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Walther M.M.

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On knowing why we know: metacognition over social narratives

We humans like thinking that we are rational beings capable of higher-level thinking, and that that separates us from other animals. The problem is, our brains are so efficient that they manage to automate a significant part of our learning processes, to the point where we no longer are aware of some of the sources of our beliefs.

These influences will remain hidden from our awareness, subconsciously shaping our very view of the world, until they get pointed out and we acknowledge them; only then can we actually claim ownership of such knowledge and appropriately use it.

The shared article focuses on racism, but any angle will do to learn and understand the degree to which our culture shapes our thinking.

#psychology   #society   #cognition  
 
quote: The mass media helps to create what Walter Lippman famously referred to as “the pictures inside our heads.’” The news media (and popular culture as a whole) helps individuals to create a cognitive map of the world around them by teaching lessons about life, politics, society, desire, relationships, and other values. This cognitive map also helps individuals to locate themselves relative to other groups of people in a given community. This cognitive map provides a set of rules, guidelines, and heuristics for navigating social reality.

In a society such as the United States, organized around maintaining certain hierarchies of race, class, gender, and sexuality, how one sees themselves is often a reflection of precisely how they are not members of a given group. Those lessons are internalized on both a conscious and subconscious level; on a basic level, the in-group is defined relative to the out-group.

This is the essence of making a person or group into the Other.
The contrast in media narratives about Baltimore and Waco are undeniable—but many white Americans are blind to them.
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I would say that ignorance tends to see everything in two colours: right and wrong. Dichotomies everywhere make for a so much simpler (and duller) understanding of the world. :P
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Welcome to the social internet: where we are all judges and executors

A lack of empathy coupled with a strong desire for justice in a world that seems so unjust are sufficient to launch us into what is aptly named mob justice.

With the internet giving a voice to all of us, everybody is empowered to be a force of change, a force of good.

Yet, if we are not careful on how we go about it, our thirst for justice will just end up being a quest for vengeance, and the punishment may be way steeper than the crime.

This is why I believe that true justice can only be attained when empathy is exercised.
 
Oh good. I'm not alone in referring to it as mob justice.
Outrage culture and internet mob justice make a mockery of justice and ruin the lives of real people.
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Six kinds of love
Long ago I read a book by psychologist Walter Riso which broke down the components of a healthy relationship into a balance of three types of love: agape, philia, and Eros. It turns out that there are even more types of love that the Greek understood.

Understanding these could be a good help to realize the state of our relationships and which kinds of love we might need more of in our lives (and no, don't expect a single romantic partner to be the infallible source for all of them, that's a recipe for disappointment).
 
I dug this article up when I was looking for the nth varieties of "love" in another conversation here on G-Plus. For all of english's incredible agility as a trade and technical language it's daily use is emotionally stilted. Why aren't we using eros, philia, ludus, agape, pragma, and philautia as words in our daily life? 

These are Greek concepts and words. Are there any words you know of that we could steal from asian or other non-romance languages? I want to hear them. I'm sick of using the dumb phrase "love" when I really want to express a nuanced form of appreciation and/or affection. 
Can six loves known to the Greeks inspire us to move beyond our current addiction to romantic love, which has 94 percent of young people hoping — but often failing — to find a unique soul mate who can satisfy all their loving needs?
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The capacity for love is a bit of a big concept. I've considered it on the scale of our faith in humanity (e.g.: if we think people, deep down, are all selfish, that stunts our ability to love). But both axes could be intertwined, as our view of humanity tends to be tinted by our own view of ourselves. Thus, in a way, knowledge of ourselves implies knowledge of others, and both are involved in the development of wisdom (which is my personal theory of how love is best nurtured). 
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The Moral Circle
And how we destroy each another by imposing our ethics on others

"To whom do we apply ethics?" Is a curious question. Naturally, every sentient being has some sort of notion of what is appropriate or incorrect behaviour (even if it's something as simple as: "it's appropriate if it improves my chances of survival), but here we have a question that allows the possibility of extending ethics from the self, to those around us. Or said in other words, this question raises the notion of imposing a set of ethics to a larger group of beings.

Do we ever have the right to impose ethics on others? When we think we should, we code behaviours representative of these in the law. Another group that believes in promoting their ethics are religions. Yet... there are times when both have gone horribly wrong, and when great harm has been caused to others, often in the name of a "greater good". Morality wielded as a weapon meant to protect the social good while sacrificing individuals may be as old as politics itself.

Yet, is the other extreme feasible? Is it reasonable to believe that our moral circle would best be left to "ourselves" and that the law should just concern itself with protecting individuals so that they may live according to their own ethics?

As it is, I fear we need a certain degree of interference, to protect each another from unethical acts (where there's a good chance of significant harm). Perhaps a more enlightened society (or at least, more self-aware) wouldn't need a larger moral circle but, until then, we are subject to both the benefits and harms that entail a larger one.
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I understand, +Peg Ritchie​. A certain degree of "default morals" is practical because it helps guide people who haven't matured enough to have reached the same conclusions on their own. Saving themselves from their ignorance, so to speak.

It's just seriously problematic when it turns out such wisdom was "wrong," and there is a giant social backlash against any changes, since the social wisdom of said norms is firmly held as "truth."

Not quite unlike our modern society and the many social injustices which were (and still are by many) considered as normal. 
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Why repress that which is a basic need for survival?

A pretty interesting read on the various ways in which priests rationalize their sinful ways. Even if you think restrain from a natural impulse builds character / discipline, finding ways of denying what one does opens the door to plenty of hypocritical judging when others do the same. Not cool.

#masturbation   #priesthood   #sexuality             

h/t:  +Violet Blue 
Gay marriage contraceptives abortion for a religion so preoccupied with using what is or isn t natural http www.usccb.org issues and action marriage and family natural family...
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"Why repress that which is a basic need for survival?"
 You've noticed we are a species of mask worshipers.
 I think it's part of the power mask of priests.
To make them appear less human and more
god-like. It increases their influence over their
flock..
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Walther M.M.

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The end is nigh

The elephant in the room is that we are headed towards a truly awful future unless we can achieve a sort of "global awakening of humanity."

Aren't we glad it's just our grandchildren who are going to suffer?

Via +Susan Stone​, whose thread has some great comments, here:
https://plus.google.com/+SusanStone/posts/XfKCdzbgxJA

#climatechange
 
A sobering outlook of the current crisis.

#climatechange   #globalwarming   #sustainability   #science  
It's still "possible" to avoid horribly grim outcomes, but ... not likely.
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Why an Enduring Self is a delusion

The Self is the focal narrative point for all of us. Yet, upon further inspection, what it is becomes much more harder to define. It isn't quite our personality, for it is highly variable, depending on various contextual factors such as the emotions that are being experienced at the time. It also isn't our beliefs or knowledge, for that too changes with time (though at a more gradual pace).

The shared article explores a bit these topics, within the Buddhist notion of Anatta (non-self), and then goes on a bit into the implications, and applications, that such a concept can have upon our daily lives (it's written from a psychotherapeutic point of view).

It's a somewhat lengthy read, but a very thought-provoking one at that.

#psychology   #buddhism
 
I thought this was interesting....
Mindfulness practice increases our capacity to ride the waves of pleasure and pain.
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There are ways to meditate, +Arjaya Mahajana​. Personally speaking, I understand "quieting the mind" as a way to listen and become aware of our automatic thoughts. It's a tool to help raise awareness of the automatic, the goal isn't to have a blank mind, even if that's the tool used to achieve it. :P
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When reason and kindness fail, there's always room for shaming

Social pressure is an exceptionally strong normalizing force, as it is what enforces the "social contract" way before any laws are required. The linked article tells a brief history of how shaming has been used effectively in the recent past to alter the course of society, and thus, how it could be used today in positive ways.

Granted, for it to work it requires a significant number of supporters; or enough media influence to make it seem significant (this highlights how important is the media's role in shaping the course of society, but that's another topic).

Though I'd much rather use kindness and empathy to try and get people agreeing, there might be cases where the time is against us, and more drastic measures are required.

PS: Do notice the distinction between shaming and humiliating: target the beliefs, not the people.
 
The best way to win a debate is to present your facts in a clear, respectful way. When that doesn't work, another option is incessant ridicule. Here's why we have to use shame if we want to stop the anti-vaccine movement.
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Walther M.M.

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A look at our "toxic society"

Perhaps the most important service that society can provide to its members is a safe environment in which they can develop and seek their happiness.

Yet, out of fear and short-sightedness, what we've gotten instead is an extremely normalized structure in which only a very specific prototype of a person can reap all of its benefits (this is where you usually hear about the middle-aged, white, heterosexual man, who also follows some very specific definitions of masculinity and gender behaviour).

This article does touches on many of the flaws of our current system, and how it's set up to even impede progress to some of the most privileged (mostly because today consent is a thing to consider whereas it wasn't back when these norms were set up).

It is only when we can all acknowledge that there's indeed a problem with our society that we will be able to make significant progress in improving it.

#society   #feminism  
 
Best, most empathetic write-up that is also true and honest. I recommend it to all my nerd feminist-friendly guys who get really upset when we don't use the word "some" when we talk about men.
White male nerds need to recognise that other people had traumatic upbringings, too - and that's different from structural oppression.  
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Because in most human tragedies, there are only victims

"During the course of my [sexual abuse prevention psychology] studies, it became apparent to me that the best way to help victims is to help the perpetrators."

This is something that is extremely uncomfortable (if not unacceptable) to a good swath of the population. Most of us want to believe in justice, in rewarding good and punishing evil. Yet, humans are rarely evil, they are merely the result of complex interactions from their past that ended up shaping their present selves and their actions.

"For me, understanding those attracted to minors paved the way to compassion for abusers, which is essential in turning victimization into empowerment."

And forgiveness is the final step, which many may never actually reach. Yet, without forgiveness, we never fully heal, we cling on to the scars, and fear.

#psychology   #abuse   #compassion
 
 I learned that it was it was rude to say no to a man with an erection; I was responsible for it, and I should take care of it. I vividly remember our Presbyterian preacher literally murmuring to me that I should stay a virgin while he fondled me, praying that I would develop large breasts just like my mother, and attempted to digitally penetrate me and have me fondle him numerous times at church youth camp retreats he led. 
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The root of most of today's social issues, in a nutshell

"The douchebag is someone — overwhelmingly white, rich, heterosexual males — who insist upon, nay, demand their white male privilege in every possible set and setting."

Because if it weren't for them, it'd be much easier to establish dialogue and work towards solutions, rather than engage in endless discussions against these people who outright deny such a thing as privilege.

It's an angle worth thinking about.

#privilege   #racism   #sexism

Via +Monica Madison 
by Michael Mark Cohen “The white folks had sure brought their white to work with them that morning.” Chester Himes, If …
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Seeker of Wisdom
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I may talk too much, but I think even more >_<
Introduction
Introverted thinker with interests in philosophy and psychology. May not enjoy posting all that much (with the attention it gathers), but likes commenting on subjects of interest and playing the role of antagonist.

My being here isn't really to make friends or network, but instead as a resource for interesting debate and attaining wisdom. Because of this, I am likely to follow people who have engaging, insightful, or otherwise thought-provoking public content.

The topics which interest me are:
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology (in particular love, relationships and sexuality)
  • Spirituality
  • Social Issues
  • Digital art
  • Video games
  • Volleyball
(though I doubt I'll ever post content about the last three, there are far better venues for those topics).
Bragging rights
Humility and compassion are the greatest traits a human is capable of. Don't brag unless you'd rather be controlled by your ego.