Posted: Feb 28, 2010 7:19 pm
by my_wan
Dennis Campbell wrote:Agree that an early familial or cultural environment that tends towards expressing absolutistic viewpoints is probably critical.
This contains the crux of what I'm rejecting in my opinion. Sure the early familial or cultural environment plays a role in how predispositions get expressed. Yet for any random individual the effect of a particular environment can vary randomly. Consider a case where a child grows up in a very liberal questioning environment and has lots of freedom for self expression. As this child grows up they began to abhor the choices and actions of their past. Tying cats together and hanging them over a cloths lines, among other distasteful actions. As a result they rebel against the freedoms they were afforded. They select these absolutes, based on their experience, that should never be crossed. Through cognitive dissonance these absolutes begin to invade more and more intellectual areas. They grow up to raise kids in this strict environment, to which the kids rebel in the opposite direction. Such strict rule sets certainly seem more morally draconian than anything else in their experience. This is just a caricature of opposites to illustrate the point, but I can point to cases where it's generally cogent.

You can't necessarily point to an environment and say what what that is going to entail for any given individual. We tend to take the things we see as most wrong from our past and moralize to preclude them. This can get sticky due to addictive behaviors in which we feel powerless to change about ourselves. Thus the old maxim: Do as I say not as I do.

Dennis Campbell wrote:They might also as well stress that "personal" meaning is derived from the extent to which a person endorses those viewpoints. Those "absolutes" could be theistic or secular, but they do not encourage or reward questioning, but compliance. There's also, I'd guess, got to be some real and continuing hostility or threat in that absolute, either posed as enemies or consequences of failure to endorse.
The endorsement issue is quiet complex in itself. Take two siblings, one which endorses the view of the authority and one doesn't. The one who endorses the authority view and stays out of trouble can very likely grow up to become disillusioned with that authority. The one who rebels, and gets into all kinds of trouble, is likely to later moralize their own actions and decide the authority knew best after all. Thus it is rebellion and later moralizing that gives authoritarian dispositions such generational stickiness, not endorsement. Mind you, I am intentionally neglecting a spectrum of predispositions in order to illustrate the point through fairly extreme opposites.

Dennis Campbell wrote:What does seem reasonably clear is that however established, the TB personality is a durable, maybe lifelong and fairly stable trait. Abandoning the ideological "frame of reference" in which one is completely defined has got to be a difficult task, as absent a radical and lasting change in the social environment, that's where the TB seeks and gets reinforcement.
Yes the durability of TB, once established, opens a whole new can of worms. It's as if the TB construct becomes a part of the qualia of consciousness in the world around us. Even the visual qualia we perceive as the reality of the world around us is a stripped down repackaged easily manipulated version of what our senses actually see. I wrote an explanation of this in the context of consciousness itself here:
Our intellectual constructs are themselves experiences that are likewise a packaged the same way for essentially the same purpose. I don't see the durability of TB as anything fundamentally different than the durability of this illusion, even when you intellectually know exactly what's happening:

Dennis Campbell wrote:Interesting speculations.