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  1. #46
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    If morality is no more than aesthetics, transforming the world before us into the image of what we think it should be, and there is no right or wrong beyond that effort, in fact if right and wrong is defined BY that effort, then where does our image come from? And how radically can it change? We've seen atrocities occur historically, so it's clear that our vision of the future of man can be easily manipulated.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    But by image I'm referring to that ideal, vague and muddled as it may be, of what it means to be good in this world.
    So in other words, we create the ideal for "good" and try to achieve it, or it was created by not-us and is essential to our conscious existence and we try to achieve it.

    I maintain that socialization is king here. Morality is a communal construct. Isolated animals (humans included) invariably fail to learn to adapt to social codes, including morality. If morality was essential, we would expect to see moral behaviours in developmentally isolated humans and animals. We don't. So we create morality. Why? To help us get along for the exact reasons we learn to speak and assemble in groups.

    For some the variable is much more fluid, and in societies where freedoms are more restricted, it's obviously less so, and it's less a function of the individual's whim, psychology etc.
    See now this is a weird statement from you, I think. "Freedom"? What's that? In a "free" western society fundamentalists are vilified. In a fundamentalist society "free" westerners are vilified. Both "freedom" ideals are based on moral ideals, and freedom is no less aesthetic than morality. Saying some societies are "free" is a value judgment based on...

    Killing vs murder? Aesthetics and semantics. Killing is an action, murder is an aesthetic evaluation.
    Most of the time, I murder spiders. Sometimes, I euthanize them after my attempt at murder fails. (why is there no satan smiley???) I'd suck as a buddhist.

  2. #47
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    And I open the window so the flies can escape....

    I said freedoms, not freedom. There was no value applied to it. It was purely descriptive.

  3. #48
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    See, this is a difficult way to think of it though...
    An instant morality can last a lifetime if the only people you are ever around are folk who think the way you do. We generally conform to the laws of the land without thinking about it a lot. OTOH, a criminal refuses to conform. That's what makes them criminals.
    Is it ok for me to run them off the road?
    Does the fact no one likes them convert to it's okay for you to kill them? Don't think the instant morality of our times will support that.
    I think morality can only be communal..
    Explain heretics.
    So explain Stockholm Syndrome...
    Instant accomodation/conversion to a new morality. The fact that I think attempts to force morality on a individual will turn violent is supported by the notion that individuals suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome are believed to have undergone significant emotional trauma. Trauma is indicative of violence.
    I maintain that socialization is king here.
    I maintain socialization is a poor cousin to personal identity. We learn as we grow. We are socialized young but we adapt what we were taught to what we think makes sense for us. Gary makes it more poetic with a notion of good and evil and our wanting to be "good."

  4. #49
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    I submit that "in societies where freedoms are more restricted" is a value judgment about a society based on one's perception of what "freedom" entails. The "freedoms" you are free to enjoy depend entirely on what you think "freedom" means and what "freedoms" are.

    "Freedoms" are not restricted relative to the "freedom" of a society. They are free. "Freedoms" are determined internally. So as a descriptor, it's a society:society comparison. And as a comparison, it's a value judgment.

    How do you arrive at a meaning for that even as a descriptor?

    Is morality is aesthetic, so too are "freedoms."

  5. #50
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Absolutely! And relative. But for the purposes of this discussion, we all know what 'freedoms' means, defined by a liberal, western society. What we call freedoms may well be considered to be sins by another. I'm not making the value judgment here. Just trying to make a point. I should always use scare quotes when I invoke terms that are aesthetic.

  6. #51
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    So, where the heck are we in this argument now? Have we gotten anywhere? Or are we just making noise...

  7. #52
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Hey, hey, we're serious people here having a serious conversation about serious matters. No way we would spend 52 posts making noise. Or is that the state of the art these days, a few sound bytes, a bit of splash, a headline or two and we go on to the next big thing Gary can dream up?
    Since I have a reputation for being noisy just for the hell of it, a consumate philistine, let me re-insert this proposition: socialization is a poor cousin to personal identity. We learn as we grow. We are socialized young but we adapt what we were taught to what we think makes sense for us. Gary makes it more poetic with a notion of good and evil and our wanting to be "good" but that definition of good is very much our own assessment based on experience. It may or may not match the the common consensus but, either way, it is ours.

  8. #53
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    So how do you explain aberrant behavior? How do you explain a sociopath? Where is the line breached? Sure, we can call it all mental illness, but at what point?

  9. #54
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    HE, that's pretty easy to refute. You were in the military. How long did it take you to be socialized into a functioning member of the military?

    What does your personal identity matter in that situation? Squat. You have a task within an organization that has an organizational structure and a "character." You either get it, or you wash out. Civilian Personal Identity does not mesh with Military Identity. You are moulded into a certain kind of a person with a certain kind of outlook. Sure, you might retain some of ourself through out, but that's from the socialization you went thorugh before.

    And when you leave the organization? You have to resocialize into a different kind of civilian. Your civilian friends with no military experience are different people with a different perception of values. It's just about the single most common military fiction theme ever... It's all about socialization. They call it camaraderie. Morale.

    The same system applies to living in a new country. We call it culture shock. And when we come home, we call it reverse culture shock. Very, very well documented.

    "socialization is a the process by which we discover personal identity. We learn new social systems as we grow within them. We are socialized young but we adapt to new social systems incorporating what we were taught to what we think makes sense for us as an operant within the system." Personal identity is the identifiable core self that exists within and between all socialized behaviour. It identifies what morals we hold from social situation to social situation, and what values we mask from situation to situation.

    Personal identity only matters insofar as it is the self perception of your personal constancy throughout changing social structures. Persons who fail to change their outward actions and internalize the values of a given social situation are the outsiders. Critics, if you will, rather than participants.

    Smiling when you're unhappy will make you feel happier. The expression of emotion, even when false, can trigger internal changes. The expression of morals and belief outwardly can likewise change one's internal perception of self identity. Consider Zimbardo's prison experiment.

    Playing the role is just as important to personal identity as personal identity is to playing the role.

  10. #55
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    America, love it or leave it.

  11. #56
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Must have been in a different army. The "socialization" you refer to with the shaved head and the learning to take orders without stopping to think about them was the goal for basic training in 1959 as I suspect it must be today. Although even when I was in basic, drill sergeants were getting classses on the new draftees' incessant tendency to ask why. I left basic training knowing how to be a soldier and know when and where I could safely bend or break the rules which is what I and my compatriots spent most of our time attempting. Think of ex-PFC Wintergreen as a role model.
    About the time I re-enlisted for the first tme I decided to settle into a less non-conformist but not completely traditional life style as my future now depended upon it. But for those draftees, it never changed. It was a strength of our army that they asked questions and wrote their congressman when they didn't like the answers. I was in the army before you could no longer tab personal folders with the neat, not little, PI tag: political influence. You tried not to jerk those people around.
    With an all volunteer army, I suspect the "socialization" process could work better and last longer but, knowing the U.S. soldier, I doubt it.
    Re-socializing? Well, there was the terrifying 30 days it took to find a job. After that, industry wasn't a hell of a lot different than the Army had been. As a lowly tech writer for Sperry Flight Systems, I formulated what is now belovedly known as H.E.'s First Law: always learn the rules so you can explain why you're breaking them.
    Playing the role is just as important to personal identity as personal identity is to playing the role.
    I really like the feel and balance of the assertion but I am afraid, as with G.W.'s sociopaths, it doesn't account for heroism nor does it account for Hillary and Barrack. Forget the merits of their candidacies for a moment and think about the uncommon amount of support they are managing to pull from a country that was believed by the talking heads to be bored and disinterested in the political arena. They are bucking the trend - well, they were bucking the trend - and running novel and interesting campaigns that got people excited. Certainly not conforming to the conventional belief.
    So did they lead the charge or were they following the herd? If they were leading the charge, then what happened to the conformity of "socialization?"

    And G.W. what happens if we turn your question around? Assume a community of sociopaths and you and I are as we are now - well, that assumes neither one of us is a sociopath -how would we be viewed? The instant morality of the community would quickly place us as outisders just as quickly as the isntant morality of culture places the sociopath as an outsider. Doesn't have to be this way. Some of the First American peoples had traditions of revering people who were probably schizophrenic.
    Last edited by Hereford Eye; March 6th, 2008 at 03:44 PM.

  12. #57
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    America, love it or leave it.
    I know you're being flippant, but really the genius of democracy (depending slightly on how the system operates) is that it comes equipped with an internal opposition system. The voting process itself is one part, public protest is another. So long as one is complicit with the system, one need not love it since the idea of democracy itself is that if you don't love it, you can find a way to change it through democracy.

    Smart, no? There's no need to love it or leave it. Love it or hate it, doesn't much matter. Your opinion will be filtered through an electoral system designed to make sure nothing much really changes dramatically. Democracy is the process of watering down extremism to find the middle ground. If you leave it, you can't hope to change it at all. And if you stay, you've got a damn lot of work to do to change anything.

    Democracy is opposition!

  13. #58
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hereford Eye View Post
    Must have been in a different army.
    My military experience ended with cadets. Highland regiment! And I was in the band! So definitely a different world

    As a lowly tech writer for Sperry Flight Systems, I formulated what is now belovedly known as H.E.'s First Law: always learn the rules so you can explain why you're breaking them.
    Hahaha! As a lowly student in a militaristic private education institution I learned this law as well Know the system so you can skirt it where necessary, use it when it's to your advantage, and pull it down from the inside when the situation demands it. Baffle them with bullshit...

    I really like the feel and balance of the assertion but I am afraid, as with G.W.'s sociopaths, it doesn't account for heroism nor does it account for Hillary and Barrack.
    Isn't heroism simply extraordinary personal effort outside the normal bounds of the system? Taking responsibility beyond one's defined role?

    Forget the merits of their candidacies for a moment and think about the uncommon amount of support they are managing to pull from a country that was believed by the talking heads to be bored and disinterested in the political arena. They are bucking the trend - well, they were bucking the trend - and running novel and interesting campaigns that got people excited. Certainly not conforming to the conventional belief.
    FYI -- from outside the USA, the current presidential election is business as usual. It's just taking about 2 years longer than previous campaigns. But it looks like the ghost of Kennedy for both candidates. "Ask not..." "change" blah blah.

    I'm waiting to see if voter turn out matches the hype. Kerry came out of the woodwork because polls and caucus' mean jack s#!+. Clinton and Obama are in a media war, not an election. The election isn't until august, and the real election isn't until way after that. This is all smoke right now, bud.

    So did they lead the charge or were they following the herd? If they were leading the charge, then what happened to the conformity of "socialization?"
    I never said that one couldn't be a leader within a system of socialization, or that one cannot attempt to break free from it -- only that socialization brings us into being who we are and largely defines how we operate no matter what our age, and that personal identity is just the self we string along and show to others within and between various social systems. We try to fit in, and fitting in shapes us. And in today's world some of us have the luxury to find where we best fit in and try to define ourselves in harmony with a social system.

    We can try to rise above the system, but really we just pull the system with us and create a new set of parameters for others to march along within.

  14. #59
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    If you start with
    socialization brings us into being who we are and largely defines how we operate no matter what our age
    and end with
    personal identity is just the self we string along and show to others
    can I ask what happened to self while it was being "socialized'? Forces pushed and pulled and self was passive through the whole process? As a sample of one, that doesn't fit with what I know about myself. I am far different from the boy who grew up in the middle of seven children. I remember that boy, how he acted, what he believed. I remember how things changed in high school. I remember how the army added and subtracted. But mostly I remember books upon books that made me sit up and say "what?" how can this be? I am not like this. Consider the difference of reading Pearl Buck's "The Good Earth" at about age 15/16 and then experiencing 1960 Korea. Consider the difference in listening to news stories, watching management knee-jerk react to Japanese management styles and then travelling to early 1990's Japan. And then watching the changes 15 years later.
    What you learn, what you experience ought to change you regardless of what your culture, your family, or anyone thinks. I guess I only have faith in Heinlein's competent person.

  15. #60
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    I guess maybe I need to clarify...

    When we are born, we are written upon by the world. The world is made up of numerous socializing organizations, be it family, religion, school, friends, township, whatever... The very first "personal identity" that we begin to hold is a blend of inborn traits and abilities combined with socializing forces. I believe that our earliest "personal identity" is mostly shaped for us, not by us.

    As we grow older and our experiences expand beyond the social institutions that first shaped us, we are often confronted with things outside the norm of our experiences to date. So personal identity at this point is what I'm talking about. We suddenly have a choice. We can choose how we operate in a new social situation, we can learn from it, we can take from it and add to ourselves (in highschool this is typified by cliques, trends, and fads). And sometime in there some of us lucky people figure out Dr. Phil's truism: We tell other people how we wish to be treated in everything we do.

    That statement is essentially one which says that your personal identity is what you choose it to be. But it's a continuum. We cannot help but be shaped by previous and novel socializing forces (like work environments, university, the military, whatever), but we do sometimes get to choose which of those qualities we internalize, and which we simply wear on the outside in order to get along.

    I think of personal identity as the still point in the centre of all the chaos. The chaos shapes us, and we need to navigate it. If we are inflexible, our personal identity becomes chaotic, aberrant. The flexibility of our self, of our personality identity, is what keeps us healthy. So yes, I agree with you -- we change and grow.

    But the boy I was at age 4 and the boy I was at 13 and whoever the heck I am now are all related by the narrative of life and central sense of self that carries with me from then 'til now and into tomorrow. There are elements of myself that have been the same my entire life despite all the changing circumstances, but there are many others that are dramatically different. But it's the stable qualities, the still points in the chaos, that most define who I think I am.

    From what you've been saying, I think you are thinking along these same lines. Where we differ, I'm guessing, is that I believe socialization to be a somewhat more powerful force than you do.

    The reason I say this is because I went through a period of a 5 year relationship which, when I look back on it, I hardly recognize that that was me. It's like a huge blank spot in my life that I barely understand. The parameters of that social situation (two people developing an instant morality) shaped who I was and how I acted in that social situation. As soon as it was over, I damn near exploded in the recognition that I was myself again! But while I was in that situation, for all intents and purposes that was me. My personal identity was wrapped up in that social situation and I didn't realize it until I had the opportunity to get away from it and get some perspective.

    So my point is, we fall into different personal identities when we're wrapped up in social situations. I think we all see this when a friend becomes someone we don't recognize because of a job or a relationship or a new found and unexpected appreciation for church. For me, the only way I understand who I was during those 5 years is that I can see now (some 5 years later) which qualities of my personal identity did hold true. I maintained a love of travel, an interest in school and education, a love of working with kids... And that's the only way I know to feel whole.

    So... that's what I'm saying as it relates to me, personally. I guess maybe if you've never really totally lost sight of yourself you might not have the same perspective.

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