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#1 2020-11-03 17:31:47

Prof.
Administrator
Registered: 2020-10-12
Posts: 15

Social dilemmas

I am mainly posting this thread to show that you can respond to this week's course topic here, and will be able to respond to future topics, too.

  • Now that you are used to the forum, it will be easier for navigation purposes for all threads to be in one category - as you have proved that you are adept at posting your own topics...

  • ...and ultimately, this forum is to reflect what you make of the course.

  • As this forum is going so well, and as so many of you have even included historical depth, there is less of a dilemma here - but is this because we are speaking from within the 'ivory tower'?

To cite a different thread http://interculturalextraneity.com/foru … pid=88#p88:

chickclique wrote:

It would be interesting to see how our colleagues view a perfect education system; their opinions on whether formal education is really needed; their take on the relationship between education and utopia etc. Maybe you could propose something connected to this topic and see whether people are interested in discussing it?

The topic of education came up indirectly at the end of today's lecture. I mentioned how Plato thought that ideals be taken as general guidelines and not literally: this is what is meant by the oft-misunderstood famous passage in The Republic about poets (e.g. 2.377). Plato criticized most people as lacking the know-how to understand that poets are to be taken figuratively and not literally. Who are poets? Who understands how to use the symbols I talked about at the beginning of the lecture?

The passage I am referring to also talks about education: Plato's argument is that very young children need to be given only the best ideas so that they are formed by them. Only later - and only (I love this part so much) after making a sacrifice: after a ceremony showing that one is aware about what is coming next, should one entertain just any idea.

Yes, one could understand Plato to be talking about censorship - but that would be to take this passage out of the context of Plato's dialogues. Plato does discuss everything. What this passage questions is whether most people have reached the maturity to have access to any idea...

Returning to chickclique's comment: What is the relationship between the social dilemma and education?

p.s. please remember you can have fun with formatting by clicking on "BBCode:on" (bottom left of the message box when you post a new topic): clicking on that will open a new tab with instructions on how to format. Make sure to close any command you open and to be careful of spaces.

Edited to add: one student already provided a (video) resource on this topic, but I cannot find that comment. I hope that student will comment in this thread, and possibly also link to their initial post.

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#2 2020-11-05 13:16:31

SAK
Member
Registered: 2020-10-18
Posts: 8

Re: Social dilemmas

Despite not being sure whether we understood what we are supposed to include in our response, we would either way like to give it a try.
We would like to comment on social dilemma vs. education.
Social dilemma in our opinion includes troubles and doubts of an individual concerning whether one should take care of oneself and look after their own interests and problems, or whether one should be a part of a larger community and put aside his/her priorities and devote to the community. Nowadays, younger generations tend to focus their attention on social media and completely neglect their obligations towards education, that even goes to the point where they minimize the importance of education, prioritizing success on social media by following the example of their peers.
In our opinion, these generations should get their priorities straight. Education should always come first, but because of the popularity of social media and its advantages, we don't think that social media should be excluded completely out of their lives because there are various examples where people actually benefit from the aforementioned.
To conclude, this type of social dilemma is a huge problem in our community, especially for younger generations, but the problem that could easily be solved if the awareness of being educated is more discussed.

P.S. We actually provided a video concerning this topic in one of the previous posts, in case that's what you were reffering to.
http://interculturalextraneity.com/foru … .php?id=17

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#3 2020-11-09 10:51:17

Prof.
Administrator
Registered: 2020-10-12
Posts: 15

Re: Social dilemmas

SAK wrote:

Despite not being sure whether we understood what we are supposed to include in our response, we would either way like to give it a try.

There is no right or wrong in a forum - just more constructive or less constructive answers! You can even start your own topic for this week's class. But to be clear: you did a great job in your comment.

SAK wrote:

P.S. We actually provided a video concerning this topic in one of the previous posts

Thank you for linking to that post, SAK. That is indeed the comment that I hoped would be cited in this thread.

Your comment raised a very interesting question about the question of self-interest. Can this be taught?

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#4 2020-11-09 21:02:57

jams
Member
Registered: 2020-10-14
Posts: 9

Re: Social dilemmas

We were intrigued by the question whether self-interest can be taught and by the Plusone’s statement “that nowadays it has become essential to mind your own business” and how these two are correlated. For instance, in a world where you should look only after yourself and your success is measured only by how much you make, it is essential for one to stay in touch with other people and to always broaden one's horizons. Being educated does not only mean that one should and have to go to college or have a degree, one can learn on their own and sometimes even through social media. What is important is that education should be viewed as not something that is imposed on one, and unfortunately the majority of young people feel that way and they do not see all the benefits of education, but as something that can be useful to one and how this individualistic approach can be implemented in education in a way that will motivate one to learn more and ultimately one will learn that self-interest is highly important.

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#5 2020-11-10 16:25:18

chickclique
Member
Registered: 2020-10-14
Posts: 13

Re: Social dilemmas

First and foremost, we would like to thank our colleagues and professor for raising the question of self-interest!
Not only can it be taught - it must be taught. A lot of us tend to confuse self-interest with selfishness. We believe that we are being selfish if we are devoting ourselves to something we find interesting that doesn't benefit or serve others (initially). However, everything we read, hear and watch helps us evolve and therefore helps us be better both in our personal and professional life. It is never just about what we are doing, but how we are doing it, it is about our own personality shining through our work, which is important especially in courses such as this one, where our personalities and opinions are greatly appreciated.
Though we agree that our education should be our top priority (along with staying sane, especially during times such as these), we have to say that our education system is extremely flawed. In school we are taught so much, yet so little. For instance, as young children we were told that fast food was not good for us, but we were never told why. Too many of us grow up and don't have a clue how to read the ingredient list, because they never taught us in school. We can all agree that it is extremely important to know what we are consuming on a daily basis and how it not only affects our bodies, but our environment as well. This is just one of many reasons why self-education is equally (if not more) important as traditional education.

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#6 2020-11-10 19:31:06

miths
Member
Registered: 2020-10-18
Posts: 8

Re: Social dilemmas

chickclique wrote:

A lot of us tend to confuse self-interest with selfishness.

This struck a particular chord because so many people are afraid to be self-interested, seeing as most misunderstand what this word actually means. Caring about yourself and your needs, cultivating your interests or working on bettering yourself in whatever aspect possible is often seen as something negative and selfish. Furthermore, you might even be prevented from pursuing what interests you, so as not to step on any toes or undermine anyone, when, in most cases, that is not what happens at all. In such a competitive world, self-interest is vital to helping you accomplish great things. Without putting effort into your studies, for example, or being interested in the topics covered in your courses, it is oftentimes very difficult to find it in you to focus and complete your work, thus passing your exams and eventually graduating. The same can be applied to the workplace or any other project you take on.

Also, self-interest doesn't have to take away from teamwork. It can be very beneficial to work with people who, much like yourself, put effort into what they do, which can, in turn, help cultivate new ideas and expand your horizons when discussing a topic or working on a project. As long as this doesn't turn into arrogance and selfishness, or, even worse, opportunism, there is no reason why people can't benefit from each other's self-interest.

Nowadays, people are very quick to judge someone who cares about their own progress and growth, whether it be from a financial or personal perspective. What is more, it is such circumstances which might hinder one's ability to advance, causing them to lose interest in what they're studying, and that is something we should fight. We should never tell young people that they can't go after what they want and what will gain them a good life, because we are essentially telling them that their interests don't matter unless they serve a higher purpose other than themselves. We are telling them that they don't matter and this is why we have so many people dropping their studies or giving up on something they had worked hard for.

Last edited by miths (2020-11-11 21:03:07)

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#7 2020-11-11 18:19:40

milenajovic
Member
Registered: 2020-10-19
Posts: 4

Re: Social dilemmas

I love what miths said about the judgement that's targeted at people who are focused on their self-improvement. As this group very well explained, self-interest is often confused with selfishness, when it really shouldn't be. To work hard and develop your skills and gifts shouldn't be a stumbling block for others. On the contrary, one's efforts should influence encouragement and improvement among the community members. Moreover, in our culture, this judgement is usually followed by jealousy, as people envy those that are successful and ascribe their success to the supernatural forces, and not to their actual hard work. On this note, I would like to hear what other's think: Why is our culture so resistant to this self-interest and why do we wish ,,Da komšiji crkne krava?"

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#8 2020-11-13 15:50:48

witspur
Member
Registered: 2020-10-15
Posts: 5

Re: Social dilemmas

miths wrote:

This struck a particular chord because so many people are afraid to be self-interested, seeing as most misunderstand what this word actually means.

I think you've raised an excellent point here. But I wouldn't necessarily say that most people misunderstand it; instead, everyone has a different understanding of it. And because of that vagueness, sometimes it seems like people are having entirely separate discussions, since the meaning of the term is not clearly defined. I think it would be helpful to define the terms we use more explicitly, as that would help with fostering a more fruitful discussion.

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#9 2020-11-13 16:26:17

chickclique
Member
Registered: 2020-10-14
Posts: 13

Re: Social dilemmas

milenajovic wrote:

Why is our culture so resistant to this self-interest and why do we wish ,,Da komšiji crkne krava?"

We agree that jealousy takes part in it. Jealousy is a part of human nature. In principle, humans are actually very simple-minded creatures who would rather wish bad luck to someone else than aspire to work hard and spread positivity. Balkan countries have been through a lot in the past, and it is possible that people have built up anger and envy. The majority of the population is impoverished and dissatisfied with their lives, so it is as if they almost enjoy when someone else is struggling, because they feel like they are not alone. Of course, we do not wish to generalize, we are aware that similar situations are present all around the world, but it may be that this kind of behavior is more prominent in our culture.

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#10 2020-11-14 11:28:09

jelena98
Member
Registered: 2020-10-19
Posts: 6

Re: Social dilemmas

Having watched the video about the education that SAK mentioned, we remembered the speech that one of our
professors recommended a couple of years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY
Even though this video is similar to yours we wanted to share it with you since it is one of the best
speeches we have ever heard regarding education. This video made us realize how creativity is
important for education and how a typical education system is made to silent creativity. One evidence for
this is how art subjects in our schools are considered irrelevant. Why is that the case? Why in Serbia do we think that subjects like chemistry, physics and mathematics are more important than art? And is that the
case only in Serbia or in other countries as well? We believe that these subjects are equally important
and that we must not neglect them anymore.
Moreover, another problem of our education is the amount of information we are bombed with. Since
early grades, we have been taught so much information that it becomes impossible for children to
remember all that. We are taught so many facts in our schools, and why? In modern society we can find
out when some battle occurred very quickly in just two clicks, so why do we have to cram all these years
in our history classes? Isn’t it more important to learn how to connect these facts with the current situation
and analyze them? The world has changed a lot over the past hundred years and we believe that it is high
time the education system changed as well.

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#11 2020-11-16 14:44:36

blake
Member
Registered: 2020-10-19
Posts: 6

Re: Social dilemmas

milenajovic wrote:

I would like to hear what other's think: Why is our culture so resistant to this self-interest and why do we wish ,,Da komšiji crkne krava?"

I think that people who think like that are actually unhappy with their lives. They just feel insecure and think that by undermining someone's success they'll feel better. People who strive to be successful, improve their skills and develop their talents see others' success as an encouragement for their own personal development. As for our culture, I don't think that this is the case just in our culture, since I believe that envy and jealousy is a personal trait rather than cultural.

=jelena98 wrote:

Why is that the case? Why in Serbia do we think that subjects like chemistry, physics and mathematics are more important than art? And is that the case only in Serbia or in other countries as well?

I believe that the reason for this is because of the stereotype that scientific subjects are more difficult than social studies or language arts. By favoring one subject over the other, the teacher fails to help students to nurture and develop their own talents and skills. Not all children are gifted for science, and as Einstein said "If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid". The school should be a place where children should discover their talents and decide which activities they enjoy in order to pursue a career they like. And yes, it is true that IT related jobs are the most paid nowadays and that an IT expert should be an excellent mathematician, but, children should be taught not to choose their careers based on salary but rather to choose something that they like. And they won't know what they like If they are not given the opportunity to explore different subjects.

=jelena98 wrote:

Moreover, another problem of our education is the amount of information we are bombed with. Since
early grades, we have been taught so much information that it becomes impossible for children to
remember all that. We are taught so many facts in our schools, and why?

I completely agree that our school system needs to be reformed. A good teacher should be able to make the class interesting and comprehensible, regardless of the subject. I remembered that I disliked physics because the teacher insisted on remembering definitions without even understanding them. She didn't try to use her subject to explain the functioning of the world, which is what physics is actually about.
I wanted to recommend this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P54g9PzPY5o. The guest of the podcast is suggesting that we should include pop culture in our school system. That we should analyze it instead of trying to ignore it. Among many other things, the one that caught my interest was that he said that our school system doesn't teach children how to think democratically, but it rather makes obedient subjects of them. Would you agree with this statement?

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#12 2020-11-16 22:48:34

Latecomers
Member
Registered: 2020-10-19
Posts: 12

Re: Social dilemmas

The issues of self-interest and the effectiveness of mainstream schooling are extremely important, especially in this day and age, and we believe our colleagues are correct in saying that the Serbian educational system is largely ineffective and tends to rely too much on endless regurgitation and memorisation of superfluous details by heart. We would, however, like to delve a bit deeper into the mentality behind our approach to education, both formal and informal.
In Serbia, the most prevalent approach to learning of any kind is mostly accompanied with sighs and groans. We all know of those people who can’t wait to finish mandatory schooling just so they never have to be forced to learn anything again. We all know of those people who never read a single book after they complete high school. We know of parents who essentially ’bribe’ their kids to finish their homework, providing all sorts of incentives for them, treating schoolwork, much like their kids, as something downright painful and hazardous to health that should just be done as soon as possible and then never looked back on again. Even later in life, we encounter adults who are required to further their studies or attend professional conferences for their job and who, despite their age and maturity, groan at the very idea of having to ’subject’ themselves to a learning process.
Why do we continue to nurture this mentality and this flawed approach to learning, generation in and generation out? Why don’t we make more of an effort to introduce the learning process to young kids as something beneficial and fun, something they can actually enjoy and look forward to?
In New Zealand, there are specialised summer camps for preteens (funded by schools) that ask their students to run a household, in effect. In these camps where students spend several weeks over the summer months they are taught to divide chores and errands fairly amongst themselves, manage funds, survive in the wilderness, fix electrical appliances, cook, sew, do the dishes and the laundry, shop for healthy and nutritional foods, grow their own produce, etc. As chickclique mentioned, they are not only told that fast food is bad for them, period, but are encouraged to learn more about nutrition, label-reading and how our bodies process and digest food. They get to apply everything they learned throughout the academic year to real-life situations and come up with creative solutions to actual problems.
We’re sure that the majority of us have, at one point or another, encountered sneers and mockery from our peers whenever we pursue something we’re passionate about and want to learn more about. This mentality of ’learning bad, doing nothing beyond high school good’ has forced many of us to sever ties with people we would otherwise still consider friends. We won’t go so far as to suggest this mentality is exclusive to Serbia, but we’ve encountered it often enough to vouch for its ubiquity in our society.
This is where self-interest and independent learning come in. The mainstream education only takes us so far. Even if we graduate from Uni, that’s still only one, narrow field of interest and so, if we want to learn more about history or astronomy or programming, it is up to us to find the resources and immerse ourselves into a particular field. Seemingly overnight, the world switched to this media landscape of not just mere influencers and YouTubers, but ones who stress the importance of continual self-growth and development. Motivated by such people (and mildly disgusted with the stagnation many of our peers display), the majority of us switched to this mindset as well. We now believe in vision boards, motivational quotes and the quest for improvement. We believe in 6 a.m. jogs, mindful meditation and foregoing parties every single weekend in lieu of enriching our identity capital. We want to do better and be better. However, our success and improvement are constantly met with derision and people claiming we’re ’overreaching’. This ties in well with the aforementioned jealousy chickclique and milenajovic commented on.
So, the question becomes, first – how do we improve our terrible mindset and approach to learning and second – how do we continue to thrive in a community that spurns growth and improvement? Do we sever all ties with toxic people? Do we try to ’convert’ them? Is ignoring them the best strategy?

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#13 2020-11-17 13:24:52

Latecomers
Member
Registered: 2020-10-19
Posts: 12

Re: Social dilemmas

Latecomers wrote:

In New Zealand, there are specialised summer camps for preteens (funded by schools) that ask their students to run a household, in effect.

First things first, I didn’t know that such schools existed… why can’t we have that, as well? hmm

People need to learn how to take care of and provide for themselves, how to look after their environment, so that they are able to grow into responsible, mature, self-reliant and conscientious adults who will not only think of themselves, but of others and the world around them, as well. There’s an increasing amount of people who are not able to cook, are too lazy, don’t think about their health, and all these issues are not mutually exclusive. I believe that it all could be weeded out if there were schools, like the ones in New Zealand. We are presented with so many food delivery apps, such as Glovo, Donesi, Wolt, giving us the option to opt out of actually doing something for ourselves and thinking about what we are consuming, there’s also the fact that many choose to dine out instead of preparing a nutritional meal. Consequently, you can find many articles on how restaurant food can be quite detrimental to our health. Here is one article discussing a research, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that states that ”compared to meals prepared and eaten at home, both fast food and full-service fare is linked to increased fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and calorie consumption.” As

chickclique wrote:

We can all agree that it is extremely important to know what we are consuming on a daily basis and how it not only affects our bodies, but our environment as well.

As chickclique also pointed out - no one really taught us how to read the ingredient list, add the food and ingredient transparency of today’s restaurants into the mix, this is turning out to be a recipe for disaster. Here you can find a few more arguments why ordering food should not be our first choice when sustaining ourselves.

Additionally, it boggles my mind how, in Yugoslavia, the country took better care of its citizens, at least when it comes to preparing the pupils for the adult life. Though, from what I’ve gathered, some of the chores which Latecomers mentioned with regards to New Zealand schools, could also be found during this period, although they were mainly intended for women, e.g. sewing, growing produce, taking care of the house chores, still I can imagine how we all, including guys, would have prospered more had we actually had the same options. The matter of sports shouldn’t be forgotten either, as the Latin proverb says

Mens sana in corpore sano

, their Physical Education was far more serious and they couldn’t just skive off as we could. Furthermore, they were also required to choose a different sport and participate in it a couple of times a week during Uni, as well. It’s saddening to see that instead of going forwards and advancing, we are going backwards.

All these activities could have made us function further as a community and we would have appreciated everything far more had they continued to be incorporated in our school system, but adapted and tweaked to today’s times.

That is why any change would be very hard to introduce to people who aren’t mature enough yet to access any idea, I’m talking about younger people and children here, as for the adults, the status quo is such because they allowed it to happen and until all citizens are prepared to do something and change this caricature we call society, the saying “Da komšiji crkne krava“ would continue to prevail, because, as it is now, no one is truly happy and what better way to pass the time and not think, than to look at what somebody else is doing.

When it comes to the matter of self-interest, it is essential for the growth of each and every one of us, therefore, for the development of the society. In that sense Non nobis solum nati sumus is a more than an appropriate phrase to conclude this post with.

By Musings of a Nefelibata

Last edited by Latecomers (2020-11-17 20:05:55)

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