Entropy production and emergence in behavior LO20412

Leo Minnigh (L.D.Minnigh@library.tudelft.nl)
Mon, 18 Jan 1999 15:30:38 +0100 (MET)

Replying to LO20363 --

Replying to LO20363

Dear LO'ers,

On Tue, 12 Jan 1999, John Gunkler wrote:

> Leo Minnigh struggles, very successfully I may add, with Jon's thorough
> descriptions of behavioral principles. But he wonders about various
> addictive behaviors:

Thank you John. I am glad that you referred to the great contribution of
Jon Krispin (LO20309) who summerises so neatly the behaviour and its
consequences of the very person in relation to attractive and rejective
forces. Therefore I like to save:

> 1. How personally the consequence affects us (versus consequences that
> affect the organization but not us as individuals);
> 2. How immediately the consequence follows the behavior (short-term has
> much more impact);
> 3. How certain we are that the consequence will occur (the more certain,
> the stronger the effect in general -- but Jon and I are leaving out the
> complicating factor that certain schedules of consequences using "uncertain"
> contingencies have very strong effects. One of us will probably talk about
> that at some other time. It explains, for example, the power of the slot
> machine -- which has an uncertain payoff but powerfully "glues" people to
> their seats.)

I am so glad that you mentioned the slot machine. I had that thing also in
mind, but was too lazy to look in a dictionary for the word, which did not
knew. I am very curious about your future contributions on this subject.

> So, Personal-Immediate-Certain consequences have the most effect, in
> general. And the pleasure people feel from engaging in addictive
> behaviors is certainly personal, immediate, and certain -- and positive.
> The negative consequences are mostly personal (or, worse, societal),
> delayed, and uncertain (in the mind of the addicted person.)

I do now and than roll a cigarette and smoke it. It is pure tobacco, no
drug-additives. I know of the nicotine and tar. I know it is a very bad
habit, so I smoke in solitude, not to harm anyone else. And I like to live
a long life, so much things still to do; I am stupid, I know. There are
several ways to stop my smoking:

1. If I am in company (social control and not harming others)
2. If the tobacco will cost me a month salary
3. If I know it will immediatly kill me. Although cyanide may taste very
nice, I will not try it.

But maybe another even more attractive and less harmful alternative will
work as well. This is the modern way to cope with plant deseases which are
transported by insects: create a more attractive alternative of the
flower/plant for the insect, and the plant is saved. Unfortunately, I have
not yet found such alternative.

So here we have the principles:
1. build a mental barrier
2. extend the barrier, so the attractivity becomes unreachable (raise the
price to infinity)
3. create a anti-force so attraction is turned into rejection (make the
poison instantenous)
4. create a stronger attractive alternative.

> It has been shown that one can create apparently neurotic behavior by
> simultaneously punishing and rewarding someone for the same behavior.
> This creates the classic 'approach-avoidance' conflict which can lead to
> mental illness.

Thank you John, I hope that I will not receive too much punishment for my
bad behaviour. I am not yet mental ill (I suppose).

dr. Leo D. Minnigh
Library Technical University Delft
PO BOX 98, 2600 MG Delft, The Netherlands
Tel.: 31 15 2782226
Let your thoughts meander towards a sea of ideas.


Leo Minnigh <L.D.Minnigh@library.tudelft.nl>

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