Wednesday, February 12, 2020

826: Are the Media our Enemy.....?

An aircraft makes an emergency landing and breaks into three pieces. The cabin is filled with smoke. 
All passengers realize: we have to leave here. What is happening? 
On Planet A, the passengers ask each other if they are OK. People who need help are given priority. People are willing to give their lives, even to strangers. 
On Planet B it is everyone for themselves. Total panic breaks out. They kick and push. Children, the elderly and people with disabilities are being overrun. 
Question: on which planet do we live?   
It is the professor of Social Psychology, Tom Postmes of the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, who asks this question every year.
"I estimate that 97 percent think we live on Planet B," says Postmes. "But in practice we almost always live on Planet A. 
It doesn't matter who you ask. Left and right, poor and rich, uneducated and well-read people - everyone makes the same mistake of judgment.
One could know this since the Second World War. Even the most famous disasters in history took place on Planet A. 
Take the sinking of the Titanic. If you've seen the movie, you might think everyone was in a panic apart from the string quartet. 
But no, there was no pushing and pulling. An eyewitness reported that there was "no indication of panic or hysteria," "no cry for fear, and no running back and forth."
That people by nature are selfish, easily panicked and aggressive is a persistent myth.
The biologist Frans de Waal, whose ideas we have mentioned here several times, calls it in "The Bonobo and the Atheist" (2013) the veneer theory.
It refers to the question whether the capacity to make moral judgments is the product of evolutionary forces or is an acquired ability. 
Frans de Waal calls the latter position ‘veneer theory’: the view that morality, along with cooperative and altruistic tendencies in general, 
is a cultural overlay, a thin veneer hiding an otherwise selfish and brutish nature. Research has shown, that morality being just a cultural overlay is a myth.
Yet the conviction, that we live on Planet B is so persistent. On August 29, 2005, the dikes of New Orleans broke.
That week newspapers were filled with reports of rapes and shootings in New Orleans. The most horrible stories were told.
The Head of Police and the governor of Louisiana concluded publicly the same: Disasters like this awakens the worst in man.
The opposite was true. Months later when the journalists were gone scientific researchers of the University of Delaware discovered what really had happened.
In the Superdome stadium,  where almost 25.000 people had found a refuge, there were no rapes or murdered babies.
Six people died there. Four of natural causes, one by an overdose and one committed suicide, but the Media had told a totally different story.
The so called plundering - there always may have been some bad guys of course - was in fact actions of citizens to gather food, clothing and medical supplies, which they distributed among people in need.
It is interesting to notice the role of the media in disasters like this. You get the impression that they prefer to endorse the veneer theory,
although most people are OK......
Thank you for your attention again....

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Rutger Bregman, "De meeste mensen deugen",, 2019

The Discussion

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Media does this as usual to sell more papers
[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): by publishing fake rubbish
[13:19] herman Bergson: yes is an interesting phenomenon
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): scandals sell
[13:19] herman Bergson: even when there are no scandals
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): this is true fake news
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): when they do things like this, write stuff that is not true and spreading hate and suspicion among people
[13:21] herman Bergson: But the good thing is to notice that in situations of disaster man is inclined to help eachother....
[13:21] herman Bergson: The Hobbesian view point isn't true, he was wrong
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I guess this is why many believe the planet B idea, they believe these fake stories they read in the paper
[13:21] herman Bergson: The belief in the Planet B situation is really strong
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but its just as u said before, "most people are ok"
[13:22] herman Bergson: Maybe Hollywood is contributing to that belief
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): might be as well
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but its only a movie remember
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but many don't
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and video games too
[13:23] herman Bergson: What amazes me is always the default scene.....
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's always shooting and fighting in games
[13:23] herman Bergson: a person sees a dead body.....
[13:24] herman Bergson: what does that person do...especially women...?
[13:24] herman Bergson: not wondering...what is
[13:24] herman Bergson: the person starts screaming....
[13:24] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): not only by a dead body..a spider is enough
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or a cute little mouse
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): classic
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yesterday I saw a video recording from inside a plane....
[13:25] herman Bergson: it had due to the storm great difficulty to land....
[13:25] herman Bergson: everybody was silent....except one...who was screaming like an idiot
[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): a man?
[13:26] herman Bergson: Has seen too many movies, I thought
[13:26] herman Bergson: no...a woman
[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ah too bad
[13:26] herman Bergson: But is a bit like we saw with the pessimists....
[13:27] herman Bergson: the inclination to belief, that one day all will go wrong...
[13:27] herman Bergson: here we see the same....the belief that when in trouble we turn into animals...
[13:27] herman Bergson: which in fact is an insult to animals :-)
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :)
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:29] herman Bergson: you can see...this is our first proof that MOST PEOPLE ARE OK ^_^
[13:30] herman Bergson: The only people who are NOT OK are the 455 members of the Philosophy Class Group ^_^
[13:30] herman Bergson: Hardly 1% participates in my class...!!
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): who are not In here?
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm its just us all time it seems hardly any new ones
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): coming in
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): don't take it personal Bejjiita
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I don't
[13:31] herman Bergson: Very strange indeed
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but at least all these follow u
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): in some way
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but do they use SL at all?
[13:31] herman Bergson: I guess so :-))
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): my husband is not here but he read your blog:)
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): that's one more
[13:32] herman Bergson: :-)
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:33] herman Bergson: There are more who reads the blog..... 100+ pageviews per lecture for instance
[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): strange that they are not in class
[13:33] herman Bergson: But just like you are here..I think...if there is only one person who reads my blog, I did my job :-)
[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i'll tell him:)))
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but it's still strange that there are people online and not here
[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): people
[13:35] herman Bergson: idea too Beertje
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well if they are also in SL indeed
[13:35] herman Bergson: I could fill two classrooms with people who told me that they certainly would come :-)
[13:36] bergfrau Apfelbaum: grins
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ha..
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): maybe advertise more Herman
[13:37] herman Bergson: where?
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): if there is a present for everyone they will come
[13:38] herman Bergson whispers: if that were the solution you would be buried under a huge mountain of presents now Beertje :-)
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:38] herman Bergson: .
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i don't want presents
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its valentines day soon, try bribe them in with chocolate
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:39] herman Bergson: Might be a good plan, Bejiita :-)
[13:39] herman Bergson: But you is just one day Valentine's Day :-)
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): zegeltjes?
[13:40] herman Bergson grins
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): don't know that in english
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): knipkaart?
[13:40] herman Bergson: well a zegel is a stamp...but that is the postal stamp...
[13:41] herman Bergson: Don't know what you get in the supermarket :-)
[13:41] herman Bergson: Well I guess we have saved the world again today so we may conclude our discussion :-))
[13:42] herman Bergson: Thank you all again for your participation :-))
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:42] herman Bergson: Class dismissed......



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