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toonalfrink comments on The curse of identity - Less Wrong

125 Post author: Kaj_Sotala 17 November 2011 07:28PM

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Comment author: toonalfrink 04 June 2017 07:49:34PM 1 point [-]

Is this a natural tendency or a flaw of the system? Are humans really status-maximizers, or just satisficers that are perpetually unsatisfied because it is really hard nowadays to have status?

We live as disconnected individuals in a loosely connected tribe of millions of people. To be a respected, noteworthy person in this tribe, you have to be a celebrity. Everyone else feels unworthy. They don't have a reputation, They don't feel known or seen. Everyone is just looking up.

(but maybe I'm just typicalminding here. Let me know)

I have been status-satisfied once or twice in my life. Once was in high school after 6 years of aggressively climbing the cool hierarchy, the other time was in a particularly cohesive student union when I could still be the smart guy. Those were wholesome, happy and productive times with a lot of growth and meaning. I just plain didn't have any problems. Can you believe that?

The rest of my life was kind of chasing this state of affairs. Hence all this identity seeking. Can't be fixing the world when you're in pain, right?

We really have to fix inequality. If only locally.

Comment author: Lumifer 04 June 2017 10:34:23PM 1 point [-]

(but maybe I'm just typicalminding here. Let me know)

Yes, you are.

That is, you're certainly not alone in this attitude, but it is by no means universal.

Comment author: Gharveyn 09 January 2018 06:00:23AM *  0 points [-]

Hi Toonalfrink, Status seeking appears to have its origins in infancy, consequently it is a fundamental form of cognitive behavior that can only be changed with sincere diligence and perseverance. Status confirmation rewards begin with early parental approval, and because it is a rewarding behavior, status seeking can resemble an addictive behavior.

Perhaps, in extreme cases there are people who may become addicted to their own hormones produced in response to the social and material privileges awarded to their status.

Like many behaviors, status seeking may become habituated, unconscious behavior.

Fortunately, many members of most societies often recognize inappropriate bids for approval or reward and may respond by chiding or punishing; however, the flip side is that punishment can become a form of status seeking gratification.

Even if a person feels as if status of any sort is deplorable or undesirable, they will most likely, at times, revert to status seeking behaviors, particularly when stressed.

Oddly enough, declaring status seeking to be deplorable can be a form of seeking status.

And yes, please, lets try to treat and regard all other people as equals, not only with regard to status, but in all other dimensions of existence, such as intelligence, security, justice, health care, finance, employment, and other resources.

Gung ho! We're all in this fix together, for better or worse.

Enjoy!