Like a Child being taught a lesson, know when to say enough is enough…
The G-20’s decision in November of 2008 not to let any systemically relevant bank perish may have seemed wise at the time, given the threat of a global financial meltdown. But that decision and bad policies by central banks and governments since then, has given over-indebted major banks the power to blackmail their rescuers – a power that they have used to create a financial system in which they are effectively exempt from liability.
Big banks’ ability to extort such an arrangement stems from an implicit threat: the financial sector – and with it the economy’s payment system – would collapse if a systemically important bank were ever pushed into insolvency.
But it is time to call the bankers’ bluff: maintaining the payment system can and should be separated from the problem of bank insolvency.
Above all, the G-20’s decision to prop up systemically relevant banks must be revisited, and governments must respond to the banks’ threats by declaring their willingness to let insolvent banks be judged accordingly.
A market economy (as so many countries tout their systems to now be) must rest on the economic principle of profit and loss. This is not about whether this type of system is right for our species… or in fact even really works… this is about facing up to the realities of what we have today and understanding what we need to do.
An economy with neither bankruptcies nor a rule of law that applies equally to all is no market economy. The law that is valid for all other companies should apply to banks as well.
Safeguarding the Children….
The Nature of War is Changing… but children still pay the highest price:
Over twenty million children worldwide are displaced by war and regional/local conflicts. In the last ten years, two million children have been killed and over six million injured.
The world over children are (often) the defenceless victums of actions that result in their forceable recruitment by armed groups, rape, tortured, selling of them into slavery and other such explotative abuses.
In order to reach the Mellennium Development Goals (on Education) by 2015, 18 million more teachers must be recruited. Teachers are the future and the key to change. Often in times of confilct or disaster, education is seldom seen as a priority.
No country should think they are immune. ALL goverments MUST ensure their legislation is in line with international standards for child protection, and that laws include specific mechanisms to protect (internally) displace/refugee children… where ever and for whatever the case may be.
Displaced childrens survival is entirely at the mercy of adults… adults like you and me.
*statistics curtesy the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
Expect The Best: Prepare For…. Reality:
Although we may not always consciously think it, we often expect others to be perfect…. or nearly so.
This is termed other-oriented perfectionism. That is, holding others to standards that are impossible to maintain. Coupled with this standard is the often implied, (but never actually stated) expectation that your definition of “perfect” is the correct one.
Expectations of this “perfectness” seems to rise in direct proportion to the closeness of the relationship. Generally speaking, persons seem to set a higher perfection threshold for family and friends (higher as they are closer to you in terms of that friendship), than they do for colleagues and strangers.
The highest level? Not surprisingly, this “honor” is usually reserved for ones partner and children. This is one of the main reasons why there is so much pain and frustration in dealing with those closest to us – they disappoint our expectations the most.
If one were to look through the pages of a dictionary, one would find word after word after word directly related to this idea of expectation….infatuation, destiny, prospect, foresee, await/wait… even future. The concepts of expectation we have as a species are so varied and diverse, is it any wonder we (most often) set ourselves (and others) up to fail? Who knew as a child one would be straddled with such a thought in ones life. Playing innocently on the playground or in your room with your friends, whom would ever imagine (or even fathom) the amount of expectations we put on ourselves (and each other) as we grow into teenage years, young adulthood and beyond.
We are all fallible human beings. We all make mistakes and have characteristics that others do not appreciate nor understand.
Children are not carbon copies of us, and are not created to be so. They are individual human beings who will find their own way regardless of what we may want them to do in life. They, even as children, have a different idea than we may have as a parent of whom they are going to be. An attempt at molding them into our ideas of what a perfect human is, probably will only succeed in frustrating you and driving them away, or creating an atmosphere that is not healthy or good for anyone.
Ones personal expectations play a role in all aspects of their being. From ones belief system to ones personal (and worldly) outlook of well-being. Expectation is, in a nutshell one of the greatest driving forces behind all things that we do as a species.
We all have heavy burdens to bare. Carrying the weight of expectations, desires, wants, needs and requirements. Society more and more tells us all what we should be, what we should read, eat, wear, act like, and so on. The images of expectation that bombard us everyday are enough to make anyone feel confused and want out.
Culture to culture, country to country, family to family, the burdens may be different, but the feelings are the same. The pressure to succeed, to be something (or more) than what those before you have been. To “have it all” … and in this world.. .that all grows bigger (and more costly) with each passing generation.
When I sit and I think about this things called expectation, it seems to me it is much like a roller coaster ride (of sorts). Birth is the entrance, where you sit in the car, the whole world (and the ride) laid out before you. It begins in your childhood, (on an upward grade), ever building till it reaches a crest with the on-vent of a job, then another (a home), and another ( a family, a career…. your roller coaster may be a big one or smaller than others), then, as later life sets in, expectations begin to wain, and like that roller coaster ride, the crescendos decreasing till you find yourself back at the station (death) …. the station where you started before (you know the beginning of this ride) in the abyss of nothingness… in the eternal question of.. where do we come from, what is this all for.
And just like that roller coaster ride, life is over before you even got a chance to really enjoy it, but unlike that roller coaster ride, you can’t get back in line and do it all again. Life has one shot (or at least this one… depending on your ideas of such things).
So why squander it all on this thing called expectations? Sure it’s great to have goals, aspirations, passion and the like. But when all of your happiness gets tied up in an expectant, it seems, (just like that roller coaster) your too busy holding on for dear life, afraid to open your eyes and really see, and before you know it, it’s over, it comes to an end, and then in a flash all of those expectations come rushing back and leave you with nothing more than… frustration.
Self Deception: A Love Story…
If one were to take a look at the history of our species from the beginning our (modern) recorded time, it seems that the human capacity for self-deception knows no bounds… but why do we do it? Is the simple answer (as some biologist would have us to believe), the most primal and instinctual thing that we posses (that is, deception helps us have more children thus continuing the propagation of the species), or is there so much more to this self-deception web than that?
As we move forward in an attempt to understand what this idea of deception is, I offer up two definitions (in the broadest and most general sense of the word) for your consideration:
To deceive =df to intentionally cause another person to have a false belief.
To deceive =df to intentionally cause another person to have a false belief that is truly believed to be false by the person intentionally causing the false belief.
When looking at these definitions, it is easy to start to see the problems that may arise when one even attempts to begin to look at what deception is. In the case of both ideas, deception is the attempt to “put something over” on another, but in the case of the second one, deception is also more personalized and requires the individual more personal acceptance of the situation one may be in.
So I ask you.. Which one would you see as better (or more accurate), or are their instances that both my come into play? In short, which one do you think is more “acceptable to you in your idea of “morality” (and when will you admit you practice one or both?)
As a child, humans begin their understanding of the world through cognitive actions/reactions/interactions with the world around them. In doing so, we come to understand, (through trial and error, observation, reflection and the like), the need for different ways to act/be in different situations. In short, humans (over time and with maturity), learn what to say, do, act or be at the right time in the right situation and for the right audience… translation, we learn to deceive.
Going back for a moment to the definitions I forwarded as a framework and looking at each in terms of a real situation, how would these each present themselves? You are sitting with your friends after a long day at work and you are sharing some food, a drink, and a few laughs. Up comes a conversation, and like millions of people every day everywhere, you add your two cents to the conversation. It could be about religion, it could be about politics, it could be about the latest starlet to light up the screens. In the process of your conversation, you mention something that causes others look at you in a skeptical way (meaning: they question the thought that you had as … true). Now maybe you are just repeating what you heard, maybe you are just speaking out of the desire to be part of the conversation, or maybe you are just expressing your views of how you think (and see) the way something should be.
Is this deception? And if so, what type (going back to the two definitions offered up) would this constitute? Looking deeper into this scenario, does the deception (you may or may not have perpetrated) cause harm in any way to the participants of the conversation, and what further ramifications of your (alleged) deception might there be?
Thus, even in the simplest of conversations we carry out each day lays the general ideas of deception. We may not think about it in such a simple and small thought way (being we often think of deception as something that is on a much grander scale and something that is generally associated with hurt, mistrust, anger, death and the like), but in the case of the scenario I have given, do you REALLY feel any of those things from such a small thing? Is this type of deception any different from any other, or is it really ones own morality and relative thinking that dictates what the deception (may or may not) be to her/him?
Lying and deception are an extremely common interpersonal experience. Nearly everyday, while carrying out interpersonal relationships, one can expect to either witness or be the conveyor of a deception. How realistic is it to not expect to be deceived, or in fact to not deceive another person oneself? Humans deceive each other all the time in the name of both good and bad.
Is deception ever a good thing? Illusionists use it all the time in the name of entertainment. So to do endless hours of mindless programming pumped into our homes each week or the hour after hour of movies that don our screens on any given weekend. Should these types of deception be necessarily seen as a bad thing or is a bit of deception (harmless and for so-called “entertainment” value), a good thing, perhaps even a needed distraction? We deceive to protect others from pain, hurt, sorrow and other such emotions we feel they may not want or need at the time. We deceive to make ourselves look better (in a job interview, talking about an accomplishment we may have succeeded in, speaking about our performance at work… the ways in which we deceive are endless).
This type of self-deception termed “self-inflation”, is very common. Studies have shown that If you ask high school students if they are in the top half of their class for leadership ability, 80 per cent will say yes. 70 per cent of people say they’re in the top half of the general population for good looks. Logically, when looking at such studies it is plain to see that such things are just not possible. Surprisingly (or not), academics are especially prone to this type of self-deception. If you ask professors whether they’re in the top half of their profession, 94 per cent say they are.
So Why do we do it? Why do we keep telling ourselves (and ultimately others) that we are this and that and the other thing? Why is it so hard to face the “truth”?
Could it be that humans don’t want to see the truth about themselves so much, or that of their friends? If one were to watch and wade their way through what we find as “news”, we often find the deceptions and untruths that are found out by the media (often of those we call stars.. the people we don’t know) as the most fascinating. It is sort of like we are glad to see that others are like us in some way.. but happy to not be found out and put on display in such a way ourselves. Even the closest of friends often find it hard not to deceive each other at times. We do it in the name of “not hurting”, “having ones back” and the like, but is it (in some ways) really being a “friend” by doing so, or are these innocent types of “self-inflation” harmless (as long as one does not begin to believe and follow such things all the time)?
Deceptions of this type do come with benefits. “Blowing oneself up” in an interview can result in a promotion. Making oneself out (harmlessly) to be more than one is (in terms of confidence and the like), may bring more admiration from those around one, and in the long term could even produce the effect in that person they professed to have all along. People become aware at a very young age that “playing the game” may get them into a door they may not otherwise be able to open. Once inside, they may feel they can change it better from within, but they deceive to get in their in the first place. All of these (and many more) are examples of deceptions we perpetrate each and every day…. So I ask you… Are these deceptions the same as lying for materialistic/monetary/gains on a grander scale (in elections, in business, in studies and the like), or are they merely symptoms of the greater deception we tell ourselves we don’t partake in all the time?
Deception (like so many things in our life) is a double edged sword of thought and action.
Lying is widespread throughout the animal kingdom, both between species and also within species. One example is mimics, species that are harmless and tasty but gain protection by resembling a poisonous or distasteful one. Psychologists are getting close to showing that monkeys practice self-deception. Like humans, monkeys naturally associate members of their “in-group” with positive stimuli such as fruits, and out-group members with negative stimuli such as spiders. So why do we see ourselves as different?
The smarter a child is, the more he or she lies.
If you can get the/a group believing the same deception, you have a powerful force to impose group unity.
At one extreme you could say religion is complete nonsense, so the whole thing is an exercise in self-deception. But could it have spread so far by self-deception alone? Religion has been selected for this idea. It has given many benefits to people - health benefits, cooperative benefits and the like, so like many other deceptions we may (or may not ) think are “real”, is deception (in some ways), more a question of each persons own ideas of such a thing… and whether it is a real deception , or if it is one that is hurtful to others (and to what extend that hurt is). Is Deception directly tied to ones ideas of “morality”?
How do we go about living in this world of deception? How do we see the good and the bad (ones) in it all?
If you ask me about my self-deception, I can give you stories, even chapters of it in many different ways in the past. But can I prevent myself doing the same thing again tomorrow? Sometimes, yes but usually not. There are some types of deception I will always exhibit, and I will always practice, (hopefully in the name of what I see as “good”). I feel that I probably practice less self-deception, when I am more critical of evidence, open my eyes to others ideas and remember my self ego is always in play… in short, I am less deceptive when I am seen (by others) as little bit harder nosed… weird… and cold. A strange catch-22 in many ways, but no one said that understanding ones self would ever be easy (or accepted). And no one said that I don’t see it in others, and generally accept it as part of our species.
Then again… could be deceiving myself about that?
What a wacky (and interesting world) it is, this deception.
The future is the young. Yet we seem to forget that as we get older. Today the world, perhaps more than ever before is rocked with changes that will have dire consequences for the future. Poverty, Hunger, Climate Changes, Economic Changes, Social Upheavl… the list goes on… in our struggle to obtain Darwins future, let us never forget that the hope of our future, is what comes after us….