Posts Tagged ‘capitalism’

Laugh Therapy with Dr. Tom #III

June 7, 2018

Laugh Therapy with Dr. Tom #III

6f85444d994a21d9cb694e3c2e70f81ccff635174c83d4b86b3ca4e52db1a5b1

887b1cfcc9b9b88858a9d76683240c916c3cc4c3a62bde15cbfd0489aa2b3c85

Fa818cf250db42ec23f0728d0dfda69d5f6db5030f44a3c94953a5d6a5d30831

B2b77c6a595e0e73c463a6a74a33dc77c0da6de6a9fb239088fdb484da0e32f8

34bf1f520887d5de89a3da5dc8f9678c6b31d8e5d5aee56c46717edf27dd9238

44c0eeef713f0b38889018fbd5f7ea2762dbc1a304c916ce5f0527f2d3a87194

Advertisements

Operant Behavior and Cultural Evolution

April 8, 2016

Operant Behavior and Cultural Evolution

B. F. Skinner is often credited with being the greatest psychologist of the 20th Century.

In my judgment, and that of countless others, Skinner deserves this special honor  because his prodigious research and writings gave birth to the psychological science of Behavior Analysis. Furthermore, his work also led to the development of the science and technology of Applied Behavior Analysis. Skinner’s efforts and that of his legions of followers has culminated in, and continues to yield, the world’s most powerful and practical applications of psychology to ameliorate human behavior problems. But, even better, the wise use of this behavior technology could lead to the prevention of human behavior problems!

One old saying is: “An Ounce Of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”. This rule  could be one important the key to sociocultural longevity, if humans can be helped to care for such future outcomes.

Societies that do not teach their children and young adults about science-based findings about the environmental forces that shape human behavior patterns, as well as an effective moral code to their populations, fail to do so at their own great peril. The dramatically increasing behavior problems in America’s society, and others, provide stark support for this conclusion.

Some of B. F. Skinner’s prophetic words were published in 1971 in his powerful little book,  Beyond Freedom and Dignity. Please read the following samples of his writing with care and you may begin to understand one great source of America’s citizen’s behavior problems.

Then get the entire book and learn some essential information that relatively few citizens know.

Sample 1.

Twenty-five hundred years ago it might have been said that man understood himself as well as any other part of his world. Today he is the thing he understands least (Kindle Loc. 64).

In other words, as we have advanced our understanding in all other areas of science and technology, we have remained woefully ignorant of the psychological science and technology that shapes our own behavior patterns. Skinner also wrote about the fact that the health and longevity of all cultures rest upon the understanding and benevolent use of this science and technology of human behavior.

Sample 2.

In trying to solve the terrifying problems that face us in the world today, we naturally turn to the things we do best. We play from strength, and our strength is science and technology. To contain a population explosion we look for better methods of birth control. Threatened by a nuclear holocaust, we build bigger deterrent forces and anti-ballistic-missile systems. We try to stave off world famine with new foods and better ways of growing them. Improved sanitation and medicine will, we hope, control disease, better housing and transportation will solve the problems of the ghettos, and new ways of reducing or disposing of waste will stop the pollution of the environment. We can point to remarkable achievements in all these fields, and it is not surprising that we should try to extend them. But things grow steadily worse, and it is disheartening to find that technology itself is increasingly at fault. Sanitation and medicine have made the problems of population more acute, war has acquired a new horror with the invention of nuclear weapons, and the affluent pursuit of happiness is largely responsible for pollution. As Darlington has said, ‘Every new source from which man has increased his power on the earth has been used to diminish the prospects of his successors. All his progress has been made at the expense of damage to his environment which he cannot repair and could not foresee’.

Whether or not he could have foreseen the damage, man must repair it or all is lost. And he can do so if he will recognize the nature of the difficulty. The application of the physical and biological sciences alone will not solve our problems because the solutions lie in another field. Better contraceptives will control population only if people use them. New weapons may offset new defenses and vice versa, but a nuclear holocaust can be prevented only if the conditions under which nations make war can be changed. New methods of agriculture and medicine will not help if they are not practiced, and housing is a matter not only of buildings and cities but of how people live. Overcrowding can be corrected only by inducing people not to crowd, and the environment will continue to deteriorate until polluting practices are abandoned.

In short, we need to make vast changes in human behavior, and we cannot make them with the help of nothing more than physics or biology, no matter how hard we try (Kindle Loc. 31-50).

The powerful truth that B. F. Skinner has tried to explain to us is that our most enduring and damaging problems are a result of the ignorant management of our own individual and collective behavior. Furthermore, our ignorance can be remediated only if we will study the right available information and convert this knowledge into practice.

I have taught my psychological subject matter as a professor for 36 years and also taught and applied it within my a private practice for a similar duration. Over this time I have watched as America has all but destroyed itself, largely through the gross misapplication of these very elemental psychological principles.

I believe that certain sociopolitical and economic philosophies are compatible with, and naturally catalytic to, the societal integration of these elementary principles of psychology…and that is why they have consistently succeed.

It is clear to me that other sociopolitical and economic philosophies are naturally antithetical to these elementary principles of psychology and this is why they have consistently failed.

In my judgement, many important elementary principles of psychology are inherent in  conservative political and economic philosophies and practices. Although the resulting behavioral and cultural outcomes are never perfect, history demonstrates conservative principles are superior to those of other sociocultural designs. I judge that B. F. Skinner would not have agreed with many of my political/economic conclusions on this last matter and I am certain many of his followers do not.

On the other hand, the natural elemental principles of psychology, as implemented by progressive/socialist political and economic philosophies consistently damage motivation and most often lead to increased rates of maladaptive and self-destructive behavior among its citizens and leaders. These tragedies are are illustrated by the fact that socialist leaders normally gather the lions-share of power and material gains, at the great expense of their citizens….including the imprisonment and even death of over one hundred of million of them by starvation and execution. The arrested development, if not the horrific decline, of entire socialist/communist societies is clearly documented by history.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 4/8/18

Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Indiana University South Bend

President and Clinical Director, Behavioral Psychological Family Services

 

 

“Why Can’t We Be Treated The Same?”

December 9, 2012

“Why Can’t We Be Treated The Same?”

This quote is taken from a Drudge Report found on my cell phone, 12/9/12.  It is a man’s response to questions while in a hospital after a “free” kidney transplant. 

The hospital agreed to cover the expense of the transplant (I.e., pass it along to others who will pay).  It was reported that someone else will have to assist him to cover the expense of around $10,000 every year, for the rest of his life, for the medicines needed to maintain the health of his kidneys.

This fortunate man opined: “Why can’t we be treated the same”….”Health care should be a human right, not a privilege. At least give us a chance to fight for our lives with dignity.”

You might think that this is another heart-warming story of the miracles of modern medicine and one American’s dream of living a long and fulfilling life.

But for some of us, this feel-good story ends with the stunning revelation that the man with the new free kidney transplant is an illegal alien in America. 

This man’s  dreams of “everyone being treated the same” appear to be predicated on the assumption that everyone who can illegally steal their way into America, is also entitled to steal other goods and services earned by the legal citizens of America. An America, over 16 trillion dollars in debt , now increasing taxes on a shrinking proportion of its productive population to barely sustain itself.

If you embrace a liberal/progressive world view , this may still sound like a warm-hearted humanitarian dream.

Even a staunch conservative might resonate to such a kind-hearted thought; but only for a few fleeting seconds. Then they will be slammed into confrontation with a very harsh and immutable reality.

It is estimated that there are approximately 7.5 billion people on earth!

Is America supposed to open its borders to all citizens who suffer among this vast and far-flung population? The countless needy could not fit within our borders. 

Could America send its goods and services to everywhere in the world where they are needed? We would quickly be left with no goods and services for our own citizens.

Do you really think that the citizens of America (approaching 315 million) can extend care to all of the billions of citizens of the world in need?

Sir Winston Churchill once said: The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries”. (Referenced in Michael E. Newton’s book: The Path to Tyranny, p.140).

Taken one step further, the trading of the inherent vice of capitalism for the inherent virtue of socialism is tantamount to the greatest of vices: Suicide for all!

Wake-Up America!

VTM, 12/9/12

 

The Psychology of Riots

October 21, 2011

The Psychology of Riots

The following is not meant to be a survey of all of the causes of peaceful street demonstrations, or street demonstrations that become chaotic, destructive, and dangerous riots.

While a graduate student at Western Michigan University (WMU), Detroit Michigan erupted into one of the most lethal and destructive riots in the history of  America. Dr. Roger Ulrich, one of my professors specializing in the study of aggression in animals and humans at WMU, spoke of pain elicited aggression and extinction produced aggression as psychological principles that were likely involved in the rioting.

With pain elicited aggression, behavioral research has demonstrated that when animals are given painful stimulation they are very likely to aggress against other animals or even inanimate objects.  To a lesser, but significant degree, this also holds for humans.

Extinction produced aggression can occur in animals who work on a thick schedule of reinforcement (rewards) when the rewards suddenly stop. Under these conditions animals are very likely to attack other animals or inanimate objects.

To a lesser, but significant degree, this is also observed in humans who are used to getting reinforcement (rewards) on a thick, or free/ non-contingent basis, and the rewards suddenly are stopped (or curtailed sharply).

The old Frustration/Aggression Hypothesis in psychology is also relevant.  When animals are frustrated in various ways, they are more likely to aggress. To a lesser, though significant degree, this is also true with humans.

What does all of this imply for our current  global and U.S. riotous behavior patterns?

It is my view that increasing socialism will eventually fail to support the masses in the style to which they have become accustomed. The result will predictably be riots.

There have been such riots in Germany, Greece, Austria, Turkey, France, and Spain. I bet there will be more to come.

I also believe that capitalism without equal opportunity for all; or capitalism bereft of a strong moral strictures; or capitalism corrupted by cronyism; or capitalism which morphs into quasi-socialism; or capitalism which fails to adequately teach its children its own philosophical and ethical underpinnings will fall into the chaos of social unrest and riots.

I belive this is what is happening in America at this moment.

The “Occupy Wall Street” riots have spread to Chicago, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, and Boston. I expect more of the same.

When we design our sociocultures and economic systems without consideration of the basic principles of psychology we proceed at our own unnecessary and regrettable high risk of failure.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.     10/21/11

 

Last Vestiges of Self-Restraint: Sunday Carry-Out Alcohol Restrictions.

December 2, 2010

Last Vestiges of Self-Restraint: Sunday Carry-Out Alcohol Restrictions.

It is interesting to watch government control over more and more of our behavior progress in leaps and bounds. Yet, our sexual and drug consumption activities are increasingly deregulated under the guise of personal freedom. 

In my view the explanation for this seemingly incongruous set of events is significantly comprised of a complex mix of our “government animal’s” food deprivation (cash) and its primal motivation to propagate (physical growth, and increasing control of its populace).

With regard to our government’s weakening the moral values and traditions of America and providing greater access to addicting substances and activities, the bad outcomes of all of this validates the need for greater governmental growth and control of the resulting troubled population behavior. In a diabolical circle of destructive forces, the legalized and expanded access to alcohol (soon other drugs), pornography, prostitution (perhaps sooner than you think), gambling, and violence and bad behavior in media, etc., when taxed by our government, becomes food for the further growth and maintenance of a voracious government animal.

Furthermore, with the decline of religiously based restraints upon immoral or unethical behavior (“concepts of Sin”, Vice” and “Blue-Laws”), free market pressures in our capitalistic economy naturally join in confluence with the government animal as they prey upon us all for cash.

When laws against carry-out alcohol sales in Indiana (or elsewhere)  are repealed, it will probably not lead to many more alcohol problems within our population. Alcoholics can easily plan ahead to feed their addictions and adolescents have always been able to raid their parent’s liquor cabinets, even on Sundays.

The problem is much larger than the loss of one of the few little examples of morally based self-control practices left in America. The loss of carry-out alcohol restrictions on Sunday will represent a mere spit-in-an-ocean of trouble caused by a historical torrent of such losses.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.  12/2/2010


%d bloggers like this: