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Can we change attitude?

Printed From: History Community ~ All Empires
Category: Scholarly Pursuits
Forum Name: Social Sciences
Forum Description: Discuss Sociology, Law, Economics, Psychology and other soft sciences.
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Printed Date: 05-Dec-2020 at 18:46
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Topic: Can we change attitude?
Posted By: coberst
Subject: Can we change attitude?
Date Posted: 05-Apr-2009 at 19:42

Can we change attitude?


Solitude is a valuable resource when changes of mental attitude are required—“solitude can be as therapeutic as emotional support from a friend”.


Our way of thinking about life and ourselves is so habitual that it takes time and effort to change attitudes—people find it difficult to make changes in attitude but solitude and perhaps changes in environment facilitate changes in attitude because habit is fortified by external environment—religion is well aware of these facts—only through experience of change in environment can one know if such change will facilitate change in attitude—“one needs not just solitude but one needs to be able to sink roots into some replenishing philosophy also”.


Solitude is not to subject oneself to sensor deprivation, which can lead to hallucinations. One needs the stimulation of the senses and the intellect.


Imagination—solitude can facilitate the growth of imagination—imagination has given humans flexibility but has robbed her of contentment—our non-human ancestors are governed by pre-programmed patterns-- these preprogrammed patterns have inhibited growth when the environment changes—humans are governed primarily by learning and transmission of culture from generation to generation and is thus more able to adapt—“for humans so little is predetermined by nature and so much is dependent upon learning”—happiness, the contentment with the status quo is only a fleeting feeling—“divine discontent” is the gift of our nature that brings moments of ecstasy and a life time of discontent—the present is such a fleeting part of our reality that we are almost always in the past or the future.


I think that a regular dose of solitude is very important for everyone, young and old. Does that make sense to you? I think that each individual needs to make radical adjustments in their attitude toward learning when school dazes are over. Solitude might be helpful in facilitating such adjustments.


This stuff comes from reading “Solitude: A Return to the Self” by Anthony Storr. Most of this is snatches of text that is sometimes a paraphrase and sometimes a quotation

Posted By: Omar al Hashim
Date Posted: 06-Apr-2009 at 05:19
Relaxation time.
Quote for humans so little is predetermined by nature and so much is dependent upon learning
I think alot of what humans do is base instinct, or "predetermined by nature"

"O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give the pledge to this Prophet"
~ Heraclius, Roman Emperor

Posted By: coberst
Date Posted: 06-Apr-2009 at 11:32

I would say that in my life I have made several attitude changes.


My most dramatic attitude change was made when I went to army boot camp and my civilian attitude was changed into a military attitude.  The primary purpose of boot camp, in my judgment, was to make this very dramatic attitude change.  This required eight weeks of intensive 24/7 effort by a cadre of military officers and enlisted men.


My next big attitude change came with marriage and parenthood.


Wiki informs me that Jung’s definition of attitude is “readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain way”.  He thought that attitude often displayed itself in a dual manner: consciousness/unconsciousness, extraversion/introversion, thinking/feeling, rational/irrational, and individual/social.

Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 06-Apr-2009 at 17:59
Attitude change normally requires a change in environment, especially a change in the relevant rêward/punishment system.
Isolation is one way of achieving that change, but somewhat unpredictable. Immersion in a different culture is more reliable usually, but can also have contrary effects. Once fashionable T-groups were one attempt to use environmental change to produce attitude change. -
PS My feeling is that this should be in ocial sciences, but I'll wait and see if anyone objects to my moving it.

Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Posted By: coberst
Date Posted: 07-Apr-2009 at 12:38


“Man cannot evolve beyond his character”—Ernest Becker 


Becker makes the point that the humanization process is one wherein the individual exchanges the natural organismic propensity for a mysterious symbolic dictation.  The child in its very essential formative age is faced with denying that which ‘comes naturally’ for what are symbolic dictates that are far beyond its ability for comprehension.  The child’s formation of character is dictated by its need to be somebody in the symbolic world.


The child continual loses battles that s/he cannot comprehend.  John Dewey learned long ago that “the child continually loses battles he does not understand…we earn our early self-esteem not actively but in large part passively, by having our action blocked and re-oriented to the parents pleasure.”


In the very essential formative years the child develops character traits that in many cases remain with that individual for the rest of their life.


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.”


Britannica specifies that attitude is “a predisposition to classify objects and events and to react to them with some degree of evaluative consistency.”


If I consult my inner self I cannot focus upon an attitude but can infer such an attitude based on behavior.  If I wish to become conscious of my intuition I can through observation of behavior describe the attitude, which, in turn, allows me to ascertain the nature of my intuition.


When a mother tells her son “you must change your attitude”.  The son cannot change the attitude directly but the son must change his intuition from which the inferred attitude emanates.  This does become a bit convoluted but in essence when we wish to change an attitude we are saying that our intuition must be modified.  We can modify intuition only through habit directed by our will.


“Were it not for the continued operation of all habits in every act, no such thing as character would exist.  There would be simply a bundle, an untied bundle at that, of isolated acts.  Character is the interpenetrating of habits.  If each habit in an insulated compartment and operated without affecting or being affected by others, character would not exist.  That is conduct would lack unity being only juxtaposition of disconnected reactions to separated situations.  But since environments overlap, since situations are continuous and those remote from one another contain like elements, a continuous modification of habits by one another is constantly going on.”


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


Posted By: Akolouthos
Date Posted: 07-Apr-2009 at 15:24

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

PS My feeling is that this should be in ocial sciences, but I'll wait and see if anyone objects to my moving it.

I concur. It seems to be a primarily psychological/sociological question with philosophical implications.
Interesting topic, coberst. Welcome to the forum, and feel free to visit our local "Introduce Yourself" thread which you can find at the top of the Phil/Theo subforum. Smile

Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 07-Apr-2009 at 18:47
OK I'll move it.
In Cobert's last post I think what is missing is consideration of how habits are changed. Yes, an attitude change requires a change of habits (since 'attitude' is only something inferred from observing habitual behavious), so the question becomes can (and how) can habits be changed, which involves considering how they are formed in the first place.
And that basically is through feedback from the environment to one's actions - which is what I mean by the local rewardr-punishment system.

Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Posted By: coberst
Date Posted: 07-Apr-2009 at 20:51
When a  mother finds her son is into drugs one of the first thing she tries to do is to get him out of town and out of his present environment.

Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 08-Apr-2009 at 12:07
It should be anyway. Isn't that what I said?
And the vast majority of heroin-addicted Vietnam troops were clean within a year of returning home.

Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Posted By: malizai_
Date Posted: 11-May-2009 at 08:52

I believe attitude even in a manner that involves dealing with a given set of circumstance depends on ur genetic disposition, "predetermined by nature" as Omar described it. However attitude can be 'controlled' through suppression. A common tool for 'suppression' is 'conditioning', whether it be through education, repetition, etc.

Everybody remembers the parable of the 'fox and the scorpion':
One day, a fox came to a river. To get to the other side, he would have to swim. At the riverbank, he met a scorpion, the scorpion also wanted to get across the river. When the scorpion saw the fox was about to enter the water, he called to the fox and asked the fox to carry him to the other side. "No," said the fox. "You will sting me if I carry you on my back and I will probably end up drowning." The fox and the scorpion argued back and forth until the fox finally relented and agreed to carry the scorpion. When they two reached the middle of the river, the scorpion started stinging the fox. The fox cried out and said, "I can't go on we shall both drown, why did you sting me?" The scorpion replied, "Because that is what I do".

"We didnt land on Israel, Israel landed on us!!"--Palestinian X - -

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