Basic Orientation
Book1: R-E Living & "Homo Rationalis"
Book2: Humanianity
Book3: Mind-Body Problem
Book4: (Future Possible Development)
Child Rearing Issues
Philosophico-Religious Issues
Psycho-Socio-Cultural Issues
The Twelve Articles
01 Our Future
02 Difference of Opinion
03 Our Anger
04 Punishing Children
05 Child Rearing
06 Our Biggest Problem
07 Evils of Justice
08 Cultural Victimization
09 Rational-Ethical Religion
10 Rational-Ethical Government
11 Global Human Zoo
12 "Homo Rationalis" Wants YOU
Relevant Autobiography
 
"HOMO RATIONALIS" AND HUMANIANITY
 
HELPING TO PROMOTE OUR THIRD EXPONENTIAL CHANGE
 

8. CULTURAL VICTIMIZATION



In the past seven of twelve monthly articles (available with free "textbook" at HomoRationalis.com), I’ve been hypothesizing that our species, now just a toddler, is undergoing the third exponential change (the first two having been language and science/technology). This maturation will eliminate the vast majority of human-induced pain, suffering, disability, and early death (PSDED), and give us lives with much more joy, contentment, and appreciation. In other words, it will provide for "the good life" to a much, much greater extent, for all of us, globally.


In order for this change to occur, we (not they) will have to devote much effort to bringing it about. We will have to study ourselves, understand what is involved, draw the proper conclusions, and advocate for major changes in our behavior. This will begin within ourselves (as individuals), spread to small groups, develop into subcultures and cultures, and eventually involve our species throughout the globe. Major changes in our cultures will have to occur.


By culture I mean that set of beliefs that are instilled in the members of a large group of humans by punishment, reward, teaching, and modeling for identification. Most of this occurs in child rearing, but the process continues throughout life. These beliefs are the primary determinants of our behavior. When the beliefs are inaccurate, they cause mistakes and therefore PSDED. Our cultures date back indefinitely, and contain much inaccurate belief that produces PSDED. It has been by virtue of the first two exponential changes that we have become able to develop highly accurate beliefs, and thus improve our lives tremendously. However, this process has barely begun. We remain embedded in primitive cultures that produce enormous PSDED, and to that extent, we are victims of those cultures.


Our most difficult problem is that, by definition, we cannot see that we are such victims. We believe that our beliefs are accurate, by definition. It takes the development of another part of the brain, so to speak, to become skeptical about our own beliefs, and this takes input from the environment, generally from other humans. Since they, being in the same culture, tend to believe the same things, such input does not easily occur. Because cultures are different, however, we can become aware of the possibility of difference of belief from that of our own.


A second problem emerges. As I have described in previous articles, there have always been two criteria for the legitimization of belief, "accuracy" and "comfort." In the time of "Homo rationalis," they will no longer accept comfort as a criterion for legitimization. Currently, however, we fully accept this criterion, so that we often avoid giving feedback contrary to someone’s belief, and we avoid, shun, attack, and even kill those who believe differently. Friendly debate is one of our most difficult procedures, though it is our most valuable. Thus, it remains extremely difficult for us to learn from one another. Beliefs rarely change, because friendly debate is rarely carried out to the required depth. Words are used differently, the subject is changed almost with every change of speaker, presumed facts are not checked in detail, others’ positions are misrepresented (strawman arguments), and concentration is impaired by hostile behavior.


So an individual is "told what to believe" by the culture. An individual speaking up against his or her own culture will tend to be ignored, if not silenced. It is only by looking at other cultures that one can see what would appear to be clear instances of cultural victimization.


Within my own culture, it is easy to regard as cultural victimization: female genital mutilation; denial of education and other human rights to women; and training children to be suicide bombers. However, within my own culture there is an inability to see the absolutely incredible amount of PSDED caused by the poisoning of ourselves and our children. And the amount of personal suffering that individuals undergo by virtue of archaic aspects of their otherwise extremely valuable religions is carefully ignored.


The third exponential change, just beginning to take place, and ultimately being the defining difference between ourselves and "Homo rationalis," is the shift from authoritarian ethics (we should obey the most powerful) to rational ethics (we should do that which will promote not only our species’ survival but also the good life for everyone, now and in the future). Belief will no longer be required as an act of obedience, and cultural victimization will cease.


Can you question your culture? Your own beliefs?


To be continued….