Archive for the ‘Behaviour’ Category

Fear of political incorrectness is just cowardice

December 4, 2018

Every human has a conception of good and bad. It is the most fundamental value that underpins all other values. Not everybody agrees on what should be considered good or what should be labeled bad, but it is pretty clear at the level of the individual.

Taking cowardice to be the subjugation of actions to fears (and bravery then to be the subjugation of fears to necessary actions), it seems to me that since WW2, the discourse about human behaviour is dominated by cowardice. Judgements of good and bad are suspended or ignored for fear of being labeled politically incorrect. Bad behaviour is excused and even encouraged by the failure to hold to one’s own set of values. In fact, the cowardice is rationalised by the idea that bad behaviour is always excusable. It is conveniently forgotten that all so called “human rights” are, in fact, just privileges afforded by human societies to their members. Politically correct rhetoric will have it that these “rights” (actually privileges)  are not subject to behaviour – yet there is no society which does not, in practice, sanction members for their behaviour (but not always).

How Political Correctness Protects the Bad Guys

……. Today, police know that criminals’ rights will often be held above victims’ rights. As a result, police must cope with procedures specially designed to prevent criminals from admitting their crimes, with evidence procedures designed to prevent officers from looking where evidence might be, and with a virtual ban on profiling the characteristics of a likely criminal during the search. …….. 

The power of political correctness is especially evident in Britain, where a training manual instructed magistrates not to have prejudice against black youths who commit violent crimes but, rather, according to the Salisbury Review, to “think of them as quirky Lenny Henry characters”—referring to a black English comedian. The Sentencing Guidelines Council says teenage muggers should not be jailed. Those who defend themselves when criminals invade their homes, however, are regularly jailed. One woman was ordered to remove barbed wire from the roof of her house because an intruder could be injured. Dr. Ian Stephen gave the following advice at Glasgow Caledonian University: “If you attack the burglar, or react in an over-the-top manner … you will inevitably end up on the receiving end of a prison sentence that will far outstrip that imposed on the intruder in your own home …. Direct contact should be avoided whenever possible. If unavoidable, the victim should adopt a state of active passivity ….” One must show proper respect for the criminal!

A consequence of this cowardice in making judgements is that “bad” is equated to “good” in the name of equality. What is fair and just, which requires a judgement of good or bad, is subjugated to the politically correct notions of “human rights” or “equality” or “discrimination” or “sexism”.

  • For fear of being labeled racist, anti-social activities by “ethnic groups” are tolerated and even allowed to flourish.
  • For fear of being labeled “anti-religion”, brainwashing of children is permitted and encouraged.
  • For fear of violating “human rights”, vicious rapists and murderers are treated better than their victims.
  • For fear of violating “human rights”, being bad is privileged.
  • For fear of being labeled “discrimination”, the incompetent are equated with the skilled in the job market.
  • For fear of being labeled “anti-feminist”, incompetence is equated with experience or skill.

To allow a fear of being labeled “politically incorrect” to subjugate one’s own values is simple cowardice.

Bad is never equal to good.

We cannot keep making excuses for bad behaviour. There may be explanations for bad behaviour, but it must have consequences. An explanation cannot eliminate liability.


Related:

Why is there an ethical problem with capital punishment?


 

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Elementary but often forgotten: Multilateral depends upon the unilateral

December 2, 2018

Maybe some day geographical boundaries will give way to some other way of clustering and organising and administering human societies. Maybe some day the nation state will become obsolete. But not yet. The sovereign nation state is still the basic unit of organising human societies. Without sovereignty within its geographical boundaries, a nation state cannot exist. (A nation state which cannot protect its geographic boundaries and its sovereignty cannot survive).

Without nationalism as the foundation stone, internationalism falls down.

Without the brick of unilateralism as the fundamental building block, no multilateral structure can exist except as a castle in the imagination of mindlessness.

What is often conveniently forgotten with the multinational or multilateral organisations (UN, EU, IMF, WTO, WHO, …..) is that the multilateral (or multinational) is meaningless without maintaining the integrity of the unilateral (or the national). Undermining the unilateral leaves the multilateral floating aimlessly. Multilateral is a service provider to the unilateral. Without a customer a multilateral service is of no consequence.

It is an existential question of identity.

What the EU does not like to accept that its citizens are Germans or French or Swedes first and only Europeans second.


 

Why is there an ethical problem with capital punishment?

October 31, 2018

There is no problem of ethics involved in destroying cancerous cells in our bodies.

There is no ethical problem in destroying viruses and microbes which threaten disease.

There is no ethical problem in wiping out entire populations of plants and animals which we consider invasive, or threatening to other “native”plants or wildlife, even if humans are not directly threatened.

There is no ethical problem in killing any animal for food.

There is no ethical problem in culling animals – of any non-human species – if we believe their numbers are excessive.

There is no ethical problem in putting down domesticated but unwanted pets.

There is no ethical problem in police forces killing in performance of their duties.- as a last resort – perpetrators of crime.

There is – apparently – no ethical problem any longer in killing, or helping to kill, those elderly who are suffering great pain and have no quality of life remaining.

There is no longer an ethical problem – so the consensus goes – in the on-demand killing of unborn fetuses less than about 20 weeks old.

There is no ethical problem in soldiers of your own country killing soldiers of the enemy in times of conflict.

Why then, should there be any ethical problem in executing a German nurse who has confessed to killing over 100 patients while they were in intensive care? Or in executing an Anders Behring Breivik who glories in the 77 people he killed? Or executing Robert Bowers who killed 11 at a Pittsburgh synagogue?

The real point of capital punishment is not as a deterrent or as revenge or as redemption, but just the simple excision of a cancerous individual from the body politic.


 

Why the false god of liberalism is failing

October 29, 2018

Brazil has turned sharply right.

There is now a global move away from the sanctimonious form of “liberalism” which has prevailed since the late 60s. After more than half a century of pursuing a mirage a correction is taking place.  In the Philippines and Brazil it is a “law and order” label. In the US it is in addition the “illegal immigration” issue. For EU countries such as Austria and Poland and Hungary and the Czech Republic it is also the “sovereignty” battle. Brexit and the unholy alliance in Italy are further examples. While it is being manifested in different countries under different labels, the shift is actually about values.

Long before humans had speech, we had established the concepts of good and bad. It is not difficult to see how these fundamental values developed. Anything which helped survival was good and all that didn’t was bad. Every system of values starts here, with the distinction between good and bad. Every other value gets categorised into good and bad. With speech and language came the ability to describe the past and the future and more abstract concepts. But every concept carries with it a valuation of good and bad. Every individual has a fundamental and unique understanding of the difference between good and bad. It is part of his identity. What I consider good is what distinguishes me from others. Every collection of individuals develops a common understanding of the difference. An attack on an individual’s basic understanding of good and bad is an existential attack. It attacks his core identity.

The liberalism mirage is one where the most fundamental value of distinguishing between good and bad is ignored or has been forgotten. The most corrosive and corrupting notion of this liberalism has been the labeling of privileges as “human rights” and where such privileges are decoupled from behaviour. There is no “human right” which is not actually a privilege. It is inherent in the liberalism mirage that behaviour not be a qualifying factor for the privilege, yet there is no individual who does not moderate the privileges he grants to others based on their behaviour. Ther is no State or society which does not withhold privileges based on behaviour. To decouple privileges (rights) from behaviour tries to establish and legitimise a fantasy. The supposed “rights” to life and free speech and religion (which are all privileges) are severely curtailed everywhere. But it is perfectly logical and moral and correct that they be so restricted based on behaviour. It is the propagation of the fantasy that behaviour can be decoupled which is so corrosive. It is the fantasy that an individual’s core judgement of what is good and what is bad can be overridden by diktat which makes “liberalism” a mirage. There is now a reaction to the arrogance of the liberalism elite trying to force people to reverse their own judgements of good and bad.

This mirage is now becoming unsustainable in many parts of the world. That is not so surprising since it attacks the core identity of many people and of their notion of what is good and what is bad.


 

Mental diabetes

October 28, 2018

A surfeit of politically correct thinking can lead to a sort of mental diabetes. The brain gets clogged with sweet and sticky thoughts. Rational thinking stops. Self-righteousness and sanctimony prevail. Mental enuresis follows. A regular dose of astringent cynicism is needed to control the brain-sugar levels from becoming debilitating.

I cringe as I observe that it has become fashionable to apologise for the actions of distant ancestors. Last week I heard a Canadian politician apologise for what his ancestors had done some 200 years ago. Of course, he couldn’t name them, and he had no inkling about the lives they led, but he apologised for them anyway. No German politician can survive in the present without regularly apologising for Hitler and the Nazis. Indian nationalists expect the British to apologise for 1857. The British always expect the French to apologise for the Norman Conquest (and for being French). Swedish and Australian politicians self-righteously proclaim their own goodness by apologising for what their ancestors did to the Sami and the Aboriginals. A Danish apology for Christian the Tyrant and the Stockholm bloodbath would be welcomed by Southern Swedes. The current Italian government is expected to apologise for the actions of Mussolini. The Japanese are expected to remain apologetic for the next few centuries. Macedonia expects the Greeks to apologise for Alexander. There must be some who are waiting for apologies from someone for Genghis Khan. It is a regular occurrence for politicians to apologise for the actions of their distant ancestors. But all these apologies are actually not about the past. Every such apology is someone trying to proclaim their own goodness in the present.

Parents clearly bear some responsibility for their children. It is not wrong to say that there will always be some trace of us in our distant descendants to come. But it is ludicrous to pretend that anybody can bear any responsibility, singly or collectively, for distant ancestors. Applying the values of today to the actions of those who came long before is, at best, meaningless and, at worst, self-serving, self-righteous, sanctimony. There is no feedback loop to the past. Every apology is a statement in the present about the present. Almost always, every apology about the past is someone blowing their own goodness trumpet in the now.

A far more logical question is whether any of our ancestors would be ashamed of the actions of their descendants in the present. Every time I hear a politician apologise about the past, I ask myself whether that ancestor would have been proud or ashamed of his descendant. Inevitably I come to the conclusion that the ancestor would have been ashamed of the descendant wringing his hands and “wetting the bed”.

My grandmother’s grandfather


 

The motivation space: Between debilitation and satiation

October 11, 2018

It is an empirical observation that the same person can perform the same action with different degrees of effectiveness depending upon his motivation. The difference between a person being motivated or not for a particular action is a difference, not in his capability or his knowledge or his skill, but must be in the cognitive state of that person when performing that particular action.

In common usage, “manipulation” has a negative connotation but “motivation” is generally regarded as being something positive. This usage reflects the mixing up of what elicits human behaviour on the one hand, with value judgements about the objectives or purpose of causing such behaviour on the other. The means of eliciting behaviour is merely a tool. Manipulating or motivating the behaviour of others is central to being human. Most social interaction involves the influencing of the behaviour of others. I take “motivation” – and particularly “motivation in the work place” – then to be just a particular subset of manipulation to elicit desired human behaviour. By empirical observation, I note that when a person is “motivated” he is not

  • more competent, or
  • more knowledgeable, or
  • more intelligent, or
  • more skillful, or
  • stronger or taller or smarter,

but he is

  • More effective
  • More focused
  • More cooperative
  • More “driven”
  • More dynamic
  • More result-oriented
  • More diligent …….

Thus I take the level of motivation to be a measure of the level of engagement of an individual in the actions he is performing (his behaviour). The more motivated he is the more “effective” his performance is, within the constraints set by his abilities. An unmotivated or demotivated person performs the actions in hand well below the limit of his capabilities. Motivation does not affect capability but it does affect performance.

My basic assumption in my “Engagement” theory of motivation (in preparation) invokes an analogy from the physical world. It is entirely qualitative and only very small parts are subject to quantification. I assume that all human actions (which we call behaviour) are analagous to motion in physics. Further, I take a change to be only in response to a “force of behaviour”. The challenge lies in describing and defining this force. Building on Maslow (Motivation and Personality – 1954) I assume that any human, at any given time, exhibits a “state of human condition” which is a composite of

  1. the levels to which his various needs are satisfied, and
  2. the levels of his various dissatisfactions from deficiencies that are not met

I take “satisfaction of needs” and “dissatisfactions due to deficiencies” as two separate scales, neither of which can be negative and which are not diametrically opposed. Of course there are many needs and many deficiencies and there is a level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with each of them,

I use the analogy of motivation as a force of human behaviour.  In physics

In physics, a force is any interaction that, when unopposed, will change the motion of an object. A force can cause an object with mass to change its velocity (which includes to begin moving from a state of rest), i.e., to accelerate. A force has both magnitude and direction, making it a vector quantity. – Wikipedia

The analogous definition of motivation then becomes

With human behaviour, motivation is any interaction that, when unopposed, will change the behaviour of a person. Motivation can cause a person having free will to change behaviour (which includes the initiation of behaviour from a state of rest). Motivation has both magnitude and direction, making it a vector quantity. 

Human behaviour is only visible as human actions. For an object to be susceptible to a force it must have mass. The quantity analogous to mass is the freedom of the human to act rationally, i.e. his free will. The force acting on an object must be greater than the sum of all opposing forces in the direction of the acting force, to cause the object to respond. Just as a constrained object may not react to a force, so a constrained human may not react to a motivational force.

For every deficiency there is a tolerable level of dissatisfaction. If this level is exceeded then rational behaviour is no longer possible and an individual can and will only act to reduce the dissatisfaction to the exclusion of everything else. When a deficiency is in the intolerable region the person is debilitated and not amenable to any motivational force. It is the tolerable level of dissatisfactions which defines the behavioural space where manipulation and motivation can be brought into play to influence behaviour.

From Pillai “Engagement theory of motivation”

But it is not only deficiencies and intolerable levels of dissatisfaction which constrain the behavioural space. Rational behavior is also “ignored” when a particular course of behavior only brings more “satisfaction” of a need which has already been satiated. The “satiation boundary” is reached at relatively low levels of satisfaction with Malsow’s lower-order needs and increase sharply as higher-order needs are considered – “mentally satiated” line. At the highest orders of self-actualisation, needs can never be satiated.

(I use“sated” and “satiated” as being identical in meaning).

from Pillai “Engagement theory of motivation”

Intentional motivation can only function within the rational behavioural space and that space lies in the region where deficiencies are not debilitating and needs are not satiated.


Related: https://ktwop.com/2014/07/28/between-debilitation-and-satiation-the-behavioural-space/


 

Swedish voting procedure – An illusion of secrecy

September 11, 2018

Sweden has a population of just under 10 million and 7.49 million were registered to vote in the general election last Sunday. There were 6005 polling stations so each polling station would deal, on average, with less than 1300 voters. As a comparison, an Indian General Election has 814 million voters and 930,000 polling stations giving an average of less than 900 voters per polling station.

On average a Swedish polling station has 50% more voters than an average Indian polling station. Yet the Swedish voting procedure is almost entirely manual with very little use of electronic devices. Surprisingly, it is also prone to human error in the recording of who has voted.

The voting process has five key steps.

  1. Select a ballot paper from the party of your choice (NOT IN SECRET)
  2. Mark your preference for a particular person on the party list. (IN SECRET).
  3. Put your ballot paper in an envelope. (IN SECRET).
  4. Identify yourself to polling official who crosses you off the electoral list and
  5. places your envelope in the ballot box (NOT IN SECRET).

The voters choice of party is made in Step 1 but there is no pretense of secrecy around this step. The secrecy surrounding Step 3 adds no value. In Step 4 there is no cross check that the name being crossed of the electoral roll is actually the person who has voted.

Considering the voting process as a whole, it is remarkably old-fashioned but steps 1 and 4 are not fit for purpose for even an old-fashioned process.

 

This year the Swedish election has had international observers. I would be surprised if they did not comment on Steps 1 and 4.


 

No higher purpose

July 16, 2018

(Of course the ultimate purpose of life, the universe and everything is balance – which is indistinguishable from stasis. The imbalance at the core of time, the universe and everything.

If any change – including the state of change we call life – can be said to have a purpose, it is to eliminate the imbalance which caused the change or life in the first place. It would seem then that the ultimate purpose of all change must be to return to a state of complete equilibrium where even time does not have to flow. A state of stasis.

But let us suppose that there is such a thing as purpose).

Consider the characteristics of purpose.

  1. Purpose is not confined only to conscious minds or only to all living things. Purpose, as an objective or a direction, can be attributed to anything. But the attribution and its articulation seems confined to the existence of a conscious mind.
  2. Having (or being attributed with) purpose implies the flow of time. It implies a current state and actions to reach some other desired state at a later time. A purpose can not and does not address a past state.
  3. A purpose as an objective may describe a future state outside the space of perceived causality (and therefore of an imaginary state). But observe that even an imaginary future state can provide a real direction for current actions.
  4. A consciousness does not need to have a purpose and all its actions may be merely reactive. It also follows that if a conscious mind perceives no desired direction (no purpose), then its actions are reactive and merely respond to the prevailing imbalances it experiences.
  5. When more than one conscious mind is involved, individual purposes and the actions they engender, are additive and combine as vectors giving a “net” purpose.

The purpose of purposes is to give direction to actions. If an individual perceives no “higher” group purpose, that individual’s actions are then directed by that individual’s own purposes (or lack of purpose). Even where a group purpose is discernible, it can only be effected by the actions of individuals who subordinate their own purposes to that of the group. “Higher” purpose is irrelevant unless – and until – it is adopted by the entity carrying out the action. A “higher” purpose is ineffective except as disseminated and adopted by the actors.

Ultimately there is no higher purpose than that set or adopted by an individual for himself or herself.


 

 

 

 

When “democracy” becomes a religion, excellence has no value

June 16, 2018

Though no country is truly “democratic”, I am afraid that “democracy” is becoming a religion. It is being forgotten that “democracy” is merely a tool to enable a society to function well smoothly. But the goodness of any system depends upon minorities getting along with majorities.

As practised most “democracies” all exhibit limitations on who gets to vote, on who gets elected and on how far majorities are allowed to suppress minorities. They are all autocratic to a greater or lesser degree. Politicians represent parties rather than their constituencies. Even where they try to represent their voters, that advocacy is limited by their party allegiances. Heads of government are granted varying levels of autocratic freedoms. Some Presidents and Prime Ministers and Chancellors effectively are Kings – for a time. The test of goodness lies in whether it allows society to function, not in achieving a state of sanctity.

My fear is that the new religion of the twentieth century is some glorified, sanctimonious vision of a “democracy”. Holy crusades are being conducted in the name of this religion where heretical nations are subject to regime change – by force if necessary. This religion is now one where the mediocre is exalted, where the pursuit of excellence is castigated as non-democratic and elitism, where majority opinion replaces being correct. Right and wrong are replaced by majority view and minority view. To “follow” the mediocrity of the majority has become more important than to “lead” towards aspirations.

Democracy as a religion is, in fact – opposed to excellence or the search for excellence.

 


 

Trumpophobia or “Dump-on-Trump Syndrome” (DTS)

June 13, 2018

The establishment and the establishment media have been reviling Donald Trump for almost 4 years now. Initially it was to try and ensure that Hillary Clinton was elected President. Now Trump has been President for 18 months and the automatic, instant reviling of Trump on any subject and any issue continues. The fervour  is getting feverish and reflects more on the revilers than on the “revilee”.

But what the media missed before the election – and is still missing – is that Trump revels in the headlines. Any publicity is good publicity for him. There has not been a single day in his 500 days in office when he has not been in the headlines. The instant and largely reflex – but thoughtless – opposition is manifested as a global phobia among the liberal/left (where a phobia is “an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something”).

In years to come, Trumpophobia or the “Dump on Trump” syndrome will be studied as a classic example of mass irrationality or a mass political psychosis. Just his name seems to cause brain freeze among those afflicted with the phobia. But the affliction is debilitating. It causes otherwise rational people to sound and act like imbeciles.

But the reality is that no matter how much Trump is held in contempt or reviled or hated, his cavalier approach to government and to diplomacy has shaken the world out of its complacent, self-adulatory comfort zone.

Whatever his popularity or otherwise, history will show that Trump caused a much-needed correction to the self-admiring, self-righteous, sanctimony that was – and still is – suffocating the world.


 


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