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Opportunism

Pizzabeak

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What's the general consensus on "opportunistic behavior" in society? It could be related to a capitalistic mindset. From wiki:
"Opportunism is the conscious policy and practice of taking advantage of circumstances – with little regard for principles or with what the consequences are for others. Opportunist actions are expedient actions guided primarily by self-interested motives. The term can be applied to individual humans and living organisms, groups, organizations, styles, behaviours, and trends.

Opportunism or "opportunistic behavior" is an important concept in such fields of study as biology, transaction cost economics, game theory, ethics, psychology, sociology and politics."

It's normal animal behavior, probably seen and developed since before the days of dinosaurs, in any kingdom. Yet, as humans, we have a choice (like going vegan). Do opportunists have no guilt or shame? What do you think?
 

MayaRefugee

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I think it's a question of morals, ethics and the time available to apply morals and ethics to your decision making.

The world for the most part is not dog eat dog, in a dog eat dog world opportunism could keep you alive and could be seen then as a good thing, even in sport where it's you or the other guy opportunism is usually seen as a good thing. As you move away from moments of intense "me or the other guy" situations things like gentlemanly conduct, honorable action, playing in the spirit of the game, etc. comes into it - the more choice you have and the more time you have to make that choice the more morality and ethics come into it. You often hear people talk about horribly immoral and unethical things happening in the "heat of battle", often these are excused and understood as somewhat necessary when no other alternatives were present or there wasn't enough time to consider your options - how many hours a day do you spend in the "heat of the battle"?, usually we have a fair amount of time to deliberate on what course of action to take or when certain courses of action will be implemented e.g. terms of engagement in war, a case going to trial before punishment is dished out, etc. When you have a lot of time it's usually considered wise to conduct yourself morally and ethically.
 

MayaRefugee

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There are also times when wise people act unwisely because the pay-off to them at the time seems more rewarding than maintaining their moral and ethical standards, for example, say a married man has the opportunity to bed a model or some other female he has fantasized about - should he or shouldn't he? Does he have the power to override his instincts? Is his moral and ethical code greater than his instincts? An opportunist would say you take any opportunity regardless of who gets hurt, winning is winning, the early bird gets the worm, first in first served, you only live once, etc. People with moral and ethical fiber have the capacity to decline opportunities for whatever reason they feel the need to do so i.e. self-respect, to not harm others, to remain a respectable member of society, etc. An opportunist would take the opportunity with the lady, someone with a strong moral constitution wouldn't.
 

Pizzabeak

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There are also times when wise people act unwisely because the pay-off to them at the time seems more rewarding than maintaining their moral and ethical standards, for example, say a married man has the opportunity to bed a model or some other female he has fantasized about - should he or shouldn't he? Does he have the power to override his instincts? Is his moral and ethical code greater than his instincts? An opportunist would say you take any opportunity regardless of who gets hurt, winning is winning, the early bird gets the worm, first in first served, you only live once, etc. People with moral and ethical fiber have the capacity to decline opportunities for whatever reason they feel the need to do so i.e. self-respect, to not harm others, to remain a respectable member of society, etc. An opportunist would take the opportunity with the lady, someone with a strong moral constitution wouldn't.
That's just Gawain & the Green Knight from the 14th century. Apparently, if you don't have a bad memory, things stick to your conscious until the grave, you can't escape.

From my experience, most people utilize "opportunism". It's fast. Lead Ti doesn't automatically mean deep thought, aux or tertiary Ti can consider as well. If someone drops money you can pick it up and keep it or if you saw them drop it, return it even. It's like interviewing for a job, that mindset, everyone wants to "win".

Whatever position at the top you're in, people won't stop trying to take it. You don't notice it until you do.

It isn't just trying to "provoke a response" or being as snarky as possible to "bully" people out of the picture. Think, political assassinations and the like. There's no real reason to believe that after a certain point in history, things changed and people were "smarter", so that only listening and regurgitating what your favorite groups say means it's the truth. Species go extinct daily, but this doesn't mean the universe is a hologram that goes on forever, so that all things play out. Even if it does there's no guarantee that you'll "live forever" in the multiverses; there's some indication that we only get this one consciousness in this life and once it bleeps, you can't experience the other ones.

People are running out of, not even originality, but things to do, let alone say. It's so bad.
 

Polaris

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Yes, opportunistic behaviour is part of our animal nature, but because humans have developed societies (first world) where opportunism is no longer an absolute necessity, we consider it anti-progressive. There are people who are genuine empaths and there are people who are not. The world seems divided between the two. I could go into this in detail, but it seems superfluous....something something broken family units, etc...you can complete the paragraph for yourselves.

Kinda like the current zeitgeist is suffering from a massive case of cognitive dissonance or something, it's almost palpable.

Of course, there are degrees of opportunism...it's not all bad.
 

lightfire

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Subconsciously, people think: "How will this benefit me? Is the effort that I put in going to be rewarded? Is it worth it?" It could be as simple as going to a party or befriending someone. It might also take form of a mutual benefit situations such as employment or businesses capitalizing off other businesses. When there comes a point where someone stops benefitting from an interaction or investment, the opposite can happen.

In social situations, the "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" determines if interaction is worth it. Some people don't bother in social situations if they don't find any type of gain to be received. I'm not saying all people are like this. In fact, the people that go against the opportunistic mindset are the ones that I would call selfless. They think of others, regardless if they benefit from the situation or not. There are so many tangents I can go with this but then I would derail the thread.

There's probably a line somewhere, when opportunism meets ethics and morals too. Everyone's value system is different. When people act on an opportunity, they might weigh it against their own value system before acting.
 

Siouxsie

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Some opportunist might feel guilt, some others won´t. The same with some situations. I´d rather ask one person at the time. No generalizing, no conclusions.
To me opportunism is just a label.
Why do you think a person would take the choice of not getting advantage from others? (not a rethorical question)
 

Pizzabeak

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Some opportunist might feel guilt, some others won´t. The same with some situations. I´d rather ask one person at the time. No generalizing, no conclusions.
To me opportunism is just a label.
Why do you think a person would take the choice of not getting advantage from others? (not a rethorical question)
And a fine label it is, to get the point across in a categorized manner. I don't think they won't take the opportunity. It's less so about receiving than it is about taking or stealing, let alone giving. It must be a satisfaction thing. Ask yourself: why would anyone want to kill Superman? Batman? Why does Spider-Man have villains? What about Wolverine? It really boils down to, what do people get out of killing Jesus? On Joseph being sold by his brothers: "He recognized his brothers but they did not recognize him."
 

MayaRefugee

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Why do you think a person would take the choice of not getting advantage from others? (not a rethorical question)
Preservation of conscience, fear of retribution, abstinence from the dog-eat-dog realms, belief in earning things by your own merit, respect for social agreements, pursuit of the pride and fulfillment that comes from self-reliance and independence, compassion for others, empathy for those less skilled at opportunistic tactics, respect for equality, etc.
 

Pizzabeak

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I think it's a question of morals, ethics and the time available to apply morals and ethics to your decision making.

The world for the most part is not dog eat dog, in a dog eat dog world opportunism could keep you alive and could be seen then as a good thing, even in sport where it's you or the other guy opportunism is usually seen as a good thing. As you move away from moments of intense "me or the other guy" situations things like gentlemanly conduct, honorable action, playing in the spirit of the game, etc. comes into it - the more choice you have and the more time you have to make that choice the more morality and ethics come into it. You often hear people talk about horribly immoral and unethical things happening in the "heat of battle", often these are excused and understood as somewhat necessary when no other alternatives were present or there wasn't enough time to consider your options - how many hours a day do you spend in the "heat of the battle"?, usually we have a fair amount of time to deliberate on what course of action to take or when certain courses of action will be implemented e.g. terms of engagement in war, a case going to trial before punishment is dished out, etc. When you have a lot of time it's usually considered wise to conduct yourself morally and ethically.
It basically is dog eat dog, saying that opportunism is good is relative, and to talk of semantics, so it's only referring to that certain instance. On the whole each organism would want the best for itself. It was Nietzsche who said when fighting evil you have to make sure not to become evil yourself. It's moreso about pushing the limits of the organism to max to see if there's any extra untapped potential. Once it became possible to use tools that became a requirement to succeed and live to pass on your seed.
 

MayaRefugee

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If it is dog eat dog most dogs get eaten in a pretty civilized manner i.e. I am happy to pay this price for the reward I perceive to be getting in return, I will respect peoples right to refuse, I will obtain informed consent, you scratch this much of my back I'll scratch this much of yours, etc. Modern day commerce and the free market make sure dog-eat-dog tactics don't profit, those and the protections and laws that are in place to ensure fair trade, professional standards and the stabilization of the marketplace itself - so too the need for consent in regard to sexual relations.

I can see how if you're trying to come up in the ghetto or lift yourself out of poverty the dog eating is less civilised but as I said, for the most part, transactions are done in a pretty civilized manner thus allowing one to conduct ones business in a more ethical and moral manner. If all the systems in place that allow business to be done in a civilised manner fell away into a world of lawlessness then sure, we would be back to all out dog-eat-doggedness but the fact remains if you act in a manner reflective of someone with a dog-eat-dog attitude it probably won't be long before the system puts you in a cage or the bigger dogs, those that guard the code of conduct for the civilised world, gang up on you al la the West Vs Bin Laden for example.

Deep down we do have primitive urges i.e. survival instincts, competition for mates, etc. but in civilisation these are moderated, sublimated, re-channelled, etc. If they aren't then cages await.
 

Pizzabeak

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That was one of the main points, I didn’t mean or intend to convey that because of it, businesses don’t profit. Capitalism is basically dog eat dog, and people who run companies or become entrepreneurs typically make the most money. More income doesn’t mean less problems by default.

People still exercise subtle behavior, dubbed “civilization”, to implement it so. It’s more a question of whether each action is done using opportunism or basic animal urges, instead of any extra reasoning or critical thinking, even skepticism or Occam’s razor. You can’t just rely on past experience too much, a pure intelligence is adapting to situations quicker.
 

MayaRefugee

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In the exchange of goods and services win-win scenarios are more likely to bring success, especially long term, than ones that kill a dog in the process.

For vendors, businesses, companies, etc. competition for market share could be seen as dog eat dog but that's more a by product of having a supply that better satisfies the demand e.g. more efficiently, at a lower price, etc. as opposed to one holding a gun to the others head or one storming the others ship and stealing their treasure.

You could argue opportunism is beneficial for identifying and adapting to market trends, advances in technology, etc , things entrepreneurs and CEO's etc are typically good at, as to allow adaptations in the business model to occur but this all happens within a legal and ethical framework so in that sense I would say it's the ethical and lawful eating of dogs.

Wealth creation is essentially taking from other dogs to fatten yourself as a dog if you want to see it that way but the playing field in a lawful marketplace is the same for everybody.

I should acknowledge too that not everyone comes to the market with the same opportunities and starting capital which intensifies the perception of it being dog eat dog.
 

Serac

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Thing is – in order to have shame, one has to learn what to have shame about in the first place. That's probably a matter of upbringing. How are people brought up nowadays? Well, they are taught some abstract principles created by academics, the Frankfurt School and whatnot, but very few values that apply down on earth, in the mud of real life. So I see these cases over and over again where people lecture me on some abstract cosmic social justice nonsense, and a bit later I see them stab friends in the back and treat people around them like dirt – most likely without even realizing it.
 

MayaRefugee

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Interesting point, empathy probably has more to do with it then the management of shame. Doing onto others as you would have them do onto you kind of thing. Your ability to empathise and put yourself in the shoes of those you are considering commiting acts against that could be classified as shameful within whatever system of judgement you use i.e. Buddhism, Christianity, Thug-Life, etc.

Acknowledging on a deeper level we are all in this game together rather then agents competing against each other tends to destroy any rationale and justification for excessive participation in the market. This and our perception of how much we really need to be happy from a materialistic perspective.

Our rationales and justifications, cosmic, personal or cultural, tend to exist simply to abate feelings of guilt or the scorn of detractors. Empathy and compassion tend to release the need for any rationales or justifications i.e. don't eat me and I won't eat you, you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours, etc.

Your post suggests you see a lot of wolves in sheeps clothing, I would say empathy decides how sheep-like or wolf-like agents are and that it is an unavoidable feature of interpersonal transaction that wolves can fleece sheep with the remedy possibly being for the empathetic to "be wise as serpents" as per Matthew 10:16 - “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."
 

Pizzabeak

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In the exchange of goods and services win-win scenarios are more likely to bring success, especially long term, than ones that kill a dog in the process.

For vendors, businesses, companies, etc. competition for market share could be seen as dog eat dog but that's more a by product of having a supply that better satisfies the demand e.g. more efficiently, at a lower price, etc. as opposed to one holding a gun to the others head or one storming the others ship and stealing their treasure.

You could argue opportunism is beneficial for identifying and adapting to market trends, advances in technology, etc , things entrepreneurs and CEO's etc are typically good at, as to allow adaptations in the business model to occur but this all happens within a legal and ethical framework so in that sense I would say it's the ethical and lawful eating of dogs.

Wealth creation is essentially taking from other dogs to fatten yourself as a dog if you want to see it that way but the playing field in a lawful marketplace is the same for everybody.

I should acknowledge too that not everyone comes to the market with the same opportunities and starting capital which intensifies the perception of it being dog eat dog.
That's capitalism, more so, or striving towards the American Dream. Rags to riches, riches to riches, rags to rags, or rags to riches to rags and/or back or not or what have you. Nothing new.

You still have to account for wild card. It isn't always so equal, the "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" mentality. So you're right, life is different for each person. Usually from my experience, when I would scratch someone's back, I'd get nothing in return. So I stopped. Now people want me to go again. Then, I compare it to my past experience and ask why, again.

Frequently people use my own knowledge against me. I'll discover some new idea or theory, then people call me a hypocrite for not practicing it - as if they really knew my own work better than myself? It makes no sense - at all - and clearly is a demonstration that they are the ones who don't know what they're talking about. It's some kind of attempt to try and gain some upper hand, it's basically opportunism at its finest.

I'm writing a book, and have been for the past few years. So when people get angry and demand answers as to why I don't add captions to pictures I post on social media or tweets I re-tweet - that's why.
 

MayaRefugee

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My input has been in regard to opportunism as it relates to tangibles i.e. money, goods, services, etc, it sounds like you're more interested in opportunism as it relates to intangibles i.e. favors, acclaim, credibility, respect, dignity, etc. This realm of intangible currency is one I find rife with opportunism, for example, credit is rarely given where credit is due, passive aggression is wielded to maintain ones sense of self and entitlement, people pull others down or rob from their pockets to make themselves "richer", etc.

In my experience those good at these games usually profit but it depends on the players, in certain company it is seen through and despised but company like this is hard to find.
 

Pizzabeak

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My input has been in regard to opportunism as it relates to tangibles i.e. money, goods, services, etc, it sounds like you're more interested in opportunism as it relates to intangibles i.e. favors, acclaim, credibility, respect, dignity, etc. This realm of intangible currency is one I find rife with opportunism, for example, credit is rarely given where credit is due, passive aggression is wielded to maintain ones sense of self and entitlement, people pull others down or rob from their pockets to make themselves "richer", etc.

In my experience those good at these games usually profit but it depends on the players, in certain company it is seen through and despised but company like this is hard to find.
It refers to both, but the big picture, is in intangibles. Profit is more so secondary, it's about the experience, which means, it's actually about the profit first. If animals were trying to get food, the fatter one won't beat the faster one in the race. They'll end up starving to death, and yet, the faster animals aren't so much opportuning anything, just living in accordance with nature. The fatter animal won't really complain or ask for food, they'd have to adapt ("intelligence") or die out of existence. Yet, we are humans, as far as animals go, and can reason more. It's the difference between refusing to give a homeless man food and telling them to get a job without knowing or caring about any details of their life, not that it would matter, for better or worse. Ultimately, I'd call it ignorance at its finest, it's a matter of life and death; etc, for the big picture. The majority of people are seriously retarded, then.
 

Pizzabeak

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Thing is – in order to have shame, one has to learn what to have shame about in the first place. That's probably a matter of upbringing. How are people brought up nowadays? Well, they are taught some abstract principles created by academics, the Frankfurt School and whatnot, but very few values that apply down on earth, in the mud of real life. So I see these cases over and over again where people lecture me on some abstract cosmic social justice nonsense, and a bit later I see them stab friends in the back and treat people around them like dirt – most likely without even realizing it.
I think most people are just retarded then, “without even realizing it”. It isn’t so much the amount of information you know or contain. It’s probably a matter of upbringing, I used to and still, sort of believe not everyone should have kids. I wouldn’t so much say there’s karma.

Hm, it might not be that overpopulation is an exciting issue these days, so it’s a good idea to place restrictions on childbirths (like in China). Knowing how it works is one thing, then there’s application of “knowledge”, or facts, if you read people. It must mostly be to have fun then or relieve stress, as probably a secondary function, because people get angry when you don’t understand them. So it becomes a belief system where it’s about the big picture, the only true knowledge being a kind of “samurai” system that’s focused on people and their self (probably the whole “Sherlock Holmes” being an observer thing).
 

Pizzabeak

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Interesting point, empathy probably has more to do with it then the management of shame. Doing onto others as you would have them do onto you kind of thing. Your ability to empathise and put yourself in the shoes of those you are considering commiting acts against that could be classified as shameful within whatever system of judgement you use i.e. Buddhism, Christianity, Thug-Life, etc.
The Golden Rule, treat others as you would wish to be treated.
It isn't totally what you said. Typically people suggesting helping others, or showing them the way.
Acknowledging on a deeper level we are all in this game together rather then agents competing against each other tends to destroy any rationale and justification for excessive participation in the market. This and our perception of how much we really need to be happy from a materialistic perspective.
Not believing or practicing religion is considered smarter because there's more logic being used to deconstruct it and say it's bullshit. Life is what you make it. Those "spiritual" people just wait and prepare for the "next" world or life. :shrug:
Our rationales and justifications, cosmic, personal or cultural, tend to exist simply to abate feelings of guilt or the scorn of detractors. Empathy and compassion tend to release the need for any rationales or justifications i.e. don't eat me and I won't eat you, you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours, etc.
People have the choice whether to go vegan or not, using their animal instinct.
Your post suggests you see a lot of wolves in sheeps clothing, I would say empathy decides how sheep-like or wolf-like agents are and that it is an unavoidable feature of interpersonal transaction that wolves can fleece sheep with the remedy possibly being for the empathetic to "be wise as serpents" as per Matthew 10:16 - “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."
Anything like Dungeons and Dragons would be a good game to play to see how the narrative gets predicted by the preconceived notions of consciousness. Problem is people taking the Bible literally like fundamentalists. The trend here is to twist it as ironically as possible after taking on other patterns. There isn't much original thought to be found anymore so in fact, in the USA they call it a "culture vulture" like manifest destiny, or the taking of Native American/Indian's land.
 

Pizzabeak

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More on some literal opportunism from wikipedia:
"Opportunism is the conscious policy and practice of taking selfish advantage of circumstances.[1]

Although in many societies opportunism often has a strong negative moral connotation, it may also be defined more neutrally as putting self-interest before other interests when there is an opportunity to do so, or flexibly adapting to changing circumstances to maximize self-interest (though usually in a way that negates some principle previously followed).

Opportunism is sometimes defined as the ability to capitalize on the mistakes of others: to exploit opportunities created by the errors, weaknesses or distractions of opponents to one's own advantage.[2]

Taking a realistic or practical approach to a problem can involve "weak" forms of opportunism. For the sake of doing something that will work, or that successfully solves the problem, a previously agreed principle is knowingly compromised or disregarded - with the justification that alternative actions would, overall, have a worse effect.

In choosing or seizing opportunities, human opportunism is most likely to occur where:


  • People can make the most gains for themselves at the least cost to themselves.
  • Relevant internal or external controls on their behaviour are absent.
  • People are pressured to choose and act.
Criticism of opportunism usually refers to a situation where beliefs and principles are tested or challenged.

Human opportunism should not be confused with "seeking opportunities" as such, or "making use of opportunities when they arise". Opportunism refers rather to a specific way of responding to opportunities, which involves the element of self-interestedness plus disregard for relevant (ethical) principles, or for intended or previously agreed goals, or for the shared concerns of a group.[3]

Somewhat confusingly, though, opportunism is sometimes also redefined by businessmen simply as "the theory of discovering and pursuing opportunities".[4] These businessmen are motivated by their dislike for the idea that there could ever be anything wrong with capitalizing on opportunities. According to this redefinition, "opportunism" is a euphemism for "entrepreneurship"."
 

Pizzabeak

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In other words, people will believe or try to convince someone of anything if it means they'll feel less guilt or shame. The person on "death row" converts to Christianity at the last second because he knows something may be waiting after and tries to come to terms with it in a supposed "equal" or "okay" way.
 

Pizzabeak

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Social
Social opportunism refers to the use of opportunities for social contact only for selfish purposes or motives. Because it is only selfish, the implication is usually that obligations to other participants in the given social setting are not (fully) met or honoured. The social opportunist participates in a group, cooperates with it or associates with it, not primarily because he wants to "contribute", give or share something to the group, or because he values being part of it as an intrinsic good, but only because he wants to get some advantage out of the participation for himself. Consequently, the participation by the opportunist is substantively only a "means" that serves some other, selfish purpose. This may be tolerated, to the extent that the selfish purpose of the opportunist is compatible with, or does not conflict with, the goals and intentions of the group. It may be regarded as undesirable and unwanted, or indeed a breach of trust or good faith, if that is not the case.

Groups, gatherings, associations, or organizations that operate on the basis of voluntary or involuntary association, or in an atmosphere of mutual trust, may provide resources or contacts to their participants that are:

  • Provided and shared only because of their cooperation, or being together.
  • Conditional on actually participating in the social setting.
Thus, to use those resources or contacts for some selfish aim, paradoxically the social opportunist necessarily has to gain entry, join in and participate socially; there is no other way to gain access to or extract what he wants for himself. Some social groupings may welcome social opportunists, because they can serve a useful function, or can be persuaded (perhaps with group pressure) to change their ways through participation. Other social groupings may try to prevent social opportunism, by imposing strict preconditions of participation to ward off opportunists, or with the aid of rules prohibiting opportunist behaviour.”
 

Pizzabeak

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More opportunism, or “expectations”:

Spiritual opportunism refers to the exploitation of spiritual ideas (or of the spirituality of others, or of spiritual authority): for personal gain, partisan interests or selfish motives. Usually the implication is that doing so is unprincipled in some way, although it may cause no harm and involve no abuse. In other words, religion becomes a means to achieve something that is alien to it, or things are projected into religion that do not belong there.

If a religious authority acquires influence over the "hearts and minds" of people who are believers in a religion, and therefore can "tap into" the most intimate and deepest-felt concerns of believers, it can also gain immense power from that. This power can be used in a self-interested manner, exploiting opportunities to benefit the position of the religious authority or its supporters in society. This could be considered as inconsistent with the real intentions of the religious belief, or it might show lack of respect for the spiritual autonomy of others. The "good faith" of people is then taken advantage of, in ways that involve some kind of deceit, or some dubious, selfish motive.

The term spiritual opportunism is also used in the sense of casting around for suitable spiritual beliefs borrowed and cobbled together in some way to justify, condemn or "make sense of" particular ways of behaving, usually with some partisan or ulterior motive. This may not be abusive, but it often gives rise to criticisms or accusations[44] that the given spiritual beliefs:

  • are not an organic, sincere or authentic expression of the real nature of the people who contrived them.
  • do not really express what people's lives are about, but are in some way an "artificial add-on".
  • lack any deeper principled foundation, and are more an "eclectic, self-serving concoction"
  • are made to serve partisan interests, contrary to the real intention of the beliefs.
Supporters of traditional religions such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or Buddhismsometimes complain that people (such as New Age enthusiasts) seek out spiritual beliefs that serve only themselves, as a form of "spiritual opportunism". Such complaints are often highly controversial, because people are considered to have the right to their own spiritual beliefs (they may not have that right, to the extent that they are socially excluded unless they profess certain spiritual beliefs, but they may only subscribe "formally" or "outwardly" to them).

Spiritual opportunism sometimes refers also to the practice of proselytizing one's spiritual beliefs when any opportunity to do so arises, for the purpose of winning over, or persuading others, about the superiority of these beliefs. In this context, the spiritual opportunist may engage in various actions, themselves not directly related to the spiritual beliefs, with the specific aim of convincing others of the superiority of his own belief system – it may effectively amount to "buying their support".

The term intellectual opportunism—the pursuit of intellectual opportunities with a selfish, ulterior motive not consistent with relevant principles—refers to certain self-serving tendencies of the human intellect, often involving professional producers and disseminators of ideas, who work with idea-formation all the time. The phenomenon of intellectual opportunism is frequently associated by its critics with careerism. When human knowledge becomes a tradeable good in a market of ideas, all sorts of opportunities arise for huckstering, swindling, haggling and hustling with information in ways which are regarded as unprincipled, dubious or involve deceit of some sort.

The intellectual opportunist adapts his intellectual concerns, pursuits and utterances to "fit with the trend/fashion" or "fit the situation" or "with what sells" – with the (ulterior) motive of gaining personal popularity/support, protecting intellectual coherence, obtaining personal credit, acquiring privilege or status, persuading others, ingratiating himself, taking advantage or making money. Normally this assumes some degree of intellectual flexibility, agility or persuasiveness.”
 

Pizzabeak

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Pragmatism might be connected to it, as a thing that's in someone's best interest to believe in, doesn't mean it's the truth.
 

Pizzabeak

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I agree that opportunism is a trait from the animal behaviour, probably stemming from the instinctual level.
I don't want to get too esoteric, although I think some Rudolf Steiner might be necessary. Again, start with mineral then animal essence, then soul and spirit. It's as simple as being wrongly accused. Then take something like the Count of Monte Cristo or the phrase "all's fair in love and war" and then you got yourself a basis for a lifestyle and decision making, let alone a new lens on life. Goethe said it could be difficult to characterize a man or a thing from his sum total of actions as if it were capability. That's the problem with a reductionist, materialistic model of science. It also isn't just potential, in other words. It makes no sense unless there were other things going on.
 

The Grey Man

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Opportunism is the reverse side of the horror vacui: created things want to relieve themselves when tense and—it is the same—impose their will upon their surroundings, and humans are no exception. Opportunities are relief valves.
 

moody

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@Pizzabeak Yeah... I don't agree with the "opportunism" philosophy.... I understand those tactics when you are the underdog in smaller situations, but other than that, it's just an excuse for manipulation and extortion. The word "opportunist" is a euphemism for manopolizing situations and people just because you CAN.

I do think you're right about it being capitalist. America's involvement in the middle-east and the food chains it has abroad in developing countries all can be described as "opportunist."
 

Pizzabeak

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Opportunism is the reverse side of the horror vacui: created things want to relieve themselves when tense and—it is the same—impose their will upon their surroundings, and humans are no exception. Opportunities are relief valves.
The universe is a donut, or a torus, and people believe anything if they think it will give their seed (read: children or offspring) any possible opportunity at being some legend. I disagree with the method.

So it's all "Hey you know son, the story of how me and your mother conceived you is really interesting!" As redundant as it sounds the best "aphrodisiacs" are opportunities. Read my sig, and who knows how long this has been going on (I pretty much do), but people just look at you, then put all their eggs in that hand basket and base their life off it, hoping it just makes them feel better, I suppose. It's all a ploy to farm more red meat, fulfilling bloodlust, and seeing it as a commodity since vegans, vegetarians, or fruitarians don't eat it, just the opposite must be valuable then, that possibility not being difficult to conceive of since it's literally just the opposite. It's not so much hidden information or secret knowledge. There’s the China Study, that gave some insight on diet and health, so it isn’t just what food makes you sick, agriculture and food processing can affect the environment leading to industrial waste accelerating global warming or climate change.
 

Pizzabeak

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@Pizzabeak Yeah... I don't agree with the "opportunism" philosophy.... I understand those tactics when you are the underdog in smaller situations, but other than that, it's just an excuse for manipulation and extortion. The word "opportunist" is a euphemism for manopolizing situations and people just because you CAN.

I do think you're right about it being capitalist. America's involvement in the middle-east and the food chains it has abroad in developing countries all can be described as "opportunist."
"All is fair in love and war" is as sarcastic as someone needs it to sound. At some point you have to start defining things, so that something such as eating food before you starve to death isn't seen as "opportunism" nor "the circle of life", yet perhaps just a concept of "balance". Peer pressure doesn't necessarily truth make.
 

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People “just doing the opposite” and being like flies on shit, or white on rice, on anything they feel or think might give them some “advantage”, must be your typical social opportunism. I think the brain is limited in what it can hold so people can’t afford to think about certain things so it doesn’t use up space in the mind.
 

moody

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[/QUOTE]
"All is fair in love and war" is as sarcastic as someone needs it to sound. At some point you have to start defining things, so that something such as eating food before you starve to death isn't seen as "opportunism" nor "the circle of life", yet perhaps just a concept of "balance". Peer pressure doesn't necessarily truth make.
[/QUOTE]

I hate this so much! When people do that, they just lack accountability for their own actions. I used to be more patient and non-judgmental with these people...but lately, I have a hard time having any empathy for the petty "well I have more important things to care about" and "everyone's doing it" excuses.

SlIghtly off topic: There's is an academic article I read once that's about how we're conditioned as children to think of animals in certain categories. (ex.: it's okay to eat cows and chickens, it's bad to eat cats and dogs, rodents are gross, etc). In the article they used the Lion King as an example of this: we likened the Lions, carnivores, to us. All other animals answer to them. Herbivores don't seem to have minds of their own, as the antelope were for eating and wildabeats didn't have any speaking lines. And it was all "okay" because that was the "natural order of things." There's a lot of other specific examples they used that made me reconsider my entire childhood, but you had mentioned "circle of life," so that came to mind. (Someone once literally just screamed at me the lyrics of "circle of life" when I tried talking about how i like tofu...)
 

ZenRaiden

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I think smarter people are definitely more opportunist. I mean life is all about resources. You need resources to survive, and what better way than use any opportunity that arises to get what you want. If you define it as something bad, supposedly a way of getting things at the expense of others than of course there has to be a whole array of laws and rules socially to prevent people from being too opportunitic. I mean the law wasnt invented for nothing. People are opportunistic as hell.
 

Serac

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There was a time in history when there was moral virtue associated with conquering, with defeating your enemies and taking their belongings. Nowadays, virtue is buying a cereal box that has a speech about "saving the enviroment" on it. Everything is boring, mushy and bland, like a piece of boiled vegetable.
 

rlnb

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tl;dr everyone thinks they are doing the right thing

Firstly, it might be useful to separate the two kinds of behaviour :
1. impulsive vs 2. planned

As @Serac mentioned, I believe 2 has got a lot to do with upbringing and the moral/cultural framework one operates in. In some ways, actions of the 2nd kind are just optimising for 'good' given the 'rules' of the game. What one believes to be 'good' and what the 'rules' are is largely a matter of upbringing. For example, you could believe good to be : what is good for me vs what is good for me + family + friends . Likewise, you could believe the rules to be : you have one life and no long term consequences of your actions vs there is an afterlife with consequences for your actions.
From the outside, the actions from one scenario might seem more/less opportunistic that another, but for the insider it is just the right thing to do and behaviour at variance with this is seen as naive or opportunistic.

Behaviour of the 1st kind are probably more difficult to predict and have a lot to do with the psychology/neurology of the individual rather than the upbringing.
 

Pizzabeak

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Pizzabeak

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I think people just interpret things how they want, which is unethical when there’s one true, ultimate meaning. This means they just selfishly use each event to take what someone posts and devalue it forcing them to post more and more sacred content just because they interpret a vague disposition to be incompleteness on the fault of the presenter, so they as a result attribute extra credit to themselves for thinking they “noticed” something and deserve to sniff out more responses from the interviewees just to ultimately be disappointed in it on purpose to move on to the next thing and person because it’s a trend.
In the animal kingdom it is known that the female exists just to incite rivalry amongst the males, whether intentionally or not, consciously or subconsciously, it doesn’t matter that much. Consciousness or being aware of something just comes with a choice. In other words girls exist just to provoke more testosterone out the guy. So they don’t care about looks or attempts at humor, for if something happens it happens and that’s it. The male they submit to, ultimately, is usually not their choice, then. If someone tells you they like your hair or think you’re cute, that doesn’t mean much apparently. It’s thus the opportunistic tendencies that mostly define our concepts that we perceive. It’s actions speak louder than words.
 

Pizzabeak

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I think most people just assume whatever someone does is the culmination of all their effort and results - thus, the concept of a “joke” or “troll” must not exist in some minds.
 

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I think most people need to opportunize the auspiciousness of the fleeting and bulbous cephalopodic moments and yet in an adequate sense of emotion thus heretofore the seconds of facilitating and expediting the notorious processes of quantum soup hitherto and the arachnids of universality are frustratingly gone and such as the seeding endeavors of morbidity.
 
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