Hasta la victoria siempre

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Colectivism si fericire

Colectivismul este definit ca „Trăsătură a relaţiilor sociale în care se exprimă colaborarea, unitatea şi solidaritatea oamenilor, spiritul tovărăşesc, comunitatea de interese şi devotamentul faţă de cauza generală comună; principiu exprimând colaborarea, solidaritatea, comunitatea de interese faţă de cauza generală comună.”

Se intelege ca privind lucrurile prin prisma curentului downshiftingului, egalitarismului si, logic, anti-capitalismului si inegalitatilor sociale, colectivismul este net preferabil in fata individualismului. Stiinta de ultima ora demonstreaza ca, intr-adevar, colectivistii sunt mai fericiti decat individualistii, aratand totodata ca o atmosfera de echipa, dominata de spiritul de tovarasie, este un mediu propice de lucru si de viata.

In acest sens voi cita din studiul „How individualism–collectivism orientations predict happiness in a collectivistic context”, realizat de universitarii Arménio Rego si Miguel P. Cunha, publicat in Journal of Happiness Studies, la 26 mai 2007.

Observatii generale despre persoanele cu orientari colectiviste
„Individualistic people place a greater emphasis on self-interest and personal achievement, whereas collectivist people consider the subordination of one’s personal goals for the sake of collective welfare and the goals of the larger collective to which they belong. The first are more inclined to compete, be assertive and place low emphasis on group harmony, while the latter are more willing to cooperate, avoid conflict and emphasize harmony. Individualists may cooperate with other group members to the extent that such a work group is instrumental to the attainment of individual goals that cannot be obtained by working alone. The difference is that while collectivists cooperate and place group interests ahead of personal goals as a paramount end to be attained, individualists cooperate as a means to get satisfaction for their individual interests and goals.”

Pe scurt, individualistii, cei care sunt mai bine adaptati la realitatile societatii capitaliste, sunt competitivi, putin interesati de bine comun si armonia sociala, pe cand colectivistii sunt mai inclinati spre cooperare, evitarea conflictelor si pastrarea armoniei de grup. Mai departe, cei doi autori anticipeaza, inainte de studiul-experimental propriu-zis, faptul ca atitudinea colectivista este favorabila fericirii personale si a ceea ce ei numesc „affective well-being”, adica buna-starea afectiva:

„With this in mind, we suggest that in a (...) collectivistic culture, collectivistic employees experience greater AWB than do the individualistic ones. One possible reason would be that collectivistic employees adopt more pro-social and interpersonal helping behaviors. Working in a collectivistic culture, they can expect reciprocity from those people they help to therefore cooperate, thus experiencing the sense of gratitude and such positive emotions as joy, comfort and pleasure. On the contrary, because they are less prone to cooperate, to help and to nurture interpersonal harmony, individualists are less likely to receive these reciprocal acts. Collectivists, in comparison with individualists, are more able to “absorb” the available caring from other people in collectivistic contexts, thus being more able to cope with the stress and to experience greater personal well-being.”

Asadar, oamenii invatati sa lucreze in echipa si sa puna binele general deasupra celui personal au o atitudine mai prietenoasa, mai apropiata fata de semenii lor, bucurandu-se, drept urmare, de un tratament afectiv pozitiv din partea celorlalti, ceea ce le sporeste buna-starea afectiva, bucuria si siguranta personale. Spiritul tovarasesc care apare in grupurile si societatile dominate de mentalitatea colectivista ajuta la randul sau la imbunatatirea starii subiective a fiecaruia, pe cand aparitia individualismului deterioreaza intreaga atmosfera de grup si echipa:

„It is also likely that collectivist employees experience greater AWB when they perceive their organizational climates as rich in spirit of camaraderie. This may occur because they gain access to the “resources” they value, namely interpersonal harmony, helping and cooperating behaviors, and positive relationships with the leaders. Feeling that cooperation is valued and promoted, experiencing the gratitude of receiving reciprocal reactions from other organizational members, and perceiving a climate of interpersonal harmony, it is likely that they feel happy cooperating with other employees. On the contrary, when they sense that they are working in climates poor in the spirit of camaraderie, a “misfit” may occur between organizational climate and their individual values. It is possible that they retract from adopting cooperative behaviors, due to the fear that free riders will emerge and benefit from cooperation without making sufficient cooperative contributions. By avoiding cooperation and not helping others, they go against their values and beliefs, thus feeling frustration, discomfort, displeasure and other negative emotions. If they “risk” helping and cooperating, they can feel “victims” of others’ opportunistic behavior, thus experiencing lower self-esteem which, in turn, decreases PWB. At the very least, it is unlikely that they feel as happy as when working in more harmonious interpersonal climates.”

Concluzia studiului intreprins de Arménio Rego si Miguel P. Cunha este evidenta:„Our findings suggest that employees who express preferences for group work (i.e. collectivists) are happier than those who have solitary work preferences. (...) the evidence contradicts literature showing that individualists tend to experience greater personal well-being and points out the plausibility of our previous reasoning: when working in a collectivistic culture, collectivists are more able to access the social and emotional resources they value and feel aligned with their environment, thus experiencing greater affective well-being.
For organizations, this is a relevant finding. Promoting employees’ PWB is good in itself, but is also a way of leveraging performance. According to the broaden-and-build model, happier employees are more easily able to “broaden-and-build” themselves, becoming more creative, resilient, socially connected, physically and mentally healthy, and more productive. Emotions are contagious, which means that the positive emotions of some individuals may spill over to the rest of the team, thus improving interpersonal cooperation, contributing to “broaden-and-build” employees’ strengths (and not “narrow-and-destroy” themselves), and increasing employee and group performance.
Our findings also indicate that the perceptions of spirit of camaraderie have direct and moderating effects on AWB. We start by discussing the direct effects. Individuals who perceive their organizations as richer in spirit of camaraderie report higher comfort, enthusiasm, pleasure and placidity.”

Un climat social caracterizat de colectivism si spirit tovarasesc este unul net superior din punct de vedere al bunastarii personale si eficientei muncii. Sa respingem deci gandirea ingusta, individualisto-egoista promovata de capitalism, inamicul fericirii fara bani, si sa incepem sa punem binele societatii mai presus de cel personal, in acest fel avand inclusiv fiecare dintre noi mai mult de castigat.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Capitalismul ca mutilare a naturii umane

Dr. Necati Aydin este „Director of Neuroeconomics and Well-being Program at Florida State University”. Intr-un remarcabil articol intitulat „Global Financial/Happiness Crisis and End of Capitalism”, Aydin explica de ce capitalismul e incapabil sa sporeasca fericirea populatiilor din tarile avute si de ce este predestinat la crize precum cea din 1928 si cea prezenta. Ne vom limita aici la a prezenta doar prima parte a demonstratiei sale, legata de fericire. Pe scurt, Aydin arata ca acest sistem economico-social se bazeaza pe o perspectiva trunchiata, incompleta, mutilata a naturii umane, de aici slabele sale rezultate.

Capitalism vs. fericirea umana
„It was Easterlin (1974) who first recognized that capitalism fails to bring promised happiness. In his study which covered the years between 1946-1970, he found that despite a great increase in the real income per capita, there was not a significant change in subjective wellbeing.
He later did a similar study for Japan and found that the average self-reported happiness level did not increase in Japan between 1958 and 1987 despite a fivefold increase in real income.
Since this study, we have seen a surge in studies on happiness. Most of them confirm Easterlin’s
findings in terms of the impact of monetary wealth on happiness. A recent study shows that the case is not quite different for China which has been experimenting with consumer culture for the last two decades. The study found that remarkable economic growth from 1994 to 2005, with eal income per capita increase of 250 percent, ownership of color television sets rose from 40 percent of households to 82 percent, and the number of people with a telephone jumped from 10 ercent to 63 percent. Yet, this did not translate into higher life satisfaction. Rather, the percentage of people who say they are dissatisfied has increased, and the percentage who says they are satisfied has decreased (Kahneman and Krueger, 2006).
Real income per capita has doubled or even tripled in many developed countries. Goods and ervices are available to a poor person now which were not possible for kings a few centuries ago. However, paradoxically, the increase in wealth and consumption has not brought happiness to people. For instance, in the U.S., according to subjective wellbeing surveys, people have not seen any positive change in their level of subjective wellbeing even though their real income per capita has tripled since 1960 (Myers, 2001). In other words, for an American, the ability to
purchase car, refrigerator, washing and drying machines or going restaurants has tripled since then. On the other hand, the divorce rate has doubled, the youth suicide rate has tripled, and the umber of depressed people has increased ten times (Newsweek, September 16, 2002). In short, eople in the developed countries are not happier. Actually, they are experiencing a growing happiness crisis”. Tremendous increases in stress, suicide, crime, alcohol and drug use, and epression are an indication of this happiness crisis. In the happiness literature, this is known as progress paradox” or the “American paradox”. Perhaps, it is better to call it a “capitalist aradox”, because it is not limited to the United States. It is common across all developed capitalist countries.
It is like a growing “tsunami” destroying human happiness despite enormous increase in material consumption.”

Asadar, in ciuda unor cresteri ale veniturilor de pana la trei ori, rata divorturilor s-a dublat, cea a sinuciderilor in randul tinerilor s-a triplat,, numarul celor deprimati a crescut de zece ori. Unele economii capitaliste progreseaza, insa in paralel fericirea si starea de satisfactie a populatiilor scade dramatic. Cum se explica acest paradox capitalist? Conform lui Aydin, capitalismul nu se bazeaza pe o vedere de ansamblu a naturii umane, ci doar pe o singura componenta a sa, cea a lacomiei si animalitatii. Care sunt, deci, componentele „universului uman”, asa cum il numeste autorul?

Componentele naturii umane:
1) Regele: Iubirea, intelegerea si generozitatea: regele interior
„Metaphorically speaking, spiritual heart is like a king in a human palace. The king has almost infinite capacity to love. He needs a lover with beauty, perfection, and generosity. This is because the nature of love, which is satisfied with beauty, perfection, and benefit (gift). The king uses his capital of love to make attachments in his search of the true lover. Indeed, in one way,
our life is just a journey of making attachments to satisfy the king. The spiritual heart resembles to king because without his satisfaction life would become torture. Indeed, without any eaningful attachment, it would be hard to justify life over death. Therefore, the king should be given a high priority. Indeed, all other residents should ultimately serve the king. First and foremost, we should take care of the needs and desires of our inner king. We should know what he desires. We should also protect him from any danger.”

2) Constinta
„Conscience, which is defined as ability distinguishes right from wrong, is like an inner judge in a human palace. He makes judgment about the decisions we make in our life. If we treat
someone unfairly, the inner judge makes us to be aware it. He makes us to feel guilty for doing unfairness to others. Furthermore, the inner judge is affected by unfairness in society as well. He is bothered to live in a corrupted society. He wants to feel safe from dangers (or unfairness) coming from other people. He wants to trust others in order feel true peace. The inner judge
makes us feel inner peace and pleasure if we treat others fairly and live with trustworthy people. In this regard, in order to make the inner judge happy, we should consider fairness in our actions.
We should avoid the feeling of guilt by acting fairly to others. Also, we should create a fair and trustworthy society which makes the inner judge feels better.”

3) Elefantul: Animalitatea
„The elephant is addicted to pleasure. She pursues instant gratification. Therefore, she prefers the little present pleasure to much greater one which will come later. She is blind to the
future. She wants to gain pleasure and avoid pain now. She has no means to conduct long term
cost and benefit analysis. She is never satisfied with what she has. She has a greedy nature and
always asks for more. Indeed, there is no way to fully satisfy the elephant. Due to the adaptation principle”, she always looks for new and different gratifications. She does not want be restricted in any way. If left alone, she goes complete mad and consumes anything, which provides her instant gratification. Indeed, according to Haidth, the elephant cares about instant pleasure and prestige, not happiness” (Haidth, 2005, p.22).”

4) Ratiunea
„Mind is an advisor to the ruler of human palace. If the elephant is in power, the advisor will serve him by providing guidance on available choices for pleasure. The mind also advises the king (heart) and the judge (conscience). However, if he is too busy with helping the elephant, he might not find time to serve the king and the judge. The advisor is capable of exploring about outer and inner universes if requested. Indeed, he is thirsty of knowledge and meaning. He asks some enduring questions and enjoys learning their answers. He is capable of making rational decisions for other senior residents such as king, elephant, and judge.”

5) Ego-ul
„Ego or self is like a commander or guard in the human palace. He is in charge of the palace. He is aware of all possessions. He protects them from intruders. He directs all residents of the palace to serve to the elephant and the king. He enjoys working for the elephant because of recognition he receives from the activities of the elephant. He is the reference point to know other people and the outer universe.”

Pe scurt, universul interior al omului este alcatuit din nevoia de iubire, de apropiere de ceilalti; din continta care ne ajuta sa diferentiem binele de rau; din animalitate, care reprezinta pornirile de joasa speta, lacomia, materialismul, pornografia, degenerarea etc; din ratiune, cu statul instrumental si care poate fi supusa atat dorintelor spirituale cat si a celor materiale; si din eu, constinta de sine a fiecaruia. Aydin argumenteaza ca esecul capitalismului in termenii fericirii umane este ca el acorda o importanta practic explusiva animalitatii din noi, neglijand celelalte componente ale fiintei noastre.

Cauza esecului capitalist: materialismul si consumerismul
„Free market capitalism uses money to fulfill the desires of the king. The system turns everything into commodities. (...)
Capitalism commercializes everything including human values and relationships because of its lack of understanding of true human nature. It replaces authentic and lasting love with fake and fast love. It kills friendship for the sake of making more money. It replaces long-lived family
life with short-lived dating. However, what the free market capitalism offers is far from satisfying the king. The king also enjoys real or authentic attachments rather superficial ones. It is not the king; it is the elephant wanting sensual and sexual love. The king wants emotional and eternal love. Indeed, some ancient philosophers hate sensual and sexual love because they think (…) love is attachment. Attachments, particularly sensual and sexual attachments, must be broken to permit spiritual progress” (Haidth, 2005, p.128) They think the love of self is an impediment to love of neighbors, love of truth, love of God, love of beauty. “They all know that virtue resides in a well-trained elephant” (Haidth, 2005, p.160)
Free market capitalism does not recognize the desires of the inner judge. Therefore, the system does not consider fairness in determining price and wage. However, the lack of fairness and confidence hurts people and diminish their subjective wellbeing. It is one key factor driving both financial and happiness crisis. Akerlof and Kranton (2005, 2002, 2000) conducted several studies to find out what people think about fairness. They report that living up to what they think they should be doing to make people happy. People generally consider it an insult if others think they are not fair. At the same, they get upset if others do not act fair to them. People could not reach authentic happiness if fairness and confidence are missing.
Free market capitalism not only recognizes the elephant, it does everything to further excite him or consumption. Indeed, the system makes all other residents a slave to the elephant.
As argued by Haidth, it is not mind; it is the elephant in control of the human palace. However, due to the lack of rational guidance, the elephant becomes addicted to many pleasures which ultimately damage or even kill his owner.
Free market capitalism has turned people to selfish creatures. (...)

True and lasting happiness could be possible if the needs and desires of all residents were met in a balanced way. As Jonathan Haidt found in his experimental studies, in consumer
culture, the elephant is in charge of the palace. Indeed, all other residents work hard to please the elephant. People become the slave of their desires. They generally pursue their sensual pleasure. They think life is “just” fun. They sacrifice virtues for their instant pleasures if their virtues contradict their animal desires. The problem is that the elephant is greedy, and therefore never satisfied. It is also blind to the future, and therefore, it focuses on short-term pain and pleasures, rather than the long-term ones. Furthermore, some of its desires could be harmful to other residents. Therefore, pleasing the elephant alone cannot bring anyone happiness.”

Deci oamenii au nevoie de o apropiere sincera si autentica de ceilalti, de altruism, cooperare, spirit de colectiv, de dreptate si tratament just si echitabil, pe cand capitalismul ignora din start, din constitutie, aceste nevoi firesti si se ocupa cu precadere de cele materiale, animalice si egoiste. Sociatetea de consum este o mutilare a fiintei umane spirituale, pe care o mentine in dezechilibru si superficialitate.

„Capitalism makes people the slave of their desires. A capitalist consumer views the ultimate goal in life to be the fulfillment of his/her desires. As a matter of fact, the common saying of “life is fun” in capitalist American society reflects this philosophy of life for many people. The overwhelming majority who embraces this philosophy works very hard during the week days in order to have fun opportunities over the weekend. That is why some of them end their lives once they lose their ability to gain expected pleasures.”

Simplitatea si moderatia materiale: drumul spre adevarata fericire
„Money does matter until the basic needs are fulfilled. Beyond that, it has very minimal impact. In other words, money could buy happiness for the poor, but not for the rich. Furthermore, those who have money are more likely to embrace extrinsic values instead of intrinsic values.
Some studies clearly show that those who follow extrinsic values are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, narcissism, and addiction compared those who follow intrinsic values (Duriez, 2006). Also, studies on aspirations and subjective wellbeing reveal that in the long-run pursuing wealth or fame does not bring happiness. Paradoxically, those who pursue wealth and fame are less happy than those who do not have such ambition (Kasser and Ryan, 1996). A large body of research thus far has supported the negative impact of materialistic (or extrinsic) values on subjective well-being. For example, extrinsically oriented teenagers, college students, and adults report lower rates of self-actualization and positive experience, and higher rates of depression, anxiety, narcissism, and substance abuses (Kasser &Ryan, 1993, 1996,
2001; Kennon & Kasser, 2008; Sheldon & Kasser, 1995, 1998; Williams, Cox, Hedger, Deci, 2000). Some consumer researchers also confirm the findings (Richins &Dawson, 1992; Sirgy, 1998). They found the opposite case for intrinsically oriented people. They argue that, compared to those who are low in materialism, those who are high in materialism have an underlying feeling of insecurity, poor interpersonal relationships, and low or contingent sense of self-esteem. Therefore, those who are high in materialism tend to ignore psychological need-satisfying behaviors, such as social engagement and affiliation (Duriez, 2006).
Some studies measured the relationship between a voluntary simplicity lifestyle and subjective life satisfaction. They found that those who prefer intrinsic goals over extrinsic goals have higher life satisfaction (Elgin, 1993; Pierce 2000). Kasser and Ryan (1996) put all goals and values into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. They argue intrinsic values for self-acceptance, affiliation, and community feeling increase psychological well-being, while extrinsic values for material success, fame and image experience decreased personal well-being.”

In concluzie, capitalismul, acolo unde reuseste, nu face decat sa exacerbeze trairile si dorintele de joasa speta, inferioare. Necesare si veridice si ele, dar mult sub celelalte nevoi ale naturii umane, pe care le ignora cu cinism. Egalitarismul este solutia de a taia din start, abrupt si imediat, acest drog, aceasta iluzie promovata de ideologia „pietei libere„, pregatind eficient terenul pentru o sociatate ce va asigura o atentie egala tuturor nevoilor omanesti, precum a celor iubitoare de oameni si frumos, de ratiune si dreptate sociala. Consumerismul si inegalitatea nu vor face decat sa ne departeze si mai mult de acest firesc ideal, coborandu-ne tot mai aproape de nivelul animal.

Despre natura umana si socialism, poate fi citit in romana acest articol.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Un studiu nou confirma ceea ce am sustinut pana acum

Edward Deci
Edward Deci este profesor de psihologie la Universitatea din Rochester. Intr-un studiu recent, efectuat alaturi de un alt expert in psihologie, Richard Ryan, si de doctorandul Cristopher Niemiec, Deci arata ca, intr-adevar, numai scopurile non-materiale, intrinseci, merita urmarite de cei ce doresc sa devina fericiti. Faima, bogatia, frumusetea fizica, nu doar ca nu vor aduce niciodata fericirea celui preocupat de ele, ci de multe ori vor avea efectul diametral opus: ne predispun la anxietate, frica, rusine. Dezvoltarea personala, relatiile calduroase inter-umane, preocuparea pentru comunitate si voluntariatul sunt adevaratele, demonstratele, verificatele cai spre satisfactia de durata.
Studiul celor trei va aparea in numarul viitor al revistei academice Journal of Research in Personality , insa pe saitul Universitatii din Rochester a aparut o prezentare a sa, intitulata sugestiv Achieving Fame, Wealth, and Beauty are Psychological Dead Ends, Study Says din care spicuim:
„"People understand that it's important to pursue goals in their lives and they believe that attaining these goals will have positive consequences. This study shows that this is not true for all goals," says author Edward Deci, professor of psychology and the Gowen Professor in the Social Sciences at the University. "Even though our culture puts a strong emphasis on attaining wealth and fame, pursuing these goals does not contribute to having a satisfying life. The things that make your life happy are growing as an individual, having loving relationships, and contributing to your community," Deci says.
The research paper, to be published in the June issue of the Journal of Research in Personality, tracked 147 alumni from two universities during their second year after graduation. Using in-depth psychological surveys, the researchers assessed participants in key areas, including satisfaction with life, self-esteem, anxiety, physical signs of stress, and the experience of positive and negative emotions.
Aspirations were identified as either "intrinsic" or "extrinsic" by asking participants how much they valued having "deep, enduring relationships" and helping "others improve their lives" (intrinsic goals) versus being "a wealthy person" and achieving "the look I've been after" (extrinsic goals). Respondents also reported the degree to which they had attained these goals. To track progress, the survey was administered twice, once a year after graduation and again 12 months later.
This post-graduation period was selected because it is typically a critical developmental juncture for young adults, explains lead author Christopher Niemiec, a doctoral candidate in psychology at the University. "During this formative period, graduates are no longer in the home or at the university. For the first time, they are in a position to determine for themselves how they want their lives to proceed." (...)

What's "striking and paradoxical" about this research, Niemiec says, is that it shows that reaching materialistic and image-related milestones actually contributes to ill-being; despite their accomplishments, individuals experience more negative emotions like shame and anger and more physical symptoms of anxiety such as headaches, stomachaches, and loss of energy. By contrast, individuals who value personal growth, close relationships, community involvement, and physical health are more satisfied as they meet success in those areas. They experience a deeper sense of well-being, more positive feelings toward themselves, richer connections with others, and fewer physical signs of stress. (...)
Intrinsic aspirations make people happy because they fulfill these foundational needs, conclude the authors. "Intrinsic aspirations seem to be more closely related to the self, to what's inside the self, rather than to what's outside the self," Niemiec explains.
Striving for wealth and adulation, on the other hand, does little to satisfy these deep human requirements, at least within this early career stage of life. In addition, this was a well-educated sample, and the authors stress the need for research in other demographics and age ranges. Yet for this young adult group, the authors suggest that time devoted to extrinsic pursuits, like working long hours, often crowds out opportunities for psychologically nourishing experiences, such as relaxing with friends and family or pursuing a personal passion. Craving money and adoration also can lead to a preoccupation with "keeping up with the Joneses"—upward social comparisons that breed feelings of inadequacy and jealousy. And unlike the lasting benefits of caring relationships and hard-earned skills, the thrill of extrinsic accomplishments fade quickly; all too soon, the salary raise is a distant memory and the rave review forgotten.”