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.
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:
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.
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.