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What sets people off

  1. Mar 20, 2005 #1


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    So does anyone have any good theories or studies that show why people are set off by some things? Look at the threads on this forum and you'll notice what i mean. Things like abortion or the 1st amendment or the death penalty will send pages into double digits in a day or so. Then you have things that dont gain much attention. Stuff like international economics, video game consoles, the judicial system, social security (up until recently), or welfare dont seem to get much attention. Is there common associations between set A that arent in set B that set people off? Are we influenced by the media about what to talk about?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2005 #2
    There are many different possible scenarios that can lead to people becoming upset, but they all have one thing in common. Something which someone considered to be important was significantly threatened, harmed or blocked.
    For everyone there is a thin line drawn in the sand dividing what is truly important {things worth fighting for} and things they may not agree with, but can live with.
    Human life issues naturally should rank higher, in a sense we compare it to our own life.
    People won't get sparked over economics, unless it involves money comming out of there pocket.
  4. Mar 20, 2005 #3
    Well, that's kind of what economics is. If no one exchanges assets, there is no economic activity and thus no economics. I'm surprised that everyone isn't set off by economics.

    I'd like to offer a similar question in reverse. What not only fails to set people off, but actively sets people away from topics like economics?
  5. Mar 20, 2005 #4


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    Read Freud.
    Reilly Atkinson
  6. Mar 21, 2005 #5
    I take you believe people are set off by sexual frustration?

    Read Jung.
  7. Mar 21, 2005 #6
    People post when they have something--some idea--formulated and they want to display it. I don't think emotional incitement is a big part of the process. The big topics are those where people have already formulated opposing ideas that they all want to explain and defend.
  8. Mar 22, 2005 #7


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    Of course sexual frustration can set people off. But then, so can financial frustration, clinical depression and manic-depression, discrimination, stupidity, people who are "me, me, me", bad calls by referees, getting cut off in traffic, people who do not listen, getting to the bank just after it closes, and on and on.

    And that's the point. Did Freud make mistakes? Yes. Did he overemphasize sexuality? I think so. But, his major contribution was to argue and show that the mind and behavior can be studied in a systematic and scientific fashion. Many of his ideas are very much with us -- ego, unconscious, id, superego, his Theory of Errors, and so forth. He set a framework which is still important, even used by people who disagree with many of his ideas.

    Without Freud there would be no Jung, and, by all means, read Jung, and Fritz Perls, and Aaron Beck and Howard Gardner, and Carl Rogers, and ......

    As far as I know, many think that getting set off happens when the limbic system takes over, and some have studied the neural pathways involved, as well as individual triggers. Past that, I'll plead that I don't know much.

    Reilly Atkinson
  9. Mar 24, 2005 #8


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    Indeed, reading Freud can really set one off. Quite frustrating.
  10. Mar 24, 2005 #9
    I think that many "hot" topics are a sublimated passion, especially when it is a clean passion, that leaves the tasty feeling of righteousness.

    So, a murderous wretch, can gun down an abortion doctor, because he is a murderous wretch; but by choosing this victim he gets to feel like a hero, while indulging in an illegal high. I watch the types of people that engage in passionate discourse on the street, especially in groups, that are trying to control others, and enforce their beliefs on others through legislation. They get to be controlling toads, while feeling as if they are receiving heavenly blessings for this mental abberation they suffer from. Likely they abuse power, because power was abused in their personal lives in the name of family order; and they just go on to do the same, only this activity is branded as moral discourse. Again, the drug in question is the feeling of righteousness, and the unspoken but absolute approval of deity and then the verbal approval of various ( mendacious bait and switch) power brokers.

    If only Mom and Dad, had really been able to do their jobs, then the kids would be alright, and we could all live and let live.
    But, serious money is made in the market place of social passions, and therefore it is a viable market, a lucrative market. The energy exchange and the battle for monies to do battle, make sure this will go on. Our discussions are extensions of global discussions. The idea that the exchange of words=doing good, flawed logic. I fully admit to this kind of delusional thinking.

    For instance, how on earth did the sad tale of Terry Schiavo, ever leave the hospice where she has been vegetative for 15 years? There are thousands of people like her, that have passed on quietly. Her case was pushed to the front, for a reason. End of life treatment is not going to change in this nation due to this case, but I think the passion that surrounds this case, and the pathetic public scrutiny of this private situation has to do with creating an ethical smoke screen, to distract the public from the scandals that have rocked the various churches over the last few years.

    Physics applies to the social dynamic. This energy that is being exchanged, didn't come out of nowhere, (well, maybe back at the big bang), but these are little everyday bangs that have to do with the release, and redistribution of energy.
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