denial, escapism, scapegoating, and cynicism

6 02 2008

[By Shawhin]  Yesterday I heard a great lecture from UCBerkeley on iTunes.  It was a guest lecture by Professor of Public Policy, Robert Reich in a political science class.  In one part he talks about the importance of overcoming four things (“the four horseman of the apocalypse”) that keep the public from taking action on things which should be done:

+        Denial: saying that problems don’t exist, e.g. saying there is no global warming, there is no poverty, etc

+        Escapism: “there may be problems, but where I am, it’s not an issue: in my home, job, and my community, I am fine and there is no need to worry”

+        Scapegoating: “we may have problems, but they are all because of a certain group or concept”.  Scapegoating is a substitute for thought and genuine reform in social change.

+        Cynicism: the belief that nothing will change or nothing can be changed.  People use cynicism to hide from the burden of responsibility and disillusionment

Prof. Reich sees these each as a “burden to overcome to mobilize people to face the facts and to change the direction society is going in.”

I think cynicism is a big issue in Tehran, but at the same time, I think we have recent examples of when one leader can reverse a good amount of it and bring hope in its place.  Many people, especially youth, seem to go with the flow on cynicism… I think.

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2 responses

12 02 2008
شادی

wow! I just discovered your blog through the comment you left on my post. what an amazing blog! I have to read it all it might take me forever but I will!
thanks for the nice comment, I will come back!
merry & happy

12 02 2008
Shideh

Shadi joon,
thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad you like TehranShake.

I visited your blog a few days ago, and was mesmerized by your writing. thank you and stay in touch.

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