How much of our lives is conditioned?

I heard that the love for one’s family is conditioned and not inherent, which might explain why people tend to have mixed feelings about it. It might also explain all the feel good movies that I watched as a kid where they drilled it into you.

I guess I’m just wondering how much of me I can actually say is “Me” and how much of it is simply just someone else’s ideas/life. Like is the life I’m living my own or am I just following someone else’s version of it all. Can the same be said about my own feelings?

It doesn’t matter. How your conditioning affects your thoughts and actions is not under your control any more than your genes are. Some conditioning may “take” and some may not, but you’ll never know which is taking precedence at any time. You said you are wondering “how much of me I can actually say is “Me” and how much of it is simply just someone else’s ideas/life”. There is no difference between genes and conditioning in terms of what is actually “you.” Both factors together are “you” and you have no control over either of them or which one takes precedence. Your genes also came from “someone else”—any of your ancestors back to the beginning of human life. All of it is just part of the soup and you can’t separate it. So relax. You’re you, and there is nothing you can do about it if you decide you don’t like who you are.

'You’re you, and there is nothing you can do about it if you decide you don’t like who you are."

True enough. Although arguably possible to make major changes to one’s inner self, in my experience, that’s rare. Self help books tend to be a waste of time

When training as a Lifeline counsellor, we were told to try not to approach a client with any personal agenda. That the most we could do was to end a session with “a challenge to act”.We were told that people dislike change, most especially when applied to themselves. Most people call in crisis will do nothing to change their situation.This especially noticeable when the person is being abused in some way,; the uncertainty of change is more terrifying than familiar misery.

We DID interfere when a caller advised they had taken a drug overdose.Then we called an ambulance. The logic was that in calling us, we caller had given us implicit permission to act as we saw fit. IE to try to save their life. fortunately. I only ever had one call like that .It ended well for the client. It shattered me.

I was also taught that some people can and do change. That personal changes tends to be sudden. I can attest that is what happened to me:

In 2002 I was what is known in AA as 'a suffering alcoholic" . I had taken early retirement because I had noticed my drinking was starting to effect my work.Didn’t occur to me then to stop drinking.

On June 30 2002, I had a moment of clarity. I suddenly realised that if I did not stop drinking I was going to die, after first becoming demented with Korsakoff syndrome. (aka ‘wet brain’) I was terrified. So, emptied my booze down the sink and went to AA. Following day, I began 28 days rehab as an outpatient. I sought and used any help which was available. AA , with its ‘higher power’ didn’t get me sober. I got me sober . I have not had a drink since 30 June 2002.

Six months later, I used the same cold turkey approach to quit a 70 a day smoking habit. That was harder than giving up drinking. Last cigarette was 14 January 2003.

So, I think it’s fair to say that people tend not to change, but that it’s possible. Depends on many factors. For me, I think it was in large part due to using my OCD in a positive way.

Oh, the long term success rate of AA is about 3% (by ‘long term’ I mean 2 years or more)

Manufactured consent, evidence on this board

It’s just disheartening. To think that much of what I like and enjoy and to be honest define myself as could just be fabricated. It makes me feel built. That I only see things as such because that is how I was raised. That I view something as good because I was taught so, etc, etc. That my likes are just programmed. It makes it seem like my life is a lie.

Patrick D

I was also taught that some people can and do change. That personal changes tends to be sudden. I can attest that is what happened to me:

 

L. People do change, but it only seems to be a conscious change. Therapy can change people but only if it represents new determining factors that overcome the prior ones.

P. In 2002 I was what is known in AA as ‘a suffering alcoholic” . I had taken early retirement because I had noticed my drinking was starting to effect my work.Didn’t occur to me then to stop drinking.

L. No, it wouldn’t. You needed different determining factors to make you want to stop. You were still being driven by your determining factors—whatever led you to drink. New ones hadn’t formed yet.

 

P. On June 30 2002, I had a moment of clarity. I suddenly realised that if I did not stop drinking I was going to die, after first becoming demented with Korsakoff syndrome. (aka ‘wet brain’) I was terrified.

L. I doubt it was as sudden as you thought, your moment of clarity was the result of unconscious determining factors that led you to it. You were unaware of them—as everyone is.

P. So, emptied my booze down the sink and went to AA. Following day, I began 28 days rehab as an outpatient. I sought and used any help which was available. AA , with its ‘higher power’ didn’t get me sober. I got me sober . I have not had a drink since 30 June 2002.

L. Your determining factors got you sober. It wouldn’t have happened without them.

P. Six months later, I used the same cold turkey approach to quit a 70 a day smoking habit. That was harder than giving up drinking. Last cigarette was 14 January 2003.

 

L. I’ve heard that is true. However it was again your determining factors that made you go cold turkey.

P. So, I think it’s fair to say that people tend not to change, but that it’s possible. Depends on many factors. For me, I think it was in large part due to using my OCD in a positive way.

 

L. I would still say that was still your unconscious determining factors that brought you to that point. Something must have happened to you to bring you to that point. It doubt it could have been as sudden as you think. Our minds play tricks on us.

P. Oh, the long term success rate of AA is about 3% (by ‘long term’ I mean 2 years or more)

 

L. I’ve heard that, but when people “fail” it’s because the determining factors that would have made them succeed were not in place. Determining factors operate at their own pace, depending on whether the ones responsible for overcoming addiction are not overcome by competing factors.

 

L. I don’t mean to come across as didactic, but I have embraced determinism and I like having the opportunity to explain it and apply it to various circumstances. IMO, we never do anything consciously. It seems conscious, but it isn’t. It’s our egos wanting to take the credit, but they, too are determined under the philosophy of determinism, , so that tell our conscious minds stories about how they’re in charge. A little like the Music Man leading the big parade.

 

Player: Manufactured consent, evidence on this board.

 

L. What does that mean?

Xian. It’s just disheartening. To think that much of what I like and enjoy and to be honest define myself as could just be fabricated. It makes me feel built. That I only see things as such because that is how I was raised. That I view something as good because I was taught so, etc, etc. That my likes are just programmed. It makes it seem like my life is a lie.

 

L.It’s not fabricated, it’s a natural process. Your life isn’t a lie, you just aren’t completely aware of how your mind works. Just because how your mind works isn’t how you consciously thought it was doesn’t mean your life is a lie. It is what it is. When you found out there was no Santa Clause and your parents and others brought all the Christmas presents, did you feel your life was a lie? Of course not, you just learned something you didn’t know before, you got over the disappointment and went on from there to adulthood.

 

 

I suppose. I mean it’s not like I decided to like something or not and not everything that I experienced really stuck to me. Still it does make me question those Buddhist people so say they can become unconditioned like a newborn child, or “blank slate” with no reference point. Yet I have to doubt that such a thing is even possible since we are not entirely aware of everything that is going on inside our own minds.

Power and where you sit within the superstructure hierarchy dictates conformance

 

https://youtu.be/yhRTBmS60kc. Skip the first two minutes

Xain wrote:

I suppose. I mean it’s not like I decided to like something or not and not everything that I experienced really stuck to me. Still it does make me question those Buddhist people so say they can become unconditioned like a newborn child, or “blank slate” with no reference point. Yet I have to doubt that such a thing is even possible since we are not entirely aware of everything that is going on inside our own minds.

 

Lois: Forget Buddhism. You’re right, such a thing is not possible in a logical world. Determinism isn’t a religion. It’s a statement about one thing—that we don’t have free will and everything we do or think is determined by our genes, our experiences and the physical state of our brains.

Try this talk by Sam Harris on Free Will and determinism. He explains it very much as I understand it and as well as anyone I know. It’s an hour and 18 minutes long. so you might want to break it up into segments. I just listened to the whole thing and it never bored me. Let me know what you think of it. Sam Harris and I think very much alike though I came to my conclusions about determinism without reading his books. When I heard this it was as if he were repeating so many things I have written and thought over the past 20 years.
You can skip the intro by Michael Shermer. Harris begins at 1:20.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pCofmZlC72g

 

I heard that the love for one’s family is conditioned and not inherent,
Heard this where? And how does this match with what you know and have heard elsewhere? Does it make sense? Can you think of some logical steps that lead to one conclusion or another? What other facts or data might you want to include when thinking about this? These are the kind of questions you ask when you want to discuss something.

Well the love for family would explain how different people have varying feelings towards their parents, to the point where some of them don’t even consider their parents to be their mother and father (in a figurative way).

Xian: Well the love for family would explain how different people have varying feelings towards their parents, to the point where some of them don’t even consider their parents to be their mother and father (in a figurative way).

 

Lois: love of family is determined, just as every emotion is determined. Watch the Sam Harris clip if you’d like to know how it works. Even if you reject it, you’ll be able to explain why, which would add to the value of the discussion.

As Lois said, everything we do is a product of: 1) what we were born with and 2) what we learn since. For example, we were born with the propensity to and the abilities to learn and use language. The actual language/s that we learn is/are a product of the particular verbal community/ies that we are exposed to.

I’m trying to relate to this “finding myself” thing. It’s been a while since I was young and thought I needed to go on a spiritual quest. Lately, it’s more like, “who else would I be?” For millions of years humans lived without much thought for the future, or worrying about how our actions would affect others far away, so most of my skills and thoughts would be oriented to that. But, that’s not the world I find myself in.

I affect and am affected by people I’ll never know, but I know it’s happening. I don’t think evolution has caught up with that. We didn’t know about our biology then and only know a little bit more now. I’m not even sure how knowing what makes us “us” will help us know when a thought is original to our little mind and when it’s one that just floated by.

I recently discovered David Warnock. He was a fundamentalist evangelical, then, just as he was getting away from that, found out he only has a few years to live. His philosophy of living for the moments is awesome. He’s not just doing what feels good either, he’s using his life to express his values and make a difference.

Lausten, that looks like a cool site. I can’t access podcasts at work, but I’ll download one and listen to it on the way to work tomorrow.

His philosophy is exactly what I like to listen to. It should make my long commute more enjoyable.

Can’t really agree with that website saying that life is precious (it’s not), the counter argument would just be that it is due to our own conditioning. He doesn’t seem to get that all that is just him making something out of nothing.

I still don’t buy into the Buddhist claims that they can reach an unconditioned state since the state they speak of is a RESULT of the practice and the dharma, which is odd they would say such things. You aren’t de conditioning yourself, just plugging in a new set of directions.

@Xain

Now THAT’S interesting. Hadn’t thought of it that way.IE “You aren’t de conditioning yourself, just plugging in a new set of directions.” I’m not sure how much, if at all we, can be de conditioned.

I’ve been through army basic and corp training. Seems to me that what happens is a new set of conditioned responses is imposed on top of some of the old ones, but does not remove what is already there.

From what I’ve seen first hand, to benefit from meditation one does not actually need very deep new directions. Perhaps deeper if a person is working towards self realisation . (whatever that might mean to the individual)

Just making something out of nothing over here. Nothing precious. Nothing to see.