Thoughts on Comfort, Social Norms and Morality.

There is a terminus is the thought process of all people when it comes to comfort. There is a clear line of what one finds to be acceptable and unacceptable. When one finds themselves confronted with a difficult choice because both or all decisions put a person in direct conflict with their line of acceptability then they adjust that line or feel guilt for having to go past that line. If the line is or even can be adjusted then that means future choices in any relevance to that situation will now relate to how the line was set. If not, then any situation where making such a choice again will be avoided to prevent further feelings of guilt and failure. There are exceptions to all guidelines in this context, but as guidelines these have weight and can hold true. The question set toward all of this theory and hypothesis is where do these lines come from and how are they set initially?

When young we are exposed to a bare minimum of two sources of information that helps us form our understanding of everything; our guardians and ourselves. Once again, there are exceptions to this but typically without one or the other being present in some way, be it abandonment or a mental defect, most people die or at the very least do not interact with society in any meaningful or relevant way toward this thought experiment. So from these two sources we are getting direct information and indirect information. Our own formative thoughts and experiences come from how we interact with the world and therefore those direct bits of information tell us how we think and feel about the things we interact with. For instance, if you were to smell a flower and your brain registered it as pleasant but you hurt yourself on nettle or thorns picking the flower then your brain would also register it as unpleasant. We can see from here that you begin making choices and understanding the world from your own positive or negative experiences much in the same way an animal does. This relates to survival and general social association.

Guardians on the other hand provide indirect information, specifically secondhand information, that is subjective to their experience. This starts small with language, restroom training, body movement and basic social norms. All of these things can dictate accent, comfort levels in using public and private restroom facilities, posture habits and even how we communicate needs over time. Early development is overlooked in most of this experiment because it is simplistic but the element of social norms at a young age is relevant and needs addressing. For instance, if you are exposed to guns and hunting at a young age then your fear and understanding of death is altered because you see dead things, you see things die and objects that either aid or cause that death. Inversely, if you are raised with no exposure to death until an age far past infancy and adolescence then that can make you perceive death and killing far more adversely. Once again, there are exceptions to these thoughts as there are many people who hunt when given the chance after being raised to shun violent actions of any kind but from a pure and concise perspective of an infant there is only survival instinct and direct experience so a living thing is only as important as your survival correlates to it and a dead thing is as important as any other inert object, in regards to information and experience.

Taking these two perspectives into consideration, we can extrapolate an idea of how moral and social boundaries are formed and objectively define morals as something taught, not felt. However, if you are exposed to different direct sources of information that conflict with society based on either chemical imbalance, trauma, unconventional self-education from indirect sources or any combination there within then you can alter an understanding of morals and redefine those lines set before the sensation of guilt. From this we are presented with a unique perspective that gives us three different types of people. For the rest of the thought experiment we will analyze and define these types of people and their development as to better understand how someone can blur their understanding of right and wrong and how this can lead to social disorder and social reorganization.

The first type of person is one raised in a society with basic guidelines and rules. This person has no mental disorder, no extreme trauma and no access to information that would lead them to question their own understanding of society, or if they did it would not sway them in any meaningful way. This kind of person will be referred to as Omega, as they are the outstanding person with no conflict in themselves or with their society.

The second type of person is someone who either has had some internal or external alteration as to how they acquire direct information. This could be a from birth, such as chemical imbalance or a flawed development of the brain, or it could be the result of some trauma associated with a certain act or situation. An example of the former would be aspergers, in which the mind cannot process certain ideas and needs to work around how those ideas fit into their own understanding of the world. Some people with this disorder cannot find such a work around and need constant care in levels that range from being unable to use a toilet to not understanding why you wouldn’t hurt or even kill another person. With the latter, we can connect trauma to any qualia that range from drowning, causing people to avoid lakes, or acts like rape that prevent people from socializing or seeking out romantic relationships for fear the act could happen again. With trauma there are varying degrees and in that there is no certainty that this will greatly or permanently affect a person’s social norms. We will cal this type of person Alpha as they are not in control of any changes that have been inflicted upon them and therefore stand alone or apart from any social standard as a result.

The final type of person is one who uses references or detailed secondhand sources of information and by use of these sources of information they change their understanding of society. This is commonly a self-taught or self imposed method of changing moral or situational lines of guilt and morality but it can also be one that is indirectly used to upset or change society by persuasion and logic manipulation. In the former we have individuals who do not fully agree with or understand society as it is from either small or large degrees of difference and because of this they seek out information about dissenting opinions from social norms. This creates a second understanding, or a second society, that can exist if only in the context of at least the person informing themselves of this dissenting opinion and the informant of the opinion. The latter is a situation in which information about a society and its standards are not widely educated and as a result there are elements of information missing from the guardian or the individual during development. From here there are two steps, the first being an individual raised this way will eventually come into conflict with society by not having the full picture of what the society considers morality. The second step is having any secondhand source of information express discontent with this and propose a society in which the differences suit those not in agreement with society as a whole. In this case there are varying degrees of misinformation and persuasion but at its core it addresses the idea that one person will seek out people that could be like-minded to define a different social norm while the other person seeks out others who already share their opinion or have one that would match their experience and understanding. This third type of person will be called Beta because there is always a secondhand source of information involved.

With the three people given distinction, we are exposed to a world with varying degrees of Alphas and Betas that interact with the Omegas in ways that present conflict. Now as this experiment is not challenging social norms but trying to understand how morality is drawn and defined it is then important that we define how a society deals with morality as an evolving and shifting thing as well as how it is not. In context to Alphas, we find their state of conflict arises from states of mind they cannot control. If an Alpha is in conflict with society, they are typically allocated as being sick or deformed in the mind and as such are ostracized from interaction on significant social levels without consideration to how deep or varied their difference from common society they are. Therefore it is a common thread in all major or common societies that mental illness is unacceptable on some level or at least set to the side so it cannot interfere with society. With Betas we have people trying to change society or exist outside it depending on their course of action and as a result of this we have varying degrees of conflict, anything ranging from political parties trying to change laws and set acceptable standards for how governments and law enforcement treat and assist people to large scale differences that ignite revolution or create resistance pockets that fight and disconnect themselves from their nation and in turn their society. This creates bias in views that dissent from governments and societies as a way to keep things working without conflict, for better or worse, effectively changing the way things operate.

Now that we have an understanding of how the three types of people interact all that is left is understanding how one draws lines of morality and expresses themselves in society accordingly.

A person can usually tell if they fit in early on or not, except in the case of Alphas it can be from birth or late adulthood trauma such as PTSD, so with that we are presented with a social bias in this experiment as presented. It stands to reason if one does consider themselves to be in line with the Omega type then they are either lying to fit in or they genuinely have no problems with society. If one finds themselves to be in the Alpha house they’ll be an outsider on some level and either mimic the Omega type to fit in and hiccup due to disorder when confronted with it or their disorder will be so extreme that they will be unable to have pretense and nothing outside the direct intervention of Omegas will help to change that issue. If one is a Beta they will either flaunt their disagreement with society as a badge of courage or a fashion statement to get attention. Whatever the reason a Beta will stand out by choice, unless in a highly oppressive society and then they will hide their opinions but still act out on them if possible.

From these biases we can then start to draw a picture where people draw lines in their morals and social standards. An Alpha may be taught, by themselves or others, to act in a way that fits into society and suppresses their built in understanding of how things should be. This can be expressed in people with clinical depression who constantly try to make others happy by pretending to be happy and eventually all that lying externally can lead someone to doing something drastic, such as suicide or mass homicide. Those who have mental instabilities can sometimes hide what they suspect to be an illness for fear of being ostracized and can go to such extremes as burying animals they killed out of curiosity to murder and rape being meticulously hidden as their life was built around hiding such personality traits and potential mental illness, making each success a sort of encouragement to see how well they can stay inside the bounds of society while still being who or what they are. Granted this is speculative and there are varying degrees of this as Alphas are concerned but the major connecting factor is a fear of society and a realization that one is not the same as those around them, however large or small in difference.

Another example of Alpha bias is sexuality; for the longest time homosexuality in the United States has been viewed as a choice, a mental illness and even outright blasphemous in regards to prominent religions. As homosexuality is a difference from birth that does not fall under what society saw as acceptable it was classified as something outside the norm and ostracized in a similar fashion to mental illness. If in context to conventional understanding, where homosexuality is a difference in birth, then one can conclude that even though it is not a mental illness it does still fall under the Alpha category because the trauma involved is being told that such a thing is abnormal. This is how people of different races, cultures and creeds were treated initially when observed by societies outside their own. Even culture in regards to slavery saw people of non-white skin as somehow inherently different in such a way that makes them incapable of acting within society in a normal way and that has long since has been shown to objectively be false. In current United States social culture there has been a shift from treating homosexuals as an Alpha type to a Beta type as many push the idea that one chooses to have sex with men and it is not biological coding, however there is no choice in one’s sexual preferences as it is all tied chemically into reproduction and the brains ability to process those chemicals as tied to love, happiness and other social interactions, so the Alpha type bias holds until more common ground is set for sexuality.

A Beta could be forced to constantly do something society views as normal or necessary while the Beta only sees it as inhumane or degrading based on their perception of the world and in turn they can protest it or even try to dismantle the system that allows the activity they disagree with to continue in the way it does. For example, we have two extremes in the case of the United States Civil War, one group who felt that the economic needs of their land and nation’s survival was dependent on economically efficient labor while another side felt that said economically efficient labor is in fact an abhorrent action that forces people with thoughts and feelings to be treated as property and divorces them from any hope of being treated as human. As previously mentioned there are elements of Alpha bias in the development of slavery and inhumane treatment of non-white people but that since has evolved into a Beta type bias as the Union showed there was no difference in a non-white person’s ability to be humane and fit within social norms, however oppressive.

In this conflict there was a significant social divide that established two morals fighting each other. Had the south won it would stand to reason that many of the views of treating people as property would be more prevalent today as opposed to being fetishized or restricted to illegal activity. As the Union did win the United States has a quietly agreed upon social norm of treating people as such that reflects in their laws, even if it does not always reflect in their actions.

In the case of each faction the other felt they had their rights as people taken away; the right to property and economic freedom versus the right to being treated with respect and physical freedom. Regardless of current morality in any direction these two groups felt in their own way violated and a need to fight for their beliefs. Because one won out over the other those who disagreed were reintegrated into the United States and were required to adapt to the new laws and society despite their continued disagreement. From the Klu Klux Klan to other racial barriers such as segregation and voting equality there were, and still are many examples of how the social belief of those in the south still survives in what can effectively be considered Beta type people. In regards to before the Civil War, those who disagreed with slavery were Beta type people and through their effective campaign in the war they changed their society, if only slowly and gruelingly over many years even after the war concluded.

These biases illustrate how from youth to adulthood a social norm can be repressed and altered to fit the majority regardless of morality, professed or otherwise, and in turn set president for what is and is not acceptable not only for the majority but forcibly to others who may not be able to share the same view, by choice or by default. This does however raise questions of dangers to society versus acceptance. United States culture is pushing toward the acceptance of homosexuality and many other perceptions on sexuality however there is still a series of common threads that follow mental illness that tie to sexuality, such as sadomasochism which can deviate from agreed infliction of pain to forcibly harming another person who may enjoy pain despite not giving consent. This can be further taken to extremes by the difference between competitive martial arts and gladiatorial combat. Society as a whole places a harsh line against the concept of unjust murder but that line of justness has shifted over the centuries, from forcing people to fight for amusement to allowing them to in underground fight rings. Is it for money or pleasure these people fight? Is it because they were born with a compulsion to be aggressive and violent or do they find a beauty in it taught by philosophers of war and combat? What becomes too much violence? Is it okay that we allow someone to be knocked unconscious, possibly ruining their life by inducing brain damage, or is it awful if we don’t kill them after permanently damaging their frontal lobe from successive concussive punches that would make them comatose and invalid? These are the lines and considerations we set as president in society as they help us rectify disagreements between right and wrong.

Let us now create a hypothetical person. This person could have a mental disorder but be high functioning and hide it well. They could also be exposed to counter culture that makes them reconsider their beliefs and understanding of society and hide this just as well. If both cases were true, how would they know what lines they are drawing according to biology, society and personal morality? Would it not stand to reason that such a person could do something as benign as dress up in all black and romanticize death or go to such extremes as only being physically violent with people who love and trust them intimately because the person enjoys such a thing? Is it solely the mental illness they possess creating such a deviant state of mind? Is the suppression of their counter culture disposition forcing them to bottle up any mental illness they have for fear that one will be linked to the other, removing them from what they truly love? Where does one draw the line in the Alpha type and the Beta type when indicators of both exist in a person and can be intertwined in such a way where even the person themselves do not know where their morality begins and ends?

Let us give a similar example. This person is bisexual and this person is against prejudice of sexuality in the United States. The person in question could have been through many experiences in which the person was exposed to differing sexuality in youth and because they saw it as something natural, they perceived that this is something they could enjoy and does enjoy on some level. The person therefore supports the equal treatment of those who are not of the common sexuality and also falls under that category because of their past experiences. Now let us throw a monkey wrench in all of this and theorize about how their sexuality could be projected. It is not to say that they don’t find pleasure in sex but that because there was always one man and one woman present in their sexual encounters leading to this revelation that they could very well be heterosexual but not uncomfortable with multiple people present. Due to a lack of personal understanding they have now confused their identity. Are they bisexual because they enjoy the interaction of someone who shares their gender or is it because they see it as acceptable and associate it with their morality? Are they actually homosexual and not bisexual? Have they not clearly defined themselves because nothing they have done or experience has been tied to one concurrent event or understanding due to their upbringing? Where does the Alpha type begin or end and where does the Beta type begin or end in this scenario?

In both cases we have a similar logic problem but in one there is a sense of dread or physical harm while the other is benign and restricted to one’s understanding of oneself. Did these lines get pushed because these people were exposed to things beyond what they may have not been comfortable with in adulthood or were they born with these desires and comfort levels and the world around them is making them question themselves? This is the kind of questioning that leads to cognitive dissonance, a mental complex or even radical shifts in personality via revelation about one’s true comfort levels and personal beliefs being more well established given the time and space to confront and understand the state of their mind. While therapy is commonly a way to facilitate and control this process there are those out there who do not put themselves in situations where such help is available or they simply don’t know it exists and these people are forced to reconcile their own confusions alone.

From here all the groundwork has been laid; differences in exposure, in opinion and in state of being as well as the way these differences interact internally and externally. The only thing that remains is how are these lines set? From all the data listed above it is clear that each interaction and each internal and personal processing of those interactions, be it dry information or a traumatic experience, help to shape and mold what each individual believes in and where they fall under the spectrum of social norms. Granted that this is all speculation from personal understanding and there is neither a source nor a bibliography to validate these claims but as a thought experiment and a stream of consciousness, it was done to the best of my comprehension.

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