child abuse and society

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Rita, Mar 18, 2013.

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  1. Rita Registered Member

    Fraggle, I am running out of time and you say so much, we could talk forever, with post too long for most to read.

    Maybe we should start a thread about human evolution and the role grandparents played in transitioning us to civilized human beings. It was not the young who did this, but the old. I would love to talk about this with you.

    Also biologically our brains are limited, and perhaps we should start a thread for this? It is most unusual for a person to know more than 500 people, and this is really stretching ourselves. It is highly unlikely even if we did know the names of 500 people and recognize their faces, that we would know much about them, their families and other details of their lives. Our brain energy is limited and for this reason we dehumanize each other. We react to humans as extensions of the cash register or phone, or whatever is the tool of their occupation. This is why a concept of good manners is essential. It is by living with agreements and with a concept of good manners, that these strangers can get a long and share a community without killing each other. For sure one human is not equal to another, because our brains absolutely can not manage seeing all people as equal. Some have to be more important to us than others.

    That said, the original purpose of education was to prepare children for life. Not to prepared children as products for industry. Liberal education resulted in a very different culture than education for technology. Most of us lived on farms and our children were our labor force. Parents did not have to send their children to school but could make them work and bring home their pay. Labor laws prevented industry from hiring children to work during school hours, but nothing stopped parents from keeping children at home to work, or sending them out on the streets to shine shoes and bring home the money, but then they did not need an education anyway. When I came of age a person didn't need to be able to read to get a job. Heck, a person didn't even need to speak English in the factories where I worked. Early industry made it easy for people to be extensions of machines, and we did not have the mentality of affluence we had today, because most people were poor. Dang out to time, but come on, you can do better. Our reality has changed a lot and I am sure you can think of a few things that have changed. An 8 year old kid is not going to be able to earn money doing a farm job, and a family is not going to join grandma and grandpa on the farm during hard times.

    We had work houses and we would do well to have some work houses today. Sure inner cities have had slums since the beginning of the industrial revolution, but really, in this day and age of no longer having a labor intense economy, because technology has replaced the need for human labor, we have a plenty of just about everything. Our problem is no longer shortages but how to distribute resources, and manage the problems over population has created. One of those most important human needs is being accepted and needed. A civilization that fails to assimilate masses of people will fall. That is the problem we need to resolve. It is a social problem. Treating people as though they are disposable products for industry to use or reject, is not acceptable. We are human beings. How should human beings live together? What is civilized?
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Humans are one of a very small number of mammalian species in which adults survive long after they lose the ability to procreate. Elephants are another, and some species of whales live even longer than both of us. In these species, the generation of grandparents serve as "elders," sharing the wisdom gathered during their long lives with the tribe as a whole, and providing extra child care to the parents who may not be experts at it.

    These days older people don't necessarily remain close to their families, but we serve as elders to the entire community or nation--at least when we're allowed to and a bunch of wet-behind-the-ears "tea party" children haven't taken over the government.

    Welcome to the Information Age. Many of us do more of our socializing online than in person. This has the advantage of bringing together "virtual communities" that share a small number of interests, so we can discuss them intensively. We actually don't care about the "other details of their lives" unless it happens to be a website about parenting or fishing or chess or a specific church or something like that. While it's true that we know more people less intimately, apparently we don't regard that negatively, since online communities are growing and thriving. We belong to communities that specialize. So we can delve more deeply into the things that interest us than we ever possibly could with the members of our nuclear family, who in most cases don't even understand those things.

    Ever try to talk to your father, brother, neighbor, or even your boyfriend about the wrenching transition from the hunter-gatherer era to the age of agriculture? How about the Andalusian modality that was so common in Acid Rock? Or the loss of the second-person plural pronoun in English, which has given rise to substitutes like "you all"? I've found people on SciForums who like to talk about all of these.

    Not exactly. We simply focus on the aspects of each other's humanity that we resonate with, and leave the others for their other friends to focus on.

    And you think this is new? A manifestation of the Post-Industrial Era? Can you spell "slavery"?

    Fortunately it's a lot harder to kill people in cyberspace. And in case you haven't noticed, manners are in pretty short supply out here. Coincidence? People invent manners only when they need them.

    But you overlook an important point. In the Industrial Era, industry was life. If you think that was bad, turn the clock back another couple of centuries to the Pre-Industrial Era (or the Iron Age as it's usually called). For 99.99% of the population, farming was life. Brutal farming too, with no machinery. Hand tools and mules and oxen. A 100-hour-per-week job, and even if you had enough energy left to do something when the day was over, there wasn't enough artificial light to do it! Also, since public education hadn't been invented and universal literacy was only a dream, you couldn't spend your spare time reading.

    Yes indeed, the present sure sucks--until you compare it to the past!

    But today, "knowledge work" has largely replaced physical labor. The people who can't get jobs are generally the people who didn't pay attention when they were in school, or the grown-up kids of parents who didn't raise them to respect education. We can hardly put these people to work in a 21st century "work house" where they'd spend 40 hours a week huddled over a computer! Most of them can barely express themselves in compositions of 140 characters, and at that, only because texting can't afford to use big words.

    You just gotta understand that a Paradigm Shift means that everything is different now. You can't apply the solutions of Dickens's Industrial Era society to today's electronic society. The problems may look the same from ten feet away, but when you get up close you realize that they are completely different.

    Since the dawn of civilization, kind-hearted people have been wrestling with this problem. The communists were positive that they had the solution, and they spent three quarters of a century testing it. And guess what? It was a miserable failure. Marx's slogan, "To each according to his needs, from each according to his ability" (which, BTW, is an elaboration of a line in the Book of Acts, so don't let some doofus try to convince you that communism is an "atheist" philosophy) defines a fairytale economy, in which what a man takes from civilization need not correlate with what he gives back. It only works in very small societies like Bulgaria and Sweden, where everyone really does consider everyone else as his brother. In large, heterogeneous populations like the USSR or the USA, it falls flat. Everybody figures they can slack off, because all those "other people" will do all the work. Or, as my friends in Czechoslovakia (a country you younger people never heard of) used to say, "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us."

    People need to feel that they have a stake in civilization, or they lose some of their motivation. Some of them lose all of their motivation. The people who grow up poor because they didn't have the motivation to study in school, which is a hell of a lot easier than working for wages, are hardly going to suddenly muster the motivation to do a job!

    Overpopulation is rapidly becoming a red herring. The second derivative of population went negative in 1980, meaning that the rate of growth started slowing. By the end of this century population will stabilize, and then begin decreasing. It turns out that prosperity is the best contraceptive! As poverty decreases, so does the birth rate. It happens consistently in every country. Since poverty is, in fact, decreasing, the future is bright even if the present is a little tarnished. The number of poor people on earth has already fallen below one billion, ten years before the U.N. predicted. And for the first time since anybody started keeping track, less than half the population of Africa lives in poverty.

    Of course overpopulation is still a problem in many places. But we need to start looking forward to a problem the human race hasn't experienced in about sixty thousand years: a shrinking population! Every economic model ever created is based on the unstated assumption that the number of producers and consumers will always increase. That in fact is this planet's engine of prosperity. We have less than a hundred years to come up with a new model! Do you know anybody who is working on this? I don't.

    That is hardly a major problem in the USA. Sure we have a lot of unemployed people during a recession, but they get temporary jobs on and off, and when the economy picks up they get permanent jobs. The permanently unemployed are a rather small number, and most of them fall into two categories.
    • 1. Their parents didn't raise them right. This is a damn hard problem to solve after the fact. As I have been screaming since this thread started, we need a way to stop people from having children if they're going to be crappy parents. If it offends some religious people, that's too bad. If they don't want this to happen, then maybe they should drive down into the slums, pick up a carload of those throw-away children, and bring them into their own families.
    • 2. They're mentally ill. I've spoken on this topic many times. No need to repeat myself.

    You're either in the wrong country (China) or the wrong era (early 20th century). This is not a particuarly accurate assessment of today's social problems in the U.S.

    In every era, a new answer is crafted for those questions. At the beginning of the era (this is the beginning of the Information Age, there are still a lot of people like me who grew up before computers were common), nobody knows the answer so they try various things. Meanwhile fate is washing over them. Come back in three generations and see what those who follow us come up with.

    I guarantee that if Dickens could have taken a time machine trip into the middle of the last century and seen the way labor unions had taken control of the economies of the USA and all the Western nations, he would have wept with joy. There was no way he could have seen that coming!
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  5. Rita Registered Member

    Desmond Morris is a zoologist. He wrote "The Naked Ape" He is one of the people who explains we can know only a few people intimately, and slightly more people can be our friends with whom we are less intimate. Then come associates who we know less well then friends. This is really an energy issue. Relationships take energy and we just do not have enough mental energy to be close with a large number of people. This is one of the factors that plays into prejudice. Prejudice helps us determine who might be one of us and who is not. But then we get religion that brings together diverse people. Sometimes they can compensate for this by dressing in away that identifies the group to which they belong. Maybe, you and I should start a thread for discussing human behavior? Few things are more important, because we are politic animals we need to understand human behavior.

    Now going from what is said of our limits in how many people we know, one of my favorite people to quotes is poet and seer of India, Tagore. "Whatever their efficiency, such great organizations are so impersonal that they bear down on the individual lives of the people like a hydraulic press whose action is completely impersonal and therefore completely effective in crushing our individual liberty and power." These organizations and education for technology that is thinking of youth as products to prepare for industry, instead of as humans to prepare for life, creates a mechanical society. This is what we defended our democracy against, until we adopted the German model of bureaucracy and the German model of education for technology for military and industrial purpose. (I am starting a thread specially for the personalness issue. Please, participate.)

    Education is like a genii in a bottle. Its defined purpose is the wish and the students are the genii. In the US education was about the reincarnation of Athens. You might appreciate this, my grandmother said, we teach children math to teach them how to think. Being as Athens meant being as Pythagoras and all the others who leading math and science forward. Our education was modeled after Athens education for well rounded individual growth. Our education also imitated Roman education for citizenship. This is picking up on the Athenian idea that it is our nature to reason to be political animals. It was the teacher's goal to help each child discover his/her unique talents and interest, so each individual could make his/her best contribution to the nation. Along with teaching a set of American values that were strongly influenced by the Quakers who lived near the national capital. As a matter of religious belief, Quakers lived democracy by participating in government. Quakers used Jesus and the Greek and Roman classics, for an understanding of how humans should behave. This is all personal and honoring the individual. Do not get side tracked by industrial that followed the Prussian model. While this industry was a fact of life, our education lead to unions and fighting together for better working conditions and higher wages, so all could have a higher standard of life. So when you think industry, immediately think education for democracy and unions, and granges and Masons, Elks, Oddfellows. Humans uniting for a shared cause. AND MOST IMPORTANT, HUMANS ASSUMING THE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF MEETING SOCIAL NEEDS.

    We adjusted that wish in 1917 by adding vocational training. But 1958 we replaced that education with the Prussian/German model. This education is based on a completely different philosophy. It is built on the philosophy that all babies are born with blank brains and anything can be written on them, providing the right technique is used. This assumes the state has the right to write on these blank brains. It goes with the German model of bureaucracy, that comes out of Prussian military bureaucracy and is applied to citizens. Stop your brain from thinking of your next argument and contemplate what I am saying, because so far you have gotten the point, but blocked it with your own arguments. THIS IS NOT EDUCATION FOR LIFE. THIS IS NOT WHAT WE HAD IN THE PAST. THIS NOT MANIFEST THE DEMOCRACY WE DEFENDED IN TWO WII. THIS IS MANIFEST WHAT WE FOUGHT TO DEFEND OUR DEMOCRACY AGAINST. A MECHANICAL SOCIETY. IT CRUSHES INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY AND POWER. NO LONGER IS THE INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING, BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS RUN BY POLICY AND ALL CITIZENS NEED DO IS FOLLOW ORDERS. THIS MEANS THE EDUCATION CAN BE VERY INCOMPLETE, SPECIALIZING THEM FOR THEIR PLACE IN INDUSTRY, AND LEAVING THEM LITTLE TO THINK ABOUT, BECAUSE THEY REALLY ARE NOT PREPARED FOR THINKING! THEY ARE EDUCATED PRETTY AS A DOG IS TRAINED. THIS IS NOT EDUCATION FOR CRITICAL THINKING AND SELF GOVERNMENT.

    We do not have a culture of individuals who understand the importance of working together, and takING good care of women and children, because we stopped educating for such a culture. Being a member of an extended family and a community where everyone takes care of each other, is totally different from living in government housing on a welfare check. The former is personal. What we have today is completely impersonal, and this results in moral breakdown. Now explain that difference. Tocqueville was so right when in 1800 he wrote of the horrors and the despot we now live under. This is not the democracy we defended in two world world. Science helps us understand part of the human condition, but it is limited knowledge. We also need history and philosophy.
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  7. Rita Registered Member

    Oh yes it is our problem, right here in the US. I am starting a thread for this debate. "personal verses impersonal" This thread is in the science and society forum and it uses the above two quotes for starter yeast.

    I want to say some discussions are impossible because people do not know enough to get beyond frivolous arguing and name calling. You Fraggle give me hope of very meaningful discussion! It is with a very high opinion of you that I dare to start the next discussion, because I believe you can handle it on the intellectual level that will force me to think about what I think.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  8. Rita Registered Member

    Excuse me, do not be an ass. If you speak to me disrespectfully, you will get back the disrespect you hand out. I don't care how many times you say something, you are far from a God, and just because you think something is so, it does not make it so. Maybe you should stop repeating yourself and consider others are as well informed as you are, but we come to the table with different experiences and therefore different pieces of information.

    I have been homeless. Which of the two categories do you think I fit in?

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    I am really troubled by the increasing number of young homeless women I am coming across. They are dysfunctional because they were not prepared for homelessness, and they are not happy campers, but are as people who have been through a terrible earthquake and lost everything. They are over whelmed and do know where to begin to put their lives back together. Traditionally, and may be to some degree biologically, women survived by pleasing others. Willingness to please others does not necessarily make one competitive for jobs, not even when this means a willingness to be very responsible. Some time ago a book was written about "The Lessons My Mother Never Taught Me". It was sort of a handbook for women in our changed reality. Personally I think our expectation that all women behave as competitive men is unrealistic. Not even all males fit this model in our now highly competitive and relatively uncaring society.

    Unemployed people and homeless people do not all fit the common idea of homeless people that you have expressed. We are living with lies and one of is that anyone out of work for more than 6 months is not a serious worker. Bad economies destroy peoples lives, because the assumption of why people are out of work for more than 6 months prevents them from getting work, and trying to manage without enough money for a long period of time destroys a person, physically, mentally and spiritually (you know, a broken spirit as in the broken spirit of a horse. That can happen to people too.) I guess we could say they are mentally ill, but it is an illness that can be almost instantly cured with the resources for security.

    For traditional women, being homemakers and caring for husbands and children does not make them competitive for jobs when the bottom falls out of the economy, and it takes 5 years "professional" shoe shining experience to get a job shining shoes. When the economy dumps, and competition for jobs gets intense, more and more people are closed out of work, and while we loose opportunity, many also loose families and friends who can help, because they may all be in a desperate way too. Traditional women and the young can not compete when they do not have the job experience to be competitive during hard economic times. The elderly can not compete when the employer has plenty of young healthy choices. There are real economic reasons for people being pushed out of mainstream society and loosing everything. You need to factor that into your opinion of why people end up on the streets. Then there are those who can not work because we they are being treated for cancer. It totally horrifies me that we leave seriously medically needy on the streets. I know their reality because I have met them in shelters for homeless people and at the Occupy camp.

    I am starting to wonder whose decision it was you live in a place separate from your wife. Sometimes your personality seems good for bringing a good pay check, but sometimes a person good for a pay check is not someone we want to spend too much time.
  9. Rita Registered Member

    This most certainly is not a scientifically valid opinion of reality. Populations grow exponentially and one of the human insanities is living in denial of this reality. China did not strictly enforce a one child per family law just because it wanted to have power over people. China faces serious population in ratio to resources, problems. California and its need for water has become a problem for the states it gets its water from, and climate change my push an already stressed system into serious crisis. Very expensive homes with almost no yard space and small rooms, or replacing single family housing with multi- family housing, have a negative impact on everyone. You can raise ants in small spaces but I am sure they are better off in nature without the confines of a child's ant farm. I think a mass die off is possible.

    And obviously over population is an employment problem. If we could employ the thousands of unemployed people in each city, we would. There is not a city in the US that wouldn't rather have the revenue of a fully employed population, than a large population on assistance, using all the intrastruction of a city and not paying for any of it.
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I suppose it could be presented that way, but it makes more sense if you maintain continuity with our ancestors. Once again, bear in mind that for more than a hundred thousand years (or millions of years if you want to include our ancestral species, and there's no reason not to) we lived in relatively small extended-family groups. A few dozen people at the most, although Jean Auel's fiction implies that her own research told her that a successful group in a place with a large food supply might have numbered well over a hundred.

    Now bear in mind that we are still those people. Many of us have daily jobs in which we come into contact with a larger number of people than that. (Significant contact, not just smiling gratefully at somebody who lets you have the last seat on the subway.) Most of us belong to at least one non-work-related organization that has more members than that: PTA, homeowners' association, club. And then there are civic issues. Thousands of people, perhaps millions if you live in L.A. or NYC, have to behave like an extended family and solve their problems together.

    This taxes our Stone Age ability to relate to a few dozen people. So naturally the intimacy is greatly diluted when we spread it out over so many more people. Personally I think we should be proud of ourselves, not critical, for being able to care about people who live so far away from us and are so different from us that they are nothing more than abstractions. Have you ever given money to an organization that was rescuing people in some country whose name you can barely spell, where there was a dreadful earthquake or famine? You can't go over there and get to know them and become their homies! The best you can do is use the universal medium of money to try to enrich their lives. There just ain't nothin' wrong with that!

    As I said a week or two ago, Americans wept over the death of Neda Agha Soltan in a street in Tehran. This is the way our instincts have to work in a global community of seven billion people! Let's be proud that they do, indeed, work.

    Very funny. Religion is the source of a lot of the prejudice in the world. Even churches of the same denomination usually have one congregation that is predominantly Euro-American and another that is predominantly Afro-American and another in which the sermons are in Spanish.

    You keep talking like it's 1850 and the Industrial Revolution is just beginning. The Industrial Revolution is over and we won! For several decades labor unions ran this country into the ground! Guys with absolutely zero education were earning upper-middle-class incomes just for walking into a factory and pushing a damn button all day!

    This is the Information Age and we have an entirely new set of problems that you won't be able to solve if you keep quoting scholars from bygone eras. We indeed have de-personalization today, but it's not the de-personalization of the sweaty factory. It's the de-personalization of cyberspace! It's completely different.

    Good grief, where do you live? It sounds like some dying Rust Belt city like Detroit. People living on welfare checks make up an infinitesimal fraction of the U.S. population. Sure, each one is a tragedy, but in aggregate they don't make the United States a tragedy. Their influence on our culture is infinitesimal, especially since nobody likes them.

    Our worst problem today is a government that has gotten too big for its britches and can no longer function at all, much less efficiently. They enact laws that nobody has read and leave it up to the courts to figure out how they're supposed to work. Senators used to get together socially with their families in Washington (same for congressmen) so they learned to regard each other as human beings capable of dialog and compromise. Now they adjourn and go back to their home states on the weekend, so they never talk to each other.

    These are the problems in modern American life. Stop talking like it's still 1930, much less 1830! You'll never get anywhere that way.
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    When did I disrespect you? I know you have been homeless but it was temporary because you have pride and ambition and had no intention of remaining homeless. Those homeless people are not the problem. It's the homeless people who just decide that they'll stay that way. And those are the people who either were not raised competently by their own parents, or are mentally ill.

    I don't think anyone believes that, not even the government stooges who deliver the statistics. This is just their "clever" way of removing millions of people from the unemployment figures so the problem looks smaller. Sure there's a little truth in it. Some women give up their careers when they can't find jobs that pay well, fire the nanny and the cleaning lady, and go back to being housewives and stay-at-home moms. Some twenty-somethings just go back to graduate school when they can't find a job, living in their parents' basement and hoping they'll be able to finally get a job with an M.S. or M.A. But most of those people who are jobless after six months are still looking, and it's fraudulent to not count them. As I said, the government has become dysfunctional.

    I know what "mental illness" is. My wife once worked on the psych ward at Los Angeles County General Hospital.

    I was a traveling consultant and the bottom dropped out of that market after 9/11. It is no longer possible to work in a distant city and fly home on weekends. The Homeland Gestapo makes it take too long to get through the damned airport. I had to leave work at noon on Friday to get home by midnight, and I had to leave home at noon on Sunday to get back to the place I was working by midnight. It was exhausting and I couldn't get enough work done anyway. So I had to go live where the work is. Guys have been doing this for thousands of years. I tried to get her to move out here but she doesn't like it. She's waiting for me to make enough money to retire and move back.
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    You don't seem to be much of a scientist. You consistently fail to grasp important concepts. Do you even know what a second derivative is? When the second derivative of a variable falls below zero, it means that the first derivative starts becoming smaller rather than larger. In other words, the growth of the variable slows and it will soon stop growing and start shrinking.

    This is what happened to population. The second derivative hit zero around 1980. Since then the rate of growth of the population has been slowing, and around 2100 it will stop growing completely and start shrinking. Population at that point is universally estimated at a maximum of about ten billion. That's a lot of people but we can still feed them. The Western Hemisphere is very lightly populated by world standards. (90% of the land in "overcrowded" California is farm, forest and desert.) The farms in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina could feed the whole world even if it had twenty billion people. Especially if you add Australia.

    The reason people in those countries are starving has very little to do with population growth. We sent millions of tons of food to those countries, but their despotic leaders intercept it and sell it on the black market, then use the money to buy limousines, French villas, hookers, champagne, and guns to shoot at the despot in the next country.

    Fortunately the communication revolution (which you might have missed if you're still looking at the world of 1850

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    ) is empowering all those people. Every year another despot is overthrown and his people can suddenly get enough food.

    This is a problem caused by a selfish, incompetent government. You can't blame technology or attitudes for this.

    Don't lecture me about California. We live in the northwestern part of the state where there's a water surplus. A company thought of simply docking a barge at the outlet of the Mad River with a gigantic sack hanging off the end, and let it fill with fresh water. Because of the Coriolis force, ocean currents in the northern hemisphere rotate clockwise, so for very little fuel expense the boats could simply coast down to southern California where there's a water shortage. We could bail the Angeleños out of their drought. But no! The "public" utility that spent a fortune building an aqueduct from the Central Valley wants to recoup their investment, so they lobbied the state government to invoke some stupid regulation that prevents delivering water that way.

    Once again, repeat after me: THE GOVERNMENT IS DYSFUNCTIONAL. Both the Chinese government and the U.S. government. If you want to solve the real world's problems, stop reading Plato and Dickens, and look out at the real world of THIS century.
  13. Rita Registered Member

    We are having a great discussion, but we are the only ones in it. I regret the limiting title of this thread. We are far off topic and need another title so maybe others are attracted to what we are discussing now. Laugh, you and could probably talk for days without stopping as we are talking of many things that are only loosely related and each one could be its own thread.

    There is some relationship between our evolutionary past and today, but even if a God were to create as we are, as the religious story claims, our brains are too limited to deal with the masses of people. A child needing our help because of some kind of tragedy will get our attention for a moment or two. We may even be so strongly moved by emotion to send money, but this is not equal to really caring about the child. It is a very temporary emotional response. This is totally different from caring for someone in our family, unless in is a grandchild with whom we have no contact and therefore no bonding. In this case, out of sight out of mind applies. Without bonding, we tend to care about even family members as much as we care about the child in Africa. Humans differ from animals because they can have a concept of family that does not require sharing life together. The grandchild can be in another state and we still respond to this notion of what it means to be grandparent, and buy gifts for this complete stranger. No other animal would get excited about a grandchild born 500 miles away, and our reaction to a birth of grandchild, is nothing like our reaction to a birth of a child in Africa with whom we have no ties.

    Now a teacher, and nurse, and other care providers, need to respond to others as we respond to family. That is caring on a whole different level, from smiling at a stranger on subway. These care givers actually invest themselves in the well being and future of others. This is why they should be working with a limited number of people, and when we give a nurse too many people to care for or a teacher too many children, they can no longer interact them as they need to for the best results. And this reality is totally changing our morality. It is easy to steal from an large impersonal corporation, or for people on the fringes of our society to enter our homes and steal from us, because there is no personal relationship. If we steal from someone we know and care about, and know how this hurt the person, if we are normal, we feel very bad, and this tends to stop us from stealing. This is really about brain energy and how many people we can take into our lives. And this is directly to the subject of this thread.

    When we live in small groups everyone is going to care for everyone else and the children. Each person has a place in the group. I am told native Americans had a group identity, not the ego we have. We are kind of free radicals considering how we can be strangers in crowd with not sense of bonding in our very large populations. It is this reason we can ignore the homeless and abused children. Unless these children are a part of lives they mean no more to us than the trash cans set out on the curb. And this was not always so.

    I really want to get into when there is no way I am thinking with 1850 consciousness but I have to run. That is about when we began free public education for the masses and that education as about being a good citizen and had nothing to do with vocational training. That education resulted in a very different culture than the culture we had today. Sometimes I think you are not really paying attention to what I am saying.

    You are being a real jerk when you communicate to me like this
    You are not my superior in anyway that I can determine. You are not more knowledgeable than I am in the subjects we are discussion. Please, do not tempt me to speak as badly to you as you speaking to me. I hate to admit it, but I had a professor who told me I am a castrating bitch. I am working very hard to suppress those urges, and be the better person I want to be. We seem to be fair equals, now let us be respectful of each other, so we do not ruin a very good discussion Repeat after me, I will speak respectful. I will speak respectful.
  14. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    Please consider following your own advice, eh? Thanks.

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  15. Rita Registered Member


    Good a new topic. Gibran said we speak when we are not peace with our thoughts, and I am undecided on how to handle what appears to me disrespect. In strategy theory, there is a notion that tic for tat is the best strategy. Now my rule is, we protect the dignity of others, and I broke my rule in favor of tic for tat strategy and I am not comfortable with that. However, I am wondering if it will get good results?

    Can we move on the the statement that government is dysfunctional? A woman wrote a most exciting book that civilizations fall when they get too complex and can no longer stay ahead of the game of resolving problems. I think we are there. Creating a huge national debt is certainly creating a huge problem in the effort to resolve the problem of economic collapse. Reality just is not like Simi City. You know the computer game Simi City where once you past a certain point your money increases and increases and increases and no matter how much you spend you still have plenty of money. Totally unrealistic. In 1835 Tocqueville's book Democracy in America was published. He begins by praising our democracy because citizens amused responsibility of their communities and did not rely on government. They came together and with their own hands built the roads and court house, etc.. However, in the end of the book he describes the despot that will be above us, regulating the smallest details of our lives. I am blown away by how right he is. This one of my favorite subjects to talk about, and if Fraggle wants to engage in this discussion about the importance of culture and government matters, I will be delighted.

    My understanding of using schools as shelters for homeless families is a matter of culture. Schools are community resources paid for with tax dollars. In the beginning of our democracy we had town hall meetings and were our own government. There was no government to rely upon. A community using a community resource, is not exactly relying on government. It is relying on citizens to work for the common good. I want to discuss such matters and do not want the discussions blocked by with a statement about how dysfunctional government is. Who is responsible for that? Our Declaration of Independence could be called a Declaration of Responsibility. If something needs to be changed, it is our responsibility to change it. That is what democracy means. The responsibility is in the hands of the people, not a king ruling over the people.

    We need to take responsibility for everyone's well being, so everyone can make his/her best contribution to our democracy. We are all in this together and it will be only good as we make it.
  16. Rita Registered Member

  17. Rita Registered Member

    Actually, we are dealing with over population and the exponential growth of populations is not slowing fast enough, to make each child very important. When our population is so low, we need every person born, than we can say we do not have over population, providing we also have enough water and food. Our biggest problem today is we do not need the mass of humanity we have and it is growing. We are killing our planet trying to feed the mass of humanity we have, and some nations will never be able to meet their populations need for food. If we learn to take back the land taken by deserts, we will greatly improve out situation. China could than feed its masses. But this would resolve the water problem many nations face. I do not lack science in this area of knowledge by perhaps should have mention water problems further from home than California. In the US we do not to go to war with each other to get water from one state to another. In the mid east things are different.

    About that food. Trying to keep up with the demand for food is having a terrible impact on our planet. American Article.pdf
    Now for water

    The subjects of soil fertility and underground water can be depressing. I have hope that biochar may save our soils, but consuming underground water faster than it can be replenished is a more serious borrowing from future generations than our growing national debt. Mexico is sinking about two inches a year because it is consuming so much of its underground water, and some day that water will be gone and so will Mexico's ability to produce as much food be gone. While we consume the underground water, we are destroying the plant life that depends on it and stand to turn fertile soil into deserts, contributing even more to global warming. In the mean time glaciers that feed rivers and have been the only water supply some people have, are melting and it appears in the near future people who depend on them for water, will no longer have water.

    If you want to talk science about these matters, I am ready.

    Oh, oh one more thing, today's oil rich nations are rich because of a finite resource. Right now their governments can provide everything for their people, who are multiply like rabbits because now there seems to be plenty for everyone. I do not donate money to starving people in other countries because they multiply and increase the problem. This is particularly a problem in Arab countries dependent on exporting oil. When that oil is gone their expectations of the good life will be sky high, and their populations will be much larger, and these countries will not be able to meet the needs of their people. They are heavily armed and they will not revert to poverty peacefully.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  18. Rita Registered Member

    The number of highly educated people who are unemployed is much larger than the well paid people who push bottoms. Today dish washers have to present resumes to get a job washing dishes. A person can not get a referral to a show shining job without 5 years professional experience. Over population means raising the bar for entry level jobs. Students who have completed law school have looked into suing universities for misrepresenting the job market. There is concern that not only does it take more education to get a job, but to be competitive that education must be from one of the top colleges.

    People are no longer raising from the bottom floor to the top as they did in your youth. Those who came home from WWII with the GI bill road the gravy train to prosperity. That is no longer our reality. You want to argue this? I am ready.

    The graph didn't copy and paste well, but it provides a different view of what is so than Fraggle's idea of what is so. However, even this does not give us a good understanding of what is happening. Law students have the training to think in terms of suing universities for misrepresenting their future economic potential. For sure it is not just Layers we are mass producing, creating a surplus that joins the ranks of the underemployed and unemployed. Until recently this was not a problem we needed to address. Considering this problem is added to the insane policy of giving credit to young people who have no means of repaying the debt except may be they will get a good job that pays enough to pay off the school loans, we may see another economic crisis. Unlike a house loan that means a person has a place to live while paying off the loan, school loans do not equal a place to live. A large mass of well educated people who not only can not pay off students, but also can not buy homes and fill them with new future and appliances, will be another blow to the economy.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  19. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

    Isn't that what you wanted, to stick with the topic and gain only Fraggle’s attention? :shrug:

    Not all beggars are homeless and not all homeless are beggars. Personally, I believe that handing out dollar bills only perpetuates the problem. They gravitate to more generous areas and move around a lot, why? Because people look for cheaters. Think about cooperation (tit for tat) the prisoner’s dilemma and the emotions they give rise to.

    I’m an introvert. So, I spend most of my time reading and observing people. People usually give them not just one, but two or three dollars, why? Because we know that people are irrational. Even though they'd be a dollar ahead, giving too little can be offensive, and relevant to the concept of honor. Besides, if you are purchasing their gratitude, and fulfilling your need to be needed, it's going to cost you more than a dollar. However, this is not tit for tat; this is the ultimatum game, where reciprocation is not an issue.

    Rationality vs. Irrationality

    Does irrationality provide an evolutionary edge?

    Earlier, I mentioned the Castle doctrine. Very few people feel that you should be allowed to use deadly force to protect only your property, as with a fleeing felon, but they do feel that you can use an appropriate level of physical force in making an arrest, or to prevent an escape.

    I also mentioned earlier that Pinker argued when there’s not a reliable government system in place, we immediately revert back to cultures of honor, which are more prone to irrational behavior. Even with a reliable system, petty things like honor and revenge play a major role in most murders, as opposed to random violence or other crime. For example, the American South is more of a culture of honor than the North. Gun laws are more permissive, corporeal and capital punishment has more approval, and military attitudes are more positive. The crime rate is not higher in the south but there are more crimes associated with honor. Some of the old fashion virtues that Rita seems to favor include honor, loyalty, courage and self-reliance. Therefore, cultures of honor aren't necessarily bad things. If you’re prone to anger, no one will mess with you, and a mate who falls head over heels in love you is more likely to stick around.

    Steven pinker thought that most wars were not fought over shortages of resources such as food and water, and most shortages of resources don’t lead to war. The Dust Bowl of the 1930's did not lead to an American civil war; nor did the tsunamis of 2003 and 2011 lead to war in Indonesia or Japan. However, Fraggle seemed to disagree.

    My grandfather fled to California during the dust bowl. He said that the dust got so bad that you couldn't even see the houses across the street.

    Here’s his story in his own words.

    In 1937, I got job on the All American Canal, and I worked there three months until they were shutting down, finishing up. I went out and worked in the peas. Maybe this is hard for you to believe, young lady, but there was a picker on every row of 80 acres on each end of the field. That’s how many people were there. The only reason I got hired was because I knew the people. I had worked for them before. They treated people terribly. They’d fire you for anything. Well, of course, there were people begging for work.

    They fired this young fellow and the kid said, “if you fool with me, I’ll check you out.” The row boss hit him and he hadn't ought to have done that. That kid turned him every way but loose. The grade boss that was grading the peas was one of them smart characters. He ran in to help the row boss and the kid flattened him. He picked up piece of timber to hit the kid with. This colored guy sitting next to me said, “Ain't that white boy got no friends.” I said, “Well, so far it doesn't look like he needs any.”

    They weren't going to pay him because he lost number. When you get a job you get a little piece of square pasteboard with a number on it. The kid climbed onto this big old high International truck, jumped and knocked him down. He threw another guy over his head just like you’d toss a football. I’d got off my hamper and was standing right over them.

    Well, about that time old Blackie Thompson, the one he’d knocked down, runs up and grabs the kid by the hair. He had a ball-peen hammer and was fixing to knock that kid in the head. I was a lot younger then and didn't like to see that. So, I ripped the hammer from his hand. He demanded it back and I said, “I’ll give it to you between the eyes, if you don’t get back. What do you want to do, kill someone over a two-bit job like this? Now, you know you’re wrong.” They paid him and all three of them left. The field boss came a little bit later and said to not let them know I had anything to do with this or they’d fire me. I told him to go tell that character exactly what happened. I didn't touch him but I would have. If he wants to fire me, that’s all right. But if he told him, I don’t’ know. He didn't fire me but that’s how people were treated.

    In this paper-pdf it was asked, “Why the southern culture of honor has persisted to the present day (as it clearly has). This is troubling because the South no longer relies primarily (or even in substantial part) on a herding economy. Why do southern men, more than northern men, continue to respond with violence to a perceived insult or affront when (a) they no longer risk massive economic loss due to theft, and (b) there now exist formal city, county, state and federal legislative bodies to punish theft or attempted theft of property?

    The psychological mechanisms that provide output consistent with a culture of honor are not likely to have evolved as specific solutions to adaptive problems confronted by ancestral men in economically vulnerable economies lacking a formal legislative presence. This is because herding economies and other economies in which wealth is stockpiled are evolutionarily recent phenomena.

    The psychological mechanisms may have evolved, however, as solutions to a related adaptive problem that likely was recurrently confronted by ancestral men: theft of a reproductively valuable wife. Theft of a wife might have amounted not to physical theft, per se, but to theft of her reproductive capacity, as in the form of courting her for an extra-pair copulation or raping her. The manifest behaviors defined as indicators of a culture of honor might be the output of psychological mechanisms that evolved in response to the adaptive problem of mate retention.

    Following this argument, it would be interesting to document, for example, whether rates of wifely infidelity are higher in the South than in the North.”
  20. Rita Registered Member

    Heavens no. I wanted the personal attacks to stop. When people are attacking each other, I feel bad. Now I find myself attacking Fraggle too, and as I said before, I am uncomfortable with this. But so am I uncomfortable with someone addressing me as though I am an idiot. And yet I know, this is the same way I address others. I am guilty of all the wrongs, and I am trying to figure out how I can do better. It really bits that Fraggle seems to have stopped responding, because he says so many meaningful things that stimulate conversation. Unfortunately, he and I both tend to be a little arrogant, and not as respectful with our wording as we should be.

    To me that is strange way of looking at things. Why want the gratitude of a stranger? I want a dollar more than I want gratitude from a stranger. I don't anything from a stranger, but I have had my desperate times, and I know how it is to need a sign that at least someone cares. A dollar is not much, but it says "I see you and I care". Now which will make a better world? If you do not see each other and do not care about each other, or we do see each other and do care about each other?

    However, I do not give money to the known alcoholics. Since Ricky was obviously dying from alcoholism, I decided I could no longer support alcoholism. I attempted to feed Ricky several times, but he would not eat. Where I live, several homeless people are permanent residents, just like my other neighbors, except they don't have homes. I smile and wave at the one's I know, and if I am walking, I stop and talk with them. But if I know they are alcoholic, I do not give them money. This has everything to do with my understanding of how to have a better for everyone.

    I do not think our honor is a petty thing. I am fully behind notions of "saving face". I support the reasoning of dueling with guns. If we become too lax we destroy our morals and this is not a good thing.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
  21. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

    Personally, I feel that arguing is a great way to learn. I've been persuaded to change my opinion on several occasions. You can learn a lot about yourself. I lose interest, however, if someone tries to weasel their way around it by replying with a never-ending series of irrelevant points.

    I was watching this video about wealth and income inequality in America. However, Alan Reynolds claims that income inequality is a statistical illusion brought about by technical changes in the tax law that alter what income gets reported to the Internal Revenue Service and what income does not. Of course, he is heavily criticized by Timothy Noah and Brad DeLong, but not without merit.

    Alan Reynolds discusses measures of income inequality on C-SPAN


    The technology revolution hypothesis sounded plausible, especially after reading “The Great Gatsby,” but Paul Krugman pointed out that this may explain why the salary premium associated with a college education has risen, but it's hard to match up with the huge increase in inequality among the college-educated, with little progress for many, but with gigantic gains at the top.

    What do you think? Was it due to a social change, rather than an economic force?
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Ours is not. In fact the rate of increase is declining, which is the opposite of an exponential increase. Indeed the US is at zero population growth; we grow only through immigration now.

    ?? Plenty of kids grow up in cities and do just fine. And they have no yard, not "a very small yard."

    A lower population means fewer customers, which means fewer retail employees, fewer truck drivers, fewer factory workers etc. Population reduction does not solve employment problems - indeed, in some cases it exacerbates them.
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    They do have some "tells." Chris Rock told us all about a very important one: Starving people lose their sense of humor. So if you see a beggar with a funny sign, he's probably not as needy as the guy on the next corner with no sign.

    The phrase "pay it forward" applies. When I was younger a lot of people helped me. Not financially because that wasn't what I needed, but without their help I would be lost. Now that I'm reasonably well settled, there's no point in trying to "pay back" what those people gave me, because they don't need it. (And half of them are dead by now.) So I pay it forward to someone who does need it. If they need teaching and mentoring and comforting, I give them that. If they need money, I give them that. If they need a kick in the butt...

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    This is how civilization works. We don't trade things with each other like we did in the Stone Age. Somebody gave you something, you give me something, and I give something to somebody else.

    As I've postulated before, the primary rule of civilization is that you may never kill another person except in self-defense against a reasonably imminent lethal threat. In other words, the other guy became uncivilized first, so the rule doesn't apply to him anymore. The reason for this is that if every one of us had to divert a significant portion of our labor, attention and other resources to protecting ourselves against each other, the surplus productivity that makes civilization possible in the first place would be dissipated. This wasn't a problem in the Paleolithic Era because the only people we met were family.

    Except during a drought, when the tribe in the next valley came over to invade our hunting and gathering territory and we had to kill them.

    These systems only work in small communities. You can't run a country with a nine-digit population that way. That was the flaw in communism. People weren't paid for what they produced. They were paid for simply being citizens. That system only works in small countries with fairly heterogeneous populations like Bulgaria and Sweden, where everybody really does consider everybody else family.

    We seem to be fighting over petroleum today. And it's almost universally predicted that soon we'll be fighting over water.

    These attitudes are passed down within families. Things you learn as a baby or a toddler stay with you forever and you teach them to your own children. Racism, religion, many of our worst traits are simply leftover from an earlier time when they seemed to make sense.

    Indeed. Read the book Man's Presumptuous Brain. Deep down inside we're all still Paleolithic hunter-gatherers, who only care about a few dozen extended-family members and consider all other humans to be hated and feared competitors for scarce resources. (I hope that's the right book anyway.)

    We've spent the last 12,000 years using our enormous forebrains to override instinctive behavior with reasoned and learned behavior. Most of the time it works, which is how we advanced from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic to civilization to the Bronze Age to the Iron Age to the Industrial Era to whatever historians will call this new information-electronics-knowledge work era.

    But sometimes it fails. But not often enough to bring down civilization. At least not yet. Imagine the Crusades with nuclear weapons. Or just sit back and watch it on TV sometime in the next few years.

    Lots of luck getting truthful information about that.

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    Actually the fertility rate among native-born American women has fallen below replacement level of 2.1 (adjusting for infant mortality). This is happening in all of the developed nations, and is hitting Japan especially hard.

    In the USA and much of Europe, the only thing that's propping up the Ponzi schemes we refer to as "social security" is immigration. Even illegal immigration helps, because in order to get jobs those guys have to use somebody's Social Security number. This means they're contributing to the system and they'll never be able to draw benefits!

    As I've noted before, every economic model since Adam Smith has assumed without comment that the engine of prosperity is a steadily growing population of producers and consumers. When the whole global population starts shrinking in the 22nd century, those people are going to have some s**t do deal with!
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