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What is the philosophy behind being accepted ?

  1. Jan 8, 2006 #1
    What is the philosophy behind "being accepted"?

    Anyone know any books written about this topic?

    That most people devote their lives into trying to make themselves likeable. Or even worse, just try to "make" people like them.

    Personally, everytime a partner gives consent to start a relationship, I feel all good inside. Romantic dinners and nice words make me smile. It'll be quite depressing to think that all those good feelings, ultimately has to do with just the one thing.... sex.

    And that being accepted/respected amongst peers is just a handy way of protecting yourself. Naturally, it'll be wise to get acquainted with this popular person - it provides security. Mr. Popular gets more friends, thus upping his/her chances for getting... sex. That's the reason why we feel happy for being "accepted"??

    Is it all just a reward-system? (what a cunning brain). What do you think?

    Know any books for or against this point of view?

    Thanks all
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 9, 2006 #2


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    This is a huge can of worms. For example consider that your good feelings when a new partner responds to you may be programmed by evolution with the aim of perpetuationg your particular gene set!

    There are evo-devo theories, cultural anthropology theories, sentimental theories, marxist theories (I'll bet!) and much more. The issues you raise are close to the core of how we are as social beings and almost every wing of philosophy and social science has taken a crack at it.
  4. Jan 9, 2006 #3
    I don't know of any books on that topic. But I would like to add, for the record; thinking that we do everything in reward for sex is only your theory. I hardly work that way. I am a 21 year old virgin, I have never done something and expected or intended to get sex out of it. We all work differently.
  5. Jan 9, 2006 #4


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    >Hi hkhil: You could try reading "How the Mind Works" by Steven Pinker.
    He takes the position of evolutionary biology/psychology and relates how
    fitness, sexuality and reproductive success are linked. It's a hefty tome but not an overly difficult read. Richard Dawkins' "Selfish Gene" is similar
    in some ways but some people find him a little too dry. Virtually every theory is controversial to varying extents and evolutionary psychology is no different in that regard. I personally find much of it compelling however some would complain that it tends to explain every aspect of
    human behaviour a little too neatly and is thus unfalsifiable. I haven't given the theory enough thought myself to have a definite opinion regarding that claim. Anyway, good luck

  6. Jan 10, 2006 #5
    Hi everyone

    Thanks for dropping in your opinons.

    To Mr. J: Thx. I'll check those books out eventually. Think I have heard of "Selfish Gene" before.

    To Serpo: After submitting the thread, I realized it did come off as a little sordid. It would have been more appropraite to use
    selfADJOINT's "perpetuating genes".
  7. Jan 10, 2006 #6
    You're more than welcome hkhil, glad we could help you.
  8. Jan 13, 2006 #7


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    I don't believe there is any philosophy behind being accepted; it's all a matter of Darwinism. It's cold. I realize that but life is such at it's foundation. However the trappings of modern culture dress our biological heritage like a beauty queen and we fail to see the forest for the trees: underneath it all, there is always, always, our biology controling our lives often in hidden ways we do not sense.
  9. Jan 17, 2006 #8

    Les Sleeth

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    I know of one philosophy (or psychology) which one can intepret to give an answer to your question.

    There are those who say human beings are motivated first and foremost by what feels good. At first it might seem that one could easily present counterexamples, but it isn't as easy as one might think. For example, how about the mother who suffers in childbirth, or who voluntarily suffers to benefit her children? Well, the answer (using this theory) is that she hopes to feel good when she has a baby to love, and it feels better to suffer personally than to let her children go without benefits. Likewise, how about masochists or people who commit suicide? One actually likes the feeling of pain, and the other is trying to escape bad feelings.

    I'm not saying that all these answers are correct, but I haven't heard an example yet that can't be accounted for by the concept of someone seeking to feel good or to escape bad feelings.

    So to answer your question with this theory, people seek acceptance both because it feels good to them to be accepted and because it feels bad to not be accepted. How we are raised and how we mature both play a huge role in to what degree we are affected by this. I know when I was younger it was much more important to feel acceptance than it is to me now, but I am not free of it totally (I wish I were!).
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2006
  10. Jan 21, 2006 #9


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    This might be getting off topic, but there are some examples of dissociations between 'wanting' (seeking to do something) and 'liking' (feeling good). For example, manipulations of the dopamine systems in the brain of the rat can cause them to compulsively drink a bitter quinine solution that they normally avoid. Even while compulsively drinking the solution, the rats exhibit facial displays that indicate bitterness or distaste.

    In a more ecologically normal setting, we can use the example of some human addictions. A gambling addict sitting hours on end at a slot machine may not particularly like the activity but might feel compelled to do so nonetheless. From my own personal experience, at times in the past I've felt 'addicted' to games like minesweeper, where I've felt compelled to play long strings of games ("just one more") without deriving any enjoyment out of it-- in fact feeling kind of annoyed with it-- but nonetheless not wanting to stop.
  11. Jan 23, 2006 #10

    Les Sleeth

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    All true. I suppose I need to add the qualifier "conscious" so the hypothesis reads, "There are some who say that human beings, when making conscious decisions, are motivated first and foremost by what feels good."
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