How the world really works | INFJ Forum

How the world really works

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by David Nelson, Apr 11, 2022.

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  1. David Nelson

    David Nelson Permanent Fixture

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    NOTE - This thread actually could have been in politics or philosophy forum, as it really crosses subject boundaries.

    This is very close to my own heart/mind. I have read quite a few books (and plenty unread so far) on how things get corrupted in society. I want to clarify exactly what I mean because I think this often gets misunderstood. I have to speak in generality because there is so much here and it is systemic right through society.

    When people talk of corruption or things going wrong, they typically think of bad actors or mistakes. Imperfection is part of life and cannot be avoided. People get punished and systems reform (or die) and are replaced. In this naive view of the world, it makes sense to trust authority, experts, etc. Systems and checks and balances are in place to keep things working relatively smoothly (or as smoothly as possible) and there is no need for radical change.

    This view is dangerously naive and wrong. In my experience of life and fairly extensive reading, it seems that every part of society and life is open to abuse, and is abused. Even authorities charged with spotting and eliminating corruption or errors, they are also flawed. A big part of this is when private enterprise is at the heart of an institution or company etc. I have been reading about the Drug Industry and how they actively ignore and even demonise natural treatments which are often better than the drug equivalents. This is just one example, I have read about the CJS in US locking people up unfairly to make more money, I have a book about the Holocaust Industry etc. etc.. It seems there is nowhere this endemic corruption isn't thriving, along with people happy to go along with it. Profits over people's welfare and lives and justice. It's a depressing picture. Bias in the news is not widely known about, but exists in even the best news channels (see medialens website for eg.).

    But what is perhaps even more surprising/frustrating is the number of people unaware of this (probably mainly Sensors). My ISTJ brother, for eg. cannot believe that a doctor could actually prescribe you a drug which makes things worse for you, without everyone in the health industry and health service being in on a conspiracy. He cannot see how it is all the assumptions he is making in that statement which is where the errors are made (either through ignorance, lack of power, care or willful greed). Every gap is exploited. It's not simply about how good or well meaning each person is in the chain, it is the makeup of the chain which allows errors and corruption which is often almost invisible. But can these assumptions be challenged, or will MBTI limitations of Sensors always be a block? Is this mainly the fault of the mainly SJ world we live in?

    Even the whole 'capitalist system' (I know it's more complex than that) to many seems optimum with it's own ethical core. This is also dangerously naive.



    Sometimes this awareness has made me feel quite depressed because as an INFJ who cares a lot about these things, and wants to put them right, it feels like I am fighting a futile battle. Many great books have been written, yet the situation persists. It seems that if systems are improved, some people will still find a way round them. But none (or little) of it is inevitable. That's what frustrates me. The willfull ingorance and blind assumptions of many allow the system of abuses to persist, and people suffer as a result.

    I think this is the kind of thing that frustrated Jesus. Evil is what men do, not just what a few rogue characters do. Artificial institutions will always be fundamantally flawed, irrespective of their objectives? Anyone have the answer? Are things slowly improving? Am I being too negative?
     
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  2. aeon

    aeon Amoureux des Chatons
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    Maybe it is simply the never-ending chain, each new link being socialized in the perennial broken ways.

    In any event, I think a lot of human beings see life as a zero-sum game, and within the constraints of their situations, perhaps it functions as one.

    Certainly tribalism is deeply woven into behaviors. @Sometimes Yeah made this post, and it is bang on.

    And then many people resolve any cognitive dissonance with a hearty dollop of the just world fallacy. That fallacy can explain away a lot, including responsibility and reality.

    If you’re operating from a perspective of moral consideration that is, say, akin to the transpersonal a la Kohlberg, things will very necessarily look like they’ve gone pear-shaped.

    Those operating on personal levels see those “us” types as suckers—and you’ll likely never convince them otherwise.

    I used to find this depressing, but I no longer do, because of some secular bastardization of Reinhold Niebuhr’s serenity prayer.

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
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  3. Wyote

    Wyote Meka Istaqa
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    One thing to consider is how new these systems are, relative to humans.
    Once enough light is shed on various problems humans do tend to move in the right directions, slowly.
     
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  4. OP
    David Nelson

    David Nelson Permanent Fixture

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    I’m arguing for people getting rewarded in proportion to their contribution to society, as far as possible. No other goal can be as sensible or idealistic as that, because it rewards talent and makes a fairer society. There would of course need to be a safety net for disabled/old people etc.

    The problem is society pretends we live in an approximate meritocracy when we are far from it. This is the horrible lie.
     
  5. aeon

    aeon Amoureux des Chatons
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    That’s exactly what we have now—it’s just that opinions differ on the relative worth of each and every contribution, and some opinions are of more importance, and most opinions are of lesser importance. Which exactly satisfies your stated condition—“as far as possible.”

    Collectively, we’ve decided this is as good as it gets. If we truly wanted something different, we would have chosen it already.

    Could it be different? Sure—but we don’t want it to be. Collectively, we have decided this is the way.

    Cheers,
    Ian

    edit: No one believes there is a true meritocracy, and we don’t even pretend to live in one. We give lip service to the idea of it, but make no mistake, tribe, family, power, money, physicality, cognitive and emotional intelligence, and a well-controlled social elan and grace all certainly come first.
     
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    #5 aeon, Apr 11, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2022
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  6. OP
    David Nelson

    David Nelson Permanent Fixture

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    I get that personal happiness (or the lack of it) usually stems from our personal relationships which is why my life has mostly been lacking happiness. Then we project our unhappiness onto other things. I sometimes wish I could be more normal, then I might be happy. Lately I’ve been considering how small and insignificant most of our lives really are, and how I can’t imagine myself being content with such a life. Does anyone else feel they need something bigger? I feel like something inside is crying to be heard. It’s hard to put into words. Maybe I’m a little depressed. I feel existential crisis and angst. I don’t feel real much of the time, imposter syndrome and all that.

    I think good books do make some difference, and we are probably making very slow progress; and that writing such a book can provide some satisfaction and maybe even financial reward.
     
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  7. OP
    David Nelson

    David Nelson Permanent Fixture

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    I find this hard to believe. Don’t take this the wrong way, but what you said there can be deconstructed. I could write an essay in response. You are an INFP, which might explain the different perspective.

    You made me think of animal farm and the quote “some are more equal than others” lol. You are accepting the status quo as inevitable and something we have to accept. I could never do that because I see so much wrong with it that needs changing.
     
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  8. aeon

    aeon Amoureux des Chatons
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    I did too—I used to think contributions mattered in a substantive way. Then the world became a shillelagh and beat some measure of my idealism out of me.

    I’m sure you could, and please understand, that’s my opinion, or at least what I’ve arrived at given what I’ve seen and learned. I’m sure living in the US has colored that. I could very well be wrong, and although I am open to evidence of that nature, none has yet presented itself such that my opinion would change.

    As for knowing the truth of it, I don’t, and never will. That’s beyond me.

    I have a good bit of resonance with that type, but I am otherwise.

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
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  9. Roses In The Vineyard

    Roses In The Vineyard Well-known member

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    This is what we all get when some personality types have too much weight and control in society especially those who like it hard while making it hard for others while the vast majority just go along with it all. Just look at the jobs where it is painfully obvious there is room for improvement yet such improvement is incredibly slow never mind the wastefulness and greed. Education isn't much different where one size fits all and more or less just sucks the life out of the kids at an early age while the system pushes propaganda and a slave mentality. They sure do love sucking the life out of people be it cutting out human emotions, creativity, any sense of spirituality all the while making them into units of production and consumption for a society that has no need of humans.
     
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  10. Sidis Coruscatis

    Sidis Coruscatis Community Member

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    Right now, it works broadly like this:
    upload_2022-4-12_1-7-20.png

    The concept of merit is too vague to implement without becoming corrupted again, and anything more specific is too oppressive to not be already corrupt. It's not about accepting the status quo; in fact, it's certain that people won't accept it. It's just that the new regime will be the same thing in a different iteration. That's where the principle of the eternal revolution comes from: the best way to ruin a utopia is thinking that you have reached it. The closest thing we will ever have to a perfectly functioning society is to stop believing that there is any finality to a society. Whatever your idea of a meritocracy is, it would simply turn the tables on the current power structure. And then, the conservatives of today will become the revolutionaries of tomorrow, ad infinitum.

    The fundamental paradox is simply that the work of a society can never be over, but that work requires a plan which implies that there exists a point when it will be over.
     
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  11. aeon

    aeon Amoureux des Chatons
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    :p

    I accept the world as it is, and I change what I have a measure of control over—myself. It’s not that I see the status quo as inevitable—I see (parts of/aspects of) the status quo as it is. Each and every can choose to accept it, or not, or ignore the decision altogether.

    I used to see so much wrong with the world that needed changing. Not anymore. The world didn’t change, but I did. Who am I but a single person? What do I know? What can I know? What can I be sure of?

    The idea that I think I could know better, and do better, for anyone beyond myself seems a profound arrogance. Maybe I’m even wrong about that. I’m not sure. But I’m going to trust that you know better for you than anyone else, and offer everyone that respect. Likewise, if anyone else thinks they know better for me, that’s okay, they’re free to think what they like, and I’ll honor and maintain boundaries regardless.

    I’m limited. I’ve only got so much energy. Doubly so after medical mishaps! So given my resources, and knowing what I have any measure of control over, I’ll work on being the change I want to see in the world. I can’t do anything else, anyway. And for what it’s worth, that’s a life’s work. I’ve come so far, but I still have so far to go—and time is running out.

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
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  12. OP
    David Nelson

    David Nelson Permanent Fixture

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    I love the word AGENCY. Human agency is often forgotten in such discussions but it is the driving force behind all progress. If we want to bring societal change, then the written word is the most powerful. Books can and do change the world.

    Rewarding merit happens already, but it’s mostly unfair. Parasitic and wasteful jobs are often well paid while critical jobs usually much worse. I’ll give you an example. Cant remember all the details, it’s from a book: I think this happened in New York and Ireland on different occasions: binmen went on strike and public health crisis meant it was sorted in days. Bankers went on strike, people found way round it. Bankers are paid more than binmen but their job has less real value.

    Don’t forget a lot of wage disparities between professions is not because it’s what the market created via supply and demand, no it’s more to do with historical power imbalances. Elites chose the easiest professions and paid themselves handsomely while keeping the working class down. Note that wrt class conflict, the major problem today is a powerlessness of the working class majority. This is because the overclass has taken apart Democratic pluralism and largely replaced it with technocratic neoliberalism. This has resulted in a lack of countervailing power from below. This is not because the elites are superior and work harder/better. No it’s mostly about a rigged society which mainly works for the elite/professional class. Besides this being unfair, it actually creates a highly dysfunctional society where even the rich suffer to some degree. The Spirit Level book gives statistics to show that more equal countries actually perform better overall, so it makes sense for most in society that things are more unequal. Also, most are not very aware of how unequal our societies actually are. We are a lot richer than we were a few decades ago, yet we have more poor now than ever. Most of the benefits of greater prosperity are going to an increasingly fewer number of rich people.

    The majority of poor people do have lots of power but no means of wielding it other than mass protests/strikes. The political system isn’t working for them. Then populists come along and promise solutions to their legitimate grievances, but they are usually charlatans and don’t have real answers.

    I think how we can explain the detachment from politics of many people is simply greater affluence, and an appearance that any different reality is impossible. It’s a grand illusion. My goal in my writing is to make clear this is not how it has to be. In an age of unprecedented communication, and the current standard of living crisis, I think change has to come soon. The overclass have squeezed many working people too hard for too long and the cracks are showing.
     
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  13. Matty

    Matty Permanent Fixture

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    The vast majority of people are grand masters of denial. It doesn't matter how compelling the evidence, facts, or arguments, everyone somehow maintains the unshakable belief that their decisions, preferences, and priorities are absolutely good, natural, or justifiable.

    It doesn't matter if people are functioning individually, in a group, impulsively, or ideologically, everyone infallibly seems to act in a way which is fundamentally selfish and oppressive to others. Conflicts between capitalists and communists, between anarchists and hierarchical order-ists, between the sentimental and the pragmatic, or between the hedonists and moralists is just fighting over the specific manner in which personal selfishness and corruption is denied, with some positions having the added bonus of hypocrisy or projection on top.

    I don't know how to escape the ten thousand ways we have of fooling ourselves into the false belief that we're good, but I'm thinking about retreating into a monk's solitude: taking and accepting nothing from anyone, and only giving to others anonymously; loving God without demanding he love me back; and meditating on my own shortcomings to repent of them and do penance... And somehow not allowing this activity ever bring me to conclude that I'm anything different from anyone else.
     
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    David Nelson

    David Nelson Permanent Fixture

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    Have you seen the film Into the Wild?
    That ended well lol
     
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  15. Matty

    Matty Permanent Fixture

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    Every life has the same ending, so the only variable is about how much bullshit one chooses to wade through on the way there, and how adamantly one has to deny that it doesn't smell bad. In some ways it's better to trudge through literal manure, because at least it's hard to deceive oneself about what the activity actually is.
     
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    David Nelson

    David Nelson Permanent Fixture

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    In many ways I try and keep life simple to protect my psyche. I think sensitive people have to do that. I probably have gone too far at times though.

    One thing I’ve noticed on here is INFJs generalise like crazy. I’ve learnt not to do that and it’s very useful to avoid it as much as possible.
     
    #16 David Nelson, Apr 12, 2022
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  17. philostam

    philostam Permanent Fixture

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    I think history is cyclical. We had "good times" in the West for very long (maybe post WW2) so we are at the end of the long term cycle. I agree that it's quite corrupted and stale at this point. I do believe we'll go trough big changes in the next 10 years and enter into a new cycle. I'm an optimist, but I do expect the transition to be hard.

    Bretton Woods 3.0 is upon us.
     
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    David Nelson

    David Nelson Permanent Fixture

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    Well we’ve seen the destruction of Democratic pluralism and it’s replacement with technocratic neoliberalism. This has made class conflict mostly 1-sided, with the overclass in charge. Naturally their abuses of power are causing widespread discontent. This is an unprecedented situation. It cannot be understood by past trends or situations, although there is some similarity with the old class system of the late 19th century. But instead of wealth and merit largely based on birthright, it’s now based largely on a fake meritocratic basis. Humans are obsessed and hardwired to want and respect status. But only if this is genuinely earned can it be truly respected. Even this is not ideal, there is always bound to be envy, but it would be better than anything we have ever had.

    Remember what happens in society is a battle. Nothing is inevitable, except maybe very long term trends, but so many want to align artificially created situations as inevitable fate when they are anything but.
     
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  19. philostam

    philostam Permanent Fixture

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    I have a different opinion.

    I don't think Elon Musk, the richest person in the world, got there unfairly. You can argue that the gap between rich and poor is too big, but that's not his problem. It's again the problem with all the money printing. Because when we print, assets go up in value, the only problem is that poor people don't have assets. So only the rich benefit.

    World is not that bad or corrupted. It's just a question of incentives and how we structure our money markets.
     
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    David Nelson

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    I didn’t say none have made money through talent and merit. I actually think premier league footballers deserve their high pay, because no one has to pay to see them or buy their merchandise etc. People create their wealth, and they have very rare, real skills. There will always be entrepreneurs and not all of them exploit others on their way up, although many do. The problem is as you say the ability to make money out of capital. The more money you have, the easier it becomes to get more. Thus talent and merit get swapped for craft and opportunity. This is a serious problem. It keeps the poor in poorly paid, hard jobs. But don’t worry, they and those on benefits are demonised by society to quiet the consciences of those better off.

    Wrt the world being not that bad a place, you must read very different books to me, and probably you swallow mainstream news distortions (hint read medialens website).
     
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