Intellectual Integrity and Social Bonding

We live in a society that values and prioritises social bonding, while providing lip service to intellectualism (and often times deploring it).

Seemingly intellectual questions are asked and tackled in social settings. However, the main purpose of such transactions appears to be a collective indulgence in the emotions evoked by probing areas of the brain (mind) *, analogous to the communal eating of a chocolate cake. Favoured questions are of the kind “What is true (sic**) love?”, which offer maximum juice from squeezing the touchy-feely centres of a mind. The name of the game is to play with the cognitive tools that are at our disposal to engage in a joyful (not necessarily pleasurable) wallowing in the titillations*** provoked by the analysis, and there is no actual effort to get at an answer. For example, if a deviant offers a fundamental neuroscientific attempt to honestly answer the above question, he/she is cast as a killjoy (- which demonstrates the game-nature of the transaction.)

This norm leads to positive reinforcement of social bonding at the cost of intellectual integrity ****. People routinely* demonstrate tendencies to form social bonds. It doesn’t take much (little things like shared gossip, sense of humour, fashion-sense, common joke-targets, willingness to participate in fake discussions such as the above and so on) to establish and sustain a social bond. Intellectual support structures are a lot rarer to come by*****.

Intellectual integrity consists in sticking your neck out, saying something that you are honestly attempting to explore and understand to your best capability. It consists in saying things which are extremely likely to be misconstrued, and while knowing this factoid as well. It consists in saying things that reflect your best expression of your current understanding, which may be exposed as untrue upon further deliberation and fact-seeking (aka google-searching). It consists in saying unpopular things that you hold true, and in losing the popularity contest of social bonding.

Not saying something meaningful – for it cannot be backed up by a mountain of data, or maybe disproved later, or it takes away social brownie points, or it is (“only”) a (meaningful) generalization – is losing perspective of this.

* Generalizations are not evil. Generalizations are intended to convey information, and to encourage thinking along a direction. It is valueless to point out that generalizations have exceptions.
** “the real world”, “true happiness”, “true friendship” — these and scores of similar loosely used terms (very often, incorrectly*) assume i. the existence of their opposites, and ii. your compliance in accepting point i.
*** Use of written language is another example. Some writers get so lost in their wallowing in the ornamental possibilities that a language offers, that they pay a lot of attention to asking high-flying questions and setting up beautiful sounding phraseology and conundrums, and lose track of meanings that need to be conveyed. This is equivalent to getting charmed by the gift-wrapper, and never getting to the (presumably more valuable) present within.
**** Social bonding and intellectual integrity are not inherently at odds. It is the transactions we set up, and the attitudes we adopt that make it appear that way.
***** Intellectual support when offered is rarely recognized, is spurned, viewed as threatening, evangelical, hubristic, or offered for ulterior purposes such as status-building.
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54 comments
  1. pseudopseudointellectual said:

    Excellent post unawoken.

    The *’s were quite delightful ๐Ÿ™‚

    What have you to say about comments like this which add nothing of intellectual value!?

  2. Unawoken said:

    Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed it ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am definitely interested in what you think. I also welcome your comments on any of my ideas you disagree with.

  3. rendezvous said:

    Wonderfully worded! I absolutely like the attempt made to express this as explicitly as possible!

    How do you categorize situations where intellectual integrity actually leads to social bonding and they co-exist in harmony?

    These scenarios are real too – don’t you agree?

  4. Unawoken said:

    rendezvous,
    Thank you for your compliments.

    Regarding your question: That is why I included (but without analysis) the footnote

    “**** Social bonding and intellectual integrity are not inherently at odds. It is the transactions we set up, and the attitudes we adopt that make it appear that way.

    to express my belief that intellectual and social bonding need not be opposed (or even orthogonal). However, regarding their “reality”, I’ll just say that
    i. this is a rare case
    ii. the universe where this is a norm is La-La lan

  5. Carpe Diem said:

    I wonder if there is a microeconomic explanation [a la Robert Frank’s Economic Naturalist] to this “dichotomy” you observe (admittedly caveating in the footnote that these are not at odds).

    There is a cost to intellectual integrity, and a benefit. The individual cost is that of investing time in a theoretical exploration, casting ideas into well articulated, rigorous, interpretable, no-confusion frameworks and then seiving, discussing, and debating to distill the “truth” that will satisfy a high intellectual bar. The group cost is that of withdrawing time from other investments, and spending it on this kind of debate/sieving – which entails an opportunity cost (that time could be spent in what you may call “eudaemonic” activities, watching football, playing golf, having sex) as well as a multiplier for the intense machinations, and psychological heavy lifting (search, discovery, discarding of false starts and pathways, reformulation, retest, experiment etc.) that such a pursuit may demand. The benefit is the joy of being “right”, and finding conclusions that are consistent with the “natural order”, or somesuch “scientific”/”rational” view of how things “should be”. There could also be some social benefits, which we indeed do see wherever groups of intellectuals congregate (as they did in Vienna or Prague cafes, or within universities, and conferences), and can ease into discussions involving rigor, without undue stress, because their own prior academic, or professional training has already pre-loaded them with the right tools, vocabulary, accepted-body-of-data, shared-understanding of biases/precepts and shared mindsets to drive down the marginal cost of such interactions, and vastly improve the marginal profit. Society at large, does invest in “bolstering intellectual integrity” in situations where difficult decisions must be made – public policy, most types of business regulation, and the application of almost all law – is grounded in some degree of debate that strives for intellectual integrity. Thus, we could say that societies on the whole, invest to bear the excessive costs of intellectual integrity, whenever they have to deal with (a) “architectural or design decisions” (once made, then applied over and over forever – like laws, rules, infrastructure design) and can thus extract scale efficiencies from spending time up front to make the decision right, or (b) “fence-sitter, hitherto unknown” justice situations, where a rule made within (a) has been violated, and consequences must be meted out, or the circumstances are changing, calling for a redesign. Other than these, societies are better off operating in steady state where a bulk of the people-people interactions are more standardized (and not requiring fresh questioning, or redesign at the specific moment of interaction), reducing the energy sapped by ground-up cogitation, and releasing energy for other, perhaps eudaemonic activities (e.g., the before mentioned golf, football and sex)

    There is a cost to social bonding, and a benefit. The individual cost is to “play ball” by suppressing high-minded disgust at the mundane/simple gestures and words that go into social bonding (small talk, flirting, discussing football scores, etc.). The group cost is to invest at a “societal” level in having, inculcating, and reinforcing a shared set of such behaviours, so that as long as EVERYONE does have them in their repertoire as a whole, society operates more smoothly. The benefits of Social Bonding are much vaster than we can acknowledge when we look at the “trivial” nature of the games involved. Absent a shared set of protocols for bonding, many things would become very exploratory, and uncertain, and trust would become HARDER to build, and activities involving interpersonal collaboration, or cooperation (playing football, though not watching it. closing deals on the gold course, though not playing it. having sex) would grow much more protracted. For instance, dating would be impossible (or at least more non-normative, and more friction/angst filled) in America, if both girls and boys did not have a shared understanding (achieved through communications with peers and parents) of expectations in a first date, the progression through the bases and so on. I-Bankers would not be able to close their deals if they did not have a shared set of protocols, around talking about their latest golf-drivers, new Maseratis, or their shared dreams of Gulfstreams and Learjets.

    Social bonding “costs” are thus the sum of energy spent individually and collectively in establishing, learning, and then acting out protocols. Now, people can throw in a spin on these… adding games, rumours, and other tittilative effects to make these routine protocols more personalized. In the end, all that these social bonding rituals do, is to promote a sense of trust, and provide a basis to do business (and I mean business in a broad sense of the word – to transact, to socially connect, to mate etc., would all fall into this notion of “do business”… it is just the things humans “do” with each other)

    In general, while humans do not explicitly calculate the costs and benefits of everything they do (though they might for big ticket things like marriages, houses, babies), they do seem innately compelled to weigh benefit against cost (cost being the sum of bot incurred energy/time cost, and incurred opportunity cost) before taking a path of action. So I would argue, in the light of the comments above, that society’s overwhelming bias to indulge in large amounts of social bonding, and relatively little pursuit of intellectual integrity – is not entirely irrational… or uneconomic.

    Also note that the costs and benefits of an intellectual transaction (a specific analysis, pursued to its logical, and correct conclusion) tend to be HIGHER, though its value is recognized (scaled, amortized even, if motivated in public interest, and enforced by institutions, if not just documented in research papers) more broadly. Conversely, the costs of social transactions are small (being pleasant, stroking egos, smiling, compliments, flirting) and their benefits uncertain other than their role in greasing the wheels of broader human interactions. Thoughts?

  6. Unawoken said:

    carpe dium,
    I have to say that that is one helluva analysis of the question! I think you should blog about your analysis of this yourself if you get a chance, and I would like to read it.

    My thoughts:
    – A microeconomic analysis of the costs benefits did not occur to me. Although I am aware of this angle, I did not automatically think of it; I do now think after reading your take, that it is a cool and germane tool here. My own favoured model to view humanity is evolutionry psychology, and clearly these two models have more than a good deal of intersection.

    – Why so many double-quoted terms? You see extranormal ambiguity in their usage?

    – I agree and am convinced by your argument for the undesirability of the costs of intellectual integrity, and on the costs and benefits of social bonding. I suppose one place we may disagree is in the benefits of intellectual integrity.

    – I agree that for a eudaimonic agent, intellectual integrity may be low priority (As an aside, I want to point out that I think that our current surroundings are more hedonic-leaning than eudaimonic-leaning, although what I want to say applies to both these cases, but more so to the hedonic case). However, the eudaimonic explanation only gets so far to me as to explain how things are, not how they should be.

    – I think you are very well aware that the released energy for eudaimonic activities is a parasitic (I do not use that word in a derogatory sense, only in the sense of enjoying activity > creating activity) situation. From what I know, I think you personally will pick the intellectual low-eudaimonic-quality option over the high-eudaimonic social option as having higher moral value. (I may be wrong). If yes, this is the knot in the mind that I want to smooth away through meditating upon.

    “society’s overwhelming bias to indulge in large amounts of social bonding, and relatively little pursuit of intellectual integrity – is not entirely irrational… or uneconomic.”

    – After accepting your conclusion, I want to point out that we should be wary of commiting the genetic fallacy(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_fallacy) that because there is a evolutionary/economic justification for something, that something also posesses the “should” justification, as in we should act this way because there is evolutionary/economic basis for it.

    – Evolution and by extension economics is a blind agent, and our behaviours emerge just because. In this process, we should not view ourselves solely as end-products operating in a static equilibriated universe, we should view ourselves as a “middle-product” acting upon the direction of our future evolution. In this sense, even though eudaimonically we gravitate towards social bonding, we should pick up more of the individual and social costs of intellectual integrity.

  7. sklmno said:

    This norm leads to positive reinforcement of social bonding at the cost of intellectual integrity ****. People routinely* demonstrate tendencies to form social bonds. It doesn’t take much (little things like shared gossip, sense of humour, fashion-sense, common joke-targets, willingness to participate in fake discussions such as the above and so on) to establish and sustain a social bond. Intellectual support structures are a lot rarer to come by

    The bilge that is pasted above means
    In a group,you can either make small talk
    or
    keep quiet

    In the first case you bond socially
    In the second, the conversation ends.

  8. Unawoken said:

    sklmno,
    Thank you for your comment. Welcome to my blog!

    “The bilge that is pasted above means
    In a group,you can either make small talk
    or
    keep quiet”

    I agree those are two options. But those are the only two options if we are unwilling to suffer certain consequences. For example, at the cost of becoming unpopular, you can still dig to a deeper depth in a social conversation. Often times people are elastic enough to (at least infrequently) indugle in kind.

  9. Carpe Diem said:

    Unawoken, Thanks for your note. I have interleaved your response with my extension. My words indented >>

    carpe dium,
    I have to say that that is one helluva analysis of the question! I think you should blog about your analysis of this yourself if you get a chance, and I would like to read it.

    >> I will. This is a good framing of an issue that we have both struggled with for years. Perhaps the right place for this discussion to play out is right here – I use my blog to explore much less intellectual, and far more social bonding type issues ๐Ÿ™‚ Though as you see, I am deeply into some of the things you are trying to discover and meditate upon.

    My thoughts:
    – A microeconomic analysis of the costs benefits did not occur to me. Although I am aware of this angle, I did not automatically think of it; I do now think after reading your take, that it is a cool and germane tool here. My own favoured model to view humanity is evolutionry psychology, and clearly these two models have more than a good deal of intersection.

    >> Evolutionary psychology is a broader paradigm, applicable to a far larger set of communities than microeconomics itself. There is an overlap of the two, but rational microeconomics comes into its own in a truly amazing way (I believe) when we are dealing with sentient beings, homo sapiens… whose group interactions are not only shaped by the expression of their animal genes (as in the case of bears or seals), but are also heavily conditioned by the special cranial (and now extra-cranial) machinery they have built over time for the critical functions of storage and compute on information of all kinds. Humans calculate cost and benefit through a lens of perception that is far more IMMEDIATE (temporally, within the life of the individual) and granular than animals possibly can. In evolutionary psychology, nature favors and selects for expressed behavioral biases that have proven “economic” advantage (e.g., favor monkeys who climb higher into the canopy in some rainforest, say, until over time, the entire population becomes arboreal because their best foraging is at that height), but the animals exhibiting those behaviours may not have consciously calculated their actions. With humans we can be far more certain, that over large enough timeframes (0.2-0.5 lifetime), observation/reflection/teaching will definitely notice, check, codify and teach such behavior and ingrain it into future generations.

    – Why so many double-quoted terms? You see extranormal ambiguity in their usage?

    >> I really should edit out the multiple adjectives and be precise, but I think this is getting the right shades of meaning through. Also, am just typing fast to get my thoughts down – we can consolidate in a document.

    – I agree and am convinced by your argument for the undesirability of the costs of intellectual integrity, and on the costs and benefits of social bonding. I suppose one place we may disagree is in the benefits of intellectual integrity.

    >> I agree we disagree on this. Despite the caveats, and the disclaimers hither and thither. There is an overwhelming “favor” or “positive light” cast on left brain thinking in your writing. I like rationality, and as you pointed out, pure rationality may dictate we should do nothing. I think that in our efforts to comprehend the human condition we should explicitly recognize, and account for emotion, and the over-riding of rational decisionmaking at both an individual and a societal level. We are not just sapient beings (a small fraction of us may head there). We are, by and large, sentient beings.

    – I agree that for a eudaimonic agent, intellectual integrity may be low priority (As an aside, I want to point out that I think that our current surroundings are more hedonic-leaning than eudaimonic-leaning, although what I want to say applies to both these cases, but more so to the hedonic case). However, the eudaimonic explanation only gets so far to me as to explain how things are, not how they should be.

    >> How should they be? They started randomly, with random boundary conditions (We can come back to this, but I am assuming you agree with me on this). They evolved with random interrupts and external impacts. If that asteroid had not arrived… the dinosaurs would have continued to dominate the planet, subjugating mammals out of ever expressing themselves. Sapient life may have had a form very different from how we see it today. You and I may be bulbous eyed velociraptors blogging on a carbon based computing fabric…

    >> I tried to extrapolate from the past evolution path forward (that I will blog on my own blog) and was cautioned by a biologist (this weekend) that this is not a rational thing to do, since any prescriptive or projective models of how the future SHOULD be or WILL LIKELY be, are highly “risked”/Fuzzy. We cannot possibly model the externalities (asteroids, wierd social movements, wars, pestilence) that will alter our evolution. For instance, natural selection of humans is itself undergoing an acceleration over the past 10000 years, with a selection of traits based on success within the frameworks of specific “human devised” social norms rather than norms shaped primarily by natural surroundings. The more we destroy nature and impose our will on it, shaping our surroundings to suit ourselves… the less “natural” our evolution itself becomes. It is still shaped by the laws of natural selection, but the criteria for success are now more often dictated by human-imagined, or human-mandated/legislated reality.

    >> For instance, in a pure natural selection, alpha males with muscle and aggression would maintain polygamous equilibria (as in lions). The dimorphism of man vs woman (size, strength) suggests that we are actually innately polygamous (and socially, that is evident, as you look at the blending and stretching of social mores in liberal, economically self-actualized western societies). Yet, somewhere along the line, a few thousand years ago, Homo Sapiens societies in many parts of the world agreed to “liberate” the “beta male” by instituting monogamy.

    >> That is a pretty strange idea… in the grand scheme of various emancipation movements, beta males came first… then slaves in the 19th century… then blacks in the 20th century… then women in the latter half of this century… and now we are liberating “diverse sexual orientations” to divest orientation from individual identity.

    >> Agree with you on the Hedonism. When I said Eudaimonism, I was being loose in my usage. I looked both up, and what I did mean was hedonism.

    – I think you are very well aware that the released energy for eudaimonic activities is a parasitic (I do not use that word in a derogatory sense, only in the sense of enjoying activity > creating activity) situation. From what I know, I think you personally will pick the intellectual low-eudaimonic-quality option over the high-eudaimonic social option as having higher moral value. (I may be wrong). If yes, this is the knot in the mind that I want to smooth away through meditating upon.

    “society’s overwhelming bias to indulge in large amounts of social bonding, and relatively little pursuit of intellectual integrity – is not entirely irrational… or uneconomic.”

    >> You are right in your assumption. I have not read formal classifications like this, but I have my own thumbrule classification of human beings I meet into “value creators” and “value capturers” (which is similar to yours). The latter includes usurious (value-judgment here!) investing, billing-focused (value-judgement again!) professional services like banking/consulting/law/medicine/theraphy etc. The former would be people who must express themselves on the basis of more narrow/gifted talents (artists, dancers, engineers).

    >> My preference is indeed intellectual, I have been gradually forced to realize that at any time, only a small fraction of the people in a society can actually be value-creators, and that the value-capturers may perform a valid duty in “helping” them and “consuming” their product
    while parasitically (again, value judgement!) extracting rents (value capture hedonists need some way to amass wealth which which to pay value creators for their product). But if you believe classical economic theory, we cannot make any of these value judgements, since the existence of an economic exchange, and the price-discovery mechanism that allows humans to pay specifically for divorce law, or i-Banking commissions show you that there is indeed economic value in the parasitic professions. Only the market can make that value judgement. And it reveals its judgement by setting non-zero prices on their professions.

    – After accepting your conclusion, I want to point out that we should be wary of commiting the genetic fallacy(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_fallacy) that because there is a evolutionary/economic justification for something, that something also posesses the “should” justification, as in we should act this way because there is evolutionary/economic basis for it.

    >> Agree 100%.
    I think we should seek in this debate, not to “forecast” where society is headed, or to “prescribe” how people (individualy, or collectively) should act, but just to come up with notions that frame how people ACTUALLY do behave now, and develop a sense of compassion for why the human condition is the way it is, and through that compassion, orient our own actions within our own lifetime to help us accomplish some goals (whatever they maybe is another discussion)

    – Evolution and by extension economics is a blind agent, and our behaviours emerge just because. In this process, we should not view ourselves solely as end-products operating in a static equilibriated universe, we should view ourselves as a “middle-product” acting upon the direction of our future evolution. In this sense, even though eudaimonically we gravitate towards social bonding, we should pick up more of the individual and social costs of intellectual integrity.

    >> We will. We will all. Ever since the Rennaisance, and the unleashing of liberal rational thought from under the dark grip of religion – it has permeated greater fractions of the human populace every decade. There are of course, back and forth movements, recessions, periods of darkness. And while there is no rational proof that one day all humans will be self actualised and honest in their pursuit of intellectual integrity, you may have to take that one on faith (for your own well being – per your rosy illusions article that preceded this post on your blog). I tend to give humans the benefit of the doubt – because I am an optimist on the perennial improvement of the human condition, and the liberating influence of technology. Unless that is… some unknown comet is headed towards the earth… In which case this blog will be decoded from near-fossilized Google DAS boxes found in a charred crater called MountainView, by some advanced phosphorous-based-bulbous-three-eyed life-form in a few millenia… And they may wonder… “these humans really did struggle with their own condition”.

  10. Unawoken said:

    Alrighty, here we go.

    CD: Humans calculate cost and benefit through a lens of perception that is far more IMMEDIATE (temporally, within the life of the individual) and granular than animals possibly can.

    UA: Uh? I agree that humans possess an instrument to weigh cost vs. benefit. But immediacy? I’d say that the whole point of the thinking brain is the ability to override immediate pains and pleasures, i.e. postponed gratification which only humans are capable of. I think I’d put it like this: Animals have no mechanism to perform a cost-benefit analysis through simulation. They do through their lifetime per their pre-conception programming.

    But here is my overlay of the sciences:

    sociology, anthropology
    |
    economics
    |
    psychology
    |
    cognitive science
    |
    neuroscience
    |
    evolution
    |
    physics

    CD: I agree we disagree on this. Despite the caveats, and the disclaimers hither and thither. There is an overwhelming “favor” or “positive light” cast on left brain thinking in your writing. I like rationality, and as you pointed out, pure rationality may dictate we should do nothing. I think that in our efforts to comprehend the human condition we should explicitly recognize, and account for emotion, and the over-riding of rational decisionmaking at both an individual and a societal level. We are not just sapient beings (a small fraction of us may head there). We are, by and large, sentient beings.

    UA: I would not say there is a overwhelming campaign for left-brainedness in my writing. I look at it this way:
    – We are irrational. There is a overwhelming mountain of evidence for this. So denial of that is irrational again. Cannot rinse, repeat.
    – We should move toward rationality. Maybe I should better phrase that as, we should move more toward a disillusioned understanding of reality, and use that understanding as basis for our behaviour.

    CD: How should they be? They started randomly, with random boundary conditions (We can come back to this, but I am assuming you agree with me on this).

    UA: Yup. Agree.

    CD: I tried to extrapolate from the past evolution path forward (that I will blog on my own blog) and was cautioned by a biologist (this weekend) that this is not a rational thing to do, since any prescriptive or projective models of how the future SHOULD be or WILL LIKELY be, are highly “risked”/Fuzzy. We cannot possibly model the externalities (asteroids, wierd social movements, wars, pestilence) that will alter our evolution.

    UA: I would say we shouldn’t be cautious to extrapolate, but we should be cautious while assigning probabilities for our extrapolations. Right, there are unknowns, and thus we should be appropriately agnostic.

    CD: The more we destroy nature and impose our will on it, shaping our surroundings to suit ourselves… the less “natural” our evolution itself becomes. It is still shaped by the laws of natural selection, but the criteria for success are now more often dictated by human-imagined, or human-mandated/legislated reality.

    UA: I agree to this, but will dispute the terminology. I am not a fan of using natural to exclude human motivations. Our motivations and machinations are part of the natural order. I think it is anthropic hubris to separate ourselves from nature, I never bought this distinction of natural vs. human caused.

    CD: For instance, in a pure natural selection, alpha males with muscle and aggression would maintain polygamous equilibria (as in lions). The dimorphism of man vs woman (size, strength) suggests that we are actually innately polygamous (and socially, that is evident, as you look at the blending and stretching of social mores in liberal, economically self-actualized western societies). Yet, somewhere along the line, a few thousand years ago, Homo Sapiens societies in many parts of the world agreed to “liberate” the “beta male” by instituting monogamy.

    UA: This dimorphism, as you call it, is strange or artificial only if you exclude humans from the natural order. Monogamy evolves because it is evolutionarily stable. I disagree that we can brand that polygamy is more natural because it evolved first. I have heard that one of the reasons the hippie-free-love movement didn’t take off because humans have tendencies to form stable partnerships. That is, under the aegis of free association, humans choose to form exclusive bonds. I am not saying this is conclusive, only that there is evidence for this.

    CD: You are right in your assumption. I have not read formal classifications like this, but I have my own thumbrule classification of human beings I meet into “value creators” and “value capturers” (which is similar to yours). The latter includes usurious (value-judgment here!) investing, billing-focused (value-judgement again!) professional services like banking/consulting/law/medicine/theraphy etc. The former would be people who must express themselves on the basis of more narrow/gifted talents (artists, dancers, engineers).

    UA: You surprise me! Just yesterday you were vehemantly pushing for “playing ball”. I mean, but I did understand where you are coming from (pragmatism), and it does make sense if you view yourself as an exclusive eudaimonic/hedonic agent. But my claim is that you are not purely eudaimonistic/hedonistic (although there are lot of people who come closer).

    CD: Only the market can make that value judgement. And it reveals its judgement by setting non-zero prices on their professions.

    UA: I agree completely about only the market making _economic_ value judgement. Only economics sets the prices. But I hope you are not saying that prices are all that matter, because it seems obvious that people are concerned about a lot more things than prices.

    CD: Agree 100%.
    I think we should seek in this debate, not to “forecast” where society is headed, or to “prescribe” how people (individualy, or collectively) should act, but just to come up with notions that frame how people ACTUALLY do behave now, and develop a sense of compassion for why the human condition is the way it is, and through that compassion,

    UA: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Ambitious are we? :D, you wanna consdense the whole sea of research & lit on humanity into an essay? ๐Ÿ™‚ I mean, I don’t have any illusions that I/we am somewhere in the middle of an understanding pyramid. We only consume hardcore research that others spend years and years to generate, and we use for our summaries. I think consultants always want back-of-the-envelope answers :D. But yeah, I agree that the _direction_ in which we should proceed is clear, regardless of our (lack of) depth of understanding.

    CD: We will. We will all. Ever since the Rennaisance, and the unleashing of liberal rational thought from under the dark grip of religion

    UA: :), settle down ๐Ÿ˜‰

    CD: And while there is no rational proof that one day all humans will be self actualised and honest in their pursuit of intellectual integrity, you may have to take that one on faith (for your own well being – per your rosy illusions article that preceded this post on your blog). I tend to give humans the benefit of the doubt – because I am an optimist on the perennial improvement of the human condition, and the liberating influence of technology.

    UA: Sorry, on this I don’t agree. I do not think that “one day all humans will be self actualised and honest in their pursuit of intellectual integrity”, or this – “the perennial improvement of the human condition, and the liberating influence of technology.” I do not think that humans should get the benefit of the doubt, nor that any of this _will_ happen. I agree it makes us warm and fuzzy inside to think so, but that is about it. Also, if you know (I mean really know) that you are trying to hold an illusion, then you are not really holding the illusion. It is possible that you do not probe deeper into some motivations, and therefore continue to partake of the warmth and fuzziness that comes from such a belief, but you can’t explicity believe a thingy that you know to be untrue for good mental health.

    CD: “these humans really did struggle with their own condition”.

    UA: It is very possible that those said aliens conclude that, however they’ll have a lot more deeper, higher quality, better researched material that will lead them to that conclusion. I mean sure, they’ll get a sample of what middle-of-the-pyramiders of this age struggled with.

  11. sklmno said:

    Crapediem counsellor and unawoken-

    iam impressed by the way your normal casual life experiences have been translated into a subjective third person dialogue using ample measures of abstract nouns and adjectives. As you can see, it is quite contagious. If the verbose figures of speech were erased and some real life instances were used to elaborate certain points or establish counter aruguements (whew!) this would be read like a letter to a local newspaper column’s agony aunt.

    social bonding small talk and intellectual integrity appear to be at war with each other but I feel that you two have only looked at this from a perspective of human interaction and not from the personality of the two traits themselves.

    I see intellectual intergrity as a subset of social bonding small talk

  12. sklmno said:

    and to wrap my comments when asked how time was spent-

    This was the reply

    have been typing random comments on a blog

    they are discussing — is it okay to expect intellectual talk and why I cannot make small talk leading to social bonding leading to sex with blonde
    but they discuss in abstract hip language that i don’t understand

  13. Unawoken said:

    sklmno,
    Thank you for your comments.

    “iam impressed by the way your normal casual life experiences have been translated into a subjective third person dialogue using ample measures of abstract nouns and adjectives.”

    I agree that the trigger for this post is subjective experience, but I am trying my best to understand the research behind human behaviour to discuss it here. Everything that happens in life can be termed a “casual life experience” by a mind. At what point does an event/thing in nature become worthy of serious discussion, in your opinion?

    “If the verbose figures of speech were erased and some real life instances were used to elaborate certain points or establish counter aruguements (whew!) this would be read like a letter to a local newspaper column’s agony aunt.”

    Sure, I agree. However, if we erase the whole spiel and replace it with a local newspaper agony aunt’s column, then it will actually be completely a local newspaper’s agony aunt column. But having said that, I get what you are implying. You are implying that we are using words and terms that are vacuous. Sure, understood. I would like to do better. Which are the vacuous terms. Secondly, is it not ok to use a term that carries a certain meaning in literature on these subjects? In order to explain a term, such as, say “beta male” that carpe diem used, we have to step back one step. But suppose he understands that I understand the term, he may go ahead and use it. So as long as we both know the meanings of the terms, what is the harm in using them? I think that carpe diem makes sense, and he thinks that I do (hopefully). If you think that I have said something that you think is meaningless and just terminology baggage, please point that out and I will try my best to rephrase what I meant.

    “social bonding small talk and intellectual integrity appear to be at war with each other but I feel that you two have only looked at this from a perspective of human interaction and not from the personality of the two traits themselves.

    I see intellectual intergrity as a subset of social bonding small talk”

    Perhaps I should have titled my post “Intellectual Integrity and Social bonding as applicable to human interactions”. But in what other area is intellectual integrity or social bonding applicable?

    What do you mean by “and not from the personality of the two traits themselves.”?

    I do not mean to say that what I said in the post is the only possibility. It is the way I saw it. Perhaps you do have an alternative perspective, and I would be interested in hearing it.

    Actually, carpe diem’s take on this subject turned out to be different from mine, and I saw some new points from his comments, that I had not seen before. For example, that an important common resource for intellectual probing vs. social small-talk is the computational requirements posed on the mind.

    I do believe that you may have a point in “I see intellectual intergrity as a subset of social bonding small talk” if you will elaborate.

    “they are discussing — is it okay to expect intellectual talk and why I cannot make small talk leading to social bonding leading to sex with blonde”

    Sorry if you think the import is that you “cannot make small talk”. Actually carpe diem talks above about the usefulness of small talk.
    My own experience has been that your intellectual integrity takes a hit when you are forced into small-talk in a social group, and that is what I was writing about. To clarify: nothing against small talk, or no diktat that you should not do it. Just that, for those who do not want to do it at a given point of time and want to get beyond the first level of detail on a subject, I was saying go ahead, and speak your mind, don’t worry that you lost some social bonding points.

    “but they discuss in abstract hip language that i don’t understand”

    Abstract yes. Hip is not a quality of the language style, it is a judgement made by a mind that interprets it. If you think that we are using language that aims to confuse rather than explain, please point me the instances and I will be happy to correct myself.

  14. sklmno said:

    Unawoken
    assuming your questions were not rhetorical( though i sensed some to be), I have treated them as questions directed toward the commenter

    wake up– Most of the answers are in your essay on intellectual integrity.Iam attempting to have an intellectual conversation and in that respect i may not have answers to many of my own observations and comments and such.

    I sometimes say/write things without any basis- or any supporting evidence to my own musings- This achieves what u have
    rightly stated as

    “”Seemingly intellectual questions are asked and tackled in social settings. However, the main purpose of such transactions appears to be a collective indulgence in the emotions evoked by probing areas of the brain (mind) *, analogous to the communal eating of a chocolate cake.—and there is no actual effort to get at an answer””

    –so in these instances I was probabaly small talking with the author of the blog

    however my honesty in addressing the vacuous nature of some of my comments puts my conversation in the intellectual realm also

    “”Intellectual integrity consists in sticking your neck out, saying something that you are honestly attempting to explore and understand to your best capability. It consists in saying things which are extremely likely to be misconstrued, and
    while knowing this factoid as well. It consists in saying things that reflect your best expression of your current understanding, which may be exposed as untrue upon further deliberation and fact-seeking””

    –so whether the interaction leading to social bonding( assuming social bonding happening in this case) is “intellectual
    or small talk based or “unanalysed” is entirely on each individual that is part of the social bonding network;or that of the observer. In many cases once the mind has decided not to participate in the interaction that individual could turn into an observer; a great way to still be in the bonding circle; it gives food for thought for such extended essays as this

    The above musings have lead me to try and answer one of your questions at least — the title

    “”Perhaps I should have titled my post “Intellectual Integrity and Social bonding as applicable to human interactions”. But in what other area is intellectual integrity or social bonding applicable?””

    –at some point in your essay social bonding and small talk seem to take on the same meaning (as I interpret your replies/ and writings)
    Your analysis however seems to be questioning the lack of use of intellectual integrity as a means of social bonding
    correct me if I have misunderstood your point – However, this is my undestanding;
    I feel Both are/could be a means to socially bond

    Your essay’s title could read as follows
    Intellectual Integrity – as applicable to social bonding
    or better still
    One Vanishing technique of making small talk during social bonding- A case study on Intellectual Integrity

    –Iam impressed by the third person abstract dialogue period- It is not an easy task for many-

    –You are right!! I did see many vacuous statements( collection of empty and essential words) however i refuse to go searching for them; because I will tend to hunt one down and prove it is vacuous- that is not fair so in the event i come
    across one casually while reading your accounts,I will remember to point them out and elaborate on why and so forth.
    fyi they are mighty easy to find in carpa Diem’s – any time he uses his value creation, value judgement, value assurance adjs I deem them crap-

    “”What do you mean by “and not from the personality of the two traits themselves.”?””

    –I meant … Instead of analysing the cost-benefit-loss structure of the two in social bonding if u take a step back and

    observe certain aspects of each trait, it may light other bulbs in the cortex.

    I will first treat Intellectual intergrity and social bonding small talk as two independent entities for social bonding

    What are their personalities-

    ..both are language/and speech oriented
    ..Vary highly in content depending on geographic, cultural and group factors
    ..Use up the same amount of mental energy which according to me is about 10%

    The point I am making is that the two are essentially the same

    What makes them different in social interactions then? –

    Here I would like to introduce the subject of Body language and non-verbal communication. It constitutes 90% by mass of

    the human behavioral matrix(eg. of an unnecessary vacuous phraseology?) in which floats between 1-10% of language/ speech

    oriented matter- (be it intellectual/small talk/untagged- i have already made a case for this being dependent on

    individual or observer)

    Body language/ Non verbal communication is common to all human animals- one cannot separate them based on geography or
    type culture- The actions resulting from the non-verbal communication may differ but not the thought/judgement based on
    the senses.

    90% of communication (whether listening or speaking) is non-verbal; – and depending on how the 90% non verbal matrix of one individual affects the 10% speech matrix of the other — the output would determine the nature of the interaction–

    so in your and carpa diem’s case the non-verbal matrix ofunawoken bonds with the speech matrix of carpa diem and vice versa – and anything you discuss appears to be either intellectual or small talk.

    You can also bring multiple individuals into this- The observers non verbal matrix may also bond with the speech matrix- and the feeling of meaningful conversation washes down –

    Therefore emphasis needs to be put on the 90% non-verbal matrix to create a gel that bonds with several kinds of speech matrix.

    I hope this highlights my observation of intellectual integrity being a subset of social bonding smal talk or even vice versa.

    Thats about it for now- anything more I write will be lip service to intellectual integrity or small talk or untagged.

  15. Unawoken said:

    sklmno,
    Thanks for getting back.
    First, I want to say that right now I am very exhausted, so I may not get all the points you are making below. I will reread your comments again later, after some recovery.

    “Unawoken
    assuming your questions were not rhetorical( though i sensed some to be), I have treated them as questions directed toward the commenter”

    No they were not rhetorical. They were addressed to you. But it doesn’t mean that I do not have my answers to those questions, only that I suspected that you may not see things the way I do, so I was asking your answers to those questions.

    “wake up– “

    I do not appreciate personal imperative comments. (But it is up to you to make them, if you want to). I cannot make you do something, and neither can you make me do something. We can only appeal to each other’s reason.

    “Most of the answers are in your essay on intellectual integrity.”

    I do think that some of the answers are in there. Only, I thought you disagreed with at least parts of my post. Therefore, you may not agree to the answers that are in there. Secondly, I may not honestly see them. This might be because you can see deeper than me in this situation – but a flat imperative to wake up doesn’t help me see them, it only points out that I don’t see them.

    “Iam attempting to have an intellectual conversation and in that respect i may not have answers to many of my own observations and comments and such.”

    I do not have anything against flat assertions, but it doesn’t help me see meaning (which I concede, may not be your intention, I am not sure.) For example, if I say “People should do things that make them happy”, this imo, carries as much information as if I say “I prefer the colour red to pink”. (I want to underscore that I do not see anything these two statements, only I do not understand your point any better than before.)I start to appreciate your p.o.v. once you start to tell me why should people do things that make them happy? why not do things that make them rich, or fulfilled (is there a difference? and so on)

    “–so in these instances I was probabaly small talking with the author of the blog”

    Ok agreed. If you were making small talk with me, I am sorry I didn’t see the signal on this occasion.

    “however my honesty in addressing the vacuous nature of some of my comments puts my conversation in the intellectual realm also”

    I agree.

    “–so whether the interaction leading to social bonding( assuming social bonding happening in this case) is “intellectual
    or small talk based or “unanalysed” is entirely on each individual that is part of the social bonding network;or that of the observer. In many cases once the mind has decided not to participate in the interaction that individual could turn into an observer; a great way to still be in the bonding circle; it gives food for thought for such extended essays as this”

    – I agree to all the points you make above. However, my point was not regarding intellectual integrity leading to social bonding. My point was that social bonding priorities come in the way of collectively trying to understand something in depth (this is a rephrasing). In other words, I am not mainly concerned in the text with whether or not intellectual-integrity driven discussions lead to social bonding.

    – As a second point, intellectual-integrity driven discussions do not do well in social settings. They get booed off (not always, but often. If your experience is different here, I’d like to hear it, but my experience supports to this statement.)

    – Thirdly, even though you didn’t talk specifically of this, I want to say this: I do not have anything against small talk; I do pretty well in social settings and am often not exclusively an observer. My point is, opportunities for small talk are numerous, opportunities for intellectual discussion, too few.

    “Your analysis however seems to be questioning the lack of use of intellectual integrity as a means of social bonding “

    – I do agree that venturing into intellectual discussions do not often contribute to social bonding, but it does happen rarely. But sorry, that is not my point, please see above.

    “Your essay’s title could read as follows
    Intellectual Integrity – as applicable to social bonding
    or better still”

    – Applicability to social bonding is not my main concern, it is how
    social bonding driven behaviour
    i. is relatively far more frequent
    ii. intellectual integrity driven behaviour gets selected out due to prefering social bonding driven behaviour
    in social interactions.

    “One Vanishing technique of making small talk during social bonding- A case study on Intellectual Integrity”

    Because I do not term intellectual-integrity driven behaviour directly seeking to social bonding (I think its purpose is to use many heads to understand an issue more deeply), I do not agree that it is one technique of making small talk.

    “–Iam impressed by the third person abstract dialogue period- It is not an easy task for many- “

    If you mean it as a compliment, thank you, I accept it.

    “–You are right!! I did see many vacuous statements( collection of empty and essential words) however i refuse to go searching for them; because I will tend to hunt one down and prove it is vacuous- that is not fair so in the event i come
    across one casually while reading your accounts,I will remember to point them out and elaborate on why and so forth. “

    Agreed.

    “fyi they are mighty easy to find in carpa Diem’s – any time he uses his value creation, value judgement, value assurance adjs I deem them crap- “

    I will leave this to carpe diem if he wishes to answer this. But my take on this is this:
    – Carpe diem looks at a lot of social issues from a basic economic perspective. Hence, he tends to cast his answers within that model.
    – Carpe diem has more than one goal when he discusses. One is to help understand an issue, the other is to signal something to the other (You/he might say this of me as well, I don’t know, but that wouldn’t contest this point.)

    “I will first treat Intellectual intergrity and social bonding small talk as two independent entities for social bonding”

    – I don’t agree with this treatment. For example, suppose John, Mary and Jane are friends, and Mary is acting precocious. They are in a social setting together. If John tells Mary that she is acting precocious, and Mary disagrees, and John asks Jane if Mary is acting precocious, then Jane’s intellectual integrity requires that she say, “Yes, she’s acting precocious.” But if Jane evades the question, lies etc., she’s not displaying intellectual integrity because for example, she wants to be sensitive to Mary, or she doesn’t want to lose social bonding points with Mary, etc.


    ..both are language/and speech oriented”

    Intelectual integrity (as I use it here) is basically expressing through communication (which involves language, speech, something else)
    i. what you think, regardless of it is popular or not
    ii. attempting to answer a question to with your best ability, which might mean stepping outside of a socially acceptable paradigm if needed.

    i.e. the principle of intellectually standing up for your beliefs.

    “..Vary highly in content depending on geographic, cultural and group factors”

    small talk has content. What does it mean to talk of the content of intellectual integrity?

    “..Use up the same amount of mental energy which according to me is about 10%”

    I agree that all this disagreement is stemming from my not agreeing to your basic assumption, but what does it mean to say that intellectual integrity uses up 10% of mental energy?

    But if you want to compare well-thought out opinions vs. small talk, then I I’d disagree. What I categorize as small talk is statements such as
    “The colour black really looks good on you”
    this I’d contest requires a lot less mental effort than my attempt here to convey to you my thoughts
    on this subject such that they make sense to you based on your belief-systems.
    Maybe your claim is that small talk and intellectual talk are both aimed to create social bonding. While I disagree with this statement, I agree that this statement provides a basis for comparison that you have performed.

    “The point I am making is that the two are essentially the same”

    Because of the above, I don’t agree.

    “Here I would like to introduce the subject of Body language and non-verbal communication. It constitutes 90% by mass of

    the human behavioral matrix(eg. of an unnecessary vacuous phraseology?) in which floats between 1-10% of language/ speech

    oriented matter- (be it intellectual/small talk/untagged- i have already made a case for this being dependent on

    individual or observer)

    Body language/ Non verbal communication is common to all human animals- one cannot separate them based on geography or
    type culture- The actions resulting from the non-verbal communication may differ but not the thought/judgement based on
    the senses.

    90% of communication (whether listening or speaking) is non-verbal; – and depending on how the 90% non verbal matrix of one individual affects the 10% speech matrix of the other — the output would determine the nature of the interaction–

    so in your and carpa diem’s case the non-verbal matrix ofunawoken bonds with the speech matrix of carpa diem and vice versa – and anything you discuss appears to be either intellectual or small talk.

    You can also bring multiple individuals into this- The observers non verbal matrix may also bond with the speech matrix- and the feeling of meaningful conversation washes down –

    Therefore emphasis needs to be put on the 90% non-verbal matrix to create a gel that bonds with several kinds of speech matrix.

    I hope this highlights my observation of intellectual integrity being a subset of social bonding smal talk or even vice versa.

    Thats about it for now- anything more I write will be lip service to intellectual integrity or small talk or untagged.”

    Interesting analysis. Thanks for sharing it. However, to understand it from more fundamental points of view, I will need to ask you more specific questions regarding some terms and assumptions you have made above. I am not sure how much energy you want to spend discussing this subject, so for now I will refrain from splitting up this text and asking you more questions. If you are interested in discussing this, I’d be interested in asking you more questions on this.

    My current take on this is this. I agree that non-verbal communication is an important part (though much less than 90% imo) of social behaviour. While you may contend that intellectual behaviour has social bonding benefits – while I agree with that statement – I see motivations for intellectual behaviour above and beyond that. Also, different people do judge same non-verbal behaviour differently, for instance because of culture. For example the head-nod of Indians may be interpreted one way in India and another way in the US.

    You are welcome to post on other topics or this one, I appreciate your effort to hold this discussion with me.

  16. sklmno said:

    do not appreciate personal imperative comments.

    (((Neither do I; I think it sounds very obnoxious )))

    “Most of the answers are in your essay on intellectual integrity.”

    I do think that some of the answers are in there. Only, I thought you disagreed with at least parts of my post. Therefore, you may not agree to the answers that are in there. Secondly, I may not honestly see them. This might be because you can see deeper than me in this situation – but a flat imperative to wake up doesn’t help me see them, it only points out that I don’t see them.

    (((Please point out where I have disagreed- To the extent i re-read my posts, I have recorded my observations and made some observations on your and carpa diem’s dialogue.)))

    “Iam attempting to have an intellectual conversation and in that respect i may not have answers to many of my own observations and comments and such.”

    I do not have anything against flat assertions, but it doesn’t help me see meaning (which I concede, may not be your intention, I am not sure.) For example, if I say “People should do things that make them happy”, this imo, carries as much information as if I say “I prefer the colour red to pink”. (I want to underscore that I do not see anything these two statements, only I do not understand your point any better than before.)I start to appreciate your p.o.v. once you start to tell me why should people do things that make them happy? why not do things that make them rich, or fulfilled (is there a difference? and so on)

    ((( “Flat assertions” are sentences that are not meant for the reader; They are meant for the writer- It creates the setting, helps the writer get to the final point that needs to be conveyed which could be several paragraphs and sometimes pages away- ; they are usually found in descriptive non fiction works/biographies- it is a style-.)))

    If a single line hits a nerve – one could be forced to make an assumption about the readers openness to a little variety

    — note shabby third person voice intentional— since u do not appreciate personal imperative comments

    ((((The final point to be conveyed was “so whether the interaction leading to social bonding——-” as this)))

    “–so in these instances I was probabaly small talking with the author of the blog”

    Ok agreed. If you were making small talk with me, I am sorry I didn’t see the signal on this occasion.

    “however my honesty in addressing the vacuous nature of some of my comments puts my conversation in the intellectual realm also”

    I agree.

    ((( Question, Iam curious to know – Do you read the entire blog before addressing each written line piecemeal? what do u use while splitting lines so u can add comment- common judgement? or my punctuation? ))) probabaly the latter-? ))))

    ——————————————————————————————-

    before we go any further with this discussion – I would like to clarify some terms and definitions I have been using liberally-

    if we find that that our definitions of these terms don’t match at least 60% there is not use in having this discussion as we are not aligned on the basic terminology and their roles in human behavior.

    I welcome questions on my view of the role of nonverbal communication but my vote is to clear some definitions first so we are not going around in circles correctng each others assumptions on the subject-

    I will hope to have mine answered friday-

    whether you/I decide to carry on this discussion any further or not – I still would like to see your answers – However your choice- on whether u want to spend the time-

    ————————————————————————————————-

    How do you define an intellectual intergrity driven discussion-

    Give variety of simple short one/two line examples to illustrate intellectual integrity (not abstract terms like “sticking your neck out and saying what you believe in”) and such

    How do you define social bonding ?

    How do you define social interaction?

    what are the key differences between social bonding and social interaction?

    what is the objective of intellectual integrity driven discussion and its benefits?

    How are intellectual integrity and small talk related and/or how are they not related?

    How is intellectual integrity related to social bonding

    How is intellectual integrity related to social interaction

    ———————————————————————————————

  17. Unawoken said:

    “(((Neither do I; I think it sounds very obnoxious )))”

    “If a single line hits a nerve – one could be forced to make an assumption about the readers openness to a little variety”

    “I will hope to have mine answered friday- “

    Because of these three statements, I am disinclined to carry forth this conversation any further. Here are my reasons:
    -> you make a flat imperative assertion “wake up” which you admit is obnoxious and which you admit to not appreciate as well. Yet you make it, and do not apologize.
    -> your own admittedly obnoxious statement “hits a nerve”, wouldn’t it hit your’s? and yet you are pointing out my lack of my openness to variety.
    -> What is the purpose of the 3rd statement? A deadline?

    I started out today in good faith to continue this discussion, but I’m sorry, I must back off.

  18. sklmno said:

    None of the first few statements were intended to be personal; they were filling gaps- banter , not to be taken seriously-
    i don’t know you at all to assert anything about you and mean it –

    Your reaction however suggests otherwise- and I apologise for crossing boundaries.

    the deadline was for me- to remember not to get lazy and to answer the questions I raised from my side also because I was asking a lot of them and the idea was to compare notes ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hope there are no hard feelings- I enjoyed interacting with you.

    – sunitha

  19. Unawoken said:

    sklmno,
    Thanks for clearing it up. You are right, we don’t know each other, and I did not interpret the tone of your post as banter. But I do appreciate the tone in your recent post, so I will continue and respond to your earlier comments. If you want to get past this as well, you are welcome to discuss.
    I apologize for the hurdle.

    Back to your earlier post:

    (((Please point out where I have disagreed- To the extent i re-read my posts, I have recorded my observations and made some observations on your and carpa diem’s dialogue.)))

    Maybe it was the tone. Also this:
    “social bonding small talk and intellectual integrity appear to be at war with each other but I feel that you two have only looked at this from a perspective of human interaction “

    meaning that they appear to be at war, but they aren’t.

    ((( “Flat assertions” are sentences that are not meant for the reader; They are meant for the writer- It creates the setting, helps the writer get to the final point that needs to be conveyed which could be several paragraphs and sometimes pages away- ; they are usually found in descriptive non fiction works/biographies- it is a style-.)))

    Couple of things. One, I do not see the point of writing something that is meant for the writer, in the comments section of someone’s blog. Also since you did not write sevral paragraphs at that point, I only got to see the assertions. Regarding the style comment, I’ll put that one down to ‘banter’, and not dissect it any.

    ((((The final point to be conveyed was “so whether the interaction leading to social bonding——-” as this)))

    I have no idea what this means.

    ((( Question, Iam curious to know – Do you read the entire blog before addressing each written line piecemeal? what do u use while splitting lines so u can add comment- common judgement? or my punctuation? ))) probabaly the latter-? ))))

    I use my own judgement. I am not sure what common judgement means here.

    ———————————–
    How do you define an intellectual intergrity driven discussion-

    An intellectual integrity discussion aims to understand through the common effort of the participants, to try understand the subject of discussion from more fundamental viewpoints. Each person contributes to speak up as much as possible, and with an effort to remaining relevant, their existing view and understanding, without consideration of if the relevant view is insensitive, makes them unpopular, is a minority opinion.. whatever. Also resists dragging the discussion into nonrelevant areas to achieve ulterior goals.

    Give variety of simple short one/two line examples to illustrate intellectual integrity (not abstract terms like “sticking your neck out and saying what you believe in”) and such

    – When asked a question “What is true love?” recognizing the loadedness of the question. Refusing the hook bait. Or deconstructing the question and stepping aside the game.
    – The John, Mary, Jane example above.
    – X admitting that X was wrong when evidence contrary to X’s belief is presented.
    – X understanding, conceding and actively presenting the falsifiability of X’s own beliefs.

    How do you define social bonding ?

    – Social bonding is the phenomenon of two or more people developing a preference for public/semi-public interpersonal interaction with each other.

    How do you define social interaction?
    – A social interaction is the public/semi-public communication between two or more people.

    what are the key differences between social bonding and social interaction?
    – Social bonding is a preference for current and near-future social interaction with some specific people.

    what is the objective of intellectual integrity driven discussion and its benefits?
    – the objective of intellectual integrity discussion is to understand from fundamental principles, without taking mental short-cuts, a particular subject of interest. Its benefit is to develop a more accurate model of reality in your mind.

    How are intellectual integrity and small talk related
    – They’re not related in general. Perhaps specifically in the case where people deliberately prefer small talk in every interaction over an intellectual-integrity driven discussion: in that scenario small talk has the potential to snub out intellectual integrity.

    and/or how are they not related?

    – I don’t understand this part of the question.

    How is intellectual integrity related to social bonding

    – People display a high preference to bond socially, and a low preference for intellectual-integrity driven discussions in our world. Social bonding seems to result easily from small-talk, preference for the same music band etc. that I point out in the essay. Social interactions also demonstrate a general aversion to intellectual-talk, more often than not.

    How is intellectual integrity related to social interaction

    Social interactions place a high degree of emphasis on social bonding. Almost never is intellectual integrity an important factor in social interactions. For example, in the Mary, John, Jane scenario, Jane would rather lie or mollify John than say “Mary is acting precocious.” because social bonding with Mary is more important to her than intellectual integrity.

    The following is not an answer to any of your questions. It is a general observation I want to make related to this subject.
    In general, it is not the subject matter that makes a discussion intellectual or not – it is:
    – the willingness to go to greater depth in the discussion,
    – accept mistakes in our worldview,
    – not being hasty to come to any conclusion whatsoever
    – not always trying to accept a superficial understanding of something
    – not believing our ways are right while foregoing opportunities to learn better from people around us, and pushing and thumping our superficial views.

  20. Unawoken said:

    sklmno,
    There is something else I need to say. After writing this post, I have subsequently changed my mind significantly about a couple of things regarding this subject. So this post does not accurately represent my frame of mind at this point. This is due to things that I have read after writing this post.
    I’ll leave it at this.

  21. Unawoken said:

    “How do you define social interaction?”

    I thought about this some more. My answer was incomplete. Social interaction also includes shared experiences such as watching a movie together, or playing a game/sport together.

  22. sklmno said:

    Unawoken

    I am running behind on answers from my side. I had a couple of off-internet evenings.

    No apologies for this because I think this gap has done the discussion good by erasing some strong convictions (white noise) from my brain based off on the analysis and thoughts I had on the subject from our previous discussion.

    I choose not to read your answers till I complete mine and post them. I am in the process of doing that.

    While I admit I enjoy banter; I do not let it overcome or end meaningful conversations. This discussion is welcome to be continued from my side as long as genuine(sp?) interest persists on both sides.

  23. sklmno said:

    Unawoken

    Posting on your blog has become a lesson in analysing my writing skills-( I welcome this because Iam learning)

    when i said, I choose not to read your answers till I finish mine, I meant- I would like to wait till i finish answering all the questions before I went over your answers.

  24. Unawoken said:

    sklmno,
    No worries. I understood what you meant ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. sklmno said:

    Disclaimers /comments/banter

    Unawoken-

    I decided to write this as a separate blog- so in case you don’t want to deal with thoughts/
    banter, you can delete it- or choose to skip it

    A couple of thoughts-

    –It is very difficult for me to write with rules laid out; I am a person of unstructured thought
    and unstructured action (no thanks to the personality profiling that is done in this country).
    But i realise , it is good to know that; it can be used as an excuse ha? ๐Ÿ™‚
    – anyways it is true that if i don’t mix banter, assertive statements and some unnecessary small talk, my writing
    does not flow and I may not be conveying what i feel even/especially on the subject-

    for eg. the 7-8 questions I came up with were a continuation of my thoughts of the first part of
    the blog – though they are not entirely related. I however am not trying to justify many of
    my remarks as they were uncalled for. This is just an observation from my end.

    –I realise i have not addressed some questions you raised and certain points you highlighted as
    answers to my questions over the last couple of blogs. I have not ignored them on purpose; I have
    acknowledged them. The converstaion/replies in my mind just happened to not follow a disciplined pattern.
    -i will go back and ensure I address these for completion- some of them I concurred with; some i have questions or retorts on-

    –As far as the current definitions/ answers go- I may have other comments – or may retract some of my statements-

    –Thanks for spending the time answering the set of questions, I can now read them.
    This to me is more interesting as I like to understand how people perceive some things rather than question why they perceive them that way.

    I have not done a spell check on the Q/A

  26. sklmno said:

    Unawoken-
    My answers; Note- no spell check or grammar check has been done.

    This took longer than i anticipated and I may not be read well now. I plan to read your answers tomorrow.
    ———————————–

    How do you define an intellectual intergrity driven discussion-

    Intellectual intergrity is an abstract concept. One way to describe it would be as a feeling produced in the mind when nerve centers related to a personsโ€™s acquired knowledge, collected information, interests, reasoning and learning are triggered. This usually happens during social interactions and may or may not lead to social bonding depending on whether the non verbal receptors reciprocate positively, negatively or in a neutral manner toward the intellectual discussion.

    The discussion can be passive or active, as in reading a book, watching an interview or being part of an active conversation.

    Ones ablity to reason, debate, speak ones mind, accept and give criticism, acknowledge short comings, speak nonsense, keep the interest of the others in discussion are all put to test and hence this kind of discussion requires effort for it to flow effortlessly. The entire onus rests on the speaker at each instance.

    Ths subject does not matter; Pointless conversations can also turn intellectual. One could feel they are having an intellectual discussion about the color of a table cloth so long as the correct receptors in the brain are being triggered.

    Give variety of simple short one/two line examples to illustrate intellectual integrity (not abstract terms like “sticking your neck out and saying what you believe in”) and such

    -any conversation between Harold and Maude or by Harold in the movie Harold and Maude

    –a discussion on architecture of paralic deposits with me- if interest is there.

    –this is more difficult than I thought – finding examples, since this can vary with each individual-

    heres another- quoting Jeeves and bertie

    “A problem has arisen in the life of a friend of mine who shall be nameless, and I want your advice. I must begin by saying that it’s one of those delicate problems where not only my friend must be nameless but all the other members of the personnel. In other words, I can’t mention names. You see what I mean?”

    “I understand you perfectly, sir. You would prefer to term the protagonists A and B.”

    “Or North and South.”

    “A and B is more customary, sir.”

    “Just as you say. Well, A is male, B female. You follow me so far?”

    “You have been lucidity itself, sir.”
    —————————————————————————————-

    How do you define social interaction?
    Social interaction is defined as a gathering of human beings (2 and greater) participating in an activity in order to achieve a state that is โ€œnot aloneโ€. Social interaction is a broad spectrum term and the interaction can span a whole range of activities, active or passive.

    —————————————————————————————-

    How do you define social bonding ?

    Social bonding is an abstract concept that is defined as a feeling produced in the mind when centers related to a human beings emotional and non-verbalreceptors are stimulated. It is a by product of i social interaction and is the driving force in pushing humans to live, learn, progress, and at the same time destroy themselves and their surroundings and in the process EVolve.

    ——————————————————————————————-

    what are the key differences between social bonding and social interaction?

    Social interaction is merely an activity whereas social bonding is a result/output/end product

    Social interaction is a gathering of people for an activity / purpose,It is voluntary on part of the mind and body of a human and is done mainly to temperorily change their current state of existence.Social interaction is an activity that may or may not lead to social bonding

    Social bonding is a state of social interaction where multiple lines of identifications (non verbal/verbal) can be drawn between 2/among many people based on any or all of the nerve centers that I defined above (in Intellectual intergrity and nonverbal communication). The collective human minds feel like they are in meaningful company and will not be bored and would welcome meeting again for the purpose of interaction so more bonding can take place.

    Social interaction is voluntary, Human mind controls social interactions and the situations it places them in. eg a wedding party, a profesional network, a book club and a cooking class

    Social bonding is involuntary, humans do not have any control on how this happens.It has no purpose, it is incidental. Those that make it happen artificially are infact only interacting, not bonding.

    Social interaction is superficial but it is more real and genuine as it is usually goal oriented and temperory and free of mind conditionings and where it does take into account conditionings of the mind, the individual is aware of the fact and has participated in the interaction with a purpose. Social interaction is easy to achieve, it only requires time and an open mind that is ready to soak in all kinds of experiences.

    Social bonding seeks and has depth.In order for bonding to happen the experience needs to dig deep into the surface and get through the maze of mental conditionings, stimulate senses in the brain that pertain to genuine enjoyment. It is therefore difficult to materialise and it cannot be created, it has to happen.
    eg social interaction can be created by bringing 10 people to disuss the above blog
    Social bonding cannnot be created; it has to happen based on eac individuals mental makeup.

    -any human mind conditioned to live by social interaction thrives well in society.
    -any human mind conditioned to feel happy only by social bonding finds it more difficult to thrive happily in society

    ———————————————————————————————

    what is the objective of intellectual integrity driven discussion and its benefits?

    According to me The objective of intellectual integrity driven discussion can be any or all of the following-

    – Nothing- it may be simply a social behavior happening due to human ability to think and communicate ones thoughts.
    – to share/discuss what one has learnt by reading, observation and experience.
    – derive some pleasure form the nerve centre stimulations of analysis and all those others i mentioned.

    Benefits-
    – May help an individual feel like he is learning
    – May help an individual feel superior to peers
    – May help in social bonding but depending on the output of the nonverbal communication

    ——————————————————————————————

    How are intellectual integrity and small talk related and/or how are they not related?

    I think they are closely related-

    Intellectual integrity without small talk is like a boring class room lecture;
    eg Most good teachers are also very social and indulge in small talk

    Small talk when misplaced in conversations however can come in the way of intellectual integrity thus ending conversations.

    ——————————————————————————————-

    How is intellectual integrity related to social bonding?

    I think Intellectual integrity is very closely related to social bonding; some correlation coeffecient of 0.75 exists.
    Intellectual integrity driven discussions are carried out by thinking minds- and a thinking mind usually wants to socially bond and not just socially interact and i have gone over my case for why it is so much harder for social bonding to happen vs social interaction

    ———————————————————————————————–

    How is intellectual integrity related to social interaction
    I do not think they are closely related at all. correlation coefficient= some 0.25?
    see above-

  27. Unawoken said:

    sklmno,
    As I have said earlier, I’ve nothing against banter, I just didn’t interpret your tone as banter. So as long as things are good natured, I’ve no problems with that. I’ve no intention to restrict your freedom to express in a web of rules.

    Let me address a couple of things from your disclaimer comments, however:

    “I am a person of unstructured thought
    and unstructured action (no thanks to the personality profiling that is done in this country).”

    I am confused by this. Are you saying
    i. you are person of unstructured thought/action because of the personality profiling
    or
    ii. you are profiling your personality per the norm that exists in this country?

    If it is i., I don’t understand, please explain..

    In general, I can appreciate the tone of your recent comments, so you do not have to cramp your style and adapt to an uncomfortable one. My comments below (and in the interaction above) are aimed at trying to understand your p.o.v. and to convey meaningful information from my side, and not to criticise your ways.

    “How do you define an intellectual intergrity driven discussion-

    Intellectual intergrity is an abstract concept. One way to describe it would be as a feeling produced in the mind when nerve centers related to a personsโ€™s acquired knowledge, collected information, interests, reasoning and learning are triggered. This usually happens during social interactions and may or may not lead to social bonding depending on whether the non verbal receptors reciprocate positively, negatively or in a neutral manner toward the intellectual discussion.”

    See, to me the above is an attempt to define “intellectual”, not “intellectual integrity”. Also, it is not clear as to what makes something “not intellectual” from this.

    “The discussion can be passive or active, as in reading a book, watching an interview or being part of an active conversation.

    Here, these activities such as reading a book, watching an interview – are not social activities. But being part of an active conversation is. i.e. the cost/benefit discussion doesn’t apply to the nonsocial activities, because there are no pressures to restrict those.

    “Ones ablity to reason, debate, speak ones mind, accept and give criticism, acknowledge short comings, speak nonsense, keep the interest of the others in discussion are all put to test and hence this kind of discussion requires effort for it to flow effortlessly. The entire onus rests on the speaker at each instance.”

    Agree. But some (but not all) of these characterstics apply to nonintellectual discussions as well.

    “Ths subject does not matter; Pointless conversations can also turn intellectual. One could feel they are having an intellectual discussion about the color of a table cloth so long as the correct receptors in the brain are being triggered.”

    I am getting that your stress is on the subjectivity of judgement of something as intellectual. I agree that the registering of something as intellectual or not may be mind-dependent. If that is the stumbling block to our debate, I’d like to focus on the “depth” of the discussion rather than its registration as intellectual or not. To rephrase, social bonding driven discussions then, have a tendency to skim the surface of topics, and not go deeper (that is closer to ab initio).

    “Give variety of simple short one/two line examples to illustrate intellectual integrity (not abstract terms like “sticking your neck out and saying what you believe in”) and such

    -any conversation between Harold and Maude or by Harold in the movie Harold and Maude”

    sorry no Harold and Maude knowledge here ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    “–a discussion on architecture of paralic deposits with me- if interest is there.”

    again don’y know what paralic deposits are. What it is they are??

    heres another- quoting Jeeves and bertie

    “”A problem has arisen in the life of a friend of mine who shall be nameless, and I want your advice. I must begin by saying that it’s one of those delicate problems where not only my friend must be nameless but all the other members of the personnel. In other words, I can’t mention names. You see what I mean?”

    “I understand you perfectly, sir. You would prefer to term the protagonists A and B.”

    “Or North and South.”

    “A and B is more customary, sir.”

    “Just as you say. Well, A is male, B female. You follow me so far?”

    “You have been lucidity itself, sir.””

    Well, Jeeves is being Jeeves here, i.e. clever, and well Wooster is being, of course, Wooster.
    I agree that this converstation displays an attempt at integrity on Wooster’s part, and condescending compliance from Jeeves’ side, but I do not see the intellectual part of “intellectual integrity”. (This argument shoots down my Mary, Jane, John example as well. I was flippant to provide an example of integrity minus the intellectual.)

    “How do you define social interaction?
    Social interaction is defined as a gathering of human beings (2 and greater) participating in an activity in order to achieve a state that is โ€œnot aloneโ€. Social interaction is a broad spectrum term and the interaction can span a whole range of activities, active or passive.”

    I agree mostly, but the public, semi-public tag is important imo. For otherwise, just “interaction” or “nonvirtual interaction” may cover the same range above. Also, this definition will include some interactions that are “deeper than social (pardon my circularity)”, unless if that is your intention.

    “Social bonding is an abstract concept that is defined as a feeling produced in the mind when centers related to a human beings emotional and non-verbalreceptors are stimulated. It is a by product of i social interaction and is the driving force in pushing humans to live, learn, progress, and at the same time destroy themselves and their surroundings and in the process EVolve.”

    I see that you have a rather poetic definition heh ๐Ÿ™‚
    A few points here: Every human tendency whether towards intellectuality or social bonding is due to a neurological trigger in the brain, agreed. But to we have to go beyond this and differentiate them by the tendency demonstrated by a person whose brain has been stimulated this way.. Regarding the rest of your statement, I’d say it is not a byproduct, but the main product of social interaction. Also, “a driving force in pushing humans to live, learn …” instead of “the driving force in pushing humans to live, learn …”. Also, I’d say bonding is due to the thingamajiggy that happens in the brain, not the thingamajiggy itself.

    “what are the key differences between social bonding and social interaction?

    Social interaction is merely an activity whereas social bonding is a result/output/end product “

    agree.

    “Social interaction is a gathering of people for an activity / purpose,It is voluntary on part of the mind and body of a human and is done mainly to temperorily change their current state of existence.Social interaction is an activity that may or may not lead to social bonding “

    agree mostly, but I have reservations on the “voluntary” tag. More on this when you expand below.

    “Social bonding is a state of social interaction where multiple lines of identifications (non verbal/verbal) can be drawn between 2/among many people based on any or all of the nerve centers that I defined above (in Intellectual intergrity and nonverbal communication). “

    Ok confused here. Lines of identification?

    “The collective human minds feel like they are in meaningful company and will not be bored and would welcome meeting again for the purpose of interaction so more bonding can take place.”

    I would choose to phrase that as “each human mind in the collection” rather than “the collective human minds” but yeah.
    And maybe I’d say “so more stroking can take place” instead of “so more bonding can take place” because bonding is a more stringent requirement as outcome than stroking.

    “Social interaction is voluntary, Human mind controls social interactions and the situations it places them in. eg a wedding party, a profesional network, a book club and a cooking class”

    right. human mind generally chooses the opportunities and settings for interaction to be possible.

    “Social bonding is involuntary, humans do not have any control on how this happens.”

    I’d say by extention, social bonding is voluntarily set up in some of the above situations. But yeah, I suppose you could make a case for there being no control on when the switch in the mind goes on/off in an interaction, but then there may be some arguments against as well.

    “It has no purpose, it is incidental.”

    Not sure how you conclude that. From an evolutionary perspective, bonding increases chances of passing genes on to the next generation, however there is a chain of causality that needs to be established to support this statement.

    “Those that make it happen artificially are infact only interacting, not bonding.”

    Actually, I would not easily dismiss the possibilities of induced bonding. In fact I think it happens all the time.

    I think if each of the tangential points you have raised has the potential to grow into humongous discussions on their own ๐Ÿ™‚

    “Social interaction is superficial but it is more real and genuine as it is usually goal oriented and temperory and free of mind conditionings and where it does take into account conditionings of the mind, the individual is aware of the fact and has participated in the interaction with a purpose. Social interaction is easy to achieve, it only requires time and an open mind that is ready to soak in all kinds of experiences. “

    I think we both already covered the ground when you said some social interactions lead to bonding, but not all. These statements do start describing social interactions in more detail, but I think this elaboration doesn’t add to the relevance to bonding.

    “Social bonding seeks and has depth.In order for bonding to happen the experience needs to dig deep into the surface and get through the maze of mental conditionings, stimulate senses in the brain that pertain to genuine enjoyment. It is therefore difficult to materialise and it cannot be created, it has to happen.
    eg social interaction can be created by bringing 10 people to disuss the above blog
    Social bonding cannnot be created; it has to happen based on eac individuals mental makeup.”

    I disagree on this. Social bonding can be created and is created all the time. Yes, it depends on people’s mentality, but people do set out to and achieve bonding part of the time if not all the time. The dating scene is already testimonial to this, but I think there are several examples around.

    “-any human mind conditioned to live by social interaction thrives well in society.
    -any human mind conditioned to feel happy only by social bonding finds it more difficult to thrive happily in society”

    sure. But with some reservation: People will settle with “empty interaction” when bonding is inaccesible. When bonding is accessible, a lot of minds will pick that. i.e. I do not think there are lot of minds who will prefer empty interactions over bonding, when both are accesible.

    Also you’ll of course agree that human minds are conditioned to do other things as well, not just socially (build bridges, solve math problems and so on), I assume.

    “what is the objective of intellectual integrity driven discussion and its benefits?

    According to me The objective of intellectual integrity driven discussion can be any or all of the following-

    – Nothing- it may be simply a social behavior happening due to human ability to think and communicate ones thoughts.
    – to share/discuss what one has learnt by reading, observation and experience.
    – derive some pleasure form the nerve centre stimulations of analysis and all those others i mentioned.”

    Learning? Is that included in the second bullet point?

    “Benefits-
    – May help an individual feel like he is learning
    – May help an individual feel superior to peers
    – May help in social bonding but depending on the output of the nonverbal communication”

    How about actual learning? Not just “feeling like learning”?

    “How are intellectual integrity and small talk related and/or how are they not related?

    I think they are closely related-

    Intellectual integrity without small talk is like a boring class room lecture;
    eg Most good teachers are also very social and indulge in small talk

    Small talk when misplaced in conversations however can come in the way of intellectual integrity thus ending conversations. “

    You mean an “inellectual integrity driven discussion without small talk is like a boring class room lecture” no?

    Agree to the second point.

    “I think Intellectual integrity is very closely related to social bonding; some correlation coeffecient of 0.75 exists.
    Intellectual integrity driven discussions are carried out by thinking minds- and a thinking mind usually wants to socially bond and not just socially interact and i have gone over my case for why it is so much harder for social bonding to happen vs social interaction”

    I see how your definitions may lead you this way. But I do not agree because I think the bonding by itself can happen (and does happen) due to stroking of the areas of brain you talk about, but not always describable as intellectual. i.e., most stimuli which push the bonding buttons
    of the brain are not intellectual
    imo, yes, a minority are (as far as I understand).

    “How is intellectual integrity related to social interaction
    I do not think they are closely related at all. correlation coefficient= some 0.25?
    see above-“

    I think, from reading your account, our points of disagreement are due to the understanding of what constitutes “intellectual”. I would agree with several of the things you wrote if the debate was between “empty interactions” vs. “connectable interactions” or something like that (“bonding-leading interactions” is a circularity).

  28. Carpe Diem said:

    Not sure which of you wrote this paragrapgh – I suspect it is Mr.Mara himself. “Here, these activities such as reading a book, watching an interview – are not social activities. But being part of an active conversation is. i.e. the cost/benefit discussion doesn’t apply to the nonsocial activities, because there are no pressures to restrict those.”

    I just want to note that cost/benefit discussion applies as much to nonsocial activities as it does to social ones. The cost in question is the “opportunity cost” of not participating in fruitful social interaction. There are indeed pressures to restrict these so called “free will, nonsocial, intellectual” pleasures. You forget that for the longest time, these were just the privilege of a few white-wigged smartypants and nobility from royalty or clergy. It is only in this century that these “luxuries” have become
    a) commonplace
    b) utilities to spur more creative input (technology, IP, invention) into the economy.

    It is easy to take for granted, that which is just part of our current life situation. “Intellectualism” is a luxury afforded to those who are materially well off enough to spend their disposable time on such activities. Since “well off enough” is not entirely an individual choice (being pegged to social norms via conditioning, and status-seeking impulses), one can argue that “intellectualism” is not either… it comes at the COST of engaging more fully with society on society’s own terms (disgusting and pedestrian, as they may seem to an erudite and scholarly mind).

  29. Unawoken said:

    Dude Mr Carpe Diem.
    Hold its a sec. I understand and agree to the opportunity costs. I was aware of that in mind when I wrote that. I was trying to scope in the discussion to the costs and decisions limited to the context of social interactions, just to give the discussion a smaller focus. This discussion is way too amorphous as it is.
    You are preaching to the choir. I already got your points on costs of intellectualizing, and agree with you. Now if you’ll let me, I’d like to keep this discussion within the social interaction focus.

  30. Unawoken said:

    Let me rephrase that a little bit. While attempting to pin down the interplay between intellectual integrity and social interaction, I’d like to keep the discussion away from non-social aspects of intellectual integrity (I understand the ambiguity here, this is a problem of definition.) So I pointed out that the cost benefits that we discussed so far do not account for non-social behaviour. We cool?

  31. Carpe Diem said:

    Perhaps. I feel (and this is “feel”, hence not subject to futher rational analysis or credible debunking, we may either take it and act on it, or dismiss it) that you are playing this whole debate too much on your own initiative and through your own lens. For an argument to have real intellectual integrity there has to be a sense of open-ness, and organic exploration. Else, a held view will get reinforced because it is the one holding all the cards in terms of format, style, rigor, depth, sandboxes, ringfences etc. At some level that is only to be expected – it is your blog that we are writing on, and you must shepherd our discussion – but we would “feel” more heard and included if you adapted your style and rigor, to our capabilities, and perhaps “whims” (who is to say that whimsical flights are not a valid intellectual tool to push the thinking) and fancies. Anyways, I say all this, because I feel this sudden “boxing out” of the opportunity cost point, just to underline a local concept is a bit heavy handed. I can be cool with it, but when you make such an approximation, you would (if rigorous) also put caveats around the conclusion (sensitivities if you will). Else, for a random bystander, or someone struggling with the sheer volubility and specificity of this debate, the local conclusion may appear “stronger” than it should be.

    At some point, it would be nice, if we could represent this as a tree. What is the central concept? what are its supporting hypotheses? which ones are proven, disproven, open? What branches did sklmno open that are worth pursuing? I am frankly, quite lost now. I cannot keep this much in my head if there is not succinct interim synthesis. A moderator must supply that service. We are demanding it of you I guess ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Unawoken said:

    Carpe Diem,
    I am very sensitive to your points made above here.
    As soon as I posted my previous comments, I became aware that it is possible to interpret it as a hall-monitor type demand to stick to the ranks. But I didn’t clarify immediately because I had posted too many times already. I agree I should have been clearer on this.

    Ok, let me clarify more:
    When I wrote this essay, I did not expect it to burgeon into a full fledged discussion that would branch into other areas: nonsocial behaviour and its costs, nonverbal communication, neurological triggers for behaviour and so on. I do not in the least think that these topics are not discussable on their own merit. But precisely because of what you say here:

    “What is the central concept? what are its supporting hypotheses? which ones are proven, disproven, open? What branches did sklmno open that are worth pursuing? I am frankly, quite lost now. I cannot keep this much in my head if there is not succinct interim synthesis.”

    I wanted to keep this discussion within the vicinity of the main subjects.

    It took me a good hour to respond to sklmno, and I could not elaborate on my response to you. Here is how I should have phrased yesterday’s comments to you:

    You have made some convincing (although not tightly presented) arguments for the microeconomic basis for human preference for social-interaction leading to bonding over intellectual behaviour. I agree with you that private intellectual behaviour also has opportunity costs which weigh against social engagement.
    We started this discussion on the topic of social bonding driven behaviour and it’s effects on intellectual integrity, and we have covered a lot of ground on this and filled this page up a lot. Now if we enter into other areas such as nonsocial behaviour, it is too much information on this page for any meaningful processing. That is why I suggested that you blog about your microeconomic take on this on your blog: thus you will structure it more, provide a new scope for discussion, also you can structure it more precisely. I do not want to not talk about nonsocial behaviour, I want to. Can you suggest another way we can discuss this? I just don’t want to do it on this page, because this is humongous now.

    Regarding a summary, not sure if I can sit down to write a well-contained summary, if I can get to it, I will. Meanwhile I will quickly state some key points:

    – The main point of discussion is the effect of social bonding behaviour on intellectual integrity.
    – My original essay did not consider the cost-benefits of intellectual behaviour vs. social bonding behaviour. Your analysis did, and I agree that this is a relevant and fundamental basis in this discussion.
    – I thought sklmno did not agree with our analysis (I may be wrong on this, but I haven’t got any strong pointers in either direction in answering this.). She and I compared notes, and I have provided my feedback on her take. I feel our main point of difference is my understanding of “intellectual” vs. her’s. (She may not agree on this, I am waiting for her response.) I think by using a different terminology: “depth in the sense of ab initio” for my “intellectual” and “connectability in social interaction” for her “intellectual” we could mostly agree on each other’s viewpoints (this is my hope.)

    – I think there is scope for several other discussions to branch out of this. I do have a preference to keep each of these discussions circumscribed. So that when we make progress on them, I’d like the information to be not-overwhelming and within a short distance of the main points.

    – So I suggest that for every non-main point we touched upon, and one of us is interested in, we should start a separate discussion thread. This could be a new blog post, or some kind of common discussion area, not sure how — any suggestions your end? For example, this discussion could be the cost-benefits of nonsocial behaviour. Or, if you’d like some overlap: “A cost benefit analysis of social vs. nonsocial behaviour”.

    – Some of the ideas raised in this discussion interest me more, and others less. So obviously, I’ll contribute more toward discussing those preferntially over others.

    – What do you think? I have one suggestion myself. We can start another blog which will be a discussion blog, or we could start a mailing list. This blog/list will have multiple contributors who can all open discussion threads and lead them somewhere. This model is followed across the web..

  33. sklmno said:

    < << I thought sklmno did not agree with our analysis (I may be wrong on this, but I haven't got any
    strong pointers in either direction in answering this.). She and I compared notes, and I have
    provided my feedback on her take. I feel our main point of difference is my understanding of
    “intellectual” vs. her’s. (She may not agree on this, I am waiting for her response.) I think by
    using a different terminology: “depth in the sense of ab initio” for my “intellectual” and
    “connectability in social interaction” for her “intellectual” we could mostly agree on each other’s
    viewpoints (this is my hope.)>>>>

    ———————————
    Unawoken,

    I agree to the above, I do not think our primary view on the subject is different; We do however explained/ observed the key element “intellectual integrity ” from 2 different perspectives mainly because I did not ask you right at the beginning. I also stuck one definition in my mind and chose to look at the discussion through that. This was one of the reason why I very much wanted to compare the answers to the questions.

    I interpreted intellectual integrity differently; and i believe I had different interpretation for how it interplayed with social bonding and social interaction or viceversa (though our basic definitions pretty much tied and we agree on several aspects of each trait)

    The ones where we differ I don’t know if i want to start explaining(read further and this will makes sense)

    From the way you approach, answer questions and write posts on the subject matter, I now understand
    what you mean by intellectual integrity ; It is something you very strictly follow in your own
    blog and you obviously believe in it. You very rarely wander off and your focus on the subject is
    unwavering. so while you have been trying your best to rein in the depth of discussion of this
    particular topic on your blog , I have been wandering all over the place into land of nonsocial
    behaviour, nonverbal communication, neurological triggers and taking you and Carpa Diem with me in the process ๐Ÿ™‚

    I emphasised what one considers intellectual and what one does not-
    whereas you have focussed on the depth of the intellectual discussion being ignored/scorned by social bonding priorities.

    Mara, I think The kind of discussions you talk about are rare, not only because of social bonding coming in the way (that could be one reason) but also because of the difference in intellect and number of the people that are part of the discussion/social circle. In order for a person to have an indepth intellectual conversation there has to be a certain amount of passion around the topic and common interest to discuss it, for eg two people who are passionate about boats, will discuss boats in depth. The more the number of people, the lesser the probability that the same amount of passion to learn or dwell indepth on a particular topic of discussion.
    people also need to be raised in environments that foster such thinking and even that does not imply they will all be part of the same intellectual conversation

    Indepth intelectual discussions do not fulfill the basic needs of most societies (survive,reproduce).

    ———————————–
    Most of my definitions are my own, and probabaly written down for the first time though these are
    usually subjects I ponder on- However it appears that there are certain basic principles on this
    subject and a certain amount of previous acquired knowledge one needs to have – (correct me if Iam wrong)to post usefully on this blog

    I already sense a frustration on your side (ref.unawoken’s comments to carpa Diem) at the way this blog has expanded laterally instead of in depth.

    —-so, unless there is some learning for you (similar to what I got out of the discussion)from the amateur perspective I give to this blog, I may decide not to post; Only because the time you spend discussing this with me may
    not give you the depth of discussion you are looking for- and I totally understand how time intensive this is.

    Other questions

    Harold and Maude is a movie- a pretty good one but I doubt you would find it has anything to do with intellectual integrity or plain intellectual- however it does “feel” intellectual ๐Ÿ™‚

    Paralic deposits are sands that get deposited over several million years in a layer cake manner,
    they usually parallel the old shoreface. the architecture of these sands and shales is very
    interesting as the rise and fall in sea level causes a cyclical change in the sand deposits both
    vertically and laterally. They are good oil and gas reservoir rocks.

  34. Unawoken said:

    sklmno,

    ” mainly because I did not ask you right at the beginning. I also stuck one definition in my mind and chose to look at the discussion through that. “

    We do not have ways to automatically know where each of us is coming from, that is precisely why I think these sort of discussions are important. You have no way of knowing the basis for my statements, so you are right to ask them of me.

    “so while you have been trying your best to rein in the depth of discussion of this
    particular topic on your blog , I have been wandering all over the place into land of nonsocial
    behaviour, nonverbal communication, neurological triggers and taking you and Carpa Diem with me in the process :-)”

    Here is the deal. I do want to know, understand and update my beliefs based on your inputs. However, it is very easy to lose focus on what we were discussing about in the first place, and take stock of what we have learnt. This is what I want to do. I think all the issues you raised are important, and we should look into those, but I think you’ll agree that if we start looking at this discussion from the top of this page through, a reader has just about enough talk on this subject to start losing utility. Let me go into this a bit more later below.

    “I emphasised what one considers intellectual and what one does not-
    whereas you have focussed on the depth of the intellectual discussion being ignored/scorned by social bonding priorities.”

    Right.

    “Mara, “

    sklmno and Carpe Diem, I think I should give you a bit more background on Mara. Perhaps this anecdote here: http://floridamindfulness.org
    /dharma/talks/tnh/maraandthebuddha

    (I am providing the above link only for the mara anecdote. I didn’t read the rest of it..)

    So, I am not Mara ๐Ÿ™‚
    And not the Buddha either ๐Ÿ˜€

    “I think The kind of discussions you talk about are rare, not only because of social bonding coming in the way (that could be one reason) but also because of the difference in intellect and number of the people that are part of the discussion/social circle. In order for a person to have an indepth intellectual conversation there has to be a certain amount of passion around the topic and common interest to discuss it, for eg two people who are passionate about boats, will discuss boats in depth. The more the number of people, the lesser the probability that the same amount of passion to learn or dwell indepth on a particular topic of discussion.
    people also need to be raised in environments that foster such thinking and even that does not imply they will all be part of the same intellectual conversation

    Indepth intelectual discussions do not fulfill the basic needs of most societies (survive,reproduce).”

    sklmno, I agree with you on the above points. I understand why this sort of discussion doesn’t thrive in society. But I hope to convince people I interact with that there is value in these discussions. I may not get very far, true.

    “However it appears that there are certain basic principles on this
    subject and a certain amount of previous acquired knowledge one needs to have – (correct me if Iam wrong)to post usefully on this blog”

    sklmno, yes and no. Here is the thing. All of us, you, me, carpe diem – come in with different backgrounds knowledge. This is not different from any other multi-person arena we walk into. The challenge is in producing transparent discussions and references that will help all of us understand and learn. For this, it is important to understand our bases of looking at things, present background information etc. For some of the discussion I generate on this blog, I provide references right here. However, it is true that the reference/background information I present here is not comprehensive. Hopefully, I will keep addressing this shortcoming over time in my posts.

    “I already sense a frustration on your side (ref.unawoken’s comments to carpa Diem) at the way this blog has expanded laterally instead of in depth.”

    Sorry, I apologize about your feeling that way. Carpe Diem and I have had these sort of discussions in person several times over the last few years. However,
    i. they weren’t systematic, and would result in what one would term “shooting the breeze”
    ii. they weren’t sustained and developed over time.

    Both of us casually considered the possibility of developing some of these ideas, and involving our friends in this development, but we didn’t really do anything about it. Over the last couple of years I’ve been blogging about stuff, with no one goal, but over time, a pattern did develop in my posts. When Carpe Diem checked out my blog, he felt that this is a good forum where the above could play out.

    My frustration is not aimed at whether or not the two of you have led this post in breadth, it is concern at losing the thread, danger of losing any insights developed.

    I would welcome opportunities to develop on the other issues generated here, but I would like to give each topic its due and distill some understanding out of each discussion.

    “—-so, unless there is some learning for you (similar to what I got out of the discussion)from the amateur perspective I give to this blog, I may decide not to post; Only because the time you spend discussing this with me may
    not give you the depth of discussion you are looking for- and I totally understand how time intensive this is.”

    Sorry, but I think all of us bring amateur perspectives. Some of the discussion may based off of material that professionals have generated, but we still only bring amateur interpretations. So you are in the right company here.

    I think interest in understanding is the only requirement to discuss.

    I have several posts here on my blog, however the two of you have shown interest in developing the ideas in this essay further. I welcome that, and I think that fulfills the purpose of my posting this post.

    As I have said earlier, I welcome your comments in any of my posts. I learn from you, Carpe Diem and from my few other readers.

    However, perhaps we should look seriously into a newsgroup/common-blog kind of arrangement where we can discuss whole trees without an exclusive moderator like me here.

    “Other questions

    Harold and Maude is a movie- a pretty good one but I doubt you would find it has anything to do with intellectual integrity or plain intellectual- however it does “feel” intellectual :-)”

    I did check out the wikipedia page on it. It sounds like an interesting movie. I should watch it.

    By the way, if you like crisp, clever conversations I recommend the talkfests “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset” by Richard Linklater. Perhaps you’ve watched them already?

    “Paralic deposits are sands that get deposited over several million years in a layer cake manner,
    they usually parallel the old shoreface. the architecture of these sands and shales is very
    interesting as the rise and fall in sea level causes a cyclical change in the sand deposits both
    vertically and laterally. They are good oil and gas reservoir rocks.”

    This is indeed interesting. You could perhaps tell me more about these at a later point..

  35. Carpe Diem said:

    I have not yet posted on this blog in a mindset of “debate” – it has been constructive, or at least net-accretive (w/o clear conflict) to the views of Unawoken.

    As I reflect on exchanges today, sklmno’s scaleback, Unawoken’s options on future administration, I thought I’d synthesize the following to somehow summarize, and perhaps wrap/reframe/redirect:

    (1) Unawoken’s central thesis is that the mundane (“autopilot”) niceties and socially conditioned rituals of social (e.g., “party”) interaction are, net-net, detrimental to the pursuit intellectual integrity.

    (2) My own life experience suggests that the unbridled pursuit of intellectual integrity, within forums/groups/situations that are not priorly primed for such pursuit, is
    (2.a) not only actually detrimental to the quality and outcomes of the immediate social interactions
    (2.b) but also detrimental (possibly significantly) to any longer-term potential for converting the members of that forum/group/situation to a higher degree of intellectual integrity in future discussions

    So I FLATLY disagree with Unawoken’s central thesis (if my succinct interpretation of the thesis as in (1) is acceptable)
    Note, you can always destroy the succinctess of (1) by poking some analytic hole, or raising a caveat on some clause, or calling for more random precision on some embedded concept. Can we first agree on a one sentence true/false representation that is “bottomed out” and hence can be concretely attacked? I think (1) is it.

    (3) Furthermore, Unawoken admits in his latest post to sklmno that he would like to pursue intellectual discourse in social gatherings as a way of inculcating intellectual curiousity in a broader populace? There is an assumption that this is a noble, or worthy goal (Well, it could always be said that this is a random goal, and one may just pursue it on a whim [which is all fine and dandy, but leaves us wasting time on enforcing intellectual integrity along a random vector… which is unsatisfying], but let us assume for a moment that Unawoken is NOT pursuing this as a pure whim.)

    Then, This pursuit of the worthy goal could go a few different ways.

    (3.1) “Starting of a brand new day” – A Swami Vivekananda-esque championing of a new stream of thought. It can catch on with a core group of appreciators
    (3.2) “A product introduced into a market not ready for it” (a la the Apple Newton, or WebVan.com)
    (3.3) “Educating the consumer” to create a market place (a la Visa for credit cards), where a shared set of expectations (a new conditioning if you will) is established over a long period of time (A market is after all, just a shared set of expectations)

    Unawoken has said repeatedly, in the blog and in person, that ALL he wants to do is bring his message to the world, as a kind of “active posterchild” to support the cause of “intellectual Integrity” and spreading its light everywhere (like being a Linus Torvalds for OpenSource, or Pierre Omidyar for individual empowerment – not quite becoming the frontline prophet like Mohammed, or Joseph Smith Jr., and shove it down people’s throats, but rather to role-model the “live the change you want to bring to the world” policy).

    In the light of the iso-cost contours on a map of how humans may move in a given situation (pardon the loose language, but if I had a whiteboard I would illustrate – and this is quite simple – people like to move on equi-cost, or lower-cost pathways, instead of increasing their interaction costs in some random situation unless the interaction benefits increase disproportionately), I feel that Unawoken’s mission on his chosen vector is rather daunting, and while I encourage his quest to understand reality, I wonder whether this specific pathway to achieve mass acceptance of intellectual integrity is even viable.

    3.a) Why should _everyone_ be rational and live lives consistent with intellectual integrity? Why is it not enough for merely a few people to live this high energy, high thought life, while the rest just party and frolick?
    3.b) If there is a credible PoV on 3.a, then who is the right type of person to bring this message to the world, and what are the right influence tactics to get past the social conditioning of ordinary people, and educate them well enoughto raise the level of their discourse (on average, across the board!!!)
    3.c) If there is a credible PoV on 3.a, and Unawoken is indeed a qualified candidate for the messiah role in 3.b, then is his current social circle the right petri dish from within which to commence this experiment? for maximum effectiveness and efficiency in a finite lifetime of this messiah? And is a blog (that too one with such credible research and formidable intellectual framing) the right tool to engage them?

    [Some of above are rhetorical, I admit, and somewhat personal, so can be ignored if cumbersome to address]

    (4) The cost/benefit argument just gives us a way to “size” relative priorities, in a big picture sense. It is not rigorous, precisely modeled, or data-based. It represents what I would call a “pattern seeking” and “lateral” attack on the central thesis. Instead of drilling down further, using more of the priorly referenced type of literature, or tools, we try to look at the issue through an alternative/parallel lens. This usually brings insight (though not always so). There could be other lenses. Cognitive, Psychological, who knows. We should be open to them. In general, if one were to pursue this kind of rational discourse, it should be left “open architecture” to allow contributions from as many fields as possible. Else it remains in the box, and stays in the field of “in-the-box development execution” rather than being elevated to true “blue sky cross-disciplinary research”, which is presumably the right spirit for a synthetic forward looking discussion that relies mainly on interpreting a wide range of specific/topical 3rd party expert research. For the broader discussion we should welcome new schools of thought – but the burden should be on the introducers of the arguments to provide sufficient background/research.

    (5) Why this quest for “tightness” or precision in expression? And why do we give it so much importance and put it on a pedestal as a desirable thing? Is there such a thing as too much of THIS good thing?
    As a “style” preference, I cannot say much else, but Robert Franks explores, in “Economic Naturalist”, why economics has become so ridden with mathematical formalism, and why liberal arts professors speak so abstrusely. Is there an element, one wonders, of “status seeking behaviour” that is being expressed (by all of us, sklmno, Unawoken, and self all guilty) of asserting superority and credibility by leaning on formal precision? In Law and the science, where academic training and booksmarts BEAT streetsmarts and EQ (in general), formal precision is taken to an EXTREME in an arms race between practitioners, who are all in pursuit of 800lbs gorilla status in terms of asserting their OWN flavor of intellectual integrity (note, I say flavor)

    In business and politics, where streetsmarts trumps booksmarts, this verbal-exactness arms race diminishes in favor of inserting social lubrication into the audience’s mind to make it more receptive to a concept that may have been arrived at by extremely intellectually rigorous rational deliberations within a smaller group (e.g., president announcing budget #’s and adding all kinds of “relatable” caveats and stories to make it personal). I think, if you want to reach a mass audience (not just a niche, highly educated one), it is FAR more important to convey the essence of your argument in an UNDERSTOOD (i.e. emotionally appealing, simple, non-abstruse, non-intimidating, non-technical, non-rigorous) way. While Unawoken may feel that tightness is a “better” state of affairs, I feel that arguments that are not “tightly” presented, but still have broad brush workability may often be good enough to open a new pathway, or to land a debate.

    Anyway, these are just a compilation of what I can recollect from all the email I have seen.

    Unawoken, I agree we should move to a different, co-created format.
    Cheers,
    – Carpe Diem.

  36. Unawoken said:

    Carpe Diem,
    I am not sure in how much detail I must respond to your comments, but since I think I have a couple of things fundamentally to say that will render detailed back and forth unnecessary, let me do that.

    – I have no agenda to convert people to “a noble path”

    – I think your point of reference for your statements is this:

    ” But I hope to convince people I interact with that there is value in these discussions. I may not get very far, true.”

    By this, I mean that I think there is value in these discussions, if you are interested in talking to me about a topic in depth, then I want to engage you on it.

    That’s it.

    The same goes to you and sklmno. I do not have an overarching megalomaniacal agenda of a messaih to browbeat/persuade/psychoinfluence people into intellectual conversations. If that is how you’d like to continue to see it inspite of my repeated, clear statements against that, I do not think there is anything else I can say to you that will convince you of this.

    If you want my agenda, here it is.
    By the nature of specialization and information abundance, a lot of us including me have lost focus
    of what information is out there, and how it represents reality. If nobody were to engage me in the quest to understand reality better, I’d still do it on my own. But, in my interactions with others, I do come across a similar interest now and then. By exchanging information with such people in a systematic manner, I’d make better progress in this pursuit of mine, and so would such people, I think.

    I do not think this should be the goal of all of humanity. Neither that I should I sell this goal to anyone.

    So, if you are a person who is interested in putting heads together to understand concepts, ideas ab initio, engage me. If I were the only one to interpret a subject, chances are I’ll cloud my own judgements with assumptions I am not even aware of. Also the primary disclaimer of discourse imo is “I could be wrong”. So I’ll listen to another opinion if it is in earnest.

    Regarding the subject of rigor, one of the subgoals of understanding reality better is to unconfuse ourselves of overlapping defitions, nonclarity of thought etc. My intention is not to place the framework above the goal, but to achieve a clear picture.

    Because this discussion was on my blog, I played the moderator. If we move to a neutral forum, other ways of expression may thrive. The important point to me is a deeper understanding.

    Lastly on other people’s goals, I am not convinced they should adopt one of my goals (one of my goals – I say this because it is not like this blog is the only/most-engaging thing I do. If it were not for this discussion right here, and you guys weren’t interested in discussing with me, I’d go do other things.) In fact, there are several goals that I may not hold currently which I may be convinced are important later. I have no illusions that others’ goals are unimportant/meaningless or some such.

  37. sklmno said:

    Unawoken
    Unless something of great consequence strikes me, I am temperorily abandoning this thread . Hope to check out some of your other writings-

    The movie u mentioned is worth checking out- I saw clips on you tube- i will watch it – Other suggestions are welcome- The wikipedia review on H&M does nothing for the movie- I so dislike reviews.

    I will remember to forward links to some animations on paralic deposits;

  38. Unawoken said:

    > Other suggestions are welcome

    Ferris Bueller's day off
    Lost in translation
    Sideways

  39. Unawoken said:

    The book “Flowers for Algernon”

  40. sklmno said:

    Thank you
    I looked up the book, and it has priority over the movies –

    A movie worth checking out-
    The man from Earth

  41. Over about 2.5 years since making this post, I have come to the conclusion that this post was misguided. It failed to understand key components of intelligence, and purposes of social communications. It was ignorant of cognitive costs, and overly reliant on spoken truth. It didn’t grasp the ultimate explanations for social behavior.

    In all it is an interesting attempt to pit intellectual integrity against social bonding, but narrow in view and unnecessarily limiting in scope.

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