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Thread: destroying egocentric in military & Can Capitalism Survive Sans War?

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    destroying egocentric in military & Can Capitalism Survive Sans War?

    The Military Destroys the Egocentric

    I was recently watching, for the third time, the movie “Full Metal Jacket”. For those who have been privileged to serve in the military this movie will bring back ^#%*@ memories. For those who have not had this privilege this movie will be instructive as to certain means to instill the proper attitude into the citizen turned soldier.

    The military recruit spends eight weeks in basic training upon first entering service. This eight week period includes an introduction to certain skills and knowledge required by all military people. Primarily, however, these eight weeks are designed to change dramatically the attitude of the recruit.

    One aspect of this attitude change focuses upon changing the natural egocentric attitude into a sociocentric attitude. We do not generally recognize that we are motivated by the impulse to “view everything within the world in relationship to oneself, to be self-centered”. We are innately egocentric.

    The people who study such matters seem to conclude that the normal human reaction is generally irrationally egocentric. The military, I think, wishes to change that irrational egocentric behavior into an irrational sociocentric behavior with the military as the social group which replaces the individual ego.

    It appears that the key question of an egocentric is “How can I get what I want and avoid having to change in any fundamental way?”

    My point in mentioning all of this is to draw your attention to this natural egocentric behavior because it is the source of many of the problems our world is faced with. One of the reasons we (USA) get into terrible messes is because we do not study our adversary and develop rational solutions. Often egocentric tendencies on the part of all humans are our adversary.

    I do not think we understand this natural behavior well enough. What is your considered opinion?

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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    We do not generally recognize that we are motivated by the impulse to “view everything within the world in relationship to oneself, to be self-centered”. We are innately egocentric.
    Speak for yourself

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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    ...My point in mentioning all of this is to draw your attention to this natural egocentric behavior...I do not think we understand this natural behavior well enough. What is your considered opinion?
    Looks like a one-way street.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBlackCat
    Speak for yourself
    Which part...?
    We do not generally recognize that we are motivated by the impulse...
    or
    We are innately egocentric.

    and
    Quote Originally Posted by sarongsong
    Looks like a one-way street.
    What do you mean? Your link goes nowhere. (Sorry - no matches. Please try some different terms.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by soylentgreen
    Which part...?
    We do not generally recognize that we are motivated by the impulse...
    or
    We are innately egocentric.
    Both

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBlackCat
    Both
    Sorry, I'm not clear on the thought. It seems like you're saying...

    WE DO generally recognize that we are motivated by the impulse to “view everything within the world in relationship to oneself, to be self-centered”. But, you do not agree that we are innately egocentric.

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    If you recognize that you have the impulse and try to your best to supress it, then you are no longer egocentric. If you know you have the impulse to act irrationally, and thus are careful to act rationally, you are no longer completely irrational. The same principle applies. Just because you may have the natural tendency to be a certain way does not mean you are, in fact, that way if you work hard to avoid it. It doesn't mean you, or I rather, are perfect, but it does mean it can no longer be considered to dominate a person's behavior.

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    Coburst, if you have to "draw our attention" somewhere, please draw it elsewhere. Partisan politics are verbotten here.

    Surely, with all the reading you've done, you've taken a moment to read the board rules? Imagine all the things you could learn in the faq if you just free your mind and abandon your indoctrinated pre-conceptions blah blah blah.

    Look, just read the rules, okay?
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

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    I think that rational thought combats egotism when reason is combined with the knowledge of the fact that we all behave egotistically and that to prevent the ego from inhibiting reason we develop strong intellectual character. Intellectual character is the result of constantly and habitually recognizing our egotistical tendency and fighting those tendencies.

    It appears to me that egocentricism often prevents a person from being rational.

    I think that the ego has certain drives that make it difficult to be rational. One example is the desire for power. One can gain power through dominating others. One can gain power indirectly by submitting to others. The word ‘sycophant’ describes the latter. We do not need to go beyond recent headlines in the US to see the power one can acquire by being a sycophant. A sycophant cannot easily follow reason if reason interferes with groveling.

    On the other hand the bully does irrational things in the quest for power.

    I think the desire to belong is another ego problem that often leads to irrational behavior. Ideology constantly leads to foolish and irrational behavior.

    I think that the ego leads people to forget, or to becomes self righteous, or to become blind to things happening, etc.

    The point is that learning how to reason well is a necessary condition for reasoning well but is not sufficient for rational behavior. We have to recognize all of our innate selfish characteristics so that we can overcome them if we are to behave rationally with consistancy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBlackCat
    If you know you have the impulse to act irrationally, and thus are careful to act rationally, you are no longer completely irrational.
    I should point out that sometimes what appears totally irrational is in reality perfectly considered, and thus rational. Oftentimes, reason is based on one or more incorrect premises, leading to a similarly incorrect conclusion. ATM and Conspiracies often have good examples of this. (Of course, those fora have good examples of irrationality, too. The trick is figuring out which is which.)
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

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    While I will concede that the most egocentric of my boyfriend's brothers is the one who didn't join the military, I'm told I just haven't met the worst one, because he's stationed somewhere by the Navy and has been the entire time my boyfriend and I have been together.

    I really don't think the military itself has the power to change personality. For example, I'm highly inclined to doubt that they really want my boyfriend to have his sense of glee at the foibles of authority.
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    Quote Originally Posted by soylentgreen
    ...What do you mean? Your link goes nowhere. (Sorry - no matches. Please try some different terms.)
    It was meant to list "All messages by coberst",wherein is demonstrated not one post submitted to any thread other than self-started ones, to me exemplifying egocentricity. Critical thinking?

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    I think the desire to belong is another ego problem that often leads to irrational behavior. Ideology constantly leads to foolish and irrational behavior.
    I don't see ideologically driven people as being egocentric. Quite the opposite. The desire to belong are part of what you were earlier calling "socio-centric".

    Often egocentric tendencies on the part of all humans are our adversary.
    Our sociocentric tendencies (or ideological-centric tendencies) seem to cause quite a bit of harm as well! Being socio-centric doesn't stop you from, say, cutting the heads off of people you consider as part of an outgroup.

    A certain degree of egocentrism is necessary for survival. Without it, we would be unmotivated to look after ourselves. We would be easy to exploit by people who use whatever-it-is-that-we-are-now-centered-around to take advantage.

    I think that the ego has certain drives that make it difficult to be rational. One example is the desire for power. One can gain power through dominating others. One can gain power indirectly by submitting to others. The word ‘sycophant’ describes the latter. We do not need to go beyond recent headlines in the US to see the power one can acquire by being a sycophant. A sycophant cannot easily follow reason if reason interferes with groveling.
    The desire for power isn't irrational at all. Without power, you get eaten. Without the ability to coerce, or at least to defend yourself (power), you'll be taken advantage of and used by people (or things, if you count nature) who do have that power.

    No one wants to be a syncophant, but in certain situations, like tribal or authoritarian societies (our natural condition), it's the next best thing to being the leader. (Because the third and fourth best thing is to be a half starved slave or sacrificial scapegoat). It's probably why we have strong, but unfortunate instincts that bend us towards authority figures.

    I think that rational thought combats egotism when reason is combined with the knowledge of the fact that we all behave egotistically and that to prevent the ego from inhibiting reason we develop strong intellectual character. Intellectual character is the result of constantly and habitually recognizing our egotistical tendency and fighting those tendencies.
    People with "intellectual character" often have their intellect strongly conflated with their egos. Not necessarily a bad thing, but there's nothing especially selfless or virtuous about them either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ASEI
    I don't see ideologically driven people as being egocentric. Quite the opposite. The desire to belong are part of what you were earlier calling "socio-centric".

    Our sociocentric tendencies (or ideological-centric tendencies) seem to cause quite a bit of harm as well! Being socio-centric doesn't stop you from, say, cutting the heads off of people you consider as part of an outgroup.

    A certain degree of egocentrism is necessary for survival. Without it, we would be unmotivated to look after ourselves. We would be easy to exploit by people who use whatever-it-is-that-we-are-now-centered-around to take advantage.

    The desire for power isn't irrational at all. Without power, you get eaten. Without the ability to coerce, or at least to defend yourself (power), you'll be taken advantage of and used by people (or things, if you count nature) who do have that power.

    No one wants to be a syncophant, but in certain situations, like tribal or authoritarian societies (our natural condition), it's the next best thing to being the leader. (Because the third and fourth best thing is to be a half starved slave or sacrificial scapegoat). It's probably why we have strong, but unfortunate instincts that bend us towards authority figures.

    People with "intellectual character" often have their intellect strongly conflated with their egos. Not necessarily a bad thing, but there's nothing especially selfless or virtuous about them either.
    You are correct --"I don't see ideologically driven people as being egocentric. Quite the opposite. The desire to belong are part of what you were earlier calling "socio-centric". I am afraid I was not thinking very clearly, thanks for the clarification.

    The military tends to replace a predominantly egocentric person with a predominantly sociocentric person.

    The attitude of the soldier becomes indoctrinated into a particular group; the military. S/he becomes a member of a strong group and begins to unquestionably accept from that group a way of talking, a set of friends and enemies, certain rituals, behavior patterns, etc.

    I suspect the change from civilian to soldier might be compared with the change from believer to non believer or vice versa. It might be compared to the young person who becomes a gang member. It might be compared with the non ideologue becoming an ideologue.

    Sociocentric thinking is egocentric thinking wherein the group tends to replace the ego.

    I am not a sociologist but from my readings this is pretty much a consensus of those who study such things.

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    It's not a matter of either/or.
    Most people are a mix of ego-centric and socio-centric.

    The primary purpose of military indoctrination, which might me considered
    to be a mild form of brain-washing, is to change the focus of ones loyalties,
    rather then to change your character.
    People primarily associate themselves with their family-group and the community
    they are part off. The further from home, the less it feels like family.
    Boot-camp is to make your comrades your family, and the military your home.

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    My considered opinion is that you seem to have written your first post in this thread based on reading a single author or opinion.

    Many people who study the group interactions of animals and humans (I don't know the correct English term) have found that people and (higher) animals will sometimes act in a way that is negative for themselves but positive for the group, so the long term effect is indeed positive for themselves. So this is egocentrism of a higher order, namely the knowledge that often a positive effect on the group includes a positive effect on the actor, often even larger than the alternative egocentric action in the given case.

    Of course, the same individuals will sometimes behave purely egocentrical, and sometimes purely sociocentric, with no personal benefit.

    All these subtilities are not included in your post, so I can't give an opinion on that statement other than saying that it is heavily incomplete in my opinion.

    A nice example of egocentric versus sociocentric behaviour and everything in between can be found in the study of Bonobo group behaviour, but of course the same kind of studies have been done on humans.

    It appears that the key question of an egocentric is “How can I get what I want and avoid having to change in any fundamental way?”
    I've seen lots and lots of examples of egocentric behaviour where people deliberately change (eg act differently, often hypocrite) to get what they want. So it depends on your definition of "fundamental" whether this is correct or not. One could even argue that the egocentrism is the unique fundamental characteristic, and any other behaviour is a function of that. That would be a quite drastic "survivalistic" definition. But I just pose it here to show that your statement asks for a definition of "fundamental". So again there is far too little detail and a lack of identifying the multiplicity of the issue, things that are needed for a good discussion of the subject. That would be a discussion in which the identifiably (word? ) wrong interpretations of the issue would be filtered out, and hopefully one or (probably) more valid points of view (models) are left over. The human group behaviour and egocentrism are far too complex to catch in one sentence in my opinion.


    One more thing:

    The military recruit spends eight weeks in basic training upon first entering service.
    What army? Obviously this is not the same everywhere. And not even every division of the army will have the same kind of training, or the same focus on ego/sociocentric aspects. To give an extreme example, think of spies versus aircraft carrier personel.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas
    Many people who study the group interactions of animals and humans (I don't know the correct English term)...
    That would be Social ethology.

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    Indeed, thanks . Does that term also count for investigating that behaviour on humans?

    Just for clarity, I did not mean studying interaction between humans and animals.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halcyon Dayz
    It's not a matter of either/or.
    Most people are a mix of ego-centric and socio-centric.

    The primary purpose of military indoctrination, which might me considered
    to be a mild form of brain-washing, is to change the focus of ones loyalties,
    rather then to change your character.
    People primarily associate themselves with their family-group and the community
    they are part off. The further from home, the less it feels like family.
    Boot-camp is to make your comrades your family, and the military your home.
    The only thing I might take exception to is that the military does not change ones character.

    I think that military training has a significant affect on character. Character is a set of habits and being in the military changes our set of habits significantly.

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    Nicolas

    It is possible that I have been influenced by too few opinions. I am certainly not a psychologist or a sociologist. However every thing that I have written is confirmed by my experience.

    I seldom remember that I am ‘talking’ with citizens of nations other than mine (US). However I would be very surprised that the period of basic training is significantly different; the reason being that a change of attitude is imperative for any military person of any nation. I suspect that if you were to ask people who have been in the military in your nation you would get the same answer. I assume that you have never been in the service.

    Egocentric behavior does, as you say, display itself in many ways.

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    First of all, it heavily depends on what way you choose into the army, and what direction. A pilot will obviously not be put into service after 8 weeks. A paracommando won't. My sister is in the army but did military school first, that means years before being put into full service. So that 8 weeks might be only valid for a certain type (like standard land force soldier) of soldier in a certain army.

    I never heard my sister talking about a change of attitude in the way you propose it. I heard her talking about the role of the first women in the Belgian army, her sports achievements during training, the other women during training, going out during training...but not the change in attitude. It always appeared to me that training and selection was about selecting those with the right attitude and perfecting that, rather than changing attitudes. With the wrong attitude, I don't think you'd get far in the army. At least for my sister, training seemed to be more about sports, physical prestations and learning some techniques rather than changing attitude. You fit in or you fly out, so you'd better fit in right away. I have not spoken to military people from the USA, so I don't know how things are overthere. Nor have I spoken to other Belgian Army personnel.

    It is very well possible that the opinion you've taken knowledge of has been confirmed by your experience. The interesting aspect of these subjects is that when you learn other opinions, those too can be confirmed by your experience, even in one and the same case. It's all due to the complexity and subtility of the subject.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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    First of all, it heavily depends on what way you choose into the army, and what direction. A pilot will obviously not be put into service after 8 weeks. I did not go into service due to rapidly deteriorating eyesight, but I did inform myself on that. A paracommando won't go into service after 8 weeks. My sister is in the army but did military school first, that means years before being put into full service. So that 8 weeks might be only valid for a certain type (like standard land force soldier) of soldier in a certain army.

    I never heard my sister talking about a change of attitude in the way you propose it. I heard her talking about the role of the first women in the Belgian army, her sports achievements during training, the other women during training, going out during training...but not the change in attitude. It always appeared to me that training and selection was about selecting those with the right attitude and perfecting that, rather than changing attitudes. With the wrong attitude, I don't think you'd get far in the army unless you're willing to adjust, so one could argue that you have the "right" attitude latently in you in that case. At least for my sister, training seemed to be more about sports, physical prestations and learning some techniques rather than changing attitude. You fit in or you fly out, so you'd better fit in right away. I have not spoken to military people from the USA, so I don't know how things are overthere. Nor have I spoken to other Belgian Army personnel.

    It is very well possible that the opinion you've taken knowledge of has been confirmed by your experience. The interesting aspect of these subjects is that when you learn other opinions, those too can be confirmed by your experience, even in one and the same case. It's all due to the complexity and subtility of the subject.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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    Each job in the military has specialized training--some schools aare only a few weeks while others can go for months...

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    Human Behaviour

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas
    Quote Originally Posted by Halcyon Dayz
    That would be Social ethology.
    Indeed, thanks . Does that term also count for investigating that behaviour on humans?
    Some of them do.
    Most notably the British zoologist Desmond Moris.
    His The Naked Ape is a must read, a real eye-opener on human behaviour.

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    The only thing I might take exception to is that the military does not change ones character.

    I think that military training has a significant affect on character.
    Character is a set of habits and being in the military changes our set of habits significantly.
    I didn't say it doesn't.
    Your definition of character is quite different then mine, though.
    Character is the basic structure of ones personality.
    That what is left if you take all the superfluous stuff (like habits) out.

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    All military persons must go through basic training because basic training changes you from civilian to soldier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halcyon Dayz
    Some of them do.
    Most notably the British zoologist Desmond Moris.
    His The Naked Ape is a must read, a real eye-opener on human behaviour.


    I didn't say it doesn't.
    Your definition of character is quite different then mine, though.
    Character is the basic structure of ones personality.
    That what is left if you take all the superfluous stuff (like habits) out.
    One significant advantage engineering, physics and much of the natural sciences has is that they speak in mathematical terms. The individuals often speak in formulas or mathematical verbiage that is clear and concise and understandable by all the members. The use of every day words like habit can be confusing because of a lack of clarity. One might also think of attitude as a proper way to describe what I call habit.

    What is character? Character is the network of habits that permeate all the intentional acts of an individual.

    I am not using the word habit in the way we often do, as a technical ability existing apart from our wishes. These habits are an intimate and fundamental part of our selves. They are representations of our will. They rule our will, working in a coordinated way they dominate our way of acting. These habits are the results of repeated, intelligently controlled, actions.

    Habits also control the formation of ideas as well as physical actions. We cannot perform a correct action or a correct idea without having already formed correct habits. “Reason pure of all influence from prior habit is a fiction.” “The medium of habit filters all material that reaches our perception and thought.” “Immediate, seemingly instinctive, feeling of the direction and end of various lines of behavior is in reality the feeling of habits working below direct consciousness.” “Habit means special sensitiveness or accessibility to certain classes of stimuli, standing predilections and aversions, rather than bare recurrence of specific acts. It means will.”

    Because each job requires a different type of character a journalist would make a lousy military officer and vice versa.

    What might be the ideal character traits of these two professions? It seems that the military officer should be smart, well trained, obedient and brave. The journalist should be smart, well trained, critical and intellectually honest. The journalist must have well-developed intellectual character traits and be skillful in critical thinking. The military officer should be trained to act according to a distinct program in critical circumstances.

    The officer’s behavior in each conceivable circumstance should follow precisely a well-established code of action. The officer is trained to follow well-established algorithms in every circumstance. Even those instances wherein the officer is authorized to deviate from standard procedure are clearly defined algorithms. The officer deviates from established behavior only when absolutely necessary and that ad hoc behavior should follow along prescribed avenues. The officer obeys all commands without critical analysis except in very unusual circumstances. Bravery and obedience are the two most desired character traits of a military officer.

    Britannica specifies that attitude is “a predisposition to classify objects and events and to react to them with some degree of evaluative consistency.”

    If I consult my inner self I cannot focus upon an attitude but can infer such an attitude based on behavior. If I wish to become conscious of my intuition I can through observation of behavior describe the attitude, which, in turn, allows me to ascertain the nature of my intuition.

    When a mother tells her son “you must change your attitude”. The son cannot change the attitude directly but the son must change his intuition from which the inferred attitude emanates. This does become a bit convoluted but in essence when we wish to change an attitude we are saying that our intuition must be modified. We can modify intuition only through habit directed by our will.

    “Were it not for the continued operation of all habits in every act, no such thing as character would exist. There would be simply a bundle, an untied bundle at that, of isolated acts. Character is the interpenetrating of habits. If each habit in an insulated compartment and operated without affecting or being affected by others, character would not exist. That is conduct would lack unity being only juxtaposition of disconnected reactions to separated situations. But since environments overlap, since situations are continuous and those remote from one another contain like elements, a continuous modification of habits by one another is constantly going on.”

    My understanding of character and the quotations concerning the nature of character are taken from “Habits and Will” by John Dewey http://www.alexandercenter.com/jd/johndeweyhabits.html.

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    Private Dictionary

    You cutting and pasting again.

    And pontificating, of not proselytising.

    Habit

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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    All military persons must go through basic training because basic training changes you from civilian to soldier.
    If you start with military school as part of your secondary education, you cannot identify something as an 8 week training overhere.

    Nor do you when you follow military school at University level (as many pilots do).
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halcyon Dayz
    Most notably the British zoologist Desmond Moris.
    His The Naked Ape is a must read, a real eye-opener on human behaviour.
    You're the second one in one week to say that to me
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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    One's personality is made of three factors: affect (emotions), behavior, and cognitive (thinking).

    Military training may change one's behavior and thinking, for the most part, to the better. Most humans tend to socialize with others who are similar in thoughts, actions and deeds. The military forms a cohesive group by reinforcing behavior that protects the group.

    A totally egocentric person would not do well in the military or life in general.

    Different cultures have different ideas about defines a person with "good character."

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