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Be Nice

JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

https://heritage.umich.edu/stories/the-prisoners-dilemma/#chapter_5

^ talks about the famous "prisoners dilemma" and investigates it with computer designed simulations that happened in late 70s game theory.

And ends with:

Avoid unnecessary conflict by cooperating as long as your opponent does;
If your opponent betrays you without provocation, respond in kind — once;
Then forgive the betrayal and cooperate again;
Be clear and predictable. That is, always follow steps 1, 2 and 3, so your opponent comes to know how you act and can plan on that basis.

personlobsterShoshinBrian

Comments

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited September 29

    I heard about that programming contest to come up with the optimum "good" strategy. Its kind of surprising how well it applies to real life. "Be nice. Be ready to forgive. But don’t be a pushover."

    I heard about it here, you might find it interesting. Two versions of the same show.

    https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/episodes/103951-the-good-show

    JeffreyShoshin
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Respond in kind, once... I wonder about that. My previous landlady declined to return my security deposit, for no reason and illegally, which was the last time i was called upon to “respond in kind”, and I could have taken her to court, but I couldn’t find it in my conscience to do so.

    It’s one of those things, what to do in practice when confronted with a situation like that. Do you contribute to the suffering in the world, to get back that money, or do you make a sacrifice for the greater good?

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    I was kind of wondering about when this might apply. In the programming contest differing strategies went against each other repeatedly rather than just once or twice. So there would be feedback and response. Many of our interactions in the real world aren't with people who we would have repeated interactions with so it probably wouldn't have the same outcome. It seems like family, friends, coworkers, these type of people would be best.

    The organizational psychologist and author Adam Grant divides the world up into 25% takers, 25% givers and 50% matchers (reciprocater). The most successful people and the least successful people are both in the giver group. The difference between the two is that the successful people are able to avoid and resist the takers, their kindness isn't being taken advantage of.

    lobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    Respond in kind, once... I wonder about that. My previous landlady declined to return my security deposit, for no reason and illegally, which was the last time i was called upon to “respond in kind”, and I could have taken her to court, but I couldn’t find it in my conscience to do so.

    It’s one of those things, what to do in practice when confronted with a situation like that. Do you contribute to the suffering in the world, to get back that money, or do you make a sacrifice for the greater good?

    I think intention can play an important role in situations like this. You can still respond in kind from a place of compassion and the greater good. Your intention wouldn't have to be out of anger to get your money but could be out of a sense of standing up for what is right or your own sense of self worth or maybe an idea that it isn't good for your landlady herself to feel she can always just take advantage of people.

    You are a being worthy of dignity and respect just as much as any other. I like to make the distinction that we should try to love others AS ourselves, rather than INSTEAD of ourselves.

    adamcrossleylobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited September 29

    I'm listening to that podcast again and they're on the prisoner's dilemma and made the point that if we only interact with someone once in that scenario then it makes the most sense from a strategically selfish point of view to defect or cheat or be mean. So in our large, complex and often anonymous society many people seem to have found that they can get away with being a taker because they don't have to interact with their "takees" again. Having a public image such as a business allows them to develop a reputation which is a sort of repeated public interaction, but that can often be gamed to some degree or another.

    It seems to me that in our ancestor's smaller scale, tribal societies the cheats and freeloaders wouldn't be able to get away with their behavior without being noticed. Today in our large and anonymous societies we have trouble enforcing our instinctive interpersonal system of reciprocity and kindness. Ideally we'd do our best to write laws and regulations but on one hand they are often one size fits all and impose high costs and restrictions on the sizes that don't fit them and on the other hand people with influence are able to manipulate the laws to be more favorable to themselves than others.

    Anyway, it still seems like good advice on a practical, personal level.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @person said:

    @Kerome said:
    Respond in kind, once... I wonder about that. My previous landlady declined to return my security deposit, for no reason and illegally, which was the last time i was called upon to “respond in kind”, and I could have taken her to court, but I couldn’t find it in my conscience to do so.

    It’s one of those things, what to do in practice when confronted with a situation like that. Do you contribute to the suffering in the world, to get back that money, or do you make a sacrifice for the greater good?

    I think intention can play an important role in situations like this. You can still respond in kind from a place of compassion and the greater good. Your intention wouldn't have to be out of anger to get your money but could be out of a sense of standing up for what is right or your own sense of self worth or maybe an idea that it isn't good for your landlady herself to feel she can always just take advantage of people.

    You are a being worthy of dignity and respect just as much as any other. I like to make the distinction that we should try to love others AS ourselves, rather than INSTEAD of ourselves.

    I found it really difficult to cope with. I was the wronged party, it was a fair amount of money (2000 euro’s), and not too much trouble to engage a debt collection service to do the hard work of chasing payment. Still I couldn’t do it. It was like “would you want to be chased for money by these people?” Do you think you are raising the overall happiness of the world?

    It was a confrontation between a number of tendencies in my brain, on the one hand scrooginess and care with money, and on the other hand compassion, generosity, not wanting to let money always get the upper hand in a conversation, and (importantly) laziness.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @person said:

    @Kerome said:
    Respond in kind, once... I wonder about that. My previous landlady declined to return my security deposit, for no reason and illegally, which was the last time i was called upon to “respond in kind”, and I could have taken her to court, but I couldn’t find it in my conscience to do so.

    It’s one of those things, what to do in practice when confronted with a situation like that. Do you contribute to the suffering in the world, to get back that money, or do you make a sacrifice for the greater good?

    I think intention can play an important role in situations like this. You can still respond in kind from a place of compassion and the greater good. Your intention wouldn't have to be out of anger to get your money but could be out of a sense of standing up for what is right or your own sense of self worth or maybe an idea that it isn't good for your landlady herself to feel she can always just take advantage of people.

    You are a being worthy of dignity and respect just as much as any other. I like to make the distinction that we should try to love others AS ourselves, rather than INSTEAD of ourselves.

    I found it really difficult to cope with. I was the wronged party, it was a fair amount of money (2000 euro’s), and not too much trouble to engage a debt collection service to do the hard work of chasing payment. Still I couldn’t do it. It was like “would you want to be chased for money by these people?” Do you think you are raising the overall happiness of the world?

    It was a confrontation between a number of tendencies in my brain, on the one hand scrooginess and care with money, and on the other hand compassion, generosity, not wanting to let money always get the upper hand in a conversation, and (importantly) laziness.

    There's merit in being able to let things go, I may have just done the same because I wouldn't want to deal with the stress of it and that would be the end of it.

    I think maybe it is more important to take a stand in relationships that are ongoing. If you still had to deal with your landlady letting it go would just give her permission to do it more. That wouldn't be good for you or her.

    The programming contest had each of the strategies engage with each other 200 times, so it really is only tested on repeated interactions.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @person said:

    @Kerome said:
    Respond in kind, once... I wonder about that. My previous landlady declined to return my security deposit, for no reason and illegally, which was the last time i was called upon to “respond in kind”, and I could have taken her to court, but I couldn’t find it in my conscience to do so.

    It’s one of those things, what to do in practice when confronted with a situation like that. Do you contribute to the suffering in the world, to get back that money, or do you make a sacrifice for the greater good?

    I think intention can play an important role in situations like this. You can still respond in kind from a place of compassion and the greater good. Your intention wouldn't have to be out of anger to get your money but could be out of a sense of standing up for what is right or your own sense of self worth or maybe an idea that it isn't good for your landlady herself to feel she can always just take advantage of people.

    You are a being worthy of dignity and respect just as much as any other. I like to make the distinction that we should try to love others AS ourselves, rather than INSTEAD of ourselves.

    I found it really difficult to cope with. I was the wronged party, it was a fair amount of money (2000 euro’s), and not too much trouble to engage a debt collection service to do the hard work of chasing payment. Still I couldn’t do it. It was like “would you want to be chased for money by these people?” Do you think you are raising the overall happiness of the world?

    It was a confrontation between a number of tendencies in my brain, on the one hand scrooginess and care with money, and on the other hand compassion, generosity, not wanting to let money always get the upper hand in a conversation, and (importantly) laziness.

    In my work I sometimes make mistakes or things don't always go right. I used to be glad when people wouldn't notice or say anything, it isn't pleasant if they criticize me or my work. What I've come to realize and appreciate over the years is that when people do get on me about correcting my mistakes or doing better, is that it makes me better at what I do. I take more care to do things right than I do when people just let it go, I learn more, I'm more conscientious.

    Most people wouldn't want to be chased by debt collectors. Is it kinder though to let them continue with bad behavior, harming themselves and others, or is it kinder to put up some resistance so they start to think twice about what they are doing?

    Vastmind
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Is it kinder though to let them continue with bad behavior, harming themselves and others, or is it kinder to put up some resistance so they start to think twice about what they are doing?

    It depends.
    A lot of my aggression/anger/fear is becoming the more mature assertion I ain't no taoist ... Therefore:

    Wrathful unfoldment must not be premature. It is ideally a mark of great control/mindfulness/compassion.

    Incidentally anyone is free to debt-collect my poverty [big clue right there].
    In the unspoken words of the Buddha.

    Bowl Empty.

    person
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @lobster said:
    A lot of my aggression/anger/fear is becoming the more mature assertion I ain't no taoist

    Don’t Taoists pursue the notion of acting without self, the idea of action through non-action of the self? Surely that doesn’t mean that they are without emotions?

    I am not such an emotional being, but when I do feel emotions I often ‘embody’ them and I still have difficulty just being the watcher. Sometimes I am able to let emotions come and go, but it seems they get very close to me.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

    What is the watcher? Is it a mental construct or does it go beyond that? Is there something physical that cues you that you are being the watcher? Or is the watcher your true nature? And how would you know that?

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran
    edited October 17

    Yes the watcher is closer to awareness and mindfulness. 🤹‍♂️ Knowing that and knowing The True is linked ... :o

    JeffreyShoshin
  • NeridaNerida Explorer Denmark Explorer

    Being “nice” is not helpful, being “true” is much better in my experience. Many people think nice people should be a doormat and get upset when this is not the case. I’ve been reading up on Idiot Compassion and feel that’s what “nice” people are expected to do. Not for me thank you.

    Vastmind
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Awesome and new huggery. ;)

    Very insightful @person
    It is why we have compassion for ourselves. We have blind spots, foibles, failings, flailings and fucked up wrong speech ... well that is just me ...

    However ... as we meditate, mediate and meander we find ... buddhism better brand. We follow the nicer niceties ...

    <3

  • adamcrossleyadamcrossley Veteran Veteran
    edited October 18

    @person said:
    The feeling I have internally in these situations is one of dignity and respect for my own self worth to the extent that I can maintain myself without feeling the need to attack.

    Thank you, that was a great post. I really enjoyed reading it.

    And I too am a fan of the Paddington Very Hard Stare™

    I read a good article about Idiot Compassion by Bodhipaksa yesterday, to get acquainted with the idea.

    https://www.wildmind.org/blogs/on-practice/idiot-compassion

    lobsterpersonVastmind
  • NeridaNerida Explorer Denmark Explorer

    @person said:
    A couple random comments on some Buddhist podcasts today brought to mind that standing up for yourself or not being a doormat doesn't have to mean getting angry or turning into a jerk yourself.

    I agree with this statement.

    It's been possible for me to avoid being pushed around too much without resorting to excessive anger or aggression. The feeling I have internally in these situations is one of dignity and respect for my own self worth to the extent that I can maintain myself without feeling the need to attack.

    >
    That is very admirable. I strive to maintain this in my life, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @person said:
    A couple random comments on some Buddhist podcasts today brought to mind that standing up for yourself or not being a doormat doesn't have to mean getting angry or turning into a jerk yourself.

    It’s an interesting balance, between expressing the compassion we have come to feel as practising buddhists and not being a doormat. If I recall the various monks I have met, they all had a really considered, compassionate feel to them... they smile a lot, are quiet, but at the same time they are very aware, and there is something fierce to them, something that makes you think they are not pushovers.

    It does make me consider whether if you go too far to being just compassion, if you become too accommodating, whether that may not be a wrong turning in the path. It seems to me that in order to stand your ground in a debate, in order to argue your case, there needs to be a certain strength. Same with concentration and will, for the higher realms of meditation that seems to be needed.

    lobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @person said:
    A couple random comments on some Buddhist podcasts today brought to mind that standing up for yourself or not being a doormat doesn't have to mean getting angry or turning into a jerk yourself.

    It’s an interesting balance, between expressing the compassion we have come to feel as practising buddhists and not being a doormat. If I recall the various monks I have met, they all had a really considered, compassionate feel to them... they smile a lot, are quiet, but at the same time they are very aware, and there is something fierce to them, something that makes you think they are not pushovers.

    It does make me consider whether if you go too far to being just compassion, if you become too accommodating, whether that may not be a wrong turning in the path. It seems to me that in order to stand your ground in a debate, in order to argue your case, there needs to be a certain strength. Same with concentration and will, for the higher realms of meditation that seems to be needed.

    I'd say, in the end it comes down to balance. Of course there is a constant thread in Buddhism of giving completely of oneself for others, the Buddha's previous life tale of sacrificing his life for the tigers comes to mind. I think an important aspect of that though is that the Bodhisattva was acting out of strength rather than out of weakness.


    The Audio Dharma podcast seems to have been stressing this aspect of the path in their talks recently.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran
    edited October 19

    Fierce smiling@kerome? 💀

    Good post. I feel what you are referring to is resolve or right concentration. Focus even. In extreme understanding (abused by the shallow and fake fakirs) it is wrathful. As with the legendary Bodhidharma.

    On the Lay Path it is determination. No time for silly Trumpeting, worldly indulgence and matching handy bags. The Buddha she knows. Be nice to Gaia, laity, monks and The Good.

    Raft built. On Our Way ...

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited October 19

    Hmm being nice & kindness

    The Eight Verses of Mind Training comes to mind...

    By thinking of all sentient beings
    As more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel
    For accomplishing the highest aim,
    I will always hold them dear.

    Whenever I’m in the company of others,
    I will regard myself as the lowest among all,
    And from the depths of my heart
    Cherish others as supreme.

    In my every action, I will watch my mind,
    And the moment destructive emotions arise,
    I will confront them strongly and avert them,
    Since they will hurt both me and others.

    Whenever I see ill-natured people,
    Or those overwhelmed by heavy misdeeds or suffering,
    I will cherish them as something rare,
    As though I’d found a priceless treasure.

    Whenever someone out of envy
    Does me wrong by attacking or belittling me,
    I will take defeat upon myself,
    And give the victory to others.

    Even when someone I have helped,
    Or in whom I have placed great hopes
    Mistreats me very unjustly,
    I will view that person as a true spiritual teacher.

    In brief, directly or indirectly,
    I will offer help and happiness to all my mothers,
    And secretly take upon myself
    All their hurt and suffering.

    I will learn to keep all these practices
    Untainted by thoughts of the eight worldly concerns.
    May I recognize all things as like illusions,
    And, without attachment, gain freedom from bondage.

    Putting them into practice...they can be a hard pill to swallow for the Western mindset :)

    And then there's Western pop psychology "The Dangers of Being Nice"

    What goes a long way to being nice is that you're more likely to blame yourself than anyone else: It’s your fault, you should have known better, you did something that caused the other person to act the way they did, though you really have no idea what that may be. You have this critical, scolding drill-sergeant/parent voice coming at you all the time, looking over your shoulder, wagging its finger. Under such steady verbal abuse, you vow to try harder, not screw up, be even nicer, but whatever you do is never good enough; fault, mistakes, and incriminations are around every corner. It’s a miserable way to live.

    lobsterperson
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