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You’ve got to be carefully taught….or maybe not.

6:34 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

The first theatrical production I had anything to do with was in High School, South Pacific. I always liked it and especially this scene.

But research now is showing that babies are NOT the blank slates that we have supposed. They we are born with inherent likes and dislikes and a moral code, and unfortunately a bias as well. As  Paul Bloom from the Yale University Infant Cognition Center point out here.

The research does show, according to Bloom, that children just a few months old can judge a person’s character — siding with the “good” puppet and not with the “bad” puppet.

But Bloom said the research also shows something else, which gives this parent pause. Babies, Bloom said, are born with an inherent bias, and start off as “little bigots, eagerly dividing the world into ‘us versus them’ and strongly favoring their own group over everyone else.”

“They prefer puppets who have the same tastes as them and they actually want the puppets with the different tastes — they like other puppets who punish them,” Bloom said during a Google+ hangout. “So early on, one of the most tragic aspects of humanity is how we split the world into ‘us versus them’ and we find this from the earliest age we can test.”

That we as humans are born with a particular bias.   That segment can be watched here. Combine that with research that suggest that memories can be inherited and it would seem the humans are set up from the first to be racist ass-holes.  That we all aren’t is a testament to the parenting skills of most people.

This could explain the tribalistic behaviours that have been expressed so much and we seem not to be able to rid ourselves of so far. That people are not necessarily taught, but are encouraged as well as exploited toward the benefit of some other group. It may have proved to be of use at some time in antiquity but is very much detrimental now.

It also shows that we need to be aware of this and work to enlighten our children at a very early age. That appropriate teaching and guidance is essential from the start. A heavy burden indeed.

Like Doctor Seuss points out.

I would like to thank my cousin – a PHD in Sociology and former associate Dean at UNC – for pointing me to this information.


Obey! The documentary

9:53 am in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

NYC – Brooklyn – Williamsburg: OBEY

I am not going into this video’s style and production values. A number of people were put off by this. The music and visuals seemed a bit over the top to me. But it’s clearly aimed with these effects toward the younger generation who have an appreciation for the “hip-pop” nature of it. This I think is a valid move as they are the ones who will be more likely to institute change, not those of us from the older generations.

Obey – based on Chris Hedges “Death of the liberal class” — gives a very dystopian picture of the future and not a distant future, as we are seeing it unfold now with the continued rise of the corporate, fascist police state while continuously feeding the military apparatus.  With the breakdown of society on the lowest levels first, and progressing upwards with the elites islanding themselves off from the great unwashed.

It also points out how the bourgeoisie live in a fantasy land, even or especially those who consider themselves “liberal” or “progressive.” That even they may find themselves considered by the elites to be enemies of the state. And that this began with the first mass media propaganda for the wars.

The documentary predicts that as the society and economy collapses, communities will devolve into tribalistic structures with each tribe — race-based and economically-based — opposing the other and that that there will be a tendency toward more and more violent activity because of this. Though it does denigrate and decry this. It also decries revolution, for the same reasons that I also do, that they merely replace one set of demagogues and despots with another.  Though I cannot see how violence can be avoided. Obey also states that this violence will be predominately expressed by the right and extreme right culminating in a fascist police state.

Or that those who do not wish to be part will isolate themselves, or attempt to, in separate tribal communities.  All of which seems to me more or less valid predictions. Especially when you take into account the lack of trust that people now have for each other as witnessed by this poll.

The answer given in this video is to rebel and disobey and fight the system. However one can know that the system will respond violently to this. It gives a long list of actions like non-payment of taxes and liens and mortgages, etc. Even giving a push, as it were, to the collapsing structures whenever possible. Sabotaging them as it were.

However the video fails to address the the natural disasters and biological consequences of all this.  The CDC and WHO have come out and said that we have entered the age where antibiotics are becoming ineffective against bacteria. And then there are the various viruses such as the N1H1 bird flu or Coronaviruses and MERS. That we are only half a step away from a pandemic of some sort and getting closer as the health industry gets cut back and fewer people are opting to got into it. What happens when the health sector itself falls victim to any of these? There are no hospitals around that could cope with any sort of epidemic and biological agents know no economic bounds.  Humanity has been hit in the past and its numbers decreased substantially by epidemics. It can and most likely will happen again. Can even the elites escape this or radiation without having to live in less than opulent surroundings? I think not.

The consequences of today’s capitalism are, I think, even more widespread and deeper than even the extreme left supposes.  Darwin may be proven right once more.

The Narcissism of the Entitled Rich, Our Dickensian World

4:15 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

We cannot use the Ruling Ring. That we now know too well. It belongs to Sauron and was made by him alone, and is altogether evil. Its strength, Boromir, is too great for anyone to wield at will, save only those who have already a great power of their own. But for them it holds an even deadlier power. The very desire of it corrupts the heart. – The Fellowship of the Ring

Scrooge Head Maquette / Peter L. Lee – flickr

And so another study shows that the more wealth one has, the more one feels entitled and becomes narcissistic; i.e., the more they become an arrogant prick.

“The studies in the paper measure narcissism in a whole host of ways, including measuring how likely someone is to stare at their reflection in a mirror (wealthier people do that more often). Even students who come from wealth, but have done little to create their own wealth (yet), report more entitlement. This suggests that wealth shapes an ideology of self-interest and entitlement that’s transferred culturally from one generation to the next.”

Piff conducted five experiments to investigate the associations between social class, entitlement, and narcissism.

The first experiment consisted of a survey that measured levels of entitlement and socioeconomic status. Piff found higher social class was associated with an increased sense of entitlement. Upper-class individuals were more likely to believe they deserved special treatment and feel entitled to “more of everything.” They were also more likely to believe that if they on the Titanic, they would deserve to be on the first lifeboat.

In the second and third experiments, Piff used other surveys with different measures of entitlement and socioeconomic status to confirm his initial findings.

In the fourth experiment, Piff discovered that upper-class individuals were more likely to look at their own reflections in a mirror, even when controlling for self-consciousness. The final experiment found that exposing upper-class individuals to egalitarian values reduced entitlement and decreased narcissism.

Of course we knew that wealth makes people more selfish and self-centered.

In a recent article in the New York Magazine[2], Lisa Miller describes how psychological research indicates that wealth erodes empathy with others. Miller cites one researcher who says that:

“The rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people. It makes them more likely to exhibit characteristics that we would stereotypically associate with, say, assholes.”

The correlation between money and insensitivity perpetuates itself, says Kathleen Vohs, a professor at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Vohs was inspired to study the effects of money on social behavior when she landed a job that increased her salary five times. Suddenly she was no longer asking her friends for rides to the airport. She hired a personal shopper. “I was becoming more independent and less interdependent,” she says. This led her to the next thought: “We need to understand at a theoretical level what happens to people’s minds in the context of wealth,” Miller writes.

This was the main theme to many – if not most – of Dickens’ novels and stories. Such as A Christmas Carol and David Copperfield, wherein Uriah Heep shows how the mere lust for wealth, and the power and privilege that goes with it, can corrupt one completely.  And how capitalism breeds this contempt for positive human characteristics such as compassion and charity and selflessness and humility.

We have learned from Professor Richard D. Wolff that one of the main problems with capitalism was the absence of democracy in the workplace. The accumulation of wealth and the bestowing of privilege on any who attain it is another, and to my mind, the biggest one.

Not only must we have democracy, but we must also eliminate the privilege and power that wealth brings.

Online Hostility or The Rise of the Techno-Dani

6:42 am in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

New Facebook smear button! – Todd Barnard /flickr creative commons

Don Masters, CEA Agent: I’m a CEA agent.

Dr. Sidney Schaefer: [rises from desk, walks over to read ID card] You ARE a CEA agent. And you really did kill someone!

Don Masters, CEA Agent: Ahhummm.

Dr. Sidney Schaefer: Fascinating, Don… I suppose it’s the conditioning of motion pictures, or television, or maybe it’s just it’s the times we live in, but… killing is serious business, yet this little card makes it somehow less shocking… acceptable in a way! You mean to say you can actually legally kill someone?

Don Masters, CEA Agent: Yeah, and it bothers me sometimes that I don’t feel guilty about it. Don’t you think that’s psychotic behavior?

Dr. Sidney Schaefer: No I don’t! It explains your utter lack of hostility. You can vent your aggressive feelings by actually killing people! It’s a sensational solution to the hostility problem.

Don Masters, CEA Agent: Doctor, are you trying to tell me it’s all right to kill people?

Dr. Sidney Schaefer: It’s simply a moral question. Morality is a social invention, and in this case society has decided it’s not only acceptable for certain people to kill other people… it’s even commendable. Don! I’ve got to write a paper for the Institute on this!

Don Masters, CEA Agent: I don’t think the CEA would like that. – The President’s Analyst

Ever wonder why in this age of the Internet, cell phones and iPads – devices and systems that were supposed to bring humanity and the world closer together – that quite the opposite has occurred ?  That instead of  enabling peace and harmony, we seem to be marching even further apart.  My mother was fond of observing that humanity has always progressed further scientifically and technologically than we have ethically and morally.

One needs only to study history to see that this seems to be the case. Thanks to a series of articles in Psychology Today we may see why this is the case.  A Billion Angry Brains by Ogi Ogas, Ph.D., and Sai Gaddam, Ph.D. delves into this phenomena.  In the first part they give examples of how technology was adapted by primitive peoples to this end.

In the mid-1500s, Europeans colonized the fertile coastlines of New Guinea and for the next four centuries they presumed the rugged jungle highlands of the interior were uninhabited. But in 1938, an American zoologist flew his plane over a previously unexplored region known as the Baliem Valley. To his astonishment, lights twinkled in the darkness below: the cooking fires of the Dani.

The Dani were a Stone Age people, the last humans still living in the same conditions as when wooly rhinoceroses and Volkswagen-sized beavers roamed the Earth. The Dani had never invented the wheel, plow, or lever. Their weaponry consisted of stone-tipped spears.

After a tense period of mutual suspicion and wonder—and a struggle to learn each other’s strange tongue—the scientist offered the Dani a transcendent gift: a ride in his airplane. These men who never guessed the world was round would now fly high above it, expanding their awareness of the universe and their place in it.

The two tattooed and loin clothed men who volunteered showed no concern at the prospect of leaving terra firma. In fact, they seemed downright eager. But when they arrived to board the plane they each carried a large and heavy stone. Baffled, the scientist asked to the purpose of this strange cargo. Perhaps they wanted to remain in contact with Mother Earth as they slipped her surly bonds?

“We want you to fly over the village to the south,” explained the Dani men. “Our enemies. We are going to drop these stones on their heads.”

The airplane didn’t transform the nature of human hostility, it transformed the power of hostility. Even when our species attains revolutionary new technology, we are far more likely to adapt it to our existing habits than use it to expand our perceptions and behaviors. The brain of Stone Age man gazed upon a flying machine and instead of seeing a means to forever change his world he saw a way to strengthen a familiar method of attack.

Similarly, when European missionaries first encountered the Yanomamo people in the Amazon rainforest, these indigenous horticulturalists were living in a state of perpetual violence. If a Yanomamo man felt insulted by another man he might express his rage using ten-foot clubs, wooden spears, or curare-tipped arrows. The primary constraint upon such violence was the fact that one’s opponent (and his vindictive family) possessed similar physical strength and weaponry. Into this retaliatory culture of sticks and stones the missionaries thrust a radical new technology: the shotgun.

The first indigenes to obtain shotguns were not more mature, intelligent, or moral than their brethren. They were simply lucky enough to reside near a missionary camp. These Yanomamo returned to their villages and promptly settled old scores. More than one hated chief had his head blown off. Lethal rage, always present and acceptable within Yanomamo society, was no longer counterbalanced by the threat of symmetric retaliation. The homicide rate—already far higher than the rate in modern urban ghettoes—quickly doubled. The shotgun revolutionized the power of rage.

They then argue that the Internet and similar technologies have become to us what the shotgun was to  Yanomamo. Enabling us today to take virtual blasts at our perceived enemies.

In the Second part they list Four Types of Online Hostility breaking down each type.

Bullies, trolls, hackers, and self-righteous crusaders have entrenched themselves as a permanent feature in the modern online landscape. These digital gargoyles spew a daily dose of hostility: partisan rants, catty insults, ALL CAPS flame wars, sanctimonious boycotts, blistering twitter feuds, Anonymous raids, and endless waves of outraged petitions all clamoring to get rid of something.

The Internet is so charged with casual nastiness that it can sometimes seem like a free-for-all straight from Lord of the Flies. But did it really have to be this way? Why exactly is there so much cruelty online? Does the Internet simply uncork our inhibitions like drugs or alcohol? Perhaps. But as computational neuroscientists, the more Dr. Sai Gaddam and I began to look into the data, the more we realized that a deeper explanation could be concealed within the design of our social brain.

. . . . . .

Drawing from the fields of Big Data, neuroscience, animal studies, game theory, and anthropology, the central discovery of our investigation is that online hostility can be accounted for by four distinct emotional systems hardwired in our brain, three of which we share with other animals—and one of which is found in humans alone. They are contempt, spite, raiding, and outrage.

  • The testosterone-fueled contempt system (what biologists call intermale aggression) drives individuals to diss and duel online and produces trolls.
  • The oxytocin-modulated spite system drives individuals to target opponents’ social networks.
  • The male raiding system drives groups of raiders to team up to attack enemy installations and gives rise to hacker groups.
  • But the most prevalent and influential form of online hostility is outrage, a uniquely human emotional system in the most evolved part of our social brain that drives us to collectively punish transgressors and gives rise to crusaders. Social media turbo-charges our outrage circuits and generates ever-increasing numbers of online petitions and lynch mobs.

Why do ordinary people become so vicious online? Are certain triggers responsible for most of human hostility? Are certain kinds of people more prone to acting out? How do men and women respond differently to provocation—and which gender is more dangerous online? And perhaps most pressingly, how can we use our hard-won knowledge of the brain to reduce online cruelty and make our new virtual habitat a more harmonious place?

The whole series consists of 15 parts and I for one am very interested in what conclusions they had come up with and look forward to the other parts of this series. We like to blame the medium but we are the ones using it for good or ill. We see it here and on other sites, flame wars over inconsequential things. Are just prone to hostility ? One has to wonder…..

Tuesday Afternoon…A psychological analogy

4:30 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

please daddy no – flickr commons

I have to admit I have been mostly involved with my Mac Mini and trying to get them set up – software wise – in a more useful fashion. So I have not been playing Internet too much. Just briefly browsing when I had the chance.

I did a “Like” on my FB page to Truth Out a while ago. Today this item showed up. Where the hell is the Outrage ? It got me thinking and remembering the time I spent in counseling and therapy. You pick thinks up there if you spend enough time. And this particular essay triggered so thoughts on the matter.

 Middle-class wages are stagnant. Uemployment is stalled at record levels. College education is leading to debt servitude and job insecurity. Millions of unemployed Americans have essentially been abandoned by their government.  Poverty is soaring. Bankers break the law with impunity, are bailed out, and go on breaking the law, richer than they were before.

And yet, bizarrely, the only Americans who seem to be seething with anger are the beneficiaries of this economic injustice – the wealthiest and most privileged among us.  But those who are suffering seem strangely passive.

As long as they stay that way, there will be no movement to repair these injustices. And the more these injustices are allowed to persist, the harder it will be to end them.

Where the hell is the outrage? And how can we start some?

There is a psychology behind this that should be obvious but obviously isn’t.   If we look at the country like one big family – al be it dysfunctional – it begins to make sense. And many people actually see it this way. What we have are the parents in Washington DC. the “Special Child” – the 1% elites. Who is spoiled rotten and generally gets what ever it wants.  Then you have the neglected and abused child. Who is constantly beat by the parents and whose physical and emotional needs are net being met.

The resultant behavior is strikingly similar to what we are seeing in the country now.  The spoiled child will go into a rage and through a temper tantrum if it does not get what it wants and will feel ill used and mortified by any attempt at discipline.

The neglected and abused child will get with drawn and depressed. Quite often blaming themselves for their predicament and oft times striking out in anger at those around them or others they feel are to blame.  But rarely accusing or blaming their parents because their parents “love them” and would never hurt them unless they deserved it.

If one looks at the situation in this way, it makes perfect sense. Now the catch to this is that after enough abuse, the child will at times turn on their parents to stop the abuse or more often become abusers themselves.

When and under what circumstances will America’s abused and neglected  99% turn on the government ?


The White Rose

4:39 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Schmorell grave - Jim Forest flickr

The vast majority of Americans support the extra judicial killings of people with drones.  This is not surprising at all since there was great support for going after protestors during the 1960s, Japanese internment during WWII, black segregation and slavery, Native American slaughter and relocation and on and on.

Just as there was great support for Japanese military atrocities in Japan and Nazi atrocities in Germany during Hitler’s time and Generalissimo Francisco Franco in Spain and Stalin in the USSR. Not just out of fear but also because people there were doing OK under these regimes.

And now the extreme right in Greece is becoming more and more popular and Stalin is gaining popularity again as a hero in Russia.

Germany has strict and harsh laws against denial  of the Holocaust and  tribute to Hitler but I wonder how long this would last should they find themselves in the same situation that led to his rise initially.  And how many would dare to speak out such as these young people did.

Liselotte Furst-Ramdohr, already a widow at the age of 29 following her husband’s death on the Russian front, was introduced to the White Rose group by her friend, Alexander Schmorell.

“I can still see Alex today as he told me about it,” says Furst-Ramdohr, now a spry 99-year-old. “He never said the word ‘resistance’, he just said that the war was dreadful, with the battles and so many people dying, and that Hitler was a megalomaniac, and so they had to do something.”

Schmorell and his friends Christoph Probst and Hans Scholl had started writing leaflets encouraging Germans to join them in resisting the Nazi regime.

With the help of a small group of collaborators, they distributed the leaflets to addresses selected at random from the phone book.

Furst-Ramdohr says the group couldn’t understand how the German people had been so easily led into supporting the Nazi Party and its ideology.

“They must have been able to tell how bad things were, it was ridiculous,” she says. – BBC Website

They distributed pamphlets all over the area including to the University of Munich.  Where they were spotted by a caretaker who call the Gestapo who came and took them away.

There was a trial with a quick verdict followed even quicker by an execution in the courtyard by guillotine. Now The White Rose are considered heroes and have a monument. But as Furst-Ramdohr says ….

Since the end of the war, the members of the White Rose have become celebrated figures, as German society has searched for positive role models from the Nazi period.

But Furst-Ramdohr doesn’t like it. “At the time, they’d have had us all executed,” she says of the majority of her compatriots. - BBC Website

Such as those who were killed here at Kent State or Jackson State are considered heroes…or were.

We haven’t had any execution here yet of protestors but the silence of those in LA concerning the LAPD, the attacks on OWS and the imprisonment of Bradly Manning  with very little outcry except some on the political left – leaves me to wonder.  As to why the German people of time supported Hitler and hist actions actively and even passively ? Here is one explanation.

A well-respected German historian has a radical new theory to explain a nagging question: Why did average Germans so heartily support the Nazis and Third Reich? Hitler, says Goetz Aly, was a “feel good dictator,” a leader who not only made Germans feel important, but also made sure they were well cared-for by the state.
To do so, he gave them huge tax breaks and introduced social benefits that even today anchor the society. He also ensured that even in the last days of the war not a single German went hungry. Despite near-constant warfare, never once during his 12 years in power did Hitler raise taxes for working class people. He also — in great contrast to World War I — particularly pampered soldiers and their families, offering them more than double the salaries and benefits that American and British families received. As such, most Germans saw Nazism as a “warm-hearted” protector, says Aly, author of the new book “Hitler’s People’s State: Robbery, Racial War and National Socialism” [TC: I cannot find it on U.S. Amazon, try this German link] and currently a guest lecturer at the University of Frankfurt. They were only too happy to overlook the Third Reich’s unsavory, murderous side.
Financing such home front “happiness” was not simple and Hitler essentially achieved it by robbing and murdering others, Aly claims. Jews. Slave laborers. Conquered lands. All offered tremendous opportunities for plunder, and the Nazis exploited it fully, he says.

Sound familiar ?  Bread and Circuses works every time.  Which could explain why so many here are pretty OK with the status quo. As long as they themselves are well taken care of and are doing OK, that’s all that matters, regardless of how the rest are doing.

And as for those who are just waiting for the system to implode, you might want to remember The White Rose.

Jesus Christ Superstar – A political perspective

5:37 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Religion and politics have gone hand in hand in the western world for as long as one can historically count. Indeed the Religious leaders of Israel were also the political leaders of the time, so it’s not surprise that when Rome fell leaving a political vacuum, the early Christian church took up the role.

What I think is too often missed is that the story of Jesus was as much political as it was religious. Maybe even more so. As an atheist this view makes perfect sense to me since the shrouding of political rhetoric in religious terms was quite common at the time. One could more easily speak aloud religiously when to criticize the politics could get you very dead very quickly.  In the middle east at that time speaking out against Rome would make you a galley slave if you were lucky. Much worse if you were not.

I had given up on religion by the time I was 18 or so. But when I first heard Murray Head’s Jesus Christ Superstar my reaction was that this is a very different approach. After I bought the album and listened to it and the lyrics, the message there in seemed more a call to appose Rome and the current Jewish leadership of the time than a purely religious one. No wonder the leadership wanted him out of the way.

Murray Head’s interpretation of this was quite evident.

This message was also not lost on the Roman slaves,  where they used the teachings as a call to resist Rome.  The early black Christian church rallied for the same reasons.

Which brings up the total irony of this. That the story of Jesus was as much about throwing off the chains of Roman repression and the Jewish leaders who supported them, as it was about religion.  But since then the Religious followings that came afterwards were some of the most repressive and horrendously tyrannical the western world has ever known. The Christian Church aligning itself time and again with dictators, despots  and oppressors of the worst kind.

When the Economy Implodes – An Interview with Dmitry Orlov

7:37 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Food Riots - flickr

This one of the better interviews with Orlov that I have listened to. With Jay Taylor, he goes more into what is happening now  and why things are not rosy the way the MSM likes to paint them.

For one you simply cannot apply the logic and solutions of the 1930s to today because as as Dmitry says it’s a totally different world today.  In the 30s we still had oil coming out of our ears and nation states were autonomous. But these days that is not the case. We import the majority of our oil and there is no longer financial autonomy. What effects one, now effects all.

He also makes the point that the banks cannot function with a contracting economy. Which is what we are experiencing now and will increase. And that food price/availability is the key reason to nearly all revolutions. Including the Arab Spring.

So here is the interview. Sorry I cannot imbed.

I know there are those who still think the system can be salvaged and repaired, so go ahead and fill you boots. If it it amuses you to do so.

Raising Arizona – and Ohio and Kansas and Pennsylvania and Florida and …..

6:29 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Laurel and Hardy - flickr

This is kind of a continuation of the previous blog I did but more of a comparison and I will freely admit from my perspective as a Baby Boomer.  I was fascinated by the article in the New Yorker on Spoiled Children by Elizabeth Kolbert. When I was growing up, spoiling your children was frowned upon. Even for grandparents to do so was considered bad form.

My father had his degree in psychology. Not clinical but analytical  psychology. He was also known as a second generation Finn, his parents coming from Finland. My mother likes to tell of how when asked by a friend if he was going to use child psychology when raising his children, his response was, “I’m not going to mess my children up with that junk, they’re going to be raises like Finns”

Well not quite actually.  We were raised pretty much like most of his generation raised their kids. In a typical middle class fashion.   My father was strict but not authoritarian but we were left pretty much to our own devices. More and more as we got older. An interview with Elizabeth Kolbert about this is downloadable here.  (It starts at 13 minutes into the show)

We were encouraged to explore and we did. We were encouraged to become self reliant. I and my brothers  and sisters would find our own amusements (I am the oldest of 5). We were lucky in the we lived in the country and had a lot of area to amuse ourselves.  In one instance when I as around 4-5 I was playing in a empty field next to our first house with one of my brothers. There was another field next to it and I decided to explore that as well.  I saw that a storm was coming and that I was closer to a neighbors house than ours so I took my brother there. The lady called my father who came to get us. I do not remember him being the least bit angry, just kind of surprised and a bit embarrassed.

We learned responsibility by doing chores around the house. Washing dishes and sweeping the floor and of course cleaning our rooms. After my father passed away,  doing laundry as well. And for me, fixing whatever needed to be fixed.  But even before that I remember helping my father when he modified a part of the house and had concrete poured on for a floor of what was to become a new room. I was there with him leveling it out. I was only 8 or so at the time.   My parents helped and guided when necessary but only when necessary.

And to my knowledge this was the case for nearly everyone I knew. There were no “Helicopter Parents” . Like this net humor says, we left in the morning and returned before dark and most of the time no one knew exactly where we were.   Farm kids knew how to drive tractors by the time they were 12 and I do not remember any of them ever getting injured.

We climbed trees, took a long excursion of the West Side of Cleveland with my cousin in search of balsa wood airplanes that nearly drove my grandmother ’round the bend.  Played in any creek that had water, rode down steep hills and built club houses and forts out of what ever wood we could find.

Lakes and ponds were much more fun that clean shiny pools.   We learned that giving presents felt good too. Especially if we made it ourselves. We learned that sometimes close friends leave and that is sad. We learned that sometimes we have to leave and that is also sad. Little of our lives were planned. Oh Boy/Girl Scouts and 4H maybe or a family vacation. Ours consisted of camping across Pennsylvania on the way to my grandparents outside Phillie.  We learned how to be bored and disappointed and sometimes frustrated. We learned how to share, not because our parents told us to but because it was what we did with friends and siblings and it worked.

In short we were aloud to grow up and mature.

But something happened beginning with my generation.  Either out of some resentment we had from our childhoods or fear of a more complex world, or maybe just some unrealistic expectations. I do not know. But parents began intruding on children’s lives and at the same time engaging in Affluenza. As baby boomers graduated from college and became more and more affluent, they also became more and more indulgent – with themselves and their children. Even to the point of putting up with behaviors that their parents would never have tolerated. And a group of adolescents masquerading as a political movement.

I remember beginning to hear of parents even filing law suits because their child was excluded from some group and/or event.  Or was being “picked on” at school or church or some other place.  A situation that we as children learned to deal with ourselves. With guidance only when necessary.

The kind of behavior that was depicted by Lumpy Rutherfords parents.   I started seeing bumper sticker’s saying “My child is an ________. At ______ School” on more and more vehicles.  In short giving praise for nearly everything for fear of hurting the egos and pride.  But risking their kids self respect.

So  we wind up with a generation of adults who expect to get their hearts desire all the time and raising children the same.   Add to this those who are overbearing and authoritarian and those who are willingly ignorant and we wind up with a pretty messed up society.

Afraid ther kids won’t get into the right school when climate change and nuclear radiation and war and inequality are much large risks to their children’s future than anything else.

My parents grew up with small pox, whooping cough,  polio, the depression and WWII. My generation measles,  chicken pox, nuclear war and Vietnam.  Nearly all of those are gone now. Somehow I think that children of the 1970s and on,  needed to be protected from their parents more than anything else and maybe we would not have Mitt Romney running for president and people who would vote for him.

Maybe we would have mature adults running this country and mature voters as well.



Beyond Capitalism: A Different Culture and Priorities.

4:38 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Hierarchy - Steve Jurvetson Flickr Creative Commons

Professor Alperovitz did a very good diary on Beyond Corporate Capitalism and alternatives as examples of public rather than private ownership and control of certain institutions and how they have worked. The main problem with this is that it still maintains the same hierarchical model of control. A model that itself does not work well for the people it’s supposed to provide services for.

And as Hotflash pointed out in one comment, those times where we have attempted to institute a cooperative model in various groups, it has not been as successful as we had hoped.   But there is a reason for this and that is because our western based culture is hierarchical in nearly all its organizations.  Where the main thrust is for the benefit of those at the top.  Even our family structure is so. Where the parents needs are ultimately the highest priority, if even by a small extent.

Our churches and volunteer  organizations and businesses – both large and small – are set up this way.  In Europe and here we fought to rid ourselves of the feudal system and monarchies only to replace them with systems patterned after the feudalism. Sometimes strikingly so.

There are throughout history organizations that were not hierarchical based, or not entirely. Such as some religious groups like the Amish and Quakers. Twelve-step groups and Native American tribes. OWS is trying this approach as well.

All of these have a commonality and that is that the groups welfare has the highest priority. Unlike our western model where personal gain and agendas take top priority. Where the ends justify the means.

The twelve step groups especially are a good example if one looks at their 12 traditions.

2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority–a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.

9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service board or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

But a lot of people do not feel comfortable in these situations. Because a non-hierarchical structure requires a large amount of personal responsibility and humility.  We want someone to blame and take responsibility for us.  It’s less work. Even thought it is self destructive and ultimately destructive to the group as a whole.

But historically it is the best approach.  And attempting to create a non-hierarchical group with some hierarchical structures is non-sequitur, like a boat with holes in the keel.

This cannot be achieved at a top level by definition.  It has to be achieve at the lowest level – ourselves.