RE: [The-Burnsville-Socrates-Cafe] 6/20/12 questions and discussion

From: Jon A.
Sent on: Wednesday, July 4, 2012 10:45 PM
1-what do we do with our misfits?4
2-assuming food, clothing, and shelter are what we most value, what's
driving the economic need to grow?5 3-are professional sports good for us?5

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Assuming food, clothing, and shelter are what we most value, what's driving
the economic need to grow?5

David: through most of our existence we were content with having enough food
and shelter. Now, myself included, we want (need?) more and more things.
Why? how much do we need of anything? I like to buy video games, some I'll
never use, yet I want 'em!Why want a mansion when your little house will do?
is it greed, envy?

Jim: if we have a house, food, and nothing else, would one be happy? I say
no. We need something to stimulate us. People want to work. 

David: I agree but there's a difference doing work to achieve something and
doing work to accumulate stuff.

Jim: a person who wants to be productive will inevitably need more to
continue productivity.

David: but we once were satisfied just to have food, shelter, clothing, and
safety?

Larry; I don't think they were any more satisfied then than we are now.

David: maybe survival was so up front we had little time for hoarding.

John: we don't know if they weren't trying to acquire then. Perhaps they
sought to acquire better hunting grounds? Once tools began to develop, then
our ancestors wanted to improve those tools. Then moving to our modern
society, things aren't equal, so those with less would like to get more.

David: why?

Larry: we want to improve ourselves

David: but "improve" isn't what's happening

Jon: the author Jonathan Haidt argues in his book The Happiness Hypothesis
that we strive to acquire the things that will make us fit in with those
around us. It's a community making thing. He even goes so far as to say that
we are willing to sacrifice a great deal -- even our happiness -- in order
to acquire whatever we decide is necessary for fitting in.

David: is fitting in why poor areas have people who won't succeed because
they fit their community?

Jon: we have a Socrates Cafe member up in St. Paul who tells us he was
raised in such a poor economic community and that yes, he had zero awareness
(or even interest) in how one fits in outside that neighborhood. He says he
one day decided the expectations he grew up with were wrong for him but that
this decision was not easy. He had to leave that neighborhood in more than
physical ways. He had to begin living/working among people he had previously
seen as outer space aliens. 

John: poor African American kids don't want to be excluded. David assumes
that we could live in a steady state. Pick a year, say 1918, we were using
gas and oil then but we would effectively run out of gas and oil well before
now for lack of the techologies that came later which enabled better and
more efficient ways of retrieving and processing oil into gas. In the book
"the Prize" efficiencies enabled not running out, tech for finding oil and
gas. 

Jim: Malthusian population control arguments work only if we assume our
technology will not improve.

David: I want more video games. I collect books. 

Jon: how'd you feel if you weren't allowed do those things?

David: I'd find a way to get 'em anyway!

Jon: so then acquisition is human nature?

David: I guess.

Jim: "we don't need" is the rub. Without improvement we don't get
infrastructure. We need infrastructure and so many other things.

Larry: Joe Campbell, talking with students said he spent a lot of time
building his reputation as a scholar but when if the time lost away from
family was away from family was it worth it, he said no! This is the guy
popularly famous for advising we all "follow your bliss"!

Jim: yet we're assuming that along the way he knew his choices to be apart
from family were wrong. Hindsight is 20/20.

John: it also assumes that family time would have made him happy -- it's
hypothetical. Everyone has an ego. People at the top are striving for
"positional goods." It's more important than money. Some baseball players
want the bigger salaries not for the money, but for the status
Jon: I am definitely doing work that means little to me in order to maintain
my version of success. Some of that success looks like excess, but perhaps
having that satisfies my wish to belong.

Jim: I think we underestimate Obama/Romney as position seekers having an
impact.

David: big egos must not be so important to some.

Larry: I found some of the best leaders were lazy; they were skilled at
talking others into doing their work! What about the ones who don't want
anything?

A How-To List for Dysfunctional Living and Non-Critical thinking:


1. Surround yourself with people who think like you. 
 
2. Don't question your relationships. You then can avoid dealing with
problems within them.

4. If critiqued by a friend or lover, look sad and dejected and say, "I
thought you were my friend!" or "I thought you loved me!" 
 
5. When you do something unreasonable, always be ready with an excuse.
 
6. Focus on the negative side of life.

7. Blame others for your mistakes.
 
8. Verbally attack those who criticize you. Then you don't have to bother
listening to what they say. 
 
9. Go along with the groups you are in. Then you won't have to figure out
anything for yourself. 
 
10. Act out when you don't get what you want. If questioned, look indignant.
 
11. Focus on getting what you want. If questioned, say, "If I don't look out
for number one, who will?"


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