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Re: [evol-psych] Re: Compassion and Intelligence

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  • Harie Heyligen
    Unless policy makers can overcome this structural problem of combativeness among groups and therefore among individuals, the perceived good of the group that
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 1, 2007
      Unless policy makers can overcome this structural problem of
      combativeness among groups and therefore among individuals, the
      perceived "good of the group" that leads to compassion, will continue to
      trigger wars and other ills, now and for the foreseeable future.

      T.O.M.
      >

      I'm becoming somewhat more optimistic about this, despite recent happenings.
      As an example, I think about a discussion between leaders of the public and
      private sectors here, that usually ends in conflict and disagreement. Last time,
      it was different, by ending in a moving solidarity of the participants on the
      necessity to cooperate on a global scale in order to avoid a threatening
      ecological disaster.
       
      This, and other global problems, like the "nucular" arms race, are becoming
      so urgent that the necessity of cooperation and solidarity is perceived better by a
      growing amount of political and economic leaders.
       
      A higher perceived utility of the belief in solidarity and cooperation may result in
      a shift in behavior, for example in the direction of mutual deliberation and
      restraint in the pursuit of selfish interests.
       
      There may be a growing realization that spoiling it for the others will result in
      spoiling it for ourselves. From there, a forced shift from antagonistic tribal behavior
      towards a culture of perceiving a common interest: to live and let live?
       
      Harie Heyligen
        
       
    • Robert Karl Stonjek
      ... From: tom merle To: Sent: Monday, January 01, 2007 5:57 PM Subject: [evol-psych] Re: Compassion
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 1, 2007
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "tom merle" <tom@...>
        Sent: Monday, January 01, 2007 5:57 PM
        Subject: [evol-psych] Re: Compassion and Intelligence

        >
        >
        > --- In
        href="mailto:evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com">evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com, "pascal bercker"
        > <pbercker@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > Ligesh writes:
        > >
        > > > And according to
        Sagan--and according to my hypothesis too--the
        > upper brain areas are
        what finally engenders true compassion.
        > >
        > > I can't find
        the post where you defend this hypothesis, but I wonder
        > if it's not the
        other way around, namely that increased compassion
        > engenders higher
        intelligence. It seems to me that compassion (and
        > empathy) for your
        fellow humans will pave the way for increased
        > cooperation, and this in
        turn paves the way for greater success of the
        > group. Greater compassion
        will ensure that goods are distributed fairly
        > with no great gaps between
        the rich and the poor, unlike what we find
        > today. Greater compassion
        would help avoid all the wars and all the ills
        > modern societies are prey
        to. This would allow - and indeed encourage -
        > absolutely *everyone* to
        contribute creatively and intellectually for
        > the good of the group. Even
        competition would be for the good of the
        > group rather than that of the
        individual, including competing for mates.
        > Decisions would be less
        self-serving and more group serving. There
        > however a possible limit to
        all this, and the danger is that intense
        > compassion and empathy for
        others might completely submerge
        > individualism and we might become like
        ants in ant colony, but who
        > knows.
        > >
        > >
        > > Pascal Bercker
        >
        > This strikes me as much overly abstract and
        counter to our
        > predelictions, and therefore much too idealistic. 
        Cooperation is
        > reinforced or resisted based on membership in a group
        wherein each
        > member is persuaded to cooperate.  Societies and
        nations consist of
        > numerous groups which collectively tend to resist or
        limit compassion
        > for those outside one's group(s).  Yes, we share
        an underlying humanity,
        > but it seems so amorphous as to be inadequate to
        generate the kind of
        > sympathy *that leads to action* on the part of most
        people who remain
        > only mildly sympathetic, Bono not
        withstanding.
        >
        > Cooperation occurs when self interest is clearly
        perceived, when you
        > know the object of sympathy can either reciprocate
        down the line, or
        > when we sense in the diminished that "there but for
        the grace of god go
        > I",. i.e. when we realize that someone is dealt a
        bad hand and we should
        > do something, however modest, to relieve their
        suffering and strengthen
        > civility.  The latter reaction stems from
        pity and guilt, not empathy.
        >
        > Unless policy makers can overcome
        this structural problem of
        > combativeness among groups and therefore
        among individuals, the
        > perceived "good of the group" that leads to
        compassion, will continue to
        > trigger wars and and other ills, now and
        for the foreseeable future.
        >
        > T.O.M.
        > >
        RKS:
        The natural predisposition is to treat those perceived as part of the in group with compassion and generosity and those that are in the out-group with contempt, caution and so on.  The drive to show compassion to strangers is driven by the desire to broaden and so strengthen the in-group by eliminating the out-group.
         
        The idea that wealth distribution is somehow beneficial to all is a myth - it doesn't work.  Wealthy people are not just desirable, not just a necessity, but are essential for the survival of an economy.  Without a concentration of wealth then no new investment will ever occur, stifling growth and stagnating the economy.  If conditions change then such societies are unable to also change - they perish.  Has China figured this out?  Yes!!
         
        A government that can concentrate and then redistribute wealth has been the dream of many well meaning individuals.  Inevitably, such a strategy works in the short term.  But when change is required, it seems that only the individual, the investment fund or the corporation is able to effectively invest, build, change and follow the trends.  And individuals, corporations and so on, are expendable.  Look what happens to governments that invest and fail.  Hyper inflation, precipitous drop in living standards for all, unemployment, starvation and the exodus of the wealthy and educated follow.  Did this happen when Enron collapsed?  No.  Did this happen when Argentina's economy (one example among many) collapsed?  Yes.
         
        Governments that fail can lead to a festering wound that infects neighbours and the world economy, so other governments, the world bank and the UN pitch in to lance the wound nurse the economy back to health.  Not so in centuries past - what happened in Germany when economic collapse was imposed?? (theft of patents, war reparations, trading restrictions etc)
         
        A world with rich and poor is a normal healthy world.  We should try to make sure that 'poor' does not mean starving and that 'rich' does not mean rampant exploitation of the poor and the environment - that means efforts such as Kyoto, agricultural assistance (giving food to the poor will bankrupt their farmers and increase their dependence on food aid), and trading opportunities, education and health assistance (there's a great scheme to make cheap generic drugs in the third world for use in the third world).
         
        Robert
      • steve moxon
        The problem in trying to boost the in-group by incorporating some of the out-group is that the qualities that make for identification with the in-group are
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 1, 2007
          The problem in trying to boost the in-group by incorporating some of the out-group is that the qualities that make for identification with the in-group are thereby diluted and this leads to instability and eventual fission of the in-group.
           
          This is what is happening now in Britain through almost completely uncontrolled mass immigration, mainly of those who are not coming to the UK to work or who are unskilled or inappropriately/semi-skilled people who have little in common with a western or developed society/economy, let alone with British culture. There is every sign of an impending political earthquake as a result, and huge problems with incentive to work for large sections of the (former) 'working classes'.
           
          Steve Moxon
           
          ----- Original Message -----
          Sent: Monday, January 01, 2007 10:50 AM
          Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Re: Compassion and Intelligence

           
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "tom merle" <tom@...>
          Sent: Monday, January 01, 2007 5:57 PM
          Subject: [evol-psych] Re: Compassion and Intelligence

          >
          >
          > --- In
          evolutionary- psychology@ yahoogroups. com, "pascal bercker"
          > <pbercker@...> wrote:
          > >
          > > Ligesh writes:
          > >
          > > > And according to Sagan--and according to my hypothesis too--the
          > upper brain areas are what finally engenders true compassion.
          > >
          > > I can't find the post where you defend this hypothesis, but I wonder
          > if it's not the other way around, namely that increased compassion
          > engenders higher intelligence. It seems to me that compassion (and
          > empathy) for your fellow humans will pave the way for increased
          > cooperation, and this in turn paves the way for greater success of the
          > group. Greater compassion will ensure that goods are distributed fairly
          > with no great gaps between the rich and the poor, unlike what we find
          > today. Greater compassion would help avoid all the wars and all the ills
          > modern societies are prey to. This would allow - and indeed encourage -
          > absolutely *everyone* to contribute creatively and intellectually for
          > the good of the group. Even competition would be for the good of the
          > group rather than that of the individual, including competing for mates.
          > Decisions would be less self-serving and more group serving. There
          > however a possible limit to all this, and the danger is that intense
          > compassion and empathy for others might completely submerge
          > individualism and we might become like ants in ant colony, but who
          > knows.
          > >
          > >
          > > Pascal Bercker
          >
          > This strikes me as much overly abstract and counter to our
          > predelictions, and therefore much too idealistic.  Cooperation is
          > reinforced or resisted based on membership in a group wherein each
          > member is persuaded to cooperate.  Societies and nations consist of
          > numerous groups which collectively tend to resist or limit compassion
          > for those outside one's group(s).  Yes, we share an underlying humanity,
          > but it seems so amorphous as to be inadequate to generate the kind of
          > sympathy *that leads to action* on the part of most people who remain
          > only mildly sympathetic, Bono not withstanding.
          >
          > Cooperation occurs when self interest is clearly perceived, when you
          > know the object of sympathy can either reciprocate down the line, or
          > when we sense in the diminished that "there but for the grace of god go
          > I",. i.e. when we realize that someone is dealt a bad hand and we should
          > do something, however modest, to relieve their suffering and strengthen
          > civility.  The latter reaction stems from pity and guilt, not empathy.
          >
          > Unless policy makers can overcome this structural problem of
          > combativeness among groups and therefore among individuals, the
          > perceived "good of the group" that leads to compassion, will continue to
          > trigger wars and and other ills, now and for the foreseeable future.
          >
          > T.O.M.
          > >
          RKS:
          The natural predisposition is to treat those perceived as part of the in group with compassion and generosity and those that are in the out-group with contempt, caution and so on.  The drive to show compassion to strangers is driven by the desire to broaden and so strengthen the in-group by eliminating the out-group.
           
          The idea that wealth distribution is somehow beneficial to all is a myth - it doesn't work.  Wealthy people are not just desirable, not just a necessity, but are essential for the survival of an economy.  Without a concentration of wealth then no new investment will ever occur, stifling growth and stagnating the economy.  If conditions change then such societies are unable to also change - they perish.  Has China figured this out?  Yes!!
           
          A government that can concentrate and then redistribute wealth has been the dream of many well meaning individuals.  Inevitably, such a strategy works in the short term.  But when change is required, it seems that only the individual, the investment fund or the corporation is able to effectively invest, build, change and follow the trends.  And individuals, corporations and so on, are expendable.  Look what happens to governments that invest and fail.  Hyper inflation, precipitous drop in living standards for all, unemployment, starvation and the exodus of the wealthy and educated follow.  Did this happen when Enron collapsed?  No.  Did this happen when Argentina's economy (one example among many) collapsed?  Yes.
           
          Governments that fail can lead to a festering wound that infects neighbours and the world economy, so other governments, the world bank and the UN pitch in to lance the wound nurse the economy back to health.  Not so in centuries past - what happened in Germany when economic collapse was imposed?? (theft of patents, war reparations, trading restrictions etc)
           
          A world with rich and poor is a normal healthy world.  We should try to make sure that 'poor' does not mean starving and that 'rich' does not mean rampant exploitation of the poor and the environment - that means efforts such as Kyoto, agricultural assistance (giving food to the poor will bankrupt their farmers and increase their dependence on food aid), and trading opportunities, education and health assistance (there's a great scheme to make cheap generic drugs in the third world for use in the third world).
           
          Robert

        • Michael Lamport Commons
          Compassion depends on stage of social perspective-taking. The higher stages require an advanced cortex. Where social perspective-taking takes place is not
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 1, 2007
            Compassion depends on stage of social perspective-taking.  The higher stages require an advanced cortex.  Where social perspective-taking takes place is not known as far as I know.
             
            My Best,
             
            Michael Lamport Commons, Ph.D.
            Assistant Clinical Professor
            Program in Psychiatry and the Law
            Department of Psychiatry
            Harvard Medical School
            Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
            234 Huron Avenue
            Cambridge, MA 02138-1328
             
            Telephone (617) 497-5270
            Facsimile (617) 491-5270
            Commons@...
            http://dareassociation.org/
             

             
            ----- Original Message -----
            Sent: Monday, January 01, 2007 5:50 AM
            Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Re: Compassion and Intelligence

             
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "tom merle" <tom@...>
            Sent: Monday, January 01, 2007 5:57 PM
            Subject: [evol-psych] Re: Compassion and Intelligence

            >
            >
            > --- In
            evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com, "pascal bercker"
            > <pbercker@...> wrote:
            > >
            > > Ligesh writes:
            > >
            > > > And according to Sagan--and according to my hypothesis too--the
            > upper brain areas are what finally engenders true compassion.
            > >
            > > I can't find the post where you defend this hypothesis, but I wonder
            > if it's not the other way around, namely that increased compassion
            > engenders higher intelligence. It seems to me that compassion (and
            > empathy) for your fellow humans will pave the way for increased
            > cooperation, and this in turn paves the way for greater success of the
            > group. Greater compassion will ensure that goods are distributed fairly
            > with no great gaps between the rich and the poor, unlike what we find
            > today. Greater compassion would help avoid all the wars and all the ills
            > modern societies are prey to. This would allow - and indeed encourage -
            > absolutely *everyone* to contribute creatively and intellectually for
            > the good of the group. Even competition would be for the good of the
            > group rather than that of the individual, including competing for mates.
            > Decisions would be less self-serving and more group serving. There
            > however a possible limit to all this, and the danger is that intense
            > compassion and empathy for others might completely submerge
            > individualism and we might become like ants in ant colony, but who
            > knows.
            > >
            > >
            > > Pascal Bercker
            >
            > This strikes me as much overly abstract and counter to our
            > predelictions, and therefore much too idealistic.  Cooperation is
            > reinforced or resisted based on membership in a group wherein each
            > member is persuaded to cooperate.  Societies and nations consist of
            > numerous groups which collectively tend to resist or limit compassion
            > for those outside one's group(s).  Yes, we share an underlying humanity,
            > but it seems so amorphous as to be inadequate to generate the kind of
            > sympathy *that leads to action* on the part of most people who remain
            > only mildly sympathetic, Bono not withstanding.
            >
            > Cooperation occurs when self interest is clearly perceived, when you
            > know the object of sympathy can either reciprocate down the line, or
            > when we sense in the diminished that "there but for the grace of god go
            > I",. i.e. when we realize that someone is dealt a bad hand and we should
            > do something, however modest, to relieve their suffering and strengthen
            > civility.  The latter reaction stems from pity and guilt, not empathy.
            >
            > Unless policy makers can overcome this structural problem of
            > combativeness among groups and therefore among individuals, the
            > perceived "good of the group" that leads to compassion, will continue to
            > trigger wars and and other ills, now and for the foreseeable future.
            >
            > T.O.M.
            > >
            RKS:
            The natural predisposition is to treat those perceived as part of the in group with compassion and generosity and those that are in the out-group with contempt, caution and so on.  The drive to show compassion to strangers is driven by the desire to broaden and so strengthen the in-group by eliminating the out-group.
             
            The idea that wealth distribution is somehow beneficial to all is a myth - it doesn't work.  Wealthy people are not just desirable, not just a necessity, but are essential for the survival of an economy.  Without a concentration of wealth then no new investment will ever occur, stifling growth and stagnating the economy.  If conditions change then such societies are unable to also change - they perish.  Has China figured this out?  Yes!!
             
            A government that can concentrate and then redistribute wealth has been the dream of many well meaning individuals.  Inevitably, such a strategy works in the short term.  But when change is required, it seems that only the individual, the investment fund or the corporation is able to effectively invest, build, change and follow the trends.  And individuals, corporations and so on, are expendable.  Look what happens to governments that invest and fail.  Hyper inflation, precipitous drop in living standards for all, unemployment, starvation and the exodus of the wealthy and educated follow.  Did this happen when Enron collapsed?  No.  Did this happen when Argentina's economy (one example among many) collapsed?  Yes.
             
            Governments that fail can lead to a festering wound that infects neighbours and the world economy, so other governments, the world bank and the UN pitch in to lance the wound nurse the economy back to health.  Not so in centuries past - what happened in Germany when economic collapse was imposed?? (theft of patents, war reparations, trading restrictions etc)
             
            A world with rich and poor is a normal healthy world.  We should try to make sure that 'poor' does not mean starving and that 'rich' does not mean rampant exploitation of the poor and the environment - that means efforts such as Kyoto, agricultural assistance (giving food to the poor will bankrupt their farmers and increase their dependence on food aid), and trading opportunities, education and health assistance (there's a great scheme to make cheap generic drugs in the third world for use in the third world).
             
            Robert
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