• Bitter Crank
    9k
    1) Actions that counter animal's individual interestkudos

    One example of this would be bears which discover garbage. A smorgasbord of stuff is suddenly available, most of which isn't healthy for bears as a steady diet, and displaces their normal diet of stuff like berries, fish, grubs, meat, and so on. Bears seem to be sated the same way that people who eat too much garbage feel sated. Fed and feeling full, but deriving too little essential nutrition along with the calories. The bears are likely to become sick. Plus, the garbage-dump bears become a nuisance (they are too dangerous to have around) so can lead to their deaths by shotgun.

    2) Success in such as way as its interests or needs could be better satisfiedkudos

    I can't think of an example that fits this. What did you have in mind.

    3) Individual interest that counters possibility for survival, or sexual selectionkudos

    Sometimes "odd couples" form, often involving at least one domesticated animal, but not always. Like a goose and a dog, or a horse and a goat. Aside from companionship and ending up on YouTube, there is no advantage to the animals in the odd couple. They are never going to mate.

    Celibate religious are an example of principle 3. It may help an individual's survival (monasteries are usually safe places), but one definitely won't reproduce, if one is faithful to one's vows.
  • kudos
    139
    Death by shotgun... seems excessive, but maybe that's just me.

    As an individual the failure could be weaknesses in one instance are strength in another. Or the qualities could very well rest in behaviour with the highest probability of success.

    To make an analogy with the human being, a businessman with an excellent business idea and strategy could fail nonetheless; That the act was chosen to be imparts some of the weakness and not only the result or the causa finalis of the act. Similarly, we could compare human actions with the animal who does not choose it's own death, but acts it out; in the process allowing another species to survive by balancing the population numbers.
  • Bitter Crank
    9k
    You already know about what I am going to say here, but... I'll press ahead. Strengths, weaknesses, talents, skills, abilities, capacities, traits and so on are generally manifested on a continuum, and their locations on a continuum are mixed as well. So a given lion may have above average vision (for a lion), average hearing, lower than average endurance in a sprint, an exquisite sense of smell, and may not be as intelligent as another lion. The same distribution applies to a given wildebeest. So, survival is the result--to at least a significant degree--of luck. If the lion with less endurance happens to be chasing a lame wildebeest with terrific endurance, the lion may go hungry that time.

    Among humans, one sometimes meets people who seem to have nothing much going for them (homely, not very smart, not physically gifted, etc.) but who are persistent and manage to keep body and soul together for a long time and die of old age in their own bed. How can that be? As The Preacher in Ecclesiastes put it, "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; but time and chance happen to all."

    I am here today, writing to you, because on a number of occasions accidents were less damaging than they VERY EASILY could have been; I didn't get AIDS, but I certainly could have, and so on. It wasn't because of caution, immense prudence, or foresight that I am still here. It was LUCK, True enough, most of the time I lived a conventional life; I went to work, did my job, saved my pennies, ate a healthy diet, exercised, didn't do drugs, or smoke and drink too much for too long a period. But I was also a risk taker, and if you take enough risks, eventually one will get nailed. I backed off risk enough to survive.

    The squirrels that get run over are not examples of unfitness. They are victims of bad luck. Their species didn't evolve to have an understanding of moving vehicles, so whether they are squashed or not is a matter of luck. Some animals are more adaptable. When one bikes down a street where there are lots of pigeons, the birds don't fly away as one approaches. They hop a few inches to get out of the way. Squirrels aren't equipped to do that. On the other hand, squirrels recover 90% of the walnuts they bury. Pigeons aren't equipped to remember where several hundred walnuts are.
  • Bitter Crank
    9k
    we could compare human actions with the animal who does not choose it's own death, but acts it oukudos

    What animal is that?

    Death by shotgun... seems excessive, but maybe that's just me.kudos

    It is just you. If you lived where there are a lot of bears, and one of them was running your way with you on the menu, you'd be happy to have a shotgun handy. What would you use -- a sling shot? A BB gun? You'd fulfill the bear's desire for "Kudos al Fresco"
  • kudos
    139
    But is it good that chance play such a role? Or good that we think it does? As opposed to the viewpoint of, say, believing the squirrel to be weak and incapable of survival by view of lacking the will to exist?

    I suppose we're getting into an area where I've seemed to find the philosophy of Nietzsche difficult to accept. Does our weakness make our existence a crude reality, or is it fundamental to our animal nature that we be submissive, fail at things, imperfect in different ways; Is that a core component of who we are or our real nature?
  • TheMadFool
    7.9k
    In natural predator-prey relationships if a predator is so strong a hunter it proliferates and the prey population declines, their group gets equally wiped out. Would you say in this sense that weakness is necessary for survival, and thereby there is some good in weak people just in lieu of the fact that they are weak relative to their potential?kudos

    I thought it's a rock-paper-scissors arrangement we have in the natural world, like we have in the military: archers beat pikemen, pikemen beat cavalry, and cavalry beat archers. :chin:
  • Bitter Crank
    9k
    But is it good that chance play such a role?kudos

    Good or not, chance is a factor in life. It just IS. What is bad is ignoring the part that chance events play (positive. indifferent, and negative). Unless one thinks that there is a string of implacable deterministic causation from the Big Bang down to this paragraph, then chance is a given.

    Does our weakness make our existence a crude reality, or is it fundamental to our animal nature that we be submissive, fail at things, imperfect in different ways; Is that a core component of who we are or our real nature?kudos

    Weakness, submissiveness, failure, imperfections... fundamental to our animal nature? Not in my book!

    We 'compounded beings' are an amalgam of strengths, flaws, failures, successes, wisdom, stupidity, and so on. Put crudely, we are primates with an overly developed frontal cortex (intellect) driven by a limbic system which evolved to assist survival in the jungle. Our emotions are vital, but they are volatile, and powerful. We prize our intellect, but without our wild emotions, what would we ever accomplish? Nothing.

    Our "core, or real nature", is contradictory. On the one hand, we can reason; apply logic; develop deep insights; construct models of the world. On the other hand, opposite the deep thinker, we can fall stupidly in love, fly into a rage, commit arson, rape, and bloody murder, and then again, suddenly be as gentle as a kitten.

    A core piece of human reality is that we are barely masters of our own houses (our minds).

    So, we go through our lives, sometimes lasting more than a century, as a bundle of contradictory desires, wishes, fears, and hopes. That's kind of who we are. Some people, or maybe beneficiaries of chance, go through life at peace with their different parts. Or maybe the clamped a heavy cover on all that and just ignore it. Some people have a stormy relationship with their parts. They aren't at peace with it all, but that doesn't mean they are miserable. Some people like southern California weather -- nice all the time -- and some people like to have the occasional tornado, violent thunderstorm, blizzard, or the perfect autumn day.

    Does that help any?
  • kudos
    139
    @TheMadFool
    Good or not, chance is a factor in life. It just IS. What is bad is ignoring the part that chance events play

    I thought it's a rock-paper-scissors arrangement we have in the natural world

    It sounds like you are both making a similar point if I'm not misreading it. That to a certain extent chance is a phenomena that occurs external to an individual, and separate from weakness. What does 'chance' itself really mean? Are you talking about events of which we have no control or simple discontinuities in our free will? It seems evident to me that both 'free will' and 'chance' are not words for things in themselves, but a sort of human technology. It is a process of quantification of internal and external causes into a black-box mechanism to be controlled, something that in the 17th century turned into probability. Take any example no matter how extreme, if I knew enough of the details I could argue equally well for either being of pure causation in a simple desire-to-end-result causation. It would be a little unbelievable to say free will should ever be truly discontinuous.

    But it seems worth mentioning here because if we take the viewpoint that the failed animal has no free will in choosing to die, we are subject to saying "it was strength that overcame weakness." Weakness then is just an empty negation with no choice-value but to be avoided - this makes some sense for the individual interest, but terms of higher philosophy wouldn't it be something of a scapegoat?
  • TheMadFool
    7.9k
    chancekudos

    probabilitykudos

    This reminds me of a comment I made in another thread about how even in a completely deterministic set up, the way things proceed/occur may be misconstrued as chance/probability.

    You mentioned this:
    external to an individualkudos

    However, the external is, in a deterministic setting, completely, for lack of a better word, preordained. There are two things to consider here, things out of our control - the external you're talking about - and chance. Methinks, in my humble opinion, you're conflating things out of our control with chance.

    To illustrate, take our solar system and put it in the context of chemistry and physics. Chemistry is life, chemistry is deterministic. An asteroid the size of Texas is physics, physics is deterministic. The event consisting of the Texas-sized asteroid hitting our beloved planet is completely determined by the interaction of mass, energy, and force. In other words, an extinction event asteroid impact is not a chance event at all but, here lies the rub, we, chemistry, life, make the mistake of believing it is.

    :chin:

    This seems off topic to me but you opened this new line of inquiry.
  • Bitter Crank
    9k
    Are you arguing that the motion of small solid bodies in the solar system -- interacting with each other, the planets, and the sun -- are not subject to chance [unpredictable interactions], even while strictly obeying the laws of physics? Or are you proposing that "chance" is the result of inadequately observed causation?
  • Bitter Crank
    9k
    weaknesskudos

    "Strong" and "weak" are relative terms. It seems like an error to use it as a definite, fixed feature.
  • kudos
    139
    Fair to say that at a certain level free will, chance, and determinism break down. What if we could determine down to a science what 'causes' you're consciousness to make decisions, why you like Corn Flakes instead of Captain Crunch? Then your will to know or determine would then turn in on itself and determinate and chance would both make no sense. You were in a sense determined to be free to choose, which is not in my view as contradictory as it sounds. This union actually makes perfect sense if these aren't absolute qualities of things.
  • kudos
    139
    Maybe you can explain how just using the word 'weakness' implies that it is not relative? I'm not seeing it, you'll need to clarify.
  • Bitter Crank
    9k
    You "seem" (appearances may be deceiving) to be using it as a definite, fixed quality. Hey, if your not -- splendid. It just seemed that way to me. But then, I am not omniscient, relative to god, anyway.
  • Outlander
    776


    In that sense? No. I cannot recall- nor would I like to- a time where humans preyed on each other regularly for direct sustenance- in terms of literally eating one another. As far as conquering land and peoples for resources or servitude, yes but even that doesn't mesh with the reasoning in your OP. Animals don't enslave other animals, they eat them- or at the greatest congruence to humans, chase them out of former territory.

    Humanity however is a bit different. When most people think of the word 'weak' they think of lacking physical strength. Seldom does mental ability come to mind. And sure, living as cave peoples someone bigger than yourself makes you for all intents and purposes- weak. As in your power and potential over theirs is far lesser. At least in comparison. But- if you were to say utilize something as simple as a lever and wield something as simple as a slingshot for example, that advantage in strength and size the other person has over you is negated. Or at least, the two are drawn much closer together. Sure, greater physical strength and size will always translate to greater power in terms of analog devices and tools but it becomes less of an inherent necessity.

    If you're from one group who is being invaded by a much larger group, with few numbers left on your own- and you manage to study natural elements and determine which are poisonous- you can use stealth to say "spike" the enemy camps water supply and become victorious by the next morning. Just one of many examples.

    Say you're in a primitive jungle and you come across someone much larger than you. If you can either get them to chase after you or perhaps chastise them if they don't at first, you could lure them to say a pitfall trap with sharpened spikes. Or just in general take someone much stronger than you. If that person is vulnerable to name-calling, insults, and other forms of mental sabotage and you happen not to be, well, you have the upper hand in most things save for a direct conflict of course. And even so, anger or rage especially can lead to mistakes and oversight.

    To answer the question, assuming we're using weakness and strength properly and not completely focused on the physical... generally probably not but I'm sure there are some exceptions. I'm trying to think of a more eloquent way to phrase it other than "don't be like that guy" in terms of motivation to become the strongest you can be, especially if you witness reasons or events where it would've come in handy. Besides, many people and I would hope most train physical strength because they know it's smarter than to not and perhaps even to do good things, but those who don't and do so just for vanity or rather to try and address a deep-rooted personal insecurity or inferiority complex... would probably feel better about themselves after coming across someone less gifted or otherwise "weaker". I suppose there's that.
  • kudos
    139
    So you feel it is frustrating to you for others to strive to be as strong as possible. Why is that, do you think it is an overall bad trait? Just bad for some and not for others? Would you vote for a political leader who had this type of drive?
  • Outlander
    776
    So you feel it is frustrating to you for others to strive to be as strong as possible.kudos

    Not at all. Did I say that? I must've implied it. My mistake. We all have our triggers. Though I believe I pretty much if not explicitly said it's smarter to train physical strength (be strong) than to not (be).

    Why is that, do you think it is an overall bad trait?kudos

    Naturally as a self-proclaimed philosopher I believe mental fortitude can topple brute strength on occasion. Call me a pen mightier than the sword kind of guy if you must. Both are needed really. I suppose seeing as physical strength or power is something largely out of one's control those who rely heavily on something that's a "given" or otherwise easily obtained or done as the entirety of their essence or who they are not only miss out on the more refined things in life but can sometimes dull or handicap the lives of others. Curse of empathy, what can I say.

    Just bad for some and not for others?kudos

    Well, sure. It's not the object or essence it's what it's used for or why you seek it.

    Would you vote for a political leader who had this type of drive?kudos

    Again, it's the intent behind the motive. To quote someone I'm not sure whether or not I admire, leaders are dealers in hope. Peace through strength is a mighty fine slogan and philosophy. Now, how this peace and strength is obtained and maintained I think is the question.
  • TheMadFool
    7.9k
    Are you arguing that the motion of small solid bodies in the solar system -- interacting with each other, the planets, and the sun -- are not subject to chance [unpredictable interactions], even while strictly obeying the laws of physics? Or are you proposing that "chance" is the result of inadequately observed causation?Bitter Crank

    It seems I didn't express myself well enough. Let me give it another shot. @kudos thinks, if I understood him, that things out of our control are chance occurrences. This, to my reckoning, isn't correct. Things out of our control could very well be completely determined in every sense of that word.

    To drive home the point, imagine particles of gas in a container and consider the "life" of one single particle, call it X. The motion of all particles (including X) in the container are fully determined according to science. For X, the things out of our (X's) control are the motions of other particles but notice that that isn't a matter of chance. Au contraire the motions of the particles are out and out determined. In short we can't equate things out of our control with chance.
  • Bitter Crank
    9k
    I think I understand your clear explanation.

    Chance events seem like they are part of the knowable universe. We don't know when they will occur, just that they do. And when they do, chance events will be entirely consistent with the behavior of physical objects.

    Lots of people have guns, bullets, and hands to hold, point, and fire off bullets on any number of trajectories. The behavior of the bullet is entirely determined, but which trajectory the bullet will follow depends on events which are not lawful (determined)--all the factors connected with the firing of the gun.

    So, if a bullet's trajectory from a gun located a considerable distance away should by chance pass through the container of gas particles, the shattering of the glass and the dispersal of the particles, will all be perfectly 'lawful'. But there is no law that states no bullet will be launched on a container-smashing-gas-particle-scattering trajectory.

    That's my view. If you don't agree, that's fine; there's a chance that you won't.

    There's a chance that you won't because, by chance, a highly charged particle may have passed through your brain and disrupted the critical processes of one neuron which was pivotal in determining the way you think about chance.

    Given the number of highly charged particles in the universe, it's amazing we are able to think at all.
  • TheMadFool
    7.9k
    but which trajectory the bullet will follow depends on events which are not lawful (determined)Bitter Crank

    Not to contradict you but name one event in a bullet's trajectory that isn't determined.

    To be frank, the matter isn't as clear to me as I would've liked. What exactly does chance mean to (you and me and @kudos)?

    As far as I'm concerned, since we're talking determinism here, chance is uncertainty in outcomes, a situation brought about by the lack of an observable pattern or if there's a pattern, it's probabilistic with a value between 0% (impossible) and 100% (certain). In other words, if things out of our control were chance, they should be patternless which isn't so. Hence, my reluctance to the claim that things out of our control = chance.

    BitterCrank, wear :mask: and stay safe. :smile:
  • Bitter Crank
    9k
    name one event in a bullet's trajectory that isn't determined.TheMadFool

    Once the bullet leaves the gun, its trajectory is determined. But the moment the fool waving the gun around pulls the trigger is determined by chance. Not patternless?

    BitterCrank, wear :mask: and stay safe. :smile:TheMadFool

    I do, you too.
  • TheMadFool
    7.9k
    Once the bullet leaves the gun, its trajectory is determined. But the moment the fool waving the gun around pulls the trigger is determined by chance. Not patternless?Bitter Crank

    That's begging the question, no? How do you know "the fool" waving the gun around isn't determined?

    I doBitter Crank

    Good to know.
  • kudos
    139
    @kudos thinks, if I understood him, that things out of our control are chance occurrences. This, to my reckoning, isn't correct.

    I'm not exactly sure where this syllogism came from, but I don't remember writing anything about it. I wrote this:

    It sounds like you are both making a similar point if I'm not misreading it. That to a certain extent chance is a phenomena that occurs external to an individual, and separate from weakness.

    The idea of chance as something occurring external to an individual is also generally conventional and is loosely based on the definition of chance via google:

    DEFN(2) The occurrence and development of events in the absence of any obvious design.

    Note the subjectivity present in the definition ̶ 'obvious design'. Obvious design is dependent on how it is observed. The word obvious here makes this impression of the meaning most strongly. I should also like to mention that the structure of saying something is true about chance, that it occurs external to an individual, doesn't make the reverse true or mean that both are the same thing or completely separate.

    As far as I'm concerned, since we're talking determinism here, chance is uncertainty in outcomes, a situation brought about by the lack of an observable pattern or if there's a pattern, it's probabilistic with a value between 0% (impossible) and 100% (certain). In other words, if things out of our control were chance, they should be patternless which isn't so.

    This definition seems to be taking the activity of chance to be the same thing as chance in itself; the quantitative, describing, analytical activity of chance. Your elimination of the subject in "brought about by the lack of an observable pattern," gives this impression, because it negates the subject that is doing the observing and their freedom to choose in applying their methods of understanding. This leads you to the conclusion that everything must be determined because you must determine it. Imagine if we took the activity of philosophy to be the same as philosophy in itself. We would be at risk of limiting ourselves to what our present concept of philosophy allows us to know. Here you are exhibiting the reverse by eliminating what chance allows us to know and treating what it means as obsolete.

    Chance allows us to know weakness, because through the negative activity of denying the institutional methods of quantification, reduction, efficiency, we lose their sense of perspective when forming judgements based on those methods. For instance, positing that strong animals survive and the weak ones die might lead one to believe that to be strong were what we should all strive for, where this is not a scientific truth but a regular judgement. If everyone were to follow it then strength would cease to exist.
  • Dymora
    31
    I think for any species to survive, both dociles and aggressives must exists. These traits form the basis for evolution. Without Hunters there can be no Gatherers. I don't think it is a fluke that the sexes have such different temperaments, either. I think this is intelligent design. One form of evolution is the ability of a species to overcome adversity. nothing more adverse than being eaten. So the Dociles evolve to be faster, more stealthy, taste funny, or some other mutation. The Aggressives adapt to try and take advantage of the Dociles evolutions. Or is it the other way around... I forget... I'm just an old Plumber.
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