September 25, 2010 § Leave a comment
Are dissidents allowed in the society? In different groups, at work places and so on?
What is fundamentalism about? And schools and methods?
It has been election in Sweden. This has raised a lot of wonders… Not least on the fact that a party hostile towards foreigners got into the parliament.
Are parties allowing their members to be dissidents? What parties are and what parties are not?
What societies, groups, parties, belief systems and so on are more apt to allow dissidents? And who are less? I.e. are some better than others?
Came to think about the economists coming from the Chicago school? Paul Krugman has been writing about a professor (though not in economics but in law I think) in Chicago recently.
Is or has this school been allowing new thinking and in that case to what degree? To what degree have those economists changed their ideas with reagard to new evidence? I started to wonder if Chicago school economists are allowed to be dissidents? Maybe they are.
What schools, methods etc, are apt to allow new thinking, to call the fundamental, basic ideas on which the school or method is based on in question?
And the second thought could then be; where are the roots to fundamentalism of all sorts?
And what about a collective passivity?
The Swedish professor in religion psychology Owe Wikström has written about backleaning indifference in one of his books.
See (for instance) his blog posting “Att tala på prov” or a litle freely “Experimental talk”.
Earlier thought on being a searching human being, about not always being so certain (but some people need to be encouraged to be more certain and raise their voices instead of being silent/silenced?).
By the way, who ar being silenced and who are allowed to raise their voices and give expression to their thoughts, ideas and/or feelings? Who have the means and/or channels? And who don’t?
Can there even be grown up pepple who are so paralyzed (by experiences early in their lives) so they can’t speak up for themselves? Can there be people keeping silent out of shame (for being badly treated)? Does the power use these tendencies in some people and play on their readiness for feeling shame?
Or have we elimininated all these things in the society we live in today?
Unfortunately I don’t think so.
For instance there are a lot of bullies on the net, and among commentators on blogs and newspaper articles, sometimes scaring less abusive people off…
Can the demand on conformity be both overt and covert? Sometimes you don’t have to demand conformity at all (can it be so)? Meaning that in certain contexts people don’t have to fight for their beliefs? But at a certain point maybe those who didn’t have to fight earlier have to start fighting.
Are they then more inclined to accept dissidents and/or to listen to the counterpart? See the tea party movement in the USA for instance.
When it comes to the point are these less fundamentalistic and more accepting toward other peoples’ views and belief systems than their counterparts were (are)?
Maybe they are…
September 5, 2010 § 2 Comments
Research shows that today’s unequal societies are an exception that proves the rule, seen to our history and prehistory.
It’s our unique capacity for taking social responsibility that has made us to such a successful species.
The human being seems to have been developed for living in great equality, not the reverse.
The equal society has given us the capacity to experience self-fulfillment, not only by filling our own needs, but also through understanding and answering to other peoples’ needs.
Experiments show that human beings all over the world experience fulfillment from making other people happy.
We enjoy the appreciation we get from other people when we are contributing to the common wellbeing and that’s the reason why it was necessary for all in the group to act unselfish to be able to survive. Otherwise the group would founder.
Children growing up in strongly unequal societies where the adults can’t trust each other feel worse.
Researchers today know that stress early in life damages the child’s brain development and long-term stress can reduce the empathic capacity in the children, who are at risk of becoming aggressive.
When those children later are growing up they are further formed by the hard life in the unequal society, and when it’s time for them to get own children the high stress level is passed on to the next generation.
In this way a new round in the vicious circle starts, but this time from an even higher stress level.
In this way societies with growing inequality can become brutalized generation by generation.
Countries with greater differences in incomes are also plagued by more murders.
Violence is more common in unequal societies.
Inequality creates violent societies and violent people.
The school results are better in more equal societies too.
Research has shown that we human beings are learning most and best in stimulating environments where we feel that we have a good chance of being successful.
When we feel happy and self-confident the dopamine levels are increasing in our brains.
If we on the contrary feel threatened, helpless and stressed our bodies are filled with the stress hormone cortisol. The result is that we think worse and the memory fails.
This can be the explanation why students’ literacy is better in more equal societies. In countries where the social hierarchy isn’t so steep the schoolchildren can devote themselves to their studies without being so afraid of failing.
This makes that more are learning more.
In more unequal countries the time in school is more horror-filled because the social cost for failing studies – in form of lower wages and lower social status – can be very high.
The fear makes that more students are failing with their studies.
When politicians are talking about what needs to be done to raise the level of education in a society they never mention that equality has to decrease.
With increased equality people can breathe out and relax.
The economist Robert Frank is talking about a phenomenon called luxury fever. See for instance his article “Why Living in a Rich Soceity makes Us Feel Poor” and “The Income Gap Grows. The spread between the rich and the rest has been growing for decades. Current policies will only make it worse.”
Another economist, Richard Layard is purely talking about “income abuse”: the more we have, the more we feel that we need and the more time we spend on trying to get status increasing belongings. We are baited to sacrifice family life, relations and life quality. People in more equal societies even tend to see social status and economy as more important than love when they are choosing a partner.
From the blog Mind and Life Institute Blog:
“Lord Richard Layard of the London School of Economics, after discussing different situations where competition or cooperation would be more appropriate, talked about how increased wealth does not correlate with increased happiness.
Many people are stuck in a world of ‘social comparisons,’ where status is more important than being economically comfortable. He emphasized that while wealth is increasing, mental health is on the decline; and to combat this he introduced the Movement for Happiness to try to both increase happiness and reduce misery in the world.”
- The Spirit Level mechanism (stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com)
- The Spirit Level: how ‘ideas wreckers’ turned bestseller into political punchbag (guardian.co.uk)
- Adam Phillips on the happiness myth (guardian.co.uk)
- Christina Patterson: Heaven knows we’re miserable now (huffingtonpost.com)
- The Spirit Level: how ‘ideas wreckers’ turned book into political punchbag (guardian.co.uk)
- Does the happiness formula really add up? (independent.co.uk)
- Great Expectations (lifescript.com)