[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.