Thursday, June 2, 2011

The fight for change

"I can`t help but feel lost and confused, surely the public hasn`t fallen for this foolishness, here we are in a brand new session of the BC Legislature, Christy Clark made her public debut in the house, the media applauded and declared Crusty the winner over Adrian Dix with her non-answer on funding legal services for downtown eastside residents who want their voices heard in the Picton inquiry.....'

The following is based on a book by Professor Robert Cialdini of Arizona State University entitled, Influence: Science and Practice, and I forgot to give him credit for the ideas expressed below.
When I read the above from Grant at the Powell River Persuader, I thought the public has not fallen for the foolishness put out by the MSM and the government flunkies but he has good reason to think that the opposite is happening. My thoughts on the politic changes are as follows:

Human behaviour developed over time based on our need for survival. As humans departed from Africa on the journey around the world, survival has depended on our ability to co-exist in a group, and depend on each other for mutual support and to support leaders who are strong.  As a result, many of our behaviours as a group (not as individuals as much) are deeply rooted in our psyche, rules, and rituals. Therefore, the Main Stream Media (MSM) and the ruling classes understand that they need to shape our rules and tap into our psyche and rituals to keep power. Here are five principles, that humans have developed that our current leadership in Victoria and Ottawa are trying to use against us to maintain power.

Reciprocity: The first principle is that people will try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided to us. Simply think about how you feel when going to dinner at a friends’ home, feeling the need to both bring a gift and to return your host’s generosity. People also have a deep seeded desire to reciprocate when someone concedes something to us, either in a negotiation or by offering favours. The MSM has done a great job of keeping the public ignorant of the wrongdoings of the current government so it is, I believe, up to progressive bloggers like, Grant G, Laila Yuile, Bill Tieleman, NormFarrell, BC Mary, David Schreck, Paul WillcocksRafe MairRossK  and others to continue to inform the public about the way they are being taken advantage of by the government. Once enough people understand they will want to act on the principle of reciprocity, but for that to happen we need a critical mass.

Social proof: One of the strongest principles is that the greater the number of people who find any idea correct, the more a given individual will perceive the idea to be correct. This force can be very problematic if the larger group accepts an incorrect answer or position, and the tidal wave of social pressure overcomes anyone pushing against the status quo. Social proof provides stability in times of uncertainty. Most human beings do not feel comfortable in uncertain or ambiguous situations. We seek similarity to show us what we perceive to be the correct course of action.

At this time, the larger group as accepted an incorrect answer and there is tremendous pressure to convince people that the government has been treating the people of BC wrongly. The tide, I believe is starting to turn against the government but unless the progressive blogging community stays strong and committed to giving people the truth, the government will win. One of the reasons is that as a society we believe in the chain of command.

Authority: There is a deeply held sense of obedience to authority. Research has proven that people have an extreme willingness to go to almost any lengths on the command of authority. After every corporate scandal or ethnic atrocity, the question is always asked, "How could they do that?" The answer lies in a deeply held human need to obey authority.  Because of this need of people the progressive blogging community has to continue to hold the moral high ground and speak out against the wrong acts of the government and perhaps by continuing to point out to the people what they will lose from the actions taken by the governements.

 Scarcity: What is really important to note from the research is that people are more motivated to avoid loss much more than for potential gains. We simply fear loss much more than we desire gain. People are most vulnerable to scarcity when we compete for an item. We get very emotional about possessing the scarce item, not in actually using it. We do not get any more joy from using a scarce item, but rather from the fact that we possess it and others do not. The progressive blogging community has to continue with relentless zeal to point out what the public has lost and will continue to lose if they allow the current governement to stay in power.

MSM also understands that if they make our leaders likable they will be more likely to be able to control the agenda and continue to act in a manner that is inconsistent with  the values of the majority of people.

Liking: We prefer to say yes to those we know and like. How many times do you say "yes" to someone that you do not like? As a result, people work very hard at getting other people to like us. At a base level, people will like someone who is physically attractive, and we find attractive people to be more persuasive. We also seek out other people who are similar to us. We feel more comfortable and trusting, and tend to group with others who have similar backgrounds, experiences, families, education, sports teams, hobbies, etc. We also begin to like one another more as we increase the level of contact and familiarity. Humans are very susceptible to compliments. Even though we may tell ourselves that we recognize when we are being complimented for someone else’s gain, it is still very difficult to avoid this attraction.  This principle is well known by the ruling elite and they use the MSM to paint the oppositions as not likeable while showing the Premier and the Liberals as likeable.

Research has also proven that people who are actually in conflict with one another, and have deeply oppositional positions can actually be induced to co-operate through the imposition of common goals. Working together on a common goal is so basic to human behaviour that we find it very hard to resist. The progressive blogging community that I support has a common goal and is following another strong principle that has helped our species survive, which is being consistent to their commitment and as they do they will get others to think and to act. The trap is that the government will use this principle to persuade people that they have the same goals as we do, but they may have a different method of achieving these goals. These lies will be front and center in the MSM.

 Commitment and consistency: A strong principle is that once we make a choice or take a stand, we will encounter personal and inter-personal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. This is a very powerful human need. When people make a public statement, or put something in writing, we will go to great lengths to maintain a consistent image to others. This makes it very hard for people to change their opinions once they have been made public.

To bring about positive change, which is the goal of the progressive blogging community, communication, and experiences is vital to how we understand and build social human elements into our efforts. Without communication and adherence to the above principles, the result will not be what we want. So the next time you hear someone ask, "Why aren’t we resonating with the public?" simply look to basic human nature and understand that change takes time and time is on your side even thought it may not seem like it now.

For me and many of my generation, which will be a huge force in the next few years,  time is not on our side. The problem is that many of my generation grow more conservative as they age, which I find sad. I find it sad for a number of resons, one is  because they are losing the opportunity to bring about meaningful change in our society that will benefit their grandchildren. Another reason is that they have lost touch with their love of life and with the love of change that positive progress brings.

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