No. 617, September 21, 2009
For the last 100 years many countries have tried to create the "good society". Different political ideologies claim to offer the recipe for happiness. But are today’s ideologies at all compatible with modern knowledge about the human being?
A classical example is the clash between human nature and the modern society in our experience of danger. Fear starts a body chemistry ready for physical defence. But danger today more often comes in the form of information and is best handled with knowledge and wisdom.
In the last century behavioural psychology grew strong. The human being was seen as a blank slate which could be shaped with rewards and punishments. More than one psychologist have begun their career as a passionate behaviourist, only to make a 180 degree turn at the arrival of their first child, seeing there is more to life. Abraham Maslow is the best known example.
The human being is clearly more adaptable than any other being, even if there are limitations. Within these limitations there is, however, a great potential which can mature under the right circumstances.
The following, like the threat-response, seem to be built into the hardware of mankind and therefore difficult to change:
Today’s ideologies are often written by utopian thinkers of the 19th century and need to be critically examined through the lens of today’s knowledge of mankind. An update is needed if we are to learn and grow successfully together in the future.
Creative regards! Jonas Himmelstrand
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