Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nepotism is Counterproductive

The Domain of Morality Illustrates Religious Nepotism and Nepotistic Religiousness.

(The Domain is something that I have touched upon in my other posts, for those of you who have read my work, I apologise for repeating myself. If you have an understanding of the Domain please feel free to scroll down to the line marking the beginning of my main argument.)

The Domain of Morality itself is the current accepted standardization of opinion. It is simply a scale that is arranged in what we would consider an “atypical political right/left” scenario thusly:

Harm/Care Fairness/Justice Ingroup/Loyalty Authority/Respect Purity/Sanctity

There are many more ill defined morals in our modern society from ancient times. Ideas like the sanctity or purity of places, people or objects. Automatic respect or reverence for authority figures is still expected from most human citizenry. Ideas of class, race or kin being of some worth or relevance to anything are all still prevalent. In fact, we use this standard of Fairness, Harm, Ingroup, Authority, Purity as the measuring stick of our sociological or moral makeup. It’s important that we understand the categories of this moral scale. This scale has been in development for hundreds of years and those who wish to follow it’s history should also look up David Hume, Lawrence Kohlberg and Elliot Turiel.

The five categories are the Definition of the Domain of Morality by Elliot Turiel. They are referred to as the “Foundations of Morality.” To be most concerned with a particular single branch or group of branches points to your morality. The stronger the assignation of importance to the beginning of the list, the more left leaning, liberal, democratic, etc. you are. You are a two foundation person. The more importance you assign to the latter three the more right leaning, conservative, authoritative, etc. you are.

I’m sure we can agree that the utilization of judgement where Fairness and Harm are the standards is much more logical and productive than using the considerations of Ingroup, Authority or Purity. In fact, the latter three paradigms should be almost entirely dismissed, most are antiquated and spent.

Ingroup leads to nepotism, racism, classism. How many of us have helped a friend do something illogical? Authority is weighed well by many still, despite murderous cops, self-serving politicians, and abusive priests. Purity doesn’t refer to the wholeness or correctness of something, but it’s deemed worth.

Questions of Sanctity are of value. The Dome of the Rock is one of the most traveled to places on the planet. It is a manmade structure where people come to pay homage to a meteorite. Were they able to, the pilgrims could pick up any rock build a temple around it and assign the same purity to it. They can’t because they’ve been instructed that this rock is special and deservedly so. In fairness, this last point is why I say we should all but dismiss Ingroup, Authority and in this case, Purity considerations, for what if I am wrong and someday an irrefutable force proves to me that the rock is ‘special.’ Furthermore, Ingroup facilitates family responsibility and cultural comfort which are not unhealthy. There is also Authority in the Universe as there is Purity, I just haven’t found either yet. I know they exist because their opposites are so prevalent. (I wish to point out, just for clarity, that my singling out of any one religion, God, artifact or geographic location are for illustrative purposes only.)

It seems, therefore, that Nature is left leaning. If considering Ingroup, Authority and Purity is far less important that considering Fairness and Harm, society is in a state of illogical, counterproductive denial.

We now begin to just see the tip of the iceberg now, breaking above the water. The monster begins to take shape: Individuals are more to blame than society is more to blame than we. Except that, for the most part, we’re doing what we’re told. If we can accept that Nature’s default is that of an open, flexible, dynamic system, then we should be able to accept that we are working against it if we are not doing the same. If we know that we have been socially engineered to be the way we are, then the forces that made us that way, want us that way. So why do they want us to work against nature? Does that mean we have been programmed to fail? Why? What else have they programmed us to do? Who are these people? These are also the questions of the new enlightenment, but they are not being asked by the spiritualists and the social psychologists. They are being asked by me and hopefully, by you.

Now that you have a base understanding of the domain, let us get to the point of this article: What is “Religious Nepotism” and what is the difference between it and “Nepotistic religiousness.”
The origin of the word Nepotism has religious ties, (although this is moot to my argument, I thought it was interesting enough to warrant a mention.)
Nepotism is the favouring of friends or family, particularly to give them, “jobs.”
Quote from OXFORD Dictionary about source: "C17: from French népotisme, from Italian nepotismo, from nipote 'nephew' (with reference to privileges bestowed on the 'nephews' of popes, often really their illegitimate sons)."

Nepotism itself is perilous. This is well illustrated to the masses in countless forms, but an excellent and poignant example is made by viewing the ridiculous television program “Cakeboss.” Here is a talented man, who, rather than build his business (and his show) around even the same level of professionalism he has, built it from relatives. So instead of having a business that runs like a well oiled machine with problems stemming only from the odds one faces in life, the Cakeboss must constantly deal with drama, ineptitude, attitude and expectation. This is plainly, wholly and literally retarded. It is in fact, indicative of a major flaw with western culture. This one example is only a harmless television program about baking! Imagine what kind of shenanigans take place in the corridors of power...

The Cakeboss himself illustrates Religious Nepotism due to his fervent loyalty to his family. It doesn’t even occur to him that he could fire all these idiots and while this might make him unpopular, most likely for a short time, (they are family, after all,) it would improve the lives of everyone. He could have a team of worthy employees and the family members could find much more suitable employment. (Most likely increasing their happiness. (It’s not lost on me that this would also reduce the point of having a “Cakeboss” show, drama sells.) It is his blind faith in that he is doing “the right thing” by having nepotistic tendencies that keeps him from achieving the reasonable opportunity for perfection. (I’m not saying perfection is possible, I’m saying Religious nepotism keeps one from even the possibility of it.)

What is meant by “nepotistic religiousness” is that if you are a religious person, you must also be biased in your opinions of others’ based on the standards of your religion. Essentially what this means is, “Your not going to listen to anyone who’s ideas aren’t the same as yours.” Consider the following true story that was partially the impetus for this article:
A woman in her thirties came into my place of business and I was lucky enough to assist her. She was very happy, bright and bubbly, she even wore a jaunty summer hat, bright red in colour. She said to me, “What a beautiful day the Lord has given us.” I, being theist, but not in any way attached to any particular religion said, “Yes, I suppose it is.”
She said, “Well, you believe in God don’t you?”
I thought about whether or not I wanted to get into this with her and decided to, (she brought it up...) I said, emphatically “Yes I do.” She nodded and smiled satisfied and we went about our business. Further along into our transactions when she was particularly pleased with my unmatched professionalism, she said, “God bless you. You must have Jesus in your heart.”
(I have Jesus in my heart because I am good at my job?)
I didn’t know how to respond to this so I just grinned stupidly at her, kind of shrugging.
She said, “Well you are a Christian aren’t you?”
I thought, “Oh no, here we go.” Then I thought “Screw it, don’t ask if you don’t want to know...”
I smiled, “Actually no, I’m not.”
The woman literally took a step back as if recoiling in horror, her mouth dropped open as if emitting a silent gasp. Aghast, she almost whispered, “But you just said you believed in God?”
I said, “Yes. I did and I do. But you must be aware that there are other religions, other people beside Christians that believe in God?”
She relaxed a little but still stepped back, away from me. “Well, I used to be Muslim, but then I found the one true faith. I couldn’t be happier having Jesus in my heart.”
I don’t remember what I said after that, I’m sure it was something noncommital and slightly stupid, like “Good for you!”

The point is this; listening to (or not listening to) someone because of their opinions is as dangerous as you let it become. Most westerners and in fact, most humans, are basing decisions of whether or not to concur with an opinion on the more conservative side of the Domain of Morality. They are therefore, not getting what they need but rather making do with what they have. That defines Western Counterproductivity and is, in large part, why our modern world is such a mess.