[Paleopsych] useless people, reality shows etc

Michael Christopher anonymous_animus at yahoo.com
Tue May 3 18:07:52 UTC 2005

Gerry says:
>>I wouldn't call these jobs examples of Japan losing
its humanity but rather an indication that government
is providing work for those who are unemployed but
wish (and need) something to do.<<

--Oh, I agree. People tend to do better when they have
something to do to contribute to society. I was
referring to the label "useless people" which was
probably meant tongue in cheek, but which I've seen
used more and more in a serious tone. There are a lot
of people who see human beings in terms of their
economic worth, and if someone doesn't adapt to the
economic system, they're labeled "parasites" or
something similar. Which reminds me of the fascist
view of human beings, that they are cogs in a machine,
worth only their material output.

>>The leader who has a knack for bullying the rest of
the group is usually the one who makes it to the 
end and finishes a winner.  Cunning and dishonesty are
values promoted by these survivor programs and the one
who wins is he/she who is most deceptive.  These
values are ones NOT taught to children by caring

--Very true. I'm wondering how many people in our
culture view "the game" as one of cutting other
people's throats, and what effect that has on the
health of the overall system. Ideally, our economic
system would reward talent and hard work. But what
happens when the rewards go to those who are better at
manipulating others? Many young people seem to have
incorporated those values in the sexual arena, with
girls rewarding the most manipulative boys with sex,
and boys rewarding girls who use their sexuality to
get ahead of other girls. Where did they learn it? Do
we blame 60's-style "free love" or the more
competitive 80's yuppie ethic?

>>Howard's notion of Capitalism with Soul is a 
humanistic thrust into an otherwise corrupt world.<<

--Another way of looking at it is that it's a more
ecological view of capitalism, putting it in context
rather than divorcing it from other values. The goal
of capitalism is not necessarily to make as much money
as you can by manipulating others and feeding an
emptiness in people maintained by endless striving to
get ahead of others. It is to find the hidden
yearnings in an audience, the unarticulated dreams,
and make them real. If you watch TV ads, you'll see a
lot of spiritual or deep emotional themes, attached to
products which you wouldn't normally think of as
"spiritual". A car is not who you are, but marketers
learned in recent decades to market cars as if they
were extensions of the self, especially the sexual
self. Imagine if all the psychological knowledge and
creative genius going into marketing products went
into marketing capitalism with soul, marketing
curiosity about science and understanding of ecology
(natural and human). Imagine if video games taught
math and physics, without losing their entertainment
value. Why are we relying on an educational system
based on textbooks and lectures, when the real money
and talent is going into entertainment and

>>Yet not all souls are alike.  Some are more 
generous and congenial than others.<<

--I think whatever the game rewards, you get more of.
Reward kids for being curious about science and you'll
get more kids interested in science. Reward kids for
being aggressive or manipulative, and you'll get more
of that. Our current system is inconsistent in its
rewards, so we get inconsistent results. 

>>People who promote less science and more religion
are those who are fed up not with Darwinism, but with 
young bullies who believe in a cut-throat bottom-line
rather than producing a caring and thoughtful human

--I think religious people have a variety of motives.
Some just resent that producers market movies and
music to their kids that they feel teaches bad values
(I can actually relate to that... while I'm not
offended by profanity or sex in films, it gets
annoying when it's used as a habitual selling point).
Others are very darwinian in the economic sense, but
socialistic in the sexual arena. Your money is your
own, but your sexuality belongs to the community or to
God. Some are more interested in tax cuts, with
religion being used to justify it. If the GOP raised
taxes, it wouldn't matter how often they mention God,
a certain percentage of voters would abandon the
party. If Democrats lowered taxes but supported
abortion rights, I have no idea how lines would split.

Many just felt marginalized in college, reacting
against arrogance in liberal professors, or to feeling
rejected by liberal kids. Perhaps one reason why many
evangelicals see liberalism in terms of 60's
stereotypes rather than the state of current liberal
thinking. That kind of thing goes in cycles. When
conservatism is dominant, kids who don't fit in feel
the same marginalization and rejection that
evangelical kids felt in the 70's. And many
Evangelicals associate promiscuity and drug use with
liberalism or secularism, which is a bit like
associating Enron with conservatism. Just because a
kid is promiscuous does NOT mean s/he was raised by
environmentalists or antiwar activists. Conservatism
does not guarantee good parenting, but stereotypes die

The young bullies are not all atheists. Many are
taught violence in the home, often in the name of
religion, and then take it out on other kids. The
assumption is that kids are "running wild" because of
"permissive parenting" but often if you look into it,
the kids have been severely punished, then neglected
when corporal punishment backfired. But there's always
a national myth, which takes precedence over reality.
The "save marriage" movement includes a lot of
conservative evangelicals who have a higher divorce
rate than atheists. The myth says, "We are protecting
marriage" but the reality says "we can't keep our own
marriages together, so let's go after gay marriage
instead." It takes time for these things to sort
themselves out and for the myth to fall back in line
with reality.


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