• Pinprick
    456
    People will often consider society or culture as a cause for human behavior, but isn’t society itself actually caused by human behavior? If a society or culture is particularly violent, isn’t that because the people within that culture behave violently? To me it seems that society or culture is basically just a scapegoat for our own actions and behaviors. Instead of pointing the finger at ourselves, we abstractly point to society instead, as if the fault/blame has nothing to do with us.
  • Judaka
    969

    Depends on the context, when addressing an individual, blaming society diminishes personal responsibility and while addressing a widescale problem, blaming individuals diminishes the importance of looking at the impact of the institutions, laws, culture and so on.
  • Pinprick
    456
    while addressing a widescale problem, blaming individuals diminishes the importance of looking at the impact of the institutions, laws, culture and so on.Judaka

    Institutions, laws, etc. are all comprised of individuals who either make personal decisions, or enforce decisions made by other individuals. Also, this isn’t really where I was headed, but institutions are not even physical entities, which according to materialism/science, necessarily excludes them from having any causal power.
  • Banno
    10k
    It's a strange loop, feeding back between individual and society.

    Hence putting the blame on the individual alone, or on society as a whole, are equally dubious approaches.

    Isn't that obvious?
  • Dymora
    31
    I think “cause” is a little generous when talking about the evolution of societies. It implies active, cognizant shaping; which I would reject. I feel societies, in general, evolved from an elementary needs base. It didn’t take long for the hunter to find a like minded ally could increase his yield. The farmer or fisherman saw the same. As these “groups grew, knowledge and influence formed a hierarchy. As violence, I believe, grew from needs of the group; sometimes self serving needs (insert Lord of the Flies here”). The less violent the means needed to gain the required NEED, the less violent the society. Oneness and manipulation prowess of the environment set the scale from violent to complacency. Jus’ sayin’
  • BitconnectCarlos
    779
    People will often consider society or culture as a cause for human behavior, but isn’t society itself actually caused by human behavior? If a society or culture is particularly violent, isn’t that because the people within that culture behave violently? To me it seems that society or culture is basically just a scapegoat for our own actions and behaviors. Instead of pointing the finger at ourselves, we abstractly point to society instead, as if the fault/blame has nothing to do with us.Pinprick

    Ultimately, I'm a believer in free will so I believe that regardless of how horrid a society may be the individual still has a choice to whether he pulls that trigger or mugs than homeless guy.

    I will say though that society is more than just "the people" - if a society or culture is particularly violent we should look into why that is. This isn't my area of expertise, but I'd be fascinated to see what the reasons are for that. The individuals in that society probably aren't all just free floating individuals in a vacuum who happen to be violent. I'd be inclined to believe that there's a reason and a logic for it.

    Society is also expectations. Expectations are pervasive: We expect things of men (achievement, strength, etc.) and we obviously expect things of women (maybe grace, beauty, kindness, etc.) These expectations (i.e. standards) can be oppressive to some and have deep implications and we should be cognizant of this. This type of thing transcends the individual.
  • CallMeDirac
    21
    Blaming society for the actions of one is reasonable. It is a loop of whatever issue exists within the society.

    If a society is extremely violent, the individuals will be violent which cause the society to be violent and so on.
  • Judaka
    969

    People will often consider society or culture as a cause for human behavior, but isn’t society itself actually caused by human behavior?Pinprick

    These things simply aren't mutually exclusive and it's not just society or culture, behaviour can't be analysed in a vacuum. Society constitutes the environment of a person and a person navigates their environment or is affected by their environment. Intellectually, emotionally, socially, physically - what makes sense only makes sense as a result of what is put in front of a person. Be it in the form of access or imposition. Culturally, an individual learns from others and when they do what they learn to do within a culture, the results of that are similar no matter who you are.

    This dichotomy of choosing between blaming society or blaming the individual can only lead to an incorrect and incomplete understanding, abandon it. Make a nuanced decision instead.
  • Pinprick
    456
    Hence putting the blame on the individual alone, or on society as a whole, are equally dubious approaches.

    Isn't that obvious?
    Banno

    Yes. My point is that “society” is just a group of people, so the blame still falls on the actual people making the choices. “Society” isn’t responsible for anything, the people that drive it are.

    I will say though that society is more than just "the people" - if a society or culture is particularly violent we should look into why that is.BitconnectCarlos

    The obvious answer being because the people are violent. After all, that’s what’s really meant when we say a particular society is violent, right? So the real question would be “why are people in group X more violent than people not in group X?” And it could be that people who are violent just so happen to prefer group X for whatever reason. Or it could be that violent people created group X for whatever reason. It doesn’t have to be the case that group X created violent people.

    These expectations (i.e. standards) can be oppressive to some and have deep implications and we should be cognizant of this. This type of thing transcends the individual.BitconnectCarlos

    Sure, but I don’t think anyone can accurately say why I have the expectations I do. Maybe it’s the influence of the group of people I find myself to be around, or maybe it’s not. You may have a correlation with violence and group X, but correlation is not causation.

    Blaming society for the actions of one is reasonable. It is a loop of whatever issue exists within the society.

    If a society is extremely violent, the individuals will be violent which cause the society to be violent and so on.
    CallMeDirac

    But the loop has a definite starting point, which is individuals. The terms “society” and “individuals” are almost synonymous.



    What I’m getting at is that when people blame “society” for something, it is a deflection of blame. It isn’t capitalism, or racism that is a problem; it’s capitalists and racists that are. We tend to look at people as if they are a part of society, when in actuality they are society.
  • Banno
    10k
    My point is that “society” is just a group of people, so the blame still falls on the actual people making the choices. “Society” isn’t responsible for anything, the people that drive it are.Pinprick

    Ah, you're a Thatcherite.

    That didn't go so well.

    Nor does individualism seem to be of much help in plague times, as we can see in the appalling situation in 'merca.

    Society is what happens when we all get together. I'll happily follow Searle in pointing out that there are intentions that can not be had by an individual alone; things such as winning a cricket game or buying a house require there to be a grouping of individuals. You don't own your car unless other folk agree that you own your car.

    That is, there are intentions which are irreducible to individual intentions.

    Hence, it makes sense to talk about society.

    The terms “society” and “individuals” are almost synonymous.Pinprick

    Re-read that and think on it a bit.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    779
    The obvious answer being because the people are violent. After all, that’s what’s really meant when we say a particular society is violent, right? So the real question would be “why are people in group X more violent than people not in group X?” And it could be that people who are violent just so happen to prefer group X for whatever reason. Or it could be that violent people created group X for whatever reason. It doesn’t have to be the case that group X created violent people.Pinprick

    Sure, we can ask “why are people in group X more violent than people not in group X?” But we probably wouldn't say "people who are violent just so happen to prefer group X for whatever reason."

    For instance, an example of a society is, say, a violent inner city or a prison. Lets just go with a violent inner city. For all intents and purposes, we can say that the people or the kids there are basically stuck - it's not like they could migrate to the suburbs if they wanted to. So if you go to high school in an violent inner city you fall into that social order whether you like it or not. Maybe the bullies start messing with your brother or sister. I'm just saying you're probably not going to be able to seal yourself off from the rest of the world (if you are you should consider that a privilege.) Look into the social orders, look into the incentives, look into the repercussions for being on the low end of that social order. If you take prison as an example it should be clear to you: You're basically locked away with a ton other predators: Kill or be killed. Be weak at your own risk.

    You're there whether you like it or not and you just gotta make the best of it.
    Sure, but I don’t think anyone can accurately say why I have the expectations I do.Pinprick

    I do think repeated reinforcement plays a role, especially if you've never been exposed to anything else. Some of these expectations are mostly innocuous by the way, so I'm not trying to accuse you of anything. We all have them. I'm sure media and literature and our parents also play a role. It's certainly multi-faceted.
  • ToothyMaw
    180


    People will often consider society or culture as a cause for human behavior, but isn’t society itself actually caused by human behavior?Pinprick

    Reading some of the common definitions of society, I have come up with the working definition that society is an independent entity that both affects and is a function of the shared beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of the collection of individuals it represents. This presents some feedback; it both represents the people by being a function of their actions and beliefs, and thus is not merely synonymous with "individuals", and also affects actions and beliefs. To demonstrate this: many religious people believe that atheists are immoral and cannot be trusted. This belief causes many atheists to stay closeted. This closeting can be blamed on the segment of society that espouses these backwards views; their views are part of the aggregate that comprises the shared beliefs of our society. So I think the closeting behavior of atheists can be blamed on society to a certain degree; everyone wants to be respected. This is not a matter of cowardice I think. Similarly I think violent behavior can be blamed on one's upraising to a certain degree, especially given the definition of society I provided.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k

    All the "ways of life" of a particular set of people that group together to survive, find comfort, and entertainment would be a society. The institutions and ideas that get propogated, updated, and continued for each generation would be "societal". Procreation in many ways is not just between the two individuals having the child because the child will have to interact with a whole bunch of institutions and ideas that have continued. Thus a while back I said that procreation is also forcing an ideology on the individual as not only an individual but ways of life of the society are getting propagated. An underhanded racquet.
  • Judaka
    969

    What I’m getting at is that when people blame “society” for something, it is a deflection of blame. It isn’t capitalism, or racism that is a problem; it’s capitalists and racists that are. We tend to look at people as if they are a part of society, when in actuality they are society.Pinprick

    They are obviously part of society, that's like saying "I'm not part of a group, I am the group".

    The terms “society” and “individuals” are almost synonymous.Pinprick

    Well, I'm not even going to deal with this anymore.
  • Athena
    948
    eople will often consider society or culture as a cause for human behavior, but isn’t society itself actually caused by human behavior? If a society or culture is particularly violent, isn’t that because the people within that culture behave violently? To me it seems that society or culture is basically just a scapegoat for our own actions and behaviors. Instead of pointing the finger at ourselves, we abstractly point to society instead, as if the fault/blame has nothing to do with us.Pinprick

    Culture is something that is learned. The US educated for democracy and transmitted a culture until the 1958 National Defense Education Act. With the passing of the act education for independent thinking was replaced with education for "group-think" and this has resulted in the reactionary politics we have now and an increase in violence. Education for good moral judgment was dropped and left up to the church. Now the US lives with a Christian myth of its democracy(?). I put a question mark there because the Bible is a book about kings and slaves, not a book for democracy. I am saying our democracy has been perverted and it is in big trouble right now. Few know how to defend our democracy because they don't have the education to understand it.

    Our churches, military, and industry are all autocratic and we have militarized our institutions. That is, we experienced a shift of power away from the people and into the hands of authority above us. This problem is made worse by failure to treat the web as a public utility and to regulate it for the good of the people. Now it is used to manipulate us and corrupt our people system. We gave up too much power and now powerless people are at each other's throats. We don't trust anyone and we are not united. It is a perversion of the word culture to think we are cultured people. What we have is equal to mixing monkeys from many different troops and throwing them into a caged area and letting them fight things out until the fighting stops. This is not a civilized culture.
  • Pinprick
    456
    Ah, you're a Thatcherite.

    That didn't go so well.
    Banno

    I don’t know what you’re referring to here. Margaret Thatcher? If so, her name is about all I know about her.

    I'll happily follow Searle in pointing out that there are intentions that can not be had by an individual aloneBanno

    I have no issue with that. The issue is that all ideas, customs, norms, etc. were created by people, perhaps several people, but people nonetheless. Therefore, people are always the cause.

    But we probably wouldn't say "people who are violent just so happen to prefer group X for whatever reason."BitconnectCarlos

    If I was violent, and there was a place where violence was not punished (or rarely/lightly punished), I would prefer to be there. So would everyone else like me. Once there are enough people like me living in the same are it would be viewed as a society. Fast forward a couple hundred years, and you’re likely to find that violence is still a large part of the culture. The violent people that live there are also likely to blame their propensity for violence on the fact that they are surrounded by violent people (society), but the entirety of the situation can be traced back to people who are violent choosing to live together, because they were able to be violent there. So, you can say that society enabled them, but that isn’t a cause.

    many religious people believe that atheists are immoral and cannot be trusted. This belief causes many atheists to stay closeted.Aleph Numbers

    Right, and as you demonstrate, the cause is a large group of people holding the same belief. But the same would be true so long as the majority of people held this belief as compared to atheists. You could have 5 people, which I don’t think anyone considers to be a society, and if only 1 of them is an atheist, s/he will likely still exhibit the closeted behavior you describe.

    They are obviously part of society, that's like saying "I'm not part of a group, I am the group".Judaka

    If people are only part of society, then what exactly do the remaining part(s) consist of?

    That is, we experienced a shift of power away from the people and into the hands of authority above us.Athena

    “Authority above us” meaning other people, right?
  • Bitter Crank
    9k
    Individuals and society interpenetrate  There is no individual outside of society, and no society without individuals. Our complex culture is transmitted through society and the individual bears the benefit and costs of the culture. Sometimes the culture a society hands down is to blame, but only individuals can act. So, in American culture of 2020, there are many guns available for individuals to use. Criticize the society for the number of guns. However, only an individual can pick up a gun, point it at you, and pull the trigger. That's the fault of the individual. But if there were not as many guns as individuals in the United States, it is probably that fewer people would be shot.

    Black individuals are killed by other blacks at a higher rate than blacks are killed by whites. Why do black individuals pick up guns and kill each other more often than other groups? Because they have been subjected to harsh social conditions, and because there are guns readily available, and because society does not prioritize apprehending the shooters/killers in the black community.

    White uneducated middle aged male individuals kill themselves at a higher rate than individuals in other groups. They also use more opiates than some other groups. Why? Because these individuals have been subjected by society to withdrawal of the means by which they formerly maintained their status and meaning as individuals (= deaths of despair).

    Only individuals can act, but to ignore the social milieu in which individuals exist is an act of ideology.
  • Banno
    10k
    The issue is that all ideas, customs, norms, etc. were created by people, perhaps several people, but people nonetheless. Therefore, people are always the cause.Pinprick

    So the issue is if, when people do things together, there is a something that is worthy of it's own name. I think there is.

    But then, Why ‘there’s no such thing as society’ should not be regarded with moral revulsion...
  • TheMadFool
    7.9k
    Now that you mention it, I recall someone saying, "it's society's fault" and I'm not sure whether fae meant it in a way that you seem to be implying to wit that society is some kind of an individual entity like a person is, capable of causally potent intentions and actions independent of, and sometimes contrary to, its individual members, viz. us.

    I think there's a grain of truth in that claim for the simple reason that, as some of us have realized, there's, like it or not, for better or worse, a difference in terms of interests between individuals and the group that they're part of. What's good/bad for a single member of a group isn't necessarily good/bad for the group itself and vice versa. A conflict of interests (me or we) presents itself at every turn, on a daily basis, and from moment to moment, to organisms that have adopted a social lifestyle so to speak.

    An interesting fact that's germane to the issue herein is that societies and groups in general appear to be more rational than individuals and by that I mean to point out a truth that's hard to miss viz. unity is a better choice than division under almost all circumstances our world has to offer. At the individual level passions hold as much sway as reason and that's probably been the easiest, shortest, route to death/extinction, not to say that all passions are, in that way, a liability. There are good i.e. survival-wise advantageous passions and societies, either by sheer chance in those absent a human-level intelligence or by deliberate means as in human socieities, birth, sustain and perpetuate them. The takeaway is a simple truth: societies - we as part of them - are in the business of providing selection pressure (positive/negative) in an evolutionary sense to those passions that are a plus and those passions that are a minus, plus/minus in terms of asset/liability with respect to living/dying. All in all, forming societies is a rational thing to do in a Darwinian sense and there will be costs, costs in terms of giving up, modifying, or offsetting, certain traits that were of use before a social mode of living was adopted. This is the point of origin for the tension between societies and individuals.

    Framed in this context, it's easy to see that a claim like "it's society's fault" makes sense only in the case of society applying a negative selection pressure on certain individual predelictions and that in turn causing negative pyschological effects down the line that manifests in myriad ways at the individual level.

    At the heart of the relationship between individuals and the societies is the push and pull between rationality and our passions. The former analyzes the passions, selects and nurtures those that benefit everyone and the latter simply does what it does and, most importantly, sometimes puts individuals in a position to reject, defy, go against, the interests of society and that lays the the foundation for attitudes and realities captured by the statement "it's society's fault". Intriiguingly and ironically, there seem to be occasions (played out in courts, committees, tribunals, etc.) on which the reverse accusation, "it's the individual's fault", is made by society.
  • Judaka
    969

    If people are only part of society, then what exactly do the remaining part(s) consist of?Pinprick

    Their ideas and practices, their organisation and many things. Take a stratified society as an example, the existence of which may predate any living person, they're all born into it. People are born into the different classes and inhabit the roles, responsibilities and privileges of those classes. The power structure disenfranchises the majority bottom class and the upper classes are benefited by the status quo. It may be that no matter which role you inhabit, you are not in a position to challenge the system.

    Look at how society develops as a result of technology, overseas ideas, soft power from other countries or music, culture develops through food, drugs, religion. Someone could invent a babel fish but have no way of knowing how it will shape society, what kind of impact it will have on its various sectors. Even if society was just all individuals making choices, why would you ask people to take responsibility for someone else's choices? Why would that mean someone can't blame society even if they thought that meant "the individual choices which have impacted me"? Anyway, you have received quite a few good responses and responded with either nothing worth reading or this focus on "violence" which you probably should have just made your thread about rather than society. Yes, people ultimately choose whether to be violent or not, even if there are particular environment or social factors which influenced them, they still go to jail for their crimes. You want what, people to ignore science and just say "ah, that's totally your fault and I see no correlation between your actions and your environment and the statistical truth that shows a correlation between those acts and your environment"? You haven't even said who you're really arguing with just "them goddamn folk who blame society". Everything about this thread is mediocre and I've spent too much time on it already.
  • Athena
    948
    “Authority above us” meaning other people, right?Pinprick

    Not exactly. When I speak of that shift in power, I speak of reliance on policy. Like Prussian military order. Prussian military order is a few establish the policy and then they can all be killed, but the policy is still in force. In the past when someone died the person was replaced by someone who may do everything completely differently, like the US change in president. As soon as there is a new president, s/he can throughout what the president before established and create new ways of doing things. But all the bureaucracies are ordered by a policy and nothing can be changed without an act of congress. Kings died but these policies do not die.

    Tocqueville was concerned about the power of government shifting from a democracy to a despot and that this despot would manage the details of our lives for us, leaving us nothing to do but be happy. Perhaps some remember the original Star Trek and the shows dealing with societies run by computers. Effectively that is what we have but the parts of computer are organic. The parts are humans following policy and who expect everyone to follow policy. However, when I deal with the internet I am impressed by how computers have taken control of our lives and the silliness of us throwing a fit over the government taking too much control and passively accepting turning our lives to computers and the web.
  • Coben
    1.7k
    Yes, but also...we enter cultures. And we come without culture. And some cultures probably suit us better than others, each having strengths and weaknesses. Culture is the mixed batch compromise of people who have gone before us, filtered through POWER. That is the goals and ideas that the powerful want most people to have. And that also may cause us problems.
  • Athena
    948
    ↪Pinprick Yes, but also...we enter cultures. And we come without culture. And some cultures probably suit us better than others, each having strengths and weaknesses. Culture is the mixed batch compromise of people who have gone before us, filtered through POWER. That is the goals and ideas that the powerful want most people to have. And that also may cause us problems.Coben

    I think the US is in a culture war. Trump and Biden are very different leaders and the nation is almost evenly divided on which leader the people want. And the very powerful media people are not being responsible people, but total prostitutes doing whatever it takes to accumulate wealth.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    779
    If I was violent, and there was a place where violence was not punished (or rarely/lightly punished), I would prefer to be there. So would everyone else like me.Pinprick

    Cool, so violent people must love Caracas, Venezuela or Detroit because they can be around other violent people who are like them. Maybe all the violent people can become friends after hanging out together. They could throw violent-themed parties, maybe grab some violent-themed decorations.
  • Athena
    948
    Now that you mention it, I recall someone saying, "it's society's fault" and I'm not sure whether fae meant it in a way that you seem to be implying to wit that society is some kind of an individual entity like a person is, capable of causally potent intentions and actions independent of, and sometimes contrary to, its individual members, viz. us.TheMadFool

    Individual power and authority is like a grain of sand, society is the beach and waves.

    An interesting fact that's germane to the issue herein is that societies and groups in general appear to be more rational than individuals and by that I mean to point out a truth that's hard to miss viz. unity is a better choice than division under almost all circumstances our world has to offer.
    The US is no longer the democracy it once was. In 1958 the National Defense Education Act, ending transmitting a culture base on Greek and Roman classes, and began preparing the young for a technological society with unknown values. Bush and Bush jr. were thrilled to be in charge of the New World Order and that came from Germany. It was not the American Dream the came out of the Enlightenment. This individual does not have much independent power but is prepared for life by society.

    Framed in this context, it's easy to see that a claim like "it's society's fault" makes sense only in the case of society applying a negative selection pressure on certain individual predelictions and that in turn causing negative pyschological effects down the line that manifests in myriad ways at the individual level.

    My books on the history of education explain education can serve different purposes. Since primitive times the young have been prepared for membership in the tribe-all the way to citizenship in the nation. The society may be more mystical than technological. Those based on religion may make the development of secular/scientific thinking near impossible. I think our education for technology has been dehumanizing, and it advanced military technology not the humanistic goals of the Enlightenment.

    At the heart of the relationship between individuals and the societies is the push and pull between rationality and our passions. The former analyzes the passions, selects and nurtures those that benefit everyone and the latter simply does what it does and, most importantly, sometimes puts individuals in a position to reject, defy, go against, the interests of society and that lays the the foundation for attitudes and realities captured by the statement "it's society's fault". Intriiguingly and ironically, there seem to be occasions (played out in courts, committees, tribunals, etc.) on which the reverse accusation, "it's the individual's fault", is made by society.

    We come into life blank slates and society fills us with thoughts. Each country having its own culture, and each culture having its own consciousness and unconsciousness. We are mostly unaware of how our cultures and subcultures impact our lives. Few of us will be conscious enough to master our lives and even fewer will impact the cultures in which we live in. Many will be rejected and marginalized and totally ineffective.
  • Athena
    948
    If I was violent, and there was a place where violence was not punished (or rarely/lightly punished), I would prefer to be there. So would everyone else like me.
    — Pinprick
    BitconnectCarlos

    Good then become a police officer or a guard in a prison. The military is also an option.
  • Pinprick
    456
    So, in American culture of 2020, there are many guns available for individuals to use. Criticize the society for the number of guns. However, only an individual can pick up a gun, point it at you, and pull the trigger. That's the fault of the individual.Bitter Crank

    Sure, but what I’m getting at is that it’s someone’s fault that we have so many guns too. I just get the idea that some people treat society as if it was a separate entity capable of making decisions. It’s not. Decisions are made by people with their own agendas and intentions. So instead of criticizing society for the number of guns, we should criticize the people who caused that (the founders of the constitution, I suppose), and those who perpetuate this status quo (judges who interpreted the 2nd. Amendment in a certain way, advocates, etc.).

    So the issue is if, when people do things together, there is a something that is worthy of it's own name.Banno

    I guess that’s one way to put it, but the bigger issue is what is more likely to cause change; blaming society or people? To me, blaming society is too broad to be very useful. How do I change society? Whereas blaming specific people, or groups of people, at least let’s me know where I need to stand with my picket sign.

    Framed in this context, it's easy to see that a claim like "it's society's fault" makes sense only in the case of society applying a negative selection pressure on certain individual predelictions and that in turn causing negative pyschological effects down the line that manifests in myriad ways at the individual level.TheMadFool

    If I create a machine, and that machine creates a machine that kills people, who is responsible for those deaths? And let’s assume the machines are conscious and have free will, for the sake of argument.

    Their ideas and practices, their organisation and many things.Judaka

    So if all Americans were dead, would American culture/society still exist? Things like ideas, practices, etc. are just parts of people, right?

    Look at how society develops as a result of technology, overseas ideas, soft power from other countries or music, culture develops through food, drugs, religion.Judaka

    All things created and perpetuated by people...

    Even if society was just all individuals making choices, why would you ask people to take responsibility for someone else's choices?Judaka

    I’m not. As a practical matter, I consider everyone to be responsible for their own actions. But you can’t be responsible for what happens to you, like getting arrested, being discriminated against, etc. Who’s responsible for things like that?

    Why would that mean someone can't blame society even if they thought that meant "the individual choices which have impacted me"?Judaka

    Because that wouldn’t be accurate. I’m not saying that individual choices have no effect on other individuals. I’m saying that each person should be blamed for their individual actions, instead of society.

    Yes, people ultimately choose whether to be violent or not, even if there are particular environment or social factors which influenced them, they still go to jail for their crimes.Judaka

    My point is that these factors are themselves all caused by people.

    You haven't even said who you're really arguing with just "them goddamn folk who blame society".Judaka

    I’m not really arguing with anyone. I’m asking questions. Perhaps you mistake questions for arguments?

    Everything about this thread is mediocre and I've spent too much time on it already.Judaka

    I’ll happily waste as much of your time as you allow. :smile:

    Prussian military order is a few establish the policy and then they can all be killed, but the policy is still in force.Athena

    But the cause is still those few who established the policies. I think we should move away from blaming things like society or policies, and towards the people who create/perpetuate them. If the point of ascribing blame is to create change, then the focus should be narrow. Society encompasses many things, some good, some bad, but when we blame society as a whole the good seems to be overlooked, or overshadowed by whatever we’re railing against to be changed. We don’t want the entire society to change (at least not usually), we want particular parts of it to change that are created/ spurred on by particular people. It’s those people that need to change, not some abstract notion of society.

    Effectively that is what we have but the parts of computer are organic. The parts are humans following policy and who expect everyone to follow policy.Athena

    But there is still no need to be complicit in a system you feel is corrupt. Following orders aren’t the only option you have. And no, you’re very unlikely to have the power to change or influence much beyond your personal inner circle, but that’s precisely how change takes place over time. It just takes a lot of people, and a lot of time being the change they wish to see in the world, to paraphrase Gandhi.

    And the very powerful media people are not being responsible people, but total prostitutes doing whatever it takes to accumulate wealth.Athena

    Perfect! This is a good example of what I mean. Holding particular people responsible, rather than just “the media.”
  • Bitter Crank
    9k
    Sure, but what I’m getting at is that it’s someone’s fault that we have so many guns too. I just get the idea that some people treat society as if it was a separate entity capable of making decisions. It’s not.Pinprick

    I totally agree.

    We could make a list of individuals who are responsible for the number of guns that exist. First, there is the list of individuals who own gun and ammunition factories. Then there is the list of people who own wholesale and retail companies. There is the list of gun buyers and gun users. We can make up a list of people who are Second Amendment fanatics.

    We can divide this list up in several ways. The manufacturing-wholesale-retail owner group amounts to many thousands. Gun owners are roughly a third of the American population -- 100,000,000. The list of people who own a gun (like a hunting rifle) and regularly use it for hunting is much smaller than 100 million. The list of people who own hand guns and regularly use them for protection is smaller than the list of hunters. The list of people who have a hand gun and use it for nefarious purposes is smaller still.

    So, 100,000,000 people is too large a number to not count as "society". Society is made up of individuals and individuals are formed by society. It's a circular relationship, but "society" doesn't trump individual decision making. It isn't society that makes someone put a cheap gun in their pocket and go to a convenient store and kill the clerk and empty the register. Or shoot somebody because they were disrespected.

    "Society" can't make a decision, but it can and does constitute the cultural environments in which individuals do make decisions. Sometimes a small number of individuals, or even one individual, "shape" society. A president, a dictator, a pope, a charismatic leader, a madman... can constructively or destructively shape society. Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were not a large number of people. Only 19 al-Qaeda men carried out the 9/11 terrorist attack that restructured some aspects of American culture and society. So have individual assassins who have killed charismatic leaders.

    Sorting out how society and culture is changed is a difficult dicey game--so many variables.
  • Banno
    10k
    How do I change society?Pinprick

    By voting. By participating.
  • Athena
    948
    Prussian military order is a few establish the policy and then they can all be killed, but the policy is still in force.
    — Athena

    But the cause is still those few who established the policies. I think we should move away from blaming things like society or policies, and towards the people who create/perpetuate them. If the point of ascribing blame is to create change, then the focus should be narrow. Society encompasses many things, some good, some bad, but when we blame society as a whole the good seems to be overlooked, or overshadowed by whatever we’re railing against to be changed. We don’t want the entire society to change (at least not usually), we want particular parts of it to change that are created/ spurred on by particular people. It’s those people that need to change, not some abstract notion of society.
    Pinprick

    I spoke of how a society can be organized. Individuals do not have power when it is Prussian military bureaucracy organizing the society. We fought two world wars against that because it is not compatible with the past US concept of individuality and democracy. Then the US imitated German education and bureaucracy and became what it defended its democracy against. We could also consider China that is very controlling of individuals and made an art of manipulating the behavior of individuals. Those are totally different ways of controlling people. The Prussian method can lead to brutishness. The Chinese method can lead to very decile people.

    Effectively that is what we have but the parts of a computer are organic. The parts are humans following policy and who expect everyone to follow policy.
    — Athena

    But there is still no need to be complicit in a system you feel is corrupt. Following orders aren’t the only option you have. And no, you’re very unlikely to have the power to change or influence much beyond your personal inner circle, but that’s precisely how change takes place over time. It just takes a lot of people, and a lot of time being the change they wish to see in the world, to paraphrase Gandhi. [1quote]

    Is there a way to use the internet and avoid all the corruption? In the beginning of the web we retained control but we have totally lost it and nothing is being done about that. Changing education seems impossible when everyone is convinced we have excellent education and can not see what it has to do with becoming a police state. If a person has the money and power of Bill Gates people will turn to this person for advise, but being one rebellious individual does not seem to be working so well for me.
    And the very powerful media people are not being responsible people, but total prostitutes doing whatever it takes to accumulate wealth.
    — Athena

    Perfect! This is a good example of what I mean. Holding particular people responsible, rather than just “the media.”

    But until we return to liberal education, the people will not have the awareness nor the power to set things right.
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