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Related Words, Beliefs, Background

Worldview Theme #35A: 

             Self Reliant Nonconformity

  Worldview Theme #35B: 

                Working for Change 

Contrast Worldview Themes #35A and #15 --    these themes involve orientations, beliefs or behavior that are (more or less) diametrically opposed!           

Contrast Worldview Themes #35A and #41 --    these themes involve orientations, beliefs or behavior that are (more or less) diametrically opposed! 

do it yourself approach--rather than pay certain professionals (carpenters, plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, tax preparers, lawyers, etc.) self reliant people who wish to save money will do the work themselves.  Typically they begin by educating themselves as to the professional details of the task they face.    

envy -- painful or resentful awareness of someone who is more fortunate or enjoys some advantage.

gender roles-- behaviors and characteristics that are the norm for each gender in a particular society.  Those prone to conformity can fall into certain stereotypical roles by societal expectations. This sociocultural view, bolstered by recent research, claims this is damaging to both men and women.  The opposing biological determinism position says that these gender roles are products of evolution, and links them with differences in physical abilities, brain lateralization, and hormones.

individualism -- a social philosophy and belief system that places individual interests and rights above those of society , and individual freedom, self-reliance and independence above any social contract obligations

introspection -- the process of looking inside one’s mind, recalling events, memories, sensory experiences, etc, and after this mental examination, perhaps reflecting on the experience, and formulating action. This only gives an illusion of free will, behaviorists and determinists would argue.

nonconformist --a person who does not think or behave in generally accepted fashion like other people. 

peer pressure—the force applied by a group on an individual to adopt their habits, beliefs, and attitudes. This is resisted by the individual’s own desire to retain his or her individuality either within or apart from the group.

personal responsibility, accepting -- Before an individual can overcome some personal difficulty or solve a personal problem, he or she needs to acknowledge that the difficulty or problem exists, by saying something like, “This problem is mine and I must solve it”. In this context, taking personal responsibility means that you don’t ignore difficulties or problems, expect others to solve them for you, or shift the blame to others. In a family or social context, taking personal responsibility can mean voluntarily limiting your choices or restraining yourself for the good of the family, tribe, village, community or whatever. Richard Critchfield refers to this as “the freedom to choose self responsibility”.

Protestant work ethic -- an ethic based on self reliance, hard work and frugality being the path to salvation that has been important in shaping post Reformation western (especially American) society of the last five hundred years. Thus, ingrained in my people’s heads, since their earliest childhood, were sayings like “God helps those who help themselves”, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”, “A penny saved is a penny earned”, etc. Only recently has a consumption ethic begun to seriously compete with, some would say replace, this work ethic.

self actualization -- the ultimate personal development state as studied by Maslow and other psychologists. Self actualized people, according to Maslow have achieved, “the full use and exploitation of talent, capacities, potentialities, etc.” They are self confident but also possess humility that allows them to listen carefully to others and admit their ignorance. They see life more clearly than others partly due to a better understanding of themselves. With this superior perception comes a better sense of right and wrong. Among their attributes, Maslow includes “honesty and naturalness, the transcendence of selfish and personal motivations, the giving up of lower desires in favor of higher ones.” Such people feel a strong bond or kinship with the rest of humanity. They typically seek important and meaningful work.

social contract--its most important meaning refers to an agreement between the people and their rulers in which the  duties and rights of each are defined and constrained.  While rulers would say it serves to maintain order, the people point to it as establishing the principle that rulers have legitimacy only if they have the consent of those they govern.

value judgment -- comparing either something concrete (person, object, etc) or something abstract (quality, principle, etc) to some idealized standard. A value judgment is what bridges the gap between “what is” and “what ought to be”.  Closely related is the act of valuing, which can be thought of as choosing (from alternatives) and taking appropriate action to acquire something (concrete or abstract) or hold onto it.

values -- abstract qualities, principles, beliefs, or aspects of behavior that a person or a whole society holds in high regard after making value judgments.



  Contrast Worldview Themes #35B and #34 --    these themes involve orientations, beliefs or behavior that are (more or less) diametrically opposed!           

activist--one who takes action on behalf of causes, or in support of / opposition to positions on controversial issues, in an effort to bring about change.  Such action can be as an individual or in conjunction with an organization.

affirmative action -- in decision making related to offering jobs or extending other opportunities to individual applicants, preferentially favoring members of some minority group to make up for this group’s past, unjust exclusion from the chance to have certain employment, educational or other opportunities.

anti-corporate movement--beginning over a century ago, this movement spurted during the 1960s / 70s, slackened, then caught fire in the last two decades--driven by concerns over globalization,.  In his 2007 book, The Rise of the Anti-Corporate Movement, Evan Osborne referred to it as "increasingly influential in politics in the United States and Europe".  Believing that multi-national corporations aim to control the world and maximize their profits in doing so, anti-corporate activists seek to rein in corporate power--although they differ in their prescriptions for doing this. Some defenders of these engines for economic growth, jobs, technological innovations, etc. charge that some critics are naive and caught up in anti-corporate conspiracism.  Osborne is troubled by how "activists ignore the idea that politics is a messy compromise among all sides and slide into the belief in one all-powerful faction pulling the strings." In critiquing such books as the 2001 bestseller When Corporations Rule the World, by David Korten, he disputes the notion that corporate power is "a coherent sinister force. "  

arbitration--a manner of settling a conflict / dispute in which the matter is submitted to an independent third party whose judgment / decision may or may not be binding on the parties involved.  It is an alternative to litigation / lawsuits.

boycott--voicing disapproval by voluntarily participating in an organized, concerted effort against a targeted product, business or organization and refusing to do something (buying or using a product / service, etc.)

civil disobedience--has been defined by Howard Zinn as "the deliberate violation of a law in pursuit of some social goal." Thoreau, who in the summer of 1846 spent a night in jail for his refusal to pay taxes as a protest against the U. S. war with Mexico, wrote a famous essay with this title. 

civil rights--a term whose meaning is very similar to civil liberties, but with different connotations. In the United States, in the last 140 years, it has often referred to the rights granted African Americans (by the 13th and 14th Amendments) and somewhat negated by Jim Crow laws in the south. A highlight of the so-called civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s was the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Other minorities have faced similar battles with mixed results. Women (hardly a minority in numbers!) saw efforts to enact the Equal Rights Amendment fail, while activity on behalf of the handicapped bore fruit in 1990 with passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act.  Efforts on behalf of gays and lesbians recognizing same sex marriages continue.

consumer protection movement--involves consumers demanding certain rights and legal protection as they consume goods and services. Beginning in the mid-1950s in the United States, by 1962 President Kennedy identified certain rights (such as the rights to safe products, and to file complaints, etc) that latter, when expanded, came to be known as The Consumer Bill of Rights.  Parts of it have since become law. By 1985 the United Nations embraced consumer rights and identified eight basic rights.

conflict resolution -- the act or process of settling or making an effort or attempt to settle a conflict, that is, a situation or disagreement characterized by tension, antagonism, and sides whose motives, purposes, and intentions seem totally at odds and perhaps irreconcilable. The process can involve informal discussion or a formal procedure with rules and mediator(s).

development -- the process of improving the quality of human life, especially in poor countries. Besides targeting raising people’s standard of living, increasing their freedom (in terms of choices available to them) and creating conditions allowing for the growth of their self esteem are major development goals.

dividing people, tactics used to do this -- those who fear the collective strength of people who have organized and united to form a group, often seek to exploit differences within the group and destroy its populist mission. Differences exploited often include race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class -- but fracturing can occur along many potential fault lines if outsiders are working to encourage it. After the fracturing, people who previously fully embraced populism may have moved away from it (to some extent) and toward individualism, and blame, dissension, finger-pointing, lack of trust, etc. may exist where previously they didn’t.

Environmental Movement / Green Movement --a movement that blossomed in the 1960s with growing concerns about environmental pollution and manmade destruction of natural beauty, which, by the start of the 21st century had developed a political dimension with the formation of green parties in many countries. The chief goal of this movement is the development and maintenance of a sustainable society. It hopes to bring this about democratically by applying ecological wisdom and economic thinking that no longer ignores, but rather heavily factors in the environment.  Minimizing pollution, promoting efficient use of natural resources, recycling, shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy, protecting biodiversity, and helping affluent western societies transition from wasteful, destructive multinational profit-minded corporate driven consumerism / globalization to more environmentally sound, ethical, socially just, sustainable economies are important goals of this movement.

fundamentalism, the poor and social justice-- the failure of the government to do much for improving the plight of the poor has resulted in those people in many parts of the world turning instead to religious fundamentalist groups--particularly Islamic-- for help. As William Dalrymple describes it, "...much of the Islamists' success in Pakistan and elsewhere comes from their ability to portray themselves as champions of social justice, fighting Westernized elites."

giraffe—a term that first came into widespread use in the 1980s to refer to heroic individuals who “stick their necks out” in working for the common good and meaningful change.

gun control--proponents advocate bans on certain weapons (including military style semi-automatic rifles, handguns), restrictions on gun purchases, and registration of all guns.  While typically not contesting legitimate gun use for hunting, they cite studies that connect firearm availability with increased domestic violence and homicides. 

human rights struggles--what a particular minority or group discriminated against has to go through to finally win rights or be granted concessions / accommodations by the majority. In this regard in American history we can note struggles for 1) an end to slavery, 2) native American tribal survival, 3) immigrants' rights, 4) women's rights, 5) worker's rights, 6) child labor laws, 7) rights for the mentally ill, 8) an end to segregation, 9) civil rights, 10) affirmative action, 11) farm worker rights, 12) rights for handicapped people, 13) gay and lesbian rights, etc.

intractable conflicts -- conflicts that are particularly difficult to resolve because they involve complex issues, communication difficulties, and deep-seated, often unacknowledged differences in worldviews. The people on opposing sides often feel threatened by the other side -- indeed they may feel that their sense of identity, cherished beliefs or way of life is being attacked. Besides involving conflicting worldviews, typically such conflicts also involve material goods, resources, or involve some concrete real or potential impacts on people and their environment -- impacts that are threatening.

jihad–an Islamic term, linked to religious duty, which seemingly has two meanings: 1) spiritual (greater) jihad: refers to striving in the way of Allah, promoting Islam, fighting injustice, and nonviolent religious struggle;     2) (lesser) jihad of the sword: holy war  against the enemies of Islam aimed at defending and expanding the Islamic state.

justice -- implementing what is just, defined in various ways as being reasonable, proper, lawful, right, fair, deserved, merited, etc. For some, justice is intimately connected with fairness, a connection with three dimensions: equal treatment, the degree to which exercising freedom and liberty is to be allowed, and reward for contributing to the common good .

labor union -- an organization of workers whose purpose is to promote and advance its members’ interests with respect to wages, benefits, and working conditions.

law: civil vs. criminal--the former refers to the means by which individual rights are protected, the latter with offenses that harm (or potentially could harm) the entire community. In civil cases the responsibility for demonstrating harm and seeking remedy lies with the individual affected; in criminal cases the state must pursue violators and seek remedy--which may be imprisonment.

law: private vs. public--the former involves relationships between individuals (including corporations), the latter with issues involving the state and welfare of society (including penal law, and regulatory statutes, etc.)

lawsuit--a comprehensive term for any proceeding in a court of law whereby an individual or legal entity seeks a legal remedy.  Such legal action is initiated by the plaintiff who complains (petitions) that he / she / it has been harmed / suffered a loss by failure of the defendant to act in accordance with the law.

leadership--the capacity to lead, influence, and affect the behavior of others.  Charismatic leaders motivate and inspire others to accomplish (sometimes extraordinary) things that they otherwise wouldn't do.  Such leaders communicate their vision and attract followers by infusing them with energy and eagerness for undertaking a particular mission.

liberalism -- a rational, tolerant, generous, hopeful orientation that emphasizes individual freedom from restraint. Liberalism is often associated with progressive social change.

lobbyist--a person paid to act on behalf of a particular corporation, union, organization, etc. in aggressively promoting their agenda to elected representatives or those in positions of power in governments.  In some democracies, (like the United States), lobbyists help funnel campaign contributions to politicians--which often subvert the will of the people critics charge.

non-violence-- both a moral philosophy and practical political strategy which rejects the use of violence to bring about social or political change. It provides an alternative to both passivity and violent action, advocating instead other means of popular struggle such as civil disobedience, boycotts, consciousness raising, etc.  Power, according to non-violence theory, depends largely on the co-operation of others. Non-violence recognizes that, ultimately, the power of those in positions of authority depends on the consent and co-operation of those they wield power over. Thus, one strategy employed by non-violent protestors is the deliberate withdrawal of this consent in an effort to invalidate the authority they find oppressive.

persuasive communication techniques--with respect to the nature of what is communicated, a Yale University research study found that 1) messages should not appear to be designed to persuade; 2) both sides of arguments should be presented, with the "wrong" argument being refuted; 3) if two people are to speak, one immediately following the other, going first is preferred (based on the primacy effect from psychology);  4) if two people are to speak, with a time delay in between, going last is preferred (based on the recency effect from psychology).

populism--is related to appreciation of "the people," their heroic struggle, and their potential to unite and claim the political power that their numbers suggest they have to oust the self-serving elite who rule. The preceding can connect with either the first or both of the following and give the term two different meanings: 1) use of appropriate, persuasive language in political appeals to common people; 2) a social and political movement in which diverse groups bridge their differences and come together to work for meaningful change 

propaganda -- broadly speaking, information that is designed and disseminated as part of a concerted effort to influence what individuals believe or want, and manipulate public opinion and desires.

rebel -- According to Albert Camus, a rebel is someone who says no and yes simultaneously. He says “No, I’m not going to take it anymore -- this has gone on long enough!”. But in doing that, he says yes to working in solidarity with others to rectify whatever situation he finds intolerable. And, as Camus, puts it, “Rebellion cannot exist without the feeling that, somehow and someway, one is right.”

separatism--the belief in (or associated movement) the idea that a particular group (defined politically, ethnically, religiously, socially, etc.) should separate or isolate itself from a dominant group they have coexisted with. Desire for independence and autonomy is typically the motivation for seeking this change. Examples include black separatism in the USA, Quebec separatists in Canada, Basque separatists in Europe, the 17th century Pilgrims, lesbian separatism, etc.  

strike--may refer to 1) a work stoppage at an industrial plant, company, performing organization, or public institution organized by a labor group in an effort to win concessions from management for workers.  Often, instead of working, strikers will set up a picket line to call attention to their protest and cause further disruption--which those supporting or sympathetic to the strike may refuse to cross, or 2) a refusal to perform or do something as a means of protest.  In this category are prison strikes, student strikes, hunger strikes, etc.

terrorist--one who engages in terrorism, another one of those difficult to define terms since "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter".  Most definitions of terrorism include 1) use of force / violence, 2) such acts are designed to instill fear / terror, and 3) political / ideological goals are behind these acts.  Some definitions also stress that the acts are unlawful and that innocent civilians are indiscriminately targeted. 

top down vs. bottom up–contrasting approaches to bringing change, solving problems, structuring interaction (compare centrally planned economies, market based ones). 

trickster, the--from the folklore and mythology of various diverse cultural traditions, the trickster is a spirit or figure who is typically linked with disorder, mischief, and chaos.  Ancient Europeans have linked the trickster with gods like Prometheus, Hermes, and Dionysus, while Native Americans have connected him with foxes, ravens, coyotes, etc. For this latter group tricksters were often clowns who made them laugh--something they deemed a prerequisite before they could properly commune with what they considered sacred.  In general, tricksters have been associated with bringing change--sometimes initially disruptive, painful and unwanted, but ultimately a positive cultural development.  Modern analysts of the civil rights movement in 20th century America have interpreted Rosa Parks' 1955 refusal to give up her seat at the front of the Montgomery bus as a trickster tale.  

union busting--aggressive, sometimes brutal, practices employed by management to prevent employees from joining labor unions, or to break strikes / destroy the power of unions which get in their way.

whistle blower—a worker,  former worker, or other member of  a corporation or organization who reports misconduct to the management or others in a position within the organization to rectify the situation. Typically the misconduct involves breaking the law and threatens the public interest or environment. In some countries, laws prevent corporations or government agencies from firing individuals for their whistle blowing.

wise use movement -- a movement led by people who feel that the government has no right dictating what private landowners can and can not do with their land. The movement, linked to the “Sagebrush Rebellion” in the western U.S. -- which also involves public land management concerns, grew out of increasing frustration with laws containing environmental restrictions, protecting endangered species, limiting development, etc. “Wise use” refers to a philosophy about how land should be developed, a philosophy supposedly based on common sense.


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