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Meritocracy and Lord of the Flies

SystemSystem Administrator Posts: 124

Comments

  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    edited July 2017
    Mirandel said:

    Fardragon said:

    William Golding write Lord of the Flies whist teaching English at a British Public school. It's based entierly on observation*.

    *having both been a student at and taught at such a school I can attest to his accuracy.

    No doubts "Lord of the Flies" or "A Clockwork Orange" can happen, but it describes one specific type of kids, it's far from a general rule (not to mention "Déformation professionnelle"). Yet, in books/TV/Movies it's a trait shared by any group of teenagers (which according to that media means youngsters 20+) regardless of historical period, society type, any country/planetary size events and so on.

    Would you expect some amish kids behave as group from NY getto? TV would.
    It's what is most likey to happen. And not just with schoolboys. Golding was talking about society as a whole. It's just with children the veneer of civilisation is thinner, so breaks down faster.

    I would say, if it's true, it isn't a trope.

    The trope would be if at the end Ralph defeated (but didn't kill) Jack using cunning and decency, and Piggy turned out to not be dead, having dodged the bolder by hiding in a cave.

    Post edited by Fardragon on
  • SquireSquire Member Posts: 512
    @Mirandel and don't forget, the people who live in these criminal cities are usually good people deep down, and not lowlife scum who think nothing of stealing from pensioners - but only the ruggedly handsome ones (who are undernourished but still sport a sixpack most guys would kill for).

    Seriously though... I think the whole "criminal town" thing is based on this idea of 18th century pirate towns, or the classic "thieves guild" fantasy RPG thing (not sure if these actually existed, I may have to look into this). To be fair, I can see how, in a large enough society where there are pockets of lawlessness, such places would form. There are plenty of gangs etc nowadays, and there's always going to be people who would rather steal, threaten, and extort money from others than work for it. Get enough of them together and they could work together for mutual gain. Although whether they'd all work for one "crime lord" is debatable... more like it is the whole place would be anarchy, with gangs fighting each other over who has the right colour bandana.

  • MirandelMirandel Member Posts: 498
    edited July 2017
    Fardragon said:

    Mirandel said:

    Fardragon said:

    William Golding write Lord of the Flies whist teaching English at a British Public school. It's based entierly on observation*.

    *having both been a student at and taught at such a school I can attest to his accuracy.

    No doubts "Lord of the Flies" or "A Clockwork Orange" can happen, but it describes one specific type of kids, it's far from a general rule (not to mention "Déformation professionnelle"). Yet, in books/TV/Movies it's a trait shared by any group of teenagers (which according to that media means youngsters 20+) regardless of historical period, society type, any country/planetary size events and so on.

    Would you expect some amish kids behave as group from NY getto? TV would.
    It's what is most likey to happen. And not just with schoolboys. Golding was talking about society as a whole. It's just with children the veneer of civilisation is thinner, so breaks down faster.

    I would say, if it's true, it isn't a trope.

    The trope would be if at the end Ralph defeated (but didn't kill) Jack using cunning and decency, and Piggy turned out to not be dead, having dodged the bolder by hiding in a cave.
    And the damage is done! This is what I always feared - people begin to believe that "bad is norm, everyone is a criminal at his/her core, decency is a fairytale and nothing can be done about it".

    Again, not arguing about instincts, but this is exactly what raising (breeding, upbringing) and education is about - to teach human and cooperative behavior. Yet, no one ever do that in any movie. Even monkey can raise their children to behave the way the group needs, but humans on TV? No way!

    So, no, it's not a universal true, it's a bad trope hammered in our conscience.

    @Squire You are making me cry (and sick in the same time - not you, the trope you remembered). Yes, this idea "of romantic evil and poor follen angels" is popular too. As of your vision of RL situations, I was talking more about closed systems where such things physically impossible, but if we talk about cities - in our days it's allowed behavior. And very modern. You are right - it's the classic "thieves guild" fantasy RPG thing, again, hammered in collective conscience as an unchangeable fact. Hate it!

    DreadKhan
  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    Mirandel said:

    Fardragon said:

    Mirandel said:

    Fardragon said:

    William Golding write Lord of the Flies whist teaching English at a British Public school. It's based entierly on observation*.

    *having both been a student at and taught at such a school I can attest to his accuracy.

    No doubts "Lord of the Flies" or "A Clockwork Orange" can happen, but it describes one specific type of kids, it's far from a general rule (not to mention "Déformation professionnelle"). Yet, in books/TV/Movies it's a trait shared by any group of teenagers (which according to that media means youngsters 20+) regardless of historical period, society type, any country/planetary size events and so on.

    Would you expect some amish kids behave as group from NY getto? TV would.
    It's what is most likey to happen. And not just with schoolboys. Golding was talking about society as a whole. It's just with children the veneer of civilisation is thinner, so breaks down faster.

    I would say, if it's true, it isn't a trope.

    The trope would be if at the end Ralph defeated (but didn't kill) Jack using cunning and decency, and Piggy turned out to not be dead, having dodged the bolder by hiding in a cave.
    And the damage is done! This is what I always feared - people begin to believe that "bad is norm, everyone is a criminal at his/her core, decency is a fairytale and nothing can be done about it".

    Again, not arguing about instincts, but this is exactly what raising (breeding, upbringing) and education is about - to teach human and cooperative behavior. Yet, no one ever do that in any movie. Even monkey can raise their children to behave the way the group needs, but humans on TV? No way!

    So, no, it's not a universal true, it's a bad trope hammered in our conscience.

    @Squire You are making me cry (and sick in the same time - not you, the trope you remembered). Yes, this idea "of romantic evil and poor follen angels" is popular too. As of your vision of RL situations, I was talking more about closed systems where such things physically impossible, but if we talk about cities - in our days it's allowed behavior. And very modern. You are right - it's the classic "thieves guild" fantasy RPG thing, again, hammered in collective conscience as an unchangeable fact. Hate it!
    Nope, It doesn't come from books or movies or TV. It just comes from living and working with real human beings in the real world.

    I've worked in quite a few different workplaces (mostly schools), and (not always, but more often than not) the person at the top (usually the head teacher) is an incompetent egotistical bully. Sure, there are lots of decent people, lots of competent people, but the bullies trample over them to get to the top of the pile.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    The problem with that argument is that its definately not scientifically proven that humans always turn ugly in any stressful situation. You are imo using an art trope as a real world trope, bullies in real life are rarely even average-level successful.

  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    edited July 2017
    DreadKhan said:

    The problem with that argument is that its definately not scientifically proven that humans always turn ugly in any stressful situation. You are imo using an art trope as a real world trope, bullies in real life are rarely even average-level successful.

    What world do you live in? And can I come in?


    If you haven't lived in the real world and want scientific evidence, look at studies of chimpanzee groups. The alpha male is usually the strongest and most aggressive, rarely the smartest or the one with the best social skills.

    NB, No need for the "stressful situations", human beings turn ugly. Not all of them, but the ugly ones have a way of floating to the top, and most of the others will follow whoever.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,577
    @Fardragon "I would say, if it's true, it isn't a trope."

    That's not a requirement to be a trope. From TVTropes "Merriam-Webster defines trope as a "figure of speech." For creative writer types, tropes are more about conveying a concept to the audience without needing to spell out all the details.

    Tropes transcend television. They reflect life. Since a lot of art, especially the popular arts, does its best to reflect life, tropes are likely to show up everywhere."

    Tropes are not bad, its just a way of conveying a concept.

    Mirandel
  • AnduinAnduin Member Posts: 5,745
    DreadKhan said:

    Perhaps we should stick to media tropes in this thread, and save the real life tropes for the "Topic for unhappiness" thread.

    Well, technically I could conclude by saying that I can't stand the trope that the West is meritocratic and leave it at that then.
    Hahaha! Hilarious! I think that the trope that I hate is that if you are born rich you have everything handed to you on a silver plate.

    ...

    Your life chances are better if you are rich but they are simply that. Chances. Anyone can squander their chances. Anyone can benefit from them. As a teacher I find that the child that is challenged, that has to struggle and fight, is the child that will go on to conquer. The rich list in the UK (just fact checked myself... and it turns out in the world is also true) is predominantly made up of self-made individuals.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferwang/2016/03/01/rags-to-riches-2016-wealthiest-self-made-billionaires/#2dea5c801fa4

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/sunday-times-rich-list-2017-richest-people-uk-britain-2017-4/#23-sir-richard-branson-3

    So... I suppose the trope that I hate is the one that the rich look after themselves and the poor are victimised, and that meritocracy does not exist. The cards I receive from past pupils speak otherwise (the buggers are all earning more than me...)

    Take your chances people...

    ...

    @Anduin secretly hopes he spurns an individual with an idea to have the determination, dedication and that smattering of luck to make it big...

    DreadKhan
  • ArdanisArdanis Member Posts: 1,643
    Fardragon said:


    NB, No need for the "stressful situations", human beings turn ugly. Not all of them, but the ugly ones have a way of floating to the top, and most of the others will follow whoever.

    As they say, shit floats, gold drowns.

    DreadKhan
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Ardanis said:

    Fardragon said:


    NB, No need for the "stressful situations", human beings turn ugly. Not all of them, but the ugly ones have a way of floating to the top, and most of the others will follow whoever.

    As they say, shit floats, gold drowns.
    A light enough spirit can avoid getting wet imho, by refusing to lower itself. ;)

    @Anduin come on, I feel you're disregarding my actual point I think, that rich people consistently have greater success than average income, and it should be painfully obvious if you've witnessed how actual poverty literally cripples development that the poor by and large stay poor. Afaik, immigrants are the exception, they often work very hard and successfully improve their lot, but again iirc, real wages in buying power have been going down in the rich West, at least the US. A single income used to easily keep a whole family above the poverty line, this is definately not the case if you've just got your highschool education.

    I agree its theoretically doable for a poor person to strike it rich, but thats VERY much the exception. The establishment love beating the poor over the head with stories of poor folk that 'made it', but thats because they keep the poor hopeful, and hopeful people I suspect are less likely to start a socialist revolution than pessimists.

    ...I take this stuff too seriously maybe, but I see spider webs that I suspect busier people simply miss. Maybe they aren't there, but seeing how the US overlooks criminal behaviours in their elite makes it clear the 'playing field' isn't very level, and it really looks like things have been set up to control an intelligent herd population that aren't much better off than slaves, despite their freedoms. The guilded cage delusion I suppose! ;)

    ThacoBellBalrog99Anduin
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Fardragon said:

    DreadKhan said:

    The problem with that argument is that its definately not scientifically proven that humans always turn ugly in any stressful situation. You are imo using an art trope as a real world trope, bullies in real life are rarely even average-level successful.

    What world do you live in? And can I come in?


    If you haven't lived in the real world and want scientific evidence, look at studies of chimpanzee groups. The alpha male is usually the strongest and most aggressive, rarely the smartest or the one with the best social skills.

    NB, No need for the "stressful situations", human beings turn ugly. Not all of them, but the ugly ones have a way of floating to the top, and most of the others will follow whoever.
    If you're going to go outside our species, so shall I. This might get a tad long-winded. I hope it's coherent! ;)

    Firstly, I would point out that we are pretty different than chimps on a pretty profound level when it comes to development; humans have invented all manner of things, and in likely quite a hit more time chimpanzees managed to figure out you can trick termites into biting a stick you shove in their nest. Its touted as a rudimentary tech, to improve feeding efficiency, and I suppose it is, but for all that time, if they were as similar as is argued, they'd be doing something more than stick-fishing for bugs. Thus, I think its silly to draw on examples of chimp behaviour to explain humans, despite our genetic similarity because they clearly are not on our level. Chimps don't even have a very good means of communication, despite their millions of years, and communication is one of the defining characteristics of humanity.

    Second, I instead recommend we look to a more technologically developed species, and the best I know of is ants, which have developed agriculture, a feat that for humans was a paradigm shifting moment. Ants farm both livestock (aphids) and fungus for food. Ants also have rudimentary mentorships for young ants to offer educations, and have many other sophisticated, logical behaviours. Their communication is arguably better than chimps for some things, and they live in large colonies, sometimes with non-genetically identical queens, in cooperation. Thus, with these facts in mind, I argue perhaps ants are a better guideline to human behaviours.

    So, what do ants suggest behaviour-wise? Ants are potentially quite ferocious and quite merciless, but that really depends on their situation. While raiding species will always raid for slaves, most ant colonies become very peaceful towards their neighbours, coexisting with them, once they reach a mature size. While young they will compete for resources, but not generally when mature. Exceptions exist, and are often 'nuissance' ants to people, but the rule is fairly consistent. Also, these tend to be the less developed species, ie closer to chimps.

    If we extrapolate this a bit, we'd have to say that predicted behaviour is that humans aren't particularly prone to being vindictive, and will not destructively compete (inflicting harm to create advantge) unless they are both adolescent and short of resources. I think I can see a bit of your Lord of the Flies scenario in that, but also of my view that humans aren't unnecessarily competetive. Note, if people tend to eschew unnecessary competetition, they will tend to subtly dislike any that embrace it; this would mean that I predict bullies to tend to be progressively less popular generally the more, well, assholish they are. People might not stand up to a boss thats an ass, but many will not hesitate to sabotage them by action or inaction, meaning a company keeping assholes on the payroll will tend to be out competed by those businesses that do not. Jerks can flourish if they are also geniuses, but run of the mill jerks?

    Now, am I saying that regardless of stress everyone will always be nice? No, that'd be a tad insane, but most people prefer to be cooperative when stressed, and usually groups require a serious asshole to go away from that. It's thus to me more of an unlikely possibility that people go nasty/nasty people flourish, but not impossible when the correct conditions, which are pretty extreme, occur. Imho, simply marooning kids on an island wouldn't gaurantee brutal dictatorship and exploitation.

    MirandelAnduin
  • SquireSquire Member Posts: 512
    DreadKhan said:



    Afaik, the single greatest predictor of success in the West is far and away being born wealthy.

    Is that just the west, though? Seems to me that being born wealthy gives you a huge advantage no matter which country you're in.

    ThacoBellBalrog99DreadKhanAnduin
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Squire said:

    DreadKhan said:



    Afaik, the single greatest predictor of success in the West is far and away being born wealthy.

    Is that just the west, though? Seems to me that being born wealthy gives you a huge advantage no matter which country you're in.
    You're correct, I suspect it's an even more reliable predictor in less developed countries.

    semiticgod
  • AnduinAnduin Member Posts: 5,745
    @DreadKhan I want to answer your post but I think I am missing or we are both miss construing what is meant by "Rich."

    I wrote an answer and realised it could be totally wrong (even from my point of view!) If we are talking about acceptably wealthy (again hard to pin down constructively) or the top 1% wealthiest individuals in the world.

    Please clarify.

    DreadKhan
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    My view is that the greater the wealth, the easier in general it is to be successful. Thus, people in the '1%' worldwide have to be active fuckups to fail (sometimes they still get a pass), but people in the top 5-10% of their locality are also playing with a pretty stacked deck, but not on the same level as the richest of all.

    Does this help? :sweat:

  • AnduinAnduin Member Posts: 5,745
    Yes. I'll come back with a graph!

    DreadKhan
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 5,049
    I knew this. That was one of the reasons I thought the Occupiers were a bunch of idiots. Likely most of them are or will be in the "Evil1%". I don't think hardly anyone born and raised in the US, Canada or Western Europe has a clue how bad things are in the rest of the world...

    Anduin
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,667
    They do know. When people talk about the 99% and 1%, they're referring to the situation in the U.S., not worldwide.

    DreadKhanAnduin
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859

    They do know. When people talk about the 99% and 1%, they're referring to the situation in the U.S., not worldwide.

    It should be noted, that earning into even the world 1% is sufficient to, baring bad choices and terrible luck enough money to eat very well, have stable housing, not be particularly discriminated againdt for being poor, even serious money for money for hobbies and entertainment. You won't be living among the impoverished, so you'd be vastly less likely yo be a victim of a crime. You could even have savings.

    If your diet is poor, you'll be shorter, dumber, possibly flabbier, weaker, uglier and sicker. If financially poor, you will combine high stress with few remedies, a shortcut to illness. If you develop a mental illness, you'd have very few resources for treatment if American, and even a Canadian might have difficulty buying needed medicine.

    Poverty is a big heaping pile of disadvantage, and it makes everything worse.

    semiticgod
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456

    They do know. When people talk about the 99% and 1%, they're referring to the situation in the U.S., not worldwide.

    Did you read the posts?
    Anduin said:

    @DreadKhan I want to answer your post but I think I am missing or we are both miss construing what is meant by "Rich."

    I wrote an answer and realised it could be totally wrong (even from my point of view!) If we are talking about acceptably wealthy (again hard to pin down constructively) or the top 1% wealthiest individuals in the world.

    Please clarify.

    DreadKhan said:

    My view is that the greater the wealth, the easier in general it is to be successful. Thus, people in the '1%' worldwide have to be active fuckups to fail (sometimes they still get a pass), but people in the top 5-10% of their locality are also playing with a pretty stacked deck, but not on the same level as the richest of all.

    Does this help? :sweat:

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,667
    @FinneousPJ: I was actually speaking in general, not in reference to @DreadKhan. Please don't insinuate that I am too lazy to read @DreadKhan's comments.

    And, for what it's worth, @DreadKhan agreed with that post, as I did with his.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    I suppose its also a good point to mention that success does not really equate to happiness. You can be terribly good at something you hate, or grow to hate as a new dream grows in you, sometimes even often without you being aware. I see signs of unhappiness in some very elevated people, and I see wisdom in the view that humans often are literally hardwired to want what they don't/can't have... real happiness is hard to achieve without reaching and understanding that very difficult point.

    So, my point would be to @Balrog99 would be that while I do not know really what all aspects of life are everywhere, I think I understand a bit of the Way of Happiness. There are happy impoverished people who suffer needlessly, and a great many depressed 1% people. Perhaps there are just as many depressed poor folk, but I think being clinically depressed in the 3rd world is often a cause of death, so they likely are not as prone to giving into their negativity, if only for survival purposes.

    So, if poverty doesn't remove the possibility of happiness, why is it so bad? For one, poverty wastes incomprehensible amounts of human capital, which is bad for us as a species, but also because poverty brings suffering, and exorbitant wealth, such as the richest 0.001% possess does not truly bring happiness. The ridiculous distribution of wealth in the world puts much of the world into bondage, and is not modern thinking. Its a relic of our archaic self, the same mindset that lets persuasive leeches run our countries. The Christians refer to the archaic self as yhe Old Adam, others refer to it as Samsara, but its a fairly universal thing.

    Bringing it back to meritocracy of assholes I suppose, assholes follow the old way, and have become a progressively smaller part of our population, because they are actually bad at competing longer term. They win sometimes, often early, but they will tend to alienate allies. Perhaps it could be argued successfully that assholes have an advantage in smaller groups, but despite our large population, the world is drawing together into an interactive community. Most important of all, assholes are intrinsically unhappy people, who will 'gift' their young with unhappy epigenetic markers, making their lineage less equipped to compete; unhappy animals are unsuccessful animals.

    If this is all a bit out there, blame the beer I had. ;)

    semiticgod
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456

    @FinneousPJ: I was actually speaking in general, not in reference to @DreadKhan. Please don't insinuate that I am too lazy to read @DreadKhan's comments.

    And, for what it's worth, @DreadKhan agreed with that post, as I did with his.

    @semiticgod So basically your point is that in other discussion, and not in this one, people often speak of the 1 % in the U.S.? I'm not following, to be honest.

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,667
    @FinneousPJ: Yes. This thread is not the only one where people discuss the 1% in the U.S.

    You can have the last word.

  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    @semiticgod In order to have the last word I should have to answer;)

    Balrog99
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 1,989
    I would like the last word. Zymurgy. Let's all have a beer.

    FinneousPJBalrog99Anduin
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