Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘sociology

How Lebanese communities changed in over 140 years? Did they ever?
This is an excerpt from William McClure Thomson in “the Land and the Book”.
Thomson visited Lebanon in 1870, and wrote a book to tell everyone about Lebanon. William M. Thompson’s wrote:
“Lebanon has about 400,000 inhabitants, gathered into more than 600 towns, villages and hamlets…The various religions and sects live together, and practice their conflicting superstitions in close proximity, but the people do not coalesce into one homogeneous community, nor do they regard each other with fraternal feelings.
The Sunnites excommunicate the Shiites – both hate the Druse, and all three detest the Nusairiyeh (currently the Alawit sect of Bashar al Assad).
The Maronites have no particular love for anybody and, in turn, are disliked by all.
The Greek Orthodox cannot endure the Greek Catholics.
And all despise the Jews. …

And the same remarks apply to the minor divisions of this land. There is no common bond of union.
Society has no continuous strata underlying it, which can be opened and worked for the general benefit of all, but an endless number of dislocated fragments, faults, and dikes, by which the masses are tilted up in hopeless confusion, and lie at every conceivable angle of antagonism to each other.
The omnific Spirit that brooded over primeval chaos can alone bring order out of such confusion, and reduce these conflicting elements into peace and concord.
No other country in the world, I presume, has such a multiplicity of antagonistic religions; and herein lies the greatest obstacle to any general and permanent amelioration and improvement of their condition, character, and prospects.
They can never form one united people, never combine for any important religious or political purpose; and will therefore remain weak, incapable of self-government, and exposed to the invasions and oppressions of foreigners.
Thus it has been, is now, and must long continue to be a people divided, meted out, and trodden down.”
Thomson must be describing the communities in Mount Lebanon in 1870, inhabited mainly by Maronites, Druzes, and a few Greek Orthodox. The current State of Lebanon was expanded in 1920 by the French mandated power. The northern region (including the city of Tripoli and Akkar),and all the Bekaa Valley on the east were part of Syria.  The southern region ( bordering Palestine) was also added. The area of the pseudo State of Lebanon increased 3 folds, still tinier than New Jersey, or the smallest of agribusiness in Africa…
Concentration of Sunnis in the north and the Bekaa Valley, as well as concentration of Moslem Shias in the south added to the confusion in allegiances and varieties of religious sects.
The pseudo successive governments since 1943 failed to allocated enough budgets and interest to the expanded regions, and focused on the Capital Beirut and Mount Lebanon.
When Israel was forced to withdraw unilaterally from south Lebanon in 2000, not all the Lebanese felt concerned.
And when Israel was defeated in 2006, after 33 days of constant bombing and shelling of all Lebanon, many religious communities felt this urge to attack the “reckless” resistance of Hezbollah, while the war was raging!
A resistance that brought all the nation leaders and ministers to pay visit to Lebanon.
So far, no occupation forces, small or big, managed to sustain its presence on Lebanese soil for over 3 decades: They all withdrew unilaterally, as if the devil was constantly after their asses.
Note: I got this excerpt from Joanna Choukeir via Rima Majed.

Any differences between behavior priming and brainwashing?

Have you submitted to a scrambled-sentence test? For example, rectify these sentences:

1. him was worried she always

2. from are Florida orange temperature

3. shoes give replace old the…

How quickly do you think you can work out each scrambled sentence? Do you think on any thinking else when being tested? Surely not.

Suppose among the ten scrambled sentences there are words such as worried, Florida, old, lonely, gray, bingo, wrinkle, forgetfull…scattered throughout the sentences…Is there anything common among these words?

Undergraduate students participating in these tests, behaved for a short time as old people do after the test: They invariably walked slowly, back bent…

The unconscious Big Brain was picking up on these common denominator words, behind its locked door…

The unconscious mind got the clues and was telling the body of the test-taker: “We are in an environment that is concerned about old age. We better behave accordingly…”

The unconscious mind is acting as a mental valet, taking care of minor details to act accordingly, so that we can be freed to focus on the main problem at hand…

John Bargh experimented with two groups of undergraduate students. Group One worked scrambled sentences sprinkled with words such as aggressively, bold, rude, bother, disturb, intrude, infringe…

Group Two worked with words like respect, consideration, appreciate, patiently, yield, polite and courteous…

After the test, each student had to walk the corridor to an office to meet with the principal researcher. A confederate researcher was to block the entrance of the door and converse with the main researcher, a long and pretty boring conversation…

Group One subjects ended the conversation and barged into the office within 5 minutes. Group Two subject waited for the conversation to end before getting in. Group Two students could have waited for much longer if the protocol was not set for only 10 minutes of conversation…

There are these mental clinical cases called ventromedial pre-frontal cortex,  a part of the brain situated behind the nose.  When this part is damaged, the individual is unable of judgment and making decision. The patient is functional, intelligent and highly rational but lacks judgment. For example, if the patient is asked to choose between two appointment dates, he will analyse and offer all kinds of pros and cons for 30 minutes and still be unable to decide on any date… The mental valet is not working in this case to guide and orient the patient toward more important tasks at hand…

When mentioning a brainwashed mind, you visualize someone robbing a bank or doing violent acts without his full will, or being induced to describe details of his childhood against his will…

Maybe there is a subtle factor or a catalyst that shifts behavioral priming into the qualitative condition of brainwashing

I posit that brainwashing is very much like priming a brain, but done on successive and frequent occasions, verging on a continuous situation where the mental valet is working full-time and barely able to liberate the mind to focus on more important tasks to reflect on…

Think of totalitarian regimes of communism or the Catholic Church dominion in Europe for 9 centuries of the dark Middle Age period. People had to navigate an environment of restrictions and limitation in ideas, opinions, objects, products, hair style, fashion…

You may read about the priming of the thief-program in the link of note 2.

Note 1: Article inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

Note 2:

Choice decision strategy: Analytic reasoning or split-second instinct decision?

For simple short-term and non-life threatening decision choices, thinking hard on the few variables affecting the decision does generate the best satisfactory choice.

For the longer-term and very important decisions, such as profession to pursue, mate,…anything that would affect you for most of your life…thinking hard on the interactions of the complex varieties of factors is necessary as a first stage, but you need to take a long break before any decision, and let your unconscious mind select for you.  

You have got to trust your unconscious mind to decide for you since the Big Brain knows your real nature, your deeper inner need, and is better than sophisticated analytic methods for important matters that affect you

Ap Dijksterhuis, a psychologist at the Univ. of Amsterdam, conducted controlled experiments and field experiments on choice decisions methods.  For example, shoppers for simple kitchen utensils and appliances, those who considered the choices from different angles and thought hard on all the pros and cons, were very satisfied with their choices weeks later. Those who relied on instinct ended up very dissatisfied.

Shoppers for furniture and remodeling their homes, a complex problem, were most satisfied when they allowed their “instinct” to prevail at the end of the day.

This decision-making system is valid in politics, managerial jobs…It can be generalized to many facet of life decisions.

Another example. Physicians in emergency rooms rely on their “tested” initial instinct for diagnosing patients with chest pains. Statistics have shown that physician instincts were more often than not faulty and not that good after all. What could be the alternative?

How to re-educate the instinct of physicians?

Analyzing reams of data, Lee Goldman used complex computer models to identify a few key factors and symptoms that seemed to be the most significant in the diagnostic  of chest pain.  Once the physicians were re-educated and aware of the new story the data were telling them, the initial instinct decision of physicians were vastly improved.

That is what artificial intelligence programs are meant to provide: Re-educating how we make “split-second decision”, after we understand thoroughly the problem.

Suppose you are a teacher, how would you weight the results of standardized tests and how much do you weight your judgment about the student’s motivation, attitude, and prospects?

Suppose you are a coach for athletes. How much would you weight the performance scores and how much would you let your judgment on the athlete motivation, youth, attitudes, listening skills, learning zeal…retain an athlete?

Every organization, institution, and decision-makers need to have a proper combination of analytic reasoning and data processing skills for models and split-second decision procedures.

Decisions not based first on understanding the trend of real data can be devastating.  And relying solely on data analysis would lead to many erroneous decisions…

Comprehensive knowledge, practice, experience…then allowing instinct to decide is “The power of thinking without thinking

Note 1: Post inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

Note 2:

Part 2. Why Christian Catholic and Orthodox Churches do not circumcise new-born males?

This second post on circumcision was in reaction to Germany making it illegal to circumcise new-born and non adult males on religious ground

In the first 3 centuries, almost all Christian sects circumcised new-born males: They strictly abide by the Jewish laws for their daily customs, and circumcision was first on the list.

Mind you that there existed scores of Christian sects, each one forming a specific closed community, reading in particular Books that they compiled, and going about according to a particular set of laws, mostly matching the Jewish laws.

This trend continued until the year 325 as the Orthodox Byzantium Church, recognized formally by Emperor Constantine as one of the official religions in the Roman Empire, met in conclave and adopted four Books as valid sources of Jesus story and his message.

In fact, St.Paul had to fight the valiant fight against all the disciples huddled in Jerusalem in order not to impose circumcision on non-Jewish baptized Christians. Citizens  in the Roman Empire were not circumcised: a special tax was levied on circumcised adults in order to maintain the Temple in Jerusalem. And as the Temple was destroyed by Titus, the tax reverted to the Emperor treasury…

The disciples in Jerusalem were living comfortably, abiding more strictly to the Jewish Laws than any Jewish sects, and they were protected by the Roman Empire civil laws.

As St. Paul started establishing Christian communities every where he traveled, he was lenient on the circumcision law. Learning about this lax behavior of Paul, the disciples got on the road, on the steps of Paul, visiting newly established communities, just to rescind Paul’s circumcision position on the non-Jews, and forcing the new Christians to be circumcised…

By the early 4th century, as the Christians acquired formal recognition as an official religious status, the Orthodox Church started to emulate the Roman laws, customs, and traditions in order to fit better among the overwhelming pagan communities

Circumcision was abolished among the Orthodox Christians and they had no longer to pay the tax on being circumcised….

December 25 was adopted as the birth date of Jesus since Emperor Aurelian decreed as the date of the God-Sun, 260 years before.

Bishops donned purple garments and the pagan glamorous attire (as the Roman aristocracy) and pomp in order to show-off their new higher status among the classes…

The higher the Orthodox Church rose to the status of being considered the main religion in the Byzantium Empire, the faster they emulated the customs and tradition of the Empire and the harsher they persecuted the various Christian sects that refused to follow suit

Those “heretic” Christian sects, called the Churches of the Orient, had to flee eastward to the Persian Empire, east of the Euphrates River and beyond.

The heretic sects disseminated their message along the caravans of Silk Road and reached China and translated their Books to Chinese and to the languages along the road…

By the 6th century, the Church of Rome became the main power broker and imposed its theology as the Church of the West. The Catholic Church particularly targeted the Jewish religion as the nemesis of Christians and being responsible for crucifying the Christ and…

The uncircumcised youth, mostly the peasants and lower classes, were very convenient: They refrained forcibly from engaging in sexual activities (very sensitive penis) and even indulging in masturbation and were practically chaste until they got wed…

The new-born of the aristocratic families that were allied to the current King or Emperor, and supported by the Church, were incited to be circumcised. Why?

Circumcised youth are far more active sexually: the penis is far less sensible to the intercourse act.  These aristocrats were to show their superiority and manhood and were given free rein into raping all the girls they liked and procreating out-of-wedlock better races…

As political situations changed and newer aristocratic families came to power (associated with “usurping Kings”…) the former families were persecuted. All that was needed to recognize the male members of the enemies was to check the penis.  Those who fled to other cities, far from their original locations, they could be sentenced as Jews who were baptized for all kinds of reasons except the valid reason…

Religious Circumcision is currently illegal in Germany: Until further notice…

The court in the city of Cologne (Germany) banned “automatic” religious-based custom of circumcision on new-born and non adult people on the ground that “circumcision is a corporal wound punishable in justice when done on religious basis…”  

This new ruling is bringing forth religion, hygiene, sex, and taxation to the forefront of discussions.

In many periods in the Roman Empire, circumcised people had to pay additional taxes for being circumcised. First, the tax was to maintain the Temple in Jerusalem, and as the temple was destroyed by Titus, and the tax collected  was reverted to the central treasury. Emperor Domitian didn’t forbid or stigmatize circumcision: It was simply taxed, an identity indicator.

The trend is to taxing circumcision, as legal consumption of marijuana is being taxed…

Circumcision has nothing to do with a religious belief system: It is an inherited custom that was practiced during the pharaoh of Egypt. Circumcision is not mentioned in the Koran: It is a pre-islamic custom that historian would like us to believe that it was practiced for reason of hygiene. How that?

1. Lack of water in a desert climate does not encourage frequent washing of almost anything, let alone the penis or your behind.

2.  Have you tried to clean your penis with a handful of dirt or sand? Do you think an uncircumcised penis will be a rather more painful activity in such cleaning procedure?

In many parts of the world children are circumcised, regardless of religion.  In the US, 70% of the people are circumcised for hygiene reasons (as they claim) such as reducing the risk of AIDS, sexual transmission of disease, and the prevalence of infection…As if these hygiene notions were known centuries ago…

I am not in the mood of considering the religious reasons for circumcision.

I know a few physical and emotional consequences for circumcision:

1. The circumcised penis is less sensitive and the intercourse may last longer, especially in the pre-intercource phases. Mind you that sexual activities are generated mainly in the mind, with or without circumcision and it is the training of the mind that counts for satisfactory sex engagement…

2. People with uncircumcised penises do not experience masturbation early in their upbringing: The penis is over sensitive to indulge in these exercises. The need to train the extra skin to be retracted several times a day is not taught by anyone, and thus, with lack of training or ignorance the penis does not get used to be fully functional, including masturbation exercises early on…

3. I bet circumcised youth are more prone to engage in raping activities far more frequently than the uncircumcised one and behave more as bullies…

4. Circumcision was introduced as mankind political system shifted to patriarchal structure, simply because circumcised males feel readier to lord it over the females: They don’t have to beg the female partners to go gentle on them and help them introduce the penis as painlessly as possible…Circumcision was thus mainly practised to create rough males ready to cow down females. And tribal laws absolved the males of all kinds of bad behaviors related to their fresh instrument and blamed the women for the consequences…

You may say “Ships are safe in the harbors, but ships are not made for that purpose…” But again, who would hire a reckless Captain?

5. I bet that in matriarchal societies, males were punished to be circumcised when they failed to deliver as manly as expected in bed….

Religion main purpose is to codify customs in sacred rituals to satisfy the orders of the power-to-be on how society should  be run, before the clerics take over and rule effectively…

I laud the German court ruling: Time for a bold position that curtail the overwhelming power of religion on the body and mind, for the free spirit to regain their individualities, and to reduce the nasty privileges extended to clerics…

I tried for this piece to be as clear and as loud as it should be

“How Israel could be that stupid to alienate Turkey?” by Yossi Belin

In the daily “Israel Today”, former minister Yossi Belin wrote: “How could Israel easily alienate Turkey, a huge State of 76 million and the second fastest economy (after China?), and so close to our border, and having democratic institution? Israel government is resuming its stupid laments in statements such as “Turkey started first…” and “Turkey is demanding unfair apologies (for the killing of 9 Turkish peace activists in the taking over of the “peace ships” heading to Gaza) …”

Erdogan (Turkey’s PM) was the mediator between Syria and Israel for a peace settlement in return for the occupied Golan Heights, but former Israel Olmert PM opted instead to lauch war against Gaza instead in 2008 and dropping thousand tons of phosphorous bombs… 

Currently, Israel is in deep troubles.  Israel lost Iran (the former Shah in 1979), and now it lost Turkey (the steadiest supporter and NATO member) and has lost Egypt, and is facing turmoil on its southern borders (Sinai and the frequent blowing of oil pipelines) and northern borders (the Syrian rebels and Hezbollah…). 

And yet, Israel seems not to be able to flex its muscles except on the tiny Gaza Strip:  Over 20 Palestinians have been killed and scores of civilian injured in the last week frequent shelling and bombing of Gaza…The international community is still heavily focused on Syria, as if the famished Palestinians in the bankrupt enclave of Gaza are non entities…

Erdogan is very ill of terminal cancer and might not finish his term.  Turkey one party hegemony will suffer seriously from current instability due to accumulated unresolved difficulties with the Kurds (20% of population), the Alawit Shia sect (15% of population), its reckless haste of supporting the Moslem Brotherhood faction in Syria uprising, the coming of new faces in the next parliament since no deputy is to stay more than three successive terms…And Russia decided that Turkey will not be the main middleman in the Middle-East for any trade deals…

There are no “reliable” dictator regimes around Israel to deal with, and the people in the Middle-East have learned not to be afraid of mighty military powers.  Hezbollah has checked Israel military power for 33 days in June 2006, and practically won the war…

Most probably Israel will withdraw unilaterally from the Golan Heights (as it did from south Lebanon in 2000) since the multiple negotiations didn’t result in any serious consideration by Israel.  The people guerilla tactics in south Syria will convince Israel to cut its cost and let go of an occupation demanded by the UN since 1967.

What is “Human Ecology”? An anthropological dilemma? Maintaining and sustaining human dignity

Do you have an idea what anthropological tendency means? I am coining the term “Human Ecology” to refer to anthropological sustenance of human dignity.

Mankind is at the top of the food chain.

Lately, a new breed or species has displaced mankind at the top of the food chain:  This species or class of “people” has nothing related to humanity but the external look.

If you ever meet one member of this exclusive tribe, you might not know that he is one of the 1% richest class in every single country.

You might not know that he is a member of the 1% richest in the G20 States, but they can reach for their greedy needs thousands of miles away, without even stepping their feet there, ever in their lifetime.

The entire earth, all its resources, mineral, fowl, animal, food, and people are part of their backyard scenery.

All products and services converge toward the destinations they decide should arrive to.  The 1% richest classes in the food chain do not see our planet as overpopulated.  Simply because: the more numerous the poorest species, the cheaper the labor, and the more abundant the production…Sweat shop factories, coal miners in China…

The 1% richest classes are on the “toppest” of the food chain and they need to make only 1% profit on whatever they trade and still remain the 1% richest.

Actually, they can afford to earn one dollar profit on one thousand dollars in prices, as long as the turn over is high (supermarket example…)

The 1% richest classes think that a billion men may vanish in a single year without destabilizing their system of production: A region is devastated and immigrants can simply be shipped there to survive precariously: They won’t lack a night sleep…

As if when one billion deaths in mankind is not a symptom that mankind is on the verge of disappearance!

Did you realize that even the least politicized individual is able to communicate on the ecological disasters facing earth and are educated enough to expound on varieties of ecological resolutions and alternatives?

However, the most educated and engaged people on the “Green” issues are basically sort of ignorant on how mankind can survive in a deteriorating environment, much less on the importance of maintaining and sustaining human dignity, not just to survive but to be an effective living being…

Liberal capitalist systems, and the worst kind of neo-liberal species, represented by financial multinationals, have reached a state of “having no meaning of why money is accumulated: the goal is to expand and enslave more people…”

No short-term projects can save humanity or improve standard of living in a decent normal life…

It is being revealed that the mentality of consumerism can be taught to be transformed, and many people have been working on learning to live with what is basic and rejecting the superfluous…

The main problem is:  “Can capitalism be transformed by reforming the production mentality of abusing and treating human beings as chattel on the production chains?  Can workers and employees enjoy a level of dignity in this machinery of human production?...”

How many have discussed the state of affair of the survival of mankind, even if ecological natural problems are resolved to the bare standards of a livable planet to mankind?

You must Know that insects and smaller animals can easily survive mankind for many centuries after man has vanished from earth…

Can mankind continue to suffer famine, indignities, and humiliation with the advent of Internet and fast communication means?

Do you think that when the poorest on earth see visuals on how other human species live in developed countries that they will submit to their lot?

We have been witnessing a new awareness of what “reclaiming human dignity” means:

Dignity is no longer an abstract notion

Dignity has acquired flesh and blood and determination…

The question is: “has a newborn, anywhere on earth, the same rights to survive to be a normal human being?

The irony of liberal capitalism is disseminating the hubris that there are no alternatives for progress and development without their brand of capitalism…

Before people revolted lately, the current ideology was a classless society without history and dominated by “One rich class, in one global market, one model of financial transactions…One Nazi Reich for the 21st century

Note: Post inspired by the piece published in the French monthly Le Monde Diplomatic (November).  Lucien Seve wrote under the title “Save human kind: Not only planet earth




April 2020

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