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(f) The person has contractual relationships

      If the person is an interchangeable part, then the person has contractual relationships. The essence of a contractual relationship is that the people who make the contract are interchangeable. You have a contractual relationship with your grocer. There is an unwritten understanding that the grocer will give you food and that you will give the grocer money. It does not really matter to you that this particular grocer gives you the food and to the grocer that this particular customer provides the money.

      You take the food home and cook it for your mate. It would seem reasonable to believe that your relationship to your mate is qualitatively different from your relationship to your grocer. The people involved are not interchangeable. It is important to Martha Jones that it is John Smith, the unique man she has chosen to live with, who is making her dinner, and it is important to John Smith that it is Martha Jones, the unique woman he has chosen to live with, who is sharing his bed. That is, some of our relationships are intimate rather than contractual. Intimate relationships are not possible, however, between people who are totally motivated by extrinsic needs. If there is no self, then what is there to be intimate with? The behavioristic concept of the person implies then that your relationship to your mate is only quantitatively different from your relationship with your grocer. You simply present your mate with a longer and more complex shopping list consisting of psychic as well as physical goods. Your mate retaliates with an equivalent list. 'I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine.'

      This cynical view of human relationships is not some 1984ish vision of a dehumanized world but a necessary deduction from the behavioristic concept of the person. B. F. Skinner makes this explicit in his book Verbal Behavior. There are two ways you can get things done: you can do it yourself or you can ask someone else to do it for you. The former involves nonverbal behavior and the latter involves verbal behavior. Verbal behavior is that behavior by which you get things done through the mediation of other people. Other people are means to your ends.

      The relationships between the person and the society are an extension of this relationship between any two members of society. The social contract is a set of explicit rules to ensure that all those implicit contracts between individuals are honored. Government is a protection racket. You pay your taxes and they pay police to protect you from exploitation by other people. Government is an insurance company. You pay your taxes and they support you when you are old or sick or unemployed. If relationships are contractual - that is, based on relative and arbitrary rules made by people to prescribe their conduct - those relationships are very tenuous. You are constantly apprehensive that the rules will be broken. You assuage your anxiety by being excessively careful that you meet your commitments in your contracts. Salvadore Maddi thus explains our obsession with doing our duty or, as it has come to be trivialized, doing our job.

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