Friday, February 28, 2014

Culture of Honour

This is a response, explained by a Yale professor, of societies to a situation where there is inadequate policing. The men, who have more testosterone coursing around their body, develop an irrational response of extreme violence to the mildest provocation – this is actually a ‘rational’ response: the idea being – if I become irrational, then people would not want to mess with me and I will get to have my own way all the time! 

The downside to this attitude would be – it does not foster co-operation and results in the ‘elites’ living in their isolated little tower getting increasingly paranoid and trying to exert more and more ‘control’. Social creatures like primates need interaction to grow and develop – and risk stagnating by suppressing the ‘majority of the great unwashed’.

Applying the above ideas to Guyana, the bullies who become ‘big fishes in little ponds’ are definitely not capable of formulating any long-term plan as their brains are wired for quick short-term gains and maintaining the status quo. The first paragraph also throws some light on the seemingly high incidence of Intimate Partner Violence: a man can bully his wife and children in response to the pressure he himself feels as there are no social recourses to adjudicate on the unfairness of the external situation he may feel under.   The downside is…the family as a unit becomes dysfunctional and breeds children permanently on the defensive, perpetuating the downward spiral and resulting in a society unable move co-operatively forward.
Okay if we were not living an increasingly shrinking Global Village but as Thomas Friedman said in his book ‘The Lexus and the Olive Tree’ – opting out of wearing The Golden Straitjacket (accepting norms of the developed world such as transparency) means you don’t get to ride the Information SuperHighway and get left behind wallowing in backwardsness – my words not his!