Changing human behaviour: the dark side
Tagged: Behaviour change impossible
November 20, 2012 at 5:18 am #3943Aleksei MaslovskiiMember
Some thoughts aloud on MAHB primary subject.
We need to change our behaviours in order to transform present industrialized societies to be times and times more sustainable, it says. And indeed, there is a desperate need for such a change. But, existance of such a need does not automatically mean that the need can be fulfilled. I’ll elaborate below that it can’t, and why.
It is well known that for any dramatic change of behaviours of most/all members of any society – dramatic change of basic education is needed (not counting some disaster(s) forcing dramatic change, that is). We can’t expect people to change their behaviours if people don’t even know why it’s needed, right? And indeed, this place, and many other places, try to educate. To explain what’s what, and why things are as they actually are.
By explaining things, by educating people, the goal of avoiding tremendously damaging environmental crisis can (hopefully) be reached.
But, it can not. There is an opposing force which did not, does not, and will not let this goal to be reached. Not because it aims to do so, – but merely by side-effect of its own action.
This opposing, and huge, force – is this: changing human behaviours for profit. This force was present within most of mankind’s cultures for many thousands of years. This force was, is and will be applied by a minority within societies to profit (in some or other way) from useful work which many (or even most) other members of society do.
Few short examples of methods used by minorities to profit from others:
– all wars (it is not in human nature to kill each other on a mass scale – so it takes some force, let’s just call it “brain-washing to allow to kill”; proud snipers of WW2 with hundreds kills made by their rifle were really proud of their high kill counts – if that’s not brain-washing, then what is);
– most, if not all, religions (with profit for higher ranked members being either very real, or believed-in (matter of faith – salvation, heaven, etc), or both);
– majority of laws of past, present and future – including also majority of laws established by religions;
– majority of all trade relations, capitalism itself, most modern monetary systems, majority of existing financial instruments, etc;
– having (more than otherwise desired) children – oh yes, many humans do alot to change their own offsprings’ behaviour in order to profit from it;
– modern mass-scale media methods (propaganda, consumerism, intentional lying to masses with a purpose to prevent/ruin/fog their perception of what’s real and what’s not).
Sum of above and other (non mentioned) methods forms the integral force of changing others’ behaviour for profit. Now, why it opposes the behavioural changes which we’d need to live in sustainable system: thing is, the most effective way to get max profit during a given period of time – is usually destructive to the ability of (any given) system to generate profit during a times longer period of time. This is true for all sorts of systems. For example, if one needs max current in electrical system for as short time as a tiny fraction of the second, – the best thing to do is close circuit. It’ll melt the system, though. For societies, when there is a need of max efficiency during relatively short times (like during the war), longer-term things are sacrificed and/or abandoned – and the more irgent the need, the more sacrifice there is about longer-term profits; when Hitler was about to lose the war – in 1945, with russians and allies pushing to Berlin, – even kids some 12 year old and alike were armed and sent to front lines. The ultimate form of throwing away future benefits in hope to get a little, but very urgently needed, benefit – teenagers are the future of any nation, getting them killed in large numbers is among worst ideas ever on any level of consideration (macro-economic, personal/family, resource-spent-wise, etc).
There were, are, and (as far as i can tell) will always be some humans who are selfish enough to not care at all about consequenecs of their actions, – as long as they themselves are better than before. Those people go for max efficiency ways to get personal profits within natural and social systems they are a part of. They overgraze. They overuse soils. They pollute. They manipulate (or even enslave – methods vary) other people. They lie. And the more technology and civilization there is, the more tools those have to extract more profit from systems, – and thus to do more harm to systems’ ability to generate profit (of any sort) on a times longer timescales. Such people found a new heaven in modern corporate structure – where actioneers have no idea what was ruined to get, say, extra 1% of corporation’s profits. Sadly, there is no need for many of such individuals, – even few, when in key corporate positions, will do extreme levels of longer-term harm. And sadly, “natural selection” for executives ensures that whenever some manager does not do the merciless “all for profit!” way, – he/she gets replaced quite fast by some other who does.
One of direct effects of such people activities is capital accumulation. Which in industrial world means “power”. Force, so to say, and a big one – in fact, the ultimate power in modern world i know of. Going for long-term sustainability is directly (and significantly) decreasing shorter-term profits of such people and corporations. Behavioural-change methods they use are often in direct conflict with methods which are needed to be implemented and followed if we are to get long-term sustainability. As such, when environmentalists seriously try to introduce their own ways – they hit a wall of massive, ongoing, and definitely impossible-to-break society-shaping mechanisms. Wall too thick to break through.
And big capital is also actively fighting climate science, as is well known already. Millions are paid for respectable scientists to fake/change their work(s) in order to discredit, dismiss, halt, obscure proper science. Millions more are paid to not-so-respectable or even not-respectable-at-all writers and media to do the same.
After all, we humans are not designed to feel global issues directly. I mean, we can’t literally see – with our own eyes, – how acid rains kill billions of organisms every day, world-wide. We can’t hear all the cries of dying, extincting species. We can’t smell all the world desertification going on everyday. Especially if “we” = high-paid, well-insulated (from nature and general public) members of higher corporate levels. Fed with high-quality food, conditioned and very busy with their – no joke very complex – jobs, how can they know? And only few of them – and very few among general public as well – are able to grow up enough (intellectually) to even have a chance to think about global processes adequately. Sadly, so many of humans do not want to learn, do not want to know (whatever knowledge would be), but just seeks to enjoy somethings in some way. But i think, often or even always it’s not their fault: it’s design of mother nature. All mammals are made such – they seek, instinctively, to enjoy life (by playing, eating tasty foods, sleeping well, being in most comfortable place/environment, etc). Anybody who has a cat or dog pet knows this for sure.
I do not see how can we change ourselves fast enough and far enough to have any chance to create long-term sustainable societies. For reasons mentioned above (and for some others which are not), i am convinced that modern human societies are unable to become long-term sustainable. They’ll have to disintegrate. It’s tremendously tragic – much good was created (along with problems that is) by those societies. And given state of environment, it’s quite doubtful that any civilized societies would form in observable future after disintegration (collapse, failure, ending) of modern ones. It’s not even clear whether human sapiens would be able to survive as a biologic species, to me.
So, may be James Lovelock was right when he adviced young people to have good time while it’s still possible. After all, if this whole big dig (literally, too) is going to fail anyways, then why delay the fail? The sooner it goes, the more chances will be that at least some basic lifeforms would survive and may be next time, in some hundreds millions of years, next sapient species on this planet would somehow develop true network intelligence – which is, perhaps, the only way to properly care for the whole planet, the only way for sapient species to end up in sustainable (in geologic or even astronomic terms) system.
February 4, 2013 at 6:20 pm #4317Bryce McNultyMember
I’m a Junior at Chico Senior High School, located in Chico, Ca. Within this last year, I’ve had an epiphany.
This epiphany I had is what you would think had come from a sci-fi novel, or some other mediated information bank. I’m sure that humanity can be cured, and cure its perspective environment.
This may have to be invented in case of global emergency, or before hand.
Let me ask you to ponder these possible realities.
Colonial Bio mechatronic Consciousness
Using technology that may resemble the current ECoG system of “mind controlled prosthetics”, being tested as we speak, to communicate brainwaves between subjects. To have two people with a single co-dominant conscience, of course, would be meager compared to exponential connections shared. This possibility would truly amplify and express, “Knowledge is Power”. Out of this small introduction to this future technology, you can easily see how any small group of people can instantly create an undivided collection of thoughts, experience, and emotion to complete any task. the only downside would be the training to learn how to use this technology; like introducing a computer to an infant.
Think of how this would impact military, political parties, world leaders, the education system, the church… actually, all this would become irrelevant. If all the collective information known throughout the schooling systems are on the internet, then why are students laboring in classrooms 6-14 hours a day? After that, there is still homework. Students are kept busy with tasks that require physical input to turn in tangible evidence to be analyzed by an educator; why not just know as much as the educator in the first place? this technology would cure that pain. I hear this all the time, ”Why can’t I just download this into my brain?”. When this becomes a reality downloading would become snail mail.
Acquiring information is but a fraction of what this technology would possess. What would be the deal breaker is how much information any little human info node could put out at any time.
Take time to research the ECoG system. Imagine being able to connect with someone that was on their last breath of life and experience their personal perspective death; blending their visualizations into your mind. You would instantaneously have those memories readily available for other people to share. The question of, “What happens when you die?”, will be answered from this first daring discovery.
Just start out with “What if…” fill in the blanks, and all would be answered.
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