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Samuel Fructuoso

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Are we that special?

So this is my belief: Not only our perception of reality is socially constructed by an intermittent interaction between ourselves and the environment, but also reality itself is built up because of our behavior. So, although we do have a “common reality” (I mean, a shared context that we all take for granted) everyone of us has his own reality built upon beliefs that are justified by that individual-environmental context. We just don’t seem to care too much about that. You know, Psychology studies something like that (behaviorism, radical behaviorism, gestalt etc.), Biology studies that (with stuffs like cognitive biology and behavioral genetics), but we, in our daily lives, don’t. But I think we should, and I’ll try to explain why with a simple example: when we think about pets living in harmony with men we almost inevitably end up think about dogs. They were, probably, the first and most successful case of taming. But the domestication of animals wasn’t and isolated event, but rather a complex process in which natural selection and human intervention acted together , and the physics and behavioral changes that best suit were perpetuated. This is how wolves became dogs. And I’d like to ask you guys: can the inherent characteristics of our social group be considered a taming instrument, and, because of that, makes us more likely to consume in a certain way? Or are we that special that, unlikely other animals, aren’t affected by our environment and consequently didn’t affect the environment itself with our consumption behaviors? I’d really like to hear you guys!

Edited after Fritzie points out a bad choice of word.

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    Feb 22 2013: G'day Samuel

    We are just a grain of sand on the beach, quite insignificant compared to the rest of creation but we certainly think a lot of ourselves.

    Love
    Mathew
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      Feb 22 2013: All creatures without exception think a lot of themselves…it is essential in our common bid to survive and multiply...
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    Mar 7 2013:
    No!
    We are not "that special".
    So, we are "tamed" by money to "consume" for invalid happiness.

    .
    (For details, see the 1st article, points 1-3, 10, 14, at
    https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D&id=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D%21283&sc=documents).
  • Mar 4 2013: Humans are not so special as to be free of responsibility for environmental effects or affectations nor are we so special as to have stopped evolving or even to exist now as an absolute single species.
    This pov often excites such hostile reactions that I liken it to "suicide by cop," or suicide by readers or hearers etc. Why all knowledge should be considered complete in re: homo sapiens and nothing else is beyond my understanding though very telling (if not entertaining!) about those who've never considered otherwise.
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    Mar 4 2013: Can the inherent characteristics of our social group be considered a taming instrument, and, because of that, makes us more likely to consume in a certain way?
    Or are we that special that, unlikely other animals, aren’t affected by our environment and consequently didn’t affect the environment itself with our consumption behaviors?

    Really?

    The Plastic Island
    Oil engines
    McDonalds
  • Feb 27 2013: We are the most trainable ape.
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    Feb 24 2013: .
    'I may just look like a pile of Atoms.. Well I guess I AM just a pile of atoms, but I'm the best damn pile of atoms that atoms could ever assemble into! They even took 13.8 Billion years out of their schedule to design me right.'
    ;)
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    Feb 21 2013: You ask "can the inherent characteristics of our social group be considered a taming instrument, and, because of that, makes us more likely to consume in a proper way? Or are we that special that, unlikely other animals, aren’t affected by our environment and consequently didn’t affect the environment itself with our consumption behaviors?"

    We surely influence our environment with out consumptive and 'taming" behaviors, as our environment does us. I don't see how one could deny this claim in your question.

    What I don't see as following is that that "makes us more likely to consume in a proper way?" The problem is the idea of "proper." There is an active featured thread right now on whether there is inherently such a thing as right and wrong. Is your use of proper synonymous with right?

    Or are you asking whether as a collective entity people shape the environment in a way that is in the long-run interest of the planet or humankind?

    Please clarify that aspect of your question.
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      Feb 21 2013: My bad, Fritzie. It was almost 4 o’clock in the morning when I wrote that, and I really choose the wrong word. It’s not a “proper way”, but a “certain way”.
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        Feb 21 2013: Are you asking, then, whether we naturally attempt to alter the environment to further our survival or benefit as individuals, families, tribes, or species? Are you asking whether we succeed?

        Earlier in your question, you assert that "we just don't seem to care too much about" the fact that we all construct our own understandings through our own observations. Are you saying we don't realize that how we perceive things varies from person to person or that we accept this (differences in opinion or perception) without caring about it? Or are you saying that we don't give adequate attention to understanding other people's diffetrences in perception and that that means we just don't care about it?
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    Feb 21 2013: "although we do have a 'common reality' "
    "everyone of us has his own reality"

    these are two contradictory statements. reconcile.
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      Feb 21 2013: Hi Krisztián! Thanks for your reply man! They're not contradictory at all. In fact, they summarize the whole concept I’m trying to talk here (yet I must admit that it might be a little confusing). Let me try to explain it with a simple example: Imagine that you’re an atheist and I’m a religious guy, okay? We’re neighbors and we work at the same place doing the same thing. While we share a lot of things (and, of course, it’s our common reality) you and I may take different kinds of interpretations and actions on something because of our religious background. So although we share a common reality, the way we internalize it is based on our own constructed understanding of our reality. And it has a lot of implications when we try to understand human behavior, in my opinion.
      You know, I’m a professor. And I really like what I do. But you know what I think it’s the most difficult thing about my profession? Well, it’s not to explain things, but rather to build – socially with my student – a shared, context-based reality. My students have different backgrounds and beliefs and it will affect how they consume knowledge and create their own, and yet I still have to make sure that, in my classes and as much as it is possible, we are not a bunch of people gathered together, but one single body that have a collective sense of identity and objectives.
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        Feb 21 2013: i think we are talking about reality vs mental models. it is indeed an interesting topic how can one help someone else building capable mental models, especially if we have topics totally inhumane, like modern physics, evolution or even many aspects of economics.

        what is your approach to ensure that they build the mental model that is capable of modeling reality? what is your field?