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https://cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/5148/what-is-the-incentive-of-being-puritans

I know it seems that some of it looks opinion based. For example, puritans may not do it out of incentive at all and do it out of honest deep felt desire to protect people from harm caused by their own choices.

Still I found that hard to understand. Humans are selfish, even if my choice would do harm to me, why would anyone care? Maybe that's the correct answer, but I need to know the truth.

Some people's behavior just baffles me to no end. I have no idea, or no clue why they do that.

It's not like why some people steal money, for example. That one is easy to understand.

Is there a theory that explains why people are puritans?

What I mean by understand is, is there simple theory or motives that correctly explain this seemingly unselfish behavior. Do they do it for power? Prestige? Money? Reputation? What?

How do I improve the question just to get the question across.

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  • I think I see the question you're trying to ask; I thank you for coming to Meta to discuss this. I'd like to see what suggestions the community has to offer. Then I'll weigh in with some of my own thoughts. – Josh Dec 18 '13 at 5:06
  • I am a businessman and rather autistic. I need to know humans motive and how those "things" make decissions. – user4951 Dec 18 '13 at 5:13
  • It seems to me the question is politically incorrect. And that's why people do not like to answer it. However, I thought psychology is a good science to explain that. Do humans have bigotry against others' happiness? I am aware of envy. Is this what explains? Why? – user4951 Dec 19 '13 at 11:53
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It seems that your question revolves around the development of societal norms and groups that take those norms as absolute. I believe that every culture experiences this in some form.

So, perhaps you could reword the question something like this:

How do personal motives lead one to participate in groups (e.g. Puritans, Victorians, Ascetics) that take extremely rigid positions regarding societal norms?

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I've made a couple edits. I "removed redundancies, softened claims to represent ideas, reworded the question to invite (theory-based) speculation, and incorporated material from the meta-question," in addition to a little extra cleanup. I think I could offer some decent answers now (motivation is one of my specialties), somewhat along the lines of another answer of mine.

At first glance, I found it a little broad and unclear for lack of specific definition of the behaviors in question. I was confused by the word "puritan", and found the question more challenging because it asks about a variety of prohibitive actions. I got a better idea of the question in mind after a little reflection though, decided "puritan" was not meant literally, and came to the conclusion that the opinions expressed in the question aren't important. I think my edits will help these issues.

I've voted to reopen. I can't vote to undelete because @Community's deletion action used moderator authority. As I've said, at first glance, I could've accepted voting to close this question as broad or unclear, but I don't think this closure as primarily opinion-based was appropriate. Note the text of the closure banner concerns answers, not opinions in the question itself:

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.

This may be true if taken literally, but that wouldn't be the asker's fault. In other cases, it might very well be, so my argument is not with the option itself, but with its application here. The question as I've rephrased it invites an answer based on facts, references, and my specific expertise. I admit tangentially that I wouldn't expect most users to chime in similarly, and wouldn't be surprised to see the question attract new users who don't base their answers on facts/references/expertise in general, but some other users here and I could certainly pull off an appropriate answer.

I will be flagging the question for moderator attention with a link to this answer after posting it.

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