Wednesday, September 9, 2020

866: What is wrong with us....?

You would expect that the observation that positive expectations influence people in a positive way, would become THE way to approach your fellowmen.


Yet Rosenthal's discovery did not trigger the revolution he and his colleagues had hoped for.    


The Pygmalion Effect is great science that is hardly ever applied. It hasn't made the difference it should have done, which is very disappointing.


As expectations can become reality, unfortunately nightmares can too. 


The evil little brother of the Pygmalion effect is called the Golem effect, after the Jewish legend of a beast that was created to protect the people of Prague but turned into a monster. 


The Golem effect is also ubiquitous. We down on people from whom we expect less from. We take more distance. 


We smile less at them. In short, we do exactly what Rosenthal's students did when they let go of the "dumb" rats in the maze. 


Little research has been done on the Golem effect, as it is rather immoral to burden subjects with poor expectations. 


But what we know is shocking. For example, in 1939 psychologist Wendell Johnson divided about twenty orphans in Davenport, Iowa into two groups. 


One group was told they talked nicely en good, while the other group was told they would become stutterers. 


This study is now called "The Monster Study" because it has left several children with lifelong speech problems.


The Golem effect is everywhere. It causes students to fall even further behind, homeless people give up hope and lonely teenagers can radicalize or commit suicide. 


It's one of the ways that racism does its dirty work. People of whom is less expected, do less well, 


so that even less is expected of them, which causes that they perform even worse, a downward spiral.  


There is even evidence that the Golem effect can pull entire organizations into the abyss if negative expectations pile up among its workers?


In 2002 John C. Edwards, William McKinley, Gyewan Moon published the article: "The Enactment of Organizational Decline: The Self‐Fulfilling Prophecy".


They say."We present two self‐fulfilling prophecy‐based models of organizational decline, one in which decline is enacted unintentionally through the predictions of an organization's managers, 


and a second in which decline is enacted unintentionally through the predictions of external constituencies."


If it wasn't so sad, it almost sounds fun to witness such prophecies in action. What is it with us? Why are we so negative about ourselves.


Fact is that religions paint us black. We are sinners. Our governmental social system is based on distrusting the subject. Should I mention Hobbes.....and so on?


If you accept that we are members of the animal kingdom, biological organisms driven by pain and pleasure,


then there may be an answer to this WHY, based on how brain is programmed, how the organism strives for survival: FEAR.


To accept that most people are OK might be achieved , when we overcome this primordial fear...... To achieve that might be a matter of evolution, I guess.


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

[13:15] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman

[13:16] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): why do religions paint us black?

[13:16] CB Axel: They tell us that we are sinners.

[13:16] herman Bergson: It means that religions tell us that we are the weak ones, the sinners, the ones that need help

[13:16] CB Axel: And we need their religion to save us.

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ,because pleasure is a sin, it starts wars ect

[13:16] herman Bergson: indeed CB

[13:17] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i never heard anything positive of the nuns in school

[13:17] herman Bergson: indeed Beerjte :-)

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm

[13:17] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): their thoughts were as black as their long skirts

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): however I have seen many horror films featuring rageous nuns

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that says something

[13:18] herman Bergson: cool Bejiita.....send me some titles :-)

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ill have a quick check

[13:18] CB Axel: That's what happens when you're sexually repressed.

[13:18] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but why, what is the benefit to tell young children that they are no good?

[13:19] herman Bergson: Control, Beertje

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): The Nun (La Monja) 2005 and also there is another The Nun film made recently

[13:19] herman Bergson: All religions and ideologies are about control of the other

[13:20] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): at a very young age i quit church..i didn't want to be there anymore

[13:20] CB Axel: I liked the music, so I joined the choir and kept going.

[13:20] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): sorry lots of typos

[13:20] CB Axel: My parents dragged us there.

[13:21] herman Bergson: music is always seducing

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the first is about a nun torturing her students to death while telling them they are bad sinners and after they got revenge on her many hears later she comes back in the form of a water monster and have her revenge on them

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its creepy in a good way

[13:21] herman Bergson: Slow down on nuns Bejiita, please :-)

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I just wanted to get u interested cause I liked it

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

[13:22] herman Bergson: What is begin to believe is that the basic drive in man is FEAR

[13:23] herman Bergson: A biological fear....

[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes

[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): fear of death

[13:23] herman Bergson: Power is the opposite of fear, it seems

[13:23] CB Axel: Fear of pain and loss of control

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I guess

[13:23] herman Bergson: but in fact it is a way to fight the fear...

[13:23] CB Axel: Power is a way to control what frightens us.

[13:24] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): is fear biological?

[13:24] herman Bergson: I'd say YES Beertje...

[13:24] CB Axel: I agree.

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): have to be

[13:24] CB Axel: It's what keeps us alive.

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): basic drive

[13:24] herman Bergson: it is part of the reptilian brain as it is called

[13:25] herman Bergson: part of our brain which we have in common with almost all animals

[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): not all?

[13:25] herman Bergson: What do you mean, Beertje?

[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): are there animals without that brain part?

[13:26] CB Axel: We have this relatively tiny amygdala that we just can't seem to control with our great big hominid cerebrums.

[13:26] herman Bergson: Insects...I guess

[13:27] CB Axel: I don't think fish have them.

[13:27] CB Axel: Not amygdala anyway.

[13:27] herman Bergson: .

[13:28] herman Bergson: I gonna study fear some more.....

[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we have to tell children that they are good as they are

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:29] herman Bergson: It seems to exlain a lot of human behavior

[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): to become positive adults

[13:29] CB Axel: That can go too far, Berrtje.

[13:29] CB Axel: You don't want children growing up to think they're perfect and can do no wrong.

[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): tell them that they are no good, creates a lot of damage

[13:30] CB Axel: There has to be a happy medium.

[13:30] herman Bergson: No..for then you got someone like the president of the US :-)

[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i didn't say that they are perfect

[13:30] CB Axel: I was going to say that, Herman, but you don't want us to start talking about him again. :)

[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but as good as they are, no negative thoughts

[13:30] herman Bergson: He is a perfect example of someone who thinks he can't do anything wrong

[13:31] CB Axel: Yes, Beertje. You have to tell them that they are good but sometimes do bad things.

[13:31] herman Bergson: only from a psychological perspective CB :-)

[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes, i didn't mention that they are perfect

[13:32] CB Axel: But, Herman, is that because of how he was raised or because of some psychological malfunction?

[13:32] herman Bergson: at least both, CB

[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): at least he is positive about himself ...:)

[13:34] herman Bergson: might be interesting  to think about FEAR as a basic human drive....

[13:35] herman Bergson: Look at behavior and ask what sense could fear play a role in this behavior

[13:36] herman Bergson: We are asked to assume that most people are assume scare is it?

[13:36] herman Bergson: Why aren't we able to by nature?

[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): fear i guess

[13:36] CB Axel: Because people have hurt us in the past?

[13:37] herman Bergson:

[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): that makes us hard to trust a person

[13:37] herman Bergson: yes

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

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I guess its a part indeed

[13:38] herman Bergson: I was thinking about that Flower Power movement of the 70s....

[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont):

[13:38] CB Axel: But why do people hurt us in the first place?

[13:38] herman Bergson: It went for the absolute denial of that fear among people

[13:38] herman Bergson: Yes...CB!

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm indeed

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

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

[13:39] CB Axel: It goes back to the cavemen, I think.

[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): have not enough food,, not enough love..not enough...

[13:39] herman Bergson: Yes CB,....we have to think about it.....

[13:40] CB Axel: People were afraid of going hungry, so they protected their mastodon meat.

[13:40] CB Axel: Then someone else who was afraid of being hungry (and was a poor hunter) stole that meat.

[13:40] CB Axel: We've been afraid of each other ever since.

[13:41] CB Axel: There was a crappy hunter way back then who started it all.

[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): maybe

[13:41] CB Axel: :)

[13:42] herman Bergson: Well...Google on FEAR, maybe we'll find some interesting observations

[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the word charing wasn't invented at that time:)

[13:42] CB Axel: sharing. :)

[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ok

[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you

[13:42] CB Axel: right

[13:43] CB Axel: People probably shared in their own families.

[13:43] herman Bergson: The word wasn't perhaps but all life was based in sharing in those days of gatherer - hunters

[13:43] CB Axel: I mean, kids couldn't go out and hunt a mastodon.

[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:43] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but they could go hunt on rabbits

[13:44] CB Axel: Good idea. Put those kids to work!

[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): wasn't it just fear of death?

[13:44] CB Axel: Fear of suffering.

[13:44] CB Axel: Suffering is worst than death.

[13:44] herman Bergson: It all was about survival indeed

[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but were these people ok?

[13:45] CB Axel: Suffering is why hell was created. To increase a person's fear of suffering for eternity.

[13:45] herman Bergson: To survive her, I guess we need to move on to the next lecture on Thusday :-)

[13:46] herman Bergson: So, thank you all for suffering in hell again and your attention :-)

[13:46] CB Axel: lol

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

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

[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :))

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

[13:46] herman Bergson: Class dismissed .....



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