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PostPosted: 04 Nov 2007, 09:29 
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Neighbor of the Beast

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From the Newstand:

"People believe in magic for all sorts of reasons, Anne-Maria Makhulu said, including a deep-seated human desire for equality." -Anne-Maria Makhulu as quoted in Science Daily (Oct. 25, 2007)

Perhaps I am cynical, way too cynical, but I do not believe that people have a deep-seated desire for equality. Rather, they have a deep-seated desire to not be inferior. This is a significant distinction in my mind, because it explains why people are so quick to lord it over others, but take very little, or no notice of when they do it themselves...

Innate selfishness? We seem to all be born that way and learn to share with others.


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PostPosted: 04 Nov 2007, 09:32 
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Grand Poobah
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hurm....

We're inherently pack animals, which implies that In My Opinion we're hardwired for some sort of hierarchy that makes sense.

Perhaps it's not 'equal' so much as 'have value'? Everyone wants to feel a valid member of the pack, but have no need to lead it.

(I relate everythign to dogs, btw. :lol: )


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PostPosted: 04 Nov 2007, 09:49 
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Neighbor of the Beast

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Hmm, dogs are in fact an excellent mirror of our natures. They are the closest animal to us, in so many ways, and have evolved to be accepted by us, so it makes sense that they would emulate us in order to find that acceptance. Ergo (heh...) it seems logical to me that we can learn a great deal about ourselves from studying them...


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PostPosted: 04 Nov 2007, 16:57 
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A better word than "equality" might be "fairness." No one likes to see injustice (whatever their own personal definition of "injustice" is), yet we live in a Universe that at times seems very unjust. Magic--and prayer, and to an extent even religion itself--is a way of coping with this phenomenon by convincing ourselves that a) things are more fair than they seem on the surface, and b) beyond that, we can mete out rewards to do-gooders and punishments to evil-doers on the spiritual level when the physical level fails us.

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"Any experience which teaches you something new has not been a complete waste of time."

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PostPosted: 05 Nov 2007, 22:47 
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Grand Poobah
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Possibly.

I can see that if your role is 'bottom of the pack' it's still fair, on some level.

I also know how jealous I am of Christians and others who believe in a final justice system. There is so much unfair in the world, it's such a comfort to believe someone is keeping score.

So, yes, I certainly see that.


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PostPosted: 06 Nov 2007, 08:00 
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Neighbor of the Beast

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What about the whole "Keeping up with the Jones' " thing?

I have seen a human desire to be "better" than others in a number of ways, from Video game bragging rights, to the "Bling" of the Inner city culture.

A truly complex interaction...


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PostPosted: 06 Nov 2007, 09:41 
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Grand Poobah
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Maybe we have too many people who believe they are/have to be better than everyone else?

But that's more on a material level than a fair level, if that makes sense... I guess you want your 'pack' to be best (your family, your gang) but yoou can take a lower rung in your 'pack' and still be ok...


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PostPosted: 06 Nov 2007, 18:08 
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Neighbor of the Beast

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That is where my current belief set sits. It seems to me that a great deal of the nature of human culture, our psychology, and a whole host of other considerations derive from the basic needs of our survival as an individual creature and as a tribal (or "pack" if you will) animal. As we become more and more global and try to rise above the ancient strifes that were created by tribal competition, I think that these issues become more prevalent.

I also think that the tribal instinct is stronger than the selfish instinct in some cases. There are persons that are more tribally oriented, and from this we get the sort of people that are willing to sacrifice for others. Some do so quite selflessly for their own tribe but would not think twice about ignoring a non-member...


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PostPosted: 06 Nov 2007, 20:30 
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Grand Poobah
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Havenmage, I think you are right, but I also would add that the farther away you get from your home, the less important the details are.

The example I read was, in your home town, you are 'in a tribe' with people on your street, but the people across town are out of it.

In another town, someone from your town is suddenly in your tribe.

In another state, another country, another planet... etc...

I think we are capable to stretch our tribes that far easily, as long as we remain in a small group.

Now, Hex, what does JStor have to say?


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PostPosted: 06 Nov 2007, 21:06 
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Neighbor of the Beast

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Degrees of relativity. Fascinating take. I think you are right!

As they say in the commercial "Brilliant!" :D


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PostPosted: 06 Nov 2007, 21:15 
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Grand Poobah
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I'm trying to remember where I read it--- basically, it was about the colonization of America--- that being English meant little on your home street in London, but meant the world in the colonies...


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PostPosted: 23 Nov 2007, 02:34 
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jess wrote:
I also know how jealous I am of Christians and others who believe in a final justice system. There is so much unfair in the world, it's such a comfort to believe someone is keeping score.

Interesting…

I suppose I felt the same way when I was a Christian, though I can’t remember the details now. Since then I’ve adopted a view that getting to heaven is a matter of personal preference – we get there once we decide that this is where we want to be, quite irrespective of our conduct during this life. This makes me far happier than the reward/punishment setup.

Perhaps I haven’t witnessed enough injustice to adopt a harsher stance?


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PostPosted: 23 Nov 2007, 02:58 
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jess wrote:
We're inherently pack animals, which implies that In My Opinion we're hardwired for some sort of hierarchy that makes sense.

This reminds me of a book that I’ve read – Original Wisdom by Robert Wolff. It describes, among other things, the author’s encounters with Stone Age aborigines who live in the jungles of Malaysia (or at least used to live there until the jungle was cleared to make space for rubber plantations). The interesting thing about these aborigines is that they frequently experience the sense of unity with their surroundings (presumably Samadhi), to the extent that they have structured their society in line with the belief that this world of separation is an illusion and the underlying world of unity is the true reality. Their society has no hierarchy, though different people perform different tasks. They have no concept of ownership nor words to express it with, and they treat all people (including the author) as members of their family.


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PostPosted: 23 Nov 2007, 07:06 
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Regarding superiority, this is one of the easier ideas to dispense with if we are prepared to examine the behaviour that it gives rise to. From my experience, the belief the one is superior tends to manifest in behaviour that is inferior (belittling others, treating them with contempt, etc).


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PostPosted: 23 Nov 2007, 10:19 
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Neighbor of the Beast

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Absolutely true in my opinion. Persons with attitudes of superiority act towards others with contempt. The amount of contempt in accordance with their upbringing. At times they may not even realize that they are acting in that manner.


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