The Couch

punishment vs. reward

Comments on punishment vs. reward

henry quirk
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 17, 2008
Location: here

Total Topics: 47
Total Comments: 1298
#26 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/29/11 - 9:45 AM:

"Is the act not sufficient itself?"

No, 'cause the act in itself is meaningless.

Without a push from behind (the threat of punishment) or a goal ahead (the promise of reward) why the hell would any one "post, or paint, or tidy the bedroom"?

I, for example, haven't made up the bed in years. I sleep alone (so have no one to impress) and I'm a slob (not anal-retentive), so, why make the bed?

There's no reward (or punishment) in it for me.

Why eat? Without the twins of 'fending off starvation' and 'physical satisfaction' (you can decide which is punishment and which is reward) eating is meaningless.

Why do 'anything'? Only to satisfy (be rewarded) or avoid punishment.

#

"I wonder why people do not want to work safely and efficiently?"

Because the human individual, while reasoning, is not reasonable.

Strange passions; unproductive, idiosyncratic, strategies; 'oddness', defines each and every one.

It would be nice if the 'rational agent' was real but no such animal has ever existed.
Re-ed
Junior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Nov 29, 2011
Location: elsewhere

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 19
Avatar Re-ed
#27 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/29/11 - 10:13 AM:

henry quirk wrote:
"Is the act not sufficient itself?"

No, 'cause the act in itself is meaningless.



Your post is meaningless? What an odd claim; I hope it is rewarding, at least.

It is your bed, and as you make it, so you must lie in it; but it might be sensible to distinguish between consequences for good or ill, and rewards and punishments 'added on'.
henry quirk
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 17, 2008
Location: here

Total Topics: 47
Total Comments: 1298
#28 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/29/11 - 10:49 AM:

"Your post is meaningless?"

In and of itself: yes.

The post has no 'life' without the poster. If there weren't some (promise of) pleasure/reward for me in crafting the post, then it (the post) would not be.

So: the meaning of the post (to me) was established before my fingers hit the keys. If, during the composition, I lost interest, or found my thinking wrong or tedious (if the meaning, for me, evaporated), then I would have aborted the post (much as I did when crafting a post for Failurewish's 'I'm an idiot' thread).

#

"...it might be sensible to distinguish between consequences for good or ill, and rewards and punishments 'added on'."

I see no difference between 'promise of reward/threat of punishment' and 'consequence'...insofar as this thread goes: the meanings of the placeholders -- as I use them -- are synonymous.
Re-ed
Junior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Nov 29, 2011
Location: elsewhere

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 19
Avatar Re-ed
#29 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/29/11 - 2:49 PM:

henry quirk wrote:
"Your post is meaningless?"

In and of itself: yes.

The post has no 'life' without the poster. If there weren't some (promise of) pleasure/reward for me in crafting the post, then it (the post) would not be.


I find it pretty unrewarding. hmm

henry quirk wrote:
"...it might be sensible to distinguish between consequences for good or ill, and rewards and punishments 'added on'."

I see no difference between 'promise of reward/threat of punishment' and 'consequence'...insofar as this thread goes: the meanings of the placeholders -- as I use them -- are synonymous.


Then I urge you to look more carefully, and use more discriminatingly. Rewards and punishments are imposed by one on another as an inducement to behave. thus I might try and bribe you to make your bed, or threaten to punish you if you do not. This is quite different from the nature of things, which is that the bed will welcome you in the state in which you left it.
henry quirk
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 17, 2008
Location: here

Total Topics: 47
Total Comments: 1298
#30 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/29/11 - 4:53 PM:

"I find it pretty unrewarding."

Posting? Then why do it?

That is: if posting brings no pleasure or satisfaction (or no pain, if you’re into that), then why do you, Re-ed, post?

The ‘act’ of posting may be pleasure-less, sure, but then posting (as act) is just a means to an end (to set down a line of thinking, to discuss, to debate, etc.).

So, again: 'If there weren't some (promise of) pleasure/reward for me in crafting the post, then it (the post) would not be.'


#

"Rewards and punishments are imposed by one on another..."

Yes, but rewards and punishments can also be self-imposed.

In any case: a punishment or reward is simply a consequence, perhaps not a 'necessary' consequence, but a consequence nonetheless.
villager
New

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Nov 29, 2011

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 2
#31 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/29/11 - 6:13 PM:

libertygrl wrote:
which is the more effective motivator?

any thoughts?

Punishment vs reward, freedom vs order, growth vs decay, justice vs mercy; sounds like a situation for transcendence.
Re-ed
Junior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Nov 29, 2011
Location: elsewhere

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 19
Avatar Re-ed
#32 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/29/11 - 6:26 PM:

henry quirk wrote:
"I find it pretty unrewarding."

Posting? Then why do it?



laughing Self imposed punishment, I suppose you would have to say.

But I actually meant your posts rather than mine. Would you say it was a reward or a punishment to find out one is wrong about something? Some of us just like the sight of our own voice, and some of us like to engage with another, and some of us (presumably) like to punish ourselves. But it is always possible that one wants nothing much at all, but has a useful thought to offer, and plenty of time. There is no obligation to be thinking all the time of rewards and so on, one can just do things out of goodwill.
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
#33 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/29/11 - 9:43 PM:

quirk wrote:
Because the human individual, while reasoning, is not reasonable.

if we were wholly reasonable, there could be no free will. obviously it is debated whether there is free will. but whether there is or not, there is clearly the need or desire for it. and being wholly reasonable is at odds with free will.

Re-ed wrote:
Hi there, newbie's first post. whee

How about 'neither'? Fear and desire are left and right hands to each other; both are externalised. What does it take to motivate a post, or a painting, or tidying the bedroom? Is the act not sufficient itself? If not, then perhaps it is not worth motivating with 'something else'.

hi re-ed, welcome.

i think i would agree with you to the extent that any motivation can be painted as coming from either a reward or fear base, or more to the point, both, simultaneously. i think that the way a person's values shape their perception, and self-perception, though, can lend support to the idea of a person favoring one or another in terms of a personal motivator.

Re-ed wrote:
But I actually meant your posts rather than mine.

i seem to have gotten lost here... you find henry's posts unrewarding?

Re-ed wrote:
Some of us just like the sight of our own voice, and some of us like to engage with another, and some of us (presumably) like to punish ourselves. But it is always possible that one wants nothing much at all, but has a useful thought to offer, and plenty of time. There is no obligation to be thinking all the time of rewards and so on, one can just do things out of goodwill.

i think if one does things out of goodwill, they are seeking reward, at least an internal reward if nothing else. rather, i would argue that to do something without thinking of reward (or punishment) is to do so out of instinct more than anything else.

what do you think?

Edited by libertygrl on 11/29/11 - 9:47 PM
Re-ed
Junior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Nov 29, 2011
Location: elsewhere

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 19
Avatar Re-ed
#34 - Quote - Permalink
1 of 1 people found this comment helpful
Posted 11/29/11 - 10:37 PM:

libertygrl wrote:

i think if one does things out of goodwill, they are seeking reward, at least an internal reward if nothing else. rather, i would argue that to do something without thinking of reward (or punishment) is to do so out of instinct more than anything else.

what do you think?


I disagree. I do like to think well of myself, but as soon as I catch myself calculating that if I do something nice for someone, I will feel good about myself, I realise I am being selfish, and the effect is quite spoiled. blush

But as often as not, I do not make such calculations - life's too short. If someone asks me the way to the library, I will probably just tell them, if I happen to know, without worrying whether I am making a profit or a loss on the transaction. I don't think there is an instinct to give directions, but I am happy to say that it is natural to be amenable.

The idea that we must all be selfish all the time is a modern conceit that we have been sold along with the consumer society; there is simply no basis for it.
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
#35 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/29/11 - 11:03 PM:

i would argue that whether or not you like to be aware of doing nice things in order to feel good, the desire to feel good is still present and motivating benevolent actions.

i think if you were to be rude to someone who asked you for directions to the library, or tell them you don't know when actually you do, it would probably have some undesirable effect on you that prevents you from doing so. so whether you do it because it makes you feel good, or merely because it's convenient and the path of least resistance, either way you are acting to your own benefit. which is, in my eyes, how it should be. i think kindness is a virtue, but we do need to be selfish to some extent, in order to survive, and if we're lucky, to find some happiness in life.

not sure if you meant to be critical of all henry's posts or just the one, but speaking for myself, i find his participation here to be not without rewards. i find myself agreeing with him more often than not.

cheers,
lib
Re-ed
Junior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Nov 29, 2011
Location: elsewhere

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 19
Avatar Re-ed
#36 - Quote - Permalink
1 of 1 people found this comment helpful
Posted 11/29/11 - 11:04 PM:

libertygrl wrote:

i seem to have gotten lost here... you find henry's posts unrewarding?


Sorry, that was a bit cryptic, and no offence intended. what I meant was that I don't think people generally engage in discussions on the basis of any thought about rewards, and if they do, they are liable to be disappointed. If I wanted praise for my insights, or the admiration of my fellows, or to feel good about how inspiring I am, or even to learn some great wisdom, I'd be soon discouraged. 'It's good to talk', and it's better when one is not looking for a result.
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
#37 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/29/11 - 11:05 PM:

ah, roger that. thumb up
Re-ed
Junior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Nov 29, 2011
Location: elsewhere

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 19
Avatar Re-ed
#38 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/29/11 - 11:11 PM:

libertygrl wrote:
i would argue that whether or not you like to be aware of doing nice things in order to feel good, the desire to feel good is still present and motivating benevolent actions.



Ok, argue it. At the moment it looks like an article of faith.

My experience with little kids, who are fairly transparent and guileless, is that they are sometimes selfish and sometimes unselfish, and they don't think much about it either way.
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
#39 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/29/11 - 11:31 PM:

small children lack experience in knowing what is hurtful to others. they would just as soon hit someone in the head with a frying pan than not. would you? yes? no? what is it that makes your decision different from that of a child? clearly it is your awareness of how such a behavior would be received. you understand that if someone hit you with a frying pan, it would be highly unpleasant. it would be painful, and could even possibly kill you. and knowing that, if you feel empathy for others at all, will keep you from doing it to others. on the other hand, if you feel malice rather than empathy, then you will feel compelled to hurt others, likewise for selfish motivations.

thus benevolent actions are motivated by the desire to feel good, because doing hurtful things would make you feel bad. if hurtful things didn't make you feel bad, you would have no reason not to do them.
Re-ed
Junior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Nov 29, 2011
Location: elsewhere

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 19
Avatar Re-ed
#40 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/30/11 - 12:03 AM:

libertygrl wrote:
if hurtful things didn't make you feel bad, you would have no reason not to do them.


Yes I would - because they are hurtful; they make the other feel bad. Why is that problematic? Why is it difficult to accept what is quite apparent, that people are kind sometimes for no other reason than to be kind?

You see I find it is usually quite easy to tell the difference between someone who is being kind in that selfish way of scoring points for themselves, and someone who just is kind, and acts out of a fullness of heart. In the former case, one always feels that one is being done to, and that one is paying for it in a covert way, by being patronised; the real thing is not like that at all.

If I may reverse the psychologising a moment, I think it is difficult to accept because one is unfortunately rather rarely spontaneously kind, and rather more often calculating. More to the point, one cannot achieve this virtue by any effort of will, it has to come of its own accord, or else it is that other, calculating kindness. in this sense, 'I' (the thinker, the calculator) cannot manage it; but this does not mean that it cannot happen.
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
#41 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/30/11 - 12:27 AM:

i would say that there is being kind for its own sake, and then there is being kind for the sake of expectation of something in return. the former has far more value in my view than the latter. nonetheless, someone who is kind for its own sake does so because it makes them feel good. not because they expect it to make them feel good, or that they calculate that feeling good will come out of it, but simply because it makes them feel good. it is an intuitive, instinctive act which does not require any reasoning at all, just like a person can intuitively eat, sleep, have sex, and do all sorts of things without giving a second thought to why they do them or how they are benefitted by it.

on the other hand, a person can choose to be aware of why they do these things, and there's nothing wrong with that, either. they do them because people naturally tend to do things that make them feel good, and avoid doing things that make them feel bad. i don't find anything problematic about the idea that someone can feel good about not being hurtful to others.

i believe i'm a nice person, and i feel good about that. i do it to respect myself, not to earn points on an imaginary scoreboard.
Re-ed
Junior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Nov 29, 2011
Location: elsewhere

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 19
Avatar Re-ed
#42 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/30/11 - 1:09 AM:

libertygrl wrote:

i believe i'm a nice person, and i feel good about that. i do it to respect myself, not to earn points on an imaginary scoreboard.


hug

But that's not a reward. wink
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
#43 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/30/11 - 1:22 AM:

zen self-respect, it's the ultimate reward.

hug
henry quirk
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 17, 2008
Location: here

Total Topics: 47
Total Comments: 1298
#44 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/30/11 - 9:58 AM:

"Self imposed punishment, I suppose you would have to say."

HA!

#

"Would you say it was a reward or a punishment to find out one is wrong about something?"

Both. A kick in the pants can be humiliating (punishing) but also an opportunity to re-direct one's thinking and self-edit (rewarding).

#

"Some of us just like the sight of our own voice..."

I'm guilty of that (more than many)... wink

#
"...it is always possible that one wants nothing much at all, but has a useful thought to offer, and plenty of time. There is no obligation to be thinking all the time of rewards and so on, one can just do things out of goodwill."

I'm thinking even if forum participation is an idler's past time, there' still a reward in it (to 'be' heard; to feel as if one is doing 'something (semi)useful; etc.), even if said reward is not consciously sought after.

As for 'goodwill' (taken to mean altruism): no such animal. Each and everyone does what he or does out of self-interest...that self-interest may express itself as nothing more than the 'feeling' of having done 'good', but is still self-interest (that others benefit is, then, not the goal but the means).

##

"I am happy to say that it is natural to be amenable."

Your 'profit' therefore is the satisfaction you derive from aligning yourself with what you believe is 'natural' and 'good'.

#

"The idea that we must all be selfish all the time is a modern conceit that we have been sold along with the consumer society; there is simply no basis for it."

This is evident-ly not the case. To be self-interested (to want to live, to want to self-direct, to want to exercise control over the world) is wholly natural for the human individual.

##

"i find myself agreeing with him more often than not."

wink

##

"My experience with little kids, who are fairly transparent and guileless, is that they are sometimes selfish and sometimes unselfish, and they don't think much about it either way."

And each and every one is wholly motivated by self-interest.

I'm helping to rear my nephew (he's five and I've lived with him since he was one) is "sometimes selfish and sometimes unselfish, and (he doesn't) think much about it either way."

Like his uncle (and Dada and Mimi and Poppa and Auntie and Teacher and on and on): my nephew is wholly concerned with himself.

This is not a good or bad thing...it just 'is'.

Edited by henry quirk on 11/30/11 - 10:07 AM
smokinpristiformis
child of the stars
Avatar

Usergroup: Moderators
Joined: Apr 20, 2005
Location: Belgium

Total Topics: 74
Total Comments: 1247
#45 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/30/11 - 11:46 AM:

Just one question henry: How do you deal with empathy? You can't deny that it exists. You could say that we help others to feel better, but you could also say that selflessness is hardwired in our brain.

Thoughts?
henry quirk
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 17, 2008
Location: here

Total Topics: 47
Total Comments: 1298
#46 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/30/11 - 1:00 PM:

"...empathy? You can't deny that it exists."

I do, in fact deny, 'empathy' exists.

That a person is empathetic or sympathetic toward another is a reality...it's the projection of one's self into the circumstance (the shoes) of the other. What a body feels toward, for example, the terminal (and in god-awful pain) cancer patient is motivated by '*there but for the grace of God go I'.

So: I don't, can't, won't, deny folks can be sympathetic or empathetic...but I do deny the existence of a quality or property or 'thing' called empathy (a 'substance' that can be teased out and examined in isolation from the person who feels it).

Yeah...I know...I'm being a jackass...I just took the opportunity to poke '*language' with a sharp stick.

#

"You could say that we help others to feel better, but you could also say that selflessness is hardwired in our brain."

Supposing this hardwired selflessness is true (and I don't concede that it is): one reason for such a thing might be the notion that humans are socialable (work and live together naturally) because any one individual has a better chance of making it (living) while in concert with others. If this is so: then selflessness is the epitome of self-interest.









*Gosh, Doc, I'm gettin' all religious-y again!

**the tool that is used by, and uses, the individual. It's a tricksy beast, mistaking one into talking about the action (being empathetic) as though it were something apart from the one who is empathetic.
Thinker13
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 27, 2009

Total Topics: 357
Total Comments: 3379
#47 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/30/11 - 1:03 PM:

Re-ed wrote:


I disagree. I do like to think well of myself, but as soon as I catch myself calculating that if I do something nice for someone, I will feel good about myself, I realise I am being selfish, and the effect is quite spoiled. blush
.


As soon as you 'catch' It's cessation of Karma.
Thinker13
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 27, 2009

Total Topics: 357
Total Comments: 3379
#48 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/30/11 - 1:07 PM:

Re-ed wrote:


Sorry, that was a bit cryptic, and no offence intended. what I meant was that I don't think people generally engage in discussions on the basis of any thought about rewards, and if they do, they are liable to be disappointed. If I wanted praise for my insights, or the admiration of my fellows, or to feel good about how inspiring I am, or even to learn some great wisdom, I'd be soon discouraged. 'It's good to talk', and it's better when one is not looking for a result.



How true, not just of discussions, but of any actions whatsoever. That's what Henry's post meant for me. When you see 'deeds' as 'deeds' they cease to have impact on you and no more bind you.
Thinker13
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 27, 2009

Total Topics: 357
Total Comments: 3379
#49 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/30/11 - 1:15 PM:

Re-ed wrote:


Yes I would - because they are hurtful; they make the other feel bad. Why is that problematic? Why is it difficult to accept what is quite apparent, that people are kind sometimes for no other reason than to be kind?

You see I find it is usually quite easy to tell the difference between someone who is being kind in that selfish way of scoring points for themselves, and someone who just is kind, and acts out of a fullness of heart. In the former case, one always feels that one is being done to, and that one is paying for it in a covert way, by being patronised; the real thing is not like that at all.

If I may reverse the psychologising a moment, I think it is difficult to accept because one is unfortunately rather rarely spontaneously kind, and rather more often calculating. More to the point, one cannot achieve this virtue by any effort of will, it has to come of its own accord, or else it is that other, calculating kindness. in this sense, 'I' (the thinker, the calculator) cannot manage it; but this does not mean that it cannot happen.




Tao_Te_Ching wrote:

When the Great Tao (Way or Method) ceased to be observed,
benevolence and righteousness came into vogue. (Then) appeared wisdom
and shrewdness, and there ensued great hypocrisy.

When harmony no longer prevailed throughout the six kinships,
filial sons found their manifestation; when the states and clans fell
into disorder, loyal ministers appeared.




The flowering of consciousness would be a state where all such actions would emanate from 'being' effortlessly; otherwise it's calculated wisdom as you suggest.

Calculated good is a chain of gold, whereas calculated bad is a chain of iron; both are chains(calculations).
Re-ed
Junior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Nov 29, 2011
Location: elsewhere

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 19
Avatar Re-ed
#50 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/30/11 - 2:09 PM:

henry quirk wrote:

As for 'goodwill' (taken to mean altruism): no such animal. Each and everyone does what he or does out of self-interest...that self-interest may express itself as nothing more than the 'feeling' of having done 'good', but is still self-interest (that others benefit is, then, not the goal but the means).


Is this a universal insight into the feelings of others? Is there any basis for it at all? Animals, since you mention them, quite commonly sacrifice themselves for their young... I hope at this point you will not have recourse to genes, since even Dawkins acknowledges that genes are entirely devoid of self (it's an analogy, Jim).
Search thread for
Download thread as
  • 0/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5



Sorry, you don't have permission . Log in, or register if you haven't yet.



Acknowledgements:

Couch logo design by Midnight_Monk. The photo hanging above the couch was taken by Paul.

Powered by WSN Forum. Free smileys here.
Special thanks to Maria Cristina, Jesse , Echolist Directory, The Star Online,
Hosting Free Webs, and dmoz.org for referring visitors to this site!

Copyright notice:

Except where noted otherwise, copyright belongs to respective authors
for artwork, photography and text posted in this forum.