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  •  Thank you ... (2+ / 0-)
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    Cassiodorus, offgrid

    interesting and worthwhile.

    Would it be 'acceptable' if the conversation / framing were shifted to 'monetary profit is a cultural artifact'?

    BTW, this seems to me a version of 'everyone does everything for something' being read by too many as money or thing as opposed to potentially being 'self-esteem' or 'self understanding of ethics' or 'cultural conditioning'.

    Again, thank you for interesting, substantive, quality response.  I am glad that I asked.

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:44:31 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I confess to being a sociobiologist (2+ / 0-)
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      A Siegel, ban nock

      To me, everything is biology, even culture. So, money, as I said is just another kind of banana. Interestingly, money has many things in common with drugs of addiction. People who are so vastly wealthy that they could never hope to spend even a tiny fraction of it still seek it. There seems to be never enough. When they talk about making money, you can see the enormous thrill they get from such acquisition. This is not something I really have, and you probably don't either, but we live in the same culture as, say, Donald Trump. I would say that he is addicted to money, and his brain probably gives him the same dopamine charge as a cocaine addict gets when they snort a line.

      We now know that all addictions work through the same mechanism. Low basal dopamine levels in the addict's brain need a bigger stimulus to get to a threshold than you or I do. Addiction can be created to many kinds of behaviors, as long as you have low dopamine and the behavior brings a big immediate reward. The endless pursuit of ever more money is just that, in my opinion. Perhaps if we could deal with the dopamine problem, we could deal with the money problem, but not before.

      For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

      by Anne Elk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:57:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And yet a mother (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        atana, Cassiodorus

        will gladly sacrifice her own personal "profit" for her children, if it otherwise means letting them starve. You're ignoring other human traits while elevating the trait that makes us want "more."

        Traits can be exaggerated beyond proportion. To say they exist is one thing, but the question is do such traits exist to the exclusion of all other traits.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:43:38 AM PST

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        •  Bingo (0+ / 0-)

          Selfishness is a patriarchal construct which is parasitic on the nurturing gift economy of mothers. Human sociality -- language, intelligence, tool use all of it  -- evolved from cooperative childrearing among protohuman females.

          The whole patriarchal capitalist meme of warlike "selfishness" is a projection of our diseased and nonviable culture. It's simply social Darwinism, reintroduced as part of the right wing resurgence in the 1970s.

        •  Zhen Ren, it's more than that. (0+ / 0-)

          "Anne Elk" is trying to universalize something that is culturally-bound and specific to historic time.

          "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

          by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 01:45:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I realize that Cass (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cassiodorus

            And there are many studies that indicate that this competitive drive for "profit" is balanced by other traits. It really is a right wing meme that other social biologists, anthropologists/psychologists don't agree with.

            Here's a comprehensive article (one of many found with a quick search) that covers a lot of ground:

            http://anarchism.pageabode.com/...

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 05:09:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  people do things for all kinds of reasons (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassiodorus

          elevating a rational self-interested profit motive assumes a lot of things about the economic agent.

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 01:56:42 PM PST

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      •  Don't make that assumption ... (0+ / 0-)

        I -- like most in my (our?) society -- often have bugged-out eyes contemplating 'sales' or 'things' or dreaming of the Powerball payout.  Now, I recognize this (most of the time) and fight that 'dopamine' drive -- often successfully.

        Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

        by A Siegel on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:49:05 AM PST

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    •  To me, dopamine is the ONLY reward (0+ / 0-)

      The rest of it is just stuff that gets you to release dopamine.

      •  You got it, Jello (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        too many people

        There is also, serotonin too, which makes you feel quite satisfied with how things are turning out.

        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

        by Anne Elk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:59:42 AM PST

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        •  Yeah, but no rush (0+ / 0-)

          I've known so many people who crushed their serotonin levels chasing dopamine.
          Just crushed 'em.

        •  It seems the thing to do is find a new drug. (1+ / 0-)
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          too many people

          That is, using Ann's concept of profit, find a solution that provides a better kick than the current system, as opposed to telling people they can't have the old drug anymore.

          •  She has elevated the drive for individual profit (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cassiodorus

            above all other social traits, as if that one drive is paramount. She ignores social instincts of humans in which mutual survival is important. Species don't just have an instinct for individual survival, but also for survival of the entire species. Thus, humans are capable of forgoing the drive for "more" if it comes at the expense of the entire tribe.

            Here's an excerpt of an article about Dawkin's view on the topic:

            http://ezinearticles.com/...

            Darwin described this mutual aid as 'a permanent instinct,' that is always at work in all social animals, especially in Man. Having its origin at the very beginnings of the evolution of the animal world, it is certainly an instinct as deeply seated in animals, as is the instinct of maternal love. Darwin posits that cooperation may even be seated deeper because it is present in such animals as mollusks, some insects, and most fish, which he said hardly possess any maternal instinct. This mutual empathy is all too conveniently forgotten by followers of Darwinism.

            However, this is not the full picture because within this animal instinct we have the origin of feelings of benevolence, as well as partial identification of the individual with the group, both of which are the starting-point of all the higher ethical feelings. It is upon this basis that the higher sense of justice, equity, and liberty is developed, as well as customary self-sacrifice to aid the continuance of the species.

            Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/...

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 12:28:08 PM PST

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            •  Sorry but I haven't quite done that. (0+ / 0-)

              In fact, in chimpanzee's group profit is as important as individual profit, and that is apparently true for all primates. Otherwise, there would be no social groups at all. So group profit matters a lot too. However, the real point relates to the balance between individual and group. Some individuals engage in behaviors that they see as just so rewarding that the interests of anyone else just do not signify. That's true of heroin addicts and it's true of Donald Trump, and it's driven by the same neurochemical mechanism.

              Also, I would caution you about quoting a 19th Century icon like Darwin. His insights were profound, but he was limited by his time. He isn't all-knowing. More recent thinkers like Richard Dawkins see things like maternal love as a biologically valuable trait because it serves the transmission of genes across time, and is the core reason for any organism's existence. Cooperation is common among many species because cooperation helps the individual, and thus enhances the prospects for reproduction.  

              For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

              by Anne Elk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 01:23:30 PM PST

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              •  Chimpanzees don't "profit." (0+ / 0-)

                There are no chimpanzee accountants keeping balance sheets.  They have neither assets nor liabilities.  Try using some vocabulary.  English is a big language.

                "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

                by Cassiodorus on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 09:27:27 AM PST

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            •  No, she hasn't. (0+ / 0-)

              I'm puzzled by the urge some of you have to put words in her mouth.

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