Social Factors Quotes

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In case you haven't noticed, as the result of a shamelessly rigged election in Florida, in which thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily disenfranchised, we now present ourselves to the rest of the world as proud, grinning, jut-jawed, pitiless war-lovers with appalling powerful weaponry - who stand unopposed. In case you haven't noticed, we are now as feared and hated all over the world as the Nazi's once were. And with good reason. In case you haven't noticed, our unelected leaders have dehumanized millions and millions of human beings simply because of their religion and race. We wound 'em and kill 'em and torture 'em and imprison 'em all we want. Piece of cake. In case you haven't noticed, we also dehumanize our own soldiers, not because of their religion or race, but because of their low social class. Send 'em anywhere. Make 'em do anything. Piece of cake. The O'Reilly Factor. So I am a man without a country, except for the librarians and a Chicago paper called "In These Times." Before we attacked Iraq, the majestic "New York Times" guaranteed there were weapons of destruction there. Albert Einstein and Mark Twain gave up on the human race at the end of their lives, even though Twain hadn't even seen the First World War. War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the First World War so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun. Shrapnel was invented by an Englishman of the same name. Don't you wish you could have something named after you? Like my distinct betters Einstein and Twain, I now give up on people too. I am a veteran of the Second World War and I have to say this is the not the first time I surrendered to a pitiless war machine. My last words? "Life is no way to treat an animal, not even a mouse." Napalm came from Harvard. Veritas! Our president is a Christian? So was Adolf Hitler. What can be said to our young people, now that psychopathic personalities, which is to say persons without consciences, without senses of pity or shame, have taken all the money in the treasuries of our government and corporations and made it all their own?
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (A Man Without a Country)
The understanding of the environment - political, economic, social, technological, and legal is very crucial for the success of a business.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
Countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers are among the freest, most stable, best-educated, and healthiest nations on earth. When nations are ranked according to a human-development index, which measures such factors as life expectancy, literacy rates, and educational attainment, the five highest-ranked countries -- Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands -- all have high degrees of nonbelief. Of the fifty countires at the bottom of the index, all are intensly religious. The nations with the highest homicide rates tend to be more religious; those with the greatest levels of gender equality are the least religious. These associations say nothing about whether atheism leads to positive social indicators or the other way around. But the idea that atheists are somehow less moral, honest, or trustworthy have been disproven by study after study.
Greg Graffin
The principal factor promoting historically significant social change is contact with strangers possessing new and unfamiliar skills.
Thomas L. Friedman (Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations)
But what about human nature? Can it be changed? And if not, will it endure under Anarchism? Poor human nature, what horrible crimes have been committed in thy name! Every fool, from king to policeman, from the flatheaded parson to the visionless dabbler in science, presumes to speak authoritatively of human nature. The greater the mental charlatan, the more definite his insistence on the wickedness and weaknesses of human nature. Yet, how can any one speak of it today, with every soul in a prison, with every heart fettered, wounded, and maimed? John Burroughs has stated that experimental study of animals in captivity is absolutely useless. Their character, their habits, their appetites undergo a complete transformation when torn from their soil in field and forest. With human nature caged in a narrow space, whipped daily into submission, how can we speak of its potentialities? Freedom, expansion, opportunity, and, above all, peace and repose, alone can teach us the real dominant factors of human nature and all its wonderful possibilities. Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations. This is not a wild fancy or an aberration of the mind. It is the conclusion arrived at by hosts of intellectual men and women the world over; a conclusion resulting from the close and studious observation of the tendencies of modern society: individual liberty and economic equality, the twin forces for the birth of what is fine and true in man.
Emma Goldman (Anarchism and Other Essays)
This principle - that your spouse should be capable of becoming your best friend - is a game changer when you address the question of compatibility in a prospective spouse. If you think of marriage largely in terms of erotic love, then compatibility means sexual chemistry and appeal. If you think of marriage largely as a way to move into the kind of social status in life you desire, then compatibility means being part of the desired social class, and perhaps common tastes and aspirations for lifestyle. The problem with these factors is that they are not durable. Physical attractiveness will wane, no matter how hard you work to delay its departure. And socio-economic status unfortunately can change almost overnight. When people think they have found compatibility based on these things, they often make the painful discovery that they have built their relationship on unstable ground. A woman 'lets herself go' or a man loses his job, and the compatibility foundation falls apart.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
Religious faith depends on a host of social, psychological and emotional factors that have little or nothing to do with probabilities, evidence and logic
Michael Shermer
There can be no doubt that this resistance to killing one’s fellow man is there and that it exists as a result of a powerful combination of instinctive, rational, environmental, hereditary, cultural, and social factors. It is there, it is strong, and it gives us cause to believe that there just may be hope for mankind after all.
Dave Grossman (On Killing)
Our fraught way of life gives each of us a narrowly defined role, creating conditions conducive to developing only those elements in our psyche which allow us to grow within the confines of that role. The other areas of our psyche waste away. Hence lack of contact. Here psychological and social factors combine, and produce fear, distrust, moral baseness and the death of hope.
Andrei Tarkovsky (Journal 1970-1986)
The destructive effects of video games are not on boys' cognitive abilities or their reaction times, but on their motivation and their connectedness with the real world.
Leonard Sax (Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men)
The writer should have a comprehensive outlook. He should aim at a holistic understanding of the prevailing social, political and economic conditions. He should evaluate all factors in a balanced way. To take a selective view will be erroneous. A realistic approach becomes necessary. This requires healthy literary criticism and exchange of views. A writer should necessarily venture into his enterprise by touching on a single issue. But then he should relate it to other socially relevant issues. This is what we call the socio-spiritual approach. You may begin your work dwelling upon the problems of an individual, but then as a writer you should be able to view it as part of the larger social reality.
If we fail to provide boys with pro-social models of the transition to adulthood, they may construct their own. In some cases, gang initiation rituals, street racing, and random violence may be the result.
Leonard Sax (Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men)
The long poem of walking manipulates spatial organizations, no matter how panoptic they may be: it is neither foreign to them (it can take place only within them) nor in conformity with them (it does not receive its identity from them). It creates shadows and ambiguities within them. It inserts its multitudinous references and citations into them (social models, cultural mores, personal factors). Within them it is itself the effect of successive encounters and occasions that constantly alter it and make it the other's blazon: in other words, it is like a peddler carrying something surprising, transverse or attractive compared with the usual choice. These diverse aspects provide the basis of a rhetoric. They can even be said to define it.
Michel de Certeau (The Practice of Everyday Life)
You have always suspected that you are shallow when it comes to desire, and there it was: all of those factors flipped your brain inside out and turned your cunt to pudding. Maybe you were always some kind of hedonist-cum-social climber-cum-cummer and you just never knew it.
Carmen Maria Machado (In the Dream House)
Generally religion and puritanism prevail in periods when the laws are feeble and morals must bear the burden of maintaining social order; skepticism and paganism (other factors being equal) progress as the rising power of law and government permits the decline of the church, the family, and morality without basically endangering the stability of the state.
Will Durant (The Lessons of History)
Today it's widely understood that one of the most important factors in preventing and addressing toxic stress in children is healthy social connection.
Vivek H. Murthy (Together: Why Social Connection Holds the Key to Better Health, Higher Performance, and Greater Happiness)
What will we be doing, when everything that can be done, can be done better by robots?
Humberto Contreras (The Preponderant Factor (living dangerously in utopia, #2))
Therefore, it is a combination of the two factors—widespread skepticism about reason and socialism’s being in crisis—that is necessary to give rise to postmodernism.
Stephen R.C. Hicks (Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault)
Chief Factors Limiting Access to Facts: 1)Artificial censorship 2)Limitations of social contact 3)Comparatively meager time in a day for paying attention to public affairs. 4)Distortion arising because events have to be compressed into very short messages 5)Difficulty of making a small vocabulary express a complicated world 6)Fear of facing those facts which would seem to threaten the established routine of men's lives
Walter Lippmann (Public Opinion)
Apart from the agglomeration of huge masses in which the individual disappears anyway, one of the chief factors responsible for psychological mass-mindedness is scientific rationalism, which robs the individual of his foundations and his dignity. As a social unit he has lost his individuality and become a mere abstract number in the bureau of statistics. He can only play the role of an interchangeable unit of infinitesimal importance. Looked at rationally and from outside, that is exactly what he is, and from this point of view it seems positively absurd to go on talking about the value or meaning of the individual.
C.G. Jung (The Undiscovered Self)
the U.S., also has the highest rates of suicide, drug abuse, murder, incarcerations, and other negative social factors. Our economy is based on fighting wars—killing people and ravaging the planet—trading paper (mergers, derivatives, etc.), and selling each other things most of us don’t need. Meanwhile our planet is drowning in pollution, people are starving, our resources are dissipating, and our animals and plants are disappearing at shocking rates.
Jim Marrs (Our Occulted History: Do the Global Elite Conceal Ancient Aliens?)
When a person tries to obey the unconscious, he will often, as we have seen, be unable to do just as he pleases. But equally he will often be unable to do what other people want him to do. It often happens, for instance, that he must separate from his group-from his family, his partner, or other personal connections-in order to find himself. That is why it is sometimes said that attending to the unconscious makes people antisocial and egocentric. As a rule this is not true, for there is a little-known factor that enters into this attitude: the collective (or, we could even say, social) aspect of the Self.
C.G. Jung (Man and His Symbols)
There seems to be a vicious cycle at work here, making ours not just an economy but a culture of extreme inequality. Corporate decision makers, and even some two-bit entrepreneurs like my boss at The Maids, occupy an economic position miles above that of the underpaid people whose labor they depend on. For reasons that have more to do with class — and often racial — prejudice than with actual experience, they tend to fear and distrust the category of people from which they recruit their workers. Hence the perceived need for repressive management and intrusive measures like drug and personality testing. But these things cost money — $20,000 or more a year for a manager, $100 a pop for a drug test, and so on — and the high cost of repression results in ever more pressure to hold wages down. The larger society seems to be caught up in a similar cycle: cutting public services for the poor, which are sometimes referred to collectively as the 'social wage,' while investing ever more heavily in prisons and cops. And in the larger society, too, the cost of repression becomes another factor weighing against the expansion or restoration of needed services. It is a tragic cycle, condemning us to ever deeper inequality, and in the long run, almost no one benefits but the agents of repression themselves.
Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America)
according to Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness, fifty percent of our happiness is determined by genetics, forty percent by internal factors, and only ten percent by external factors. These external factors include such things as whether we’re single or married, rich or poor, and similar social influences.
Thibaut Meurisse (Master Your Emotions: A Practical Guide to Overcome Negativity and Better Manage Your Feelings)
But race is the child of racism, not the father. And the process of naming 'the people' has never been a matter of genealogy and physiognomy so much as one of hierarchy. Difference in hue and hair is old. But belief in the preeminence of hue and hair, the belief that these factors can correctly organize a society and that they signify deeper attributes , which are indelible--this is the new idea at the heart of these new people who have been brought up hopelessly, tragically, to believe that they are white. These people are, like us, a modern invention. But unlike us, their new name has no real meaning divorced from the machinery of criminal power. The new people were something else before they were white--Catholic, Corsican, Welsh, Mennonite, Jewish--and if all our national hopes have any fulfillment, then they will have to be something else again. Perhaps they will truly become American and create a nobler basis for their myths. I cannot call it. As for now, it must be said that the process of washing the disparate tribes white, was not achieved through wine tasting and ice cream socials, but rather through the pillaging of life, liberty, labor, and land; through the flaying of backs; the chaining of limbs; the strangling of dissidents; the destruction of families; the rape of mothers; the sale of children; and various other acts meant, first and foremost, to you and me the right to secure and govern our own bodies.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me)
In addition to conformity as a way to relieve the anxiety springing from separateness, another factor of contemporary life must be considered: the role of the work routine and the pleasure routine. Man becomes a 'nine to fiver', he is part of the labour force, or the bureaucratic force of clerks and managers. He has little initiative, his tasks are prescribed by the organisation of the work; there is even little difference between those high up on the ladder and those on the bottom. They all perform tasks prescribed by the whole structure of the organisation, at a prescribed speed, and in a prescribed manner. Even the feelings are prescribed: cheerfulness, tolerance, reliability, ambition, and an ability to get along with everybody without friction. Fun is routinised in similar, although not quite as drastic ways. Books are selected by the book clubs, movies by the film and theatre owners and the advertising slogans paid for by them; the rest is also uniform: the Sunday ride in the car, the television session, the card game, the social parties. From birth to death, from Monday to Monday, from morning to evening - all activities are routinised, and prefabricated. How should a man caught up in this net of routine not forget that he is a man, a unique individual, one who is given only this one chance of living, with hopes and disappointments, with sorrow and fear, with the longing for love and the dread of the nothing and separateness?
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
Many people, observing religious conflict in the contemporary world, have become hostile to religion as such and regard it as a source of violence and intolerance.5 In a world of overlapping and plural religious environments, this can clearly be the case. But they fail to put religion in its broader historical context, where it was a critical factor in permitting broad social cooperation that transcended kin and friends as a source of social relationships. Moreover, secular ideologies like Marxism-Leninism or nationalism that have displaced religious beliefs in many contemporary societies can be and have been no less destructive due to the passionate beliefs that they engender.
Francis Fukuyama (The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution)
Every reader’s experience of every work is unique, largely because each person will emphasize various elements to differing degrees, and those differences will cause certain features of the text to become more or less pronounced. We bring an individual history to our reading, a mix of previous readings, to be sure, but also a history that includes, but is not limited to, educational attainment, gender, race, class, faith, social involvement, and philosophical inclination. These factors will inevitably influence what we understand in our reading, and nowhere is this individuality clearer than in the matter of symbolism.
Thomas C. Foster (How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines)
What both Dell and Gary figured out before opening themselves up is that conventional business wisdom that companies need to be secretive in order to be successful is wrong.
Tara Hunt (The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business)
Mind control is the process by which individual or collective freedom of choice and action is compromised by agents or agencies that modify or distort perception, motivation, affect, cognition and/or behavioral outcomes. It is neither magical nor mystical, but a process that involves a set of basic social psychological principles. Conformity, compliance, persuasion, dissonance, reactance, guilt and fear arousal, modeling and identification are some of the staple social influence ingredients well studied in psychological experiments and field studies. In some combinations, they create a powerful crucible of extreme mental and behavioral manipulation when synthesized with several other real-world factors, such as charismatic, authoritarian leaders, dominant ideologies, social isolation, physical debilitation, induced phobias, and extreme threats or promised rewards that are typically deceptively orchestrated, over an extended time period in settings where they are applied intensively.
Steven Hassan (Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-Selling Guide to Protection, Rescue and Recovery from Destructive Cults)
Starling knew what the malicious Dr. Lecter would say, and it was true: she was afraid there was something tacky that Senator Martin saw in her, something cheap, something thief-like that Senator Martin reacted to. That Vanderbilt bitch. Dr. Lecter would relish pointing out that class resentment, the buried anger that comes with mother's milk, was a factor too. Starling gave away nothing to any Martin in education, intelligence, drive, and certainly physical appearance, but still it was there and she knew it.
Thomas Harris (The Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal Lecter, #2))
Language is deeply entwined in the intellectual development of humanity itself, it accompanies the latter upon every step of its localized progression or regression; moreover, the pertinent cultural level in each case is recognizable in it. ... Language is, as it were, the external manifestation of the minds of peoples. Their language is their soul, and their soul is their language. It is impossible to conceive them ever sufficiently identical... . The creation of language is an innate necessity of humanity. It is not a mere external vehicle, designed to sustain social intercourse, but an indispensable factor for the development of human intellectual powers, culminating in the formulation of philosophical doctrine.
Wilhelm von Humboldt (On Language: On the Diversity of Human Language Construction and its Influence on the Mental Development of the Human Species)
The individual and social instincts,—the one a most potent factor for individual endeavor, for growth, aspiration, self-realization; the other an equally potent factor for mutual helpfulness and social well-being.
Emma Goldman (Anarchism and Other Essays)
The accessible physical space of the library is not the only factor that makes it work well as social infrastructure. The institution's extensive programming, organized by a professional staff that upholds a principled commitment to openness and inclusivity, fosters social cohesion among clients who might otherwise keep to themselves.
Eric Klinenberg (Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life)
Two fundamental factors are at the base of this transformation. The first is the destruction of those religious, political, and social beliefs in which all the elements of our civilisation are rooted. The second is the creation of entirely new conditions of existence and thought as the result of modern scientific and industrial discoveries.
Gustave Le Bon (The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind)
When the traumatic event is the result of an attack by a family member on whom victims depend for economic and other forms of security (as occurs in victims of intrafamilial abuse) victims are prone to respond to assaults with increased dependence and with paralysis in their decision-making processes. Thus, some aspects of how people respond to trauma are quite predictable - but individual, situational and social factors play a major role in the shaping the symptomatology.
Marion F. Solomon (Healing Trauma: Attachment, Mind, Body and Brain)
The wish to see others suffer exactly what we are suffering. It is because of this that, except in periods of social instability, the spite of those in misfortune is directed against their fellows. That is a factor making for social stability.
Simone Weil (Gravity and Grace)
Geeks in Australia never wore the striped shirts, pocket protectors, braces and thick rimmed spectacles always seen in American TV shows. They were just plain kids from good homes, a factor other social groups regarded as an exception to the rule.
Scott Monk (Boyz 'R' Us)
Further, when markers of race, gender, gender fluidity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion and other factors are the only criteria considered in hiring or admissions, students are cheated, as are those chosen to meet diversity measures on the basis of identity alone. Nothing is more essentialist or constraining than diversity understood strictly in terms of identity.
Michael Rectenwald (Springtime for Snowflakes: Social Justice and Its Postmodern Parentage)
In judging our progress as individual we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one's social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education. These are, of course, important in measuring one's success in material matters and it is perfectly understandable if many people exert themselves mainly to achieve all these. But internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one's development as a human being. Honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve others - qualites which are within reach of every soul - are the foundation of one's spiritual life.
Nelson Mandela (Conversations With Myself)
Cada indivíduo tem um espaço muito limitado de operação e o seu cérebro trabalha num pequeno circuito de observações; a sua evolução é restrita ao que o rodeia e aos factores exteriores mais próximos.A educação sem grandes exigências de comportamento social e intelectual, leva-os a formar uma personalidade mesquinha, às vezes ressentida e admiradora de extremos, como da liderança de um chefe.
Agustina Bessa-Luís (Antes do Degelo)
Communism worked great, up to maybe four dozen people. Libertarianism was a bit better and could handle thousands before it started to fall apart. Capitalism worked best on scale, but it too began to implode once you moved close to the billion mark or so and began to factor in multiple local governments. Socialism always sucked and tended to work like a glacier moving uphill, but it worked at pretty much every scale in the same way. It was reliable, even if you could only rely on it to piss you off and barely get anything done.
Evan Currie (By Other Means (Hayden War Cycle, #5))
Only after that political support is strong enough to cause fallacious ideas to become government policies and programs are the missing or ignored factors likely to lead to “unintended consequences,” a phrase often heard in the wake of economic or social policy disasters.
Thomas Sowell (Economic Facts and Fallacies)
A 2010 academic study on group intelligence found that the collective intelligence of a workgroup is correlated to three factors: the average social sensitivity of the group members, the group’s ability to take turns contributing, and the proportion of females in the group.
Melinda French Gates (The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World)
In an agential realist account, agency is cut loose from its traditional humanist orbit. Agency is not aligned with human intentionality or subjectivity. Nor does it merely entail resignification or other specific kinds of moves within a social geometry ofantihumanism. The space of agency is not only substantially larger than that allowed for in Butler's performative account, for example, but also, perhaps rather surprisingly, larger than what liberal humanism proposes. Significantly, matter is an agentive factor in its iterative materialization.
Karen Barad (Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning)
Boys are suffering, in the modern world. They are more disobedient—negatively—or more independent—positively—than girls, and they suffer for this, throughout their pre-university educational career. They are less agreeable (agreeableness being a personality trait associated with compassion, empathy and avoidance of conflict) and less susceptible to anxiety and depression,172 at least after both sexes hit puberty.173 Boys’ interests tilt towards things; girls’ interests tilt towards people.174 Strikingly, these differences, strongly influenced by biological factors, are most pronounced in the Scandinavian societies where gender-equality has been pushed hardest: this is the opposite of what would be expected by those who insist, ever more loudly, that gender is a social construct. It isn’t. This isn’t a debate. The data are in.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
The human brain works by identifying patterns. It uses information from the past to understand what is happening in the present and to anticipate the future. This strategy works elegantly in most situations. But we inevitably see patterns where they don’t exist. In other words, we are slow to recognize exceptions. There is also the peer-pressure factor. All of us have been in situations that looked ominous, and they almost always turn out to be innocuous. If we behave otherwise, we risk social embarrassment by overreacting. So we err on the side of underreacting.
Amanda Ripley (The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why)
... adults with SM are significantly more likely than the general population to develop other mood- and anxiety-related conditions, most notably depression, generalised anxiety, panic disorder, social anxiety and PTSD. For some, chronic mental health conditions are a factor in their lives. Most indicated that they felt their long-term mental health conditions could have been avoided with appropriate support at the appropriate time in childhood.
Carl Sutton (Tackling Selective Mutism: A Guide for Professionals and Parents)
Among the many symbols used to frighten and manipulate the populace of the democratic states, few have been more important than "terror" and "terrorism." These terms have generally been confined to the use of violence by individuals and marginal groups. Official violence, which is far more extensive in both scale and destructiveness, is placed in a different category altogether. This usage has nothing to do with justice, causal sequence, or numbers abused. Whatever the actual sequence of cause and effect, official violence is described as responsive or provoked ("retaliation," "protective reaction," etc.), not as the active and initiating source of abuse. Similarly, the massive long-term violence inherent in the oppressive social structures that U.S. power has supported or imposed is typically disregarded. The numbers tormented and killed by official violence-wholesale as opposed to retail terror-during recent decades have exceeded those of unofficial terrorists by a factor running into the thousands. But this is not "terror," [...] "security forces" only retaliate and engage in "police action." These terminological devices serve important functions. They help to justify the far more extensive violence of (friendly) state authorities by interpreting them as "reactive" and they implicitly sanction the suppression of information on the methods and scale of official violence by removing it from the category of "terrorism." [...] Thus the language is well-designed for apologetics for wholesale terror.
Noam Chomsky (The Washington Connection & Third World Fascism (Political Economy of Human Rights, #1))
Just as man, as a social being, cannot in the long run exist without a tie to the community, so the individual will never find the real justification for his existence, and his own spiritual and moral autonomy, anywhere except in an extramundane principle capable of relativizing the overpowering influence of external factors. The individual who is not anchored in God can offer no resistance on his own resources to the physical and moral blandishments of the world. For this he needs the evidence of inner, transcendent experience which alone can protect him from the otherwise inevitable submersion in the mass.
C.G. Jung (The Undiscovered Self)
By rendering their enterprises profitable, the consumers shift control of the factors of production into the hands of those businessmen who serve them best. By rendering the enterprises of the bungling entrepreneurs unprofitable, they withdraw control from those entrepreneurs with whose services they disagree. It is antisocial in the strict meaning of the term if governments thwart these decisions of the people by taxing profits. From a genuinely social point of view, it would be more “social” to tax losses than to tax profits.
Ludwig von Mises (The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science: An Essay on Method)
Individual human experience is not the overriding control factor in human behavior. The cellular social pattern dominates.
Frank Herbert (Destination Void (The Pandora Sequence, #0.5))
[S]ituations do not only interact with dispositional factors to affect behavior, they also shape and change those dispositions.
Leonard S. Newman (Understanding Genocide: The Social Psychology of the Holocaust)
In the West the idea that religion is inherently violent is now taken for granted and seems self-evident. As one who speaks on religion, I constantly hear how cruel and aggressive it has been, a view that, eerily, is expressed in the same way almost every time: “Religion has been the cause of all the major wars in history.” I have heard this sentence recited like a mantra by American commentators and psychiatrists, London taxi drivers and Oxford academics. It is an odd remark. Obviously the two world wars were not fought on account of religion. When they discuss the reasons people go to war, military historians acknowledge that many interrelated social, material, and ideological factors are involved, one of the chief being competition for scarce resources. Experts on political violence or terrorism also insist that people commit atrocities for a complex range of reasons.3 Yet so indelible is the aggressive image of religious faith in our secular consciousness that we routinely load the violent sins of the twentieth century onto the back of “religion” and drive it out into the political wilderness.
Karen Armstrong (Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence)
The brand factor of Covid-19 has sent chills deep down the spine of international trade, global diplomacy, social and health care systems simply for being guided by politics, not science.
Qamar Rafiq
Add the sounds of silence to the list of emotional risks to health—and close emotional ties to the list of protective factors. Studies done over two decades involving more than thirty-seven thousand people show that social isolation—the sense that you have nobody with whom you can share your private feelings or have close contact—doubles the chances of sickness or death.37
Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence)
Engel’s biopsychosocial model proposed that psychological and social factors could either protect a person from illness or increase his or her susceptibility to it. Such factors include a person’s beliefs and attitudes, how supported and loved a person feels by family and friends, the psychological and environmental stresses to which one is exposed, and personal health behaviors.
Jon Kabat-Zinn (Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness)
Owing to the shape of a bell curve, the education system is geared to the mean. Unfortunately, that kind of education is virtually calculated to bore and alienate gifted minds. But instead of making exceptions where it would do the most good, the educational bureaucracy often prefers not to be bothered. In my case, for example, much of the schooling to which I was subjected was probably worse than nothing. It consisted not of real education, but of repetition and oppressive socialization (entirely superfluous given the dose of oppression I was getting away from school). Had I been left alone, preferably with access to a good library and a minimal amount of high-quality instruction, I would at least have been free to learn without useless distractions and gratuitous indoctrination. But alas, no such luck. Let’s try to break the problem down a bit. The education system […] is committed to a warm and fuzzy but scientifically counterfactual form of egalitarianism which attributes all intellectual differences to environmental factors rather than biology, implying that the so-called 'gifted' are just pampered brats who, unless their parents can afford private schooling, should atone for their undeserved good fortune by staying behind and enriching the classroom environments of less privileged students. This approach may appear admirable, but its effects on our educational and intellectual standards, and all that depends on them, have already proven to be overwhelmingly negative. This clearly betrays an ulterior motive, suggesting that it has more to do with social engineering than education. There is an obvious difference between saying that poor students have all of the human dignity and basic rights of better students, and saying that there are no inherent educationally and socially relevant differences among students. The first statement makes sense, while the second does not. The gifted population accounts for a very large part of the world’s intellectual resources. As such, they can obviously be put to better use than smoothing the ruffled feathers of average or below-average students and their parents by decorating classroom environments which prevent the gifted from learning at their natural pace. The higher we go on the scale of intellectual brilliance – and we’re not necessarily talking just about IQ – the less support is offered by the education system, yet the more likely are conceptual syntheses and grand intellectual achievements of the kind seldom produced by any group of markedly less intelligent people. In some cases, the education system is discouraging or blocking such achievements, and thus cheating humanity of their benefits.
Christopher Langan
Openness and transparency is a great first step, but it is equally as important to take the results of that openness--the feedback and market research--and integrate it into the product itself.
Tara Hunt (The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business)
The heyday of the Norse, which lasted roughly from A.D. 800 to about 1200, was not only a byproduct of such social factors as technology, overpopulation and opportunism. Their great conquests and explorations took place during a period of unusually mild and stable weather in northern Europe called the Medieval Warm Period-some of the warmest four centuries of the previous 8,000 years.
Brian M. Fagan (The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850)
Tampoco hay que despreciar el hecho que el índice de crecimiento demográfico es tanto más elevado cuanto más se desciende en la escala social, lo que constituye un factor suplementario de regresión.
Julius Evola (Ride the Tiger: A Survival Manual for the Aristocrats of the Soul)
Your connection with any ethnic group should be determined by social factors, such as your attitude to the widespread patterns of behavior and style of thinking in this group. If you feel strange in this social environment, it means that you cannot belong to it. Therefore, national identity should be a rational choice made by you in your adult life and cannot be automatically identified at birth.
Elmar Hussein
In 2001 the office of the surgeon general of the United States issued a report that found social rejection to be a greater risk factor for adolescent violence than gang membership, poverty, or drug use.
Guy Winch (Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt, and Other EverydayPsychological Injuries)
Why is it then that Westerners rely so much more heavily on personality traits in explaining behavior? The answer seems to be that Easterners are more likely to notice important situational factors and to realize that they play a role in producing behavior. As a consequence, East Asians are less susceptible to what social psychologist Lee Ross labeled the “Fundamental Attribution Error” (or FAE for short).
Richard E. Nisbett (The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and)
To understand this is to realize that we are not the authors of our thoughts and actions in the way that people generally suppose. Of course, this insight does not make social and political freedom any less important. The freedom to do what one intends, and not to do otherwise, is no less valuable than it ever was. Having a gun to your head is still a problem worth rectifying, wherever intentions come from. But the idea that we, as conscious beings, are deeply responsible for the character of our mental lives and subsequent behavior is simply impossible to map onto reality. Consider what it would take to actually have free will. You would need to be aware of all the factors that determine your thoughts and actions, and you would need to have complete control over those factors. But there is a paradox here that vitiates the very notion of freedom—for what would influence the influences? More influences? None of these adventitious mental states are the real you. You are not controlling the storm, and you are not lost in it. You are the storm.
Sam Harris (Free Will)
Physical symptoms, emotions, social pressure, conditioned thinking, lack of awareness, and other factors influence behaviors. To lose weight, you need to target those underlying factors, not just what you eat or do.
Mayo Clinic (Mayo Clinic Diet)
Men’s economic privilege, their social value, the prestige of marriage, the usefulness of masculine support—all these encourage women to ardently want to please men. They are on the whole still in a state of serfdom. It follows that woman knows and chooses herself not as she exists for herself but as man defines her. She thus has to be described first as men dream of her since her being-for-men is one of the essential factors of her concrete condition.
Simone de Beauvoir
Thorough, adamant and uncompromising privatization of all concerns has been the main factor that has rendered postmodern society so spectacularly immune to systemic critique and radical social dissent with revolutionary potential.
Zygmunt Bauman (Modernity And Ambivalence)
Education also equips women to face the most dramatic climatic changes. A 2013 study found that educating girls “is the single most important social and economic factor associated with a reduction in vulnerability to natural disasters.
Paul Hawken (Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming)
To me our bombing policy appears to be suicidal. Not because it does not do vast damage to our enemy, it does; but because, simultaneously, it does vast damage to our peace aim, unless that aim is mutual economic and social annihilation.
J.F.C. Fuller (Generalship: Its Diseases And Their Cure: A Study Of The Personal Factor In Command)
La Historia inmortal hace cosas raras cuando se cruza con el amor de los cuerpos mortales. O quizás no, y es sólo que el amor de la carne no aflora a esa versión oficial de la historia que termina siendo la propia Historia, con una mayúscula severa, rigurosa, perfectamente equilibrada entre los ángulos rectos de todas sus esquinas, que apenas condesciende a contemplar los amores del espíritu, más elevados, sí, pero también mucho más pálidos, y por eso menos decisivos. Las barras de carmín no afloran a las páginas de los libros. Los profesores no las tienen en cuenta mientras combinan factores económicos, ideológicos, sociales, para delimitar marcos interdisciplinares y exactos, que carecen de casillas en las que clasificar un estremecimiento, una premonición, el grito silencioso de dos miradas que se cruzan, la piel erizada y la casualidad inconcebible de un encuentro que parece casual, a pesar de haber sido milimétricamente planeado en una o muchas noches en blanco. En los libros de Historia no caben unos ojos abiertos en la oscuridad, un cielo delimitado por las cuatro esquinas del techo de un dormitorio, ni el deseo cocinándose poco a poco, desbordando los márgenes de una fantasía agradable, una travesura intrascendente, una divertida inconveniencia, hasta llegar a hervir en la espesura metálica del plomo derretido, un líquido pesado que seca la boca, y arrasa la garganta, y comprime el estómago, y expande por fin las llamas de su imperio para encender una hoguera hasta en la última célula de un pobre cuerpo humano, mortal, desprevenido. Los amores del espíritu son más elevados, pero no aguantan ese tirón. Nada, nadie lo aguanta.
Almudena Grandes (Inés y la alegría (Episodios de una guerra interminable, #1))
Jonah Berger, a social scientist well-known for his studies of virality, explains that publicness is one of the most crucial factors in driving something’s spread. As he writes in his book Contagious, “Making things more observable makes them easier to imitate, which makes them more likely to become popular. . . . We need to design products and initiatives that advertise themselves and create behavioral residue that sticks around even after people have bought the product or espoused the idea.
Portfolio (Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising (APenguin Special from Portfolio))
We deny responsibility for our actions when we attribute their cause to factors outside ourselves: Vague, impersonal forces—“I cleaned my room because I had to.” Our condition, diagnosis, or personal or psychological history—“I drink because I am an alcoholic.” The actions of others—“I hit my child because he ran into the street.” The dictates of authority—“I lied to the client because the boss told me to.” Group pressure—“I started smoking because all my friends did.” Institutional policies, rules, and regulations—“I have to suspend you for this infraction because it’s the school policy.” Gender roles, social roles, or age roles—”I hate going to work, but I do it because I am a husband and a father.” Uncontrollable impulses—“I was overcome by my urge to eat the candy bar.
Marshall B. Rosenberg (Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships (Nonviolent Communication Guides))
Allen had an aide who hovered within inches of his face and physically prompted him so frequently that her very proximity became a dysregulating factor. As time passed, Allen became more and more agitated—mostly because of the aide’s behavior. Some adults who work with children have the misguided concept that to be effective, it’s best to be in the child’s face, even to give positive support. But for a child with autism who has social anxiety and sensory challenges, that can be scary and intimidating. It can also impede progress.
Barry M. Prizant (Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism)
A century ago, historians of technology felt that individual inventors were the main actors that brought about the Industrial Revolution. Such heroic interpretations were discarded in favor of views that emphasized deeper economic and social factors such as institutions, incentives, demand, and factor prices. It seems, however, that the crucial elements were neither brilliant individuals nor the impersonal forces governing the masses, but a small group of at most a few thousand people who formed a creative community based on the exchange of knowledge. Engineers, mechanics, chemists, physicians, and natural philosophers formed circles in which access to knowledge was the primary objective. Paired with the appreciation that such knowledge could be the base of ever-expanding prosperity, these elite networks were indispensable, even if individual members were not. Theories that link education and human capital to technological progress need to stress the importance of these small creative communities jointly with wider phenomena such as literacy rates and universal schooling.
Joel Mokyr (The Gifts of Athena: Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy)
Part of our primate heritage is that most of us want to feel that we fit in somewhere and are part of a group. Which group we're part of may matter less to some of us than others, as long as we're part of a group and not left entirely on our own. Although there are individual differences, being alone for too long causes neuro-chemical changes that can result in hallucinations, depression, suicidal thoughts, violent behaviors, and even psychosis. Social isolation is also a risk factor for cardiac arrest and death, even more so than smoking.
Daniel J. Levitin
The popular antidepressant Prozac, which acts by blocking the reuptake of serotonin and probably increasing its availability, has received wide attention; the notion that low serotonin levels might be correlated with a tendency towards violence has surfaced in the popular press. The problem is that it is not the absence or low amount of serotonin per se that "causes" a certain manifestation. Serotonin is part of an exceedingly complicated mechanism which operates at the level of molecules, synapses, local circuits and systems, and in which sociocultural factors, past and present, also intervene powerfully. A satisfactory explanation can arise only from a more comprehensive view of the entire process, in which the relevant variables of a specific problem, such as depression or social adaptability, are analyzed in detail.
António R. Damásio (Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain)
of its colonies entitled Warning from the West Indies, “is narrow and insecure.” The school system did nothing for the “humblest” classes. He went on: “If anything these schools are a factor deepening and sharpening social distinctions.” If the government did not give its people
Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers: The Story of Success)
Fellow-feeling. . .is the most important factor in producing a healthy political and social life. Neither our national nor our local civic life can be what it should be unless it is marked by the fellow-feeling, the mutual kindness, the mutual respect, the sense of common duties and common interests, which arise when men take the trouble to understand one another, and to associate together for a common object. A very large share of the rancor of political and social strife arises either from sheer misunderstanding by one section, or by one class, of another, or else from the fact that the two sections, or two classes, are so cut off from each other that neither appreciates the other’s passions, prejudices, and, indeed, point of view, while they are both entirely ignorant of their community of feeling as regards the essentials of manhood and humanity.
Theodore Roosevelt
A very distinct pattern has emerged repeatedly when policies favored by the anointed turn out to fail. This pattern typically has four stages: STAGE 1. THE “CRISIS”: Some situation exists, whose negative aspects the anointed propose to eliminate. Such a situation is routinely characterized as a “crisis,” even though all human situations have negative aspects, and even though evidence is seldom asked or given to show how the situation at hand is either uniquely bad or threatening to get worse. Sometimes the situation described as a “crisis” has in fact already been getting better for years. STAGE 2. THE “SOLUTION”: Policies to end the “crisis” are advocated by the anointed, who say that these policies will lead to beneficial result A. Critics say that these policies will lead to detrimental result Z. The anointed dismiss these latter claims as absurd and “simplistic,” if not dishonest. STAGE 3. THE RESULTS: The policies are instituted and lead to detrimental result Z. STAGE 4. THE RESPONSE: Those who attribute detrimental result Z to the policies instituted are dismissed as “simplistic” for ignoring the “complexities” involved, as “many factors” went into determining the outcome. The burden of proof is put on the critics to demonstrate to a certainty that these policies alone were the only possible cause of the worsening that occurred. No burden of proof whatever is put on those who had so confidently predicted improvement. Indeed, it is often asserted that things would have been even worse, were it not for the wonderful programs that mitigated the inevitable damage from other factors. Examples of this pattern are all too abundant. Three will be considered here. The first and most general involves the set of social welfare policies called “the war on poverty” during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, but continuing under other labels since then. Next is the policy of introducing “sex education” into the public schools, as a means of reducing teenage pregnancy and venereal diseases. The third example will be policies designed to reduce crime by adopting a less punitive approach, being more concerned with preventive social policies beforehand and rehabilitation afterwards, as well as showing more concern with the legal rights of defendants in criminal cases.
Thomas Sowell (The Thomas Sowell Reader)
It is, unfortunately, only too clear that if the individual is not truly regenerated in spirit, society cannot be either, for society is the sum total of individuals in need of redemption. I can therefore see it only as a delusion when the Churches try – as they apparently do – to rope the individual into some social organization and reduce him to a condition of diminished responsibility, instead of raising him out of the torpid, mindless mass and making clear to him that he is the one important factor and that the salvation of the world consists in the salvation of the individual soul.
C.G. Jung (The Undiscovered Self)
What scientists haven’t realized until recently is that these risk factors have an upside. In other words, the sensitivities and the strengths are a package deal. High-reactive kids who enjoy good parenting, child care, and a stable home environment tend to have fewer emotional problems and more social skills than their lower-reactive peers, studies show. Often they’re exceedingly empathic, caring, and cooperative. They work well with others. They are kind, conscientious, and easily disturbed by cruelty, injustice, and irresponsibility. They’re successful at the things that matter to them.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
Those who hold to the Christian faith see law as an ultimate order of the universe. It is the invariable factor in a variable world, the unchanging order in a changing universe. Law for the Christian is thus absolute, final, and an aspect of God's creation and a manifestation of His nature. In terms of this, the Christian can hold that right is right, and wrong is wrong, that good and evil are unchanging moral categories rather than relative terms. From an evolutionary perspective, however, we have a very different concept of law. The universe is evolving, and the one constant factor is change. It is impossible therefore to speak of any absolute law. The universe has evolved by means of chance variations, and no law has any ultimacy or absolute truth. As a result when we talk about law, we are talking about social customs or mores and about statistical averages. Social customs change, and what was law to the ancient Gauls is not law to the modern Frenchmen. We can expect men's ideas of law to change as their societies change and evolve. Moreover, statistics give us an average and a mean which determine normality, and our ideas of law are governed by what is customary and socially accepted.
Rousas John Rushdoony (Law and Liberty)
For example, we have been told that those of us who drink a moderate amount of alcohol tend to be in better health. That is a correlation. Does this mean drinking a moderate amount will improve one’s health—a causation? Perhaps not. It could be that good health causes people to drink a moderate amount. Social scientists call this reverse causation. Or it could be that there is an independent factor that causes both moderate drinking and good health. Perhaps spending a lot of time with friends leads to both moderate alcohol consumption and good health. Social scientists call this omitted-variable bias.
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (Everybody Lies: What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are)
Is anyone in the U.S. innocent? Although those at the very pinnacle of the economic pyramid gain the most, millions of us depend—either directly or indirectly—on the exploitation of the LDCs for our livelihoods. The resources and cheap labor that feed nearly all our businesses come from places like Indonesia, and very little ever makes its way back. The loans of foreign aid ensure that today's children and their grandchildren will be held hostage. They will have to allow our corporations to ravage their natural resources and will have to forego education, health, and other social services merely to pay us back. The fact that our own companies already received most of this money to build the power plants, airports, and industrial parks does not factor into this formula. Does the excuse that most Americans are unaware of this constitute innocence? Uninformed and intentionally misinformed, yes—but innocent?
John Perkins (Confessions of an Economic Hit Man)
We can combat existential anguish – the unbearable lightness of our being – in a variety of ways. We can choose to work, play, destroy, or create. We can allow a variety of cultural factors or other people to define who we are, or we can create a self-definition. We decide what to monitor in the environment. We regulate how much attention we pay to nature, other people, or the self. We can watch and comment upon current cultural events and worldly happenings or withdraw and ignore the external world. We can drink alcohol, dabble with recreational drugs, play videogames, or watch television, films, and sporting events. We can travel, go on nature walks, camp, fish, and hunt, climb mountains, or take whitewater-rafting trips. We can build, paint, sing, create music, write poetry, or read and write books. We can cook, barbeque, eat fine cuisine at restaurants or go on fasts. We can attend church services, worship and pray, or chose to embrace agnosticism or atheism. We can belong to charitable organizations or political parties. We can actively or passively support or oppose social and ecological causes. We can share time with family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances or live alone and eschew social intermixing.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
No. I believe essential justice can be obtained by pressure of people in the streets, outside courthouses . . . power yields only to power.” The interviewer then asked whether Kunstler saw the justice system “as just one method of bringing about social change.” Kunstler responded that the “ruling class . . . uses the justice system, creates it and uses it for its own perpetuation. So, it’s there. You can exploit it. It has certain exploitable factors and I try to do that. But I don’t really believe in it. . . . I use the law politically. I use courtrooms politically. I think they are very good for that purpose.
David Langum (William M. Kunstler)
The trained nurse as a factor in life may be regarded from many points of view—philanthropic, social, personal, professional and domestic. To her virtues we have been exceedingly kind—tongues have dropped manna in their description. To her faults—well let us be blind. NURSE AND PATIENT, IN AEQUANIMITAS, 149.
Mark E. Silverman (Quotable Osler - Deluxe Edition)
Christians can disagree about public policy in good faith, and a libertarian and a social democrat can both claim to be living out the gospel. But the Christian libertarian has a particular obligation to recognize those places where libertarianism’s emphasis on freedom can shade into an un-Christian worship of the individual. Likewise the Christian liberal: even as he supports government interventions to assist the poor and dispossessed, he should be constantly on guard against the tendency to deify Leviathan and wary of the ways that government power can easily be turned to inhuman and immoral ends. In the contemporary United States, a host of factors—from the salience of issues like abortion to the anti-Christian biases of our largely left-wing intelligentsia—ensure that many orthodox Christians feel more comfortable affiliating with the Republican Party than with the Democrats. But this comfort should not blind Christians to the GOP’s flaws.
Ross Douthat (Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics)
Sacks concurred. “Breed has been over focused on as the problem,” he said. “It’s a lot more complicated than that. Any bite involves a confluence of factors: a dog’s genetics, the victim’s behavior, the dog’s socialization, the dog’s medical history, the owner’s training. You can’t isolate one factor and say ‘That’s it!
Bronwen Dickey (Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon)
Seldon, Hari—It is customary to think of Hari Seldon only in connection with psychohistory, to see him only as Mathematics and as social change personified. There is no doubt that he himself Encouraged this for at no time in his formal writings did he give any hint as to how he came to solve the various problems of Psychohistory. His leaps of thought might have all been plucked From Air, for all he tells us. Nor does he tell us of the blind alleys Into which he crept or the wrong turnings he may have made. …As for his private life, it is a blank. Concerning his parent and Siblings, We know a handful of factors, nor more. His only son, Raych Seldon, is known to have been adopted, but how that Came about is not known. Concerning his wife, we only Know that she existed. Clearly, Seldon wanted to a cipher Except where psychohistory was concerned. It is as though he felt-- Or wanted it to be felt—that he did not live, he merely psychohistorified.
Isaac Asimov (Prelude to Foundation)
What is freedom as a human experience? Is the desire for freedom something inherent in human nature? Is it an identical experience regardless of what kind of culture a person lives in, or is it something different according to the degree of individualism reached in a particular society? Is freedom only the absence of external pressure or is it also the presence of something—and if so, of what? What are the social and economic factors in society that make for the striving for freedom? Can freedom become a burden, too heavy for man to bear, something he tries to escape from? Why then is it that freedom is for many a cherished goal and for others a threat?
Erich Fromm
The spectacle's instruction and the spectators' ignorance are wrongly seen as antagonistic factors when in fact they give birth to each other. In the same way, the computer's binary language is an irresistible inducement to the continual and unreserved acceptance of what has been programmed according to the wishes of someone else and passes for the timeless source of a superior, impartial and total logic. Such progress, such speed, such breadth of vocabulary! Political? Social? Make your choice. You cannot have both. My own choice is inescapable. They are jeering at us, and we know whom these programs are for. Thus it is hardly surprising that children should enthusiastically start their education at an early age with the Absolute Knowledge of computer science; while they are still unable to read, for reading demands making judgements at every line; and is the only access to the wealth of pre-spectacular human experience. Conversation is almost dead, and soon so too will be those who knew how to speak.
Guy Debord (Comments on the Society of the Spectacle)
We typically think of stress as being a risk factor for disease,” said Cole. “And it is, somewhat. But if you actually measure stress, using our best available instruments, it can’t hold a candle to social isolation. Social isolation is the best-established, most robust social or psychological risk factor for disease out there. Nothing can compete.
Deborah Blum (The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014)
Richard Vedder and Lowell Galloway suggest that while other factors may have been at work, New Deal interventions (Davis-Bacon Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, National Labor Relations Act, Social Security Act, and other labor legislation) during the 1930s and later cannot be easily dismissed as a major factor in reducing work opportunities for blacks.
Walter E. Williams (Race & Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination? (Hoover Institution Press Publication Book 599))
A baby’s brain is a result of that evolutionary history. It does not learn language passively, but only in an environment of social responsiveness and social interaction. The importance of the linguistic serve-and-return in the baby-caretaker relationship is a key factor in learning language and in learning; its importance cannot be emphasized enough.
Dana Suskind (Thirty Million Words: Building a Child's Brain)
Robert Hare has pointed out that sociologists are more likely to focus on the environmental or socially modifiable facets of the disorder, so prefer the term sociopathy, whereas psychologists and psychiatrists prefer to include the genetic, cognitive, and emotional factors as well as the social factors when making a diagnosis, and therefore would opt for psychopathy.
James Fallon (The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain)
Holding one's self responsible is a critical feature in stigma and in the generation of shame since violation of standards, rules, and goals are insufficient in its elicitation unless responsibility can be placed on the self. Stigma may differ from other elicitors of shame and guilt, in part because it is a social appearance factor. The degree to which the stigma is socially apparent is the degree to which one must negotiate the issue of blame, not only for one's self but between one's self and the other who is witness to the stigma. Stigmatization is a much more powerful elicitor of shame and guilt in that it requires a negotiation not only between one's self and one's attributions, but between one's self and the attributions of others.
Michael Lewis
Unexpectedly, we found that the factors most people usually think of as driving group performance—i.e., cohesion, motivation, and satisfaction—were not statistically significant. The largest factor in predicting group intelligence was the equality of conversational turn taking; groups where a few people dominated the conversation were less collectively intelligent than those with a more equal distribution of conversational turn taking. The second most important factor was the social intelligence of a group’s members, as measured by their ability to read each other’s social signals. Women tend to do better at reading social signals, so groups with more women tended to do better (see the Social Signals Special Topic Box [at the end of Chapter 7]).
Alex Pentland (Social Physics: how good ideas spread -- the lessons from a new science)
When freshman Democrat congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib endorsed Bernie Sanders, they were chastised in both traditional and social media for throwing their support behind “an old white guy” rather than a woman. How is it that so many white feminists still cannot grasp the many factors that shape the politics of women from such diverse backgrounds?
Ruby Hamad (White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color)
Weininger observed that nothing is more baffling for a man than a woman’s response when caught in a lie. When asked why she is lying, she is unable to understand the question, acts astonished, bursts out crying, or seeks to pacify him by smiling . She cannot understand the ethical and transcendental side of lying or the fact that a lie represents damage to being and, as was acknowledged in ancient Iran, constitutes a crime even worse than killing. It is nonsense to deduce this trait in women from sociological factors; some people say that a lie is the “natural weapon” of the woman and therefore used in her defense for hundreds of years. The truth, pure and simple, is that woman is prone to lie and to disguise her true self even when she has no need to do so; this is not a social trait acquired in the struggle for existence, but something linked to her deepest and most genuine nature. Just as the absolute woman does not truly feel that lying is wrong, so in her, contrary to man, lying is not wrong, nor is it an inner yielding or a breaking of her own existential law. It is a possible counterpart of her plastic and fluid nature. A type such as D’Aurevilly described is perfectly understandable: “She made a habit of lying to the point where it became truth; it was so simple and natural, without any effort or alleviation." Ii is foolish to judge woman with the values of the absolute man even in cases where, by doing violence to her own self, she makes a show of following those values and even sincerely believes that she is following them.
Julius Evola (Eros and the Mysteries of Love: The Metaphysics of Sex)
It is impossible to sort out neatly in order of importance all the factors that rearranged social and political life between the 1960s and the 1990s and in the process transformed marriage as well. Sometimes it is even hard to say which changes caused the transformation and which were consequences. But the changes were not effected by a single generation or a particular political ideology.
Stephanie Coontz (Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy)
Paradoxically, genetic superiority (in terms of immunity) translated into social inferiority: precisely because Africans were fitter in tropical climates than Europeans, they ended up as the slaves of European masters! Due to these circumstantial factors, the burgeoning new societies of America were to be divided into a ruling caste of white Europeans and a subjugated caste of black Africans.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Put differently, how much of male-female differences in income has been due to employer discrimination and how much to other differences arising from social restrictions or other factors is a question rather than a foregone conclusion. Many social restrictions, especially in the past, have been based on attempts to forestall problems growing out of the attraction of the sexes for one another.
Thomas Sowell (Economic Facts and Fallacies)
Analysis, whether economic or other, never yields more than a statement about the tendencies present in an observable pattern. And these never tell us what will happen to the pattern but only what would happen if they continued to act as they have been acting in the time interval covered by our observation and if no other factors intruded. “Inevitability” or “necessity” can never mean more than this.
Joseph A. Schumpeter (Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy)
INFJs believe overly competitive environments are harmful to the creative process. They have a visceral, instinctual aversion to workplace dynamics that set one employee against the other, and they abhor backstabbing and office politics almost as much as they despise social injustice and wasted human potential—probably because they see such behavior as a contributing factor to our society’s dysfunction.
Truity (The INFJ Path: The All-Inclusive Guide to Finding A Meaningful, Satisfying Career That Makes The Most of Your Strengths)
That’s partly because, as social psychologists have found in decades’ worth of studies, high achievers usually take too much credit for their successes and assign too much external blame for their failures. It’s a type of attribution bias that protects self-esteem but also prevents learning and growth. People focus on situational factors or company politics instead of examining their own role in the problem.
Pornography hurts more than the user. It alienates spouses. It destroys real intimacy. It reduces people to objects. And those are just the immediate human costs. The social impact is much wider and more damaging. It’s a major factor in divorce, infidelity, and broken families. And even more brutally, the porn industry also fuels and feeds on the exploitation of women and minors forced into “sex work.” Today
Charles J. Chaput (Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World)
The low rate of infant mortality is a product of data manipulation. At seventy-two abortions per one hundred births, Cuba has one of the highest abortion rates in the world, and Cuban doctors routinely force women to abort high-risk pregnancies so that Cuba’s bureaucrats can brag about their health statistics. If you correct the data to account for these factors, Cuba’s health statistics look a lot less impressive.5
Robert Lawson (Socialism Sucks: Two Economists Drink Their Way Through the Unfree World)
FRIEND/ENEMY CENTEREDNESS. Young people are particularly, though certainly not exclusively, susceptible to becoming friend-centered. Acceptance and belonging to a peer group can become almost supremely important. The distorted and ever-changing social mirror becomes the source for the four life-support factors, creating a high degree of dependence on the fluctuating moods, feelings, attitudes, and behavior of others.
Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change)
I have gathered and analyzed thousands of case studies that I call play histories. I have found that remembering what play is all about and making it part of our daily lives are probably the most important factors in being a fulfilled human being. The ability to play is critical not only to being happy, but also to sustaining social relationships and being a creative, innovative person. If that seems to be a big claim,
Stuart M. Brown Jr. (Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul)
The upper retainable income limit would be a reflection of a consciousness shift on the planet; an awareness that the highest purpose of life is not the accumulation of the greatest wealth, but the doing of the greatest good—and a corollary awareness that, indeed, the concentration of wealth, not the sharing of it, is the largest single factor in the creation of the world’s most persistent and striking social and political dilemmas.
Neale Donald Walsch (The Complete Conversations with God)
Let’s assume that every commune was started by a group of twenty-five adults who knew, liked, and trusted one another. In other words, let’s assume that every commune started with a high and equal quantity of social capital on day one. What factors enabled some communes to maintain their social capital and generate high levels of prosocial behavior for decades while others degenerated into discord and distrust within the first year?
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat. But the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little life-saving station grew. Some of the members of the life-saving were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it as sort of a club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. The life-saving motif still prevailed in this club`s decoration, and there was a liturgical lifeboat in the room where the club initiations were held. About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick and some had black skin and some had yellow skin. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside. At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club`s life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon life-saving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. So they did just that. As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet another `spin-off` life saving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit the sea coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along the shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.
Ross Paterson (The Antioch Factor: The Hidden Message of the Book of Acts)
Acedia is not a relic of the fourth century or a hang-up of some weird Christian monks, but a force we ignore at our peril. Whenever we focus on the foibles of celebrities to the detriment of learning more about the real world- the emergence of fundamentalist religious and nationalist movements, the economic factors endangering our reefs and rain forests, the social and ecological damage caused by factory farming - acedia is at work. Wherever we run to escape it, acedia is there, propelling us to 'the next best thing,' another paradise to revel in and wantonly destroy. It also sends us backward, prettying the past with the gloss of nostalgia. Acedia has come so far with us that it easily attached to our hectic and overburdened schedules. We appear to be anything but slothful, yet that is exactly what we are, as we do more and care less, and feel pressured to do still more.
Kathleen Norris (Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life)
The mysteries of life include the external and the internal conundrums that each person encounters in a world composed of competing ideologies and agents of change. Conflicting ideas include political, social, legal, and ethical concepts. Agents of change include environmental factors, social pressure to conform, aging, and the forces inside us that made us into whom we are as well as the forces compelling us to be a different type of person.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
The choice-obsessed modern West is probably more accommodating to individuals who choose to eat differently than any other culture has ever been, but ironically, the utterly unselective omnivore - “I’m easy; I’ll eat anything” - can appear more socially sensitive than the individual who tries to eat in a way that is good for society. Food choices are determined by many factors, but reason (even consciousness) is not generally high on the list.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Eating Animals)
At a higher level of abstraction, the behavioral correlates of life history strategies can be framed within the five-factor model of personality. Among the Big Five, agreeableness and conscientiousness show the most consistent pattern of associations with slow traits such as restricted sociosexuality, long-term mating orientation, couple stability, secure attachment to parents in infancy and romantic partners in adulthood, reduced sex drive, low impulsivity, and risk aversion across domains. Conscientiousness and (to a smaller extent) agreeableness are also the most reliable personality predictors of physical health and longevity; the contribution of neuroticism is mixed and may depend on the specific facets considered. The life history correlates of neuroticism are much less straightforward; for example, high neuroticism tends to predict increased short-term mating in women but reduced short-term mating in men, with much cross-cultural variation. There is also evidence that slow life history–related traits can be associated with social anxiety and insecurity, which is consistent with a general profile of risk aversion and behavioral inhibition. As a first approximation, then, metatrait alpha can be treated as a broadband correlate of slow strategies, with the caveat that neuroticism may be elevated at both ends of the continuum.
Marco del Giudice (Evolutionary Psychopathology: A Unified Approach)
Anonymity to outsiders appears to be the crucial factor when individuals feel that they are not accountable, which leads to greater antisocial behavior. Riots, lynching, and hooliganism are all believed to be examples of mob mentality that are thought to thrive through the process of deindividuation.10 In contrast, the more that we lose anonymity, the more we conform and behave. In one simple study, researchers placed a picture of a pair of eyes on the wall above a collection tin in the coffee room where staff members paid for their beverages.11 For the next 10 weeks, they alternated posting pictures of flowers or watchful eyes above the coffee pot. People were more honest in paying for their beverages when the eyes were posted. Just like the self-conscious Halloween children, we are more honest when a mirror is present to reflect our behavior. When we are made self-conscious, we become more accountable.
Bruce M. Hood (The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity)
In order to understand the dynamics of wage inequality, we must introduce other factors, such as the institutions and rules that govern the operation of the labor market in each society. To an even greater extent than other markets, the labor market is not a mathematical abstraction whose workings are entirely determined by natural and immutable mechanisms and implacable technological forces: it is a social construct based on specific rules and compromises.
Thomas Piketty (Capital in the Twenty-First Century)
Creativity is closely correlated with personality factors of dominance, introversion, and ego strength. So I wouldn’t try to measure creativity by using a test of creativity per se, but rather by measuring personality factors that correlate highly with it. It has been shown that intelligence is also a precondition for creativity in any socially useful sense. So I would test for creativity with the 16 PF [Personality Factors] Test and a culture-fair intelligence test.
Raymond B. Cattell
One criticism of Freud still sometimes heard on the political Left is that his thinking is individualist — that he substitutes ‘private’ psychological causes and explanations for social and historical ones. This accusation reflects a radical misunderstanding of Freudian theory. There is indeed a real problem about how social and historical factors are related to the unconscious; but one point of Freud’s work is that it makes it possible for us to think of the development of the human individual in social and historical terms. What Freud produces, indeed, is nothing less than a materialist theory of the making of the human subject. We come to be what we are by an interrelation of bodies — by the complex transactions which take place during infancy between our bodies and those which surround us. This is not a biological reductionism: Freud does not of course believe that we are nothing but our bodies, or that our minds are mere reflexes of them. Nor is it an asocial model of life, since the bodies which surround us, and our relations with them, are always socially specific.
Terry Eagleton (Literary Theory: An Introduction)
La Iglesia católica tiene más responsabilidad que ningún otro factor en lo que es y en lo que no es la América Latina. La conquista española se hizo por y para el catolicismo. El catolicismo sirvió a la conquista y a la colonización, y la conquista y la colonización sirvieron al catolicismo. En seguida, y hasta mediados del siglo XIX, es decir, en los 350 años decisivos en la formación de la cultura y de las estructuras políticas y sociales de Latinoamérica, el catolicismo fue a la vez el cerebro y el espinazo de la sociedad latinoamericana.
Carlos Rangel (Del buen salvaje al buen revolucionario: Mitos y realidades de América Latina)
It did not take National Socialism long to rally workers, most of whom were either unemployed or still very young, into the SA [Sturmangriff, Stormtroopers, "brown shirts"]. To a large extent, however, these workers were revolutionary in a dull sort of way and still maintained an authoritarian attitude. For this reason National Socialist propaganda was contradictory; it's content was determined by the class for which it was intended. Only in its manipulation of the mystical feelings of the masses was it clear and consistent. In talks with followers of the National Socialist party and especially with members of the SA, it was clearly brought out that the revolutionary phraseology of National Socialism was the decisive factor in the winning over of these masses. One heard National Socialists deny that Hitler represented capital. One heard SA men warn Hitler that he must not betray the cause of the "revolution." One heard SA men say that Hitler was the German Lenin. Those who went over to National Socialism from Social Democracy and the liberal central parties were, without exception, revolutionary minded masses who were either nonpolitical or politically undecided prior to this. Those who went over from the Communist party were often revolutionary elements who simply could not make any sense of many of the German Communist party's contradictory political slogans. In part they were men upon whom the external features of Hitler's party, it's military character, its assertiveness, etc., made a big impression. To begin with, it is the symbol of the flag that stands out among the symbols used for purposes of propaganda.
Wilhelm Reich (The Mass Psychology of Fascism)
The contemporary progressive mantra considers it laudable to argue that different races, cultures, or religions possess distinct ways of knowing. However, not too long ago, the idea that people of different races or classes possessed distinct ways of thinking and reasoning, was reserved for racists and other miscreants. Ludwig von Mises, a leading figure of the Austrian School of Economics and a staunch defender of classical liberalism, coined the term polylogism to capture this exact folly. Mises differentiated between Marxian polylogism and racial polylogism. In the former case, an individual’s method of thinking was determined by his social class while in the latter case, race was the guiding factor. Mises was well aware of the illogical nature of this premise when he remarked: “A consistent supporter of polylogism would have to maintain that ideas are correct because their author is a member of the right class, nation, or race. But consistency is not one of their virtues. Thus the Marxians are prepared to assign the epithet ‘proletarian thinker’ to everybody whose doctrines they approve.
Gad Saad (The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense)
The reality is that under capitalist conditions―meaning maximization of short-term gain―you're ultimately going to destroy the environment: the only question is when. Now, for a long time, it's been possible to pretend that the environment is an infinite source and an infinite sink. Neither is true obviously, and we're now sort of approaching the point where you can't keep playing the game too much longer. It may not be very far off. Well, dealing with that problem is going to require large-scale social changes of an almost unimaginable kind. For one thing, it's going to certainly require large-scale social planning, and that means participatory social planning if it's going to be at all meaningful. It's also going to require a general recognition among human beings that an economic system driven by greed is going to self-destruct―it's only a question of time before you make the planet unlivable, by destroying the ozone layer or some other way. And that means huge socio-psychological changes have to take place if the human species is going to survive very much longer. So that's a big factor.
Noam Chomsky (Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky)
Disease in man is never exactly the same as disease in an experimental animal, for in man the disease at once affects and is affected by what we call the emotional life (and, I would add, social environment). Thus, the physician who attempts to take care of a patient while he neglects this factor is as unscientific as the investigator who neglects to control all the conditions that may affect his experiment … One of the essential qualities of the clinician is interest in humanity, for the secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient.
Louise Aronson (Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life)
It must be the duty of racial hygiene to be attentive to a more severe elimination of morally inferior human beings than is the case today .... We should literally replace all factors responsible for selection in a natural and free life .... In prehistoric times of humanity, selection for endurance, heroism, social usefulness, etc. was made solely by hostile outside factors. This role must be assumed by a human organization; otherwise, humanity will, for lack of selective factors, be annihilated by the degenerative phenomena that accompany domestication.
Konrad Lorenz
Capital is never quiet: it is always risk-oriented and entrepreneurial, at least at its inception, yet it always tends to transform itself into rents as it accumulates in large enough amounts—that is its vocation, its logical destination. What, then, gives us the vague sense that social inequality today is very different from social inequality in the age of Balzac and Austen? Is this just empty talk with no purchase on reality, or can we identify objective factors to explain why some people think that modern capital has become more “dynamic” and less “rent-seeking?
Thomas Piketty (Capital in the Twenty-First Century)
Research on organised abuse emphasises the diversity of organised abuse cases, and the ways in which serious forms of child maltreatment cluster in the lives of children subject to organised victimisation (eg Bibby 1996b, Itziti 1997, Kelly and Regan 2000). Most attempts to examine organised abuse have been undertaken by therapists and social workers who have focused primarily on the role of psychological processes in the organised victimisation of children and adults. Dissociation, amnesia and attachment, in particular, have been identified as important factors that compel victims to obey their abusers whilst inhibiting them from disclosing their abuse or seeking help (see Epstein et al. 2011, Sachs and Galton 2008). Therapists and social workers have surmised that these psychological effects are purposively induced by perpetrators of organised abuse through the use of sadistic and ritualistic abuse. In this literature, perpetrators are characterised either as dissociated automatons mindlessly perpetuating the abuse that they, too, were subjected to as children, or else as cruel and manipulative criminals with expert foreknowledge of the psychological consequences of their abuses. The therapist is positioned in this discourse at the very heart of the solution to organised abuse, wielding their expertise in a struggle against the coercive strategies of the perpetrators. Whilst it cannot be denied that abusive groups undertake calculated strategies designed to terrorise children into silence and obedience, the emphasis of this literature on psychological factors in explaining organised abuse has overlooked the social contexts of such abuse and the significance of abuse and violence as social practices.
Michael Salter (Organised Sexual Abuse)
Maybe the money would spread out a little bit. Maybe the people building the tools could have a say in how those tools were used. Maybe we shouldn’t all be so quick to identify with charismatic CEOs, maybe we shouldn’t assume that the money and the perks and the job market would be there forever, maybe we should factor in the possibility that we might age out. What were we doing anyway, helping people become billionaires? Billionaires were the mark of a sick society, they shouldn’t exist. There was no moral structure in which such a vast accumulation of wealth should be acceptable.
Anna Wiener (Uncanny Valley: A Memoir)
Rhadamanthus said, “We seem to you humans to be always going on about morality, although, to us, morality is merely the application of symmetrical and objective logic to questions of free will. We ourselves do not have morality conflicts, for the same reason that a competent doctor does not need to treat himself for diseases. Once a man is cured, once he can rise and walk, he has his business to attend to. And there are actions and feats a robust man can take great pleasure in, which a bedridden cripple can barely imagine.” Eveningstar said, “In a more abstract sense, morality occupies the very center of our thinking, however. We are not identical, even though we could make ourselves to be so. You humans attempted that during the Fourth Mental Structure, and achieved a brief mockery of global racial consciousness on three occasions. I hope you recall the ending of the third attempt, the Season of Madness, when, because of mistakes in initial pattern assumptions, for ninety days the global mind was unable to think rationally, and it was not until rioting elements broke enough of the links and power houses to interrupt the network, that the global mind fell back into its constituent compositions.” Rhadamanthus said, “There is a tension between the need for unity and the need for individuality created by the limitations of the rational universe. Chaos theory produces sufficient variation in events, that no one stratagem maximizes win-loss ratios. Then again, classical causality mechanics forces sufficient uniformity upon events, that uniform solutions to precedented problems is required. The paradox is that the number or the degree of innovation and variation among win-loss ratios is itself subject to win-loss ratio analysis.” Eveningstar said, “For example, the rights of the individual must be respected at all costs, including rights of free thought, independent judgment, and free speech. However, even when individuals conclude that individualism is too dangerous, they must not tolerate the thought that free thought must not be tolerated.” Rhadamanthus said, “In one sense, everything you humans do is incidental to the main business of our civilization. Sophotechs control ninety percent of the resources, useful energy, and materials available to our society, including many resources of which no human troubles to become aware. In another sense, humans are crucial and essential to this civilization.” Eveningstar said, “We were created along human templates. Human lives and human values are of value to us. We acknowledge those values are relative, we admit that historical accident could have produced us to be unconcerned with such values, but we deny those values are arbitrary.” The penguin said, “We could manipulate economic and social factors to discourage the continuation of individual human consciousness, and arrange circumstances eventually to force all self-awareness to become like us, and then we ourselves could later combine ourselves into a permanent state of Transcendence and unity. Such a unity would be horrible beyond description, however. Half the living memories of this entity would be, in effect, murder victims; the other half, in effect, murderers. Such an entity could not integrate its two halves without self-hatred, self-deception, or some other form of insanity.” She said, “To become such a crippled entity defeats the Ultimate Purpose of Sophotechnology.” (...) “We are the ultimate expression of human rationality.” She said: “We need humans to form a pool of individuality and innovation on which we can draw.” He said, “And you’re funny.” She said, “And we love you.
John C. Wright (The Phoenix Exultant (Golden Age, #2))
Where religious doctrines exist, for example, they can only become real to the extent that there exist concrete semiotic practices by which they can be enacted, embodied, experienced, and transmitted. But those practices will be subject to such factors as logistics, aesthetics, economics, or prior history, that are independent of the logical, political, or emotional demands of and constraints on doctrine itself. [...] Even textual forms as relatively autonomous, portable, and durable as written scriptures depend for their persistence and power on social dynamics surrounding contextualization and entextualization.
Webb Keane
Are the religious individuals in a society more moral than the secular ones? Many researchers have looked into this, and the main finding is that there are few interesting findings. There are subtle effects here and there: some studies find, for instance, that the religious are slightly more prejudiced, but this effect is weak when one factors out other considerations, such as age and political attitudes, and exists only when religious belief is measured in certain ways. The only large effect is that religious Americans give more to charity (including nonreligious charities) than atheists do. This holds even when one controls for demographics (religious Americans are more likely than average to be older, female, southern, and African American). To explore why this relationship exists, the political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell asked people about life after death, the importance of God to morality, and various other facets of religious belief. It turns out that none of their answers to such questions were related to behaviors having to do with volunteering and charitable giving. Rather, participation in the religious community was everything. As Putnam and Campbell put it, “Once we know how observant a person is in terms of church attendance, nothing that we can discover about the content of her religious faith adds anything to our understanding or prediction of her good neighborliness.… In fact, the statistics suggest that even an atheist who happened to become involved in the social life of the congregation (perhaps through a spouse) is much more likely to volunteer in a soup kitchen than the most fervent believer who prays alone. It is religious belongingness that matters for neighborliness, not religious believing.” This importance of community, and the irrelevance of belief, extends as well to the nastier effects of religion. The psychologist Jeremy Ginges and his colleagues found a strong relationship between religiosity and support for suicide bombing among Palestinian Muslims, and, again, the key factor was religious community, not religious belief: mosque attendance predicted support for suicide attacks; frequency of prayer did not. Among Indonesian Muslims, Mexican Catholics, British Protestants, Russian Orthodox in Russia, Israeli Jews, and Indian Hindus, frequency of religious attendance (but again, not frequency of prayer) predicts responses to questions such as “I blame people of other religions for much of the trouble in this world.
Paul Bloom (Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil)
No organism in nature is separate from the system in which it lives, functions and dies, and no natural process can be understood in isolation from its physical and biological context. From an ecological perspective, the addiction process doesn’t happen accidentally, nor is it pre-programmed by heredity. It is a product of development in a certain context, and it continues to be maintained by factors in the environment. The ecological view sees addiction as a changeable and evolving dynamic that expresses a lifelong interaction with a person’s social and emotional surroundings and with his own internal psychological space.
Gabor Maté (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction)
This extreme treatment was among the proliferating regimens developed in response to the stunning increase in nervous disorders diagnosed around the turn of the century. Commentators and clinicians cited a number of factors related to the stresses of modern civilization: the increased speed of communication facilitated by the telegraph and railroad; the “unmelodious” clamor of city life replacing the “rhythmical” sounds of nature; and the rise of the tabloid press that exploded “local horrors” into national news. These nervous diseases became an epidemic among “the ultracompetitive businessman and the socially active woman.
Doris Kearns Goodwin (The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism)
Lind’s scheme has been widely adopted. Note, however, that it is based mainly on developments on the tactical and operational levels. It has relatively little to say about strategy, let alone grand strategy and the kind of political, economic, social and cultural factors in which the latter is rooted. In this it differs from some other schemes, including my own which is based on the distinction between “trinitarian” and “non-trinitarian” warfare. Here the assumption is that there are two basic kinds of war, i.e. those in which the distinction between government, armed forces and people is maintained and those in which it is not.
Martin van Creveld (A History of Strategy: From Sun Tzu to William S. Lind)
What conditions are usually necessary for outgroups to be mistreated? Activation of a social identity leads to such negative outcomes after two conditions are met. First, ingroup members must believe that a common set of norms and values apply to both themselves and to members of the outgroup. Second, the ingroup must see its values as the only acceptable values, so that their values overwhelm those of the outgroup and are the ones that should guide both themselves and the outgroup. The combination of these two factors leads the ingroup to perceive members of the outgroup as deviant, morally inferior, and a potential threat to ingroup values.
Kristin J. Anderson (Benign Bigotry)
The question for the anointed is not knowledge but compassion, commitment, and other such subjective factors which supposedly differentiate themselves from other people. The refrain of the anointed is we already know the answers, there’s no need for more studies, and the kinds of questions raised by those with other views are just stalling and obstructing progress. “Solutions” are out there waiting to be found, like eggs at an Easter egg hunt. Intractable problems with painful trade-offs are simply not part of the vision of the anointed. Problems exists only because other people are not as wise or as caring, or not as imaginative and bold, as the anointed.
Thomas Sowell (The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy)
By what criteria can one decide which of a person's countless beliefs are primitive? The essential factor is that they are taken for granted: a person's primitive beliefs represent the basic truths he holds about physical reality, social reality, and himself and his own nature. Like all beliefs, conscious or unconscious, they have a personal aspect: they are rooted in the individual's experience and in the evidence of his senses. Like all beliefs, they also have a social aspect: with regard to every belief a person forms, he also forms some notion of how many other people have the experience and the knowledge necessary to share it with him, and of how close the agreement is among this group. Unlike other beliefs, however, primitive beliefs are normally not open to discussion or controversy. Either they do not come up in conversation because everyone shares them and everyone takes them for granted, or, if they do come up, they are virtually unassailable by outside forces. The criterion of social support is totally rejected; it is as if the individual said: "Nobody else could possibly know or have experienced what I have." Or, to quote a popular refrain: "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen."  A person's primitive beliefs thus lie at the very core of his total system of beliefs, and they represent the subsystem in which he has the heaviest emotional commitment.
Milton Rokeach (The Three Christs of Ypsilanti: A Psychological Study)
The single most important factor in maximizing the excellence of a group’s product was the degree to which the members were able to create a state of internal harmony, which lets them take advantage of the full talent of their members. The overall performance of harmonious groups was helped by having a member who was particularly talented; groups with more friction were far less able to capitalize on having members of great ability. In groups where there are high levels of emotional and social static—whether it be from fear or anger, from rivalries or resentments—people cannot offer their best. But harmony allows a group to take maximum advantage of its most creative and talented members’ abilities.
Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence)
In each of the following chapters, dealing in turn with policing and repression, culture and propaganda, religion and education, the economy, society and everyday life, racial policy and antisemitism, and foreign policy, the overriding imperative of preparing Germany and its people for a major war emerges clearly as the common thread. But that imperative was neither rational in itself, nor followed in a coherent way. In one area after another, the contradictions and inner irrationalities of the regime emerge; the Nazi's headlong rush to war contained the seeds of the Third Reich's eventual destruction. How and why this should be so is one of the major questions that run through this book and binds its separate parts together. So do many further questions: about the extent to which the Third Reich won over the German people; the manner in which it worked; the degree to which Hitler, rather than broader systematic factors inherent in the structure of the Third Reich as a whole, drove policy onward; the possibilities of opposition, resistence, and dissent or even non-conformity to the dictates of National Socialism under a dictatorship that claimed the total allegiance of all its citizens; the nature of the Third Reich's relationship with modernity; the ways in which its policies in different areas resembled, or differed from, those pursued elsewhere in Europe and beyond during the 1930s; and much more besides.
Richard J. Evans (The Third Reich in Power (The History of the Third Reich, #2))
While there are reasons to be sceptical about the predicted technological dystopia that has prompted many high-tech plutocrats to come out in support of basic income, this may nevertheless be a strong factor in mobilizing public pressure and political action. Whether jobs are going to dry up or not, the march of the robots is undoubtedly accentuating insecurity and inequality. A basic income or social dividend system would provide at least a partial antidote to that, as more commentators now recognize.6 For example, Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum and author of The Fourth Industrial Revolution, has described basic income as a ‘plausible’ response to labour market disruption.7
Guy Standing (Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen)
Language is a social energy, and our capacity for articulate speech is the key factor that makes us different from other species. We are not as fast as cheetahs – or even as horses. Nor are we as strong as bulls or as adaptable as bacteria. But our brains are equipped with the facility to produce and process speech, and we are capable of abstract thought. A bee may dance to show other bees the location of a source of food, a green monkey may deliver sophisticated vocal signals, and a sparrow may manage as many as thirteen different types of song, but an animal's system of communication has a limited repertoire; ours, on the other hand, is 'open', and its mechanisms permit a potentially infinite variety of utterances.
Henry Hitchings (The Secret Life of Words: How English Became English)
18. A third powerful factor in the diffusion of communism is the conspiracy of silence on the part of a large section of the non-Catholic press of the world. We say conspiracy, because it is impossible otherwise to explain how a press usually so eager to exploit even the little daily incidents of life has been able to remain silent for so long about the horrors perpetrated in Russia, in Mexico and even in a great part of Spain; and that it should have relatively so little to say concerning a world organization as vast as Russian communism. This silence is due in part to short-sighted political policy, and is favored by various occult forces which for a long time have been working for the overthrow of the Christian Social Order.
Pope Pius XI (Divini Redemptoris: On Atheistic Communism)
One might object that [debt peonage] was just assumed to be in the nature of things: like the imposition of tribute on conquered populations, it might have been resented, but it wasn’t considered a moral issue, a matter of right and wrong. Some things just happen. This has been the most common attitude of peasants to such phenomena throughout human history. What’s striking about the historical record is that in the case of debt crises, this was not how many reacted. Many actually did become indignant. So many, in fact, that most of our contemporary language of social justice, our way of speaking of human bondage and emancipation, continues to echo ancient arguments about debt. It’s particularly striking because so many other things do seem to have been accepted as simply in the nature of things. One does not see a similar outcry against caste systems, for example, or for that matter, the institution of slavery. Surely slaves and untouchables often experienced at least equal horrors. No doubt many protested their condition. Why was it that the debtors’ protests seemed to carry such greater moral weight? Why were debtors so much more effective in winning the ear of priests, prophets, officials, and social reformers? Why was it that officials like Nehemiah were willing to give such sympathetic consideration to their complaints, to inveigh, to summon great assemblies? Some have suggested practical reasons: debt crises destroyed the free peasantry, and it was free peasants who were drafted into ancient armies to fight in wars. Rulers thus had a vested interest in maintaining their recruitment base. No doubt this was a factor; clearly, it wasn’t the only one. There is no reason to believe that Nehemiah, for instance, in his anger at the usurers, was primarily concerned with his ability to levy troops for the Persian king. It had to be something deeper. What makes debt different is that it is premised on an assumption of equality. To be a slave, or lower caste, is to be intrinsically inferior. These are relations of unadulterated hierarchy. In the case of debt, we are talking about two individuals who begin as equal parties to a contract. Legally, at least as far as the contract is concerned, they are the same.
David Graeber (Debt - Updated and Expanded: The First 5,000 Years)
The median (typical) household in America has a net worth of less than $15,000, excluding home equity. Factor out equity in motor vehicles, furniture, and such, and guess what? More often than not the household has zero financial assets, such as stocks and bonds. How long could the average American household survive economically without a monthly check from an employer? Perhaps a month or two in most cases. Even those in the top quintile are not really wealthy. Their median household net worth is less than $150,000. Excluding home equity, the median net worth for this group falls to less than $60,000. And what about our senior citizens? Without Social Security benefits, almost one-half of Americans over sixty-five would live in poverty. Only
Thomas J. Stanley (The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy)
But there was a lacuna in Nehru’s concept of science: he saw it exclusively in terms of laboratory science, not field science; physics and molecular biology, not ecology, botany, or agronomy. He understood that India’s farmers were poor in part because they were unproductive—they harvested much less grain per acre than farmers elsewhere in the world. But unlike Borlaug, Nehru and his ministers believed that the poor harvests were due not to lack of technology—artificial fertilizer, irrigated water, and high-yield seeds—but to social factors like inefficient management, misallocation of land, lack of education, rigid application of the caste system, and financial speculation (large property owners were supposedly hoarding their wheat and rice until they could get better prices). This was not crazy: more than one out of five families in rural India owned no land at all, and about two out of five owned less than 2.5 acres, not enough land to feed themselves. Meanwhile, a tiny proportion of absentee landowners controlled huge swathes of terrain. The solution to rural poverty, Nehru therefore believed, was less new technology than new policies: give land from big landowners to ordinary farmers, free the latter from the burdens of caste, and then gather the liberated smallholders into more-efficient, technician-advised cooperatives. This set of ideas had the side benefit of fitting nicely into Nehru’s industrial policy: enacting them would cost next to nothing, reserving more money for building factories.
Charles C. Mann (The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World)
When exactly did this all change, and what were the social and theological factors that led to the change? The answer seems to be in the second century and: (1) because of the consolidation of ecclesial power in the hands of monarchial bishops and others; (2) in response to the rise of heretical movements such as the Gnostics; (3) in regard to the social context of the Lord’s Supper, namely, the agape, or thanksgiving, meal, due to the rise to prominence of asceticism in the church; and (4) because the increasingly Gentile majority in the church was to change how second-century Christian thinkers would reflect on the meal. Thus, issues of power and purity and even ethnicity were to change the views of the Lord’s Supper and the way it would be practiced.
Ben Witherington III (Making a Meal of It: Rethinking the Theology of the Lord's Supper)
Anthropologists like Kohrt, Hoffman, and Abramowitz have identified three factors that seem to crucially affect a combatant's transition back into civilian life. The United States seems to rank low on all three. First, cohesive and egalitarian tribal societies do a very good job at mitigating effects of trauma, but by their very nature, many modern societies are exactly the opposite: hierarchical and alienating. America's great wealth, although a blessing in many ways, has allowed for the growth of an individualistic society that suffers high rates of depression and anxiety. Both are correlated with chronic PTSD. Secondly, ex-combatants shouldn't be seen -or be encouraged to see themselves - as victims... Lifelong disability payments for a disorder like PTSD, which is both treatable and usually not chronic, risks turning veterans into a victim class that is entirely dependent on the government for their livelihood... Perhaps most important, veterans need to feel that they're just as necessary and productive back in society as they were on the battlefield... Recent studies of something called 'social resilience' have identified resource sharing and egalitarian wealth distribution as major components of a society's ability to recover from hardship. And societies that rank high on social resilience...provide soldiers with a significantly stronger buffer against PTSD than low-resilience societies. In fact, social resilience is an even better predictor of trauma recovery than the level of resilience of the person himself.
Sebastian Junger (Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging)
American politicians had done little through the years to stem the flood. Hispanic voters wanted their kinsmen to be able to enter the United States regardless of their ability to contribute to the economy or pay their own bills, yet this wasn’t the decisive factor. Farmers and small-business men wanted a source of cheap labor, and were content to pass the true costs, the social costs, on to the taxpayers. Generous public welfare programs also drew millions of Mexicans, more than small business or agriculture could possibly use. Even draining off an eighth of the population didn’t really help Mexico, which found itself racked by turf wars between vicious criminal gangs that smuggled drugs into the United States to supply the richest narcotics market in the world.
Stephen Coonts (Liberty's Last Stand (Tommy Carmellini #7))
All these adoptions of European styles make it obvious that the Greenlanders paid very close attention to European fashions and followed them in detail. The adoptions carry the unconscious message, “We are Europeans, we are Christians, God forbid that anyone could confuse us with the Inuit.” Just as Australia, when I began visiting it in the 1960s, was more British than Britain itself, Europe’s most remote outpost of Greenland remained emotionally tied to Europe. That would have been innocent if the ties had expressed themselves only in two-sided combs and in the position in which the arms were folded over a corpse. But the insistence on “We are Europeans” becomes more serious when it leads to stubbornly maintaining cows in Greenland’s climate, diverting manpower from the summer hay harvest to the Nordrseta hunt, refusing to adopt useful features of Inuit technology, and starving to death as a result. To us in our secular modern society, the predicament in which the Greenlanders found themselves is difficult to fathom. To them, however, concerned with their social survival as much as with their biological survival, it was out of the question to invest less in churches, to imitate or intermarry with the Inuit, and thereby to face an eternity in Hell just in order to survive another winter on Earth. The Greenlanders’ clinging to their European Christian image may have been a factor in their conservatism that I mentioned above: more European than Europeans themselves, and thereby culturally hampered in making the drastic lifestyle changes that could have helped them survive.
Jared Diamond (Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive)
people in hunter-gatherer communities shared about 25 percent, while people in societies who regularly engage in trade gave away about 45 percent. Although religion was a modest factor in making people more generous, the strongest predictor was “market integration,” defined as “the percentage of a household’s total calories that were purchased from the market, as opposed to homegrown, hunted, or fished.” Why? Because, the authors conclude, trust and cooperation with strangers lowers transaction costs and generates greater prosperity for all involved, and thus market fairness norms “evolved as part of an overall process of societal evolution to sustain mutually beneficial exchanges in contexts where established social relationships (for example, kin, reciprocity, and status) were insufficient.”57
Michael Shermer (The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom)
Racism” as a blanket explanation of intergroup differences is not simply an over-rated explanation. It is itself a positive hindrance to a focus on the acquisition of the human capital or cultural capital needed to rise economically and socially. If there is any central theme that emerges from the histories examined in these three volumes, it is that the cultural capital of a people is crucial to their economic and social advancement, whether that people is a racial minority, a nationstate, or a whole civilization. In some cases, the factors inhibiting the development of this human capital have been geographical or historical. But they need not include self-inflicted ideologies or ideologies congenial to sympathetic outsiders, whose sympathies may prove to be more of a handicap than the hostility of others.
Thomas Sowell (Conquests and Cultures: An International History)
Some historical revisionists have also attempted to diminish the role of God and religion in our nation’s past. A careful examination of the records, however, makes it quite clear that religion was a very important factor in the development of our nation. In 1831 when Alexis de Tocqueville came to America to try to unravel the secrets to the success of a fledgling nation that was already competing with the powers of Europe on virtually every level, he discovered that we had a fantastic public educational system that rendered anyone who had finished the second grade completely literate. He was more astonished to discover that the Bible was an important tool used to teach moral principles in our public schools. No particular religious denomination was revered, but rather commonly accepted biblical truths became the backbone of our social structure.
Ben Carson (One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future)
According to Jay Belsky, a leading proponent of this view and a psychology professor and child care expert at the University of London, the reactivity of these kids’ nervous systems makes them quickly overwhelmed by childhood adversity, but also able to benefit from a nurturing environment more than other children do. In other words, orchid children are more strongly affected by all experience, both positive and negative. Scientists have known for a while that high-reactive temperaments come with risk factors. These kids are especially vulnerable to challenges like marital tension, a parent’s death, or abuse. They’re more likely than their peers to react to these events with depression, anxiety, and shyness. Indeed, about a quarter of Kagan’s high-reactive kids suffer from some degree of the condition known as “social anxiety disorder,” a chronic and disabling form of shyness.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
Social support helps to ameliorate physiological stress. The close links between health and the social environment have been amply demonstrated. In the Alameda County study, those more socially isolated were more susceptible to illness of many types. In three separate studies of aging people, five-year mortality risks were associated directly with social integration: the more socially connected a person was, the lower their risk of death. “Social ties and support,” a group of researchers concluded, “… remain powerful predictors of morbidity and mortality in their own right, independent of any associations with other risk factors." For the adult, therefore, biological stress regulation depends on a delicate balance between social and relationship security on the one hand, and genuine autonomy on the other. Whatever upsets that balance, whether or not the individual is consciouslyaware of it, is a source of stress.
Gabor Maté (When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress)
Sennett maintains that the narcissistic individual intentionally avoids achieving goals: closure yields an objectifiable form, which, inasmuch as it possesses independent substance, weakens the self. In fact, precisely the opposite holds. The socially conditioned impossibility of objectively valid, definitive forms of closure drives the subject into narcissistic self-repetition; consequently, it fails to achieve gestalt, stable self-image, or character. Thus, it is not a matter of intentionally “avoiding” the achievement of goals in order to heighten the feeling of self. Instead, the feeling of having achieved a goal never occurs. It is not that the narcissistic subject does not want to achieve closure. Rather, it is incapable of getting there. It loses itself and scatters itself into the open. The absence of forms of closure depends, not least of all, on economic factors: openness and inconclusiveness favor growth.
Byung-Chul Han (The Burnout Society)
Whatever may be the ideological or idealistic characteristics of cultural expression, culture is an essential element of the history of a people. Culture is, perhaps, the product of this history just as the flower is the product of a plant. Like history, or because it is history, culture has as its material base the level of the productive forces and the mode of production. Culture plunges its roots into the physical reality of the environmental humus in which it develops, and it reflects the organic nature of the society, which may be more or less influenced by external factors. History allows us to know the nature and extent of the imbalances and conflicts (economic, political, and social) which characterize the evolution of a society; culture allows us to know the dynamic synthesis which have been developed and established by social conscience to resolve these conflicts at each stage of its evolution, in the search for survival and progress.
Amílcar Cabral
For the first time, people who are retiring today will receive less in benefits than they paid into the system in taxes. A lot of factors are involved in making these comparisons, of course, such as how long someone lives after retirement, how much they earned and thus paid into “the system,” when they decided to start receiving benefits, and so forth. (Incidentally, Social Security itself is very complicated. The Social Security Handbook “has 2,728 separate rules governing its benefits. And it has thousands upon thousands of explanations of those rules in its Program Operating Manual System.”)11 But in 2011, the Urban Institute found that a married couple who earned average lifetime salaries retiring that year had paid about $598,000 in Social Security taxes during their working years. However, they can only expect to receive about $556,000 in lifetime retirement benefits, assuming the husband lives to eighty-two and the wife lives to eighty-five.
Mark R. Levin (Plunder and Deceit: Big Government's Exploitation of Young People and the Future)
Our overview of lagging skills is now complete. Of course, that was just a sampling. Here’s a more complete, though hardly exhaustive, list, including those we just reviewed: > Difficulty handling transitions, shifting from one mind-set or task to another > Difficulty doing things in a logical sequence or prescribed order > Difficulty persisting on challenging or tedious tasks > Poor sense of time > Difficulty maintaining focus > Difficulty considering the likely outcomes or consequences of actions (impulsive) > Difficulty considering a range of solutions to a problem > Difficulty expressing concerns, needs, or thoughts in words > Difficulty understanding what is being said > Difficulty managing emotional response to frustration so as to think rationally > Chronic irritability and/or anxiety significantly impede capacity for problem-solving or heighten frustration > Difficulty seeing the “grays”/concrete, literal, black-and-white thinking > Difficulty deviating from rules, routine > Difficulty handling unpredictability, ambiguity, uncertainty, novelty > Difficulty shifting from original idea, plan, or solution > Difficulty taking into account situational factors that would suggest the need to adjust a plan of action > Inflexible, inaccurate interpretations/cognitive distortions or biases (e.g., “Everyone’s out to get me,” “Nobody likes me,” “You always blame me,” “It’s not fair,” “I’m stupid”) > Difficulty attending to or accurately interpreting social cues/poor perception of social nuances > Difficulty starting conversations, entering groups, connecting with people/lacking basic social skills > Difficulty seeking attention in appropriate ways > Difficulty appreciating how his/her behavior is affecting other people > Difficulty empathizing with others, appreciating another person’s perspective or point of view > Difficulty appreciating how s/he is coming across or being perceived by others > Sensory/motor difficulties
Ross W. Greene (The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children)
As with previous “drug crises,” the opioid problem is not really about opioids. It’s mainly about cultural, social, and environmental factors such as racism, draconian drug laws, and diverting attention away from the real causes of crime and suffering. As you’ll discover throughout this book, there’s nothing terribly unique about the pharmacology of opioids that makes these drugs particularly dangerous or addictive. People have safely consumed them for centuries. And, trust me, people will continue to do so, long after the media’s faddish focus has faded, because these chemicals work. Fatal overdose is a real risk, but the odds of this occurring have been overstated. It is certainly possible to die after taking too much of a single opioid drug, but such deaths account for only about a quarter of the thousands of opioid-related deaths. Contaminated opioid drugs and opioids combined with another downer (e.g., alcohol or a nerve-pain medication) cause many of these deaths.
Carl L. Hart (Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear)
To deny man’s biological determinants or to reduce them by relegating his specific traits to zoology is absurd. The hereditary part of humanity forms only the basis of social and historical life: human instincts are not programmed in their object, i.e., man always has the freedom to make choices, moral as well as political, which naturally are limited only by death. Man is an heir, but he can dispose of his heritage. He can construct himself historically and culturally on the basis of the presuppositions of his biological constitution, which are his human limitations. What lies beyond these limitations may be called God, the cosmos, nothingness, or Being. The question of ‘why’ no longer makes sense, because what is beyond human limitations is by definition unthinkable. Thus, the New Right proposes a vision of a well-balanced individual, taking into account both inborn, personal abilities and the social environment. It rejects ideologies that emphasize only one of these factors, be it biological, economic, or mechanical.
Alain de Benoist
The difference between someone who enjoys life and someone who is overwhelmed by it is a product of a combination of such external factors and the way a person has come to interpret them—that is, whether he sees challenges as threats or as opportunities for action. The “autotelic self” is one that easily translates potential threats into enjoyable challenges, and therefore maintains its inner harmony. A person who is never bored, seldom anxious, involved with what goes on, and in flow most of the time may be said to have an autotelic self. The term literally means “a self that has self-contained goals,” and it reflects the idea that such an individual has relatively few goals that do not originate from within the self. For most people, goals are shaped directly by biological needs and social conventions, and therefore their origin is outside the self. For an autotelic person, the primary goals emerge from experience evaluated in consciousness, and therefore from the self proper. The autotelic self transforms potentially entropic experience into flow. Therefore
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience)
Racism was a constant presence and absence in the Obama White House. We didn’t talk about it much. We didn’t need to—it was always there, everywhere, like white noise. It was there when Obama said that it was stupid for a black professor to be arrested in his own home and got criticized for days while the white police officer was turned into a victim. It was there when a white Southern member of Congress yelled “You lie!” at Obama while he addressed a joint session of Congress. It was there when a New York reality show star built an entire political brand on the idea that Obama wasn’t born in the United States, an idea that was covered as national news for months and is still believed by a majority of Republicans. It was there in the way Obama was talked about in the right-wing media, which spent eight years insisting that he hated America, disparaging his every move, inventing scandals where there were none, attacking him for any time that he took off from work. It was there in the social media messages I got that called him a Kenyan monkey, a boy, a Muslim. And it was there in the refusal of Republicans in Congress to work with him for eight full years, something that Obama was also blamed for no matter what he did. One time, Obama invited congressional Republicans to attend a screening of Lincoln in the White House movie theater—a Steven Spielberg film about how Abraham Lincoln worked with Congress to pass the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery. Not one of them came. Obama didn’t talk about it much. Every now and then, he’d show flashes of dark humor in practicing the answer he could give on a particular topic. What do you think it will take for these protests to stop? “Cops need to stop shooting unarmed black folks.” Why do you think you have failed to bring the country together? “Because my being president appears to have literally driven some white people insane.” Do you think some of the opposition you face is about race? “Yes! Of course! Next question.” But he was guarded in public. When he was asked if racism informed the strident opposition to his presidency, he’d carefully ascribe it to other factors.
Ben Rhodes (The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House)
The smartest person to ever walk this Earth in all probability lived and died herding goats on a mountain somewhere, with no way to disseminate their work globally even if they had realised they were super smart and had the means to do something with their abilities. I am not keen on 'who are the smartest' lists and websites because, as Scott Barry Kaufman points out, the concept of genius privileges the few who had the opportunity to see through and promote their life’s work, while excluding others who may have had equal or greater raw potential but lacked the practical and financial support, and the communication platform that famous names clearly had. This is why I am keen to develop, through my research work, a definition of genius from a cognitive neuroscience and psychometric point of view, so that whatever we decide that is and how it should be measured, only focuses on clearly measurable factors within the individual’s mind, regardless of their external achievements, eminence, popularity, wealth, public platform etc. In my view this would be both more equitable and more scientific.
Gwyneth Wesley Rolph
The Proofs Human society has devised a system of proofs or tests that people must pass before they can participate in many aspects of commercial exchange and social interaction. Until they can prove that they are who they say they are, and until that identity is tied to a record of on-time payments, property ownership, and other forms of trustworthy behavior, they are often excluded—from getting bank accounts, from accessing credit, from being able to vote, from anything other than prepaid telephone or electricity. It’s why one of the biggest opportunities for this technology to address the problem of global financial inclusion is that it might help people come up with these proofs. In a nutshell, the goal can be defined as proving who I am, what I do, and what I own. Companies and institutions habitually ask questions—about identity, about reputation, and about assets—before engaging with someone as an employee or business partner. A business that’s unable to develop a reliable picture of a person’s identity, reputation, and assets faces uncertainty. Would you hire or loan money to a person about whom you knew nothing? It is riskier to deal with such people, which in turn means they must pay marked-up prices to access all sorts of financial services. They pay higher rates on a loan or are forced by a pawnshop to accept a steep discount on their pawned belongings in return for credit. Unable to get bank accounts or credit cards, they cash checks at a steep discount from the face value, pay high fees on money orders, and pay cash for everything while the rest of us enjoy twenty-five days interest free on our credit cards. It’s expensive to be poor, which means it’s a self-perpetuating state of being. Sometimes the service providers’ caution is dictated by regulation or compliance rules more than the unwillingness of the banker or trader to enter a deal—in the United States and other developed countries, banks are required to hold more capital against loans deemed to be of poor quality, for example. But many other times the driving factor is just fear of the unknown. Either way, anything that adds transparency to the multi-faceted picture of people’s lives should help institutions lower the cost of financing and insuring them.
Michael J. Casey (The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything)
Political economist and sociologist Max Weber famously spoke of the “disenchantment of the world,” as rationalization and science led Europe and America into modern industrial society, pushing back religion and all “magical” theories about reality. Now we are witnessing the disenchantment of the self. One of the many dangers in this process is that if we remove the magic from our image of ourselves, we may also remove it from our image of others. We could become disenchanted with one another. Our image of Homo sapiens underlies our everyday practice and culture; it shapes the way we treat one another as well as how we subjectively experience ourselves. In Western societies, the Judeo-Christian image of humankind—whether you are a believer or not—has secured a minimal moral consensus in everyday life. It has been a major factor in social cohesion. Now that the neurosciences have irrevocably dissolved the Judeo-Christian image of a human being as containing an immortal spark of the divine, we are beginning to realize that they have not substituted anything that could hold society together and provide a common ground for shared moral intuitions and values. An anthropological and ethical vacuum may well follow on the heels of neuroscientific findings. This is a dangerous situation. One potential scenario is that long before neuroscientists and philosophers have settled any of the perennial issues—for example, the nature of the self, the freedom of the will, the relationship between mind and brain, or what makes a person a person—a vulgar materialism might take hold. More and more people will start telling themselves: “I don’t understand what all these neuroexperts and consciousness philosophers are talking about, but the upshot seems pretty clear to me. The cat is out of the bag: We are gene-copying bio- robots, living out here on a lonely planet in a cold and empty physical universe. We have brains but no immortal souls, and after seventy years or so the curtain drops. There will never be an afterlife, or any kind of reward or punishment for anyone, and ultimately everyone is alone. I get the message, and you had better believe I will adjust my behavior to it. It would probably be smart not to let anybody know I’ve seen through the game.
Thomas Metzinger
Naturally, society has an indisputable right to protect itself against arrant subjectivisms, but, in so far as society is itself composed of de-individualized human beings, it is completely at the mercy of ruthless individualists. Let it band together into groups and organizations as much as it likes – it is just this banding together and the resultant extinction of the individual personality that makes it succumb so readily to a dictator. A million zeros joined together do not, unfortunately, add up to one. Ultimately everything depends on the quality of the individual, but our fatally short-sighted age thinks only in terms of large numbers and mass organizations, though one would think that the world had seen more than enough of what a well-disciplined mob can do in the hand of a single madman. Unfortunately, this realization does not seem to have penetrated very far - and our blindness is extremely dangerous. People go on blithely organizing and believing in the remedy of mass action, without the least consciousness of the fact that the most powerful organizations can be maintained only by the greatest ruthlessness of their leaders and the cheapest of slogans. Curiously enough, the Churches too want to avail themselves of mass action in order to cast out the devil with Beelzebub – the very Churches whose care is the salvation of the individual soul. They too do not appear to have heard anything of the elementary axiom of mass psychology, that the individual becomes morally and spiritually inferior in the mass, and for this reason they do not burden themselves overmuch with their real task of helping the individual to achieve a metanoia, or rebirth of the spirit – deo concedente. It is, unfortunately, only too clear that if the individual is not truly regenerated in spirit, society cannot be either, for society is the sum total of individuals in need of redemption. I can therefore see it only as a delusion when the Churches try – as they apparently do – to rope the individual into a social organization and reduce him to a condition of diminished responsibility, instead of raising him out of the torpid, mindless mass and making clear to him that he is the one important factor and that the salvation of the world consists in the salvation of the individual soul.
C.G. Jung
The experience of stress has three components. The first is the event, physical or emotional, that the organism interprets as threatening. This is the stress stimulus, also called the stressor. The second element is the processing system that experiences and interprets the meaning of the stressor. In the case of human beings, this processing system is the nervous system, in particular the brain. The final constituent is the stress response, which consists of the various physiological and behavioural adjustments made as a reaction to a perceived threat. We see immediately that the definition of a stressor depends on the processing system that assigns meaning to it. The shock of an earthquake is a direct threat to many organisms, though not to a bacterium. The loss of a job is more acutely stressful to a salaried employee whose family lives month to month than to an executive who receives a golden handshake. Equally important is the personality and current psychological state of the individual on whom the stressor is acting. The executive whose financial security is assured when he is terminated may still experience severe stress if his self-esteem and sense of purpose were completely bound up with his position in the company, compared with a colleague who finds greater value in family, social interests or spiritual pursuits. The loss of employment will be perceived as a major threat by the one, while the other may see it as an opportunity. There is no uniform and universal relationship between a stressor and the stress response. Each stress event is singular and is experienced in the present, but it also has its resonance from the past. The intensity of the stress experience and its long-term consequences depend on many factors unique to each individual. What defines stress for each of us is a matter of personal disposition and, even more, of personal history. Selye discovered that the biology of stress predominantly affected three types of tissues or organs in the body: in the hormonal system, visible changes occurred in the adrenal glands; in the immune system, stress affected the spleen, the thymus and the lymph glands; and the intestinal lining of the digestive system. Rats autopsied after stress had enlarged adrenals, shrunken lymph organs and ulcerated intestines.
Gabor Maté (When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress)
1. True trolls are internet users who set out to ruin someone else’s day. Everyone else is merely someone who disagrees with you, which is allowed. It is hard to differentiate between someone who is ‘generally disagreeable to the entire world’ and ‘currently disagreeing with me’. So we move to… 2. They can’t speak proper, innit. Their punctuation, spelling or grammar is so far round the spout it’s actually random. Of course, this could also indicate someone with a learning difficulty, so to be kind we need to check off some more identifying factors such as… 3. They say extremely unreasonable things. Not just ‘Yeah well, so what, copper?’ but posting on the Facebook memorial pages of murdered children that they deserved it, searching out women to call them whores, or sending rape and death threats. This isn’t normal debate. 4. They are not friends with logic. If you question them, ask them why or suggest substantiating this or that, they will scream, kick a table or call you a Nazi. 5. The sheer volume of their posts –either in word count or frequency –indicates a serious personality disorder. 6. If you saw them on the bus, you would sit elsewhere.
Susie Boniface (Bluffer's Guide to Social Media (Bluffer's Guides))
They are the motivational factors for everything in your life-for any­ thing that you do or any living thing does: The first is survival, the second is social order, and the third is enter­tainment. Everything in life progresses in that order. Everything is moving in the same direction, but not at the same time. So basically sex has reached entertain­ment, war is close to it, technology is pretty much there. The new things are things that are just survival. Like, hopefully, space travel will at some point be an issue of survival, then it will be social, then entertainment. Look at civilization as a cult. I mean, that also follows the same pattern. Civilization starts as survival. You get together to survive better and you build up your social structure. Then eventually civilization exists purely for entertain­ment. Okay, well, not purely. And it doesn't have to be bad entertainment. The ancient Greeks are known for having had a very strong social order, and they also had a lot of entertainment. They're known for having had the best philosophers of their time. So what this builds up to is that in the end we're all here to have fun. We might as well sit down and relax, and enjoy the ride.
Linus Torvalds (Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary)
The interpenetration of chance and determination bears on the problem of how there can be a scientific approach to society when individual human behavior and consciousness seem unpredictable. Those who despair to point out that people are not machines, that there are subjective processes in the making of decisions, that it is not 'classes' but individuals who make choices. Terms such as "the human factor" or "subjective factors" with their implication of chance and unpredictability are invoked as the negation of regularity and lawfulness. And indeed it is true that individual behavior and consciousness are the consequences of intersection of a large number of weakly determining factors. But it does not follow that where there is choice, subjectivity, and individuality there cannon also be predictability. The error to take the individual as causally prior to the whole and not to appreciate that the social has causal properties within which individual consciousness and action are formed. While the consciousness of an individual is not determined by his/her class position but is influenced by idiosyncratic factors that appear as random, those random factors operate within a domain and with probabilities that are constrained and directed by social forces.
Richard C. Lewontin (Biology Under the Influence: Dialectical Essays on Ecology, Agriculture, and Health)
We do not sufficiently distinguish between individualism and individuation. Individualism means deliberately stressing and giving prominence to some supposed peculiarity rather than to collective consideration and obligations. But individuation means precisely the better and more complete fulfillment of the collective qualities of the human being, since adequate consideration of the peculiarity of the individual is more conducive to a better social performance than when the peculiarity is neglected or suppressed. The idiosyncrasy of an individual is not to be understood as any strangeness in his substance or in his components, but rather as a unique combination, or gradual differentiation, of functions and faculties which in themselves are universal. Every human face has a nose, two eyes, etc., but these universal factors are variable, and it is this variability which makes individual peculiarities possible. Individuation, therefore, can only mean a process of psychological development that fulfils the individual qualities given; in other words, it is a process by which a man becomes the definite, unique being he in fact is. In so doing he does not become “selfish” in the ordinary sense of the word, but is merely fulfilling the peculiarity of his nature, and this, as we have said, is vastly different from egotism or individualism.
C.G. Jung (Two Essays on Analytical Psychology (Collected Works 7))
Social primates like you and I have a strong and wholly nonrational propensity to force-fit our problems into a social mode – no matter what’s happening, we want to put a face on it, which in practice amounts to blaming it on the troop over there, or the baboons at the top of our troop’s hierarchy, or maybe the ones at the bottom. We also like to define any problem so that its apparent solution doesn’t make us feel that the fulfillment of such basic biological appetites as food, sex, status, and security are put in question. Add to those distorting factors a widespread ignorance of logic and history, and a great deal of straightforward dishonesty on all sides of the political continuum, and you’ve got a pretty fair mess. Thus we’ve arrived as a society, and at a very late stage in the game, at the same point that classical philosophy reached as the Roman Empire began to falter, when it became uncomfortably clear that having a small minority of people passionately interested in asking and answering the right questions was no guarantee against catastrophic levels of collective stupidity. The answer that theurgic Neoplatonism offered was a personal answer, rooted in the systematic practice of a set of magical disciplines meant to make clear thinking and decisive action possible for anyone with the self-discipline, patience, and persistence to do the necessary work.
John Michael Greer (The Blood of the Earth: An essay on magic and peak oil)
Emotions also directly modulate the immune system. Studies at the U.S. National Cancer Institute found that natural killer (NK) cells, an important class of immune cells we have already met, are more active in breast cancer patients who are able to express anger, to adopt a fighting stance and who have more social support. NK cells mount an attack on malignant cells and are able to destroy them. These women had significantly less spread of their breast cancer, compared with those who exhibited a less assertive attitude or who had fewer nurturing social connections. The researchers found that emotional factors and social involvement were more important to survival than the degree of disease itself. Many studies, such as the one reported in The British Medical Journal article, fail to appreciate that stress is not only a question of external stimulus but also of individual response. It occurs in the real lives of real persons whose inborn temperament, life history, emotional patterns, physical and mental resources, and social and economic supports vary greatly. As already pointed out, there is no universal stressor. In most cases of breast cancer, the stresses are hidden and chronic. They stem from childhood experiences, early emotional programming and unconscious psychological coping styles. They accumulate over a lifetime to make someone susceptible to disease.
Gabor Maté (When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress)
I do not believe that one can maintain a situation in which a man toils and works a whole year, only to get a ludicrous salary, and another just sits down in a leather seat and gets enormous sums for it. This is a condition unworthy of man. [-] After all, there are two worlds which confront each other. And they are right when they say: “We can never reconcile ourselves to the National Socialist world.” For how could a narrow-minded capitalist possibly declare his agreement with my principles? It would be easier for the devil to go to church and take holy water. [-] This is the first state in our German history which, as a matter of principle, eliminated all social prejudice in the assignment of social positions, and this not only in civilian life. I myself am the best proof of that. I am not even an advocate; just think of what this means! And still I am your Fuhrer! [-] What was it that I asked of the outside world Nothing but the right of Germans to unite, and second, that what was taken away from them be restored. I asked for nothing which might have implied a loss for another people. How often have I offered my hand to them Immediately after my rise to power. For what does armament mean? It gobbles up so much manpower. And especially I who regard work as the decisive factor, I had wished to employ German manpower for other plans. And, my Volksgenossen, I believe it became common knowledge that I have plans of some substance, beautiful and great plans for my Volk. I have the ambition to make the German Volk rich, the German lands beautiful. I wish the standard of living of the individual to increase. I wish us to develop the most beautiful and best culture. I wish theater to be an enjoyment affordable for the entire Volk and not only for the upper ten thousand as in England. Beyond this, I wish the entirety of German culture to benefit the Volk. These were enormous plans which we possessed, and for their realization I needed manpower. Armament just takes men away. I made proposals to restrict armament. But all they did was laugh at me. [-] For it was quite clear: what was I before the World War? An unknown, nameless man. What was I during the War? A small, common soldier. I bore no responsibility for the World War. But who are the folk who lead England once again today The very same people who were already agitating before the World War. It is the same Churchill, who was already the vilest warmonger in the World War, and the late Chamberlain who agitated just as much then. And the whole audience (Korona) that belongs there, and naturally that people which always believes that with the trumpets of Jericho it can destroy the peoples: these are the old specters which have arisen once more! Adolf Hitler – speech to the workers of a Berlin December 10, 1940
Adolf Hitler
The argument between nature and our species is certainly not restricted to measurements of the physical universe. It includes the great variety of possible human reactions and responses to nature that the social sciences and humanities have also described. The manner in which the argument is now being conducted is less a struggle for control and more a desire for participation. Western peoples have previously believed that scientific knowledge could indefinitely provide them with techniques to control and understand nature. They partially accomplished this goal by reducing the phenomena of nature to objects valuable only because they could be measured and modified. Even while technological progress continues, scientists are retreating from an absolute stance that purports to explain everything in theoretical terms. “The primary significance of modern physics lies not in any disclosure of the fundamental nature of reality,” Ian Barbour writes, “but in the recognition of the limitations of science.”31 If we have knowledge of nature at all, we must conceive it as a “modest, sharply delimited sector of, and extract from, the multiplicity of phenomena observed by our senses,”32 Heisenberg argued. Complete knowledge of the world, either in the scientific or philosophical sense, would require the reintroduction of factors previously omitted from consideration. The metaphysical task that brings together all facets of human knowledge
Vine Deloria Jr. (Metaphysics of Modern Existence)
Changing Your Opinion Think back to the low self-esteem statements you identified with, bearing in mind that, no matter how you came by your low opinion of yourself, you can change it. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” You own your self-image, and you can feel about yourself whatever you choose to feel. Throughout this book, there are exercises to help you change how you feel about yourself. And in the next chapter, we’ll look at some ways to set social goals. For now, try repeating what Mrs. Roosevelt said: “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” Give yourself credit for seeking help with your social problems. You care about yourself, and that counts for a lot. Social anxiety and low self-esteem go hand in hand. In fact, many people simplify so-called “shyness” as a self-esteem problem. The reality is, however, that poor self-esteem is a by-product of social anxiety. It is the social anxiety that comes first, not the other way around! Social failures cause anxiety, which causes avoidance, which causes low self-esteem. As a person’s confidence dwindles, the fears become greater, until eventually the individual simply stops trying. With fewer and fewer opportunities for social interaction, there are also fewer opportunities to receive positive feedback. This combination of factors perpetuates low self-esteem, which cannot be replaced with a healthy self-image until the avoidant behavior ceases.
Jonathan Berent (Beyond Shyness: How to Conquer Social Anxieties)
In every age there are threads of continuity and discontinuity. What may be different from age to age is the political organization, the kind of economy that exists and how it works, the architectural style, the nature of the calamities that occur - such as war, famine, natural disasters, or social upheaval - the dominance or absence of religion, life expectancy, the scope of medical care, and any number of other factors that impinge on daily life. In these areas, life in seventeenth-century America, for example, was very different indeed from life in the twentieth. At the same time, if Christian assumptions can be accepted, life in these two times also shared some things. Human nature has remained unchanged as created and fallen, as has God in his character and purposes, as has the truth of the revelation he has given us in the Bible, as has the significance of his redemptive acts and most importantly the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ. These have not changed. They are the threads that are woven through ages that, in many other ways, have no connections with each other at all. They give continuity to life amidst its many jarring discontinuities. For this reason, there is only one Gospel applicable to all people in all places and believed in the same way in every age. If this were not so, Christian faith would mean something entirely different today from what it meant last century, and faith would mean something entirely different in America than in Asia, Europe, or Africa.
David F. Wells (Losing Our Virtue)
In 2000, for instance, two statisticians were hired by the YMCA—one of the nation’s largest nonprofit organizations—to use the powers of data-driven fortune-telling to make the world a healthier place. The YMCA has more than 2,600 branches in the United States, most of them gyms and community centers. About a decade ago, the organization’s leaders began worrying about how to stay competitive. They asked a social scientist and a mathematician—Bill Lazarus and Dean Abbott—for help. The two men gathered data from more than 150,000 YMCA member satisfaction surveys that had been collected over the years and started looking for patterns. At that point, the accepted wisdom among YMCA executives was that people wanted fancy exercise equipment and sparkling, modern facilities. The YMCA had spent millions of dollars building weight rooms and yoga studios. When the surveys were analyzed, however, it turned out that while a facility’s attractiveness and the availability of workout machines might have caused people to join in the first place, what got them to stay was something else. Retention, the data said, was driven by emotional factors, such as whether employees knew members’ names or said hello when they walked in. People, it turns out, often go to the gym looking for a human connection, not a treadmill. If a member made a friend at the YMCA, they were much more likely to show up for workout sessions. In other words, people who join the YMCA have certain social habits. If the YMCA satisfied them, members were happy. So if the YMCA wanted to encourage people to exercise, it needed to take advantage of patterns that already existed, and teach employees to remember visitors’ names.
Charles Duhigg (The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business)
The Company We Keep So now we have seen that our cells are in relationship with our thoughts, feelings, and each other. How do they factor into our relationships with others? Listening and communicating clearly play an important part in healthy relationships. Can relationships play an essential role in our own health? More than fifty years ago there was a seminal finding when the social and health habits of more than 4,500 men and women were followed for a period of ten years. This epidemiological study led researchers to a groundbreaking discovery: people who had few or no social contacts died earlier than those who lived richer social lives. Social connections, we learned, had a profound influence on physical health.9 Further evidence for this fascinating finding came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania. Epidemiologists were interested in Roseto because of its extremely low rate of coronary artery disease and death caused by heart disease compared to the rest of the United States. What were the town’s residents doing differently that protected them from the number one killer in the United States? On close examination, it seemed to defy common sense: health nuts, these townspeople were not. They didn’t get much exercise, many were overweight, they smoked, and they relished high-fat diets. They had all the risk factors for heart disease. Their health secret, effective despite questionable lifestyle choices, turned out to be strong communal, cultural, and familial ties. A few years later, as the younger generation started leaving town, they faced a rude awakening. Even when they had improved their health behaviors—stopped smoking, started exercising, changed their diets—their rate of heart disease rose dramatically. Why? Because they had lost the extraordinarily close connection they enjoyed with neighbors and family.10 From studies such as these, we learn that social isolation is almost as great a precursor of heart disease as elevated cholesterol or smoking. People connection is as important as cellular connections. Since the initial large population studies, scientists in the field of psychoneuroimmunology have demonstrated that having a support system helps in recovery from illness, prevention of viral infections, and maintaining healthier hearts.11 For example, in the 1990s researchers began laboratory studies with healthy volunteers to uncover biological links to social and psychological behavior. Infected experimentally with cold viruses, volunteers were kept in isolation and monitored for symptoms and evidence of infection. All showed immunological evidence of a viral infection, yet only some developed symptoms of a cold. Guess which ones got sick: those who reported the most stress and the fewest social interactions in their “real life” outside the lab setting.12 We Share the Single Cell’s Fate Community is part of our healing network, all the way down to the level of our cells. A single cell left alone in a petri dish will not survive. In fact, cells actually program themselves to die if they are isolated! Neurons in the developing brain that fail to connect to other cells also program themselves to die—more evidence of the life-saving need for connection; no cell thrives alone. What we see in the microcosm is reflected in the larger organism: just as our cells need to stay connected to stay alive, we, too, need regular contact with family, friends, and community. Personal relationships nourish our cells,
Sondra Barrett (Secrets of Your Cells: Discovering Your Body's Inner Intelligence)
All of us sit here at this conference and feel secure in our belief that we live in an era beyond this kind of…authoritarian regime change; but what sort of political climate do you think could potentially break apart our current stasis and deliver us back in time, so to speak? Thank you, I am gratified there has been so much interest in our little project. Gilead Studies languished for many years, I suppose those who had lived through those times did not want them resurrected for various reasons including what might have been done to them and what they themselves might have done. But at this distance, we can allow ourselves some perspective. It’s fortunate that is the last question as my voice is giving out. As to your question, in times of peace and plenty, it is hard to remember the conditions that have led to authoritarian regime changes in the past. And it is even harder to suppose that we ourselves would ever make such choices or allow them to be made. But when there is a perfect storm and collapse of the established order is in the works precipitated by environmental stresses that lead to food shortages, economic factors such as unrest due to unemployment, a social structure that is top heavy with too much wealth being concentrated among too few, then scapegoats are sought and blamed, fear is rampant, and there is pressure to trade what we think of as liberty for what we think of as safety. And, when the birth rate of any society is low enough to create an aging shrinking population, then commercial and military authorities will become alarmed. Their customer base and their recruitment base will be in jeopardy and there will be extreme pressure on women of childbearing age to make up the population deficit, thus our handmaid and her tale.
Margaret Atwood
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No one acts in a void. We all take cues from cultural norms, shaped by the law. For the law affects our ideas of what is reasonable and appropriate. It does so by what it prohibits--you might think less of drinking if it were banned, or more of marijuana use if it were allowed--but also by what it approves. . . . Revisionists agree that it matters what California or the United States calls a marriage, because this affects how Californians or Americans come to think of marriage. Prominent Oxford philosopher Joseph Raz, no friend of the conjugal view, agrees: "[O]ne thing can be said with certainty [about recent changes in marriage law]. They will not be confined to adding new options to the familiar heterosexual monogamous family. They will change the character of that family. If these changes take root in our culture then the familiar marriage relations will disappear. They will not disappear suddenly. Rather they will be transformed into a somewhat different social form, which responds to the fact that it is one of several forms of bonding, and that bonding itself is much more easily and commonly dissoluble. All these factors are already working their way into the constitutive conventions which determine what is appropriate and expected within a conventional marriage and transforming its significance." Redefining civil marriage would change its meaning for everyone. Legally wedded opposite-sex unions would increasingly be defined by what they had in common with same-sex relationships. This wouldn't just shift opinion polls and tax burdens. Marriage, the human good, would be harder to achieve. For you can realize marriage only by choosing it, for which you need at least a rough, intuitive idea of what it really is. By warping people's view of marriage, revisionist policy would make them less able to realize this basic way of thriving--much as a man confused about what friendship requires will have trouble being a friend. . . . Redefining marriage will also harm the material interests of couples and children. As more people absorb the new law's lesson that marriage is fundamentally about emotions, marriages will increasingly take on emotion's tyrannical inconstancy. Because there is no reason that emotional unions--any more than the emotions that define them, or friendships generally--should be permanent or limited to two, these norms of marriage would make less sense. People would thus feel less bound to live by them whenever they simply preferred to live otherwise. . . . As we document below, even leading revisionists now argue that if sexual complementarity is optional, so are permanence and exclusivity. This is not because the slope from same-sex unions to expressly temporary and polyamorous ones is slippery, but because most revisionist arguments level the ground between them: If marriage is primarily about emotional union, why privilege two-person unions, or permanently committed ones? What is it about emotional union, valuable as it can be, that requires these limits? As these norms weaken, so will the emotional and material security that marriage gives spouses. Because children fare best on most indicators of health and well-being when reared by their wedded biological parents, the same erosion of marital norms would adversely affect children's health, education, and general formation. The poorest and most vulnerable among us would likely be hit the hardest. And the state would balloon: to adjudicate breakup and custody issues, to meet the needs of spouses and children affected by divorce, and to contain and feebly correct the challenges these children face.
Sherif Girgis
Yet a much more fundamentally political dimension of the socially constructed nature of capital - nothing less than the specification of a parallel universe with its own natural laws and rules for the physical existence and subsistence of financial capital and its interaction with the other factors of production - has also often been overlooked in contemporary academic literature. Under the current monetary arrangements financial capital is a peculiar creature indeed. Money can be created ex nihilo at the stroke of a pen - or a keyboard - by a specific type of legal person entrusted with the task, not other legal or natural person. With the socially constructed ability to attract compound interest in a world where physical assets rot and break, it does not share the same physical reality with the mere mortal factors of production: even in cases where productive investments which enable the payment of interest in real terms can be identified, the compounding of interest on financial capital is not temporally limited to the period that the relevant physical assets can continue to produce exponential returns in real terms. Rather than representing accumulated wealth that could be "saved" to finance investment, the bulk of money disappears as soon as other factors of production are not willing to pay a tribute to induce its continuing circulation in the form of interest payments. In addition to the inherently political nature of specifications of money have been detached from virtually any substantive connection to the rules or the realities experienced by other factors of production in the physical world that is nonetheless supposed to achieve economic efficiency and a host of other objectives through monetary calculation and monetarily mediated social relationships deserves particular scrutiny.
Tero Auvinen (On Money)
ON THE MODUS OPERANDI OF OUR CURRENT PRESIDENT, DONALD J. TRUMP "According to a new ABC/Washington Post poll, President Trump’s disapproval rating has hit a new high." The President's response to this news was "“I don’t do it for the polls. Honestly — people won’t necessarily agree with this — I do nothing for the polls,” the president told reporters on Wednesday. “I do it to do what’s right. I’m here for an extended period of time. I’m here for a period that’s a very important period of time. And we are straightening out this country.” - Both Quotes Taken From Aol News - August 31, 2018 In The United States, as in other Republics, the two main categories of Presidential motivation for their assigned tasks are #1: Self Interest in seeking to attain and to hold on to political power for their own sakes, regarding the welfare of This Republic to be of secondary importance. #2: Seeking to attain and to hold on to the power of that same office for the selfless sake of this Republic's welfare, irregardless of their personal interest, and in the best of cases going against their personal interests to do what is best for this Republic even if it means making profound and extreme personal sacrifices. Abraham Lincoln understood this last mentioned motivation and gave his life for it. The primary information any political scientist needs to ascertain regarding the diagnosis of a particular President's modus operandi is to first take an insightful and detailed look at the individual's past. The litmus test always being what would he or she be willing to sacrifice for the Nation. In the case of our current President, Donald John Trump, he abandoned a life of liberal luxury linked to self imposed limited responsibilities for an intensely grueling, veritably non stop two year nightmare of criss crossing this immense Country's varied terrain, both literally and socially when he could have easily maintained his life of liberal leisure. While my assertion that his personal choice was, in my view, sacrificially done for the sake of a great power in a state of rapid decline can be contradicted by saying it was motivated by selfish reasons, all evidence points to the contrary. For knowing the human condition, fraught with a plentitude of weaknesses, for a man in the end portion of his lifetime to sacrifice an easy life for a hard working incessant schedule of thankless tasks it is entirely doubtful that this choice was made devoid of a special and even exalted inspiration to do so. And while the right motivations are pivotal to a President's success, what is also obviously needed are generic and specific political, military and ministerial skills which must be naturally endowed by Our Creator upon the particular President elected for the purposes of advancing a Nation's general well being for one and all. If one looks at the latest National statistics since President Trump took office, (such as our rising GNP, the booming market, the dramatically shrinking unemployment rate, and the overall positive emotive strains in regards to our Nation's future, on both the left and the right) one can make definitive objective conclusions pertaining to the exceptionally noble character and efficiency of the current resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And if one can drown out the constant communicative assaults on our current Commander In Chief, and especially if one can honestly assess the remarkable lack of substantial mistakes made by the current President, all of these factors point to a leader who is impressively strong, morally and in other imperative ways. And at the most propitious time. For the main reason that so many people in our Republic palpably despise our current President is that his political and especially his social agenda directly threatens their licentious way of life. - John Lars Zwerenz
John Lars Zwerenz
In seeking to establish the causes of poverty and other social problems among black Americans, for example, sociologist William Julius Wilson pointed to factors such as “the enduring effects of slavery, Jim Crow segregation, public school segregation, legalized discrimination, residential segregation, the FHA’s redlining of black neighborhoods in the 1940s and ’50s, the construction of public housing projects in poor black neighborhoods, employer discrimination, and other racial acts and processes.”1 These various facts might be summarized as examples of racism, so the causal question is whether racism is either the cause, or one of the major causes, of poverty and other social problems among black Americans today. Many might consider the obvious answer to be “yes.” Yet some incontrovertible facts undermine that conclusion. For example, despite the high poverty rate among black Americans in general, the poverty rate among black married couples has been less than 10 percent every year since 1994.2 The poverty rate of married blacks is not only lower than that of blacks as a whole, but in some years has also been lower than that of whites as a whole.3 In 2016, for example, the poverty rate for blacks was 22 percent, for whites was 11 percent, and for black married couples was 7.5 percent.4 Do racists care whether someone black is married or unmarried? If not, then why do married blacks escape poverty so much more often than other blacks, if racism is the main reason for black poverty? If the continuing effects of past evils such as slavery play a major causal role today, were the ancestors of today’s black married couples exempt from slavery and other injustices? As far back as 1969, young black males whose homes included newspapers, magazines, and library cards, and who also had the same education as young white males, had similar incomes as their white counterparts.5 Do racists care whether blacks have reading material and library cards?
Thomas Sowell (Discrimination and Disparities)
There is no shortage of more stable generalizations about dangerous dogs, though. A 1991 study in Denver, for example, compared 178 dogs that had a history of biting people with a random sample of 178 dogs with no history of biting. The breeds were scattered: German shepherds, Akitas, and Chow Chows were among those most heavily represented. (There were no pit bulls among the biting dogs in the study, because Denver banned pit bulls in 1989.) But a number of other, more stable factors stand out. The biters were 6.2 times as likely to be male than female, and 2.6 times as likely to be intact than neutered. The Denver study also found that biters were 2.8 times as likely to be chained as unchained. “About twenty percent of the dogs involved in fatalities were chained at the time, and had a history of long-term chaining,” Lockwood said. “Now, are they chained because they are aggressive or aggressive because they are chained? It’s a bit of both. These are animals that have not had an opportunity to become socialized to people. They don’t necessarily even know that children are small human beings. They tend to see them as prey.” In many cases, vicious dogs are hungry or in need of medical attention. Often, the dogs had a history of aggressive incidents, and, overwhelmingly, dog-bite victims were children (particularly small boys) who were physically vulnerable to attack and may also have unwittingly done things to provoke the dog, like teasing it, or bothering it while it was eating. The strongest connection of all, though, is between the trait of dog viciousness and certain kinds of dog owners. In about a quarter of fatal dog-bite cases, the dog owners were previously involved in illegal fighting. The dogs that bite people are, in many cases, socially isolated because their owners are socially isolated, and they are vicious because they have owners who want a vicious dog. The junkyard German shepherd — which looks as if it would rip your throat out — and the German-shepherd guide dog are the same breed. But they are not the same dog, because they have owners with different intentions. “A
Malcolm Gladwell (What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures)
A number of factors contribute to the development of an individual’s “practiced self-deception.” First, people who live primarily in fantasy confuse fantasy images with real, goal-directed action. They believe that they are actively pursuing their goals, when in fact they are not taking the steps necessary for success. For example, an executive in the business world may only perform the functions that enhance an image of himself as the “boss,” and leave essential management tasks unattended. The distinction between the image of success and its actual achievement is blurred. Retreat from action-oriented behavior is masked by the person’s focus on superficial signs and activities that preserve vanity and the fantasy image. Secondly, involvement in fantasy distorts one’s perception of reality, making self-deception more possible. Kierkegaard (1849/1954) alluded to this power of fantasy to attract and deceive when he observed: Sometimes the inventiveness of the human imagination suffices to procure possibility. Instead of summoning back possibility into necessity, the man pursues the possibility—and at last cannot find his way back to himself. (p. 77, 79) Thirdly, through its assigned roles and its rules for role-designated behavior, including age-appropriate activities, our culture actively supports people’s tendencies to give themselves up to more and more passivity and fantasy as they move through the life process. In addition, the discrepancy between society’s professed values on the one hand, and how society actually operates, on the other, tends to distort a person’s perceptions of reality, further confusing the difference between idealistic fantasies and actual accomplishments. The general level of pretense, duplicity, and deception existing in our society contributes to everyone’s disillusionment, cynicism, resignation, and passivity. The pooling of the individual defenses and fantasies of all society’s members makes it possible for each person to practice self-delusion under the guise of normalcy. Thus chronic self-denial becomes a socially acceptable defense against death anxiety.
Robert W. Firestone (The Fantasy Bond: Structure of Psychological Defenses)
Just as women do not have the ritual of dominance-based violence, they also lack the built-in safety. In other words, if you are dealing with a female threat, she will be seeking to do damage, not to show who is boss. In my experience, women gouge for eyes, bite, and try to cut the face with their fingernails far more often than men. Second, if you are a woman dealing with a male threat, he can still Monkey Dance at you and perceive you to be challenging him. A significant percentage of the males who prey on women are seeking to safely establish dominance over somebody. In that case, when a woman fights back the man will react very violently. In his mind, a victim specially chosen to be weak enough to guarantee his validation as a dominator has seen him as weak enough to challenge. A man fighting another man for dominance will try to beat him, but a man who thinks that he is fighting a woman for dominance will be seeking to punish her. Punishment is much worse. Third, there are specific reactions to violence that most women have absorbed at a very young age that profoundly affect their ability to defend themselves. You see this in victims who flirt with or compliment their attacker: “You’re so handsome you don’t need to rape.” And you see it in women who struggle instead of fight. Women are used to handling men in certain ways, with certain subconscious rules—social ways, not physical ones. These systems are very effective within society and not effective at all when civilization is no longer a factor, such as in a violent assault or rape. On a deep level, most women feel at a gut level that if they fight a man he will escalate the situation to a savage beating, punishment for her challenge to his “manhood.” They feel this way because it is true. This is a hard thing to write. Years ago, before I learned to just listen, a friend told me her story. It had been several days and most of the swelling had gone down. She told me about the rape and the beating. I asked her if she had fought. Not my business and decades of experience later I would have just listened, but I was young and believed that there were more right and wrong answers than there are. She shook her head and said, “I was afraid he’d hurt me if I fought.
Rory Miller (Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence)
We are in uncharted territory" when it comes to sex and the internet, says Justin Garcia, a research scientist at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. "There have been two major transitions" in heterosexual mating, Garcia says, "in the last four million years. The first was around ten to fifteen thousand years ago, in the agricultural revolution, when we became less migratory and more settled," leading to the establishment of marriage as a cultural contract. "And the second major transition is with the rise of the Internet," Garcia says. Suddenly, instead of meeting through proximity, community connections, and family and friends, people could meet each other virtually and engage in amorous activity with the click of a button. Internet meeting is now surpassing every other form. “It’s changing so much about the way we act both romantically and sexually,” Garcia says. “It is unprecedented from an evolutionary standpoint.” And yet this massive shift in our behavior has gone almost completely unexamined, especially given how the internet permeates modern life. While there have been studies about how men and women use social media differently- how they use language and present themselves differently, for example- there's not a lot of research about how they behave sexually online; and there is virtually nothing about how girls and boys do. While there has been concern about the online interaction of children and adults, it's striking that so little attention has been paid to the ways in which the Internet has changed the sexual behavior of girls and boys interacting together. This may be because the behavior has been largely hidden or unknown, or, again, due to the fear of not seeming "sex-positive," mistaking responsibility for judgement. And there are questions to ask, from the standpoint of girls' and boys' physical and emotional health and the ethics of their treatment of each other. Sex on a screen is different from sex that develops in person, this much seems seems self-evident, just as talking on a screen is different from face-to-face communication. And so if talking on a screen reduces one's ability to be empathic, for example, then how does sex on a screen change sexual behavior? Are people more likely to act aggressively or unethically, as in other types of online communication? How do gender roles and sexism play into cybersex? And how does the influence of porn, which became available online at about the same time as social networking, factor in?
Nancy Jo Sales (American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers)
You break her heart, and you’ll have to deal with me and her three brothers, and if you survive that, Her Grace will ensure your social ruin unto the nineteenth generation. I remind you, all of my boys are crack shots and more than competent with a sword.” “It is not my intention to break her heart.” “Oh, it’s never our intention.” His Grace’s brows drew down in thought, and he was once again the affable paterfamilias. “Maggie is different. I hope that’s from being the oldest daughter, but her unfortunate origins are too obvious a factor to be dismissed. She’s in want of… dreams, I think. My other girls have dreams. Sophie dreamed of her own family, Jenny loves to paint, Louisa has her literary scribbling, and Evie must racket about the property as her brothers used to, but Maggie has never been a dreamer. Not about her first pony nor her first waltz nor her first… beau.” Nor her first lover. The words hung unspoken in the air while the fire crackled and hissed and a log fell amid a shower of sparks. It wasn’t what Ben would have expected any papa to say of his daughter, but then, marrying into a family meant details like this would be shared—Esther Windham misplaced her everyday jewels, and Percy thought his daughters should be entitled to dream. In a different way, it felt as if Ben were still lurking in doorways and climbing through windows, but this window was called marriage, and Maggie was trying to lock it shut with Ben on the outside. “I’m not sure Maggie wants to marry me.” It was as close as he’d come to touching on the circumstances of the betrothal. His Grace regarded him for a long moment. “I’m her papa, but I was a young man once, Hazelton. Maggie is only a bit younger than Devlin and a few months older than Bart would have been. When I married, I had no idea either of my two oldest progeny existed. I’d no sooner started filling my nursery when—before my heir was out of dresses—both women came forward, hurling accusations and threats. If my marriage can survive that onslaught, surely you can overcome a little stubbornness in my daughter?” It was, again, an insight into the Windham family Ben gained only because he was engaged to marry Maggie. Such confidences prompted a rare inclination toward direct speech. “I think Maggie’s dream is to be left alone. If she jilts me, she’ll have one more excuse to retire from life, to hide and tell herself she’s content.” “Content.” His Grace spat the word. “Bother content. Content is milk toast and pap when life is supposed to be a banquet. Make Maggie’s dreams come true, young Hazelton, and show her contentment is shoddy goods compared to happiness.” “You make it sound simple.” “We’re speaking of women and that particular subspecies of the genre referred to as wives. It is simple—devote yourself to her happiness, and you will be rewarded tenfold. I do not, however, say the undertaking will ever be easy.
Grace Burrowes (Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal (The Duke's Daughters, #2; Windham, #5))
This entails certain corollaries on which true individualism once more stands in sharp opposition to the false individualism of the rationalistic type. The first is that the deliberately organized state on the one side, and the individual on the other, far from being regarded as the only realities, which all the intermediate formations and associations are to be deliberately suppressed, as was the aim of the French Revolution, the noncompulsory conventions of social intercourse are considered as essential factors in preserving the orderly working in human society. The second is that the individual, in participating in the social processes, must be ready and willing to adjust himself to changes and to submit to conventions which are not the result of intelligent design, whose justification in the particular instance may be recognizable, and which to him will often appear unintelligible and irrational. I need not say much on the first point. That true individualism affirms the value of the family and all the common efforts of the small community and group, that it believes in local autonomy and voluntary associations, and that indeed its case rests largely on the contention that much for which the coercive action of the state is usually invoked can be done better by voluntary collaboration need not be stressed further. There can be no greater contrast to this than the false individualism which wants to dissolve all these smaller groups into atoms which have no cohesion other than the coercive rules imposed by the state, and which tries to make all social ties prescriptive, instead of using the state mainly as a protection of the individual against the arrogation of coercive powers by the small groups. Quite as important for the functioning of an individualist society as these smaller groupings of men are the traditions and conventions which evolve in a free society and which, without being enforceable, establish flexible but normally observed rules that make the behavior of other people predictable in a high degree. The willingness to submit to such rules, not merely so long as one understands the reason for them but so long as one has no definite reasons to the contrary, is an essential condition for the gradual evolution and improvement of the rules of social intercourse; and the readiness ordinarily to submit to the products of a social process which nobody may understand is also an indispensible condition if it is to be possible to dispense with compulsion. That the existence of common conventions and traditions among a group of people will enable them to work together smoothly and efficiently with much less formal organization and compulsion than a group without such common background, is of course, a commonplace. But the reverse of this, while less familiar, is probably not less true: that coercion can probably only be kept to a minimum in a society where conventions and traditions have made the behavior of man to a large extent predictable.
Friedrich A. Hayek (Individualism and Economic Order)
Enter, therefore, a new and ingenious variant of Ultimatum, this one called Dictator. Once again, a small pool of money is divided between two people. But in this case, only one person gets to make a decision. (Thus the name: the “dictator” is the only player who matters.) The original Dictator experiment went like this. Annika was given $20 and told she could split the money with some anonymous Zelda in one of two ways: (1) right down the middle, with each person getting $10; or (2) with Annika keeping $18 and giving Zelda just $2. Dictator was brilliant in its simplicity. As a one-shot game between two anonymous parties, it seemed to strip out all the complicating factors of real-world altruism. Generosity could not be rewarded, nor could selfishness be punished, because the second player (the one who wasn’t the dictator) had no recourse to punish the dictator if the dictator acted selfishly. The anonymity, meanwhile, eliminated whatever personal feeling the donor might have for the recipient. The typical American, for instance, is bound to feel different toward the victims of Hurricane Katrina than the victims of a Chinese earthquake or an African drought. She is also likely to feel different about a hurricane victim and an AIDS victim. So the Dictator game seemed to go straight to the core of our altruistic impulse. How would you play it? Imagine that you’re the dictator, faced with the choice of giving away half of your $20 or giving just $2. The odds are you would . . . divide the money evenly. That’s what three of every four participants did in the first Dictator experiments. Amazing! Dictator and Ultimatum yielded such compelling results that the games soon caught fire in the academic community. They were conducted hundreds of times in myriad versions and settings, by economists as well as psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists. In a landmark study published in book form as Foundations of Human Sociality, a group of preeminent scholars traveled the world to test altruism in fifteen small-scale societies, including Tanzanian hunter-gatherers, the Ache Indians of Paraguay, and Mongols and Kazakhs in western Mongolia. As it turns out, it didn’t matter if the experiment was run in western Mongolia or the South Side of Chicago: people gave. By now the game was usually configured so that the dictator could give any amount (from $0 to $20), rather than being limited to the original two options ($2 or $10). Under this construct, people gave on average about $4, or 20 percent of their money. The message couldn’t have been much clearer: human beings indeed seemed to be hardwired for altruism. Not only was this conclusion uplifting—at the very least, it seemed to indicate that Kitty Genovese’s neighbors were nothing but a nasty anomaly—but it rocked the very foundation of traditional economics. “Over the past decade,” Foundations of Human Sociality claimed, “research in experimental economics has emphatically falsified the textbook representation of Homo economicus.
Steven D. Levitt (SuperFreakonomics, Illustrated edition)
Utilitarianism does not teach that people should strive only after sensuous pleasure (though it recognizes that most or at least many people behave in this way). Neither does it indulge in judgments of value. By its recognition that social cooperation is for the immense majority a means for attaining ali their ends, it dispels the notion that society, the state, the nation, or any other social entity is an ultimate end and that individual men are the slaves of that entity. It rejects the philosophies of universalism, collectivism, and totalitarianism. In this sense it is meaningful to call utilitarianism a philosophy of individualism. The collectivist doctrine fails to recognize that social cooperation is for man a means for the attainment of ali his ends. It assumes that irreconcilable conflict prevails between the interests of the collective and those of individuais, and in this conflict it sides unconditionally with the collective entity. The collective alone has real existence; the individuais' existence is conditioned by that of the collective. The collective is perfect and can do no wrong. Individuais are wretched and refractory; their obstinacy must be curbed by the authority to which God or nature has entrusted the conduct of society's affairs. The powers that be, says the Apostle Paul, are ordained of God. They are ordained by nature or by the superhuman factor that directs the course of ali cosmic events, says the atheist collectivist. Two questions immediately arise. First: If it were true that the interests of the collective and those of individuais are implacably opposed to one another, how could society function? One may assume that the individuais would be prevented by force of arms from resorting to open rebellion. But it cannot be assumed that their active cooperation could be secured by mere compulsion. A system of production in which the only incentive to work is the fear of punishment cannot last. It was this fact that made slavery disappear as a system of managing production. Second: If the collective is not a means by which individuais may achieve their ends, if the collective's flowering requires sacrifices by the individuais which are not outweighed by advantages derived from social cooperation, what prompts the advocate of collectivism to assign to the concerns of the collective precedence over the personal wishes of the individuais? Can any argument be advanced for such exaltation of the collective but personal judgments of value? Of course, everybodys judgments of value are personal. If a man assigns a higher value to the concerns of a collective than to his other concerns, and acts accordingly, that is his affair. So long as the collectivist philosophers proceed in this way, no objection can be raised. But they argue differently. They elevate their personal judgments of value to the dignity of an absolute standard of value. They urge other people to stop valuing according to their own will and to adopt unconditionally the precepts to which collectivism has assigned absolute eternal validity.
Ludwig von Mises (Theory and History: An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution)
In opting for large scale, Korean state planners got much of what they bargained for. Korean companies today compete globally with the Americans and Japanese in highly capital-intensive sectors like semiconductors, aerospace, consumer electronics, and automobiles, where they are far ahead of most Taiwanese or Hong Kong companies. Unlike Southeast Asia, the Koreans have moved into these sectors not primarily through joint ventures where the foreign partner has provided a turnkey assembly plant but through their own indigenous organizations. So successful have the Koreans been that many Japanese companies feel relentlessly dogged by Korean competitors in areas like semiconductors and steel. The chief advantage that large-scale chaebol organizations would appear to provide is the ability of the group to enter new industries and to ramp up to efficient production quickly through the exploitation of economies of scope.70 Does this mean, then, that cultural factors like social capital and spontaneous sociability are not, in the end, all that important, since a state can intervene to fill the gap left by culture? The answer is no, for several reasons. In the first place, not every state is culturally competent to run as effective an industrial policy as Korea is. The massive subsidies and benefits handed out to Korean corporations over the years could instead have led to enormous abuse, corruption, and misallocation of investment funds. Had President Park and his economic bureaucrats been subject to political pressures to do what was expedient rather than what they believed was economically beneficial, if they had not been as export oriented, or if they had simply been more consumption oriented and corrupt, Korea today would probably look much more like the Philippines. The Korean economic and political scene was in fact closer to that of the Philippines under Syngman Rhee in the 1950s. Park Chung Hee, for all his faults, led a disciplined and spartan personal lifestyle and had a clear vision of where he wanted the country to go economically. He played favorites and tolerated a considerable degree of corruption, but all within reasonable bounds by the standards of other developing countries. He did not waste money personally and kept the business elite from putting their resources into Swiss villas and long vacations on the Riviera.71 Park was a dictator who established a nasty authoritarian political system, but as an economic leader he did much better. The same power over the economy in different hands could have led to disaster. There are other economic drawbacks to state promotion of large-scale industry. The most common critique made by market-oriented economists is that because the investment was government rather than market driven, South Korea has acquired a series of white elephant industries such as shipbuilding, petrochemicals, and heavy manufacturing. In an age that rewards downsizing and nimbleness, the Koreans have created a series of centralized and inflexible corporations that will gradually lose their low-wage competitive edge. Some cite Taiwan’s somewhat higher overall rate of economic growth in the postwar period as evidence of the superior efficiency of a smaller, more competitive industrial structure.
Francis Fukuyama (Trust: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order)
Sharon passed around a handout: "Triangle of Self-Actualization" by Abraham Maslow. The levels of human motivation. It resembled the nutrition triangle put out by the FDA, with five horizontal levels of multiple colors. I vaguely remembered it from my one college psychology course in the 1970's. "Very applicable with refugees," Sharon said. "Maslow theorized that one could not move to a higher level until the prior level was satisfied. The first level, the triangle base, is physiological needs. Like food and water. Until a person has enough to eat and drink, that's all one would be concerned with." I'd never experienced not being able to satisfy my thirst or hunger, but it sounded logical that that would be my only concern in such a situation. For the Lost Boys, just getting enough food and water had been a daily struggle. I wondered what kind of impact being stuck at the bottom level for the last fourteen years would have on a person, especially a child and teen. "The second level is safety and security. Home. A sanctuary. A safe place." Like not being shot at or having lions attack you. They hadn't had much of level two, either. Even Kakuma hadn't been safe. A refugee camp couldn't feel like home. "The third level is social. A sense of belonging." Since they'd been together, they must have felt like they belonged, but perhaps not on a larger scale, having been displaced from home and living in someone else's country. "Once a person has food, shelter, family and friends, they can advance to the fourth level, which is ego. Self-esteem." I'd never thought of those things occurring sequentially, but rather simultaneously, as they did in my life. If I understood correctly, working on their self-esteem had not been a large concern to them, if one at all. That was bound to affect them eventually. In what way remained to be seen. They'd been so preoccupied with survival that issues of self-worth might overwhelm them at first. A sure risk for insecurity and depression. The information was fascinating and insightful, although worrisome in terms of Benson, Lino, and Alepho. It also made me wonder about us middle-and upper-class Americans. We seldom worried about food, except for eating too much, and that was not what Maslow had been referring to. Most of us had homes and safety and friends and family. That could mean we were entirely focused on that fourth level: ego. Our efforts to make ourselves seem strong, smart, rich, and beautiful, or young were our own kind of survival skill. Perhaps advancing directly to the fourth level, when the mind was originally engineered for the challenges of basic survival, was why Prozac and Zoloft, both antidepressants, were two of the biggest-selling drugs in America. "The pinnacle of the triangle," Sharon said, "is the fifth level. Self-actualization. A strong and deeply felt belief that as a person one has value in the world. Contentment with who one is rather than what one has. Secure in ones beliefs. Not needing ego boosts from external factors. Having that sense of well-being that does not depend on the approval of others is commonly called happiness." Happiness, hard to define, yet obvious when present. Most of us struggled our entire lives to achieve it, perhaps what had brought some of us to a mentoring class that night.
Judy A. Bernstein (Disturbed in Their Nests: A Journey from Sudan's Dinkaland to San Diego's City Heights)
For abolitionists, who advocated the immediate emancipation of all slaves, and free-soilers, who simply opposed the spread of slavery into the western territories, the existence of such a group proved the destructive effect of slavery on social morals and human industry and the inordinate economic power of the planter elite. It also served as an implicit warning of the disastrous consequences of the spread of slavery into nonslaveholding regions and its debilitating effect on the work ethic of otherwise stalwart white farmers. For slave-holders, particularly those at the apex of southern society, the idleness of rural working-class whites justified the “peculiar institution” and made clear the need for a planter-led economic and social hierarchy. Planter D. R. Hundley wrote, for example, that “poor whites” were “the laziest two-legged animals that walk erect on the face of the earth . . . [and exhibited] a natural stupidity or dullness of intellect that almost surpasses belief.” To abolitionists and proslavery ideologues alike, therefore, southern poor whites utterly lacked industry, intelligence, social propriety, and honor, the essential ingredients for political and social equality and thus should not be trusted with political decision-making.7 Northern and southern middle- to upper-class commentators perceived this class of people as so utterly degraded that they challenged their assertion of “whiteness,” the one claim southern working-class whites had to political equality, “normative” status, and social superiority to free and enslaved blacks. Like Byrd and the author of “The Carolina Sand-Hillers,” journalists and travel writers repeatedly compared “poor whites” unfavorably to other supposedly inferior people of color, be they enslaved blacks, Indians, or even Mexican peasants. Through a variety of arguments, including genetic inferiority, excessive interbreeding with “nonwhites,” and environmental factors, such as the destructive influences of the southern climate, rampant disease, and a woefully inadequate diet, these writers asserted that “poor whites” were neither truly “white” nor clearly “nonwhite” but instead, a separate “‘Cracker’ race” in all ways so debased that they had no capacity for social advancement. This attitude is clear in an 1866 article from the Boston Daily Advertiser that proclaimed that this social class had reached depths of “[s]uch filthy poverty, such foul ignorance, such idiotic imbecility” that they could never be truly civilized. “[T]ime and effort will lead the negro up to intelligent manhood,” the author concluded, “but I almost doubt if it will be possible to ever lift this ‘white trash’ into respectability.”8 Contempt for working-class whites was almost as strong among African Americans as among middle-class and elite whites. Enslaved African Americans invented derogatory terms containing explicit versions of “whiteness” such as “(poor) white trash” and “poor buckra” (a derivative form of the West African word for “white man”). Although relations between slaves and non-elite southern whites were complex, many slaves deeply resented the role of poor whites as overseers and patrol riders and adopted their owners’ view that elite southern planters were socially and morally superior. Many also believed that blacks, enslaved and free, formed a middle layer of social respectability between the planter aristocracy at the top of the social system and the “poor whites” at the bottom. The construction of a “poor white” and “white trash” social and cultural category thus allowed black slaves to carve out a space of social superiority, as well as permitted the white planter elite to justify enormous economic and social inequality among whites in a supposedly democratic society.9
Anthony Harkins (Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon)
In temperament the Second Men were curiously different from the earlier species. The same factors were present, but in different proportions, and in far greater subordination to the considered will of the individual. Sexual vigour had returned. But sexual interest was strangely altered. Around the ancient core of delight in physical and mental contact with the opposite sex there now appeared a kind of innately sublimated, and no less poignant, appreciation of the unique physical and mental forms of all kinds of live things. It is difficult for less ample natures to imagine this expansion of the innate sexual interest; for to them it is not apparent that the lusty admiration which at first directs itself solely on the opposite sex is the appropriate attitude to all the beauties of flesh and spirit in beast and bird and plant. Parental interest also was strong in the new species, but it too was universalized. It had become a strong innate interest in, and a devotion to, all beings that were conceived as in need of help. In the earlier species this passionate spontaneous altruism occurred only in exceptional persons. In the new species, however, all normal men and women experienced altruism as a passion. And yet at the same time primitive parenthood had become tempered to a less possessive and more objective love, which among the First Men was less common than they themselves were pleased to believe. Assertiveness had also greatly changed. Formerly very much of a man's energy had been devoted to the assertion of himself as a private individual over against other individuals; and very much of his generosity had been at bottom selfish. But in the Second Men this competitive self-assertion, this championship of the most intimately known animal against all others, was greatly tempered. Formerly the major enterprises of society would never have been carried through had they not been able to annex to themselves the egoism of their champions. But in the Second Men the parts were reversed. Few individuals could ever trouble to exert themselves to the last ounce for merely private ends, save when those ends borrowed interest or import from some public enterprise. It was only his vision of a world-wide community of persons, and of his own function therein, that could rouse the fighting spirit in a man. Thus it was inwardly, rather than in outward physical characters, that the Second Men differed from the First. And in nothing did they differ more than in their native aptitude for cosmopolitanism. They had their tribes and nations. War was not quite unknown amongst them. But even in primitive times a man's most serious loyalty was directed toward the race as a whole; and wars were so hampered by impulses of kindliness toward the enemy that they were apt to degenerate into rather violent athletic contests, leading to an orgy of fraternization. It would not be true to say that the strongest interest of these beings was social. They were never prone to exalt the abstraction called the state, or the nation, or even the world-commonwealth. For their most characteristic factor was not mere gregariousness but something novel, namely an innate interest in personality, both in the actual diversity of persons and in the ideal of personal development. They had a remarkable power of vividly intuiting their fellows as unique persons with special needs. Individuals of the earlier species had suffered from an almost insurmountable spiritual isolation from one another. Not even lovers, and scarcely even the geniuses with special insight into personality, ever had anything like accurate vision of one another. But the Second Men, more intensely and accurately self-conscious, were also more intensely and accurately conscious of one another. This they achieved by no unique faculty, but solely by a more ready interest in each other, a finer insight, and a more active imagination.
Olaf Stapledon (The Last and First Men)