Author Topic: Baser human desires  (Read 1224 times)

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Offline screwtape

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Baser human desires
« on: April 02, 2013, 07:05:52 AM »
doing the nasty?

I don't get why people characterize sex as dirty, nasty or naughty.  I suspect abrahamic religion is the culprit.
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Offline Fiji

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2013, 07:59:56 AM »
^^ The Dutch language is ambivalent in this regards.
Genitals are refered to as "Noble parts", but the area where they're located is called the "Shame region" ... go figure.
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Offline kindred

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2013, 09:34:37 AM »
@screwtape

Sex is part of our baser nature. Most of the things in our baser nature are thought of as dirty and primitive. Mainly because they cause us to do stupid shit most of the time. Sure, there are those few occasions when the pull of the punani(or penis whichever genital you're attracted to), has given rise to us surpassing our baser nature and doing great things but most of the time our baser nature drives to do really really dumb things.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2013, 10:44:16 AM »
Sex is part of our baser nature.

huh?  What makes it baser than anything else we do?  What would be an example of our higher nature?

most of the time our baser nature drives to do really really dumb things.

In my experience, everything about human nature causes us to do dumb things. 
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Offline Traveler

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2013, 02:23:36 PM »
Or perhaps people feel that its part of our "baser nature" because we've been taught by puritanical nutjobs that anything to do with the human body is disgusting. Sex can be a beautiful, transcendent thing. It can be a loving, sharing, joyful thing. The puritans and others of their ilk have a lot to answer for in making such a lovely activity into an evil thing.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2013, 02:41:38 PM »
yeah, that.  As I said, I suspect abrahamic religion is the culprit.
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Offline Tonus

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2013, 02:55:42 PM »
Isn't eating also part of our baser nature?

Offline Fiji

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2013, 12:52:47 AM »
... or breathing ... why hasn't there been a pope who attacked mouth-breathers?

While on the subject of homosexuality ... Archbishop Leonard of Belgium said in an 'special'[1] Easter interview that he didn't have a problem with gays living together but they should refrain from having sex ...  :? ... because a Catholic clergyman is such an expert on matters of sex (between consenting adults anyway)?
And that homosexuality is 'something that comes from within'[2] and 'it is still something of a mystery'[3].
Which is about as close to screaming 'it's the devil!!!!' he can still go without actually saying so, in a country that has pretty much given his church the middle finger.
 1. special, how? even kookier than usual
 2. yay! Now your getting it!
 3. d'oh! So close!
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Offline kindred

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2013, 06:49:42 AM »
@screwtape

Simply put, our impulses are our baser nature.

Our ability to use symbol logic, think logically, think with both the past and the future in mind to influence our present course of action and our ability to go against our immediate desires so as to choose a decision that will give us a better outcome with the long term in mind, all of that is part of our "higher nature."
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2013, 07:43:34 AM »
The use of normative language to describe something is itself irrational.  "Higher" and "lower" are not physically descriptive; they are value-judgments.  On what basis do you make these value-judgments?
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2013, 07:45:25 AM »
Our ability to use symbol logic, think logically, think with both the past and the future in mind to influence our present course of action and our ability to go against our immediate desires so as to choose a decision that will give us a better outcome with the long term in mind, all of that is part of our "higher nature."

Those things aren't impulses too? 

It seems to me that the idea of "higher" or "baser" actions is an antiquated notion from the late 19th century.  It strikes me as rooted in the idea that people are not animals, BUT we have animal like behaviors - our baser instincts.   

I don't buy into that.  I think we are animals through and through.  Everything we do is animalish.  Our ability to use symbols and logic are specializations and products of evolution, just like the cheetah's speed or fish's ability to get oxygen from water.  In that regard, there is nothing higher about it.  So if there is no high, relatively speaking,  there can be no base.

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Offline Traveler

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2013, 11:22:14 AM »
I agree with you guys. I think the concept of "baser" instincts came from the idea that being an animal was bad, primitive, something to be subdued. In my opinion, one of the more destructive concepts ever introduced to humanity. We are animals. Animals are not bad. Attempting to subdue our so-called animal instincts is destructive to our psyche. Now, I don't mean that we should go around killing or raping ... that's the mistake that these guys make. They seem to assume that it is a black and white issue. Either subdue every instinct, or we'll become a ravaging horde. That idea is patently absurd, and terribly simplistic.
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Offline kindred

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2013, 03:30:54 PM »
But great people are the ones who have garnered mastery over their impulses.

Take for example MMA fighters. Elite elusive technical strikers and grapplers use incredible control over their emotions in a match. They can get angry in 2 seconds to maximize their strength  and just as quickly calm down to a lower energy state. MMA fighters also have to cut weight and when they de, they must subdue every instinct to eat and drink because the lizard part of the brain is only thinking in the short term eat now and think of consequences later mode of thought. As a final example of MMA fighters control over baser instincts, fighters also need to shut the animal part of their brain only thinking in terms of winning because sometimes, winning comes at too high a cost for to little gain. Sometimes the fighters take too much damage and stand to gain even more damage just to get a very small chance of winning. Their animal brain is screaming "don't stop and keep fighting", even though the smart move would be to throw in the towel and cut losses. You don't want to shave years of your career just to gain a small chance of victory in a no name match.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2013, 02:54:02 AM »
Maybe that's all true (leaving aside whether the initial desire to be an MMA fighter is an animal instinct in the first place....)

Why though, not call them "natural instincts" and "UNnatural instincts"?  It would be more correct, after all - though would of course shift the value judgement from one side to the other.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline kindred

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2013, 04:19:03 AM »
Its just an arbitrary distinction. Think of it as something similar to taxonomy. A bunch of useful assumptions and arbitrary classifications that allow us to make more sense of knowledge we currently have and by ordering our current knowledge, we not only understand it better but actually create even more knowledge.

The concept of natural instincts vs higher thought is just too useful to be abandoned.

Edit. What you call it doesn't really matter unless you're into politics and trying to push your agenda on something with it.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 04:20:39 AM by kindred »
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2013, 07:48:57 AM »
But great people are the ones who have garnered mastery over their impulses.

Sure.  But, I do not see anything unnatural about that.  People naturally have the ability to override impulses, by virtue of our brains.  That is our thing. 
  • Cheetahs are fast.
  • Fish swim.
  • Birds fly.
  • Argentine Lake ducks have big dongs.
  • We make choices.
None of the above are unnatural.  Our ability to make decisions contrary to our impulses is no higher than a bird taking flight. Or taking a dump.  Or getting too drunk to stand up.  It is all the same.

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Online Dante

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2013, 09:38:05 AM »
Sure.  But, I do not see anything unnatural about that.  People naturally have the ability to override impulses, by virtue of our brains.  That is our thing. 

It is our thing. And it is, or seems to be, only our thing, and not part of any other animal's thing. Cheetahs are fast, but so are other animals. Fish do swim, but so do other animals. Etc.

Yeah, it's natural, but it is, for lack of a better term, higher than other animals instincts.
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2013, 11:25:06 AM »
It is our thing. And it is, or seems to be, only our thing, and not part of any other animal's thing. Cheetahs are fast, but so are other animals. Fish do swim, but so do other animals. Etc.

Sure other animals are fast.  However, Fastest land animal is a cheetah.  Fastest fish is a sailfish or possibly sword fish.  Fastest bird is the Perigrine Falcon.  The best soaring birds are albatrosses or condors.  Other animals have big dongs, but only the Argentine lake duck's exceeds the length of its body.  Does that make its weiner its higher function?

Other animals have cognitive abilities too.  Mammals to a greater degree than most animals (excepting maybe goddamn cephalopods).  Amongst animals, apes have mad cognitive skillz.  And on top, us.

So I'd say we are highly specialized.  That does not make our natural ability to seemingly direct our actions at will a higher function.[1]

Wow.  This is SO off topic.  Sorry for the digression.

 1. I don't want to get into free will. 
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Online Dante

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2013, 11:58:29 AM »

Wow.  This is SO off topic.  Sorry for the digression.

Yeah, but this is more interesting than debating basic human rights. Maybe a topic split is in order?

Sure other animals are fast.  However, Fastest land animal is a cheetah.  Fastest fish is a sailfish or possibly sword fish.  Fastest bird is the Perigrine Falcon.  The best soaring birds are albatrosses or condors.  Other animals have big dongs, but only the Argentine lake duck's exceeds the length of its body.  Does that make its weiner its higher function?

I don't know that large penises, or the ability to run fast, or the ability to swim are exactly instincts. They are simply evolutionary mechanisms to achieve fulfillment of the baser instincts of procreation, hunger, and breath. I don't think a drake, no matter penis size, thinks to itself, "Nah, I don't really want to fuck that duck today, but maybe tomorrow". Can a hungry cheetah choose to not chase an antelope? Can a fish choose not to swim?

That said, I don't know if we're the only species that has the ability to consciously suppress those instincts at will, but I'm fairly confident we're the ones that can do it most effectively.
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2013, 01:28:52 PM »
rawr.  I'm not expressing myself clearly. 

Our ability to think and choose to obey or ignore our impulses is what is being called "higher", while those impulses are being called "baser".  But that ability is just a function of our overgrown head organ.  Some other animals have some of the mentaly capacity we do, but not to our extent.  Ours is the best.

Similarly, other animals can do things we cannot - fly, swim squirt ink, whatever - all of which are results of various organs better developed than ours.  And all of those animals also have a "best in class" species.

So obviously in some way we are "different" than other animals, and can do things they cannot.  The opposite is also true.  Take away our best in class brains, and what have we got?  Nuthin.  We cannot do anything well compared to other animals.  We call our specialization "higher", but I really just see it as "different".  Otherwise, we would be calling other animals' specializations "higher" as well.

To me, higher and baser it feel like an outgrowth of xian thought which constantly seeks to differentiate between humans and animals on the basis of a soul. 

Now, if you want to call that kind of thing higher in terms of brain function - that is, the impulses are subordinated to the decision making part - then I have no argument there.  In that context the terminology has different meaning.
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Online Dante

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2013, 02:05:31 PM »
rawr.  I'm not expressing myself clearly. 

Haha, no, I think I understood the gist of your argument from the onset. Also, I do, to a degree, concur with it.

Our ability to think and choose to obey or ignore our impulses is what is being called "higher", while those impulses are being called "baser".  But that ability is just a function of our overgrown head organ.  Some other animals have some of the mentaly capacity we do, but not to our extent.  Ours is the best.

Agreed, and as far as we know, sure.

To me, higher and baser it feel like an outgrowth of xian thought which constantly seeks to differentiate between humans and animals on the basis of a soul.

Then that's on you. Or possibly on me, but I carry no religious baggage. To me, they're simply the difference between the the rudimentary, reptilian brain and the more complex brains that followed it on the evolutionary scale. We have such higher brain functions that we can control our more basic instincts to point that other animals cannot even dream of.[1]

Now, if you want to call that kind of thing higher in terms of brain function - that is, the impulses are subordinated to the decision making part - then I have no argument there.  In that context the terminology has different meaning.

So we've been arguing semantics the entire time? LOL!
 1. except, as far as we know, animals lack the higher function of fantasizing  ;)
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2013, 03:37:16 PM »
oy.
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Offline kindred

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2013, 03:09:19 AM »
I don't get it.

Baser vs Higher thought is a good framework of thinking things through. Unless you somehow gave me a much better way of thinking, I don't get your reluctance to use the same framework of thought.

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Offline Mrjason

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2013, 05:28:17 AM »

I don't get why people characterize sex as dirty, nasty or naughty.  I suspect abrahamic religion is the culprit.

I couldn't agree more.

I don't think it is about higher brain function etc though. I think it is more simple than that.

The introduction of the concept of a "soul" splits existence into two parts, the divine and the receptacle that houses the divinity.

The maxim "my body is a temple" is applied literally because of this and allows for the divine soul to be soiled by the desecration of the temple, particularly in a woman's case as "dirty things" are deposited within her body.
This gives rise to the inequality applied to how sexual activity is viewed between genders making promiscuous women sluts and promiscuous men heroes.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2013, 09:24:55 AM »
Baser vs Higher thought is a good framework of thinking things through.

I don't understand how it would help.  To me it is just arbitrarily labeling certain ideas/ activities as "base" and others as "high".  I do not see the use.

How do you use that model to think things through?  How does it help you?
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Offline kindred

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2013, 11:19:52 AM »
Baser vs Higher thought is a good framework of thinking things through.

I don't understand how it would help.  To me it is just arbitrarily labeling certain ideas/ activities as "base" and others as "high".  I do not see the use.

How do you use that model to think things through?  How does it help you?

You think with the higher parts of your brain. You think with logic and reason but you use your baser desires to set goals.

Your horny and desire sex but also want companionship? You let your higher brain functions take stock of the situation. Lets say your solution is to have a girlfriend. Is it convenient or feasible to have a girlfriend this very moment? Lets say your taking night school and have a full time job. Your higher thought will tell you that maybe you should finish up night school so as to have more time before you try and net yourself a GF. Sort of works like that.

If you try and set goals logically it just ends up with you having no motivation. No matter how good the career path you've chosen in terms of stability, you're still human and won't enjoy it. On the flipside, if you try and use your gut instinct or your "baser" thoughts to plan things ahead, well its not pretty either.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2013, 11:29:48 AM »
I don't see how that improves my perspective on anything.  If it works for you, though, great.
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Offline kindred

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2013, 11:57:35 AM »
Then what is your problem with the whole base vs high distinction?
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Baser human desires
« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2013, 12:44:45 PM »
Then what is your problem with the whole base vs high distinction?

It depends which version you mean.  If it is the "sex is base because it is instinctual and animals do it" version, then I think it is a silly and false one predicated on Victorian era thinking and ideas that "souls" exist.  But if you find it helpful, it's no skin off my nose. It is not as if you are trying to base policy on it. 

If it is the "one part of your brain subborns another", then I have no problem at all.
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