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Greed is a Character Trait not an Emotion!


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#1    coberst

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 09:57 AM

Greed is a Character Trait not an Emotion!

Greed is a habit formed through constant repetition.  It is an act of will.  Emotion, also called instinct, is a product of natural selection.  Only the human animal is greedy.

What is character?  Character is the network of habits that permeate all the intentional acts of an individual.

I am not using the word habit in the way we often do, as a technical ability existing apart from our wishes.  These habits are an intimate and fundamental part of our selves.  They are representations of our will.  They rule our will, working in a coordinated way they dominate our way of acting.  These habits are the results of repeated, intelligently controlled, actions.  

Habits also control the formation of ideas as well as physical actions.  We cannot perform a correct action or a correct idea without having already formed correct habits.  

“Reason pure of all influence from prior habit is a fiction.”
  “The medium of habit filters all material that reaches our perception and thought.”  “Immediate, seemingly instinctive, feeling of the direction and end of various lines of behavior is in reality the feeling of habits working below direct consciousness.”  “Habit means special sensitiveness or accessibility to certain classes of stimuli, standing predilections and aversions, rather than bare recurrence of specific acts.  It means will.”

My understanding of character and the quotations concerning the nature of character are taken from Habits and Will by John Dewey

Emotions equal instinct.  First, there is emotion, then comes feeling, then comes consciousness of feeling.

What are the emotions?  The primary emotions are happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust.  The secondary or social emotions are such things as pride, jealousy, embarrassment, and guilt.  Damasio considers the background emotions are well-being or malaise, and calm or tension.  The label of emotion has also been attached to drives and motivations and to states of pain and pleasure.

Antonio Damasio, Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, testifies in his book “The Feelings of What Happens” that the biological process of feelings begins with a ‘state of emotion’, which can be triggered unconsciously and is followed by ‘a state of feeling’, which can be presented nonconsciously; this nonconscious state can then become ‘a state of feeling made conscious’.  

”Emotions are about the life of an organism, its body to be precise, and their role is to assist the organism in maintaining life…emotions are biologically determined processes, depending upon innately set brain devices, laid down by long evolutionary history…The devices that produce emotions…are part of a set of structures that both regulate and represent body states…All devices can be engaged automatically, without conscious deliberation…The variety of the emotional responses is responsible for profound changes in both the body landscape and the brain landscape.  The collection of these changes constitutes the substrate for the neural patterns which eventually become feelings of emotion.”

The biological function of emotions is to produce an automatic action in certain situations and to regulate the internal processes so that the creature is able to support the action dictated by the situation.  The biological purpose of emotions are clear, they are not a luxury but a necessity for survival.

“Emotions are inseparable from the idea of reward and punishment, pleasure or pain, of approach or withdrawal, of personal advantage or disadvantage.  Inevitably, emotions are inseparable from the idea of good and evil.”

Emotions result from stimulation of the senses from outside the body sources and also from stimulations from remembered situations.  Evolution has provided us with emotional responses from certain types of inducers put these innate responses are often modified by our culture.

“It is through feelings, which are inwardly directed and private, that emotions, which are outwardly directed and public, begin their impact on the mind; but the full and lasting impact of feelings requires consciousness, because only along with the advent of a sense of self do feelings become known to the individual having them.”

First, there is emotion, then comes feeling, then comes consciousness of feeling. There is no evidence that we are conscious of all our feelings, in fact evidence indicates that we are not conscious of all feelings.

Human emotion and feeling pivot on consciousness; this fact has not been generally recognized prior to Damasio’s research.  Emotion has probably evolved long before consciousness and surfaces in many of us when caused by inducers we often do not recognize consciously.

The powerful contrast between emotion and feeling is used by the author in his search for a comprehension of consciousness.  It is a neurological fact, states the author, that when consciousness is suspended then emotion is likewise usually suspended.  This observed human characteristic led Damasio to suspect that even though emotion and consciousness are different phenomenon that there must be an important connection between the two.


#2    puridalan

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 08:27 PM

Greed does not just apply to money. Secondly, other animals besides humans can be greedy. One example would be baboons, fine when they don't have much and have to work together for food. When they had more than their fair share and didn't have to look for food as often, fights broke out more often even though they had more than enough.

So no animals too can be greedy, just like a human wanting their whole KFC bucket to themselves..even though there is more than enough for others.


#3    archernyc

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 09:40 PM

View Postcoberst, on 25 June 2010 - 09:57 AM, said:

Greed is a Character Trait not an Emotion!

Greed is a habit formed through constant repetition.  It is an act of will.  Emotion, also called instinct, is a product of natural selection.  Only the human animal is greedy.

What is character?  Character is the network of habits that permeate all the intentional acts of an individual.

I am not using the word habit in the way we often do, as a technical ability existing apart from our wishes.  These habits are an intimate and fundamental part of our selves.  They are representations of our will.  They rule our will, working in a coordinated way they dominate our way of acting.  These habits are the results of repeated, intelligently controlled, actions.  

Habits also control the formation of ideas as well as physical actions.  We cannot perform a correct action or a correct idea without having already formed correct habits.  

“Reason pure of all influence from prior habit is a fiction.”
  “The medium of habit filters all material that reaches our perception and thought.”  “Immediate, seemingly instinctive, feeling of the direction and end of various lines of behavior is in reality the feeling of habits working below direct consciousness.”  “Habit means special sensitiveness or accessibility to certain classes of stimuli, standing predilections and aversions, rather than bare recurrence of specific acts.  It means will.”

My understanding of character and the quotations concerning the nature of character are taken from Habits and Will by John Dewey

Emotions equal instinct.  First, there is emotion, then comes feeling, then comes consciousness of feeling.

What are the emotions?  The primary emotions are happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust.  The secondary or social emotions are such things as pride, jealousy, embarrassment, and guilt.  Damasio considers the background emotions are well-being or malaise, and calm or tension.  The label of emotion has also been attached to drives and motivations and to states of pain and pleasure.

Antonio Damasio, Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, testifies in his book “The Feelings of What Happens” that the biological process of feelings begins with a ‘state of emotion’, which can be triggered unconsciously and is followed by ‘a state of feeling’, which can be presented nonconsciously; this nonconscious state can then become ‘a state of feeling made conscious’.  

”Emotions are about the life of an organism, its body to be precise, and their role is to assist the organism in maintaining life…emotions are biologically determined processes, depending upon innately set brain devices, laid down by long evolutionary history…The devices that produce emotions…are part of a set of structures that both regulate and represent body states…All devices can be engaged automatically, without conscious deliberation…The variety of the emotional responses is responsible for profound changes in both the body landscape and the brain landscape.  The collection of these changes constitutes the substrate for the neural patterns which eventually become feelings of emotion.”

The biological function of emotions is to produce an automatic action in certain situations and to regulate the internal processes so that the creature is able to support the action dictated by the situation.  The biological purpose of emotions are clear, they are not a luxury but a necessity for survival.

“Emotions are inseparable from the idea of reward and punishment, pleasure or pain, of approach or withdrawal, of personal advantage or disadvantage.  Inevitably, emotions are inseparable from the idea of good and evil.”

Emotions result from stimulation of the senses from outside the body sources and also from stimulations from remembered situations.  Evolution has provided us with emotional responses from certain types of inducers put these innate responses are often modified by our culture.

“It is through feelings, which are inwardly directed and private, that emotions, which are outwardly directed and public, begin their impact on the mind; but the full and lasting impact of feelings requires consciousness, because only along with the advent of a sense of self do feelings become known to the individual having them.”

First, there is emotion, then comes feeling, then comes consciousness of feeling. There is no evidence that we are conscious of all our feelings, in fact evidence indicates that we are not conscious of all feelings.

Human emotion and feeling pivot on consciousness; this fact has not been generally recognized prior to Damasio’s research.  Emotion has probably evolved long before consciousness and surfaces in many of us when caused by inducers we often do not recognize consciously.

The powerful contrast between emotion and feeling is used by the author in his search for a comprehension of consciousness.  It is a neurological fact, states the author, that when consciousness is suspended then emotion is likewise usually suspended.  This observed human characteristic led Damasio to suspect that even though emotion and consciousness are different phenomenon that there must be an important connection between the two.
Humans (as well as lots of other species) are greedy for lots of things: power, love, sex, food, whatever.  What, exactly, is the point that you are trying to make?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

#4    coberst

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 10:22 AM

Emotion, i.e. instinct, is the result of natural selection.  Our animal ancestors live at a subsistence level.  They do not work for gain but only to stay alive and nature has selected them accordingly.

Humans have broken that chain, especially when we developed the age of what we now call the Industrial Revolution.  We are now part of a self-regulating market economy wherein subsistence has been replaced by acquisitiveness and everything depends upon production and consumption of natural resources.  

We are all now commodities in a self regulating market system


#5    puridalan

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 04:53 PM

I can see where you are going, but animals have worked to 'gain' maybe not on a monetary systm but it has been shown. None the less I do see what you mean, futhermore sometimes I believe as humans we're chasing after the wrong things like the American Dream, these are all illusions. We create our materialistic world filled with dead money. It is trying to break out of that system so where we do not become 'robots' and remain human beings with love and compassion instead of senseless anger and frustration that is built from ridiculous things such as waiting in lines, or going to the bank ect.

Some of these hassles we much creat ourself, we our building in a sense our own maze that we cannot find our way out of.


#6    Black Hound

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 06:45 PM

With you 100% on your premise about greed and emotion and character trait. Basically, we are greedy from birth, not enough food or mom's milk. It just gets sophicated as we grow. :w00t: I can't see it as an emotion, knowing my definition of emotion anyway. I'm greedy, things like wanting more expensive car, better looking gfs,more money, you name it, I probabbly want more of it, even though I have plenty. :tu:

Edited by Graveyard Hound, 29 June 2010 - 06:45 PM.


#7    Halfwolf

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 06:32 AM

So we are genetically predisposed to have or have not certain emotional responses ? I disagree. Although genetics play a part, the enviroment that we are raised in I believe also plays a part, if not we would all have the same emotional reaction to the same stimuli.
  Emotion, habits and charcter traits can be altered, such as quitting smoking, emotion can be controlled or suppressed such as a Paramedic who see's awful things, and say a character defect  such as Greed can be changed. It is not always easy but it can be accomplished.
  I believe to overcome our defects such as too much pride and ego as an example we can attain a higher realm of conciousness or spirituality. Which I also believe is our purpose for even existing.


#8    PsiSeeker

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 11:48 AM

I don't think your understanding of will is complete >.<, to me will IS the act of suspending emotion (or using "more emotion" without feeling*? Subconscious emotion?) to result in what you believe you want is better than what you don't want on a conscious level.

I like how you build your understanding of greed however fundamentally I think greed still has to be a result of conscious or subconscious emotion to achieve what is wanted.  If you are greedy by nature then you'll experience emotion consciously through the act of being greedy.  The emotion will make itself more apparent in later stages of life as your brain builds the understanding better so the conscious manifestation of what it is trying to show you is more accurate.

I guess ultimately it would be different for different people, it depends how the idea of "Greed" is interwoven in the person's personality.

* feeling being the act of emotion manifested in consciousness.

An illusion is an illusion.  The key difference between the two is that one is limited by time and the other by perception.

#9    RacerX13

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 03:50 AM

Greed is an illness in my book since it can be cured. It just takes the right life experiences to overcome it.


#10    Black Hound

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 12:47 PM

We are a greedy lot. Animals may exhibbit "greedy behavior", as we define it, but they have nthing on us as a species. It seems we want more than we need or will ever use. I am greedy when it comes to my collectables. I want to have more than I can ever display decently and my drive to have  japanese swords is obscene,aside from the shelves of books, my study is decorated with the magnificent weapons of killing. It has be come an obcession, is that greed, to have more than you can use, to display to others, who know little of the swords history or the warriors that used theem but I check about 5 websites daily looking for that one perfect sword that wil finish my collection, haven't found it yet but bought many while in search of it, greedy, you bet.


#11    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 04:17 AM

Someone's been reading the Green Lantern comics - greed is apparently "orange" ;)

I must not fear. Fear is the Mind-Killer. It is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and to move through me. And when it is gone I will turn the inner eye to see it's path.
When the fear is gone, there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

#12    shanju2107

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 07:15 AM

nice reply puridalan..

i like ur action..

If someone is greedy by nature then he'll experience emotion consciously through the act of being greedy. The emotion will make itself more apparent in later stages of life as his brain builds the understanding better so the conscious manifestation of what it is trying to show him is more accurate

nice reply puridalan..

i like ur action..

If someone is greedy by nature then he'll experience emotion consciously through the act of being greedy. The emotion will make itself more apparent in later stages of life as his brain builds the understanding better so the conscious manifestation of what it is trying to show him is more accurate





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