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Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Mental Contract

I was just thinking about the idea of contract. It is just so ingrained in our culture and most likely rooted in religion. For example, I was thinking of the idea of the Jews having a contract with their god. And, we living in a Christian society, so to speak, would undoubtedly be influenced by this arrangement. I am thinking primarily about the influence of the Christian Bible and of Judeo Christian influence generally.

Now, why is the idea of contract so important anyway? It is important because it binds and commits you - to something. You have obligations if you contract with someone. The idea of contract is a sanctity in our culture and is not to be taken lightly. When you contract with someone you are putting your reputation on the line.
And, contracts can be made without writing also. Just think about your personal relationships, for example. You have friends or you may be married. You want to maintain these relationships and the only way to do that is to live up to your contractual obligations. Your partner will be expecting you to. You may have made formal arrangements or you just do things by common agreement or precedent. Each partner begins to want the other to act on their own perceptions of their unique relationship.

As related to the personal relationship I think there is also something called the mental contract which I have just touched upon above. I just think that all people that come together in a close relationship develop some sort of mental contract with each other. I think that is what people do when they like and respect one another. No written contract is required. Just a basic understanding of one another and what a reasonable expectation of behavior would be. Consider, for example, the young woman starting out in life and thinking about getting married to a man that she is interested in. Now, the man she likes may be training to be a doctor and also very handsome and sexually appealling. What a wonderful catch for a young girl. The woman may have thoughts in her mind as to the future success of the man and she would like to be part of that life. She is mentally thinking about all of the possibilities of getting hooked up with the young man that she likes. She has mentally sized him up and she is very interested and without so much as even getting seriously involved with him. She becomes involved with the man and they have a relationship. And, the man, for his part finds the woman to be very attractive. He thinks her to be a wonderful partner. He mentally determines that she will be an excellent companion, perhaps even as a good sex partner for she is very attractive. He sizes her up and calculates that she will do just fine. So, they both have assessed each other and have mentally decided to get involved with one another. And, they make overtures to one another to let them know of each other's intentions. And, a lot of it will be done without saying a word. A bond will have been formed between them. And, that bond will be formed out of the mutual desire for each other; they have decided that each one has something that the other wants. As in any contract there is some consideration involved. Each party is going to give the other something to satisfy their intended relationship. They will mentally contract to do business with each other.

I think we should pay closer attention to these kinds of things because they form the basis of relationships. A good healthy relationship, I think, would include an understanding of these things and the ability to act on the expectation of each partner.

I just thought you might be interested in how I think the idea of contract is so important, not only in religious terms, but also at the personal level. I think, because someone a long time ago introduced the idea of an entity and made a contract with him then we should try to understand the implications of this for personal relationships. From this initial contract with a god we can easily see how people mentally contract with each other when they like each other. I think what we learn about this religious experience with contracting with a god is the idea that even a simple mental contract between two people is of no small consequence.

A healthy human relationship involves contract and that health is dependent upon the mutual agreement of that understanding whether spoken or unspoken. If two people like each other they will let each other know in some human way and a contract will be formed as a result. Hopefully, you will understand now when I stated in my personal philosophy that people do not do things for nothing because man is essentially a selfish creature. I think religion and the ideas contained within a belief teaches us that. See my posting "Philosophy, Christianity, and a girl " for this idea.


Copyright: Carl Baydala 2006

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