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  1. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Change?

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Hubardo, Jul 24, 2015.

    Someone posted a thread here before asking "why don't we change?" I actually thought it was a good question but it was mostly an argument stating "people are evil and will never change." From this perspective there is no reason for there to be non-profits, NGOs, mental health clinics, social workers, activists. It's a gloomy perspective. If I were better educated about philosophy I'd know what to call this -- nihilism? I don't know.

    But breaking the question down into these questions seems like it could facilitate better discussion on what I think is a pretty interesting subject:

    1. Can people/society change?
    2. If so, what should change?
    3. How does change occur?

    ***

    We can break it down further into the free will vs determinism question. We can get into our own moral/value systems. The should part is where we might differ. Each of us might have a different theory of change based on not only our morals/values but how we ourselves have changed as individuals, or we might have knowledge about history that offer examples.

    When I talk about change I mean good change by the way. Can people go from stupid to smarter, sad to happier, mean to nicer, oppressed to more free. When we talk about "social change" we don't look at making people slaves (technically a "social change") as an example.

    ***

    My take:

    I do think people and societies can change. I have changed as a person immensely over the years due to lots of life experiences and therapy. My friend changed in part because of his experience in jail. Both of us had one thing in common though: we wanted to change very much, so we put in a lot of personal effort. What should change, to me, is people's willingness to change. This requires vulnerability, an openness to new experiences, and a desire to take personal risks. It also requires admitting you're sometimes wrong and being humble.

    In the past I have done a fair amount of activist work and in those times I assumed people and society could change. My basic premise is that there should be less suffering, and so once a cause of suffering can be identified (ie, an unjust law), it should be challenged though effective social organizing. This gets pretty complicated though.

    Sometimes I contradict my own beliefs though and think people can't change. There does seem to be something universal about people wanting to assert power and authority over others against their will. People get comfortable and lazy and allow for widespread ecosystem destruction because they have no firsthand relationship with that destruction, and even after learning about it they behave exactly the same. In some cases I think that crisis is what causes the best change. A bunch of people getting sick from something will cause them to get angry and ban the toxic chemical. A repressive government will enact a policy (ie, apartheid) that causes such a widespread crisis that they and the world fight back and bring about justice.

    A large part of this question may have to do with power, what it is, how it works... but maybe that's another thread.
     
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  2. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    It piqued my interest also, primarily because...

    my main WIRP (work in research progress) relies on the principle that people can not only change, but there are some who wish to and would if given the unfettered opportunity to do so.

    I think the societal system(s) in place preclude that opportunity to a large extent.

    It raises some interesting conclusions in my little head, and I filter a lot of the "news" and current affairs I read through the filter of the premise I am constructing. It's a refreshing thought experiment.

    I oscillate as you do between believing things can get better and despairing at humanity. I think part of the reason I err on the hope side is because
    1. I have to or what the fcuk is even the point
    2. the despairing data points tend to come from the media who learnt long ago -- rightly or wrongly -- that bad news sells better than good. So the data is skewed towards the bad.

    One of the most difficult issues I am grappling with at the moment is how to deal with those who can't or won't change. What do you do with the individuals exhibiting aberrant behaviour in a more enlightened and peaceful society? It's very difficult for me to come up with an acceptable solution. Expulsion / exclusion, chemical castration and death all go against an underlying value I have of an individual's right to live freely. Possibly a discussion for another thread.

    I tend to agree. They say power corrupts and absolute blah blah but I prefer the maxim that power attracts the corrupt.

    I have ideas on how to solve that and they form the basis of my novel so I would feel uncomfortable discussing it here, just yet, but it eseentially involves returning the "power" to the people. God that sounds revoltingly trite.

    Anyway, I have not responded to your post much, as I have so many months of thoughts regarding this very thing, but I selfishly hope a discussion can continue. It has the potential to be of immense value for my project.
     
  3. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    I don't see any meaningful change in the foreseeable future. I believe in climate change and though it gets mentioned by leaders, any profound measures that would even reduce the rates of emissions will never happen. That would mean short-term losses in the stock and labour markets, and with China ready to take the title of economic numero uno, there is even less hope on the part of the West. To me, business is the de facto government. I wouldn't say it's evil, but it has no capacity to think of our long-term interests. Even my tomato sauce will be BPA free in only another couple years -- who knows how many cases of autism that could cause.

    Politicians and parties need donations and approval from industry, they, too, are first and foremost driven by self-preservation.
     
  4. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    But @BrianIff you have to be the change you want to see in the world!

    ;)
     
  5. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    What about individual change if not social change then? Have you ever met somebody you thought was a bit of a difficult person who became more tolerable over time? I wonder about because society is made up of individuals etc etc...
     
  6. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    I'm just doing my part, you know, making sure people don't get too excited about windmills, Clintons, and environmental summits.
     
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  7. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    How about dem windmills though?
     
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  8. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Sure, I know people with personality disorders that I obliquely try to point out their errant thinking and behavior patterns, and although they begin to see their problems, often they fall back on the same habits. But for people without those extreme conditions, I believe in all sorts of possibilities for change whether through religion or anything else. The big thing is the power structures though. If all media tells us is that we had negative growth for the last quarter, the Second Amendment is under attack, etc., without getting into poverty, the environment, alternative justice models and so on, how are individuals going to change their thinking?
     
  9. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Making complete societal change is easy. You just need to exile all morally, mentally, and physically defective people, force the best people to marry and procreate with the other best people, and allow the best of the best people raised this way to become kings and tell the commoners what to do. The emotional progression of reading The Republic: :pop: -> :eek: -> :mad: -> :superthink: -> :meh: -> :( -> :superthink: -> :pop:
     
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  10. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    There is a sweet windmill shot in the beginning of Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. The windmills circle like vultures on the Hog (not Rourke). A cinematographic feat of the highest magnitude.
     
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  11. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Usually if you point out what's wrong with someone they won't change. People tend to change more if they really, really trust the person telling them. Even then, telling them doesn't help much. Most research on therapy shows that the bond with the therapist (or teacher or lover) basically facilitates the change itself. But the person has to want to change. I don't know which personality disorders you're talking about but with BPD for example, you need an extremely good relationship with somebody and to do tons of work usually using dialectical behavioral therapy. Simply pointing out something illogical or irrational a few times is more likely to make people feel like they're being told they're wrong (bad), which triggers shame, which cycles them back into the problem(s).

    I know a lot of people who don't pay attention to the news and they're very focused on building healthy habits, relationships and lifestyle... so I'm not sure about the stuff the media tells us. It has a huge impact for sure, but I think personal relationships in the real world have a greater impact. Could be wrong though!
     
  12. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    I was talking more about political thought. But even for personal growth, who's the leading spokesperson, Dr. Phil? No wonder men don't take a bigger interest in self help. Also, that's why I said "obliquely." I'm aware that the prognosis is poor for most PDs, and have heard therapists say that don't take more than one case at a time for BPD. I believe in the whole Carl Rogers unconditional regard for the client stuff. I even seen that Germany has a public awareness campaign for pedophiles to step forward for help without fear of reprisal. I don't know about that though.....
     
  13. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    The Republic -- Sorry is that a book? I googled and the Aussie version is giving me politicians and restaurants :meh:
     
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  14. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree, Dr. Phil sucks. But I don't think he is why men don't take a bigger interest in self-help. I think that has more to do with the macho gender role stuff. Men with depression tend to drink, isolate, refuse help even when offered. They think it makes them seem weak and dependent. Men are expected to know everything, fix everything, not show feelings. Dr. Phil has nothing to do with that.

    Men who are bold enough to open up to somebody and be vulnerable are very inspiring and interesting people though. I really, really like those men. Those are the men I like to be friends with and get to know better. Especially because they are basically "being the change." They're setting examples for boys, which means they're directly impacting future generations.

    ETA: Makes you wonder too. Of all the violent men out there beating and killing their wives, going on mass murder sprees, destroying countries... what if they were to ask themselves what they could do to change themselves to make the world better? Rather than asking how they could force change externally to watch the world bend to their will (and make the world better based on their distorted views)?

    Good Ted Talk on that
     
  15. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    From my own life experience of changing myself and seeing others change, I have the following formula:

    First step of change is recognising the need.
    Second step is having the desire.
    Third step is starting the journey.
     
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  16. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    This is where my claim that "I think the societal system(s) in place preclude that opportunity to a large extent." comes to the fore.

    Whilst you can ignore news and do the positive things you list above, you are still in a society, and unless every single other person around you is doing the same thing, the influence remains.
     
  17. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Plato's Republic. Free version here. Fair warning: it's long and probably hard to understand if you've never read Plato before. It's considered one of the most influential books of philosophy ever.
     
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  18. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Ah I have heard of Plato, yes. Thank you I will download and have a go :D
     
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  19. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you get confused in some parts, try using Spark Notes which gives a decent summary of the material broken down by section.
     
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  20. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah but these people's intentions are not to cause social change. It's ultimately selfish. New age white people who drink kombucha and say "I don't see color" when it comes to racism. But at the same time they're still causing important changes in society. Buying organic, staying healthy which creates ripple effects in their social circles. Less healthy people are more reactive, mean, etc. I wish everybody were super political but I learned a while ago it's not going to happen. I'm saying you can shift your locus of observation from a single person to a single society, you can observe change in many ways. The "nothing is good enough" thing sets it a lot (but usually just for unhappy people)
     
  21. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    I agree. So my question would be how does the culture change the same way it did with men sharing more child-care and housework roles compared to the past? In my country, a retired general with PTSD from his time during the Rwandan genocide (in which much of his time was on the "front lines") has done a lot to bring attention to the problems of men seeking help. Sometimes he gets into public fights with the pro-military prime minister. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rom%C3%A9o_Dallaire
     
  22. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't understand the question... :/
     
  23. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    If we agree that there's a stigma to seeking help, whether it be seen as weak, being labelled crazy, effeminate, whatever, there would be a way to change that macho notion that men don't ask for help in the same way that past qualities of what it meant to be manly have changed. I personally think that talking about mental health more in phys. ed. and health class would be one start. But I also think that there's more to the issue than masculinity, like simple denial, lack of faith in professionals, the fear of being given unnecessary drugs, having people in your life think differently of you, etc, etc.
     
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  24. Aaron DC
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    There is certainly a lot of inertia to overcome in terms of making it acceptable in men's minds to seek help and admit weakness / concerns.
     
  25. Hubardo
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    Yeah I think society as a whole, somehow, needs to make it easier for men to come forward. When you say more than masculinity and talk about denial I think there's a connection between the two though. Men are pressured to deny and defend. Nothing is wrong with me, YOU'RE the problem. I'm better, I'll win. This is a fight, I must defend. The therapist is wrong, the girlfriend is wrong, the boss is wrong. Leave me alone. Today a coworker was telling me how her boyfriend doesn't think he has a porn problem but he obviously does, and it causes issues for them. He doesn't care if it impacts women in the industry or his girlfriend, but he sort of cares about the research on how porn addiction harms the brain. Even then, he's not really willing to change the habit. Leave me alone, I'm going to win this fight, etc.

    But yeah, it's not men as a biological problem. It is a belief system that men tend to command most regularly for whatever reason. Women do it too. DV rates in same gender couples are the same as in straight couples. Men might have more testosterone etc, but we also have the same capacity to care and choose better options. It's society's part to invite us to explore ourselves more deeply and honestly, but we as individual men need to start making that choice one by one. We can't expect anybody else to do that for us, although it'd be nice.
     
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