She must have made the decision that it was worth trying for some reason.Sir2u

    I doubt it is for the same like and dislike motivations of a human though, as amazing as that cat is in the story.

    What I would consider more important is explaining the fun and unusual things they do. What motivates them to enjoy doing things? Can it be nothing more that momentary joy, that would not account for cases where the animals repeat the actions on other occasions. To repeat the action would mean that they in some way evaluated it and made a decision to do it again, this would mean that they do self reflect upon their emotions and memories.Sir2u

    Is it a choice or do animals simply follow more basic reward systems of repeating things that felt good and not doing things they disliked (unless trained otherwise). Humans on the otherhand can dislike something and then still follow through but for much more complex reasons based on a linguistic-based brain.
  • Joshs
    645
    " I don't believe that animals even know they like or dislike something over and on top of the primary emotion they feel."

    Neither do humans. Its not over and on top of.
    " It is that secondary level of consciousness I am talking about."

    You have the topography wrong. What makes it a 'level', implying height or hierarchy or depth, instead of simply a changing of subject? Isnt insight just as much a going elsewhere as a going deeper?
    Realization, insight and reflection is a sequential unfolding in time, not a simultaneous elevated meta-thought. It is a further articulation and transformation of a previous thinking. Knowing you dislike something is a a further discovery about that thing.

    How does this differ from an animal's investigating a situation such as to uncover further details of it?
    Is the difference the human awareness of self? I heard a rumor that self is just a heuristic concept used for convenience to give the illusion of subjective control. It doesnt really exist. And as I said earlier, both humans and other animals bring to their present experiencing the whole of their past as a kind of focaled framing of the meaning of the current context. So a person using the contrivance of 'self' awareness or the animal meaningfully unfolding their world in investigating an aspect of it are on a par in carrying forward the existential situation as a whole.

    "So we can override our initial dislike." That's kind of an incoherent concept. Dislike is a specific evaluative affect rendered as it is a t a given time. It is not something to be overridden,. Either it changes or its doesn't. If you want to say our attitude changes then thats a change in the specific quality of dislike. If there's no change in the specific attitude then whatever change or realization takes place isnt any kind of 'overriding", it s a change of a different sort, pertaining to other aspects of our situation tangential to our evaluation of dislike. It could be a way the dislike becomes fleshed out in a particular direction or via particular aspects or colorations or via changes in its ongoing rhythm of intensity.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.7k
    So if humans can constantly self-reflect on their own daily primary tasks, how do we trick our brains into overcoming doing the daily grind of unwanted and unsatisfactory tasks?schopenhauer1

    I would say that the amount of mental energy one has to apply to keep from leaving the unsatisfactory work place and highly unappealing tasks probably exceeds the mental energy required to do the job.

    Having a job is beneficial when one needs an income, obviously. An income allows one to be housed, clothed, fed, amused, and so forth--even if minimally. But we don't suffer from a lack of those things until they are actually gone. So, until we are destitute we can't balance the wretchedness of a job against the wretchedness of homelessness, hunger, and ratty clothing.

    What we do, when we have a job we hate, is direct about 50% of our processing facilities to minutely analyze and re-analyze the cost benefits of the job, and direct the other 50% of our processing power to doing the job well enough to keep it.

    [It may not be the primary task of the job that is loathsome. It may be the work environment, it may be one's pariah status as a temp, it may be a lack of respect from one's co-workers, and so on. A really low-level job can be OK if the other factors are good, and a high-level job can be bad, given other factors.]

    Obviously we are enculturated. If we weren't thoroughly enculturated, we wouldn't be hired to do even stupid boring jobs, and we wouldn't be compensating all over the place trying to justify our esteemed selves being stuck in such a sucky job.
    .
    So, we lie to ourselves and others about what we are doing. We pretend we are not doing something abysmally bad as what we are doing. We deceive. We dissemble. We fake it.

    We might resort to stealing from an employer who, and/or whose job, we really hate. Probably not grand theft, but something. We want to think that our reward (whatever is lifted) is their punishment. We might drop incorrect information into the database, lose important pieces of paper, and so on. We might, horrors of horrors, just do very little and wait for them to fire us. It might take a month before they notice how unproductive we are, and in the meantime, 4 more weekly paychecks have been received.

    We will, of course, focus attention on our lousy pay - reward.

    Self-deceptions don't work.Joshs

    Of course they do, but they need to be properly managed. We can safely deceive ourselves that we COULD beat the boss into submission with our bare hands, but we can not afford to deceive ourselves about getting away with it. We can safely believe that we COULD execute the perfect bank robbery; we can not safely deceive ourselves that we will be successful. When it comes to robbing banks, for instance, one needs to be meticulous and ruthlessly realistic.
  • Sir2u
    1.7k
    Of course they do, but they need to be properly managed. We can safely deceive ourselves that we COULD beat the boss into submission with our bare hands, but we can not afford to deceive ourselves about getting away with it. We can safely believe that we COULD execute the perfect bank robbery; we can not safely deceive ourselves that we will be successful. When it comes to robbing banks, for instance, one needs to be meticulous and ruthlessly realistic.Bitter Crank

    Been there, done that. Humans quite often do deceive themselves into believing that they can get away with things though, and end up in trouble about it.
    Do animals even need to deceive themselves? Say for the moment that they have the capability to do so, what would they deceive themselves about? And more importantly, how would we ever know that they were doing it? If they do deceive themselves then we would have just as much of a problem proving it as we would proving they are not self aware.
    We take a lot for granted when it comes to what animals are mentally capable of, but how does anyone know that any of it is true. Birds, rats, dogs, cats all do things that are for no apparent reason and not all of it could be attributed to instinctual survival behavior.
    When a dog looks for his master's hand to get his ears scratched, does he do it by rote? If that were so then the dog would need some sort of a trigger to activate the action. In many cases I have found that dogs just walk up to you and indicate they want a scratch. Would this not indicate that on some level they have decided that they like scratches and want one now?
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1.2k
    You seem to be very sensitive and knowledgeable about animals. What is your background with them?
  • schopenhauer1
    2.7k
    How does this differ from an animal's investigating a situation such as to uncover further details of it?
    Is the difference the human awareness of self? I heard a rumor that self is just a heuristic concept used for convenience to give the illusion of subjective control.
    Joshs

    Fine and dandy, but only humans employ it this. You are missing the forest for the trees. The outcome is whatever the outcome is to our own selves.

    So a person using the contrivance of 'self' awareness or the animal meaningfully unfolding their world in investigating an aspect of it are on a par in carrying forward the existential situation as a whole.Joshs

    No, it is qualitatively different. By adding the element of time and unfolding, you aren't going to convince me that what the animal is doing is the same type of thing a person is doing with linguistic-conceptual mind. This is conflating two different things to seem as if they are the same. One system requires a linguistic cogntive brain such that humans have, and as far as we know, the only species to do so.

    That's kind of an incoherent concept. Dislike is a specific evaluative affect rendered as it is a t a given time. It is not something to be overridden,. Either it changes or its doesn't. If you want to say our attitude changes then thats a change in the specific quality of dislike. If there's no change in the specific attitude then whatever change or realization takes place isnt any kind of 'overriding", it s a change of a different sort, pertaining to other aspects of our situation tangential to our evaluation of dislike. It could be a way the dislike becomes fleshed out in a particular direction or via particular aspects or colorations or via changes in its ongoing rhythm of intensity.Joshs

    The dislike is there, but the decision to muddle through anyways by valuing something else to carry forward.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.7k
    I would say that the amount of mental energy one has to apply to keep from leaving the unsatisfactory work place and highly unappealing tasks probably exceeds the mental energy required to do the job.Bitter Crank

    Yes, interviews, anxiety over uncertainty, etc.

    Having a job is beneficial when one needs an income, obviously. An income allows one to be housed, clothed, fed, amused, and so forth--even if minimally. But we don't suffer from a lack of those things until they are actually gone. So, until we are destitute we can't balance the wretchedness of a job against the wretchedness of homelessness, hunger, and ratty clothing.Bitter Crank

    True enough, but I contend it is a choice, just weighing one less shitty (but still shitty thing) against another shittier thing. While other animals seem to not give a shit whether they give a shit, we deal with our own understanding of how we feel at any given time about a task or event (and nod to @Joshs that this can change and unfold over time).

    What we do, when we have a job we hate, is direct about 50% of our processing facilities to minutely analyze and re-analyze the cost benefits of the job, and direct the other 50% of our processing power to doing the job well enough to keep it.Bitter Crank

    :rofl: That sounds about right.

    Obviously we are enculturated. If we weren't thoroughly enculturated, we wouldn't be hired to do even stupid boring jobs, and we wouldn't be compensating all over the place trying to justify our esteemed selves being stuck in such a sucky job.Bitter Crank

    Exactly.

    So, we lie to ourselves and others about what we are doing. We pretend we are not doing something abysmally bad as what we are doing. We deceive. We dissemble. We fake it.

    We might resort to stealing from an employer who, and/or whose job, we really hate. Probably not grand theft, but something. We want to think that our reward (whatever is lifted) is their punishment. We might drop incorrect information into the database, lose important pieces of paper, and so on. We might, horrors of horrors, just do very little and wait for them to fire us. It might take a month before they notice how unproductive we are, and in the meantime, 4 more weekly paychecks have been received.

    We will, of course, focus attention on our lousy pay - reward.
    Bitter Crank

    The enculturation of self-motivation to be productive. Isn't the self-respect of the working class hero, something to be, sort of thing simply a value to get by? How is it we need to reassure by enculturated means? What does that mean that we are the only animal that can survive this way? Knowing the situation, possibly evaluating it badly, weighing worse options, and motivating self to go forward. Isn't this a bit trudgey and inefficient? Does that put us in a state of suffering other animals don't experience?

    When it comes to robbing banks, for instance, one needs to be meticulous and ruthlessly realistic.Bitter Crank

    Many old school business owners are meticulous in making sure they take as much advantage as they can of workers, sizing up personalities to see how much they can take without resistance, seeing how low a pay they can work, and seeing how much the worker will take on the interests of the business as their own interests..but these are sort of separate but tangential issues.
  • Possibility
    155
    Just thinking out loud on the subject...

    I think a similar thought process happens when we decide to stop ourselves from performing a task that we would like to do. Like eating a second or third piece of that cake. Just as there are tasks we agree to keep doing that we don’t like, so there are tasks we refrain from doing that we would normally enjoy.

    There seems to be a deeper complexity to our decision making that doesn’t appear to occur in most other animals - although I wouldn’t go so far as to draw a definitive line between humans and all animals on this complexity. There are certainly enough primitive traces of this kind of decision making in various animals to suggest that the distinction may be a greater capacity to develop awareness of additional dimensions of experience, rather than a unique ‘gift’ attributed solely to humans.

    My dog derives a certain amount of reward from barking at anyone who walks past our house. She weighs that against the response she receives from her pack leader (ie. owner), and decides to sit beside me instead - and whine. She doesn’t use the words ‘I like’ or ‘I dislike’, of course, but she nevertheless appears to be communicating a level of discomfort associated with her choice of action. Has she ‘bought in’ to a set of values at some primitive level?

    I think our greater potential awareness of dimensions of experience includes an awareness of continuity of the ‘self’ through time or space. So we may stop ourselves from eating another piece of cake - despite the knowledge that we would immediately enjoy it - because we are aware of longer term effects of this action (and subsequent similar actions) on our sense of self (weight gain, body image, health, longevity, etc) into the future. The awareness of abundance of choice in available food requires us to make more complex decisions based on a broader awareness of self continuing through time than perhaps another human being who experiences no such abundance on a daily basis.

    The broader our awareness of choice, the broader our awareness should become of self - including the implications each choice we make has on a future self, or a more interconnected or more diverse self - and vice versa. But this awareness of both choice availability and self, including the impact of related decisions on the self, are complex potential that may or may not be developed, and also appear to fluctuate in their impact on our consciousness at any one time.

    So when we choose to perform a task even if we don’t like it, what is our awareness of alternative choices, and how do we currently see each of these choices impacting on a present/future, autonomous/interconnected or individual/diverse awareness of self? And when someone complains about a task they don’t like, yet choose to perform, what are they saying about the broadness of their current awareness of self? How conscious are they currently of the complexity and dimensions of their experience? How deeply are they thinking about it?
  • schopenhauer1
    2.7k
    So when we choose to perform a task even if we don’t like it, what is our awareness of alternative choices, and how do we currently see each of these choices impacting on a present/future, autonomous/interconnected or individual/diverse awareness of self? And when someone complains about a task they don’t like, yet choose to perform, what are they saying about the broadness of their current awareness of self? How conscious are they currently of the complexity and dimensions of their experience? How deeply are they thinking about it?Possibility

    I'm not sure how to answer your question. Can you phrase it differently or elaborate?
  • Bitter Crank
    7.7k
    I don't know whether animals can deceive themselves or not. They seem capable of deceiving others. (Squirrels who fake burying nuts when they think they are being watched for instance.)

    What you had to say is interesting, but it didn't connect with what you quoted. That's OK, not complaining.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.7k
    He used to be an animal. Then he got into philosophy and pulled himself up by his four dewlaps.
  • Possibility
    155
    I’m not looking for an answer here. It’s more an alternative way of exploring the concept of self-reflection and self motivation...by looking at awareness of self as a variable factor.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.7k
    I think a larger point here is that values, habituation into certain values, and other cultural norm are more important to human survival than people might initially think. But it is not just this point, which sociological-based models already account for in studying the human animal, it is the point that due to our freedom of choice, we can individually choose to not opt into the group values that were laid down and reinforced in order to get people to do stuff.

    It is just interesting to note that individuals can decide they don't like something that is the very program used by the species to make sure survival takes place. You can say that perhaps this allows for improvement as resistance and dislike lead to possible changes. That may be an answer as to how this works without collapsing, but even if that is the outcome, the affect and toll on the individual who must bear the dislike still exists. @Possibility@Bitter Crank@Joshs@T Clark@Sir2u
  • Joshs
    645
    "program used by the species to make sure survival takes place"

    What I like about enactivist approaches to human cognition is their tying together survival and the continuous self-reinvention of a self-organizing system. This takes place in a dynamic coordination between the setting up of norms among indivuduals and the overcoming of those norms. Following and resisting social structures are equally important to survival via their reciprocally dependent roles in adaptive cultural evolution. We know that equilibration in dynamical systems is a spiral movement in which a given state of equilibrium is disrupted, leading to the eventual formation of a higher and more stable state of equilibrium. Our capacity to not only follow rules but at certain points to find ourselves alienated from those rules would seem to be the way we manifest the dialectical vector of human becoming.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.7k
    We know that equilibration in dynamical systems is a spiral movement in which a given state of equilibrium is disrupted, leading to the eventual formation of a higher and more stable state of equilibrium. Our capacity to not only follow rules but at certain points to find ourselves alienated from those rules would seem to be the way we manifest the dialectical vector of human becoming.Joshs

    That's great and all said objectively and with a scientific style, but being the actual human that goes through this "dialectical vector of human becoming" can be quite stressful, harmful, and negative in general, whether it is good for the system as a whole or not.
  • Possibility
    155
    I’m not sure that a state of equilibrium in a dynamical system is ever a given, though. I would have thought that survival depends on sustaining a certain level of inequilibrium in dynamical systems. It is this necessary inequilibrium that motivates us both towards and away from social structures. Independence, autonomy and absolute celebrity are myths - to pursue them as a system goal is to pursue non-survival, as self-destructive as accepting absolute dependence, oppression and hatred.

    Our capacity to choose other than the program used by the system to make sure survival takes place, for me, comes down to a broader awareness of ‘the system’ that must survive, and our ability to adjust our awareness of who or what is included in ‘the system’ from moment to moment.

    When we narrow or limit our focus, certain actions appear stressful, harmful or negative to the system. When we broaden our awareness of ‘the system’ to include loved ones, community, nation, humanity or life as a whole, then the value of these actions becomes more apparent.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.7k
    When we narrow or limit our focus, certain actions appear stressful, harmful or negative to the system. When we broaden our awareness of ‘the system’ to include loved ones, community, nation, humanity or life as a whole, then the value of these actions becomes more apparent.Possibility

    But it is the individual who is actually experiencing the stress, harm, and negative experiences. To broaden awareness is again more coping strategies and values to motivate to keep going, and does not really resolve the issue as much as show yet another example of how buying into the values of the group, enculturation, etc. is used to help people keep going. It also doesn't really solve the fact that we are aware of disliking tasks related to the very mechanism for survival.
  • Sir2u
    1.7k
    You seem to be very sensitive and knowledgeable about animals. What is your background with them?Noah Te Stroete

    A life time living with and observing them.
  • Sir2u
    1.7k
    What you had to say is interesting, but it didn't connect with what you quoted. That's OK, not complaining.Bitter Crank

    Oh sorry, it was only the first line or so that was in reply to what you said. The rest was just my rambling mind ranting on.
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