StefanL, 26.08.09 08:12
In der aktuellen Finanz- und Wirtschaftskrise wurde eine Ursache bzw. eine Sünde oder angebliche Schwäche des gängigen Wirtschaftssystems, das in den USA Kapitalismus und free market, in Europa soziale Marktwirtschaft und im roten China die 4 Modernisierungen genannt wird, am häufigsten genannt und medial abgehandelt: Die so genannte Gier.
Im Englishen heißt die Gier greed, im Lateinischen avaritia oder aviditas, im Hebräischen בֶּצַע, im Chinesischen 贪心 und im Griechischen απληστία oder φιλαργυρία.
Die Wiedererscheinung der Gier als Ursache und Sünde ist ein ziemlich interessantes Phänomen, schien diese irgendwie falsche Denkfigur durch die große Rekonstruktionsarbeit im Gefolge der fast vollständigen Besiegung und Vernichtung des kontinentaleuropäischen Militarismus und Faschismus Mitte des vergangenen Jahrhunderts schon fast ganz überwunden. Sogar die größte Antigier-Organisation dieser Erde, die heilige römische und katholische Kirche hat jahrelang dazu fast nur geschwiegen und nur ganz selten und schüchtern zu diesem Thema etwas zu sagen gewagt.
Jetzt ist sie also wieder da, die Gier. Zeit, sich ein wenig mit ihr zu beschäftigen und zu fragen, ob sie wirklich schlecht ist, wie sie sich wirtschaftlich auswirkt sowie ob und wenn ja, wie sie mit dem Ausbruch und Verlauf der aktuellen Krise ursächlich zu tun hat.
Was uns zunächst in hohem Maße auffällig erscheint, ist, dass von den Gruppierungen, die zwar die europäische Form des Wirtschaftens, nämlich die soziale Marktwirtschaft, grundlegend befürworten, die aber auch während besserer Zeiten immer etwas, oft eben die angebliche Gier einflussreicher Gruppen und Personen, an ihm zu bemäkeln hatten, die einen jetzt mehr in der Lage zu sein scheinen, politisch von der Krise zu profitieren als die anderen, obwohl beide Gruppen nicht ganz unähnliche Muster, bezogen auf die Vorstellung der Gier als Ursache von Problemen, in der Analyse verwenden. Die gezogenen Schlüsse und die Lösungsvorschläge daraus sind allerdings sehr unterschiedlich.
Traditionelle Einschätzungen der Gier
Schauen wir ein bisschen zurück. Die wichtigste ideologische Organisation der letzten 2000 europäischen Jahre, die bereits erwähnte r.k. Kirche reiht die Habgier (einschließlich des Geizes) unter die sieben so genannten Hauptlaster, sieben schlechten Charaktereigenschaften, welche wiederum die sieben Hauptsünden, fälschlicherweise oft Todsünden genannt, verursachen. Die absichtliche, voll bewusste Ausführung einer Hauptsünde, mangelnde Reue und Beichte und damit der Verbleib dieser Sünde im Herzen der Delinquentin ist nach der Lehre der r.k. Kirche mit der Höllen-Strafe, dem so genannten zweiten Tod bedroht, woher die vulgo Bezeichnung dieser Sorte von Sünde stammt.
Die r.k. Kirche steht in ihrer Verurteilung der Habgier allerdings nicht alleine da:
Habgier oder Habsucht ist das übersteigerte, rücksichtslose Streben nach materiellem Besitz, unabhängig von dessen Nutzen, und eng verwandt mit dem Geiz, der übertriebenen Sparsamkeit und dem Unwillen zu teilen.
Die Habgier wird in vielen Kulturen moralisch verurteilt und zieht auch in Sagen, Märchen und Religionen Strafen nach sich.
Man könnte sich jetzt lange mit dem Zinsverbot in der Torah bzw. entsprechenden jüdischen, christlichen und islamischen Bestimmungen oder anderen Verurteilungen der Habgier beschäftigen. Wir wollen das aber abkürzen und versuchen, das allgemeine Muster zu ermitteln.
Einfache, gut überlieferte Grundlagen
In Gesellschaften, die nur aus der Natur entnehmen, spielt die Gier und ihre Verurteilung keine allzu große Rolle. Diese Gesellschaft tun sich ziemlich leicht damit auch diejenigen, die ungewöhnlich große Beute an Früchten oder Fleisch machen, zum Teilen oder Sharen, wie man heutzutage sagt, zu bringen.
Unter den etwas mehr erwerbenden sogenannten Sesshaften gebieten innerhalb der eigenen Gruppe die meisten Kulturen beim Streben nach Besitz eine gewisse Mäßigung und im Gegenzug dazu eine wahrnehmbare Solidarität mit den übrigen Genossinnen und Genossen.
Mit jeder Steigerung der Produktion und damit des Handels, also des Austauschs dieser Gütern über alle Gruppengrenzen hinweg, vermehrt sich die Möglichkeit und damit auch die Befürchtung, über den Tisch gezogen zu werden. Damit geht natürlich auch eine Steigerung der Bereitschaft zum Vorwurf, die "anderen" seien gierig, einher.
Moderne Einschätzungen der Gier
Wir können also festhalten, dass einerseits praktisch alle Kulturen die Gier kennen und ablehnen, sie andererseits aber irgendwie gar nicht eliminiert und auch eher wenig gedämpft werden kann. Mittlerweile gibt es ja auf der anderen Seite Weltanschauungen wie Neoliberalismus und Neokonservativismus, die Gier offen für ein wohltätiges Antriebssystem ausgeben.
Wenn wir nunmehr die gängigen Erklärungen der Gier als durch das "Böse" verursacht und von höllischen Dämonen immer wieder gestärkt und angefacht nicht mehr akzeptieren wollen, dann haben wir leider ein Erklärungs- und Gedankenloch.
Wir müssen uns also anderen Erklärungen zuwenden. Es würde zu viel Mühe machen, die Gier bei den großen Geistern der Aufklärung und speziell ihren Nachfolgern zwischen 1800 und 1900 zu untersuchen, nicht zuletzt, weil die Ethik ab dem 19. Jahrhundert gern implizit behandelt wurde und in Europa und der von Europa so beeinflussten Welt all zu viele Reflexionen doch noch von der aphoristischen Ablehnung der irgendwie schon als überholt geltenden christlichen Moraltheologie geprägt war.
Schneller kommen wir voran, wenn wir gleich ins 20. Jahrhundert springen und uns wieder einmal den Ersatz der traditionellen Individualethik durch die moderne Individualpsychologie durch den Kopf und die Finger gehen lassen.
Sigismund Schlomo Freud, Wien, hat die im abendländen Schreiben und Denken vergessene Sinnlichkeit und die "Triebe" der kleinen Kinder "wieder entdeckt" und war davon so beeindruckt, dass er in seiner neuen Weltbildkonstruktion (wahrscheinlich falsch) Probleme des "Fehlverhaltens" einer Reihe von Störungen der Sexualitätsentwicklung zugeschrieben hat.
An dieser Stelle müssen wir eine weitere Recherchepause bezüglich der Verhaltensbiologie, der Gestaltpsychologie, der Systemtheorie und des Konstruktivismus einlegen und bitten um etwas Geduld ....
Es wird dauern, weil wir diese Bücher nicht digital und durchsuchbar haben, sondern eine altmodische Handbibliothek.
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StefanL, 24.08.09 16:22
In part one of this series we have identified opportunity as the first base on the grounds of which organizations and their members act against ethic standards (i.e. commonly agreed norms of action). We have not determined yet if they do this knowingly or talked too much about what the corresponding thoughts and ethical rules or justifying morales are.
A second fundamental on which individuals employees and members commit unethical actions is the fact that many organizations regularly reward behaviors that violate ethical standards.
Consider, for example, how many business executives are expected to handly bribery and payola. Then, remember, to fulfill this expectation of share- and stakeholders they take the risk and perform these actions in spite of the danger of negative publicity and the threat of legal action against background of adverse and ambiguous at best legislation.
On the other hand everybody who has been working for longer than a year starts to perceive how good corporate citizens who blow the whistle on organizational wrongdoing are being scolded and punished for their actions, punishment meaning mostly having their careers blocked.
Business sociology has long explained how organizations have to and tend to develop so called counternorms, tacitly accepted organizational practices that are contrary to prevailing outside ethical and legal standards.
Example values: transparency and honesty
On the common idealistic public ground, being open and honest is widely accepted as a prevailing ethical norm. Indeed, legal and governmental regulations requiring full disclosure and freedom of information reinforce society's values toward openness and honesty.
Within business companies and political organizations however it is often considered not only acceptable, but desirable, to be quite secretive and deceitful. The practice of willingly hiding relevant information, is quite common.
In this field, political and economical development has drifted apart in the last 200 years. Whereas it was common in monarchies to have a "Privy Council" or "Geheimer Rat" at the top of the political pyramid, bourgeois democracy idealized public negotiation of all topics, save warfare maybe.
To the chagrin of many radical 19th century democrats the monarchical principle and ruleset was kept for business governance and the management of warfare. Only over time, when diversification of ownership in publicly listed corporations tansparancy rules and honesty rules made some leeway into business legislation but still rather nothing to show in the handling of armed forces.
On the other hand keeping these seemingly tried and tested practices of monarchical governance in these two important fields of societal activity caused many relapses into the old ways of control through single command which at best seeks the advice of a secretive group called a privy council in olden times, a polit bureau in some countries and a think tank here in the west.
In mediterranean western European countries the top nation representative is still expected to show some visible machiavellism and a large amount of open foxy and deceitful trickiness by the majority of the population. In the more reformed countries north of the Alps politicians with too clear a profile of that sort can get far, but rarely to the top anymore.
French presidents Mitterand, Chirac and Sarkozy, Italian presidents of ministers' council Andreotti, Craxi and Berlusconi as well as Spanish presidents of government Gonzalés, Aznar and Zapatero all illustrate the fact very well.
Willy Brandt, Helmut Kohl, Angela Merkel, Margret Thatcher, Anthony Blair, Olof Palme and Jean-Claude Juncker, to name just a few, on the other had a more complex task to build an efficient mixed image of morality and smartness.
Austria, as one of the countries standing between the mediterranian catholic and the northern reformed traditions sways this way and that. While fox Kreisky mixed his image well, eminent political talents like Mr. Haider and Mr. Androsch did not care followed the trickster scheme to straightly and never got to the top spot.
Bottom line mentality
The name for this kind of above morale slyness used most often by english writing analysts and media is bottom line mentality.
This line of thinking supports material success as the lonely top value to be considered. It presents itself as pragmatic, smart and caring a lot for one's family and also for oneself, which in turn is presented as a necessary prerequisite for the former.
It promotes short-term solutions that are sound. These solutions are presented and expected to lead to immediate success, financially, materially or politically, but despite the fact that the same solutions may cause some short term and many mid- and long term problems for others within the concerned group or the organizational structure as a whole.
This line of thinking also promotes a pretty unrealistic belief that everything boils down to a material game and its outcome, the bottom line. As such, rules of morality are to be considered as helping a bit sometimes, but more often as merely obstacles, impediments along the way to said immediate material success for leaders and their followers.
In the top tier of organizational pyramids especially bottom-line mentality, pronounced as "when it comes to the bottom-line" or "what counts at the end of the day", is quite evident.
Money, the preeminent form of material success
When it comes to invest money into producing black figure bottom lines, the Congress of the United States of America has no equal. Although much of its expenditure is for purposes of national concern, a sizable portion is devoted to pork-barreling.
Pork-barreling is an American expression referring to the practice whereby a senator or representative forces Congress to allocate money to special projects that take place in his or her home district. In many cases, the projects have little value and constitute a drain on the majority of taxpayers. They do, however, create quite nice jobs and political support in the affected districts.
Some of these investments are designed to reward large-scale campaign contributors in the home district. Now we could give some examples from the reconstruction of post Bush war II Iraq and be shure of the consent of all well meaning Europeans. To avoid these all to easy prejudices let us give different examples.
The first one is the Maxi Cube cargo handling system. Funds for testing the Maxi Cube cargo handling system were written into the 1989 US defense budget during the final Senate-House Appropriations conference at the request of Pennsylvanian Representative Mr. John Murtha. The $10 million item was specifically targeted for a Philadelphia businessman and contributor to Murtha's campaign who's company and employees were to manufacture the truck in Murtha's home district. The only problem was that the U.S. Army had clearly said that it had "no known requirement". In response, Murtha was reported to be "mad as hell" at the "nitpicking" by the army. He pushed ahead anyway and used his position on the Appropriations committee to freeze a series of military budgeting requests until he got his pet project approved.
The second one is the case of a large contract for road building and reconstruction the Polish government had concluded with the Saddam Hussein administration. When the US government was seeking European support for Bush War II and the danger of losing the contract and all its benefits through a violent changes of the administration of its partner country became evident, Polish president Aleksander Kwaśniewski and prime minister Leszek Miller stood before a dilemma.
Unemployment being the largest problem of Poland and access to the European Union still a year or so away the felt forced to protect the interests and jobs of its many citizens in the road building business and allocated a large monetary, human and political capital to the purpose. Both of them, despite the fact that they were ex-communists, social democrats and probably knew that their party and at least one of them would have to pay heavily later on in Polish and European politics, publicly joined the so called coalition of the willing in the most voluntary and crazy war that the most reactionary administration of the United States had started for no reasons at all and on the grounds of completely fictional facts.
The differences between these practices in the United States and Europe and the difference between state mediation in the interior or in foreign countries are in color, size and minor paragraphs. Still, the underlying pattern stays the same.
And where opportunity is mostly a bottom up phenomenon and works strongest in the lower tiers, bottom line reasoning works predominately top down and works stronger the higher you look.
Inside Out and Outside In
For the purpose of this analysis and remedy research here we will have to keep bottom line practice within and without the organization apart and contemplate them separately.
It makes a difference if the material success of the organization is traded off against an unethical advantage for an outside partner as is the case with bribery in foreign countries for example or if material benefits for individual employees or members of the organization are achieved through general or particular bottom line ethics. We will talk more about these differences in a later installment.
In the meantime please keep in mind that bottom line theory and practice often mingle intentions, purposes, ideology and action as well as inside and outside. The effects of this may be subtle or crude, the moment you say and think something like "when it comes to the bottom-line" or "at the end of the day" please be aware that you are handling a pattern of reasoning where one criterium will dominate all others, outside action will form inside practice which in turn will influence outside action. Whichever comes first, whatever might be the hen or the egg.
Contrary to what incorrectly has been ascribed to Niccolo Macchiavelli* by many, purpose does not justify or sanctify the means. If you deny this last negative assertion then your consideration of ethics will be very difficult from the beginning.
In recent years a certain branch of academic researchers have ventured to keep the bottom line metaphor and balance it in a different way.
To dampen the effect of letting the single top value of material success unfold its benefits and damages this modern form of 3 legged stool theory tries to balance profit against committee defined ideology representing an imaginative people's interest and community elites' defined well-being of the "planet". The United Nations have already ratified one special application of this tripple bottom line scheme:
The triple bottom line (abbreviated as "TBL" or "3BL", and also known as "people, planet, profit") captures an expanded spectrum of values and criteria for measuring organizational (and societal) success: economic, ecological and social. With the ratification of the United Nations and ICLEI TBL standard for urban and community accounting in early 2007, this became the dominant approach to public sector full cost accounting.
While it would exceed the scope of this series to analyse and evalute 3BL strategy and ethics it is important to notify its existence and development here and not try and create the impression that bottom line calculation is a mere bad thing. Probably we will refer to one or the other 3BL fantasy in the reasonnings to come.
Still is should be clearly understood that this line of thought or discourse will not be the focus in the couple of days to come. Let us also state another word of caution. Our ideological idol Baruch de Espinosa was a well known opponent of all kinds of teleological (goal-oriented) thinking and we follow him in this opposition. And 3BL is no less goal-oriented than 1BL.
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StefanL, 21.08.09 08:12
Certain businesses and political organizations will commit themselves to a philosophy in a formal pronouncement of a code of ethics or for example the issue of a document de- and prescribing standards of conduct. Having done so, the recorded idealism is distributed or shelved, and all too often that is that.
Other organizations, however, will be concerned with aspects of ethics of greater specificity, usefulness, and consistency. This concern however useful does in no way prove that the ethic code has been constructed in a "good" or "right" way in the first place.
In this context here, we will use the terms "good" and "right" in a rather sloppy sense. We will want to express some things at the same time. We would like to say "in harmony with generally agreed stuff" like avoiding theft, disrespect, malevolence or slandering on one side and promoting excellent work, friendliness, politeness, respect and well-being on the other side.
We will ask and answer questions like Is it ethical, for example, to pay a bribe to obtain a business contract in a foreign country? Is it ethical to allow your company to withhold information that might discourage a job candidate from joining your organization? Is it ethical to ask someone to take a job you know will not be good for their career progress? Is it ethical to do personal business on company time?
Many people see unethical behavior as a cancer working on the fabric of society in too many of today's organizations already. Many are concerned that we face a crisis of ethics in the West that is undermining its strength. This crisis involves business-people, government officials, customers, and employees. Especially worrisome is unethical behavior among employees at all levels.
For example, a study, 20 years ago, by consulting company Jack L. Hayes International already found that employees accounted for a higher percentage of retail thefts than did customers (LA Times, 1989). The study estimated that one in every fifteen employees steals from his or her employer.
On the other hand, we can see that, allthough many people worry about ethics a lot of others and sometimes and in a different field the same people are involved in unethical behaviour. And we have not even talked about the Internet Bubble, post 2000 business scandals and certain derivative certificate practices yet.
Why Does Unethical Behaviour Occur In Companies And Parties?
In the German language their is a saying. "Gelegenheit macht Diebe". We estimate that this is a fundamental truth.
The opportunities for individuals and organizations to behave unethically seem to be limitless. Unfortunately, this potential is too frequently realized. Consider, for example, how greed overtook concerns about human welfare when the Manville Corporation suppressed evidence that asbestos inhalation was killing its employees, or when Ford failed to correct a known defect that made its Pinto car vulnerable to gas tank explosions following low speed rear-end collisions.
Companies that dump dangerous waste materials into our rivers and oceans also appear to favor their own interests over public safety and welfare. Although some of these examples are better known than many others, in the course of a human life nobody can get the impression that they are unusual. In fact, the story they tell may be far more typical than we would like, as we see estimations like the one that about two-thirds of the 500 largest American corporations have been involved in one form of illegal behaviour or another.
Be it as it may, in the United States of America business ethics has long since become an important topic, the interest of research in the country's most famous business schools and many other venues.
In Europe things are a bit different. Business ethics seem to be seen as an integral part of public and state ethics and are widely perceived as being common ground in the corresponding ideologies of social market economy and social and/or christian democracy.
However, since the start of the current financial and economical crisis, voices that promote a special focus on this branch of applied ethics, business ethics and terms like corporate social responsibility start to find their place in papers, television, radio, the web and other forms of public discourse.
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StefanL, 09.08.09 23:59
As we have stated already, the most common and main reason for behaving unethically is opportunity. Without opportunity we would not even need ethics to decide if we should do one thing or not or to decide if we judge the actions of other people than ourselves as unethical or not.
Fighting unethical behaviour, which this staff here is heavily involved in, does not seem to be such a good receipt for a peaceful life and happiness in these days.
Why then, you will ask us, and we have to ask ourselves, do we still do it. Which are the reasons and what be the open or hidden benefits? Is this fight of any importance? Do we suffer from unconscious masochism? Or are we just simply a bit maladapted? Have we participated in all too few or all too many workshops. Are we the victims of classical self-deception? Have we betrayed ourselves out of the benefits of all investments in therapeutic work and coaching? Let us slow down first!
The Source of the Fighting
The daily renewed desire and resolution to go on and fight unethical behaviour flows quite naturally from a desire to lead lives at a relatively low degree of alienation*. All of us like to agree with the goals and the process of our work, be it on the job or at home. It means, we want to get along well with our associates and co-workers and get angry when hindered to. Int means we want to enjoy our leisure time without having to become beings that we are actually not, but have to act as such, in order to nicely participate in the activities of our colleagues and friends.
In the second half of the 19th century many people would still have agreed that this goal of less alienation in one's life made perfect sense. The same people would probably have agreed a lot less on how to reach that low degree of alienation. Still, even a very reflective and strongly individualized person could find a party or group with mostly the same goals and a sufficient consensus on the methods and stratagems to get there.
The first world war shook the basics for this considerably. We can judge this quite easily and precisely because we have so many records, not only in print, but als in the arts, of audio and film where the rise of violence, alienation and universal conflict in the so called first and second worlds (USA, CCCP, Germany, France, UK, Austria, United Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Poland, Japan etc. ....) is more than amply documented. Still, in Europe, the US and elsewhere new hopes where born and many people engaged for progress and the amelioration of life.
The so called second world war and its widely perceptible and unignorable climaxes, Auschwitz and Hiroshima, in a century that until then had verily not lacked in atrocities, jolted many people profoundly. Not least those who had liked to call themselves humanists, by which they seem to have wanted to say, they believed in man and woman, in mankind's inner forces and potentials more than they believed in a bad demiurg's world and a life that was in no way handable without strict guidance from the heavens.
The shock that the world-famous German "Kultur" did practically nothing to hinder the German government and those parts of the German, Austrian, French, Polish, Lituanian, Kalmyk and so on peoples that supported it, to murder 6 million Jews, 200 thousand Sinti and Roma, we do not know how many handicapped people and political opponents and on and on, was, by itself probably quite impossible to digest for generations to come. It would sink down into the unconscious like many lesser ethical burdens humanity had faced before.
Let us now leave away the deaths of all the people who fought, got traumatized or simply became casualties of that thoroughly senseless but apparently unavoidable and productive war. Let us also let be all the quite incredible cruelties in remote and distant places, for example those the Japanese committed in China and what Greeks, Turks and Armenians had done to each other a mere 30 years before.
The bang that ended all this came when the US-American government, arguably the most humanist governments of all, maybe not of all times and places but for sure in this world and in 1945 who had already burned down the city of Dresden in a firestorm and had layed to waste the homes and lives of most of its inmates, decided it was time to really take guidance from above into their own hands, not wait for God's thunderbolt any more, and did not only drop Little Boy on Hiroshima but as if to confirm what they had done, also dropped Fat Man on Nagasaki 3 days** later. That particular act of grace got even the last of the humanists to give up on their belief in humankind and give up on the buried rests of their belief in God simultanously.
You might be to young to have experienced any of the more direct effects of this. If you want to check over on what we declare here read any humanist novel from the fifties and you will perceive this effect hard at work. A more sensitive nature like for example Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno had already written a sentence like "Es gibt kein richtiges Leben im falschen." and other "reflections from damaged life" a good year before when all of the damage was not even known in its fullness.
What did that mean? It meant you could either go suicidal, go on vegetating hopelessly or you had to accept alienation as a fact of life and property of the universe or, if you rather believed in that, as the long term punishment from God for sins of the past, a theorem that already had been known and accepted by a part of mankind and for a couple of thousend years. It meant the grand project of Humanism and Enlightenment was over. And we mean, OVER!
Slow and sophisticated adaption to alienation set in at once. Its old European ways had been disqualified. All the little disguises, dissimulations, all the little and big lies, all the harmless and harmful stupidities had suffered a change of direction and style not to be underestimated. They started to become new, postwar, sustainable, postmodern and posteverything.
And, as we said, the previous basic assumptions easily escaping the selfmade "unmündigkeit" by simple efforts of the logic sectors of our large brains and of being able to lower the grade of alienation and finally, having hope to be able to escape it in this life on the coziest and greenest of all planets we know, were more or less all gone. Together with these assumptions and goals as always practically all connected strategems and tactics and the methods of reaching those goals become useless and disappear. So go they do, down into the oubliette.
Still, human genetics and human memetics have not really changed through those events. Mass traumatization had happened before. Not on that scale. It will happen again. But life goes on. Survival is imminent. Desires stay the same and so the inner core for them. Here at tiny, we are still seriously opposed to Buddhism and its wrong teachings. What is in order?
Inventory and Conclusions
First we take an inventory. The desire to lead a "richtiges Leben" is still here. We can clearly feel and recognize it. We can also reflect upon it, which suggests - allthough Descartes' main theorem might be flawed, that we exist. We exist means we are alive. We are alive, - Darwin's central theorem now - suggests, we are still well adapted. What is wrong? Unethical behaviour is wrong. We had known that before, intuitively. Why then, we ask, does all of this ugly reflection take place? It just might be, that 2 legs are better than one.
Back On Track
We can conclude that fighting unethical behaviour is still a valid method to increase the numbers of moments, hours, and even days of happiness we can justly expect in this life, and, for all who believe in it, the sweet hereafter.
Fighting unethical behaviour, far spread as it is, from this position is by no means a trivial venture. Let us have a closer look.
Biologically we seem to be well adapted. But are we well adapted socially? On first sight this does not seem to be the case. As mentioned in the presuppositions our desire is to live at a rather low grade of alienation. Looking around we get the impression that the majority of people in western Europe, North- and Middle America, the coastal provinces of China and a couple of other places we know rather like to live at a higher and rising level of alienation.
Nontrivial Difficulties in the Detail
Porn is on the rise, more and more modes of human life are turned into commodities and the mere fetish character of these commodities obviously abounds. Movement and effort of the body is exercised under the command of a person you have to pay for commanding instead of the person or her sponsors paying you for the labour. Outside small elites groups who work in disgusting labs and political think tanks and who are locked into headache generating office-cages, thinking abouth anything important is heavily discouraged.
Being your own man or woman is denounced as being antisocial. A fiction of success is proliferated through a large majority of media workers with an attention span of one day. Marketing has never been as ridiculous, mendacious and hypocritical as just now. Every Poll tells us people think the management above them is incompetent or even malignant. Selfish in any case. Up to the government? Of course. Only rarely is a queen or king or president exempt from this common cognition.
The Short Perspective
It seems that, on short sight, there is no hope this fight we are talking about can in any way succeed. It would seem we would even earnestly impede our advancement if we do not adapt socially and stop fighting a senseless cause. Have we not preached against unwitting masochism for years and years?
The Longer Perspective
Yet there is something we should remember. Time still runs. Tides may turn. Given enough space and timespan in your life, alienation will eat you up from inside. Now that we have to lead these lifes for up to 80 years and more, now that cardiologic medicine is so good that not even drinking and smoking can guarantee any more for a timely farewell, everybody is well advised to think of one's old age and the long term inner effects of alienation and unethical behaviour. Would you want to feel eaten up inside from age 70 to 90? We have seen enough of those bitten and eaten up people. Sudden hypocritical religiousness in the last 10 years of one's life. Unexpected gnawing fears of eternal flames. Repeated fits of swamping paranoia. Being so afraid and full of unconscious conscience to voluntarily delivering yourself into luxury concentration camps in southern France as legions of rich Americans do. Luxury does not make you happy by itself and concentration camps those settlements stay, barbed wire, guard personal and all.
All of this sucks. Yuck. Waeh.
The Long Perspective
Be that as it may. We feel no need to decide wether the believers in an afterlife, the believers in many lives and the nothingness thereafter or the believers in the big sleep are right. Before the solution to this question will be revealed to us, there is still life down here below to live and master. We, for one, want the rest of it to be good, funny and enjoyable. And we want to flake out in a good mood, no matter if we will then awake the next day and wherever or not.
So what then, we hear some of you asking. This is the answer of the tiny analytical team (TAT): We will go on fighting unethical behaviour and we will go on to aspire to a low grade of alienation. We know pretty well now what and how we feel. Many people will help us. Groundless solidarity will help us. We will not lose in the end.
Not losing is a lot better than winning. Victories are for losers. Every victory is a Pyrrhic victory. Think of Caesar, think of Bonaparte. You'll find a new certainty.
plink, nix, praise or blame!
We will not define alienation properly here. We use it in the most common sense, in the vague meaning of feeling like an alien to oneself, one's fellows, the world and its processes.
* Do we agree with the bombing decisions of the Roosevelt and Truman administrations? Do we think they were necessary to win WWII?. We are still not completely sure. We tend to agree with bombing Germany and Japan as such. We tend to think, that it was necessary to convey to the German and Japanese people and not only to their soldiers that fighting on and going on to meditate fighting back later made no sense. We are less sure about the atomic bombing. But then again, the atomic bombing would never have unfolded its effect of forcing formal military peace between the great powers for 64 years now without a tough demonstration. Difficult. But we also nurture the suspicion that the confirmation thing with Fat Man was unnecessary and cruel.
On the other hand and on second thought though, it definitely has been a merit and sign of reasonableness that US administrations from Truman to Nixon and Soviet administrations from Khrushchev to Gorbatchev always kept their general staffs and joint chiefs from ever using atomic force against people again.