Comment by antzus on Agency and Sphexishness: A Second Glance · 2019-04-19T02:09:03.516Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I had not heard of "sphexishness" before. But my fledgling blog seems to be hell-bent on respectfully prying apart what I there termed "automatic" thoughts/behaviours.

I'm not sure about component #2 of sphexishness there - it appears the wasp achieves its goal of nurturing very well! But, I'm just going off the info referenced here, for its definition.

Lacking neo-cortices and executive function, wasps obviously wouldn't have the power (and the stress) of conscious goal-setting and future-planning. Its behavioural routines are innate, dictated by its genes, fixed throughout its life; (though they may be activated/inactivated at certain life stages or in response to trigger events. I'm no entomologist, I don't know the specifics.)

To me, this is worlds apart from the myriad habits and routines that humans learn to integrate into their lives. The fact that different humans have different habits indicates it is something learnt individually, be it through conscious or through unconscious intent. This is quite unlike the described wasp behaviour, which presumably applies to all Sphex ichneumoneus indiscriminately.

As such, it seems to me foolhardy for a human to wage war on one's own behavioural presentation of phenotype, which is what I understand sphexishness to be. However, auditing one's habits (or for a real challenge, try objectively examining one's own biases) - that which you call "noticing" - is surely invaluable for any adult human who values life beyond being a proverbial drone within the hive.