Archive | December, 2007

On the curious account of the delegation of power according to charisma

20 Dec

If, for a class, it would be beneficial to create “English speaking days” during which all everyone spoke was English, and there were one or two individuals who spoke English exceptionally well and might prove useful to the endeavor, what would prevent the class from commencing such a venture?

1. It takes effort to speak a foreign language.

2. It would re-delegate the social dynamics of the class.

With languages the more capable one is of mastering it, the more power one wields in society. Communication is a key factor in relationships, whether the tools are oral or visual. People who find themselves charming in Chinese may be deaf and dumb in another language, causing frustration and loss of self-esteem. It takes tremendous effort, and it costs them their status in society, however temporarily.

When some go down, other go up, particularly those proficient at the new tool. Witch doctors and ancient leaders became powerful because they claimed to wield an exclusive capability to communicate with the spirits. Likewise, being proficient in English when you are required to speak it puts you at an advantage when others are rendered dumb.

People are innately aware of this phenomenon. If, for example, one or both of the good English speakers in the class are not popular or even liked, then people would be less willing to give them the opportunity to rise in status than otherwise. Thus they would neither commence such an activity, nor practice with the capable subject(s).

In conclusion, it would be safe to assume that the lack of charisma in people efficient in English would, in a manner, hinder the entire class’ natural achievement in that area.

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note:

This reminds me of the dynamics in “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norris”, where they decided not to give the charismatic and very deserving Mr. Strange knighthood since it would mean that they would have to give Strange’s mentor, the decidedly uncharismatic and exclusive Mr. Norris, knighthood as well. Sometimes one can lose the recognition one might reasonably expect from a society due to the fact that one associates with the less popular. that is why a whole class may mistreat an innocent individual when the few influential members in that class renounce the person. No one wants to line their name with the loser. The demerit of the castoff may simply be a clash in values with the popular people, not due to any accusably bad behavior on their own count. But people simply fear being associated with the loser, especially since the opinion of the popular sound loudest and appear to be the class’ consensus. This is why movies/ books about a new personality entering an environment and completely transforming it sell well – because that rarely happens.

非洲問題

1 Dec

有時我想 – 非洲的問題恐怕是人民沒有能力去制裁政府

不僅僅是教育的問題,而是根本沒有能力去做.就我對非洲大多數國家的平民生活的了解(其實談論這議題讓我有點心虛,因為不曾涉足那個continent,我所知道的是從書籍,報章文章,影片,和之前宋醫師到我們學校演講談到對普通賴比瑞亞百姓醫療資源的種種困難所得到的非洲印象,根據這些來作思考),他們大多數找穩定工作不容易,薪水也僅夠做ㄧ天的工作吃ㄧ天的飯,若家庭有要上學,或生病(而這是常常有的事),整個家庭的負擔就更大了,甚至常常三餐不繼. 這是我想到為什麼在美國人當中黑人肥胖的比例會那麼高 – 這只是猜測 – 或許因為演化的關係,許多非洲人對於養份有很好的吸收,儲存能力,到了食物過剩的美國,就演變成嚴重的肥胖問題.

不過我又扯遠了.我在想,他們沒有辦法罷工或休假來抗議政府,沒有時間關心政事.當家人溫飽都成問題,哪有閒暇管這些? 況且,失去工作是那麼容易的事情.有心人士想blacklist你讓你沒工作也是那麼容易的事情. 人生活困難時,誰還會去想國家事?

另ㄧ方面來說窮怕了,一但榮華富貴,就努力想把握住權力… 至少把自己的瑞士戶頭餵飽.

窮人和富人,都不願意現局有太多的改變.窮人擔心情況只有每下愈況的可能;富人擔心既得利益被剝奪.良性改革的力量通常來自中產階級.

而非洲大多數國家是沒有中產階級的.

所以人民沒有能力監督政府,要求政府履行選前約定.

而革命是很可怕的,沒有資本的革命更可怕.不論他們當初有沒有什麼良好的理想,沒有資本,就像血鑽石裡的R.U.F. 四處掠奪,搶資源,搶男人去作奴隸,搶女人去做情婦,搶孩子去當兵.

之前還看到一個影片,一個國家的男孩子每天都得好幾個小時的走到首都過夜,又白天好幾個小時的走回家吃飯.上學,工作? 甭談了.只是因為革命軍晚上會來抓人,綁架男孩子去當兵,政府答應首都的某些地方(如廣場,公園,體育館)晚上可以受保護,舉國各地的男孩子因為怕被抓走,每天都在上演’大遷徙’,好不狼狽.

每次想到這些事情,就很懊惱.我們有什麼對策,可以改變這樣的M型社會?我們有什麼對策,去防止自己的國家形成這樣的M型社會?

參考資料: Eric Hoffer 的 “狂熱份子”