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Maturity of Kaizaki and the Troubles of the Gifted


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#1
Nasukasu

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Spoilers ahead & long post 
 

Spoiler
 

 
I am curious to what you guys think. Is Kaizaki mature? Do the solutions the author presented satisfy you? What are your thoughts?


Edited by Nasukasu, 03 December 2016 - 10:01 AM.


#2
dchang0

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Maturity is relative. And it is not necessarily related to age, either. I have known 50+ year olds with the emotional maturity of teenagers (not surprisingly, the divorce was acrimonious).

 

I have also known others who are mature beyond their physical ages.

 

However, I think that taking just about any random 27 year old and plunking them down in the midst of a bunch of 17 year olds will show a measurable and significant difference in maturity. Thus, Kaizaki is not particularly special--any other randomly-selected 27 year old would probably seem as mature as he does amidst 17 year olds (exceptions exist, of course).

 

So the question is: is Kaizaki mature relative to others his own age? From what I can tell, he seems no more mature nor immature than his peers in the story, except that his coworkers that bullied his senpai seem far more evil than typical people. (Their utter callousness after the suicide bears this out.)

 

In short, I see Kaizaki as being normal (middle of the bell curve) for his age in term of maturity and probably slightly more empathetic/just/earnest than average. He is a normal "good guy" who ran up against a bunch of sociopaths at work and was traumatized by witnessing his senpai's suicide.



#3
Nasukasu

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Spoiler

 

Spoiler

 

 

 

 

 

   



#4
dchang0

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You pose a good question, but I am afraid I couldn't/wouldn't answer it.

 

 

I don't think we can pose questions about good and evil in terms of maturity or lack thereof.

 

You have probably read about the Stanford prison experiments. If not, here is an excellent TED Talk by the guy who ran the experiment:

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/philip_zimbardo_on_the_psychology_of_evil

 

From this, we can build a far better explanation of the behavior of the evil coworkers--when placed in certain situations, normal, supposedly good people behave evilly. The workplace described would be such a "bad barrel" situation, although a weak one in my opinion. (Abu Ghraib is a real-world bad barrel--it's far worse than the company situation.)

 

Note that none of this touches upon mature/immature. Yes, the Stanford Prison experiment was done using college-age students, who are probably relatively immature, BUT, consider the true history of the book "Ordinary Men" by Christopher Browning that describes the Nazi death squads that were assembled to kill the Jews en mass. These were middle-aged men in their 40s or 50s, who we should expect to be mature, that were gradually turned to evil by a "bad barrel maker" (a term Zimbardo coined).

 

Sure, maturity can inform a person to recognize that what they are about to do is evil, but it is clear from the Stanford prison experiments that there are superstructures in human social behavior that can produce evil behavior if "hacked" in certain ways. In other words, a bad barrel maker can bypass an individual's maturity and other defenses by hacking human group behavior. It is also clear that because Zimbardo has to train people to behave heroically that heroic behavior is rare (not normal) in humans. We know this implicitly--that's why we have revered heroes with our stories for thousands of years: heroes are rare (abnormal).

 

I don't absolve the few sociopaths in the company--bad barrel makers are always sociopaths. You can probably figure out which person(s) in the manga are the bad barrel makers and which ones are just the bad apples.

 

Note that it follows from the fact that Kaizaki is the hero of this story that he is "abnormal." But I do not think this is due to maturity/immaturity. More specifically, I think it is partially situational (he was in a different position/situation than the others in his company, especially by being assigned to his senpai--in a prison experiment he would be assigned the role of a prisoner, not a guard), partially a strong sense of right/wrong trained into him, and mostly his high empathy resulting in caring for others.

 

 

(BTW, I do not think that it is necessary to mark what we are discussing with spoiler tags--we are being general enough that no specific plot details are being given away. If I say that there is an evil company with sociopathic workers in it, that describes probably thousands of stories/movies out there.)


Edited by dchang0, 04 December 2016 - 06:51 PM.


#5
dchang0

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Let's go at this from another angle.

 

Here's a manga/anime that proves that maturity is not required for heroism (i.e., to be a good guy or to do right instead of wrong):

 

Gintama

 

Just about every single member of the Gintama cast is an immature lout (males and females alike, and of different ages), but most of us would be hard-pressed to say that we are not inspired by the acts of heroism told in their stories.

 

Another example that is more of an "everyman": Homer Simpson. One could argue that Gintama's Gintoki Sakata is a superhero, but Homer is definitely not. (Kaizaki is an everyman hero.)

 

There are lots of other manga/anime that feature immature heroes (usually young boys). From an anthropology perspective, stories about heroes are how a culture trains its young to be (abnormally) heroic.


Edited by dchang0, 04 December 2016 - 08:04 PM.


#6
Nasukasu

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Ahhh, the Stanford experiment, it’s been a long time I’ve since I’ve heard about it. Thank you for providing the link, especially from the experimenter himself. I had to LOL when I learned who he married. I also found it fascinating the only quotes he used were from Dostoyevsky and Solzhenitsyn.

 

I definitely agree with your points on what creates “evil”. Our environment will shape us, even morality, whether we like it or not. Indifference to social injustice is an epidemic and unfortunately, the Japanese, rather than confronting said problems, will try to sweep it under the rug. However, I also found through experience that the American confrontational approach does not solve the problem as well since it creates division (me vs you). Imposition that your opponent is WRONG simply leads to resistance, which is one thing why I don’t really like Kaizaki’s approach. I believe this is also reflective with the Brexit and America’s 2016 presidential election ordeal. As Zimbardo stated, good and evil needs to be looked socially and I think the media approached the two issues through a moral perspective too much. I found gently leading your opposition to be a better solution, as this forces me to take their beliefs into consideration. Which leads me to point out another problem, which is the lack of the bully’s perspective. Unlike Kariu’s problem, Senpai/Hishiro’s problem lies in the environment, not the individual. Changing the individual may momentarily “ease” the issue but that is only delaying the problem. I can’t really grasp how the author will approach this topic.

 

The author wants to promote Kaizaki’s abnormality in two different ways: kindness and adult-like/maturity. The recent chapters hammer us with the theme of maturity to the extent of completely overshadowing the original reason why Onoya and Yoake had high expectations of him, so I was confused with what the author wanted to tell us. However, the way you presented him as a hero made me realize that kindness is sprinkled throughout the story. The presentation was extremely well done, thank you.

 

Perhaps I am reading into maturity too much.

 

Yes, I agree that maturity is not required for heroism. However, I guess the question that will sum up the whole thread is: Is heroism enough to solve social issues, especially in the long-run? I would argue no and I assume the author feels the same as they depicted the double-sword nature of heroism: intensified bullying.

 

(No, I used the spoiler tags because I wasn’t sure if the 10-line rule included the forums as well. Just to be on the safe side, tags were used haha. The quotes are just experimental)



#7
dchang0

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Here is yet another way to approach this. This one does involve spoilers.

 

Spoiler

Ah, I see that you replied just as I added my last post. It is now redundant, as you clearly got what I was trying to say earlier.

 

This is just me thinking out loud:

 

Re: maturity

 

I think this is just the way in which Kaizaki tries to come to terms with the situation to the best of his understanding/abilities. IMO, there are two aspects of maturity to deal with:

 

1) it is the most obvious internal difference between him and the high school students, so it's the easiest thing to blame/focus on

 

2)

Spoiler

 

Re: Japan's sweeping under the rug vs. America's confrontation

 

Here are just a smattering of thoughts that are kinda related to the subject:

 

"What you resist, persists." In your example of the recent presidential election, one of the reasons Trump won was that so many people hated him. It is like the Streisand effect--the more you try to negate/suppress something, the more attention is brought to it.

 

America is just as guilty of sweeping things under the rug as Japan, LOL. I get what you mean, though. Japan is an honor culture, so shame is felt worse over there, and it is clear from Japanese stories/manga/anime/cultural works that avoidance of shame is a big motivator for them.

 

I believe that you are right about "gently leading your opposition," BUT there are a few things that should be considered:

 

1) One cannot solve a problem without identifying and defining it properly. So sweeping it under the rug is almost guaranteed to never solve a problem. Some amount of truth-telling is required. And there will always be conflict/confrontation over what is actually the truth.

2) Gently leading does work, except that it usually doesn't. Charles Eisenstein said, "Most people don't change until their world falls apart." And he is right. Alcoholic Anonymous understands this--most people have to hit rock bottom before they become open to changing their behaviors. So, gently leading ONLY WORKS within a certain window of opportunity: when the person is open to change.

3) Confrontation in general does result in more successful outcomes. Think of it in terms of "survival of the fittest"--we can see that confrontation and competition between people, ideas, systems, beliefs, etc., in general produces better outcomes and more of them.

 

Re: heroism solve social problems; bullying

 

This is a very interesting topic. People often assume that shame/shaming or bullying is an absolute bad thing. I do not actually think it is all that bad.

 

A recent research study found that there are positive effects to gossip. Gossip (including shaming) is a way for a group to conform individuals to culturally-acceptable behaviors. It has a few positive effects including but not limited to:

 

a) weeding out misfits entirely (ejecting them from the group)

b ) helping the group to avoid harm caused by associating with misfits

c) causing misfits to change/conform their behavior to that of the group

 

I'll give you an example: a group of 30 adults has one petty criminal that likes to commit small-time fraud. Gossip can cause the criminal to reform his ways, inform the 29 others to avoid him in financial matters, or cause him to leave to find other people to prey on.

 

Of course, as any manga/anime reader knows, there are negative effects to shaming, i.e., bullying. That is basically when shame is wrongly or unjustly applied to someone. I believe that social scientists will find some time in the next 50 years that bullying has positive effects. I won't discuss those here, though, as it is a controversial topic that triggers a lot of outrage.

 

---

 

Ultimately, I think you and Zimbardo are right: heroism is not enough to solve social issues, because there are some problems caused by and that are a property of systems of humans. It's kind of like this: in a system of cars, there are bound to be fatal collisions. You can design the individual cars to be as safe as possible, but there will always be collisions in systems of individual cars. The solution to such problems would have to be designed at the system level.

 

This is of course why some people (politicians) always begin to try to extend control over other individuals. They are trying to solve systemic problems and are willing to sacrifice individual concerns. Sadly, most politicians are completely unskilled at and ignorant of solving problems that come from human systems. They are often themselves part of the system-created problem (corruption, dictatorships, starting wars, etc.)

 

 

Thoughts?


Edited by dchang0, 05 December 2016 - 02:21 AM.


#8
Nasukasu

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HAHAHA, yes, I saw your post immediately after mine and wondered how the hell you were able to type that fast with that much thought into it.

Going slightly off topic, I realized the author did address and tie Kaizaki with the environment. With his help, Hishiro was able to be a part of a small group of close people who understand her. Can’t believe I missed this. I have to retract my previous state- I think this is a great solution because he is gently leading her. More on this below     

 

Re: maturity

 

Let me sleep on this, LOL.

 

Re: Japan's sweeping under the rug vs. America's confrontation

 

Ahh, yes, America is also guilty of it as well. However, there is a severe difference between the degree with how much rug sweeping goes on. Honor is certainly part of it, but the difference stems from individualism and collectivism. Americans feel more self-entitlement, leading to more complaining (too much if I may add). The Japanese are more conservative so to maintain balance, will hide the abnormalities. I can give you a long list of examples, but I think you already got the picture from my previous post.  

 

So, gently leading ONLY WORKS within a certain window of opportunity: when the person is open to change.

 

I am going to strongly disagree with this. Certainly, there is a need to distinguish between them as neither approach is a solution to all. I find that actually the opposite works from what you say. Direct confrontation to people who are willing to change and taking it slow with people close-minded people. I think the reason behind it is the extent to which your opposition is willing to experience an identity crisis (despair). Your ideals/principles help shape your identity. Any contradictions to your ideals will be met with resistance to prevent ourselves from despairing. I think the term to support this is self-enhancement bias, although I think I wretched the definition to fit my point, LOL. Basically it means, through evolution, we inflate our egos to keep us from despairing, so the you vs me approach doesn’t really work because both sides already think they are better than the other. That hinders any mutual agreement. I think the Trump vs Hillary illustrates this and your point of excessive media coverage is the resulting phenomenon. The negative ad campaign against each other literary divided the country in half. But that is dangerously over-simplistic so I’ll provide a personal example regarding alcoholism. I cannot convince my alcoholic father to cut the crap, even though we hit rock bottom numerous times. I think this resistance stems from the pride of being the bread-winner and the reliance on alcohol to keep stress in check. This leads to the most important thing: realization.

 

When I mentioned “gently leading”, it's practically brainwashing, actually. Sweeping under the rug never solves any problems so the issue would be when to present the said “facts”. Identification of the problem need to definitely occur, but that has to occur by the proponent for change. The receiving end eventually has to realize, acknowledge, and accept. Brainwashing probably is the easiest way for the realization to occur. That takes time, real world examples include rehabilitation treatment of drug addicts and the incarcerated. You can sometimes stumble upon stories of a black man and a KKK member, an Arab and a Jew coming to an understanding by getting to know each other.        

 

On the other hand, if your open-minded, you’re ready to take the hit. Sure, you can take your time but why wait if you can simply present the problem? That is if you’re willing to support them until they can stand on their two feet.

 

But does “survival of the fittest” really benefit us as a society? We have to tweak the definition a little because I would argue we don’t follow the rules of nature anymore since we have effectively created our own environment. If we apply socially, we would have to take the literal meaning of “survival of the fittest”, in that the one with power will succeed. Societal competition has brought the ugliest side of humanity, from the Inquisition/Crusades, WW1 and 2, Cold War, ongoing wars in the Middle East, tension in modern day Asia, etc. Democracy vs Dictatorship has shredded the Middle East apart. Medicinal advancement at the cost millions of lives. Technological advancement at the cost of privacy. I am definitely nitpicking, but I am going to ask you to provide examples because I can’t think of one currently. However, I believe economic competition is great for society (although RELIFE has suggested otherwise LOL).      

Despite saying all this, this is one of the few issues where there isn’t really a correct answer since when to be confrontable or not depends really on the proponent of change.

 

 

Re: heroism solve social problems; bullying    

Let me sleep on this

 

To be continued…



#9
dchang0

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Re: gently leading vs. direct confrontation

 

I"m not sure we actually disagree yet. Some of the differences between our apparent positions are due to differences in definitions of words and ideas. If we talk about it further, we will probably find considerable overlap. I certainly get the "closed minded" thing you mention--that is somewhat related to the "open to change" part I was talking about.

 

To start, I think we probably need to define the word "change." There is at least "significant change" and "insignificant change." For instance, a stranger teaching me how to get to the Hollywood sign on foot results in an insignifcant change on my part. It can and should be done gently, without direct confrontation. Someone teaching me to get off of drugs is a significant change, and that may require direct confrontation to force a breakdown, rock-bottom, after which gentle leading may work during a small window of opportunity when I am ready for change. For the purposes of this discussion, I will only ever talk about significant change.

 

One thing I think we should bring up is the concept of stories/scripts. Humans absolutely live by stories/scripts. The best way I have learned to describe it is that we each have egoic, story-telling minds that are constantly assembling a self-narrative, aka "identity." Things that threaten that identity are typically fought against violently, hence the Democrats still unable to accept Trump's victory because the story they live of themselves as Americans doesn't have room for a Trump presidency in it.

 

Egoic identity is the single biggest reason direct confrontation rarely works--it is one story conflicting with another story, and the defense mechanisms of the ego kick in. BUT, direct confrontation applied at the right times can also occasionally trigger breakdowns, during which true significant change can occur, so when it does work, there is a huge payoff.

 

Philosopher Charles Eisenstein explains that the breakdown of a story (when their world falls apart) is the moment when another story can replace the failing one, and he emphasizes that leading (gently) by example is the best way to teach change. I think he is right. Here is the video where he explains it:

 

https://vimeo.com/11769810

 

I think you may understand it better coming from him than from me. Start at about 14:32 and watch till about 17:30. The whole video is worth watching, but it's focused on a totally different topic.

 

ANYWAY, Kaizaki is struggling with various stories he lives, some of which failed utterly (hitting rock bottom). (spoilers ahead).

 

Spoiler

 

For an alcoholic to recover, the old, bad story is usually: "I can't make it through the day without a drink." The new story is, "I am strong enough to live my life without needing a drink."

 

---

 

Re: does survival of the fittest benefit us as a society?

 

This is a tough question to answer. To some degree, yes it does, because survival of the fittest is ultimately about matching Reality. You may have heard the saying "the map is not the territory." If not, what it means is that the map (the story you tell yourself about Reality) is not the same as the territory (Reality); i.e. the map can be wrong.

 

People get hopelessly lost when their map differs too greatly from the territory.

Spoiler

 

So, if we look at survival of the fittest as one method of getting the map of Reality as close to actual Reality as possible, we see that it is a useful and good thing. Things that don't fit Reality fail, leaving only the things that do fit Reality, and so the final map/story is very accurate.

 

Not terribly compassionate, but still a good thing. Most people recoil from "survival of the fittest" because of Reality's lack of compassion.

 

There are definitely times when matching Reality is not a good thing, such as

 

Spoiler

 

 

 

Re: Inquisition/Crusades, other ugliness from competition.

 

I think you're using survival of the fittest in a slightly different context than I am. Let me ask you this: why did the Inquisition not survive? That is to say, why are we not still doing Inquisitions today? The answer is, because it failed to survive--its fitness was limited so that Reality rejected it. Sure, it came up, but it died off. (Well, there are parts of the world where something akin to Inquisitions still go on--they are living essentially under medieval stories of religion.)

 

If you look at actual statistics, we live in some of the most peaceful times the earth has ever seen. Here's a link to an article about how much good progress humanity has made:

 

http://reason.com/archives/2016/10/14/theres-never-been-a-better-time-to-be-al

 

"We probably live at the most peaceful time in recorded history; your chances of being killed by another human being are far lower than in the past. For example, the annual homicide rate in medieval Europe was 32 people per 100,000. In the late 20th century, that rate dropped to about 1 per 100,000. The death rates of people being killed in wars have also fallen steeply, dropping from 195 people per million in 1950 to 8 per million in 2013."

 

The clickbaity news headlines make us think it's an absolute war zone out there, but it's actually getting better in many ways. I say that this is due to good ideas surviving because they are fittest. Bad ideas like starting wars, polluting the planet, etc., are all dying off (and more rapidly as the internet allows us to spread good stories that compete with other stories so that we can choose the ones that work the best).

 

 

I should add two important points, though.

 

1) Sometimes the story itself is the cause of great suffering. The story people in the USSR lived under resulted in great and widespread poverty. Today, the people of North Korea and Venezuela are suffering under nearly the same story. A good story may turn out to be a bad story in the end--the Charles Eisenstein interview above is primarily about the story of debt-based money systems, which are responsible for fantastic prosperity in the world but will soon turn toxic to everyone.

 

2) Sometimes the conflict between two competing stories is the cause of great suffering. This is the point you are making. I do not think the answer is to avoid all conflict. First of all, competition and conflict are inevitable so long as stories must compete for limited "mindspace." (That is, a person's mind can only really handle one story at each level or area at a time, so stories must compete for the scarce space.) Second, we must remember that conflict and competition can and usually does result in better stories (like the decrease in violence over time).

 

Right now, we've got two stories calling each other "fake news." The Republican story versus the Democrat story. Which one will win? The fittest, of course. The one that best maps out Reality. Well, actually, Richard Dawkins would disagree. He explicitly says that the two stories depend on each other for their existence--the conflict is good for both of them, so they will both continue to exist. Eisenstein kind of touches on that strangeness when he says there are "level upon level of stories." The Democrat story and the Republican story are sub-stories under a larger story of "Democrats v. Republicans, the epic battle of good and evil." The real story of American politics is actually "the Oligarchs vs. the Little People," a story that occurs in almost every country everywhere throughout time.

 

 

Anyway, to you and all other readers of this thread, thanks for your patience through this verbosity. It does help us understand what is going on in ReLIFE, though, so it's worth reading, I think.


Edited by dchang0, 05 December 2016 - 08:56 AM.


#10
dchang0

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BTW, "rock bottom" may not mean what we think it means. I leave it in double-quotes for that reason.

 

Clinical psychology professor Jordan Peterson said in a classroom video lecture something along the lines of "the person has got to want to change; sometimes there is a payoff in failure such as playing the martyr."

 

In other words, there may be a hidden payoff when an alcoholic keeps hitting "rock bottom," such as (but not limited to) getting lots of attention from family members when they're hitting "rock bottom" but getting no attention from family members when things are going well, etc.

 

That is not truly rock bottom then, because as Eisenstein would put it, the story is still working for them. They are getting what they want, even though they are not necessarily conscious of what they want (love and attention, which may come in the form of yelling and direct confrontation).

 

So, whether the story has "just stopped working" is entirely subjective and is up to the person living the story, not to any person outside of it.


Edited by dchang0, 05 December 2016 - 09:21 AM.


#11
Nasukasu

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Re: maturity

1)    Yes

2)    The main problem with Kaizaki is he is using that as an excuse to run away. The whole point of this experiment was to fix his social ineptness. In fact, this whole story would have been wrapped up if he wasn’t so stubborn and went back to his parent’s house and fish. It’s clear this problem persisted for so long. He went to graduate school because he couldn’t integrate into society right after undergrad. Grad school just prolonged that effect. He has another shot but decides to run away up until this point (facepalm). Sure, it’s just a tool to add drama but cmon, why the hell did this guy agree to this. Oh right, a guaranteed job that might end up like his previous one.

 

Re: heroism solve social problems; bullying

I believe the degree which you see bullying as positive correlates with the degree in which you subscribe to utilitarianism. I could definitely see the possible benefits it, namely reinforcing what society deems is acceptable or not. However, that is still done at the cost of someone, including your example. Bullying harms the victim’s psychology no matter how we sugar-coat things and it also preys upon the insecurity of the perpetrator (they may become the next target). Eventually, all of this will lead to power abuse. The irony of this whole thing is that others may see product of our justice as injust. But sure, bullying with a positive motive in mind could be seen as a benefit.

 

Re: gently leading vs. direct confrontation

Actually, I think our difference in opinion lies in when we think hitting rock bottom will bring change and what brought this was my lack of explanation for “gently leading”.

 

Mutual agreements:

·         Egoistic Identity hinders direct confrontation

·         Construction of said identity through narratives

·         Replacement of stories is required for change

 

What I meant with “gently leading” is essentially deconstruction of identity/narrative of the opposition to bring closed-mindedness to open-mindedness. Once they are open-minded, you hit them with direct confrontation AKA imposing your principles to replace their story. “Gently leading” is to be used when clearly obvious direct confrontation will not work (yet). Essentially, this is brainwashing. For example, if I suggested to you that suicide is the greatest way to ease your pain, you’re obviously going to resist. All the work you’ve done to construct your identity goes all to waste, after all. Add in morality and a bunch of other factors, you’ll tell me to get lost (direct confrontation). But what if I sat down with you and gradually picked out bits and pieces of your identity and slowly deconstruct your narratives through logic and fallacies. You’ll gradually become “open-mined” because you begin to question your identity (which is you’re only protection really). Once I have completely deconstructed your identity, I introduce you the concept of suicide (direct confrontation). Here, I would have successfully replaced your “story”. This type of approach I would assume are used in cults and we see insanity such mass suicides.

 

Eisenstein and your approach to wait for them to hit “rock-bottom” I think is completely fine. But there is a slight dissonance on how we look at “rock-bottom”. From the examples you give, I think your focused on the extremities of rock-bottom that has other external factors such as economical. I am only looking at the break-down of narratives, and that can range from suggesting one needs to stop drugs because your destroying yourself and the people around you to the need to break up with their GF/BF since they are only dating for social status. In short, if directional confrontation does not work, then we need to resort to “gently leading”. Not the other way around.

 

Spoiler

 

Re: does survival of the fittest benefit us as a society?

Sorry, I don’t understand how your connecting social aspects to “survival of the fittest”. I understand your map and reality analogy, but I don’t see how your tying it to environment. If I may tweak your definition, are you talking about those that “survive” are the ones that are adaptive to societal changes?

 

Survival of the fittest is used to describe the phenomenon of evolution, in that we adopt traits that are favorable to the particular environment and pass on the genes, which ensures a higher survival rate for our species. Essentially, the mutants that will benefit the greatest in the particular environment is the “fittest”.

 

Think of it in terms of "survival of the fittest"--we can see that confrontation and competition between people, ideas, systems, beliefs, etc., in general produces better outcomes and more of them.

This is the definition of Social Darwinism. Through competition, the “fittest” humans will rise to the top, which leads to greater progress in the future. This is the foundation for America’s capitalist society.

I think this article http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/the-taint-of-social-darwinism/?_r=0

sums it up the problems with Social Darwinism nicely.

 

I can’t really grasp how “survival of the fittest” will fit into a social context, so I’ll do some answering based on Social Darwinism.

I am rather ignorant on medieval Europe, so I am just going to BS my answer and say the advent of science kinda pushed the inquisition back. Hell, I have no idea LOL. However, the mindset of the Inquisition, which stems from Social Darwinism, still persists today. Yes, religious wars are perfect examples. However, we can also look at ideology, such as the West forcing democracy down everyone else’s throats. I think our world has evolved and realized information is the key for dominance, so rather than the practice of Inquisition, we are now using espionage. Etc.

 

It’s true our time now is the safest we have ever seen. However, one of the biggest reason is the lack of war between developed countries. The lack of them I would like to point out are

1.     Exponential Growth of Technology. We saw how brutal Wars from the 20th century and onwards could be. Mutual destruction hinders any motives for war

2.     Globalization. Interdependence.

3.     Subsection of technology but Photography I find is the most important. Anyone can now access the brutality of war

 

Because of Social Darwinism, racism is as prominent as before. However, I am going off topic. With the current systems (unchecked competition or arms race), the rich get richer, and the poor get the picture* (From the song Read About It from the Midnight Oil). As of 2013, 80% of the world live under $10 a day. (http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats) The disparaging difference in income is growing as ever as before. That will eventually lead to social unrest, which we see brewing right now.

 

Etc. Etc. I am just playing the devil’s advocate here, however. As you said, conflict is necessary. A world without conflict is stagnant and brings no change. I am going to throw a recommendation, the LN Tenkyou no Alderamin. I think hands down this is the best LN I have ever read. Not only does it cover a broad range of sociological problems of Japan, it also poses an interesting question: in a dying country like Japan, what’s the best way to bring change? The author suggests, as I also believe, is conflict between ideology in a way that if one is defeated, they have enough power to stand up again (eg Japan after WW2). In other words, war.So to answer if social competition (not economical) is necessary in a society, I would say only when your in deep shit and there isn't anything else you can do.

 

From your responses, I know social Darwinism isn’t really your point, so this post is essentially just me throwing out ideas based on it. I’ll answer the rest after your response. 



#12
dchang0

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Overall, I agree with or at least do not disagree with most of what you said.

 

There are differences, but they are largely subjective/interpretive. In other words, we can talk all day and just end up agreeing to disagree. Still, we largely agree.

 

So, I'll add a few notes that may help understand where I'm coming from.

 

Re: wrapped up if he wasn’t so stubborn and went back to his parent’s house and fish

 

Yes, good point. And the reason he refuses to do so is that the story he is trying to live by tells him that he should be heroic, and that heroes don't quit. Yet, several facts Reality presents him contradict his belief that he is a hero, so here we have the conflict/tension needed to build a compelling story/manga/anime around.

 

Spoiler

 

Re: bullying as positive correlates with the degree in which you subscribe to utilitarianism

 

Surprisingly, I am not very much a utilitarian. At least, I often get in arguments with true utilitarians. So I guess the primary difference between what you think of me and how I think of me in this one particular point of discussion is that you think I support bullying more than I do. What I say to that is: I can understand and recognize that bullying has positive effects, but I do not necessarily think it is morally good or bad.

 

in other words, saying it is not necessarily the same as endorsing it. You see a lot of this in today's political discourse when some people freak out when someone attempts to start a rational, peaceable discussion about a controversial topic: thinking or talking about something is not necessarily an endorsement or condemnation of it.

 

This may be controversial to some readers here, so I will spoiier it, even though it does not have anything to do with ReLIFE:

 

Spoiler

 

Note that I am not accusing you of wrongly accusing me of something--I am truly dispassionate about this and just pointing out that I don't particularly have a support/oppose position on this particular matter.

 

Re: Eventually, all of this will lead to power abuse.

 

I believe abuse of power is a normal and integral property of human systems. That is to say, it is like saying "snow has avalanches." You can't stop snow from having avalanches. It is a consequence of the physical properties of individual snowflakes and the behavior of snowflakes in a system of snow piled up. Likewise, humans abuse power. You see this in schoolyard bullying and you see it happen in national politics and at every level in between.

 

In other words, I think trying to solve/avoid bullying is a waste of time. This coming from someone who was severely bullied by white supremacist racists when I grew up (a consequence of being in the wrong place at the wrong time). My being bullied caused me to have to think about the nature of bullying far more than other people do. (A good buddy of mine said something akin to, "Only people who have suffered turn to philosophy; most people have never suffered enough to start thinking philosophically.")

 

Interestingly, I will personally say that I thank my bullies, because bullying made me much stronger as a person. Yet, I understand that bullying does not always make people stronger. Some people break down, kill themselves, or kill others.

 

Re: gently leading/direct confrontation

 

I think we mostly agree here. There are slight differences in nomenclature and timing and finesse of the use of these two techniques. Note that these are not the only techniques that can be used while communicating with a person. We just happened to choose two of the most obvious ones.

 

Re: I don’t understand how your connecting social aspects to “survival of the fittest”

 

Have you read the seminal book, "The Selfish Gene," by Richard Dawkins? If not, it is pretty much required reading, like Shakespeare is in English lit. Definitely worth reading.

 

Anyway, there is a section of the book where Dawkins talks about "hawks vs. doves" game theory while illustrating the concept of Evolutionarily-Stable Strategy. The whole discussion is about survival of the fittest when applied to social systems. After you have read the book, especially the last chapter about memes and meme-plexes, you would totally understand where I'm coming from. Without reading the book, this entire point of discussion will seem foreign or off-topic, as you clearly recognize.

 

Hawks vs. doves applied to bullying:

 

Bullying can be thought of in terms of ESS: you have a population that contains bullies, bullied victims, and neither-bullied-nor-bullying persons. I claim that all social groups will contain all three types and that Reality ensures that all three types will exist, probably in certain stable proportions. For instance, psychology has found that there are roughly 2 to 4% of the population that are sociopaths (depending on the exact definition of sociopathy). This is stable throughout time. Given that many sociopaths are bullies and many bullies are sociopaths, there is probably some stable percentage of the population that are bullies. We just don't know this measure yet. We WILL probably find out in the next few decades.

 

Re: Social Darwinism

 

Hmm. You are correct in that Social Darwinism "isn't really my point," but it is interesting enough to bring up a point:

 

Calling it Social Darwinism is not nuanced enough and assigns some value judgments to me that I am not necessarily making (I am not blaming you for doing so, this is just a dispassionate observation). Earlier I said, "talking about something is not the same as endorsing it." I am not necessarily a Social Darwinist, although I absolutely believe in the fact that Reality uses evolution to select the fittest from just about everything. In other words, I see evolution at work, but I don't assign it a moral value.

 

Another way to think about all this--let's go back to the "snow has avalanches" observation. Something equivalent to Social Darwinism about snow would require that I say something along the lines of "I think snow has avalanches is a good thing and that we should organize our lives as individuals and as a society around the fact that snow having avalanches is a good thing."

 

I hope that made sense re: the nuance. That said, because I recognize evolution/survival of the fittest is operating on us all the time, I respect it and act within it. Like I would respect any signs that say "high avalanche risk" when going up the mountain.

 

As a side note, check out the idol anime "Wake Up, Girls!" You would have to watch it from Movie 1, the entire series, then Movie 2 and 3, though, to get what I'm referring to, though. If you do choose to watch it--there is a discussion in Movie 3 at 47:54 between Shiraki-san and Hayasaka-san that brings the whole "survival of the fittest" discussion together. The reason you would have to watch all the movies and the series is that you would only see the whole picture and all the nuances in how different people at different times deal with the idol competition. I do not know if you like idol anime--if you don't, no need to make yourself watch Wake Up, Girls!. I'm sure any number of other anime/manga will cover the same topic and have the same moral of the story.

 

Re: the rich get richer

 

Ah! This is actually one of the points covered by the movie "Money and Life" for which Charles Eisenstein made that interview I linked to earlier.

 

The movie is worth watching. However, I should note that just because I recommend it is not that I endorse all the ideas, attitudes, or solutions within it.

 

Earlier I mentioned "fantastic prosperity in the world but will soon turn toxic to everyone" and "the Oligarchs vs. the Little People," and these are the primary reason income disparity is growing everywhere. Debt-based money systems and central banking controlled by the oligarchs guarantee that the rich will get richer at the expense of the poor.

 

I'm not railing against the rich reflexively, as many people driven by class envy do. I have worked directly for billionaires and millionaires before and recognize that they are people like you and me, and that in some countries, it is definitely possible for a poor person to become rich (I missed my chance when I quit a dot-com that I co-founded that eventually made the other founders millionaires. I recognize that it may not have been so successful had I stayed, but it is a "near-miss." I could have made it big, for sure.)

 

But our current monetary and banking systems are definitely rigged in favor of the elite, and that is a bad, bad thing.

 

As before, I believe that Reality will destroy this story of toxic money, and within my lifetime, so I don't worry about it much. All I can do is see it and attempt to dodge the catastrophe.

 

 

Thanks for the recommendations on things to read/watch. I will check them out for sure.

 

Re: Japan

 

My brother has lived in Tokyo for a while, and we are very different politically and philosophically, so we have interesting discussions about how to solve Japan's problems or even what caused Japan's problems.

 

Even though I have my opinions, I am not sure we can really solve Japan's problems. Part of it is due (again) to debt-based money and central banking setting up a perverse incentive structure where perpetual slow deflation and stagnation destroy individuals' incentive to marry and have kids, but that is only a tiny aspect of the whole hairball.

 

Without having read "Tenkyou no Alderamin," I will make these remarks:

 

1) I recognize that for many politicians and persons, war is a solution to some nations' problems. It is obvious that for some people (the military-industrial complex), war is very preferable, so there is a group out there working against my best interests that I have to fight. I live within the first nuclear blast zone of a very high value target, so staying out of war is very important to me.

2) I lean towards pacifism, but I recognize that war does actually have benefits and is a tool that nations should use when necessary. In other words, war is not unequivocally bad. It has positive effects, so to speak.

 

One of these positive effects is winner's exuberance. The flip side is war guilt. I submit that Japan is still suffering from war guilt. (My brother disagrees.) It is only one small factor, but it does color the national psyche. I point to Germany--the war guilt felt over Nazism (National Socialism) has made nationalism ideas extremely toxic there. But nationalism is not a bad thing if done in moderation--it is necessary for a nation to have some degree of nationalism in order to succeed. But the Germans are over-compensating for their war guilt and cannot bear to even have a peaceable discussion about nationalism's pros and cons.

 

I don't think Japan has it as bad as Germany, but it is still a factor, in my opinion. (Again, my brother disagrees. He says--rightfully--that Abe is a nationalist hawk and that Japan is on this warmongering trip right now, and I think what he says is true, but that what the Japanese consider hawkish is not really hawkish. If you imagine a bell curve with pacifists on the left and war hawks on the right, I say the Japanese think Abe is right of center, but on the real bell curve of all nations, he is actually left of center.)

 

Anyway, waaaay off topic, so I will stop there.


Edited by dchang0, 06 December 2016 - 10:33 AM.


#13
Nasukasu

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My apologies for the late reply. 

 

Re: bullying as positive correlates with the degree in which you subscribe to utilitarianism

My bad, I tried to rationalize and condense your point, because it was hella hard for me to think of the positives. Probably has to do with the fact I had seen two extreme sides of bullying- insignificant/immature/nonexistent or extreme to the point I stressed out completely (and that was me being a third-party, can’t even imagine how the victim must have felt). But yea, I can definitely see the positives, if its presented to me.

 

Re: Eventually, all of this will lead to power abuse.

Hmm, perhaps we may all feel trying to solve bullying is futile, I think there is a necessity to continuously address the issue. That there is a way to stop it. I am sure the majority will also say the same. We can PREACH IT on and on and on. Yet, at the end of the day, we are simply talking out of our asses, envisioning a utopia. Only those that experienced it can really know the consequences. Subjugating the bully to bullying will probably be the only way for them to truly understand what it feels like but that is hypocrisy at its finest. Unless we literally remove everyone’s amygdala and hippocampus, the concept of bullying will stay indefinitely. Or, we wait for someone like Kaizaki to swoop in and save the day.

Having said that, I think you should have some hope. If we continue to question why bullies exist in the first place, I think both of us will arrive right back to power, after watching some Zimbardo. If we talk about Zimbardo, then the root lies in our society/environment. If that changes, so can bullying. Yes, sometimes humanity does stuff that makes us lose faith in it. Yes, our world is currently heading towards a more divided, racist community. However, objectively speaking, we can also say our society has improved tremendously over the years. More rights, etc etc. Our lives have improved in ways that people back in the days never would have guessed.

I guess the million-dollar question is- How do we change society? Well, I am not smart enough to answer that, lol.

 

Another thing is like you said, which I agree, are three categories in bullying. In this new society we create, how are we going to judge the by-standers? Ostracizing could be a form of bullying, such as the case as Hishiro (although her case is a little iffy). Would/should the girls who deliberately isolate her be judged?

 

Re: Social Darwinism

Let me come back to it

 

Re: the rich get richer

Well, you missed out on something big, didn’t you, lol.

 

Re: Japan

I don’t think so either, no matter how optimistic I will try to be, lol. The ones that stand out are internal debt and depopulation. I am sure your familiar with depopulation and the severity of it. Xenophobia is strong in this one. Even if the people decided right at this moment to breed like rabbits or to accept immigration, it’s really a race against the internal-debt driven economy. The engineering prowess that they have relied on for so long is declining at an alarming rate and one of the reason is actually “bullying” or power harassment. As work force decrease, more over-time, more stress, more Senpais. With the current tax-system that is a literal upside-down pyramid, there isn’t any incentive to work in Japan. Admittedly, I am one of the many who are trying to bail out of this system. Somehow, the Japanese people need to accept immigration and realize their social values are hindering progress. And, well, there is a reset button (if it works the first time, it may work the second time)

 

War guilt. Hmm, I would probably also disagree and mention that they use the victim card a LOT. Japanese Prime Ministers still continues to visit Yasukuni but that’s to appeal to the crazy withered right-wing men. I remember a friend of mine read her Japanese textbook on WW2. IRC, one sentence about Pearl Harbor and it was either the Chinese’s fault the Nanking Massacre occurred or the emphases that the Chinese government deserted the citizen (You can probably tell why the younger generation don’t really know much about Japan’s role in WW2). I think the instance that sticks out the most is their open complaint on the A-bomb. When Obama visited Hiroshima, the only thing on the news was a bunch of victim’s experience and stories.

But that’s the media. Honestly, on the individual level, I think it’s similar to America’s approach to the Vietnam War: it never happened. No one really talks about it, even my grandparents who all in some way lost someone during the war. You would have to give me examples on this one because it’s hard for me to picture this one, haha.

 

 



#14
dchang0

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No worries. Glad to have this discussion with you.

 

Re: hella hard for me to think of the positives (of bullying)

 

It seems that one of the biggest fundamental challenges we all face as humans is that of the paradoxical conflict between the individual and the aggregate. That is to say, what is good for the individual may be very bad for the aggregate (collective), and what is good for the aggregate may be very bad for the individual, even though it takes many individuals to make up an aggregate, so it usually is the case that what is bad for individuals is bad for the aggregate. (Although, it is possible to have an individual without an aggregate, it is not possible to have an aggregate without individuals.)

 

We see this in all sorts of philosophical and political discussions, and as a paradox, the argument often cannot be solved.

 

Bullying for any individual victim is almost always absolutely awful. Yet, it has good effects for the aggregate (even for some species of animals--it is a way of weeding out weaker/aberrant individuals from the reproductive pool).

 

But after reading The Selfish Gene, it becomes apparent that our genes don't really care how we as individuals feel. It is like how in a bee hive or ant colony, the aggregate is totally willing to throw away the lives of individual bees or ants for the survival of the collective.

 

Feelings/emotions are worth even less to genes than individual lives, sadly. Yet, every individual human experiences the world and his/her life through feelings and emotions.

 

Re: power abuse

 

I agree with just about everything you said under this section of your response. Regarding "you should have some hope," I like to think of working to limit power abuse as something like dieting or working out at the gym on a regular basis. Everybody knows you don't just work out once, hit your goal, and then stop working out ever again for the rest of your life. Dieting or working out is an ongoing discipline. Fighting the abuse of power is the same way, but I notice there are a lot of people who think of it as solvable-once-and-for-all. "Oh, if only we install X kind of gov't, all abuse of power will be solved forever..."

 

But if we think of fighting the abuse of power is something that all of us have to do all the time throughout history, like dieting, we can do it. (For instance, there is the saying, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.") And of course, as we learn more about how abuse of power works (a la Zimbardo and others who are studying the psychology of evil*), we'll get better at it. It will be like finding better diets over time. In that regard, I have not lost hope. BUT I am not foolish enough to think abuse of power can ever be defeated. As with bullying, there are evolutionary advantages to abuse of power. In other words, Reality rewards those who abuse power (usually with increased resources--the international bully who is willing to kill his political opponents in wars gets more access to wealth via the natural resources he plunders, meaning he is likely to secure the continued survival of himself and his people relative to the peoples he has warred upon).

 

The diet analogy fits well again: evolution favors overeating when possible and storing all that excess energy as fat; people with stored fat are more likely to survive than people who are right at the edge of being underweight.

 

Re: Social Darwinism

 

If you choose not to watch the entire Wake Up, Girls! idol anime, let me know. I'll explain the point about Social Darwinism (which is a serious spoiler to anyone who has not watched Wake Up, Girls!).

 

Also, if it wasn't clear from my "snow has avalanches" analogy,

 

  • "survival of the fittest" is a process
  • Social Darwinism is a philosophy that is organized around the "survival of the fittest" process as a good thing

 

Re: How do we change society? Well, I am not smart enough to answer that, lol.

 

If only so many people were as humble as you, mankind probably wouldn't have as many conflicts as we do!

 

By now, it should not surprise you to hear me say that even arrogance/belligerence have their evolutionary purposes. If you read NPA Theory (npatheory.com), you will see that Narcissism, normally considered an all-bad trait, actually is a continuum from good to bad. That is to say, there is a healthy amount of Narcissism, and not having enough means one doesn't stick up enough for oneself and having too much means one offends others too much. 

 

As it turns out, society needs Narcissists. These are the bossy know-it-alls who think they have the world's solutions that happen to be just perfect for being politicians. And yes, the world needs politicians. Or, at least, they are beneficial to some degree. When your politician is out there fighting other politicians at the pig trough for pork barrel spending, you want the best bully on your side...

 

 

Re: depopulation of Japan

 

That's funny that you mention this. You are absolutely correct about the demographic problem. It is a core cause.

 

While talking with a coworker about this, he said this potentially racist statement: Japan needs to immigrate more "brown people."

 

To some degree he is right, but in a big way, he is wrong. Culture matters. Just importing lots of humans to breed and work is not enough. The imported immigrants bring with them their own culture, and that is a culture in direct competition with Japanese culture. (Again, Richard Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene" is must-read material here--a culture is a meme-plex that competes with other meme-plexes.)

 

Think of it this way: it is somewhat well-known that there are a lot of Russian mobsters in Japan. These Russians bring with them two cultures: that of Russia, and that of organized crime. If we were to suddenly import 10 million more Russian mobsters, would that help Japan? Nope. We would have a colony of Russians that also happens to be a colony of criminals, neither of which is compatible with the extremely-orderly and rule-following Japanese culture.

 

So the real solution, which everybody knows about but nobody knows how to solve, is for the Japanese people to crank out Japanese babies and raise them in the Japanese culture with all their history and traditions.

 

This is even more crucial because Japan is a small island nation with limited natural resources.

 

I do agree that Japan's culture has set up incentives to not have children; these must be reversed immediately, but it may already be too late. The Japanese women of childbearing age are dwindling in number. Worse yet, each Japanese woman of childbearing age would have to have 4 or 5 children to reverse the depopulation problem, and then we are right back at "what is good for the aggregate is bad for the individual." Japanese women know that their husbands can't earn enough to support 4-5 kids and the mom as she stays home; they don't want to suffer as individual parents, but the whole of Japan needs them to suffer!

 

Re: war guilt

 

Yeah, I have a hard time convincing people of this hypothesis of mine. It's understandable if you don't agree. I need to gather more evidence and improve my hypothesis.

 

Here's one thing to consider: why does Japanese anime (cartoons meant for kids) feature white/Western-looking characters? If you were to go to China and watch what they show their kids, it's all Chinese characters/actors. If you go to just about any country anywhere, they show their kids what their people look like, but not Japan, and not South Korea. (Think about how strange it would be to turn on the Saturday morning cartoons in America and see every single character look Asian.)

 

Why? I think because Japan and South Korea were both occupied by the USA during periods of war or post-war-recovery. This is one thing that leads me to believe that there is some latent war guilt in Japan.

 

Now, Germany is mostly white, so having a bunch of other whites (US and the Soviet Union) occupying it did not result in this strange showing of people of a different race to one's children.

 

I'm not disagreeing with your observations at all. I do hear about the victim card and the Nanking Massacre and the A-bomb, etc. I think those are also some of many factors contributing to the less-than-what-is-necessary-and-healthy-amount-of-nationalism in Japan.

 

My belief is that the war-guilt is sub-conscious, just below the level where the Japanese are aware of it. There are certainly some German nationalists that agree with me that Angela Merkel's pro-immigration stance is based on sub-conscious war guilt and that her welcoming of incompatible cultures into Germany, at the expense of Germans, is a form of atonement.

 

I hope and pray for the people of Japan that they basically "grow a pair" and start fighting hard for their culture and country. Some level of aggression and narcissism (selfishness) is necessary to reach out and grab what they need to survive and grow. You see the Chinese basically invading the South China Sea--the Chinese have this aggression (too much, I'd say, but they have at least enough for self-preservation as they fight overpopulation and the same aging-demographic problem as Japan). Why does Japan sit back civilly and not use such dirty tricks itself? (I'm not talking about going to war with China, which would be suicidal, but playing the same sneaky underhanded games where nobody can object too strenuously--it should be possible for Japan to walk the fine line that China is walking too.)

 

That's the kind of healthy aggression/assertiveness that I think Japan needs. In a way, it is the same problem as the "victim card" thing you mention--a person or country playing the victim card can't be self-assertive, or then they no longer look like a victim. But the level of self-assertion/aggression needed to play the victim card is too low for the healthy functioning of a person or country...

 

Thoughts?

 

Also: I've been trying to stay relatively close to ReLIFE in my comments, but in this case, I'm drifting too far away, so if a moderator or you feel the discussion needs to be curbed, by all means, go ahead and stop it.

 

 

---

 

* BTW, the "science of evil" or "psychology of evil" is a real, relatively young field of study. There is actually a book, "The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty" by Simon Baron-Cohen. (It's not a must-read, so unless you are really interested in the topic, no need to read it. I actually recommend a much older book, "The Sociopath Next Door," that I do consider a must-read.)

 

But the main point is that yes, we are getting better at understanding evil, and we will improve society using what we learn, up to a degree.


Edited by dchang0, 12 December 2016 - 07:08 AM.


#15
Nasukasu

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Sorry for the late response again, was enjoying the holidays. I hope you didn’t take this the wrong way. I  really do enjoy your feedback.

 

Selfish Genes

Since I can’t really get my hands on the book at this moment, I read through the summaries on the web and listened to some talks by Dawkins himself, so my observations will be at a surface level. Most likely I will be repeating what you already said but this is just to make sure my understanding is correct, so please correct me if I am wrong.

 

First, as I don’t know how versed you are in biology, but I want to point out this book is an incomplete version, at best, of evolution. Genes are not the only driving force of evolution. In fact, epigenetics suggests environment also plays an important role as genes.A simplified comparison, evolution takes over a long period of time while epigenetics can force rapid changes, even in the same generation. What epigenetics does is either express or silence a gene, but it retains the DNA code. Cancer is a great example because it is essentially cells that will not stop reproducing (overexpressed genes). Most of the biology behind the book is completely outdated, although his thoughts on evolution aren’t necessarily wrong.

 

Just some random science info. Back to your points you made which I haven’t answered yet.

 

One of Dawkin’s idea, altruism, fits nicely with your map and territory analogy. We can see the juxtaposition between the workplace and the school, where one adopts selfishness (individualism) and altruism (collectivism). Well, my adjectives are incorrect but I think you understand what I’m trying to say.

Spoiler

 

As Dawkin’s stated, genes (ideas)are immortal. However, some simply vanish due to cultural evolution, which is what I think your main point it. Survival of the fitness of memes definitely may harm or be beneficial to society. Now, what is this meme that the author is trying to present? Collectivism vs individualism? Romance trumps all? NAKAMA POWER? These past two arcs just completely threw me off and I have no idea where the author wants to take this, LOL.

Spoiler



#16
Nasukasu

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Feelings/Emotion

Feelings and emotion is an interesting topic considering we have to question why we need to have them in the first place, as plants have shown it isn’t really necessary to simply “live”. There is some evolutionary speculation behind it, such as instilling fear to flee from predators and aggression to exert dominance (which I think leads to bullying). Now I believe, without any scientific evidence, that the reason lies behind our need to act as a group. Not necessarily a hive-mind, but pseudo-altruism. This leads back to the Selfish genes, where Dawkins claims acts of selflessness is actually for selfish reasons.

Empathy is a necessary trait to have if we want to work as a group. It’s also a double-edged sword, as one can take advantage of altruism. To determine whether your act of altruism really does benefit you, there is a need to analyze emotions (empathy). Humans have the tendency mirror each other, the explanation is said to help distinguish between species (flamingos are a great example). We also need to analyze body-language, especially facial features (which is why we see a “face” when there is three holes). The brain has the task to interpret these emotions and the removal/damage of certain parts of the brain hinders the individual to comprehend emotions. Without these areas, it severely hinders social interactions.

Now, I do believe our genes cares about emotions and feelings, because the lack of them will severely hinder our chances of survival. In fact, there is research done that suggest genes have influence over our emotions. I think you may be confusing the word “aggregate” as it holds a different meaning in a societal and evolutionary context. As you said, the “aggregate” in societal context may ruthlessly sacrifice the individual. However, “aggregate” regarding evolution refers to the gene pool. The larger the gene pool, the more likely the population will survive. If we add new elements to it, such as emotions, the population has a better chance of survival, which are desirable.

Regarding individual vs collective, I think we should also question the necessity for humans to display altruistic behaviors in our current environment. Especially in the developed countries, the concept of family has taking a different meaning as households with three generations have decreased tremendously. Hell, Japan has turned its back on family completely. We are totally capable of living off on our own as any necessary resource is right down the street. Our selfishness will still uphold law in order to keep society stable. Although we probably aren’t ready to take this step, perhaps the mentality to serve a society should be reconsidered.    

 

Re: power abuse

 

Well said.

 

Re: Social Darwinism

 

Yea, I’ll have to ask you to summarize the points. I am really picky with my ANIME and avoid idol ones at all cost, haha.

 

NPA Theory

Definitely agree. I find balance a necessary thing for anything and the seven deadly sins are no exception.

Where are the psychopaths? Well.. they may be our boss, lol. I don’t know how they came to the conclusion of “psychopaths”, but their results are understandable.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/13/1-in-5-ceos-are-psychopaths-australian-study-finds/

 

Re: depopulation of Japan

Importing of “brown” people is as you said, a yes and a no to the solution. The Japanese firms LOVE skilled immigrants and are taking every opportunity they can get to hire more. The problem is, how are you suppose to find a bunch of “skilled laborers” from Asia that can handle Japan’s complex technology? Working visa is also an extremely solvable yet difficult issue as the government isn’t really helpful. Japan’s brain-drain is effectively countering this solution as well, lol. Skilled labor may be coming in but it’s also going out. What is coming in doesn’t really stay, only for a period of around two years?

Another problem is the distribution of resources. Tokyo is growing and strong as ever but Osaka has recently only managed to hang on, thanks to tourism. Outside of these two cities, depopulation is hitting hard. Rural areas, who are against outsiders the most, really have no future left (same as the US). I don’t blame Kaizaki for wanting to remain in Tokyo, LOL. Perhaps the important thing is to bring immigrants into these areas to boost the economies, but the cultural clash will be much more severe compared to say Tokyo. Conflict with the American Base in Okinawa is(was) frequently on the news so that may prevent integration even more..

Even if Japan were to up the population, where would they go? Tokyo is crowded enough and that’s where all the jobs are. Rural areas are not an option. What a depressing topic, lol.

 

Re: war guilt

 

Why do the Japanese love American culture?

That is something, my friend, that I would love to know. I honestly don’t know. I am treated like a god back there due to my ability to speak English. That’s all it takes, LOL. In fact, I don’t understand why Japan quickly accept the US after the War and become an economic superpower in a blink of an eye. For a nation that was obsessed with the Emperor, they changed their mind rather quickly and absorbed America’s technology. Granted, they had been already doing that with Britain pre-war so I guess US occupation accelerated their growth.

I hypothesize it has something to do with respect towards your opponent. Considering all the ignorant, hateful remarks towards the Chinese and the Koreans on social media but the lack anti-American sentiments I guess backs it up. In fact, have you seen any anime that has Chinese or Korean characters that are on the “good” side? Black Lagoon and Darker than Black is the only two I can think of and they are anti-heros. Mangawise, haven’t seen any and I’ve read a looooooooooot.

The Germans blamed the Nazis and the Japanese haven’t really owned it up. My mother fumes that Japan should have pushed everything onto the Imperial family and cut ties with them. Either way, it’s clear the level of war guilt between these two countries are on different levels. I’m not saying Japan is completely ruthless, considering they did pay compensation to Korea and China.

I am completely ignorant regarding the EU, but I just simply assumed that Germany, as EU’s “leader”, is just upholding the its principles. Similar to France’s stance.

 

"grow a pair"

I think this has largely to do with the Japanese sentiments of owning a military, which if I remember correctly from a television poll, that the majority refused. (Trump’s decision to keep/withdraw military funding is something to watch for). Aggression is not what they desire. Sanctions are not really an option considering these two nations are the biggest trading partners in Asia and hold second and third in GDP. I am guessing the Japanese government sees China flexing their muscle as a short-term thing considering they are most likely doing this to divert attention away from CPCCC’s troubles. More military maneuvers from China also means stronger relations with other nations in Asia so playing the victim card may be the right choice. Considering Japan has immense “soft power”, I don’t think they are really worried about their image. As long as the WW2 generation is alive, aggression/retaliation may not be an issue if China takes an extra step. The islands that really matter, the ones with natural gas, they aren't letting China or Korea have em lol. That is one thing they made clear for the last few years.

 

On the other hand, I don’t know how long China can keep up. The citizens there aren’t really happy and a revolt with that large of a population won’t be pretty.

 

Although your comments may not directly address RELIFE, the social context you provide I believe is necessary to really understand the scope of the manga. That being said, I am not the one in charge so...lol



#17
dchang0

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Re: Feelings/Emotion

 

Agreed and well-said.

 

Re: Social Darwinism in the idol anime Wake Up Girls:

 

 

I started typing up an explanation of the moral of this story, and it just got to be too long, so I gave up. For now, I guess we'll just have to skip an explanation of this reference.

 

If I had to try to put it in one sentence, it would be: under intense competition, a person can choose to submit to his/her fears of loss OR choose to do what he/she desires for the sake of loving it and focus on continually improving oneself, regardless of outcomes. I guess the closest term for the latter I can think of is shokunin. (For English-only speakers reading this, please see https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/magazine/what-the-west-can-learn-from-japan-about-the-cultural-value-of-work.html?_r=0 : "The word shokunin, which has no direct translation, sums it up: It means something like “master or mastery of one’s profession.") It's definitely not the "follow your dreams" thing taught to Americans; there is a measure of "bear any suffering" built into it.

 

The girls go from the fearful, victimized identity as idols under intense "survival of the fittest" to happy, self-secure, heroines thriving under the exact same intense "survival of the fittest" regime. Nothing has changed except what's within them. Most important, aside from learning to love being idols and thrive under the Social-Darwinistic system, they also are brought to excellence that they would never have achieved had they not been under such intense competition. In the very last movie, near the end, we see that this was precisely the plan that the not-so-diabolical-after-all idol manager Shiraki-san had for intentionally creating the Social-Darwinistic environment.

 

In other words, via Wake Up, Girls!, I am trying to say that "survival of the fittest" can be good or bad to an individual depending on how one chooses to respond to it. Social Darwinists obviously embrace "survival of the fittest," but one does not need to be a Social Darwinist to do so. One merely needs to figure out how to thrive in spite of suffering.

 

It's pretty clear that this is a common moral of the story across many Japanese anime/manga/light novels. I'm sure you've seen the same moral elsewhere in many shonen manga/anime--a whiny victim under terrible pressure from circumstances out of his control grows a pair and becomes a hero (not a necessarily a superhero). I chose Wake Up, Girls! because it happens to perfectly illustrate what we were discussing more deeply than most shonen manga/anime.

 

 

Re: rural vs. city

 

Well said on the challenges with immigrants and high-tech skills/brain drain.

 

I think there is hope yet (where no countries will have to import large numbers of unskilled immigrants that refuse to integrate). Some demographers/urban-scientists are predicting that smaller cities will see a massive influx of upper-middle-class people fleeing the megacities.

 

I could post pages of references to explain, but that's too far off-topic. Suffice it to say that other smaller cities should grow as Tokyo reaches a sort of maximum capacity. San Francisco is a good example going on right now. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/21/us/san-francisco-children.html

 

It's gotten too expensive to live in SF. So expensive that many cannot choose to live in SF AND support a child. So they choose to leave for smaller surrounding cities. They bring with them the high-tech skills they developed in SF. Only the megarich can afford to stay, and the poor can't afford to leave. The good news is that when faced with the choice, these families chose to have kids rather than stay in the megacity; i.e., the nation's reproductive rate goes up each time they make this choice, AND these are the families best positioned to successfully raise children in terms of financial resources and spending quality time with their children.

 

My expectation is that the megacity areas will end up sprawling like Miami-Dade, where there is just a huge mass of midrise buildings with no visible boundaries between cities, stretching out to the horizon. Japan needs to intentionally take the population and jobs of Tokyo and spread it out more evenly across a larger area so that people can keep their commutes shorter and keep housing costs down and improve their quality of life to the point where they feel they can actually afford getting married and having children. It may require seasteading (see the anime Haifuri--it has a futuristic Tokyo where sea levels have risen to submerge most of the city, but seasteading allows the people to still live there, floating atop the ocean).

 

Regarding rural areas, I don't think totally rural areas will ever make a comeback--agriculture simply doesn't need as many human workers any more. Industrialized farming will depend heavily on robots/drones. Japan is leading the way in applied robotics, thankfully.

 

My hope is that Japan can reach a stable equilibrium where its population is much lower and steady (basically, after the large cohort of elderly have died off), robots do all the low-skilled labor, and all the humans are highly-educated and do only high-tech, highly-creative work that AI can't do. With the lower population and jobs spread out a bit more, they won't have the massive congestion of Tokyo. And to reach this state, they will have to continue to block low-skilled immigrants.

 

 

Re: why did the Japanese so quickly embrace American culture?

 

I think this may be the shokunin thing again. Have you noticed in many shonen manga/anime that the hero deliberately befriends former opponents to learn as much as possible from them? Right now the best example might be some of the secondary characters in San-gatsu no Lion. A few seasons ago a perfect example was the hero of Shokugeki no Souma. (San-gatsu no Lion might also be a pretty good example of a person struggling with "survival of the fittest.")

 

Shogi is certainly obsessed with learning from loss, with the post-game reviews and the expectation that the winner essentially teach the loser why he/she lost.

 

I do not see this kind of cultural value in the other Asian cultures. I think it's a fantastic strength of the Japanese.

 

At the same time, the things you pointed out--the Japanese "sweeping under the rug"--are seriously at odds with learning from loss/failure. Which trait is winning? Right now, as you pointed out, "sweeping under the rug" is apparently winning. I suppose this would be why shonen manga/anime is trying to teach the value of shokunin to young boys as something to strive for.

 

Re: I don't know how long China can keep up

 

Quite bluntly, I think China is already past the point of no return and is in the slow-motion phase of collapse. They are doing their level best to paper over it and propagandize away the bad reality, but everyone can run the numbers for themselves and figure out that the official economic numbers and political reports are all lies.

 

There is a quote from Hemingway: 

 

“How did you go bankrupt?" 

Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
 
China WILL fail, and there will be massive social violence. I do not know how this will play out regarding Japan, but my guess is that China will be too busy trying to hold itself together to go invade other small landmasses. It has to know that even if it totally captured Japan's highly-productive workforce, much of that productivity is meaningless outside of peacetime.
 
Certainly Japan and the USA will feel China's collapse economically. I do not know if there will be military conflict between the USA and China, but I am planning my life moves just in case war breaks out (as it stands, I will likely be instantly killed on the first nuclear strike--gotta move elsewhere, far out of the blast zone.)
 
 
Good talk--I'm glad to have met you!

Edited by dchang0, 01 February 2017 - 05:56 AM.


#18
dchang0

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New info. Good timing too since Ohga's brother's condition is revealed.

 

I came across this recorded lecture by Jordan Peterson titled "Does Poverty Cause Crime?"

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8EwIyb3x44

 

One of the interesting themes he talks about is income inequality and what men do within situations of relative income inequality. (In situations of high relative income inequality, men tend to get violent to try to increase their status (pecking order).)

 

It made me think about Kaizaki-san's problem AND that of NEETs in Japan.

 

One of the important quotes in the lecture is: "you're allowed to advance your position within the [societal] structure so long as you don't disrupt it negatively ... [in a civilized society]."

 

In a less civilized country, the males would turn to violence quickly, but in a highly-civilized country like Japan, the males who have essentially lost at the game of modern life (go to work, get a wife, have kids, retire on a fat pension where you can do what you really wanted to do all your life) cannot turn to violence (without extreme shame), so they turn the violence inwards and direct it towards themselves (self-destructive behaviors, which may be very slow) and suffer under lesser but still great shame.

 

Kaizaki-san is fixing two problems at once: getting the job (to reduce relative income inequality and also raise his position in the social hierarchy) AND getting a woman.

 

Another aspect of his reducing relative income inequality between his hometown and the big city--if he makes it big in the city it means much more than making it big back home.

 

The fact that Japan's "losing" males don't turn to violence/crime at rates like in other countries is an endorsement of Japan's civilized society.


Edited by dchang0, 12 March 2017 - 07:35 AM.