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Related Words, Beliefs, Background for Choice #28

Worldview Theme #103A: Individual Glory

Worldview Theme #103B: Celebrating Team Accomplishments

agriculture, community supported–a community supports a local farm to the benefit of both.  Ideally, consumers get affordable, locally grown, fresh, high quality and ecologically acceptable food, whereas farmers use this strong producer–consumer relationship to minimize their financial risk and the amount of food they produce that is wasted.  Farmers especially benefit in this latter regard when the consumer group funds a whole year's farming budget.  In doing this, the group assumes much of the risk but also increases its stakeholder role–giving it greater input into farming and distribution practices.   

altruism–putting the interests, welfare, happiness, and perhaps even survival of other people or living things above one’s own interests, etc.   This devotion often involves self sacrifice. In an extreme case, it can even mean giving up one’s own life so that another can live.        

autocracy–government in which absolute power vested in single person, also known as absolutism

citizenship–membership in a local, state, or national community that brings with it certain rights, privileges (voting, etc), and protection (as mandated by laws), and can involve meeting certain duties (pledging allegiance, paying taxes, etc).  Being a good citizen is commonly thought to involve working for the betterment of the community.    

collective–a typically democratic and egalitarian-minded  group of people, brought together by a common issue, interest, project or goal,  often after realizing that their political, social, or economic clout greatly increases after joining together.  Cooperatives represent a type of collective, one generally formed around some economic endeavor, with perceived economic benefit in mind.      

competition vs. cooperation–the former involves two or more rivals in a contest where typically only one wins, profits or comes out ahead, the latter involves a mutually beneficial association where people help each other.       

community vs. society–the sociological distinction between two social groups, most notably made by Ferdinand Tönnies in his 1887 book Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft.   According to Tönnies, the former group is built around the personal, family, and neighborhood relationships and feelings of togetherness that one expects in a place where people have direct, face to face contact.  In contrast, the latter group is one of self interest motivated individuals held together by formal regulation and legal framework. There relationships between people are more impersonal, there is less cohesion and less dependence on each other.  Tönnies saw the contrast embodied in his book's title when he looked first at traditional European peasant villages, then at large, modern, industrialized cities

cooperatives principles–these were formulated in the 1840s by a co-operative of weavers in Rochdale, Lancashire, England:        1) voluntary and open membership, 2) democratic member control, 3) members economic participation, 4) autonomy and independence, 5) provide education, training, and information, 6) cooperate and work with other cooperatives, and 7) concern for the community.    

cooperatives, types of–democratic, for profit co-operatives can generally be classed as worker or consumer co-ops.  The former are worker owned, with workers investing when they start work; the latter are customer-owned businesses whose goal is to provide customers with low cost, high quality products and services

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.   

egoism–the belief that individual self interest is the basis for all human behavior and that this is how it ought to be

egotheism–the identification of oneself with God

entitlement, sense of—a state or condition in which one feels deserving and worthy of particular benefits, privileges, or rewards (including respect) without needing to provide additional demonstration of worthiness.  Favorably perceiving one’s status or valuing one’s background relative to others’ can produce a sense of entitlement that is exclusive. 

envy–painful or resentful awareness of someone more fortunate, with some advantage

fellowship–involves people communicating and sharing their lives and concerns with each other–not surprising given that humans are social creatures!  In some settings, such as churches, this companionship can involve mutual respect and perhaps unselfish love.  While the desire of lone individuals to share common interests or participate in activities requiring others fosters much fellowship, according to M.V.C. Jeffreys (in his 1962 classic Personal Values in the Modern World) "the natural and original context for fellowship is the family."    

grabber–a derogatory term to be associated with those who succeed wildly in their search for wealth and power (sometimes through ethically questionable means) and, instead of using what they’ve won to help those in need or to make the world a better place, excessively indulge, waste and revel in luxury.  It has been charged that their real religion is based on "a gospel of their own wealth."

human potential movement—a loosely held together movement characterized by self-improvement workshops,  books, educational efforts, etc. that grew up in response to the counterculture of the 1960s, new humanistic psychology,  mind-expanding drugs, etc. with the goal of helping people realize the believed to be the extraordinary untapped potential of all people.

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

intellectual property & cultural rights–refer to an individual claiming ownership and associated exclusive benefits for works / products he or she has created or a whole culture making similar claims when outsiders seek to benefit from their cultural heritage. 

introversion vs. extraversion–the contrast between looking within one's self / inner mental state and enjoying solitary pursuits vs. looking outside the self / to others for enjoyment / gratification.   

jealousy–fearing loss of either the exclusive attention and devotion of a person, or some status or possession , anxiety develops, followed by intolerant hostility directed toward the rival who is perceived to be the threat

kleptocracy–a government characterized by greed and corruption in which the ruler (or rulers) loot the national treasury and use his (their) position(s) to extend his (their) personal wealth to the detriment of the people he (they) are supposed to be serving.  In a 2004 study, the German group Transparency International identified five national leaders of recent decades who directed at least $1 billion of their nation's wealth into their own private bank accounts.  Former Indonesian and Philippine presidents Suharto and Marcos topped the list–ripping off an estimated $25 billion and $7.5 billion respectively.    

     

 

 

labor union–an organization of workers whose purpose is to promote and advance its members’ interests with respect to wages, benefits, and working conditions.  The power of organized labor in America peaked in the mid 1950s when 31% of the work force belonged to either a craft or industrial labor union.  By 2019 it had declined in America such that only 10.3 % belonged to unions, although in Canada (30%) and some Western European countries it was relatively stronger.

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.

machiavellian–an approach to getting what you want summed up in the famous quote, "The end justifies the means."  Specifically, the desired end is increasing power and control.  The opportunistic means employed to achieve this are whatever it takes, including deception, deviousness, duplicity, and cunning manipulation of others.    

narcissism–an exaggerated sense of self love or heightened emotional investment in one’s self, detracting from one’s appreciation of, or emotional investment in, others.  It has been suggested that this masks deep feelings of unworthiness and emptiness–unacknowledged, but unconsciously lurking.  Critics of individual excess in the consumer culture have linked the psychology behind it to narcissism.    

neurotic needs–according to Abraham Maslow, these are needs that do not promote health or growth if they are satisfied; to Karen Horney  they represent overused, often irrational or inappropriate strategies used to cope with the problem of basic anxiety caused by interpersonal relationships.  From her clinical experience, Horney identified ten such needs– including needs for affection and approval, power, prestige, personal admiration and achievement, perfection and unassailability, etc.  While these are based on things that all humans need, in neurotics the need is distorted and too intense.  If the need is unmet, or it appears that it will not be met in the future, this can be the source of great anxiety

non-profit organizations–incorporated or legally constituted organizations existing for educational, cultural, humanitarian, religious, charitable or other reasons without any expectations of profiting monetarily or commercially

objectivism and the virtue of selfishness–as popularized in the 1950s and 60s by Ayn Rand, objectivism values rational selfish-ness and views altruism as contrary to human nature. It sees the central purpose of a rational person’s life as productive work, and trade (which it links with justice) as "the only rational ethical principle for all human relationships."  Not surprisingly, this philosophy embraces laissez faire capitalism.  Socially, objectivist ethics places the highest value on an individual’s happiness, and denigrates his or her putting aside self interest and sacrificing for others–singling out as mistaken the belief that one person’s happiness necessarily leads to others’ misery.  Politically, its basic principle is "no man may initiate the use of physical force against others."  Rand’s philosophy is embraced by many libertarians and many who rail against "the social welfare state," "the common good," "progressive income tax structures," etc. 

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

prophet–an inspired person who supposedly speaks the word of God or communicates divine revelation. 

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 many 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.    

religion, social function of–according to Michael Shermer, in his book The Science of Good and Evil, religion is "a social institution that evolved as an integral mechanism of human culture to encourage altruism and reciprocal altruism, to discourage selfishness and greed, and to reveal the level of commitment to cooperate and reciprocate among members of the community."       

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.   

self reliance– relying on yourself, your own wisdom and effortnot on the authority of others, their help, or government help

self reliant people, work and loneliness—given that we are social creatures, most of us prefer working with someone, especially at tasks that don’t require a lot of thinking.  There are psychological benefits as well.  In an essay entitled “Connection: The Sense of Belonging to Something Greater Than Yourself,” from a workplace perspective Dan Hopkins writes, “Connection is the key to employee engagement because we connect with our organizations through the people with whom we work, the mission and values of the organization, and the work we perform…When employees find connection they work as a team …There is nothing…lonelier than spending 8-10+ hours at work each day and not having some type of connection, whether it’s personal, social, or with the organization. “

social contract–most importantly it 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

solidarity—with respect to people involved in fighting the “powers that be” in what they see as a just cause, a solid commitment to both the cause and each other

spirit vs. ego--according to Collier, contrasts how people feel connected vs. their feeling separate. 

volunteerism–the giving of one's time and energy to work on behalf of others, without any expectation of pay or real material gain.  Many volunteer simply because helping others gives them a good feeling and they like the idea of their "giving back" something to society.  Some volunteer both for that reason and to gain experience.  As the 21st century began, over 40% of USA adults were engaged in some type of volunteer work, averaging around fifteen hours per month

Winner Take All Society–a phrase used to characterize what many see as a disturbing societal trend toward greater inequality.  The phrase is from the title of a 1995 book by Robert H. Frank and Philip J. Cook about income inequality in America and why, in the words of Molly Ivins,  "A few people get ungodly rich, and the rest of us fall behind!"  A simple-minded example of such a trend: imagine a hypothetical state lottery switches from awarding $ one million prizes to twenty people and instead decides that one lucky person should take all $ twenty million!    

Win, Win  / non-zero sum outcomes– an outcome of a conflict, dispute, or negotiation where both people or sides come away with something they value, while at the same time feeling like they have not compromised or given away too much.  For those negotiating from an admittedly much weaker position, the “victory” achieved may simply be avoiding shame. For those negotiating from an admittedly much stronger position  it’s important that the agreed outcome is not so unequal or unfair that is not sustainable.  Situations where Win, Win is possible—or made possible by skilled framing of situations—are to be contrasted with Zero Sum games where the outcome is someone clearly wins and someone clearly loses.  The contrast is like shades of gray vs. black & white.  Lessons from Game Theory suggest that resolving disputes to mutual satisfaction means making it a non zero sum game in which both sides win.  Researchers have shown that a TIT for TAT strategy is a good one to use in such games.  They assert its importance in the evolution of co-operation.  Similarly, author Robert Wright says "perception of non-zero sumness underlies religious tolerance."

Zero Sum Game–a game (which can represent a social or economic interaction or conflict) in which someone wins and someone loses, to be contrasted with a game in which someone can win without someone else losing

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