Tuesday, June 23, 2020

860: The Effects of Power.......

“It is far safer to be feared than loved,” wrote Niccolò Machiavelli in "IL Principe" in 1532, the founding text of the philosophy of realpolitik. 


It’s all very well for do-gooders to preach love and charity, but force, or the threat of it, is the only language everyone always understands. 

The American psychologist Dacher Keltner begs to differ. He is a professor of psychology at University of California, Berkeley, where he directs the Berkeley Social Interaction Lab.

When you closely observe chimpanzees or other primates, such as kindergartners or university students, 


you’ll find it is not the bullies and manipulators who gain power, he writes in his book "The Power Paradox" (2016).


Rather, it is those who demonstrate empathy and enthusiasm, solve others’ problems and otherwise further the greater good. 


Were that the end of the story, the world would be ruled exclusively by kind philanthropists. You may have noticed that this is not the case.


But we are not yet done. This is not the whole story. Keltner did also research on the question: What happens to a person who HAS power.


In 1998 he did a funny looking experiment. He and his team let groups of three people enter the lab. 


One of the participants was drawn as leader, after which the group got to work on a boring assignment. 


Then the fun part: While they were working, participants got a plate with five biscuits on it.


Each group left one cookie, the iron law of decency, but the fourth cookie had usually disappeared into the leader's mouth afterwards.


And that was not all. One of Keltner's doctoral candidate noted that the leaders also seemed to be eating more dirty. 


After a video analysis, it turned out that these leaders did eat more often with their mouths open, tasted louder and dropped more crumbs on their sweater. 


You could take such a wacky study with a grain of salt, but in recent years dozens of studies of this kind have been conducted all over the world. 


For example, the Keltner team also investigated the psychological effect of an expensive car. 


The first test subjects drove in a squeaky-looking Mitsubishi or Ford Pinto to a crosswalk, where a pedestrian was just about to cross. 


They all neatly gave way. 


But then the participants were put in an expensive Mercedes or BMW, and yes, no less than 45 percent of the drivers drove on. 


The more expensive the car, the coarser the driving behavior. This study has now been replicated twice, with the same results.


So, it is not a prejudice of mine. When I see a big car on the highway, overtaking left and right, ignoring the speed limit, I always predict...that must be a BMW.


When in power there is a great risk, that people begin to suffer from acquired sociopathy, a non hereditary psychological disease. 


Due to brain damage in the frontal lob, the nicest person can change into a rude bastard like happened to Phineas Gage (1848).


Powerful people can show the same behavior, as if they suffer from brain damage. They can be arrogant, rude, narcissistic.


They easily cheat on their partner, do not listen well to others, lack empathy, are more shameless and seldom blush.


Neurological research on powerful and not powerful people has shown, that feelings of power disturb the mental process of "mirroring"


When one toddler begins to cry in the waitingroom, all start to cry. When you yawn, I yawn. When you laugh, I laugh.


Powerful people do this much less. It is as if they aren't anymore connected with other people.


Are the powerful among is less OK than those with less or no power....?


Thank you for your attention again...


The Discussion

[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): wow i didnot think i was that late

[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): I sorry..

[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): so I'm Sorry!

[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): was talking to patch linden

[13:19] CB Axel: I would be interested to see what happens to behavior when someone's power is taken away.

[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and alotta mole

[13:19] herman Bergson: You are forgiven Gemma :-)

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Audi drivers = 4 zeroes + one more at the wheel (referring to the logo)

[13:19] CB Axel: Oh. Nice. How is Patch?

[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): marvelous as usual

[13:20] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): a BMW has built-in priority...didn't you know Herman?

[13:20] CB Axel: I hope you remembered to call sims regions in front of him. lol

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and yes they often try puh my little Yaris of the highway at 100 km/h or more

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): push

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): "Move over you little plupp!"

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like they own the road

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sigh

[13:20] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): thinks power is a very very bad thing sometimes

[13:20] CB Axel: Bejiita, you should see how some of the other paramedics drove when I was working.

[13:20] herman Bergson: An expensive car seems to have this effect on people

[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and it grows

[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): have met people even in sl where i saw that happen

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but to risk others life?

[13:21] herman Bergson: You see it time and again.....authoritarian leaders that won't step down after losing elections

[13:22] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it must be the other way around,, they have to be very careful in an expensive car, because it cost a lot

[13:22] Jack Lust (jacklust): I do think power can make bad people worse, for sure.  Even still, good people will still have to make hard choices if they are in power, and to some, it could seem like corruption if they make a choice they don't like

[13:22] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes

[13:22] herman Bergson: Ahh yes Gemma....indeed....

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa

[13:23] herman Bergson: Power can change a person.....that's for sure

[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I think it feels good to have power

[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): amazing tho how some people with power that do have humility too

[13:23] herman Bergson: And many believe in the Machiavellian method....use fear and violence

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but to think you are worth moe then others and can look down on them

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): stomp on them

[13:24] herman Bergson: YEs Gemma...the times are changing....

[13:24] herman Bergson: like the violence of the US police is a lost cause....

[13:24] herman Bergson: it has to change.....

[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes

[13:24] CB Axel: In the experiments, did there seem to be differences between genders?

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they abuse their power

[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it is too late this time for it not to

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like it is some damn video game

[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): BANG BANG RATATATATATAT

[13:25] herman Bergson: If a Dutch policeman fires a shot the whole nation is in uproar.....big investigation....etc...

[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right

[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): the stats from European countries are dwarfed by us

[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): sigh

[13:26] herman Bergson: Recently a person was killed by a policeman using that neck grip.....

[13:26] herman Bergson: great uproar and demonstrations...

[13:26] Lente (lentelies.anatine) is online.

[13:27] herman Bergson: The belief that power is estabished by violence  is only believed by dictators

[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): correct

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:27] Jack Lust (jacklust): that'susually how they got power to begin with

[13:27] herman Bergson: Just notice that the book The Power Paradox dates from 2016.....

[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ha

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they scare people into subdue and kills the rest

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): who refuse

[13:28] herman Bergson: the rethinking of what power is and how to use it has just started

[13:28] Jack Lust (jacklust): only need to kill a couple to spread fear though

[13:29] Jack Lust (jacklust): and I think power, or the need to hang on to that power, will maker people act on their worst instincts

[13:29] herman Bergson: yet dictators get overthrown eventually

[13:29] herman Bergson: Happens indeed Jack

[13:29] herman Bergson: Pinochet, Ceauchescu

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): if I gained such power im not sure I could turn into a murderous maniac, im not that kind of person at all but also I don't think I have an evil side at all in me

[13:30] herman Bergson: the Greek colones

[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): meduro is really hanging on tho

[13:30] Jack Lust (jacklust): all governments fall eventually, dictatorship or not

[13:30] herman Bergson: yes Gemma

[13:31] herman Bergson: I wouldn't say that Jack...

[13:31] herman Bergson: European democracies are quite stable

[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): for quite a while

[13:31] herman Bergson: yes...

[13:31] herman Bergson: maybe due to how power is handled here

[13:31] Jack Lust (jacklust): sure, but it will change eventually, I'm guessing.  If we live long enough, we will discover a better way

[13:32] herman Bergson: I'll bring a better way to your attention indeed in a next lecture, Jack :-)

[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) whispers: when does summer break start?

[13:33] Jack Lust (jacklust): even a democracy isn't perfect, we still have lots to learn

[13:33] herman Bergson: To me the present situation in the US is a big experiment.....

[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it may be

[13:33] herman Bergson: with respect to policing and also governing...

[13:33] Jack Lust (jacklust): it will be smarter people than me who figure it out though

[13:34] herman Bergson: Again, it doesn't have the be achieved in just one lifetime,  one generation

[13:34] herman Bergson: some changes take generations

[13:34] Jack Lust (jacklust): of course not, it will be many generations before we get it right, assuming we don't wipe ourselves out first

[13:36] herman Bergson: At least now we know that brains of people with power differ from the others....in a negative sense

[13:36] CB Axel: I've always said that it's taken the US more than 400 years to become the shit hole it is today. It will take more than one or two presidential terms to make it better.

[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): like the liberal brain and the conservative brain

[13:36] herman Bergson: yes Gemma, there is neurological evidence....

[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): cb nto that bad!!!!!!!!!!

[13:36] Jack Lust (jacklust): and how fearful each side of those are

[13:37] CB Axel: That would make for an interesting experiment, Gemma. How does power change the liberal brain as opposed to the conservative brain?

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): a good thought

[13:37] herman Bergson: I am afraid in the same way CB....

[13:37] CB Axel: Also the female brain vs the male brain.

[13:37] CB Axel: Yes, to the same extent, Herman?

[13:38] herman Bergson: That is more interesting , I'd say

[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): lots of experiments to do !!!

[13:38] CB Axel: :)

[13:38] Jack Lust (jacklust): could it be that conservatives tend to fear more, like ideas and such, than liberals and that's why they tend to resort to those tactics more often?

[13:38] herman Bergson: It is a whole new area of knowledge.....and a rather new one too

[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): will be interesting

[13:39] herman Bergson: There is research on that Jack.....but I don't recall the details

[13:39] CB Axel: Conservatives do fear more. Very interesting.

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well conservative = better on grandpas time

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): refuse changes

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it was better before

[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that stuff

[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it is hard to tell.... some of the conservative talk radio people sound pretty confident

[13:40] Jack Lust (jacklust): the good old days, lol

[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): in their beliefs

[13:40] CB Axel: I've never understood why some people think progress is bad.

[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): depends on what you mean by  progress

[13:40] herman Bergson: that's amystery  indeed CB :-)

[13:41] Jack Lust (jacklust): because things are more complicated now than they were and it takes effort to adapt

[13:41] herman Bergson: `Well equal rights for man and woman for instance

[13:41]  Łîly Łŭsŧ (lily11223355): Alot would think if it isn't broke, don't fix it perhaps

[13:41] CB Axel: Gemma, they're confident that minorities are taking away their privilege. And that liberals are taking their guns.

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): progress to some i think is getting more money for a better car

[13:41] CB Axel: All that stuff.

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): house

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): vacation

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh guns of course

[13:42] CB Axel: That's individual progress. I want to see progress for everyone.

[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like that audi trying pushing  me off the road all time

[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): grmbll

[13:42] CB Axel: But that's that "I got mine" attitude conservatives have.

[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right

[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): evel im above the speed limit sometimes to avoid this

[13:42] CB Axel: Why should they care about education reform?  Their kids have good schools.

[13:42] herman Bergson: the right to vote for everyone was introduced around 1920 for instance

[13:42] herman Bergson: a minimum wage for everyone

[13:42] CB Axel: Why should they care about health care? They have insurance.

[13:42] CB Axel: Etc

[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!

[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...

[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): they want the taxes to pay those private schools

[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): freeedom of choice

[13:43] CB Axel: They can go to hell.

[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): also part of his speech today

[13:44] herman Bergson: Well....let's focus on how the use of power can be changed to the good in the future

[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): like Ghandi did

[13:44] herman Bergson: There is hope ....

[13:44] Marrie (ladyy.haven) is online.

[13:44] herman Bergson: Indeed Beertje

[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hopefully there is indeed

[13:45] herman Bergson: We'll see Bejiita.....

[13:45] herman Bergson: So...time to prepare for the next lecture ^_^

[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): okk

[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥

[13:46] herman Bergson: Thank you all again for your participation...

[13:46] Guestboook van tipjar stand: bergfrau Apfelbaum donated L$100. Thank you very much, it is much appreciated!

[13:46] Jack Lust (jacklust): thanks Herman

[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman

[13:46] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.

[13:46] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ^_^

[13:46] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): see  you thursday

[13:46] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i hopw

[13:46] Guestboook van tipjar stand: JackLust Resident donated L$200. Thank you very much, it is much appreciated!

[13:46]  Łîly Łŭsŧ (lily11223355): Gracias Herman and everyone

[13:46] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hope even

[13:46] CB Axel: See you all Thursday. :)

[13:46] bergfrau Apfelbaum: Thank you Herman and class:-)

[13:46] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bye for now

[13:46] Guestboook van tipjar stand: Lily11223355 Resident donated L$50. Thank you very much, it is much appreciated!

[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu next time (if TURF don't take up my time, Tuesday seem to be when my friend have time for these long rollers with me)

[13:46] herman Bergson: De nada Lily ^_^

[13:46] Jack Lust (jacklust): take care everyone!

[13:46] CB Axel: Bye

[13:46] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): rememeber the sl17b starts this week!!!!!!

[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well cu

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