Sunday, March 04, 2007

Why Our Culture is Destructive

From the culture of make believe by Derrick Jenson pgs 448 and 449

"because our economics (and our society) is based on competition, it breeds hatred, insecurity and fear .... the anthropologist Ruth Benedict tried to figure out why some cultures are fundamentally peaceful and others are not, why women and children are treated well in some cultures and in others they are not, and why some cultures are cooperatuve and others are competitive. She found one simple rule which covered all of these. It has to do with our needs as social creatures for esteem. In what she termed good, or synergistic, cultures, selfishness and altruism are merged by granting esteem to those who are generous. Cultures that reward behaviour beneffiting the group as a whole (and specifically that siphon wealth constantly from the rich to poor) while not allowing behaviour that harms the group as a whole are peaceful, respectful of women and children, and cooperative. Individual members are secure. If, on the other hand your cultures grants esteem to those who are acquisitive, that is, if your culture rewards behaviour that benefits the individual at the expense of the whole (and if your culture funnels wealth from the poor to the rich), your culture will be warlike, abusive toward women and children, and competitive. Individuals will be insecure. She also found that members of the cultures with the former characteristics are, unsuprisingly, for the most part, happy. Members of the cultures with the latter characteristics are, just as unsurprisinly, not. Valium, anyone?"

"Because competition is so central to our culture, because acquisition is so deeply rewarded, because this cultural urge to acquire is insatiable, and because this acquisition is inevitably based on the exploitation of others, there can be no limit to how thoroughly our culture will exploit others,
both human and nonhuman."

"... another of the central movements of our culture... ..has been towards increasing abstraction.. Thus their can be no limit, then, also to the abstraction of our hate, that is to the increasing emotional and physical distance over which we can and do destroy, to the veils we place between ourselves and those others we may no longer consider as existing."

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