Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cracking the Code, Chapter Seven

Continuing from this post.

To communicate effectively one must figure our their own and the other's core story. We might use the same words but they'll have different meanings depending on the story. Recall that the typical liberal story is about a world that is fundamentally good and fair, and the goal is to help people realize their potential. The typical conservative story is that the world is a dangerous and scary place so we must restrain individuals and their bad impulses. (I again refer to numerous studies supporting these broad generalizations.)

Some generalizations of the differences are that when a conservative hears the word values it triggers what individuals do in the privacy of their homes, so they are against gay marriage and abortions. For liberals that means caring for the homeless, sick and hungry, the environment, education; a more public focus. The word taxes for conservatives evokes government confiscation; for liberals it's a fair contribution to and participation in the social good. Freedom for the conservative is about protection from a hostile environment including the bad other so as to focus on disciplining one's own bad desires. For liberals it's about interacting with others to share one's deepest beliefs and goals, which allows for self-actualization through education and healthcare.

The key is listening to the story people tell and responding accordingly. This is the story of democracy, that we the people determine what government should be by voting for candidates that represent us, and telling them often what we think. If they don't listen we vote them out. Unfortunately, the political class has for the most part aligned with the wealthy class and they are telling us what we should want, usually with lies and conscious manipulation of the story. Which is of course the story of oligarchy wrapped up in a false democratic story, the proverbial wolf dressed in sheep's clothing.


A brief note to point out that generally conservatives are focused more on our lower needs in Maslow's hierarchy, while liberals more the higher. It is a broad generalization with all sorts of mixes and matches. And there is a time and place for our lower needs, like I discussed with fear above. As LP noted earlier in the thread, there's a difference though between healthy and unhealthy expressions of said needs. As well as a big difference in how we utilize said needs in response to real or contrived threats, and on how we frame said needs based on lies or a reality check, for personal greed or social good. Which is not at all to say that personal safety, comfort and economic security are bad, just that here too there is a healthy balance between the personal and the public.

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