Human nature - Cooperative or Competitive?

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Alias
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Re: Human nature - Cooperative or Competitive?

Post by Alias » July 24th, 2015, 7:14 pm

Imagine what Newton and Hooke might have achieved together! We don't need to rate or rank people; we need them all to reach their potential and do their best work, whether in a team of independently.

We also need a way to harness aggression to the service of the group, and discover what each individual can most profitably contribute. Hence, games, sports and contests. And we need a way to contain personality clashes and dissipate internal conflict before it tears up the fabric of the society.

Primitive peoples understood this and devised appropriate strategies. Modern civilizations don't seem to. Perhaps because they had a pragmatic approach to human nature, based on observation, while we have schools of philosophy - i.e. some guy's pet theory.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

Wilson
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Re: Human nature - Cooperative or Competitive?

Post by Wilson » July 24th, 2015, 9:26 pm

Alias wrote:Imagine what Newton and Hooke might have achieved together!
Absolutely! I'm not saying that competitiveness is always a positive thing, just that without it, our scientific and economic development would have been much slower. I was responding to Elder's assertion that "Only second-raters keep comparing themselves to others all the time." Newton was an example of someone who was abnormally competitive and jealous of anyone who received any credit in Newton's field, but he also advanced science more than anyone of his era. Perhaps second-rate in terms of how he treated others, but first-rate in how he benefited mankind.

The fact that so many great scientists want desperately to be recognized for primacy in significant discoveries tells you that they are highly competitive. Same for great athletes, writers, and artists - and for most of us more modestly successful citizens. Love of discovery and pleasure in learning and creating are great motivators. A competitive drive is another.

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Re: Human nature - Cooperative or Competitive?

Post by Alias » July 25th, 2015, 12:59 am

Wilson wrote: A - Imagine what Newton and Hooke might have achieved together!

Absolutely! I'm not saying that competitiveness is always a positive thing, just that without it, our scientific and economic development would have been much slower.
I hear that a lot. Is it true? I'm more inclined to see these unproductive feuds as time-wasting and retarding progress. Did Edison start the rumour, so he could scarf up all his contemporaries' patents? Why are scientific and economic development in the same sentence? What's their functional relationships? If they really are inseparable, how, why, who made it so, and what did they gain?
I was responding to Elder's assertion that "Only second-raters keep comparing themselves to others all the time." Newton was an example of someone who was abnormally competitive and jealous of anyone who received any credit in Newton's field, but he also advanced science more than anyone of his era. Perhaps second-rate in terms of how he treated others, but first-rate in how he benefited mankind.
And perhaps the prevailing societal environment impaired his perception; perhaps being orphaned and bullied crippled part his personality. Perhaps he had to adapt to an artificial environment wherein being first was a big deal. I don't rate people - the Royal Society did.
The fact that so many great scientists want desperately to be recognized for primacy in significant discoveries tells you that they are highly competitive.
Or that too much depends on publishing before somebody else does - even if you'd got your figures wrong; even if you need to fudge a bit. Kepler wouldn't have been swayed by that ethos, but might need to move again; Tycho would find an even more powerful patron; Galileo would bluster and strut until he was shown a hot pincer and then go meek as a baa-lamb; Tesla would put on his tin-foil hat, pull down all the shades and keep working. People - even the most intelligent and talented people - have to cope in some way with the social circumstances in which they find themselves. Their ways are hardly ever sane - because in complex post-Roman civilization, those circumstances get pretty weird. So the geniuses get pretty weird. In a sensible world, they could have a friendly game of chess over a couple of steins; the winner might crow a bit, and next morning they'd all go off to their labs to weight things and measure stuff - again.
Same for great athletes, writers, and artists
In no way are those people similar to one another. Lumping them together merely fosters the popular fiction that all excellence has the same wellspring, the same motivation, the same impetus, the same working environment and the same operating parameters. They don't.
- and for most of us more modestly successful citizens.
Even less so. Most of us are stuffed into an economic rat maze not of our making or choosing, and most of us are unhappy and unfulfilled in the roles allowed us in that environment. And we utterly and totally loathe the self-proclaimed "alphas" who thrive on the artificial winners-and-losers structure of most of our work-places. And, of course, a huge amount of talent is going straight down the drain in a winner-take-all economy, a first-past-the-post political machinery. quote] Love of discovery and pleasure in learning and creating are great motivators. [/quote]
For the nerds, yes.
A competitive drive is another.
For the jocks, yes.

Those two personality types are not comfortable in the same cage. For proof, see any teen flick. Of course, it leaves us atypicals right out in the cold.

Really, though, this is the least of our problems. We could cope with balancing competition and team-work, aggression and sympathy, temper and affection, reason and emotion. The real human tragedy; what we cannot cope with, is having a big fat ego that craves to control everything in a puny little body that breaks and catches colds and never stops reminding us of our helplessness. It's for that we invent big powerful avatars.... that keep malfunctioning and disappointing. That's the craziness we can't escape.

-- Updated July 25th, 2015, 12:03 am to add the following --

My stupid keyboard cut off a bracket. Sorry.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: Human nature - Cooperative or Competitive?

Post by Elder » July 25th, 2015, 6:57 am

Alias wrote:The real human tragedy; what we cannot cope with, is having a big fat ego that craves to control everything
That is one of the tragedies.
Alias wrote: In a sensible world,...
Here is the other tragedy:

It is shown in Wilson's thinking: he can't imagine a world different from the one he grew up in, and has seen around him all his life.

He is not alone in this, because most people have very little imagination. That is why only small changes will ever happen, as people try tinkering with the existing system which, of course, is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

That is why it is hopeless -- we will never be as lucky as the baboons were -- no epidemic will wipe out our 'alpha' males.

These days they are safely sequestered in their gated communities, pulling the strings of all those people with very little imagination.

See Japan's 400 at straight.com/news/494706/gwynne-dyer-gu ... -article-9

Time to give up.
Last edited by Elder on July 25th, 2015, 10:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Human nature - Cooperative or Competitive?

Post by Ruskin » July 25th, 2015, 9:45 am

It's a little of both as competition is between cooperative groups of people.

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Re: Human nature - Cooperative or Competitive?

Post by Wilson » July 25th, 2015, 2:52 pm

Elder wrote:Here is the other tragedy:

It is shown in Wilson's thinking: he can't imagine a world different from the one he grew up in, and has seen around him all his life.

He is not alone in this, because most people have very little imagination. That is why only small changes will ever happen, as people try tinkering with the existing system which, of course, is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Ah, how little ye know me.

Ayn Rand imagined a world different from the one she grew up in. But that world could never happen, except in isolated and temporary communities, because she made the mistake of thinking that her lack of compassion, her selfishness and self-involvement, could be the basis of a good way of life. She didn't take into account the basic goodness of most of our species.

Elder, I still don't know the specific details of your Shangri-la (although I'd be happy to have you explain them, as long as it doesn't take a semester - I actually enjoy reading about utopian visions), but my impression is that you, like Ayn Rand, have disregarded human nature - by which I mean the totality of the drives and desires and emotional needs that are coded in our DNA. It's fine to say that we should all be selfless and only concerned about others, we should enjoy hard work for its own sake, we should gladly sacrifice ourselves for the greater good, we should love each other and never harbor any animosity toward others - but that would be a different species. As I said, I'm not clear on your plan, so if there are indeed practical steps involved, I might change my mind.

My view is that the only way we'll improve our way of life is incrementally - by electing better representatives who would change the rules that our governments allow us to operate under. How to accomplish that, I don't know. It's discouraging when you look at the dreck that keep getting elected.

In the meantime, I don't find life unpleasant, I enjoy myself for the most part, so I'm not actually depressed about the way things are, but I'd be happy to get involved if I felt there was a practical way to improve the world.

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Re: Human nature - Cooperative or Competitive?

Post by Elder » July 25th, 2015, 3:37 pm

Wilson wrote:Elder, I still don't know the specific details of your Shangri-la (although I'd be happy to have you explain them, as long as it doesn't take a semester
Suffering from short attention span, are you? :(

Maybe that's why you ignored my post #8 on the "Social problems are ‘engineering’ problems" thread.
What is my proposed solution?

A very long and tortuous process to carry us forward towards sanity.

Several intermediate steps are necessary for that.

One step could be what Alias recommended in her posts in the "Is it moral to make unemployment benefits conditional?" thread. onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/viewtop ... mp;t=13302. Especially Post Number:#33.

Another intermediate step could be what I suggested in the "Proposal for a New Social Contract" thread. onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/viewtop ... amp;t=7667.

It's futile to argue the 'assumed' obstacle of "human nature". Hundreds of millions of people were inspired by the idea of communism (some still are) and that idea would require a drastically bigger change to human nature than my proposal, which was designed to provide a compromise, satisfying both our fundamental needs: freedom and compassion.
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Re: Human nature - Cooperative or Competitive?

Post by Logic_ill » July 25th, 2015, 3:46 pm

Yes, but these drives, these passions, our ignorance, etc. can be mitigated through our understanding. A positive or better quality of life can lessen our negative interactions.

We have a lot of time on our hands and that may in itself be a cause for strange or bad behaviors to surface. Maybe in acknowledging that and finding constructive ways to deal with our time, we can make more sense. I mean, organizing these abilities we have so that they create a healthy coherence, instead of disparity and frustration may be a difficult thing to accomplish, but always worth trying.

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Re: Human nature - Cooperative or Competitive?

Post by Elder » July 25th, 2015, 3:49 pm

Wilson wrote:Ayn Rand imagined a world different from the one she grew up in.... you, like Ayn Rand, have disregarded human nature - by which I mean the totality of the drives and desires and emotional needs that are coded in our DNA.
Ayn Rand did not imagine American Capitalism. She found it in full swing when she arrived in America in her twenties.

Maybe you should review my Ayn Rand thread I recommended for you to read.. you may learn something.

onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/viewtop ... mp;t=13245

But, if you are a slow reader, I wouldn't want you to spend a whole semester reviewing one thread. :wink:

One more: Repeated from Post #9 of this thread:
So, the argument that we can't even think about a sane and cooperative social organization is short sighted and mistaken.

The problem, of course, is how to get from here to there, but without imagining a goal, we can not chart a road map at all, because we don't know where we want to arrive at the end.
Last edited by Elder on July 25th, 2015, 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Human nature - Cooperative or Competitive?

Post by Wilson » July 25th, 2015, 4:08 pm

Elder wrote:Suffering from short attention span, are you? :(

Maybe you should review my Ayn Rand thread I recommended for you to red.. you may learn something.

But, if you are a slow reader, I wouldn't want you to spend a whole semester reviewing one thread. :wink:
My, my, Elder. Competitive, aren't we?

Are ad hominem attacks allowed in your new world order?

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Re: Human nature - Cooperative or Competitive?

Post by Elder » July 25th, 2015, 4:10 pm

Responding in substance, I see.

What I expected.
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Re: Human nature - Cooperative or Competitive?

Post by Jklint » July 25th, 2015, 5:03 pm

Wilson wrote: My view is that the only way we'll improve our way of life is incrementally - by electing better representatives who would change the rules that our governments allow us to operate under. How to accomplish that, I don't know. It's discouraging when you look at the dreck that keep getting elected.
That depends on the electorate who so easily succumb to bribes and promises...dreck!

A very simple thought experiment will suffice. Someone comes along and doesn't mince words words as to how things currently are and what its future ramifications are likely to be if we continue along the same path. Adjustments will have to be made applicable to everyone which the elite especially will never find acceptable. An "election" in short, which puts political and business prerogatives, expediencies and practices on trial. Who would vote for that person even if he or she attempt to ameliorate the message? Virtually no one. When have we ever preempted a "good thing" even when we know it puts the future in jeopardy?

As for Ayn Rand, she's a total non-entity nothing more than a cult and nothing in her philosophy - if that's what it is - that's requisite for the future. It's as useless discussing her as discussing God for possible solutions to problems we never had to face till now.

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Re: Human nature - Cooperative or Competitive?

Post by Elder » July 25th, 2015, 5:22 pm

Wilson wrote:Are ad hominem attacks allowed in your new world order?
PS. Mild sarcasm that you asked for (Shangri-la; semester; you, like Ayn Rand) hardly constitutes an attack.

If, and when, I decide to attack you, you will notice. :wink:
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Re: Human nature - Cooperative or Competitive?

Post by Alec Smart » July 25th, 2015, 5:55 pm

Elder wrote: If, and when, I decide to attack you, you will notice. :wink:
Be careful, Wilson, he's not bluffing. Push him too far and he'll sulk you to within an inch of your life.
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Re: Human nature - Cooperative or Competitive?

Post by Jklint » July 25th, 2015, 6:29 pm

Alec Smart wrote:
Elder wrote: If, and when, I decide to attack you, you will notice. :wink:
Be careful, Wilson, he's not bluffing. Push him too far and he'll sulk you to within an inch of your life.
There is not one person here - myself excluded of course - who wouldn't relish their own perverted opinions in making posts! If there were some humor in this post the value would be in its humor but there isn't any! Ever consider giving an actual opinion on a subject even if it's worth only a drachma - as mine usually are - instead of a Euro?

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