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We're WEIRD. Get over it.
#1
Actually, this is a premise that's new to me, but one that makes sense.  Most of us are WEIRD: Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic.  A quick note: these virtues (?) are all relative to us in comparison to people in other cultures or demographics.   Here's a book review that covers enough of the concept to let you decide whether it's real or just more academic BS. The book review is in the NY Times, so you may find the pay wall in your way. Here's a bit of it:
Quote:Why Are We in the West So Weird? A Theory

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According to Joseph Henrich’s book, it was the advent of Protestantism, aided by the invention of the printing press, that brought along the spread of literacy and altered the workings of our brains.Credit...Alamy


THE WEIRDEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD
How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous
By Joseph Henrich

According to copies of copies of fragments of ancient texts, Pythagoras in about 500 B.C. exhorted his followers: Don’t eat beans! Why he issued this prohibition is anybody’s guess (Aristotle thought he knew), but it doesn’t much matter because the idea never caught on.
According to Joseph Henrich, some unknown early church fathers about a thousand years later promulgated the edict: Don’t marry your cousin! Why they did this is also unclear, but if Henrich is right — and he develops a fascinating case brimming with evidence — this prohibition changed the face of the world, by eventually creating societies and people that were WEIRD: Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic.


In the argument put forward in this engagingly written, excellently organized and meticulously argued book, this simple rule triggered a cascade of changes, creating states to replace tribes, science to replace lore and law to replace custom. If you are reading this you are very probably WEIRD, and so are almost all of your friends and associates, but we are outliers on many psychological measures.

The world today has billions of inhabitants who have minds strikingly different from ours. Roughly, we weirdos are individualistic, think analytically, believe in free will, take personal responsibility, feel guilt when we misbehave and think nepotism is to be vigorously discouraged, if not outlawed. Right? They (the non-WEIRD majority) identify more strongly with family, tribe, clan and ethnic group, think more “holistically,” take responsibility for what their group does (and publicly punish those who besmirch the group’s honor), feel shame — not guilt — when they misbehave and think nepotism is a natural duty.



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These differences, and more, are manifest in surveys of attitudes and many other data sources, and more impressively in hundreds of psychological experiments, but the line between WEIRD and not WEIRD, like all lines in evolution, is not bright. There are all manner of hybrids, intermediates and unclassifiable variations, but there are also forces that have tended to sort today’s people into these two kinds, genetically indistinguishable but profoundly different psychologically. 


WEIRD folk are the more recent development, growing out of the innovation of agriculture about 10,000 years ago, the birth of states and organized religions about 3,000 years ago, then becoming “proto-WEIRD” over the last 1,500 years (thanks to the prohibition on marrying one’s cousin), culminating in the biologically sudden arrival of science, industry and the “modern” world during the last 500 years or so. WEIRD minds evolved by natural selection, but not by genetic selection; they evolved by the natural selection of cultural practices and other culturally transmitted items.


Henrich is an anthropologist at Harvard. He and his colleagues first described the WEIRD mind in a critique of all the work in human psychology (and the social sciences more generally) built on experimental subjects almost exclusively composed of undergraduates — or the children of academics and others who live near universities. The results obtained drawing on this conveniently available set of “normal” people were assumed by almost all researchers to be universal features of human nature, the human brain, the human emotional system. But when attempts were made to replicate the experiments with people in other countries, not just illiterate hunter-gatherers and subsistence farmers but the elites in Asian countries, for instance, it was shown in many cases that the subject pool of the original work had been hugely biased from the outset.

One of the first lessons that must be learned from this important book is that the WEIRD mind is real; all future investigation of “human nature” must be complicated by casting a wider net for subjects, and we must stop assuming that our ways are “universal.” Offhand, I cannot think of many researchers who haven’t tacitly adopted some dubious universalist assumptions. I certainly have. We will all have to change our perspective.

Many of the WEIRD ways of thinking, Henrich shows, are the result of cultural differences, not genetic differences. And that is another lesson that the book drives home: Biology is not just genes. Language, for instance, was not invented; it evolved. So did religion, music, art, ways of hunting and farming, norms of behavior and attitudes about kinship that leave measurable differences on our psychology and even on our brains.

To point to just one striking example: Normal, meaning non-WEIRD, people use left and right hemispheres of their brains about equally for facial recognition, but we WEIRD people have co-opted left-hemisphere regions for language tasks, and are significantly worse at recognizing faces than the normal population. Until recently few researchers imagined that growing up in a particular culture could have such an effect on functional neuroanatomy.

The centerpiece of Henrich’s theory is the role played by what he calls the Roman Catholic Church’s Marriage and Family Program, featuring prohibitions of polygamy, divorce, marriage to first cousins, and even to such distant blood relatives as sixth cousins, while discouraging adoption and arranged marriages and the strict norms of inheritance that prevailed in extended families, clans and tribes. “The accidental genius of Western Christianity was in ‘figuring out’ how to dismantle kin-based institutions while at the same time catalyzing its own spread.”

The genius was accidental, according to Henrich, because the church authorities who laid down the laws had little or no insight into what they were setting in motion, aside from noticing that by weakening the traditional bonds of kinship, the church got rich fast. One of Henrich’s goals is to devalue the residual traces of “Great Man” history, so he would be reluctant to rely on any ancient documents that came to light recounting the “real” reasons for the church’s embattled stand on these issues. As a good evolutionist, he can say, “The church was just the ‘lucky one’ that bumbled across an effective recombination of supernatural beliefs and practices.” But as for why the church fathers enforced these prohibitions so tenaciously against resistance over the centuries, this is still a bit of a mystery.

Around the world today there is still huge variation in the societies where cousin marriages are permitted and even encouraged, and societies in which it is close to forbidden. There are good reasons for supposing that our early hominin ancestors were organized for tens of thousands of years by tight kinship relations, which still flourish today in most societies. So what happened in Europe starting in the middle of the first millennium was a major development, largely restricted to or at least concentrated in certain cultures where positive feedback turned small tendencies into large differences that then turned further differences into the birth of WEIRD culture and WEIRD minds.

This is an extraordinarily ambitious book, along the lines of Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs and Steel,” which gets a brief and respectful mention, but going much farther, and bolstering the argument at every point with evidence gathered by Henrich’s “lab,” with dozens of collaborators, and wielding data points from world history, anthropology, economics, game theory, psychology and biology, all knit together with “statistical razzle-dazzle” when everyday statistics is unable to distinguish signal from noise. The endnotes and bibliography take up over 150 pages and include a fascinating range of discussions.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#2
Just started into the book. If a big part of it was the Protestant drive towards literacy, that is about where I start the Agricultural Age to Industrial Age transition. About that time the S&H crises started to become transformational, not to mention the guns, germs and steel coming into play. He seems to be looking at the same process from a different angle. I may have to fold this book into the way I have been thinking.
About every four score and seven years, a new birth of freedom...
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#3
That was also the turning point when the West took over from China as the exemplar of Civilization. So what were the Chinese before the West was W.E.I.R.D.?

Some terms that come to mind are Cultured, Disciplined, Opulent, Traditionalist - not sure where the acronym is there.  Shy
Steve Barrera

[A]lthough one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation. - Hagakure

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#4
(09-18-2020, 10:47 AM)sbarrera Wrote: That was also the turning point when the West took over from China as the exemplar of Civilization. So what were the Chinese before the West was W.E.I.R.D.?

Some terms that come to mind are Cultured, Disciplined, Opulent, Traditionalist - not sure where the acronym is there.  Shy

See also "Ossified", also a fit description of the Byzantine Empire, which was somewhat Western. With opulence for elites comes a tendency for ossification of society and a direction of its people to exist solely for the gain, indulgence, and power of those elites, all of which ultimately lead to cultural and technological staleness, gross injustice, and military debacles. Entrench the ideology of neoliberalism with the vulgarity and cruelty of Donald Trump as the norm in America, and America will ossify fast.    

The Western takeover of the leading role in defining the world due to guns, horses, and commerce.  Motor vehicles have since supplanted horses but any society can learn the tricks of the West at its peak of power. China did successfully rid itself of the worst aspect of Western commerce -- opiates. It is basically an 'or-else" proposition in contemporary China, which has a long list of crimes including drug dealing, human trafficking, and various forms of economic crime. "Enrob" fraudsters and pump-and-dump scammers can consider themselves fortunate that they did not operate in China. (Except for genocide and human trafficking, the latter which I consider even more objectionable than murder, I oppose capital punishment).  

But don't worry about the continuing predominance of the West as overlords of the 'backward'  nations as they used to be called. On the average, all that would make me prefer to be an American than a South Korean is the aggressive, hostile thug regime to the north, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea which is for all practical purposes an absolute monarchy, ill serves any part of the Korean people except for the entrenched leadership, and is about as democratic as the Third Reich was. (At this point I can see the perfect defense for South Korea based upon its current prosperity, but I don't want to tell that. It might be disgusting).

It is telling that Chinese-Americans, Filipino-Americans, Indian-Americans, Japanese-Americans, and Korean-Americans do statistically better than any white ethnic group in America except Jews. so Western culture isn't everything. (One need not be a reactionary pig to recognize the worthlessness of most of American mass culture, especially pop music in our time). To be sure those hyphenated-Americans  typically pick and choose between what they like about the West and like about their old ways and can reject many 'American' ways. Were I married to a woman of such origin and had Eurasian kids I would encourage such a pattern in them. Then again, just because Goethe and Bach are part of the Western heritage does not mean that they are part of the heritage of most people in the West... even in Germany or among Americans of German heritage. 

Aside: I am about half-German in ancestry, and if I have much use for Goethe and Bach, there is one former part of the German heritage that I want nothing to do with. That should be obvious). As that goes, two of the best markets for Western classical music are Japan and South Korea. Reputedly (I am guessing on the transliteration) the Japanese treat "Bakku", "Handoru", "Haidan", "Motsurato", "Beitoban", and I have no idea how "Schubert" and "Brahms" would be pronounced,  as theirs. They are mine, too, but in case you wonder whether German-American kids get that with their mothers' milk or formula... for most German-Americans it is country, rock, or even rap. That is how it is with my family, and I am not blaming such on the English components of their ancestry.  Besides, l love Chopin, Puccini, Dvorak, Sibelius, Bartok, and Tchaikovsky, and I am not of Polish, Italian, Czech, Finnish, Hungarian, or Russian origin.   

I'd like to see China adopt one aspect of Western life that Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have all adopted. With democracy and a disciplined culture will come humanism and much creativity. With democracy and anything-goes, one might end up with Donald Trump and a really ugly and empty culture. I hope for better.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#5
(09-18-2020, 01:16 PM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(09-18-2020, 10:47 AM)sbarrera Wrote: That was also the turning point when the West took over from China as the exemplar of Civilization. So what were the Chinese before the West was W.E.I.R.D.?

Some terms that come to mind are Cultured, Disciplined, Opulent, Traditionalist - not sure where the acronym is there.  Shy

See also "Ossified", also a fit description of the Byzantine Empire, which was somewhat Western.

That helps some. Clearly, the reason China fell behind is that they didn't have enough virtues that began with vowels and thus made a good acronym hard. Wink
About every four score and seven years, a new birth of freedom...
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#6
Actually, I remember a theory from a long time ago that suggested the difference was in an emperor in China who was too dedicated to Taoism.  Do nothing.  The year that nothing happened.  This was judged by the author as the last time a strong unified China could have whipped he Mongols and put them in their place, saving everybody from what happened under Genghis Khan.  Instead, nothing happened.

That was also when China had a huge strong trading fleet.  But under this emperor, it was laid up.  Nothing happened.  China did not discover Europe and absorb the trade wealth.  It was the other way around.

There was a third thing that didn’t happen, but as it didn’t happen I forgot.

This doesn’t invalidate WEIRD, but I thought I would mention it.
About every four score and seven years, a new birth of freedom...
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#7
Still going through the book, trying to sort things into my perspective. Thing is, here we are used to dividing things by red and blue, by the difference between the cavalier and roundhead cultures, both of which contributed to America, one of the WEIRDest places on the globe.

And the opposite of WEIRD seems to be tribal. You are part of a group. Things are centered on obligations and relationships to the tribe. So the WEIRD people are individualistic readers who adhere to principles, while the tribal are more rural, group oriented folks who are slow to accept outsider as part of the tribe.

OK. While I am with America being much more WEIRD that most nations, is the red blue, cavalier roundhead, rural urban divide we have been discussing between the urban WEIRD people and the more tribal group thinking cavaliers? Did the cavalier roundhead conflict began between a high church rural less reading more listen to the hierarchy bunch, against a more urban, reading, industrializing, changing government faction? Do we connect racial tensions with rural groups that are still more tribal and ready to reject those outside the tribe? If America is WEIRD and getting more so, is it the roundheads - abolitionists - blues that are dragging the cavaliers - slavers - reds along kicking and screaming?

If so, it would be ironic. Americans are as WEIRD as anybody, the blues dragging the reds along though they are resisting. If Americans are WEIRD, Classic will have to lay off calling the rural faction America. America is WEIRD, and becoming more so with every 4T.
About every four score and seven years, a new birth of freedom...
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#8
(09-19-2020, 05:10 PM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote: Still going through the book, trying to sort things into my perspective.  Thing is, here we are used to dividing things by red and blue, by the difference between the cavalier and roundhead cultures, both of which contributed to America, one of the WEIRDest places on the globe.

And the opposite of WEIRD seems to be tribal.  You are part of a group.  Things are centered on obligations and relationships to the tribe.  So the WEIRD people are individualistic readers who adhere to principles, while the tribal are more rural, group oriented folks who are slow to accept outsider as part of the tribe.

OK.  While I am with America being much more WEIRD that most nations, is the red blue, cavalier roundhead, rural urban divide we have been discussing between the urban WEIRD people and the more tribal group thinking cavaliers?  Did the cavalier roundhead conflict began between a high church rural less reading more listen to the hierarchy bunch, against a more urban, reading, industrializing, changing government faction?  Do we connect racial tensions with rural groups that are still more tribal and ready to reject those outside the tribe?  If America is WEIRD and getting more so, is it the roundheads - abolitionists - blues that are dragging the cavaliers - slavers - reds along kicking and screaming?

If so, it would be ironic.  Americans are as WEIRD as anybody, the blues dragging the reds along though they are resisting.  If Americans are WEIRD, Classic will have to lay off calling the rural faction America.  America is WEIRD, and becoming more so with every 4T.
On Earth 2, the opposite of weird is normal. America is unique which may be weird to Europeans who live in Democratic socialist countries that don't change much on their own. I agree that blues are more weird than the reds. As a matter of fact, we've been telling the blues that for years. We've used terms like warped minds, libtards, loonie or crazy liberals to describe blue weirdness. I don't see the weird dragging the reds like you do in your own weird perspective. I don't know if that makes sense to someone normal but it's the best that I can do without being a weird. I see weird strongholds attracting more weird and getting more weird while losing more and more normal. It fit's my belief that there's a process of natural selection going on within the country right now. A natural process that can only occur in a free country like America. I mean, people tearing down statues associated with their freedom is weird to me. But then again, I'm not weird.
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#9
(09-19-2020, 08:48 PM)Classic-Xer Wrote:
(09-19-2020, 05:10 PM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote: Still going through the book, trying to sort things into my perspective.  Thing is, here we are used to dividing things by red and blue, by the difference between the cavalier and roundhead cultures, both of which contributed to America, one of the WEIRDest places on the globe.

And the opposite of WEIRD seems to be tribal.  You are part of a group.  Things are centered on obligations and relationships to the tribe.  So the WEIRD people are individualistic readers who adhere to principles, while the tribal are more rural, group oriented folks who are slow to accept outsider as part of the tribe.

OK.  While I am with America being much more WEIRD that most nations, is the red blue, cavalier roundhead, rural urban divide we have been discussing between the urban WEIRD people and the more tribal group thinking cavaliers?  Did the cavalier roundhead conflict began between a high church rural less reading more listen to the hierarchy bunch, against a more urban, reading, industrializing, changing government faction?  Do we connect racial tensions with rural groups that are still more tribal and ready to reject those outside the tribe?  If America is WEIRD and getting more so, is it the roundheads - abolitionists - blues that are dragging the cavaliers - slavers - reds along kicking and screaming?

If so, it would be ironic.  Americans are as WEIRD as anybody, the blues dragging the reds along though they are resisting.  If Americans are WEIRD, Classic will have to lay off calling the rural faction America.  America is WEIRD, and becoming more so with every 4T.

On Earth 2, the opposite of weird is normal.

America's economic elites are proving themselves far more adept at grabbing the fruits of prosperity than at creating prosperity. America is now normal, I suppose, if "normal" means something like Imperial Russia in its last years, when this was the reality:

[Image: Anti-capitalism_color.gif]

Quote:America is unique which may be weird to Europeans who live in Democratic socialist countries that don't change much on their own.

Which may be the optimum as Humanity reaches the end of the line in which further increases in material production reliably bring happiness. Out economic elites seem to have ideas still tied to the early-industrial era in which toil under hardship was the key to prosperity. Today hardship is the clear antithesis of prosperity; it is only poverty. Economic rationality requires a market lest the system make stuff that nobody wants.   

Quote:I agree that blues are more weird than the reds. As a matter of fact, we've been telling the blues that for years. We've used terms like warped minds, libtards, loonies or crazy liberals to describe blue weirdness.


The author's position is not that the Western mainstream (at least since the Renaissance) is psychotic; it is that the Western mainstream was early to do the unexpected in many ways -- such as relying upon markets instead of upon tradition. 

As I see it, genius is knowing the rules, breaking them, getting away with them, and establishing one's new way of doing things as the new norm. Consider that until a certain time one of the most predictable clichés was that innocent, appropriate love ends up living "happily ever after". Such is what one reasonably expects in Romeo and Juliet until the last scene. I'm sure that you are aware of the play, but in essence the background overpowers the innocent love. We all know what happens, and Shakespeare makes it logically right and even necessary, Before the Bard, anyone who had that sort of ending was crazy. Since Shakespeare it has been possible to have stories in which bad things happen to innocent lovers. 

Quote:I don't see the weird dragging the reds like you do in your own weird perspective.

The Red perspective is one of cultural staleness, continuing inequity, and a lack of social progress in return for enhanced productivity.  That is not a good idea.   


Quote:I don't know if that makes sense to someone normal but it's the best that I can do without being a weird.

Air conditioning that you work on was originally a WEIRD idea. Without it, cities such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, and Miami could not function. Places like Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Washington DC would not do as well. With global warming as a certainty, places like the Twin Cities and Detroit (the latter not only for economic distress) will be miserable places. Big businesses often have air conditioning because such is good for maximal productivity and quality control.   

Quote:I see weird strongholds attracting more weird and getting more weird while losing more and more normal. It fit's my belief that there's a process of natural selection going on within the country right now. A natural process that can only occur in a free country like America. I mean, people tearing down statues associated with their freedom is weird to me. But then again, I'm not weird.

If you are thinking of statues dedicated to Confederate military and political figures, then contemplate what some black child might think when seeing such statues in some Southern city when those statues honor people who tried to keep that child's black ancestors in slavery. It is no longer weird to contemplate taking down such statues. Wouldn't a statue of Sir Winston Churchill be more appropriate?
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#10
(09-19-2020, 08:48 PM)Classic-Xer Wrote: On Earth 2, the opposite of weird is normal. America is unique which may be weird to Europeans who live in Democratic socialist countries that don't change much on their own. I agree that blues are more weird than the reds. As a matter of fact, we've been telling the blues that for years. We've used terms like warped minds, libtards, loonie or crazy liberals to describe blue weirdness. I don't see the weird dragging the reds like you do in your own weird perspective. I don't know if that makes sense to someone normal but it's the best that I can do without being a weird. I see weird strongholds attracting more weird and getting more weird while losing more and more normal. It fit's my belief that there's a process of natural selection going on within the country right now. A natural process that can only occur in a free country like America. I mean, people tearing down statues associated with their freedom is weird to me. But then again, I'm not weird.

I’d best finish the book, but I have learned enough to see you are confusing weird and WEIRD.  Northwest Europe is as much WEIRD as anyone, and that includes the so called socialist democracy countries.  Asian countries like Russia and China are behind.  WIERD people will be loyal to principle and those with similar temporary specialty skills, while tribal people are loyal to the tribe and all into what will benefit the people most like them.  I can see the industrial skilled urban people taking over from the rural group oriented folks.  The Industrial Revolution as well as protestantism and the S&H recent crisis are all about becoming more WIERD.

And I would disagree that the process is unique to America.  University students are more WEIRD all over the globe.  They are just more into reading and thus getting their brains wired WIERDly.  In many places the urban educated crowd is far more WIERD than the rural folks still dedicated to the tribal mentality.  The well educated crowd are more WIERD than the laborers.

Just as an example, the old Confederate statues are dedicated to the old racial cavalier culture, more accepting of white Protestant culture than the principle of all men being equal.  Being racist, sexist and loyal to the group would be the opposite of being WEIRD.  It would explain why reds are clinging so much to the old values and people most like them.  That's being tribal.  That seems to be what they are.

It goes in spades to the Middle East.  Groups with like associations of tribe, region, religion and so forth will strive against other similar groups.
About every four score and seven years, a new birth of freedom...
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#11
(09-19-2020, 11:11 PM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote:
(09-19-2020, 08:48 PM)Classic-Xer Wrote: On Earth 2, the opposite of weird is normal. America is unique which may be weird to Europeans who live in Democratic socialist countries that don't change much on their own. I agree that blues are more weird than the reds. As a matter of fact, we've been telling the blues that for years. We've used terms like warped minds, libtards, loonie or crazy liberals to describe blue weirdness. I don't see the weird dragging the reds like you do in your own weird perspective. I don't know if that makes sense to someone normal but it's the best that I can do without being a weird. I see weird strongholds attracting more weird and getting more weird while losing more and more normal. It fit's my belief that there's a process of natural selection going on within the country right now. A natural process that can only occur in a free country like America. I mean, people tearing down statues associated with their freedom is weird to me. But then again, I'm not weird.

I’d best finish the book, but I have learned enough to see you are confusing weird and WEIRD.  Northwest Europe is as much WEIRD as anyone, and that includes the so called socialist democracy countries.  Asian countries like Russia and China are behind.  WIERD people will be loyal to principle and those with similar temporary specialty skills, while tribal people are loyal to the tribe and all into what will benefit the people most like them.  I can see the industrial skilled urban people taking over from the rural group oriented folks.  The Industrial Revolution as well as protestantism and the S&H recent crisis are all about becoming more WIERD.

I missed the misspelling and its significance. Unlike Classic X'er I got the rest -- I hope. I would guess that by now Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are themselves WIERD. America and western Europe obviously attract people whose WIERD qualities are not welcome in their homelands. 


Quote:And I would disagree that the process is unique to America.  University students are more WEIRD all over the globe.  They are just more into reading and thus getting their brains wired WIERDly.  In many places the urban educated crowd is far more WIERD than the rural folks still dedicated to the tribal mentality.  The well educated crowd are more WIERD than the laborers.

A not-so-great education might be adequate for fitting into a job in which rigid conformity and obedience along with low expectations is nearly a necessity. Obviously a WIERD person would chafe in a job as a retail sales clerk or a worker in a food-processing place. In some environments it is best to not think too much. The test of a truly good education is that one can think outside the box. Does that have the connection with "intelligence" as the tendency or ability to read between the lines? Any blockhead could learn to read classical Latin or Greek when the written language was highly phonetic.  


Quote:Just as an example, the old Confederate statues are dedicated to the old racial cavalier culture, more accepting of white Protestant culture than the principle of all men being equal.  Being racist, sexist and loyal to the group would be the opposite of being WEIRD.  It would explain why reds are clinging so much to the old values and people most like them.  That's being tribal.  That seems to be what they are.

...and connecting to an obsolete way of earning an income: working people without paying them. 

Quote:It goes in spades to the Middle East.  Groups with like associations of tribe, region, religion and so forth will strive against other similar groups.

Of course, tribe, region, and sect are effective means of organizing society, and if one has no social organization, then WIERD ways will never have a way to form. Some people need those.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#12
(09-20-2020, 01:00 AM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(09-19-2020, 11:11 PM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote: It goes in spades to the Middle East.  Groups with like associations of tribe, region, religion and so forth will strive against other similar groups.

Of course, tribe, region, and sect are effective means of organizing society, and if one has no social organization, then WIERD ways will never have a way to form. Some people need those.

Tribal organization would definitely make sense in continuing and exaggerating the tribe's genes. It was cost effective from Darwin's perspective for a long time. Changing the group's mental makeup to value working with people with similar skills, reading, principle and culture is turning out to be more cost effective though. The human race is drifting in the direction of WEIRD.

Some people need their tribes, though. Loyalty to the group can be deeply ingrained, a way of thinking, stubborn to say the least.
About every four score and seven years, a new birth of freedom...
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#13
I have also come up with something that might illustrate. If I understand the theory and it has merit, then Liberty University may be an oxymoron. Not just the name, though that might be true too, but the university.

Universities are a prototypically western institution. The students are self selected for reading and analytic thinking. You throw a bunch of people with similar skills temporarily together to learn abstract concepts by doing more reading. In short, you are choosing your most WEIRD people to come together to become more WIERED. This is of course temporary, then you throw them back into your culture. I don't care if the subject matter is how to become more tribal, you are training them to become more WIERD. It seems almost counter productive.
About every four score and seven years, a new birth of freedom...
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#14
(09-20-2020, 04:19 AM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote: I have also come up with something that might illustrate.  If I understand the theory and it has merit, then Liberty University may be an oxymoron.  Not just the name, though that might be true too, but the university.

A university was originally a place at which callow young men could learn in four years what wise men (and if you think male chauvinism is commonplace now, think of how bad it was back then!) had the opportunity to learn a significant chunk of the wisdom of the ages and what the hard knocks that many people learned from over forty or so years instead of sowing some wild oats. I doubt that anyone attends Liberty University for the chance to sow any wild oats. The idea, I suppose, is to learn some of that old wisdom but only what does not conflict with the biblical interpretation that Reverend Jerry Falwell, Sr. had. From what I understand, Liberty University shuts it out. Thus there is little mention of Marxism except to say that it is un-Biblical... see also evolution, which has been useful in science and ethically innocuous.

Contrast this with what some renowned Catholic universities do. The Catholic Church has an enmity with the anti-religious teachings of Marxism-Leninism that the Church sees as a symptom of the moral depravity of Communism. Rather than completely denying it and its relevance the Church  recognizes the philosophical basis and appeal that Communism has in achieving economic justice and social progress. The point made is that although economic justice and social progress are desirable in their own right and indeed must take precedence over class privilege, such can be achieved without the pathology of dictatorship and mass murder.  But one can make such a conclusion without being a Catholic. This said, if I had to choose between Notre Dame and Liberty University (even before the recent scandal) on behalf of a mainline Protestant kid, I would choose Notre Dame.
  
Now let's look at the scandals involving Liberty University, which is not so much a university in the sense that Notre Dame, the University of Virginia, or Stanford is. Liberty University is a money-making machine that turns student fees and costs into an enterprise running amok. Tax-exempt, it can go on a building frenzy without doing such things as research (can you imagine attending Liberty University to become a scientific researcher as one might at, perhaps the University of Virginia?) even if such is profitable -- it isn't as profitable as renting people some videos to teach them how to 'raise a Christian family'. Taxes are one way of keeping commercial entities from growing too fast for their own good, let alone Humanity as a whole.   The other part is that Jerry Falwell, Jr., is a reprobate who could never fit his father's standards of behavior.    

Quote:Universities are a prototypically western institution.  The students are self selected for reading and analytic thinking.  You throw a bunch of people with similar skills temporarily together to learn abstract concepts by doing more reading.  In short, you are choosing your most WEIRD people to come together to become more WIERED.  This is of course temporary, then you throw them back into your culture.  I don't care if the subject matter is how to become more tribal, you are training them to become more WIERD.  It seems almost counter productive.

Yes. I have seen literature on the college board exams, and the tests seem designed not so much as intelligence tests but also as means of casting out cranks, scatterbrains, and and intellectually-lazy people. People who see a university education as an excuse for partying are going to get keen knowledge of alcoholic beverages and juvenile antics but not what  a good college is about. It is no more effective than the School of Hard Knocks, but it can teach what that non-accredited quasi-institution offers in much less time and at far lesser personal cost.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#15
(09-19-2020, 10:46 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: America's economic elites are proving themselves far more adept at grabbing the fruits of prosperity than at creating prosperity. America is now normal, I suppose, if "normal" means something like Imperial Russia in its last years, when this was the reality:

[Image: Anti-capitalism_color.gif]
Yep. This is the Democratic Quasi Socialist/Capitalist system that I've been trying to point out to you and warn you about for years. This makes it really easy for you to see. The bag of money on top are mainly tax dollars. It has a bunch of lawyers and judges and radical groups instead of an army/police state. Our capitalist system has God on top, an economic system comprised of those who believe in God, believe in a natural order and natural law. Like I said, when we decide we've had enough and opt out, you can see what's going to happen. So, where do you see yourself in the cake? You're not at the bottom holding up you're share of the weight. You're a poor cake eater leaching off my talents.
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#16
(09-21-2020, 01:48 AM)Classic-Xer Wrote:
(09-19-2020, 10:46 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: America's economic elites are proving themselves far more adept at grabbing the fruits of prosperity than at creating prosperity. America is now normal, I suppose, if "normal" means something like Imperial Russia in its last years, when this was the reality:

[Image: Anti-capitalism_color.gif]
Yep. This is the Democratic Quasi Socialist/Capitalist system that I've been trying to point out to you and warn you about for years. This makes it really easy for you to see. The bag of money on top are mainly tax dollars. It has a bunch of lawyers and judges and radical groups instead of an army/police state. Our capitalist system has God on top, an economic system comprised of those who believe in God, believe in a natural order and natural law. Like I said, when we decide we've had enough and opt out, you can see what's going to happen. So, where do you see yourself in the cake? You're not at the bottom holding up you're share of the weight. You're a poor cake eater leaching off my talents.

And down in the lower left corner is the guy who carries a red flag for you.  Just to let you know how the guy who did the picture thought.

I guess I’m retired so I am in the eat for all layer now, but I did my share of working.  The cartoon doesn’t distinguish between the labor and professional people.

The difference is which party you identify as the oppressor, and which is more likely to have the solution.  The Republicans, from the eat and up layers, are identified with the elite class, are the strong on military party starting wars of choice, are the evangelical party warping religion into politics, and currently own the White Hose and senate, though that has been see sawing lately and seems at risk.  On the other hand, the democrats have a reputation for being with the workers, stronger on labor unions, benefits, on not sending jobs abroad, etc…

So who is deluded?
About every four score and seven years, a new birth of freedom...
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#17
(09-20-2020, 11:52 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: Yes. I have seen literature on the college board exams, and the tests seem designed not so much as intelligence tests but also as means of casting out cranks, scatterbrains, and and intellectually-lazy people. People who see a university education as an excuse for partying are going to get keen knowledge of alcoholic beverages and juvenile antics but not what  a good college is about. It is no more effective than the School of Hard Knocks, but it can teach what that non-accredited quasi-institution offers in much less time and at far lesser personal cost.

True enough, but not WEIRD. The point is that the Protestants encouraged everybody to read the Bible and form their own opinion. Reading causes the brain to significantly alter itself. The left and right sides communicate better. You get better at being analytical, worse at recognizing relationships. Your bondage is temporary to people who share similar skills and work together, rather than permanent to tribes or kin groups.

The point of showing Liberty University as a university that gathers and encourages WEIRDness is to show how people have not understood the shift.
About every four score and seven years, a new birth of freedom...
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#18
(09-21-2020, 01:48 AM)Classic-Xer Wrote:
(09-19-2020, 10:46 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: America's economic elites are proving themselves far more adept at grabbing the fruits of prosperity than at creating prosperity. America is now normal, I suppose, if "normal" means something like Imperial Russia in its last years, when this was the reality:

[Image: Anti-capitalism_color.gif]

Yep. This is the Democratic Quasi Socialist/Capitalist system that I've been trying to point out to you and warn you about for years.

Wrong. This image is dated, and it refers basically to the Gilded Age for which some of our economic elites wax nostalgic. If you can't read the copyright date, then you can at the least recognize the styles of the elites and the weapons of the soldiers. 

Today, emperors and kings would be much less relevant than Presidents and Prime Ministers.  Except for the military, the elites are similar in sartorial style except if at leisure. "We Fool You" is not so much the local priest or pastor but instead the prosperity-cult televangelist, the financial scammer, and the abusive pundit (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity).   


Quote:This makes it really easy for you to see. The bag of money on top are mainly tax dollars. It has a bunch of lawyers and judges and radical groups instead of an army/police state.

Wrong. It is mostly assets of the economic elites. Money is simply the conduit from one rich person to another through perhaps a worker paid something who buys the means of sustenance.  


Quote:Our capitalist system has God on top, an economic system comprised of those who believe in God, believe in a natural order and natural law.


That god is Mammon.
Quote:Like I said, when we decide we've had enough and opt out, you can see what's going to happen. So, where do you see yourself in the cake? You're not at the bottom holding up you're share of the weight. You're a poor cake eater leaching off my talents.

None of us can really opt out.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#19
(09-20-2020, 01:39 AM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote:
(09-20-2020, 01:00 AM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(09-19-2020, 11:11 PM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote: It goes in spades to the Middle East.  Groups with like associations of tribe, region, religion and so forth will strive against other similar groups.

Of course, tribe, region, and sect are effective means of organizing society, and if one has no social organization, then WIERD ways will never have a way to form. Some people need those.

Tribal organization would definitely make sense in continuing and exaggerating the tribe's genes.  It was cost effective from Darwin's perspective for a long time.  Changing the group's mental makeup to value working with people with similar skills, reading, principle and culture is turning out to be more cost effective though.  The human race is drifting in the direction of WEIRD.

Some people need their tribes, though.  Loyalty to the group can be deeply ingrained, a way of thinking, stubborn to say the least.

Tribalism is highly ingrained, so it's not surprising that it holds sway among those least likely to think their way through things.  Emotion is primal, and it won't just go away, though it can be subsumed -- and is among an ever increasing number.  The real question is, will that be enough?
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#20
Over on the Generational Dynamics thread a few weeks ago I had a skirmish over the song You Have to be Carefully Taught with Xenakis.  Among other things, Xenakis wound up doing his usual character assasination on the character of Emile, who in some versions of the musical sings the song in question.

It seems more relevant now.  The song expresses a principle, an ideal, that all men should be treated equally.  In the musical, it was the question of whether you could love someone who had loved outside his group.  The idea of equality is a WEIRD idea.  The approach being replaced is tribalism.  Those in your kin group or tribe have many relationships and obligations to one another, seek to advance the kin group, to try to exclude others.  If Henrich is correct, most of the world’s cultures were tribal.  That was the norm in the Agricultural Age and hunter gatherer societies.  The recent advance in Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic societies which I have represented here as whig includes fighting racism / tribalism.  It used to be the norm.  We are struggling to make it not the norm, principle above a tradition of tribalism.

It has to be carefully taught?  Is that true or the WEIRD result of Rodgers and Hammerstein being well educated Americans?

Strauss and Howe originally presented turning theory as being non partisan, as not being liked to what has become the red blue divide.  I was and remain dubious.  It is the Cousin’s Wars continued.  It is stepping out of the Agricultural Age into first the Industrial Age then the Information Age.  It is about guns, germs and steel.  It is about becoming more WIERD.  It is about all of the above.  After each crisis, the greatest problems in the culture are removed.  This implies progress.  It gives an advantage in the crisis to the progressives.

And if you are for the blue and against racism and for progress, then the theory of WIERD becomes partisan.  Can a principle oriented person set aside his principles and let a tribal racist remain a racist?  Must the progress towards an ever more WIERD society falter on an old tendency to become ever more loyal to one’s own?

I’m more convinced than ever that the red blue divide is the latest chapter in a much longer battle over the WIERD.
About every four score and seven years, a new birth of freedom...
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