• Possibility
    59
    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.schopenhauer1

    You’re assuming that individual survival is the main aim here, not to mention an individual life free of stress, harm and negative experience.
  • Sir2u
    1.6k
    He used to be an animal. Then he got into philosophy and pulled himself up by his four dewlaps.Bitter Crank

    I am still am animal, and always will be just like the rest of you.
    And no I do not even have a double chin never mind a rollypolly neck. The only extra weight I have is the 12 pack just above the belt line which I do blame philosophy for. Too much time sitting around contemplating the universe.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.6k
    You’re assuming that individual survival is the main aim here, not to mention an individual life free of stress, harm and negative experience.Possibility

    Indeed I do. Your "aim" seems to be a bit elusive, but I am sure it has something to do with species-survival through group enculturation and values. The individual works on behalf of the group and the group reinforces the individual, and everything is strengthened.. Something along those lines right? The "systems view", so to say. It's almost by saying it, it feels the superior approach to that antiquated individualist.. Balance, group, system, mutual reinforcement, just have that ring of truth to it, doesn't it?

    Alas, my ethical purview ends at the individual. Our first person point of view, is all there is in terms of what feels, what experiences, what copes. The group may be a concept used for this or that motivating value, but it is the individual where it all takes place- the enculturation, the motivation, the effort, etc. Going back to my antinatalist ideas, I do not believe in using individuals and their experiences as a way to further the agenda of a third-party- immediate group or otherwise. Individuals may be used as a way to strengthen the group, and the individual does indeed live in a group, but this doesn't mean the individual isn't harmed, stressed, or otherwise from experiences dealing with the group. Zeroing in on the topic at hand- the individual experiences the negative evaluation of dealing with a certain task, and having to cope with it using whatever values and ideas to get through the task.

    Indeed, the individual being stressed on behalf of the group is problematic for me. Unlike (what appears from) other animals, who do not have the level of self-reflection and then a need to use values and ideas to overcome dislike- individual humans can understand they dislike a situation and use values, habituation, and the like to try to deal with it an ameliorate it to get through it, especially if other options are seen as even less attainable and this is judged the "best" option for that moment.
  • Joshs
    437
    "can be quite stressful, harmful, and negative in general, whether it is good for the system as a whole or not" The system I had in mind was one's own, not some amorphous Hegelian community. I was channeling Piaget, who likened the vector of cognitive assimilation to a self-organizing dynamicial system. Of course disequilibrium is painful, that's what negative affect is to Piaget, the expression of a personal system needing to reorganize itself at a higher level. In a more general sense, negative affects like fear, guilt and sadness signal aspects of our construed world that lie outside of the range of our system's ability to assimilate them, where the world no longer makes sense to us as it did previously and we need to creatively reform and broaden our categories of understanding.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.6k
    In a more general sense, negative affects like fear, guilt and sadness signal aspects of our construed world that lie outside of the range of our system's ability to assimilate them, where the world no longer makes sense to us as it did previously and we need to creatively reform and broaden our categories of understanding.Joshs

    Yes, again a lot off stress on the individual.
  • Joshs
    437
    keep in mind also that sources of stress are very often not simply an individual's opposition to group norms but an individual's opposition to their own previously held personal norms. Guilt typically is an affect that arises when we have 'grown out of' certain ways that we used to think and value, but didn't realize we did until it brought] us into conflict with others we used to be in agreement with.
  • Joshs
    437
    Are you afraid of that stress, think it shoudnt be there , surprised or disappointed by it? Piaget would argue that the stress diminishes in proportion to progress in our worldviews. It allows us to more and more effectively anticipate the world, and particularly the world of other human thinking and norms. Stress isnt just finding ourselves on the outs with respect to other persons' outlooks and norms, its our inablity to understand why they hold the views they do.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.6k
    It doesn't really matter- the outcome is about the same. Disliking and coping with it. Disliking and KNOWING that we dislike, and then having to be habituated enough, or incorporate whatever values to keep going- this is another layer of negative stress on the individual human. I remember a quote for Office Space for example, where Peter Gibbons wanted to be hypnotized so he didn't really know that he was working while he was at work- like instantly being in a flow state with no effort. Anyways, I am not saying that is exactly how animals must perceive (we can never really know) but something akin to that in the idea that they don't know they are disliking as they are disliking (if they can even "dislike" in the way a linguistic-conceptual animal like us can). They the job done through hardwired responses or reward response systems which allow for little understanding that they are responding to a reward response system. I know you want to derail this part into the topic of "animals know they dislike" and make misapplied analogies to animal behavior that are not the same, but that isn't quite the point here really.

    Rather, it is that we humans deal with the fact that we can know we dislike and then basically have to decide if we want to deal with the stress of even lesser options or going through the unliked situation anyways- despite our UNDERSTANDING of our OWN dislike.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.6k
    Are you afraid of that stress, think it shoudnt be there , surprised or disappointed by it? Piaget would argue that the stress diminishes in proportion to progress in our worldviews. It allows us to more and more effectively anticipate the world, and particularly the world of other human thinking and norms. Stress isnt just finding ourselves on the outs with respect to other persons' outlooks and norms, its our inablity to understand why they hold the views they do.Joshs

    There are just certain undesirable tasks for the individual. One has to get through this somehow. This can be taking on values to lower the dislike for it, getting around the dislike, etc. etc. But the fact is that we KNOW we dislike, and that adds another layer to it.
  • Sir2u
    1.6k
    I know you want to derail this part into the topic of "animals know they dislike" and make misapplied analogies to animal behavior that are not the same, but that isn't quite the point here really.

    Rather, it is that we humans deal with the fact that we can know we dislike and then basically have to decide if we want to deal with the stress of even lesser options or going through the unliked situation anyways- despite our UNDERSTANDING of our OWN dislike.
    schopenhauer1

    I don't think that anyone here has actually denied that this is true about humans, most have accepted it to be true. Whether it is a self applied defense mechanism or even some sort of hard wired "suck it up" behavior we cannot be sure, but yes humans have this ability. It is incredible.

    But it is your insistence that only humans have this ability that bothers me.
    There are many examples of animals doing repeatedly things that they like to do, after obviously taking some sort of decision to do it. There are many examples of animals not doing things that they obviously enjoy doing and have done willingly plenty of times, after obviously taking some sort of decision to do it. I agree that not all animals are capable, but there are many that do seem to consider consequences before acting.

    So why do you think is it not possible for them to understand their own likes and dislikes? Could it not be simply because we are not able to understand them that they appear not to be self conscious?
  • Joshs
    437
    We could turn the tables on the argument. Instead of arguing that animals as well as humans are self- conscious, we could take the post-modern turn and argue for surface over depth. that is to say, post-modern and post-structuralist philosophy and psychology critiques the Enlightenment notion of human though as uniquely capable of becoming aware of itself as a thinking creature(Cogito ergo sum). The mertaphysical idea of self-knowing would be the idea that we have an emotion and then we can turn our attention to our awareness of being aware. Rather than arguing that animals are also capable of this, the postmodern move is to deny that we somehow climb on top of our experiences such as to gain a meta-position from which to observe them. This illusion of height or depth is the result of overlooking the fact that the act of attempting such a recursive reflection transforms the basis of the meaning we are trying to enclose within our meta-awareness. So what seems like going deeper or higher is merely a modification of the previous meaning. I feel afraid one minute. The next I say that I am examining the fear itself as fear and this is the essence of human self-knowing. But animals not only feel afraid, they can also be aware of the feeling of fear in itself . One can artificially induce symptoms that mimic fear with an adrenaline shot, an an animal will interpret the bodily sensations as fear.

    It comes down to a question of what awareness means, and what purpose its serves in the first place.
    Philosophical Pragmatism tells us that awareness is a relation, an activity, a transformation , a way of interacting with the world to effect a change.It is not a passive looking .So if a single act of awareness takes us from here to there, then a second act, rather than going deeper within the first act, is a further accomplishment of resituating our meaningful relations with the world. So what the metaphysical thinking of self-awareness would consider a bring oneself closer to oneself is in fact a moving further away from ones prior self in each subsequent act of reflection. In a way one could argue that it is animals which are more self-aware than us humans if the measure of self-knowledge is the preserving of a static sense of self. It is we who transform our sense of ourselves more continuously, and do this in an accelerative manner over the course of human history. Awareness is adaptive not to the extent that it reifies a particular sense of self, but by virtue of its reconstituting what it refers back to. Adaptive self-awareness endlessly multiplies and invents new versions of self.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.6k
    I don't think that anyone here has actually denied that this is true about humans, most have accepted it to be true. Whether it is a self applied defense mechanism or even some sort of hard wired "suck it up" behavior we cannot be sure, but yes humans have this ability. It is incredible.Sir2u

    I like the use of "suck it up" here..you hear that so much in various direct and indirect ways. Just another value to be enculturated from social cues.

    So why do you think is it not possible for them to understand their own likes and dislikes? Could it not be simply because we are not able to understand them that they appear not to be self conscious?Sir2u

    Because they don't have the meta-cognition for this. To know one's own likes and dislikes (and not just "dislike" in the moment as a primary perception) is to have a model of self, which as far as we know really requires language. That is not to say that there are not rudimentary traces of this in great apes and some other animals, but I would still not call that developed enough. Our species happened to evolve in the unique trait of linguistic mental capacities which then ratcheted the brain in a co-evolution of sorts to have abilities that co-opted this capacity with more plasticity, episodic memory, and learning (which allowed for more cultural input rather than hard-wired or rudimentary learning techniques). Anyways, just like we can make a substance that looks and acts like a spider web, we can't spin a web ourselves. That's just not what our species was adapted to do. The language centers and co-opted centers that evolved with/from this were taken from more primitive centers I agree (i.e. mirror neurons, FOXP2 gene, the neocortex development, the brocas and wernikes region, etc.).
  • Josh Alfred
    98
    If you look into brain anatomy of animals, you will realize that most birds, all dogs, and felines, have a frontal cortex. They can think with some depth of reflection. They can also make a choice, upon their minor reflection. I say I know this based on my experiences with them and with watching them on-line.Of course the less frontal brain matter you have the more instinctual your responses, as was seen in the famous case of Phineas Gauge or one could make more sense of this by comparing the frontal cortex of a small specific bird to that of a breed of large dog. Instincts are there in both cases, but the bigger brain offers a little more brain activity just necessary enough to distinguish between choices better.
  • Possibility
    59
    I feel afraid one minute. The next I say that I am examining the fear itself as fear and this is the essence of human self-knowing. But animals not only feel afraid, they can also be aware of the feeling of fear in itself . One can artificially induce symptoms that mimic fear with an adrenaline shot, an an animal will interpret the bodily sensations as fear.Joshs

    An animal doesn’t so much interpret the bodily sensations as fear - I think it simply makes no mental distinction between the feeling of fear and its bodily sensations in response. That’s not to say it doesn’t make choices regarding its behaviour.

    Interestingly, a human will often interpret these same bodily sensations as anything BUT fear in the moment: anger, excitement, anxiety, arousal, nervous energy, adrenalin, even illness or a combination. We generally have a more complex ability to intervene and rationalise between bodily sensations and how we consciously respond to them than most animals - including how we interpret these sensations, our awareness of options and factors in how we evaluate them. But our focus on this level of thought process reduces ‘feeling’ to our interpretation of bodily sensations, ignoring a more ‘primitive’ process whereby the bodily sensations are themselves an unconscious response in the physiological system to a broader feeling of fear itself.

    In most cases, we make a distinction between bodily sensations and the feeling of fear in itself only by denying that feeling of fear - by interpreting the bodily sensations as something other than fear. I think humans have a tendency to either:
    - oppress or deny ‘feeling’ as a valid response to the world (rationalising our physical or mental responses to various defined ‘emotions’); or
    - deny any distinction or intervention between feeling, bodily sensation and conscious response (calling it ‘instinctive’ behaviour).
    Both allow for self-deception and create a limited awareness of the universe.

    In order to make a true distinction in our awareness of feeling, we need to understand ‘feeling’ as more than just bodily sensations or emotions that lend themselves to rational thought and language. We need to learn to retain conscious control of our body while enabling ourselves to simply ‘feel’ the universe beyond our physical senses, thoughts or memories - to recognise sensations or experiences outside of these other three forms of interaction. Only then can we become aware of feeling in itself.

    It comes down to a question of what awareness means, and what purpose its serves in the first place.
    Philosophical Pragmatism tells us that awareness is a relation, an activity, a transformation , a way of interacting with the world to effect a change.It is not a passive looking .So if a single act of awareness takes us from here to there, then a second act, rather than going deeper within the first act, is a further accomplishment of resituating our meaningful relations with the world. So what the metaphysical thinking of self-awareness would consider a bring oneself closer to oneself is in fact a moving further away from ones prior self in each subsequent act of reflection. In a way one could argue that it is animals which are more self-aware than us humans if the measure of self-knowledge is the preserving of a static sense of self. It is we who transform our sense of ourselves more continuously, and do this in an accelerative manner over the course of human history. Awareness is adaptive not to the extent that it reifies a particular sense of self, but by virtue of its reconstituting what it refers back to. Adaptive self-awareness endlessly multiplies and invents new versions of self.
    Joshs

    This makes a lot of sense to me, in some respects. I think ‘preserving a static sense of self’ is a step backwards, though. It’s not more self-aware, but less. Awareness is a continual process of relation, interaction and transformation between an ever-changing sense of self in an ever-changing sense of the universe. I think the more aware we become, both of ourselves and the universe, the less static everything appears...
  • Joshs
    437

    Sounds like you're a Heideggerian.

    The radicality of Heidegger shows itself in his understanding of mood as inseparable from the f self-transformative basis of Being itself, his understanding of temporality as always ahead of itself in a radical anticipation which makes past, present and future belong to each other, and his elimination of categorical distinctions between sensation, perception, cognition, willing, desiring and affect.

    "Understanding is never free floating, but always attuned. The there is equiprimordially disclosed by mood, or else closed off." "The different modes of Befindlichkeit ... have long been well-known ontically under the terms 'affects' and 'feelings'(138)" Attunement brings Da-sein before its thrownness in such a way that the latter is not known as such, but is disclosed far more primordially in "how one is." Being thrown means existentially to find oneself in such and such a way."(Being and Time)

    "All understanding is essentially related to an affective self-finding which belongs to understanding itself. To be affectively self-finding is the formal structure of what we call mood, passion, affect, and the like, which are constitutive for all comportment toward beings, although they do not by themselves alone make such comportment possible but always only in one with understanding, which gives its light to each mood, each passion, each affect. Being itself, if indeed we understand it, must somehow or other be projected upon something. This does not mean that in this projection being must be objectively apprehended or interpreted and defined, conceptually comprehended, as something objectively apprehended. Being is projected upon something from which it becomes understandable, but in an unobjective way. It is understood as yet pre- conceptually, without a logos; we therefore call it the pre-ontological understanding of being."(Basic Problems of Phenomenology)

    On the other hand, you had mentioned Nozick in a previous post. Martha Nussbaum's views overlap Nozick's, and if this is close to your thinking, then perhaps you are in accord with Nussbaum's neo-Kantian model of affect and emotion.
    As far as the relation between bodily feedback and the awareness of affect, the argument of manuy in contemporary cog sci emotion theory would be that while our conscious experience of affectivty, mood ,emotion is the result of a complex integrative process involving situational interpretation, memory, langauge and bodily feedback
    , if one removes the somatic feedback the experience of affect is severely attenuated.
  • Joshs
    437
    What specific instincts was H.M. displaying? Does instinct here mean following a hard-wired program or just stereotypical behavior lacking inhibition?
  • Josh Alfred
    98
    He was showing a lack of inhibition of many intense emotions. Instinctual fears and angers became intense impulses. There is more too it. I only have read a few articles on GUAGE and not any recently.

    Sorry guys its wasn't HM IT WAS PHINES Gauge. Hm was hippocampi, Guage was frontal cortex.
  • Sir2u
    1.6k
    Because they don't have the meta-cognition for this.schopenhauer1

    How do you know that they don't have the meta-cognition for this? If as you have said this is true, there must be some evidence of it.

    To know one's own likes and dislikes (and not just "dislike" in the moment as a primary perception) is to have a model of self, which as far as we know really requires language.

    Our species happened to evolve in the unique trait of linguistic mental capacities which then ratcheted the brain in a co-evolution of sorts to have abilities that co-opted this capacity with more plasticity, episodic memory, and learning (which allowed for more cultural input rather than hard-wired or rudimentary learning techniques).
    schopenhauer1

    Again, what proof do you have that language is necessary to have a model of self. We don't even know if animals have language or not. There are many theories but no real evidence in either direction. How can you be sure that there are not animals that have a language hard wired into them. There is an theory about this question but I will let you find it.

    The language centers and co-opted centers that evolved with/from this were taken from more primitive centers I agree (i.e. mirror neurons, FOXP2 gene, the neocortex development, the brocas and wernikes region, etc.).schopenhauer1

    So the only way to develop language is the human way, no other possibilities? We certainly don't fully understand how humans have developed into what we are today, and unfortunately we have even less understanding of how animals have done so. Yes they can to a certain accuracy explain the ancestry of a lot of animal, where the came from, but they still have a long way to go explaining anything other than the obvious physical changes. Little has been done to study animal culture, the norms, customs, rules and so on of the group interactions. And most social animals do seem to have them.

    Let me leave you with a joke.

    An old monkey was sitting in a tree deep in the African jungle with his grandson. The little one sees some people coming up the hill towards them.
    He jumps up and down with excitement and says "Grandad look, people"
    The older monkey says "Sit down and shut up"
    A few minutes later the youngster says "Grandad look they are almost here"
    The older monkey says "Sit down and shut up"
    A few minutes later the youngster says "Grandad they are almost here. Lets go down and talk to them"
    The older monkey says "Sit down and shut up"
    The youngster, almost crying says " But Gramps I want to talk to the people"
    The older monkey says "Sit down and shut up"
    As the people pass by the young monkey weeps at the lost opportunity. After a while he says " Why did you not want to talk to the people Grandad?"

    The old monkey looks at the little one and says " If those white things ever found out we could talk they would drag us away and make us work for nothing like they did with those black things that used to live down by the river."
  • Wallows
    7.1k
    This might come off as disingenuous; but, the Nazi's hanged signs stating something to the matter that work gives one freedom, feeding the belief that if the poor Semite worked hard enough s/he might escape the confines of the concentration camp.

    Analogously, we undertake work in our lives. If we were 100% rational about the whole thing, then we would most likely turn inwards and start by altering our needs and then wants rather than the world to make it conform to how we want it to look like.
  • Possibility
    59

    You may find that your attempts to define and then label my philosophical approach will prove frustrating for you. I am not a student of philosophy in the university-educated sense, so I have not been forced to state my position at any point in relation to certain traditions and theories. I’ve found your name-dropping interesting to read up on, but I’m not going to try and substantiate my own thoughts on the subject by attributing them to a credible name or theory - it only leads to misleading assumptions in forum discussions, in my experience. You can give it a go for your own understanding, but it’s liable to change tomorrow as new experiences come to light for me - just thought I’d warn you...

    As far as the relation between bodily feedback and the awareness of affect, the argument of manuy in contemporary cog sci emotion theory would be that while our conscious experience of affectivty, mood ,emotion is the result of a complex integrative process involving situational interpretation, memory, langauge and bodily feedback
    , if one removes the somatic feedback the experience of affect is severely attenuated.
    Joshs

    My point is that we shouldn’t rely on what feedback we can measure or define as the only contributions that feeling brings to awareness. There is experientially more to somatic feedback than what can be substantiated by data or precise, rational language. Subjective experience contains a pre-linguistic, pre-cognitive element that regularly falls off the radar in rational discussions of emotion and feeling, for obvious reasons. That doesn’t make it irrelevant - just easy to ignore or dismiss. And then our expression of ‘felt’ awareness becomes limited, a la David Eggers’ ‘The Circle’ (the novel, not the movie).
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