Maxims, rules of thumb and other observations on human cognition and sociocultural affectations

This will be added to on an irregular basis...
  • What is said to humans directly is received with skepticism and considered with dubiousness while that which is heard in passing, especially that which most conforms to their mentality or prejudices, is readily believed.
  • Humans have a certain cognitive latency between exposure to new information or experiences and the ability to think dispassionately and intellectually about it.
  • Humans have a certain cognitive spectrum starting with the moment of exposure to new information or experiences and ending with some point at which the thing is effectively "in the past" for them.
  • This cognitive spectrum is linked to the emotional process often referred to as shock, anger, denial and acceptance.
  • The more and faster information or experiences are presented to people and the closer the quarters and the lesser the distance between people, the more their early reactions in the passionate emotional stage are reflected back to them in the manner of responses to those reactions from others in light of those responses.
  • The more outrages which are suffered without sufficient time to allow emotional bleed-off, the farther the bar for subsequent reaction and outrage are pushed, and the more further events must progress before reaction and outrage.
  • It is possible for serious detriments to eventually sit below this threshold for long enough for their damaging effects to build and multiply until their entire society undergoes some reactive convulsion.
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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Further about Israel and Gaza

Over at DovBear, which I read almost religiously, I have been replying based on my take of the situation. Today there was this article, The righteous men in Gaza. In the replies, I broke mine into two separate parts given the limitations of Haloscan.

Part 1
The percentages of who voted and who did not do not matter. The concept of joint and several liability of peoples of a nation in the actions of their nation is a principle held for over six thousand years.

When first practiced, it involved by the subliminal recognition of human nature to return if allowed and wreak vengeance the practice of slaughter of entire tribes, villages, and cities to the last. This is still practiced somewhat by the more primitive humans where less primitive humans aren't paying attention, but has overall become negligible with the elimination of most tribal societies. pre-Colonial American Indians for example.

Over time, as humans developed further, they merely killed all who might further do insurrection against the conqueror or return for vengeance, and the destruction of any cultural coherence and continuity of the survivors, who were enslaved, scattered, and assimilated into the conquering culture and dominant religious order whenever possible. Pre-Rome, covering most of the BCE years we know of.

Further along, cultural continuance on the part of survivors was tolerated but in limited form and violent suppression of anything approaching dangerous resurrection of previous opposing force used at the drop of a hat. Otherwise survivors' social structures were co-opted and members of their societies corrupted purposefully. This was Rome's approach.

As time moved on, humans began to settle on the eradication of standing combatants until the remainder surrendered. This would take until enough destruction on one side was enough to bring them to that point. Then the survivors would be dealt with so as to prevent a follow up by reconstruction or curtailment of influence through embargo and other isolation.

This is where war was as of the close of WWII.

Nowhere in human history has the idea of the percentage of the society that supported the ruling regime ever been a factor other than in attempts by other side to corrupt the other's society, but only then as a method of subversion and never as a matter of moral or ethical consideration.

Those who did not support the ruling regime are by their failure to stop it held as culpable as those who supported and even acted in the furtherance of that regime. There has never been separation of the two and never in human history has that been a feature of warfare.

The idea of civilian innocents is a relatively new one in the scheme of human history and for one to make it an accepted one going forward, it can only be by the recognition of what it entails.

Part 2
Things like peace, justice, brotherhood, and so forth are merely human intellectual constructs which although they may in some way necessarily logically descend from human societal behavior and human psychological nature, exist nowhere in actual nature itself.

Nature itself is based on survival of the fittest, pure and simple. Predator and prey, who lives, who gets eaten. if you want esoteric intellectual constructs made de jure or de facto, they have to be made so by concrete will to action. One must choose them, and then back up the choice with action.

The effectiveness without proper notice and understanding of the motivation is debatable, but even if one doesn't understand one's motivation, the decision resultant and the action that follows from the decision are still important. Without this much, the enterprise is a sham.

If you want there to be such a thing as innocent civilians, and there to be a minimization of their damage and death, it must come with the recognition of the nature of the actions entailed in bringing that about.

Actions are circumscribed by reality and logic. If you mean to grease your engine, you don't do a nonsequitur action such as buy an ice cream cone, you buy grease because the essence of greasing an engine is to apply grease, not ice cream.

So then, what are the realities of the situation? This is where the anti-Israeli faction consistently is missing the point because of a willful delusion regarding the nature of the situation. Hamas is an Islamist organization which has avowed the destruction of Israel, Jews, and every other non-Muslim as well as any Muslims not sufficiently Muslim in their view. They are the de jure power of Gaza with enough supporters to get and keep that power and insufficient opposition within that populace to remove them.

It matters not at all that they presently have not the capacity to in any short time frame make good on their threats against Israel, Jews, and everyone else. They have demonstrated quite clearly their commitment to their avowed stance through violent action which has caused casualties up to and including multiple fatalities.

They've made it as clear as an angry dog straining at the chain that the moment they are able, they will strike for all they've evidenced that they will.

A proportionate response to someone stating their intent to kill you and then engaging in escalating acts of violence upon your person is to kill them first. Clearly, Israel's response in telephoning civilians in Gaza, warning even the family of Hamas' leadership to get out of the line of fire, is a disproportionate response in that it allows the would-be killer to keep having opportunities to do just that.

THAT is what everyone asking Israel to stop attacking Gaza is really asking Israel to do. They are from their comfy safe positions of relative invulnerability telling Israel and its citizenry to put themselves in the position of risk of injury and death before an enemy which has sworn to commit that upon them, in the interests of not injuring the populace which has either sufficiently supported or insufficiently opposed the motivating parties running their state.

This is clearly a disproportionate request given that it is pointedly not made the same to the other side. It is as ludicrous as telling two children fighting, "Joe you stop fighting back. Mike, you do whatever." Clearly Mike cannot be allowed to keep punching Joe as it is plainly evident the response that Joe must in his own defense give and return the hits.

Despite experience with human nature in general and Hamas in particular, Israel has agreed in essence to risk itself and its citizenry to cease action as soon as Hamas agrees to stop firing and makes an actual effort to follow through with that.

Hamas has refused.

There is no good rational logical reason for Israel to cease action until the aggressor force is eliminated from contention and made no longer able to function either through their destruction, or their change of mind and habit.

Everyone here knows very well that only Israel out of all nations and peoples on Earth is or has ever been expected to suffer grievous threat and assault on a constant basis from enemies who have avowed its destruction without the sort of response that all other humans would expect to be natural in the defense of their own interests.

Advocacy of Israel putting its neck to the chopping block for the sensibilities of others is repugnant, especially when those others are unwilling to step in and stop the aggressor themselves, and even more so when they by their ignorant actions only encourage those aggressors.