Alarmist, Reactive Behaviors LO26293

From: J.C. Lelie (
Date: 03/06/01

Replying to LO26279 --

Hello LO-vers, good evening Keith,

Disgust also is a reflex to potentially lethal food, poisoned or rotten
fruits and vegetables. So it is a sensible reaction. However, i think i
read it in Pinker, that these survival mechanisms are used in learning
behaviour. Why do have most groups, relegions, tribes some foods thats are
taboo? Perhaps there was a logical reason, meat does tend to rot, but we
also have ways of preparing them. So there has to be another reason for
disgust in some circumstances. For instance some foodstuffs are labelled
taboo in some cultures, disgusting, not kosher. The mechanism, disgust, is
used to reinforce belonging to a group. As children have been told, have
been learned that some food is "onrein", they will exhibit this as a
reflex and automatically label people belonging to another tribe, who do
eat these foods, as "onrein" too. Even when you "know" that the food is
safe to eat, you'll still have the disgust reaction and will project the
feeling of disgust on the other people.

Survival mechanisms, including feelings and emotions, have been learned to
be used in many new circumstances for which they were not designed in the
first place. Evolution is an efficient process and will rather use a
mechanism for a new application then inventing a new. So yes, in an
organisation, in organizing processes, we use alarmist and reactionary
behaviour. What is more, it is also covered up that this might be the
case. That is why i try to maintain an action learning approach: try to
connect what i think and feel with the actual behaviour i display and
sometimes showing that i'm inconsequent.

Kind regards,

Jan Lelie

> In his new book "The Anatomy of Disgust" University of Michigan law
> professor William Ian Miller dissects what makes us squirm: "In many of
> its forms disgust is not simply aversive, and the content of the
> disgusting is complex and at times paradoxical. It is a commonplace that
> the disgusting can attract as well as repel; the film and entertainment
> industries, among which we might include news coverage, literally bank on
> its allure. The disgusting is an insistent feature of the lurid and the
> sensational, informed as these are by sex, violence, horror, and the
> violation of norms of modesty and decorum. And even as the disgusting
> repels, it rarely does so without also capturing our attention. It imposes
> itself upon us. We find it hard not to sneak a second look or, less
> voluntarily, we find our eyes doing 'double-takes at the very things that
> disgust us.


"J.C. Lelie" <>

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