Group Identity & Social Organisms

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posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 12:57 AM
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Originally posted by sc2099

Originally posted by Skyfloating

Originally posted by sc2099
reply to post by seagrass
 


If you own a business you're not a hippie; you used to be. If you quite business altogether and live in a van down by the river you're not a business person; you used to be.

Hippies by definition don't do work because they're against consumerism, against sales, against money. So if you own a business which sells something to anyone and earns income, it is impossible for you to be a hippie.



I´d contradict what you just said if I go to the park tonight and sleep there, right in the grass, perhaps playing the bongo before bedtime. In the morning I go take a shower and get a business-suit on and go about work.



What you do in your spare time doesn't make you a hippie, IMO. Either you are, or you aren't. If you have a job or own a business or work at all, then you cannot be a hippie no matter how much roughing it in the park you do.

All of this IMHO.


Hippies or neo-hippies sell lots of things. Some group together to run cooperatives. One such cooperative here in Oregon is a grocery store. What you are describing sounds more like a homeless person. I personally know a hippie that owns a used/new CD and collectible album store. He is very wealthy, but you wouldn't know it. I keep telling him I would come in more often if he would quit with the incense, but he needs it to cover up the "smell". IYKWIM. He started from his ranch just swapping albums with people, when eventually he had so many that he opened a business, then from there, several more.
In the beginning during the early youth movement, yes, they didn't want to work, but eventually reality kicked in, and they had to, but tried to maintain many of their values. Today they are called "Earthy" or "green" or "off the grid" but they tend to associate and collaborate with the 'hippie way". Some still run free programs. Free press, free concerts etc,. Many own houses and have families, but continue the hippie lifestyle at home.
IMO Even if you were once a hippie, or will be in the future, then there is a part of you that IS hippie. Even if you try that identity on, for however long a time, means that you have that desire somewhere in you. It may not be full bore hippie but hippie none the less.




posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 07:40 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by Skyfloating
 

Are you kidding? They all are. Every single social institution created by humanity is engineered, as you put it, for that purpose. Even Cruft's Dog Show. No, really.


I´d say

"I am"

"I am human"

"I am an individual"

"I am a man/woman"

"I am white-skinned" / "I am black skinned"

are the least artificial. They are natural labels of species and cannot be changed.

__________________________


"I am an american"

"I am a lover"

"I am dark-haired"

These still seem natural and are widely accepted, but this is where it starts getting artificial and even change-able.

______________________________


"I am archaeologist"

"I am a pro football-player"

"I am an actor"


These are purely artificial identities which can be changed. But they are still in a category of having to earn them or do some work in order to be perceived as them.

_____________________________

"I am a muslim"

"I am a liberal"

"I am a Ufologist"


Stuff like this is 100% artificial and very easy to change...were it not for conditionining from outside and self-conditioning (as in the case of religion for example)



posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 07:42 AM
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The Problem of automatic Polarization


"I am smart" seems to create the polarity "He is stupid"

"I am stupid" seems to create the polarity "She is smart"

Make sense?

Every Self-Definition I make automatically creates an opposite, creates glasses through which I see others.

If I therefore put on the glasses "I am the smartest", I will probably see many other people as stupid.



posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 07:48 AM
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What you do in your spare time doesn't make you a hippie, IMO. Either you are, or you aren't. If you have a job or own a business or work at all, then you cannot be a hippie no matter how much roughing it in the park you do.

All of this IMHO.


I know most would disagree with me when I say "You arent any of those things, those are only roles/masks you put on".

In this sense, I think "hippie" or "business person" or anything else is just a temporary role and not the actual SELF....the SELF which is something beyond those roles.



posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 08:38 AM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
2. What are the disadvantages of taking in a fixed identity too strongly? (Apart from the predictability I pointed out)?
˝

I don't think there are any disadvantages. This diversity of identities are for learning purposes. Almost every person on this planet is a subject of some kind. Eather he/she is a citizen, soldier, cleric, employed ... And we all take this roles so we can function relativelly well and secure in this social structures or organisms. But the catch is when our subject status come in conflict with our humanity. I think our lives are a series of test where we have to choose eather we act as a subject or a human being..

BTW good thread.



posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 09:23 AM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 

Your scale categorizing self-identifications as more or less 'natural' is specious, Skyfloating, because the opposition artificial/natural is itself specious. There is no part of a human being that is not a part of nature, and nothing we do can ever be unnatural.

The self-identiifications you consider 'most natural' are simply the ones that are hardest - in many cases, impossible - to change.

Those you speak of as 'most artificial' are those which can be altered easily.

That's really about all there is to it, I'm afraid.

To the person who won't use deodorant because it contains alumimium: aluminium is the commonest metal on Earth. It oxidizes immediately on contact with air. It is harmless. There's no reason for you to go about whiffing of armpit.



posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 09:36 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by Skyfloating
 

Your scale categorizing self-identifications as more or less 'natural' is specious, Skyfloating, because the opposition artificial/natural is itself specious. There is no part of a human being that is not a part of nature, and nothing we do can ever be unnatural.



That depends on how we define the word "natural". Maybe I should have used the word "native".

In categorizing Im trying to bring my thoughts on the subject into a framework.



posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 10:00 AM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating

I´d say

"I am"

"I am human"

"I am an individual"

"I am a man/woman"

"I am white-skinned" / "I am black skinned"

are the least artificial. They are natural labels of species and cannot be changed.

__________________________


if you count hair color as changeable, then I think you would also have to count gender and skin color as changeable as well.

Have you not seen Michael Jackson? And to say we are "white" or "black" is artificial as well, as most people are really various shades in between those points, and not the point themselves. Someone once did a study, where they took all the skin tones and made a long spectrum out of them and asked the subjects of the study to draw the line that divided, "black" from "white." I think you can imagine how that study went. There were nearly as many lines as participants.

Even the "I am human" label is functionally flexible. (Though scientifically rigid) We choose to see our enemies as less than human, we have chosen to see other ethnicities as "less human."

I am not sure "I am" is a label at all. It could be, but there is no class attached, unless it is the class of all that is, as opposed to the empty class of "those that are not."

In philosophy it has been noted that all we know or have experience of in the world are individuals. Individual trees, cats, dogs, chairs, etc. But all of our words are abstracts until we add, "That." THAT chair, dog, tree, cat.

I think that when the mind began the process of language creation, and developed the "general categories" required to make things communicable, (imagine for a second how language would look if every individual thing had its own name, and wasnt "grouped") that our minds started to run with the idea of categories. We can understand that there is no chair that is not an individual chair, nor any definer of the class that is the "ultimate chair" that contains the qualities of all chairs. We can see that it is a convenience and nothing more if we look carefully. It just seems that the longer we use language and make these "group" assumptions the lazier we get about actually looking at the individual "tree" or "chair." We see it, label it, and go on, quickly.



posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 10:04 AM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
It just seems that the longer we use language and make these "group" assumptions the lazier we get about actually looking at the individual "tree" or "chair." We see it, label it, and go on, quickly.


I dont know what I was thinking when starting this thread, but I think this statement touches upon what this is all about.



posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 11:14 AM
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reply to post by Illusionsaregrander
 


I think that when the mind began the process of language creation, and developed the "general categories" required to make things communicable, (imagine for a second how language would look if every individual thing had its own name, and wasnt "grouped") that our minds started to run with the idea of categories.

Actually, linguists like Chomsky and Steven Pinker would have it the other way: our minds already have the innate capacity to create categories, and this capacity is expressed in language.

I think the impulse to divide things up conceptually into categories is natural to us, and a very useful thing it is, too. It enables us to tell friend from foe, food from poison, right from wrong and so forth. We literally would not be able to think without it - a point you clearly appreciate, given that you've contemplated the nightmare of language without categories (common nouns are category indicators).

This isn't really about categories so much as it is about attaching value to categories and identifying with them. I think both kinds of behaviour are just as natural to us as creating categories in the first place.

A man may be a husband, a ship's engineer, a worrier, an addict of crossword puzzles, a Hindu and a conservative all at once. His essence may lie in any of these categories, or in none of them. Does it matter?



posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 12:15 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax

Actually, linguists like Chomsky and Steven Pinker would have it the other way: our minds already have the innate capacity to create categories, and this capacity is expressed in language.


Well yes, our minds NOW do have the innate capacity to create categories. Was this always so? As far back as we trace our evolutionary path? Or do we recognize that at some point, a non-speaking primate evolved into a language using primate?

At some point that which became the human mind began using "dualistic thinking." This and not that. You and not me. Probably long before the vocal ability to say a "group" or "class" there was pointing at individual things to indicate which one. (As our primate cousins do) One would assume, (although we all know how that goes) it was a progression. Unless of course one is a creationist, in which case one would not assume that.

I do not think even Chomsky is going to argue there was no progression.


Originally posted by Astyanax
I think the impulse to divide things up conceptually into categories is natural to us, and a very useful thing it is, too.


It is natural, but so is it natural to be able to see that the categories are for convenience only.


Originally posted by Astyanax
It enables us to tell friend from foe, food from poison, right from wrong and so forth. We literally would not be able to think without it - a point you clearly appreciate, given that you've contemplated the nightmare of language without categories (common nouns are category indicators).


Here is where we differ a bit. It may have evolved that "people that look different from me MAY be enemies and so it is in my best interest to immediately assume ALL people different from me to be enemies" as an initial strategy, an immediate one, in the moment of first meeting was beneficial to survival. However, we know that people did not hold these categories to be the gospel. We know that because we know people who were clearly different in appearance DID interact and form alliances, share technology and trade.


Originally posted by Astyanax
This isn't really about categories so much as it is about attaching value to categories and identifying with them. I think both kinds of behaviour are just as natural to us as creating categories in the first place.


I agree that the problem with categories is the value we place on them. That was what I was trying to point out in my post. Categories are useful, but it is laziness to just use the category and not also understand that they are nothing more than a convenience.

I also agree with the "natural" aspect, for the reasons you and I both stated in previous posts. Humans are a part of nature, and so our behaviors are natural, by definition. Natural and adaptive, natural and beneficial, these are not equivalent terms, however. It is natural to do a lot of things that are not beneficial to us, and every extinct creature was doing what was natural to it, (and adaptive in the past) right up until the moment circumstances changed and that behavior became so maladaptive that it caused their disappearance.


Originally posted by Astyanax
A man may be a husband, a ship's engineer, a worrier, an addict of crossword puzzles, a Hindu and a conservative all at once. His essence may lie in any of these categories, or in none of them. Does it matter?


Does it? If a category I assign myself to, or am assigned to by others, is an enemy of Hindu's, or husbands, or crossword puzzle addicts, and I am in in need of help, and I cannot see past the category to the person, and realize that in this instance this individual is here to help me, it matters to me.

If a green traffic light means "go" and I do not pause to check if the intersection is clear and am struck by someone failing to stop for their red, it matters to me.

Categories and symbols are useful. They do allow communication via language. However we do acknowledge that "a picture is worth a thousand words. Seeing, looking, the act of using discernment rather than relying too heavily on categories is also natural, and very adaptive.

I would never argue that categories are useless to us in the present. I would only say they are a brief, initial convenience and that discernment on an individual case by case basis is the more important faculty. Thinking we "know" or can "know" a thing causes us to stop using this faculty on it. We dont do this in good science. We "knew," for instance, that stress caused ulcers until one person decided to look further and found that it was not so.

I just think that the "tool" should remain a tool. It should not be elevated beyond what it is.



posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 12:27 PM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander

Originally posted by Skyfloating

I´d say

"I am"

"I am human"

"I am an individual"

"I am a man/woman"

"I am white-skinned" / "I am black skinned"

are the least artificial. They are natural labels of species and cannot be changed.

__________________________


if you count hair color as changeable, then I think you would also have to count gender and skin color as changeable as well.

Have you not seen Michael Jackson? And to say we are "white" or "black" is artificial as well, as most people are really various shades in between those points, and not the point themselves.


It's a rare occurrence but I have to disagree with you, Illusions. IMO, you cannot change the traits you were born with. You can cover them up and make them look different, but you cannot actually change them. To use your examples of hair color and gender, if you are a brunette and then bleach your hair blonde, you do not become a blonde. You're now a brunette with dyed blonde hair. And if you have a 'sex change' operation to go from a man to a woman, you are no more a woman than you were before; you only look more female. No amount of surgery and hormones will change the fact that you were born a man and you will always be a man. Sex change surgery is not done to transform a man into a woman or vise versa; it's done to make a person feel more comfortable in their own skin, to make them feel more like the opposite sex.

If someone only has one leg, and they wear a prosthesis, they do not suddenly have two legs when they put it on. They have one leg and one prosthetic leg, but not two legs. Putting in blue contacts doesn't make someone have blue eyes.

'White' or 'black' obviously aren't the colors we literally see ourselves as. They're social shorthand used to identify ourselves and others. Michael jackson looks like a white woman, but he is still a black man.

You can change the way you behave, and respond to stimuli, and the way you act, but you can't change what you are. Race, gender, and eye color are among the few things we will all have until we are dead.



posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 01:36 PM
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Originally posted by sc2099


It's a rare occurrence but I have to disagree with you, Illusions.


Its ok to disagree. And, I am not surprised in light of the hippie argument.

We are not really talking about the "What Is" of a person, but more the way the "what is" allows us to label them.

If we were discussing the "what is" I would agree with you. But I cant when it comes to categories. I am, for instance, exactly what I am. But how I appear to you, how you might categorize me, says little about "what I am" and more about "how I look/seem to you."

If for instance, you did not know Michael Jackson at all, had never heard of him, and you and I were talking on the street, and Michael came by with a group of obviously African American men, and I said, "that effeminate looking white guy" and you looked at that crowd, you would know exactly who I was talking about.

If two guys were standing across the same street, and one was dressed in a suit and the other in torn jeans, Birkenstocks, and a tie-dyed Tshirt, and I said, "over there, the hippie guy" you would immediately know to whom I was directing your attention. It would not matter one whit that the guy in the suit was a homeless man, and the guy in the tie dye was a CEO of Google, you would still understand exactly to whom I was referring because you would be pulling from the traits that fit the category "hippie" in your mind and applying them to the two people in front of you to see which one fit better.



Originally posted by sc2099
IMO, you cannot change the traits you were born with. You can cover them up and make them look different, but you cannot actually change them.


Babies are born with blue eyes. Sometimes they change to other colors. Mine are now green. Are all people blue eyed people?

My hair was reddish at birth, the platinum blond as a toddler, then brownish red as an adult. All naturally with no assistance from chemicals. What color is my hair?

I have two legs now, if I lose one in an accident tomorrow, how many legs will I have? Am I going to be a two legged or one legged person?

We actually can see that we use "categories" and "descriptions" in a very fluid way. If I have a friend that I know dyes her hair, and I see her in a crowd and point her out using what I know to be her "natural" hair color, "There is my friend, the blond." And you see someone with red hair my use of the category "blond" conveys no information you can use to tell who I am trying to describe. It becomes meaningless to you.

Categories exist to convey information. They are meaningless outside of their ability to convey information. If I tell you I have a popoki, what does that mean to you? It means something in my hometown.

www.websters-dictionary-online.org...

However unless we both agree that that category stands for things that share specifc traits, that word conveys no information.

When one insists that ones own definition of a category is the gospel, and cannot be changed to accommodate other traits, slightly different traits, or a lack of traits, one begins to push the limits of language into uselessness as a tool for communication. Either everyone has to share your exact and very precise understanding inherently, (because there is now no way to negotiate) or one begins to argue over meaningless differences, and there is no "meeting of the minds." You begin to run into the problem of every individual thing being called its own name.

"Cats" are creatures that have four legs. Fur, two ears, a tail, teeth and claws, two eyes. Is a cat who has lost a leg still a cat? What part of the definition of "cat" is the one that matters most? Its DNA? We cant see its DNA, so a cat that was transformed outwardly into a poodle but retained its cat DNA would still be a cat, but would the word "cat" have any use in describing it to someone who didnt know that it has cat DNA? Would it help them pick out that poodle looking thing from a group of other poodle looking things?

Language is an agreement. It is an agreement to use certain terms in certain ways to describe certain things. There is an understanding that the description may be imperfect, and that one may have to draw from multiple categories to describe a thing to another. The category and the word itself is meaningless unless the agreement exists. Even though you do not think you agree with some peoples definitions, I am willing to bet that if you were in one of the scenarios I outlined above, you would find that you actually DO share enough of the agreement to understand. And in fact, I think that if you held to the standards you THINK you believe in, I believe that you would find yourself suddenly in a very confusing world.



posted on May, 31 2014 @ 01:49 PM
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Skyfloating .. this is an old thread .. do you remember it? Are you still interested in doing this?

Honestly, there is no one word answer for who I am.
I'm a complicated person trying to simplify.





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