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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 - 5:40pmSanction this postReply
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Thank you, Robert.  I am pleased to be the first to comment and would be surprised if I were the first to bonk. 


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Post 1

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 - 5:41pmSanction this postReply
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Robert, if the first societies were matriarchal, how did men come to dominate civilisation (prior to modern capitalism)? Or are you suggesting that while the basis of society is matriarchal, men nevertheless prevailed? A symbiosis?

Ms Paglia:

"If civilization had been left in female hands we would still be living in grass huts. "

...but:

"Woman is the dominant sex. Men have to do all sorts of stuff to prove that they are worthy of woman's attention. "

...and then:

"Men know they are sexual exiles. They wander the earth seeking satisfaction, craving and despising, never content. There is nothing in that anguished motion for women to envy."

Oh, that Camille!

Ross



Post 2

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 - 8:09pmSanction this postReply
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That will be taken up in the article - On the Taking Syndrome...

Post 3

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 - 9:05pmSanction this postReply
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Robert,

Fascinating article. Thanks for writing this.

-Bill

Post 4

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 - 10:39pmSanction this postReply
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Great article. But Robert, why call trading a "syndrome?" Why not just "On the Origins of Trade?"


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Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 4:47amSanction this postReply
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Adam,

'Syndrome' does not appear in the article itself and we have learned recently that article titles are not necessarily the province of the author therefore you really don't know that 'syndrome' was Robert's choice.

Post 6

Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 6:31amSanction this postReply
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Jane Jacobs used those terms of syndromes in her work, Systems of Survival... I merely took trading and taking as the proper essence of the respective syndromes as opposed to her's... this is a continuation of previous articles regarding the origins...

Post 7

Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 6:39amSanction this postReply
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Its very interesting material that makes some sense, but I also think much of it is highly speculative.  Evidence is somewhat lacking.

Post 8

Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 6:55amSanction this postReply
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In seeking to making an integrated view of existence, speculation is a must regarding the prehistoric eras - as long as it retains to what evidence there is, in a non-contradictory manner, it retains its validity, and offers a view from which further evidence-gathering may peruse..  I admit to taking from a multitude of disciplines, synthesizing them, as a generalist, into a comprehensive whole - it is my position that it allows for greater understanding of the respective parts to see them in conjunction with other seemingly unrelated areas...

Post 9

Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 8:46pmSanction this postReply
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Robert,

Thanks! It was not clear to me that you were using Jacobs' term.


Post 10

Friday, November 11, 2005 - 5:06pmSanction this postReply
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Ross Elliott asked: "... how did men come to dominate civilisation ..."
What makes you think they do?  You identify civilization with "the boys and their toys."  Wars, treaties, politics, conquests, destruction...  I do not believe that civilization is those things.

... "the power behind the throne" ...

Women use men like sockpuppets and men think they are in charge.  There was an amusing tale from after World War II where the Navy wanted to buy this island, so they went to the men's council and the men voted...  then the men went home...  When the Navy came back, they found that they had been dealing with the wrong people. 

I remember having a discussion with some libertarians when women could not vote in Switzerland.  (It's an on and off thing, apparently.)  And one woman said, "They don't vote because they don't need to."  That pretty much ended the debate.


Post 11

Monday, April 2, 2007 - 7:15amSanction this postReply
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(For an extra-credit paper in Abnormal Psychology, I was assigned to read the March 11, 2007, New York Times Magazine article, "The Brain on the Stand."  This is from my paper.)

One experiment from the University of Zürich relies on transcranial magnetic stimulation to inhibit specific regions of the brain. Researchers Ernst Fehr and Daria Knoch temporarily disrupted the right prefrontal cortexes of subjects who were involved in a bartering game. 

One person is given $20 and told to divide it with a partner. If the partner rejects the proposed amount as too low, neither person gets any money. Subjects whose prefrontal cortexes were functioning properly tended to reject offers of $4 or less: they would rather get no money than accept an offer that struck them as insulting and unfair. But subjects whose right prefrontal cortexes were suppressed by T.M.S.[strong magnetic fields] tended to accept the $4 offer. Although the offer still struck them as insulting, they were able to suppress their indignation and to pursue the selfishly rational conclusion that a low offer is better than nothing.

But that is exactly the response of a rational, market-oriented person, the routine decision found on stock markets and commodities trading pits all over the world – to say nothing of millions of independent, small businesses – every day.  In other words, the basis for this experiment was the assumption that trading behavior is abnormal, but it can be forced into most people.  As an ethical egoist myself, a conscious believer in “the trading ethic,” I am not sure how I react to either side of that coin.



Post 12

Monday, April 2, 2007 - 7:59amSanction this postReply
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Interesting experiment. I think it would be pertinent to know if the participants either knew each other personally or knew whether or not they would come in contact with each other after the experiment. If they were complete strangers I think the 'insult' aspect would be less.

Sam


Post 13

Monday, April 2, 2007 - 9:12pmSanction this postReply
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This is the Game Theory game called Ultimatum, and it proves how we're inherent traders -- and how cut-throat behavior can't evolve (without centralized power). Some have called it "negative altruism" or "altruistic punishment" -- but the bottom line is that folks don't stand for perceived injustices (i.e. they're "moral" by nature).

Folks typically reject anything less than 20% of the total (in this case, $4).

The psychodynamics involved with "Ultimatum" have been validated across numerous and differing cultures. It's a human thing.

;-)

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 4/02, 9:15pm)


Post 14

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 - 4:15amSanction this postReply
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I don't agree, Ed.  I think that the desire to "punish" an "unfair" distribution rather than to accept a clear gain is an example of our animal nature, rather than our rational potential.  To say that this operates across cultures and thus validates "morality" is a non-sequitar.  You need to define morality.  Once you do -- assuming that you are an Objectivist -- you see that the trader mentality is different from the traditionalist taker who seeks to "punish" others for "immoral" behavior, as opposed to simply accepting gains and avoiding losses, which is the rational strategy of a self-interested person.

I do, agree, however, that individuals with atavistic brains often come to subtle structures like Objectivism and assimilate what they can from it, thus acquiring a new vocabulary to express an old desire.


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Tuesday, April 3, 2007 - 4:22amSanction this postReply
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Since in the interum  of the time twixt when this came out, and now, there is the Taking Syndrome, then you can see from the listing of ITS virtues the attitudes Michael was mentioning...

Post 16

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 - 6:33amSanction this postReply
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MEM,

To say that this operates across cultures and thus validates "morality" is a non-sequitar.  You need to define morality.  Once you do -- assuming that you are an Objectivist -- you see that the trader mentality is different from the traditionalist taker who seeks to "punish" others for "immoral" behavior, as opposed to simply accepting gains and avoiding losses, which is the rational strategy of a self-interested person.


Okay, fine (here it is) ...
Morality: Living code.
Rational Morality: Living code that furthers your life and happiness.

And now, Michael, you need to define the original aspects of a "person." I'm not talking about a graduate who majored in Eastern Philosophy -- you have to be "something" before you can accomplish THAT arduous task. This type of thing that you are, even in the "young" of primitive tribes in Africa, is a type of being that understands "fairness."

Small children -- who are without an explicitly-defined moral code -- already impose the trader principle on each other. Takers are shunned. Taking can't "take hold" among a young one (unless parents -- read: ARBITRARY POWER -- always pick up the slack for the lost values that Takers will always perpetuate on themselves because of the kind of creatures that we are).

And just because I said that humans are going to feel a certain way in a given situation, because of the type of creature that they are (note that the Game Theory research merely empirically-validates this philosophical position of mine), isn't to be taken as my "defense" of morality. See my 2 definitions above for insight into why this is true.


... you see that the trader mentality is different from the traditionalist taker who seeks to "punish" others for "immoral" behavior, as opposed to simply accepting gains and avoiding losses ...
If you consistently made short-range deals with the Devil like this (if you consistently "accepted" injustices), then you wouldn't thrive as much as others (who didn't consistently take every deal short-range). I'm talking about an Evolutionary Stable Strategy, and I'm telling you that -- without the corruption of altruist-collectivist philosophy (which inescapably leads to a centralized and ARBITRARY POWER) -- "Taking" couldn't ever take hold among humans. It's because we're a certain way.

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 4/03, 6:39am)


Post 17

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 - 9:23amSanction this postReply
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Careful, Ed - ye be treading a slippery slope...............;-)

Post 18

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 - 10:40amSanction this postReply
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Rev', please double-check the qualifications that I made -- and get back to me on that.

If the need for clarity is paramount, then form syllogisms from my premises and conclusions (if you have the time, energy, and inclination to do so) -- and point to my (alleged) error.

Ed


Post 19

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 - 1:14pmSanction this postReply
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Am not saying am disagreeing with you Ed - only that I doubt you realize the total logical consequence of what you said....;-)

To help clue you, consider a thought experiment - a world where only traders existed - what kind of world would it be like - how would it be structured? or would it even be structured?








Then think of Eric Frank Russell's tale - And Then There Were None.........

(Edited by robert malcom on 4/03, 1:17pm)


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