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Jean Capel

Jean Valjean Syndrome

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Well, I wasn't suggesting we ignore the field of psychology when considering this, I just thought that to attribute it all to three simple principles of psychology was a way to let things slip through the cracks as we try to simplify them. You acknowledged yourself that these three points were more observable truths than they were rules, and so I felt that debating them would draw too much away from the actual subject.  If we started debating even the merits of psychology, we could delve dangerously off topic; well, I would at least.





The problem we have is more or less semantics and misunderstanding. We agree for the most part.


That being said, I have 2 issues with what you're saying:


#1.You take the "motives triad" too literally(don't take anything I say too literally- if you wanna understand me), mis-attribute my other points, and thus draw simplified conclusions.




#2.You draw attention to irrelevant postulation. Ie: what is the point of reminding me that some factors remain unknown? I acknowledged this, but it is not relevant. Why discuss environment, if you already agree people are personally accountable?


As far as I can tell, it seems you are confused about the concept of systems, patterns and co-dependance/system relation, but don't know it. I tried my best to explain here. Correct me if I'm wrong.



"The environment did not strictly dictate the outcome individually, it simply makes it easier for the predictable action to occur."



Well, I was never arguing that the environment dictated or determined an outcome, just that it had an effect, so I think we can agree to this.  Since human examples are so prone to hypothetical revision, emotion, incentive and emotion, let's look at something simpler than removes the human element.


You have a pressurized chamber, and on top there are two outlets.  One outlet is half the size of the other in terms of diameter and length.  Now logic tells us that more air should flow out of the larger outlet, because liquid flows to the areas of lowest pressure, and the larger outlet apparently offers less resistance.  So in this scenario, our prediction is that the air will flow more out of the big hole.


However, there's always an exception to this rule because of factors that we don't consider and may not see.  Slight differences in atmospheric conditions, the density and temperature of the air, the relative pressure of the room we're in at the moment.  With the right conditions, air would not flow out of the chamber at all, but rather stay inside.



To me this is directly comparable to the way environment influences, or more appropriately does not influence people in the way society expects.  Society might expect some impoverished, victimized person from Harlem to be more predisposed to crime, but what if his environment has the exact opposite victimizing quality, and instead empowers him to go to college and make something of himself ( which happens far more than people like to give credit for ), no one goes, "It was just his environment, he had no choice in the matter," because it is something perceived as positive by most.  In the end, we both understand that it was up to the person ultimately, but can we really disregard what effects the environment may have?


(#2 justification)


Accountability of action is undoubtedly an intangible topic of discussion. This topic must become psychological, and inevitably theoretical if you wish to dig to deeper truth. And truth is all you can get, once tangible proof becomes meaningless. "Slipping through cracks" has no practical definition(relative to physical reality) once you delve into meta-psychology so it's irrelevant to mention it, since I never advocated the institutionalized acceptance of any one concept.


Yes, environment has an effect. And yes, certain effects are subtle. But what is the point... in making this point? It serves only to imply mystic-fatalism. So why seed doubt, when the logic is clear or has not been properly discounted to begin with?


Environments(all systems) have an effect, always. To varying degrees. But a determinate effect, or even an effect that is implied as determinate must be absolute. To imply that environment is cause(When one acknowledges the presence of unknown factors, it does not mean that the functions of the system(s) are misunderstood and that logical conclusions are therefore unattainable. This is what repeated re-iteration of a benign fact -without reason- implies. As in your case.) also implies that it is determinate, therefore absolute. You make this implication, but I realise that it is genuinely unintended. Regardless, any "excuses"(as subtle as they may be) made for failure are derived from emotional habituation(ego intervention) and not logical argument.


Yes, there are unknown factors. But in this case, that is irrelevant to re-iterate- if one sides with the concept of individual accountability. And it will always be a conceptual reasoning, that does not mean it is illogical. Everything is logic, logic is commonality. It is easier to concede to mysticism than progress into deeper truth.



(#1 justification)


The "motives" are not directorates, strictly speaking, they are not concisely definable because of the limits of English vocabulary. It is a broad concept. It is a forced pattern in one sense, but has variable outcomes in another sense.


The "definition" of the triad is dictated by the system within which it operates. And both systems in this case are co-dependent.


Sub-systemically(relative to our behavior), the triad functions as an incentive scheme but systemically it functions as "behavior". So, in the system of biological evolution, these 3 motives are universally observable "behavior" used to progress the incentive of "life", which is to spread & survive. -So, how does "life"(system) "behave" in order to spread(incentive) most efficiently(the most efficient will prosper)? It survives, prospers and multiplies. The pattern in which "life" "behaves" is invariable to the ends of it's incentive.


Our behavioral system is a sub-system. It operates dependent upon the system of biological evolution("life"). The invariable "behavior pattern"(rules) in that system dictates the incentives in the sub-system.


Observable truth comes from invariable pattern(rule), and vice versa.


I think you are misunderstanding the relations between systems. I explained already why one might """go against""" the motives. It is misattribution of benefit values. They are incentives, not rules. They become a rule once an invariable pattern is observed, but then this rule must be applied to the primary system. Subjectively rational decisions are by nature going against the norm of objective rationality. The incentives are sound(since no one has shown otherwise), and to understand them and how they co-incide with systems is to accept a broader reality which means your actions are your own. And thus your responsibility.




What I think was really the question that was on my mind though, was not if environment as an influence on people, but what influence environment has on the frequency of such things. There have undoubtedly been men shot in both scenarios I mentioned, but far more men have been shot in the former scenario than in the latter. Is this because there are just more lower-class people to make an example like this with, or could one again argue that it is the environment that causes it to occur more often in one area versus the other. That is to say, are there more poor people shooting each other because there are more poor, or is it because it is somehow more of an appealing solution ( we'll just ignore what reasons it might be more appealing ) in a poor neighborhood?


This question is derived from your conflicted concept of systems themselves. Perhaps due to the aforementioned skepticism regarding "unknown factors", anyways I won't further assume the cause.


When you mention "frequency", you are likely treating the interactions of two separate systems as one. The system of: "Environments and their predictable outcomes(like human behavior, which is a collective concept)", has no human intermediate. It is just: the environment and; predictable outcomes(assuming stable factors). And the system of: Human psychology and it's predictable outcomes(individual behavior) has -likewise- no intermediate. Any analysis of "human psychology" or, "behavior" would require the creation of a dependent sub-system, separate from the original and not "intermediate". When you want to discern the cause of behavioral patterns in a system, you must use a sub-system. Behavior patterns(rules) relative to the environment are dictated by environmental factors. But the individual behavioral sub-system is not.


Now try thinking through this question again, using what I just wrote and the explanation I gave you for "frequency"(misc. answers) in my last post.


It's not consistent to say that a man who stole only did so because he was hungry and should not be accountable, because the man next to him did not steal because his beliefs, and the man next to him because of determent, they were just as hungry.  However, it is very consistent to say that, the part of town that has more famine and hungry people, will have more instances of this than the part of town where people are properly fed.  However, there is probably at least one hungry and/or greedy person in the good part of town that will steal simply because they want something to eat and don't want to pay for it.  Several parts of this dynamic are unpredictable, but the one predictable part is: The less food there is, the more theft there will be.



Any person who steals from you is accountable. Just because a poor or starving stranger steals from someone, does not mean the victim is obligated to absolve him of justice. I never implied this. Mercy is relative. Thus, observational rationality would dictate that neither the thief or victim is to blame, but one is accountable for a socially victimizing action. One stole because of the common incentive to survive(if starving) or prosper(if "greedy") etc etc, while the victim might decide to protect his capital(food) because he is ultimately following his incentive for prosperity(which also relates to the other two rules, I explained this). Regardless, the thief remains accountable for stealing(or attempting to steal) from his victim.


Once again, you confuse seperate systems. If you treat separate systems as the same thing, you will never find anything but confusion. This applies to all your examples.


You are only "limited" by innate tendancy but this only defines the "limits" of values assigned to the 3 motives. Ie: sociopaths probably have very small emotional parameters by design(to varying degree). And use the relatively subjective emotional rationality provided to them by chance to fake emotion and elicit the desired benefit from others.


Human behavior is a by-product of psychology. Individual psychology is a by-product of innate tendancies and habituation. Habituation is a result of repeated stimulus, with certain responses eliciting more benefit. The key thing to remember is that emotional habituation is relative. And emotional value misattribution is what determines many people's "emotional state". It can always be changed through internal stimulus. Hence, the accountability of failing to adapt your own emotions to society falls on your own shoulders.

Edited by shaboobala

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