Some useful tools for comprehending, analyzing, and modeling the mechanisms of individual and nonhuman actors
Ideally, actors (nonhuman living creatures, people, groups of people, social institutions, businesses, states, etc.) will pursue their perceived interests, which might include their short-term, long-term, and/or indirect interests, in an assertive manner, thereby enabling the interests of all actors to be adequately addressed when conflicts of interest arise. In the real world, overly aggressive actors tend to stifle the interests of more passive actors while individual actors respond differently to different actors. In fact, some manipulate actors, who are focused solely on their own interests, will undermine other actors attempting to be assertive by claiming the actions of others are stifling or abusive. Meanwhile, passive actors will often perceive assertive actors as being overly aggressive, because they tend to neglect their own interests, and assertive actors are inclined to ignore the interests of passive actors. Obviously, this type of dynamic creates a problem as it hinders actors from reaching a point of equilibrium in their interactions, i.e. society starts to malfunction.
Psychologists, sociologists, economists, and political scientists chart information in order to clarify what their data might be telling them. By viewing information as a spectrum chart, which presents a particular component in terms of an increasing prominence or intensity toward two opposing extremes, individuals can look at how actors interact with similarly treated actors over time to assess whether individual actors are properly pursuing their interests, which can vary for different types of interests and different actor traits. (Please, be aware that this type of modeling is highly dependent upon the observer’s working definition of the descriptors used, so what words are used to describe a trait can be put in a different order while each descriptor can be broken down into subcategories; the objective of using the spectrum chart is to demonstrate an increasing tendency toward one extreme or the other.)
The ability and the capacity of actors to pursue their interests help determine the health of every aspect of our society. As such, here are two more spectrum charts that are useful in understanding whether or not actors are functioning properly in our society.
Meanwhile, the balance of leverage among actors plays a major role in determining if the interests of all actors can and will be pursued (external/socially mitigating factors).
(See Yahoo! Contributor article for additional information: http://voices.yahoo.com/the-greater-economic-leverage-12069168.html?cat=3)
Conversely, the tolerances of every actor for various necessary discomforts also play a major role in determining if the interests of the actors can and will be pursued (internal/personal mitigating factors.
(See Yahoo! Contributor article for additional information: http://voices.yahoo.com/the-role-substitution-decision-making-12201011.html?cat=72)
Why these spectrum charts and other models are useful:
Intellectual pursuits are about breaking down complex systems into manageable, comprehendible components, so we can better understand our world. Just as three dimensional objects can be mapped into two dimensional components, so can the many aspects of the human mind, such as emotions, and the interworkings of nonhuman actors. That said, it is often difficult to recognize the two dimensional map as a representation of the three dimensional object, especially when the observer lacks the intellectual tools and architecture needed to fully understand the representation, while the 2D map needs to be larger to account for all of the 3D data. As such, these charts help describe one component of how the human mind and social actors function.
A few more thoughts that can be useful when trying to understand and model the dimensions of the human mind and actors, which behave like humans:
(Derived and adapted from Carl Jung’s theory of personality)
Personality is constructed of the Psyche(Self), Ego (modes of thought), Persona(s) (modes of behavior), Shadow(s) (suppressed modes of thought and behavior), and Essence (soul)
Self-Ego = Essence
Ego-Persona = Shadow
Self-Shadow-Persona = Essence
Personality Modes = modes of thought (mindset, worldview, perspective, etc…a.k.a the training and others experiences actors use to acquire, process, and apply new information) + modes of behavior
(See Yahoo! Contributor article for additional information: http://voices.yahoo.com/describing-mind-as-modes-thought-12154416.html?cat=72)
Categories of Modes of thought
Environmentally Determined: Social, Cultural, Communal, Familial, etc
Mentally (internally) Determined: Psychological, Intellectual, Emotional
*Assess if modes are Egocentric (subjective) versus Transcendent (objective), subjective nullifying (ignore bias), subjective bridging (identify common views), subjective compensating (compensate for bias), to determine how to properly interact with actors acting in a particular mode.
Categories of Modes of behavior
Instincts (type of response): Intellectual, Intuitive, Emotional
Motivations (responsiveness to types of stimulus): Economical, Social, Emotional
*Assess if responses are socially and personally regressive versus progressive, degenerative versus constructive, functional versus dysfunctional, etc
(See Yahoo! Contributor article for additional information http://voices.yahoo.com/defense-against-dark-arts-manipulators-12135042.html?cat=41)
Persona Disorders: social environment distorts expression of true self
Shadow Disorders: social environment suppresses true self
Essence Disorders: philosophically conflicted (conflicts of interest over morals and ethics, spiritual disharmony, etc.)
Types of dysfunctions
Social(culturally maladapted), emotional, identity, behavioral (impulse, addressable with retraining, versus thoughtful action, addressable with reeducation), trauma-induced, etc.
(See Yahoo! Contributor article for additional information http://voices.yahoo.com/trying-understand-ptsd-other-trauma-induced-12225670.html?cat=72)
*Assess to what degree dysfunctions are manifested internally versus externally and if they are the result of situational factors versus personal factors (biology, personal history, etc.)
A note on the scientific method, circular reasoning, deductive/inductive reasoning, and subjective/objective thinking:
Subjective beings with limited comprehension of the universe must use specific examples to derive generalities in order to function. After all, relying on generalities to understand how to react to specific situations would prevent humans from responding to real world events in real time. It is, in fact, our subjective nature that results from our need to use inductive reasoning. Therefore, subject beings, who are trained to address various situations in an objective manner by transcending their bias (scientists), versus those trained to find common ties in order to bridge subjective perspectives (philosophers), with limited knowledge of the universe, use both inductive and deductive reasoning.
Inductive reasoning allows us to develop generalized models that can be used to deduce specific predictions. Inductive reasoning may well be the inverse of deductive reasoning, yet inductive reasoning is verified by deductive reasoning. This is not circular reasoning as different examples are used to induce a generalized model before those examples are used to deductively confirm the generalized model. In essence, this is the scientific method.
Saying God exists because God exists is circular; however, deriving the existence of God from events and circumstances is an example of unverified inductive reasoning. Proper examples of God’s actions would be needed to use deductive reasoning to confirm His existence. These proper examples may or may not exist, i.e. the theory may not be testable, which is why religion is not scientific in nature. As such, the question of whether God exists or not is not a scientific question, because it is not testable. It is a philosophical question. It is not, however, circular reasoning; God is an idea derived from a subjective perspective that utilized inductive reasoning to arrive at the conclusion that God exists.
That said, it is only from an objective, non-religious perspective that this line of reasoning can be used as this particular subjective perspective has evolved to exclude the possibility that God does not exist. Again, this is not circular reasoning as the subjective perspective would cease to exist if another conclusion was reached when it is transformed into a different subjective perspective.
*Religion is a philosophy based on a shared belief of the unknown.
George Zimmerman may avoid being convicted of murder or any other major criminal charge, but he still did wrong. His defense team did a fairly good job of demonstrating Trayvon Martin also did wrong when he over-reacted to Zimmerman’s stalking behavior by attacking him rather violently; however, Zimmerman is still responsible, because he set in motion the events that lead to the shooting of Martin. Just as a drunk driver is still held responsible for an accident he did not directly cause, yet he could have avoided, Zimmerman is responsible as he continued the pursuit of Martin that made an encounter a near certainty.
Zimmerman was told not to pursue Martin any farther by a 911 dispatcher. Zimmerman may have had the right to use his gun to defend himself against an attacks, but Martin also had the right to defend himself against the potential threat the armed Zimmerman presented. In turn, Martin may have been overly aggressive in his response, though he is not here to defend himself and hindsight is 20/20, yet Zimmerman overstepped his boundaries when he failed to yield to the commands of the dispatcher.
Looking at a less emotionally charged example, consider some guy in need of a car repair who does not want to pay a professional or does not have the money at the time. He goes to a home mechanic who he knows will do a good job, needs the money, and is easily manipulated into taking next to nothing, because he believes everyone is poor like him. The guy also knows the mechanic often takes a long time to get things because he works at his leisure, which is a wrong on his behalf though it also likely passive-aggressive way of dealing with people who have ripped him off in the past or some other dysfunction, and he does not have a properly equipped garage. When the work is finished, the guy hands the mechanic a pitiful amount like five to twenty dollars in total; he and others do this multiple times.
Later accused of exploiting the foolish mechanic by others, the guy legitimizes his underpayment by claiming he did not have the money at the time or brings up the fact that it took the mechanic too long to get the job done. The proper course of action would have been to pay the mechanic a fair sum, which could have been smaller yet comparable to a professional, like half, or made payments, which is a big favor, instead of a lump sum then explain to the mechanic that he could expect future work only if he would get things done in a more timely manner. (Incidentally, a good way of identifying swindlers is by such persons’ impulse to deny any form of personal responsibility in order to avoid financial liability and a tendency to interpret the actions of others as an attempt to rip them off. Also, they will never give an upfront estimate for work they want done or will do, i.e. avoid details.) Moreover, the guy in need of the repair was in the wrong and did exploit the mechanic, because he was aware and used the mechanic’s dysfunctional behavior to get his work done for next to nothing.
Similarly, Zimmerman was aware that his actions could result in a violent encounter and failed to act cautiously, i.e. he created potential hazards to his person and the general public. Quite frankly, both liberals and conservatives on the national level misused this incident to push agendas focused on racial profiling and Second Amendment freedoms. The shooting is an issue for the families and the local community. The only reason this case should have received national attention is if racial profiling lead to an injustice or public safety was so being undermined by local and state laws. As such, the attention of public officials and media outlets should revolve around the need to address serious loopholes in public safety laws as a strong case for racially motivated negligence on behalf of the police has not been thoroughly demonstrated. The Law should ensure people like Zimmerman are liable for failing to obey the commands of 911 dispatchers and the so-called stand-your-ground self-defense laws should not protect the right of individuals engaged in criminal activities to defend themselves when their criminal activities resulted in the need for self-defense. Moreover, the Trayvon Martin incident is about a failure of government to write the best public safety laws possible and a man who killed a teenager, because he made a series or errors in judgment.
*It has been pointed out to me that it seems as though I am suggesting Florida law holds individuals legally responsible for failing to obey the orders of 911 dispatchers. I am not. I am simply expressing my opinion that the Law SHOULD hold Zimmerman legally responsible for his failure to obey the dispatcher's instructions. Prosecutors may have options in charging people like George Zimmerman for causing public safety hazards, but there should be more direct laws giving 911 dispatchers a well-defined authority to issue legally binding orders in similar situations. I apologize for the confusion.
With ongoing economic uncertainty undercutting the financial security of millions, one government scandal after another flooding the national news, and a growing lack of respect for each others’ interests, the American People have every reason to question whether or not we will continue to enjoy our freedoms and modern day lifestyles. The food, drink, company, fireworks may be better this year, as compared to the last few years, but we always need to spend a little time on the Fourth of July contemplating the meaning of freedom and what it means to be an American. That said, have a great Independence Day celebration; it seems to be going pretty good here.
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