George Raymond Richard Martin is a New Jersey based author who wrote the famous series “A Song of Fire and Ice” (i.e. Game of Thrones) together with thirty-nine other novels and short stories. From teaching journalism and chess, to writing TV scripts, he took up many different roles in his career to financially support himself but according to him, nothing satisfied him as much as writing. Like many other authors, he suffered from writer’s block, as well. Although he admitted publicly many times that he is not a fast writer, there was an immense pressure from his readers and the TV audience of his book’s series. They were asking him to finish his last two books of the series “The Winds of Winter” and “A Dream of Spring”. However, despite the fact that the TV series already ended, he is yet to finish the sixth book “The Winds of Winter” since 2011. This is the longest it took for him ever in his career. In this post, I would like to study Martin’s writer’s block that he encountered in his 6th book and investigate what may have caused it.
Background and Childhood Years
George R.R. Martin was born in New Jersey in 1948. Although he came from a wealthy family, his parents suffered from great depression terribly just like the rest of the country those days. As a result, when he was 4 years old, they moved into an apartment of their own in the brand-new low income housing projects with his parents and two younger sisters (1). In his own website he admits that walking to the school 5 blocks away everyday was as far as he could go. He found it boring as he always wanted to travel and see different worlds (1). Later he would admit that this is why he became an avid reader. He was reading a lot of fantasy books, comic books and he was selling the monster stories that he wrote to the neighborhood children. These stories were about mythical kingdom populated by his pet turtles. Once he realized his turtles kept dying in their toy castle, he thought they were killing each other off in “sinister plots.” Nobody knew he was actually giving hints about what his future plots were going to be like.Although he didn’t like the fact that his high school was all boys, he became the editor of the school newspaper there and he graduated as the class valedictorian. His reading habit improved in high school tremendously. The creator of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee, Shakespeare and J.R.R. Tolkien had become his biggest influences.
In order to see more of the world farther from five blocks from home, he applied to Northwestern University in Illinois located in just north of Chicago. After earning his BS and MA degrees in journalism there with summa cum laude (Highest honorary grade), he objected the draft that asked him to serve in Vietnam War. Instead, he did alternative service work for two years as a VISTA volunteer (2) in order to help people fight with poverty. Although he was writing short stories and novels, in mid 70s, Martin was barely making money. So he started teaching journalism and English at Clarke University (Now Clarke College). Also, he was working as a tournament director of Continental Chess Association.
But in 1977, with his close friend and author fellow Tom Reamy’s death, he reevaluated life and made a series of radical decisions. He quit his job at the university and went back to writing full-time. According to the resources, that is when his writing really took off. He also moved to a warmer climate, Santa Fe with his wife in 1979. The same year, the couple got divorced (1)(2). His books sold many copies and his novella was purchased for film adaptation. But after the failure of The Armageddon Rag in 1984, all editors rejected his upcoming novel, which might have paved the way for his writer’s block years later. He started working for television as a writer-producer. Another interesting point in his life happened in 1991. Although he was making good money from working in television, he felt as if his imagination was limited. TV channels were cutting his plot short due to budget and time restrictions. So, he went back to writing again, where he could be completely free. That is when, the epic “A Song of Ice and Fire” series was born.
In 2005, his 4th book in this series became a number one best seller. In 2011, when he published the 5th one, it became a best seller again. These commercial successes are followed by a deal signed with HBO to turn his novels into TV series. The 6th book, “The Winds of Winter” is still on the way. The producer of the TV series already did the series finale, airing their own plot since they couldn’t wait for him to finish.
I will delve deeper into his writing process and writer’s block in the next section but from this background information, we can definitely see that Martin fits Csikszentmihalyi’s (1996) description of a creative person (3). First of all, looking at all the stories and characters he created, one can easily say that he has great imagination. Second, his success in academic life shows his discipline and wisdom. His high grades show responsibility whereas his procrastination hints some irresponsibility. By refusing to join Vietnam War, he shows his rebellious side. Lastly, Csikszentmihalyi (1996) mentions the openness and sensitivity of creative people. I believe Martin’s life decisions right after losing his best friend such as changing the location, getting a divorce, quitting his job indicate his sensitivity in his personality. All this data I gathered about his personality confirms what we have learnt about creative people’s common behavior so far in the course.
The Problem with His Creative Process – Writer’s Block?
After he published the first book of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series in 1996, he kept publishing a book in the series every two years successfully. But once his 4th book became a best seller in 2005, his 5th book took 5 years to come. In 2011, that one became a best seller and he made the deal with HBO the same year. After that signature, despite the pressure from the readers and audience, the 6th book has never been finished. It has been 9 years. There might be three main reasons for this long wait which I will try to explain in detail.
From this chronologic evidence, what we understand is that as Martin’s books became more popular, the pressure he felt to do a better job had weighed on his shoulders more heavily. With all his “openness” in his interviews he confesses: “I know there are a lot of people out there who are very angry with me that Winds of Winter isn’t finished,” Martin tells Entertainment Weekly. “And I’m mad about that myself. I wished I finished it four years ago. I wished it was finished now. But it’s not. And I’ve had dark nights of the soul where I’ve pounded my head against the keyboard and said, ‘God, will I ever finish this? The show is going further and further forward and I’m falling further and further behind. What the hell is happening here? I’ve got to do this.’” (4) In his interviews, he also claims that he has never liked deadlines. In order to avoid them he chose to be a fiction writer, instead of becoming a journalist (5). Knowing his own pace and how he reacts to deadlines, for many of his books he made a deal with the publisher saying “no contract and no deadlines”. He says, “No contracts, no deadlines, no one waiting. Write at my own pace and deliver when I’m done. That’s really how I am most comfortable, even now.” (5) But it didn’t happen the same way this time with the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. As the novels gained fame, the expectations increased and so did the pressure about deadlines. Susan Kolodny (2000) claims that writers might build up resistance based on their transference to their readers or fans (6). She describes transference as the writer’s unconscious expectations and fantasies about the others who will read their work. For Martin, the thoughts about what the readers will expect from him after the success of the last two books and the TV series must have kept him up at night. Kolodny (2000) also adds that transference expectations might be based on real negative experiences the writer had or on how they interpret or revise these actual experiences. The fact that after the failure of his book “The Armageddon Rag,” he was rejected by publishers might have caused this transference issue for him.
In one of his interviews he describes the problem with his writing process as follows: “I never had the sort of writer’s block where I didn’t go near the type writer. But I had days I would sit there and I couldn’t write, spend all they answering emails, I’d re-write and couldn’t go forward.” In her research, Victoria Nelson (1993) describes this as “procrastination” instead of a writer’s block, but it can be as dangerous (7). Nelson’s (1993) stud also talks about how procrastinating comes from self-loathing. During a live talk that he did with Stephen King, Martin asked him this question: “How do you write so fast? You always get six pages a day? You never get constipated? You never get up and go get the mail and think ‘Maybe I don’t have any talent and should have been a plumber?” (5) Then he goes to explain that he hates what he writes sometimes so much that he feels not talented. This type of self-loathing, and his past failure with his book “The Armageddon Rag” probably caused his procrastinating behavior. Speaking of this bad experience, according to behaviorists (Flaherty, 2004) once they are negatively rewarded in their lives, authors find it hard to get themselves back on writing (8). She also discussed in the same research that tight deadlines help writers to keep themselves on track, however, the publishers are not as strict to the authors as the newspapers are to journalists. So, novelists can find themselves in this procrastinating stage. Nelson (1993), in “The Myth of Procrastination” chapter of her book discusses that procrastination is not laziness but it is a reaction to an inner state of imbalance. According to Nelson, the writer’s unconscious is doing this in an effort of protecting itself from further abuse (In Martin’s case, this abuse is from the audience and readers) by closing down all the channels of communication (7). Martin’s behavior might show a lack of self-love but not of self-discipline as his previous academic success in his past proves this point. She claims that self-distrust and compulsive control are common among so-called procrastinators. Martin’s interviews reveal that he doesn’t trust himself or the work he produced, either. From the information I have on Martin, I can see that he has the master slave relationship (7) since his series have become a best seller. He couldn’t find a middle ground between his ego, who is anxious due to deadlines, and his unconscious, who wants to create and imagine but whenever he wants to. Once on his blog he responded to his fan who asked why even though he met his wife in 1981, they got married in 2011, half-jokingly he responded: “What can I say? I’m slow. With writing and with … ah … other things.” (9)
Another reason of his block could be his perfectionism. He mentions many times how he re-writes a lot. He says sometimes it is grammar but sometimes it is big structural changes. Martin says the 5-year gap between the 3rd and the 4th book is the fact that he was originally going to jump forward 5 years in the story but then he realized it wasn’t working. So he re-wrote everything (10). Nelson (1993) points out two facts about perfectionism both of which fit Martin perfectly. One variation of the perfection phenomenon is “Fear of Perfection.” In this scenario, the author starts so well, writes so perfectly that in the middle he gets the fear of not being able to keep the quality the same for the rest of the book. In his own account, many times Martin mentions that he couldn’t finish many stories because of that. Not that he wasn’t skilled to do it, but he didn’t believe he could. The second effect Nelson mentions is called “Reverse Midas Effect.” With this one, the writer finishes the first draft but when he goes back to the beginning, once what was seen a perfect story suddenly has so many flaws or looks dull. In this case, the author either tosses the story away or makes unnecessary revisions or revisions that turn the work into an average one. This might have happened with his 4th book, which took him 5 years to publish. When the book was finally published, many fans were really upset main characters were missing in the book. Also, the perfect pacing of the first three books was missing and the book introduces so many secondary characters who didn’t advance very far into the overall story. Martin’s explanation was he divided the story into two and the main characters would be in the next book, which would eventually take him 6 years to write (10). Finally, his perfectionism might have caused obsessive rewriting. Nelson (1993) says many writers during their revision process start to have the feeling of ultimate closure. But the obsessive reviser never experiences closure. This is a way to avoid criticism in case his work doesn’t meet the expectations. “You can never be judged for what you have not finished,” Nelson says.
ConclusionNow that the TV series is over, the extra weight on Martin’s shoulders has been lifted. However, he knows that his fans are still waiting for the 6th book impatiently. Having analyzed all the interviews he gave to the press, and his published biographies, I couldn’t find any conditions from his childhood or early development stages that would affect his writing behavior. But it is obvious that he procrastinates and he loves to work on his own pace. He is a perfectionist with occasional self-loathing so it takes him much longer to finish than others. His bad luck – ironically best luck as well – was his series was turned into TV show and that created extra strain on him which impacted his writing even more. A lot of criticism caused so much stress, but he has never given up on the quality of his writing. On Martin’s defense, the famous author Neil Gaiman said on his webpage once: “It seems to me that the biggest problem with series books is that either readers complain that the books used to be good but that somewhere in the effort to get out a book every year the quality has fallen off, or they complain that the books, although maintaining quality, aren’t coming out on time.” This is a quite true statement as many series writers, including J.K. Rowling went through similar struggles. I would like to finish this post with another line from Gaiman: “People are not machines. Writers and artists aren’t machines.” PS. As a fan myself, I am patiently waiting for the Winds of Winter!
There are so many reasons to love Margaret Atwood. Besides her wonderful writing skills, for example, her wit shines through her every sentence. She is a feminist, nature and science lover. Born in 1939, she said there weren’t many opportunities available for women in terms of a career. In one of her interviews she says she was given a limited number of choices: stewardess, secretary, teacher, nurse or home economist (!). She said none of these interested her. Despite her parents’ wish for her to become a scientist, she decided to become a writer at the age of 16.
Becoming a writer was not an easy process for her. Well, I guess it is never easy for anybody. In her case, many doors were shut for her as those were not the best times for women to advance. Her first book never got published, as the only publisher who contacted her asked her to change the ending of her book in which a woman was pushing her husband off of the roof – the publisher found this very unrealistic. Atwood refused to change it. She wanted to go to school of journalism after high school but they told her as a woman she could only write obituaries or fashion pages, which she was not interested in, at all. After studying English at the University of Toronto, she started her graduate studies at Harvard University. There, her advisor told her “Forget about this writing business, find a good man and get married.” Of course, she didn’t listen to him either. All these challenges she faced molded her character development later: strong female characters who refuse to be a pawn of religious or political games in society were going to be the center of her books. I have gathered some invaluable writing tips from Margaret Atwood by watching various interviews with her and reading about her. I wanted to share all these wonderful words of wisdom with you here. Please share your comment and tell us what you think! Writing Tips from Margaret Atwood:
Identify your fear: If you have the writer’s block, that means you fear something. What is it? Identify it and fight with it. If it is the possibility of being laughed at, nobody will see it until you publish it or until you show it to them. It is not like a stage play, if you make a mistake, you go fix it without anyone noticing it.
Waste Basket is your best friend (Which is equivalent of Recycle Bin on your computer): If you are not satisfied with where you are going with your book, start again. Go back and make revisions.
Importance of the first 10 pages: You need to show the reader an action in the first ten pages to get them hooked. If there is no break in the pattern in the first 10 pages, you might lose the reader.
Decide your voice from the start: Who are you telling this story to? Whose voice do you have? What are you trying to say? Are you going to write from the 1st person point of view or “know it all” third person? Which way could you get your message across to your reader in the most beautiful way?
Know your characters: Not only names. What are their hobbies? What do they like to eat? What color is their favorite? What do they do first thing in the morning? How do they react to certain circumstances? Create your characters and be consistent with them throughout your book.
Don’t give up: Writing requires dedication, concentration and investment. But don’t give up. Writing is the best thing can happen to you. I wrote 200 pages once. It had 8 characters but the story was not going anywhere, I put it in the drawer. I had another book, 150 pages in I realized there were too many time levels. Back to the drawer. My first book never got published. J.K Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers. Do you see the point? Don’t give up.
Do Your Homework: If you are writing for a Western audience, know western culture. Your “Tool Kit” to write – that’s what she calls it – would be the Greek & Roman Myths, folk tales, indigenous stories, African stories and the Bible. Understanding these essentials will help your writing tremendously.
With 66 published work since 1961, and 56 Awards, Margaret Atwood has every right to be considered as a legend. I hope that you find her tips as helpful as I did. As we got our daily dose of motivation now, let’s get back to work, authors!
‘Born a Crime’ has been my commute companion for the past month. I can explain you like this: I liked this book so much that I was looking forward to my 35 min train ride to work, every day. One time I forgot it at home and when I realized that, I wanted to cry.
This 285 pages long adventure takes you to the streets of South Africa in the 80s, where blacks and whites had completely separate lives under the Apertheid. Having a white, Swiss father and Black South African mother, Noah’s job was extra difficult since he was perceived ‘too white’ for blacks and ‘too black’ for whites to be accepted in their circles. Although he identifies himself with black community the most, he said he would still draw too much attention sometimes among them. This is why his grandmother would never let him play outside for years.
Noah starts the book by creating the scene of 80s South Africa and explains what Apertheid is, which is actually pretty difficult to understand if you never grew up in it, but he is successful at explaining in his pre-chapter sections. Which I call ‘Apertheid for Dummies.’ He talks about his childhood, how he learned 6 languages by himself, his love for his puppies, and how naughty he was the whole time. His childhood memories will make you giggle, even laugh loud sometimes, I can gurantee that. But then in the middle of that laugh, he says something like ‘And that’s when my mom and I jumped off of a moving minibus to save our lives…’ Then you freeze, feeling completely perplexed. “Wait… What???”
One of his funniest memories that I remember and found interesting was about him an his grandmother. One day while he is playing doctor at home with his cousins, Noah sticks a cotton ear swab into her cousin’s ear and punctures her ear drum. Blood starts to come out and everyone freaks out. She starts crying like crazy, holding her ear. Trevor thinks he is so much in trouble. His grandma rushes into the room and after seeing what happened, she spanks his cousins, but she doesn’t even touch him! Trevor feels invisible and enjoys this privilege although he doesn’t have a clue why. The very same day, when Trevor’s mom comes from work, she finds her mother crying in the kitchen. She asks what happened. Her mom says,” This boy of yours, is so so naughty. I haven’t seen anything like it. He is killing me!” Then Trevor’s mom answers, “Well, hit him, if that’s how he is going to learn!” His grandmother’s answer is mindblowing:
“I can’t beat a white child. When you hit a black kid, they stay black. I’m used to it. When you hit a white child, they turn red, pink, purple, green, yellow, I don’t know anything about that, what if I kill him? No, I won’t hit him.”
Below, from left to right, you can see Noah with his father, his grandmother and mother.
Towards the middle of the book, Noah shares more about his teen years. His struggles with his identity, his prom date and such. Then we learn how in a poor upbringing, he found so many clever ways to make money. He mentions a few of his friends a lot throughout the book and Bongani who-knows-it-all is one of them. Then you will meet a showman named, actually named, Hitler. The stories including Hitler in this book will make you laugh – and yes, Trevor Noah will explain why the hell this guy was named after Hitler.
Trevor Noah describes this book as a ‘Love Letter to his mom’, Patricia Noah, who grew up in Soweto, South Africa. His love and admiration to her is clearly there in every chapter. Even in the moments that he doesn’t understand her, he still respects her. For instance, as a true believer, explains Noah, his mom used to take him to three different churches every Sunday: to the black church, to the white church and to the mixed church. They would come home late at night, exhausted. Whenever Trevor tried to explain that probably Jesus would be still happy if we pray from home, that was a no-no for his mom: Even if their car breaks down, even if they get kidnapped, they will still go to church. So, this “She does whatever she sets her mind to” personality of her and her perseverance were what Noah found most admirable in her. “We were a team, my mom and I” he says. How sweet is that? 🙂 You can see his mother’s and his childhood photos below.
Well….The final chapters are where it gets dark. Once again, you face the ugliness of domestic violence and what it can do to families. Patricia’s husband (She was never married to Trevor’s dad), Abel, is a typical abuser: Seems very nice, funny, smart and kind from outside but very controlling in the house, violent and alcoholic towards his wife and children. Yes, I said children! Trevor has two younger half brothers, sharing the same mother: Isaac and Andrew. How can I explain?… Hmm… I don’t want to give you the details but when you first learn about the abuse, a knife slowly pokes through your heart. As you move along the pages, it penetrates deeper and deeper . In the final chapter, the knife turns, making tears build up in your eyes. I think hearing about these abusive childhood from a child’s point of view was eye opening for me. I related to that myself a lot. Something he said struck me because it shows how confusing it must be for a child to live in a house like that: Trevor says Abel used to drink so much that he would forget where the bathroom is and he would come and pee in Trevor’s room. He would be so drunk that Trevor’s screams wouldn’t make much difference in the outcome.
As you can see in some of the photos below, Apertheid was really bad and it needed to go away. But in his book, Noah also mentions about the struggles of post Apertheid era after Nelson Mandela brought an end to it. Things were complicated. Especially for the mixed ones: where would they stand now? Where would they live? Was the inequilaty really gone? Or was it only on the surface?
One thing I found interesting was that he didn’t talk about how he got successful or famous in the book, AT ALL. I believe he purposefully avoided that as he wanted to keep his mother and the Apertheid in the center of his story, rather than making it all about himself. Honestly, I really respected him for that.
Books like this makes a difference in my world, because I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to see South Africa and the Apertheid era in the 80s through a smart, creative and ambitious child’s eyes. Like what Mason Cooley says:
“Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are…”
I must confess that I have learned a lot from this book. The more I learned about the true nature of the human beings, the more I have experienced a wide range of feelings… I felt disgusted, scared, then as the stories moved along, I felt surprised and started laughing! Then I felt angry again. The author used Google searches to measure racism, self-induced abortion, depression, child abuse, hateful mobs, the science of humor, sexual preference, anxiety, son preference, and sexual insecurity, among many other topics. This great emotional roller coaster book is written by the internet data expert Seth Stephens-Davidowitz.
Davidowitz worked for one-and-a-half years as a data scientist at Google and is currently a contributing op-ed writer for the New York Times. He is a former visiting lecturer at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his BA in philosophy, Phi Beta Kappa, from Stanford, and his PhD in economics from Harvard.
His 2017 book that I will review today, Everybody Lies, published by HarperCollins, was a New York Times bestseller; a PBS NewsHour Book of the Year; and an Economist Book of the Year.
For this study, Davidowitz downloaded all of Wikipedia, pored through Facebook profiles, and scraped Stormfront. Plus PornHub, gave him its complete data on the searches and video views of anonymous people around the world.
Google Trends, a tool that was released with little fanfare in 2009, tells users how frequently any word or phrase has been searched in different locations at different times. The everyday act of typing a word or phrase into a compact, rectangular white box leaves a small trace of truth that, when multiplied by millions, eventually reveals profound realities.
RELATIONSHIPS: On Google, the top complaint about marriage is not having sex: Searches for “sexless marriage” are three and a half times more common than “unhappy marriage” and eight times more common than “loveless marriage”. Relationship themed most searches are “abusive relationship” 😦
Sometimes new data reveals cultural differences: The writer gives the example of different ways that men around the world respond to their wives being pregnant. In Mexico, the top searches about “my pregnant wife” include “frases de amor para mi esposa embarazada” (words of love to my pregnant wife” and “poemes para mi esposa embarazada” (poems for my pregnant wife”. In the United States, the top searches include “my wife is pregnant now what” and “my wife is pregnant what do I do.” (Blogger’s note: Nope. Not as romantic.)
After daters took some recording with them and data analysts digitized these audios into words, we had an interesting set of information about how to have a successful first date! On the first date, for instance, one of the ways a man signals that he is attracted is obvious: he laughs at a woman’s jokes. When speaking, they limit the range of their pitch. There is a research that suggests a monotone voice is often seen by women as masculine. The scientists found that a woman signals her interest by varying her pitch, speaking more softly, and taking shorter turns talking. A woman is unlikely to be interested when she uses hedge words and phrases such as “probably” or “I guess”. Also, a woman is likely to be interested if she is using “I” and self making phrases such as “Ya know?” and “I mean”. This research revealed that men are more likely to report clicking with a woman who talks about herself. If there are lots of questions asked on a date, it is less likely that both will report a connection.
Among the Facebook data scientists’ findings, Christmas is one of the happiest days of the year BUT Davidowitz doesn’t trust Facebook data very much: He thinks Facebook is digital brag-to-my-friends-about-how-good-my-life-is serum. In Facebook world, family life seems perfect, in the real world, family life is messy. So don’t trust relationship posts very much.
Compare, for example, the way that people describe their husbands on public social media and in anonymous searches:
So human beings are liars? NO WAY! haha!
FEMALE-MALE: Parents are 2.5 more likely to ask “Is my son gifted?” than “Is my daughter gifted?” Parents show a similar bias when using other phrases related to intelligence that they may shy away from saying aloud, like, “Is my son a genius?”. Which is funny is that in American schools, girls are 9 percent more likely than boys to be in gifted programs. So what are the most searches about daughters?: “Is my daughter overweight?” This phrase was searched roughly as frequently as they Google “Is my son overweight?”
Parents are also 1.5 times more likely to ask whether their daughter is beautiful than whether their son is handsome. And they are 3 times more likely to ask whether their daughter is ugly than whether their son is ugly. (Author’s note: How Google is expected to know whether a child is beautiful or ugly is hard to say 🙂 ) (Bloggers note: Maybe parents are the ones who were causing females’ insecurities about how they look?). In general, parents seem more likely to use positive words in questions about sons.
Another interesting male/female difference: women use the word “tomorrow” far more often than men do. Adding the letter “o” to the word “so” like “Sooo” is one of the most feminine linguistic traits.
On Facebook, among the words used much more frequently by men than women are “fuck” “shit” “bullshit” “Fucking and Fuckers ” (Blogger’s note: Dear men, take a chill pill! haha) Whereas for women it is “shopping””excited” “cute” “happy””family” “soooo” “yay”(Blogger’s note: Soooo happy to be a woman! Yay!”)
SEX: Data science makes many parts of Freud falsifiable – it puts many of his famous theories to the test. For example: Freud’s theory of the phallic (shape of male genital) symbols in dreams. According to big data, the substance that is most dreamed is water. The top twenty foods include chicken, bread, sandwiches, and rice – all notably un-Freudian. Bananas are the second most common fruit to appear in dreams. But they are also the second most commonly consumed fruit
Consider all Google searches of the form “I want to have sex with my…” The number one way to complete this search is “mom”. 😮 Overall, more than 3/4 of searches of this form are incestuous. Again, according to Google and PornHub Data, men retain an inordinate number of fantasies related to childhood (including mom, babysitter, wearing diapers, breast feeding, etc.)
Americans search for “porn”more than they search for “weather”.
There are twice as many complaints that a boyfriend won’t have sex than that a girlfriend won’t have sex. By far, the number one search complaint about a boyfriend is “My boyfriend won’t have sex with me”.
Do women care about penis size? Rarely, according to Google researches. More than 40%
of complaints about a partner’s penis size say that it’s too big. For every search women make a partner’s phallus, men make roughly 170 searches about their own! Men’s second most common sex question is how to make their sexual encounters longer. Once again, the insecurities of men do not appear to match the concerns of women. Women’s concern isn’t about when or how long it happened but why it isn’t happening at all.
However, women still outpace them when it comes to insecurity about how they look.
In 2004, in some parts of the US, the most common search regarding changing one’s butt was how to make it smaller. Beginning in 2010, however, the desire for bigger butts grew. Does women’s growing preference for a larger bottom match men’s preferences? Interestingly, yes. Again internet says men show a preference for large breasts. But natural ones: About 3 percent of big-breast porn searches explicitly say they want to see natural breasts (Blogger’s note: Thank you Beyonce, J-Lo, Rihanna and Kim Kardashian!!)
Men make as many searches looking for ways to perform oral sex on themselves as they do how to give a woman an orgasm (This was among authors favorite facts in Google search data) (Blogger’s note: How is it even possible?? And nope, I won’t Google it!)
RACISM: Roughly one in every hundred Google searches that included the word “Obama” also included “kkk” or “nigger(s)”. There was a darkness and hatred that was hidden from the traditional sources but was quite apparent in the searches that people made. Places with the highest racist search rates included upstate New York, western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, industrial Michigan and rural Illinois, along with West Virginia, southern Louisiana and Mississippi. The true divide, Google search data suggested, was not South versus North; it was East versus West, and racism was not limited to Republicans.
Black Americans told polls they would turn out in large numbers to oppose Trump. But Google searches for information on voting in heavily black areas were way down.
You can see on Google, where users ask sometimes questions such as “Why are black people rude?” or “Why are Jews evil? Below, in order, are the top five negative words used in searches about various groups:
Shortly after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California on December 2, 2015, the top search in CA with the word “Muslims” in it at the same time was “kill Muslims”.
What is super interesting that as Obama gave more speeches on TV about ‘equality’ and ‘racism’ it created an opposite effect. In his speech, he said “It is the responsibility of All Americans – of every faith – to reject discrimination” Searches calling Muslims “terrorists” “bad””violent” and “evil” doubled during and shortly after the speech (But then one of Obama’s speeches succeeded, to find out which one, keep reading!)
Guess when are searches for “nigger(s)” or “nigger jokes” most common? Whenever African-Americans are in the news. Among the periods when such searches were highest was the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when television and newspapers showed images of desperate black people in New Orleans struggling for their survival. They also went up during Obama’s first election. And searches for “nigger jokes” rise on average about 30% on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Davidowitz claims that there is a hidden explicit racism in the USA.
POLITICS: Nate Silver, an American statistician and writer, noticed that the areas where Trump performed best made for an odd map. Silver looks for variables to try to explain this map. Then he found that the single factor that best correlated with Donald Trump’s support in the Republican primaries was that made the most Google searches for “nigger”.
Google searches for “how to vote” or “where to vote” weeks before an election can accurately predict which parts of the country are going to have a big showing at the polls.
The most important year for developing political views is age 18 (Blogger note: I guess voting age being 18 was the right decision).
STRESS: Google searches reflecting anxiety tend to be higher in places with lower levels of education, lower median incomes, and where a larger portion of the population lives in rural areas.
The author was surprised with one fact. you would think that people would search for more jokes when they are sad or depressed to cheer themselves up. However, data shows that searches for jokes are lowest on Mondays, the day when people report they are most unhappy. They are lowest on cloudy and rainy days. They actually seek out jokes when things are going well in life.
In winter months, warn climates, such as that of Honolulu, Hawaii, have 40 percent fewer depression searches than cold climates, such as that of Chicago, Illinois.
Chicago, IL winter
Honolulu, HI winter
HEALTH: In Google, searching for a back pain and then yellowing skin turned out to be a sign of pancreatic cancer; searching for just back pain alone made it unlikely someone had pancreatic cancer. These weren’t listed as symptoms before.
We tend to overestimate the prevalence of anything that makes for a memorable story. People rank tornadoes as a more common cause of death than asthma. In fact, asthma causes about seventy times more deaths. But deaths by asthma don’t stand out- and don’t make the news. Same goes for flu and shark attacks.
Search rates for self-induced abortion were fairly steady from 2004 through 2007. They began to rise in late 2008, coinciding with the financial crisis and the recession that followed. They took a big leap in 2011 jumping 40% – when 92 state provisions restricted access to abortion were enacted. The state with the highest Google searches for self-induced abortions in Mississippi, a state with roughly three million people and, now, just one abortion clinic.
UNEMPLOYMENT: Google engineers created a service: Google Correlate that gives outside researchers the means to experiment with the same type of analyses across a wide range of fields. One day Davidowitz put the US unemployment rate from 2004 through 2011 into Google Correlate. Of the trillions of Google researches during that time, what do you think turned out to be the most tightly connected to unemployment? “New jobs”? No. It was “Slutload” That’s right the most frequent search was a pornographic site. Many are stuck at home, alone and bored. The second most common search: Spider Solitaire. Again, not so surprising.
More rich people in a city means the poor there live longer. Poor people in NYC for example, lives a lot longer than poor people in Detroit: Contagious behavior maybe driving some of this (Behaviors like healthy eating habits, exercising, less stress, etc.)
SPORTS: The data tells us that in worse-off families. in worse-off communities, there are NBA-level talents who are not in the NBA.
Internet data shows that the most important year in a man’s life for the purposes of cementing his favorite baseball team as an adult, is when he is more or less 8 years old. This peak age for women is 22.
HOW BIG DATA WORKS: In prediction business, you just need to know that something works, not why. For example: Before a hurricane hit Southeast in 2004, Walmart (the biggest supermarket chain in the US) suspected -correctly- that people’s shopping habits may change when a city is about to be pummeled by a storm. They pored through sales data from previous hurricanes to see what people might want to buy. A major answer? Strawberry Pop-Tarts. This product sells seven times faster than normal in the days leading up to a hurricane. We don’t ask why, we care about what.
By using Google Ngrams, you can search through millions of digitized books for particular words or phrase. This way, you can see how the popularity of a phrase changed among hundreds of years.
If you type “Why is…” the first two Google auto-completes currently are “Why is the sky blue?” and “Why is there a leap day?” suggesting these are the two most common ways to complete this search. The third: “Why is my poop green?” And Google auto-complete can get disturbing. Today, if you type “Is it normal to want to…” the first suggestion is “kill” If you type in “Is it normal to want to kill…” The first suggestion is my family.
People are seven times more likely to ask Google whether they will regret not having children than whether they will regret having children. Adults with children are 3.6 times more likely to tell Google they regret their decision than are adults without children.
MARKETING: One day, across the internet, the researchers found 949 scanned yearbooks from American high schools spanning the years 1905-2013. Americans, and particularly women, started smiling as the years pass by. They went from nearly stone-faced at the start of the twentieth century to beaming by the end.
When photographs were first invented, people thought of them like paintings. Subjects in photos adopted the same look. In the mid-20th century, Kodak, the film and camera company was frustrated by the limited numbers of pictures people were taking and ended up with a strategy to get them take more. Kodak’s advertising began associating photos with happiness. (Blogger’s note: SO CLEVER, isn’t it? This reminded me of the increase in dental cleaning appointments since ‘selfies’ became a thing. Although, I’m sure dentists are not behind this whole selfie craziness).
Answer these questions for me:
Have you ever cheated on an exam?
Have you ever killed someone in your dream?
Were you tempted to lie? Many people under-report embarrassing behaviors and thoughts on surveys. They want to look good, even though most surveys are anonymous. This is called social desirability bias. Why do people misinform anonymous surveys? Roger Tourangeau, a research professor emeritus at the University of Michigan explains: “About 1/3 of the time, people lie in real life. The habits carry over to surveys.”
Netflix was confused because in the beginning, when it let its users to create a queue of movies to watch later, they realized something odd. When the users were reminded of these movies later, they rarely clicked. Because they were filling the queue with award winning highbrow films like black and white World War II or foreign movies. But when they come home from work, they were clicking on at lowbrow comedies or romance films. They were lying to themselves. So, Netflix created an algorithm based on users’ choices. The former data scientist at Netflix, Xavier Amatriain says “The algorithms know you better than you know yourself”.
Also, apparently on Facebook or YouTube, “Content is more likely to become viral the more positive it is”. (Bloggers note: I found this very strange when I think about my news feed which is full of bad news.)
CRIME: For every percentage point increase in the unemployment rate, there was an associated 3 percent increase in the search rate for “child abuse” or “child neglect”. The author argues that it’s safe to say that the Great Recession did make child abuse worse, although the traditional measures did not show it but Big Data did.
BIG DATA LESSON: When we lecture angry people, the search data implies that their fury can grow. But subtly provoking people’s curiosity, giving new information, and offering new images of the group that is stoking their rage may turn their thoughts in different, more positive directions. According to Google researches, Obama’s one of the most successful speech was this: “Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes and yes, they are our men and women in uniform, who are willing to die in defense of our country.”
Here is his speech:
DOPPELGANGERS AND A/B TESTING
Doppelgangers play a huge role in predicting. Let’s see what it means first:
Doppelganger: an apparition or double of a living person.
Of course, we are not talking about looking exactly the same, but we are talking about correlating the data to find the most similar people in database to predict the future of that person.
Think about a sick person suffering from certain disease symptoms. Her age is 34, her height is 5’5, her weight is 132 lbs, she has no smoking or drinking habits, she had Pneumonia when she was seven. She lives in Kentucky. If we run the analysis and find once upon a time 24 year old female who lived in Kentucky with 5’5 height and around 132 lbs, with no smoking or drinking history who had Pneumonia when she was little, suffering from the same symptoms, we can predict what might happen to the patient. Because what happened to her doppelganger(s) will probably happen to her, as well.
Let’s explain it with a real example: 35 year old baseball player Ortiz was about to be fired because of his old age. But, data analysts went through every single information about him and correlated to historical records. They found 20 ballplayers who played like he did when he was 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and 33. Then see how Ortiz’s doppelgängers’ careers progressed. Data showed that Ortiz was about to enter the peak of his career. So Boston decided to be patient with is aging slugger. And they won. He took his team to World series at the age of 37, Ortiz was also voted for World Series MVP.
So how about A/B testing? What is it?
A/B Testing is basically testing two different controlled groups. Google wants to know how to get more people to click on ads on their sites, they may try two shades of blue in ads – one shade for Group A another for Group B. Then Google can compare these click rates. Facebook now runs a thousand A/B tests per day. A former Google employee Dan Siroker, used A/B testing for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign. He A/B tested the campaign home page. In 2012, he used 3 different pictures (see below), 2 different slogans and 3 different ‘click buttons’ which one do you think got more clicks and so more donations?
The winner was picture of Obama’s family and the button “Learn More”.
EDUCATION: What makes some places better at allowing a poor kid to have a pretty good life?
Areas that spend more on education provide a better chance to poor kids.
Places with more religious people and lower crime do better.
Places with more black people do worse. Interestingly, this has an effect on not just the black kids but on the white kids living there as well.
Places with lots of single mothers do worse.
To see which cities/states have the most successful people the author zoomed in names of the people who are baby boomers and who took a place in Wikipedia. Roughly 1 in 1,209 baby boomers (Born between 1946 and 1964) born in California reached Wikipedia with their success. Roughly 1 in 748 baby boomers born in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, where Boston is located, made it to Wikipedia. Be careful, not ‘went to school’ but ‘born’. The reason for this seems to be early exposure to innovation. Besides, New York City apparently produces notable journalists at the highest rate, Boston produces notable scientists at the highest rate and Los Angeles produces notable actors and actresses at the highest rate.
The greater the percentage of foreign born residents in an area, the higher the proportion of children born there who go on to notable success (Davidowitz’s note: Take that, Donald Trump!) (Blogger’s comment: Ditto that!)
Education spending did not correlate with rates of producing notable writers, artists, or business leaders.
What I found very motivational as a reader was on page 237. Even though you couldn’t finish the best school, you still have an equal chance to be as successful as those people who graduated from Harvard, MIT or Stanford. People adapt to their experience and people who are going to be successful find advantages in any situation. The factors hat make you successful are your talent and your drive.
Davidowitz also discusses other interesting topics, which I don’t mention here such as “who gets loans more easily, who doesn’t” or “How much the casinos let you lose” or what other jaw dropping data analyses are being used in marketing.
In his final words, he emphasizes that social science is becoming a real science (Blogger’s note: Finally!!! I was so tired of people not seeing social science as real science! Thank you Davidowitz!). And this new, real science is poised to improve our lives.
If a violent movie comes to a city, does crime go up or down? If more people are exposed to an ad, do more people use the product? If a baseball team wins when a boy is twenty, will he be more likely to root for them when he is forty? These are all clear questions with clear yes-or-no answers. And in the mountains of honest data, we can find them
This is the stuff of science, not pseudoscience.
I strongly recommend this book! And after you read, please feel free to share your comments below 🙂
“A Zoologist’s Study of the Human animal” This is how Morris describes the book.
Having been published in 1967, the book has some old feeling to it but it is a must read if you are interested in human origins or human behavior in general. So many things that we do today, in modern world, was coded in our brains thousands of years ago. By examining our ancestors, besides other animals, Morris had a very clear image of who we actually are: Naked Apes.
I would like to give some insight about the author first: Desmond John Morris (born 24 January 1928) is an English zoologist, ethologist and surrealist painter, as well as a popular author in human sociobiology. He is known for his 1967 book The Naked Ape, and for his television programs such as Zoo Time. He studied zoology at the University of Birmingham and he got his PhD degree in animal behavior, at the University of Oxford.
Morris makes my job way easier and divides his book into 8 major parts: Origins, Sex, Rearing, Exploration, Fighting, Feeding, Comfort, Animals. I intend to follow his path in this review. What is most striking about his style is that he can describe a process in a very detailed way. He first starts the chapter with the observations he made on animals, after detailed descriptions, he explains how we see these traits in humans as well, then he makes his own comments on the subject. Some of them are well known facts but some of them are extremely surprising. Especially the ‘Fighting’ ‘Comfort’ and ‘Animals’ parts were interesting since I learned a lot of new things.
In this review you will find out:
Why are we naked in comparison to other primates?
Why do we hate snakes and spiders?
During a fight which one is an indicator of danger?: Your enemy’s face turning white or red?
Why do babies smile?
Why stares are intimidating?
Do we coded for monogamy or polygamy?
‘Naked Ape’ (aka Homo Sapiens) is an odd kind when compared with the other primate species, marked off by his nudity from all the thousands of hairy, shaggy or furry land-dwelling mammalian species.
It is the biological nature of the beast that has molded the social structure of civilization, rather than the other way around. Only the names have been changed: for ‘hunting’ read ‘working’, for ‘hunting grounds’ read ‘place of business’, for ‘home base’ read ‘house’ for ‘pair bond’ read ‘marriage’, for ‘mate’ read ‘wife’ , and so on.
This chapter in the book starts with explaining how due to the climatic conditions apes were forced to become hunters rather than fruit pickers. The ancestral ground apes already had large and high quality brains. They had good eyes** and efficient grasping hands. They inevitably, as primates, had some degree of social organization. With strong pressure on them to increase their prey-killing skills vital changes began to take place. They became more upright-fast, better runners. Their hands became freed from locomotion duties – strong, efficient weapon holders. Their brains became more complex – brighter quicker decision makers.
It could be argued that evolution might have favored the development of a more typical cat- or dog- like killer, a kind of cat-ape or dog-ape, by the simple process of enlarging the teeth and nails into savage fang-like and claw-like weapons. But this would have put the ancestral ground ape into direct competition with the already highly specialized cat and dog killers. It would have meant competing with them on their own term, and the outcome would no doubt have been disastrous for the primates.
The forest ape that became a ground ape that became a hunting ape that became a territorial ape that became a cultural ape and we must call a temporary halt.
**The sensory equipment of the higher primates is much more dominated by the sense of vision than the sense of smell. In their tree-climbing world, seeing well is far more important than smelling well, and the snouts shrunk considerably giving the eyes a much better view. In searching for food, the colors of fruits are helpful clues, and unlike the carnivores, primates have evolved a good color vision.
Socially the hunting ape had to increase his urge to communicate and to co-operate with his fellows. Facial expressions and vocalizations had to become more complicated. With the new weapons to hand, he had to develop powerful signals that would inhibit attacks within the social group. On the other hand, with a fixed home base to defend, he had to develop stronger aggressive responses to the members of rival groups.
A new development, for the general primate rule is that virtually all parental care comes from the mother (It is only a wise primate, like our hunting ape, that knows its own father).
Because of the extremely long period of dependency of the young and the heavy demands made by them, the females found themselves almost constantly confined to the home base. In this respect the hunting ape’s new way of life threw up a special problem, one that it did not share with the typical pure carnivores: the role of the sexes had to become more distinct. The hunting parties, unlike those of the ‘pure’ carnivores, had to become all male groups. If anything was going to go against the primate grain, it was this. For a vigorous primate male to go off on a feeding trip and leave his females unprotected from the advances of any other males that might happen to come by, was unheard of. This was something that demanded a major shift in the social behavior.
Male- Female Bond
Male and female hunting apes had to fall in love and remain faithful to one another. This is a common tendency in many other group of animals but it is rare among primates. This shift helped many things: Serious sexual rivalries between the males were reduced. This aided their developing cooperativeness. Also with the newly developed weapons, the hunting ape was under strong pressure to reduce any source of disharmony within the tribe. The last effect was on the little hunting apes. The heavy task of rearing and training the slowly developing young demanded a cohesive family unit. With the male-female bond (monogamous) this unity was formed.
Why on earth should the haunting ape have become a naked ape? We can be fairly certain that it did not happen before our ancestors left their forest homes. It probably happened while they were on the open plains. There are several theories for our nakedness, let’s have a look at them briefly:
Neoteny: To continue to possess some larval or immature characteristics in adulthood. If you examine an infant chimpanzee at birth (after exactly 8.5-9 months, like us) you will find that it has a good head of hair, but that its body is almost naked (see the picture above). If this condition was delayed into the animal’s adult life by neoteny, the adult chimpanzee’s hair condition would be very much like hours. BUT unless it had some special value to the new species, it would be quickly dealt with by natural selection. So why did it stay? Here are some other theories:
What is the survival value of naked skin? When the hunting ape abandoned its nomadic past and settled down at fixed home bases, its dens became heavily infested with skin parasites. Also, such messy feeding habits that a furry coat would soon become clogged and messy would create a disease risk. There are hundreds of species who lost their hair during evolution due to this problem.
Another theory is that development of fire led the loss of the hairy coat since hunting ape felt cold only at night and fire was handling the problem.
This theory is very interesting: Before becoming a hunting ape, the original ground ape that had left the forests went through a long phase as an aquatic ape in search of food. Close examination reveals that on our backs the directions of our tiny remnant hairs differ strikingly from those other apes. In us, they point diagonally backwards and inwards towards the spine. This follows the direction of flow of the water passing over a swimming body. So the idea that we might have lost our body hair to reduce resistance when swimming. Also, we are unique among all the primates in being the only one to possess a thick layer of sub-cutaneous fat, a compulsory insulating device. Even sensitive nature of our hands support the aquatic theory: Because it takes a subtle sensitized hand to feel for food in the water
Another argument that we lost hair because it was a social trend; it arose as a signal. Hunting ape wanted to look different to be easily identified.
Another suggestion is that the loss of hair is an extension of sexual signalling. Sensitivity to touch was sexually important and by exposing their naked skins to one another during sexual encounters, both male and female would become more highly sensitized to erotic stimuli.
The last suggestion, if you ask me, was the weakest one that was argued. Hunting ape lost hair to prevent himself from being over-heated. Exposure of the naked skin to the air certainly increases the chances of the heat loss, but it also increases heat gain at the same time and risks damage from the sun’s rays.
It is a confusing situation for today’s naked ape: As primates they are pulled one way, as carnivores by adoption they are pulled another, and as members of an elaborate civilized community, they are pulled yet another.
The female of our species has to reach the age of twenty nine before she can match the orgasm rate of the fifteen-year old male.
Why do we want to build our own family?
During the long, growing years, the young hunting ape will have had the chance to develop a deep personal relationship with his parents, a relationship much more powerful and lasting than anything a young monkey could experience. The loss of this parental bond with maturation and independence would create a ‘relationship void’ – a gap that had to be filled. He would therefore already be primed for the development of a new equally powerful bond to replace it.
Other primate females do not pair with their male partners during their pregnancy but the naked ape does: because with one male- one female system, it would be dangerous to frustrate the male for too long a period. It might endanger the pair bond.
Why our lips are inside-out?
All primates have lips but not turned inside-out like ours. Giving a kiss on the lips is a greeting signal for the chimpanzee.
Kiss is both greeting and a sexual one for the naked ape. Why?: Sexual arousal produces some physical changes in the body; a swelling and reddening of the lips, and the clear demarcation of this area (the line between your lower lip and upper lip and the line around your lips) are shaped in a way that they become more recognizable. Even in their un-aroused condition, they are redder than the rest of the face skin simply by their very existence, they will act as advertising signals drawing attention to the presence of a tactile sexual structure.
Another supporting fact to this is that if climatic conditions demand a darker skin, then this will work agains the visual signalling capacity of the lips by reducing their color contrast. If they really are important as visual signals, what they have lost in color contrast, they have made up for in size and shape by becoming larger and more protuberant.
Monogamy or polygamy?
If the violent hunting life results in adult males becoming scarcer than females, there will be a tendency for some of the surviving males to form pair bonds with more than one female. However, this will bring home the problem since the female won’t want to share him with somebody else. To have a peaceful relationship with his hunting mates, a peaceful family life at the home base, to keep the peace in the group, naked apes evolved to be monogamous.
We can sum up by saying that, whatever obscure backward tribal units are doing today, the mainstream of our species express its pair-bonding character in its most extreme form, namely long-term monogamous mating.
Our Smell Preferences
Before puberty, there are strong preferences for sweet and fruity odors, but with the arrival of sexual maturity this response falls off and there is a dramatic shift in favor of flowery, oily and musky odors. This applies to both sexes, but the increase in musk responsiveness is stronger in males than females.
If the old primate patterns are left unmodified, the adult male will soon drive out the young males (his sons) and mate with the young females . These will then become part of the family unit as additional breeding females along with their mother, and we shall be right back where we started. But this wouldn’t work anymore for the new cooperative hunting ape. Because of its home-base needs and female-male bond that already improved, as the children reach puberty, they set off to establish a new breeding base and find their mate themselves.
Where did the urge for covering our genitals come from?
If sexuality had to be heightened to keep the pair together, then steps must have been taken to damp it down when the pair were apart, to avoid the over-stimulation of third parties. Because of their vertical posture it is impossible for a naked ape to approach another member of his species without performing a genital display. The covering of the genital region with some simple kind of garment must have been an early cultural development.
ABNORMAL or NORMAL sexual behavior?
If outside matings conflict too strongly with the pair bond, then some less harmful substitute for them has to be found. The solution has been ‘voyeurism’ meaning obtaining sexual excitement from watching other individuals copulating.
There is nothing biologically unusual about a homosexual act of pseudo-copulation. But the formation of a homosexual pair bond is re-productively unsound, since it cannot lead to the production of offspring and wastes potential breeding adults. One theory is that under serious over-crowding with no signs of any easing up in the immediate future, anti-reproductive sexual patterns must obviously be considered in a new light.
If either males or females cannot for some reason obtain sexual access to their opposite numbers, they will find sexual outlets in other ways. They may use other members of their own sex. or they may even use members of other species, or they may masturbate.
If the naked ape is trying to breast feed her baby and the baby doesn’t want it, there are two possible reasons:
Nipple is not protruding far enough into the baby’s mouth.
It is failing because it is being suffocated.
This is caused by the anatomy of the human female breast. Other female primates has much longer shape and does not swell out into the great rounded hemisphere that causes so much difficulty for the baby. This is because for our species, breast design is primarily sexual rather than maternal in function.
Why we breast feed on the left side?
The mother, either instinctively or by an unconscious series of trials and errors, would soon arrive at the discovery that her baby is more at peace if held on the left, against her heart, than on the right.
This is why babies sleep better with a ticking metronome with a heart beat speed . This also may explain why we insist on locating feelings of love in the heart rather than the head. Also, we rock back and forth on our feet when we are in a state of conflict. rocking like a heart beat calms us down.
Voice and Crying
The astonishing fast rate of learning in the field of vocal imitation is unique to our species and must be considered as one of our greatest achievements. Chimpanzees are like us, brilliant at rapid manipulative imitation, but they cannot manage vocal imitations. This difference is a question of brain, not voice. The chimpanzee has a vocal apparatus that is structurally perfectly capable of making a wide variety of sounds. So do birds. But they are too bird-brained to make a good use of this ability.
By crying, the baby alerts its parents, the adult alerts the other members of its social group. There are two important factors to baby’s crying: physical pain (including hunger) and insecurity.
Laugh has evolved from crying: the crying infant has become segmented, chopped up into small pieces and at the same time has grown smoother an slower.
Laughing does not appear until the third or fourth month. Its arrival coincides with the development of the parental recognition. Smiling is a secondary form of laughing. It has become specialized as a species greeting signal. Any social contact is at best mildly fear-provoking. Both smile and the laugh indicate the existence of this fear and its combination with feelings of attraction and acceptance (Blogger’s note: Maybe this explains the nervous laugh and nervous smile! I have a strange story actually, when I heard that my grandfather died in a tragic traffic accident, I was devastated. I was the one who broke down the news to my mom, but while I was telling her the terrible news, I found myself smiling! I was thinking to myself: What the heck? Stop smiling! But it was uncontrollable, I couldn’t control it. Maybe it was my fear that smiling!).
Also the evolution of smile is the clinging that apes do but we can’t since we do not have any fur on our mother to cling to. A young chimpanzee screams its head off when it needs attention, like we do. Once his mother comes he clings to her showing that he wants his mother to stay. We do the same by smiling. We signal to our mother that we want her and her attention to stay by smiling.
We never stopped investigating: this is the greatest survival trick of our species. Experiments with monkeys have revealed that not only does isolation in infancy produce a socially withdrawn adult, but it also creates an anti-sexual and anti-parental individual.
Animals fight among themselves either to establish their dominance in a social hierarchy, or to establish their territorial rights over a particular piece of ground.
There is a rigidly established social hierarchy in most species of monkeys and apes, with a dominant male in charge of the group. When he becomes too old or weak to maintain his domination, he is overthrown by a younger, sturdier male, who then assumes the mantle of the colony boss.
The book explains the physical changes in our body during the preparation of a fight, which I’m not going to write here. Rather, I will share some interesting information.
When a mammal becomes aggressively aroused to fight a number of basic physiological changes occur within its body. The whole machine has to gear itself up for action by means of the autonomic nervous system. This system consists of two opposing and counterbalancing sub systems:
The sympathetic system: the one that is concerned with preparing the body for violent activity. It says “You are stripped for action, get moving!”
The parasympathetic system: the one that has the task of preserving and restoring bodily reserves. It says “Take it easy, relax and conserve your strength”
The enemy provokes fear as well as aggression. The aggression drives the animal on, the fear holds it back. The intense state of inner conflict arises. Typically, the animal that is aroused to fight doesn’t go straight into all-out attack. It begins by threatening to attack. If the enemy gets scared and leaves, then you win without shedding any blood. This is preferable.
In the tense state of conflict between aggression and fear, everything is suspended. The result is that parasympathetic system fights back wildly and the autonomic pendulum swings frantically back and forth. As the tense moments of threat and counter threat tick by, we see flashes of parasympathetic activity intermitted with the sympathetic symptoms. Dryness in the mouth may give way to excessive salivation. Tightening of the bowels may collapse and sudden defecation occurs. The urine, held back so strongly in the bladder, maybe released in a flood. The removal of the blood from the skin maybe massively reversed: extreme paleness being replaced by intense flushing and reddening. The deep and rapid respiration may be dramatically interrupted, leading to gasps and sighs. These are desperate attempts on the part of the parasympathetic system to counteract the apparent actions of sympathetic. This explains why in extreme cases of shock, fainting or swooning can be observed. In such instances blood that has been rushed to the brain is withdrawn again so violently that it leads to a sudden unconsciousness.
One of the side affects of an intense inner conflict is that animal sometimes exhibits strange and seemingly irrelevant behavior to show its fear + anger. There are so many variations to this in animal world. One of them that is similar to us is to indulge in ‘instant sleep’ momentarily tucking their heads into a snoozing position, yawning and stretching. The other one is scratching even though nothing is itching. Modern humans do this by rearranging ornaments (see below, 45. President of the USA’s behavior), lighting a cigarette, cleaning our glasses, looking at our watch, pouring a drink, etc. (Bloggers note: Also have you ever thought why we feel so sleepy while studying for our finals? That is our ‘instant sleep’ reaction to our fear.)
So what do animals do to show their enemy that they don’t want to fight anymore?
They either switch off the signals that have been arousing the aggression, or they switch on other, positively non aggressive signals. Because aggression involves violent movement, a static pose automatically signals non-aggression. Usually this is accompanied by crouching or cowering. Aggression involves expanding the body to its maximum size (look how the both men are opening their arms while threatening each other in the above video) and crouching reverses this . Facing away from the animal also helps.
In certain rare cases a loser will admit defeat by offering a vulnerable area to attacker. A chimpanzee for example, will hold out its hand as a gesture of submission. Modern human does this by a hand shake or raising our hands.
submission gesture 2
Sometimes they adopt juvenile begging postures which will talk to the enemy’s parental instincts. Modern human does this by adopting a ‘baby-talk’ that we see among couples.
The last thing the animal tries is grooming. A great deal of social or mutual grooming goes on in animal world and it is strongly associated with the calmer, ore peaceful moments of community life.
Human animal in Fight
We cannot intimidate our opponents, for example, by erecting our body hair. But we can go ‘white with rage’, ‘red with anger’, or ‘pale with fear’. It is the white color we have to watch for here: this means activity.If it is combined with other actions that signal attack, then it is a vital danger signal. If it is combined with other actions that signal fear, then it is a panic signal. The angry, red-faced opponent who faces you is far less likely to attack than the white-faced, tight lipped one. Red-face’s conflicts such that he is all bottled up and inhibited, but white face is still ready for action. White face is much more likely to spring in to the attack unless he is immediately appeased or counter-threatened even more strongly.
Pale angry face (the most dangerous one)
As naked apes, because our urge to attack and escape are both strongly activated simultaneously, we exhibit some characteristics movements. For example: raising of clenched fist or raising a hand, back and forth striking movements of the forearm. We blow our fist but at a safe distance form the opponent.
Naked ape make short approach-intention movements but repeatedly check themselves from going too far. maybe the stamped their feet or bring down their fists in any near-by object. This redirection activity happens a lot in animal world. Because the opponent is too frightening to be directly assaulted, the aggressive movements are redirected towards some other less intimidating object dor example a harmless bystander . Gorillas, chimpanzees frequently perform similar display, tearing up, smashing and throwing around branches and vegetation.
Watch the two men’s fight. It takes them about a minute to threaten each other (repeatedly check themselves from going too far). Their body move back and forth, they raise their hands up. You can easily see the guy with the green shirt’s face is turning red as the argument heats up. Also at the minute 0:30 by shooting the ball, actually he is redirecting his anger.
Our aggressive faces are the same with other primates, the more the urge to attack dominates the urge to flee, the more the face pulls itself forwards. If you are exposing your teeth, your forehead is wrinkling and eyebrows are raised, the fear is taking over.
The crouching of animals as a sign of defeat turns into groveling and prostrating in humans. The key signal here is the lowering of the body in relation to the dominant individual. When threatening, we puff ourselves up to our greatest height, making our bodies as tall and as large as possible. So submissive behavior must be the opposite. Like military salute; removing the hat actually a procedure of lowering the height of the body. Also the key feature here is the lowering of eyes. A direct stare is typical of the most out-and-out aggression.
Chimpanzees appease by holding out a limp hand towards the dominant individual, to show submission. We do the same gesture. It is our greeting gesture in the shape of a friendly hand shake. Friendly gestures often grow out of submissive ones.
The Power of Stare
During ordinary face-to-face conversations we typically look away from our companions when we are talking, then glance back at them at the end of each sentence, or ‘paragraph’, to check their response to what we have said. Even though a professor with much experience is in such a dominant position, there are so many students in the auditorium, all staring at him, that he experiences a basic and initially uncontrollable fear of them. Only after a great deal of practice can he overcome this. The simple, aggressive, physical act of being stared at by a large group of people is also causing the butterflies in his stomach. He has all his intellectual worries about the qualities of his performance and its reception, of course, but the mass threat-stare is an additional and more fundamental hazard for him. This is again a case of the curiosity stare being confused at an unconscious level with the threat-stare. The wearing of glasses and sunglasses makes the face appear more aggressive because it artificially and accidentally enlarges the pattern of the stare. Mild mannered individuals tend to select thin-rimmed or rimless glasses (without realizing why they do so) because this enables them to see better with the minimum stare exaggeration, arousing counter aggression.
Moths have a pair of startling eye-markings on their wings. These lie concealed until the creatures are attacked by predators.
On a smaller scale certain products have been given threat-face brand names such as OXO, OMO, OZO or OVO. The attention has already been drawn.
In animal world, during the fight, destruction of life is avoided because the enemy either flees or submits. In either case, the dispute is settled. But the moment that attacking is done from such a distance that the submission signals of the losers cannot be read by the winners, then violent aggression is going to go raging on. In modern aggression, the result is wholesale slaughter on a scale unheard of in any other species.
There are 5 solutions proposed by the author to end the massacre:
massive mutual disarmamaent
de-patriotize the members of the different social groups.
provide and promote harmless, symbolic substitutes for war
improvement of intellectual control over aggression.
According to the author none of these are really possible for the near future. So he proposes this as the only sound biological solution to this dilemma: 5. Massive depopulation or a rapid spread of the species on to other planets, combined if possible with assistance from all four of the courses of action already mentioned. To sum up then, the best solution for ensuring world peace is the widespread promotion of contraception or abortion.
From out ancient background there remained a need for all-powerful figure who could keep the group under control, and the vacancy was filled by the invention of a god. At first sight it is surprising that religion has been so successful, but its extreme potency is simply a measure of the strength of our fundamental biological tendency. Because if this, religion has proved immensely valuable as a device for aiding social cohesion, and it is doubtful whether our species could have progressed far without it. We all simply have to believe in something.
Why do we like to eat our food hit?
it helps to simulate ‘prey temparature’ :Although we no longer consume freshly killed meat we nevertheless devour it at much the same temperature as other carnivor species.
We have such weak teeth that we are forced to ‘tenderize’ the meat by cooking it. But it doesn’t explain why want to eat it hot.
byincreasing the temperature of the food we improve its flavor.
Like other primates we find it hard to resist sweets.
The urge to eat meat appears to have become too deep -seated.
The place where the environment comes into direct contact with an animal, its body surface, receives a great deal of rough treatment during the course of its life. Animals have evolved a veriety of special comfort movements that help to keep it clean.
Social grooming, (animals picking food from each other’s fur) the development of a friendly mutual aid system. This can be seen in a wide range of both bird and mammal species, but it reaches a peak of expression among the higher primates. When they groom each other, they do lip-smacking to communicate. Look at this video:
We no longer have a luxuriant coat of fur to clean. Smiling has replaced lip smacking and vocalization replaced grooming. The behavior pattern of talking:
Information talking: Talking with verbs about everything
Mood talking: nonverbal mood signals
Exploratory talking: Talking for talking’s sake
Grooming talking; Meaningless polite chatter during gatherings
Fluffy or furry clothing, rugs, or furniture often release a strong grooming response. Pet animals are even more inviting, and few naked apes can resist the temptation to stroke a cat’s fur or scratch a dog behind the ear.
So, why the grooming adoption of humans did not involved our hair? The explanation appears to lie in the sexual significance of the hair. Its sexual associations have led to its involvement in sexual behavior patterns, so that stroking or manipulating the hair is now an action too heavily loaded with erotic significance to be used as a simple social friendship gesture.
In today’s world we have some psychological disorders and they are coming from the grooming need of our ancestors. Medical care is one of the grooming actions among apes. Minor infection and sicknesses are usually treated rationally, as if they are simply mild versions of serious illnesses, but there is strong evidence to suggest that they are in reality much more related to primitive ‘grooming demands’. The medical symptoms reflect a behavioral problem that has taken a physical form, rather than a true physical problem. This is happening because by examining, writing a prescription, taking care of the patient, the doctor is doing grooming. If psychological the person needs constant grooming, this is a disorder. In modern world we call it: Münchausen’s Syndrome. Those members of a community who are either very successful or socially well adjusted rarely suffer from this. Those that have temporary or long-standing social problems are, by contrast, highly susceptible.
Also, another disorder is hidden here: Some individuals have such a great need to care for others that they may actively promote and prolong sickness in a companion in order to be able to express their grooming urges more fully. This way a vicious cycle of a chronic invalid demanding and constant attention is created. This is called: Münchausen by Proxy syndrome.
OUR OTHER SIMILARITIES
Like other primates we still scratch ourselves, rub our eyes, pick our sores,. and lick our wounds. We also share with them a strong tendency to sun bathe. In addition we have added a number of specialized cultural patterns, the most common and widespread of which is washing with water. This is rare in other primates, although certain species bathe occasionally.
We also sweat like primates. There is a further distinction in the ares of emotional sweating, the palms and the soles differing from the armpits and the forehead. The first regions respond well only to emotional situations, whereas the last two react to both emotional and to temperature stimuli.
The last part of the book is about how naked ape sees other animals. There is some interesting information here. Higher forms of animal life regard other animals in 5 ways: as prey, symbionts, competitors, parasites and predators.
The most ancient symbiont in our history is undoubtedly the dog. We cannot be sure exactly when our ancestors first began to domesticate this valuable animal, but it appears to be at least ten thousand years ago. The wild, wolf-like ancestors of the domestic dog must have been serious competitors with our hunting ancestors. In time – we do not exactly know how- they made a deal in each hunt to share the kill. In time, possibly young puppies were brought in to the tribal home base to be fattened so that they could eat them later. However, their value as watch dogs were discovered. Then, these that were allowed to live in a now tamed condition and permitted to accompany the males on their hunting trip show immediately their talent of track down the prey.
Having been fed and raised, the dogs would consider themselves to be members of the naked-ape pack and would cooperate instinctively with their adopted leaders. Selective breeding over a number of generations would soon get rid of the trouble makers and a new, improved stock of increasingly restrained and controllable domestic hunting dogs would arise.
Individual dogs with unusually well developed abilities in a particular direction were inbred to intensify their special advantages.
With the development of large-scale grain storage, rodents became a serious problem and rodent-killers were encouraged The cat the ferret and the mongoose were the species that came to our aid and in the first two cases full dommestication with selective breeding followed.
Animals We Like and We Don’t Like
They asked 80,000 British children aging between 4 to 14 what their favorite animal is in the zoo. The figures are as follows: 97.15% of all the children quoted a mammal of some kind as their top favorite Birds accounted for 1.6%, reptiles 1%, amphibians 0.055. If we narrow it to top ten animals:
Bushbaby (A nocturnal ape) (8%)
It is immediately clear that these preferences do not reflect aesthetic influences. The top ten are not the most elegant or brightly colored of species. They include instead a high proportion of rather clumsy, heavy-set and dully colored forms. But they look like ‘us’ or they act like ‘us’ somehow. Look at these facts:
They all have hair, rather than feathers or scales
They have rounded outlines (chimpanzee, monlkey, bushbaby, panda, bear,e lephant)
They have flat faces (chimpanzee, monkey, bush baby, bear, panda, lion)
They have facial expressions (chimpanzee, monkey, horse, lion, dog)
They can ‘manipulate’ small objects (chimpanzee,. monkey, busbaby, panda,elephant)
Their postures are in some ways, or at some timesrather vertical (chimpanzee, monket, buhbaby, panda, bear, giraffe)
This is not a conscious process. Each of the species listed provides certain key stimuli that strongly remind us of special properties of our own species. Non-mammalian species score badly because they are weak in these above respects. Among the birds, the top 2 picks were penguin, which is a vertically walking animal, and parrot, who speaks like a human.
The younger children prefer the bigger animals and the older children prefer the smaller ones. Because smaller children viewing the animals as parent-substitutes and the older children are looking upon them as child-substitutes.
Let’s look at the animal hates:
These animals share one important feature: they are dangerous. Most of them lack the anthropomorphic features that describe the top ten favorites. Most of the people can’t even stand looking at their pictures. They cannot hurt you from the pictures, so what is this disgust?
So the fear for top two is very interesting…
An analysis of the reasons given for hating these forms reveals that snakes are disliked because they are slimy an d dirty and spiders are repulsive because they are hairy and creepy. This means that they must have a symbolic significance rather than being dangerous. We might have a powerful inborn response to avoid these animals (MariaExample): 1. They might be symbolizing unwanted sex 2 .Inborn aversion response towards snake-like forms, aversion response has a survival value.
As far as the spider fear is concerned, there is a marked sex difference. The level of reaction to spiders is the same for girls with boys up to the age of puberty, then the fear in females doubles with a sharp increase. This leap in spider hatred that accompanies female puberty because of the growth of unwanted hair on the body of a young girl. That’s why they describe it as ‘nasty, hairy things’ .
At the end of the seventeenth century the world population of naked ape was only 500 million. It has now risen to 7,600 million. Every twenty-four hours it increases by another 150,000. In 210 years’ time, if the rate of increate stays steady – which is unlikely- there will be a seething mass of 400,000 million (400 billion) naked apes crowding the face of the earth. This is scary.
Many exciting species have become extinct in the past and we are no exception. Sooner or later we shall go and make way for something else.
Some people think that our intelligence can dominate all our basic urges. I submit that this is rubbish. Our raw animal nature will never permit it. Of course we are flexible, of course, we are behavioral opportunists, but there are severe limits to the form our opportunism can take. By stressing our biological features in this book, I have tried to show the nature of these restrictions.
If you enjoyed this information as much as I did, don’t forget to add this great book into your library!
This book is full of interesting facts about psychology, economy, business, education, culture, marketing and even biology. Sheena’s writing style was a little challenging for me in the beginning, because she prefers to start with a story, setting the scene and then she explains what that story was all about. So, for a while you find yourself thinking ‘What is her point?’. Despite the pretentious writing style of hers, it is still easy to read and her intelligence and wittiness are remarkable throughout the book.
A brief info about the author: Despite the difficulties posed by her blindness, Iyengar pursued higher education. In 1992, she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School and a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in English from the College of Arts and Sciences. She then earned her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Stanford University in 1997.The following year, her dissertation “Choice and its Discontents” received the prestigious Best Dissertation Award for 1998 from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology. She taught management classes in MIT and Columbia Business School.
So let’s talk about this wonderful book. I will share with you the highlights of the book and the lines that I thought were so interesting and thought provoking.
In order to choose, first we must perceive that control is possible. We should feel that we have the control to do things. In this experiment, the group of dogs that couldn’t escape and suffered in the first set of experiments tended to show almost no effort to overcome the obstacles although it caused pain to them in the second experiment. Because these dogs, having earlier suffered a complete loss of control, had learned that they were helpless.
BIOLOGY: When we look at FMRI scans, we see that the main brain system engaged when making choices is the corticostriatal network. Its main component, Striatum, evaluates the reward association. It is responsible for alerting us that sugar=good and root canal = bad. However, we have to also make the connection that too much of sugar can cause root canal. That is where the other half of the corticostriatal network, the prefrontal cortex, comes into play. While motor abilities are largely developed by childhood and factual reasoning abilities by adolescence, the prefrontal cortex undergoes a process of growth and consolidation that continues into our mid 20s. This is why young children have more difficulty understanding abstract concepts than adults, and both children and teenagers are especially prone to acting on impulse.
WHY: Sometimes we like to choose things even though it is not practical. For example in this experiment, there were two paths that lead to the same amount food, one was branched the other one was direct. So, one held no advantage over the other. After multiple trials, nearly every rat preferred taking the branching path. Another example from human beings: People were given a casino chip. they had two choices; whether they were going to play it at a table with two identical roulette-style wheels and at a table with a single wheel. Even though they could bet on only one of the wheels, and all three wheels were identical, almost all of them chose to play it at the table with two wheels. Why? Because WE LIKE TO MAKE CHOICES.
HEALTH: Health wise, making choices is good for you as well because when human beings feel trapped, having no choice over things, they feel stressed. As you all know stress had both horrible physical and psychological effects. Because of these, captivity can often result in lower life expectancies despite objectively improved living conditions. According to the research, the less control people felt they had over their work, the higher the blood pressure during the work hours. People with little control over their work also experienced more back pain, missed more days of work due to illness in general and had higher rate of mental illness. Another study suggests that minor but frequent choice making can have a disproportionately large and positive impact on our perception of overall control.
RELIGION: Iyengar interviewed 600 people from 9 different religions with three groups: Fundamentalists, conservatives and liberals. To the author’s surprise, the study showed that members of more fundamentalist faiths experienced greater hope, were more optimistic when faced with adversity and were less likely to be depressed than their counterparts. Indeed, the people most susceptible to pessimism and depression were Unitarians, especially those who were atheists. The reason why the author was surprised was this is the controlling nature of religion. It has so many rules and it doesn’t leave you much room in terms of choices. Yet the presence of so many rules didn’t weaken people, instead, it seemed to empower them. Many of their choices were taken away and yet they experienced a sense of control over their lives.
CULTURE: Culture’s effect on our choices comprises a big part in the book. Iyengar, talks specifically about one dimension of the cultures: Identity. When it comes to making choices, there is a huge gap between the collectivist cultures and the individualistic cultures. Those of us raised in more individualistic societies, such as the Unites States, are taught to focus primarily on the ‘I’ when choosing, primarily motivated by their own preferences, needs, and rights and give priority to their personal goals over the goals of others. Iyengar also explains the roots of individualism going back to enlightenment of seventeenth and eighteenth century Europe where the influence of Greek philosophers, Protestant Reformation, scientific advances were profound. Whereas collectivism has been on earth extensively for a longer time. The earliest hunter – gatherer societies were highly collectivist by necessity as looking out for another increased everyone’s chances of survival and the value placed on the collective grew after humans shifted to agriculture as a means of sustenance. As populations increased and the formerly unifying familial and tribal forces became less powerful, other forces such as religion filled the gap, providing people with a sense of belongingness and a common purpose. In Eastern cultures, individuals tend to understand their lives relatively more in terms of their duties and less in terms of personal preferences.
Why is it important to understand the difference between the two: Example of Japanese children and Anglo American children. Iyengar performed an experiment with two groups of children (Please see the chart I made below): American and Japanese children were going to color an anagram. But they were given 3 choices; in one group they were going to choose their own anagram type and the color, in the second group, the anagram and the color were already chosen for them by the teacher and the teacher told them that it was his/her choice, and the third group was told that the anagram and the marker were chosen by their mother. As you can see from the chart, American kids did way better and spent much longer time on their projects (because they enjoyed them) when they made their own choices, whereas Japanese pupils were way more successful when the project material was chosen by their mothers. Another interesting result is that, when the choices were made by this random teacher, a stranger, both groups of children felt the imposition and reacted negatively.
Cultural aspect of choice at WORK: The employees working at the same bank and for the same manager – who reported giving the same levels of choice to all the employees – perceived different degrees of choice available to them, depending on their culture. For example: Employees in Asia, along with the Asian Americans, were less likely than Anglo American, Hispanic American, or African American employees to think of their day-to-day activities at work in terms of choice (meaning freedom of decision making is lacking and/or at work, my supervisor makes the majority of the decisions about what I do), and Latin Americans’ perception of choice fell in between these groups.
It turned out that for all the American employees except Asian Americans, the more choice they thought they had, the higher they scored on all measures of motivation, satisfaction, and performance. Conversely, the more they felt their jobs were dictated by their managers, the worse they did on all of these measures. In contrast, Asian participant, whether from Asia or the United States, scored higher when they thought their day-to-day tasks were determined primarily by their managers. Latin American employees once again fell somewhere in the middle, slightly benefiting from both greater personal choice and greater control by their managers.
WHAT IS ‘FREEDOM’? :Berlin wall was demolished in 1989, even 20 years after its reunification, in many ways Berlin still feels like two cities, divided by a barrier of ideas as powerful as the Wall itself. In Iyengar’s conversations with people from East Berlin, she realized that rather than being grateful for the increasing number of opportunities, choices, and options that they have available, to them in the marketplace, they are suspicious of this new way of life, which they increasingly perceive as unfair: Consider the economic system adopted by the Soviet Union and its satellites, including East Berlin. The government planned out how much of everything – cars, vegetables, tables, chairs- each family might need, and projected from that to set production goals for the nation as a whole. Each citizen was assigned to a particular career depending upon the skills and abilities he had demonstrated in school, and the careers that were available were also based on the projected needs of the nation. Since rent and health care were free, consumer goods were all that people could spend their wages on, but centrally controlled production ensured that everyone had the same things as everyone else, down to the same television sets, furniture and types of living space. So, the Eastern Berliner man said “In the Soviet Union you had money but couldn’t buy anything. Now you can buy anything but you don’t have money”
The Idealized capitalist system provides: ‘Freedom from’ external restrictions, one’s ability to rise in society’s ranks.
The idealized communist/socialist system provides: ‘Freedom To’ obtain adequate standard living, aims for equality of outcomes rather than the opportunities. So while the American democracy has led to unprecedented national wealth, it also created a widespread inequality.
TEMPTATION: When we all know that one option will lead to a better outcome, why do we yearn for the other? We have two interconnecting systems for processing information and arriving at answers or judgments.
The first one is: the automatic system which operates quickly, effortlessly, and subconsciously.
The second one: the reflective system, driven not by raw sensation but by logic and reason, that is the one we have to turn on and tune into.
For example, someone offers you a choice between $100 today and $120 a month from today. What is your answer?
Then the same person offers you a choice between receiving $100 one month from now and $120 two months from now. Which amount do you choose this time?
In the first example, people tend to choose taking $100 right away, here, their automatic system is speaking. In the second example, people usually choose waiting for two months to get $120 and here, the reflective systems is talking. This is a very interesting result because the two is identically the same. In both cases, the person needs to wait for a month between $100 and $120. Therefore, in case of temptation, we may be aware that our desire is being fueled by the automatic system and that we’d be better off if we followed the reflective system, but just because we know the ‘right’ answer doesn’t mean we can bring ourselves to choose it.
According to the psychologist Prof. Paul Ekman, the best way to combine the reflective system with the automatic system; allowing the person to make snap judgments that are also highly accurate is ‘informed intuition’.
Lake Wobegon Effect (Illusory superiority) is also explained in detail: Ninety percent of us believe ourselves to be in the top 10 percent in terms of overall intelligence and ability.
PRESENTATION AFFECTS OUR CHOICES: Every time we encounter new information or reexamine old information, we’re influenced by its presentation. Research has consistently demonstrated that losses appear far larger in our minds than do gains. We do whatever we can to avoid losing the things that are most important to us, but we don’t take similar risks to achieve gains because we worry that we might incur a loss instead.
We tend to have a better memory for things that excite our senses or appeal to our emotions than for straight facts and dry statistics.
Research has shown that people are willing to spend significantly more when paying with a credit card than with cash because when we take the bills out of our wallet and hand them over, our senses register that we now have less money.
Even the order in which we encounter options can affect their availability. We tend to better remember the first and last options in a group, so rather than focusing on the merits of each alternative, we may be influenced primarily by the position in which each appeared. This is why items displayed at either end of a store shelf sell more than those in the middle, and it’s also the reason an interviewer might unwittingly pay more attention to the first and last candidates in a job interview. Even in elections, the candidate whose name is on the top of the ballot is most likely to be chosen.
Iyengar also argues that interviewers often subconsciously make up their minds about interviewees based on their first few moments of interaction. In order to break the bias, instead of asking the generic questions like experience and educational background, interviewers should try obtaining samples of candidate’s work or asking how he would respond to difficult hypothetical situations, are dramatically better at assessing future success, with a nearly threefold advantage over traditional interviews.
HAPPINESS: Studies consistently showed that money can buy happiness, but only up to a certain point. Once one’s basic needs are met, the value of the additional material goods that come with greater wealth diminishes rapidly. There are stories proving that rising income doesn’t increase the reported happiness, this is true even for Americans who earn more than $5 million per year.
MARKETING: The name, the packaging the attractiveness of the product we buy affects our choice making. Iyengar explains in this chapter that big fashion brands create a trend and they impose on all of us from different channels of media to increase their sales, taking advantage of “mere exposure effect”. The more we are exposed to a particular object or idea, the more we like it, provided we had positive and neutral feelings toward it at the outset. That is to say, the higher the exposure a product receives and the greater its perceived social acceptability, the more people will buy it, which in turn further increases its exposure and acceptability.
In blind taste tests people enjoyed all of the wines about equally, but when shown the prices, they preferred more expensive ones since they associate the price with quality.
Everything from the color of a product’s logo, or of the product itself, to the shape of its packaging can change people’s preferences in ways not captured in blind taste tests.
When the bottled water say “pure”, “fresh” “natural” on it, the implication is that any water not packaged in such a bottle is probably impure or unnatural, maybe dangerous. However, Iyengar argues that a quarter of bottled water brands are tap water and federal quality standards for tap water are more stringent and more strongly enforced than the standards of bottled water.
In this book, there is an interesting experiment about Coke but I will not write it here. Iyengar talks about Coca-Cola’s marketing strategy quite extensively. Did you know Coca Cola Company holds a patent on the color of Santa Claus? So, Coke is Christmas. Also, free Cokes were distributed in a lot of big events that represented freedom. The collapse of Berlin Wall was one of them. So Coke also tastes like freedom. These positive attributes made the product more than just sugar and natural flavors.
WE ARE UNDER INFLUENCE: Our minds don’t organize stored information alphabetically or chronologically or by the Dewey decimal system but rather by its web of association to other information. Something that activates these automatic associations is known as “prime” and its effect on our mental states and subsequent choices is known priming (imagine a lemon in your mouth, what do you feel? Is your mouth watery?)
Buying a product that a celebrity also wears allows us to feel a little more glamorous by association
The prime itself may be perceived only subconsciously as in subliminal messages.
In 2000 general elections, S. Christian Wheeler wanted to increase education tax from 5.0 to 5.6 in order to increase education spending. The researchers found that the 26 percent of people who were assigned to vote in the schools were more likely to support schools by saying yes than were those people who voted at other polling locations. They did a similar experiment online. Results showed that the people who were exposed to the school images were more willing to support raising taxes to fund education.
A 2007 study showed that about 70% of elections were won by the candidate whom people rated as more competent based solely on their appearance.
Numerous studies also found out that height and salary positively correlated, especially for men, and highly attractive people of both sexes earn at least 12 percent more than their less attractive co-workers.
SOMETIMES VARIETY IS NOT GOOD – DILEMMA: George Miller, Professor of Psychology at Princeton wrote the paper “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information” in 1956. For example, determining or distinguishing between the positions of points, the direction and curvature of lines, the hue and brightness of objects, the frequency and volume of tones, the location and strength of vibrations, and the intensity of smells and tastes. For each of the senses, most people can handle only five to nine items before they begin to consistently make errors in perception.
Iyengar talks about the interesting experiment that she performed at a supermarket. There were two booths that were set up for tasting different kinds of jam. The first booth had about 20 kinds and the second booth had only 6. Although the booth with the largest selection attracted 50% more customers to itself, only 3% bought a jar after tasting. They looked actually really puzzled. Whereas the 30% of the customers who visited smaller selection booth bought a jar.
Some brands actually decreased their product variety down to almost 50% and their sales jumped 10%. Chances are that quite a few other companies could benefit from reducing the amount of choice they offer to the customers. Studies show that when people are given a moderate number of options (4-6) rather than a large number (20-30) they are more likely to make a choice, are more confident in their decisions, and are happier with what they choose.
BUT ALSO, we need to still have variety, because we would suffer from being limited to any single item, no matter how much we enjoy it. We would eventually become sick and tired of it, a process known as satiation. Therefore, we need varieties. A study by the USDA found that as the total amount and variety of food in the US increased in the recent decades, average food consumption rose at even faster rate.
Finally, study shows that people can learn to choose from more options, but they are less likely to drown if they start off in the shallows and then slowly move toward the deep, all the while building their skills and nerve.
WHEN CHOOSING COMES WITH THE PRICE: Iyengar leaves the most touching study to the last. Think about the same situation that applies to two families: You just had had a baby and the doctors explained that your baby was in a critical condition and even after weeks, there is no improvement. They say: “Her critical condition implies severe neurological impairments that would confine her to bed, unable to speak, walk, or interact with others. After much deliberation, they have decided that it’s in your baby’s best interest that they withdraw treatment – by turning off the ventilation machine – and let her die.” Here, doctors make the decision and they don’t give any possible courses of action or their prospective consequences.
The second time, in the same situation, they say this “There are two possible courses of action: Continue to the treatment, or withdraw the treatment by turning off the ventilation machine. They also explain the consequences of each action. If the treatment is withdrawn, your baby will die. If the treatment is continued, there is about a %40 chance that she will die and about %60 chance that she will survive with severe neurological impairments that would confine her to bed, unable to speak, walk or interact with others. Because of her critical situation, the doctors have decided it’s in her best interest that they withdraw treatment and let her die” Here, hearing the possible courses of action and their possible consequences probably made it easier to accept their decision, both increasing your confidence that it was the right one and reducing the emotional stress associated with it.
In the last example, they tell you “There are two possible courses of action: Continue to the treatment, or withdraw the treatment by turning off the ventilation machine. They also explain the consequences of each action. If the treatment is withdrawn, your baby will die. If the treatment is continued, there is about a %40 chance that she will die and about %60 chance that she will survive with severe neurological impairments that would confine her to bed, unable to speak, walk or interact with others. It is going to be your decision to continue the treatment or let her die.” Here, the choice lays in your hands. You are responsible for the consequences.
In France, the second example takes place whereas in America, the last example is the case for the same situation. With the study done on parents who had to go through these painful times, the results have shown that American families suffered from personal guilt, doubt and resentment much more than French families who blamed neither themselves nor doctors. Because they did not make the choice, doctors did.
As a final word, I highly recommend this great book. Iyengar shares more interesting studies and she expresses her own opinions and speaks with expertise. This book needs to be on your bookshelf. Forever.
My 7-hour flight from Boston to San Francisco turned out to be not a terrible one after all, thanks to this book. With its maximum two-page-long chapters and cute drawings, this book is a little bundle of joy. If you are interested in learning little secrets of everything about life: from biology to psychology, from astronomy to chemistry, it is wrapped in a 149-pages long hard cover book for you!
Since the chapters are short, it is easy to leave it and come back to it later. There are more than 50 chapters in it!That’s why I won’t go into too much detail, but I will talk about some sections so that you can have an idea about this lovely book.
To be honest, I had already known 75% of the facts included in the book: It is just because I’m interested in science and I read about it a lot. But the 25% that I gained after reading this was still very important and very interesting.
The writer’s style is very sincere and she simplifies the complex topics as much as she can. Here are what I selected for you from the chapters:
Chapter: I AM MADE FROM CARBON
“… Your body is composed of the products of such cosmic events, those remnants of burning giants (dead stars). Depending on where you look, what you touch, you are changing all the time. The carbon inside you, accounting for about 18 percent of your being, could have existed in any number of creatures or natural disasters before finding you. “
Chapter: PLANTS BEHAVE BETTER
“… Trees are able to distinguish their own roots from those of other species, and even those of their relatives. They share food and help to nourish their competitors when they are sick or struggling (in winter an aspen will likely not do as well as a conifer, so conifer lends a hand) and all this apparently for no other reason than that living becomes much easier when you are helping others, rather than simply ensuring your own survival. In fact, trees’ roots can sometimes end up so connected that two often will die at the same time.”
Chapter: I’LL BE WHERE THE BLUE IS
“… A phenomenon known as “Rayleigh scattering” is responsible for both the blue of the North American Bird Cyanocitta Cristata (Blue Jay) and that of the sky. In the case of the jay, its feathers contain melanin and would appear black if it weren’t for tiny air sacs in the feathers that scatter light, and so to our eyes the bird seems rendered in endless variations of blue. And when we gaze skywards, we are observing sunlight entering Earth’s atmosphere and colliding with particles in the air – compared to the other colors contained within light, blue has a shorter, smaller wavelength, and is therefore scattered more, resulting in Blue skies. “
Chapter: CLOUDS TO BREAK YOUR HEART
“… Clouds are formed by water vapor or ice crystals hugging determinedly onto the microscopic particles in the atmosphere known as “condensation nuclei” – things like smoke and dust and salt (aerosol)- and they do so because the air is simply too saturated to hold onto all the water anymore. Put millions upon millions of these together and you have a cloud perhaps weighing, although hard to believe, the equivalent of one hundred large elephants.”
This animation shows how a cloud is formed on the particle-level. Water droplets and black soot carbon aerosols mix in the air. Water droplets cling to aerosol particles, creating a larger water droplet. The droplet becomes very large and ‘pops’ into smaller water droplets, each with an aerosol particle inside, thus creating a cloud. (Official NASA Website: https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/10387 )
Chapter: DOES ANYBODY ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT TIME IS
“… Culturally, the organization of time can be quite different, and this directly affects our experience of it. In some languages, the past is referred to as behind, and the future is ahead, but in others, the past is ahead and the future behind, perhaps because the past can be seen, and in order to observe something, it needs to be in front of you, not behind. While some languages refer to time as a distance travelled, others refer to it as a growing volume – a long day, full day. In English we think of it in linear terms, from left to right, but Chinese speakers think of time in terms of over and under, and in Greek time can be large, small. So easily do we mistake a word for the thing or phenomenon it speaks of, that it represents.”
** Blogger comment here: Speaking of languages and their effects on our time perception, I remembered this interesting talk about how languages can affect our money saving skills. Have a look at it if you have time. I wonder what you will think about it!**
Chapter: YOU ARE MOSTLY BACTERIA
“… Perhaps the greatest achievement of bacteria is the gut, part of an organ system that contains the largest number of bacterial species found anywhere in the human body – an incredibly complex community of microorganisms, known as gastrointestinal microbiota, or gut flora. The gut and the brain are connected by an extensive network of neurons, chemicals, and hormones, collectively called the “enteric nervous system,” which stays in touch with the central nervous system (linking the brain and the spinal cord) but also can act independently of it.
It seems that the bacteria in yor gut are capable of wielding power over more than just your breakfast – they can influence your perception of the world, your behavior. Most of the neurons involved in brain-gut discussion are carrying information to the brain, not receiving it, and it’s strange and wonderful to think that your gut might have more of an effect on both your long- and short-term mood than anything else.
Below: Pretty looking gut bacterias! Intestinal villi. Small finger-like projections that extend into the lumen of the small intestine. Gut bacteria, flora, microbiome. 3d illustration.
There are many more interesting chapters in this book. For a fun read and many moments of enlightenment, I highly recommend ‘Eating the Sun’. Especially great for commutes, beach vacations and long trips!
İtiraf etmeliyim ki bu kitaptan çok şey öğrendim. Hem tarihimize hem insanımıza hem de kültürümüze dair. Şimdi her şey çok daha açık ve net. Altını çizdiğim o kadar önemli nokta var ki, hepsini buraya sığdırmam imkansız. Ama en can alıcı noktalarından kesinlikle bahsedeceğim. Bence bu kitap, ders mufredatlarina alinip okullarda okutulmali.
Bu muhteşem kitap 6 ana bölümden oluşuyor:
Yirminci Yüzyılın Öncesi ve Sonrası
Yirmi Birinci Yüzyılın Getirdikleri
Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’ndan Türkiye Cumhuriyeti’ne
Türkiye’deki Değişimin Sosyo-Ekonomik Analizi
Bir zaman makinesi dusunun. Ben surucu koltugundayim, sizde arka koltuga atlayin, Turkiye’nin neden bugun geldigi yerde oldugunu hep birlikte gecmise yolculuga cikarak anlamaya calisalim!
Oncelikle degisimi tanimlayalim. Paradigma, mevcut durumda bir alan icin gecerli olan kural ve yaklasimlarin tamamini ifade eden model. Eger bu kural ve yaklasimlarda temelli bir degisiklik ortaya cikmissa, buna paradigma degisikligi ya da paradigma kaymasi deniyor. Boyle bir degisimin ortaya cikmasina karsin eski modeli korumaya yonelik tavir gosterenlerin de paradigma felcinin etkisi altinda kaldigi kabul ediliyor.
Turkiye’nin 2000’lere gelinceye kadar dis politika alanindaki paradigmasi ‘Yurtta baris, dunyada baris’ politikasiydi: ‘Kavgaya karisma, disaridan bak ve gerektiginde arabuluculuk yap’.
Turkiye dis politikasinda paradigma 1990’larda Sovyetler birligi dagilinca basladi, ama asil desisikligi 2000’lerden itibaren olustu ve Turkiye, Amerika’nin tesvikiyle Ortadogu agirlikli bir bolgesel liderlige soyundu.
Donusum, paradigma degisiminden daha kapsamli ve koklu bir degisimi ifade ediyor. Paradigma degisimi: anlayislar, kabuller sisteminin degismesini anlatirken donusum, bu paradigma degisiminin ardindan gelen yapisal gelisimi de kapsiyor. Ornegin, Ataturk’un yaptigi reformlar, mesela kadin erkek esitligine iliskin adimlar bir paradigma degisimiydi. Bunun toplum tarafindan benimsenmesi ve kadinlarin gercekten erkeklerle esit konuma yukselmeye baslamasi ise donusumu ifade ediyor. Her paradigma, donusumle sonuclanmayabilir. Sistemin yeni paradigmaya ayak uydurabilmesi lazim. Mesela Iran, ikinci dunya savasindan sonra Ataturk reformlarina benzer paradigma degisikligine gitti ancak 1979 ta eskiye geri donduler cunku paradigmayi donusume ceviremediler. Asagidaki Fotografta ustte bugunun Iran’ini, asagida ise 1942-1979 Iran’ini gorebilirsiniz.
1648: Avrupa’nin buyuk devletleri ‘Otuz Yil Savaslari’ na son veren ‘Vestfalya Antlasmasi’ yasamimizda yer eden bircok kavram ve kurumun dogusuna kaynaklik eden bir antlasmadir. Bu antlasmayla birlikte Avrupa, modern caga gecis yapti: din ve devlet isleri birbirinden ayrilmaya basladi, egemenlik, sinirlar, baska bir devletin icislerine karismama ve elcilik gibi kavramlar dogdu. Insanlar birbirlerinin sinirlarina saygi duydukca ‘ulus kavrami’ ortaya cikti.
1789: Fransiz Devrimi sonrasi Ulus Devlet dusuncesi iyice one cikti: Feodal yapinin yikilmasi ve ekonomide kapitalist sisteme gecilmesi de asagi yukari ulus devlet modeline gecis donemine denk gelir.
1789: Fransiz Devrimini ‘Sanayi Devrimi’ izledi. Fransiz Devrimiyle baslayan paradigma degisimi onu izleyen yapisal donusumlere yol acmistir.
Osmanli Imparatorlugu bir ‘Ummet Devlet’ idi. Hic bir zaman Ulus Devlet olmadi. Osmanli devletine bagli Avrupali kralliklar din farkliligi nedeniyle bu ummet devletinin hic bir zaman bir parcasi, bir unsuru olmamislar, bu karalliklarin halklari da kendilerini bu devletin halki olarak gormemislerdir.
1829: Mora Ayaklanmasi ile Osmanli Imparatorlugu’na karsi ayaklanarak kendi bagimsiz devletini kuran ilk ulus Yunanlilardir. Ardindan Balkan halklari tek tek Osmanli’dan koparak kendi ulus devletlerini kurmayi basardilar.
1923: Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nun yikilisiyla birlikte Turkler de kendi ulus devletlerini, Turkiye Cumhuriyeti’ni kurmayi basardilar.
DUNYADAKI EKONOMIK DONUSUMLER
1800’lere gelinceye kadar dunya’ya hakim olan sistem merkantilizmdi (disa kapali, korumaci ve mudaheleci bir ekonomik yaklasim). Bugunki kuresel sistem ise kapitalizm.
Sanayi devriminin en onemli donusumlerinden birisi, esnaftan (zanaatkar, atolye uretimi yapan yari sermayedar yari emekci) sanayi ve ticaret burjuvasi yaratmis olmasidir. Zamanla atolyeler fabrikalara donustu ve onceleri esnaf burjuvasi iken zaman icinde, kusaklar degistikce sanayi ve ticaret burjuvasina donustu. Boylece aristokrasinin karsisinda guclu bir yeni sinif dogmus oldu.
1970’lerde baslayan otomasyon (Insansiz uretim) ve onu izleyen dijital devrim, sanayi kapitalizmini cok daha hizli bir buyumeye itmistir.
Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nda temel ekonomik guc, tarim ve sanayiydi. Sanayiden kastimiz kuskusuz esnaf duzeyinde sanayidir. Asagida Osmanli zamanindan esnaf fotolarini gorebilirsiniz
Osmanli Imparatorlugu tarima ve esnaf uretimine dayali yapisini degistirebilecek bir donusumu yasamadi. Ise alinan ciraklar, usta yaninda meslegi ogrenirler, yetismelerini tamamladiktan sonra esnaf birligine kabul edilirlerdi. Ise giren ciraklara, meslegin inceliklerinin ogretilmesinin yaninda, ahlaki ve dini degerlerin ogretilmesi de konu olurdu.
Avrupa’da sanayi devrimine giden yol ve sanayi devrimi sonucunda sanayi ve ticaret burjuvazisine donusen esnaf, Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nda boyle bir donusum yasayamadi. Cunku bu donusumun olabilmesi icin Avrupa devletlerinde oldugu gibi Osmanli imparatorlugu’nun da aydinlanma cagina girmesi, egitim sistemini degistirmesi, kesiflere ve icatlara acik bir topluma donusmesi gerekiyordu. Bunlarin hic biri olmadi. Olmamasinin bir cok nedeni var kuskusuz ama temel neden, imparatorlugun bilimden uzak kalmasidir. Yuzyillar once medreselerinde okuttugu bilimlerin cogunun yerine din dersleri koyan Osmanli Imparatorlugu, bilime ilgisini kaybetti. Bu yapi, imparatorlugunun sanayi devrimine girememesinin temel nedenlerinden biridir. Sanayi devrimine giremeyen Osmanli Imparatorlugu, tipki ummet devlet yapisini kaybettigi halde ulus devlet yapisina gecemedigi gibi, merkantilist yapidan kapitalizmine de gecemedi. Daha cok kapitulasyonlarin etkisi altinda yabanci devlet tuccarlarinin ve finans uzmanlarinin gudumunde hareket etmek zorunda kaldi.
Dunyadaki Krizler ve Turkiye’ye Etkileri
1918 – Birinci Dunya Savasi sona erdiginde Versailles Antlasmasi Almanya’yi agir savas tazminatlarina mahkum etti. Almanya’nin mali bunalimi Hitler’in ve Nazilerin Almanya’da iktidara gelmesine zemin yaratti.
Birinci Dunya Savasi, Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nun sonunu getirdi. Bunda eskiden hocalar esliginde bilim, dil, sanat, kultur egitimi alan sehzadelerin ilerleyen donemlerde kafes arkasinda yetirstirilmeye baslanmasinin da onemli etkisi vardir. Fatih Sultan Mehmet’in bilgisi, gorgusu, dunya gorusuyle son donem padisahlarinin bilgisi, gorgusu ve dunya gorusu arasinda daglar kadar fark vardi.
Osmanli, yikilisindan 70 yil kadar once “Avrupa’nin Hasta Adami” benzetmesiyle tanimlaniyor, topraklarinin nasil paylasilacagi hesaplaniyordu.
1929- Kapitalizmin yasadigi ilk kriz 1873’te Viyana Borsasi’nin cokusuyle olmustur. Turkiye, Batili gelismis ulkelerin finansal altyapisina sahip olmadigi icin bundan cok etkilenmemistir. Ikinci buyuk kriz, ‘Buyuk Depresyon’ 1929 yilinda milyonlarca insani isinden etmis, ulkelerin milli gelirlerini geriletmis, ekonomileri kucultmus karsilikli ticareti sekteye ugratmistir.
Turkiye, Cumhuroyet’in emekledigi, hala Osmanli borclarini odemeye calistigi yillardi. Bir de Lozan Antlasmasiyla kaldirilan kapitulasyonlarin karsiliginda uygulamaya soz verdigi serbest ticaret (ithalati kisitlamama) baskisi altindaydi. Ama sansliydilar ki bu antlasmanin taahhut suresi 1929’da bitiyordu. Bu surenin bitmesiyle, daha mudaheleci bir politikayi uygulayan Turkiye, Turk Parasini Koruma mevzuati’ni yururluge koydu, dis ticaretini duzene soktu, sanayilesme icin plan yapti ve bu alanda ilerlemeler sagladi. Boylece dis borclanma yapmadan carklari dondurebiliyordu artik.
1945 – Ikinci Dunya Savasi sona erdiginde, Avrupali devletler buyuk guc kayiplarina ugramisti ve bu savastan 2 dev cikmisti: ABD ve Sovyetler Birligi.
Turkiye, ikinci Dunya Savasi’na girmedi. Bunun temel nedeni, Ataturk’un temel gorusleri arasinda yeralan ‘yurtta baris, dunyada baris’ yaklasimini temel ilke edinmis olmasiydi. Sava girmese de, Turkiye savasin olumsuzluklarini yasadi. Savas hazirligi yapmak zorunda kaldi ve bu sanayi planlarinin rafa kalkmasina neden oldu, enflasyonu yukseltti, butce aciklarini arttirdi. Bu donemde cikan iki yasa hala bugun tartisilmaktadir: Azinliklarin vergilendirilmesi amaciyla cikarilan ama sonradan piyasadaki etkilerini azaltma amacina donusen ‘Varlik Vergi yasasi’, ve piyasaya devlet mudahelesine gecise kapi acan ‘Milli Korunme Yasasi’.
Savasin getirdigi butun olumsuzluklara ragmen bu donemde Koy Enstitulerinin kurulmasi onemli bir girisimdi. Asagida o zamanlarin koy enstitulerinin fotograflarini gorebilirsiniz.
1957 – Ikinci Dunya Savasi’ndan sonra dunya iki devin soguk savasina tanik oldu. ABD ile Rusya arasinda ya da kapitalizm ile sosyalizm arasinda amansiz bir mucadeleye sahne oldu. 4 Ekim 1957’de Sovyetler Birligi uzaya ilk araci gonderdiginde (Sputnik 1) yalnizca Amerika degil, butun kapitalist dunya ayni telasa kapildi: Ruslar uzayi ele gecirirse oradan dunyaya egemen olabilirlerdi. Bunun ardindan NASA kuruldu ve Amerika egitim sistemini ve mufredatini bastan asagiyeniledi. Fen bilimlerine agirlik verilmeye baslandi. Uzay projelerine ayrilan mali kaynaklar arttirildi.
Soguk savas 90’larin basinda kuresellesme modasiyla silindi gitti. Yarisa onde baslayan Sovyetler, Amerika’nin Ay’a adam indirmesiyle geriye dustuler. Sonra da fark iyice acildi. Bir cok neden var kuskusuz ama en onemli nedenlerinden biri Sovyet sisteminin elektronik devrimi tam olarak yakalayamamasidir.
Turkiye’nin Amerika ve Avrupa’ya Yaklasmasi
Sovyetler Birligi, Ikinci Dunya savasi baslangicinda bogazda ve sinirda bazi insiyatifler istemis, Turkiye hayir demisti. Savastan sonra Sovyetler Birligi bu kez de Kars ve Ardahan’in kendilerine birakilmasini istedi. Bu gelisme Turk Dis Siyasetinde en onemli kirilma noktalarindan biridir. Bunun sonucunda Turkiye, Sovyetler Birligi karsisinda yalniz kaldigini hissederek Avrupa ve ABD’ye yaklasmaya yoneldi. ABD, Sovyetler Birligi’ne Turkiye’ye yonelik bu isteklerine karsi bir nota verdi ve Akdeniz’e savas gemilerini gonderdi. 1947’de kabul edilen Truman Doktrini’nin ardindan Turkiye’ye Marshall yardimi yapilmaya baslandi.1948′ de ABD ile ekonomik is birligi Anlasmasi imzalandi. 1949 yilinda Turkiye, Avrupa Konseyi’ne girdi. Boylece ABD ile Avrupa devletlerinin olusturdugu Bati blokuna katilmis oldu. Turkiye NATO’ya da uye olmak istiyor ancak Ingiltere’nin muhalefeti yuzunden giremiyordu. Haziran 1950’de Kore Savasi cikip da Turk hukumeti Kore’ye asker gonderince bu muhalefet kalkmis oldu ve 1952 yilinda Turkiye NATO’ya uye olarak Bati blokundaki yerini netlestirdi.
Buna karsilik Bati bloku Turkiye’yi yaninda tutmakla birlikte hic bir zaman tam olarak arasina almadi. Bunun en tipik ornegi Gumruk Birligi Antlasmasi’nin yapilmis olmasina karsin Turkiye’nin Avrupa Birligi uyeligine alinmamasidir.
1990’lardan itibaren kuresellesmeyle birlikte Turkiye de kapitalizmin daha etkin hissedildigi bir modele dogru yavas yavas ilerledi. Ne var ki bu gidis, ekonomi yaninda demokrasi, yargi bagimsizligi, hukukun ustunlugu, erkler ayrimi, ozerk universite, bilime dayali egitim gibi sosyal ve siyasal alanlardakiileri standartlarla desteklenemedigi icin varilan nokta cogu gelisme yolundaki ekonomide oldugu gibi ‘Ahbap Cavus Kapitalizmi’ oldu.
Turkiye 1990’lardan bugune kadar ikisi kendi yonetim kusurundan, birisi de kuresel sistemin kusurundan kaynaklanan 2 ekonomik kriz yasadi: 1994, 2001 ve 2008 krizi.
1994 ve 2001 krizlerinden IMF destegiyle cikti. 2008 Kuresel krizin etkisini de IMF destegi olmaksizin atlatmayi basardi.
Turkiye, sadece 2001 krizinden sonra yapisal reformlari yasama gecirdi. Bankacilik sektoruyle ilgili bir cok duzenleme yapti. Kamu mali disiplinini saglamak yonunde de duzenlemeler yapti. Bunlarin sonucu olarak ekonomi daha saglikli bir yapiya kavustu. Ancak, bu duzenlemelerden sonra Turkiye hic bir konuda yapisal reform yapmadi. Oysa ekonominin sosyal, siyasal ve okonomik alanda bir cok yapisal reforma ihtiyaci var. Bunlarin arasinda:
Egitim sisteminin bilim temeline oturtulmasi
Demokraside daha ileri adimlar atilmasi
Universitelere ozerklik verilmesi
vergi sisteminde dolayli vergilerin agirliginin azaltilmasi,
Tesvik sisteminin dogru kullanilarak yerli uretimin rekabetci bir bicimde gelismesinin saglanmasi
Enerjide yerli kaynak kullaniminin arttirilmasi ve dolayisiyla cari acigin dusurulmesi.
Ahbap Cavus Kapitalizmi
Kapitalizmin temelini olusturan serbest piyasa ekonomisinin ozelliklerini tasiyor gorunen ama aslinda siyasal iktidara yakinliklari olanlara farkli ve ozel uygulamalar yapan ekonomik sisteme ahbap cavus (es dost) kapitalizmi adi veriliyor.
Yasal olmayan ya da kurallara aykiri isler bir veya birkac alanda bir veya birkac kez tekrarlaniyorsa buna ahbap cavus kapitalizmi yerine yolsuzluk demek daha dogru olur. Eger bu tur iliskiler sureklilik gostermeye baslamissa, siyasal iktidarla veya onun gorevlileriyle cikar iliskisine girilmeden ihale alinamiyorsa ya da kamu ihalelerini almak icin siyasal iktidarin yakininda olmak gerekiyorsa yani olay sistemlestirilmisse o zaman o ahbap cavus kapitalizmi yerlesmis demektir.
Ahbap cavus kapitalizminin onlenmesinin bir tek yolu var: Hukuku ustun kilmak. Bir ulkede yargi bagimsizsa yani hesap sorulabilirlik tartisilmaz bir noktaya gelmisse o ulkede ahbap cavus kapitalizmi yayginlik kazanamaz. Belki tek tuk olaylarla ortaya cikar (Amerika’daki 2008 Mortgage krizi gibi) ama sistemlesemez. Hukukun yalnizca bireylere karsi degil devlete karsi da ustun kilindigi ve hesap sordugu, siyasetcinin hic bir istisnaya tabi olmadan yargi karsisina cikabildigi yerlerde denetimler dogru yapilir, onlemler alinir ve ahbap cavus kapitalizmi yerlesemez.
Ornek: 2014 yilinda Manisa’nin Soma ilcesinde komur madeninde yasanan ve 301 iscinin olumuyle sonuclanan facia, ahbap cavus kapitalizminin bir urunu. Siyasal iktidarla ve kamu gorevlileriyle ic ice oldugu icin yeterince denetlenmeyen ve bircok eksikligine ragmen calistirilmaya devam edilen bir maden ocagi isletmesi sonucta bir facianin ortaya cikmasina yol acti. Olaydan once hic sesi cikmayan sendika, olaydan sonra bile sesini cikaramadi.
Turkiye’nin Sosyokulturel Yapisindaki Degisim
Bazi ulkeler buyuk cogunlugu ayni irk, din ve ulusal kimlige sahip bireylerden olusuyor. Bunlarin birarada yasamasi, birbiriyle anlasmasi cok daha kolaydir. Cunku inanc, gelenek, aliskanlik uclemesi bu toplumu olusturan kisilerde birbirine cok yakin noktalardan gecer.Almanlar, Italyanlar, Yunanlar boyledir. Dolayisiyla bu toplumlari olusturan bireylerin birbiriyle kavgaya, savasa girme olasiligi dusuktur.
Bazi ulkeler de karisik toplumlardan olusur. Sorun yasama riskleri yuksektir. Buna ragmen, ulsu devlet yapisina sahip devletler kurmus olan bir cok ulke farkli inanc, gelenek ve aliskanliklara sahip gruplari ayni toplum icinde birarada tutmayi bir sekilde basarabiliyor. Ornegin Ingiltere, Iskocya, Galliler ve Irlandalilari birarada tutabilen birlesik krallik. Ama baska tarafta sorunlar olmuyor degil: Yugoslavya mesela, 1990’lardan itibaren 7 parcaya bolundu:Sirbistan, Hirvatistan, Bosna-Hersek, Makedonya, Slovenya, Karadag, Kosova. Her biti kendi ulus devletini kurdu.
Turkiye, farkli farkli irklardan (Turk, Kurt, Arap, vb.) farkli mezheplerden (Sunniler, Aleviler ve daha az sayida olmak uzere Ermeniler, Suryaniler, Hristiyanlar, Yahudiler, vb) ver farkli bolgesel kimliklerden (lazlar, cerkezler, vb) gelen bireylerin olusturdugu gruplara sahip bir ulke. Bundan 50 yil oncesine gelinceye kadar cesitli baskilar nedeniyle Turk olmayanlar ulusal kimliklerini, Sunni olmayanlar da dinsel kimliklerini aciklayamiyordu. Dolayisiyla Turk toplumu, disardan bakildiginda, sorunsuz bir toplum gibi gorunuyordu.
Bugun artik Turk-Kurt ayrimi, sunni-Alevi ayrimi dile getiriliyor ve kimligin temel ogesi olarak ortaya konulabiliyor. Ozellikle Turk-Kurt ayriminin rahatca ortaya konmasiyla birlikte Kurtlerin ayrilik istekleri de gun yuzune cikti. Turkiye’de Turklerden sonra en buyuk topluma sahip olan kurtlerin bir bolumu kendi ulus devletlerini kurmak istiyorlar.
Bugun Turkiye, bundan daha da tuhaf bir durumla karsi karsiya: Bolgesel kimlik farklililari ve dine bakis acisindaki farkliliklar son derece buyuk bir kopmaya yol aciyor. Turkiye, bolgelere, kentlere, semtlere gore farkli kimliklere sahip insanlardan olusuyor. Hepsi musluman gibi gorunen buyuk cogunluk, kendi icinde seriat isteyenler ve laikligi savunanlar olarak ikiye ayriliyor. Sonra bu ayrilanlar kendi iclerinde parcalara bolunuyorlar. dinsel devlet yonetimi konusunda ayni dusunceyi savunuyor gibi gorunen tarikatlar is iktidar meselesine gelince kavgaya giriyorlar. Ayni evde yasayan insanlar arasinda bile bolunmuslukler var.
Bu cerceveden bakildiginda Turkiye, bugunku yapisiyla hic bir topluma benzemiyor.
Ahbap Cavus Demokrasisi
Ozellikle gelismekte olan ulkelerde bir cok demokrasi ilkeleri anayasa ya da yasalarda yer aldigi halde uygulanmaz: Secimler gorunurde kurallara ve ilkelere uygun bicimde yapilir. Kuvvetler ayrimi var gibi gorunur. Yasalar gorunurde herkese esit uygulaniyormus gibidir. Cogunluk, azinliga saygi duyar gibi gorunur. Ama bunlarin hic biri gercek anlamda soz konusu degildir. Yasama, yurutmenin dediklerini yapar, yargi da bu yolla yurutmenin emrine girmis olur. Secimler gercekten yapilir ama secimlerde hileler olur. Bu hileler yargiya goturulur gibi gorunse de yarginin bagimsizligini yitirmis olmasi nedeniyleaykiri bir karar vermesi mumkun olmaz. Karsi goruse saygi gosteriliyor gibi gorunse de gercekte boyle bir durum soz konusu olmaz. Yani demokrasi rejiminin temelini olusturan ilkeler uygulanir gosterilir ama uygulanmaz.
Bu ulkelerde bir suru yolsuzluk, haksizlik, yasa disi uygulama gorulebilir. Be var ki iktidar partisi iktidarda kalmaya devam ettigi surece , yarginin bagimsiz olmamasi basta olmak uzere bir cok sebepten, bu uygulamalarin hesabi sorulamaz. Gelismis demokrasinin egemen oldugu ulkelerde parti iktidarinin ve uyelerinin yapmis oldugu yolsuzluklar iktidar surecinde ortaya cikarilir ve hesabi sorularak cezalandirilir. Esasen iktidarda iken hesap sorulamamasi ayricaligi, iktidardaki partinin iktidardan ayrilmamak icin her seyi yapmasinin da temel nedenini olusturur.
Avrupa Birligi Bizi Neden Istemedi?
2004 yilinda AB, o zamana kadar ayak surudugu iliskilerini hizlandirarak Turkiye ile tam uyelik muzakerelerini baslatma kararini onayladi. Ne varki zaman ilerledikce Turkiye’deki hareketin demokrasiyle o kadar da ilgisinin olmadigi, askerin gucunun zayiflatilmasinin sivil gucleri egemen kilmaktan cok din destekli bir ahbap cavus kapitalizmini ve ahbap cavus demokrasisinin pekistirmek icin altyapi olusturmaya yonelik oldugu yolunda Bati’da kuskular uyanmaya basladi. Bu kuskularin artmasiyla birlikte AB, Turkiye’nin uyeligi meselesini geciktirmeye yoneldi. Bugun geldigimiz noktada Turkiye, iki yuzyildan beri aralarina girmeye calistigi Avrupali ulkelerle tarihinin en kotu iliski donemine girmis bulunuyor.
Amerika’nin Buyuk Orta Dogu Projesi ve Turkiye’nin Odedigi Bedel
ABD, kendisine rakip olabilecek Rusya gibi ulkelerin onunu kesmek, bir yandan da enerji deposu konumundaki bolgede soz sahibi olabilmek icin Ortadogu’ya ozel bir onem vermektedir. Boyle bir duzenlemede isi organize edecek devlet olarak Israil, bolgedeki ulkeler icin model alinacak ulke ise Turkiye olarak belirlenmistir.
Ilk asamada Turkiye’nin Bati’yle iliskileri saglamlastirilmaya baslandi. AB ile muzakerelerin baslamasi bu asamadaki donum noktasidir. Ikinci onemli asama olarakTurkiye’ye G 20 ulkeleri arasinda yer verildi. Boylece Turkiye’nin itibari yukseltilmis oldu.
Sonra Turkiye’nin islami kimligi one cikartilmaya baslandi. Cunku Turkiye o zaman kadar laik kimligiyle one cikmis tek Ortadogu ulkesiydi ve bu yonuyle Araplar tarafindan kendilerinden bir ulke olarak kabul edilmiyordu. Islam kimliginin one cikartilmasi Turkiye’nin Ortadogu halklari uzerindeki kredibilitesini arttiracakti. Buna hizmet edecek bir yontem de Israil ile iliskilerin sogutulmasiydi. Cunku Araplar, ABD yuzunden Israil’e ses cikaramiyorlar ama cikarani da icten ice destekliyorlardi.
Turkiye’nin Israil’e kafa tutmasi, Araplar nezdinde itibar elde etmesi icin onemli bir adim olacakti. Bu proje devreye sokuldu. Buhamleler sonrasinda Turkiye’nin Araplar nezdinde eskiden oldukca dusuk olan kredibilitesi yukseldi. Araplar, Israil’e kafa tutan Turkiye modelini benimsediler ve Turkiye’ye “Dusmanimin dusmani benim dostumdur’ yaklasimi cercevesinde bakmaya yoneldiler.
Buyuk Isadamlari Neden Goruslerini Savunmadigi Iktidari Destekliyor?
Bati standartlarina gore yetismis, hukuka saygili, ulkesini seven, laiklikten yana, birlikte is yapan iki is adami dusunelim: A ve B. A ve B mevcut hukumetin yaptiklarindan mutlu olmasalar bile bu hukumetin degismemesini, begenmeseler de mevcut siyasal ortamin devam etmesini isteyeceklerdir. Cunku bu siyasal ortamin bozulmasi, hukumetin dusmesi, yeni hukumet arayislarininortaya cikmasi gibi haller, istikrarsizlik yaratacak ve finansal piyasalar; borsadan kurlara, faizlerden diger getirilere kadar kayiplarla karsilasacaktir.
A ve B buyuk bir celiski icindedirler. Bir yandan begenmedikleri, desteklemedikleri, icinde bulunan sosyal, kulturel ve hukuki ortami bozdugundan sikayet ettikleri hukumetin gitmesini istemekte, bir yandan da hukumetin gitmesinin yaratacagi boslugun olusturacagi para kayiplariyla karsilasmak istememektedirler.
A ve B’nin sayisi bir ulke nufusunda cok yer tutmayabilir. Ne var ki kararlari piyasayi fazlasiyla etkilemektedir.
Son bir kac yilda bu kadar buyuk ve sik soklar yasanmasina ragmen (17 Aralik, ISIS saldirilari, Suriye gocu, vb) piyasalarin tumuyle cokmemesinin temel nedenlerinden birisi; insanlarin kazanclariyla dusunceleri arasinda yasadigi bu celiskinin genellikle kazanclar lehine cozulmesidir.
Rahmi Koc ve Erdogan
Guler Sabanci ve Erdogan
Aydin Dogan ve Erdogan
Venezuella’dan Alinacak Ders
Venezuella, dunyanin en zengin petrol rezervine sahip ulkesi konumunda bulunuyor. Bir zamanlar bolluk icinde yuzen bu ulkenin su anda enflasyon orani %350. Peki Venezuela bu duruma nasil geldi?
2002 de bir darbe girisimi sonrasi tekrar baskanliga geri donmeyi basaran Hugo Chavez, Ulusal kalkinma fonu – Fonden adinda, tumuyle Chavez’in talimatlariyla isleyen, parlemanto’nun onayinin disinda ve denetiminden uzak bir butce disi fon kuruldu. Fonden, ulkenin petrolden gelen milyarlarca dolarlik gelirini sorgusuz sualsiz, denetimden uzak bir sekilde cesitli yatirim harcamalarina yonlendirdi. 2012’ye gelindiginde Fonden kamu harcamalarinin yarisini yapar hale gelmisti. 2005-2012 yillari arasinda 100 milyar dolar dolayinda para tamamlanamayan insaatlara harcanmis bulunuyordu. Chavez bu fondan kendisini destekleyenlere para dagitiyordu. Fonden kanaliyla bir yandan ulkenin yoksul bolgelerinde bircok hastane, okul yapiliyordu,
Chavez, cesitli defalar referandumlar yoluyla anayasa degisiklikleri yapti. 2004 yilinda Venezuella’da kuvvetler ayriligi fiilen ortadan kalkti. Son asamada yuksek yargi da Chavez’in denetimine gectikten sonra yargi bagimsizligi tumuyle ortadan kalkmis oldu. Yargiclar, hukumete sormadan karar almaya basladilar.
Petrol ihracatindan elde edilen gelirle her sey ithal edilir oldu, uretim durdu. Petrol fiyatlarinin yuksekligi, Venezuella para birimi Venezuella Bolivari’nin asiri degerli olmasina yol acmis bu da ulkenin uretim yerine ithalata yonelik bir ekonomi haline gelmesine yol acmisti. Uretim dusunce, GSYH buyumesi durdu.
Chavez olup yerine kamon soforu Maduro gecince isler karismaya basladi. Petrol fiyatlari 100USD/varil duzeyinden 30UDS/varil duzeyine gerileyince sistem iflas asamasina geldi. Ihracattan yeterli gelir elde edemeyip, ithalati da yeterli duzeyde yapamaz oldu. Gerekli mallarin uretimi de yapilmadigi icin fiyatlar artmaya basladi. Maduro, populist politikalari degistirip onlem almak yerine, politikalari iyice one cikardi ve tavan fiyat uygulamasina basvurdu. Bu durumda mallar raflardan cekildi ve karaborsa basladi.
Ulkenin icinde bulundugu siyasal, sosyal ve ekonomik sikintilari gundeme getiren muhalefet liderleri degisik suclamalarla tutuklandi. Medya sansure tabi tutuldu ve elestiri yapamaz duruma geldi. Bir sure sonra medyanin buyuk bolumu el degistirerek hukumet yanlisi ellere devredildi. Bircok olayin yayimlanmasi yasaklandi. Yonetime karsi halktan gelen her tepkiyi Maduro, karsi devrim girisimi olarak nitelendirip cezalandirma yoluna gitti.
Osmanli’dan Gunumuze Turk Ekonomisi’ni Olumsuz Etkileyenler
Bilim ve Din:Bati dunyasi Protestanlarin cikisi, ronesans ve reformlarin gelisiyle karanlik ortacagdan cikip, akil ve bilimin, inancin onune gecmesinin yolunu acan laiklige dogru ilerlerken, Islam dunyasi tam tersi bir yola girip bilimi terkedip dine dondu.
Osmanli Imparatorlugu, kuskusuz bir din devletiydi. Amaci, Islam dinini yaymak, onun bayragi altinda insanlari toplamakti. Buna karsin bilime de agirlik veren bir yapiya sahipti. Bir sure bu ikili yapiyi korumayi basardi. Medreselerde din egitiminin yaninda matematik, fen ve felsefe egitimi de agirlikli olarak yer aldi.
Bizans, Selcuklu ve Orta Asya (Semerkant, Buhara) birikimi Osmanli’nin bilime bakisini ve bicim verisini en fazla etkileyen kaynaklardi. Buna ek olarak Bati’dan kovulan ve Balkanlar’a Istanbul’a ve Misir’a yerlestirilen ve cogu sonradan Musluman olan Yahudiler, basta tip olmak uzere butun alanlarda bilimsel ilerlemeye buyuk katki yaptilar.
Ozellikle Kanuni Sultan Suleyman’dan sonra Osmanli medreselerinde bilimin agirligi azaltilip dinsel egitimin agirliginin arttirilmasi ve felsefe geleneginin yavas yavas terk edilmesiyle birlikte Osmanli’nin bilimden uzaklasma sureci basladi.
Egitim Altyapisi:Eldeki en ciddi verilere gore 1897 yilinda okuma yazma bilenlerin toplam nufusa oraninin %10 dolayinda oldugu goruluyor.
1916 yilinda Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nun nufusu 19.043.000 kisiydi. Buna gore kabaca nufusun %3’u okulda bulunuyordu. Cumhuriyet’in Osmanli’dan aldigi egitim altyapisi oldukca zayif bir altyapiydi.
Ekonomik Yapi: Kapitulasyonlar, bir baska degisle diger uyruk halklarina taninan ayricaliklar, Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nun ve sonrasinda da Turkiye ekonomisinin kokunu kurutmustur.
Osmanli, dis borclanmayi ilk 1854 yilinda Kirim Savasi’nin finansmanini saglamak icin yapti: Neden 1: Osmanli, sanayi devrimine giden yola girememis, sanayi urunlerini disardan almak zorunda kalmisti. Eskiden kendi imalati malzemeyle girdigi savasa simdi Bati’dan aldiklariyla girmek zorundaydi. Neden 2: Madeni paranin yerini kagit para almisti. Osmanli, para ihtiyacini madeni parayi tagsis ederek karsilayamaz hale geldi.
1500 ile 1700 yillari arasinda kisi basina gelirin artmamasinin nedeni buyuk olcude Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nun Ronesans, Reform ve Aydinlanma Cagi’nin disinda kalmasidir. Bati’da yavas yavas dinsel egitimden bilimsel egitime gecilmesiyle baslayan kesifler ve icatlara Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nun yabanci kalmasi ekonomisinin gelismesine de engel olmus gorunuyor.
1820 ile 1923 arasinda kisi basina gelir artisinin son derece sinirli kalmasinin altinda, Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nun sanayi devrimine girememesi yatiyor. Bati’da her gun yeni buluslar yapilir, teknolojide yeni gelismeler kaydedilirken, Osmanli Imparatorlugu bunlardan uzak kalmistir. Bu donemdeki toprak kayiplari da gelir kayiplarina yol acmislardir.
Petrol ve dogalgaz gibi para getirecek kaynaklari bulunmayan ekonomiler icin cikis yolunun bilime dayanan egitimden gectigi cok acik.
1948 Marshall Plani Ikinci Dunya Savasi sonrasi, ABD Disileri Bakani George Marshall’in Avrupa’ya yardim paketinden Turkiye’de nasibini almisti. Yalniz Lozan Antlasmasiyla kapitulasyonlardan kurtulan Turkiye bu yardimla yine Bati’nin mali egemenligi altina girdigi iddia edilmektedir. Bu donemde, Menderes’in de baskisiyla, koy Enstituleri kapatilmisti. Ayni zamanda bazi mallarin uretiminden vazgecilmis, bir cok alandaki girisim yarida birakilmis ve imam hatip okullari acilmisti. O zamanlarda Marshall yardimiyla ilkokulda tenefuslerde sari penir ve sut tozu icerek buyuyen Turk genci 20li yaslarina gelince 68 kusagi denilen bu kusak ikiye bolunecekti: Amerikaya baskaldiranlar (Deniz Gezmis kusagi) ve Amerika politikalarini destekleyenler.
1960 Darbesi Ilginc bir darbedir. Demokrat Parti’nin Marshall yardimiyla baslayan Amerikan hegomanyasina girmis ekonomi cercevesine karsi asker-sivil aydinlarin yaptigi bir darbedir. Turkiye Cumhuriyeti tarihinin en ilerici, en ozgurlukcu anayasasi bu donemde yapilmis olan 1961 Anayasasi’dir.
12 Mart 1971 Darbesi 61 Anayasasinin getirdigi ozgurluk ortami ne yazikki Turkiye’de yanlis yorumlandi. Dunyada yayilan modanin da etkisyle 68 Universite olaylari patlak verdi ve solcular sagcilar olarak ikiye bolunen gencler birbiriyle savasti. 1971 darbesi, 61 anayasasinin tanidigi ozgurlukleri rafa kaldirirken, 1960 da solcu subaylari iktidara tasiyan askeri darbe, 71’de bu kez sagci subaylari iktidara tasiyarak tuhaf bir bicim almis oldu. Darbe sonrasi ekonomik sikintilara alinan onlemler sivil yonetimde bir butun olarak devreye sokulamayinca bu karisik donem 12 Eylul 1980’de bir kez daha askeri darbeyle sona erdi.
1980 sonrasinda iktidara gelenler Cumhuriyet’in ilk kusaklarinin dis borclanmaya karsi soguk tavirlarini hata olarak gormuslerdi. Bu cercevede dis borclanma, yap-islet-devret gibi Osmanli’nin basvurup da iflasa kadar gitmesine yol acan yollara yeniden ve buyuk bir hevesle girdiler.
Cumhuriyet’i kuranlar, imparatorlugu batiran nedenlerin en basinda mali bagimsizligin kaybedilmesinin geldigini gordukleri icin cekilen bircok sikintiya karsin ulkeyi dis borclanmaya sokmamaya ozen gostermislerdir.
Bir toplum, gecmiste cekilen acilari hatirlamaz, yapilan hatalari degerlendirmezse, ayni acilari cekmeye mahkumdur. Tarihini dogru okuyamayan kusaklar, gun gelir o tarihi baskalarindan dinlemek zorunda kalirlar.
2001 Turkiye, tarihinin en buyuk ekonomik krizlerinden birine girdi. Ancak krizden cikisi, IMF nin de yardimiyla hizli oldu. Bu kriz iki onemli sonuc yaratti: 1. Isini kaybeden bircok insan icin para kazanmak en onemli deger halini aldi. Bu insanlar bunu gecmiste belki de hic bu sekilde dusunmemislerdi. 2. Krizin faturasi iktidari paylasan merkez sol ve merkez sag partilerine cikarildi. AKP’ye iktidar yollarini acti.
AKP iktidarinin ilk 10 yillik gecmisine bakildiginda, bir cok makroekonomik gostergede duzelme oldugu gorulur. AKP iktidarinin 2012 yilindan sonraki doneminde ivme kayiplari ortaya cikti. Ozetlemek gerekirse: eldeki kamu mallarinin ozellestirilmesi, satilmasiyla kazanilan ivmeyle son 14 yilda onceki 14 yila gore GSYH’sini ve kisi basina gelirini ciddi bicimde arttirmis, buyumede potansiyel buyume oranini yakalamis,enflasyonu ve butce acigini onemli oranda dusurmus, buna karsilik ayni donemde issizlik artisini ve cari acik yukselisini kontrolden kacirmistir.
Borclanmayi bu sekilde arttirarak ve eldeki mallari satarak bu buyumeyi surekli kilmak mumkun degildir. Turkiye, Menderes ve Ozal donemlerinden sonra bu donemde de yine borclanarak ve mevcut varliklari satip paraya cevirerek ivme yakalama politikasini denemis gorunuyor.
Blogcu notu: Bu kanayan yarayi yara bandiyla kapatmak gibi gecici ve uzun vadede ise yaramayacak bir cozum gibi geliyor kulaga.
ABD Merkez Bankasi (Fed) Ekim 2017’den gecerli olmak uzere bilanco kucultme operasyonunu baslatmis bulunuyor. Bu gelismenin, Turkiye ve benzeri dis finanasmana bagimli ulkeler acisindan sikintilara neden olmasi kacinilmaz gibi duruyor. 2018 yilinda fazla etkisi olmasa da sonraki yillarda piyasada likidite azalmasi baslayacak. Bu da Turkiye gibi ulkelerin dis finansmana erisimini zorlastiracak ve pahalandiracak.
Esnafin Iktidara Gelisi
Turkiye’de gecmiste asker ve sivil burokrasi, sanayi ve ticaret burjuvazisi, tarim burjuvazisi iktidarda yer aldilar. 2000’lerde esnaf burjuvazisinin iktidara gelmesi Turkiye’deki diger kesimler icin surpriz oldu. Bu surpriz giderek soka donustu. Cunku esnaf burjuvazisi iktidarinda Turkiye’de cumhuriyetin ilanindan beri gorulmeyen degisimler yasanmaya baslandi.
Esnaf iktidari aslinda ciddi bir baskaldirinin sonucudur. Kurtulus Savasi’yla baslayan ve Turkiye’yi Bati’ya entegre etmeye yonelen baskaldiri bu kez tersine, Turkiye’yi Ortadogu’ya entegre etmeye yonelmis bir baskaldiriya dondu. Bunun sonucunda Turk toplumu pek cok acidan farkli dusunen, farkli davranan, bu farkliliklara saygi gostermeyen, birbirini anlamayan gruplara bolundu.
Esnaf Sosyolojisi: Bugun hala enaf yanina meslek ogrensin diye verilen ciraklar ‘Eti senin kemigi benim’ yaklasimiyla gonderiliyor. Usta (Baba figuru) cogu kez mutlak otorite, cirak da cogu kez kul konumunda bulunuyor. Boyle bir ortamin en belirgin ozelligi ustadan gorerek yapmak, ondan ogrenileni uygulamaktir. Bu tur bir egitim, genellikle degisime kapali, sorgulamayan insanlar yetismesine yol acar.
Butun bunlar, esnafin gelisime kapali, tutucu, dinsel degerlere bagli, bilime uzak bir ortamda bulunmasi demektir. Kentlesmenin gelismesi, zincir magazalarin ortaya cikmasiyla birlikte esnaflik yavas yavas kaybolmaya baslamis olsa da esnaf kulturunun kaybolmasi esnafligin kendisinin kaybolmasi kadar hizli olmuyor. Cunku burada bahsettigimiz esnaf kulturu, halkin esnaf olmayan tum halka yayilmis bir kulturdur. Bu kulturel altyapinin her ulkedeki gorunumu farkli olabilir. Bizdeki gorunumu:
Dinsel inanci en onde tutan
Bilime genellikle kapali
Dusunce ozgurlugu gibi konulara uzak
Demokrasiyi tam olarak anlamamis
Sandik ve secimi demokrasi olarak goren
Hukuk kurallarindan cok din kurallarina baglilik, seklinde ortaya cikiyor.
Esnaf kulturune bagli insanlar, cocuklarinin buyuklere saygili olmasini, kizlarinin kapali olmasini isteyen, ekmek parasi kazanmayi her seyden onemli goren, guzel sanatlara, tiyatroya, edebiyata fazla ilgi duymayan insanlardir. Esnaf adi altinda toparlasak da aslinda bu cerceveledigimiz grup, esnaftan cok daha buyuk bir grubu olusturuyor.
Esnaf 2000’lere gelinceye kadar gucunun tam olarak farkinda degildi. Daha cok dinsel motifleri one cikaran sag partilere egilim gosteriyor ve oy veriyordu. 2000’lerde kendi iktidarini yaratabilecegini farketti ve sahneyi aldi.
Turkiye’deki Degisimi Etkileyen Faktorler
Nufus ve Goc: Ilk nufus sayiminin yapildigi 1927’de Turkiye’nin nufusu 13.6 milyondu ve bu nufusun %25’i kentlerde, %75’i kirsal kesimde yasiyordu. Bugun Turkiye’nin nufusu 80 milyon dolayinda ve bu nufusun %80’i kentlerde, %20’si kirsal alanda yasiyor. Buradan anlasiliyor ki son 90 yilda hizli bir nufus artisi yasanmis ve kirsal alandan kentlere cok buyuk bir goc gerceklesmis.
Koylulukten kentlilige gecis kolay degil: Insanlar koyden kente goc edip kentlerde yerlestiklerinde birdenbire koylulukten cikip kentli olmuyorlar. Koyden getirdikleri kulturu terk edip kent kulturulerine uyum saglamalari icin yaklasik olarak 3 kusak gecmesi gerekiyor.
Uyum Saglayamama: Cogu insan goc ettikleri kentlerde gecekondular yaparak oralara yerlesmis bulunuyor. Kulturel farkliliklarin yani sira boyle egreti bir yerlesim icinde olmalari nedeniyle kendilerini gittikleri yere ait hissetmiyorlar. Oyle olunca kent kulturunu benimsemeye, oraya ait olmaya caba gostermek yerine, ait olabileceklerini dusundukleri tek yer olan camide bulusarak gelceklerini orada belirlemeye yoneliyorlar.
Dogum Kontrolu: 20. yuzyilda gelismekte olan ekonomilerde bir yaklasim cikti ortaya, az cocuk yapip ekonomiyi bozguna ugratmama. Bu akim Turkiye’de de etkili oldu. Hali vakti yerinde olmayan aileler meseleyi kadere baglayarak birden cok cocuk yaparken, durumu goreceli olarak daha iyi olan aileler, cok cocuga yeterli ve nitelikli bir egitim olanagi saglayamayacaklarini dusunerek dogum kontrolune basvurdular. Bunun sonucunda cocuklarini yeteri kadar iyi yetistiremeyecek ailelerin cok cocugu oldu ve dusuk egitim duzeyindeki nufus artti.
Kurt Meselesi: Osmanli’dan bu yana bu topraklarin onemli meselelerinden birisidir. Osmanli da Turkiye Cumhuriyeti de Kurt meselesini cozemedi. Bunun temelinde yatan sorun, Turklerin cok uzun bir sure Kurtleri ayri bir halk olarak kabul etmemesinden, her iki halkin da agirlikli olarak Islam dinine ait olmasinin boyle bir ayrim yapmaya gerek olmadigi yorumu yapmasindan kaynaklanmis olsa gerek. Oysa Kurt halki oteden beri kendisini dinsel kimlik cercevesinde degil, ulusal kimlik cercevesinde tanimlamaya calisiyor. Turkiye cumhuriyeti son donemde Kurt meselesini cozmek icin yeni bir yaklasim denediyse de, fiysakoyla sonuclandi.
Kurt meselesinin cozulememis olmasi, Turkiye icin milyarlarca TL tutarinda harcamaya ve insan kaybina yol acmakta, ayrica moral olarak toplumun yipranmasina neden olmaktadir. Turkiye, eger en bastan bu kadar parayi ve emegi Kurtlerin yogun yerlesim bolgelerine harcasa ve oradaki halkin is ve as sahibi olmasiyla ugrasabilseydi, bugun buyuk olasilikla boyle bir sorunu olmayacakti.
Devrimler: Uc onemli kuresel devrimden ilki yani topraga yerlesim, Neolitik Devrim, bu topraklarda ortaya cikti. Turkiye ikinci onemli devrimi yani Sanayi Devrimini zamaninda yakalayamadi. 1800 lu yullarda baslayan devrime Turkiye anca 20. yuzyilda dahil olabildi. Devrim cok onemli bir gelisme. Devrimin baslangicinda disarida kalininca sonradan yakalansa bile etkisini yerli yerine oturtmak kolay olmuyor.
Turkiye 3. Devrimin, yani elektronik iletisim devriminin disinda kalmadi. Gelismis ulkelerke karsilastirilinca geride kalmis gorunse bile kendi kategorisinde iyiye yakin bir konumda.
Kulturel Degisim: Turkiye’de iki farkli insan grubu iki farkli ulke insani kadar birbirinden farklidir: Turk kulturu, nufusunun buyuk cogunlugu itibariyle Ortadogu kulturune yakin bir toplum olarak dusunulebilir. Bu kulturde, kadinlar ikinci plandadir. Genellikle evde otururlar, cogu bir iste calismaz, ev kadini olur. Kiz cocuklari baski altindadir. Cogu kisa bir okuma yazma egitiminden sonra okula gonderilmez, Kuran kursuna gonderilir. Insanlar bilimle pek ilgilenmezler, kitap okumazlar, tiyatro ve operadan uzaktirlar. Kadin ve erkek bir arada bulunmazlar. Lokantalar, kahvehaneler sadece erkeklerle doludur. Erkekler duzenli olarak camiye giderler. Kimisi inandigi icin, cogu da orada gorunmesi gerektigini dusundugu icin gider.
Buna karsilik, toplumun az sayida insani Bati kulturune yakin egitim almistir. Bu insanlar kadin ve erkek birlikte gezerler, kadinlari dislamazlar, lokantaya kadinlarla birlikte giderler, icki icerler, kitap okurlar, tiyatroya, konserlere giderler. Kizlarini okuturlar, erkek cocuklardan ayirmazlar. Bu grupta camiye gidenler az sayidadir, gidenler de bayramdan bayrama gider. Bu grubu kentsoylular diye adlandirmak mumkun. Kentsoylular terimiyle kastettigimiz, en az 3 kusaktan beri buyuk kentlerde yasayanlardir.
Birbirleriyle bu iki grup zaman zaman farkli alanlarda catisma icine girseler de genellikle baris icinde bir araya yasamaya calisirlar. Ancak bu cabada son yillarda oldukca zedelenme oldugu goruluyor.
Tasralilarin demokrasi, dusunce ozgurlugu, yargi bagimsizligi, bilimsel egitim, laiklik, hukukun ustunlugu gibi konularla pek ilgisi yoktur. Daha cok is bulup bulamadigi, evine ekmek goturup goturemedigi gibi temel sorunlarla ilgilidirler.
Kentsoylular icin demokrasi, dusunce ozgurlugu, yargi bagimsizligi, bilimsel egitim, laiklik, kadin-erkek esitligi gibi konular, en az is bulup bulamadiklari, eve ekmek gourup goturemedikleri kadar onemlidir. Bu tur kavramlardan uzaklasilmasi onlari is bulup bulamamak kadar rahatsiz eder.
Ilk gruptakiler, kolaylikla ikinci gruba dusman hale gelebiliyorlar. Boylece din, dil, irk, koken gibi farkliliklara bu tur bir gruplasma farki da ekleniyor. Ilk grupta yer alanlar, sehir efsanelerine, safsatalara, dogru gibi gorunen ama aslinda hic bir bilimsel temeli olmayan soylemlere, kiskirtmalara, propogandalara cabucak kapilip ona gore tavir alabiliyorlar. Bu grubun ikinci gruba gore cok daha kalabalik olmasi secim sonuclarinin da bu grup tarafindan belirlenecegini gosteriyor.Bu grubun onemli bir bolumu uzerine dini soylemler oldukca etkili. O nedenle ikinci grubu temsil eden siyasal partiler bile din konusunda farkli soylemlerde bulunmaktan kaciniyorlar.
Egitim: Turkiye’nin en parlak ogrencileri, en cok para getiren islere girmeyi tercih ediyorlar. Yani egitimde asla planlanmamis ama ekonominin isteklerine gore belirlenmis bir yonelis soz konusu.
Son donemdeki duruma bakildiginda, en buyuk talebin fen liselerine yonelmesine karsilik, yonetim, imam hatip lisesi acmayi tercih ediyor.
Turkiye, dunya ortalamasina bakildiginda egitim dalinda cok basarisiz. Arastirma sonuclari gosteriyorki, diger ulkelere nazaran daha cok zaman harcamalarina ragmen ogrencilerimiz daha dusuk basari elde ediyorlar. Buradan 2 sonuc cikiyor: 1. Bizim cocuklar verimli calismayi bilmiyor. 2. Calistiklari seyler dogru seyler degil.
Bir baska neden de su:bir sonraki asamadaki sinavi esas alip ona gore calismalari. Yani ogrenmek, analizde kullanmak amacli ogrenmek yerine sadece ezberliyorlar. Oyle olunca akil yurutmeye dayali sorulari cozemiyorlar.
Ozetle, Turkiye, ogretim sistemini ilkokuldan baslayarak, tumuyle bilimsel temellere oturtmadikca ve bunu yaparken ozgur, sorgulayici bir ortam yaratmadikca, okul sayisini arttirarak, her semtte bir universite acarak ortalama IQ duzeyini yulseltemez, IQ duzeyini yukseltemezse bulus yapamaz, bulus yapamazsa da dunyada iddiali ekonomiler arasina giremez.
Biat Kulturu: Arapca bir sozcuk olan biat, yoneten ve yonetilenler arasinda yazili olmaksizin var oldugu kabul edilen itaat anlasmasi anlamina geliyor. Osmanli’dan gunumuze gelen biat kulturu hala etkisini surdurmektedir. Bunda bilimsel, sorgulayici, analitik egitimin bir turlu tam olarak yasama gecirilememesinin buyuk etkisi vardir.
Turkiye, biat kulturune dayali bu sistem cercevesinde refah artisi oldugu butun donemlerde yeni bir bulus yaparak ya da teknolojiyi gelistirerek degil, onceki donemin birikimini ya da gelecegin gelirini harcayarak refah artisi saglamistir. Erdogan iktidara geldikten sonra ilk 7-8 yil refah artisi yaratmis gibi gorunen modelde, ozellestirilecek kamu kurulusu azaldikca ve ozel kesimin ve hanehalklarinin borclanma sinirina gelip dayanmasiyla gelismenin hizi kesilmis, Turkiye oteden beri hep icinde bocaladigi orta gelir tuzagindan cikmayi basaramamistir. Ulkemiz yukte hafif parada agir teknolojik mallar uretip satarsa ihya olur. Bunun ise tek bir yolu var: Bilime dayali ama yalnizca bilime dayali egitim.
Bilim disi egitimle yetisen insanlarin arasindan bulus yapan, teknoloji gelistiren insanlar, dunya capinda sanatcilar, edebiyatcilar, yazarlar, muzisyenler istisnai olarak cikar, onlari da sistem harcar. Ornegin: III. Murat, Takiyuddin’in kurdugu gozlemevini cesitli dedikodulara inanarak 1 gecede yiktirmistir. IV. Murat, kendi yaptigi balmumu kanatlarla Galata Kulesi’nden Uskudar’a ucan Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi’yi ‘tehlikeli’ bularak surgune yollamistir. Turkiye, dunya capindaki sairi Nazim Hikmet’i ‘komunist’ oldugu icin hapislerde surundurmustur. Yetistirdigi sayili klasik Bati Muzigi bestecilerinden Fazil Say’i, ‘Omer Hayyam’ a ait oldugu sanilan bir rubaiyi sanal ortamda tekrarladigi icin, bir kalemde silmistir. Biat kulturunden cikilmadikca, ilerlemek mumkun degildir.
Hukuk: Toplumu yonetenlerin kendi cikardiklari ve uyulmasini denetlemek durumunda olduklari yasalara uymamalari toplum icin olumsuz bir referans oluyor. Turkiye kurallar acisindan son derece zengin bir ulkedir. Sorun, getirilen yasalara, kurallara uymama gelenegidir.
Bir baska mesele de af yasalaridir. Ozellikle vergilerle ilgili olarak zamaninda odeme yapmayanlar ya da bir sekilde kural disi davrananlar icin sik sik af cikarilir. Sonucta vergisini zamaninda odeyenler cezalandirilmis, zamaninda odemeyen odullendirilmis olacagi icin kurallara uyan insanlarin da kural disi davranmaya ozenmesi soz konusu olur.
Kurallar yalnizca yasalara saygi gosterenleri ve sesi cikmayanlara uygulanir hale geldikce, bu sekilde davranan insanlar da kendilerinin aptal yerine kondugunu dusunerek digerleri gibi davranmaya yonelirler ve toplum giderek kurallara uymayanlarin cogunluga ulastigi bir yapiya donmeye baslar.
Buraya kadar sayilan devrimlere baktigimizda iki durum dikakri cekiyor:
Devrimler arasi gecen zaman kuculuyor. Tarim devrimiyle ilk sanayi devrimi arasinda yaklasik 12 bin yil gecti. Endustri devrimleri arasindaki sureler 100 yilin altina indi. Endustri 3 ve endustri 4 arasinda gecen zaman 70 yildir.
Insan emegine ihtiyac azaldi.
Endusti 4. Devriminde Turkiye’nin rolu bu devrimin gerektirdigi makine ve robotlari onlarin yazilimlarini yapmak degil, bunlari satin alip kullanarak gerekli uretimi yapmak olacak. Turkiye’nin bu devrimin yaratacagi tsunamiye hazirlanmasi gerekiyor:
Sanayi odalarinin onderliginde yuksek kalitede eleman yetistiren bilim liselerinin kurulmasi gerekiyor. Burs verilmeli ve kayitt tesvik edilmeli.
Universitelerde bilim dallarina donus yapilmali.Iktisadi Idari bilimlarin kontenjanlari dusurulmeli, cunku ihtiyac azalmakta.
Bu devrimle olusacak issizligi azaltabilmek icin tarim ve hayvancilik politikalarini, bu alanlarda verimliligive uretimi arttiracak bicimde ele almak lazim.
Butun bunlari yapabilmek icin insaati birakip cevreye bakmak gerek.
Siyasal anlamda da yapisal reformlar gerek: anayasa degisikligiyle baslanmali. Sistemi Bati ulkeleri duzeyine ciakrabilmek icin demokrasiyi, ozgurlugu, dusunce ozgurlugunu, hosgoruyu, kisi haklarinin korunmasini en ust duzeye cikaracak ve kisitlanmasi halini savas gibi cok zorunlu hallerle sinirli tutacak duzenlemelere gidilmesi gerekiyor. Anayasa kuvvetler ayrimini tam olarak vurgulamali. Yasama, yurutme yargi erklerinden birinin otekine ustunlugunu onleyecek bir yapida olmalidir. Secim sisteminde baraj uygulamasi kadirilsin, milletvekilliginde sure sinirlandirilmasi ve dokunulmazliklarin kaldirilmasi bu degisikliklerden sayilabilir
Turkiye’nin bugun ki egitim sistemini kokten degistirmek gerek, tumuyle bilimin egemen kilinmasi lazim.
Hakim ve Savcilar Yuksek Kurulu tumuyle siyasal iktidar disinda kendi mesleki sinirlari cercevesinde sistemi, atamalari, terfileri yonetecek hale gelirse bu alandaki tartismalar onlenebilir.
Ekonomide buyumenin ithalata bagimli yapidan kurtarilmasi ve cari acigin dusurulmesi ekonomik alandaki yapisal reform adimlarindan en onemlisidir.Ic tasarruflari arttirmak veya uretimin ithalata dayali yapisini yerdi girdilere yoneltmek.
Enerji kaynaklarinda gunes, ruzgar eberjisi ve biyoenerji gibi alanlarda adimlar atilmasi gerekiyor.
Turkiye son 15 yilda 2 tren kacirdi. Biri 2001 krizi sonrasi duzeldiginde ikincisi de 2005 yilinda Avrupa tam uyelik muzakerelerine baslandiginda. Mali durumumuz bu iki donemde de iyiyken yapilmasi gereken sey Egitim, huku, vergi, dis acigi dengeleyecek yatirimlarin tesviki gibi alanlarda yapisal reforma girismek. Ancak olmadi.
SON SOZ: Ilginc bir bicimde bugun esnaf, kendi iktidarina son verebilecek en onemli guc gibi gorunuyor.
First of all, I want to say that this is more than a book review. After reading Professor Hofstede’s book and searching through his website, I learned a lot of useful information about international relations. With the knowledge I had, I prepared and presented workshops about teaching in multicultural classroom and how as educators, we could use these cultural differences for our own good.
The whole book is a summary of Professor Hofstede’s years of study. This is what the research summarizes:
Unconsciously, you bring your own cultural frame of interpretation to any situation.
Think about cultures as if they were a pair of glasses. Each time you wear a different one, you see the world differently. What causes these differences?
The author of 2002 book “Exploring Culture – Exercises, studies and synthetic cultures”, Gerard Hendrik Hofstede is a Dutch social psychologist, former IBM employee, and Professor Emeritus of Organizational Anthropology and International Management at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. He is famous for his research on cross-cultural groups and organizations and he identified these 6 main differences among cultures.
According to Hofstede’s research, culture has 6 main dimensions:
Identity (Collectivist vs Individualist)
Hierarchy (Large power distance vs small power distance)
Gender (Masculinity vs Feminity)
Truth (Uncertainty avoidance vs. Uncertainty tolerance)
Virtue (Long term vs Short term orientation)
Indulgence (Indulgence vs restraint)
Identity defines the relationship between the individual and the group. The fundamental issue addressed by this dimension is the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members. It has to do with whether people´s self-image is defined in terms of “I” or “We”. In Individualist societies people are supposed to look after themselves and their direct family only. In Collectivist societies people belong to ‘in groups’ that take care of them in exchange for loyalty (Hofstede-insights.com).
Individualism: The cultures of most wealthy countries are relatively individualistic. As countries have become richer, they have moved toward the individualist end of the spectrum. Wealth makes it easier for people to take care of themselves, to make is on their own. In very individualist societies, people may feel lonely, isolated or can develop antisocial behaviors.
Collectivism: Earliest examples are hunter-gatherer societies. Every culture was collectivist once: First for survival we needed each other, then agriculture and religion brought us together.
This dimension deals with the fact that all individuals in societies are not equal – it expresses the attitude of the culture towards these inequalities amongst us. Power Distance is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organisations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally. The degree of inequality between the people that is assumed to be a natural state of affairs. This is called ‘Power Distance’ (Hofstede-insights.com).
Small Power Distance: People are equal. Some people are better leaders than others, but they won’t show off their skills.
Large Power Distance: Nobody thinks that people are all equal (or even should be). Parents are not children, leaders are not followers and kings are not citizens. There is a clear distinction.
Within Europe, studies showed that power distance in Northern and Western European cultures is smaller than in countries in Eastern and Southern Europe. These two areas are separated, roughly speakig and not by coincidence, by the former boundary of the Roman Empire. A similar line separates Anglo American from Latin American countries.
Researchers have found that as a country has become wealthier, power distance has decreased. Large power distance is easier to maintain in a situation of poverty or limited resources.
Although this dimension is divided into two as masculinity vs feminity, this is not about ‘supportive of man role more’ or vice versa. It is more about the tendency of the society’s behavior.
A high score (Masculine) on this dimension indicates that the society will be driven by competition, achievement and success, with success being defined by the winner / best in field – a value system that starts in school and continues throughout organisational life Hofstede-insights.com).
A low score (Feminine) on the dimension means that the dominant values in society are caring for others and quality of life. A Feminine society is one where quality of life is the sign of success and standing out from the crowd is not admirable. The fundamental issue here is what motivates people, wanting to be the best (Masculine) or liking what you do (Feminine) (Hofstede-insights.com).
Feminine: Caring for others and being modest are important. Small is beautiful, no need for bigger or something more assertive. Little difference between the education of boys and girls and between the roles of mothers and fathers. Men and women can wear the same clothes, go to the same places, and have the same rights and duties. Good control of agression.
Masculine: Tougher society. There is more emphasis on achievement and fighting than on caring and compromise. Unequal distribution between men and women. Very competitive.
Cultures of Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries are very feminine, but those of Germany, Switzerland and Austria are strongly Masculine.
Costa Rica and Portugal are feminine, but Colombia and most other Latin American countries are masculine.
Thailand is feminine,but Japan is very masculine, Britain and the US are also rather masculine.
How people in a culture cope with the unpredictable and the ambiguous is called ‘Truth’. It has to do with anxiety as a human feeling, or in other words with fear of the unknown.
The dimension Uncertainty Avoidance has to do with the way that a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known: should we try to control the future or just let it happen? This ambiguity brings with it anxiety and different cultures have learnt to deal with this anxiety in different ways. The extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations and have created beliefs and institutions that try to avoid these is reflected in the score on Uncertainty Avoidance (Hofstede-insights.com).
Uncertainty Avoidance: Many people in this culture believe what is different is dangerous. Anxiety and the search for truth is closely related. This is not as same as risk avoidance. If risk can be acknowledged and quantified, it is not threatening to people.
Uncertainty Tolerance: More tolerant towards the unknown and ambiguous situations.
Russia and the countries of Balkans have cultures of strong uncertainty avoidance, as do Japan, Korea, Mexico, Belgium, and France.
Germanic countries are very uncomfortable with uncertainty. English speaking countries and China tend to be more uncertainty tolerant. Singapore, Jamaica and Denmark are very uncertainty tolerant.
The problem is the choice between future and present virtue. This dimension describes how every society has to maintain some links with its own past while dealing with the challenges of the present and future, and societies prioritise these two existential goals differently. Normative societies. which score low on this dimension, for example, prefer to maintain time-honoured traditions and norms while viewing societal change with suspicion. Those with a culture which scores high, on the other hand, take a more pragmatic approach: they encourage thrift and efforts in modern education as a way to prepare for the future (Hofstede-insights.com).
Long-term Orientation: Hard work and persistence are important values and children are taught to sacrifice the pleasures of today for the benefit of their future.
The issue of virtue is particularly important in Asia and explains why non-Asians find it hard to come to grips with this cultural concept. Where Europeans and Americans are more concerned with truth, Asians are more concerned with virtue.
Short-Term Orientation: No savings for the future. It is more important to use your resources for present wealth. Not enjoying present for future savings is stingy.
Many countries of East Asia, such as China and Japan are considered long-term oriented, but some are not, for example, the Phillippines. Most European and American countries are fairly short-term oriented. The Dutch, with a reputation in Europe for stinginess, are long term oriented by European standards. African countries, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are very short-term oriented.
Indulgence can be summarized as the degree to which small children are socialized. Without socialization we do not become “human”, says Hofstede on his website (www.hofstede-insights.com). This dimension is defined as the extent to which people try to control their desires and impulses, based on the way they were raised. Relatively weak control is called “Indulgence” and relatively strong control is called “Restraint”. Cultures can, therefore, be described as Indulgent or Restrained (Hofstede-insights.com).
Most of the Latin countries have high indulgence, where as most east Asian societies are considered as restrained.
The way in which a group of people resolves these six issues is what we call ‘culture’.
The book talks about misunderstandings. How one culture might read the other’s reaction in a completely wrong way. For example, individualistic cultures such as Americans, British, Germans, might be perceived as cold and selfish to collectivist cultures such as Saudi Arabians, Africans or Chinese.
Or a short-term oriented culture, such as Colombians can perceive a long-term oriented culture, Chinese or dutch very stingy.
As you see, there is no right or wrong, but there are differences.
The book tells this interesting story about two Germans (Highly Masculine culture) going to a bar with a Dutch (Feminine culture). They order their beers, they are having so much fun. But all of a sudden, the conversation is taken over by the two Germans who are very passionately arguing about which Euro-league team is the best. One guy says his team is the best, they won the championship three times in a row,and the other said “No, my team is the best, they were the champions last year, they have a good team!!” This lasts about half an hour. The Dutch gets really bored and can’t take it anymore. He doesn’t understand why these two guys are wasting their time arguing about who is best.
The Dutch interrupts them and says: “Hey, you both have very good teams, why don’t you stop fighting and we talk about something else and have fun?” The two German guys suddenly stop talking and look at each other confused. Because, they weren’t fighting, actually this is how they were having fun and building mutual respect. However, they didn’t understand why their Dutch friend didn’t join the conversation and they blamed him being boring.
Another interesting example is again from a Dutchman (Low Power Distance, Feminine, uncertainty tolerant culture) who was working in Belgium (High Power Distance, Masculine and high uncertainty avoidance culture). Here is what he said:
During my work as a regional management assistant at a firm providing cleaning services in Belgium, I came into contact with a lot of people. Because I had to make new cleaning schedules and cost calculations for new and old customers, I met all the employees.
The first thing I noticed was the relationship between a superior and a subordinate. Orders from a superior were to be obeyed, not questioned.
Informal relations between people from different positions in the hierarchy were minimal: For example, no secretary had lunch with her boss.
Subordinates expected superiors to tell them what to do (Large Power Distance). When I talked to the people on the work floor, they always called me Mr. so-and-so, although I had told them my first name. They also expected me to tell them what to do, even if they had more experience in their areas than I did. This was difficult for mein the beginning. Sometimes people stared at me in surprise when I did something they did not expect, for example, when I helped carry some cleaning materials, which in their eyes, was inappropriate.
The Belgians were used to following the rules, and when rules where absent, they wanted a direct and clear decision or order from their superior.
Their work schedules and job descriptions were really detailed (Uncertainty avoidance) If something went wrong, the employees often referred to their job descriptions and schedules and said according to these, they hadn’t done anything wrong.
To Belgians, a good job meant high esteem in society (Masculine). Almost everyone was trying to improve his or her position. Not only did the money one earned tell something about the job one had, but this money also made it possible to buy a largeand beautiful house and a big car.
According to the Dutchman, the Belgians seemed like they were wanting to make themselves look better, they appeared obsessed with detailed instructions and greedy. However, they were just culturally different.
COMPARISON OF CULTURES
Hofstede provides this great service on their website. You can compare dimensions of different countries here:
As an example, I did Turkey vs. The USA and China. Here, I want to share the results with you:
Turkey is a large power distance society. In Turkish Culture, kissing hands shows respect to the other person. In the picture you see a youngster kissing an elderly man’s hand to show respect. On the other one you see an elderly person kissing the Turkish Prime Minister’s hand, since he is hierarcially higher than him.
Turkey scores high on this dimension (score of 66) which means that the following characterises the Turkish style: Dependent, hierarchical, superiors often inaccessible and the ideal boss is a father figure. Power is centralized and managers rely on their bosses and on rules. Employees expect to be told what to do. Control is expected and attitude towards managers is formal. Communication is indirect and the information flow is selective. The same structure can be observed in the family unit, where the father is a kind of patriarch to whom others submit.
The American premise of “liberty and justice for all.” This is evidenced by an explicit emphasis on equal rights in all aspects of American society and government. Within American organisations, hierarchy is established for convenience, superiors are accessible and managers rely on individual employees and teams for their expertise. Both managers and employees expect to be consulted and information is shared frequently. At the same time, communication is informal, direct and participative to a degree.
At 80 China sits in the higher rankings of PDI – i.e. a society that believes that inequalities amongst people are acceptable. The subordinate-superior relationship tends to be polarized and there is no defense against power abuse by superiors. Individuals are influenced by formal authority and sanctions and are in general optimistic about people’s capacity for leadership and initiative. People should not have aspirations beyond their rank.
In China, family values and traditions are so important.
Turkey, with a score of 37 is a collectivistic society. This means that the “We” is important, people belong to in-groups (families, clans or organisations) who look after each other in exchange for loyalty. Communication is indirect and the harmony of the group has to be maintained, open conflicts are avoided. The relationship has a moral base and this always has priority over task fulfillment. Time must be invested initially to establish a relationship of trust. Nepotism may be found more often. Feedback is always indirect, also in the business environment.
The society is loosely-knit in which the expectation is that people look after themselves and their immediate families only and should not rely (too much) on authorities for support. There is also a high degree of geographical mobility in the United States. Americans are the best joiners in the world; however it is often difficult, especially among men, to develop deep friendships. Americans are accustomed to doing business or interacting with people they don’t know well. Consequently, Americans are not shy about approaching their prospective counterparts in order to obtain or seek information. In the business world, employees are expected to be self-reliant and display initiative. Also, within the exchange-based world of work we see that hiring, promotion and decisions are based on merit or evidence of what one has done or can do.
At a score of 20 China is a highly collectivist culture where people act in the interests of the group and not necessarily of themselves. In-group considerations affect hiring and promotions with closer in-groups (such as family) are getting preferential treatment. Employee commitment to the organization (but not necessarily to the people in the organization) is low. Whereas relationships with colleagues are cooperative for in-groups they are cold or even hostile to out-groups. Personal relationships prevail over task and company.
Turkey scores 45 and is on the Feminine side of the scale. This means that the softer aspects of culture such as leveling with others, consensus, sympathy for the underdog are valued and encouraged. Conflicts are avoided in private and work life and consensus at the end is important. Leisure time is important for Turks, it is the time when the whole family, clan and friends come together to enjoy life. Status is shown, but this comes more out of the high PDI.
The score of the US on Masculinity is high at 62, and this can be seen in the typical American behavioral patterns. This can be explained by the the combination of a high Masculinity drive together with the most Individualist drive in the world. In other words, Americans, so to speak, all show their Masculine drive individually. The British, however, have the same culture in this respect. The question, therefore, should be: is the same drive not normally to be seen on the surface? This difference is a reflection of the higher score of the US on Uncertainty Avoidance than of the UK. In other words, in both societies we find the same drive, but Americans show it up-front whereas the British will take you by surprise.
This American combination reflects itself in the following:
Behavior in school, work, and play are based on the shared values that people should “strive to be the best they can be” and that “the winner takes all”. As a result, Americans will tend to display and talk freely about their “successes” and achievements in life. Being successful per se is not the great motivator in American society, but being able to show one’s success Many American assessment systems are based on precise target setting, by which American employees can show how well a job they did. There exists a “can-do” mentality which creates a lot of dynamism in the society, as it is believed that there is always the possibility to do things in a better way Typically, Americans “live to work” so that they can obtain monetary rewards and as a consequence attain higher status based on how good one can be. Many white collar workers will move to a more fancy neighborhood after each and every substantial promotion. It is believed that a certain degree of conflict will bring out the best of people, as it is the goal to be “the winner”. As a consequence, we see a lot of polarisation and court cases. This mentality nowadays undermines the American premise of “liberty and justice for all.” Rising inequality is endangering democracy, because a widening gap among the classes may slowly push Power Distance up and Individualism down.
At 66 China is a Masculine society –success oriented and driven. The need to ensure success can be exemplified by the fact that many Chinese will sacrifice family and leisure priorities to work. Service people (such as hairdressers) will provide services until very late at night. Leisure time is not so important. The migrated farmer workers will leave their families behind in faraway places in order to obtain better work and pay in the cities. Another example is that Chinese students care very much about their exam scores and ranking as this is the main criteria to achieve success or not.
Turkey scores 85 on this dimension and thus there is a huge need for laws and rules. In order to minimize anxiety, people make use of a lot of rituals. For foreigners they might seem religious, with the many references to “Allah”, but often they are just traditional social patterns, used in specific situations to ease tension.
The US scores below average, with a low score of 46, on the Uncertainty Avoidance dimension. As a consequence, the perceived context in which Americans find themselves will impact their behaviour more than if the culture would have either scored higher or lower. Thus, this cultural pattern reflects itself as follows:
There is a fair degree of acceptance for new ideas, innovative products and a willingness to try something new or different, whether it pertains to technology, business practices or food. Americans tend to be more tolerant of ideas or opinions from anyone and allow the freedom of expression. At the same time, Americans do not require a lot of rules and are less emotionally expressive than higher-scoring cultures. At the same time, 9/11 has created a lot of fear in the American society culminating in the efforts of government to monitor everybody through the NSA and other security organisations.
At 30 China has a low score on Uncertainty Avoidance. Truth may be relative though in the immediate social circles there is concern for Truth with a capital T and rules (but not necessarily laws) abound. None the less, adherence to laws and rules may be flexible to suit the actual situation and pragmatism is a fact of life. The Chinese are comfortable with ambiguity; the Chinese language is full of ambiguous meanings that can be difficult for Western people to follow. Chinese are adaptable and entrepreneurial. At the time of writing the majority (70% -80%) of Chinese businesses tend to be small to medium sized and family owned.
Turkey’s intermediate score of 46 is in the middle of the scale so no dominant cultural prefernce can be inferred.
But as your blogger, and as a Turkish person, I can tell you that definitely we are not long-term oriented. A lot of people who doesn’t earn much money have Iphones, expensive cars or motorbikes. Besides, a summer get away is more attractive than putting that money away for retirement.
The United States scores normative on the fifth dimension with a low score of 26. This is reflected by the following:
Americans are prone to analyse new information to check whether it is true. Thus, the culture doesn’t make most Americans pragmatic, but this should not be confused with the fact that Americans are very practical, being reflected by the “can-do” mentallity mentioned above. The polarisation mentioned above is, so to speak, strengthened by the fact that many Americans have very strong ideas about what is “good” and “evil”. This may concern issues such as abortion, use of drugs, euthanasia, weapons or the size and rights of the government versus the States and versus citizens. The US is the one of the only “Caucasian” countries in the world where, since the beginning of the 20th century, visiting church has increased. This increase is also evident in some post-Soviet republics such as Russia. American businesses measure their performance on a short-term basis, with profit and loss statements being issued on a quarterly basis. This also drives individuals to strive for quick results within the work place.
China scores 87 in this dimension, which means that it is a very pragmatic culture. In societies with a pragmatic orientation, people believe that truth depends very much on situation, context and time. They show an ability to adapt traditions easily to changed conditions, a strong propensity to save and invest, thriftiness, and perseverance in achieving results.
With an intermediate score of 49, a characteristic corresponding to this dimension cannot be determined for Turkey.
Again as your Turkish blogger, I will share my opinion here. I think we know the importance of children playing together, growing up together with siblings or cousins, etc. They are not forced to give up their entertainment or socializing time to study or work extra hours like in China or Korea, where students start school at 8:00 AM in the morning and finish at 10:00 PM in the evening.
The United States scores as an Indulgent (68) society on the sixth dimension. This, in combination with a normative score, is reflected by the following contradictory attitudes and behaviour:
Work hard and play hard. The States has waged a war against drugs and is still very busy in doing so, yet drug addiction in the States is higher than in many other wealthy countries. It is a prudish society yet even some well-known televangelists appear to be immoral.
China is a Restrained society as can be seen in its low score of 24 in this dimension. Societies with a low score in this dimension have a tendency to cynicism and pessimism. Also, in contrast to Indulgent societies, Restrained societies do not put much emphasis on leisure time and control the gratification of their desires. People with this orientation have the perception that their actions are Restrained by social norms and feel that indulging themselves is somewhat wrong.
I hope you found this book and the website as interesting as I thought. I will see you soon with yet another interesting blog, soon!
TARIM DEVRIMI: TARIHIN EN BUYUK ALDATMACASI: Daha cok calisip daha kotu beslenen, guvenlik sorunu yasayan, alana saplanip ona muhtac kalan bir irka donusmek. Ama neden?
EVCILLESTIRME: Bilinen ilk ‘evcil’ bugday ve hayvanlari evcillestirme sureci nasil gelisti? Zalim teknikler…
TARIMA GECIS ‘BIZIM’ KULTURUMUZE BAKIS ACIMIZI DEGISTIRDI: Hem de nasil!
BU KADAR FARKLI OLMAMIZA RAGMEN ‘ISBIRLIGI’NI NASIL SAGLIYORUZ?
HAYALI DUZEN ISTEKLERIMIZI NASIL SEKILLENDIRIYOR?: Milletler, para ve din
HAYALI HIYERARSILER: Kadin-erkek, irk kast ustunlugu vs. neden var?
PARA: Nasil basladi, nasil gidiyor
ASLINDA SAPIENS EN BARISCIL CAGINDA, UZULMEYIN! : Yazardan iyimser bir yaklasim
MUTLU MU SAPIENS?: Bu kadar seyi bir amac icin yapiyor olmali Sapiens irki, peki amac mutlu olmak mi?
Tarihin akisini 3 onemli devrim sekillendirdi:
Yaklasik 70 bin yil once baslayan Bilissel Devrim
12 bin yil once bunu hizlandiran Tarim Devrimi
500 yil once baslayan Bilimsel Devrim
Bu kitap, bu uc devrimin insanlari ve diger organizmalari nasil etkilediginin hikayesini anlatiyor.
Yalnizca 6 milyon yil once, tek bir disi maymunun iki kizi oldu. Bunlardan biri tum sempanzelerin atasi olurken, digeri de bizim buyukannemiz oldu.
Insanlar ilk olarak 2.5 milyon yil once Dogu afrika’da, “Guney Maymunu” anlamina gelen Australopithecus adi verilen bir maymun cinsinden evrimlesti.
Australopithecus’un boyu 130 cm’i geçmezdi
Avrupa ve bati Asya’daki insanlar cogunlukla “Neandertaller” olarak adlandirilan Homo neandertalensis’e evrildiler. Asya’nin daha dogu bolgeleri “Dik Adam” anlamina gelen Homo erectus tarafindan mesken tutulmustu. Endinezya’daki Java adasinda tropic yasama uygun Homo soloensis, denizlerin yukselmesi dolayisiyla yasanan kitliktan giderek cuce boyutlara evrilen Homo floresiensis olmuslardir.
Dogu Afrikada’ki evrim de durmadi. Insanligin besigi “Rudolg Golu Insani” anlamina gelen Homo rudolfensis, “Caliskan insan” Homo ergaster ve hic de alcak gonullu davranmayarak “Zeki insan” adini verdigimiz turumuz Homo sapiens gibi pek cok ture ev sahipligi yapti.
Yaklasik 2 milyon yil onceden 10 bin yil oncesine kadar dunya ayni anda pek cok insan turune ev sahipligi yapmistir.
2. ANATOMIK DEGISIMLER
Insanlarin diger hayvanlara kiyasla olaganustu buyuk beyinleri vardir. 60 kilogram agirligindaki memelilerin ortalama beyin hacmi 200 santimetre kuptur. En erken erkek ve kadinin, 2,5 milyon yil once beyinleri yaklasik 600 santimetre kuptu. Modern Sapiens’in ortalama beyniyse 1200-1400 santimetre kuptur. Neandertal beyni ise daha da buyuktu.
Ates beynimizi buyuttu…
Atesin en onemli katkisi pisirmekti. Insanlarin normalde sindiremedikleri – bugday, pirinc ve patates gibi – yiyecekler, pisirebilme becerisi sayesinde su anda beslenmemizin temelini olusturuyor.
Ates besinlerin kimyasini degistirmekle kalmadi, onlarin biyolojisini de degistirdi. Pisirmek, gidalarda bulunan parazit ve mikroplari yok ettigi gibi, insanlarin eskiden beri cok sevdigi meyve, kabuklu yemis, bocek ve lesler pisirildiklerinde daha rahat cignenip sindirilebiliyordu. Sempanzeler gunlerinin 5 saatini cig besinleri cignemeye harcarken, insanlarin pismis besinleri yemeleri icin 1 saat yeterli oluyordu.
Uzun bagirsaklar ve buyuk beyinler cok ciddi enerji tukettiklerinden, ikisine birden ayni anda sahip olmak cok zordur. Yiyecekleri pisirme, bagirsaklari kisaltip enerji tuketimini azaltarak, Neandertallerin ve Sapiens’in devasa beyinlerinin onunu acti.
Bununla ilgili cok guzel bir TED talk izlemistim ben. Isterseniz siz de bir goz atin:
Arkaik insanlar genis beyinlerinin bedelini iki sekilde odediler:
Birincisi, gida ararken daha cabuk zaman harcadilar.
Ikincisi, kaslari koreldi. Savunmadan egitime para aktaran bir yonetim gibi, insanlar bisepslerden noronlara enerji aktardilar.
Ellerimiz daha cok is yapabildikce, ellerin sahipleri de daha basarili hale geldiler, dolayisiyla evrimsel baski avuclarda ve parmaklarda daha yogun bir sinir agi ve kaslarin gelismesini sagladi.
Kadinlar daha da fazlasini odemek zorunda kaldi. Dik bir durus daha dar kalcalar demekti ve bu da dogum kanalini daraltiyordu, ustelik ayni anda bebeklerin de beyni giderek buyuyordu. Zamanla erken dogum yapan kadinlar daha cok hayatta kaldilar ve daha cok cocuk sahibi oldular; dogal secilim bu sekilde erken dogumlara hayatta kalma sansi verdi. Boylelikle insanlar, diger hayvanlara kiyasla pek cok hayati oneme sahip sistemleri henuz tam olarak gelismemisken erken dogar hale geldiler. Bir tay dogumdan kisa bir sure sonra yuruyebilir, bir yavru kediyi bir kac haftalikken annesi yemek arayisina cikarak onu yalniz birakabilir. Insanlarin bebekleriyse yillarca bakim, yardim, koruma ve egitim icin buyuklere muhtactir.
3. NEDEN SOSYALIZ?
Bir cocuk buyutmek, ailenin diger uyelerinden ve kommsulardan surekli yardim almayi gerektirir, bu yuzden bir insani buyutmek icin butun kabileye ihtiyac vardir. Evrim boylelikle, guclu sosyal baglar kurabilenleri desteklemistir. Buna ek olarak, insanlar az gelismis olarak dogduklarindan diger tum hayvanlardan daha cok egitilebilir ve daha cok sosyal iliski kurabilirler.
4. GIDEREK ACIMASIZLASAN INSAN
1 milyon yil once yasayan insanlar, buyuk beyinlerine ve sivri taslara ragmen avci hayvanlardan korkarak , nadiren buyuk hayvanlar avlayarak yasadilar ve hayatta kalmalari bitki toplayarak, bocek yiyerek, kucuk hayvanlari avlayarak ve daha guclu hayvanlarin biraktigi lesleri yiyerek mumkun olabildi.
Ancak 400 bin yil once cesitli insan turleri buyuk av hayvanlarini avlamaya basladi ve ancak yuz bin yil once Homo Sapiens’in ortaya cikisiyla, insan besin zincirinde yukari zipladi.
Bu zincirde, orta siralardan yukariya dogru atilan bu buyuk adimin cok onemli sonuclari oldu. Piramidin tepesindeki aslan ve kopekbaligi gibi diger hayvanlar, bu pozisyona kademeli olarak milyonlaarca yil icinde yukselmisti. Bu yavas gecis, ekosistemin cesitli denge ve kontrol mekanizmalari ureterek , aslanlarin ve kopekbaliklarinin ortalikta teror estirmelerini engelledi. Aslanlar daha olumcul oldukca ceylanlar da daha hizli kosmaya, sirtlanlar daha iyi is birligi yapmaya, gergedanlar daha saldirgin olmaya basladi. Buna karsin, insan tepeye o kadar hizli cikti ki, ekosistemin gerekli ayarlamayi yapacak vakti olamadi, ve buna ek olarak insanlar da bu degisime ayak uyduramadi.
Daha yakin zamana kadar savanadaki orta halli yaratiklar oldugumuz icin hala korku ve endiselerle doluyuz, ve bu da bizi fazlasiyla zalim ve tehlikeli kiliyor.
5. ‘KURGU’ GUCU, HAYVANLAR ALEMINDE BIZE HAS
Bildigimiz kadariyla sadece Sapiens hic gormedigi, dokunmadigi ve koklamadigi varliklar hakkinda konusabiliyor. Kurgular hakkinda konusabilme becerisi, Sapiens dilinin en ozgun yanidir. Ote yandan kurgu, sadece birseyleri hayal edebilmemizi degil, bunlari kolektif olarak yapmamizi da sagladi. Ortak mitler yaratiyoruz ve bu mitler Sapiens’s buyuk gruplar halinde esnek bir isbirligi yapabilme becerisi veriyor.
Sosyolojik arastirmalar dedikodu sayesinde birarada durabilen ‘dogal’ bir grubun sinirinin 150 kisi oldugunu gostermistir. Grup bundan buyuk oldugunda cogu kisi digerlerini ne yakindan taniyabilir ne de etkili bir sekilde dedikodu yapabilir (Blog yazari notu: O yuzden benim Facebook’umda yer alan 1800 arkadasim ‘dogal’ bir grup olusturmuyor 🙂 )
Yazar neredeyse tum kitap boyunca tarim donemine gecisin ne kadar talihsiz bir karar oldugunu, insanlara geri adim attirdigini kanitlamaya calisiyor.
Bizim beynimiz hala aslinda avci toplayici zamanlar gibi dusunuyor. mesela baska bir kitapta okumustum: Baktigimiz yerlerde hemen yuze benzer sekilller farketme (mesela ay uzerinde veya elektrik outletinde) avci zamanlarimizda calilar arasinda av yuzu aramamizdan, ya da kaplan vs den korunmak amaciyla surekli etrafta bir yuz arayisimizdan gelir. Yuksek ve tiz sesler neden bizi cok rahatsiz eder? Mesela itfaiye ve ambulans, tahtaya yazan tebesir ya da mikrofondan cikan tiz ses. Cunku bir teoriye gore bebek aglama sesi oldukca tiz ve beynimiz bir anda ‘bir seylerin tehlikede olmasi’ hissi yaratiyor, tipki aglayan bir bebekteki gibi. Bir de bugun ki karbonhidrat ve seker zaafimiz. Avci toplayicilar surekli hareket halinde olduklarindan fazlasiyla enerjiye ihtiyac duyarlardi ve ucsuz bucaksiz yaylalarda, ormanlarda yururken ne zaman bir besin bulacaklarini bilmeleri imkansizdi. O yuzden bir incir agacina rast gelirlerse, tum agactaki meyveleri yerlerdi. Beynimizin karbonhidrat ve seker yedikce iyi hissetmeye evrilmesi beynin vucudu gelecekte olasi acliga karsi kurtarma cabasindan baska bir sey degil. Amma velakin beynimiz biraz geride, avci toplayici saniyor hala bizi.
Avci toplayicilar kok pisiriyor
Et onemli bir besin avcilar icin
Enerji veren saglikli karbonhidratlar
Bunun nedeni, turumuzun tarihin neredesyse tamami boyunca avci toplayici olmasi. Besin ihtiyacimizi sehirlerde yasayarak kazandigimiz son 200 yil, cogu sapiens’in ciftci olarak yasadigi ondan onceki 10 bin yil, atalarimizin avcilik ve toplayicilik yaparak gecirdigi on binlerce yilin yaninda goz acip kapama suresidir.
Bugunku pek cok sosyal ve psikolojik ozelligimizin bu tarim oncesi cok uzun donemde olustugu one surulmektedir. Su anda sahip oldugumuz ortam bize onceki nesillerin sahip oldugundan cok daha fazla fiziksel kaynak ve uzun omur saglarken, bir yandan da siklikla yabancilasmis, depresif ve baski altinda hissettirmektedir. Bunun icin evrim psikologlarinin tavsiyesi bizi sekillendiren avci toplayici donemi anlamak.
Tas Devri aslinda Tahta Devri olarak adlandirilmalidir, cunku bu donemde avci toplayicilar tarafindan yapilan aletlerin cogu tahtadan yapilmistir.
Insanlarinin buyuk cogunlugu bir kac duzine ya da en fazla bir kac yuz bireyden olusan kamplarda yasarlardi ve aralarinda hic hayvan yoktu. Kopek haric. Insanoglu’nun avci toplayiciyken ilk evcillestirdigi hayvan kopekti. 15 bin yillik bag, insanlarla kopekler arasinda insanlarka diger hayvanlar arasindakinden cok daha derin bir yakinlik ve karsilikli anlasma yaratti.
Avci toplayicilarda mahremiyet ve yalnizlik yoktu. Arada biraraya gelseler de zamanlarinin cogunu birbirlerinden ayri disarda avlanarak gecirdiler. Sosyopolitik ilskiler duzensizdi, yerlesik sehirler yoktu. Sapiens genis alanlara cok seyrek bir bicimde yayilmisti. Tarim devrimi’nden once tum gezegendeki Sapiens sayisi Istanbul nufusundan azdi.
Tarim Devri ve Sonrasi Avci Toplayici doneme kiyasla neden kotu?
Birey olarak bakildiginda avci toplayicilar tarihteki en becerikli ve bilgili insanlardi. : O donemde hayatta kalabilmek herkesin muhtesem zihinsel becerilere sahip olmasini gerektirirdi. Tarim ve sanayi ortaya cikinca insanlar hayatta kalabilmek icin giderek diger insanlarin becerilerine daha fazla guvendiler ve ’embesiller icin yeni firsatlar’ ortaya cikti. Uretim bandinda calisan bir isci olarak, siradisi olmayan genlerinizle hayatta kalabilir ve bunlari bir sonraki nesile aktarabilirsiniz.
Lutfen su kisa filme bir bakin, geldigimiz noktayi guzel anlatiyor:
Fosillesmis iskeletlerden elde edilen bulgular gosteriyorki eski avci toplayicilar aclik ve yetersiz beslenme sikintilarini kendilerinden sonra gelen koylulerden daha az cektiler, ayrica genellikle daha saglikli ve daha uzun boylu olduklari goruluyor.
Avci toplayicilarinin basarisinin sirri yiyeceklerinin cesitli olmasiydi. Ciftcilerse genellikle sinirli ve dengesiz beslenirler. Ozellikle modern oncesi caglarda tarim nufusunun aldigi kalorinin onemli kismi tek bir urunden gekirdi (bugday, patates ve pirinc gibi) ve bunlar da insanlarin ihtiyaci olan vitamin mineral ve diger besleyici seyler acisindan zayiftir.
Ayrica, tarim topluluklari kuraklik, yangin veya depremler, yillik pirinc veya patates hasadini yok ettiginde mahvolurlardi.
Tarim ve Sanayi toplumlarini etkileyen bulasici hastaliklarin cogu (tuberkuloz, cicek ve kizamik gibi) evcil hayvanlarda ortaya cikmis ve insanlara Tarim Devrimi’nden sonra bulasmistir. Avci toplayicilar ise dogayi kucuk gruplar halinde gezerdi ve bu durum salginlarin surmesine engel olurdu.
Cogu arastirmaci animist inanclarin eski avci toplayicilarda yaygin oldugu konusunda birlesir. Animizm (Latince ruh anlamina gelen ‘anima’ dan) temel olarak yerin, her hayvanin, her bitkinin ve her doga olayinin farkindaligi ve hisleri olduguna ve insanlarla dogrudan iletisim kurdugu fikrine dayanir. Insanlarla diger varliklar arasinda bir fark olmadigi gibi bir hiyerarsi de yoktu. insan disi varliklar sadece insanin ihtiyacini gidermek icin degillerdi. dunyayi istedikleri gibi yoneten sonsuz guc sahibi tanrilar da yoktu. Dunya insanlarin ya da baska bir yaratigin etrafinda donmuyordu.
Modern oncesi tarim toplumlari teistti. Teizm (Yunanca tanri anlaminda ‘theos’ tan) evrensel duzenin insanlar ve ruhani varlik olan tanrilar arasindaki hiyerarsik iliski uzerine kurulu olduguna inanir.
7. HOMOSAPIENS: EKOLOJIK SERI KATIL
Insanlarin Avustralya’ya ilk seyahati tarihteki en onemli olaylardan biridir ve en az Kolomb’un Amerika’ya seyahati veya Apollo 11’in Ay’a gidisi kadar onemlidir. Ilk avci toplayicinin Avustralya sahillerine ayak bastigi an, Homo Sapiens’in ilk kez belirli bir kara parcasinda besin zincirinn en ustune tirmandigi ve artik dunyanin en tehlikeli hayvanlarindan biri halie geldigi andir.
Bir kac bin yil icerisinde neredeyse tum dev turler yokoldu. 50 kilogramdam daha agir 24 Avustralya turunun 23’u bugun yok (Asagidaki resimlemeler Avustralya Muzesi’nden alintidir).
Afrika ve Asya’nin buyuk hayvanlari insanlardan kacmayi ogrenmisti. Bu yuzden buyuk avci Homo Sapiens bu kitalarda oraya ciktiginda bu hayvanlar insana benzer yaratiklardan uzak durmalari gerektiginin farkindaydi. Buna karsin, Avustralya devlerinin kacmayi ogrenecek zamanlari yoktu.
Homo Sapiens, Kuzey Amerika’yi ele gecirdigi ilk 2 bin yil icinde memeli cinslerinin 47’sinden 34’unu kaybetti. Guney Amerika’da 60’tan 50’sini. Kilic disli kediler 30 milyon yil boyunca yasadiktan sonra yokoldular, tipki dev tembel hayvanlar, asiri buyuk aslanlar, Amerika’nin yerli atlari, yerli develeri, dev kemirgenleri ve mamutlari gibi.
Ne kadar cok turu ortadan kaldirmis oldugumuzu bilseydik, hala hayatta kalanlari korumak icin daha istekli olurduk.
Avustralya da cok koala olmasinin sirri…
45 bin yil once Avustralya’da okaliptus bitkisi nadir bulunurdu. Fakat Homo Sapiens‘in gelisi, bu tur icin altin bir cag baslatti. Okaliptusler yangina cok dayanikli oldugundan (Kokleri oyle, aslinda okaliptus cok cabuk alev alir) , diger agaclar ve calilar yok olurken okaliptusler genis alanlara yayildi. Bitki ortusundeki bu degisim bitki yiyen hayvanlarda ve otcullari yiyen etcillerde degisiklige yol acti. Neredeyse sadece okaliptus yapragi yiyen koalalar yeni topraklara dogru keyifle yayildi.
8. TARIM DEVRIMI: TARIHIN EN BUYUK ALDATMACASI
Eger zihinlerimiz eski avci toplayici zihni diyorsak, mutfagimiz da eski ciftcilerin mutfagidir.
Peki tarim devrimleri Ortadogu, Cin ve Orta Amerika’da ortaya cikti da Avustralya, Alaska veya Guney Afrika’da ortaya cikmadi? Sorunun cevabi cok basit: cunku cogu hayvan ve bitki turu evcillestirilemez. Sapiens lezzetli mantarlari toplayip yunlu mamutlari avlayabilir ama bunlari evcillestirmek soz konusu bile degildir. Mantarlar evcillestirmek icin fazla guvenilmezdir, dev hayvanlar ise cok vahsi. Iste tarim devrimi de bu evcillestirilebilen hayvan ve bitki turlerinin yogun oldugu yerlerde ortaya cikti.
Tarim devrimi insanlarin daha da zekilestiginin bir kaniti degildir. Avci toplayici insan doganin sirlarini bilmenin yaninda, zamanlarinin buyuk bir bolumunu cesitli ve insani zihinsel olarak uyaran faaliyetlere geciriyorlardi. Yani Tarim Devrimi insanligin elindeki toplam gida miktarini kesin olarak artirdi ancak daha iyi bir beslenme veya daha cok keyifli zaman yaratmadi. Daha ziyade nufus patlamasina yol acarak simarik seckinler yaratti: Ortalama ciftci ortalama avci toplayicidan daha fazla calisarak karsiliginda daha kotu besinlere sahip oldu.
Peki neden bu kadar zahmete katlandi insanoglu sirf bugday yetistirmek icin?
Bugday yetistirmek zor istir. Etrafindaki otlarin kayalarin temizlenmesi gerekir. Eski iskeletler incelendiginde tarima gecisin insanlara bel fitigi, eklemlerde kireclenme ve diger fitiklar olarak geri dondugu gorulmektedir.
Bu tarimsal islemler o kadar zaman almaktaydi ki insanlar bugday tarlalarinin yakininina kalici yerlesimler kurmak zorunda kaldilar. Biz bugdayi evcillestirmedik, Bugday bizi evcillestirdi.
Tahillara dayali bir beslenme bicimi mineral ve vitamin yonunden zayif, sindirimi zor ayrica dis ve disetlerine zararlidir.
Tahillara bagimlilik ekonomik guvensizlik de yaratti: Eger yagmurlar yetersiz kalir veya cekirge suruleri ve mantarlar bu bitkileri nasil eline gecireceklerini kesfederse, binlerce hatta milyonlarca koylu olebilirdi.
Bugday insanlardan gelen siddete karsi da guvence sunan bir sey degildi. Guclu bir dusman bir tarim koyunu tehdit ettiginde, geri cekilmek tarlalari, evleri ve gida depolarini birakip gitmek anlamina gelirdi. Cogu zaman, kacanlar aclikla savasirdi. Bu yuzden ciftciler olduklari yerde kalip gucleri yettigince savasmayi secerlerdi.
Peki neden butun bunlara ragmen bugday yetistirdik? Insanlara, birey olarak hic bir sey vermedi ama bir tur olarak Sapiens’e katki yapti. Bugday yetistirmek, insanlara toprak miktarina oranla cok daha fazla gida uretme sansi verdi bu da Sapiens’in katlanarak cogalmasini sagladi.
Hangi akli basinda birey, Homo Sapiens cinsinin sayisi artsin diye kendi standartlarini dusurur?
Daha cok bugday urettikce ve yerlesim arttikca, aileler daha cok cocuk yaptilar, bu artan bogazi doyurmak icin daha cok bugday ekip bicmek gerekti. cocuklari anne sutu yerine yulaf lapasiyla da besleyince cocuk olumleri artti. Her 3 cocuktan biri 20 yasini goremeden oluyordu. Ama nufus artisi hala olumlerden daha buyuktu. her nesil sorgulamadan bir onceki nesil ne yapiyorsa onu yapiyordu.
Kuraklik zamanlarina care olarak depolanan ekinler de guvenlik sorunu yaratmisti, hirsizlara karsi simdi de nobetci koymak zorundaydilar.
Sanliurfa’nin Haliliye ilcesindeki arkeolojik alan, Gobeklitepe, Dunya icin cok buyuk bir oneme sahiptir. MO 10,000-12,000 li yillara ait bu kalintilar yer yuzunun en eski tapinagina isaret ediyor. Isin ilginc yani, Gobeklitepe’yi insa eden hala avci toplayiciydilar. Bu cok alisilmisin disindaydi cunku tapinak yapan toplumun yerlesik duzene coktan gecmis olmasi beklenir. Bir baska ilginc detaysa bugdayla ilgili: Genetikciler yillar boyunca evcillestirilmis bugdayin kokeninin aramaktaydi. yakin zamandaki kesifler en azindan evcillestirilmis bir turun (kucuk kizil bugday) Gobekli Tepe’ye 30 KM mesafedeki Karacadag tepelerinde ortaya ciktigini gosteriyor.
Bu asagidaki kisa 10 dakikalik belgesel Gobekli Tepe bu evcil budgayla ilgili. Dikkat: Adamin agir Iskocya Aksani ve ‘Gobekli Tepe’ telafuzu sizi gulumsetebilir 🙂
Hayvanlari da tipki bugdaya yaptiklari gibi evcillestirdiler: En agresif koclar, yani insan kontolune en cok direnc gosterenler ilk once kesilirdi; cok ince ve huysuz disiler de. Cobanlar genellikle suruden uzaklasan merakli koyunlari pek sevmezler. Her nesille birlikte koyunlar daha sisman, daha itaatkar ve daha az merakli hale geldiler.
Zalim Insanoglu – Vejeteryan mi olsak?
Hayvanlarin evcillestirilmesi yuz yillar gectikce giderek daha zalimce bir hale gelen bir dizi vahsi uygulama sayesinde olmustur. Bakin:
Yabani tavuklarin ortalama yasam suresi 7-12 yil, ineginki ise 20-25 yildir.
Evcil tavuklarin ve ineklerin cogunlugu, bir kac hafta ile bir kac ay arasinda bir surede kesilir – neden 3 ayda azami agirligina ulasan bir horozu 3 yil daha beslemek isteyesiniz?
Bogalari, atlari, esekleri ve develeri itaatkar kosum hayvanlarina cevirmek icin dogal icgudulerinin ve sosyal baglarinin yikilmasi, saldirganliklarinin ve cinselliklerinin kontrol edilmesi ve hareket serbestliklerinin kisitlanmasi gerekiyordu.
Evcillestirme sureci erkegin hadim edilmesini gerektirir. Bu hem agresifligi azaltir hem de uremeyi kontrol altina alir.
Kuzey yeni Gine’de domuzlarin kacmamalarini garanti altina almak icin burunlarindan buyukce bir parcayi keserler, oyleki koklamada aci ceksinler, yonlerini bulamasinlar, sahiplerine bagli hale gelsinler.
Baska bir Yeni Gine gelenegi de domuzlarin gozunu cikarmaktir, nereye gittiklerini goremesinler diye.
Hayvanlara istedigini yaptirmak icin sut endustrisinin de kendi yontemleri var. Inekler, keciler ve koyunlar ancak yavruladiktan sonra ve ancak bu yavrular emdigi surece sut uretirler. Hayvanin sut uretimini devam ettirmesi icin ciftcinin elinde bu yavrulardan bulunmasi fakat yavrular tam sutu tuketmeden ciftcinin bunu engellemesi gerekmektedir.: Yavrulari dogumdan kisa sure sonra kesmek, annenin tum sutunu sagmak ve sonra tekrar hamile birakmaktir.
Pek cok modern sut ciftliginde sut inekleri kesilmeden once yaklasik 5 yil yasar bu 5 yil boyunca inek neredeyse hep hamiledir ve dogum yaptiktan sonraki 60-120 gun boyunca azami sut uretimini saglamak icin ozel olarak beslenir.
Bir baska sut sagma teknigi, yavrunun sut emmeye baslamasina izin verip, sut gelir gelmez yavruyu cekmektir. Bu hem anneden hem de yavrudan tepki gorur.
Bazi coban kabileleri yavruyu oldurup etini yer, derisini de doldururdu. Ici doldurulmus yavru derisi anneye gosterilerek sut uretiminin artmasi saglanirdi. Sudan’daki bir kabile isi daha gercekci kilmak icin doldurulmus hayvana annenin idrarindan surerdi.
Bir Baska Nuer kabilesi teknigi de yavrunun agzinin kenarlarina boynuz takip, annenin canini yakmak ve emzirmeye itiraz etmesini saglamakti.
Sahra’da deve yetistiren Tuaregler de yavru develerin ust dudagini ve burnunun bir kismini kesip veya yaralayip sut emmeyi aci verici hale getirerek fazla sut tuketimlerini onleme yontemi gelistirmisti.
Esyaya onem verir olduk: Avci toplayicilar icin cesitli esyalar biriktirmek cok zordu.
Gelecegi dusunup stres olduk: Tarim alanlari kuculmusken tarima harcanan zaman artmisti. Avci toplayicilar bir sonraki haftayi ve ayi pek dusunmezlerdi. Hasat donemi, mevsimsel ureti dongusu, gelecegi planlamayi gerektirdi.
Hiyerarsik duzenin kolesi olduk: buyuk olcekli politik ve toplumsal sistemlerin kurulmasina yol acan ciftciligin yarattigi baskinin cok genis etkileri vardi. Azimli ve caliskan ciftciler, ne yazik ki, o gunki calismalarinin karsiligi olarak ulasmak istedikleri ekonomik guvenceye neredeyse hic bir zaman ulasamadilar. Her yerde ortaya cikan yoneticiler ve seckinler, koylulerin emegiyle urettigi fazla gidayla beslenip ciftcileri de zar zor hayatta kalabildikleri bir yasama mahkum ettiler.
Savaslar: Tarihteki savaslarin ve devrimlerin cogu gida kitligindan kaynaklanmamistir. Mesela Fransiz Devrimi’nin onculeri ac cifciler degil, zengin avukatlatdi. Ya da Yugoslavya’nin 1991 deki kaynaklari tum ulkeye yeter de artardi bile ancak ulke bolundu ve kan govdeyi goturdu.
Bu tur belalarin kaynagi, insanlarin milyonlarca yil boyunca bir kac duzine bireyden olusan kucuk gruplar halinde evrimlesmis olmasidir. Tarim Devrimi’ni izleyen ve sehirlerin, kralliklarin ve imparatorluklarin ortaya cikisina taniklik eden bir kac bin yillik sure, kitlsesel is birligini saglayan bir ic gudunun evrimlesmesi icin yeterli degildi.
11. PEKI IS BIRLIGINI NASIL SAGLADIK?
Mitlerle (Mit: kuşaktan kuşağa yayılan, toplumun düş gücü etkisiyle zamanla biçim değiştiren, tanrılar, tanrıçalar, evrenin doğuşu vb.yle ilgili, imgesel, alegorik bir anlatımı olan halk öyküsü-Wiki). Ta avci toplayici zamanlarimizdan beri yaptigimiz gibi, milyonlari mitlerle bagladik. Ne gibi mitler?: Para, Tanrilar, anavatanlar ve anonim ortakliklar hakkinda hikayeler icat ederek ihtiyac duyulan toplumsal baglari sagladilar.
Homo Sapiens’in dogal haklari aslinda yoktur. Tipki orumcekler, sirtlanlar ve sempanzelerin dogal haklari olmadigi gibi; ama bunu hizmetkarlarimiza soylememeliyiz, yoksa geceleyin bizi oldururler.
Askerler, gardiyanlar, yargiclar ve polisler neden inanmadiklari bir hayali duzeni korumak icin ugrassinlar?
Insanlarin en kisisel istekleri sandiklari bile genelde hayali duzen tarafindan programlanmistir.
Romantiklik, bize kendi potansiyelimizi en ust seviyede gerceklestirebilmek icin olabildigince fazla deneyimimizin olmasini soyler (Yurt disina seyahat, desigik diller ya da danslar ogrenmek gibi)
Tuketicilik akimi da bize mutlu olmamiz icin mumkun oldugunca cok mal ve hizmet tuketmemiz gerektigini soyler (Yoga dersi, masaj, yeni kiyafetler vs.)
Su andaki romantik tuketiciligin ornegini soyle verelim:
Bir milyonerle karisi arasindaki iliski dikenli bir yola girdiginde, adam karisini pahali bir Paris tatiline goturur. Bu gezi, bagimsiz bir istegin degil, romantik tuketicilik akiminin mitlerine duyulan coskulu bir inancin yansimasidir aslinda. Eski Misir’da zengin bir adam, asla iliski problemini karisini babil’e goturerek cozmeyi dusunmezdi. bunun yerine karisina, hep istedigi sasaali bir mezar yaptirirdi.
Hayali Duzen Girdabi…
Insanustu bir cabayla kisisel isteklerimi hayali duzenin ellerinden kurtarsam bile, ben sadece bir kisiyim. Hayali duzeni degistirmek icin milyonlarca yabanciyi benimle is birligi yapmaya ikna etmem gerekir. Zira hayali duzen, kendi hayal gucumde yasattigim ozel bir duzen degil, insanlar arasinda yasayan, binlerce ya da milyonlarcasinin paylastigi hayal gucunde yasayan bir duzendir (Bknz: hukuk, para, tanrilar, milletler)
Peugeot’yu ortadan kaldirmak icin ondan daha guclu bir seyi, soz gelimi Fransiz hukuk sistemini hayal edebilmemiz gerekir. Fransiz hukuk sistemini ortadan kaldirabilmek icin ondan daha guclu bir seyi, mesela Fransiz devletini hayal edebilmemiz gerekir. Eger bunu da ortadan kaldirmak istersek bundan da guclu bir seyi hayal edebilmemiz gerekir.
Hayali duzen disinda bir yol mumkun degil. Etrafimizdaki hapishane duvarlarini yikip ozgurluge kostugumuzda aslinda daha buyuk bir hapishanenin genis bahcesine dogru kosuyoruz.
Evrimsel baskilar , avci toplayici olan insanin beynini cok ciddi miktarda botanik, zoolojik, topografik ve toplumsal bilgiyi depolayacak sekilde gelistirdi.
Tarim devrimi’nin hemen oncesinde cok karmasik toplumlar gelismeye basladiginda cok onemli ve yeni bir bilgi turu ortaya cikti: sayilar. Avci toplayicilarin agacta kac tane meyve oldugunu bilmesine gerek yoktu. Matematiksel veriyi saklama ihtiyaci duymamislardi.
Zamanla tarima gecince, vergiler, borclar, urun hasat sayimi, saklanip islenmesi gereken milyonlarca ufak tefek veri ortaya cikardi. Insanoglu tum bunlari zihinde hesaplayacak ve zihinde tutacak kadar kapasiteli degildi. Bu nedenle bir kac bin yil sistem coktu. Insanlarin toplumsal aglari, gorece kucuk ve basit kalmaya devam etti.
MO 3000-3500 yillarinda Sumerler veri isleme sistemini buldu: Yazi. hatta ilk yazilan tablette ‘Bilmemne kisiden su kadar arpa alindi’ seklindeydi, romantik bir siir degildi yani 🙂
Yazarin en sevdigim paragrafi de su:
“Insan bilincinin hizmetcisi olarak dogan yazi, giderek insanin sahibi haline geldi. Bilgisayarlarimiz Homo Sapiens’in nasil konustugunu, hissettigini ve hayal kurdugunu anlayamadigindan, biz de bilgisayarlarin anlayabilmesi icin Homo Sapiens‘e sayilarin dilinden konusmayi, hayal kurmayi ve hissetmeyi ogretiyoruz.”
13. HAYALI HIYERARSILER
Tum toplumlar hayali hiyerarsiler uzerine kuruludur ama bu hiyerarsiler farklilik gosterir. Bu farklar nasil ortaya cikar? Neden geleneksel Hint toplumu insanlari kasta gore siralarken Osmanli toplumu dine, Amerikan toplumu ise irka gore siralamistir? Cogu durumda hiyerarsi, kazara biraraya gelen bir dizi tarihi durumun sonucu olarak ortaya cikmis ve durumdan avantaj saglayan gruplarin olusmasiyla da nesiller boyunca geliserek kalici hale gelmistir.
Kast sisteminin kokeni: Muhtemelen biyolojik hayatta kalma ic gudusuyle dogdu. Insanlarin olasi hastalik kaynaklarindan uzak durmasini saglayan bir mekanizmadir. Her hangi bir insan grubunu (kadinlar, yahudiler, cingeneler, escinseller, siyahiler) yalitilmis kilmanin en iyi yolu herkesi bu kisilerin bir ‘kirlilik’ kaynagi olduguna inandirmaktir.
Kadin-erkek hiyerarsisi yalani
Neyi Biyolojinin belirledigini, neyin insanlar tarafindan biyolojik mitler kullanilarak hakli cikarilmaya calisildigininasil bilebiliriz? Bunu anlamak icin onemli kurallardan biri: “Biyoloji izin verir, kultur engeller” kuralidir. Biyoloji, cok genis bir yelpazedeki olasiliklara hosgoruyle yaklasir. Insanlari bazi olasiliklari fark etmeye zorlayip digerlerini yasaklayan kulturdur. Biyoloji kadinlarin cocuk dogurmasini saglarken, bazi kulturlerse kadinlari bu olasiligi fark etmeye zorlarlar. Biyoloji insanlarin birbirleriyle cinsel iliskiye girmekten zevk almasini saglarken, bazi kulturlerse onlarin bu firsati farketmesini yasaklarlar.
Kultur genellikle sadece dogal olmayan seyleri yasakladigini one surer ama biyolojik bir perspektiften bakinca her sey dogaldir. Mumkun olan sey, tanim geregi dogaldir. Gercekte dogal olmayan ya da dogaya aykiri olan hic bir tavir zaten ayakta kalamaz, bu yuzden de yasaklanmasina gerek yoktur. Hicbir kultur insanlarin fotosentez yapmasini, kadinlarin isik hizindan daha hizli kosmasini veya negatif yuklu elektronlarin birbirine dogru cekilmesini yasaklamaya kalkmamistir.
Gercekte ‘dogal’ ve ‘dogal olmayan’ kavramlari, biyolojiden degil Hristiyan ilahiyatindan alinmadir. “Dogal”in ilahiyattaki anlami, ‘Dogayi yaratan Tanri’nin niyetiyle uyumlu’ dur.
Cinsiyet ve toplumsal cinsiyet ayrimi…
Biyolojik olarak insanlar erkekler ve disiler olarak ayrilmistir. Homo Sapiens’in bir X, bir de Y kromozomu olan erkek, iki X kromozomu olansa disidir. Ama ‘erkek’ ve ‘kadin’ biyolojik degil, toplumsal kategorilerdir.
En azindan Tarim Devrim’inden beri, cogu insan toplulugu erkeklere kadinlardan daha fazla deger veren ataerkiltoplumlardir. erkek olmak hep daha ayricalikli olmustur. Ama neden? Bir cok teori soz konusu ve hic biri inandirici degil:
Kas Gucu: “Erkekler kadinlardan daha gucludur’ onermesi sadece ortalama icin gecerlidir ve gucten ne anladiginiza baglidir. Kadinlar genellikle acliga, hastaliga ve yorgunluga erkeklerden daha dayaniklidir. Ayrica kadinlar tarih boyunca fiziksel guc gerektirmeyen (rahiplik, hukuk ve siyaset gibi) islerin tamamindan dislandiklari gibi, agir fiziksel guc gerektiren pek cok ise zorlanmislardir. Ikinci problemse: insanlarda fiziksel gucle sosyal guc arasinda dogrudan iliski yoktur. mesela genc insanlar fiziksel olarak daha guclu olsalar da, yaslilar genellikle genclerden daha ustun ve soz sahibidirler. Aslinda insanlik tarihi de fiziksel gucle sosyal guc arasindan genellikle ters yonlu bir ilski oldugunu gosterir. Cogu toplumda asagi siniflar agir isleri yapar.
Toplumun Pislikleri: “Erkek egemenligi saldirganliklarindan gelir” teorisi. Yine de savasanlarin erkek olmasi, hem savasi yonetenlerin hem de tum getirilerinden faydalananlarin erkekler olmasi sonucunu mu dogurur? kadinlar genelde erkeklerden daha iyi yonlendirici olduklari gibi, sakinlestirme becerisi yuksek kisiler olarak gosterilirler, ayrica empatileri de daha yuksektir.
Ataerkil genler: “Erkekler dogurgan kadinlari hamile birakabilmek icin birbirleriyle yaristiklarindan, ureme sansina sahip olabilmeleri her seyddeen once rakiplerini altedebilmelerine bagliydi. Zaman gectikce gelecek nesillere en hirsli, saldirgan ve rekabetci erkeklerin genleri aktarilmis oldu. Kadinlarsa uysal bakici genler gelistirdi” teorisi. Bu tur bir dinamik aslinda anaerkil bir toplum dogurmalidir: kadinlarin bakima ihtiyac duymasinin kadinlari niye diger kadinlara degil de erkeklere muhtac ettigi, erkek rekabetciliginin erkegi toplumda nasil baskin hale getirdigi buyuk soru isaretidir. Nasil oluyor da tum basarisini isbirligine borclu olan bir turde daha az isbirligine yatkin olacagi varsayilan bireyler (erkekler) daha cok is birligi yapmaya musait oldugu varsayilan bireylere (kadinlar) ustunluk kurabiliyor?
En buyuk soru… biz bu hiyerarsilerle bu kadar ayrismisken nasil hala bi sekilde birarada durabildik?
Cevabi: Din, imparatorluklar ve para (Ayni tanriya inanmayan veya ayni krala itaat etmeyen insanlar seve seve ayni parayi kullaniyorlar?!).
Kulturel Farkliligin guzelligi: Dusuncelerimizdeki, fikirlerimizdeki ver degerlerimizdeki uyumsuzluklar bizi arastirmaya, elestirmeye, ve yeniden degerlendirmeye mecbur eder. Insanlar birbiriyle celisen degerler ve inanclara sahip olmasaydi muhtemelen herhangi bir insan kulturu olusturmak ve surdurmek mumkun olmazdi.
Yazarin bu lafi cok guzel: “Para, su ana kadar yaratilmis en evrensel ve en etkili karsilikli guven sistemidir.”
Para nasil basladi?
Avci toplayicilar kucuk kabileler olduklari icin paraya ya da takasa ihtiyaclari yoktu. Kimin hangi iste iyi oldugu belliydi ve lazim olan seyler paylasiliyordu. Ancak karmasik yerlesik tarim sistemine gecildiginde uzamanlasmalar, takasi gerektirdi: Uzmanlar (marangoz, ciftci, nalbur, vb) arasinda takas nasil gerceklestirilecekti?
Avci toplayici zamanindaki gibi iyilik ve zorunluluklara dayali bir ekonomi, cok sayida yabancinin is birligi yapmaya calistigi bir ortamda yuruyemez. Bir kardese ya da komsuya bedava yardim etmek ayri seydir, iyiliginizin karsiligini asla veremeyecek bir yabanciyla ilgilenmek ayri. Takas iyi bir yontemdir, ancak sadece sinirli sayida urun soz konusu oldugunda etkilidir ve karmasik bir ekonominin temelini olusturamaz.
Ticaretin mumkun olmasi icin iki tarafin da elinde digerinin istedigi urunden bulunmasi gerekir.
Para pek cok yerde ve farkli zamanlarda icat edildi. Paranin icadi teknolojik bir donm noktasi degil, zihinsel bir devrimdi. Bu devrim, sadece insanlarin ortak hayal gucunde yasayan yeni bir gercekligin yaratilmasinda gizliydi.
Madeni para basimi icat edilmeden cok onceleri de mevcut olan para, cesitli kulturlerde farkli esyalar kullanilarak gelisti: deniz kabugu, kakao cekirdegi, hayvan derisi, tuz, tohum, boncuk, kumas ve taahhutname gibi.
Ama neden madeni para kazandi?…
Cunku tasinabilir – tasimasi kolay.
Cok yer kaplamaz.
Para ile her seyi her seyle degistirebilirsin: Ordudan atilmis bir asker universite ogrenim ucretini askerdeki birikimiyle karsilayinca, kas gucu, beyin gucune donusmus olur.
Para birikimleri kolay ve ucuz bicimde donusturebildigi, depolayabildigi ve tasiyabildigi icin dinamik piyasalarin ve karmasik ticari aglarin olusumuna hayati katki yapmistir.
Dine gecmeden once, onemli bir anektot da kitabin 199. sayfasindan ” Evrim diger sosyal memeliler gibi Homo Sapiens’i de yabanci dusmani (ksenofobik) yaratiklar haline getirmisti. Sapiens icgudusel olarak insanligi ‘biz’ ve ‘onlar’ olarak ikiye bolmustu.”
Kolonilesme ve bir halkin bir baska ulkeyi ele gecirmesi ile ilgili de fazla iyimser yazar Yuval. Diyor ki: “Eger zalim bir imparatorlugun mirasini onceki ‘otantik’ kulturleri yeniden kurmak ve korumak amaciyla reddetsek bile, muhtemelen savunacagimiz sey daha eski ve en az ayni derecede zalim baska bir imparatorlugun mirasi olurdu” (Mesela Ingiltere’nin Hindistana hakimiyeti gibi) (Vay beeee)
Din bugun cogunlukla ayrimcilik ve anlasmazlik kaynagi gibi gorulse de, para ve imparatorluklarla birlikte insanligi en iyi birlestiren 3. sey olarak sayilabilir. Tum toplumsal hiyerarsiler ve duzenler hayali oldugundan kirilgandir ve toplum buyudukce kirilganlik artar. Dinler, yasalarimizin, insanlarin kaprisi degil, mutlak ve ustun bir otorite tarafindan buyurulmus emirler oldugunu soylerler. Bu da en azindan bazi temel yasalarin elestiriden muaf olmasini saglayarak toplumsal istikrari saglar.
Animizm en basta bilinen din. Avci toplayicilar animistti: Amimizm tabiata ait olan her şeyde, şuurlu bir yaşayış bulunduğunu ileri süren doktrindir. mesela, ilkçağlarda yahudilerin gök gürültüsünü “yahova’nın sesi” olarak adlandırmaları, animist bir yaklaşımdır.
Sonra cok tanrili dinler ortaya cikti, en son da tek tanrili dinler.
Tarim devrimi, beraberinde dini devrimi de getirdi. Avci toplayicilar yabani bitkiler toplayip hayvanlari avliyorlardi ama bunlari Homo Sapiens’e esit goruyorlardi. Insanlarin koyun avlamasi koyunu insandan asagi yapmiyordu, tipki kaplanin insan avlamasinin insani daha asagi yapmadigi gibi. Tarim Devrimi’nin ilk dini sonucu, bitkileri ve hayvanlari ruhani yuvarlak bir masanin esit uyelerinden birer metaya cevirmesidir.
Antik cag mitolojilerinin buyuk bir bolumu aslinda insanlarin bitkiler ve hayvanlar uzerinde hakimiyet kurabilme karsiliginda tanriya ebediyen sadakat sozu vermesidir. Tarim devriminden sonraki binlerce yil boyunca dini ayinler buyuk olcude, insanlarin ilahi guclere cesitli kurbanlar vermesi karsiliginda tanrilarin da insanlara bereketli hasatlar ve dogurgan suruler sozu bahsetmesi olarak ozetlenebilir.
Sayisiz Hristiyan, Musluman ve Yahudi, iyi Tanri’nin Seytan’la mucadelesinde bizim yardimimiza ihtiyac duydugunu dusunecek kadar ileri gittiler. Bu yaklasim diger baska seylerin yaninda Hacli seferlerinin ve cihatlarin da ilham kaynagiydi.
Animistler insanlarin dunyada yasayan pek cok yaratiktan biri oldugunu dusunurlerdi, coktanricilar ise giderek dunyayi insanlarla tanrilar arasindaki iliskilerin bir yansimasi olarak gormeye basladi.
Coktanriciligin tek tanriciliktan farkli olan ic gorusu dunyayi yoneten ustun gucun cikarlari ve on yargilari olmamasi, dolayisiyla da insanlarin dunyevi istekleri, kaygilari ve endiselerinden muaf olmasidir.
Katolikler ve protestanlar arasindaki fark
Katolikler ve Protestanlar arasindaki din savaslari Avrupa’yi ozellikle 16. ve 17. yuzyilda kasip kavurmustu. Bu savaslara katilanlarin hepsi Isa’nin ilahi ozelligini, sevgi ve sefkat hakikatini kabul ediyor ama bunlari yasama biciminde anlasamiyorlardi. Protestanlar, tanrinin oglunun insan bedeninde dunyaya geldigini, insanlik icin canini carmihta feda ettigini, boylece kurtulusun ve olumsuzlugun yolunu acarak kendisine inanan ve bu inanci yasayan herkese de cennetin kapilarini actigina inanirlar. Katolikler bu inanci yeterli bulmazlar, cennete girmek icin inananlarin kiliseye gitmeleri ve sevap islemeleri de gerektigini dusunurler. Protestanlar reddettikleri bu inancin Tanri’nin buyuklugunu ve sevgisini asagiladigini one surerler.
Bu din daha cok ibadet edene odaklidir: Arzular aci cekmeye sebep olur. Aci cekmekten tamamen kurtulmanin tek yolu da arzu duymaktan tamamen kurtulmaktir. Bunu yapmanin tek yolu da gercekligi oldugu gibi yasamasi ici zihni egitmektir. Zihni ‘Su anda ne yasiyor olabilirdim?’ degil de “Su anda ne yasiyorum? ‘ a yoneltmektir.
Kitabin sonlarina dogru…
Kitabin sonlarina dogru modern Sapiens ten bahsediyor yazar. Sanayi devrimi’nden sonraki kapitalist ve tuketimci akimin ekonomiyi, hayvanlara hunharca davranma hakkini kendinde gormeyi, insan iliskilerini nasil etkiledigini detaylica anlatiyor. Afrika’nin hunharca kapitalist sistem adi altinda Avrupa ulkeleri tarafindan somurulmesine yer vermis 327. sayfada.
Devletler ve piyasalar insanlara reddedemeyecekleri bir teklifle geldi: “Birey olun! Ailenizden izin almadan kiminle istiyorsaniz onunla evlenin. Buyuklerinize ragmen istediginiz isi yapin. Ailenizle yemek yiyemeyecek de olsaniz istediginiz yerde yasayin. Artik ailenize ve toplulugunuza bagimli degilsiniz. Biz devlet ve piyasa olarak size bakacagiz. Size gida, barinma, egitim, saglik, sosyal haklar ve is verecegiz. Issizlik maasi, sigorta ve koruma saglayacagiz.” Bugun, ebeveyn otoritesi buyuk gerileme yasiyor ve gencler anne babalarina gitgide daha az itaat ediyorlar. Ama hala cocuklarinin yasamlarindaki hemen her yanlistan sorumlu tutuluyorlar.
16. ASLINDA SAPIENS EN BARISCIL CAGINDA, UZULMEYIN
Yazar diyor ki gunumuzde cogu insan ne kadar bariscil bir cagda yasadigimizin farkinda degil. Hicbirimiz 1000 yil once hayatta degildik o yuzden de dunyanin eskiden ne kadar daha vahsi oldugunu tam da bilemiyoruz. Cok sayida insan bugun Irak’taki ve Afganistan’daki savaslara dikkat ederken, Hintlilerin veya Brezilyalilarin baris icinde yasadiklarini unutuyor.
Tarihi sureci makro duzeyde anlayabilmek icin bireysel hikayeler yerine buyuk resmi incelememiz gerekir. 2000’yilinda:
kisinin olumune sebep oldu. Her bir olum bir dunyanin yok olmasina, bir ailenin mahvolmasina sebep oldu,
Ama makro duzeyde 2000 yilinda:
Bu 830 (310+520) bin kurban, dunyada o yil olen 56 milyon insanin sadece %1.5 ugunu olusturur.
Ayni yil 1,260,000 insan trafik kazalarinda
815,000 kisi de inthihar ederek oldu.
Burda da goruluyorki gunumuzde tum terorizm ve savas tartismalarina ragmen, ortalama bir insanin kendini oldurme ihtimali bir terorist, asker veya uyusturucu saticisi tarafindan oldurulme ihtimali daha yuksek. 11 Eylul saldirilarinin oldugu yil intihar ederek olenlerin sayisi 873,000 (toplam olumlerin %1.53’u), teror ve savaslardan olenlerin sayisi (askerler dahil) 172,000 (toplam olumlerin %0.3’u) – toplam olum sayisi 57,000,000. Ama o gun, teror insanlara unutulmayacak bir korku dalgasi yaydi bir kere. Kimse Inanilmaz yuksek oranda olan intiharlardan dolayi korkmuyor. Bence bu daha korkutucu.
Gordugunuz gibi rakamlar, halkin korkularini dogrular nitelikte degil.
17. MUTLU MU SAPIENS?
Ayak izi ruzgarin olmadigi ayda bozulmamis halde duran Neil Armstrong, 30 bin yil once Chauvet’ Magarasi’nin duvarina el izini birakan isimsiz avci toplayici’dan daha mutlu muydu? Eger daha mutlu degilse tarimi, sehirleri, yaziyi, parayi, imparatorluklari, bilimi ve sanayiyi gelistirmenin anlami neydi?
Arastirmacilar bu sorulari sormaya cekiniyor.
Aile ve toplulugun mutlulugumuz uzerinde para ve sagliktan daha fazla etkisi var gibi gorunuyor. Siki baglara sahip ve destekleyici ailelerle topluluklarda yasayan insanlar, problemli aileleri olan ve hic bir zaman ait olacaklari bir topluluk bulamamis (veya aramamis) insanlardan belirgin sekilde daha mutlular.
kendisini cok seven bir esi, yakin iliskilere sahip toplulugu ve ailesi olan culsuz bir engelli, eger fakirligi cok siddetli degil ve hastaligi kotulesmiyorsa veya cok acili degilse, yalniz ve her seye yabancilasmis bir milyarderden cok daha mutlu olabilir (Bknz. Anthony Bourdain veya Mehmet Piskin olayi)
Tum bu calismalarin en onemli bulgusuysa mutlulugun zenginlik, saglik hatta topluluk gibi olculebilir kosullara bagli olmadigidir. Mutluluk daha ziyade somut durumla soyut beklentiler arasindaki iliskiye baglidir.
Eger mutluluk beklentiyle alakaliysa, toplumumuzun iki temel diregi- medya ve reklamcilik- farkinda olmadan da olsa, dunyanin mutluluk rezervlerini sonuna kadar tuketiyor demektir.
Bu yuzden de ucuncu dunya ulkelerinde memnuniyetsizlik sadece fakirlik, hastalik, yozlasma ve politik baskidan degil, surekli olarak Birinci Sunya standartlarina maruz kalmaktan da kaynaklaniyor olabilir.
Misirlilarin fiziksel kosullari hic simdiki kadar iyi olmamisti. Dolayisiyla bu insanlarin 2011’de sokaklarda dans ederek Allah’a sukredeceklerini dusunebilirdiniz, oysa onlar ayaklanarak Mubarek’i devirdiler. Sonucta, kendilerini firavunlarin yonetiminde yasayan atalariyla degil, Obama’nin Amerikasi’ndakilerle kiyasliyorlardi.
18. SON SOZ
Insan giderek kendini tanrisallastiriyor: Dogal secilimin yerine akilli tasarimin konmasi su 3 yoldan biriyle olabilir: biyoloji muhendisligi, siborg muhendisligi (organik ve organik olmayan parcalarin bir araya geldigi varliklar) ve inorganik yasamin yaratilmasi.
Baskalarini icguduyle coktan otekilestirmis, kendini diger tum canli turlerine hukmediyor goren, kendi yarattigi hayali duzenler icinde yalan bir mutluluk yasayan, hirsli, olume meydan okuyan bir memeli Homo Sapiens. Tanri olmaya calisan bir hayvan.
Kanolardan uzay mekiklerine vardik ama kimse nereye gittigimizi bilmiyor. Kimseye hesap vermiyoruz, diger hayvanlari ve etrafimizdaki eko sistemi surekli mahvediyoruz ve sadece kendi konfor ve eglencemizi dusunuyoruz, yine de tatmin olmuyoruz, yine de hala memnuniyetsiziz.
Ne istedigini bilmeyen, tatminsiz ve sorumsuz tanrilardan daha tehlikeli bir sey olabilir mi?