Archives for posts with tag: Emil Durkheim

Darwin had wrote “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection“.
Some of us had mistakenly understood ‘evolution’ as being a ‘fight for survival’.
‘Fight’ as in ‘kill/subdue all those around you’, not ‘strive to improve yourself’, unfortunately.

Ernst Mayr had put things right. ‘Evolution is not about the survival of the fittest but about the demise of the unfit.

Adam Smith, a philosopher, had explained to us that free market capitalism functions because ‘the butcher, the brewer and the baker‘ cooperate across their respective ‘professions’, fully understanding that by respecting each-others work each of them would better serve their individual interests than by struggling individually.
Unfortunately too many of his contemporaries, and some later exegetes, mistook Smith’s words as meaning that ‘Greed is Good’.
And proceeded accordingly. Which was just another ‘application’ of Gresham’s Law. The ‘greedier’ among the capitalists slowly climbed to a dominant position and created a situation later described as ‘savage capitalism.’
Since people have a tendency to over-react, and to make matters worse instead of solving the problem, Karl Marx came up with an even more stupid idea than ‘Greed is Good’. According to him, the world should be run, in an equally authoritative manner, by a different class of people. Not by the ‘greedy capitalists’ but by the ‘virtuous communists’.
As if there ever was any real difference between dictators…

Almost a century later than Smith, Emil Durkheim, a sociologist, revisited the concept of ‘cooperation’ – from another angle, and demonstrated that society had leaped forward when each of its members developed his/hers particular talents instead of toiling together indiscriminately.  And then traded, on the free market, the results of their efforts. Nothing really new, just told in a different manner.
A marked difference from the ‘rantings’ of Marx. Who, by the way, had assessed the situation perfectly. Which makes it all the more baffling the fact that he was able to propose such aberrant remedies.

Almost simultaneously with Durkheim, another guy had noticed two very interesting things.  After a successful career as an engineer Vilfredo Pareto had started to study economics. Then he turned his attention to sociology. As an economist he had noticed the Pareto Principle – 80% of the results (income) are produced by 20% of the causes (agents), while as a sociologist he discovered that whenever social mobility, upwards as well as downwards, is hampered, the society where this happens will, sooner rather than later, experience serious difficulties. In fact this observation is quite straightforward. Whenever young people from the ‘lower strata’ cannot accede, despite being better qualified and harder working, to more meaningful positions because those positions are ‘safeguarded’ for members belonging to the ruling minority, the people from the lower strata stop striving while those from the ruling minority become lazy and careless. The recipe for disaster, don’t you think?
If we put both Pareto’s observations together we discover something similar to Smith’s budding concept of a free market. Whenever an individual, or a group of individuals, become so powerful as to dwarf those around them, economically as well as politically, the free market, economically as well as socially, stops working.

That’s why all monopolies have never failed to collapse.
That’s why all authoritarian regimes, including those built according to Marx’s rantings, have eventually failed – causing great harm to those fool enough to believe in them.

That’s why dinosaurs had disappeared – they had grown too big for their own good.
They behaved as if they were ‘greedy’. They seemed more interested in dominating the world instead of minding their own business.
Fishes – which are older than dinosaurs – survived and thrived.
Crocodiles, alligators, turtles, tortoises, snakes and you name whatever other reptiles come to your mind have survived the same conditions that have cut the mighty dinosaurs down to size.

That’s why Mayr goes on warning us. ‘Evolution is not about the survival of the fittest but about the demise of the unfit.

Let’s not destroy ourselves, as a species, attempting to prove him wrong.

Update
Pareto’s elite theory is rather straightforward.
As soon as a society ‘grinds to a halt’ tension starts to build up. A ‘lion’ – or a coalition of lions, will sooner or later seize the opportunity and ‘make a grab for it’.
By tearing the calcified sinews which tied the society down the lions actions unleash – for the moment, at least, the creative forces that could not assert themselves. Things become markedly better than they used to be.
Because the lions are ‘lazy’ they soon hire ‘foxes’ to run the show. Unfortunately the foxes tend to be rather narrow minded and soon their narrow-mindedness coupled with the decrepitude of the lion ‘in charge’ bring back the society to the original – aka bogged down, situation.
A younger lion/fresh coalition of lions restarts the cycle.
Basically we have the definition of the boom-bust cycle.
A very compelling example would be the manner in which communist states had crumbled under their own weight. Or the manner in which all monopolies – or even companies in dominant positions, eventually screw up. The automobile industry – a mature economic field, would be a very good example for this.
Nothing dramatically different from Schumpeter’s ideas, albeit at a different scale.
Ideally, in a free (aka fully functional) ‘market’ there are a number of lions which keep each-other at bay and a big enough number of foxes to keep the show together. The lions, acting in concert, make sure that the foxes do not take over while the foxes prevent the lions from driving the whole thing over the cliff.
If the circulation of the elites is hampered, in any way, shape or form, the continuous/evolutionary social and economical fine tuning no longer works and the society reverts to the boom-bust cycle.
A really free market would closely resemble Darwin’s, or more exactly Mayr’s, evolution while the present situation is one where the circulation of the elites has been brought almost to a halt.
The whole process tends to be rather ‘circular’. As in a vicious circle.
Or a virtuous one. As it used to be, until very recently.

NB. This blog is more like a collection of notes than anything else.
I write them down because doing this streamlines my thinking process and I make them public because readers’ feed-back (mostly on FB) is very helpful.

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“Nu trebuie sa permitem fricilor noastre si nici asteptarilor nutrite de ceilalti sa ne influenteze destinul”. Martin Heidegger.

Vrem nu vrem suntem contemporanii unei inclestari titanice. Indivizii incearca sa se puna cat mai bine in valoare iar ‘sistemul’ incearca, in disperare, sa stavileasca – in orb, de fapt – aceasta efervescenta.

Revenind la subiect putem pune iesirea la rampa a subiectului pe seama cresterii numarului de acte de agresiune, pe seama faptului ca femeile nu mai accepta sa stea rusinate cu capul in jos ci aduc intr-o proportie mai mare aceste orori la cunostinta autoritatilor sau chiar pe seama ambelor cauze simultan.
Si ar mai fi o posibilitate. Presa, mereu in cautare de senzational si in oarecare pana de subiecte pe timpul verii, sa se fi aplecat cu mai multa atentie asupra subiectului.

Din fata monitorului este mai greu de determinat care dintre aceste cauze este mai importanta asa ca voi aborda problema din alt unghi.

Cu o suta si ceva de ani in urma Emile Durkheim a pus bazele sociologiei demonstrand ca sinuciderea, o decizie prin excelenta individuala, este puternic influentata de circumstantele sociale carora trebuie sa le faca fata individul care alege, sau refuza, aceasta alternativa.

Voi incerca sa folosesc aceasta abordare si in cazul violului.

Am sugerat intr-o postare anterioara ca violul are mai degraba o natura ‘coercitiva’ decat sexuala, cel putin pentru indivizii care mai au o umbra de discernamant.
Aratam acolo ca violurile pot fi impartite in ‘intamplatoare’ si ‘pradalnice’.
In cazul celor ‘pradalnice’ – cele in grup sau cele planuite cu grija – lucrurile sunt oarecum clare. Cei care organizeaza violuri in grup sau cei care le premediteaza resimt mai degraba satisfactia de a aduce victima in stare de completa neajutorare decat vreo satisfactie de natura cu adevarat sexuala – altfel ar proceda in mod normal, ar incerca sa seduca in loc sa violeze.
Si in cazul violurilor ‘intamplatoare’, cele in care agresorul isi motiveaza actul prin ‘la inceput ea a fost de acord si dupa aceea nu am mai putut sa ma opresc’, chiar daca lucrurile incep firesc ele ajung tot in zona ‘care pe care’ in momentul in care ea spune nu. Indiferent daca la inceput ea chiar a fost de acord sau pur si simplu el a interpretat gresit semnalele ei, in momentul in care victima spune ‘nu’ agresorului i se pune pata: ‘Asta isi bate joc de mine. Las’ ca-i arat eu!’

Bine, bine, dar de ce se face mai multa vorbire acum despre viol?

Parerea mea este ca la suprafata avem de a face cu toate cele trei motive pe care le-am mentionat la inceput. Agresorii isi permit mai multe, victimele nu mai accepta statutul de ‘prada neajutorata’ iar presa macina subiectul pentru ca publicul a devenit, dintr-o data, sensibil la aceasta problema.

Aplicand abordarea lui Durkheim lucrurile devin dintr-odata foarte simple. Totul poate fi redus la lupta dintre individualismul acerb care pare sa domine societatea contemporana si greutatea, aparent sufocanta, cu care societatea, in ansamblul ei, apasa pe gatul individului.
Individul, bombardat din toate partile cu mesajul ‘daca nu esti primul nu contezi’, ajunge sa-si puna la indoiala propria valoare si locul pe care il ocupa in societate. Iar asta este valabil si pentru femei, nu doar pentru barbati. Toate frustrarile din viata zilnica, de la frecusurile cu seful pana la dezamagirea ca nu-si permit aproape nimic din minunatiile la care se face tot timpul reclama, cuplate cu mantra ‘esti singurul responsabil de destinul tau’ duc la o stare psihica in care el refuza sa accepte ca ea se poate razgandi (isi poate permite sa-si bata joc de el) iar ea refuza sa mai joace rolul mioarei jertfita in tacere.

Si amandoi, atat el cat si ea, – cei normali – nu mai intorc capul atunci cand aud de astfel de abominatii tocmai pentru ca au inceput sa inteleaga ca asa nu mai merge. Ca daca te complaci in rolul de victima acolo vei ramane intreaga viata.

PS. Chiar si asa numitii baieti de bani gata sunt tot frustrati de nemultumire. Oricat de multe resurse ar avea la dispozitie pe undeva tot exista cate ceva la care nu pot ajunge. Iar dezamagirea e mult mai mare dupa ce ti-ai satisfacut foarte multe pofte dacat atunci cand nu ti-ai facut niciodata iluzii.

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