- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Re: 'Social conditioning' is nothing nothing but changing society

Posted by: Sloopy on March 05, 19100 at 11:42:00:

In Reply to: 'Social conditioning' is nothing nothing but changing society posted by Barry Stoller on March 05, 19100 at 00:00:45:

Barry: Socialism does not aim at creating a socialist psychology as a pre-requisite to socialism but at creating socialist conditions of life a s a pre-requisite to socialist psychology.

Stoller: I will, however, voice an objection regarding your dismissal of behaviorism and your adoption of internalized conditioners.

Sloopy : This could be an example of two different roads leading to the same destination. For my part, I am rejecting moral codes and "human nature" yet resist dismissing entirely the notion of our species having a conscience--an innate notion of 'fairness.'

Barry: Yes, a Left attempt to appropriate 'human nature' under the name of 'conscience.' Chuck successfully addressed this hocus-pocus in his usual lucid and succinct manner here.

Positing a conscience isn't advocating absolute moralities or even the politically odious term human nature. To say "Smith murdered Jones. Smith 's act is morally wrong, therefore Smith deserves punishment" is a social construct. But Smith's capacity for regretting the murder of Jones is the conscience, and I don't think it is man-made. (The tricky part is that something happened to Smith's conscience while he was murdering Jones)

Sloopy: While I am all for viewing society as man-made and subject to change, I am against viewing the human mind and thus all behavior as a product of external events. I posited an ego because (in its every day sense)we will always be dealing with human beings. In addition to a conscience, people have an ego, dignity and everyone wishes a sense of control over their own destiny--a sense of control which capitalism falsely fulfills through consumerism.

: Should we be constrained by the notion of social conditioning?

Barry: I would suggest that there is really nothing 'constraining' about the idea of social conditioning. Social conditioning, as I see it, means that humans can construct whatever sort of society that they want. Of course, humans are bound by biology, but there is a difference between humans and the worlds they make. As Skinner pointed out humans are also 'a psychological entity, and as such are largely man-made.'(1) Because behaviorism posits that humankind can only be changed by changing his / her society FIRST, behaviorism carries with it the logic of historical materialism.

Sloopy: Agreed.

Sloopy: As I said, I don't agree that Behaviorism is an espistemic totality...


Sloopy: I'd like to see a communist rhetoric animated by the notion that cooperation and mutual aid are the natural inclinations of our species.

Barry: f you do that, then procapitalists will tell you with EQUAL ASSURANCE that competition and individual self-interest are the 'natural inclinations of our species.' As I pointed out here, there are a fairly WIDE variety of human behaviors to be observed at any given time (such as cooperation AND competition). Emphasizing one over another in an attempt to possess a monopoly on 'what is natural behavior' is pointless; we live in societies which induce behaviors---and societies, my friend, CAN be changed.

Sloopy: I have big problems with people who confuse communism with wimpy "let's all be friends" non-competition. I happen to be a very competitive person in a variety of sports, playing football and baseball all the way through high school What pisses me off about capitalists is their rhetoric which is all for competition but in reality capitalists are anything but. In the USA they're always wining to the government for handouts and "level playing fields," and they have to know that if they ever really had to compete, capitalism wouldn't last half a year.

In the real world, competition is for the workers between themselves, created intra-class rivalry, atomizing the working class and serving the interests of capital.

Barry: Workers of the World Unite!

Sloopy: Agreed

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