[Paleopsych] useless people, reality shows etc

G. Reinhart-Waller waluk at earthlink.net
Tue May 3 20:04:52 UTC 2005

Michael Christopher wrote:

>>--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 label "useless people" depends on who is offering a definition.  To a confirmed Marxist, this expression references anyone who isn't gainfully employed in a well defined occupation or profession.  So often when I'm asked what I do and reply "I'm an Independent Scholar", I usually get a reply of "No, I mean what do you do for employment"?  I think economists in general view those not engaged in a clearly defined work ethic as being outside the mainstream and not going with the flow.  That's a shame in our rampant capitalistic world.

>>--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? >>

You were the person who mentioned the "surviror shows" which are presently the rage on American television.  These are perfect examples of someone being voted out of the group if he/she doesn't offer a distinct advantage to the voter.  This has nothing whatsoever to do with leadership but rather with cunning and deception to establish a "king of the hill".  I have always placed "blame" (if we can use that term) on a strict Darwinian interpretation of "survival of the fittest" mantra that scholars have come to modify as "survival of the wealthiest".  Many of the major academic institutions applaud economists, business school graduates and those who find themselves enamoured with Donald Trump's boardroom and offer them plum rewards for their deceptions.  Rather than placing blame, we should instead focus on our ideals and goals that contribute to a group rather than only to personal satisfaction.  Incidently this seems to be the thrust of the t.v. show "Extreme Makeover, Home Edition" where a group of volunteers designs, builds, and decorates a home for worthy clients.  It's not much, but it's a beginning.  You may also be interested in http://www.habitat.org.

>>--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
advertising? >>

A strong ecological view certainly addresses the BIG picture.  Most advertising appeals to sexual issues that create macho man and working housewife.  Who would select a hybrid auto when one can drive a sexy Porche!  Cars, clothing fashions, home decorations, even food preparation zero in on the latest and sexiest trends that designers have adapted so that the public will have fun while eating, sleeping, or working.  According to Bill Gates our education system is outdated when compared to Japan or other up and coming Asian countries and he is absolutely correct.  American capitalists chase the image of becoming a billionaire and the quickest and easiest way to attain this goal is in the sports and entertainment industries.  Yes, I can imagine....and possibly contribute my two cents, but that won't make a dent in  
marketing soul along with capitalism.  Maybe I should think in terms of moving to Canada  :-) .

Best regards,
Gerry Reinhart-Waller

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