sondheim at panix.com
Sat Nov 15 11:47:19 EST 2014
A couple of things - it depends how 'clan' is defined; there is plenty of
internecine warfare within clans (see the sagas!) as well as in very
coherent small towns - try being gay in one of them, or a different race.
You say "But if you compare the numbers and the perceptions that Amurikans
have -- people think that foreign aid is a *huge* number, larger than even
military budgets... when in fact it is actually a tiny number. Much better
to imagine we are doing good whilst killing... And altruism in this case,
well, many wide-scaled aid programs are more based in pragmatics ('fix
Ebola over there otherwise it will come here' or literally buying
But this is a red herring; I can cite you any number of cases where people
in the U.S. and for that matter any number of other countries, have given
aid without any such equation. Your "we" is wrong there - who is the "we"
who is giving and who is the "we" who is killing? If I vote against
killing and give money to conservation initiatives in other countries for
example - how is this based on "pragmatics" that something will come here?
People in fact do give, and killers can be kind, and givers can be
violent, but this doesn't play out logically or psychologically.
For example, we give a fair amount of money to various groups without the
stupidity of the ebola equation, I've organized or been part of organized
drives, without any sense that "it will come here" and without any notion
I'm covering up killing for example - you either recognize altruism or
you don't, and if you don't, your small extended family in Iceland is just
as much a part of the problem as people anywhere else. (Btw I was in
Fukuoka for a while years ago, it was a fairly closed-off local city, and
as a foreignor, I was ostracized, yelled at on the street for being
non-Japanese, etc. And I'm from a small town in Pennsylvania, and could
speak of problems there as well. These weren't and maybe still aren't,
Yoicks! Who exactly thinks foreign aid is a huge number? No one I know...
On Fri, 14 Nov 2014, John Hopkins wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> There's also considerable violence in small societies, in small towns; and
> this suggests that those social configurations are *not* 'clan' based --
> which seems to be the case in our 'mixed-up' society. Internal 'clan'
> violence of course happens when there are hierarchic leadership questions,
> but those are probably statistically rare as they threaten the viability of a
> social unit (internal violence makes the group vulnerable to outside
> I know when I moved to Iceland, and married into a typical extended family
> there -- I was amazed at the family dynamic -- something I'd hardly
> experienced in my rather small extended US family. In Iceland, I knew I could
> make a phone call to any one of a hundred people and get immediate assistance
> for whatever. How strange a concept it was! There sense of family was perhaps
> a couple generations 'behind' the US's atomized/nuclear families...
>> course there are altruistic decisions people make at any scale - otherwise
>> wouldn't be global charities, giving to flood victims in other countries,
>> and so
> But if you compare the numbers and the perceptions that Amurikans have --
> people think that foreign aid is a *huge* number, larger than even military
> budgets... when in fact it is actually a tiny number. Much better to imagine
> we are doing good whilst killing... And altruism in this case, well, many
> wide-scaled aid programs are more based in pragmatics ('fix Ebola over there
> otherwise it will come here' or literally buying political cooperation)...
> And the provision of abstracted currency support for the remote Other, that
> seems like very 'thin' empathy somehow... but so many would rather do that
> than help a neighbor...
>> forth. For me, it has to do with picturing the other in relation to the
>> local, a
>> kind of negotiated logic...
> does this seem grim? maybe it's a cup half empty/half full issue. I know
> people do kind things, this is clear. Are we not men? We are Devo...
> Dr. John Hopkins, BSc, MFA, PhD
> grounded on a granite batholith
> twitter: @neoscenes
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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