Saturday, July 16, 2011

Not Even The 16 Basic Needs Of An Animal

I extracted this section out of my previous post because I was expanding it far too much. Reiss' supposed theory of 16 supposedly basic needs is striking in its arrogant stupidity and I feel compelled to point out each and every one of its many flaws.

Theory vs Taxonomy

The first problem with it is that it isn't a theory, it's a taxonomy. In order to be a theory, a model with actual predictive power, it would have to specify the type and range of values of each of the needs, how those needs interact with each other, and how they create behaviour in the real world.

Taxonomies are just lists of things. They don't say how the things are wired up to each other or how they behave or how they interact. Taxonomies in other words are just scrap piles. Piles of random junk. Now, taxonomies can still be useful for certain things IFF they are accurate.

A taxonomy of basic needs would be really useful if for instance you wanted to predict the death of capitalism by arguing that all basic needs are being steadily met using technology and that their cost is being driven to zero. Of course, the taxonomy would have to be accurate AND complete.

If incomplete it might still be useful in rewording and formalizing parts of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But it would have to be absolutely accurate. And Reiss' taxonomy isn't even remotely so.


Before moving on to the blatant inaccuracies, I want to point out that it is not at all obvious how to turn this taxonomy into a model. Let's focus on the supposed basic need for order all humans have. The funny thing is that I have myself long ago identified this as a basic variable at the neurological level. So I know it's important.

But saying "order" messes up all the important questions with unwarranted assumptions. For instance, what is the range of this variable? I personally favour chaos and dislike order. So suddenly it's no longer "order" it's "chaos vs order". More problematically, I don't like chaos all of the time.

It's common in people who enjoy chaos to not want it when they're trying to focus on something else. Really enjoyable music is just too enjoyable when you're working. Then there are things that are simply never enjoyable no matter how much chaos you inject in them. That may trigger a desire for simple order.

In Future Shock, Alvin Toffler wrote that people need a fairly constant amount of change that's within their own personal comfort zone. And he was very specific that 'change' is linear, that too little change leads to boredom and too much change leads to stress. And that different people have personal 'zones of no change' which can be either work, housing, or relationships.

Toffler filled out an entire model on just people's need for change. Reiss not only doesn't recognize change as a basic need (which it is, and arguably more so than curiosity) but he handwaves away ALL of the information that's necessary to turn a taxonomy into a model.

Right-Wing Inaccuracies

Okay, we already dealt with the fact Reiss based his taxonomy on OCD patients obsessed with absolute order instead of normal human beings. That's the first inaccuracy. We also touched on curiosity NOT being the same as a need for change. This should be obvious if you think about it. When you repaint your bedroom, it's not because you were curious what the colour would be like.

Going on, Reiss has listed "raising children" as a fundamental need and as "family". Yeah, that makes sense of people who go childless nowadays or replace children with pets! No, raising children is not fundamental, it's affection + creation. He's also stupid enough to confuse being safe with feeling safe, and romance with sex.

I can't accept that my need for creativity isn't listed. Wait, that's incorrect. I do accept that Reiss is an uncreative moron incapable of even imagining creativity. He also showcases his complete lack of creativity by failing to imagine all the obvious objections I've made so far. Objections which I consider incredibly basic.

As for "family", I fucking hate my family. I think most people who've overcome their abusive childhoods have ended up doing the same. Hatred is a really positive emotion sometimes.

We see from Reiss' choice of "family" as a basic need (along with "order") that he is a hardcore right-wing conservative. The bible-thumping kind I suspect since he's announced he intends to justify religion using his "model".

Exponential Explosion

Going on, while it's not even remotely true that "raising children" or "family" are fundamental needs, women's biological clocks shows that having children can be a fundamental need. So we're up to 19 basic needs now since we've added 'change' 'affection' 'creation' 'reproduction' while erasing that homey-sounding crap 'family'.

Does it sound like the number of fundamental needs is going to explode out of control? That's because you've got a smidgeon of intelligence more than Reiss does. Considering the intelligence the expert "Professor" has consistently failed to display, that puts you at about a billion times smarter than he is.

While I'm at it, since I already have affection down, I might as well complete the quintet. Love is: affection, attention, acceptance, allowance, and appreciation. Allowance means tolerance. For sexual love, just add attraction. It's funny how Reiss has got acceptance and attention. Allowance is too close to acceptance for Reiss' teeny tiny mind to grasp so that's understandable. But appreciation is beyond him because that's a conscious emotion. In fact, appreciation is just conscious knowledge of someone.

(Admit it, you thought "romance" would subdivide into sex + love, or possibly sex+love+romance. Hah, it subdivides into 6 different things!)

Reiss is of course the kind of lying fucker who would claim that appreciation is a kind of social status. Except that is not even remotely true. It is merely that the only thing most people appreciate about others is their social status. And that to genuinely appreciate someone means to personally grant them a kind of unilateral social status. But there are kinds of appreciation (like strong food preferences) that have nothing to do with social status. And there are social statuses in primitive societies that have no room for consciousness or conscious emotions like appreciation.

But the deal-killer for me has got to be the conspicuous absence of physical comfort from the list. And no, affection isn't the same as comfort since affection is emotional while comfort is physical (*). You see, physical comfort is the first and most important need any mammal has and trumps hmm all of the supposedly basic needs on Reiss' stupid list ... yeah that one isn't listed.

Why? My theory is that Reiss is a fucking Nazi. The Nazis' parents were big believers in denying all physical comfort to their children in favour of beating them unconscious. Notice how their children grew up ... to be Nazis.

*: that makes it 19+1(comfort)+6 (the 6 A's) -3 (acceptance, affection, social contact) -1 (romance) +1(sex) = 23 on the list now.

Contradicting An Established Actual Theory

Now, Reiss the Nazi handwaves away the yawning canyon of difference between his taxonomy and an explanatory model. He also pretends that his taxonomy is complete and not narrow-minded right-wing crap. Nazi crap at that.

What's unforgivable is the ridiculous notion that these animalistic needs remain axiomatic in everyone for all time. According to the Nazi, the mind is hardwired to serve some evolutionary physical needs and that is all there is to it. This is an incorrect and Nazi notion and total crap for analytic-synthetics. See What Are Core Values? In essence, his claims contradict Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration.

So first the Nazi claims that his taxonomy actually explains stuff. When in reality it explains nothing. And then he goes on to claim that his taxonomy explains everything. Despite the fact what it says is the total exact 180 degree opposite and logical contradiction of this other theory that actually is predictive!

His ridiculous claims of immutable needs also blatantly contradict my theory of value dynamics. They contradict the everyday experience that people's values change. And the notion that there are some genetically hardwired values, or types of values, called 'basic needs' runs smack against everything we know about neurology and cognitive science which is essentially that very little, if anything, is fixed. And nothing is both fixed AND universal.


Reiss' taxonomy while unusable is a decent attempt at a first version of a taxonomy of fundamental desires. In software development, I would call it version 0.1. It is far too wildly inaccurate to be usable as a taxonomy. Nobody but a moron would rely on this crud. As a prototype of a taxonomy, it's pretty decent. It showcases what a taxonomy of this kind of thing should look like. It needs a lot of work.

As a model, it is complete and utter total crap. It is blatantly misleading, lying and evil. It doesn't qualify as a prototype or even a rigged demo. Nobody but the most clueless and witless moron would take this for version 0.1 of anything. This is the half-baked sketch of an idea you put on a whiteboard during a brainstorming session. This should never have been published.

SO if you find yourself successfully using this "model" on a broken fucked up human, one of two things has happened. Either you're deluding yourself about how successful you are OR you're really using a freakishly large amount of other-psychology that you're deluding yourself about not using.

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